HW97 & HW77

by B.B. Pelletier

There has been some interest in the Beeman HW97 Mk III from the CF-X guy and from POYANCO, plus it’s such a nice spring gun that it really deserves a mention. I’m also going to touch on the HW77, which I personally like even better!

The HW97 is a BIG airgun!
If you thought the Gamo CF-X was big, this Weihrauch should change your mind. Although it’s just a half-inch longer, it’s more than a full pound heavier, and the cocking effort is 35 lbs. – five pounds heavier! However, the HW97 is about standard size and weight for a classic spring rifle. It’s the CF-X that’s the lightweight. Some of the extra weight is due to the Weihrauch’s wood stock, but the powerplant is also larger in diameter, and that, in turn, means the stock has to be broader. The 97 will feel very large to shooters accustomed to the CF-X.

No open sights on the 97
You must scope this rifle because there is no provision for open sights. Weihrauch figured everyone was taking the sights off the HW77 anyway (and they were right), so why even bother putting them on? At the level this rifle sells, shooters are almost entirely scope users. That’s not to say there aren’t a few who would like open sight options, but they don’t come on the HW97.

Be VERY careful with that sliding breech!
Both the HW77 and 97 have very early versions of the sliding breech. Where Air Arms, Diana-RWS and even the Chinese put elaborate anti-beartrap mechanisms on their sliding-breech rifles, Weihrauch has used just the standard crossbolt safety. It blocks only the trigger and has nothing to do with the sliding breech. If that safety fails to engage when the rifle is cocked, and I’ve seen that happen, a touch on the trigger will send the sliding breech forward with the force of a guillotine! Anyone who adjusts their trigger to a very light release weight on this model is just asking for a digit amputation, UNLESS they practice the safety procedure of never letting go of the cocking handle until the rifle is loaded. That does two things. First, it keeps their other hand occupied so it can’t stray to the trigger, and second, if the gun does fire, there is a hand holding the sliding breech in place.

The Rekord trigger
Speaking of triggers, the Rekord trigger on the 77 and 97 is the one all other airgun triggers are compared to. It is the all-time classic spring rifle trigger. Only on PCPs will you find a crisper, lighter trigger, and they only hold back about 10 lbs. of force – this one restrains over 100 lbs.! The Rekord is adjustable from outside the gun and can be set to release with a very crisp pull. It’s a good reason to buy a Weihrauch.

Accuracy
The HW77 is a legend for accuracy. Until the TX200 came along, only the FWB124 could equal it (in the world of spring guns, that is). I did not find my 97 to be nearly as accurate as my 77, which undoubtedly accounts for my prejudice, but in fairness, that was at a time before I knew how much Crosman Premiers leaded the bore. I shot them exclusively back then, and it may have been my 97 just needed a good cleaning. There is no reason why an HW97 MkIII would be any less accurate than an HW77.

To summarize
Either the HW97 or HW77 are wonderful spring-air rifles that most shooters would be delighted to own. The stock on the 97 looks a little more scope-friendly, while the HW77 Mk II sold under the Beeman name is more compact, though not much lighter. Compared to a Gamo spring from 1995, these two rifles are light-years better, but compared to the CF-X, they are only somewhat better. Both are classics, and both have the world-famous Rekord trigger that every airgunner should have the chance to try at least once in his lifetime.

31 thoughts on “HW97 & HW77

  1. I assume that last post will be deleted soon, as it should.

    Back on topic, I wanted to share my experience with the HW97LK I recently purchased. Mine is in .22 caliber and is stunning, of course and the fit and finish is firt rate. The gun is very quiet to shoot and recoil is minimal, due in part to the weight. Still, at around 9lbs, the HW balances extremely well and is not a chore to shoot. I took 5 shots to get an approximate zero on my gun and then moved the target back to 30 yards to try goups. Thats only 5 shots taken before doing these groups so the gun wasnt broken in at all. I tried 5 different kinds of pellets. I only did 3 shot groups because my daylight was dwindling quickly. Premiers, Gamo Hunters, and RWS domes ALL produced 3 shot groups I could cover with a dime at 30 yards. Kodiaks and JSB Exacts produced groups I could cover, or almost cover with a nickel. I was surprised to see that the Exacts actually did the worst of the bunch in my 97. Of course, I’ve much more testing to do, but initial reaction to the gun is very positive.



  2. CF-X guy,

    They’re probably equivalent, but if there is an edge, it probably goes to the Gamo.

    We aren’t talking about much difference here.

    B.B.


  3. BB,

    Off subject I know but what are your views and for that matter some of your contributors view on the Diana Mod 54. The recoiless feature appeals to me.

    I own a CFX (.177) right now ( my son has pretty much made off with it) and I’m thinking of another rifle. I don’t see the point in another CFX and have seen the Mod 54 at my local firearm dealer.

    I used to have a Gecado Model 50 (.22) in my younger days but it appears that Gecado no longer exists.

    What are your thoughts on the weapon?

    It would be used for plinking, pest elination and the like. I’d probably also prefer it in .22

    regards
    John


  4. I would be interested in comments about air pistols. I recently bought a Baikal IZH46M target pistol. I am not planning to compete with it I just wanted a decent quality moderately priced pistol to practice in my basement. I would be interested in any experience others have had with this pistol. Before buying, I read some information that set my expectations for quality toward the low end. When I received the pistol, I was surprised at the quality. The finish on mine is excellent and the fit and quality overall seems better than I expected. My main concern is the reliability over time and the ability to get part if needed. I have already had to re-seat the seal rings around the bolt port. I would also be interested in any suggestions on pellets and maintenance. The manual seems rather light on what to do and long on legal caveats.


  5. please allow me to second the thought of mr. anonymous above. my first air pistol was a drulov which i bought based upon B.B.’s report a short while back.
    while it started out fantastically, it hasnt been as accurate as i had expected. presently,after many “quick cleaning” pellets, it is no longer tumbling out pellets but now i face the frequent occurance of machine gun firing of all or some of it’s five pellets, even with different brands. i am fairly disapporinted.


  6. On the model 54… I have that gun in .22 and I can say that it doesnt balance as well as other ‘heavy’ guns around the same weight class, but it definately is a powerhouse. Using 16gr or lighter pellets, I am getting around 820-840fps with very good accuracy out to 50 yards. The recoilless feature really does help with the hold sensitivity of the gun. While its still not recoilless to the scope (make sure you get a GOOD springer scope) the felt recoil is all but gone. You can watch the pellets hit your targets. Typical groups at 30 yards are dime sized and groups at 50 yards are silver dollar sized. I’m sure others have done better, but thats how its shooting for me. I’m currently having a custom thumbhole stock made for mine to replace the beech stock. Nothing wrong with the beech, I’m just having a little custom work done.


  7. Just a note. The Gamo catalog lists the CFX as 6.6 lbs. with the synthetic stock and 8.2 with the wooden stock option.
    The desire to get a good buy and the desire for pride of ownership are two items in contention when buying any gun.
    I have a Beeman R7 and can attest to the wonders of its trigger. Anyone who has ever fired it finds it to something they have never before experienced in an air arm or a firing arm.
    I believe that the underbarrel and side cocking mechanism are more exotic than breech break and are, therefore, looked upi


  8. Sorry.Something broke my letter into two. …looked upon as more desirable and have more attention thrust upon them. What about a compromise between the expensive Weihrauch and the Gamo and look at the Diana RWS 48?
    Always enjoy your blog.


  9. I have a real world question regarding the cocking and loading of under lever arms. I have large hands and find some airgun tasks difficult, for example, loading my P3 which has very limited space for pellet insertion. How difficult is it to access the under lever on these guns; does the level of difficulty vary from brand to brand, and how difficult are they to load…compared to one another and to the breech brake method. Thanks.



  10. Anonymous

    The IZH46M is a VERY reliable pistol as long as you keep it oiled with Crosman Pellgunoil (on the synthetic pump head that is barely exposed when the lever is fully withdrawn). Mine is 7 years old and has thousands of shots on it. Good pellets are RWS R10, H&N Finale Match and Gamo Match.

    B.B>


  11. hello I becoming more interested in one of these rifles but I kinda have been scared abit with the comment that I could lose a digit! O’m trying to picture it cocked open and me putting a pellet in, if I keep my finger AWAY from the trigger will I be fine or will just the usage and time eventually collect a digit? Or if I hold the cocking lever and it were to go off how will I be able to stop it if I wasn’t expecting it?


  12. You hold the cocking lever with enough force that it CAN NOT move. The sliding breech is connected to it. You can actually pull the trigger while holding the lever and lower it slowly to uncock the gun.

    Never trust a safety or a trigger when your own safety is at stake.

    B.B.


  13. BB,

    Is the beeman hw97 more accurate than the gamo cf-x?

    In wich caliber does the hw97 does best in power and accuracy?

    I ask because I dont think that for a .20cal thats to fast,but then again if its accurate…

    And is the hw97 able to do well in FT?

    And what are its weak points and strong points compared with the diana 350 magnum?

    Thanks

    CF-X guy




  14. Hi there again BB, I would be grateful if you could just confirm one of your last comments for me, I have had the HW97 for a few weeks now and have always thought once cocked i had to fire it, is it safe for me to pulll the underleaver back down all the way and pull the trigger then slowly let the lever go back slowly to uncock the gun?

    Many thnx again Lee.



  15. Hey there BB, ive had this rifle quite a whilst now and ive tried many times to uncock it this way, ive come to the conclusion thats its impossible on this model, maybe its a later model? As i pull the lever back the safety shoots out, i try to push the safety in and pull the trigger in different positions but its impossible as the safety always comes back out. Cheers anyway Lee.


  16. Lee,

    I guess Weihrauch made a change. I’ve always been able to uncock their rifles this way.

    The TX200 is difficult to uncock, too. I releasae the safety, pull the trigger and ride the piston forward to the first ratchet cut, which is about a one-inch lever travel. Then I position my hand to hold the ratchet latch down, pull back silghtly on the underlever and push the latch in and ride the piston all the way forward. It doesn’t look possible but it is.

    B.B.


  17. Hi. I am looking for a good quality springer that is accurate, powerful, and ideally with open sights (my other gun is an HW 100.)
    Any opinions on the relative merits of the HW77 vs the Diana 350 magnum or the 460 magnum.
    I read reports of the 350 having plastic sights and trigger and varying quality of build, is this true?
    Is the added power of the 350 offset but the increased recoil?


  18. Well, you avoided the one gun that has everything you’re looking for, except the sights – the TX200.

    No question about its quality power and accuracy. It doesn’t have open sights, but that’s the only detractor.

    The HW77 is the best of the rifles you mentioned.

    The 460 magnum isn’t available yet, is it?

    No, the 350 Magnum doesn’t have a varing build quality (where are you hearing this?). But Diana’s quality isn’t up to Weihrauch’s, which makes the 77 your best bet.

    B.B.


  19. I live in an urban area where noise is at least of some concern. I’m considering a TX200, HW90 and perhaps a Webley Tomohawk , all in .22 for pest control work. I may have an occasional raccoon to take as well but that will likely be in a trap.

    The HW90/RX-2 see to have wide praise and power. I’ve heard they may be noisy and may need the purchase of an extra pump ? (Saw one on Weihrauch’s web site).

    The Tomohawk just looks like a great value but I don’t know how well it compares to the others.

    Thanks,

    Ben


  20. BB,

    Did you have a HW77 or a HW77K?
    I guess the HW77K come out later, after the introduction of the HW97 correct?

    Regards,
    Joe




  21. Micko,

    I believe your Model 16 was made between 1950-1984.

    Please look closely at the metal immediately above the stock, over the trigger on the left side of the gun. You're looking for numbers that are as small as one point type (you may need a magnifying glass). The number will appear like 11 57 (signifying November 1957). Also look on the buttstock for these numbers.

    kevin



  22. Dr. sniper,

    I haven't owned either gun but have read an enormous amount about both.

    Powerplants are the same in both guns. The HW 77K is the shorter/carbine version. I believe the "K" is an abbreviation for the german word "Kurz" which means "short". The accuracy in both versions, with proper technique, is legendary.

    kevin



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