Target Pistols and Target Shooters Part 8
Match Pistols – Shooting the Weihrauch HW 75
By Dennis Adler
Throughout this series on single shot pneumatic air pistols each gun has distinguished itself with unique features, the Air Venturi V10 with its specific grip configuration for entry level competitive 10-meter shooting, the Beeman P3 with its excellent fiber optic sights and semi-auto pistol like handling, and now the Weihrauch HW 75 with its superb ambidextrous grip and safety design, target trigger, and ease of operation.
As I mentioned in Part 7, the grip design on the HW 75 is similar to centerfire match pistols that use a flared profile with thumb rests, only the Weihrauch’s is ambidextrous. The palm shelf is also seen on centerfire competition guns, some of which are machined as part of the grip frame, others, like the Max Michel (as shown in Airgun Experience No. 175) attached around it. Either way, it provides more support for the shooting hand, whether part of the grip frame or the grip design itself.
As I have noted in the past I have a medium-large size hand and most Medium grips (or interchangeable backstrap panels) are correct for my hand. The HW 75 grip is what I consider medium-large. I base this on my own hand size and what I consider to be a correct fit, which when holding the pistol allows the bottom of my thumb to touch the top of my middle finger, or finger print on finger nail. Even so, the safety on the HW 75 is far enough forward on the frame that I had to rotate the gun in my hand to reach it, so I immediately opted for using my trigger finger to operate the safety lever on the right side, which is meant for the left-handed shooter.
The HW 75 trigger has three separate adjustments, the first two on the trigger face and accessed with an appropriate sized hex-head wrench (included) through an opening in the bottom of the triggerguard. One adjustment is for trigger slack (take up) another for adjustment of the let off point. The third is to lighten or increase trigger weight, which first requires removing the grips to access the trigger weight adjustment screw. The factory adjustments are the recommended settings, and that is how I shot the test. Trigger take up was 0.125 inches, let off point 0.0625 inches, and trigger pull averaged 1 pound, 5.3 ounces. The Weihrauch trigger is short, crisp, and light; better than either the Air Venturi V10 or Beeman P3.
To prepare the pneumatic action for a shot you begin by doing what every pistol shooter has done since the advent of target pistols (single shot, revolvers, and even some semi-autos for the first round); you cock the hammer. With the HW 75 you then depress the small serrated release catch to the left of the hammer and lift the barrel assembly, pulling it up and forward until it is fully extended. At this point (or when the barrel assembly is at a 45 to 90 degree angle), you can load your pellet. The barrel breech is tight but the pellet head rolls easily into the chamber. You do, however, need to press the pellet in firmly to properly seat it.
Closing the assembly compresses the air drawn into the cylinder and this is where the quality of the Weihrauch design comes through. It is smooth enough to close without having to rest the frame against your leg, you simply exert about 18 to 19 pounds of pressure (considerably less than required by the Beeman P3 or Air Venturi V10) with the palm of your hand and lock it down. To my surprise this can be done with the ambidextrous safety set on SAFE or FIRE, but it is intended to be set to SAFE before charging and loading, and that is the correct procedure.
I chronographed the HW 75 with the same pellets from the previous two tests, Meisterkugeln Professional Line 7.0 gr. lead wadcutters and Sig Sauer Match Ballistic 5.25 gr. alloy wadcutters. The lead cleared the Weihrauch’s muzzle at an average velocity of 344 fps, while the lightweight alloy pellets flew at an average of 362 fps. This is a little slower than the Air Venturi V10 with Meisterkugeln, which averaged 363 fps. The Sig Sauer alloy pellets broke 400 fps in the V10 but did not perform nearly as well in the HW 75. The heavy-hitting Beeman P3 averaged 380 fps and 430 fps, respectively.
I decided to shoot the 10-meter test with the Meisterkugeln 7.0 gr. lead wadcutters. The rear sight has click adjustments which makes it a little more precise than the V10 or Beeman P3. Once you are looking through the sights and on target it is impressive how easily, yet crisply, the HW 75’s trigger drops the hammer.
My pre-sight adjustment group (upper left) was an impressive 0.625 inches for five shots; that’s the diameter of a dime. I probably duplicated that in my 10-shot group (with adjusted sights) which tore one ragged hole from the bullseye to the edge of the 7 ring. For 10 shots that was a spread of 1.06 inches, and if I overlay the dime on that spread there would have to be at least five shots of the same 0.625 inch diameter in the largest part of the overall hole. The HW 75 delivered the greatest accuracy of the three single shot pneumatics tested, and the Air Venturi is an actual 10-meter pistol!
Little has changed in the 17 years since the HW 75 was introduced; it still delivers weight, balance, respectable velocity and ease of handling that is almost impossible to improve upon. All metal construction, top quality hand finished walnut grips, a durable piston design, two-stage adjustable trigger, and fully adjustable target rear sights make this an enduring design that one early reviewer of the Weihrauch model described as, “…an heirloom pistol that can be handed down.” That too, has not changed.