by B.B. Pelletier

Here’s a bit of history for you. Back in the late 1980s and early ’90s, Beeman was selling two popular mid-power spring rifles. The R7 and the R8. The R7 was the smaller of the two and was based on the Weihrauch HW 30. The R8 was larger, more powerful than the R7 and was based on the HW 50.

The R7 remained in the lineup, of course, and for a few years after the 1994 sales of the Beeman company, the new management even cataloged it next to the HW30, but rated both the power and accuracy of the R7 that was based on it as better. They still rate them that way. But the R8 went away. The HW50 remained for several more years, and a curious new R-series rifle called the R6 made a brief entrance and exit. I have been told by several people that the R6 is also based on the HW50.

Shown with the diopter sights for target shooting, the HW 50S is a classic spring rifle from Weihrauch.

The point is that the R8 and R6 are both history, yet the HW50 lives on. Now that it’s no longer in the Beeman lineup, importers are able to bring in variations that Beeman never would – such as a .22 caliber version! Pyramyd Air has just made a large purchase of the HW50S and is stocking both calibers with either open sights or peep sights. Starting at $312, you can own a rifle that may not be around much longer – certainly not for that low price. The way the Euro keeps escalating, the price of the HW50 will soon rise to more than $400, where it will be challenged by top new spring guns from China. Those new guns are very good, but the HW50 has a couple things they don’t have and probably never will.

The Rekord trigger
Ain’t no two ways about it – the Rekord is a fine trigger. Not only is it adjustable to a fine degree, but it breaks as clean and crisp as you could hope for. Back when Beeman was pushing the R7 over the HW30, the big selling point was that the 30 they sold didn’t have a Rekord, but as far as I know the 50 has always had one. So savvy airgunners knew they could buy an HW50 and save about a hundred dollars over the Beeman equivalent. The only real difference was the stock. All the R-series guns have American-style stocks, while the HW series often have the Bavarian-style stock with shorter forearm wood and a slope behind the cheekpiece.

You can’t do the same with an HW30 and an R7 because the HW30 doesn’t have the Rekord trigger. If you want the trigger, you have to get the R7.

Weihrauch barrels
Maybe you aren’t aware of this, but Weihrauch made their reputation with fine single-shot target rifles in .22 LR caliber. They were considered the equivalent of Walther before WW II, which was to say the best in the world. Weihrauch knows how to rifle a barrel! In fact, when Mac-1 decided to manufacture the USFT rifle, they chose Weihrauch barrels for their world-class field target rifle. This is one thing no other manufacturer can give you – a classic Weihrauch airgun barrel.

Is this all just hype?
Actually, no, it isn’t. Weihrauch quality is the equivalent of BSA, Webley and FWB sport airguns. Their triggers are better than any of the triggers from those brands. The Beeman R1 I used for the spring gun tune series is a Weihrauch with…I don’t know how many thousands of shots on the clock. It has been tuned and re-tuned numerous times, the trigger has been adjusted to perfection, the gun has worn more than 20 different scopes and it still looks and shoots great. This is the kind of lasting performance you can expect from Weihrauch.

Tomorrow, I’ll cover the options and performance of this rifle. I’m waiting for a nice range day to test the Hammerli Storm Elite. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten.