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Education / Training HW 55SF, a special find – Part 1

HW 55SF, a special find – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Today, I was supposed do a velocity test of the .25-caliber Walther Falcon Hunter, but I had some difficulties and damaged the breech seal while examining it. I’ve sent for a replacement and will get back on that series as soon as the rifle is operational again.

I’m attending the NRA Annual Meetings in Lousiville, Kentucky, Friday through Sunday, so I’ll ask you old hands to cover me on the answers to questions Thursday-Sunday. Pyramyd AIR will have a booth there (booth number 2156), so please stop by and say, “Hi,” if you’re at the exhibit hall.

Instead of the Walther, I’m going to tell you about a remarkable airgun find I made at the Little Rock Airgun Expo last weekend.


My SF 55 looks almost like an SM 55 except for the lack of a breech locking lever.

The rarest of the HW 55 guns?
I don’t know everything about airguns, despite what you may think. I get surprised all the time. Sometimes, though, I have to be dragged into a surprise kicking and screaming. This is one of those times. I have to thank my good friend Earl McDonald for strongly encouraging me to make the right choice this time, because I really wanted to go a different way.

I told you in the Little Rock report that the HW55 SF I bought was scarce (I believe I said super-scarce). Well, in the past week I’ve researched the rifle, and here’s what I’ve learned.


This is the traditional breech locking lever found on HW 55 guns. The “F” inside the pentagram after the model number indicates this rifle was intended for Germany, as it meets their legal limit of below 7.5 joules of muzzle energy.


My SF model has no locking lever, and the stock is not cut for one. It’s difficult to read, but the baseblock says HW 55S. There is no freimark, because this rifle was intended for export.

When I looked at the rifle at the show I noticed it didn’t have a locking lever that is a characteristic of the HW 55 series. As far as I knew, all 55 guns had that locking lever. Well, my research shows they didn’t! I have discovered that the HW 55 model may have been released to the market by Weihrauch in 1956, not 1955 as I had initially thought. I also learned that the very first HW 55 guns were sold with non-Rekord triggers, something that someone on this blog asked about and I didn’t know.

At least as early as 1959, Weihrauch was offering the special models of HW 55 without the breech locking lever called the SF, MF and TF. I got that from a 1959 Weihrauch catalog that was posted by Mike Driskill on the American “Vintage Airguns” forum. Gaines Blackwell, another forum reader and avid HW 55 collector, posted photos of his TF for people to see – so it isn’t just a rumor. He knows of at least one other TF, so his isn’t one of a kind.

Gaines has owned a great many HW 55 guns, but the only F-series model he’s ever seen in person is the one he owns. He’s seen photos of 5 or 6 F-series guns. He says he’s seen and handled hundreds of HW 55 guns. I corresponded with several other HW collectors who had only heard of the F-series 55 guns but never seen even one example. So, this rifle that I was “forced” to buy turns out to be rarer than an HW 55 Tyrolean, which until now I had thought was the rarest of all 55s. It is also far rarer than the BF S70 that I wanted to get.

What IS a F-series HW 55?
The standard HW 55 that was made until a few years ago has a breech locking lever that must be flipped to break the barrel for cocking. The F-series doesn’t have that lever. It uses the spring tube from an HW 50, which is close to the same size as the 55, but has a conventional spring-loaded breech chisel detent. The standard HW 55 also has a very small chisel detent, but it isn’t as long or as strong as the model 50 detent because the rifle relies on the manual lever to lock the breech.

The lack of a breech lock is one clue to a rare F-series 55, but there’s one more important item to look for. The stock on the 55 F-series does not have the cutout on the left side that provides clearance for the locking lever. That is proof positive that the rifle is a true F-series and not just an HW 55 on which someone has installed an HW 50 spring tube, which would be easy to do!

How long were the F-series guns made?
I’ve established 1959 as positively the earliest date the F-series guns were made, but they might be even older. They may go all the way back to the first 55 guns. I’ll have to find earlier catalogs to prove that. For certain, the F-series was still offered by Air Rifle Headquarters in 1968, as they’re listed in the catalog. However, in the 1973 catalog, they’re not listed. The series seems to have ended between 1968 and 1973. If any reader has an ARH catalog from that intervening span of time, I would appreciate hearing if the F-series 55 is still listed. Beeman got his start after 1973, and there’s no mention of the F-series in his catalogs, nor does he mention them in the Blue Book of Airguns. It’s possible that Robert Beeman isn’t evan aware of the F-series HW 55 guns.

How old is my gun?
My rifle has a serial number of 264814, which puts it in the 1968-69 timeframe. According to the ARH catalog from 1968, the SF model lacked the aperture sight. It was priced at $64.50, while a 55 SM (same gun with the aperture sight and the breech lock) went for $78.50 and the Tyrolean-stocked model went for a horrendous $109.50. The guy I bought the rifle from had bought an HW 55 aperture rear sight for it because people kept telling him all 55 guns had them. He spent an extra $125 to make his rifle more desireable – and I STILL almost didn’t buy it! It’s supposed to have a Weihrauch sporting rear sight, so I may install one to bring it to spec. Or, I may leave it as it is, because I bought it to shoot.

How does it shoot?
The rifle came with a thick folder of past records of service and information about the entire HW 55 series. I love it when airguns come with stuff like that. I can tell this rifle visited John Tripier for a rebuild back in the 1999, and Randy Bimrose rebuilt it for a different owner in 2003. That’s way more work than a 55 needs, so I’m betting Tripier replaced the leather-seal piston with a synthetic seal piston. I’ll find out when I go inside for a look. According to the letter that was sent to Tripier with the rifle, the breech seal was completely missing when the rifle was sent in, and the gun made a grinding sound when cocked.

The rifle now gets an average of 630 f.p.s. with RWS Hobbys, 614 with H&N Match, 637 with RWS Basics and 592 with JSB Match. That’s exactly where a 55 should be. I was concerned that one of the rebuilders might have installed a more powerful HW 50 mainspring that would take the gun up over 800 f.p.s., but that doesn’t seem to be the case. My concern is because of the special Rekord trigger that only the 55 series ever had – to the best of my knowledge.

I’m going to end this report here, because next time I want to spend some time looking at the Rekord trigger. Because we’ve received requests about the Rekord from other sources, I’ll expand that report to cover them all.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

45 thoughts on “HW 55SF, a special find – Part 1”

  1. Hi There

    As mentioned when you were discussing BKL 260 mounts a couple of months ago my Gamo CFX is slowly moving its scope backwards and levering its scope stop up and off its scope mount. I have come across a site selling Hawke 1-Piece Match Mounts in South Africa. Are they any good and do you think they will help solve my problem? If so will a Hawk 1-Piece Match Mount take a Gamo scope and fit onto a CFX’s scope rails? If so taking into account the scope rail fitted onto a CFX would I need medium or high mounts?


  2. Hello Everyone. I had posted this initial review on the falcon hunter on a few other forums, but I wasn’t going to put here because I knew BB was going to review it. Seeing how his next installment is delayed I know that there are quite a few people anxious for more info on it so here it it… Got my Walther Falcon Hunter in .25 from Pyramyd about 2 weeks ago and this thing has some serious power. It’s nice to get an airgun that actually shoots as hard as the manufacturer claims(actually harder!). My initial impressions out of the box were so-so. My main complaint was that the front sight/muzzle brake was mounted slightly rotated about 5 degrees to the right. I loosened the allen pin, but I could not get it to move to align it. I was eager to shoot, so I just decided to see where it was hitting and if it would work. It did! I needed to adjust the windage about 8 clicks to the right and a few down to get on target at 30 yards. My first shots out the box were over my F1 chrony with 19.3gr Webley Mosquito’s. Here’s the data:
    799,798,795,788,726,801,809,795,814,817( Disregarding the slow shot that’s 801 fps avg. 27.5 fpe)

    After about 60 shots the power increased. Here are the numbers with the same pellet:
    801,794,810,825,815,810,813,813,808,812 ( 810 avg. 28.1 fpe)

    Those are better numbers than my new Turkish Webley Patriot, which I had to return because the barrel loosened up after a couple of days. But that’s another story…

    Here are some initial numbers with other pellets:
    Kodiaks 30.7gr 646,640,644,635,638,635,639,635,631,632 (638 avg. 27.7 fpe)
    Ram Jets 24.3gr 732,727,726,722,726,718,715,720,725,728 (724 avg. 28.3 fpe)
    Ram Points 27.1gr 688,687,684,692,689,689,687,683,686,686 (687 avg 28.4 fpe)
    Lasers 17.7gr 816,814,815,794,787,788,785,786,788,778 (795 avg. 24.8 fpe)

    The other thing I noticed out of the box was the barrel pivot is a pressed in pin that was starting to come out on the right side. After about 100 shots the pin had come out about an eighth of an inch, so I removed the stock and drifted it back in place. Problem solved. (When you remove the stock be careful not to loose the pin that holds the safety lever in place. Mine fell out without my noticing and it took me about 10 minutes to find it). I locktited the stock screws and put everything back together.

    The scope that comes with the gun is great. I am very impressed with it. My groups are not as tight as I would like but I am sure as the gun breaks in they will improve. I will report on accuracy later. The pellet fit in the breech is just right- not too tight, but not too loose either. In my opinion $266.00is a real steal for this package. I know it’s not broken in yet, but barring any unforseen issues I am extremely pleased with this gun. Was it worth the wait? Definitely.

    Scott in Cali

  3. Hi BB

    1 more question. How would you compare a Gamo 1-Piece mount to a Hawke 1-Piece as I have found a Gamo 1-piece with a 3 screw base at their SA agent?


  4. Ken,

    I have zero experience with Hawke mounts, so I really cannot comment.

    Regarding the BKL mounts, I have given up on them. The company is entirely unresponsive to my messages, and I will not recommend anyone I can’t get an answer from. So that test will not happen.


  5. Scott in Cali.,

    Thanks for stepping in like that. I had hoped to cover the Falcon Hunter today, as you know, and from your numbers I now know what to expect. I will also look for that power increase.

    I hope to get my Falcon Hunter back up next week.


  6. Ken,

    Again I have to claim ignorance on the Hawke line. It’s just not that popular here in the States.

    But a mount is a mount. Most are made in China from aluminum extrusions, and, unless there is some compelling reason not to, I’d get the lowest-priced one.


  7. Hi B.B.,
    This is off topic – but I am looking for a cheap, accurate & fun pellet pistol. I would like one that is just for pellets & a rotary clip looks like it might be more reliable.
    Last but not least it must have a single action trigger available (for accuracy) and “blow back” just seems like a velocity wasting gimmick to me.

    The Crosman 357 might fit the bill – but it’s a bit big. Any other pistols come to mind? I’m looking for a gun I can carry with me at grain elevators here in Iowa & shoot rats with.

  8. B.B.

    Outstanding find! I tried to talk the wife into traveling from Az and making that show my first airgun show but no dice. I also told her I am just sure if I had went I would have beat you to this rare HW. HA I wish. So what’s a gun like that worth? Even with its rarity will it still be a shooter?

    You mentioned somewhere in an old blog I read about learning to shoot a .45 ACP from a colonel or captain who was an outstanding shot. Can you expand on his form etc?


  9. JW,

    My rifle’s value in dollars is hard to calculate, because there are no equivalents for sale. But the right collector might trade a Tyrolean 55 for it.

    My .45 experience will come out in the 10-meter tutorial, but not all of it, because a 1911 has to be held differently.


  10. Just ordered my 25. Falcon Hunter.Was wondering how hard it is to get breech seal,springs,guides,seals from Hatson.I like spair parts!Is there a parts list that comes with the rifle.

    Thanks B.B.

  11. B.B.

    This post reminds of the wonderful maintenance properties of airguns. They last forever, seem to get better with use, and don’t require cleaning. I’ve never heard of any machinery like this. It seems to defy entropy and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

    The 10 meter pistol shooting stance is a real improvement over what I was doing before. There’s no wishing off the trigger of my 747, probably even if I adjusted it, but I am benefiting from a smoother squeezing action. I’ll stay tuned for the rest of the series.

    I should pass on how much happiness you’ve brought into the world. I relayed your information about how the X in the center of the target stands for 10 points; it turns out the target I shot with my Dad has two Xs in the middle. Now the report is that he spends long intervals staring at the target with his bullseye….


  12. Hey B.B.

    Sorry this is way off topic but I couldn’t find out how else to contact you.

    I bought a Remington Summit and have put about 1000 shot through it. The gun still doesn’t seem to group as close as I would like. I am shooting from 20 yards and get groups around 1 1/4″ then I get some major strays after the 5th shot. Do you think this will change? Will the gun get more accurate as I shoot more pellets through it? I have used premiers in hollow point, daisy wade cutters (awful), beeman bearcup domed (8.2g)and RWS Extra Super Point (8.2g). The beemans and RWS group a little better.

    Do you have any advice for me? I trust my shooting stance and don’t think its a problem with parallax. I just wish the gun were more accurate. I tried to optically center the scope too.

    Is this a good gun or do you think I should go with the Falcon Hunter in .22 or something else all together instead? I want to use it for just hunting squirrels but I shot them around 40yards.

    – Jonathan

  13. Jonathan, check:

    1) the pivot bolt (you’ll have to at least partially lift the action out of the stock). It should be TIGHT. There is no adjustment, it just has to be torqued down.

    2) The stock screws


  14. B.B.

    Thanks for the response! I thought I was using the artillery hold, i was trying to hold the gun as loose as possible but I re-read your post on the hold. I am actually allowing my fingers to “loosely” wrap around the forearm and now I think I might be holding the butt of the gun too tight on my shoulder. I will go home and retry the hold the correct way and see what it does for me. I will repost and let you know.

    Also, do you recommend any pellet over another? I am finding the heavier ones to group a bit tighter. Any suggestion there? Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it!

  15. Vince,

    Thanks for the suggestions, I did tighten the stock screws which were loose but I didn’t know about the pivot bolt.

    What exactly is the pivolt bolt?

    Thanks Vince,

  16. Jonathan,

    Try Crosman Premier 10.5-grain pellets and try JSB 10.3-grain Exact domes

    Have you cleaned your barrel? Use JSB Bore paste and the method found in this post:


    The pivot bolt is the bolt around which the base block that holds the barrel pivots when you cock the gun.


  17. B.B.

    I have a remington summit 1000 spring rifle, made by crosman I beleive. The rifle is out of warranty and the mainspring broke in 7 places. Where could I find another spring(in the U.S.) that would have the same factory power and actually fit?
    I don’t want to buy a factory spring since this is the second time it happened.


  18. Dan,

    There are several places I could send you, but I’m going to recommend that you contact John Groenewold. John has been supplying odd parts to home airgun workers for decades.

    As you know, mainsprings don’t have to be a perfect fit. John may even have something to fit your rifle better than the original spring.

    If he can’t help, please get back to me.


  19. Jonathan,

    I bought Remington Summit (made for Crosman) a couple months ago, too. If you aren’t real hands-on mechanical, this isn’t for you. If you are, read on.

    I was getting the same fliers you’ve experienced. There are several mechanical problems with this rifle series. First, the barrel pivot is not tight enough. Crosman specs a fairly soft nylon washer on either side of the breech block allowing side to side movement of the barrel assembly. Replace these with hardened metal washers. Second, the barrel lock-up is inconsistent. Take the chisel-plunger out and either install a slightly stiffer spring or add a second, smaller diameter spring INSIDE the plunger spring–just make sure the spring coils are reversed so they don’t wind themselves together. Third, the translucent breech sealing washer is too small in diameter and too hard in composition. Take it out and throw it in the trash. Get a 9/16″ OD by 1/16″ thick o-ring. You will have to take a razor blade and cut a very small piece out of it–about 1/16″. It will take some work to press the o-ring into the deep groove around the breech. You’re essentially trying to get the barrel to close shut like a bank vault. You should actually be able to hear a difference in how it closes and locks up. The fliers should completely disappear and your groups should tighten dramatically. The gun has several other problems, but these three things solve the most annoying.


  20. OK B.B.,
    Let’s eliminate the “rat requirement” and try again.
    Requirements: Plinking pistol, Cheap, pellets only, not for B.B.s, rotary clip, single action trigger option & not “blow back”.

    Thanks Again, NiTr0

    (CB caps are still a firearm & plinking is just a lot less hassle with an air gun.)

  21. Hi BB,

    I have a $150 order pending online with Pyramid. I remember seeing a little notice online that promised free ground shipping for any order over $148.+. But when I went to choose shipping method there was no offer of this. Ground shipping for this order is only around $18 but I’d like not to spend it unnecessarily. Do you know anything about this? It’s now past closing time where I live, so I can’t ask directly.



  22. Nitro,

    I think you’re on the right track with the Crosman 357. Maybe find an old stock Crosman C40?–But that’s fast approaching $100 or more.

    Can you stand a single shot? Look at the 2240 They’re insanely accurate for the price.


  23. Hi Derrick, and thank you.

    I have a modified 2250b right now that I’ve mounted a repeater breech & soon to install the bulk feed & the Boss Max valve.
    (May go to nitrogen once multiple fasteners are installed to secure the valve at a regulated 1200 psi.)
    Haven’t ordered a longer barrel yet – but you get the picture – it’s totally a rifle now.

    I’m just looking for something now I can carry in a pocket or holster & plink with.

  24. BB,

    Sorry this is way off-topic. What is the most airgun-friendly state in the US? And on the opposite, the states that are not-so-friendly with our sport? (As far as laws are concerned). I was in NY last time and there were no airgun stores downtown.


  25. Thanks, B.B., more grist for the mill that I will pass on. Interesting you should mention a hole-in-one. I haven’t seen a reaction like this since my Dad hit a hole-in-one in miniature golf.


  26. Jonathan, I own a Crossman Seirra which is basically the same rifle as the Remington Summit. The only major problem I had was the rear trigger guard screw would come loose. Make sure it’s tight!! Also, this same screw is supposed to be the adjustment for the so-called ‘two-stage’ trigger. Mechanically speaking, this is the worse feature with the gun I’ve experienced. Realisticly, for the money spent, you get what you pay for. What I cant figure out is why the trigger adjustment instructions are different for these rifles. Mine has a spring right behind the trigger that holds a tiny screw in place. I slid it over and tightenned the screw a few times, and it did shorten the first “stage” of the trigger pull. Still not very crazy about the trigger. I’ll admit I’m not very knowledgeable about the mechanics of springers, and I’ll have to study the parts diagram to find this “barrel pivot” screw that Derrick has mentionned. Might help mine shoot better too!! Thanks for the tip Derrick. I will say that as far as pellets go, stay away from the alloy Silver Series Crosman pellets. They are too light and will sound like a .22cracking off. I don’t thing they’ll do your piston spring any good either. The instructions state clearly that these rifles were designed to shoot Crossman ammo (most of them are 7.9 gr), and I would heed that advice. I’ve gotten good results with Crosman Destroyers, Beeman Crows (as bout as heavy as I would use), and if you want a drop in weight, the Beeman HP Silver Bears are a good choise. But you may like a lot of people have to experience with many different types of pellets to find the ones that work best with your rifle and meet your needs in the field. Best wishes, Thomas

  27. David,

    I won’t give you a 50-state report, but here are a few states that don’t like airguns.

    New Jersey – declares them to be firearms

    Illinois – can’t own any airgun over .177 unless it’s registered as a firearm

    Michigan – all air pistols with rifled barrels are considered firearms and each community makes separate laws concerning calibers.

    California – doesn’t have laws against airguns, but recently enacted a law against the use of lead in guns used in designated areas.

    Those are some highlights of the bad states.


  28. Joe,

    I live in Texas and Pyramyd AIR is in Ohio. However, if you have taken advantage of one of their other coupon offers, I believe it cancels the free shipping. It says that on the home page, under the Free USA Ground Shipping banner.


  29. Hey Derrick, Sorry for sounding ignorant, but after reading your
    blog about the pivot assembly, I understand what you are talking about. I’ve never noticed much sideways movement with my rifle so I guess I was lucky in getting one without much shift. Crosman was kind enough to replace my first rifle with another one after I busted the spring in it. I wish they would have left the original stock and barrel on it though. Maybe you can answer this for my. When manufacturers send the consumers replacement rifles made in China, are they new ones or refurbished ones? I noticed that my second one had a stiffer spring in it, and it also came with a scope stop that didn’t come on my original rifle. To be honest, I wish I would have gotten the Remington because the fiber optic muzzle-break on the Sierra Pro blurs into the scope when set at the lowest setting. I even tried using the scope that came with the gun again, but never could get it zeroed in. I replaced it with a tascko scope (with out the front adjustable objective lens) and have it zeroed in alot closer than the first scope. Last night I was hitting the bottums of 6 oz. juice cans at about 33 yards. At 20 yards I’m grouping five shots within an 1″ to 1 1/2″. Of course there’s always the “operator error” factor to take into account!!! LOL’s Still working on my spot weld. Thomas

  30. Thomas,

    I haven’t found a stock Quest, Summit or Sierra yet that doesn’t have this lock-up issue. Like you mentioned though, some are probably much tighter than others. I have no idea if Crosman sends new or refurbs for “warranty” work. You would kinda think that a refurb might even be better since it’s had a pair of human hands working on it, but who knows. Probably all the human hands are going to do is install the same part that caused the problem in the first place.

    As far as the spring breakage goes, I retrofitted a Maccari spring into mine, made a longer spring guide, and shimmed the new spring to fit. Probably not something most people would want to tackle. Esp. on such an inexpensive gun. But what you save in price you trade in time and aggravation…

    I couldn’t get the scope to hold zero either. It wasn’t the scope. That scope now sits on a 2260 CO2 rifle and punches one hole groups all day long. The problem was that the scope is mounted on the receiver and the barrel would point in a slightly different location each time. The barrel latch, by the way, is probably of pretty dubious value nowadays. Lockup isn’t a problem on a well-designed break barrel spring gun. The issue here is these guns we’re having problems with are not “well- designed”. If you take the barrel pivot apart on on of these Crosmans, you’ll notice that the receiver tangs do not compress against the breech block. It’s actually a single-sided hinge. There is no pressure on the left tang from the pivot bolt. The left tang is through drilled. The bolt head only presses against the plastic washer on the side of the breech block.

    If you’ve never shot a better quality gun, these issues may not bother you. If you have shot better guns, these problems are glaring and are the reason we can justify spending more money to ourselves and our wives.


  31. Derrick,

    Thanks for your advice. I don’t mind taking the gun apart, however, this is my first pellet gun and have never taken one apart so I am not sure what I am getting myself into. I assume it will be much more complicated than my shotguns which I love to take apart and clean. Thanks for the suggestions I will try them and let you know what happnes.

    – Jonathan

  32. My father has an HW50, serial #223355 purchased around 1969 (but I'm sure it's WAY older than that) that is the same design as yours. They could pass for twins, except this gun has seen better days. It's a wreck.


  33. Big Piston,

    the HW 50V was manufactured in the early 50's according to the Blue Book of Airguns. This rifle should be a smoothbore as the Allied Occupation Government would not allow German civilians to own rifled guns after WW II. Now I suspect you're sitting down because in 90% condition, this rifle sells around $1500!. So, is this a smooth bore barrel? If it's an HW 50M/II, then we down in the $200 range.

    One last thing, you've posted on a blog that's two years old and only a small cadre of volunteers, I being one of them, monitor these. Come over to the modern blogs which are published Monday through Friday, and ask your questions or comments there. You'll get much more exposure that way and help.

    The blogs are found at:


    If the blog doesn't come up, just click on the word, blog, on the screen that does.

  34. John,

    Your serial no. places the gun in the mid 1960's. HW (Weihrauch) serial numbers are not very reliable since they were famous for using older parts and mismatching.

    If yours looks like the one in the picture it's not the trimline HW 50V with Bayern stock. The rear of your stock probably has a rise along the top which is commonly referred to as a "hogs back). Your bore is probably rifled but you should check.

    Your dads gun is in a transition period for Weihrauch. Look closely in the picture above and you'll see a thick silver cylinder that protrudes from behind the trigger. This is a telltale sign that it's a rekord trigger. If your gun was late 1950's to early 1960's it wouldn't have that silver cylinder that houses an adjuster screw for the trigger and would instead be a perfekt trigger.

    I collect these guns. If you have additional questions or interest in selling this gun please email me at klentz4@comcast.net.


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