by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This is the final report on the HW 55SF. It’s been a while since the last report, so maybe you’ll want to re-read the past three parts to refresh your memory. A quick update is that this is the special HW 55 I found at the Little Rock airgun show and wondered why it didn’t have the traditional barrel lock that all other HW 55s have. In essence, this is an HW 50 with target sights.

I want to make another point. Before I show you the groups, let me remind you that this is a lowly breakbarrel – the kind of spring gun many new airgunners (and a few who should know better) think is less accurate than a fixed-barrel gun. It must be, they reason, because the barrel moves. How could that be accurate?

Well, if it always comes back to the same place, a breakbarrel can be as accurate as any other kind of rifle. An HW 55 won the 1969 World Championship, don’t forget. That was while shooting against a lot of fixed-barrel target rifles from Feinwerkbau and Anschutz.

During this test, I was also evaluating some new pellets for Pyramyd Air. I threw them in with the regular test pellets I’d planned to shoot because I knew this rifle would give me a good basis for comparison, which it did. As you may recall from the third part of this report, I’d calculated that RWS Hobby pellets would not shoot as well as RWS Meisterkugeln pellets based on the consistent velocity they gave. Well, that was all wrong! In fact, the Hobbys were the best pellet of the bunch and Meisters weren’t even in the running. H&N Match pellets (light weight) were also less accurate than the Hobbys.

Not a bad group of f5 at 10 meters from a rest. RWS Hobbys were the best of the pellets I tested. This was an average group.

Best group of f5 Hobbys at 10 meters from a rest.

Meisterkugeln pellets were not so hot on target.

The lesson to be learned
I’ve just demonstrated that velocity variations mean very little at 10 meters, but there’s another lesson here. How many of you slavishly use heavy target pellets in target rifles and light target pellets in target pistols? Stop doing that! Thirty years ago, there were no different pellets. We shot whatever was available, and Meisterkugeln were among the best back then. They came only in one weight, and you just shot them without asking. So, in this test, what has been learned? That the lighter, faster pellet is also the more accurate pellet of the three pellets tested in this rifle. So, try them all.

Pellet head sizes
And, what about those pellets I was testing? Well, they didn’t turn out so well. It seems they all had undersized heads, which allow the pellets to cock to one side in the bore. Pellet makers purposely undersize their pellets to get more life out of the dies, because every time they work on them, they grow a little bit. But if the pellets aren’t accurate, what good are they? Who cares that you get 25 million pellets from a die if you can’t sell any of them?

And the HW 55SF? Well, it’s a wonderful target rifle. Even though it doesn’t have the barrel lock, it still put them right in where they need to be. That’s shooting with non-optical sights and from a rest. The rifle is delightful, and I’ll be keeping this one for a long time.