by B.B. Pelletier

Before we start…a note from Edith: Blog reader rikib was looking at the Leapers Bug Buster scope yesterday, and I told him there was a used one available on Pyramyd Air’s website. I wonder if the rest of you might not know about the large selection of used products available.

“Used” does not mean someone else traded in the gun. In fact, Pyramyd Air doesn’t take trade-ins. When a product is labeled as used, it could mean the tech department used it for testing, someone bought the product and returned it within 30 days or it was used for photography. Generally, these products are in new condition. If there are nicks or wear and tear or handling marks, that’s noted in the description. In most cases, you’re getting a gun as good as new…at a discount.

Right now, we have LOTS of guns on the used page (which we recently renamed “Pre-Owned”)…including a Beeman P1, Air Arms TX200 rifle, Air Arms Pro-Sport, several Air Arms S400 and S410 rifles, AirForce Condor, Beeman HW97K, Beeman R1, several versions of the Career 707, Career Dragon Slayer, Career Fire 201S, several Evanix rifles, Falcon Prairie Falcon, IZH Drozd, several Mendoza rifles, Sam Yang 909S, Sumatra 2500, some hand pumps, scopes, several Webleys (including a Raider that was made in England!) and a whole bunch of airsoft guns. If you buy something used, you can still return it within 30 days. The only difference between the used items and the new ones is that you’ll save money. No tricks, just great deals.

Now, on to today’s blog.

Photos and test by Earl “Mac” McDonald

The HW97 is an attractive air rifle.

Well, today we’ll start looking at a rifle that is a huge contrast to the B3-1 I blogged yesterday. These two reports will unfold together, so you’ll have a good overview of what works and what doesn’t.

You know, after the Beeman P3 pistol series I got a question about whether it was wiser to buy the Beeman P17 first or just go straight to the P3. Whenever someone asks a question like that, I always advise them to buy the cheaper gun first because they’ll always wonder what the difference might have been. But in the case of the B3-1 and the HW97, there’s no such comparison. You’re about to see what you get for your money when you shell out the big bucks for a Weihrauch.

You need to know that Mac has owned a TX200 for many years, so he’s accustomed to high-quality spring rifles. Nevertheless, he tells me the HW97 is externally equal to his TX, which is high praise.

The stock has a cheekpiece for right-handed shooters, but Mac feels it will also work well for lefties. The loading port is equally accessible from either side of the rifle, adding to the ambidextrous possibilities.

The checkering is attractive, but it has little “bite,” as the wood finish was applied over it.

The checkering is attractive but full of finish and not rough or grippy.

Same checkering on the forearm.

The underlever releases by pushing in on a button under the muzzle. To replace the lever, just pop it back in place. An o-ring holds it tight when it’s in place. The anti-beartrap mechanism means you cannot uncock the rifle after it’s cocked. It must be fired.

Pushing the button on the end lowers the lever for cocking. You can just pop the lever back in position, where the o-ring secures it.

The underlever doesn’t come back too far when the rifle is cocked. Mac found it easy to cock.

The breech is very accessible from either side, and the sliding compression chamber completely encloses the breech when the chamber is slid forward. A white synthetic seal functions to seal the breech at firing.

When the sliding compression chamber is slid back, there’s great access to the breech.

The sliding compression chamber contains a white synthetic breech seal.

The HW97 is a big air rifle. It’s only a hair longer than 40 inches, but weighs almost nine full pounds, and you really feel the weight when you shoulder it. Of course, the weight is what keeps the gun from moving around when you are sighting. The barrel is less than 12 inches long, though the muzzlebrake adds some additional length.

The receiver is grooved for 11mm dovetail mounts, and there are three vertical holes at the back to receive a scope stop pin. The safety is automatic, and once taken off can be reset by swinging the cocking lever down again.

Mac had fun with the rifle even before the scope was mounted. Because there are no open sights, he aimed by instinct at a water bottle 30 yards away and hit it every time. He says he is really impressed by the HW97, and has plans to get all of us excited, too.