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Education / Training HW 55 Custom Match: Part 1

HW 55 Custom Match: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Is this Custom Match the best HW 55 ever made? Read the report to find out.

Today, we’ll begin a look at a variant of the HW 55 that was not produced in great numbers. It was supposed to be the high-water mark of the HW 55, and it came into being just after the end of the era when recoilling spring-piston target rifles had dominated the world stage. Shooters were moving en mass to the newer recoilless designs like the Diana 60-series, the FWB sidelevers and even the single-stroke Walther LGR.

An HW 55 won the gold medal at the European Championship in 1969. When the Custom Match hit the market in the 1970s, it came just after the summit of success. Little did they know at that time that there would be no more major championships for recoiling air rifles of any make. It was similar to the last gasp of the Offenhauser front-engine Indy cars when Ford got into Indy racing in 1963.

Like the proverbial tale of the last buggy-whip maker that made the finest buggy whips ever created, the HW 55 CM was the finest spring-piston 10-meter target air rifle Weihrauch ever produced. In this report, I hope to show you a few of the innovations they built into the gun to make it all that it was.

What about the Tyrolean?
Before we continue, you might be wondering what ever became of the HW 55 Tyrolean model and why I don’t refer to it as the finest target rifle Weihrauch ever made. The Tyrolean is, without question, the most beautiful air rifle ever made by Weihrauch, and it’s so perfect for offhand shooting that a different style would scarcely be needed, but a change in the rules outlawed the Tyrolean stock for international competition. Not only Weihrauch, but also Feinwerkbau, Walther and perhaps others already had Tyrolean models in production when the rules changed. Weihrauch continued making the model because of demand from private shooters everywhere. But its days of competitive shooting were over. I reported on the Tyrolean extensively back in 2008, and you can read that report here.

Today’s report is about the gun that was supposed to restore the HW name to competition — the Custom Match. Collector Mike Driskill has written that the CM was first offered in 1974. My own information on the subject is very sketchy, but the earliest date I can prove that it was available was in 1979. I trust Mike to have the data to back up his date, so let’s accept that as the starting point for this model. As far as the end date, it’s anyone’s guess. The HW 55 line simply petered out in the 1990s, mostly because worldwide sales had dropped off so much.

This much I do know — the CM model wasn’t made in great numbers. It was the most expensive of all the 55-series guns when it was being sold, selling for about $50 more than the Tyrolean, which was already $110 higher than the beech-stocked SM. Air Rifle Headquarters (the original one) sold the Tyrolean for $389.50 and the CM for $438.50 in 1979. At that price, the model was quite exclusive, though the Anschutz and Walther target models were hundreds of dollars more. But this was an outdated recoiling spring-piston rifle and the others were all the more desirable recoilless models.

General description
The HW 55 CM appears to be a large air rifle of approximately the same size as the FWB 300S, but that appearance is deceiving. Inside the deep forearm of the stock is a large hollow chamber for lead weights, and that void lowers the weight of the rifle to one ounce under nine pounds. That’s considerably lighter than the similarly sized FWB 300S that weighs 10 lbs., 12 oz. For shooters of average strength, the CM is a wonderful offhand shooter that happens to have a nice target stock.

An optional barrel weight in the form of a steel jacket was also available to add even more weight to the rifle. So, although it’s basically light, the CM can quickly gain several pounds when called upon.

A large cavity in the forearm is for adding lead weights.

The HW 55 CM (bottom) looks as large as the FWB 300S. It’s almost two pounds lighter, though, due to a hollow forearm.

The stock is made of straight-grained walnut, and the well-shaped almost-vertical pistol grip is deeply stippled for a good handhold. As far as I know, the CM does not have the same reputation for breaking at the pistol grip as the FWB 150/300 and the Anschutz 250, which are all very prone to breakage. There’s an accessory rail inlet into the bottom of the forearm, to the delight of serious target shooters.

The HW 55 CM is a breakbarrel like all the 55-series guns. And, all of them except the extremely rare SF model have a positive barrel lock located on the left side of the action at the breech. The barrel will not open until this latch is rotated forward, but when the barrel is closed there’s enough residual force in the tiny spring-loaded detent to hold the barrel shut without latching it. Not that you would want to do that, of course.

When the barrel locking lever is back like this, the barrel is positively locked closed.

Rotate the barrel locking lever forward to unlock the breech. This is how far the barrel will open before encountering spring tension.

The trigger deserves special mention. Not only is it a Rekord trigger, but it’s a target version of that famous trigger. Several years ago, I asked Hans Weihrauch, Jr. why other Rekords were not as sensitive as this one. He told me they put a special light trigger return spring in this model, plus you can see in the photo that the pull adjustment screw that’s a plain aluminum screw on other Rekords is actually a thumbscrew on this rifle. Inside the thumbscrew, there’s a locking screw that must be loosened before the trigger can be adjusted. After that, you adjust the pull with the thumbscrew; and when you get it where you like it, tighten the locking screw to lock it in place.

The trigger-pull adjustment is a thumbscrew located behind the trigger blade. The locking screw is visible inside. This adjustment is found on the special target version of the Rekord trigger.

All other sporting Rekord triggers have just an adjustment screw like this one on the Beeman R1. They cannot be adjusted as light as the target trigger and still be safe.

I don’t have a trigger-pull gauge light enough to measure this trigger, but I would estimate that it releases with around 4 oz. of pressure. While that is considerably heavier than the triggers on my FWB 150 and 300S, it’s in line with the trigger on my Walther LGV Olympia — another recoiling spring-piston target rifle from approximately the same timeframe. As an offhand trigger, it’s fine because you don’t want something so light that you set it off before you’re ready. It also stops at the point of release, and that could be because of the trigger blade hitting the adjustment thumbscrew; but my HW 55 SF, which has the identical target trigger, has greater clearance between the trigger blade and the adjustment thumbscrew and stops before contacting the screw. There doesn’t seem to be a way to adjust this overtravel; or if there is, I haven’t found it yet.

All HW 55 rifles came with target aperture rear sights and globe front sights that had a set of inserts. My gun came to me with one front aperture insert. The rear peep is very small, and I might exchange it with the one I used on my FWB 150 for the accuracy test. Weihrauch peep sights changed many times over the approximately 40 years they were in production, and the one on my rifle appears to be one of the last versions made.

The front sight is a standard Weihrauch globe with replaceable inserts.

The rear sight on the Custom Match is one of the later HW 55 aperture sight designs.

Firing behavior
To be perfectly honest, the firing behavior of my CM is harsh and not at all in keeping with the rest of the rifle. I will test the rifle for velocity in the next report, but I think I’ll also lubricate the mainspring or perhaps replace it if necessary to smooth out the firing cycle.

Any HW 55 is a desirable air rifle, but the Custom Match is special even within the category of HW 55s. I hope to show you as much of this rifle as you wish to see; and even if you never see one in person, you’ll know they’re out there and what they look like.

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.

69 thoughts on “HW 55 Custom Match: Part 1”

  1. The old HW50S is essentially a HW 55 without the locking lever, and with a slightly stronger main spring and trigger spring with a sporter style stock. (also sold as the Beeman R8)

  2. BB:
    Off topic but while you have the Rekord trigger graphics up.

    Bought my HW,get it out the box to shoot.
    One of the first things I want to do is adjust the trigger.
    I grab my thinnest flat head screwdriver which will fit through the small trigger guard hole and then proceed to knurl the adjustment screw because the screwdriver head is too small.
    Just for the info of any newbies like me.Use the right screwdriver to adjust your Rekord trigger.
    A thin shaft but with a broad enough head to engage well with the adjustment screw.
    I ended up making one special by filing the shoulders off one of my flat head electrical screwdrivers.

    • HW also has a rather nasty habit of bending the ajustment screw mounting tab on one corner to make it lock the screw in place. The screw will turn very hard and it’s thread will be buggered as well as the screwdriver slot.


    • Oooh, I have learned that lesson too! Mine was on a stubborn pivot bolt. The right sized screwdriver can keep a simple job simple. The wrong one can ruin your day!

  3. Edith….

    I don’t quite know how to ask about this….

    There was another mystery comment that showed up this morning on a very old blog again. I saw another one by someone else about a week ago. This time by “toddler float”.
    It’s always at the end of a comments section on a very old blog. Most times it was a spam of some kind or an attempt at nailing someone with a virus link.

    This time it was just a generic babble again. What are these guys up to, or do you have any idea?
    Are they testing to see what websites they can get into or are they just nut jobs who have no real ulterior motive?


    • twotalon,

      Spam comes in several forms. Babbling, advertising and nuisance. The latter is the most egregious…those are the ones trying to shut down a site. The one you cited is just a babbler. However, spammers with agendas may first post babble to see if they can get away with posting nonsense. After that, they can become more troublesome. Once they post spam and successfully get their comment to go live, I nab their info & put them on the blacklist, which prevents their comments from going live.


      • Edith…

        Thank you. I knew there were a lot of nut cases and dirtbags out there. Hard to tell where some of them are coming from. I guess trying to figure them out is a lost cause until they deliberately get malicious.


      • Edith

        I have another question. What is lower on the evolutionary scale than these people; spammers, scammers and hackers?

        I’m thinking it’s maybe the dust mites that feed on the crust around a Cockroaches butt, that lives on a dung heap in a sewer that lies beneath a rendering plant. In Detroit!

        It is a waste of time, I suppose, to try to understand people such as these. Still it boggles the mind.

        • It’s mostly done for the money. Some hackers who say they have a code of honor… Hack for the challenge but most of it is done for the $$$.

          I meet one of those… “person” thru a mutual friend and he explained to me that he used a program to send spam using other peoples computer, he didn’t take control or stole or erased any info off these computer or neither was he interested in doing that. So he gets a request from say an online gambling site hosted off-shore and sends 50 million emails during the night if one percent of people (he told me it was around 3 percent usually) click the link that brings them to the other site 500 000 people out of those another percent stays there and spends money 5 000 people… Totally worth it for the casino.

          The best to stop this crap would be to never click on those… When you talk about it no one ever does but if no one did they wouldn’t be doing it.
          Unfortunatly there isn’t much we can do to get them. Even if they do get caught the little slap they’ll get isn’t enough to dissuade them and being young they feel they’ll never get caught (and most are right). Gov. has more important things to do so unless kids are involved they’re pretty much free to do has they wish…


              • Slinging Lead,

                To be fair, you should search the web site below that gives a host of information on cities. If you use crime statistics for your gauge, the average US city scores 319 violent felonies per 100,000. While Detroit is triple that, Atalanta was over 1200 about 10 years ago.

                Personally, I would like to throw Youngstown out there as worst. While it may fall just short on the crime numbers, if you check building permits issued in 2010 you will see a grand total of one. That’s correct, one new home at 50k, so undoubtedly a habitat for humanity house. Plus we all know may if its crimes are not reported.

                For one of the tourist attractions it lists “Waste Management”. My guess is a wise guy takes you to a dump or two and shows you where Jimmy Hoffa was buried. ( more than one as rumor has it he was in a few pieces ).

                Keep looking and you’ll see high unemployment, bad air quality, declining population, low income, and everything else negative you can imagine.

                I think a wonderful book would be visiting and staying in each the these most distressed US cities for a week and then reporting on it. Needless to say, you would want more than a TX 200 at your side.


  4. BB

    I really love these blogs on the classic and vintage springers. I will be looking forward to finding out what the source of the harsh shot cycle is. That just doesn’t sound right.

    What would a fair price for an HW55 in good condition be? I would really like to pick one up someday.

    • SL,

      If you have a desire for an HW 55, the time couldn’t be better than now. As depressed as the U.S. economy is and has been for the past several years. people are selling their things for pennies on the dollar. The problem is, you’ll seldom see them online. You have to be in the right place with cash in your pocket to capitalize on these opportunities. I was at a gun show last year and had three fabulous offers made to me by people who said they had fallen on hard times. The funny thing was, after they sold their items, they went to another table and spent their money, so they were not telling the true motivation.

      The best place to find a good bargain on a 55 online is probably on the Yellow Forum classified ads. I bet you could find a beech-stocked 55 with sights for just over $300 right now. But if the economy improves, these days of stupendous bargains may come to an end.


      • Don’t worry B.B. it’s likely not going to improve any time soon!

        To give an idea, I have a VERY collectible HP calculator up for sale on Craig’s List. Now, I live in the SF Bay Area, a hotspot for tech collecting. And this one is in really nice shape. It’s in its 3rd week on Craig’s List now, I’m lowering the price by $50 each week.

        I sold another calculator, a palm-top really, the interesting little 200LX, which is the size of a graphing calculator and runs DOS. I was hoping for $200. I got $50.

        One of the tech flea markets, the Livermore one, is the Nevermore one now. The other biggie, the De Anza flea market, is now a checkerboard pattern of full and empty spaces as they’re requiring resale numbers now and for most sellers, business sux anyway.

        Sales of any type of collectible or special-interest things are way down. So, then, are prices.

        One exception is firearms. Wow are those prices up! I just got a Ruger Single-Six used (almost unfired and has the nice wood grips and both cylinders) and it cost me $500. Those used to be $150 or so!

        • To give an idea, I have a VERY collectible HP calculator up for sale on Craig’s List. Now, I live in the SF Bay Area, a hotspot for tech collecting. And this one is in really nice shape. It’s in its 3rd week on Craig’s List now, I’m lowering the price by $50 each week.

          What model? Not that I need to add anything to my my unused collection — I have an HP-41CX with mag-card unit, bar-code wand, infrared printer interface, and one or two function/memory plug-ins.

          I keep a 48SX at work, and have a 50g at home (for routine quick-calcs the 48 is faster than the 50g! I have to slow down my keyboard entry to avoid losing digits on the 50… Probably a result of clocking an ARM processor at only 80MHz to save battery life, then running two layers of interpreter on top of it [user code in RPL, with an interpreter written in Saturn native instruction set, with the ARM running a Saturn chip emulation])

          The real money is in Slide-Rules… http://www.sphere.bc.ca/test/sruniverse.html

          • Wulfread – the calc I have is a 16C, the Computer Scientist. It’s on Craig’s List in my area (SF bay area) for $350 right now.

            It’s getting harder and harder to communicate on the Internet as it decays, I hope this message gets to you OK.

          • Wulfraed,

            do you collect slide rules? I have a K & E log-log decitrig rule with orange leather case and the original manual that was recommended to me by Dr. David Flory. That’s the physics professor that was recently arrested in New Mexico for having a website for, er, companionship.

            I’m traveling with the wife looking at retirement homes in VA just now but if you’re interested, let me know and when I get home, I’ll send you some photos.


            Fred PRoNJ

            • Sorry… While I do own a few, I’m not an active collector. In truth — four of the five I own were purchased at a time when I still USED one [after all, one doesn’t use an $80, 2-decimal place, four-function calculator to do high-school trigonometry].

              Faber-Castell “business” rule (had various common conversion constants marked on it, and did NOT fold the CF/DF scales at Pi!)
              Sterling Plastics regular size
              Sterling Plastics 6″ pocket size
              Pickett aluminum (think it’s an N500)

              And the one late purchase, another, larger, Pickett.

        • That is the shipped price! And I thought I was the only person eying that one. 😉

          With original sights it looks to be quite a bargain… I guess. I would prefer one with crazy checkering all over. I’m a sucker for good checkering.

          • You are quite correct that the HW 55 variants with checkered walnut stocks are generally prettier and more collectible, but don’t discount the “lowly” beech-stocked HW 55 S.

            The stock’s shape in profile is much the same as the Bayern-style walnut HW 55 M, just without the cheekpiece. The fore end has finger grooves instead of checkering, and the bottom edges of the fore end are slightly more rounded. The grip retains hand-cut checkering, to the same pattern as the M. All in all it has a slightly trimmer and “rounder” feel in the hand.

            Throw in the tough beech wood, which is harder and stronger than walnut, and you have a gun which is still very nice for target shooting, but also suited to more rough-and-tumble outdoor service. The “S” is arguably the best HW 55 stock for all-round use.

            • Mike

              Thank you kindly for the info, this is good stuff. Have you considered writing a book? I would buy one.

              I think you have melted away the last of my resolve to resist the gun I have had my eye on. You and Volvo make a good team.

              Thanks again.

  5. Victor,
    Another percieved advantage of the Judge is that the .410 Personal Defense load is not likely going to exit your house and hit your neighbor, too.

  6. I really like these old 55’s too. Did anyone see Kevin Lentz’ post on the yellow yesterday? Quite an impressive collection of 55’s he has. I would love to be able to afford that part of the hobby. I have to pinch every penny and squeeze every dime to even have what I have. But perhaps in due time, I have to keep in mind I’ve only been at this for 2 years and am still a beginner, a true collection is built over time. I mean what would the use be to have everything I want so early on? I’m sure I’d loose interest, for example if the first air rifle you but is a TX200 (or substitute any), then where do you go from there?

    On another note, I gained a huge appreciation for biathalon competitors yesterday. I just came home from a run/swim and the house was empty. Perfect opportunity for target practice! Went out and set up my 20 yard target and realized that my heart rate was still way up. Funny, because it really didn’t feel like it until I started trying to stay on target. Wow, it’s really hard to try to calm your body when your heart is pounding. I don’t understand how they can do what they do. Very impressive.

  7. B.B.,

    I’ve been anxiously waiting for your article about the HW55 CM. As you well know the HW50/55 series are among my very favorite airguns. Thanks.

    The condition of your HW55 CM is stunning. Doesn’t look like this one was shot much. Certainly not a club gun.

    My HW55 CM came with Weihrauch’s largest barrel sleeve. Balances nicely with the squared stock rested in an open palm. I really like the adjustable butt pads that weihrauch typically installed on the CM. Yours is harsh? I’m going to guess that it’s either dry, spring is canted or someone put an export spring (stiff 50 spring) inside. I’m leaning towards the latter since it appears yours is sans barrel sleeve and evolved more towards sporter version by the previous owner(s)?

    Not a correction but an addition to where you say, “And, all of them except the extremely rare SF model have a positive barrel lock located on the left side of the action at the breech.” To that I would add the “MF” (walnut Bavarian-style “Match” stock) and “TF” (Tyrolean stock) variants of the HW 55 since these were without the locking barrel latch as well.


    • Kevin,

      You’re right, of course. I should have just said the rare F-series 55s, because as you note, there were three different models.

      My gun came from a man who was an “Airgun Letter” reader and I think he bought it new. He didn’t shoot it much and it has just sat around for close to 20 years.

      But someone was inside, I think, because I think I see moly on the mainspring. I will check it out if I go inside.

      When I say it shoots harsh, I’m comparing it to my 55 SF and to my Walther LGV Olympia. When I removed the stock yesterday for the interior photo I noticed that both stock screws were very loose and after I put the stock back on the gun was less harsh. So maybe I’m being picky. It cocks fairly light, though I haven’t measured it yet.

      The rifle has a leather breech seal and I am wondering if it also has a leather piston seal, as well. I could shim the breech seal and see what that does.

      So I guess we will explore this rifle together.


  8. I’d say harsh firing behavior in this quality of rifle is uncalled for. So, why outlaw a nice Tyrolean stock?

    Victor, the film is Enemy at the Gates. It’s the premier sniping movie I believe about a duel between German and Russian snipers in Stalingrad whose authenticity has been somewhat questioned. Duskwight has posted on the shortcomings of this film, and I’m sure that he would fill you in. But I understand that the city is really cool. If you meant Game of Thrones, that has no rifles in it but looks very interesting to me. The fact is, there are some fantastic summer films on the way–Conan the Barbarian and the Three Musketeers. Hollywood seems to have been listening to me.

    Thanks for all the advice on drilling vertical holes. I should have known that doing it freehand was just about impossible. Maybe I’ll try a low tech approach like slowly driving a nail and straightening it as I go. In any case, I solved another problem by correctly attaching the lever to my press, and it does feel pretty good to crank that lever arm. Maybe I should stop there. 🙂

    Fred, I’m in agreement about using automotive power and Pippa would probably agree too. She showed up for her duathlon in a helicopter along with her famous sister and brother-in-law. I’d say that you have all the makings of a character named “Easy Rider” who is legendary in the circles of Delta Force. Part of their qualification course consisted of timed orienteering hikes over very rough mountain terrain. As some exhausted finishers were sitting next to a finish line with the final seconds ticking away, who should arrive but one of the candidates piggybacked onto some motorcyclist that he’d convinced to carry him. He had an expression that said, “What the —, I tried,” and the examiner failed him without cracking a smile. But I think he showed a lot of creativity.


    • Matt,

      you just reminded me of a book/movie about qualifying for some Russian special operations team where the candidates were taken out by the trainer to the middle of Siberia and told to make their way back by themselves. One of the more successful and feared candidates did just that by shooting and killing the trainer and going back on his transport! So help me, I can’t remember the book – probably something from Tom Clancy.

      Fred PRoNJ

      • Fred

        Oh those Russians! Did he eat his trainer’s liver by the way? Or just cut off his ears to talk with when tired of cleaning his AK? Without that detail the picture would be waaay too unrealistic 🙂 If that’s Clancy, he must be awarded his second medal of Distinguished Fairytale Writer of Russia 😉


    • The fact is, there are some fantastic summer films on the way–Conan the Barbarian and the Three Musketeers. Hollywood seems to have been listening to me.

      What? Again!

      Do they remake Three Musketeers every 15 years?

      Thanks for all the advice on drilling vertical holes. I should have known that doing it freehand was just about impossible. Maybe I’ll try a low tech approach like slowly driving a nail and straightening it as I go.

      Have you got a utility square (the type with a sliding unit: https://www.amazon.com/Johnson-Level-Tool-420EM-Combination/dp/B0000DD1Y2 ), a vise, and a miter saw?

      You might be able to rig a guide out of a squared off piece of wood. Use the square to mark a cut line perpendicular to the “bottom” of the wood chunk. Mark down the top&bottom perpendicular to the first line and an equal amount away from it. Then clamp it in the vise and use the miter saw to cut a slot.

      It won’t live long but you should be able to get a few hole out of it: put the block on the table “bottom side” down as the slot is supposed to be perpendicular to it. Gently (no side pressure) align the guide with the drill bit in the spot you need the hole, then run the drill at low speed until you get sufficient depth.

      If you’re REALLY careful, and have a long enough drill bit, you might even be able to just slip the ruler out of the square and use the slot in the slide as the bit guide (maybe work some masking tape over the flat and into the slot)

  9. Everyone,

    I asked Mac for the history of this rifle, because I got it from him. He said the original owner bought it new, then after many years of shooting sent it off the Beeman for an overhaul. It’s quite possible that Beeman put a new piston with a synthetic piston seal in the rifle at that time. I will find out if and when I take it apart.


  10. BB,

    I like the picture of the front sight on this HW55 blog. The reflection off of the barrel is a smiley face! 🙂 Was that on purpose, or just a subconcious expression?


  11. As a followup to my posts from July 4th, re: Crosman M1 carbine –

    I did take the stock off, but since a lot of the disassebly from that point required specialized tools, I went low tech. Pipe cleaners into the loading port and the BB indicator port.

    I did get a little bit of “gelled oil” out of the magazine, but found most in the space where the BB drops into the barrel. Cleaned that out, and now I can run both Crosman and Daisy BBs through it with no issues. Also cleaned off some other excess oil from the metal body, then reapplied a very light coat of Pellgunoil, just in case. So far, so good!

    Thanks again to the helpful people here!

  12. Good morning B.B.,

    I appreciate your kind mention of me in this entry! That is an absolutely beautiful example of the HW 55 CM, by the way. I have two and neither are as pretty…

    I don’t know exactly the time frame of the CM version. I have a French-language Weihrauch brochure from about 1978 that shows the model. The accessory rail under the fore end is exactly the same part as seen on the traditional Bayern-stocked HW 55 M and MM variants. This rail seems to have appeared on the M/MM in the early 1970’s, so I would guess the CM did also, but that’s just speculation on my part.

    I rather suspect the CM was marketed toward shooting clubs, beginners, and others on a budget. One of my CM’s was very obviously a club “mule,” with an action much older than the stock and internal parts that are newer!

    Your comments on the gun’s handling are right on! In spite of its appearance, its actually quite light and very comfortable. One of my CM’s is my absolute favorite shooter of my whole collection.

    A few collector’s trivia notes on the HW 55 “Custom Match:”

    1. There was some variation in this stock design over time. What appears to be my older one has a longer “pull” dimension; the area behind the rear of the receiver is flat where the newer one is dished; and almost every line and angle of the grip and cheekpiece are subtly different.

    2. The nifty sliding buttplate assembly is an off-the-shelf Anschutz model 4079 (also used on many Anschutz air and rimfire target guns over the years). You can still buy these, along with spacers and different styles of buttplates.

    3. Anschutz match sights are a perfect fit for post-1978 HW’s with 11 mm scope-groove spacing. They look nice and–unlike HW’s own diopter–leave space for the thumb behind the receiver.

    Many thanks for a great piece on the HW 55 CM!

    • Mike,

      Thanks for weighing in on this report. I admit that when I went to research the history of the rifle, your name kept coming up as the authority. I don’t mean to guilt you by that remark; it’s just that no one seems to know very much about this model, and you have written more than anyone I have found.

      Back when these were still being offered, I wanted one in the worst way. The description in the 1979 Air Rifle Headquarters catalog seemed irresistible to me. Robert Law certainly knew how to stir the interest of his customers!

      I am very curious why my rifle has a harsh firing cycle. I guess I just have to dive in, now that I know that Beeman overhauled it years ago. I want to see if the piston seal is leather or synthetic, because I once needed a leather seal for another old 55 and when I inquired of Beeman, Don Walker told me it would just be better to switch the piston for one that had a synthetic seal. So I suspect that was done with this one.

      I may shim the breech seal while I’m at it. It’s so easy to do and often gives great results.

      Anyway, it’s good to hear about the rifle from the guy everyone says is the man to go to!


      • B.B.

        Oops, first to correct a touch of old-age dyslexia: the part number for the CM’s Anschutz buttplate is 4709, not “4079!”

        I am certainly not an expert mechanic (“shaky installer of parts made by others” would be a more accurate description), but I have seen an amazing variety of OEM internal parts in HW 55’s of various ages, and have had good success with different rebuild pieces. I’ve redone a couple of leather-sealed HW 55’s with plastic HW 30 seals snapped onto a simple screw-on adapter, and recently rebuilt another with a new leather seal made by a very skilled friend, all with good results. My “pet” 55 CM has its original leather piston seal, re-conditioned and driven by an aftermarket spring/guide kit.

        Remembering the HW 55’s receiver tube is the same as the old and more powerfully-sprung HW 50 sporter, the 55’s piston stroke is rather long for such low power. In my opinion, this may make it rather prone to a “slow”-feeling, twangy action, especially with a canted spring, loose-fitting guide, etc. It will be very interesting to see what you discover in your rifle.

        • Mike’s not kidding about the “slow” feeling an HW55 can have. He sold me one of his older Egun auction scores a year or two ago, which was an HW55 with the action painted gloss black fitted into one of the beech stocks about which he wrote earlier. I call it the Picasso due to the paint, which I will one day remove. The rifle shoots tiny groups pretty effortlessly off a rest with an old Bushnell Sportview 4x32AO scope, but with almost the feel of a muzzle loader. You pull the trigger, and you have the sense that everything is happening in slow motion. Still, it’s smooth and the chrono says it’s running around 590fps with what is probably a target spring, so I am not rushing to install the Maccari spring and guide kit I have that would bring it up to the old-style HW50 velocity of around 700fps. I hate heavy air rifles, but I have to say it feels lighter in the hand than I expect every time I shoot it.

    • Hammerli Pneuma, AirVenturi Halestorm are one and the same, they’re all Hatsan rifles.
      Hatsan agreed to detuned a bunch of their PCP’s to under 500fps for the Canadian market and I’ve only heard good things about them, for the price they’re very hard to beat.
      But I’m only reporting what I heard about them, I don’t have personnal experience with it.
      You can search the Hatsan AT44 for more info on these apparently very nice rifles.


  13. Matt,

    Talking about stocks – I reworked my “shillelagh” stock. It got a new cheekpiece, with 15 mm lower and much more round upper comb surface and different angle relative to the line of sighting. It shoots better this way, I feel more relaxed. I’m waiting for the stain to dry and then I’ll apply some tung oil.


  14. Vic sent this to the worng email address, so I posted it here for him:

    Hi Tom, i admire your expert knowledge on airguns, and your site is up with Dr Robert Beeman for interest.I wanted to ask about the Cantarini air pistols, have you got any more pictures of them please? I think they belong to Larry Hannusch? What a lucky man he is to own a pair like that, the craftsmanship looks superb.I wondered how many shots from that small butt reservoir? what calibre are they? do they have a lot of twist in the rifling,
    Many thanks for your valued reply, when you are able to.
    best regards

    • Vic,

      The only photos of the Cantarini pistols I ever had were those I published in Airgun Illustrated magazine,

      As far as how many shots the pistols get, no one knows. Guns like these are seldom shot, because of their value and the likelihood of breaking something during operation. A safe guess would be 5-6 shots per charge, since Robert Beeman has said that he gets about 40 shots on a Girardoni rifle (a replica).

      According to the article that appeared in Airgun Illustrated, Jan. 2003, the pistols are .40 caliber.

      If you want to find a copy of that issue, Doug Law sells old issues of all airgun publications:


      I hope that helps.


  15. Okay b.b. (or anybody…please) alleviate my frustration!!
    Am I expecting too much?
    So, at 30ft my Slavia 631 (which is a Canadian spec gun…495fps) is, I swear to god, nearly as accurate as my 853c. With the open sights I can nail the 10 or 9 ring nearly as often as with the Avanti…and, as with the Avanti I very seldom get a flyer (I consider a 7 or 8 to be a flyer).
    At the outdoor range we shoot at there are airgun lanes at 50 and 100ft.
    So today was pretty much indicative of my usual results.
    Shooting 10 shot groups at 50ft, with the Hawke 2-7AO scope I can get groups (again, 10 shots) that are about 3/8″.
    At 100ft however these open up to .75″ to 1.25 or even 1.5″.
    Light wind…4 or 5 mph gusting at times to 10mph.
    (One thing…I’m starting to be a fan of 3 shot groups…I’ll get 3 in nearly the same hole, than the 4 or 5th will an inch away)
    I’ve tested every pellet that RWS makes (which is what my dealer has carried up till now) and found the Superdomes to be pretty accurate at 50′ . They just started to carry JSB Exacts, which I have on order.
    I guess the question is…1.25″ groups at 100ft with a 495fps gun…have I hit the distance limit of this level of power?

    • CSD,

      Maybe with the gusting wind you are at the limit. Sometimes when we hit the limit we are surprised that it’s really there. But it’s only evident because you are such a good shot and you know your rifle so well.


      • Well, did some research and found a couple of long range tests of the R7.
        Both testers were getting 1.5″ groups at 50yds, which they say is the accuracy limit of that particular rifle.
        So…an R7 at (according to Pyramyds site) 700fps…I’m thinking that perhaps 30yds is about the limit at which you can expect really tight groups with 495fps if there is any wind.
        Looks like I gotta ‘upgun’ 😉

        • CowboyStar Dad,

          I would have to guess the best accuracy low velocity springer’s would be the old match guns. Walther 55 would probably be the least expensive. The stamps “F” denotes the low power versions. Shot my R7 at 45 yards with good results, but did not shoot for groups. I will give it a try when I get back from vacation, but needless to say it is over 495 fps. Page down on the link below to see how it did at 135 feet.

          • I’m beginning to hate ;-( b.b.’s 10 shot strings.
            Yesterday my first three shots of my first 10 shot string were essential in one ragged hole, dead centre.
            The third was 1.25″ inches to the right.
            As I mentioned, the wind was 5-10mph crossrange left to right. All the ‘misses’ were to the right, so I’m assuming that slight gusts were causing my problems.
            I live in the prairies…unfortunately wind free days are few and far between.
            What’s painful is that at 25 yards (a stinkin 5 yard difference) the gun will shoot .5″-.75″ groups all the live long day.

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