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Ammo Beeman HW 70A air pistol: Part 2

Beeman HW 70A air pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Beeman’s HW 70A breakbarrel spring pistol.

Okay, there’s some interest in this Beeman HW 70A, but many of you have avoided it like I have. Let’s see what it can do.

First, the cocking effort. HW advertises 21 lbs., however the test pistol registered 27 lbs. on my bathroom scale. While that may not sound like a lot, remember this is a close-coupled pistol, so there’s no long lever like you have on a breakbarrel rifle. So, 27 lbs. does feel like a lot.

The trigger-pull, on the other hand, is very light. The test pistol releases at just 2 lbs., 3 ozs. And that’s after I adjusted it to be heavier. I’d gotten it so low that it surprised me when it went off. That felt too dangerous; but where it is now feels pretty good.

Premier 7.9-grain domes
The first pellet to be tested was the Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellet. It averaged 371 f.p.s., and the spread went from a low of 364 to a high of 381 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet generates an average 2.43 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

RWS Hobby
Next up was the 7-grain RWS Hobby. As light as they are, I expected Hobbys to be the speed demons of the bunch, but they weren’t. Hobbys averaged just 363 f.p.s., with a spread that went from 354 to 372 f.p.s. At their average velocity, Hobbys produced 2.05 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Beeman H&N Match
The last pellet I tested was the Beeman H&N Match pellet. This wadcutter weighs 8.18 grains and was the heaviest pellet I tested. The average nuzzle velocity was 383 f.p.s. — making this not only the heaviest but also the fastest of the 3 pellets tested. The range went from 371 to 395 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generated 2.67 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

I was puzzled
After testing these 3 pellets, I was puzzled about the velocity claims of 440 f.p.s. by the manufacturer. I thought that Hobbys would at least get close to that number, but as you can see, they were the slowest pellets of all, not to mention being the lightest. That made me wonder why they would be so slow. It seemed that they were also the pellet with the largest skirt, so maybe the gun was having difficulty overcoming the pellet in the breech. That’s when I thought about deep-seating each pellet with the Air Venturi Pellet Pen and Seater to see how it would change — if at all.

Deep-seated Hobbys now averaged 419 f.p.s. and the spread that had been 18 f.p.s. before was now down to just 9 f.p.s. The muzzle energy went up from 2.05 foot-pounds to 2.73 foot-pounds.

H&N Match also increased, but the difference was much less. After deep seating, they averaged 392 f.p.s. and generated 2.79 foot-pounds at the muzzle. The total spread dropped from 24 f.p.s. to just 7 f.p.s.

Even Premier lites increased from 371 to 380 f.p.s., bumping the muzzle energy to 2.53 foot-pounds. And the total spread dropped from 17 f.p.s. to just 8 f.p.s.

Deep-seating seems to help calm this gun down and also to boost velocities. I guess I’ll have to try it when I test the pistol for accuracy, as well.

Impression thus far
Though the velocity seems to be a little low, the firing behavior is smooth and positive. The pistol feels right when it fires, and I think it’s going to turn in some surprising accuracy. But we shall see.

author avatar
B.B. Pelletier
Tom Gaylord is known as The Godfather of Airguns™ and has been an airgunner for over a half-century, but it was the Beeman company in the 1970s that awoke a serious interest in airguns. Until then, all he knew were the inexpensive American airguns. Through the pages of the Beeman catalog, he learned about adult airguns for the first time. In 1994, Tom started The Airgun Letter with his wife, Edith. This monthly newsletter was designed to bring serious reports about airguns to the American public. The newsletter and Airgun Revue, a sister magazine about collectible airguns, was published from 1994 until 2002, when Tom started Airgun Illustrated -- the first American newsstand magazine about airguns. Tom worked for three years as technical director at AirForce Airguns, the makers of the Talon, Condor, and Escape precharged air rifles. Today, he writes about airguns and firearms for various publications and websites. He also makes videos, and you'll find short clips embedded in some of his artices on Pyramyd AIR's website. Tom is a consultant to Pyramyd AIR and writes under the name of B.B. Pelletier.

23 thoughts on “Beeman HW 70A air pistol: Part 2”

  1. Thanks for testing the HW70A pistol. I have mentioned a while back, that I purchased an HW70 Black Arrow. This is the same pistol, except it has no sights. It came with a 2×20 scope, mounted on a rail similar to Diana’s, where the rear sight on your test pistol is. It is my first scoped pistol, and it seems to have grown on me. I seem to be able to hold the fine crosshairs on the bulls eye for better groups. I like it so much, I have purchased the same scope for my HW45 Silver Star, and an HW75 pneumatic. I would be the first to admit however, I am not much of a pistol shooter.
    I was also surprised you were able to adjust your trigger to having a nice 2 stage let off. Mine came from the factory with an unpredictable single stage. I don’t have much experience adjusting triggers, so maybe you could fill me in on how to achieve a 2 stage trigger. I also find the adjustment screw has some back lash. That is, when you screw a 1/4 turn, the screw wants to return about an 1/8 turn. It is so unlike any Weihrauch trigger I have experienced.
    All in all, I really like the gun. I find it shoots the JSB 7.33gr. RS pellets at 440 fps. My groups are about 1/8 -1/4 in at 7.5 meters. Depending if I squeeze the trigger or pull it. When I bought my gun, it was advertised at 410fps. So I found the extra speed a bit of a bonus. My chrono is on the fritz at the moment, so I cannot confirm the speeds you achieved with the pellets you used. It will be my first order of business when I get it back.
    I’ll be looking forward to your accuracy test in the next instalment.
    Caio Titus

    • Titus,

      I snuck back to Part 1 and changed my reference to the Black Diamond to Black Arrow. Thanks.

      Also, the trigger that I praised in the report is sometimes vague and sometimes not. I’ll have more to say about it before this is over.


  2. The only experience I have with break-barrel pistols was with a cheap, Chinese, Cummins Tool pistol. That thing wouldn’t seal at the breach and it would just barely throw a pellet across the room. Trigger was awful and couldn’t be improved without a lot of work so I gave it away instead of fooling around with it. Now, the b3-3(?) from Cummins wasn’t a shabby gun for $20 and a little work!


  3. B.B.,
    On accuracy day, will you please consider backing up and shooting a group from 25? I recently purchased an old Diana 6m for silhouette, but when its out for it’s scheduled service and rebuild(tongue in cheek), it would be nice to keep on shooting with one of these beauties. I know there are better choices for sillywet, and I have a perfectly fine 1701 sitting around but I am a glutton for punishment!

  4. To expect surprising accuracy is a bit of an oxymoron. 🙂 That cocking effort sounds about like the DA trigger pull on my SW 686. I can see why blowback was invented for the faster follow-up shot. But why is it that semiauto pistols are not chambered for magnum pistol rounds? You would think that in the quest for ever more firepower, that this would be a natural. I can think only of a gun called the Automag which was chambered for .44 magnum. That’s the idea. But it has not stood the test of time. Otherwise, wasn’t there something called the Desert Eagle chambered for some .50 caliber round? But again no magnum. Could it be that the length of the magnum case prevents semiauto feeding? Doesn’t seem likely.

    Victor, I’ve heard that doctors are never supposed to speak ill of each other as a matter of professionalism so the buttkicking threats are unusual. Maybe a doctor fight is like a priest fight… I do know that doctors will steal each other blind. While changing into scrubs at a doctor’s locker room, I was warned to take care of my valuables because anything that wasn’t locked up would be gone. I can believe it. When I inadvertently picked up a pen from a desk that happened to belong to a young resident, he pounced like a wild animal and snatched it away from me.


    • Matt,

      The Desert Eagle .50 Action Express is most certainly a powerful magnum round. In fact, there are very few rounds with greater power. People with .50AE Desert Eagles trade them off to get .44 Magnum Desert Eagles that they can handle. I enjoy my .357 Magnum Desert Eagle that reduced the .357 recoil to a very pleasant level.


    • Actually — a fully manual double-action revolver /can/ be fired faster than a semi-auto.

      Both have a fixed delay from the speed of the hammer fall… But the semi-auto cyclic rate is controlled by the springs and lock-up (bullet typically has to leave the muzzle before pressure drops enough to allow the barrel/slide to separate), whereas a revolver cycle is completely controlled by one’s trigger finger (you’ve already got leakage at the cylinder/barrel gap, a fast finger could start rotating the cylinder before the pressure really drops).

      Read up on Bill Jordan (purportedly he could carry a snubby in his left pocket, draw it, /transfer/ it to his right hand, and fire it faster than most people could draw and fire a semi-auto).

  5. Matt61,

    I think this one doctor “distinguished” himself this way. I haven’t shared but a fraction of how bad this guy was, and I won’t say anymore about it. Again, I’m not down on doctors, because I owe so much of my remaining health and life to some. I’ve just learned, as almost all of us have, or will, that they are not all equal, and some are really bad.

    When I worked on one satellite project about 25 years ago, a bunch of teams shared a certain building where much of the integration took place. We learned that you couldn’t leave anything of value in your own desk. You can’t trust all engineers either. And yes, the cleaning people were ruled out.


  6. B.B.,

    I look at this pistol and everything about it hints at lower-end target pistol. And yet, the PA description doesn’t have target shooting as a recommended use. The reviews indicate accuracy. I guess we’ll see your accuracy reports, but I’d like to think it’s accurate enough for target shooting, much like my Gamo Compact.


    • Victor,

      If the accuracy test shows the gun is good for target practice, I’ll change the specs field to reflect that. I’ve changed a number of specs and descriptions after products have been tested on the blog.


      • Edith,

        An accurate air-pistol with a decent trigger is of value to anyone wants something that they can use at home for practice. I make my own 10 meter targets that I reduce to shorter distance for home practice. Anything that allows one to work on their fundamentals is good. But it has group.

        Now, I don’t expect this to rival a high end 10 meter pistol, which should be able to easily hold the 10-ring, but if a pistol can hold 9-ring, then I’d just make targets with relaxed ring sizes. Once you’ve calibrated your targets against what a gun can do, you can then know how well you’re doing in terms of your own execution. But if a gun can’t consistently group, then it won’t server this purpose. That’s when I’d classify it as merely a “plinker”.


  7. I’m going to have to find some time and pull out my chrony. I’ve only used light pellets (7gr) in my HW70 and was always a little disappointed so it gets passed over a lot. I just pulled my 70 out and tried some JSB Exact Express (7.89gr) and it really seems to be smacking the spinner a lot harder.

    • I just wanted to mention that if you go back to the old Beeman catalogues they listed the velocity for the HW70 at 440fps but the muzzle energy at 2.8fpe. So if the top energy and velocity were reached with the same pellet it was pretty light. You did get 2.67fpe with the heavier match pellet which is pretty close to the Beeman rating.

  8. Weihrauch and Webley,two suberb creators of break barrel air pistols. As accurate as my Typhoon was i bet the Weihrauch just runs circles around the Typhoon, but we shall see shall we not.


    Besr Wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe

  9. B.B.

    Will you get the scope mount for the HW 70A? It would be nice to see how well it performs on 25 meters/yards with a scope.

    It seem like Pyramyd AIR has an offer on the Beeman P5 (Weihrauch HW70 Black Arrow) with scope mount and the improved grip for $ 199.99. All you need extra is a pistol scope (or red dot) and some scope rings.

    The Weihrauch/Beeman HW70a with open sights go for $ 279.95.


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