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History The Beeman R10/HW 85: Part 2

The Beeman R10/HW 85: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

HW 85
Weihrauch HW 85.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Crosman Premiers
  • RWS Superdomes
  • H&N Baracuda Match with 5.51mm heads
  • Top speed?
  • Hobbys
  • Firing cycle
  • Cocking
  • Trigger pull
  • Evaluation so far

Today we learn how powerful this smooth-shooting .22-caliber HW85 is. You may remember from Part 1 that I bought this rifle because of its super-smooth tune. So, let’s get right to it.

Crosman Premiers

The first pellet to be tested was the 14.3-grain Crosman Premier. These loaded easily and averaged 678 f.p.s. The range went from 672 to 693 — a spread of 21 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet produces 14.6 foot pounds. This was so close to the “magic” velocity of 671 f.p.s., where the weight of the pellet in grains equals the muzzle energy in foot pounds. I mention that because it’s just a handy thing to know.

RWS Superdomes

Next up was the RWS Superdome. They also loaded very easy. These 14.5-grain domed pellets are often among the most accurate in a given airguns. In the HW 85 Superdomes averaged 674 f.p.s. which generates 14.63 foot pounds at the muzzle. They ranged from a low of 663 to a high of 685 f.p.s., so the spread was 22 f.p.s.

H&N Baracuda Match with 5.51mm heads

The final pellet I tested was the 21.14-grain H&N Baracuda Match with a 5.51mm head. Like the first two pelletsd, Baracudas also loaded easily. I expected this pellet to be slower because of its greater weight, but also because heavier pellets usually produce less energy in spring-piston airguns. Therefore, I wasn’t disappointed to see an average of 518 f.p.s., At that speed this pellet generates 12.6 foot-pounds at the muzzle. The spread was just 11 f.p.s. though, from 512 to 523 f.p.s. It’s been my experience that heavier pellets are sometimes quite accurate at these slower speeds.

Top speed?

Beeman advertised the R10 as a 750 f.p.s. gun in .22 caliber, so I had to try RWS Hobby pellets. They are the ones Beeman would have used to test the top velocity in any airgun in the 1980s.


RWS Hobbys loaded slightly harder than the first three pellets, due to the size of their skirts. With Hobbys, the rifle averaged 744 f.p.s. The spread was 28 f.p.s., going from 736 to 764 f.p.s. At the average velocity Hobbys generated 14.63 foot pounds of muzzle energy, which is even with the energy of the first two pellets.

Firing cycle

The reason I bought this rifle is how utterly smooth it is. Upon firing the smoothness continues. The rifle does have a pronounced forward recoil, though. That’s a product of the piston’s weight and how fast it stops at the end of its travel. I think because it is so smooth this movement is even more noticeable.


When you cock the rifle you feel nothing beyond the resistance of the mainspring. There is absolutely no noise or feel of vibration through the stock. The cocking effort is 24 lbs.

Trigger pull

The HW 85/R10 has a Rekord trigger, which is highly adjustable. It’s also got a reputation for being one of the finest sporting airgun triggers around. I make the distinction of “sporting” so you don’t confuse it with a match trigeer like the one found of the FWB 150 and 300. These is a big difference between a sporting trigger and a true match trigger and you don’t want a match trigger opn a sporting airguns any more than you want a non-synchromesh crashbox transmission on a daily driver. A crashbox is for racing and a match trigger is for shooting offhand in a match.

The trigger on the rifle I’m testing was tested as it came to me. It is two-stage and stage two breaks at 1 lb. 8 oz. That’s light enough for good target work and of course being a Rekord there is no creep in stage two!

Evaluation so far

At this point I would have to say I am happy with the test results. I like the way the rifle cocks and shoots, and all that remains is to determine how accurate it is.

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.

30 thoughts on “The Beeman R10/HW 85: Part 2”

  1. B.B.,

    No JSB Match Diabolo Exact Jumbo Heavy 18.13 grain pellets to test? Extrapolating from the data given I would expect them to run at around 600 fps. Does that sound right to you?


  2. B.B.

    The trigger on my HW 50, which I sent out to have a fancy tune job done, breaks just as well, maybe even better than the trigger on my Diana 6G. Break is at 14 oz. How was the Diana 75 trigger different, same with the original Walther LGV or the target version of HW 55?
    Aside from finer polishing of the sears, how is a springer match trigger different from a sportster trigger?



  3. BB,

    Oh yeah, that sounds sweeeeet! That is what I am looking for, a relatively light, smooth shooting, accurate sproinger I can use to hunt small, furry woodland creatures.

  4. BB, another beautiful classic design! Sound like you got a great example of the HW 85 and I’m looking forward to further posts on it.

    I especially appreciate your comments on sporting vs. match triggers. I read forum posts, etc., where folks have tried to turn the Rekord into a match trigger, by adjusting it so lightly that the return spring no longer functions (i.e., can’t overcome the friction in the sears, and return the trigger blade to the starting point). That’s scary!

  5. B.B.,

    You showed me this rifle at the TX Airgun Show, right after you got it. It was a great “looker”. I’m glad you got around to writing this series on it, as I’m sure it will be a great shooter as well.

    Jim M.

      • B.B. — Now that you mention it, you did let me. I had forgotten that. It was very smooth.

        On another note, I haven’t had time to do more than shoot it at 10m in my basement, but that .177 R9 I picked up is great. The front sight insert ring is “frozen” with the thick square post in it, but I took the whole thing off and put on another I had with a smaller insert. The seller said it had very few pellets through it, and I believe it. I don’t think it’s fully broken in yet. My chrony has gone out on me and I need to send it in for repairs. I think I’ll not shoot that R9 anymore until I get the chrony back, then do some before and after testing with Tune-in-a-Tube.


  6. B.B.

    On Sept and Oct of 2011 you and Mac did a series on the Olympic springers of past glory. The HW 55 CM and SF, the Diana 60, the Walter LVG Olympia, and FWB 150 are all mentioned. Other than polished sears and lighter springs, how are their triggers different from the sportster versions of the same rifles? In this article you mentioned that match triggers and sportster triggers are very different. How so? Is the shape of the sears different? Are they completely different designs? Does this make it any clearer?


  7. The Rekord, when introduced in 1951 was a match trigger as well as a sporting one. But match triggers have evolved since then.

    Later match triggers give an even lighter, crisper pull, through refinements of design. Compared to a Rekord, they are much more complicated. In addition, they only have to hold back a piston and spring power unit developing 5-6 ft/lbs, not 10-20.

    Sporting triggers need to stay safe if the gun is dropped, or bumped, or the shooter slips down a muddy incline, or is using it in cold weather with a lack of sensitivity in the fingers. None of which is an issue in an indoor 10M match.

  8. It’s worth adding that the first attempts by German manufacturers to offer a truly match trigger was to adopt the double set trigger. Basically a trigger that, when “set” immediately before firing, is unsafe for general use.

  9. I had an airgunsmith go through the R1 that I found in a pawnshop. He reduced it down to 11.8 FPE at my request. It’s a real pussycat now, very smooth, scope picture doesn’t jump much when I shoot it. Still very accurate.


  10. I didn’t know that a match trigger was designed for offhand shooting. I thought it was generally useful for precision shooting. Speaking of which, I believe Saturday may have been the death knell for my hopes of accuracy for my Saiga AK. I was all set with my Hornady match ammo, my rubber eye relief attachment to the scope, my Leapers Bug Buster scope, and my sandbag under the buttstock. It was not unlike Harvey Corman in High Anxiety where he sits down at the dinner table, tucks his napkin under his chin, raises his spoon to dig in and realizes that there is no fruit cup. My five shot groups were five and six inches at 100 yards. Abysmal. On the other hand, when I turned to offhand shooting, the rifle didn’t do badly at all. It kept several magazines in one quarter of my Redfield sighting target. That’s better than any of my iron-sighted WWII rifles and roughly equivalent to my Mosin sniper rifle. I’ve heard of rifles optimized for prone and rifles optimized for position-shooting, but is it possible for a gun to be optimized for offhand?

    I got to thinking about the causes of the AK relative inaccuracy. These are the loose-fitting parts, the thin barrel that quickly heats up, the mediocre trigger, and what Jerry Miculek calls the gun’s “violent” action. Most of these attributes are compatible with and even enhance the rifle’s famous reliability. So, it would appear to be a design trade-off between accuracy and reliability. Mikhail Kalashnikov said in an interview that reliability was his first priority.

    But one additional quality of the AK is the power of its 7.62X39 caliber. You would think this would make the rifle even harder to control. But I noticed in offhand shooting, how easy the rifle is to shoot. You actually want to rock and roll with it. I almost wonder why they need an automatic setting since you can put out an almost continual stream of aimed fire by working your trigger finger. Maybe Kalashnikov was even more far-seeing than people have given him credit for. The violent action has been associated with the gun’s reliability by providing very positive extraction. But could the large, moving mass, which has been blamed for degrading accuracy, also soak up a lot of the recoil of this powerful cartridge? The result would be a gun that could not achieve high precision accuracy but would be relatively controllable at high rates which fits the combat profile that Kalashnikov was aiming for in the first place.

    I got to thinking of this by noticing how my K98 Mauser was pounding my shoulder to pieces from a rest. Probably this was due partly to me holding the gun loosely out of habit from the artillery hold, but the kick is powerful by any standard. The M1 Garand is mild by comparison with its semiauto action, so why couldn’t the AK be more of the same with even larger moving parts?

    I also got to test out my Marine dungaree jacket on the range. That thing is like armor and warded off hot brass casings with no problem at all. The material is thinner than denim but probably even tougher due to a tighter weave, and considering how durable it is, it is remarkably cool. WWII was like a time of giants with the big calibers and the super-tough clothing.


  11. Violent action and positive extraction do not usually go together. One of the hardest things to balance is sufficient force for reliability, but not so much that extraction happens too fast too early, leading to split cases. It is all a matter of balance.

    It is widely held that long-stroke gas pistons, as in the AK, Bren, Lewis, BAR etc etc, are more reliable than other gas systems. But that stands in contradiction to the reliability of direct gas (AR-10/15) and short-stroke (FAL, HK416, etc etc) systems.

    It all comes down to the details. basically any reasonable system (eg not a gas trap) can be made to work well, and any system can work badly if the details aren’t right.

    • Well, I’ll grant that the FAL has a reputation for reliability. However, John C. Garand himself had grave doubts about the short stroke gas system used for the M14 and did not think it was as reliable as his long stroke system for the M1. I don’t know if the M14 system is the same as the one for the FAL. I’ve also heard that the FAL system is similar to the Tokarev semiauto rifle developed by the Soviets in WWII which had a poor reputation for reliability. But I don’t know any more technical details.

      For the DGI system, it seems to have been proven that it is not as terrible as some people thought during the Vietnam War. It is workable, but I don’t know that anyone says that reliability is a strong point of the system. The reliability of the HK416 is often defined in comparison to the DGI. The HK 416 is certainly better, but I don’t know how reliable it is on an absolute scale. Generally, I’m not persuaded by gun tests that run different kinds of ammo through an AR at the range without mishap and pronounce the rifle 100% reliable. That’s not reliability to my mind. The gun is just doing what it is supposed to do. Adverse conditions measure reliability. I also don’t believe that reliability is monolithic. Just because all guns can break and all guns require some maintenance, it doesn’t follow for me that they are equally reliable. Between these boundaries, there is plenty of room for variation.

      I see your point about how is extraction is not based on more gas pressure, but the right gas pressure. I certainly experienced that to the full in my travails with my M1. I never did figure out whether my jams were caused by the bolt moving too fast or too slow, probably both. The ultimate sweet spot that I found proved to by quite sensitive. On the other hand, it is my understanding that a number of the newer adjustable gas systems that come with piston guns, such as the Ruger SR556, have several settings. And the setting for most gas is supposed to ensure feeding. So maybe there is some relation between gas pressure and reliability after all. I don’t really know never having disassembled any of these rifles.


  12. B.B.,

    Maybe a simple question to answer, maybe not?

    Is there any advantage, or preferred use for a straight(er) gripped rifle such as this one?

    A pistol gripped grip (more vertical) seems far more comfortable. In any rifle I buy in the future, a more vertical grip will factor in largely.


      • B.B.,

        My first thought is ergonomics, plain and simple. If somethings fits you like a glove, you will do better. Maybe there is a place for straighter grips. I suppose the size of the wood blank may be one (cheaper to produce), but I do not know with any authority. Off hand/rested/supported variations could be another.

        I would also liken it to an ideal carry knife. It has to fit the hand well,.. very well. As a side, still looking at Opinels’. I am thinking the 9. If I do order, it will most likely be several. They look like they would fit a hand very well.


      • Yogi,

        Thank you for that link. (Worth a quick read for anyone wondering about the above discussion.) Nice, heck,.. awesome,.. looking stocks for anyone that wants to click on the “Home” page. The article makes a lot of sense (just the way my brain works). What I found lacking was that springers have a forward recoil, prior to the rearward recoil.

        All in all, I like it. All in all, also,… I like a more vertical grip. Now, if you want to talk PCP’s, which I know that you are adverse to,.. the reward push of a PCP gives the article’s methodology a lot more credence.

        Thanks again,…. -C

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