by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

HW 55SF
HW 55SF.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Readers impact
  • The test
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • Now, I zeroed the rifle
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • Qiang Yuan Olympic match pellets
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • But wait —
  • Summary

Today we look at accuracy. Because several readers have asked for it, I will re-test the rifle after I have tuned it. I have not decided yet whether I will do a full parts replacement tune, so there may be nothing to compare a Tune in a Tube tune to (say that quickly three times), but I will at least return and re-test the accuracy with the same pellets after I have quieted the action.

Readers impact

Several readers believe that making a spring gun’s action smoother will improve accuracy. It certainly won’t hurt it, but I have never found it to improve. However, I did an extra test today to see if I am doing all the things I can to get all the accuracy this rifle has to offer. We will get to that after the main test.

I am just an airgunner like the rest of you. I may have been doing this a little longer than some, but that doesn’t give me any special knowledge. From time to time I find it helpful to test the things I hold to be true. Today was one such time.

The test

I shot the HW 55SF off a sandbag at 10 meters. For the main test the rifle was rested directly on the bag. I used the same 4 pellets that were used in last Friday’s velocity test. This time I had my 1.25 diopter reading glasses and eye drops, so all was as good as it could be. Let’s begin.

H&N Finale Match Light

First up were the H&N Finale Match Light pellets. I didn’t know where the rifle was sighted, but since I don’t shoot it much I figured it would be pretty much on, so I shot this group without a sight-in.

Ten Finale Match Lights went into 0.378-inches at 10 meters. That number sounds small, but the group looks large when you compare it to other 10-meter target rifle groups I have shot. It wasn’t until the entire test as over that I remembered I usually shoot 5-shot groups with these rifles. A group of 5 of the same pellet from this rifle would be around 0.227-inches — if we consider that a 10-shot group is about 40 percent larger.

Finale Light group
Ten H&N Finale Light pellets went into 0.378-inches at 10 meters. Some paper tearing on the right side of the group makes it appear larger than it is.

Now, I zeroed the rifle

As you can see, these pellets landed to the right of, and slightly higher than the center of the bullseye. After this first group I adjusted the sights until the Finale Match pellets hit the center of the bull. I left the sights set that way for the remainder of this test.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

Next to be tested were the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets. Ten of them went into a vertical group that measures 0.461-inches between centers. This target pellet is often one of the best, but not this time. I guess the 1968 Weihrauch barrel just wasn’t made for it.

Sig Match Alloy group
Ten Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets went into 0.461-inches at 10 meters.

Qiang Yuan Olympic match pellets

Next up were the Qiang Yuan Olympic match pellets. These have also done really well in other 10-meter rifles. The HW 55SF put 10 of them into a group measuring 0.267-inches between centers at 10 meters. Notice this group is also nice and round. This is a good 10-shot group for a spring-piston target rifle from the 1960s.

Qiang Yuan Olympic group
Ten Qiang Yuan Olympic target pellets went into 0.267 inches at 10 meters. Now, we’re talking!

RWS R10 Match Pistol

The final pellet I tested was the RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet. If you remember, these fit the rifle’s bore the loosest, and indeed, one of them fell out as I was shooting this group. I loaded a fresh pellet, even though it dropped on the carpet. Ten R10 Match Pistol pellets went into 0.195-inches at 10 meters. They are the clear winners in this test. But I did not stop there.

R10 Pistol group
Ten RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets made this 0.195-inch group at 10 meters. That white patch on the right of the group is just a paper tear. This group is as small as many 5-shot groups I have shot with 10-meter target rifles!

But wait —

There is more. Remember what I said in the beginning of this report? Several of you think that a rifle’s tune affects its accuracy. I am going to test that for you with this rifle, but I obviously can’t do it today. But, what if I have also been wrong about resting the rifle directly on the sandbag? I have learned over the years that lower-powered spring rifles often do their best when they are rested directly on a sandbag, but since we have the tiny group from the R10 pellets, we have the perfect baseline to test against. Would this rifle do any better if I used the artillery hold? That’s where I rest the rifle on the flat of my open palm and hold the rifle as loosely as possible.

The most stable artillery hold is one in which my off hand is held out near the front of the forearm, so that’s what I did. I wanted to give the hold every chance to excel. This time 10 pellets went into 0.686-inches, but one of those shots appears to be a flyer. It wasn’t a flyer that I called, but perhaps it was a bad pellet. The other 9 pellets are in a nice round group that measures 0.307-inches between centers. It’s small, but it’s much larger than the one from the sandbag-rested gun.

R10 Pistol group artillery hold
When I used the artillery hold I put 10 R10 pellets into 0.686-inches at 10 meters. Nine of those are in 0.307-inches. Nope — the artillery hold is not the best way to hold the HW 55SF.

Summary

We now know what the rifle is doing as far as power, trigger pull, smoothness and accuracy are concerned. The next step is to disassemble it to examine the powerplant parts, look more closely at the trigger and give the rifle a Tune in a Tube tune. Then I will report velocity again and then accuracy again with these same pellets.

We are spending some time with this rifle — mostly because you readers seem interested, but also to show you the innards of a 1960’s target air rifle.