by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
Weihrauch HW 85.
This report covers:
- Premiers are best
- By the triggerguard
- Extended hold
- Resting on the bag
- Getting tired
Today will be something a little different. In the previous report reader Siraniko asked me why I changed my artillery hold when I moved from the 10-meter accuracy test to the 25 yard test. Reader GunFun1 picked up on that question and wondered how we would know which hold was best. That made sense, plus I enjoy shooting this rifle, so I promised to do another 25-yard test in which all I change is the hold. That’s what I’m doing today.
Premiers are best
Without question Crosman Premiers turned in the tightest group in that last test, so they were the only pellet I used for this test. I began the test with the same artillery hold I used in the last report — my off hand held under the middle of the cocking slot. No particular reason for holding it there last time, except the farther out I hold it the more stable the rifle seems. By that I mean that the crosshairs don’t dance all around the target. It makes the rifle easier to hold, which is as good a reason as any, I guess.
Last time this rifle put 10 Premiers in a group measuring 0.387-inches between centers at 25 yards when this hold was used. This time 10 went into 0.411-inches between centers. I would say that is pretty consistent! I was actually shocked when I saw the group. I didn’t think I could do it twice.
By the triggerguard
Next, I slid my off hand back to the triggerguard, like I held the rifle in the 10-meter test in Part 3. This time 10 Premier pellets went into 0.945-inches at 25 yards. If the group had been only one or two tenths larger than the first group I would call it a tie, because I am a part of this test, too. I can’t be that consistent from group to group. But, going from just over four tenths to greater than nine tenths is a big jump. I have to say that this rifle does not do its best when the hand is back by the triggerguard.
The last artillery hold I tested was with my off hand resting under the end of the forearm, which is as far as I can reach comfortably. That hold gave me 10 shots in 0.732-inches. That’s better than the triggerguard hold, but still significantly larger than the hold under the middle of the cocking slot.
Resting on the bag
At this point in the test I thought it would be good to test the rifle resting directly on the sandbag. Because the HW85 does recoil I thought this would be the biggest group of the test, but it wasn’t. Ten Premiers went into 0.536-inches. That is the second-smallest group! It’s located half an inch higher than the first group, but that is to be expected. All the groups moved around just a bit when the hold was changed.
I noticed that I was getting tired from all the concentration by this point in the test. So I decided to shoot one more group with my off hand in the middle of the coking slot — so you could see how I was doing. If the group was of similar size to the first group, you known that I’m still doing my best. If it’s larger, you know that it’s time for me to stop.
This time I was doing very well for the first 4 shots. I thought I might beat the first group. Then a pellet landed low and away from the main group. It more than doubled the group size and was not a called pull. Either the pellet was bad or I was indeed getting tired.
The final shot landed to the extreme left of the main group, again underscoring the fact that I was tired. In this group 8 shots landed in 0.433-inches, and 10 were in 0.912-inches at 25 yards. It’s not a good group and I am almost positive that I was the reason it wasn’t.
It was clearly time for me to stop shooting. The group-within-a-group was in line with what the rifle was capable of, but the two stray shots seemed to be all on me.
It would seem that in my hands the HW85 likes the off hand to be placed under the middle of the cocking slot when the artillery hold is used. Is that absolute? No. The sandbag rest was also tight, and the hand slid forward to the end of the forearm was not that far off the pace. The hand by the triggerguard seems to be the only choice that was not good. So, when I go out to 50 yards, I can try the bag rest and the middle of the cocking slot.
I gave in to GunFun1’s request for this test because, like him, I also wanted to know what worked best. When you have an air rifle that has repeatable accuracy like this HW85 it’s worth the effort to find out the best way to hold it.