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Education / Training The Haenel 311 target rifle: Part 4

The Haenel 311 target rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Haenel 311
Haenel 311 target rifle.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Air Arms Falcon|
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • Alibi
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • Qiang Yuan Training 
  • Gamo Match
  • Discussion
  • Summary

I’m doing this accuracy test because I discovered that in a test run many years ago I shot my best targets when holding the Haenel 311 target rifle with an artillery hold. In the last test I laid the rifle directly on the sandbag and I wondered how the artillery hold would affect the groups.

The test

I shot 5-shot groups with each pellet, but with one pellet I shot several groups for different reasons. I did try my hardest to shoot well. I shot from 10 meters.

Air Arms Falcon

First up was the Air Arms Falcon pellet — the only domed pellet in the test. In the last test with the rifle resting on the sandbag, the 311 put 5 Falcons into a 0.466-inch group. This time using the artillery hold the same Falcon pellet went into 0.571-inches. It’s close, but the bag rest seems better.

311 Falcon group
Using the artillery hold, the Haenel 311 put 5 Air Arms Falcons into 0.571-inches at 10 meters.

I noticed that the pellets were hitting the target high, but since I had many different pellets to test I left the sights where they were. I mentioned in the last report that the Haenel rear sight does not have marks to indicate which way to turn the adjustment knobs, and it always takes me a long time to figure it out.

H&N Finale Match Light

The H&N Finale Match Light wadcutter is the pellet I shot many times in this test. The first group was the smallest for the pellet, as well as for the test, with five pellets going into 0.278-inches, center-to-center. 

311 Finale Light group1
This first group of H&N Finale Match Light pellets was the best group of the test.

Okay, now I had a heavier pellet that was also hitting high and right. It was time to adjust the sights. The next target I used to fiddle with the sights — figuring out which way to turn the knobs. When I finished I had the Finale Match Target pellet hitting close tom the center of the bullseye.

This group also hit the target high and slightly right, and I wanted to adjust it closer to the center of the bull. So the next target I used to adjust the sights down and to the left. I probably fired 6 or 7 shots at that one and it looked like I had the pellets striking the center.

On the next target I fired 6 shots at the bull. Yes, Yogi, I miscounted! This group measures 0.538-inches between centers. It is centered better, but also spread out more than the first one with this pellet.

311 Finale Light group2
The second group of Finale Match Light pellets has 6 shots instead of five. It measures 0.538-inches between centers.


An alibi in a match is when a shooter has a problem that may allow him to shoot again. I had one in this test that I need to tell you about. The automatic safety on this 311 has not been right since I disassembled the rifle several decades ago. Now it’s getting worse and it’s affecting the trigger. I have to pull it out and push it back in several times to get the trigger to function.

The trigger was both heavier and less responsive in this test than it has ever been. I can usually deal with a bad trigger, but not when it’s on a 10 meter rifle. I am certain that it caused me to throw many shots throughout today’s test.

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RWS R10 Match Pistol

Next I tried five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets. They are also well-centered on the target but not tight. Five went into 0.495-inches at 10 meters.

311 R10 Match Pistol group
The Haenel 311 put five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets into 0.495-inches at 10 meters.

Qiang Yuan Training 

The next pellet I tested was the Qiang Yuan Training pellet. These pellets sometime surprise us with their accuracy. But not in the Haenel 311. Five went into 0.509-inches at 10 meters. While that’s okay compared to the other pellets today, it’s hardly in the running for a 10-meter target rifle .

311 Qiang Yuan Training group
Five Qiang Yuan Training pellets went into 0.509-inches at 10 meters.

Gamo Match

The last pellet I tried was the Gamo Match. That’s the pellet that put five into a group with no measurable dimension, back in 2011.

311 Gamo Match 2011
Back in 2011 this 311 put five Gamo Match pellets into a group that was too small to measure.

In this test the 5-shot group was larger — at 0.395-inches between centers for five shots, but I am certain the trigger caused some of that.

311 Gamo Match group
Even with a lousy trigger the 311 likes the Gamo Match pellet. Five are in 0.395-inches at 10 meters.


Does the artillery hold make the Haenel 311 more accurate? I think you can see that it doesn’t. Resting directly on a bag is fine, given the rifle’s low recoil.

This particular 311 needs some work. I have discovered than many 311 shooters remove all the automatic safety parts to get them out of their way, and the problems I am having with the trigger are probably why they do that.

Overall the 311 is a delightful target rifle with the two exceptions of the automatic safety and the effort it takes to cock the rifle. The cocking probably can’t be fixed but that auto safety is probably something to consider.

By the way, I am adding a Haenel 312 sidelever target rifle to the list of airguns I’m looking to purchase. I have never even shot one of those.


This will be my last look at the Haenel 311 for a long time. It’s decent but doesn’t inspire me like other vintage target rifles, such as the Walther LGV, do.

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.

45 thoughts on “The Haenel 311 target rifle: Part 4”

  1. BB,

    Nice shooting. Glad you are doing well enough to do so. Will you be riding the new bike again? Readjust it? Get another/something different?


  2. BB,

    It is a shame you had to use an alibi for this air rifle.

    You say it does not inspire you. Well, It is not very inspiring looking. Of course, beauty is what beauty does. It just don’t does. Maybe you should take all of those auto safety parts out, oil them, put them in a plastic bag and figure how not to lose them until you can find someone who knows how to put it back together right.

    Maybe she will inspire you a bit more then. 😉

  3. BB,

    “I am human”,…. CAPTCHA,…. not sure if you can do anything about this? Today,… I had to go through no less than 10 pages of poor, small pictures. It has been just 2 for awhile. This is the 1st site I hit after waking. Fact is,… I am not human until I have had my coffee or at least a few sips. 😉

    Point is, this is a pain. No other site I have log in’s for does this. They are automatically saved. PA thinks I am new customer every time despite being a long time blogger and customer.

    If this is PA’s I.T.’s solution to a problem,…. they need to find another,.. solution. I do not see people putting up with this hassle for very long. My computer shows this site as 100% safe and no ads are being blocked.

    See what you can do or find out,.. if anything.

    Thanks,….. Chris

    • Chris is right on this one! The umbrella is the easiest one to see. Whether something is a bus or a train is almost impossible to make out in the small pictures.


      • BB

        Yes to Chris and Yogi comments about the new login. A few days ago I was quite frustrated trying to use a magnifying glass to see buses and umbrellas plus there are 3 pictures I can’t click on. Happily I finally passed muster. I have enjoyed your reports for years now and depend on you and readers to broaden my knowledge in a hobby I enjoy.

        Just wondering if I can pass the “I am not a robot” test next time.


      • B.B.,

        FWIW, this “prove you’re human” process seems to be less tricky than they have in the past for me. But the umbrellas one is easier for me than the buses or boats.


  4. Billj,

    This is in reference to your previous post concerning the trigger on your Slavia 618.

    There are many factors involved with direct engagement or single stage triggers that contribute to the characteristics of “the pull”. From your description it sounds as if there is a lot of pressure on the engagement point or as you mention, the geometry / angle of the engagement is wrong.

    You say you have tried various lubricants. Have you tried Moly grease?


    This stuff works pretty good, but handle with care or it will get all over everything, including you.

    As far as the geometry is concerned, unless you really know what you are doing I would not mess with it. Any attempts to modify this could possibly make it dangerous and / or remove any hardened surface the parts may have.

    Tyler Patner tested a “new” Benjamin sproinger a while back that had a trigger pull over seven pounds.

    There are several Slavia 618 owners about. Maybe they can help you with your issue.

        • RR,

          I didn’t realize at a glance that it was the Model 50 you pictured with the, uh, cantilevered scope mount. I don’t recall mine bucking that much, but it has been a couple years, perhaps.

          I recall mine has the shallow Diana grooved strip on the tube, but not a full-fledged, deep dovetail mount similar to more recent springers. As you know the grooves are to mate with the grooves on the bottom of the Diana peep sight, which provides sufficient traction. I’ve never scoped mine (or very many of my air guns period).


    • Michael and Dave,

      As you gentlemen have apparently noticed, the Diana 50 had more recoil than I was expecting. I may have to install a scope stop the next time around.

      • “I may have to install a scope stop the next time around.”
        Yeah, man! My first “sproinger” was a .177 caliber RWS 45; I got it used with a 4X scope, that had a scope stop behind it. HOWEVER, I had never shot a springer; the only air rifle I had shot was my no-recoil Sheridan. So, I was like, “What’s this thing?,” and I took it off. Then, as I sighted in the rifle, I saw my shots hitting higher and higher on the target, till finally the scope popped off and hit me in the eye!
        Thank God, I caught it before it hit the ground (that was back in my 20s; I had better reflexes then, LOL); then, realizing what it might be for, I put the scope stop back ON the rifle, and all was well. =>

  5. B.B.,

    If the geometry of the 311 makes it as hard to cock as you have described, I can’t blame you for putting this one aside for a long while.

    I found myself shooting my Crosman M1 Carbine a lot one day because it’s so much fun. I developed a technique where I could cock it without pressing the muzzle against anything if I used a forceful snapping motion with my off-hand. I probably shot it more than 100 times in a couple hours. As I rolled out of bed the next morning I discovered I had given myself a painful case of tennis elbow. I’ve since learned (I hope) to keep track of how long I’ve been doing any repetitive motion.

    Remember to take it easy.


  6. Guys,

    for those of you having trouble with the CAPCHA checking if you are human, on the right side of the screen when you are going through the photos is an option to download something called “Privacy Pass”. You can download it from one of the “stores” and it is a app that apparently remembers that you are human. I did that the last time and just logged in with no issues what so ever. Hope this helps.

    Fred formerly of the DPRoNJ now happily in hot and humid Georgia

    • Fred,

      I think I tried that one day. I got no where or dead ended,.. I don’t remember now. I do not download apps like most people. I am sure there is some I would like,…. but that is not the point. I am being forced to be tested every morning when NO OTHER site I visit requires this. OR, I am being forced to download some app.! PA thinks I am a new customer every time I log in. HUH? I wonder how many times,.. if at all,… that 10% discount would work?

      This needs fixed INM (rather forwards) O.


  7. B.B.,

    “This particular 311 needs some work. I have discovered than many 311 shooters remove all the automatic safety parts to get them out of their way, and the problems I am having with the trigger are probably why they do that.”

    After the rest of your commentary on the trigger drill you must go through that is a Gross Understatement! Wow!

    On sign in to the Blog today something NEW happened a screen popped up indicating something was checking my Browser and then flipped right to the sign in page!

    If that is the New Normal that would be great!


  8. B.B.,
    From an engineering perspective alone, I like to read your reports on the emerging technology of the latest and greatest airguns. However, and I don’t think I’m in a miniscule minority here, I also love these “blast from the past” reports about old wood and steel airguns; while they are no longer in production, due to their quality of manufacture, many of these old gals are still available online; and they just need a bit of TLC to return them to service.
    I recall from reading his guest blog ( /blog/2019/03/diy-rifle-stock-part-6/ ) that Hank (Vana2) thought enough of his 55-year-old Slavia 618 to make a beautiful new custom stock for her. Also, I see some comments from RidgeRunner and Bill about the Slavia 618. Hence, I for one, would like to see a set of reports (like you just did on the Haenel 311) be done on the Slavia 618. There seems to be a bunch of these little rifles still about; and it appears (if properly restored) that they would make a nice youth gun. And as I recall from your involvement with the development of the Bronco, you have a heart for such things. Just my 2 cents. =>
    Thanking you once again for all you do for the airgun community,

  9. B.B,
    3 full months away from work; I can’t complain though, I am doing well (seriously).
    Warching The Thin Man (1934). Nick got a break barrel air pistol for Christmas. I was surprised.
    Glad I got through. No Internet at home except this little phone with an OS written Java. It is small and tedious, unlike my Marauders.
    I hope you and your readers are doing well.

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