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Education / Training HW 30S: Part 14

HW 30S: Part 14

HW 30S
The HW 30S.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4 — Rekord trigger
Part 5 — lube tune
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12
Part 13

This report covers:

  • The test
  • The day
  • Target
  • Sight-in?
  • JSB Exact 8.44-grains
  • Adjusted the rear sight
  • Air Arms 8.4 grain dome
  • Second sight adjustment
  • JSB Exact Heavy 
  • Why not shoot a fourth group?
  • Discussion
  • Summary

I will be attending the Arkansas airgun show in Malvern on October 8th and 9th, so if you are in the area, please stop by my tables and say hi.

Today I shoot the HW 30S at 50 yards with the peep sight. This should be interesting for those who are watching this air rifle.

The test

I shot off a sandbag rest at 50 yards with the rifle rested directly on the bag. I shot 10-shot groups today. I shot at AirForce Airguns, where there is a small outdoor range that’s mostly out of the wind, so I used my DOA portable shooting bench.

The day

The day was perfect for an outdoor long range test. There was barely a breath of air and the sun was shining bright. The temperature was in the high 70s, F, (25 C) so it was very comfortable for me.


There was some discussion by our readers of what kind of targets I should select, since I’m shooting with the AirForce Edge target peep sight. Since I normally use a scope at 50 yards, this isn’t common for me to try. At 25 yards I use 10-meter pistol targets whose bull is just under 2-1/2-inches in diameter. At that range the size is perfect but at 50 yards that bull is too small to facilitate precise aiming.

In the past I have used 50-foot timed and rapid-fire pistol targets whose bull is a little larger than the 10 meter targets. They worked well with my Remington model 37 Rangemaster target rifle, but just the sights on that rifle cost more than the HW 30S and the AirForce peep sight, combined.

I settled on a 25-yard slow-fire pistol target whose bull measures 5-1/4-inches across. At 50 yards it fills the peephole of the AirForce Edge sight perfectly, with a little white all around to center the bull with ease.


The 30S was on target at 25 yards, as we saw in Part 12, so I didn’t attempt to adjust the sights for the start of this test. I did have my Meopta spotting scope with me, because 50 yards is a long way and seeing a pellet hole is difficult — especially when it’s in the black.

Stock Up on Shooting Gear

JSB Exact 8.44-grains

The first pellet to be shot was the JSB Exact 8.44-grain dome that was very accurate at 25 yards. But I couldn’t see the first shot on the target, even through the spotting scope. That meant two things. First, the shot hit somewhere in the black and second, because the pellet is domed and not traveling very fast, the target paper probably closed back after the pellet passed through. Only one thing to do — walk down and look.

When I looked I saw that indeed the pellet had hit inside the 8-ring of the the black and also the paper had closed the hole. But this meant the pellet was hitting the bull, so I went back to the bench and fired 9 more shots without looking through the spotting scope again.

Ten pellets landed in a vertical group that measures 2.807-inches between centers. The lower 9 measure 1.699 between centers.

HW 30S JSB 844 50 yards
The HW 30S put 10 JSB Exact 8.44-grain domes into 2.807-inches at 50 yards. Don’t overlook that first shot in the black (arrow).

When I retrieved the target I saw that the group was low, so I adjusted the peep sight. And when I did I went the wrong way. I adjusted it without looking at the adjustment arrows. 

Adjusted the rear sight

I adjusted the rear sight without thinking or looking at the arrow engraved on the knob. For a rear sight to go higher you twist the knob counterclockwise, no?

No! The Edge sight adjusts just the opposite, so the 10 clicks I put in lowered the impact about three quarters of an inch.

Air Arms 8.4 grain dome

The Air Arms 8.4-grain dome is a pellet I haven’t tested until now. Given the weight, I suspected it would be similar to the previous 8.44-grain JSB, but let’s see.

Ten of these pellets went into 2.283-inches at 50 yards. But that lower hole may be a pulled shot. The rifle did fire several times before I was ready. I tried to be on target before I touched the trigger, but mistakes happen. Nine of the pellets are in 1.262-inches and I believe that is more representative of what the 30S can do with this pellet.

HW 30S Air Arms 84 50 yards
Ten Air Arms 8.4-grain domes made this 2.283-inch group at 50 yards. The lower hole may have been caused when the trigger broke unexpectedly. Nine of the pellets are in 1.162-inches, which is better than one inch less.

I think this pellet shows a lot of promise. I plan to use it in future tests.

Second sight adjustment

I was about to shoot a much heavier pellet that I knew would drop lower, so I adjusted the rear sight 30 clicks up, and this time I did it by following the arrow on the adjustment knob. Ten clicks returned it to where it was before the last adjustment and 20 more clicks adjusted it even higher. 

JSB Exact Heavy 

The 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavy pellet was the last one I tried at 50 yards. Hopefully the sight adjustment got the pellets landing high enough on the target. I should have paid more attention to the 25-yard test as this pellet also went to the left, but I made no adjustment correction for that.

Well, the pellets landed very low on the target. The Edge target sight has such fine adjustment clicks that 50 clicks up would have been more appropriate. Only 7 of the ten pellets hit the target paper. I could see one or two more at the bottom of the box just outside the paper and one probably missed altogether.

The seven pellets that did hit the paper landed in a vertical group that measures 1.423-inches between centers, but of course that’s not representative of ten shots. So I can’t say how accurate this pellet is in the HW 30s — only that it is probably too heavy for this rifle at 50 yards.

HW 30S JSB Heavy 50 yards
Even with the sight adjustment the JSB Exact Heavy pellets didn’t all stay on the paper. These seven are in 1.423-inches between centers. The top holes are three hits.

Why not shoot a fourth group?

Why didn’t I adjust the rear sight up more and shoot another group with this pellet? Two reasons. One, they were running short and I had a second rifle to test with them. And two, I wanted to get the second test done while the wind was still very light. So, I ended the test at this point.


I learned a lot from this test. First I learned that the HW 30S is probably not a 50-yard air rifle. Yes it can be shot that far, and if the shooter plays with it the rifle can do okay, but it is far more suited to 25 yards and under.

Next, I learned that the trigger is probably still set too light. The rifle fired before I was ready more than once in today’s test. 

Finally I learned that the Air Arms 8.4-grain dome that I tried for the first time today is a good pellet. I will have to work it into other tests in the future.


I wanted to conduct this test so I can switch the Edge peep sight over to the HW 50S when the time comes. That will happen in the next couple of weeks.

I don’t know if I am done testing the HW 30S, but I’ve certainly given her a thorough look so far!

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.

118 thoughts on “HW 30S: Part 14”

  1. BB
    That’s pretty good with the peep sight at 50 yards.

    I say one more test at 50 yards but with a scope. I bet the scope will tighten the groups a little more. And I would give the 10.34 grain pellets another chance with the scope and the trigger set a little heavier. From what I have seen with my hw50 it does group better with the trigger set a little heavier. And I usually like a light trigger. But the heavier trigger on my 50 is working for me. And remember my 50 is detuned.

  2. BB,

    I too vote for a scoped HW30s at 50 yards. I suppose that “other” gun you were going to shoot at that range was the RAW HM-1000X? Hmm…Coincidentally could the HW30 be for 30 yards and the HW50s for 50 yards?


  3. Don’t believe FM is going to try shooting the HW95 at 95 yards – or meters. But may install that glowy front globe and see what difference it makes at 25 yards.

    May the Force of Healing be with you, RR.

  4. BB,

    I am with Derrick. I want to see the Crosman Quest 1000 at 1000 yards, with a scope of course.

    Will the HW30S do better at 50 yards with a scope? Duh, yeah. Should you try it? Only if you want to play with it some more.

    I shot the Edge with the plenum extension and scope at 50 yards, using JSB RS pellets. They chronied at a little over 700 FPS and ten shots formed a nice, round group of .8 inches CTC at that range.

    I need to get me another AirForce airgun.

  5. B.B. on a calm day, would a lighter, faster pellet have a better chance at grouping at distance from a sproinger than a heavier pellet? I am thinking of HN’s Field Target Trophy Green or Baracuda Green non-lead pellets.

    • Roamin,

      In my experience, no. Lighter pellets get blown around easily, while heavier pellet tend to stay on track. I know you said a calm day. but even then there is some wind.


  6. B.B.,

    Great 50 yard session with peep!

    The vertical stringing on all of the targets more or less makes me wonder if the barrel lockup is ever so slightly loose. The only alternative explanation for the gun/powerplant doing that is because it isn’t broken in completely (hard to believe with all your testing) or never will be. I know it isn’t your shooting table/seat since the DOA is amazing; as stable as most fixed concrete ones in my experience.
    BTW Do you have a clamp attachment for your spotting scope; I’m in the market for a very stable one…suggestions?


    • shootski,

      My spotting scope is a Meopta HD 80. It has a threaded camera mount to attach to a tripod.

      Read about it here:



      • B.B.,

        Thank you for the quick reply.

        I was hoping you had a solution to the table)/bench mount vibration problem.

        I have been using a HEAVY Bogen video camera tripod for years for my very Old Bosch & Lomb non zoom spotting scope. It weighs a few tons but with the right fixed magnification eyepiece selected causes almost no eye fatigue. If i ever replace it MEOPTA is probably going to get my business.


      • Gunfun1,

        Interesting. I’ll need to wrap my brain around your observation and the mechanical reason. Maybe it is spring gun specific an area I am just learning about…at long last. I just don’t immediately see the why. I have shot very light (too light) triggers and can’t remember vertical being the result; usually it caused scattering with no logical rhyme nor reason readable on the targets. Remember that shooting was done with firearms and pneumatic airguns not spring piston.
        Even now I am just learning Gas Spring with 2+ lb trigger and not Coil Spring…I wonder…?


          • Gunfun1,

            If I hadn’t spent hours and hours learning how to move my trigger fingers with the least possible connection to the rest of my hand(s) muscle actions I could get that. I’m still thinking on the vertical stringing; maybe B.B. will figure it out at some point.

            One other thing did come to mind and that is the back and forth action of a spring piston powerplant making a gun have a nodding movement if on a hand or a bag… that’s a reach though…


        • Shootski
          Like I said. Think about a trigger stop and what happens when you adjust it. Then think about trigger follow through.

          Trust me trigger pressure makes a difference.

          Don’t make me ask why you haven’t seen that yet with all your studying all the time.


          • For the benefit of my fellow newbies, recently an airgun that I had shooting nice round groups suddenly started stringing vertically with known accurate pellets. I traced the problem to a peep sight that was getting loose in its vertical adjustment mechanism. I had to return it, and the replacement is tighter (for now). This is not likely to be B.B.’s problem, but it always pays to check that everything is tight before and after a shooting session.

  7. O.K., let me tap into the combined wisdom here. I recently purchased a used .177 HW 30 in what appears to be very nice cosmetic condition. It chrono’s at an average of 671 FPS with Hobby’s.

    It came with a set of Sports Match rings. I mounted an older UTG 3-9 BugBuster on it, putting two layers of black friction tape on the bottom half of the rear scope mount (as is my habit to compensate for the chronic barrel droop every springer seems to have).

    I tried to optically center the scope on a mirror, but all I could dimly see was the circle of the scope offset to the side by about 1/4. I settled for counting the number of clicks L-R and Up-Down and setting it roughly in the middle.

    To sight in, I shot RWS Meisterkugeln at 20′. The first two shots are 1 1/2″ left and 2 1/2″ high. My experience indicates that probably is going to require more adjustment than I’m going to make with the scope.

    My options seem to be:

    1.) Try another set of rings…could these rings really be off my that much?
    2.) Try another scope…maybe this one is just screwed up?
    3.) Bend the barrel to the right and down to bring it close enough to the point of aim that I can finish sighting in with the scope’s adjustments?

    I’m wondering if the previous owner decided to sell it because he ran into a similar problem? I am, however, a determined “fix it” guy, so I’m going to do what it take to remedy this. But what is the remedy?

    Thoughts from the group?

    St. Louis, MO

    • Motorman,

      If those Sportsmatch rings are two-piece there are several different ways to mount them to correct the problem. Swap them front and back and turn each around in its place.

      If they are one piece rings all you can do is turn them around.

      Your rifle is shooting high at 20 feet. Either back up to 10 meters or go closer to 10 feet. At 10 feet the pellet should strike at the center of the optical line and as far above the bore line as the optical line is (the center of the scope tube). At 33 feet the pellet should strike an inch high to be on at 20-30 yards.

      Your rifle could have a bent barrel from firing while open. Sight along the outside of it and see if that’s the case.


    • Motorman,

      If you have a known good scope swap it like you said in your “2.)”

      You could try to optically recenter the scope but this time light the mirror with a very bright light source. Counting clicks does much the same and as accurately.
      Take the friction tape out and see if the rings are the issue. Turn the rings around one at a time, swap them front to back, reverse the rings, one change at a time. Shoot groups on a large target and see if they group. Then see if the groups move as you change things one change per group.

      Hope you find the problem quickly and it doesn’t require bending anything!


    • I’m no expert, that’s for sure, but you mentioned rings, but not the base. If it were me, before I try bending a barrel, which is not a reversible change, I would probably try an adjustable scope base.

      How does it shoot with iron sights? Perhaps the barrel is already bent or the bore out of concentric alignment with the barrel.

        • Maybe so, B.B., but with my luck, I would end up with an S-shaped barrel, or I would bend it back the other way too far. Too risky, IMHO. So for myself, being relatively risk-averse, I would exhaust all other alternatives, first.

          BTW, I have no pride of authorship, so if I am off base about the adjustable bases suggestion, I would appreciate being corrected. And thanks in advance.

    • Motorman,

      You’ve already received some good advice. B.B.’s advice on turning your rings around, one at a time, and even swapping them front to back (if they’re two piece) works wonders sometimes.

      Before doing this I’d suggest removing the scope and rings and shooting it with open sights to see if you have the same Point Of Impact issue.

      Don’t be afraid of bending the barrel if necessary. Not sure why everyone is shaking at the idea of bending a barrel. It’s done at the factory frequently. Here’s a barrel bending machine:

      • Kevin,

        Never had the need to bend a barrel so far…

        If I had a jig like the one in the picture I wouldn’t worry about bending a barrel. Of course if I had the experience based skill of the guy in the picture i wouldn’t hesitate; not even for a New York minute!

        I have read how Tom does it and I still like the control that the barrel bender offers.


      • Kevin
        Yep at the factory. But they bend it to make it straight. The old FX factory tour video was a good video.

        My question always is why is that gun shooting off aim point.

        Check all the other things first. Then if you think the barrel really needs bent then go for it and let us know how it goes. A positive barrel bend is something I’m always interested in.

        • Roamin, shootski, etc.,

          Don’t laugh. I’ve used the lower fork in an old cottonwood on my property to bend barrels. I believe folks are intimidated and are overthinking this process.

          Barrel bending shouldn’t be your first choice for accuracy issues but it should be in your toolkit

          • I’m not laughing at you Kevin, I’m just making a good-natured tip of the hat to you. But I will admit to being too tired (lazy) to search the blog to refresh my recollection of whose cottonwood it was. Actually, I agree with you. My Embark is shooting to the right, even with the peep all the way to the left, but I am in a dialog now through P.A. with a tech from Air Venturi. We’ll see what he says. I also asked about drilling and tapping the Air Venturi Peep for a scope stop pin. More later. Until I exhaust other possibilities I don’t think I will try to bend my first barrel. But if this is to be my first, I’m glad the Embark is only a $100 gun. In fact, I have my Crosman 760 pump master from my youth that has kicked the bucket, and I could practice on that barrel first.

    • Thanks for all the great responses! I’ll let you know how it all works out. May take a while as I’m involved in some outside projects while the moderate weather lasts. When it rains I have time to work on the HW 30…

      St. Louis, MO

  8. All I have some news about one of our blog readers. He said I can say that we touched bases and let us all know what has been going on.

    Chris USA has been dealing with a aggressive throat cancer. He said to not go into all the details

    He said he has been wanting to get on the blog but other priorities have been keeping him from it.

    We should all say a prayer for him.

    • Much obliged all. Prayers are all I can ask for. It is what it is. I am getting top level care at OSU/Wexner. Staying with my brother due to treatment proximity,… but taking care of myself. Doing fine otherwise. I will be checking in and doing my best to beat this over the long term. Miss ya’ all and the regular banter.


  9. I don’t think, these groups would be significant smaller by using a scope. Vetical strings normally mean, there is a problem with the rest. Often it comes from resting a springer directly on the sandbag. Somebody invented a thing called “artillery hold”. Maybe you should try it with your HW30S.

  10. Tom, as a big fan of both lower-powered springers and aperture sights, I’ve REALLY enjoyed this series! Great fun with a great airgun…

    Question: have you ever explored the accessories available for match diopter sights? The AirForce unIt has the standard Euro-spec eyepiece threading, so you could use the adjustable rear sight irises made by Gehmann and Centra. These can be acquired with colored filters, polarizers, and a focusing 1.5x magnifying lens, in literally any combination. Some of those goodies (especially the lens of course) are a BIG help to old codgers like me – and will bring the sight’s performance even closer to a scope.

    Oh, and forgive me if you’ve covered this at some point in the past, but a really cool feature of the AirForce sight is that the diopter unit can be removed from its base, and mounted by placing its front “eyeshade” component into a 1-inch scope ring! Gives a lighter and more compact installation (though of course you give up some of the sight’s huge vertical adjustment range).

    • Mike,
      A reader asked me to check that a few weeks ago and I did. My Gehmann adjustable aperture with colored lenses does not fit the AirForce sight.

      Wow! I didn’t know about the one-inch ring trick! Always learning from you, Mike.


  11. B.B.,
    I believe you can shoot better with peep sights than I can with a scope, LOL!
    But I thought people might like to see a data point on a .22 caliber HW30S.
    Hence, I dug out the ol’ gal, and measured off 50 yards. Those 13.43-grain JSBs are only leaving the muzzle at 485 fps, so there is quite a bit of drop at the 50 yard line; I found that holding up the 3rd mil dot puts me on target at 50 yards, but I find it hard to hold a dot in the center of an “X;” I find it much easier to hold a cross over an “X,” and that’s why you see the pellets hitting so far below the target. Also, it was windy today, and I noted that those big old slow .22 pellets drifted to the left. But these little HW30S rifles can shoot.
    Take care & God bless,

    • Yogi,
      With a decent scope, I took down plenty of squirrels with my .177 caliber R7 (Beeman’s version of the HW30S), between 10 and 20 yards. But now I have other more powerful guns for dealing with varmints. Where these little rifles really shine are in the category of “fun guns.” And whether we are talking airguns or firearms, I think we need more fun guns, since the more people we teach to have fun with a gun, the less anti-gunners there shall be. =>
      Happy shooting to you,

  12. It’s inconceivable, but I’m still waiting for my new HW30S after buying it weeks ago! Something is wrong, HW cannot be bought in Germany! End of the world…

    As always, you motivated me to do the zero check when I finally get it. My older son (8yo) is waiting for it and asks every day when he will finally be home. I will stay with the downpowered spring for him. I expect to have approx. 7J energy. Easy to cock and enough for 10m range. 🙂

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