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Education / Training Haenel 312 10-meter target air rifle: Part 3

Haenel 312 10-meter target air rifle: Part 3

Haenel 312
Haenel 312.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Adjusted the trigger
  • No access to mainspring
  • The test
  • Sight in?
  • RWS R10 Match Heavy
  • Discussion
  • Adjusted the rear sight
  • Qiang Yuan Training pellet
  • Pinwheel
  • H&N Finale Match Light
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • Sig Ballistic Match
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the Haenel 312 10-meter target rifle. After the test of the FWB 600 last week this should be interesting. Let’s get started.

Adjusted the trigger

As I mentioned I would at the end of the last report, I removed the barreled action from the stock to tighten that jam nut on the trigger adjustment screw. Once the action was out of the stock there was a lot better access to that nut, though the trigger does live inside a box with steel sides. Still, I found it easy to hold the adjustment screw in place as I tightened the nut with a second screwdriver.

312 trigger adjustment screw
Looking down on the trigger adjustment screw and jam nut behind the trigger blade.  

312 trigger right side
This is what the right side of the trigger looks like. Remember, it’s upside-down in this picture.

312 trigger left side
And here is the left side.

No access to mainspring

I must report that there is zero access to the 312’s mainspring from the outside. Not a single slot or hole goes through the spring tube to get to that spring. So if I want to quiet the spring I will have to disassemble the rifle. It looks far simpler than the Haenel 311 bolt-action target rifle action, and I think I will take a chance with it.

The test

Today I shot the 312 from a sandbag rest at 10 meters with the rifle rested directly on the bag. Though the 312 vibrates a lot, there is almost no recoil, so a direct bag rest seemed right. I shot 5-shot groups and I used the same five pellets that I used to test the FWB 600 last week.

Sight in?

The rifle has been apart several times, so I wondered if a sight-in was necessary. By that I mean — was it necessary to go down to 12 feet from the target and see where the pellet hits? I decided against it and shot the first group from 10 meters, as described above.

Stock up on Air Gun Ammo

RWS R10 Match Heavy

The first pellet I tested was the RWS R10 Match Heavy. The first shot hit high inside the bull. It was above the center but inline with it left and right. Is I decided to just finish that group before adjusting the rear sight.

Five pellets went into a group at 10 meters that measures 0.241-inches between centers.

312 R10 Heavy group
The Haenel 312 put five RWS R10 Match Heavy pellets into a 0.241-inch group at 10 meters.

Discussion

The firing cycle seems smooth, apart from the mainspring vibration that goes on forever. As I said, the recoil is almost nothing. But the trigger? Yuck! It’s a long, creepy single stage that does nothing to help my aiming. I just keep squeezing and eventually the rifle fires.

Maybe I’m being too critical of the 312 after shooting the FWB 600. But I’m trying to be objective. The 312 is just not a target rifle I enjoy shooting. Perhaps after I quiet that spring I’ll like it more, but that trigger is horrible!

Adjusted the rear sight

After this first group I adjusted the rear sight down six clicks. I’m pleased to report that the 312’s rear sight has positive clicks, so you know where you are going. The adjustment screw works backwards (screw to the left to adjust down) but that’s the German influence. 

Qiang Yuan Training pellet

Next to be tried was the Qiang Yuan Training pellet. At ten meters five of them went into a group that measures 0.295-inches between centers.

312 Chinese Training group
The Haenel 312 put five Qiang Yuan Training pellets into a 0.295-inch group at 10 meters.

I saw that the first shot looked very close to the center of the bull, but as you see, the group went up after that. So I put in another 4 clicks of downward elevation.

Pinwheel

The next pellet to be fired was the H&N Finale Match Light wadcutter. When the first shot was a pinwheel, I stopped shooting and went downrange to take a picture. I talk about pinwheels all the time but I don’t think I have ever shown one until now. This shot is an almost perfect pinwheel, meaning it hit the exact center of the bullseye.

312 pinwheel
There is an almost perfect pinwheel shot.

I took that photo because I could see that the 312 doesn’t group very tight. When you see what the remaining four pellets did I think you’ll agree.

H&N Finale Match Light

The Haenel 312 put five H&N Finale Match Light pellets into a 0.259-inch group at 10 meters. Four are together and one wandered off by itself.

312 Finale Light group
The 312 put five H&N Finale Match Light pellets into a 0.259-inch group at 10 meters.

RWS R10 Match Pistol

Next up was the RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet. I reckoned it was a little light for the 312, given the power we saw in Part Two, but what the heck? The 312 put five of them into a 0.227-inch group at 10 meters. It is the smallest group of the test.

312 R10 Match Pistol group
Five RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets made the smallest group of the test — 0.227-inches between centers.

Sig Ballistic Match

The last pellet I tested was the 5.25-grain Sig Match Ballistic Alloy wadcutter. Did you notice in the last group all the pellets hit low on the bullseye? They are lighter and therefore faster and leave the muzzle before the rifle has a chance to rise in recoil, not that there is much. 

Ballistic Alloy pellets are much lighter and they dropped off the black bullseye of the target altogether. I could tell by their faster time of flight that they were much faster than any other pellet. Five pellets went into 0.364-inches at 10 meters, which is also the largest group of the test. This is not the pellet for the 312.

312 Ballistic Match group
The 312 put 5 Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets into 0.364-inches at 10 meters. It is the largest group of the test.

Summary

The Haenel 312 is turning out pretty much as I supposed. It’s rough around the edges and not up to world class competition, but is certainly accurate enough for local and regional matches.

I will continue to work with the trigger in hopes of making it better. And I guess I’m going to open this rifle up to calm that mainspring.

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.

22 thoughts on “Haenel 312 10-meter target air rifle: Part 3”

  1. BB,

    This is one of the few cases where the shooter should be a trigger snob. I can’t imagine shooting this offhand in competition. The only way this could be called good is if the shooter doesn’t know any better triggers.

    Siraniko

  2. “It’s rough around the edges and not up to world class competition, but is certainly accurate enough for…”
    B.B., I would say, “accurate enough for ol’ dave, as it shoots better than he can. 🙂

  3. I mentioned recently that I will try to bring the Walther mod. 55 back to live. I did, I mean I tried… Unfortunately the trigger mechnism is at his end and it does not hold for 100% sure. I should swap the piston seal to make it work again but in this case I refused to do it. It would be dangerous with this trigger. The shoot cycle and cocking is very smooth, it was a very nice airgun. Probably also very accurate, the barrel and crowning looks very good.
    So there it is, the old stuff have some issues. It is a pity that there is no easy way to fix it.
    In this case you have a bad trigger but it holds at least.

    • Tomek,

      Finding parts for these old gals can be quite challenging, but the reward of getting a one-hundred-year-old air rifle shooting like it used to is awesome.

      • Ridge,

        100% true! I asked about it and the owner is not so motivated… Actually, it would be easier to buy a “new” one which is working fine then rather to find the trigger assy which is “as new one” 🙂 If it was my rifle I would do it right!

        • Tomek,

          Unless he wants to pay you, let him do his own hunting. Or tinkering for that matter. I know a couple of gents who make parts for their airguns. They are not cheap.

      • “…the reward of getting a one-hundred-year-old air rifle shooting like it used to is awesome.”
        RidgeRunner, I’m with you on that! My Haenel model 1 (from Frank) is not quite 100, only 84, but she’s gettin’ there. I’ve been tweaking her in; I’ve got her velocity up to 546 fps, and her accuracy down to 3/4″ at 15 yards…not bad for my aging eyes and her v-notch rear and perlkorn front sight. What I really like about these old gal sproingers is that they are LIGHT-weight; they encourage you to stand up and shoot off-hand. Sadly, from too much bench shooting, I have to try really hard just to knock down a tin can at 15 yards; I guess I need more off-hand trigger time. 🙂

        • Tthedavemyster,

          Nice job! Yes… shooting standing off-hand was exactly my weak spot. Now, after about 8 months of regular training I’m light years better. But – as I was gettin pround and loud the FBW300s made me quiet again 🙂 Too much bench, I tell you. I’m working almost each day, my goal is to have 9 and 10 groups with not worse then 8 outbrake, untill end of 2022. We will see…

        • Dave,

          This old geezer likes those old sights! I have two with perlkorn and V notch. My 1906 BSA has the most wonderful perlkorn you could want. It looks almost like a drop with the top coming to a point. This sits atop a very thin blade. The rear V notch has curved edges. The notch draws the thin blade down to the middle and the teardrop nestles right in there. I just zero for that tip.

          • RidgeRunner,
            I just spent a lot of trigger time with the old gal, and I am getting used to those sights; I think there’s more accuracy in that old rifle than I can wring out of her. If I take my time, and really focus on the artillery hold, I can hit .410 hulls on the 15-yard range…so yeah, I’m really taking a shine to this old gal. 🙂
            Happy shooting (with those old sproingers! =>),
            dave

  4. BB,

    A 312 is pretty easy to work on. The only unusual bit is the anti-beartrap ratchet on the right side of the compression tube and its hairpin string. The spring guide on the 312 is very short, and I plan on adding a sleeve to the piston in my 312 to help calm it down further. The trigger can be adjusted to break very cleanly, but I don’t know how. Mine was already properly adjusted when I got the airgun. Maybe it’s one of those designs that takes 10,000 shots to smooth out.

    Paul in Liberty County

  5. Hello Tom,
    I just had a look at the trigger scheme on this site (most probably I do not have permission to copy the image, but link should be OK): https://www.waffencenter-gotha.de/shop/ERSATZTEILE-Spare-Parts/Luftdruckwaffen/HERSTELLER-MODELL/HAENEL/Modelle-312-3-121/Modell-3-121-312/Achse-Abzugseinrichtung-HAENEL-312-3-121::359.html

    The parts which are of interest for the following explanation are: screw in front of the trigger (86), the trigger (38), the screw behind the trigger (85) and what I’d call the sear catch (79).

    I really think you can make this trigger behave like a 2 stage trigger, but this represents an equilibrium between the front screw and the rear screw.

    The principle behind the arrangement is that the front screw (86) pushes the sear catch (79) up during the first stage pull until the upper right edge of the trigger (38) itself comes to touch the sear catch, but not to the point where it releases. Your rear screw (85) should at this point be adjusted in a way that the catch (79) is just about to release. A further pull on the trigger (38) then will release the sear catch (79) by pushing with the upper right edge of the trigger block (38) on the sear catch (78), thus releasing the sear. In this configuration, the rear screw (85) will regulate the second stage pull length/creep).

    Currently, I think the front screw is screwed in too far, therefore pushing on the sear catch until the catch releases the sear during the first stage pull. This makes for a very long and creepy first stage without second stage.
    For a two stage feeling you would want the front screw push on the sear catch, but without releasing it, until the upper right edge of the trigger itself will touch the sear catch. This would be the first stage stop. The release (second stage) is the done by pulling a little further, but it’s the upper right edge of the trigger itself which will push the sear catch over the edge.

    From where you are now with the trigger, I’d recommend the following: turn the rear screw out 2 or 3 turns, then turn the front screw out by several turns, until you can feel a first stage and a second stage without the trigger releasing. From there adjust the rear screw in a bit to bring the sear catch close to the edge where it releases. Test whether you still have first and second stage. If necessary, adjust the front screw in gradually, keeping the first stage. Both screws require to be adjusted together in order to get the right feel.

    Hope the was clear, if not, let me know, I’d try to make a drawing.

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