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Thread: Weihrauch HW35 .22

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    Weihrauch HW35 .22

    So I bought an HW35 for no particular reason other than it's the only current HW springer that I haven't owned and is a piece of history in its own right.

    The HW35 was Weihrauch's first modern springer, launched in 1951 and it's still on sale today, 70 odd years later, pretty much unchanged. The 35's unique selling point is its barrel latch up: A manual thumb catch rather than the usual spring loaded detent – which in theory provides a more accurate lock up.

    I ordered my HW35 from DB Schietsport in The Netherlands. The name may be Schiet but the service certainly isn't. I ordered on Wednesday and the rifle was with me on Friday. Can't argue with that. In truth, I'd prefer to buy in the UK but I have no local stockist (indeed, I have no truly local gun shop at all). At the time of writing, the best price I could find in the UK is £233 (at a 250 mile round trip from me) whereas I paid a smidge over £250 delivered to my door. And I'm more than happy with that.

    As an aside, care is needed when ordering from Europe: Airguns from Germany are subject to the stupidly low German power limit whereas guns from elsewhere in Europe aren't restricted at all and some would be illegal to own without a Firearms Certificate in the UK. There's no such issues with the HW35: It's designed as a 12 fpe gun and is therefore natively UK compliant regardless of where you get it from.

    So what's it like? Well, biggish, longish, heavyish and old-fashioned looking (ish). And, out of the box, mine was running a bit warm (accompanied by the tell-tale aroma of dieselling) and a bit twangy.

    So it got stripped down (and when was that ever not going to happen anyway?). Now the 35 shares parts with certain other HW models: The piston is 30mm, like the HW80, and the trigger block is a screw in jobbie – also like the HW80.

    And my trigger block was as tight as the proverbial and clearly not about to succumb to any of the usual removal methods. The problem was holding the cylinder sufficiently firmly to get enough purchase on the trigger block. In the end, I routered mirror image grooves into two pieces of wood to allow the action to be clamped in a vice without damage. I also wrapped the action in an old bicycle inner tube for extra protection (and grip!). Once properly clamped, a good thwack on the end block did the job.

    I did notice some powdery stuff on the threads which I initially assumed was thread lock but have since been informed was probably left-behind bluing salts. Either way, they did a good job of sticking the end block on.

    With the trigger block cracked off, it was time to get inside. I didn't use a spring compressor, I held the trigger block down on a piece of old carpet and unscrewed the cylinder, while being aware that the trigger block might try to suddenly fly off. I reassembled the rifle the same way, using bodyweight to compress the spring while I screwed the trigger block back onto the action. It needs a bit of welly but there isn't that much preload on the spring – about 30mm.

    Once inside, I was pleasantly surprised given that some recent Weihrauchs I've seen (and owned) have been somewhat rough to say the least. But there was none of that here: The spring was properly finished at both ends and was a good fit on the guide. The piston was sleeved and the cocking linkage was fitted with the anti-galling Delrin slide. There were no noticeable rough or sharp edges anywhere and there was also generally lube where there should be and none where there shouldn't.

    Indeed, the only blot on the landscape was the piston seal which was liberally slathered in grease (which at least explained the dieselling). So I cleaned that up and put the rifle back together pretty much as it was apart from the addition of a suitable top hat from my spares box.

    So get to the point already: What does it shoot like?

    Well in a word, Good. No, make that Bloody Good. Post fettle, 11.5 fpe with JSB Express and single digit shot-to-shot consistency. Despite the excellent open sights I chucked on my spare 6x42 scope and after 5 or 6 zeroing shots I put 10 rounds into a half inch group at 25 yards. Bloody Good for a rifle that I'd never shot before and which has only fired about 20 shots in its entire life. Sadly, fading light stopped play but I can see a lot more potential here.

    It's interesting to compare this rifle to my Walther Century: They're both big(ish) and heavy(ish). They both have 30mm pistons and unconventional barrel lock-ups. They both have single digit shot-to-shot consistency and pinpoint accuracy. Some of their parts are even interchangeable. And yet they're so different: The Century is hugely more refined than even the post-fettle HW35, while the venerable Rekord trigger on the HW is superior to even the Walther “Tuning” Trigger that I fitted to my Century.

    It's almost like looking at the evolution of the same gun over 70 years. The HW35 just makes me realise how right they got that initial design. It's on it's way to being one of my favourite guns. 1951 was clearly a vintage year for airguns.
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    Nice review.
    Arthur

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    An excellent review of this superb, classic rifle. A rifle that compares so favourably to many modern guns after all these years. Its ensuring design and sturdy build quality will, I hope, see it winning many more fans for years to come.
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    these rifles seem to be increasing in price and even thought of buying one myself which until now had no interest in.
    hw100kt laminate adj cheekpiece version-22, bsa r10 black pepper-22
    wolverine mk1-177, wolverine mk2-22, bsa r10 se black pepper-177
    gunpower stealth-22, brocock bantam hilite-22, at44 single shot-25

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    If you could keep only one Dave,which would it be: the 35 or the. Challenger?
    Arthur

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur John Smithsplease View Post
    If you could keep only one Dave,which would it be: the 35 or the. Challenger?
    Arthur, it's the Walther Century that I also have.

    To be fair, that's a very difficult question to answer. The HW35 is old school HW but comparing them makes me realise what a fantastic rifle the Century really is. It is much (and I mean much) better designed and built than the HW35 (or indeed any current HW springer).

    But, but...

    The 35 is a classic. And it has a Rekord trigger... Which is the best spring gun trigger ever IMVHO.

    So, modern design and build versus archaic quirkiness.

    That is the question.

    But if you must have an answer, it would be Walther.

    (And put a Rekord trigger on a Umarex Walther, any Umarex Walther, and it woud be the best springer... #Jeremy Clarkson voice# in the world. )
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    Update

    Well, the HW35 didn't take long to blot it's copy book: The piston seal failed after approx. 50 shots.

    The rifle suddenly became very slammy and a strip down revealed that the piston could easily be pushed down the cylinder with a finger over the transfer port.

    On closer inspection there appears to be a small deformation on the edge of the seal. It's not burnt or damaged and appears to be a manufacturing defect.

    Fortunately, I had a spare piston seal from another project in my box of bits. Fitting this resulted in normal, smooth service being resumed.

    Unfortunately, the rifle then turned out to be making an easy (and very smooth) 14fpe!

    The spares box again came to the rescue with an old style HW80 spring. This had the same dimensions, wire gauge etc. as the the standard HW35 mainspring apart from being considerably longer. I chopped it down until it was 2 coils shorter than the standard item (and still with about 15mm of preload).

    This is currently giving a lovely smooth 11.8 fpe and very easy cocking. It's a little close to the limit for my liking, but I'll leave it as is for a while a see where it settles.

    And, as an aside, HW build quality really does seem to have gone to rats these days.
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    Sorry to hear about that Dave.

    Must have reinforced your view that the . Century would be the more natural choice as a keeper.

    Thanks for the reply by the way.
    Arthur

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    Well, more examples of poor build quality have surfaced. Having finally got the 35 shooting nicely, I noticed that the action was moving around in the stock with every shot. A 2mm gap would open up between the rear of the action and the stock regardless of how tightly the stock screws were fastened. On inspection, the issue appeared to be with the locating lug on the action. The lug is about 8mm in diameter and sits in a recess approximately 12mm in diameter.

    Unfortunately, with a single front stock screw, the HW35 is totally reliant on an accurate fit of this lug to properly secure the action in the stock, which is never going to happen with 4mm of slop.

    My solution was to machine up a spacer which fits closely over the lug and also firmly within the stock recess. The net result is that the action is now firmly secured in the stock. Indeed, it's so much better that I'm now wondering if there's meant to be a factory fit spacer in there that's simply missing from my rifle?

    pics here

    However, fixing this highlighted another issue: With everything properly located the 2mm gap between the rear of the action and the stock is now permanent. The stock simply does not fit properly. To add insult to injury, Weihrauch have placed a Quality Control sticker inside the stock right at that point!

    How Weihrauch get away with turning out such dross while charging top dollar is beyond me. I've bought 3 new Weihrauchs over the last 5 years and every one has had issues. Don't get me wrong: I like the HW35 and it is a stupendously accurate rifle (thank the barrel and trigger for that) but I remain distinctly unimpressed by the overall build quality.
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    It's nice,and indeed very useful to read such a candid review of a new purchase.

    I'll wait and see if build quality improves before buying another new Weihrauch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by piggy589 View Post
    It's nice,and indeed very useful to read such a candid review of a new purchase.

    I'll wait and see if build quality improves before buying another new Weihrauch.
    I was playing with it today and it really is an effortlessly accurate rifle.

    That said, based on my recent experiences, I doubt that I'll be buying any more new HWs and I'd seriously struggle to recommend them to anyone else.
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    I bought a hw35 in the late 70s age twelveish and carried that lump of a gun over the fields around farms in search of Pigeon rabbit and rat for years. As my shooting career developed it lay neglected through all lifes changes, I some how hung on to my old airgun (Divorce lawyers are not interested in old rusty hw35s)

    Recently I have just discovering airguns and fun shooting again. I dug out my old rusting heap stripped cleaned replace the old leather seal, spring and added new spring guide nothing fancy just fitting new bits as required. She has "sprung" back to life nice smooth and a joy to shoot.

    So where is this heading,,,,,,, Why not buy an old rough one and resurrect it? plenty of parts about when you buy it you expect the worst and the sense of satisfaction to put on a good show with an old gun is great and to be honest it does not sound like alot more work..... Just a thought
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    Have you seen the prices people are asking for old rough ones? Really seems to have shot up in the last couple of years despite them not being rare?!
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    Quote Originally Posted by averageplinker View Post
    Have you seen the prices people are asking for old rough ones? Really seems to have shot up in the last couple of years despite them not being rare?!
    I met a guy this week who picked one up that had been in a loft for years. He paid £20 and has enjoyed restoring it to an exceptional standard. However I do recognise that some people want quite a lot for old guns that are not that special, another thought it may be the quality or lack of finish on new guns is driving the price of a good old gun up.

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    Great review

    And I gotta be fair to you, DJP - An impressive airgun tuning job.
    Last edited by Rickenbacker; 17-11-2017 at 03:27 AM.

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