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Weihrauch HW100 – in praise of a great all-round air rifle

If you’re on the lookout for a genuine all-rounder, then Andy McLachlan reckons you need look no further than the Weihrauch HW100

Andy's son James zeroes his then-new HW100 back in 2010, it’s a high-quality design that’s stood the test of time extremely well

I have recently been considering some of the pre-charged pneumatic rifles that have been devised by the manufacturers as “all-rounders”. These particular guns do not usually possess features such as multi-adjustable stocks or precision-made genuinely “match-grade” trigger assemblies and barrels.

For those of us who have become embroiled within the target shooting sector of our sport, it is not unusual for us to collect some genuine target rifles over the years. I currently own two, a Steyr and a Walther, and genuinely nice they are too.

I know many shooters who possess far more than two target rifles, with somebody I know having scores of top-end guns to choose from. But let’s face it, many of us struggle to justify the outlay for a single top-end target rifle, with lots of shooters understandably opting to dip their toe in the water by buying a good quality all-rounder that will do most things perfectly well, particularly when they are just starting out.

With this in mind, I have started to consider my own personal choices for a gun that can do anything that’s asked of it.

It will have to be affordable, well built with proven reliability and deliver an accurate shot either in the hunting field or down at the target range.

There are a couple of guns that spring to mind straight away, one of which, in my opinion, is the best all-round pre-charged pneumatic rifle that the shooter can currently purchase, the famous Weihrauch HW100. I have owned five of these guns over the years and can only say positive things about them as I never experienced any problems with any of them. In fact, I wish I still owned one, but funding other guns has meant they have all gone down part exchange alley, unfortunately.

So, what is it that singles out this German-designed and manufactured rifle from the opposition? Well, if we start with the build quality and straightforward design, it doesn’t take a gunsmith to realise that the engineering that features in each and every unit leaving the factory is of genuinely top quality and works like clockwork.

Weihrauch HW100

Weihrauch makes a dedicated single-shot target variant of the HW100 called the 101

The finish of the action, with its highly polished blacked finish and the way the gun cocks, rotates the magazine or pops out the optional but super-effective single-shot loader, leaves the shooter in no doubt about the efficiency of the action.

Weihrauch does not say the action possesses a regulator, but prefers to describe what is on board as a “self-regulating” action. Regardless of how the design functions, the power unit provides very consistent velocities for the shooter, certainly up there with many much more expensive products.


Weihrauch HW100: quality assured

Trigger-wise, it could be said that the standard trigger blade is a bit basic, but this still allows a genuine two-stage trigger that is not far behind that of a genuine match-grade unit.

My friend Tom Forrest has had his own HW100 trigger unit apart and has tuned it so it does resemble a genuine match trigger, much to our amazement when we all shot it at one of our clubs recently. On my own last 100, I fitted the superb Rowan Engineering adjustable trigger unit for better feel as the unit allows the blade to be moved forward and aft, along with angling the blade for comfort, although remember that the top shooters tell us we should keep the blades centrally positioned so we pull the trigger straight back into the action.

Another good reason for owning an example of the HW100 range is the fact that I have yet to hear about an example having a bad barrel.

Weihrauch HW100

Some owners love to customise their HW100s either for aesthetic or performance-related reasons, or sometimes both

What I mean by this statement is owning an example of a gun that will only shoot one type of pellet. Obviously, we will all spend time choosing the individual pellet (and sometimes a particular batch number of it) that works best in our own barrel, but it is comforting when you discover a couple of additional brands that manage to retain the gun’s inherent accuracy.

To my knowledge, pellet-fussiness is not an issue with Weihrauch barrels, not the ones fitted to the HW100 range anyway.


Function over form

The rifle appears in both carbine and full-length models. I have always preferred the full-length “S” version for the additional shot count available, although having used one of my friend’s carbine models for some biblical rat clearance shoots a couple of times over the years, it would have to be said that the shorter gun comes to aim more quickly and is easier to handle, particularly at night.

I have heard the 100 described in not very pleasant terms when it comes to the gun’s appearance. However, I think it looks fine, but much more importantly, this rifle continues to deliver a high quality shooting experience for thousands of delighted owners.

Talking of shorter HW100 models, we should not forget Weihrauch’s inclusion of the target-orientated HW101.

This is a single-shot, beech-stocked version of the 100 action and, just like its multi-shot relatives, shoots well in the hands of many committed target shooters.

In addition to choosing either single- or multi-shot models, the prospective owner has all sorts of stock choices to make when deciding upon their own preference. Personally, I do not think you can truly beat the full-length sporter with the sometimes wonderfully marked walnut stock, although others will of course prefer the pistol-type grip of the laminated options. This is very much a case of try before you buy, if possible, to find out which layout feels the most comfortable.

Weihrauch HW100

The HW100 is a true all-rounder, the carbine variant being used here for a spot of nighttime ratting

Another friend, Jim Edge, has owned an example of a mark one HW100 which must be 20 years old now. After several years he noticed that the accuracy had gone off, so decided to replace the barrel with one manufactured by CZ.

To say this transformed the gun’s accuracy would be an understatement, as this “old” gun is still able to mix it with far more advanced and modern hardware at extreme 50 yards-plus ranges when necessary. As Jim says: “It just does it!”

I, and many thousands of serious airgunners, have used examples of this outstanding air rifle for the past couple of decades. They appear at Hunter Field Target shoots, benchrest competitions and thousands of outdoor vermin clearance scenarios. I honestly cannot think of a gun that continues to deliver so much high-quality accuracy to so many shooters.

If I could only own one pre-charged pneumatic air rifle, it would be the full-length sporter version HW100, which, in my opinion, is more than capable of taking on any task put before it. This gun is a modern classic, and long may it remain so.