Simon Everett explains why the Weihrauch HW 55T, a match rifle with a Tyrolean stock, was so accurate it faced a bell target ban
The HW 55T was an exquisitely built 10m match rifle that was in production from 1955 through to the early 1970s. It is superbly balanced, and the super-comfortable Tyrolean stock, fast firing cycle and crisp trigger make it a joy to shoot even now.
The stocks are made of walnut, and the chequering on the pistol grip and forend was cut by hand in proper gunsmithing tradition. So much so, in fact, that each rifle was hand-assembled and initialled by the individual worker responsible for the gun.
The barrel lock-up is tightened by a lever that activates a wedge which uses a cam action to tighten up the lock, ensuring perfect barrel alignment with the transfer port every time. When designing these rifles, Weihrauch gave a slight taper to the breech end of the barrel by tapping in a conical mandrel to create a very slight funnel shape to the pellet feed.
The firing cycle is very fast and soft, making these rifles almost as competitive as the recoilless designs of the 1970s. They were designed as a target rifle for 6ft-lb shooting, and it would be sacrilege to try to increase the power beyond the original design. They were so competitive that they were outlawed from bell target shooting, and that made them fall out of favour in this country.