Classic Gun: Weihrauch HW 55T

Simon Everett explains why the Weihrauch HW 55T, a match rifle with a Tyrolean stock, was so accurate it faced a bell target ban

Targets were easy to hit thanks to the 55T’s well-balanced handling, smooth firing cycle and crisp trigger

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.

Perfect barrel alignment was assured with
the help of a lever and cam system

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.

A diopter sight was fitted to the rear of the rifle, along with a complementary hooded sight element at the front

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.

Engineering standards were high, with each gun being assembled and initialled by the worker

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.

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