Gun test: Weihrauch’s HW100 BP

Weihrauch’s HW100 BP might be a late arrival to the bullpup party, but it still looks set to be the belle of the ball. Mat Manning puts the German maestro’s diminutive PCP to the test and concludes that it was certainly worth waiting for.

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There seems to be no end to the insatiable hunger for bullpup airguns, and now Weihrauch has stirred up the feeding frenzy with a stubby version of its super-successful HW100.

The release of any new offering from the prestigious German gunmaker can be relied upon to make a few ripples, but the reaction to this one has caused more of a tsunami than a splash.

Weihrauch doesn’t like to do things in a hurry, and its airguns tend to be all the better for it. The firm was late to arrive at the PCP party, but still managed to steal the show when it eventually rocked up, and has been even slower to jump on the bullpup bandwagon.

Once again though, it seems like Weihrauch has been sitting back and watching what others have been doing. And by learning from their mistakes, it seems like the German airgun giant has got it right once again.

Rather than simply pushing the standard HW100 action further back into the stock and adding an extended trigger linkage, the technical boffins have made some very worthwhile tweaks to ensure that everything functions to its optimum in the reworked bullpup configuration. Nonetheless, they have still managed to stay true to the excellent air rifle which serves as the BP’s platform.


KEY SPECS

MAKER: Weihrauch, Germany (www.weihrauch-sport.de)
UK DISTRIBUTOR: Hull Cartridge (www.hullcartridge.co.uk)
MODEL: HW100 BP (full-length)
PRICE: £1,140
TYPE: Sidelever-action bullpup PCP
CALIBRE: .177 and .22
OVERALL LENGTH: 824mm (full-length), 730mm (carbine) with silencer
LENGTH OF PULL: 355mm
BARREL LENGTH: 410mm (full-length), 310mm (carbine)
WEIGHT: 3.7kg (full-length without scope)
TRIGGER: Two-stage adjustable
SAFETY: Resettable switch on both 


TAKING STOCK

The first thing to strike me about the HW100 BP was its ability to look functional without looking too tactical. I’m not a fan of black airguns that look like they’ve been styled for wannabe commandos.

This piece of hardware has a purposeful appearance without having to resort to cringey fake military styling to achieve it. That scores it a big tick in my book.

As with all Weihrauchs, the trigger is exemplary and far exceeds the usual bullpup standard

The ambidextrous stock looks synthetic, but it is actually made from beech with a soft-touch finish. It seems very robust and should be easy to keep clean – rain, mud and blood just wipe off. There is no stippling or chequering anywhere on the stock, but it still manages to feel reassuringly grippy – even in the wet.

It’s a fairly chunky handle and it feels very comfortable. A feature I really like is that it incorporates the HW44 pistol grip. The cleverly contoured grip is nice and steep and fills the palm brilliantly, however big or small your hands are and whether you are left- or right-handed. In short, most shooters should be able to count on it to set them up very well for the trigger.

As bullpups go, the cheek support is extremely comfortable, thanks to its rounded profile. Behind that is a rubber butt pad which is height-adjustable, and it’s surprising what a difference a small tweak can make when it comes to achieving correct eye alignment with your scope.

Sticking with stock extras, the BP also comes supplied with a Picatinny-type rail for the forend, which could come in very handy for bipod attachment. Holes have already been machined into the stock, but it comes with a note which states that it should only be fitted by a gunsmith.

FEATURES AND FUNCTION

The HW100 BP is available in an extremely stubby carbine version, but the subject of this test is the full-length model. It’s 10cm longer than the carbine, but still measures a fairly compact 82cm with the supplied silencer fitted. Weihrauch has a reputation for making solid guns, and this one is no exception.

The full-length variant weighs about 3.7kg without a scope fitted, but it feels robust rather than heavy. The bullpup configuration means that the point of balance is further back than on the standard HW100. I think that makes it feel even better in the shoulder and results in a very pointable airgun.

Weihrauch is famous for its high-quality engineering, and it’s easy to see why when you cast an eye over this airgun; the metalwork finish looks immaculate, and overall build quality is excellent.

The BP comes equipped with the increasingly popular Picatinny-type scope rail, but you can remove it to reveal a conventional dovetail rail beneath, so all bases are covered.

In my opinion, the rails on the majority of bullpups are way too high, and the result is that shooters need to make massive hold-over and hold-under compensation when tackling targets over different ranges.

Weihrauch has managed to keep the gap between the top of the rail and the centre of the bore down to about 3cm, which helps to remedy the problem and also prevents the gun from feeling too slab-sided.

It may be simple, but Weihrauch’s 14-shot magazine is pellet-friendly and has a reputation for being ultra-reliable

Staying with the engineering theme, the HW100 BP runs Weihrauch’s excellent 14-shot magazine, and you get a spare. It looks very basic but I think that’s its strongpoint: there really is nothing on it that can fail. My own HW100 runs the same magazine and it has never missed a beat. It runs like clockwork and is very kind to pellets, too.

To remove the magazine, you need to pull the sidelever all the way back and then push back the retaining switch. The mag then pulls out from the right and you reload it with the smooth side facing away from you. When it’s full, just pop it back in, return the retaining clip, and then push forward the sidelever. It’s now cocked and ready to go.

The HW100’s sidelever cocking and loading mechanism is brilliant, and I think it is the reason why so many manufacturers have moved from bolt to lever actions. Its repositioning on the BP is spot on; it’s in just the right place and works with that excellent magazine to deliver fast and positive follow-up shots on the range and in the field.

The handle has a biathlon-type design which feels great in the hand, and I’m told that guns with the lever on the left for left-handers can be made to order. As with the original HW100, the cocking and loading system features a clever mechanism which prevents a repeat action of the lever from indexing the magazine, so you can’t double-load it.

Just as you would expect from Weihrauch, though maybe not from a mechanical bullpup, the trigger is also very good. It’s an adjustable two-stage unit with a nice, wide blade, and it doesn’t have any of the creep that can so often blight triggers on bullpup airguns.

The factory setting on the test gun was just about perfect; the first stage having just the right amount of weight and travel and then coming to a positive stop before the second stage broke with a very clean let-off.

There is a safety catch positioned beneath the rear of the cheek support. Although that may not be the best place for easy operation, it can be accessed from both sides and is well away from the trigger. You can only set it when the gun is cocked – it’s safe when in the rearward position and you push it forward to shoot.

PERFORMANCE AND PRECISION

Although the HW100 BP does not have a regulator in the conventional sense, it has what Weihrauch describes as a self-regulating action. Its makers have remained tight-lipped about exactly how it works, but it is pretty consistent. The .177 calibre test gun was churning out around 11.5 ft-lb and showed a variation of just seven feet per second over a string of 10 shots.

Air reserves are displayed on a clear gauge at the front of the cylinder – it’s just a bit of a shame that you have look down from the muzzle end to see it. The air cylinder is removable, and shot capacity is quite impressive for such a compact gun.

The thoughtfully contoured pistol grip provides a comfortable hold for large and small hands and right- and left-handers

From a full 200bar fill, the full-length model returns up to 110 shots in .177 and 140 in .22, while those figures drop to 50 and 75 (so around half) in the much smaller carbine version. When it’s time to refill, simply pull the plug out from the inlet at the front of the cylinder and plug in the supplied quick-fill probe.

As I’ve already mentioned, the BP comes supplied with a Weihrauch silencer. Not only does it really suit the appearance of this gun, it also happens to be one of the best moderators out there, and it reduces muzzle report to the faintest whisper.

It’s so quiet in fact, that it sounds like this airgun would struggle to take the skin off a custard, but the chronograph clearly stated otherwise, and this is a full-power hunter.

My first serious range-testing with the HW100 BP was done for a YouTube review on The Airgun Show, and it produced one of the tightest 30m five-shot groups we’ve seen since we began broadcasting more than five years ago – it was literally pellet on pellet.

We were blessed with a windless day, and grouping remained impressively tight at 40m and only opened up to just over 20mm centre to centre at 50m. Those results probably won’t come as any great surprise to anyone who already shoots a Weihrauch PCP.

That accuracy is down to the combination of a decent trigger, a quality barrel, a pellet-friendly magazine and consistent power delivery, but the BP didn’t just shoot accurately from the bench.

Its ergonomic design and great balance mean that it shoots well from virtually any stance, so it still delivers the goods when put to tackling live quarry with standing, kneeling, sitting or prone shots.

Although the HW100 BP comes equipped with a fashionable Picatinny-type scope rail, you can remove it and use the dovetail rail beneath

Distributed in the UK by Hull Cartridge, the HW100 BP retails for £1,140. That’s a fairly hefty outlay, but the investment should buy you an extremely reliable piece of kit that will give years of dependable service with minimal maintenance.

Bullpups may well be fashionable but the HW100 BP has not been made to keep up with a trend; it builds on the German gunmaker’s rich tradition of making quality air rifles and is accurate, tough and dependable. 

Yes, Weihrauch was slow to jump on the bullpup bandwagon, just like it was late at the pre-charged party, but that hasn’t stopped it from getting it dead right both times. The HW100 BP is a serious piece of kit, and it more than lives up to its maker’s enviable reputation. 

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