Head-to-head: Cometa 220 v Weihrauch HW99S

Mark Camoccio goes head-to-head with a pair of lightweight springers from Germany and Spain – each of which is clearly capable of punching well above its weight!
With its compact dimensions and perfectly shaped forend tip, the Cometa 220 (shouldered)  ‘just feels right‘

With its compact dimensions and perfectly shaped forend tip, the Cometa 220 (shouldered) ‘just feels right’

Lightweight rifles are not only the preserve of junior and lady shooters, but those who also want to minimise effort.

The trouble is, in the spring-gun market, smaller models usually come with reduced power – unless you’re talking about the two continental break-barrels I have here. With the correct ammo, both the Spanish-made Cometa 220 and German-built Weihrauch HW99S produce power in abundance.

So, let’s see how they shape up; whether they’re ‘fit for purpose’ and if their very different asking prices make sense in today’s very competitive market…


The HW99S looks every inch a Weihrauch – for that, read solid, well-engineered; a serious workhorse that’s built to last. Although this rifle is badged the HW50S in Weihrauch’s other markets – and delivered as a low-powered beginner’s model – the HW99S UK variant is pushing the 12ft/lb legal muzzle energy limit, despite its scaled-down action (in comparison with Weihrauch’s usual heavyweight HW models). It’s very well engineered, too, with a smartly detailed stock.

The 220 sports a space-age foresight assembly

The 220 sports a space-age foresight assembly

Cometa is also a well presented Spanish brand of springer – but what really stands out with the revamped Model 220 is the ultra-matt finish to its beech stock. While it’s quite unusual these days, I love the way the natural grain shows through. An angular trigger guard and that space-age foresight assembly all come together nicely, too. We’re definitely looking at two stylish contenders here.

Cometa 220     8/10

Weihrauch HW99S     8/10


Proportions are never more important a factor in stock design than on a model designed to be manageable – and in this area, both score highly, featuring slimmed-down pistol grips that youngsters, ladies and small-frame shooters will be able to handle without too much challenge.

The Cometa’s attractively stained beech stock may lack chequering – and show a few machining marks under the varnish – but its configuration is such that it doesn’t affect its handling. Its sleek forend and nicely curved tip is perfectly shaped for a comfortable leading hand grip – though at the shoulder end, as smart as I think the butt pad is, it’s still a bit hard for my liking.

A front section of stippling and a panel of chequering  on the HW99S‘s forend assist grip

A front section of stippling and a panel of chequering on the HW99S’s forend assist grip

Weihrauch sources its HW99S stock from Italian stockmaker, Minelli – and while its dark lacquer finish is nice to the touch, it loses some of the subtle grain pattern. Again, sleek styling is ideal for its intended audience, with another low profile design to maximise use of the open sights. What really stands out, though, are those panels of chequering on both the pistol grip and forend: they feature a front section of stippling and a panel of chequering, all precision-cut by laser.

Cometa 220     7/10

Weihrauch HW99S     8/10


The 220‘s green fibre optics straddle its adjustable rearsight‘s notch...

The 220‘s green fibre optics straddle its adjustable rearsight‘s notch…

Given that these guns will be snapped up by juniors or novices, the inclusion of open sights is a good thing – and both guns’ come well appointed, though go about their business in different ways. Cometa opts for the more modern fibre optics in a mix of metal and plastic, with the bright red foresight element of its hooded foresight matching between green dots straddling the adjustable rear’s notch.

Weihrauch’s offering is all metal and traditional, with the added bonus that the rearsight leaf can be rotated to one of four notches to suit the foresight post. Though the sight picture is ultra-precise because of this, it’s perhaps not so good in poor light.

...while the HW99S rear sight's leaf can be rotated to one of four notches to suit the foresight post

…while the HW99S rear sight’s leaf can be rotated to one of four notches to suit the foresight post

Cometa 220     9/10

Weihrauch HW99S     9/10


The Cometa 220 comes with a slightly shorter compression cylinder, so there’s fractionally less space to play with in terms of mounting a scope on its 114mm long, 11mm wide dovetail rails. As well as adding arrestor pin holes for anti-creep-scope mounting, Weihrauch extends the dovetails on its longer HW99S to 162mm. But, regardless, either rifle benefits from the use of fairly compact scopes, for two reasons.

Firstly, too large a scope can spoil the balance by disproportionately increasing the all-up weight. Secondly, too long a scope could foul the breech area as the barrel ‘breaks’ in order to swing through its cocking arc.

Cometa 220     7/10

Weihrauch HW99S     9/10


Tension and  keeper screws both help take up wear in the 220‘s breech jaws

Tension and keeper screws both help take up wear in the 220’s breech jaws

A sharp jerk breaks open the Cometa’s breech, and a continuous, fairly easy downward sweep completes the cocking stroke – though my test gun exuded a little spring noise during the cocking stroke.

The HW99S‘s breech pivots around an oversized axis bolt

The HW99S’s breech pivots around an oversized axis bolt

The HW99S’s cocking effort was fractionally easier and it felt a tad smoother – and the end of the procedure was signified with a reassuring ‘clunking’ noise as the safety catch and trigger mechanism engaged. If you’re a fan of fine engineering, you’ll love the sound – though you may be less appreciative of it if you’re a hunter!

Cometa 220     8/10

Weihrauch HW99S     9/10


Despite having automatic safety catches, neither rifle has an anti-beartrap system, so they can each be de-cocked should you want to take tension off the spring. While perhaps not so desirable in a training rifle, it’s a handy feature that’s particularly appreciated by field shooters.

The Cometa has a resettable rear safety catch – just nudge it off, forward

The Cometa has a resettable rear safety catch – just nudge it off, forward

The Cometa’s resettable rear safety catch is reminiscent of yesteryear’s Feinwerkbau Sport. It’s easily nudged forward to render the action live, whereupon the trigger operation is wholly acceptable, despite a crudely shaped blade. Fairly light and predictable is all we can ask of such a straightforward design – and it worked well for me.

For such a lowly priced model in the HW line-up, I was pleasantly

The HW99S features the Rekord's familiar pop-out safety catch

The HW99S features the Rekord’s familiar pop-out safety catch

surprised to see Weihrauch’s famous Rekord unit adorning the HW99S, backed up by the usual pop-out safety catch (non-resettable). It responds well to fine adjustment, and is a very sophisticated unit that has been a benchmark for decades.

Cometa 220     8/10

Weihrauch HW99S     9/10


Where build quality is being compared, any gun that goes up against a Weihrauch is in for a stiff contest – but Cometa has a fine tradition for solid, dependable and well machined products. Yes, side by side, the Weihrauch just shades it for its deep-lustre blueing – but as far as attention to detail is concerned, the Cometa also impresses.

Take their respective breech arrangements, where any wear in a break-barrel’s breech jaws can limit the life of the rifle. Weihrauch supplies its HW99S with the usual oversized axis bolt – but Cometa actually goes to the trouble of machining in a breech tension screw, as well as a keeper screw in the 220.

Cometa 220     8/10

Weihrauch HW99S     8/10


The Cometa‘s  angular trigger guard...

The Cometa‘s
angular trigger guard…

Technical aspects are important, but there’s no substitute for hands-on evaluation on the range – and with these guns being deemed lightweight sporters to suit a wide gamut of shooters, handling is of particular importance.

On shouldering the Cometa, I immediately noticed how comfortable its stock felt, and with compact dimensions including a less raked pistol grip, the end result is less of a reach to the trigger. That promotes a more relaxed trigger finger, which in turn encourages correct trigger technique – couple all that with the 220’s perfectly shaped forend tip… and I’d say the Cometa ‘just feels right’!

...and the HW99S's sophisticated Rekord trigger

…and the HW99S’s sophisticated Rekord trigger

Mind you, shouldering the HW99S is no less a pleasant experience, but there’s no denying that its trigger reach is more geared to the larger hand.

Cometa 220     9/10

Weihrauch HW99S     8/10


The 220‘s less raked pistol grip means an easier reach to the trigger...

The 220‘s less raked pistol grip means an easier reach to the trigger…

Though the .22-only Cometa is billed as producing a muzzle energy of around 11ft/lb, my sample chrono’d somewhat lower than expected – 9ft/lb with JSB-made AADF. This figure, however, rose to 10ft/lb when I switched to Daystate’s Rangemaster Li and RWS Superdome. Accuracy-wise, there was no shortfall, however – and the ’Domes proved best, with 25mm groups at 30 yards.

What really stood out, though, was the remarkably civilised, muted firing characteristic of the 220 as its piston released; I reckon Cometa are utilising some form of synthetic spring guide because the lack of significant recoil and resonance was most impressive.

...but the HW99S's is more geared toward the larger hand

…but the HW99S’s is more geared toward the larger hand

Nevertheless, the HW99S was just that little bit better. Its action had an even slicker feel, and the lack of any significant recoil and spring ‘twang’ converted into 15mm groups over 30 yards with AADF roundheads, which crossed my chrono’s sensors around the 11ft/lb mark.

Cometa 220     7/10

Weihrauch HW99S     9/10


Generally, Weihrauch’s rifles are priced at the upper end of the spring gun sector – so I’d say the HW99S looks particularly good value at £234.

Take a close look at the Cometa’s asking price, though – nearly £100 less than the Weihrauch‘s. Given its many attributes, it’s difficult not to conclude that the 220 has to represent nothing short of stonking good value for money!

Cometa 220    10/10

Weihrauch HW99S     9/10

Mark Camoccio goes head-to-head with the Cometa 220 and Weihrauch HW99S in February 2015's edition. Here's how the guns compare, spec-wise...

Mark Camoccio goes head-to-head with the Cometa 220 and Weihrauch HW99S in February 2015’s edition. Here’s how the guns compare, spec-wise…


Cometa 220     81/100

Weihrauch HW99S     86/100

H2H-220_HW99S-014As I’ve so often said in these comparison tests, either rifle here would make a great choice, regardless of the final scoring. There’s no doubt that both Cometa’s 220 and Weihrauch’s HW99S are extremely well made performers. They straddle both the needs of the beginner and experienced shot, offering a relatively lightweight sporting gun with a modicum of energy into the bargain.

Okay, maybe you’ll accuse me of sitting on the fence, here – but I’ve got good reason to! The final tally finds in favour of the super-compact Weihrauch, but having handled them both, it would be a hard call to make for me. This particular Cometa is astonishingly good value for money and is arguably more compact, making it ideal for youngsters and ladies alike.

The HW99S‘s action has a very slick feel

The HW99S’s action has a very slick feel

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Posted in Air Rifles, Springer, Tests
6 comments on “Head-to-head: Cometa 220 v Weihrauch HW99S
  1. Shaun Cavanaugh Porter says:

    Can you please tell me what the trigger pull on the Weihrauch HW99S is,that is out of the box before any adjustments?
    Thank you

  2. James says:

    Hi, was wondering if you could let me know what grain RWS Superdome pellets you were using in the 220?
    Thanks, James

  3. Neil Edwards says:

    why some shooters would want to knock the HW99S I do not ‘KNOW’
    First its the under lever [ its been sorted by HW new type fitted
    now ] its spot-on , then its under powered [ mine was around 10ft/lbs out of the box [ once I fitted a tuning-kit its now running at 11ft/lbs example top-hat& spring guide ] no spring noise and extremely smooth on cocking and shooting ,accuracy it will give the HW97 a run for its money 50 – 65 yards no problem
    pellets used Kaiser 14.66 ace of a pellet ,if you are into hunting I strongly recommend the MIGHTY HW99S ACE OF A RIFLE AND DO NOT TAKE NOTICE OF THE DOUBTERS! regards fellow hunters

  4. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a
    comment is added I get four e-mails with the same
    comment. Is there any way you can remove people from
    that service? Bless you!

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