The Hermann Weihrauch HW77 is one of the great classics of the spring airgun world for a number of reasons- not the least of which is that it’s been in production longer than most other modern spring air guns. It has also been the inspiration for a lot of copies- some improved, some not. The Air Arms TX-200 certainly falls into the former category, and the recently discussed Chinese TS-45, the latter.
Picking up an HW77 your first impression is that this is a very heavy gun; at 9 pounds, it’s not a gun you would want to shoot offhand all day. It’s significantly heavier than the typical centerfire sporting rifle. At the same time, there’s the impression that this is a substantial, solid rifle. The whole thing feels like it’s been machined out of a block of steel, and indeed a number of parts are made just this way. The overall impression is that of an heirloom gun- one that could easily outlive more than a few owners. I suspect that with regular maintenance, and occasional swipe of the bore, and a new piston and breech seal every 20-30 years of regular use, you could shoot this gun forever.
This is a solid, accurate gun that can be competitive in Field Target right out of the box- and indeed, it ruled spring Field Target competition for years. For a lot of shooters (myself included) this was the gun that got them started in field target. For my first year in field target I shot an out-of-the-box HW77K (the shorter barreled carbine version) only adding a custom stock later on.
The HW77 is a gun with a lot of possibilities for tuning. Mine, for example, had a custom Jim Maccari spring. You could also add a custom piston seal, and perhaps a spring guide and polish the transfer port. And yet, most guns I saw used in Field Target had nothing other than a squirt of Dow Corning 111 silicone grease on the mainspring. This was, and continues to be, a quick and very cost effective mod that quiets spring noise and cuts vibration.
The newest versions of the HW77 (the Mk-II) have upped the power to make it a true over 12 foot-pound gun. Personally, I think that’s unnecessary. If you wanted to hunt with the HW77, sure, that extra power would be a good idea, but the 77 is really much too heavy to be a good hunter, and anyway, there are better guns for that purpose. The HW77 is at its best on the Field Target range. And if you look at match results over the past 20 years, you see that it’s the low powered guns- the 10 foot pound models- that keep showing up in the winners circle.