The Beeman R1

Model: Beeman R1
Manufacturer/Importer: H. Weihrauch/Beeman
Powerplant: Spring
Calibers available: .177 .20 .22
Caliber tested: .177
Velocity: ‘Over 1000fps’ (advertised) 850-950 (under test)

The Beeman R1 is another example of a special version of an Weihrauch gun done up to Beeman specs, in this case the HW80. When it first came out some years ago, the R1/HW80 was probably the most powerful spring/air gun on the market. Since then it’s been followed by other guns from Weihrauch, Webley, Theoben, RWS and others, but the R1/HW80 is still a very popular gun and an excellent example of how to produce a high quality, high-power spring air gun.

The trigger is the excellent Rekord unit, and as always delivers an exceptionally crisp let-off with no creep. The 2-stage trigger is adjustable over a wide range for weight. My example delivered good accuracy, but had a barrel angle that was about as large as I’ve seen on a break-barrel gun, necessitating a large amount of tilt dialed into the scope mounts. This also prevented me from using a large aperture 4-12×40 scope on my R1, as the excessive tilt required caused the objective end of the scope to hit the receiver. This can be fixed, with some careful machining, but generally it’s best to make sure the gun you buy doesn’t have this problem in the first place.

This is, after all, a gun that really demands the use of a scope. The R1 is perfectly able to take rabbits and similar sized game at 40 yards, and the supplied open sights don’t really perform well on tiny targets at that distance. A good 4 power scope, or a 2-9x variable makes a good match for the R1. It’s especially important to get a well-made airgun scope for this gun, as the recoil is especially harsh. It’s not so fierce as too cause real discomfort to the shooter, but the two-way snap *will* destroy cheap scopes in a jiffy.

Depending on the pellet chosen, you can as much as 1000fps out of the R1 in .177 caliber, but using the light pellets needed to obtain this velocity (6-7 grains) is not a wise idea. Pellets this light don’t really provide enough resistance to the spring and piston, and result` in excessive “piston slam” that leads to damage to the seal and piston as well as early spring failure. Pellets should be chosen to keep the velocity of the gun under 1000ftps; the heavier 10.5 gr Crosman Premiers are a good choice in this gun.

Given that the R1 is really intended as a hunting gun, .22 caliber is perhaps a better choice than .177. Besides keeping velocities down, the .22 pellets deliver slightly more muzzle energy owing to more efficient use of the spring’s energy. But .20 cal is even better- at least with the Crosman Premier pellets. The .20 cal Premiers have the same mass as the .22 version, but much higher sectional density. The result is muzzle energy very close to that of the .22 version with significantly higher downrange energy and flatter trajectory. [n.b.: This was borne out by actual testing when I traded a CO2 gun for a .20 cal R1 some years after this refview was written.]

Cocking the R1 takes a bit more muscle than does cocking a lesser powered gun, but it’s not really that bad. A day’s hunting or plinking wouldn’t tire you out. Still, it’s not a gun for young kids and smaller adults.

Overall summary: An accurate, well-made, powerful gun that’ll last forever if you take good care of it.