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Weihrauch Hw97kt .177

Discussion in 'Airgun Reviews' started by dancza, Apr 16, 2018.

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  1. dancza

    dancza Donator

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    Alas I return! With yet another overly long airgun review. Seriously this one is bordering on ridiculous.

    This is going to be a difficult rifle for me to review as it was actually bought for me as my 21st birthday present from my mum and the first premium air rifle that I'd ever owned. Nevertheless I shall try my hardest to be as unbiased as possible.

    So without further ado! Let's get on with the review, and first up is the looks. HW97.jpg
    (No idea why this picture came out upside down but there she is in all her glory.)

    Well regarding its looks I wouldn't necessarily say it was a beautiful rifle, unlike the Webley which gave off a seriously classy feel the HW97KT in comparison just looks sinister, like something the Terminator would use. As you can see the "KT" version of the 97 comes in the rather nice plastic thumbhole stock which is completely ambidextrous and features stippling on both sides of the forestock for added grip. There is also a rather nice raised cheekpiece that sits higher than those on both the HW77 and my Webley Eclipse MK II. Regarding the design of the stock itself I have absolutely no problems with it, it feels solid, rugged and practical.

    The metalwork of the rifle is very well figured with it more or less being the same legendary design as the HW77 that came before it. Both the underlever and the barrel/shroud are very well crafted and the gold trigger blade and adjustment screw give the rifle a brilliant yet restrained flash of colour that finishes off the very German "efficient" look of the rifle.

    Now where I do have to make a complaint is against the actual bluing itself. The colour is a very rich dark blue that looks fantastic but even though the rifle is only 5 years old there are parts of the rifle where the bluing is coming off. Now this rifle is oiled down after each time it's used and yet on the cocking lever you can see the rather large bald patch that has appeared and grown over time. There is also a small bald spot on the top of the action that whilst hard to spot still makes me wonder what's going on for the bluing to be affected in such a way especially considering this particular rifle's young age. Considering that the Eclipse's bluing still shines like it's brand new I'm a bit disheartened to see how my 97 is turning out. Another little thing that pesters me a bit is that there are visible gaps between the action and the stock which cheapens the look a bit.

    IMG_20180416_161810.jpg

    (There is also a bit of a panel gap towards the front where the action meets the barrel.)

    But enough about the looks, how does it handle?

    IMG_20180416_150428.jpg

    ("The TX200 wants to be hung up on a wall and looked at, the XS38 just wants to be taken seriously and my 97 just wants to kill any vermin it can find.)

    The HW97 is an underlever rifle that operates using a sliding breech system, this means that to load the rifle you just need to pull the underlever down into its locked resting position which will expose the breech that is accessed via the top of the rifle. This is a fantastic system as it makes loading a pellet a doddle compared to the older taploaders where the underlever would move independently to the loading port.

    Once the pellet is loaded you simply need to return the underlever to its resting position and the rifle is almost ready to fire.

    IMG_20180416_150554.jpg

    (Can you see the bluing fading away at the beginning of the barrel? I have no idea what's causing that.)

    The only thing stopping you from firing is the automatic safety that engaged itself when you cocked the rifle. I personally have a very love/hate relationship with this safety design as it feels well made and it's discreetly located at the rear left of the action which I don't mind but in my honest opinion I feel like I personally prefer the Hatsan/Webley safety. Not only are those safeties better located being directly at the rear of the action but they're much easier to re-engage.

    To re-engage the HW97/77 safety you need to break the cocking lever back down once again and return it back to its resting place. This is a bit of a pain in hunting scenarios when you're trying to be as quiet as possible and you have to keep operating that lever to make the rifle safe again after a missed opportunity. My other concern is that in doing this my 97 then proceeds to diesel for the next 50'ish shots, this may simply be isolated to just this particular 97 but it's disturbing nonetheless.

    The 97 when shouldered is a pretty pleasant experience with the cheekpiece being the perfect height and shape in my opinion but you need to bear in mind that the rifle itself is somewhat heavy compared to most rifles on the market and regarding balance the rifle to me feels somewhat nose heavy. This I'd imagine was done intentionally to help control a little bit of muzzle flip but as a downside until you get used to it it can feel like the nose wants to wander as you look down the scope.

    The cocking lever on the 97 is released by pressing a nicely sized button that sits a comfortable distance away from the muzzle and the lever itself has zero side to side play which gives the impression that the 97's action itself is a well oiled machine. The effort required to cock the rifle is a bit more than that of the Eclipse which is probably down to the lever being a bit shorter but it's still easy enough once you get used to it.

    The trigger is Weihrauchs legendary Rekord two stage unit and it really is top notch.

    IMG_20180416_161911.jpg

    (Everybody should play with a screwhole once in their life.)

    To adjust the Rekord you simply insert a screwdriver into the small hole at the base of the trigger guard and turn the adjustment screw to suit your needs. I personally like a lightweight trigger with a nice and light first stage but enough resistance into the second stage to let me know when it'll break, the Rekord gives me this perfectly and annoyingly it means I can't blame the trigger for my own rubbish shots.

    And now for the accuracy testing.

    IMG_20180416_161623.jpg

    (It's a little difficult to make out because I'm shooting out to 150 yards but if you look carefully you can see the white target card attached to a block of wood in the background.)

    All shots were taken from a sitting but unrested position with the target being 25 yards away, the scope is a Hawke Eclipse 4-16X50 and the pellets used were the JSB Exact 4.52's.

    Anyways here's the results.
    IMG_20180416_155559.jpg

    (Those flyers were blatantly because of the trig-errr I might as well quit nobody is going to believe me this time.)

    I have no idea why my pictures are coming out sideways or upside down but here's an 11 shot group with the 97. The group is nearly perfect if not for those three that went a little bit wide and that other one was coming back around to get me I think! I wont fault the rifle for the flyers though as we all know that the blame for those lie squarely with me.

    After that I decided to do another group at the top left target and this was the result.

    IMG_20180416_161501.jpg

    (Remind me why we need PCP's again?)

    That's another six shots at the exact same range once again with the rifle unrested. There may be one hole where I messed up with my trigger control but I seriously cannot complain about that! Plus that's the draw for me with the 97 because as tight as that group is I know it can do better if I put the time into it, especially if it were tuned!

    The shot cycle of the 97KT feels like a quick kick which I'm sure is reigned in a bit by the rifle's weight but to me the rifle seems to move more in the horizontal plane when recoilling than the vertical plane. Is this because of its heavy nose? Who knows! but it needs to be considered before squeezing the trigger.

    So the take-away then. Who do I think would like the HW97KT?

    I think if you're into bench rested target shooting or if you're a bigger/stronger guy or girl then you'll love this rifle. I've used mine mainly for pest control and other than snapping its mainspring shortly after it was first purchased it has never let me down, watching the bluing evaporate is a bit soul destroying but when it comes to actual performance the 97 leaves nothing to be desired. As long as you're committed to getting used to that slightly heavy front end that is.

    If you're after a lightweight sporting style air rifle then just walk away.. this also won't suit you if you tend to ambush your prey when out hunting either as while the sliding breech is quicker than a taploader it still isn't exactly brisk..

    But if you do happen to end up with one then you can have confidence in knowing that you're in possession of what must be one of the most accurate underlever rifles in the world.





     

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  2. mikeyhall1

    mikeyhall1 Amazing Poster

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    Thanks again Dan. Great rifles - love mine
     
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  3. lone wolf

    lone wolf Pro Poster

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    Nice write up mate

    .
     
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  4. themadspread

    themadspread Donator

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    everone (bar milek)should own one:thumb:
     
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  5. PumpnGun

    PumpnGun Donator

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    Good write up Dan, by my calculations your 26, I thought you were about my age :D

    Ray
     
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  6. neil180

    neil180 Busy Member

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    Nice write up on what is my favourite rifle. I have actually forgotten what a standard 97 feels like to shoot as all three of mine are highly tuned - all of them are amazing to shoot and all of them feel completely different. As many will know I am fortunate enough to have 62 yards of garden to play with and my favourite way to pass an hours of shooting is to shoot the targets on my dueling tree at that range with my Paul Short titanium pistoned 97. Unbelievable accuracy! Add to that the superb Rekord trigger which you can tune into something sublime and you have quite simply an epic air rifle !!
     
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  7. GeeTee

    GeeTee The unofficial champion for Diana Air Rifles!!

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    Great write up Dan,my first 'Premium' Springer purchase was my 97KT with beech stock, it is my go to rifle when i have something to prove,is ultra accurate & ultra efficient,a close second is my 77K.
     
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  8. pjgtech

    pjgtech Top Poster

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    Nice review, thanx. I had a couple of cheap (read Chinese) rifles before I got my 97, it was a revelation, and that was before it was tuned, now its just sublime, I love it. My fave gun (at the moment). :cool:
     
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  9. monsta41

    monsta41 Donator

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    i love mine too...especially after having a TbT kit put in it, trigger tune and cleaning everything up, its stock is going to be dipped soon also to hide the sinister look as you put it :up:
     
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  10. mikeyhall1

    mikeyhall1 Amazing Poster

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    No Ray, he's post war not pre war:laff:
     
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  11. Treecreeper

    Treecreeper Based

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    Excellent & honest review Dan :up: The blueing on my 97 is the same, it looks to have a nice finish but it's not very durable, it's worn in places & even though I look after it by wiping down with Ballistol after every use, it still starts to rust in a couple of places. I've never had a gun do this before, so I think it's down to poor quality blueing :down:

    In the photo of the farmyard with the Dutch barn (is that the farm the great train robbers hid at? ;)) you might have made a typo as that don't look like 150yds to me mate. Sorry to be picky, just saying :)
     
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  12. PumpnGun

    PumpnGun Donator

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    Cheeky git :p

    Ray
     
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  13. mikeyhall1

    mikeyhall1 Amazing Poster

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    :shrug:
     
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  14. dancza

    dancza Donator

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    No-no it's definitely 150 yards.. I had the camera zoomed in 50x. Honest!

    Yeah the Bluing is really weird to judge, on one hand it looks really good especially after it has been oiled but at the same time it just seems to be disintegrating. Mine isn't showing any signs of rust but the bluing is just melting away. Meanwhile my old Webley still shines like a mirror all these years on with zero damage to the bluing. We're probably the victims of cost cutting/quality control I'm afraid Treecreeper mate.:(
     
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  15. Treecreeper

    Treecreeper Based

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    I bought mine used & could see the bluing was worn on the underlever & the only cause for this that I can think of is that it's been worn by a wedding ring, which is another good excuse not to get married. o_O The blueing has got a few nicks elsewhere & it's these bits that seem to get a bit rusty if it's not used for a bit, even though I give it a good wipe with Ballistol after every use. Maybe I'll go back to wiping it with diesel engine oil or 3 in 1 ? I think you're right about the cost cutting & Q/C, especially as we've all heard the stories on here about the insides of new Weihrauch's being a bit rough. German cars aren't what they were either but the quality of virtually everything seems to have dropped. :(
     
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  16. dancza

    dancza Donator

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    Actually I can confirm that wedding rings aren't whats affecting our bluing. As an unmarried man my 97 is also suffering from the same symptoms.

    I'm wondering if the underlever actually vibrates against the barrel gradually wearing the bluing out over time? I have no idea how the rest of bluing is wearing off though.
     

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