Sunday afternoon with the HW55M
Got a visit Sunday afternoon from my buddy Mike. He lives only a few minutes away, but he works a lot so shooting time shared with him is limited.... a reality which many of us are familiar with. Seems like the older I get, the less free time I have to spend time with my friends. But this day was a happy exception.
Mike arrived bearing 2 of his rifles . First was a vintage. HW30 in .22. Not much to look at, but what a fun little plinker!! And oh so accurate! Goes to show why it is still a very popular rifle even to this day.
Then we moved on to the real deal....the HW55M. Mike has probably the most beautiful one I've ever seen! Stunning striations of mineral lines and tons of tiger stripes give the stock a holographic 3D look. Plus it's all original!
The rifle cocks like butta!!! Shoots with a pleasant thunk. And accuracy that's off the charts!!! What a treat to shoot it!!! We even broke out some vintage.... 50 dollar a box....Beeman Ultra Match Pellets just to see what the rifle is really capable of. It makes me wonder why the industry ever progressed beyond this point. Seems to me like they had the perfect airgun design when they made the HW55 era rifles.
The HW55M is my favorite of the 55 designs. The "Bavarian" style comb....tributed by FWB on their new Sport"....is a timeless look. The 5 panels of exquisite checkering compliment this sleek beauty. All hand done I might add. Capped with a tasteful yet highly proficient set of Match sites, one hole groups are the norm. How did we ever get away from such craftsmanship? ?
Fortunately, these rifles are still around to purchase and use today. Many can be had for what I consider the price of the sites and checkering alone. Some ....like Mikes. ...even come equipped with a proper barrel sleeve and weighted stock. Just imagine trying to find something comparable to it today!
I may not get to spend a lot of time with my airgun buddies, but usually it's time well spent. Especially when you get to shoot a true classic like the HW55M.
Thanks John. I was pleasantly surprised when this one showed up. She's a 10!
Regarding your fps, one of the most knowledgeable HW55 experts out there sent me velocity figures for a bunch of his guns and they varied quite a bit. I don't think any of his and none of mine are as low as 550 though. Here are a couple things I did.
I cleaned, re-lubed and changed leather piston seals to synthetic in 3 of my guns and velocities went up in every one. Now I'll admit I am not very successful at maintaining healthy leather seals so that may have been a factor but the cleaning and lubing definitely helped and is something you can easily do. You'll have the piston in hand so if your gun has a leather seal and you want to go synthetic, that's the time to it. I'll say though that my expert friend prefers not to convert leather seals to synthetic, so that says something for leather.
I did put a kit in one of those guns because of parts issues associated with the previous tune and velocity went up to around 600 with H&N FTT 8.64's. The shot cycle became snappier though and, while it doesn't bother me, it's a little uncharacteristic for an HW 55.
As an aside, I recently noted that I gain 15 to 20 fps in my sub 12 ft. lb. HW 97 when going down in head size from 4.52 to 4.50 mm so that is something you can also investigate with your gun.
Good luck and what ever you decide to do, enjoy your 55. She's a good looking gun!
Wow you guys have some pretty guns! Those are some really gorgeous HW 55’s...I've never seen wood on a Weihrauch to beat r1lover's 55M.
I think the “square” and “W” checkering patterns are around in similar quantities, but for some reason it took me a long time to find one of the “square” 55M’s. I love it - the stock feels subtly more trim and rounded somehow, and the checkering is more finely done (looks like maybe 18 lines-per-inch, while the “W” ones are 16). It also has pretty wood, though not in the league of these!
Many airgun manufacturers - firearms too for that matter - do not make their own wood stocks, but get them from specialized sub-contractors. Sile in Italy has been the largest and best-known for many years.
So I suspect the diffs you see in HW 55 stocks over the years are likely simply due to their ordering different batches over time. You see both styles of checkering on "M's," going back and forth over a wide time range; i.e., there doesn't seem to have been a single or permanent change from one to the other.
It's fascinating, especially with older examples - if you look really closely it can seem like no two are really exactly alike! For example, I have three 55 CM's...one is left-handed (!), and the two rightys are of different pull lengths with just about every line and angle subtly different. Quite a few minor changes in the M's over time too, and of course T's are famous for individual variation.
The "square checkered" M stocks have no significant dimensional variations from the "W" ones, apologies if I was misleading on that point. But something about them just feels a bit better to me; maybe slightly bigger radii on the fore end edges or something.
I've posted this before, but you guys might get a kick out of seeing what the HW 55 looked like in 1959!
Thanks for the further information .
That catalog is cool! Amazing how detailed everything is . And that exploded diagram. ...literally just plain awesome! Where in the world do you find this stuff?
Leave it to you MD to show us the way! You are truly an asset to this community. Thank you!