I am the proud owner of a Weihrauch HW80 springer .22 air rifle which I purchased in the late 1990s and wow is it powerful and accurate. I have fired it with army peep sights and the standard V sights, all interchangeable and in different front sight sizes. The downside, it is very heavy and the noise (without a silencer) is deafening whilst the recoil is very apparent. I love the gun, the interaction of cocking, loading and firing the weapon with its two stage adjustable trigger is great fun. I tend to fire it without a support and in a standing position. Perhaps its time for a silencer as the noise scares the shit out of the birds. I never shoot at wildlife, only paper and knock down/reset metal targets, both types with trays for catching the lead pellets. The HW80 complies with the 12ft/lbs legal limit in the UK but delivers some serious distance and penetration. Fortunately, I live in the countryside and my fields far exceed the shot distance of the Weihrauch. The gun is still sold today and the latest version, the Weihrauch HW80K is now supplied with a silencer.

Whilst the Weihrauch HW80 is great fun, it is nice to research the air rifle springers that feature in the gun shops and reviews. The list is massive and in the UK, we are spoilt for choice.

Videos in this Article
I have included videos of popular springer air rifles & scopes that might be of interest to the reader.
Thanks to YouTube, I can place videos of my popular choices with supplier links but I must emphasise, I do not in any way receive remunerations from any of them or any reviewer. Its a difficult task to create a list as the choice is vast. At the bottom of the article are videos on scope reticles, SF Vs. FF planes, weaver & picatinnay rails, securing rings, mounting on rifle, zeroing and how to avoid rifle rotation.

Videos of selected air weapons and scopes from the following manufacturers are included further down in this article.
 

Featured Air Weapons & Scopes - Links to Manufacturers Websites

 

 

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The High End Investment - Air Weapon Combination
There has to be a balance in purchasing a springer air rifle, especially when you have to add a scope, a silencer and probably a gun slip for transporting the weapon. Of course, one would still expect a great deal of accuracy with a flatter curve for pellet target shooting. My top choice would be the .177 Weihrauch HW97KT Rifle which is 103cms (40.5 inches) in length and is supplied with a Weihrauch muzzle weight, reducing muzzle flip and increasing accuracy. This is a top end target rifle with an under lever cocking action and I would fit a Weihrauch Silencer on the end of the barrel and a Optisan EVX 6-24X50F1i (MIL-F1MH24) scope. For transporting the gun, a Weihrauch HW Sport 48" Gun Slip would be ideal if you want to leave on the silencer. The combination may seem expensive at around 1,176.93 but not a bad deal, considering this is a very high end combination. There are videos of this Weihrauch gun and Optisan scopes in this article.

The Budget Investment - Air Weapon Combination
Most folks that have a limited budget or who are starting out with limited access to ground or a firing range, might seek a rifle combination which does not break the bank. On the assumption that most folks theses days in the UK would rather kill a paper target than any wildlife, my combination of choice is based on the .177 calibre which delivers a flatter curve for pellet target shooting rather than the greater curve of .22 pellets. I rather like the
Remington Express with Scope and Silencer. It is 123.2cms (48.5 inches) in length and a nice optional Quality Contoured Gun Slip is ideal for transporting the weapon. The total cost of the gun with included silencer, scope and optional gun slip is around 169.98. The Remington Express is featured in a video within this article. NOTE: For a limited period, PellPax are also including a free gun slip.

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.22 Pellets
I have always used Accupell .22 14.66gr 5.50mm head size pellets purchased from Ramsbottom with my Weihrauch HW80 rifle and they have proved to be fairly accurate when shooting targets at 40 yards using open V sights. The pellet grouping is consistently on centre and that is firing the gun whilst leaning on a fence or standing.

I plan to use a rifle rest and I have ordered a MTM K-Zone shooting rest as standing and holding a heavy rifle or elbowing a fence is no fun.

Pellets Preparation
U
pon delivery I gently pop the Accupell pellets into a basin full of warm water mixed with washing up liquid and gently swirl them around for a time using my fingers. Afterwards, I empty most of the water and pop the pellets into a household sieve and then gently onto an old thick towel. I spread them out and dry them with a hairdryer. I move them to a dry towel and lightly spray them all with Napier Pellet Lube or Napier Power Air Gun Oil and then gently roll them inside the 'folded' towel to remove the excess oil which leaves an almost invisible oil coating. Thereafter, they are popped into a Crosman Pellet Pouch and ready for use. I note that my pellet supplier, Ramsbottom is now supplying Accupell FT .22 pellets in a 5.53 head size which are already pre-prepared with Napier gun oil. NOTE: I never use a silicone based oil for my air rifle pellets.

Cleaning a CO2 Pistol & Air Rifles
Anyone who has purchased their first air rifle and researched 'how to clean and oil' an air rifle on the internet is likely to end up confused due to the mass of contradictions from the various advisors and reviewers. Do you clean it often, very rarely, or in the view of some reviewers, they never clean their air guns, especially the barrels. Do you use silicone oil, mineral oil or the age old Mobil One synthetic oil from the local garage. Do you use a pull through or a thin brass rod with a swivel handle, and with brass, nylon, mop and patch heads for cleaning the barrel. One thing is for sure, you do not use penetration oil, the kind you would use for freeing up that stubborn nut which is rusted and seized underneath your car - apparently penetration oil is a killer of the internal workings of air weapons.

 

I clean all my air guns after I fire off about 500 rounds of lead pellets, usually the number in an average tin and I like a nice clean and gleaming barrel without any residual oil left in it. I clean and oil the outer metalwork and easy to reach mechanicals like the trigger and moving metal parts with the appropriate gun oil to prevent wear and corrosion. Likewise the stock with a light waxing and polishing. For long term storage, I will pull a lightly oiled patch through the barrel before placing it in the gun cabinet. The only gun I am prepared to strip down (once a year) to the internals is my CO2 Beretta pistol so that I can clean and oil the cocking slide mechanism.

For my CO2 pistols, I only use Crosman Pellgun Oil for internal and external workings of my guns and fire VFG Fibre Cleaning Pellets through the barrels until they come out clean. I catch them in a metal bucket but be careful they come out of the barrels with a fair amount of velocity and will easily shoot through any plastic container held at the front of the barrel. All my CO2 pistols are stored (empty of CO2 or pellets) upside down with a drop of Crosman Pellgun Oil on the CO2 seal inside the butt.

For my break barrel air rifle, I use a bog standard Guntuff Cleaning Kit which includes a brass rod with swivel handle, bronze, nylon and mop heads along with Napier Power Air Gun Oil and finish off by firing VFG Fibre Cleaning Pellets through the barrel. NOTE: if you also have the Napier Pull Through Kit you can use that instead of the VFG fibre pellets. For springers with an under lever cocking action, you can use the Napier Pull Through Kit through the breech opening to clean the barrel. NOTE: I never use a silicone based oil for cleaning and oiling my break barrel gun as it can mess up the internal greasing.

With PCP air weapons which have a magazine or under lever cocking piston/spring air rifles, it is often the case that using a rod and various cleaning heads is impossible to use, because the risk of damaging the weapon internals is very likely. The solution is a 'pull through cleaning kit and the Napier Pull Through Kit is exceptional for all air guns and perfect for PCP rifles which have magazine systems. It is supplied (in the kit) with a pull string, patches and Napier Power Air Gun Oil  which is approved by a large number of air weapon manufacturers. NOTE: I never use a silicone based oil for oiling my Logan PCP rifle as it can mess up the internal greasing. This came as a warning in my Logan PCP handbook.

Gun Safes & Trigger Locks
Gun Safes & Cabinets come in all shapes, sizes and costs. If you only have a single firearm, then the cost can be relatively low but no matter what the size and the cost, the locked safe or cabinet must be bolted to a solid wall and preferably in a place where it cannot be easily found by third parties, somewhere like inside a locked cupboard with a solid wall at the back.

It is prudent to purchase a gun safe or cabinet that can hold a few firearms because invariably your hankering for another gun, often arises. It is not just the gun that must be stored securely, often a scope is fitted, so the safe or cabinet must provide room for the gun to stand with the scope fitted and then there is the height to consider, because your 1st gun may be a short carbine but a 2nd gun, purchased at a later date, might be a full size rifle with a silencer fitted.

Then there is the ammunition and any accessories that you might want to store alongside your gun - many cabinets have side and/or top storage sections. Pellets, targets and airgun cleaning equipment are often stored in gun safes. If you have several guns, the safe should have enough room whereby you can insert or remove a gun without it clattering into another gun in the cabinet.

Anyone who is careful about securing their gun from third parties, especially kids, will secure their air rifle with a Trigger Lock which prevents the guns trigger being pulled and usually these type of locks come with 2 keys.

Target Shooting
I very much enjoy using my air weapons to shoot at paper & metal targets. Although I am surrounded by all types of wildlife, including crows, magpies, rabbits, grey squirrels, pigeons, pheasants, deer, foxes and sparrows, amongst many other small birds, I never shoot any wildlife.

Air gun targets come in all shapes and sizes but as I predominantly shoot lead pellets, I prefer to catch the spent lead, rather than let it build up in my fields. Therefore all my targets catch the lead after it has passed through the paper. I like 17mm and also 14mm metal coned target holders with a spent pellet trap at the back. I purchased mine from Ramsbottom in the UK where I also purchase the majority of my accessories and pellets.

PellPax in the UK, supplies many types of targets and I like the metal box targets with little figures (pigeons, crows, ducks, rats) which have a reset figure that when hit, pops back up all the shot down figures - great fun and a test of accuracy.

 


Rifle Rests for Target Shooting - Scope Mounting & Zeroing

There are many types of rifle rests and and they come in at various prices. I went for the budget MTM K-Zone rifle rest which can be used in full size adjustable mode to support your air gun and to zero your scope or by just using the front part, you can use it to support the front of the air gun for target shooting. It is also great for using with pistols.

 

You can fill it with lead shot to add weight before you assemble it but I just assembled it without adding any weight - it works just fine sitting on a sturdy table. I just used an old table that I had lying in the garage which is height adjustable (very important) but probably the best table is the MTM High Low Shooting Table which is also height adjustable.

I also used my MTM K-Zone Rest to support my Logan rifle whilst I refitted and adjusted my Simmons scope with new mounts. See the videos below regarding the MTM K-Zone and the MTM High Low Shooting Table -

 

 


Scope Mounting & Zeroing

There are literally dozens of internet reviews and articles on scope mounting and zeroing the sights. I have included a link
How to Adjust a Scope and there are videos on this subject from Ryan Cleckner at the foot of this article.

I use a Simmons scope on my other gun, a Logan .22 PCP rifle and the scope is 20 years old has a adjustment ring at the front end of the scope which reads in feet and then yards and up to 300 yards and then infinity. I had to purchase a Hawke 2 inch rear extension mount which allowed me to bring the eyepiece of the scope nearer to my eye to avoid a dark circle appearing and closing the outer regions of the eyepiece view. I also learned very quickly that I had to set the scope rear distance even nearer to my eye on the mounts when it was set to the 300 yard magnification because although the dark circle was clear at 25 yards, it started to appear as the magnification was applied and had covered 65% of the eyepiece at 300 yards. NOTE: Usually the Hawke 2 inch extension mount is advertised by Hawke suppliers, as a front extension but it can also be reversed. It is also supplied with a second standard mount in the pack.


Videos
of Popular Air Rifles & Scopes
Whilst the videos cover .177 and .22 air rifles my preferred calibre for target shooting would be .177 which delivers a flatter trajectory.
 

The Remington Express with Scope & Silencer and a UK Supplier (.177 - 144.99)

 

 

The Webley VMX Quantum and a UK Supplier (.177 - 169.99)

 

 

The SMK XS38 Magnum Underlever and a UK Supplier (.177 - 154.99)

 

 

The Gamo Whisper Sting (with Scope & Bag) and a UK Supplier (.177 - 149.99)

 

 

The Gamo Maxxim Elite Multishot (also Tactical Variant) and a UK Supplier (.177 - 244.99)

 

 

The BSA Meteor EVO Silentium and a UK Supplier (.177 - 179.99)

 

 

The BSA Lightning XL SE (Beech or Black Tactical) and a UK Supplier (.177 - 299.99)

 

 

The Weihrauch HW30S + Scope Kit and a UK Supplier (.177 - 250.99) The Tactical variant without a scope costs 221.99 see the video below -

 

 

The Weihrauch HW99S and a UK Supplier (.177 - 259.00)

 

 

The Weihrauch HW35K and a UK Supplier (.177 - 334.99)

 

 

The Weihrauch HW57 and a UK Supplier (.177 - 348.99)

 

 

The Weihrauch HW95K and a UK Supplier (.177 - 410.00)

 

 

The Weihrauch HW77K and a UK Supplier (.177 - 465.00)

 

 

The Weihrauch HW80K and a UK Supplier (.177 - 468.00)

 

 

The Weihrauch HW98 and a UK Supplier (.177 - 506.99)

 

 

The Weihrauch HW97KT and a UK Supplier (.177 - 540.00) also a Weihrauch Silencer - UK Supplier and an Optisan EVX 6-24X50F1i (MIL-F1MH24) scope - UK Supplier.

 

 

The Air Arms TX200HC MK III and a UK Supplier (.177 - 499.99)

 

 

The Air Arms TX200 MK III and a UK Supplier (.177 - 569.99)

 

 

The Air Arms Pro Sport and a UK Supplier (.177 - 699.99)

 

 

BSA Scopes for your Air Rifle and a UK Supplier

 

 

Bushnell Scopes for your Air Rifle and a UK Supplier

 

 

Vector Optics Scopes for your Air Rifle and a UK Supplier

 

 

Walther Scopes for your Air Rifle and a UK Supplier

 

 

 

MTC Scopes for your Air Rifle and a UK Supplier

 

 

Hawke VANTAGE 3-9x50 Budget Scope and a UK Supplier. Please note the next model up, the Hawke VANTAGE IR 3-9x50 AO with MIL DOT IR Reticle and adjustable objective parallax correction is my budget choice and the UK Supplier.

 

 

Hawke Scopes for your Air Rifle and a UK Supplier

 

 

Optisan Scopes for your Air Rifle and a UK Supplier

 


Element Scopes for your Air Rifle and a UK Supplier

 

 

Leupold Scopes for your Air Rifle and a UK Supplier

 

 

Scope Mil Dot Reticle Vs. BDC Reticle

 

 

Scope - Single Focal Plane Vs. First Focal Plane Variant

 

 

Weaver vs Picatinnay Scope Bases & Rings -

 

 

How to Mount a Rifle Scope -

 

 

How to Zero a Rifle Scope - Real World Lesson -

 

 

Avoiding Rifle Rotation - Real World Lesson -

 

 

Cleaning an Air Rifle -

 

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Richard Lawrence
Scotland
United Kingdom