This week’s Gun of the Week, the HW110 K Laminate, has been tested recently by Airgun Shooter’s Mat Manning, so just how does it do when put to the test?
Many shooters regard Weihrauch air rifles as some of the best in the world, and for very good reason. Almost as many make the mistake of thinking that the HW110 is a cheap version of the gunmaker’s flagship HW100.
Let’s dispel that myth before we go any further; the HW110 is a seriously good airgun in its own right, and its very competitive price simply means that you can enjoy all the benefits of a high-end PCP without having to bankrupt yourself.
The only criticism levelled at the original HW110 that is tricky to refute is that it wasn’t the prettiest of airguns. Although it’s a top performer, this airgun’s lack of flare could be attributed to its stock, because although extremely practical and a big hit with shooters with more of a utilitarian taste, its black soft-touch finish was never going to win great praise from those who like a handle with a bit of elegance.
That has all changed now, and the addition of a new laminate stock has transformed the HW110 from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan – people were literally drooling over it when we first saw it at the British Shooting Show back in February.
Despite its mega makeover, the laminate version of this acclaimed airgun still retails for well under a grand. It has a recommended retail price of £910, which, although not cheap, is very competitive when you get towards the higher end of the PCP spectrum.
SUPPLIED BY: Hull Cartridge (hullcartridge.co.uk)
MAKER: Weihrauch, Germany (weihrauch-sport.de)
MODEL: HW110 K Laminate
TYPE: Sidelever-action, multi-shot PCP
CALIBRE: .177, .20 and .22 (tested)
OVERALL LENGTH: 890mm
LENGTH OF PULL: 365mm
BARREL LENGTH: 300mm
WEIGHT: 3.1kg (without scope)
TRIGGER: Two-stage adjustable
POWER: 11.5 ft-lb
That laminate stock really is the standout feature on this latest incarnation of the HW110. Its colour scheme is a blend of black and varying hues of grey. Thankfully, it’s not as stripy as most laminates and therefore looks a lot more tasteful and refined than the average ‘black pepper’ handle.
The result is eye-catching enough to turn heads on the range, yet subtle enough not to be too conspicuous in the field. It’s a change that has converted the HW110 from a functional, but lacklustre piece of hardware to an airgun that will inspire real pride of ownership.
It might have received a serious aesthetic boost, but none of the stock’s functionality has been lost. The forend is equipped with a Picatinny-type accessory rail, which makes for fast attachment of add-ons such as bipods and slings.
If you don’t want to use it, it’s easily removed as it’s only held in place by a couple of simple, but secure, screws. And you won’t struggle when it comes to getting a secure purchase on the HW110 Laminate as the forend also features neat panels of very grippy stippling on both sides, and the same stippling is also present on the steep pistol grip. Apart from looking good, that stippling also has a texture which quite literally sticks to your hand.
So the ambidextrous stock looks great and is adorned with some nice features, but that would count for very little if it didn’t provide a good fit to ensure an excellent connection between gun and shooter; and you can rest assured that it certainly does that. It’s an ambidextrous handle and its contours make for snug contact in all the right places whether you’re right- or left-handed.
I really like the thumbhole design, which has plenty of room for big hands and incorporates a nice, wide grip that really fills the palm and has a steep angle that makes for excellent trigger attack.
Like the majority of modern PCPs, the HW110 Laminate is a scope-only gun, and its stock has been designed to incorporate a high and well-defined cheekpiece to give correct eye alignment with a chosen optic. Gun fit can be further tweaked by means of the height-adjustable butt pad.
Laminate stocks usually weigh a little more because of the density of the resins used in their construction, but that certainly isn’t noticeable with this model.
The review gun is the HW110 K version, and that ‘K’ denotes that it’s a carbine. It is very compact, measuring about 89cm with the supplied silencer fitted, and tipping the scales at just a shade over 3kg before you add a scope and mounts. I really like its proportions and it is a very pointable little gun whatever stance you’re using it from.
Features and function
The HW110 K Laminate maintains a lot of the original model’s practicality. Its scope rails are of the Picatinny type – they offer a good amount of clamping area and make for fast and very secure attachment. This airgun even comes supplied with the latest version of Weihrauch’s excellent silencer.
While I prefer the look of the tapered rear section of the older moderator, the latest version is still one of the best on the market when it comes to sound suppression, and hunters will love this HW’s near-silent muzzle report.
The Weihrauch brand is synonymous with exceptional build quality, and that is certainly the case here. Yes, some of the components, including the action housing and the trigger blade are made from ballistic polymer, which delivers cost and weight savings, but it doesn’t feel like a compromise.
The finish and engineering on this airgun are both of a very high standard and, just like its predecessor, this airgun feels extremely solidly constructed.
Weihrauch also has a reputation for making very good trigger mechanisms, and the one on the test gun was excellent straight out of the box. It’s an adjustable two-stage unit with a very nicely contoured blade which has a wide face and a gentle curve. The weight and travel of the first stage feels just about perfect, and there’s a nicely defined stop-point before the second stage breaks incredibly cleanly.
Like the stock, the safety catch is ambidextrous, having a lever on the left- and right-hand side of the action. You push it down and forwards to make the gun safe (at which point you see a white dot) and up and back (to reveal a red dot) when you want to shoot. It does have a bit of a click to it, but I don’t think it is noisy enough to raise any serious concerns for hunters.
The HW110 runs a 10-shot drum magazine, and you also get a spare one supplied. These mags look very basic, but the simplicity just means there’s nothing to go wrong and they work brilliantly. Best of all, the magazine sits below the rail, so you don’t have to worry about straddling it with scope mounts.
To remove the magazine, draw the sidelever back and then push up the retaining lever which is positioned beneath it. This withdraws the pin which holds the magazine in place so it can now be pulled out from the right-hand side. Reloading the magazine is a doddle as there are no tensioning springs to mess about with – you simply push a pellet into each of the 10 chambers.
A slick sidelever action cocks the gun, indexes the magazine and probes each pellet into the breech. It is a brilliant mechanism which I have used on numerous different HW PCPs, both in the field and on the range. Smooth and fast, it keeps the shots coming without causing any damage to pellets and has never let me down.
Air pressure inside the compact cylinder is clearly marked on a neat colour-coded gauge. It’s a great gauge, but its positioning could be better. I have said it before on numerous occasions, but I really don’t like the fact that you have to look down from the muzzle end to read an air gauge which is situated at the front of the cylinder.
When you notice that the air supply is running low, you refill by pulling out the friction plug from the inlet just behind the gauge and pushing in the supplied quick-fill probe. It couldn’t be easier.
Performance and precision
The HW110 does not have a regulator in the conventional sense, but is equipped with what Weihrauch describes as a self-regulating action. Its makers are quite secretive about exactly how it works, but the result is pretty consistent muzzle velocity and a relatively flat power curve as you work through the charge.
A full 200 bar fill gave me more than 50 consistent shots at around 11.5 ft-lb from the .22 calibre test gun. Shot-to-shot variation stayed within eight feet per second over a string of 10 shots – and that was when using some Daystate Select FT pellets straight from the tin. The standard length gun will return well over 100 shots in .177 and about 140 in .22. The in-between .20 calibre is also available on special order.
Having shot this gun many times in its previous guise, I was therefore expecting good things from it on the range, and I wasn’t disappointed. It only took me two magazines to lead the barrel nicely and get the HW110 superficially zeroed. After that, it was punching out 15mm groups at 30m and sub-20mm groups at 40m.
If I were given more time with this gun, and the opportunity to shoot it with a much wider variety of pellets, I am absolutely sure that it could do even better. Its combination of excellent engineering, consistent power delivery and a very good trigger setup make it pretty easy to shoot well.
And this gun can also perform away from the comfort of the bench, as its well-designed stock makes for comfortable handling whether shooting from a standing, kneeling, sitting or prone stance.
Distributed in the UK by Hull Cartridge, the Weihrauch HW110 K Laminate is a terrific little gun and great fun to shoot. It may be small, but it’s big in quality and very robustly constructed, and I can see it really appealing to hunters who want a gun that can stand up to the rigours of field use.
The HW110 was already a great airgun, delivering German precision in a compact and comparatively affordable package. The laminate stock now adds good looks to that enviable list of qualities.