- Build quality
- Thoughtful magazine design allows for one-piece mounts
- Practical stock design
- No need to drill to fit a bipod
- Air cylinder unscrews
- Comprehensive package
- Lifetime free servicing and warranty
Not so good points
- Trigger could be better
- Two bits of plastic that should not be there
- barrel shroud is designed more to look cool than to suppress the noise
- 7mm Allen key to unscrew muzzle cap not bundled
- Not practical to shoot with a “thumbs up” hand stance.
I chose HW100 over the Daystate Huntsman Classic as my main hunting rifle: this has been a difficult decision, taken on a rational basis only, leaving the aesthetics out of the game. In some ways, the two rifles are very similar (shot count, weight, multi-shot..) but they couldn’t be more different as resulting platforms. The HW100 offers in my opinion a stable, solid platform onto which you can mount anything. It has a long graduated scope rail that – unlike most PCPs – can take a one-piece mount, which stiffens everything up and can take more abuse than a two-piece one before the zero needs rechecking. The wood isn’t 1mm thick like some other guns and will accept a (specifically designed) sling stud as a direct replacement of the fore-end stock screw. As a result, when fitting the bipod, the wood is not stressed right on the newly drilled hole and will allow a lot more confidence.
In favour of the Huntsman:
- Bolt loading
- Trigger (oh man, awesome trigger)
- Traditional sporting rifle layout
- Thumbs up not a problem
- Reflex silencer doesn’t add much to the length
- Daystate customer service
Against the Huntsman:
- Biggest defect: unfortunate magazine design makes it impossible to fit my Falcon Menace without extra-high mounts.
- Maybe a bit too small for me.
In favour of the HW100:
- Fantastic magazine design: one-piece mounts not a problem
Against the HW100:
- Lack of thumb-up support on the stock
I’m not going to tell you that one defect is that it doen’t do 10,000 shots per fill. I knew this was gonna be the case and surely the gun couldn’t do that with such a small cylinder. What I am going to tell you is that my biggest complaint about this lovely gun is the trigger. The factory setting was some sort of joke, with a loooong 2nd stage creep, which was cured by turning the rear adjustment screw anti-clockwise. Now the second stage breaks crisply but the first stage is now ridiculously long. The other unforgivable shortcoming is that the trigger blade is made of plastic (polymer you say?), as is the magazine retainer lever. I suspect this is due to the complex shapes of these two bits, nonetheless to me there are only two materials a rifle should be made of: wood and metal.
The side-lever thing. Yeah, Marmite again. I just love to see a shiny bolt protrude from the side of a gun. Side-levers make me think of Olympics target shooting, not hunting. But this time I had decided I was gonna choose the gun with my head rather than with my eyes and if I could not fit my favourite scope on a gun the way I wanted to, that wasn’t gonna be my gun of choice after all.
So, my main requirements for the new gun were:
- MUST be able to fit the Falcon Menace 4-14 FFP with high mounts
- Pin-point accurate (I wanted to extend my hunting range to 50m)
- Small but solid platform
- Good trigger
Because both guns more or less tick all boxes except for the first one, it was clear that was gonna have the last word on which one to choose: the HW100. I can mount my Falcon Menace where I want it and how I want it: high one piece mounts for me please. Job done. You can’t beat that. Rifle and scope are a whole, a unity, one single tool. In fact, you can’t shoot without a scope (open sights? Good for shooting people 50m away, not pigeon heads at 40m). And this time no, I wasn’t gonna follow the hype and get one of them awful MTC with their xmas tree reticle, not for me thanks, I know better now. I can zoom my scope where I want and the aim points stay the same. Makes me wonder why aren’t all designed like that.
I lined up a meaty selection of pellets desperately hoping at least one would perform well. That means that the gun should produce one-hole group the designed zero range (for the chosen AA Field and given a 20mm kill zone and 780fps average pellet speed, the optimal primary zero is at 31m).
So in went:
- HN FTT
- RWS Superfield 4.51 and 4.52
- Daystate FT Select 4.51 and 4.52 (no longer available but I have loads)
- Weihrauch FT Special
- AA Diabolo Field 4.51 and 4.52
- Daystate Li (Shame on you Daystate, they are just the old Webley Accupel only rebranded. You didn’t even bother changing the tin, which is the best thing about them anyway).
Result: AA DF 4.52 and HN FTT win hands down. The AA showed more consistent grouping (no flyers, whatever that means). Pellet of choice then.
Some figures for the AA @ 8.44 grain:
- highest speed: 785fps
- lowest: 775fps
- average energy at the muzzle: 11.40 ftlb
The picture below shows the best 5-shot group I have managed with the AA (it’s the one next to the 5p coin). That really is almost the size of the pellet itself but five of them went in there. I suspect that if I got the trigger the way I want it, groups like that would be more common. Not too bad though.
[.. might be continued]