The HW97 is one of the finest underlever field target air rifles ever made. For those used to break-barrel spring-piston airguns, instead of the barrel being used as a lever to compress the action’s massive spring, the barrel is fixed and a separate lever beneath the barrel is used for cocking the spring. This means that the barrel is fixed to the receiver, eliminating any play that could affect accuracy. Many target shooters using spring piston guns prefer this system for that reason.
Imported by Beeman Precision from the famed Hermann Weihrauch factory in Germany, the 2012 model HW97K Blackline is the latest incarnation of the top quality underlever rifle. While the 97K is available in a traditional wood Monte Carlo stock, the 97 Blackline comes with a thumbhole stock of black synthetic material. The futuristic black stock draws a stark contrast to the barrel and action’s satin “stainless” finish. A stippled forend and rubber buttpad ensures a solid hold, even in wet field conditions.
Weighing it at over 10 pounds without optics, and over 40 inches in overall length, the HW97K Blackline is truly an adult airgun, with adult performance. The Blackline’s receiver has standard 11mm grooves for scope mounting. Pyramid Air (pyramidair.com) supplied the Blackline with a Tech Force 4-12x40mm illuminated reticle scope mounted in 1-inch scope medium rings, with a vertical scope stop in one ring, and a secure four-screws-per-ring cap. This “airgun” recoil-rated scope has positive, finger adjustable ¼-MOA windage and elevation knobs, and even more important on an airgun scope, the front objective is adjustable for parallax distances from 7.5 yards out to infinity. The illuminated Mil-Dot reticle features both red and green illumination—five levels of brightness for each. The Tech Force’s 1-inch tube rivals the clarity of centerfire scopes—excellent image, bright and clear from edge to edge—a far cry from the murky airgun scopes I had as a kid.