Is it OK to rest a springer?
PUBLISHED: 11:53 12 September 2019
In association with Streamlight, our Airgun Guru answers our readers’ questions...
I'm just getting back into airgunning after a 20-year break, and I'm determined to raise my skill levels, and to make the most of my new Weihrauch HW 77K and Hawke scope combo. It was the editor's test of this rifle and scope that inspired me to get them, and although I didn't go for the Special Edition model, as tested by Dave, my '77 is everything I could want from a springer.
My job now is to make the most of it and here's my question: should I rest my rifle to stabilise its aim, or not? I hear totally conflicting advice on this subject, and one of the photos from Dave's test shows him resting the HW 77 on a tree, so now I'm really confused! Could the Guru advise, please?
Hi Ernie, and thanks for your question. I hope my answer helps you and the growing number of airgunners who are determined to fully exploit the potential of their springers.
First, take a close look at that photo of Dave (above), and pay particular attention to the way his left hand is supporting the rifle. Note how the rifle is resting on Dave's thumb, leaving it completely isolated from the tree, and free to recoil without being impeded in any way. This is the key to resting a spring-piston rifle.
Resting a springer on something that accommodates its recoil, rather than resists or affects it, is the best way to produce consistent accuracy. Resting that HW 77 on a hard, unyielding surface, or gripping it tightly, is definitely not the way to go, unless you can guarantee those precise conditions for every shot, and I assure you, you'll struggle to do that.
What's required, here, is minimal grip tension in your 'trigger hand', with the rifle 'resting' in your shoulder, rather than being pulled tightly into it, and finally, the fore end of the rifle should be 'cradled' in your relaxed hand, again with minimal grip tension. You can rest your forward hand on a beanbag or some other comfortable support, but don't prop the rifle directly on a hard surface.
The path your rifle takes as it recoils affects the point at which the pellet exits the barrel, which in turn affects where that pellet strikes. Consistency of recoil path means consistent accuracy, and vice-versa. It's far easier to reproduce minimal grip tension, than to replicate a tight grip, especially when the higher tension grip starts to cause muscle fatigue.
Rest your rifle in your shoulder and leading hand, don't grip it, and if you need to use another rest of the fore end, make sure the rifle is free to recoil naturally. Let the rifle show you what it can do, and don't interfere with that legendary Weihrauch performance.