Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to finally acquire an example of a rifle that has intrigued me since I first had the opportunity to meet its designer and try his rifle at the SWEFTA Open shoot back in 1990 - it is a Whiscombe JW50
For anyone not familiar with these rifles they are a recoilless spring rifle that uses a twin opposing piston system to cancel out the recoil. To cock the rfile there is a concealed under lever in the fore-end, to bring both pistons to their full cock position requires two strokes of the lever. The cocking system uses a very clever but simple rack and pinion gear system to cock the forward piston. Cocking wight on the first stroke is quite light, the second stroke requires more effort but is not unduly heavy.
Once cocked, the pellet needs to be loaded into the barrel, as this is a Mk1 JW50, it features a tip-up barrel to load the pellet, to tip the barrel there is a latch on the left hand side of the breech block that cams it out of the twin detents.
Some people expressed concern that the tip barrel mechanism might wear and cause accuracy problems, however the detent and pivot are massively engineered and as the barrel is only tipped for loading with no cocking force the potential for wear is negligible - as demonstrated by this rifle it is about 19 years old and still solid as a rock.
Once the pellet is loaded, flick off the safety catch at the rear of the action and fire the shot. Given the 400 pounds of loading on the trigger mechanism you would think it would not be great - wrong John's design is superb and would not be out of place on a pcp match rifle with a minimum safe release weight of 4 ounces. The match trigger option goes to 2 ounces in total safety!
When you fire the rifle there is no recoil at all, you are aware that something is going on but you don't feel it - difficult to describe, you need to shoot it to understand. Accuracy is excellent as good as anything you can get today.
The only drawback with the Mk1 JW50 is the tip barrel as it restricts the maximum scope length you can fit, when the rifle was first designed the monster scopes we know now were not being used in FT, with the likes of the Tasco 2-7x32AG being a bread and butter scope, with the Zeiss Diavari-c 3-9x36 being the 'luxury' scope. This was cured when JW produced a fixed barrel design where pellet loading was effected by a side lever operated loading port.
The stock on this rifle is an excellent thumbhole design with adjustable cheekpiece, buttpad and deep fore-end. All in all a first class FT stock that is as good now as anytime.