Blast from the Past: Feinwerkbau Model 65
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- Last updated: 22/05/2018
Feinwerkbau from Oberndorf, Germany are world renowned makers of fine airguns and until now I have only been familiar with the hunting model FWB Sport break barrel air rifle.
A trip to F A Andersons before Christmas corrected this, when I spotted an FWB 65 pistol in the shop window. The deal was done and I now had one of the finest recoilless air pistols made. This pistol won more International and championship matches than any other air pistol in its day.
Its side lever operation is handy for competition use and operates the superb recoilless spring piston system with its ride in the rails action. It’s a simple system that their rifles use, where the action is cocked and on firing the top part of the action slides rearward, eliminating recoil. This make the FWB 65 a really accurate air pistol, with an enviable pedigree and build quality.
As soon as you pick up the FWB 65, you know you are in for a treat. The build quality is there and it shows in its outward appearance, as well as the well-engineered mechanical features. You have several versions of this model and they relate to the grips. You not only have left or right-hand options, but you could choose between standard or match grade grips, both in quality walnut.
The standard grips have twin stippled panels to both sides and a nice thumb rest. I had the Match grips, which are contoured to your hand and can be filed and altered to fit your own hand. There is a large trigger finger rest, thumb rest and lower brace. All these features allow the FWB 65 to literally sit horizontal in the hand, with little need for any grip to support. The differing stocks alter the weight; standard grips mean 2.6lbs, whilst the Match grips increase this to 3.1lbs. The length is 15.3-inches regardless and balances perfectly as you would expect in the hand and feels no weight at all.
The barrel is .177 or 4.5mm calibre only and is 7.5-inches long. It has a nice blued finish with a pronounced rounded muzzle crown. There is a micro groove and honed rifling to the bore for utmost accuracy potential.
The sights are simple but effective. The foresight is clamped to the barrel by a single screw and there is small serrated ramp that leads the eye to a removable and adjustable thin metal blade that can slide up and down or left and right and is secured by a single grub screw at the front.
The rear sight has micrometre knobs for adjustment for elevation and windage and the notch to align the foresight blade is adjustable on a cam system to close or enlarge as you like. The overall sight picture length is 14.1-inches and original pistols had spare sighting elements included.
The action is of two parts, both made from a light alloy with steel internal parts or on the high wear areas.
This FWB 65, like the FWB 300 rifle series, utilises the recoilless sledge system that allows an almost totally recoil free firing cycle. There is a steel sidelever to operate the mechanism that unlatches via a small serrated catch and the curved inward sidelever is easily cocked at a force of 16lbs. So, easy to cock with the left hand and keep the right-hand supporting the pistol. This moves the top part of the action into the locked forward position.
As you cock the side lever, a ratchet system is deployed, avoiding the piston slamming back on the fingers. At full cock, a large loading port that is open to both sides and the barrel protrudes in with a coned end, so that a pellet is easily inserted, .177 only obviously. The piston sleeve can now be seen and has a corresponding cone recess and synthetic O-ring to seal the barrel and piston sleeve when the side lever is retracted. There is also a small plastic buffer at the base of the piston sleeve face to stop any jarring.
Internally, there is a conventional piston but with a steel piston ring and lifetime lubrication. You also have a spring system for propulsion and the earlier Mark 1 versions had a single spring that gave 450fps, whilst newer versions had twin springs to boost the power to 525fps. You also have an interesting feature that you can adjust to make the FWB 65 recoilless or make recoil as a firearms simulator.
The firing cycle is totally dead, and the top half of the action moves rearward as the piston moves forward, thus cancelling out any movement. There is no safety but the trigger, as expected, is superb and the wide serrated blade is single stage with a weight of 17.6oz with no creep what so ever.
Accuracy wise, even this old model shot superbly, I used RWS Hobbies and JSB Target Sport Diabolo at 6-yards from a cushion rest and nearly all five shot groups made a single, enlarged hole! In the early days, a scope mount ramp was offered and I would love to find one to mount a scope and increases the plinking fun that the FWB 65 affords.
These FWB 65s do come to market quiet frequently and if supplied in their original box with papers and all accessories you are looking at £300 plus. But as a standalone pistol, with wear and honest use, I managed to pick this one up for £180. A bargain and lots of fun!