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- Last updated: 31/10/2019
If I am feeling a bit nostalgic then the original Weihrauch HW35E or Feinwerkbau Sport air rifles come out, un-tuned and just how they came from the factory. Any quarry with these is again extra special compared to all the fancy air guns you can get these days. It`s an odd thing but although I shoot all manner of firearms, I still really like my hunting with airguns and to be specific classic guns. Classic airguns like the Feinwerkbau Sport make you, the hunter, really work hard and learn the true worth of hunting at close range
The Feinwerkbau (FWB) line of air rifles were like their Weihrauch counterparts, untouchable gods to a teenager like me, the unsurpassed pedigree of hunting and accuracy prowess the FWB Sport or Weihrauch HW 35 were the air rifle of their age. Feinwerkbau had an enviable reputation for extreme accuracy from an air weapon, primarily for their 300 S Match grade target models. But as a young, and very green hunter the looks alone of the FWB Sport model won me over, only problem was the price: £75 – I had to do a lot of odd jobs to earn that sort of money. I had always wanted a FWS Sport and, as luck would have it, I picked up a mint .177 FWB Sport, it had only taken me 36 years to get my act together! But I was not disappointed.
I guess the real attraction is the look of the FWB Sport, its lightweight elegant lines are very appealing and like so many German-made air weapons the attention to detail is excellent. All metal parts honed together to produce a quality air rifle that today can be picked up for £200-£350 depending on the condition. Being a true classic, the FWB comes in either .177 or .22 calibre and that means Model 124 or 127 respectively, this one is a .177, they all have that desirable old-world quality that I am sad to say most modern guns do not have.
Being a traditional break barrel air rifle is in keeping with its Classic status as is the well proportioned sporter stock and highly blued steel finishes. Open sights are fitted as standard and are actually very good but today you would fit a scope on the twin dovetail rails a top the receiver. The barrel is easily broken with a sharp tap on the barrel which releases the locking mechanism. This is actually a very good point to look for as the FWB uses a ball bearing lock up and not a normal detent or wedge system.
So, on s/h models check the barrel cannot be moved vertically or horizontally to excess which would otherwise indicate excessive wear. Barrelwise the 18.25-inch length is perfect for a .177 calibre and although you have no sound moderator, in all truth what the hell, it’s a classic just cope with the slightly louder noise on firing. The receiver is slim and capable of producing a full 12ft/lbs legal maximum, this test piece shot 8.6gr Field Target Trophy pellets at 765fps for 11.2ft/lbs energy which is superb considering it is probably 25 years old!
The trigger too is superb and coming from a match grade target pedigree one can expect great things, and I was not disappointed, single stage in operation there was no creep and a very light let off. That’s probably why the FWB Sport was always so accurate.
Similarly, the safety mechanism sited at the rear of the receiver is painted red in a wing style that moves rearward on cocking and then is easily pushed forward again so as you can fire the rifle.
The stock is very nice beech on this model and nicely proportioned to the size of the rifle with a good cheekpiece, Monte Carlo comb section chequered pistol grip but not forend, and sling swivel loops fitted to the rear butt section and on the barrel block, unusually. A standard version had no cheekpiece or buttpad and later versions lost a little of that FWB charm.
Due to the fine accuracy many custom houses tuned and customised FWB Sports and finding one of these is a real treat. Air Masters made lovely Tyrolean stocked and ultra-tuned Sports which are superb rifles to hunt with. Similarly, the old classic Venom Arms custom makers made some excellent FWB`s conversions and Tony Wall from Sandwell Field Sports will make these old springers shoot like a pre charge – I know I have one.
What I really like about the FWB Sport is the intrinsic accuracy of the rifle, it’s one of those rifles that just shoots. This one likes FTT, Accupell or RWS Hobby pellets for sure, but really it is not fussy at all. It really makes you think about a shot and improves your stalking skills, be that against rabbits or rats, it puts the challenge or sport back into air rifle hunting.
Things to check out are the barrel, if there any bends due to misuse, and that the barrel seal to receiver is not damaged. Most actions are marked 124 or 127, dependent on calibre, but some have 127 and either calibre barrel fitted just to confuse you! The slim yet powerful power plant uses a spring propulsions system, but check the barrel lock up is still secure on old models. The lovely stock looks and feels just right for the weight and length of the rifle, which is 7.25lbs and 43.25-inches respectively.
Prices are usually £200 to £350 dependent on condition, with custom or tuned versions going for what ever the buyer is wiling to pay as they are collectable now.
Classic airguns like the FWB Sport are well catered for by TW Chambers airgun spares or John Knibbs Ltd who can supply most of the necessary spares or seals and tune-up kits needed to keep your old classic purring. Half the fun with classic air rifles is sourcing them, looking around gun shows, gunshops shelves and online, and the FWB Sport is worth the hunt.
Contact: Centra UK centra-uk.co.uk