Feinwerkbau Modell-65 - Chinese Copies
Feinwerkbau Modell-65 - Chinese Copies
Huanqiu, Sichuan / Titan Globe.
With thanks to Robin C for these pics of a Chinese copy of a Feinwerkbau 65. An article he wrote on this pistol follows the pics.
Just over two years ago I bought my first real collector's air pistol, although I have been a serious target shooter for over 40 years, starting in 1972, any pistols I had were acquired for pure target shooting.
I do have a sort of collection - that collection is more a record of my shooting history, from my first match pistol, a FWB65, bought new in 1972, through the various changes reflecting the advances in air pistol design and ergonomics over the years I shot competitively. Some have been bought recently to fill the gaps where I had disposed of pistols, such as a new FAS 604 to replace the one I bought new when they first came out and I had later given to my brother in law when I moved on, and he still uses it!
A Walther CP 2 I bought to replace my original CP 1 (one of the first in the UK), bought in the days of them being on FAC so it was impractical to keep it when I stopped using it. But all else were my originals, my shooting evolution from a FWB 65, to CP1, to FAS 604, to LPM-1, to 2 Steyrs , an LP2 compact and an LP50E compact, with an LP53 bought as a centre fire trainer, and a Webley Premier which was my first ever pistol.
They now total nine air pistols, the last one being bought purely as an interesting collectable, the Huanqiu/Titan match air pistol, which is a Chinese copy of a Feinwerkbau 65.
I own my original FWB 65 - it's the polished one on Bob's Airgun http://bobsairguns.com). I was restoring it and had polished the barrel and alloy frame prior to refinishing and thought, 'Hey Ho, it look nice and different, its mine'. I like being individual so I've left it polished! That said when I left it at my club 25 years' ago on free loan as a club pistol it had a liberal covering of international event equipment control stickers. Over the years they had been removed; my personal choice would have been to leave them and reflect its history.
When I first saw the Chinese copy it was interesting. It was being used by a club member and I bought it from him over two years ago as a non-working example. They date from the late '80s. FWB had already moved on from the 65, they showed no interest in sueing the Chinese and it did provide a cheap match pistol at half of the cost of a genuine 65.
There were actually as many as six different Chinese companies making 65 copies. Some where better than others, some were total rubbish which tainted all of them, but some were actually quite good. Mine is a Huanqiu, made in the Chinese province of Sichuan, and it was one of the better ones: reputed to be a copy close enough that FWB parts fitted.
It was commissioned by the English company Titan Developments of Birmingham and sold as a 'Titan Globe'; the globe is the logo of the Huanqiu company, which also made target equipment for the Chinese national shooting team, so they did have experience in the field.
It's a FWB 65 copy but you would never mistake it for an original, except from over two metres away. The markings are all in Chinese, the only non Chinese marking is the calibre marked '4.5 MM' and the serial number. Even the idents on the sights are in Chinese. The finish is 'rustic', the frame's alloy casting has file finish marks on it and then it has been matt anodised over those. The trigger shoe I'm sure is a casting, but has the file marks of having been made from a solid lump hand filed by an apprentice.
The top frame is gloss finish, the finish is better than the lower frame but still not to European standards. The blueing, or rather its more like blacking, is also not to the high gloss European standards.
I could easily have improved the cosmetic finish, smoothing and polishing, and reblueing, but that's not what its about. It has a rustic finish, it's part of its charm looking a little like its been hand whittled in a shed, and no way do I wish to change it. When I bought it, a 'gunsmith' had already attempted to sort it. Unfortunately he was one who had no understanding of the operation of a FWB 65 so he had just compounded the problems.
The pistol came with its original brown leatherette brief case style case with chromed locks and handle and it was certainly better than the FWB polystyrene box! My pistol and case had seen better days and I sent all to an amateur repairer for repair and refurbishment of the complete pistol and case. Sadly, that repairer's ego exceeded his skill levels and 18 months' later I recovered the pistol and the case with the pistol in a similar condition to how it had been sent, and the case was most unsatisfactory.
I decided to refurbish the case myself. I stripped out the previous work, removed the hinges, chrome locks, and handle and polished them. The case I cleaned. I refitted the hinges, locks and handle, and then fitted some black egg-case interlocking foam, and it now looks very smart.
The pistol was still inoperative so I spoke to a reputable restorer, Dave Price at Telford. Dave had restored some of these pistols before and he confirmed that 99% of FWB parts did fit and that he actually owned one of these himself, and he was prepared to undertake the repair on mine. It was duly shipped off to him and a couple of weeks later it was returned completed. It took Dave 10 hours of solid work and he used 27 FWB replacement parts.
Dave did a velocity test, and using H&N, 4.49, 7gn, pellets it shot a 10 shot average of 474.2 fps, with two shots at 471fps spoiling an almost perfect consistency. But still pretty good with a max spread of 5 fps. I've seen modern PCP's worse!
But of course the proof is in the shooting. It's near enough identical to a FWB 65 so it feels like one, and the balance feels the same. The sights look similar, so the sight picture is much the same. It cocks smoothly and it feels as good as a well-restored FWB 65 to cock. The trigger was just safely a little over the 500gm total weight. The first stage was light and smooth, as was the second stage, but oh dear, there was a sizeable amount of creep. Dave had warned me of this and he had tried desperately to remove the creep, even fitting a complete new FWB trigger unit, it made no difference so he refitted the Huanqiu unit.
All the sears and links and a lot of the other internal parts had been replaced with FWB items and Dave believed the creep came from main frame and casting wear, to change these meant it became a FWB not a Huanqiu so we drew the line there! I've shot other pistols (eastern bloc) that had similar creep so I suspect that it was standard and would have been the same when new. I have a 1989 Airgun World test which describes the trigger as "superb", but the test was not by a target shooter, and he probably would not have recognised it as a problem.
My favourite pistol of all time the Russian TOZ 36, 7.62 centre fire, match pistol had a designed in 'roll-over' trigger and this felt very similar, so with a little practice it was no real problem, actually allowing the roll to be taken slowly so the trigger release was almost a "surprise" release!
I've retired from top level pistol shooting many years ago, and have not even shot pistol regularly for four year so I was not exactly on top form, but even with the nose heavy FWB balance and trigger creep I did manage a 10m 90 string, which is all I'd hope to shoot now with a modern pistol so there is not a lot wrong with the accuracy. I'd used the top quality Qiang Yuan Chinese match pellets in 4.49 and 8.3 gn to make it feel at home!
So the two year quest is now finished, it will go into my collection to surface occasionally as a curio. Am I pleased with it? Yes I am. It's different, it has a rustic charm. It shoots well. Pity it was a bit behind the times when new - Titan are now long gone. I wonder if Huanqiu are still going? Perhaps as I write some one is copying a Steyr LP10e!