Feinwerkbau Spring Air Pistol Collection
Feinwerkbau Spring Air Pistol Collection.
Here is a collection of Feinwerkbau spring pistols in deluxe cases and polystyrene factory packaging.
First up, a very early cased FWB 65, housing pistol serial number 2213, with sleeved barrel, which dates from about 1966. This was the only foam and flock fitted case designed to hold a pistol with the 'sporter' grips alone. Later cases were designed to accommodate both sporter and adjustable match grips.
Like other deluxe cases, the interior is electric blue flock over yellow moulded foam rubber. The flock is prone to wearing off and the foam rubber tearing with use, especially around the rear and front sights.
Second is an early FWB factory accessory case, which had a moulded plastic tray, also covered in blue flock and designed to hold a pistol with sporter grip. It is fitted with small elastic bands to retain the accessories. It is the only FWB case I'm aware of that has writing on the lid (fourth pic below).
It houses an FWB 65 pistol, serial number 1239, which according to Feinwerkbau is the 199th pistol made, in December 1965. The pistol has the manufacturer's and model details on the left side of the frame engraved rather than embossed - as had (apparently) all later pistols produced from 1966-98.
Next is an early, boxed model 65, also with sleeved barrel, complete with accessories, including a two-year guarantee, a test target, a user's manual, a trigger etc adjustment tool, and the retaining washer and bolt that fixes the sledge to switch off the recoil cancelling mechanism for powder burner pistol practice. By the time this example was made the 'tang' or 'spur', above the web of the hand, had been extended a little rearwards, to bring it roughly level with the vertical sight adjuster knob.
Next an early production model with a sleeved barrel and black plastic grips, also in one of Feinwerkbau's moulded-insert accessory cases.
I once thought the plastic grips were introduced late in the 65's production run as a way of keeping costs down to help differentiate it when there were more elaborate models also available (ie. the 80 and 90, made from 1977-92), but now I think perhaps they were introduced quite early on (ie circa 1970-78).
All of the examples I have seen so far were either on the 'first pattern' 65 (narrow sprung rearsight, solid trigger etc, which ended at serial no. 25,000) or on the second or 'short tang' fixed-rear sight pattern (up to about serial number 99,000).
Of course, we should exercise caution when estimating the introduction date of anything that is interchangeable, such as grips.
Update: a friend, who shot at UK national and international level, gives this fascinating eyewitness account, confirming that plastic grips were available in 1972, although they did not find favour with everyone:
"I don’t know the exact dates, but when I bought [my FWB 65] in 1972 it had plastic grips and it's a long time ago, but I thought that they were the standard grip then. If you wanted the polished walnut or the anatomical ones you ordered them as extras and, as I did, binned the plastics.
It was the heyday of the FWB 65; at every big meeting the air pistol entry was almost a 65 class, with just the odd Walther LP2, the rest all 65s. At the British championships and the internationals, you just gave your pistol to the FWB service stand which was always there - they then as a matter of course fitted new springs and seals, and often a trigger unit, and gave it back, all free.
I saw Nina Stolyarova of the USSR at the first big event in the UK, London, the European championships in 1975, shoot a ladies world record of 392 ex 400 with a 65 with standard black plastic grips!"
This is a boxed, earlier example of the short-barrelled FWB 65K, 'K' for 'kurz' ('short' in German), with sleeved barrel and stippled sporter grips. It has been housed in a standard length polystyrene box.
The barrel was 35mm shorter than standard. Robert Beeman in the US imported many of these 'shorties' and popularised the model over there, but they are quite unusual in Europe - even though the 'K' version was advertised as being available on both the models 65 and 90 spring pistols.
Next, a cased, 'short tang' model with a second pattern fixed rear sight and sleeved barrel, which appeared when the earlier narrow sprung rearsight was dropped after serial no. 25,000.
The tang refers to the frame overhang above the web of the hand, which was extended after 99,000 or so model 65 pistols were made and marks a division between earlier and later models 65.
There were some 46,000 of the final pattern long tang frame pistols made in total, so the short tang pistols are about 50% more common.
Next, a cased version of the 'long tang' model 65, with accessories that include a Feinwerkbau cloth badge. Note that the thumb shelf was horizontal on FWB spring pistols from here onwards.
This is a boxed, 'long tang' short-barrelled FWB 65, serial no. 132206, made late in the production run.
Only around 13,000 more model 65 pistols were made.
Note that the box is white, not green, polystyrene and shaped for a match grip. Again, the pistol has been sold in a standard length box.
This is a cased FWB 80, which was produced concurrently with the model 65 between 1977 and 1986, and for part of its life with the model 90 (from 1982). Feinwerkbau have said that some 48,000 of the model 80 were made in total.
The case's foam rubber moulding has been enlarged to accommodate the under-barrel weights.
A boxed FWB 90. Around 20,000 examples of the model 90 were made between 1982 and 1992, according to Feinwerkbau. Note that the same polystyrene boxes were used for the 65 and the 90. A small wedge-shaped insert just forward of the trigger guard was removable to accommodate the 90, which was deeper in this area around the solenoid housing.
Finally, a FWB 90 in the last pattern case, which I think was used for the 65 also - certainly examples of both models have turned up in this case, plus a few FWB 80s.