by B.B. Pelletier
Announcement: Here’s this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 gift card.
The FWB 150 is a classic target rifle from the past. It’s also the father of the FWB 300.
Today, we’ll see if the FWB 150 target rifle can shoot. A couple good things have happened in the meantime to help me with today’s test. First, you may remember the last time I shot the Ballard rifle I discovered how to best hold it (on the bench) for really fine results. I applied all I learned there to the 150, and it did seem to help.
Next, you remember I reported that my eyes had suddenly gone bad a few months back? That was due to some blood sugar issues and the fact that my body was so dehydrated that my eyes had lost enough fluid to alter their prescription. They’re back to being very close to where they used to be now that I’m controlling my blood sugar, so sighting with non-optical sights is getting easier.
While my eyes were bad, I discovered that if I used a 500-watt quartz photo lamp on the target instead of a 75-watt lamp, I could see the target better. Now that my eyes are recovering almost all their former power, it’s even more helpful to use such bright illumination. I remember from the NRA National Junior Air Rifle matches that each of the 140 shooters on line had a 500-watt quartz lamp illuminating each target. So, the answer was there all along, I just wasn’t paying attention.
Finally, my 150 rear sight came with a Gehmann color filter; and when I switched from clear to dark yellow, all the mirage left the target. Mirage is when the target appears to distort and even move while you’re sighting. The yellow filter in this case cancels that and the bull stays put and also perfectly round.
My rear aperture sight has an extra attachment. A Gehmann color filter (the two knurled rings with the silver ring in between) allow you to select one of several filters through which to view the front sight. I found that far from being a gimmick. It really worked.
I began the test with RWS Hobby pellets, knowing that I probably needed to sight-in. The rifle was laid directly on a sandbag at 10 meters, because the 150′s sledge anti-recoil system acts like the perfect artillery hold, just like the RWS Diana model 54 Air King did the other day.
In fact, there were a lot of comparisons between the 150 and the Diana 54. Both are sidelevers, but where the 54 action has to be levered into position by the sidelever before the shot, the 150 doesn’t do that. The target rifle is so easy to cock that you can leave it in position on the bag and simply pull the sidelever.
Also, the shot cycle of the 150 is far smoother than that of the 54. In fact, this one is smooth for a 150. The tuneup really changed the nature of this gun for the positive.
All of the following shot groups are five shots. I continued to adjust the zero throughout the testing, so if the point of impact seems to move from target to target, it’s because it really does.
One last observation before I begin the report. The other day while testing the Diana 54, I complained because I shot out the point of aim early on, making it difficult to aim precisely. A scope sight needs something in the center of the target for the crosshairs to align with. With an aperture sight, you can hit the exact center of the bull repeatedly and never notice it, because you’re using the outside of the black bullseye to sight. That’s why I felt comfortable adjusting the sights to hit the center of my targets.
RWS R10 Match Heavy pellets
For some reason, RWS R-10 Match Heavy pellets produced the largest groups of the four pellets I tested. I shot several groups and then tested all the other pellets in turn. Finally, I returned and shot a couple more groups with R10s, but they just didn’t want to group as tight as the others. The best group I shot measured 0.191 inches.
Next came the H&N Match Pistol pellets. They shot tighter groups than the R10, but still not as good as I was expecting from this rifle. The best group measured 0.153 inches between centers.
Then, I switched to H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets and saw an immediate improvement. There were several good groups, but the best one measured 0.119 inches between centers.
The last pellet I tried was also the first one I’d started with — the RWS Hobby. For some unknown reason, Hobbys shot the generally tightest groups of all four pellets in this particular rifle. Even though H&N Pistol Match tied them on one target, Hobbys were best overall.
End of the test
Well, that was a good look at the FWB 150, and it sets us up for the next report on the FWB 300S, a later, more refined version of the same gun. I found the 150 to be a good blend of old-world craftsmanship and the latest technology of its day. Ten-meter rifles continued to evolve and get easier to shoot after the 150 was left behind, but they didn’t get much more accurate.