Falke model 70: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Falke model 70
Falke model 70 is a quality breakbarrel spring-piston rifle from the 1950s.

Today is accuracy day for our Falke model 70 breakbarrel. I tested this one at the same time I tested the BSA Meteor Mark IV; and after that horrible test, I was praying that this rifle wouldn’t let me down. When I bought the rifle at last year’s Roanoke airgun show, the seller told me it shot pretty well. I was hoping to see that — especially after what happened with the Meteor! It did okay in the velocity test, so there was no reason to suspect it wouldn’t also be accurate.

The Falke did not disappoint, though it’s important to bear in mind that this is a vintage spring rifle made by a company that went out of business a half century ago and not some tackdriver made by a target gun manufacturer. When you shoot one of these air rifles, think in terms of a vintage Diana model 27 rather than a Walther model 55.

The Falke has open sights, so I like to start testing guns like them at 10 meters. They’re usually right on target; but if they’re off, 10 meters is close enough that they won’t be off that much. Open sights seldom have the same kind of problems as optical sights.

Eley Wasps
The Falke is a vintage airgun, so I felt it deserved a vintage pellet — at least for starters. The first pellet I tried was the Eley Wasp. Of course, I also tried Wasps with the Meteor and look where that got me! But the Falke was far more forgiving. In .177 caliber, the Wasp pellet is medium-sized — nothing like the oversized 5.56mm (.22 caliber) Wasps pellets we use in guns that have large bores. Wasps fit the Falke 70 breech well, but they weren’t tight. They didn’t fall out, but they also didn’t need to be pushed into the rifling. They went in easily.

When I saw the group, I was amazed! Eight of the ten Wasps were in a tight group that measures 0.276 inches between centers. The 2 pellets that aren’t in the main group open it to a much larger 0.862 inches, but I’m thinking those 2 shots might have been due to small sighting variations.

Falke 70 Wasp target
Eight of ten Eley Wasps went into a tight 0.276 inches, but the final 2 opened it to 0.862 inches.

Trigger
The rifle has a comfortable feel when shooting. I’d called it a single-stage trigger, but it’s actually 2-stage. Stage 2 is very subtle and takes some time to get used to it to feel it every time, but it breaks cleanly enough for good work. The post-and-bead front sight is somewhat difficult to use precisely; but at 10 meters against a black bull (with a 6 o’clock hold), it’s good enough.

I like the way the breech locks when it closes. The spring-loaded lock breech jumps into position. After it does, you cannot feel any movement in the breech.

RWS Hobbys
After the Wasps, I adjusted the rear sight higher to get into the bull. Then, I started a group with RWS Hobby pellets; but after just 3 shots had gone into 1.371 inches, I gave up. No sense finishing a group like that! Hobbys are often a very accurate pellet in vintage airguns of the same power as this Falke model 70; so it was worth a try, but when things go that wrong that fast it’s time to move on.

Crosman Premier lites
Next, I tried the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite pellet. This is another pellet that often does well in lower-powered spring guns like the Falke 70. But not this time! Ten went into a group that measures 1.164 inches between centers. You might wonder why I was so quick to abandon Hobbys yet stuck with Premier lites to the end. Well, this group just kept growing larger with each shot. It wasn’t until close to the end that I saw how large it was going to be.

Falke 70 Premier lite target
Ten Crosman Premier lites went into 1.164 inches at 10 meters. This is not the pellet for this rifle.

Air Arms Falcons
Next, I tried some Air Arms Falcon pellets. The Falcon is a 7.33-grain domed pellet made for Air Arms by JSB on dies that Air Arms owns, so it’s unlike anything else JSB makes. It’s too simple to say the Falcon is just a JSB Exact RS under another label; for although both pellets weigh exactly the same and are both domed pellets, they don’t perform the same. Often Falcons will shoot well when Exact RS pellets won’t.

In the Falke 70, they did pretty good! Of course, I didn’t miss the irony of shooting a falcon pellet in a falcon rifle!

For starters, they went to the exact center of the bull. I know this thrills some folks who need to see the pellets impact there; but like I always say, I’m looking for the smallest groups — then, I’ll adjust the sights later. But when luck happens and I get this result, I can’t deny that it thrills me a little. Ten pellets went into 0.762 inches, which is okay but not great. But within the main group there are 7 pellets that made a much smaller group measuring 0.387 inches. Like the Wasps, I cannot help wondering if I could do better.

Falke 70 Falcon target
Ten Air Arms Falcon pellets went into 0.762 inches at 10 meters, but 7 of them went into just 0.387 inches. This pellet is worth pursuing.

H&N Baracuda Match
The last pellet I tried was the H&N Baracuda Match. While this seems like an overly heavy pellet for such a low-powered spring rifle, I’ve found they often do quite well in some guns. They were certainly worth a try. Although the rear sight was adjusted up for most of the other pellets, the Baracudas hit low on the target. But they did put 8 of 10 into 0.44 inches, which is very good. And, again, there are 2 pellets that didn’t want to go into the main group. They opened the group to 0.742 inches, making this pellet the most accurate of those tested.

Falke 70 Baracuda Match target
Ten H&N Baracuda Match pellets went into 0.742 inches at 10 meters, with 8 of them going into just 0.44 inches. This is the best pellet of the test.

Should I test at 25 yards?
The Falke model 70 will never have a scope. I sense the accuracy potential of the rifle exceeds the precision of the sights. Two and perhaps even 3 of these groups should have been one small hole, but for sighting errors. I am tempted to back up to 25 yards and have a go. We shall see.

39 thoughts on “Falke model 70: Part 3

  1. Off the topic.

    Earlier in the week we watched the new BBC version of “The Return of Sherloxk Holmes,” the Brian Cumberbatch version set in the modern UK. So I grabbed my old “Complete Sherlock,” volume 2 and reread the original. In the original Conan Doyle has a confederate of Dr. Moriarty try to assainate Our Hero from a window across the street. The weapon is an air rifle, sounding a bit like the Lewis and Clark gun, built by a certain Von Herder, a blind German gunsmith. The gun is described as an admirable and unique weapon, noiseless and of tremendous power.

    I had completely forgotten…

    PeteZ


    • PeteZ
      Sounds like the author knew something about airguns.

      And by the way did you ever get that stubborn screw out?

      And BB take it out to the 25 yard mark and let that vintage air gun have a little glory and fame. You probably wont have another session with it for a while will you?

      What will this gun do after your done with the article about it. Do you have a wall of guns that you display all your keepers on? Or does it just get put away in a gun case to set and hope it gets another chance to shoot.


      • GF1,

        It’s pretty much the latter. I’m like the cobbler whose children have no shoes. I have many airguns and scant time to shoot any of them. That’s why time spent with a vintage beauty like today’s rifle means so much to me.

        B.B.


    • PeteZ,

      And of course you know that a big bore airguns is not noiseless. This is an example of a writer taking literary license in an area where they assume their readers have no knowledge.

      It’s similar to the mystery novel I recently read in which the murder weapon was a Luger with a hair trigger. Such a handgun never existed and cannot exist, because of how the Luger trigger is designed. In fact, It would be easier to put a hair trigger on a Glock than on a Luger.

      But the fact that Conan Doyle does use a powerful airgun in his writing shows the world was familiar with them at the time he was writing.

      B.B.


      • The last point is what I wanted to point out. Shoot, even my CO2 target rifle makes a lot of noise. I just thought it interesting that Conan Doyle was aware that big air guns could be lethal.

        No, I haven’t gotten that screw out. All my tools are in the garage or the basement which are off limits until the cast comes off my leg and I feel up to climbing stairs. I have had to use a wheelchair to get around the house since Nov. 20th. The cast comes off today. I hope that with a day or so of practice, I’ll feel up to stairs. Next attempt will try penetrating oil.

        pz


        • I believe that Doyle wrote these short stories at the turn of the 19th Century for a newspaper or magazine he submitted articles/stories or worked for. Walking sticks used as defensive weapons – compressed air pellet rifles if you please, were quite common amongst the gentry at the time. So the population in general – in the UK – would have been somewhat familiar with air canes and air guns. My good friend is a “Sherlockian” and had given me a book with the complete works of Arthur Conan Doyle. I remember reading that story!

          Fred DPRoNJ



        • Pete,

          It’ll be nice to be able to scratch your own leg again!

          If you’re going to do penetrating oil first, you might want to put aside that WD40 and get yourself a can of Aerokroil made by Kano (orange can). I’ve seen it perform wonders that WD40 wouldn’t touch.

          /Dave


      • But here is something to think about. What other types of guns were around at that time period.

        Maybe the air gun did seem in a sense silent in comparison to other guns of that time. If you think about it.


    • Is Brian Cumberbatch any relation to Benedict Cumberbatch who did the voice for Smaug in the recent Hobbit film (and Sauron)? What an artist of the voice. His rendition of Smaug is a tour de force and extremely funny and makes the movie worth it all by itself.

      Sherlock Holmes was all around well-armed. Did you know that he practiced a martial arts style called Bartitsu? I’d say it needed a new name.

      Matt61


      • I meant to write Benedict Cumber…” My error. Funny enough, I read Dr. watson’s comment on baritsu last night. Don’t know what it involves and how it’s different than others.

        Cast is OFF! Don’t know that the boot is any more comfortable tho’.

        And I still have a monster stainless steel screw in the ankle.

        pz


  2. And BB do you apply oil of some sort to your pellets before you shoot them?

    Some of the pellet holes have that dirty mark around the hole again like when you shot the Meteor.


    • GF1,

      I mostly do not oil my pellets. Certainly not for the spring guns I shoot.

      That “dirty” mark is a ring of lead that has deposited on the paper as the pellet passed through. I get that with lead bullets from firearms, too.

      B.B.


      • BB
        I see it from time to time also. But it usually looks more gray. Those marks look kind of black to me. But maybe that’s my computer making it look darker or something.

        It was making me think back also to the marks on the target when you shot those sideways flying pellets out of the Meteor.

        But one the reason I asked was I was curious if you did oil your pellets.


    • I was going to say the same thing. Those spots around the circumference of the pellet holes sure look like crud scraped out of the rifling grooves, just like with the meter you recently tested. BB, It’d be interesting to push a few cleaning pellets through the bore with a rod and see what they pull out. Would you say that when reconditioning a vintage gun a few strokes with a bristle brush is generally a good idea?


      • Feinwerk,

        Yes to the bristle brush. But I really do think these marks are made by the lead. One “proof” would be if lead-free pellets don’t make them. I guess I could arrange a test for something like that.

        B.B.


  3. BB,

    It can indeed be very difficult to be consistent with those type sights, most especially when you do not give them a lot of time. I too believe that with a little time, you could really tighten those groups up a bit.

    I feel so sorry for you to have to look through all those different sights and scopes every day and not have the time to devote your shooting to just one or two. It’s a rough job, but somebody’s got to do it.





          • Actually multiple things come to mind. But I didnt feel like explaining myself to my daughter when she came to talk to me about todays blog.

            She has been reading pretty steady for a while now.

            Says its a good place to visit. Thats what she says if she goes to a web site she likes. :)

            Just thought I would run that by you.


            • GF1,

              This is very important to me, as well as to Pyramyd Air. If something we are doing here appeals to a young woman, I would like to know what it is.

              Would you please ask your daughter what it is that she likes about this website and blog? If it is something I can control, I would like to make sure that I keep my eye on it.

              Thank you for sharing this with us.

              B.B.


              • BB
                Both of girls mostly like to plink now that they have learned to shoot. We did the target shooting thing when I was teaching them to shoot.

                They are bugging me lake crazy right now to get some kind of automatic airsoft machine gun. They like shooting the Steel Storm but since they have shot the 2 airsoft guns I got now they like them.
                And me and you might find this funny but they like the airsoft guns because they can actually see the airsoft bb in flight.

                They both like seeing the visual impact when they plink at cans or milk jugs and such with whatever type of gun they shoot. We was plinking with the Winchester 190 a while back and both girls were making a milk jug dance.

                But as far as the blogs go the oldest daughter (the 16 year old) is the one that likes to read the blog. She is very mechanically minded and actually points things out I don’t see sometimes. She is the one that brought the dirt marks or whatever we are calling them to my attention on the pellet holes on the targets. So she is always asking me questions about the different discussion’s we have. She actually understands to much sometimes if you know what I mean.

                But she says she is learning more about what guns mean here on this blog more than any where else. She straight up told me that when she talks to some of the kids at school that they see guns differently than she does. and she trys to explain to them what kind of fun she has had with guns and has told them about the blog. So don’t be surprised if there is younger people reading and listening but not responding. My daughter already said she’s not interested in responding she just is listening and learning.

                And I hope I wasn’t to thin in the thread here. And thanks for asking BB.



    • Mike,

      Thanks for asking that. Yes, the rear sight blade on this Falke does move slightly. It’s a loose fit in its base, in which it slides up and down. There’s a picture of the parts in Part 2 of this report.

      I don’t think it is a problem, but since you asked I will make a special effort to push the blade to one position every time in the next accuracy test. One other possible solution is to wedge a piece of paper in the slot the blade runs in to make it firm. Maybe I will do that.

      Good call!

      B.B.



  4. Nice to see the vintage gun stretching its legs. I’ve been watching the old Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan films circa 1936, and the bolt-action rifles they are firing into the jungle look pretty much the same as now. (Did you know, by the way, that at Weissmuller’s funeral, his Tarzan yell was played three times as his casket was lowered at his request? Anyway, the guy was quite a physical specimen and apparently he remains the definitive Tarzan.)

    FrankB, just because of you, I am slowly making my way through Boondock Saints. The movie is plenty entertaining, but you have to admit, these people are a LITTLE weird….

    Matt61


    • Matt61
      You really piqued my interest when you mentioned Johnny Weissmuller and his portrayal of Tarzan. When I was 8 or 9, I would spend Saturday afternoons at the Strand theatre in Calgary Alta, were they would show a double feature of Tarzan or maybe Steve Reeves as Hercules. I enjoyed watching Johnny and Steve perform their own stunts. For a young lad just starting to be aware of body image, these guys were something to aspire to. Its too bad kids today don’t get to enjoy a truly BIG screen these days. All the theatres of my youth have been torn down to make way for the mega 10 movie experience. This happened all over at about the same time frame. Just another example of paradise lost.
      Ciao
      Titus


  5. GF1,

    Okay, I am very surprised that a 16-year-old girl actually reads this blog. But you say she is mechanically inclined, and likes to know how and why things work, so I suppose that is pretty universal, regardless of gender. Don’t worry about her not commenting. I would never ask anyone to comment. They can if they want to, but I know there are many thousands of readers who will never say a word.

    But knowing that your daughter is reading this blog and now knowing what she sees in it may help me do a better job of writing it. I always think I am writing for my best friend, who is a guy a lot like me. Now I am aware that others are reading who may not share all my experiences, yet they still have an interest in the things we discuss. I will be sensitive to that fact and perhaps explain things more clearly than I used to.

    Maybe nothing at all will change in my writing, but you can be assured that I am better aware of who my audience is. And that’s always a plus.

    B.B.


    • BB
      You are doing a wonderful job and you don’t need to change anything you do.

      I don’t know if you check out other blogs about guns. Some of the blogs will only have a few comments and the comments are something like Oh yea that sounds good. Or I didn’t know that.

      Or you have the blogs that got 5 whatever kind of comments you want to call them and 1 good one that makes sense.

      Why do you think you have so many loyal readers here that do comment all the time. The blog here is almost like a chat line if I’m calling it the right thing. We actually communicate back and forth about stuff so that is a real good thing. I know if I ask something I will usually have a answer the same day or definitely the next day. So your blog to me is like having a personal resource to air guns at the touch of the finger. I like it the way it is and like my daughter say’s it’s a good place to visit. Hopefully she will be able to tell me if any of her friends have started reading.

      So BB just keep the articles coming. :)


  6. (WANTED) I am looking to purchase a German made Falke model #70 0.22 rifle from the 1950′s, I live in South Florida. Thanks.


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