FWB 124 air rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

FWB 124
This FWB 124 Deluxe is not the exact gun I’m writing about, but it is the same model.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Sight-in
  • The test
  • Crosman Premier lites
  • RWS Hobbys
  • Trigger
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • What’s next?

Today I back up to 25 yards and shoot the FWB 1`24 for accuracy again. I will still be using the open sights.

Sight-in

The nice thing about open sights is they are usually in the right general place. Except for guns like the BSA Meteor Mark 1 I recently tested, most guns with open sights will be on paper at 25 yards. Since this 124 was coming off a 10-meter session, I knew it had to be close.

The first shot hit high but in line with the center of the bull, so I slid the elevation slider back. Shot two landed very low, so I advanced the slider halfway and shot three was in the bull. After that I didn’t touch the sights again.

The test

Each pellet was shot 10 times off a sandbag rest at 25 yards using the artillery hold. My off hand was back by the triggerguard.

Crosman Premier lites

I started the test with Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets. At 10 meters they gave me the smallest group of the test — 0.447-inches for 10 shots. At 25 yards 10 Premier lites went into 1.181-inches. That was larger than expected. I had hoped to put them into 0.9 inches or less.

FWB 124 Premier lite target
The Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets made a 1.181-inch group at 25 yards when shot off a rest.

RWS Hobbys

Next I tried the RWS Hobby pellet that I usually don’t shoot at 25 yards. Sometimes, though, they can surprise me and this was one of those times. Ten Hobbys went into 1.454-inches at 25 yards, but 9 of them are in 0.878-inches. That’s about what I had expected from the 10 Premier lites.

At 10 meters Hobbys had grouped in 0.609-inches, so I guess I should have expected something like this. In fact, it the first test I even threw one Hobby outside the main group, just like this time.

I have to admit this group looks like only 8 shots. I assure you there are at least 9 pellets in this group. I may have miscounted as I shot and left out one pellet, but not two.

FWB 124 Hobby target
Ten (or maybe only 9) RWS Hobby pellets went into 1.454-inches at 25 yards. Throw out the one stray shot and the group measures 0.878-inches between centers. The dime is sitting on one of the holes!

Trigger

The FWB trigger is adjusted to a single stage, and while I don’t normally like triggers set that way, if they are, this is the way to do it. It feels just like stage 2 of a well-adjusted trigger.

JSB Exact RS

The next pellet I tested was a JSB Exact RS. The FWB liked this one. Ten pellets went into 0.889-inches at 25 yards. This was the kind of group I had been expecting from this rifle.

FWB 124 JSB RS target
Now, this is a group! Ten JSB Exact RS pellets went into 0.889-inches at 25 yards with open sights!

Now, I had found a pellet the FWB 124 liked. This was what I was hoping to find. I wanted to try one more pellet that hopefully would also do well.

Air Arms Falcons

Finally I tried the Falcon pellets from Air Arms. Ten went into 0.874-inches at 25 yards. Actually the group is so close to the RS group above that it’s too close to call. I’ll call it a tie. This is how I envisioned the FWB 124 shooting with open sights.

FWB 124 Falcon target
Ten Air Arms Falcon pellets went into 0.874-inches at 25 yards. Fantastic!

What’s next?

Now we have a good baseline on this rifle. I think the next step is to mount a scope and see where that takes us. I will guess that a scope will shave a little size off some of the best 25-yard groups, but I doubt it will be as much as a quarter-inch. We shall see!

Just so it’s clear, I’m leaving this rifle alone. No tearing into it to see if I can make it better. It’s doing so well now that I would be afraid of messing it up!

71 thoughts on “FWB 124 air rifle: Part 4

  1. B.B.,

    Are the JSB Exacts anf the Air Arms Falcons essentially the same? I’ve read yes, no, and everything in between. One thing I read is that the Air Arms are basically RS Inexacts (but close).

    Michael



  2. BB,

    Nice shooter!

    I saw one for sale yesterday where they had removed the sling loop from the block and there was a sling loop clamped to the barrel. They had also removed the sights. They wanted over $500 for it. That was a bit too rich for my blood, most especially since it was missing parts.


    • RR,

      My rifle has the same modification. Apparently people wanted to use a one-inch sling, and the 3/4-inch sling swivel wasn’t big enough. If that is all that’s been done the gun is still good, though no longer collectible. But $500 is too much for one in that condition. Maybe $400 if everything else is good.

      B.B.



      • B.B.,

        I have a NOS Feinwerkbau one inch sling for my 124. I haven’t put it on the rifle yet; it’s still in the original bag. Personally I would not want the front attachment on the barrel as I would want the option of employing a hasty sling. I am an unsteady offhand shooter, and hasty slings help enough to make quite a diefference with me. Besides, I wouldn’t use the sling for hiking through the woods (the barrel location probably holds it tighter to the torso, right?), as I’m just a steel plinker and paper-puncher.

        Wouldn’t a hasty sling be both tighter and less likely to affect the barrel’s alignment by having the ring right where FWB put it?

        Michael


  3. Robert Law didn’t like the 3/4″ sling attachment. On his custom F12 and F120 he ground those off and added a barrel band sling attachment. I like the original design myself.

    I found out by accident that my 124D likes the old Crosman Pointed Pellets in the plastic box best. As I said, I found that out by accident when I ran out of “good pellets”. BB, if you have some of those old pellets in the junk drawer you might try them.

    I don’t feel I can shoot well enough with open sights to judge pellets. I go straight to a scope myself.

    David Enoch



    • DavidEnoch

      If you are talking about the Crosman Copperhead pointed pellets in the Red belt clip box I have about half a box and they did not shoot well from my 124, even at just 10 m. Don’t you hate it when you find that a old out of production pellet shoots great from your gun and you only have a handful left. I found that one of my Mark I co2 guns shoots Daisy Quicksilvers really nice. I only had a box (250) and a half of them so I have saved most of the rest of them to torment myself in the future as I find other guns that like ’em and can’t have ’em. LOL


  4. Some time back, it was posted here that the N & H Field Target Trophy 8.84 grain with a 4.51 Head work well in these guns. They do in the one I have.

    Mike


  5. B.B.
    That is some fine shooting with open sights. Your eyes must be A ok now. That rifle shoots well enough that a scope is not absolutely necessary.
    Ken


  6. BB

    If there are “stupid questions” then this is probably one of them. What does the RS in JSB Exact RS signify ? Also since I just discovered that this pellet is rated 5 stars by essentially every purchaser at PA, have you found them to be especially accurate in many guns ( like the Premier Lites you speak so highly of here) and if so, are they limited by range or velocity? I have a 124 myself so make this report as long as you like, I ain’t goin’ nowhere!




    • Manufacturer’s Description: “The lightest weight domed pellets from our range. The RS stands for Rapid Speed because the velocity is much higher than with the regular pellets. Also the ballistic curve will be very flat. They are only 13.42gr.



      • Geo791,

        Thanks. I guess they were straight forward enough when they named those ! LOL The ones I saw were a little over 7 grains in .177 so I assume the 13.42 s are .22 ? I guess RWS Hobbys would be WRS for “Way Rapid Speed”


        • Yes, I forgot to say that 13.43gr was in .22 caliber. I think the RWS Hobbys are 11.9gr in .22 cal. So the JSB RS pellet is still heavier than the Hobby. I think many of the airgun makers use the RWS Hobbys so that they can say the rifle has higher FPS using lead pellets. Some bloggers say they shoot well at shorter distances though, like 25 yrds or less.


          • I’ve had pretty good luck with both .177 Hobbys and Basics out of inexpensive CO2 rifles like the 1077 and QBs. Not target accuracy but really good for the price and considering the gun’s potential.


    • Halfstep
      My favorite.177 pellet is the JSB 10.34’s. They are a heavier pellet that retains their energy longer distances than a lighter pellet. Plus I find they chrony faster velocity’s than other diablo pellets of the same weight. So a flat trajectory like a light pellet.

      They tend to group better as the distance increases verses lighter pellets I tryed. The lighter ones might group better in at say 15-30 yards then the JSB 10.34. But as distance increases with the lighter pellet the group’s grow more rapidly. The heavier pellet doesn’t grow in group size as much as the lighter pellet as distance increases like say 35 yards and out.

      Try some JSB 10.34’s if you going to shoot at 35 yards and out.


      • GF1,

        When you say JSB 10.34s what does the tin say or what would I google? Are they domes or wadcutter ?Also have you ever shot JSB Jumbo Monsters or Beasts from a .22 PCP ? I’m finally healed up from a month long kidney stone / urinary tract infection nightmare and started 10 meter accuracy testing my Mrod. Crosman Ultra Mags and those two JSBs are the stand outs so far. I have many more to try.

        By the way, how can a company call one pellet just “RS” and then use names like “Monster” and “Beast” for others/ LOL


        • Halfstep
          Here’s the two pellets I get in .177. I get one brand or the other if one is out of stock. They both shoot exactly the same. And you’ll notice their both out of stock. Bet you know why. 🙂
          http://www.pyramydair.com/s/p/JSB_Diabolo_Exact_Heavy_177_Cal_10_34_Grains_Domed_500ct/388

          http://www.pyramydair.com/s/p/Air_Arms_Field_Heavy_177_Cal_4_52mm_10_34_Grains_Domed_500ct/713

          And nope have not shot the monsters or beast in .22 caliber. But here is my favorite .22 pellet.
          http://www.pyramydair.com/s/p/JSB_Diabolo_Exact_Jumbo_22_Cal_15_89_Grains_Domed_500ct/584


          • GF1

            Thanks for that. Those Jumbos are not even really expensive since they are 500 in a tin. I read people here and elsewhere talking about H&N Baracuda Match in 5.51 and 5.52 and 5.53 etc. head size. Well I have a tin that I bought before I knew they came in different head sizes and I can’t figure out how to tell which size they are. I miked them but got different sizes and by the time you convert to metric they are too close to call. The tin just says “selected heavy pellets” or something like that to set them apart from regular Baracudas, I guess. (They say “accurate heavy pellet” ) You know any way to tell without buying a pellet gage?


            • Halfstep
              If you don’t want to get a pellet gauge I suggest a digital calipers. That way they read in inches or milimeters.

              And the reason I say calibers is because a micrometer can’t measure the waist of the pellet. And a little easier to measure skirt thickness to with a caliper. The micrometer will pick up on the curve of the skirt diameter and not give true readings. Oh and on forget if your doing all this measuring to do how long the pellet is too.

              But I have to say that JSB and Air Arms pellets right out of the tin are more consistent than alot of pellets.

              And got to tell you I tryed alot of different pellet brands. I like the softer lead that JSB and Air Arms uses. Don’t like the Crosman pellets because of how hard they are. The H&N pellets are a little softer than Crosman but not as soft as JSB pellets. Stick your thumb nail in the head of different pellets and you’ll see what I mean.

              Oh and I use to do all that sorting and weighing pellets. Now I just use JSB or Air Arms. They work.


              • GF1

                I have two dial calipers already and would rather spend my money on pellets so I guess I’ll never know what size they are.( Maybe I’ll get lucky and they won’t shoot well enough that I’ll ever want to order more of this size. LOL) I think I WAS happier before I knew that I had to try sub sets of a certain pellets if I wanted to be sure I was getting the nth degree of accuracy. Hopefully the ones you recommended will end up being all around good shooters from my guns too and I can skip all the frettin’ over it like you !


                • Halfstep
                  What I’m talking is about calipers that have​ a digital readout. You can push a button to change from inches to milimeters.

                  You can get a cheaper one if you want. Like around $50. It would be a smart thing to have.

                  And yep I think you will have good luck with the JSB’s or Air Arms pellets.


                • Halfstep

                  I have been having accuracy issues with my break-barrel RWS34 P. I bought some JSB 15.89gr because those were highly recommended here in the blog. The problem for me was that they were loose in the breech and would fall out when I de-cocked the rifle.

                  I did some experimenting and measuring of the pellets I had on hand as well as the JSB 15.89gr. I discovered that digital calipers were not sensitive enough to give me good measurements, especially on the skirts. What I found worked best for me was to use a micrometer in inches and multiply the result by 25.4. 0.01mm is equal to 0.0004″.
                  I used a jewler’s eyepiece so I could see the rub on the pellet as I was measuring. It’s very easy to rub off .01mm because the pellet head is spherical. The skirts are very easily deformed with the pressure of the mic also. I was able to measure my pellets very consistently. Oh by the way, I was a quality inspector for forty years so this was easier for me to accomplish than those with less experience and feel. I found the that
                  the loose JSB 15.89gr pellets measured 5.49mm on a 10 pc sample. They should have measured 5.52mm. There were very consistent though. A 10 pc sample of RWS Superdomes measured 5.51mm on the head with no variation. A 10 pc sample of CPHPs measured 5.50mm to 5.55mm with one measuring 5.38mm, so the head size on those was not consistent. That’s probably why some fly true and a few do not.

                  You can measure the heads very accurately with a micrometer if you have a good touch on the mic. Also, you have to rotate them because they are not perfectly round either. Good luck.


                  • I haven’t really needed to check the head size for any issues like you are facing. I just wanted to know the size of the heads on the Baracuda Match pellets I have because it’s not on the lid’s description/labeling. If they shoot well from one of my guns I won’t know what size to order and they have 3 or 4 to choose from. I’m not sure you can count on them being all on size anyway.

                    Can you count on the clutched adjustment knob on a B&S (or other quality brand) mic to not damage the head or skirt ? Sounds like so many tiny ways to cause damage while measuring that I would constantly be second guessing myself.

                    Did you get your problem resolved? I recently watched a video where a guy flared the skirt on a pellet to get it to shoot better from a Marauder and it worked. Maybe a little more friction at the skirt would hold it in the breech. Can I assume they shot well from your 34 since you put all that painstaking effort into finding out why they would fall out ?


                    • HalfStep

                      No, I don’t normally use the friction clutch on micrometers. I have a 0-1″ Starrett mic with carbide faces and a .0001″ vernier on the barrel. I can feel .0001″ difference in a measurement. That is why I used an eyepiece to see the first signs of a rub mark on the pellet. Digital calipers are only accurate to about .025mm so if you want to know the size to within .010mm, use a micrometer with a light touch.

                      NO, problem with shooting good groups with my RWS34 has been ongoing since I bought it in March 2013. Yes, I did try to expand the skirt on the JSB 15.89gr pellets but they still grouped horribly. Don’t believe it’s the pellets.

                      Mr. Gaylord has proposed to me to send the RWS34 P to him for testing. That was done last week and tomorrow he will begin the evaluation of it on the blog…stay tuned. This should be very good.


                  • Geo
                    A micrometer can be used as well. But a caliper can to with the right touch. I can use both very well. But the caliper can measure more things than a micrometer can.

                    And about your gun and the jsb pellets. First I believe you have a looser barrel than normal. Most barrels will accept a pellet that varies in size. It’s a very loose barrel that is the problem most of the time.

                    And I see you have tryed measuring some of the other brand pellets I think you might be surprised what happens with all the dimensions of the pellet. And have you measured the waist diameter as well as over all legnth of the pellets. As well as weigh them.

                    There are more things that cause flyers than head diameter. Including the crown on the barrel or nicks in the barrel that your eye can’t see.

                    Oh and it’s pretty easy to break down inch to mm with out using the he formula.

                    .100 mm = .004″ roughly.

                    So each .001″ is .025 mm.

                    Yep that u got about 14 more years on me in the machining world. But remember I been out on the floor making the parts as well as programing and checking the parts on the CMM’s.

                    So as anything goes. Exsperiance is everything.


                    • GF and all, it is worth noting – a decent micrometer is 10X more accurate than a good set of digital calipers – inherent to the mechanisms.

                      Mitutoyo only claims +/- 0.001 inch (0.025 mm) tolerance for their high quality calipers. Some digital calipers do show the second decimal on the mm readout, but my experience is that is cannot be trusted. That said, I’m always amazed how some clever people can do what seems unlikely. Locking the outside jaws of the caliper can allow it to be used as a consistent gage for checking. I have an experiment in mind, using a couple of calipers I have to measure the diameters of the class X plug gage set, randomly set out.

                      I have purchased many sets of calipers over a long career, using them for process control and checking components. It is interesting how we have progressed from vernier, dial, and various digital types – and especially how they have become so inexpensive. 6 inch sets used to be $150 or more, and they can be had for a small fraction. But beware, there are clones commonly sold online that are inferior to the copied item.

                      At my last employer (retirement is great) we had an in-house calibration tech, and could calibrate the Harbor Freight $10 (on sale) six inch model to +/- 0.001 inch for use by production operators – this amazed me.

                      I recently bought some iGaging calipers based on seeing the link below, and they seem very good for the price.

                      Now, I will make this plug. Discriminating in a repeatable fashion between pellets with head diameter varying just 0.01 mm (ten microns) is a true challenge, and Pelletgage is easier and faster than other instruments.

                      This is worth seeing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yqZx_FNbSs


                    • Jerry C
                      There was no place to respond on your comment so posted here.

                      It is true that micrometers​ can read the markings better than digital micrometers or calipers. I myself will take a non digital micrometer over a digital any day. But one thing to add is I also have a blade micrometer I use as well on the skirt thickness and waist of the pellet.

                      I was just suggesting a digital calipers to Halfstep so he didn’t have to do the conversion to mm. Which I wouldn’t worry about anyway. When I sort if I do use a digital micrometer or calipers it’s set in inches. All I look for is numbers and put the pellets in subgroups.

                      Of course that was back when I sorted. I don’t even bother for the shooting I do. The JSB’s and Air Arms pellets have been good enough right out of the tin.

                      But be since we are talking sorting. Didn’t you invent the pellet gage?

                      Anyway if I did still sort I would get a pellet gage. But it would only be one of my sorting tools since all it measures is head diameter. I would still have regular flat anvil micrometer and a blade micrometer as well as a caliper to measure the waist diameter and skirt thickness. Oh and a scale to weigh the pellets.

                      And I guess since I been a machinist for 30+ years I’m pretty good with measuring and​ gaging things. So I can actually use a caliper with pretty repeatable results.



                  • Geo
                    So you see what I mean.

                    The pellet head size is not even varying .0004″ . Yes and that’s correct amount of zero’s. And that’s when your talking 5.49- 5.52 mm.

                    So yes head size makes a difference. But it can only make so much difference for the size of the barrel. The barrel has to be right to accept a range of head sizes.

                    You know the difference between what makes a plug gage accept or not accept. There is only a given tolerance available for those plug gages to work in.

                    Right?


                    • Gunfun1

                      I believe you are correct in saying that the barrel on my RWS34 is large and that’s the reason the pellets fall out of the breech. I think something else is going on with the barrel also because of it’s shape being larger in the center area, determined by pushing pellets through by hand.

                      Actually the difference between 5.49mm and 5.52mm is .0012″.
                      (.0004″ = .010mm)

                      Regarding plug gages, the gage tolerance must be taken from the part tolerance. For example, a GO plug gage tolerance, depending on the class, should be plus .000050″ / minus .000000. The NOGO plug should be Plus .000000 / minus .000050″. This is so the part will always be within it’s high and low limits. It’s amazing that a hole with only .0005″ tolerance can easily determined using a simple plug gage.


                  • Geo
                    That’s right on hole size and plug gage go or no go.

                    But a barrel throws in more variables with the land widths as well as depth and inside bore diameter which is the land flats. In other words pellet fit or sizing.

                    If you have pellet heads that are only made at a given tolerance range. Then what has to happen with the barrel.

                    It has to be made in a way that will accept the pellet head tolerance.

                    But now we have a soft lead that’s being blasted by air that’s try to conform to the barrel size be with certain dimensions.

                    That’s when both aspects come into play and need to fall in given tolerances for the pellet to fly right. The barrel size and pellet size. If one or the other falls out of the fixed range then in our case will not be as accurate as both tolerances falling in the range of what will work.

                    So yes pellet size is important. But only if the barrel falls in that size for the pellets available.


            • Halfstep,

              Above you were asking about H & N pellets with different head sizes, on the bottom of the tin will be a sticker that shows the head size that you ordered. Note that the different head sizes are only offered in Field Target Trophy (all lead) and the other all lead pellets that are labeled “Match” in the title name in both round and wadcutter heads. In .177 and .22 . Not sure about .25 .

              David H.


              • Halfstep,

                On the PA website you may have to click on the pellet your interested in and then click on the “Specifications” tab to see the exact head size. Some of the pellets don’t show the head size in the main title or on the description tab.

                David H.


              • Thank you,David. I didn’t think to look for a sticker. Makes a lot more sense than stocking a lot of different lids, now that I think about it.Maybe I’ll get lucky and this will be my only “senior moment” today. (It is pretty close to bedtime ) Glad you helped me when you did because most of the print has either rubbed off or was poorly printed to begin with.Much more handling and it may have been gone. Thanks again 🙂



  7. B.B.
    Since you have had those cataracts removed you have an eagle’s eyes! Wow! I could never come even close to those groups at 25 yards…with ANYTHING! Great shooting.




      • B.B.

        Wow! You are really getting with the program. I can’t wait to see how she shoots for you with those eagle eyes. This is going to be a very interesting test… and I am SO looking forward to it 😉 Remember, I told you that you do not have to rush at all….heck, keep the thing for a month if you need to. It really isn’t any use to me right now. Maybe when you finish putting your touch on it, it will be a rifle that I can actually use for it’s intended purpose.


  8. Thinking more about what I just said to Halfstep.

    Why don’t Pyramyd Air carry scales to weigh pellets and digital calipers to measure with. And not only for pellets; you can use calipers to measure parts on your gun if needed. Including piston seals and cylinder walls. Just examples but you get what I mean.


  9. Good point about the predictability of iron sights. Nothing can be off like a scope. When I take my B30 out to shoot at 25 yards, I lower the elevation by 95 clicks from the setting I use for 25 yards.

    Bob M, I would be a little surprised if the laws about full metal jacket bullets were intended for humane purposes, coming in the era of machine guns and poisoned gas. On the other hand, the idea that a wounding bullet would disable the enemy more by tying up more manpower has never made sense to me. Aren’t soldiers in combat supposed to leave the wounded behind for medics to pursue their mission?

    Matt61



    • Matt61
      What I have learned more recently than ever is with iron sights you have to learn to trust them.

      They make you think you are not lining everything up right and placing the sights on target right. It looks like you could be off. But it’s like there is more leeway in where the the sight is placed compared to what you see.

      I use to shoot good open sight as a kid. I never knew why. I think it’s cause I didn’t know that in a sense the sight would compensate for my error. That’s what the scope will do in opposite. It will show and magnify your errors in sighting.

      Seriously when you​ sight a gun at say 25 yards. And you repeat that hold the best you can you might just surprise yourself how well the pellet hits on target. It’s your eyes and brain fighting each other to believe what is true. Open sights do work. Just got to trust what happens. Not what you think you see.


  10. I’m surprised that RWS Meisterkugeln are so seldom (if ever) used in these pellet tests. My personal experience has thus far been that they tend to shoot well in almost any air rifle you feed them in and especially Feinwerkbaus seem to like them a lot.


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