Posts Tagged ‘Falke model 70 air rifle’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Got a lot to cover today, so let’s get to it.
First up is the Daisy Manufacturing Company, now called Daisy Outdoor Products. Daisy is best-known for the BB guns they make, but did you know they also made firearms? That’s correct. In fact, Daisy made 3 different lines of .22 rimfire rifles — though one of them is only a rimfire by common categorization. That would be the Daisy V/L. V/L stands for Van Langenhoven, the last name of the man who invented the caseless cartridge technology Daisy used to make this gun. I’ve covered this before when I wrote about the new Daisy book published in 2012.
Although it’s commonly classified with .22 rimfire rifles, the caseless round does not even have a rim. There’s no priming compound in this cartridge. This caseless cartridge was made from a material that combusts when heated rapidly by the compressed air of a spring-piston air rifle. So, the Daisy V/L is, in fact, an underlever spring-piston air rifle that just happens to shoot caseless .22 rounds. Daisy made their V/L rifle in the late 1960s (1968 & ’69).
Daisy also made a line of bolt-action rifles called the Legacy line in the 1980s and ’90s. These rifles have weird diecast and steel receivers mounted in both plastic and wood stocks. But they’re not the guns I want to discuss today.
I have handled both the Legacy and V/L rifles, but I don’t know much about them. What I do know something about is a Daisy rimfire that is even less well-known than either of these.
Daisy model 8
In 1988 and ’89, Daisy produced an economical .22 rimfire single-shot rifle for Wal-Mart. They were supposed to have built 30,000 rifles, but the contract was either terminated or somehow not completed; and the actual number of rifles made is something less. The Blue Book of Gun Values says they made 30,000 of them, but Joe Murfin of Daisy told me about the problem with Wal-Mart and said they didn’t make that many. Something on the left side of the barrel has been machined off. This is on every model 8 I’ve seen.
All the Daisy model 8 rifles I’ve seen (about 10) have had this area of the barrel machined off. Something was stamped there.
This rifle is small. If you know what a Crickett rifle is, this one is just slightly larger. If you don’t know what a Crickett is, the Daisy rifle has an overall length of just 32-1/4 inches and a weight of 3 lbs., 1 oz. In other words, it’s tiny!
It has a painted action and barrel in a hollow plastic stock. The overall impression is — this gun is cheap.
Daisy rear sight looks a lot like an airgun sight. It adjusts for windage and elevation.
Do you think that airgun companies are loaded with engineers wearing white lab coats? The Daisy model 8 looks more like something that was designed in high school shop class when the teacher was out on his smoke break. The designer is someone you all know — the kid without the eyebrows. The one who couldn’t hear out of his left ear. Later on in life, he was known as Stumpy; and before he turned 25, he disappeared completely.
What I’m saying is that this is a bolt-action rifle that’s designed with screen-door-latch technology. It began as an exercise to see how cheaply we could make it, and that was followed by two rounds of cost-cutting before corporate council pulled the plug for liability reasons.
Model 8 bolt handle looks like common hardware! The receiver is a diecast part with a steel tube pressed in for strength.
Daisy model 8 (below) is just a little larger than a Crickett.
And I have one! Are they rare? I don’t know. Are they scarce? Most assuredly! Have some of them been lost over time? Almost a given! Are they worth anything? Not very much. This is not an heirloom gun — it’s a hair-brained gun!
I bought one just because of what it is. I also bought the Crickett to serve a basis for comparison. Both are small, but one (the Crickett) is designed by gunmakers, while the other (the Daisy model 8) looks like it was designed by McGuyver while he was in the throws of an acid flashback.
Yes, I have shot this rifle. No, it doesn’t shoot very well. In fact, it misfires about 25 percent of the time, which I attribute to a weak firing pin spring. Accuracy is on the order of 3-4 inches at 25 yards — so far. Maybe I haven’t found the right ammo, yet — ha, ha.
I said I bought the Crickett for comparison. I’m just throwing it in here because many more shooters are familiar with it than with the Daisy. Much of its design is similar to the Daisy model 8; but at every turn, you can see where its design exceeds the Daisy. I guess I would say the Crickett is just a small firearm, while the Daisy is more of a small example of what not to do.
In sharp contrast to the Daisy, the Crickett bolt looks like a firearm bolt and the receiver is all steel. They even put a peep sight at the rear! Didn’t cost that much, but this is what designers can do.
I’ve also shot the Crickett, and it’s 100 percent reliable. While it’s no tackdriver, it will put its shots into 1.5 inches at 25 yards — and sometimes the groups are even smaller. In my estimation, the Crickett is a small, inexpensive firearm, while the Daisy model 8 is a cheap rimfire wannabe. Having said all that — who have I insulted? I sure hope your favorite .22 is not a Daisy model 8!
The point of this look is to see what an airgun manufacturer will turn out when they make a firearm. But maybe this Daisy model isn’t a fair representation because Daisy built this for their customer. Let’s look at another rimfire rifle that was made by a different airgun manufacturer, and this time they made it for themselves.
The Falke single-shot
Yes — that Falke. The same people who made the super-rare and interesting Falke model 80 and 90 underlevers and also the Falke models 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 breakbarrel spring rifles. We looked at a Falke model 70.
Compared to the Daisy model 8 (top), the Falke single-shot is a full-sized rifle.
This rifle is a confusing firearm. On the one hand, the walnut stock is shaped nicely and hand checkered, the metal polish and bluing is even and deep, and the action is cheap and stiff to operate. What should be the simplest of all actions — a single-shot — is machined very well, yet it functions like it’s been rusting in the corner for decades.
Falke was one of those “anything for a buck” companies that arose in Germany after the war. I’m sure they would have disagreed with that assessment, but the fact is they had no plan of succession; and when the founder got sick in the late ’50s, the company folded.
Where have we seen this logo before?
They made at least 2 firearms. This bolt-action rifle is one, and I’ve also seen a stylized Remington double derringer in .22 rimfire.
I bought this rifle because it’s a Falke and because it looked so nice on the internet. When I received it, I found it to be even nicer than the photos portrayed. But the action is stiff and clunky! I never would have bought it if I’d tried it first. However, I believe I can correct most of this with some careful gunsmithing.
The rifle is full-sized at 40-3/4 inches overall, with a 23-inch barrel. The pull length is 13-1/2 inches. The barrel is nicely rifled, and the gun appears to be in 90 percent condition. The wood has been sanded, which is the only detractor from the overall appearance.
The front sight is a common post with a bead, but the rear sight has the same quirky elevation adjustment that we saw on the Falke model 70 air rifle! With luck, this rifle will shoot.
We saw a rear sight just like this on the Falke model 70 air rifle.
This is a bolt-action single-shot. It has a separate cocking piece that will cock the rifle by itself (without the bolt being operated), but right now the sear is under too much tension and the cocking piece cannot be pulled back all the way. The bolt cocks the action on closing.
Again — so what?
I’ve shown you 2 firearms that were made by 2 different airgun makers. My plan is to shoot both of them and come back to you with the results in the next report. I’ll do that as the rifles stand right now, but the Daisy really does need a stronger firing pin spring, and the Falke needs its action smoothed a lot.
Why am I doing this? Perhaps, to show the contrast of firearms and airguns made by the same maker. I think we have that in both these cases.
I know several of you readers probably own Daisy Legacy rimfire rifles, and I would like to hear what you think of them. If any of you own a Daisy model 8, you have both my apologies and my sympathy. And if anyone ownes a Falke firearm, I sure would like to hear about it!
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Blog reader Kevin asked me this question recently, and I embraced it because I usually don’t even have time to think about which airgun I would prefer to shoot. There’s always another blog, a feature article and 5 other deadlines pressing on my time…so thinking like this is not a luxury. It’s a fantasy! Then, Kevin asked this question and “forced” me to stop and think about it for today’s report. Ahh! Happy Friday!
The first gun that pops into my head when I ask this question is the Diana model 27 rifle. It’s just such a simple, uncomplicated airgun that I guess it serves as my happy place. But as I think about it, other guns pop up. The Air Venturi Bronco, the Falke model 70, the Diana model 25 are 3 more that come to mind immediately. They all share the model 27′s chief attribute — ease of operation. In short, they’re all fun airguns.
Diana’s model 27 breakbarrel is so light, smooth and easy to operate that it epitomizes everything that’s good about airgunning in my eyes.
Falke model 70 is another vintage breakbarrel that’s light and smooth like the Diana 27.
To take the fantasy a little farther, have these guns always been the ones that do that, or have there been others? Yes! There have been others!
My straight-grip Webley Senior pistol is exactly like the Diana 27 in this respect. It’s small and easy to operate. I still own this pistol, although there’s seldom any time to actually shoot it. But it’s right there in the drawer where I can put my hands on it whenever I want. I guess that’s good enough. I guess it will have to be.
I’ve owned this straight-grip Webley Senior since the early 1970s. It’s easy to cock, has a nice trigger and is fun to shoot. Not terribly accurate, but it’s one of those rare guns I let slip by because everything else works so well.
When I think a little longer and harder, my Beeman R8 pops into view. It comes in later because it has a scope, and scopes do complicate things. So do target sights, but my Walther LGV Olympia 10-meter target rifle now comes to light. And with it comes the new .22-caliber LGV. The target rifle took longer to pop up because it’s a heavy gun. The .22 took longer because of its power. When I want to play, power is the farthest thing from my mind.
Kevin didn’t ask me what my favorite firearms were; but since this is Friday, I’ll take a little license and include them, as well. Right now, my new PO8 Luger is a favorite because it’s accurate, recoils very little and it eats my handloads like they were candy! And when I think of that gun, I cannot overlook my Ruger Single-Six in .32 H&R Magnum. It has great power and almost no recoil. For cutting out the center of a bullseye, that little Ruger wheelgun is a dream.
The Ruger Single Six is chambered for the .32 H&R Magnum. It’s light, yet very powerful and will out-penetrate a .357 Magnum on a steel target. The 1917 Luger is such a smooth shooter that it’s like eating peanuts — I can’t stop! Both guns are very accurate.
Then, I think of my O3A3 Springfield. It’s one of the few military rifles that gives me an honest sub 2-inch group at 100 yards. If it didn’t recoil so much, I’m sure it would have popped up even sooner.
This O3A3 Springfield will smack you with recoil when you’re shooting full-house loads. The short stock gives it a running start at your shoulder. But the accuracy is stunning!
My M1 Carbine is also a favorite — not for its accuracy, which is just average — but for the fact that it drops the empty cases on top of the shooting bench! Most autoloaders throw their cases a country mile, but this little sweetie piles them up for me. With more training, I’m sure I can get it to put them back in the box!
My M1 Carbine is well-behaved. Next, I’m going to teach it to put the fired cases back into the box!
Guns I wish I still had
Now comes the Great Lament — the ones that got away! I had a Bernardelli Baby in .25 ACP that would put 3 shots into the bottom of a soda can offhand at 30 feet. Most .25s are lucky to hit dinner plates at that distance, but this little pistol was a good one. I let it get away. I recently bought another Bernardelli Baby in the hopes of doing the same thing. Alas, this one is a dinner-plate special.
Ruger .44 Magnum Blackhawk with 10-inch barrel
They’re very collectible now; but when I had my 3-screw Ruger Blackhawk, they were just good guns. I was too stupid to know that the one I had was an exceptional shooter. I figured I could always get another one.
Custom .458 Winchester Magnum
I have written about this rifle many times. I shot it with a 550-grain cast lead bullet, and it would put 10 shots into less than 2 inches (outside measurement) at 100 yards. It was like owning a target-grade 45/70. Stupid me — I thought I would always be able to find another one just as good. Haven’t yet!
What kind of shooting do I like to do?
I’m pretty easy to please. I like whatever kind of shooting I happen to be doing at the time — usually. The things I hate are magnum spring rifles that buzz like bottles of hornets, slap me in the face and have no accuracy. I also disdain black rifles that can’t group in less than 3 inches at 100 yards. In fact, I dislike almost anything that isn’t accurate.
I enjoy shooting a .45 Colt Single Action Army with accurate loads and feeling the plow-grip roll in my hand during recoil. I like shooting a nice 1911 and feeling the slight burp of recoil when I hold my thumb over the manual safety. I shot a Walther P38 recently that had a nice trigger and is very accurate. My experiences with P38s aren’t that good, but this one was memorable. I could burn up a lot of 9mm ammo in that one.
When I came home from the hospital several years ago, I received this Single Action Army as a gift from the readers of this blog. It is a favorite of mine because it mimics the feel of a Gen 1 Colt perfectly!
Same for the PO8 I got for Christmas. The ergonomics are legendary and the trigger is extremely good for a Luger (their trigger linkages usually make for poor triggers). My handloads are moderate enough that I can shoot this pistol for the rest of my life and not put any wear on it!
I enjoy holding a 10 with a target air pistol and seeing the pellet hit the pinwheel. I love seeing 10 shots from an accurate rifle sail through the same hole at 100 yards, knowing the hole they made is smaller than half an inch. I love shooting 5 shots from a 10-meter rifle and seeing a group smaller than a tenth of an inch.
Holding a 10 with a pistol is very enjoyable!
I love shooting my Daisy Avanti Champion 499 offhand and making quarter-inch groups. My shooting buddy Otho bought one for himself this past December and has been doing the same thing ever since.
I enjoy shooting a Garand and hearing the shot go off but not feeling the recoil. I know it’s there, but the push is so slow that it doesn’t seem to count. The same holds true for my .357 Magnum Desert Eagle. It’s got enough power to drop a steer, but the soft recoil feels like a 1911 shooting +P ammo.
Best of all
But the thing I like above all is when I solve some problem of inaccuracy and turn a bad gun into a real shooter. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, but from time to time I do hit one out of the park. I’m hoping to do that with my Ballard someday. And maybe my Meteor, as well.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
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.
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.
Eight of ten Eley Wasps went into a tight 0.276 inches, but the final 2 opened it to 0.862 inches.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Falke model 70 is a quality breakbarrel spring-piston rifle from the 1950s.
Today, I’ll test the velocity of the .177-caliber Falke model 70 breakbarrel. In its day, which was the early 1950s, this rifle was rated at 450 f.p.s. But pellets have improved a lot since that time, and I also believe this powerplant has been rebuilt. So, the numbers may not be the same as a factory gun.
The first pellet I tested was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite. For the first test, I seated the pellet flush; but given the probable power range of this rifle, I felt that some deep-seating would also be worth trying. Premier lites averaged 634 f.p.s. in the initial test (seated flush). The range went from a low of 621 f.p.s. to a high of 646 f.p.s. So, the spread was 25 f.p.s. That’s not bad, but I’ve certainly seen better. At the average velocity, this pellet generated 7.05 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
Next, I tried the same pellet seated deep with the Air Venturi Pellet Seater. This time, the average velocity climbed up to 651 f.p.s., with a spread from 640 to 660 f.p.s. So, greater velocity and less variation with this pellet seated deep. At the average velocity, this deep-seated pellet generated 7.44 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
The next pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby. This one I seated deep from the start. The average velocity was 704 f.p.s., and the range went from a low of 684 f.p.s. to a high of 721 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 37 f.p.s. in just 10 shots, which is getting a little large! At the average velocity, this pellet generated 7.71 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
Because the velocity spread was so large, I figured I would also test this pellet seated flush. But after shooting just 4 shots, I had a velocity variation of 49 f.p.s., so I stopped. Obviously, the Hobby doesn’t like to be seated flush in the Falke 70.
H&N Baracuda Match
The last pellet I tried was the heavy H&N Baracuda Match. Weighing 10.65 grains, this pellet might seem too heavy for a spring rifle in this power class, but I’ve seen pellets like this shoot very well in some of these guns. In case that happened here during the accuracy test, I wanted to have the velocity on record. These pellets were seated flush.
Baracuda Match pellets averaged 508 f.p.s. in the Falke, and the spread went from a low of 503 to a high of 515. That’s just 12 f.p.s. — the tightest spread of the test. Because they’re so tight when seated flush, I decided to not bother testing them seated deep. I’m pretty sure I will shoot them seated flush.
At the average velocity, this pellet generated 6.10 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. So, the Falke 70 followed the classic spring gun pattern of heavy pellets being less efficient and light pellets being the most efficient.
The single-stage trigger is adjustable, but the adjustment is of the sear-contact area type. So, I’m leaving it alone. It’s light enough as it is right now, breaking at just 1 lb., 15 oz. The letoff is vague, but the pull is free from creep, so the rifle doesn’t move around a lot when you shoot.
I mentioned in part 1 that the rifle seems to cock easily until the last part of the stroke, when the effort rises significantly. Well, the scale confirmed it. The first part of the stroke is 20 lbs., then the effort spikes up to 37 lbs. to complete the stroke. It’s way more than one might expect from a rifle in this class. That leads me to suspect that an aftermarket mainspring has been installed in an effort to increase the power. I may have to correct that some time, as it’s just too much effort for a plinker like this.
Blog reader RidgeRunner asked me if the rear sight blade had a small spring under it, so I took it apart and told him I would provide a picture of the assembly in this report. Not only did I find the spring he was talking about, I also saw that the elevation wheel is marked off with numbers, so you can keep track of adjustments!
The rear sight blade slides into the base, and the elevating wheel fits into the cutout. The spring fits inside the hollow elevating wheel.
I didn’t notice these reference numbers before taking apart the rear sight. They allow you to record and track your elevation adjustments. Airgunners love neat little features like this!
Seeing those numbers on the elevation wheel made me smile. They’re so unobtrusive and easy to overlook. They’re an airgunner’s version of a secret garden. It’s like knowing how the Coke machines get filled at Santa’s workshop!
Overall, I like this rifle very much. It holds well, locks up tight at the breech, thanks to the breech lock, and the firing behavior is smooth. I even like the trigger. I have a feeling this one will be a keeper!
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Falke model 70 is a quality breakbarrel spring-piston rifle from the 1950s.
This report is a traditional Friday blog for all you who enjoy the vintage airguns I sometimes get to test. I enjoy them, too, but I try not to put too many into the blog because most readers cannot buy these guns. I don’t want to create a lot of dissatisfaction.
I’ve reported on the Falke 90 underlever that reader Vince was kind enough to repair and tune in his 3-part report, It’s not my Falke. Then, I tested the gun for you in a separate 4-part report titled, Falke 90 test. Well, today I’m starting another report on a Falke model 70 breakbarrel rifle.
The distinctive falcon logo is stamped on the spring tube end cap.
All Falke airguns are uncommon in the U.S., but the models 80 and 90 are beyond rare. From the model 70 on down in declining numbers (60, 50, 40, 30, 20 and 10), however, we encounter a number of more common breakbarrel spring rifles that, while not common, are also not rare. They were never officially imported into the U.S., as far as I have determined, but have entered in a number of ways through private transactions. They’re very similar in quality and performance to their Diana cousins of the same early 1950s timeframe. The separation between the model 70 we’re looking at today and the model 80, while only 10 numbers apart, is the difference between a chicken egg and an egg by Fabergé.
The model 70 might also be thought of as Falke’s answer to the Diana 27. In other words, a plain airgun, but also one with high-quality features like a locking breech and an adjustable trigger. The 70 is slightly larger than the 27. It’s 42-7/8 inches long overall, and that length is helped primarily by the 19-inch barrel. The weight is 6 lbs., 10 oz. The pull is 13-3/4 inches, making it suitable for adults and older children.
When I looked in W.H.B. Smith’s book, Smith’s Standard Encyclopedia of Gas, Air and Spring Guns of the World, I saw slightly different specs for the model 70 listed there. There, the rifle was just 37 inches long, and the photo shows a pistol grip that’s rounded at the bottom. It was also checkered; but because mine’s been refinished, I can’t tell if it may have been originally checkered. I doubt that it was, though, because it’s still robust after refinishing.
The rifle’s barreled action is blued steel, set into a slim beech stock that has European finger grooves on either side of the forearm. The breech seal is leather, giving every indication that the piston seal is leather, as well. The metal on my rifle is turning to a plum-colored patina over the years, and the stock has been recently refinished. It was a good job, but I have no idea how much wood was removed in the process.
The rear sight is adjustable for elevation by turning a centrally mounted wheel, but there is no adjustment for windage. However, both the front and rear sights sit in dovetails that run perpendicular to the bore, so some windage adjustment is possible by drifting them sideways in their slots. The rear sight blade sits loose in the rear sight base, which may affect accuracy when I shoot the gun.
The rear sight adjusts for elevation, only. The sight blade is loose in its mount.
The front sight is a post with a bead at the top — the type the Germans call a Perlkorn. The intent is to put the bead in the center of the rear sight notch and also on whatever you wish to hit. It’s not a precision sight, but it can become more precise if you hold it at the 6 o’clock position on a target. But the movement of the blade that contains the notch will affect things, I’m sure.
The trigger adjusts, too, but I remember getting some sort of warning from airgun collector Don Raitzer at the Roanoke airgun show when I acquired the rifle, so I may not adjust it. Right now, it’s a single stage that has a very long but light pull and no positive indication before it lets off. I’m thinking the adjustment might affect the sear engagement area, and I don’t want to diminish that in any way.
The single-stage trigger adjusts, but I think the sear contact area is affected, so I’m going to pass.
The breech is locked by a spring-loaded lever located on the right side of the breech. To unlock it, press in (push it back toward the butt) on the knurled knob while breaking down the barrel. It takes 2 hands to open the breech. When the barrel’s closed, the lock snaps shut and the breech is solid!
The breech is also notable for having both a pivot bolt and a locking screw that fits into scalloped notches cut into the rim of the bolt head. It’s a hallmark of quality that existed in the 1950s. Oddly, though, the pivot screw only has 2 cutouts for the locking screw to fit; so in its original form, it has to be turned a minimum of 180 degrees every time. Someone has used a small portable grinder to add a small notch where it was necessary, and now the pivot bolt head has a third notch in what seems to be the right place.
The breech is locked and must be unlocked to break the barrel. Note the locking notches in the pivot bolt head. And you can see the articulated 2-piece cocking link in this picture, also.
The cocking link is 2-piece and articulated to allow the rifle to be cocked without a long cocking slot in the forearm. That reduces vibration in the stock, adding to the rifle’s overall feeling of quality when fired.
This is a quality air rifle from the 1950s, and the quality shows through. Compared to modern air rifles, the features on this one far exceed what you normally see. The power is much lower than most of today’s rifles, but that just ensures that the rifle fires smoother.
Of course, there’s no provision for a scope, because when this rifle was made, people weren’t scoping their air rifles. I wouldn’t want to scope it, either. This is just a pure fun rifle that’s light and smooth and fun for the whole day. Why ruin it with a scope?
Smith lists the velocity at 450 f.p.s, but of course that was with the crude heavy pellets of the 1950s. I’m sure a modern pellet will step that up, though; by how much, I can’t say. Someone has at least lube-tuned the rifle recently, so it should be performing its best right now. I note when cocking that the cocking stroke is very short — just past 90 degrees, and the mainspring tension builds very fast in the last half of the stroke. In that respect, this rifle differs entirely from a Diana 27 that cocks with an even stroke and no spring buildup (greater effort required toward the end of the cocking stroke).
I’ve been waiting to test this rifle since the Roanoke show. Until today, I had not fired it once! You and I will get get to explore this fine air rifle together!
While reading the other reports on the Falke 90 I cite above, I discovered that I’d promised to test the 90 with a dot sight to see if accuracy would improve. That was way back in January and, of course, I haven’t done it — yet! Look for that test in the near future!