FAS 6004 Part 2

FAS 6004 Part 2 Part 1

Chiappa’s Single Shot Pneumatic Target Pistol

By Dennis Adler

More than a decade old, the FAS Domino AS 604 design was the basis for the new Chiappa FAS 6004, and this “mass produced” version has the same lines and handling as the original Fabbrica Armi Sportive model. In 2002, the almost entirely hand-built FAS 604 had a suggested retail price of $350, which is equivalent to about $500 today.

Italian armsmakers have a slight advantage over American armsmakers, and even over most European armsmakers; the Italian firearms industry is more than 500 years old. The earliest written reference to Italian gun making is dated April 21, 1459. [1] Beretta, the world’s oldest gunmaker, has been in business for 493 years, and thus it is safe to say that the Italians know a little bit about making guns. Chiappa has only shared in 60 of those 559 years of arms making, but has carved out its own niche among the most respected gunmakers in Italy. I have written thousands of words about Chiappa over the years, but never a word about airguns until now, and the FAS 6004, which is, in its own right, very much a “niche” airgun, with very few contemporaries as a single stroke pneumatic 10 meter target pistol.

The competition to the FAS 6004 is limited to a handful of models from Beeman, the P1 and P11 (not shown), the lower-priced P3 (far right), Air Venturi V10 (left rear) and Weihrauch HW 75. The V10 and HW 75 are both regarded as entry-level 10 meter competition pistols, and the competition just got a little tougher.

A few good guns  

If we count the FAS models built in Milan before Chiappa’s 6004, there are still only a handful of air pistols in this category of single stroke (or multi stroke) 10 meter target models; the (spring piston) Beeman P1 and P11, at $450 and $525, respectively, the Beeman P3 single stroke pneumatic at $240, Weihrauch HW75 at $460, and the Air Venturi V10 (Gamo .177 caliber Compact) at $300. That puts the FAS 6004 at the higher end with an MSRP of $470 for the standard model with ambidextrous walnut grips. The Match models with adjustable target grips, left or right hand, large and medium sizes, are priced higher. The Russian-made IZH 46M (which is an under lever design) is also in this class and sells for around $650. The closest competitors for design and handling are the Weihrauch HW75 and Air Venturi V10. So let’s begin there.

To understand the entry-level 10 meter competition field as it applies to single stroke (and multi-stroke) pneumatics, aside from the rarified IZH 46M, this is the primary field, the Air Venturi V10 (based on the earlier Gamo .177 caliber Compact), the equally well established Weihrauch HW 75, and new version of the FAS Domino AS 604, the Chiappa FAS 6004. In point of fact, none of these entry-level single stroke pneumatic target pistols are new, just enduring in one way or another. In terms of handling, the design of the Air Venturi V10 match grip locks your hand in place for a one-handed target shooting stance, aligning the hand, wrist, arm and sights naturally as you aim. The grip angle on the Weihrauch is similar to a Model 1911, just like the grip angle on the Beeman P1 (which is based on the Model 1911 grip design), this allows for variations in hold and aiming like a semi-auto. The FAS 6004 grip style is similar to the Weihrauch’s but with a more aggressive angle and contour closer to the V10’s match grip. The big advantage is that the FAS (and HW 75) grips are ambidextrous. The V10 requires individual right or left hand grips.

All three are over lever designs using the slide as the charging handle. They all have walnut grips. In terms of styling, the FAS has the cleanest lines. The Weihrauch uses a manual safety like the Beeman, while the V10 and FAS are a closer match for operation (10 meter target pistols do not have manual safeties) but are further apart in price. The Beeman P3 is a totally different style that’s closer in design and balance in the hand to a semi-auto pistol, rather than a 10 meter target pistol.

The Weihrauch and FAS grip contours are similar to centerfire match pistols with flared grips and thumb rests. And like many of today’s centerfire competition pistols with extended magazine wells to aid in reloading and supporting the shooting hand, the flared base of the one-piece walnut grips on the HW 75 and FAS provide a similar level of support for the bottom of the shooting hand. The V10 excels in this latter comparison with standard adjustable match grips, which are extra for the FAS.

Equally matched for the price are the Weihrauch HW 75 and FAS 6004, though the approach to these two guns is quite different. The HW 75 is a hammer-fired pistol with a manual safety. Aside from its superb fit and finish, the HW 75 has click adjustable rear sights. The FAS has adjustable rear sights but they are not click adjustable, and it is not a hammer-fired design. One advantage over its competition, the FAS trigger (developed by FAS not Chiappa) offers more adjustments for precision shooting. The MRSP for the Weihrauch is $483, the FAS 6004 retails for $470.

Measuring up 

The HW 75 has an overall length of 11.0 inches (and 6.7 inch match grade rifled steel barrel), a height (base of grips to top of rear sight) of 6.125 inches, frame width of 1.125 inches, sight radius of 9.5 inches, and weight of 38.5 ounces. The FAS 6004 has an overall length of 11.0 inches (and 7.5 inch button rifled steel barrel), a height (base of grips to top of rear sight) of 5.25 inches, frame width of 1.125 inches, sight radius of 9.68 inches, and weight of 32 ounces. The Air Venturi V10 measures 12.5 inches in overall length (with an 8.375 inch rifled steel barrel), a height (base of grips to top of rear sight) of 6.0 inches, frame width of 1.875 inches, sight radius of 9.75 inches, and weight of 32 ounces. The V10 is made in Spain, the HW 75 in Germany, and the FAS 6004 in Italy; that covers three of the world’s oldest and most respected countries for gun manufacturing.

The Weihrauch has a very comfortable grip with thumb rest and a wide flared base to support the hand, but it has a more vertical angle than the FAS grip. Also notice the click adjustable rear sight and left side manual safety. The safety is ambidextrous.

Breaking them out  

The new Chiappa FAS 6004 comes in at the identical length and width of the Weihrauch HW 75, with a lower overall height, lighter overall weight, longer barrel, longer sight radius, and better trigger adjustment. It is Pyramyd Air priced at about $40 lower ($420 vs. $460) than the HW 75. In comparison to the Air Venturi V10, the FAS stacks up as a smaller gun. The V10 has the greatest overall length, longest barrel and sight radius, and largest grips (adjustable match) of the three, as well as the lowest price at $300 (and is currently on sale for $269.99).

On the FAS 6004, the finger grooves, stippling and thumb rest allow a solid grasp, while the angle of the grip, flared base and beavertail assist in aligning the hand, wrist, arm and sight line much like a match pistol grip.

It’s all in the trigger

All three airguns have two-stage adjustable triggers, the Chiappa FAS 6004, has the most adjustments to custom tune the trigger to an individual shooter. That’s the purpose of an adjustable trigger like the V10 and HW 75, but the FAS has more adjustments, a total of four screws to set the weight of the trigger, stroke and position of the trigger, and adjust the drop point of the first stage and break of the second stage. In total you can move the trigger further forward or further back within the triggerguard to adjust for hand size, as well as trigger pull.

The FAS-designed trigger has four screws to adjust settings. Screw No. 1 is at the front of the triggerguard. This adjusts the weight of the trigger. Turn clockwise to increase the factory setting, counterclockwise to lighten it. Screw No. 2, at the top of the trigger, adjusts stroke (take up) and position of the trigger; turning clockwise for a longer take up, counterclockwise for a shorter take up. Screw No. 3, in the center, adjusts the drop point for the first stage of the trigger pull; screw No. 4 adjusts release of the second stage. The factory setting has a take up of 0.125 inches with an average trigger pull of 1 pound, 5.7 ounces. This has the smoothest break of any trigger I have tested on a single stroke pneumatic target pistol. The take up on the Weihrauch was also 0.125 inches with an average trigger pull of 1 pound, 5.3 ounces but not quite as smooth as the FAS trigger. The V10 averaged 2 pounds, 2.1 ounces with 0.125 inches of take up. There are no bad players here!

In Saturday’s conclusion, I’ll set the trigger, adjust the sights and see what the FAS can deliver at 10 meters.  

[1] The World of Beretta – An International Legend by R.L. Wilson, Random House, Inc.

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