FAS 6004 Part 3

FAS 6004 Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

Chiappa’s Single Shot Pneumatic Target Pistol

By Dennis Adler

The FAS 6004 delivered on velocity (based against factory velocity specs) with all three wadcutter pellets used for the shooting evaluations, Meisterkugeln Professional Line 7.0 gr., RWS R10 Match 7.0 gr., and Air Venturi 7.48 gr. lead wadcutters.

What exactly is an entry-level 10 meter single stroke target pistol? Well, the answer depends upon who you ask and what period of time you’re  asking about. Some 30 years ago, the answer was quite different than it is today. And notice that I didn’t use the word “pneumatic.” Back in the 1980s, Feinwerkbau was one of the most respected names in 10 meter air pistols with models like the FWB 65 (introduced back in 1965 and manufactured until 2001), the Model 80, which added stacking barrel weights and an improved adjustable trigger mechanism, and Model 90, which used an electronic trigger. These were side-cocking, recoilless, spring-piston designs for competitive shooting. Feinwerkbau rifles and pistols were the championship airguns in International Shooting Sports Foundation (ISSF) competition and the FWB Model 65 pretty much ruled air pistol competition for 30 years.[1] Today, FWB’s precharged pneumatic (PCP) pistols are the standard bearers.

To put this in financial perspective, an FWB Model 65 MK I or MK II had a retail price in the late 1990s of $1,070 and the Model 80, which was discontinued in 1983, had sold for $625. They were expensive. But if Feinwerkbau was the Mercedes-Benz (they’re German guns, can’t say Rolls-Royce, now can you?), of 10 meter competition air pistols, what was an entry-level gun in the 1980s? It was, and still is, the Beeman P1 made by Weihrauch, which manufactures the HW 75.

When I had to raise the rear sight I discovered that it was screwed all the way down and tight from the factory. Once I began to adjust it I discovered that that there are indeed click detents but there are no reference marks. The same for the windage adjustment screw. The slots are the width of a nickel, which makes a handy adjustment tool. I did scratch the base of the elevation screw finish, which I later touched up with a little cold blue. As you can see, for me I had to move it right for windage and up about eight clicks for elevation at 10 meters. It still had more to go, so no problem dialing in this rear sight.

Beeman was the U.S. importer and marketer for both Weihrauch and Feinwerkbau. The P1 is still the king of spring piston 10 meter pistols today, but single stroke pneumatics, developed by Walther, began to change the game. In the 1980s Feinwerkbau introduced the Model 100, an under lever cocking pneumatic design, but like the spring piston models, it too, demanded a high price. Discontinued in 1992 the Model 100 sold for $1,100. When I was working on the First Edition Blue Book of Airguns in 2001, I wanted a Model 103 (but it was too expensive at $1,555). Looking back, I wish I had bought one. The 103 was discontinued in 2008 and with it, FWB single stroke pneumatics. Today’s Feinwerkbau precharged pneumatic competition model, the PX8, retails for $2,400. Seems you never quite catch up, but when you put this little snippet of history into perspective, guns like the Chiappa FAS 6004 are a relative bargain today. No Feinwerkbau, but as a 10 meter entry-level single stroke pneumatic (as opposed to today’s PCP competition level pistols), it is almost in a class of its own.

On the Air Venturi V10 the adjustable grip’s palm shelf allows a more precise alignment of the hand than the flared grip design, and Chiappa has a match grip with adjustable palm shelf as well, but I have found the ambidextrous grip design on the FAS 6004 to be nearly as good.

When you grasp this pistol the contours of the ambidextrous grip align your hand, wrist, and arm for proper aiming. This is the same whether shooting one-handed or with a two-hand hold.

Shooting the FAS 6004  

Out of the box, I like the trigger pull on the FAS so I am leaving it at the factory setting of 1 pound, 5.7 ounces, but shortened the take up (screw No. 2 at the top of the trigger) from 0.125 inches to 0.095 inches. I left the drop points at factory settings.

For the FAS 6004 I decided to treat this as a competition against the HW 75 and V10. I opted for the EyePal diopter, and since I had to shoot using my right eye, I fitted a HySkore lens shade over my left eye. This is pretty tame looking compared to what shooters wear in ISSF 10 meter air pistol competition. The EyePal is a very handy little stick on diopter I first tried with the Diana Chaser. Outdoors in good light it can give you excellent depth of focus to cover the pistol sights and the target 10 meters downrange.

The first thing I discovered shooting the chronograph tests is that the FAS 6004 does not like alloy pellets. Too many failures to fire (pellet stays in the chamber), so I set the Sig Sauer Match Ballistic Alloy and H&N Sport Match Green aside. Out of my entire test with Meisterkugeln Professional Line 7.0 gr., RWS R10 Match 7.0 gr., and Air Venturi 7.48 gr. lead wadcutters, there were zero failures to fire. The pellets are easy to load. Just use a finger tip to make sure they are seated properly, they should sit flush at the rim of the chamber.

The design of the FAS slide makes it easier to load pellets into the barrel. They need to be seated flush with the rim and you can lightly press them with the tip of your finger to make sure they are well seated. What I discovered during this test of the Chiappa model is that the 6004 does not do well with alloy pellets. I had two guns to work with, so it wasn’t hard to verify my findings; neither worked well with alloy pellets.

The second thing I learned is a correction to my previous statement about the adjustable rear sight, the elevation screw does have detents you can feel as it is dialed up or down; they are not the fine detents you have with the HW 75 but they are good enough to count clicks. It took me about a dozen shots to dial in the Meisterkugeln at 10 meters with several increases in elevation (the gun came with the rear sight dialed all the way down), and several adjustments in windage, but the FAS still had plenty of leeway for elevation and windage adjustments. I used a nickel as my adjustment tool, the notch in the sight screws is a nickel’s worth, but be careful not to scratch the finish. I rubbed a spot in the base of elevation screw channel. Easy to fix with a touch of cold blue if a little scratch is bothersome. It is and I did.

It takes about 18 pounds of pressure to close the slide on the FAS which is lighter than most single stroke pneumatics. It is lighter than the V10 and very close to the HW 75. I was wearing an old leather cartridge pouch which I used as a pellet pouch for the tests. I have two of these vintage George Laurence Co. pouches that are about 35 years old.

In the instruction manual the Chiappa FAS 6004 is rated at 330 fps (although Pyramyd Air has maximum velocity at 400 fps). The reality is somewhere in the middle. With the Meisterkugeln my average velocity was a very consistent 355 fps. The RWS R10 Match clocked 353 fps, again very consistent with no more than a 2 fps deviation between shots. The slightly heavier Air Venturi wadcutters actually were 1 fps faster on average than the RWS R10, with an average velocity of 354 fps. It is safe to say the FAS shoots at an average of 350 fps.

A sunny day really makes the EyePal work like a charm. At arm’s length I had a clear view of the rear and front sights and target. These are great for old eyes and young eyes alike.

I know I have a prejudice toward Meisterkugeln but for good reason, I tend to shoot better with them most of the time. With the FAS 6004 my best 5-shot group measured 0.59 inches center to center in one almost solid tear through the center of the 10 and bullseye.

I got my best 5-shot group with the Meisterkugeln Professional line 7.0 gr. lead wadcutters. This is one long rip across the 10 ring and bullseye measuring 0.59 inches center to center. (I folded the torn paper back so the group’s easier to see).

With RWS R10, my best five were at 0.75 inches and a little more clearly defined (I moved the target to a different place on the baffle box that wasn’t as shot up), and Air Venturi delivered five at 0.625 inches.

Shooting with the RWS R10 Match, my best five measured 0.75 inches which was the widest group of the session. The FAS just seemed to shoot better with the Meisterkugeln, even though both pellets are RWS and have the same grain weight. The R10 is a better quality pellet for competition, but the FAS didn’t seem to care.

In comparison with the Air Venturi V10 pistol and Weihrauch HW 75, my best 5-shot group was 0.5 inches with the V10; just a fraction of an inch better than the FAS, but I attribute most differences that small to me and not the pistols.

My last targets of the day were with the slightly heavier 7.48 gr. Air Venturi lead wadcutters and my best five shots measured out to a dime-sized 0.625 inches.

The HW 75 also gave me a best 5-round group measuring 0.625 inches, so the FAS is right in the ballpark for velocity and accuracy with its single stroke pneumatic contemporaries. If you shoot like me, you’re still in the minor leagues, but the FAS has a great deal of potential! If you seriously want to shoot 10 meter air pistol, the old FAS 604 single stroke pneumatic in its latest Chiappa 6004 iteration remains one of the best choices around.

[1] Ulrich Eichstadt, 12th Edition Blue Book of Airguns

Specifications: Air Venturi V10, Weihrauch HW 75, Chiappa FAS 6004

V10

Length: 12.5 inches

Barrel: 8.375 inches

Height: 6.0 inches

Width: 1.875 inches

Sight radius: 9.75 inches

Weight: 32 ounces

HW 75

Length: 11.0 inches

Barrel: 6.7 inches

Height: 6.125 inches

Width: 1.125 inches

Sight radius: 9.5 inches

Weight: 38.5 ounces

FAS 6004

Length: 11.0 inches

Barrel: 7.5 inches

Height: 5.25 inches

Width: 1.125 inches

Sight radius: 9.68 inches

Weight: 32 ounces

4 thoughts on “FAS 6004 Part 3

  1. Nice reporting, I have an HW75 myself which I really like and is very easy to operate. I find the fps on the ssp pistols always a bit exaggerated, I believe the HW75 was rated around 400-410 fps but reality is around the 350-360 mark like most other ssp pistol using the same meisterklugen (my go to pellet).

    When you say the FAS is very close to the HW75 when it comes to the pressure to close the slide, could you please clarify as to whether the FAS is slightly heavier or lighter to close? Thanks!


    • Yes, they are very close. When I tested the HW 75 it took 18 to 19 pounds of force to close it. The FAS takes around 18 pounds, so almost the same. The V10 takes over 20 pounds as does the Beeman P3. I found the shape of the FAS slide’s wide flat top easier to close than the HW 75 but that has no bearing on the resistance to pressurize the piston. One just seems easier than the other, but it is not a big difference.


  2. Dennis,

    Thanks for the look at the FAS and the others also. I myself am not much interested in CO2, but do enjoy other air pistols and rifles. I have a 46M and have been thinking of adding another pistol or two to my modest collection. One that is on my short list is the FAS. Such an in depth look is greatly appreciated.


    • Glad to help with your choice. All three are good single shot target pistols. I personally like the Air Venturi V10 for its performance, price and the match grip. Of course, the FAS has so much heritage behind its design that it is hard to go wrong with the Chiappa buit model, too. Having access to all of them helps me write more in-depth reviews and it is nice to get feedback.

      Thanks,

      Dennis


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