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Competition Looking back at the FWB C-20 pistol – Part 2

Looking back at the FWB C-20 pistol – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Today, guest blogger Pete Zimmerman continues his report on the C-20 pistol, as he shows us the technical side of his target gun.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email us.

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Part 1

by Pete Zimmerman

FWB C-20

Overall impression
The C-20 is a good sized gun. By catalog specs, it’s 16.5 inches (419.1mm) long, and weighs in at 2.5 lbs. (1150 grams). The grip looks much like a Morini competition grip, but old FWB parts lists say that it is not (at least not technically) from the Morini factory.

The palm shelf is held by two small Allen-head screws and is readily adjustable. Unfortunately, it’s not easily fixed precisely in place unless you have three hands — one to grip the pistol, one to hold the palm shelf in place against the gripping hand and a third to wield the wrench to tighten the Allen screws. (Thomas Rink’s custom grips have a patented palm shelf that can be adjusted with only one hand!)

Apparently, the C-20 was the first FWB pistol in which the angle of the grip is also adjustable. The two Allen screws that hold the grip together can be loosened to permit the grip angle to be changed through about a 10-deg. arc. This is a major improvement; without it my scores would suffer!

The inside of the C-20’s grip. Allen bolts through the two slots let the grip rotate approximately 10 deg. forward and backward to help the shooter get to a good rake angle. It’s crude, but it works.

The loading system is extremely easy. The shooter pulls up the charging cover until it reaches full stop. The breech is now open, the bolt retracted, the gas system charged and the trigger cocked. Between breech and bolt is a small channel — pellet-sized. The shooter simply puts a pellet in the channel and closes the cover. The bolt moves forward, and a small o-ring seals it in the breech. The gun is ready to fire. Remember…competition arms have no safety, so the weapon is live! There’s one other problem. You cannot see the pellet once it enters the breech, so it’s too easy to lose focus, load a second pellet, and then shoot both. This is not a good idea. I know from experience.

We’re looking at a pellet in the loading tray with the bolt behind it; the charging gate is open. The black o-ring on the bolt is the only seal that’s failed in the 16 or 17 years I’ve owned the gun. They’re not cheap but are readily available in the US. I got mine from Pilkington Competition.

Dry-firing is extremely easy to set up. After opening the breech and charging the system, simply push on the tab extending out from the left side of the action. The trigger can be pulled completely as if you were shooting a live round, but all that happens is a click when the sear disengages. To return to live fire, open the breech, cock the gun, push the tab in the other direction and close the breech. You can shift from live to dry firing while there’s a pellet in the bore!

The rear sight is fully adjustable for windage and elevation with click stops marked in the conventional European way. To move a shot that lands right of the target, turn the windage knob toward R (right or rechts). The rule of thumb is to turn the knob “into” the error. “Up” and “down” are marked as “H” and “T” for hoch and tief in German. The width of the notch on the rear sight is adjusted by putting a small Allen wrench through a whole in a shaft and then turning it until the desired size is reached. I haven’t been able to check how much backlash there is in the crucial micrometer screws, but I think it’s about one click.

A good look at the very adjustable rear sight. The only adjustment not readily available is the depth of the notch.

The pistol is packaged with several front sight inserts of varying widths. For the first time on the C-20, FWB also milled in grooves on the barrel so the sight radius can be adjusted. Shortening the sight radius theoretically ought to reduce the precision of your aim, but it also tends to reduce small “adjustments” (lets call them correctly, the shakes!) in your hold, so for the moment I’ve moved the front sight to the shortest possible radius. The standard ISSF AP target is so big that the small reduction in aiming precision is negligible compared to the large improvement in apparent steadiness! I then chose a sight insert which appears from my shooting eye to be about the same width as the diameter of the bull. I then adjusted the notch width to have an apparent size twice that of the front sight. When I focus and concentrate, this consistently gets me 10-shot string scores between 82 and 90, mostly around 85. Your mileage, like mine, may differ.

The front sight has been moved backwards from its “standard” position near the front of the barrel. I might move it even farther back.

Ah, the beautiful FWB trigger. It breaks with a snap as sharp as breaking the thin stem on a fine crystal wine glass. There is no sense of motion as the shooter applies pressure to the blade, until the gun fires. And, if it’s properly adjusted, the blade instantly hits the trigger stop, so that there’s no motion afterwards, either.

The trigger on the C-20 is very highly evolved from the ones on the C-2 and C-10. There are more adjustments, including first-stage length and weight, ratio between first and second stages, firing point and trigger stop. You can also loosen the large screw on the trigger shaft to rotate the trigger blade to any angle, left or right around the shaft, and can move the entire shaft to the right or left, forward and backward. Well, actually, if there’s anything on the entire pistol I really don’t like it’s the adjustment that allows the trigger blade to rotate on its shaft. It seems to me that I can never get it locked down so the blade angle doesn’t shift over 50 or 100 shots. It’s a constant battle between me, the trigger and the little multi-tool with screwdriver that comes with the gun.

I haven’t fired a C-2 or C-10, but the instruction manuals for both pistols are available online at the FWB site. The diagrams of the older generation triggers show simpler mechanisms with fewer adjustments. This may be a good thing, as making too many adjustments is a fast way for a shooter new to the weapon or the sport to get into really big trouble.

The manuals for any FWB gun ever made along with exploded parts diagrams and complete parts lists are readily available on the FWB site, which has both English and German versions. Choose on the home page.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

59 thoughts on “Looking back at the FWB C-20 pistol – Part 2”

  1. Pete,I not only learned quite alot….I regret getting rid of my IZH 46m.The palm shelf was never comfortable,no matter how I adjusted it.That combined with having to operate the cocking lever caused mygripto always feel”off”.Ijust figured match pistol wasn’t for me.With a grip like the C20 who knows??Anyway thanks,very well written.

    • Frank,

      The grip on the IZH 46M is purposely left oversized so owners can obtain a custom fit. You have to fit it to your hand with a wood rasp and wood putty. In fact, most 10-meter pistol grips need to be fitted that way. I find that Cesare Morini grips usually fit me very well, but the grips on my Chameleon had to be rasped and puttied.


    • The grip on my Izzy has been rasped and puttied to fit. Takes a few careful hours, and you have to be sure not to take off too much wood on the first pass or two. It is a great pistol and still quite a bargain. Think about getting another one and spending the time to do the mods. OTOH, Thomas Rink (formgriffe.de) will make you a custom grip, and so will Seton Thomas (Gripman) based on scans and measurements of your hand. Rink made grips for the former world champion (now the world Bronze medalist for this period).

  2. pete zimmerman,

    Really appreciate all the effort you put into this series for our benefit. Thanks for the photo’s. Really helps understand that fine pistol.

    I’m sure you don’t want to permanently glue that trigger screw that’s giving you fits but have you thought about blue loctite (242)?


      • O ,i have just noticed something -loctite is a permanent glue ,try hot glue this permanent thingy wont go of if you decide to unscrew it i did have an “incident” (almost) with permanent glue and scope screws …horror

    • Pete.
      Putting my old lab hat back on.
      A product we used to temporarily hold things together was called ‘Sticky wax’.
      The beauty of it was it didn’t actually stick,it cooled and set to hold things in position.
      Easy to remove as well with no residue.That could be good for locking a screw.

    • I have thought about Blue Loctite, but decided against it. It’s not the screw itself that comes loose, but the fact that it doesn’t clamp the trigger blade tightly enough to the axle. I really don’t want to fool around with any kind of ‘glue’ that would cover such a large area, even if it was supposed to be removable. I have it tight enough for government work at the moment, so that’s ok.

  3. Match pistols are so lean.not an ounce of fat.
    Pieces of modern sculpture with a very specific purpose.
    As a kid I think I was scared by a ‘Vostok’ match pistol I saw in a gun mag once.
    Thank you Pete for excorsising some of my demons as to these very unique pistols.

    On the subject of custom grips.We used spare Denture acrylic to make handles for our broken tools in the dental lab.
    When allowed to cure itself the acrylic goes very porous.Bad for Dentures but great for handles.
    It will mould into any shape and have plenty of grip.
    Stinks a bit though before it sets and you must like pink 🙂

  4. pete zimmerman,

    I am so glad that you and B.B. decided to run your excellent series back to back, rather than keeping us waiting for a day or two for the next installment. I’ve used the blue loctite on small screws with excellent results myself.

    Thanks so much for your excellent review of the C-20, is there a Part 3?

    Mr B.

  5. Hi all,

    Pete, this is just about the “ultimate” target pistol. So nice I might not even want to shoot it, just look at it!

    I have a Drulov Du 10 made in the Checkz Republic. Any one know where I can get parts or repairs for it? The rear sight on it is totally non adjustable for some reason and needs repaired or replaced.


  6. Pete

    In my everyday life, I rarely (never) run into individuals as intelligent and well traveled as yourself. I am very grateful for PA’s forum so that we could cross paths virtually, and I am also grateful for you taking the time to write this guest blog. Excellent job. I always enjoy your comments as well.

    • Kevin,

      I love it! They still need to make it into a perfume that women can dab behind their ears. That’ll be a sure-fire way to attract a man who shoots. Like bees to honey 🙂


  7. For anyone who’s interested, I just noticed that there’s a blem Bronco for sale:

    Regularly $125.99, marked down to $107.99


  8. I noticed the stippling on this gun and am redoing my Mrod stock. Ive looked on the internet and they talk about using punches but that you cant see the wood grain. Also dremmel and an engraver with a fine bit. What are your guys experiences with stippling. Thanks much.

    • Joey,

      I’ve had the best luck with a modified phillips screwdriver and leather mallet. I make two cuts in the phillips head which creates 4 separate tips. I then sharpen each of the 4 separated tips. I like the 4 points a bit more rounded than really sharp. Experiment on a piece of scrap wood to determine the size and sharpness you like each one of the 4 heads to be. Experimenting on a scrap of wood after you have the heads the way you want them will teach you how hard to strike/depth of the stippling you’re after.


  9. Speaking of the Bronco, I got an email from pyramydair showing a new stock for the Disco. I already deleted it, but why is there a different stock being offered? I have the Disco on my wish list but I may wait if there is going to be an upgrade to the stock.


  10. Thanks Pete for the look into competitive pistol shooting. I’m finding with my Anschutz that the super adjustability can be a bit confusing. The various adjustments all affect each other, so it’s hard to figure out the right combination. I’m just taking it slowing and learning to enjoy the process of fiddling with it. I can say already that I’m much more aware of the shooter gun interface than I was before.


  11. Awesome collector find made it’s way to me today! I was having breakfast at my usual spot,a friend comes in and says he has something in the truck…I bought an 80-85% condition Daisy model 140 Defender w/the canvas sling…for 150$It shoots excellent,very accurate[shot tube looks brand new inside] and it is very rare….only made in 1942!!!!

    • Frank B,

      Congratulations on the rare 140. You’re on a roll!

      Nice walnut stock for a fwb124. Corcoran does nice stippling but think you may want to consider watts or ? for checkering.


      • Yes Kevin,a major roll….I haven’t even posted about buying a NEW DAQ .308 pistol W/ power adjuster for 800$,just 12 hours after looking at a used one for 1,200$.That guy and his price were a little nuts!
        You are correct[as usual]about the checkering…Steve said he doesn’t do any yet.The Bastogne walnut stock looked excellent for the money.I think I may need a GinB fancy trigger guard to complete it.

    • Frank,

      I want a guest blog! That BB gun is real find. It’s the rifle that the Number 40 Military always wanted to be.

      A friend in my youth got one and I turned green over it!

      Guest blog with lots of pix. I’ll help in any way I can.


      • BB,Your excitement resonates with me….Iwas using alot of restraint when I wrote that.I never knew a lever-action had that much power.Shooting out my back door it’s about 60ft to the tree.I shot at a half dollar sz. reactive target and hit on the first try.I will post a link to some pics. tonite.I need your eyes on it for evaluating condition.Of course there is rust on the bluing,but I’m not good at interpreting how bad it is given the age.You will see from the pictures the sling is better than alot of my t-shirts!!!I’m working the rust with Ballistol right now.Even the Bluebook called it “very rare”.

  12. Say, I just had a great idea on how to improve my 1911 shooting. I almost blush to speak of it. How about shooting a lighter load like a 180 gr. bullet instead of the 230 gr.!!!??!! Now, why didn’t I think of that before? I guess I was so caught up with the history of the traditional military loading. The question remains, though, of just how much difference this will make. I’m supposing this will get me reduced recoil and more control. However, the price is almost the same. Do you need to handload specially to get the reduced recoil?


    • Matt,

      That’s the ticket! I cast my own flat-nosed 200-grain lead bullets and I load them to around 880 f.p.s. They recoil a little less than a 230 military ball load and they group far better. I have much more control over the gun when firing fast and the sight picture can be recovered that much faster.

      Edith likes them in her mini Glock 36, too. We upgraded her Glock so it won’t explode with handloads, just so she can shoot my reloads. Glocks don’t support the rear of the cartridge case as much as other pistols and have the reputation of blowing up with handloads, because after awhile the reworked brass cannot contain the pressure without support. But a Wolff replacement barrel, made just for this problem, fixes everything.

      You can buy other loads for your pistol, but nobody loads them this way. If they drop to 200 grains or even 180 grains, they always add more velocity to make up for it. That is why I handload.

      There are such things as defense loads with reduced recoil, but you pay $15-18 for 12 of them. I can’t afford to shoot them, so I make what I want.


  13. Here’s a .45 ACP load. 200 gr. cast with 3.5 grains of Bullseye. It’s light, accurate, and will function a 1911 with standard springs. Handloads are the only way to go for most shooting. If you cast your own bullets it costs about the same as shooting a .22 LR.



  14. Off and On topic

    After 20 plus years of feeding pells into my FWB 601 I decided to up to something a bit different. Bought a gently treated TX200 MkIII. Now after the sweet crispness of the FWB trigger is there any way to get the TX 1/2 way to the emulation? Not having the proper terminology I am used to the dwell of the FWB before the sear breaks. When it breaks it is, dang only adjective I can come up with is, crisp. The TX on the other hand almost feels as though it is grinding during the dwell and then when it breaks it is more like rolling a boulder off a jagged cliff to get it to drop. Or am I trying to get the action of a Bosendorfer out of a Casio?

    • jengineer,

      The “grinding” feeling you mention is called creep. The trigger in a TX 200 is one of the most refined sporting triggers available in a spring-piston airgun, but take into account that it must restrain the force of over 100 pounds safely, while the FWB 601 trigger only holds back a couple pounds.

      Few sporting spring gun triggers will ever approach a target rifle trigger, but the TX trigger can be adjusted to less than one pound pull and zero creep. Read the owner’s manual on how to adjust it. If you have lost the manual, you can read a copy on the Pyramyd AIR website:


      The TX trigger doesn’t have an overtravel adjustment, so it will be impossible to adjust it as finely as your 601 trigger. But my TX trigger is set up to break both cleanly (without creep) and crisply.

      Far from being a Casio, the TX trigger is more like a fine Yamaha.

      I hope this helps.


      • opps sorry about the Casio crack. I knew I purchased a fine springer and should have shot a few springer variants before making a crass comparison of the action. A Yamaha is quite workable. I have been on a few links that detail the working of the trigger and I do have the manual. I have been somewhat hesitant to manipulate the trigger. No problem with the force it takes to trip the sear. My perceived complaint is the lack of smoothness to of the dwell /slack prior to engaging the 2nd stage to trip the sear. Time to pull out some paper to track the changes and find what works. thanks

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