by B.B. Pelletier

A few weeks ago, I sent my Falke model 90, a new acquisition, to blog reader Vince. As you all know, Vince is a wizard with old airguns. I asked him to get it running again and to take note of it while he was fixing it so you could see the work in this report.

Vince then took the rifle to Mac for testing, and we have a separate multi-part blog on that.

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by Vince

It’s not my Falke! Honest. It’s B.B.’s. It just wound up in my lap because, I suspect, he’d been hitting the painkillers a bit hard after all he’s been through. Whatever the reason, he decided to risk the well being of this rare (and completely non-functional) vintage airgun to the sledge-hammer-weilding knuckle-dragger writing this article. And, was I one to take advantage of B.B.’s momentary lapse of rational judgment and dig into a gun I might never get a chance to see otherwise?

Well, duh!

The understanding is, of course, that he expects a blog out of it, which is a bit of a shame for you guys. He also sent me his old TS45 air rifle that he believes to be the long-lost cousin of “Pointy,” the unnamed sidelever I blogged a little while ago. That’ll probably provoke yet another blog, so consider yourself forewarned.

I decided, in an act of mercy, to subject B.B.’s readers only to my experiences servicing the rifle. A more in-depth review with description and shooting impressions will have to come from B.B.’s friend Mac, in whose far more capable hands the gun now resides.

From the 1950s, the Falke model 90 underlever spring rifle is a rare classic. It was made in Germany.

So, Tom sent me the .22 caliber Falke 90, explaining that when he bought it he didn’t realize that it didn’t work. Turns out he was quite right — the rifle wouldn’t even cock. The sear simply wasn’t catching. I looked in the triggerguard area and saw a sear engagement screw.

Circle indicates the sear adjustment screw.

Just on a hunch, I backed it waaay out, cocked the gun again, and CLICK! The piston caught and held.

Ha! This is gonna be easy!

A little quick background — from a design standpoint, at least, the tap-loading Falke is sort of related to the Anschütz-built Hakim air rifle that B.B. blogged a while ago. I’ve some experience with those and found that they definitely prefer soft pellets to hard. So, I loaded up a Gamo Match pellet (which works OK in the Hakim), close the tap and pull the trigger. Pfffft!

Hmmm. Sounds like the pellet jammed and never left the tap. This can happen when there’s a severe mismatch between the port in the tap and the barrel, especially with harder pellets. I cocked it again, verified that the pellet was still in the loading tap (it was) and pulled the trigger once again. Pfffffffffffft

Well, maybe not so easy after all. Whatever’s going on, a complete teardown is gonna be in order one way or the other. So, I might as well jump right in. After removing all necessary screws, the action popped out of the stock

Separated from the stock, the Falke action shows robust construction of machined steel parts.

Since it still had a pellet in it, the first thing I wanted to do was yank out the loading tap so I could extract it. I flipped over the action and…uh, there’s something funny going on here. I see the rest of the mechanism that operates the loading tap automatically when the gun is cocked.

The Falke, like the Hakim and a variety of other tap-loaders, automatically opens the tap when the gun is cocked. On this gun, the protruding tab “A” slides backwards during the cocking stroke and catches the tip of lever “B.” It continues rearward until lever “B” has been rotated 90 degrees, opening the tap. There are a few things wrong. First, the bevelled section (“C”) on the lever is supposed to be facing inward toward the action. It’s upside-down. Second, the lever is really beat up. Lastly, hole “D” is not supposed to be empty; there’s a spring-and-detent ball or plunger that’s supposed to be in there.

Now I know that someone — even less skilled and experienced than I — has been in here already. I can’t WAIT to see the other surprises!

Stay tuned for part 2 on Wednesday.