Shooting the Falke 90: Part 1
by B.B. Pelletier
Before we start, I wanted to give you some more info about the 2nd Annual Airgun Extravaganza in Arkansas. The show’s promoter has made a deal with a couple motels. Mention the show and you’ll get a discount:
Comfort Inn Malvern, 501-467-3300: Thurs. $55, Fri. $65
Holiday Inn Malvern, 501-467-8800: Thurs. $85, Fri. $90
Make reservations early because they may fill up since the show’s being held on the same weekend as the Arkansas Derby.
I plan to attend this show with Mac, and we have a couple tables. I know it didn’t work out last year, but let’s hope that doesn’t happen again!
Test and photos by Earl “Mac” McDonald
My Falke 90 underlever air rifle isn’t in the best condition, but with fewer than 200 known to exist, it doesn’t matter that much. Anyone is a good one.
Well, we’ve seen how Vince was able to rebuild my Falke 90 underlever rifle. Now, Mac’s going to test it for us. Vince delivered the rifle to Mac so I wouldn’t have to cock it. That was when I first found out about my hernia. I’m now wearing a support, so I can do more than before, but Mac had all the fun this time. I think he deserves it as a small reward for handling all the work I haven’t been able to do over the past year. I’m really lucky to have a friend like him, and I couldn’t have kept this blog going without his help.
Falke is German for “falcon,” so the logo is a bird, of course.
The logo is all over the gun.
I’ve said several times that the Falke 90 is very much like a Hakim air rifle made by Anschütz for the Egyptian army. This is the first Falke 90 I’ve ever seen, but I’ve owned about 15 Hakims and can tell you there’s a lot of similarity between the two rifles. Someone asked why we can’t see the underlever, so Mac took a photo of the gun with the lever in the down position. You can see what it looks like and how it fits up into the stock and out of the way. As I told you before, many other air rifles did and still do use this same design, with the Air Arms Pro-Sport being the one that’s sold today.
The cocking lever is tucked under the gun, inside the forearm. When it goes down, the loading tap opens automatically.
Loading tap and rear sight.
Very few known to exist
The Falke 90 is a very rare air rifle, with fewer than 200 known to exist. Mine is serial No. 39, which is stamped several places on the gun, the most obvious being the loading tap. There’s a Falke forum called Falke Talk, where every known Falke 80 and 90 is being tracked. These rifles are so hard to find that owners from all over the world band together to share information about them.
My rifle is serial No. 39.
Mac says the Falke 90 feels very natural to him. The placement of the loading tap, the righthand palm swell and the weight distribution all conspire to make this an easy rifle to shoot offhand. The stock is a nice figured walnut with checkering on the grip and forearm.
On this rifle, some previous owner has carved initials into the checkering on the left side of the forearm, reducing the stock to poor condition. The pull measures 13.75 inches and the length overall is 44.25 inches. Mac has no way of weighing the overall rifle, but I expect that it has to be over 8 lbs. at least.
The metal was finished well at one time; but like the wood on my rifle, it’s suffered over the years. The barrel measures 19.25 inches to the center of the loading tap. The trigger-pull as Vince has set it is 56 oz., but Mac says it feels much lighter. The first stage is very light, and the let-off is crisp. The cocking effort is 28 lbs. but seems like less. The stock is completed with one-inch sling swivels.
The trigger is adjustable via a small screw behind the trigger blade. Note the crack in the stock. It’ll also be found on every Hakim. An apparent weak spot in the design of the stock for this type of action.
The front sight features replaceable blades, though I only have the one that’s mounted at this time. However, I believe that it can be flipped upside down for a shorter post on the bottom of what is now showing. The rear sight is a precision open leaf sight with a choice of two notches. There are several places along the scope rail to lock down the rear sight or the optional peep sight that I don’t have.
Front sight is replaceable and (I believe you can flip this one over for a shorter post on the bottom).
The rear sight is a heavy precision unit that resembles the one on the Hakim but is considerably heavier. This one is made of machined parts and conveys the sense of great value. A peep sight was also available, but I don’t have one and there are very few Falke parts available for the 80s and 90s.
The rear sight is heavy and precisely made. Fully adjustable in both directions with choice of two notches.
Well, this certainly is a strange and wonderful vintage air rifle. It dates back to a time when quality was the standard and German quality was the watchword of the world. It’s exactly the kind of air rifle most of us say we want — heavy machined metal and beautiful walnut wood, with attention to each and every detail. It’s unfortunate they’re so scarce, because many more want them than there are rifles to go around. Fortunately, the BSA Airsporter underlever and the Hakim are both very similar rifles that exist in far greater numbers.
Next time, I’ll combine both velocity and accuracy into one report.