Feinwerkbau 150: Part 1
by B.B. Pelletier
Photos by Earl “Mac” McDonald
A couple months ago I told you that I lucked into another FWB 124 during a transaction at a gun store. The salesman owned it, but the seals had finally failed, as all original 124 seals will do. So, I bought that gun and resealed it as a report for you. Well, one of our readers happened to mention in passing that he had recently acquired an FWB 150 target rifle, but he really wanted a sporter to keep the squirrel population down. His gun was in good condition except that, like the 124, its seals had finally rotted.
I took the initiative and contacted the reader, asking if he would like to trade for an FWB 124. After I resealed it, it would be a fine gun again. With a modern seal, he would probably never have to worry about fixing it again. I reported on the results of that job in part 15 of the 124 report that has become the longest report I’ve ever done. Not only are modern seals made from everlasting material, but I installed a Maccari mainspring in the rifle that will probably last for the next 20 years. So, I hope the reader was happy with his new rifle, because I sure am pleased with the 150 he sent me.
A Feinwerkbau 150 is worth more than a 124 any day of the week, but this 150 also needed a reseal, so the first thing I did after examining it was send the action to Randy Bimrose in California. Randy is well-known for rebuilding 150s and 300s. He turned around the job in about three or four weeks. What he did was replace all seals, including the piston ring. That ring serves as the piston seal for the rifle. It’s supposed to be everlasting, but as long as he was inside and the cost was low, why not do it too? He also replaced the single mainspring.
Randy found a couple of washers missing, so he replaced them, as well. I probably wouldn’t have known they were missing, and the rifle might have still worked without them, but I’m glad he found them for me. Randy’s job, including return shipping, ran just under $200, so figure on that price for overhauling one of these recoilless sidelever target rifles. That expense was what leveled the trade I did with the customer. He got a working gun that had just been sealed, and I had to bear the expense of overhauling the rifle I got from him.
The FWB 150
The FWB 150 is a sidelever spring-piston rifle that uses a sledge system to allow the action to recoil inside the stock to counter the piston’s motion. The action slides rearward a fraction of an inch on steel rails when the gun fires, but the stock doesn’t move. Technically, the rifle does recoil, but the shooter doesn’t feel it, and the rifle behaves like it was held by the artillery hold. The result is greater accuracy but with a slight annoying feeling of the action coming back at you. You feel that in your sighting eye, when the rubber eyecup slides back.
The 150 is an evolution of the FWB 110, which is essentially the same rifle without the sledge anti-recoil system. A 110 is a rare model and highly coveted today because not many were made. A 150 is not rare, but they are very coveted, as well, for reasons that I will share with you in all three parts of this report. The first reason is the shape of the stock, which is a blend of both target and sporter. The 150 stock is sexier, to use a descriptive term, than a stock found on an FWB 300S, which is the older brother of this rifle.
There’s an older FWB 300 model that has no suffix, but it’s encountered less often. It’s basically a 150 with a few changes, though it has the same stock and single mainspring. The 300S is the more common 300-series rifle and is also much more common than the 150.
FWB 150 on top and the 300S below. This photo shows the difference in the shape of the two stocks. The 300S stock is much more angular and target-like. The 150 is more rounded and generally sportier.
Most, if not all, of the 150s that came into the U.S were branded with the Daisy name, as were many of the FWB 300-series guns. Daisy was always into target shooting and this was brought in at a time when the 853 single-stroke wasn’t even a gleam in an engineer’s eye.
The 150 has a single mainspring, like most spring-piston air rifles. The later 300S has two mainsprings. One is inside the other, and they’re wound in opposite directions. That’s supposed to cancel the torque of the spring when it decompresses at firing. I don’t notice the torque, but a serious competitor probably does.
The cocking arm, which is a sidelever on this rifle, doesn’t have a lock on the lever latch like the later FWB 300S. But the rifle cocks just as easily and the lever stays tight against the stock when not in use, so this isn’t a problem.
The sidelever has a latch but no locking tab. Note the Daisy brand on the receiver.
The sidelever on the FWB 300 has a locking tab.
Fatal flaws in the 150
Well, you already know about the seals, but there’s one more fatal flaw a 150 or 300 is likely to have. That would be a stock that’s cracked at the wrist. Feinwerkbau aligned the grain of the wood with the barrel, so it was very weak at the vertical grip, and probably more than half the rifles are broken there. The crack will always run from the front of the grip to the back and the fix is to screw and glue the stock together.
This flaw is so common that you should expect to see it. Look carefully at every 150 or 300 stock that comes your way and be prepared to use the crack as a bargaining chip. Don’t shy away from buying the rifle because of the crack, though. Most of the stocks I’ve seen with repairs were more solid than ones that had never been cracked in the first place. I lucked out in this regard, because my stock is whole.
The later 300S has two mainsprings. One is inside the other, and they’re wound in opposite directions.
Maybe one more thing to consider when buying one of these oldies is that many of them are missing the sights. Those vintage sights can cost almost as much as a rifle, so be sure to get them or have a fallback plan. The AirForce 10-meter sights would be one such plan.
Speaking of sights, this rifle did come with the correct target sights, plus an Anschütz add-on filtered rear aperture. I’ll show you the sights and all the related stuff in the accuracy report
The 150 stock is a target-type stock, as I’ve mentioned, but it is by no means as formal as the stock on the 300S. However, it does have an accessory rail that Victor will appreciate. The grip is more like a sporter grip and is most assuredly a right-hand-only affair, as is the butt. The wood FWB used is just one grade up from pallet wood and not good enough for cheap furniture. There are as many knots in the blond stock of this rifle as can be found on most Chinese sporters.
Notice the knot in the cheekpiece. This butt has several of them.
The Feinwerkbau 300S has a much nicer grade of wood. Note the sharper angles and steeper pistol grip, too.
A 150 with the barrel weight, which I haven’t mentioned yet, weighs at least 9.5 lbs. It’s longer than a 300S and heavier at the muzzle. Some are like me and feel it’s stabler because of this, but those who dislike muzzle heaviness don’t care for it.
Is the 150 longer than the 300S? You betcha! It actually has a longer receiver, as you can see below.
Clearly, the FWB 150 at the top is the longer rifle. Not only is the stock longer, the entire action is longer than the 300S below.
That’s as far as I’m going today. There are many more things to show, but they’ll have to wait for the next parts of this report.
I’d sure like to hear from 150 owners and even 110 owners on this report. Tell us your feelings about this classic target rifle.