.22-caliber Browning Gold air rifle: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

With the assistance of Earl “Mac” McDonald


Browning’s Gold breakbarrel is a beautiful new spring-piston rifle.

Let’s begin our look at an air rifle that a lot of readers have been waiting for — the Browning Gold. I can tell you right now that this is a different spring rifle that deserves very close examination. I’ll try to point out as many of the unique features as I go through the gun and the test.

I’ve waited to begin this evaluation until my buddy, Mac, can be here with me, for he’s already started a test of this air rifle and stopped short when some mechanical issues were encountered. I’ll tell you what they were, and I’ll also examine the test rifle while looking for signs of those same issues.

I waited for Mac because this rifle is a powerful one that will require some strength to cock. Until the past month, I was unable to handle tasks like that because of an inguinal hernia. My hernia surgery was at the end of April, and since then I’ve been exercising every day, plus doing upper body bodybuilding three days a week. Recently, I’ve begun some modified sit-ups that are beginning to strengthen my abdominal muscles, and I think I’ll now be able to cock the Gold without any problem as long as I use two hands. Just in case that’s incorrect, Mac will be here next week to back me up. So, the time to do this test is right now.

The Browning name
First, let me acquaint you with the Browning name as it applies to airguns. Browning has never made an airgun in their factory. Every airgun that carries their name is made by someone else under license.

I shouldn’t have to tell anyone that the Browning company is world-famous for the many fine firearms they have made. John Moses Browning was an American whose early body of work gave us such American classics as the Colt 1911 pistol; Winchester’s model 1885 single-shot (the so-called Low Wall and High Wall rifles); the 1886, 1892 and 1994 lever-action rifles (and all the variations that followed); the military Browning Automatic Rifle that still sees limited use in some far-flung parts of the world; and several famous machine guns including the .50 caliber M2 that has now returned to supplant more modern designs and continues to be the free-world’s heavy machine gun of choice. It’s the big gun that gave the first Iron Man suit so much trouble in the hills of Afghanistan.

But, then, a curious thing happened. Browning, who was more prolific an inventor than any one company could tolerate, took a world-beating shotgun design to Winchester that they did not act on. He took it to Remington and sold it to them. The year was 1905, and the gun was the model 11 semiautomatic shotgun. You probably know it better as the Browning Automatic Five. Can you say, “Stick a finger in their eye?”

From that point on, Browning took on a more worldly viewpoint, and some of his best designs were actually made by companies outside the U.S. The Belgian company that took his name as a subsidiary of their own (Fabrique Nationale) continues to make world-class firearms under the Browning name to this day.

But they don’t make airguns. So when it came time to put their very prestigious name on some airguns many years ago, they were forced to find a company to build the guns for them. They chose Rutten of Belgium, and over the course of several years they offered such innovative models as the underlever Windstar that cocked with both the opening and closing stroke of the underlever. The sales patter said that because you were cocking in both directions, the effort was cut in half, but the truth was that you had to apply the same cocking force through twice as much of an arc. The Windstar and all of its relatives were mid-powered spring-piston rifles that were very buzzy, even for their time.

The other highly innovative rifle Rutten put the Browning name on was another spring-piston design that was cocked via an electric motor. You simply pushed a button in the stock and a high-torque electric motor drew the piston back against the coiled mainspring. Armchair airgunners everywhere hailed this new rifle as the salvation of the spring rifle, but were appalled when they saw the price tag. I tested the gun for The Airgun Letter and heard that high-torque motor in operation. It sounded like someone was torqueing lug nuts in the pits at Indy on Memorial Day!

The Browning Gold
The times have changed and the Browning Gold we’re testing is made in Turkey. It’s a breakbarrel with a barrel lock! I haven’t seen one of those on a new airgun in years.


A barrel lock under the barrel holds the breech shut during firing.

This is a large air rifle. It’s 48.40 inches long and weighs 8.40 lbs. The website lists the cocking effort as 38 lbs., which they got from the distributor; but after cocking our test rifle twice, I knew it went beyond that. The test rifle cocks with 45 lbs. of effort, though the sounds it makes while being cocked suggest a dry poweplant. I think that if it was properly lubricated it might well cock at 38 lbs. after a 1000-shot break-in.

The beech wood stock is stained the most beautiful amber/honey brown that will make you think of fine Turkish walnut. The stock (and gun) is 100 percent ambidextrous, with a high Monte Carlo comb that has a rollover cheekpiece, so its the same on both sides of the butt.

The stock is checkered with panels on both sides of the pistol grip and forearm. The checkering is extra fancy, plus the Browning logo is carved into the stock on both sides of the butt as well as just above the trigger on both sides of the stock, where the Browning name also appears. The stock is also shaped differently than anything you’ve ever seen. It has contours that are pleasing to look at and, with a single exception, to hold. I do find the pistol grip to be a little too long, front to back, which gives the grip a blocky feel in my hands. Other than that, the balance is perfect, with a definite weight bias toward the front of the gun. Whoever designed this stock was a shooter.

Before I leave the stock, I want to say one more thing. Just back of the pistol grip is a half-round cutout that seems to be shaped for mounting the rifle over a peg on a horizontal rifle rack.


A notch behind the pistol grip seems perfect for the rear peg on a wall mount.

The metal is finished smooth and glossy on the spring tube but left rough from the tumbler on the outside of the barrel. I’m sure they’re going for a tuxedo contrast of finishes here, but to my eye it looks like more of a clash.

Trigger
The trigger is adjustable for pull weight and, for once, they tell you exactly how to adjust it in the owner’s manual. None of this “adjustment of sear contact” or “adjustment of second stage creep” garbage. To make it lighter, do this!

The automatic safety button is mounted on the tang like a shotgun safety. The rifle is large but not overly heavy. The stock just in front of the triggerguard is shaped perfectly for the flat of your hand while using the artillery hold. I like the straight line of the stock. If this was a centerfire rifle, the felt recoil would be much lower than one whose butt drops several inches.


The automatic safety is located in the tang, just like a shotgun safety.

The triggerguard has an angular appearance to it and is made from synthetic, though the trigger blade itself is metal. There’s a raised scope base on top of the spring tube that incorporates no fewer than seven holes for vertical scope stop pins. I think they missed a good bet by not incorporating a Weaver-style base into this one, so many more good scope mounts could be used. The base is wide enough for it, which is what brought it to mind. However, with seven holes to position the scope stop pin, I don’t think you’ll need anything more than what they’ve given you.


The scope base provides plenty of holes for positioning a vertical scope top pin.

In a rare happenstance, the rifle I’m testing is even more beautiful than the one shown on the Pyramyd Air website, which tells me a lot of care went into the finishing of each and every gun. If you’re a person who loves good looks, the Gold may be a gun to consider. I’m testing serial number 00000536.

Sights
The Gold comes with fully adjustable open sights. Yes, there’s a lot of plastic, but it’s the right kind and the fiberoptic tube in the front sight is properly protected from damage. That tube is also not bright, so under the right lighting it appears as a sharp square post that’s quite a bit more precise.

The rifle I’ve elected to test for you is .22 caliber, which is proper when you consider the power potential. They say it gets 800 f.p.s. in this caliber, and I’ll be testing for that. I will also be testing for accuracy; because if this rifle is accurate, it’ll be a wonderful new addition to the market. However, I have to caution you that this is a breakbarrel. That means it is the most difficult kind of rifle to shoot accurately. So, it’s not only a test of the Gold, but also of Mac and my ability to shoot.

64 thoughts on “.22-caliber Browning Gold air rifle: Part 1

  1. Turkey is taking its place alongside China as the place to outsource airgun production. I know you have (or had) doubts about the quality of the internals in Turkish guns, though I have a Hatsan 60 and a Kraal (licensed copy of a Gamo Shadow) which were fine. A little buzz form the latter but that was easily solved. The outward finish is fine (dull rather than shiny) and the wood very nice. Hatsan at least are still using Turkish walnut for their wooden stocks.

    I nearly bought a Browning Airstar seconbd hand just to see what it was like. Still too expensive though! Would very much like to have seen your review bb.


    • Oliver,

      Well, I must say this rifle impresses me. We’ll have to wait on the performance, though.

      As for the Airstar, that is the name of the electrically-cocked rifle that I mentioned above. I have already tested it, but not documented it for this blog. It was a mediocre rifle with average power and accuracy. And it sounded like an impact wrench when it was cocked.

      The Airstar is like the Emperor’s New Clothes. After shooting it a buyer cannot admit what he has, so he uses the original sales literature to resell it for what he paid.

      I don’t think you are missing anything. Maybe I’ll dig out the old Airgun Letter review and publish it in the blog, just for curiosity’s sake.

      B.B.



  2. Im curious to see how this performs. When I was looking for my first PCP, I came across hatsan and really liked the look of their new line. This gun was easy to spot as a hatsan from the buttplate and the stock checkering and detail work.

    I wish we could see their whole line coming in to the country, instead of a limited selection of re-branded items.


    • Eric,

      There are Hatsan models that just would not sell in this country, due to poor quality. They are over-sprung and take over 70 pounds of effort to cock. I have examined these models and believe me, you are not missing anything.

      B.B.


      • Maybe at one of their gunshow tables, PA can lay out a set of the hardest spring rifles to cock like the Hatsan and let people try their strength. It would be like that circus device where you hit a plate with a sledgehammer to see how high you can propel a weight. There was a similar exhibit at a museum in Minnesota where you pushed against a lever to measure your horsepower. I was close to one horse, but I think the machine was off.

        Matt61


    • Some of their PCP’s are already sold in the US re-branded but not all models are. From what I have seen it’s a shame because they seem quite nice and not expensive!
      You can get a repeater for a few more $$$ than a discovery, but you’ll have to pump more since they don’t work at the same low psi.

      J-F


      • I’d be curious to know which ones, and under what mark they are sold in the US. I saw the AT-44 was “somewhat” available in canada (not in the US) and in a power restricted format.

        Im primarily interested in their multishot PCP stuff… unless they decide to come out with a cool side lever 😀


        • The AT44 is very available here in both detuned (sub 500 fps) and full power format at prices between 340$ and 389$ depending if you choose a synthetic or wood stock and a single shot or repeater.
          The BT65 line should be here very soon also in detuned and full power format.

          Have a look at the Hatsan line-up http://www.hatsan.com.tr/pcp_air_rifles.asp
          The Hammerli Pneumas
          /a/Air_guns/Air_rifles/Precharged_pneumatic_PCP/155/pr_249_0T400_0/Hammerli/brands_119
          and the discontinued AirVenturi Halestorm are/were both rebranded Hatsan AT44.

          The only difference between the detuned and full power rifles for the Canadian Market seemed to be the air tanks.

          I also just realised that the price between the AT44 and Disco was the same HERE, in Canada the Disco without pump retails for 350$, same price as the Hatsan rifles but you guys have it good (as usual) as the Disco is a full 100$ less.
          I had forgotten how great a deal it is, 250$ for the rifle and 100$ more for the pump, how nice.

          J-F


          • Yeah the BT65 was the one that had me drooling :P~~~

            Thanks a lot for the info! I’m glad to hear they are coming to the states soon. I finally got my self a marauder in .22, which i love, but it’s hard not to scratch the itch.


  3. BB:
    I’m starting to sound like a couch potato who just watches tv all day but a series I love on the History channel ‘Tales of the gun’ did a full episode about John Browning’s designs.
    I knew he did a lot but what a revelation.
    Virtualy every firearm and shotgun,past and present owe something to his work.
    My favourite has to be the Browning Hi-Power 9mm pistol.
    I think they have really captured the essence of Browning design in this air rifle.
    Very very nice.
    Dave


    • Interesting about the debate between the Browning High Power and the 1911. You would think that the High Power would be the best since as Browning’s last gun it would represent the culmination of his experience. Yet, I’ve also heard that he was required to work around patents for the 1911 that actually represented his best thinking. It’s also puzzling to me why the High Power has not caught on in America like it did in Europe. Perhaps because of the caliber, but there have been plenty of people interested in 9mm since the Beretta was adopted by the U.S. Army, not to mention the whole Glock craze. There’s something I’m missing about the Browning High Power.

      Speaking of history, I had my first look last night at the London riots. Wow, looks like something out of Gladiator or one of the Hollywood epics to see the police with their helmets and shields and even checkerboard formations almost identical to what the Romans used. (Always have a subtracted reserve.) I wish our riot police had those round shields. I’ve read about Western martial arts and a lighter shield like this could be used as an offensive weapon to trap or strike as well as merely to block in the defensive mode. Seems like a good idea.

      Matt61



  4. Were you so impressed that you recommended PA to increase the price? Since I asked about it last week, the cost went up $40! Perhaps it will turn out to still be a bargain, I can’t wait to see.


  5. Serial number 00000536 😯 that’s what we call a new model… how nice.
    Hope the build quality is keep at this level, it seems really good looking.

    For those interested there is a new Crosman website online since yesterday http://www.crosman.com sadly there is no 5$ for your 2¢ because the website is FULL of errors, and not just typos…
    No new items in the custom shop yet but there is a outlet page with refurbished items.

    J-F


  6. I can sure see this is an airgun that a firearm maker designed. The barrel latch is an odd addition though. Wouldn’t have expected that. Nice lines on the gun that are ruined by that horrendous glob of a front sight. The buttpad appears like it was an afterthought.

    Be interesting to see if browning can capture any share of the airgun market this time around.

    kevin


    • Couldn’t agree more on the front sight.
      If they insist on putting these horrible things on the barrel they should screw them and provide a muzzle brake to replace it.
      Crosman used to do this with the 2289 sold in the UK but it was to attach a silencer which would be even better if it was legal.

      J-F





    • Alan

      You would never get a chance to insert a pellet because you would probably rip the barrel assembly right off of the rifle with its meager 45 pounds of cocking effort. That is the price you pay for superhuman strength.


    • There has been talk about shooting pellets backwards on the canadian airgun forum for a few days now with people arguing if can hurt the gun or not.
      There is no doubt that the accuracy passed 10/15 yards suck just like it does with wadcutter pellets but the expension of the pellet apparently could be worth a try at close range for pest elimination.
      But the main question remains, does it hurt the gun or not? Some say that it won’t damage the rifling because the pellet isn’t harder one way or the other, some say that it would be the equivalent of dry firing the because the skirt isn’t going to expand and block the air from flowing around it etc.

      What to you guys think???

      J-F


      • J-F,

        I shot a few backwards by mistake and can tell you for sure there is no dry firing effect. The skirt being the wrong way around actually traps the air in front of it like a parachute, causing the edges to try to balloon outwards and embed themselves firmly in the rifling of the barrel, just the same as the pressurised air behind a correctly oriented pellet will. I posted some pictures of backwards-shot pellets on Photobucket quite some time ago. No idea if they’re still there. Surprisingly, the accuracy of a backwards pellet wasn’t all that bad either!

        AlanL


        • That’s what I was thinking but it’s turning into a small like it often happens on forums so I kept my mouth shut.
          Everyone does agree that it’s better suited for a breakbarrel that doesn’t have small seals inside the barrel like bolt action rifles do.

          J-F


      • I have shot a few backwards from my Quest 800 into duct seal, and they do expand a little better, but the accuracy is no where near as good – short range only. I’ve never tried it while actually shooting at a pest.

        I agree that it can’t hurt the gun, BUT I’ve never tried it with my Marauder – I would NOT try it on any gun with a shroud or a tight fitting LDC. If it actually clipped the pellet, I expect it would tumble and possibly jam up. I know I could take the baffles out and try it, but I see no real point.

        Alan in MI


      • Back in the dark ages before there was a internet or even TV with more than 3-4 channels, we used modify the old Crosman superpells(flying ashcans) for more expansion on pests. We did this by sawing a plus in the front end with our pocket knife. Really didn’t work well, and we found that shooting them backwards was just as good. Couldn’t have hurt the guns either as my kids are still using a couple of them. The old Air Rifle Headquarters catalogs used to recomend wadcutters for shooting squirrels at ranges up to twenty-five yards,and that was with guns that at best did 700fps in .177cal. I don’t understand why folks cannot kill them now with the better stuff we have now ,shot from faster guns.



  7. I think barrel latches are a mixed bag. The intent I believe is to reassure shooters that are suspicious of the consistency of break barrel lock ups. In some cases, all the latch really does is prevent cocking without first pulling the lever. It does nothing as far as offering a consistent lock up. In other cases the barrel latch seems to snug up whatever minor play could exist with a chisel or ball bearing detent. This would seem an obvious and inexpensive way to do things, but then again I am neither an engineer nor an accountant.


  8. With all the flashy attributes they have incorporated in this design,I would think it better perform.
    The checkered panels remind me of the comic book character “The Thing”.The wood on the edges
    in the photo of the safety certainly looks curious.Overall,I get the same impression I get from modern art……others see a masterpiece,all I see is a foodstained rug hanging on the wall.Maybe I just don’t get “it”!?


    • I agree with you Frank . It reminded me of some of the high end houses I’ve worked in. Those structures could only charitably discribed as free standing geometric shapes with no purpose except that they tested the ability to use up as much material as possible without offering any advantages as to design ,cost ,or suitability for the ultimate intended purpose.


  9. Using a company’s name for products that it does not manufacture strikes me as a form of inflation or like going off a gold standard, and it seems to me that you can only look forward to a decrease in quality. The story I heard about John Browning (maybe from the same documentary that DaveUK watched) is that Winchester refused to buy the Auto 5 because Browning asked for proceeds from sales instead of the flat fee he had been given earlier for his designs, and despite his sterling work for 20 years, Winchester refused. Corporate greed has always been with us. I seem to remember that he offered the same design to Remington but the deal fell through because the head of Remington dropped dead on the spot, although maybe that was a different gun design. This series of reverses pushed him overseas where he was welcomed by the moribund Fabrique Nationale company which he rebuilt into the international powerhouse that it is today. (Apparently, the M240 medium machine gun used by the army is, except for the feed ramp derived from the MG42 machine gun, a mixture of parts from the old Browning medium machine guns and the BAR.) I’m not sure for the Browning story where the myth ends and the reality starts…or the misinformation. Anyway, when in the midst of this did he found his own Browning Company?

    B.B., upper body building eh? When can we see the results? 🙂 I understand that the chiseled look of body builders is due more to diet than muscle building although there is plenty of that. Say, my fantasies have been answered by a whole series on YouTube comparing the relative strength of animals and humans. In one, there is a test between an Orangutan and a trained gymnast to see who could hang from a bar the longest. This was very interesting since in college I think I managed to hang for one minute with great effort. At four minutes(!), the gymnast was gritting his teeth. The Orangutan relieved pressure in his bladder but showed no other sign of distress. But then at 5:38, the Orangutan casually swung up his legs to touch the post supporting the bar although it didn’t give him an advantage. Technical disqualification–apparently he had not listened to the instructions. But they kept the contest going to see what would happen. The gymnast lasted one more minute before falling off the bar. They were interviewing him about his victory ten minutes after the start of the contest with the Orangutan still hanging on the bar and happily turning flips. Another video pitted a Navy Seal against a chimp for an obstacle course. The Seal won handily, huffing and puffing in a display of grit, while the chimp leisurely navigated the course behind him without apparent effort. I guess that the message is that focused effort is what set humans apart, but in a direct test of strength with comparable animals you can forget about it.

    Last night, after much trepidation, I finally opened my jar of gunpowder and played around with metering it out and weighing it. What a surprise, the stuff is not fine like talcum powder as I imagined but compressed into these tiny cylinders, sort of like grains of rice but much smaller. Anyway, it is much easier to work with than I had feared. My sense is that a finer powder would combust faster, so why make these little cylinders? Is it to control the burn rate?

    In other news, I pulled out my Lee-Enfield last night to see that the stock has been quite transformed from applications of Ballistol. From the old, dried out, dinged up husk that I received, the stock now shows a fine grain and a kind of rich, glowing luster. If Ballistol just took out the dings I would be all set. Anyone who hasn’t used Ballistol should give it a try.

    Matt61


    • Matt,

      Fine powders are explosive, prone to unstable burning, sticking into lumps and air-fuel blasts. See – “black blasting powder”. Grained powder was invented to prevent all that and get a reliable stable and “calm” propellant.
      Russian “civilian” shotgun nitro powder looks like tiny rectangular plates or cylinders and military one is grainy. Funny, but Soviet military powders are very close relatives of Americn ones – lend-lease and all that 😉

      duskwight


    • Last night, after much trepidation, I finally opened my jar of gunpowder and played around with metering it out and weighing it. What a surprise, the stuff is not fine like talcum powder as I imagined but compressed into these tiny cylinders, sort of like grains of rice but much smaller. Anyway, it is much easier to work with than I had feared. My sense is that a finer powder would combust faster, so why make these little cylinders? Is it to control the burn rate?

      Back when I used to reload the small stuff (.357mag, .30 M1 carbine) I had a small assortment of powders (1 for the carbine, 1 for full-power .357, 1 for .38 wadcutter target loads).

      Powders tend to appear in three forms. Ball (spherical, built-up by rolling around), flake (thin flat pieces, likely sliced from a large cylindrical form), and those small cylinders you report (produced by extruding through a die, and cut to length).

      Size and shape both contribute to burn rate — too fine and you get explosive, not propellant… Even kitchen flour will combust explosively if distributed in a volume of air.

      Some powders may even have different “insides” then the outer surface (ball types especially).

      cf: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smokeless_powder#Physical_variations


    • / I understand that the chiseled look of body builders is due more to diet than muscle building although there is plenty of that

      The chiseled look is mainly due to dehydration, they will stop eating a lot of stuff before a competition and reduce the liquid intake to a minimum about a week before the show. The day of the competition an apple, a few sips of water here and there and the protein shake powder without any liquid is pretty much the only things getting in. So since there is no water and no fat to store it, only the skin and muscles under are left.
      But this is for competitions only.
      I never could bring myself to that when I did bodybuilding, it seemed (and it still does) crazy to me. I did that for myself not to show off so “jersey shore” stuff for me LOL 😀

      J-F


  10. B.B.

    I wish I could see that Browning’s trigger group. Since I studied their Vectis model very closely to design my own trigger, I do respect their approach. Well, HW90’s is very nice too, but it is way too German to my taste – overcomplicated and hard to make the right way.
    Speaking of triggers – I just started yet another phase of my work and ordered trigger gear case. Way too much CNC machining to provide enough precision. Costy, costy, costy… Front support and pistons are a tad more “relaxed” in terms of precision. Pistons are designed “floating”, they ride on Caprolon rings. I hope I’ll get all this by the end of August.

    duskwight


    • Duskwight,

      I told myself I would never buy another airgun as long as I lived. But in following the evolving story of the creation of your gun, and given the respect I have for the expertise you have shown on this blog, I am looking forward to buying your masterpiece once it is available for sale. I can’t wait to see it, for it is sure to be “an airgunner’s airgun.” What do you project the consumer list price to be?

      AlanL


      • Alan,

        That would be a _long_wait 🙂 The project is just a test platform, I call it Mod. 0, and I’m afraid it would never be available for sale (I think it’s especially impossible to sale it to US because of distance and law restrictions). As for price – I wish I’ll spend less that $2000 on that stuff.

        duskwight


  11. B.B.,
    I got to the point where you mentioned that you might be able to cock the gun because you think you’ll have recovered well enough, with exercise, from the hernia.

    My body is so banged up, and damaged (hernias and MAJOR surgeries), that I know how critical it is that you allow yourself time to FULLY recover. When you are active, like me, always busy, and always wanting to be doing stuff (in my case exercise), it’s easy to be guided by how you feel, more than your actual condition. I’ve made the mistake of moving too fast, thinking how well I felt, only to find myself back in surgery.

    Be sure of what you are doing. It’s very easy to make the mistake of being too eager to do things that you shouldn’t. I trust that you and Edith are careful enough, but I just thought that it was worth mentioning. Been there, done that, sort of thing.

    Victor


    • Victor,

      That’s good advice. I think I got my hernia from bodybuilding last year, when it was too soon. My facia was very thin and fragile and I tore it doing flyes with free weights.

      Now I sit on a rigid bench with a back for all upper body exercises except for pectoral exercises, which I do lying down. I use free weights, but am being very careful to limit the weight I lift.

      Of all the operations I have had, my hernia operation was the worst in terms of recovery time. I am still feeling the effects of the surgery today. So I am taking it slow, I can assure you.

      B.B.


      • BB: I’ve had two of the damn things over the last 20 years and I tore one repair because I went back to work to soon. Roofing houses a week after you are carved on is not good therapy, but then again ,starving was not an option at the time. They will bother you forever . If I just turn wrong ,or lift something wrong It will bug me for days . Even when I dislocated my leg and put my knee cap[ on the backside of my right leg it did not bother me like my hernia’ operations.



          • I’ve had two hernia repairs. One when I was about 12 the other when I was around 35. I fully recovered and don’t have any twinge of pain. Still have the scars though since the surgery back then was very invasive LOL!

            B.B., take it easy, take it slow and you should fully recover. Just don’t tear what’s healing.

            keivn


        • When I got into that 75 mph head-on collision, without wearing a seat-belt, among other things, I broke my sternum. It took at least 15 years before the damn thing stopped popping every time I looked over my shoulder to change lanes. I was told that this would never completely heal. I sleep on my side, and for all those years, I was reminded how broken I was. I don’t know if it was moving out to a much dryer climate that alleviated the symptoms, but I can only as of the past 5, or so, years shoot prone again. I also just found out that I have bone spurs in both my upper and lower vertebrae from that accident. Ouch!

          I survived because of the great physical condition that I was in at the time of the accident. Enzyme levels were very high, indicating that there was a tear in my heart (as was expected – this is why people die from head-on collisions like mine). Exercise matters at any age. Age is just a number. We feel old because we stop acting young. Acting young = activity.

          Victor


  12. I received this question at the wrong address, so I am posting it here and I will answer it here, as well. It’s from Don.

    I have a Feinwerkbau 124 that is in need of repair. The primary problem is it needs a new piston seal. I haven’t decided if I am going to send it to someone or try to fix it myself. This is rather long email. I considered editing, but since I knew you were a fan of the 124, I thought some of it might be of interest to you.

    I bought the rifle years ago from a friend who I’m pretty sure bought it new from Beeman. I don’t think it is a deluxe model but I am not sure. I think the stock is beech. It is certainly not walnut. It has a nice rubber butt pad and a black plastic cap on the pistol grip. Both of these had “white line” spacers, which I removed but did not discard. The is some reasonably nice (machine?) cut checkering on the pistol grip, but none on the fore end. There is a monte carlo comb and a very, VERY slight cheek rest for a right-handed user. It is a Beeman San Rafael gun. The trigger is metal. There are no iron sights. The is a plastic block marked “Feinwerkbau” at the rear sight location and a cocking grip that looks similar to a muzzle brake at the muzzle. This cocking handle appears to be an interference fit and the muzzle extends just past the end of the handle.

    I wasn’t impressed with the original scope and I don’t think I bought it from my friend when I bought the rifle. I think it was a Beeman brand scope, so maybe they are now valuable and maybe I should have? Anyway that is water under the bridge.

    At the time, I bought a Tasco 2-7 air gun scope with adjustable objective and target knobs. I think it is a pretty decent scope. I use Leupold almost exclusively, but I didn’t have the money at the time for a Leupold. I think the rings came with the rifle, but they may have come with the scope. They clamp to the top male dovetail, and are windage adjustable. I am not impressed with the design as it appears to me they will apply a bending moment to the scope tube. (I have a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, so I’m pretty good at determining how things are loaded. I guess I simply didn’t catch that at the time.) The rings do not interface with any of the transverse “anti movement” grooves on top of the receiver, but I don’t think the scope has ever slipped. They are far taller than necessary, so I want lower and better designed ones. The Objective diameter of the scope is 1.805 which is almost exactly that of a Leupold 3-9 Ultralight AO at 1.809 (I own one of the Leupold scopes, so these are measured diameters.)

    I’m pretty sure the friend I bought it from said he went for the “Super Tune” package. I always thought Beeman as a company was overly hyped and pricey, but nonetheless I bought the necessary maintenance and cleaning supplies. One of these was “Chamber Oil” and it now seems some of the things considered “good to do” at the time are no longer considered to be so.

    I do not think my friend shot this rifle much, and I know I haven’t. I don’t think the piston seal wore out, but rather deteriorated, possibly prematurely due to the use of things like “chamber oil” that may no longer be recommended.

    I was happy with the way the rifle functioned until I went to use it after it had set unused (but NOT cocked) for a rather long time and I realized the seal was, to use the appropriate German word, kaputt. I was happy with the velocity and power as I am interested only in target shooting and plinking. I have plenty of accurate .22 RF rifles if I care to kill small game or pests. Being happy with the rifle as it once worked, I am not interested in an expensive “tuning” unless it will greatly increase the longevity of the rifle. By the way, I consider “tuning” to be a poor choice of word for some of the extensive rebuilding done by the more talented airgunsmiths. One would hope the price of such work, as long as it was well documented, and assuming the rifle was still in good shape otherwise, could be largely if not completely recovered if the rifle were sold.

    However, I would consider some upgraded parts, such as some of Maccari’s kits, if they would significantly improve the rifle in some way.

    As previously mentioned, I am an engineer. I am pretty handy with tools, am a pretty good amateur machinist, and have done some “basic plus” gunsmithing. I am sure I am capable of a basic repair or the installation of aftermarket parts. I might be able to do some of the things good “tuners” do, but I have no experience and wouldn’t presume that I am capable to that degree. Moreover, I would never attempt such work on a virtually pristine FWB 124!

    Any tricks to easily to doing the replacement? I know I will need to build some sort of spring compressor. How far should I expect the breech block (correct term?) to move backwards out of the receiver/compression chamber before the spring is relaxed?

    Any other special tricks, “must do’s” or “must have’s” for a 124? I seem to remember when I adjusted the trigger that there was some sort of tradeoff that I couldn’t get it crisp without it being a touch heavy and I couldn’t get it light enough without it being a touch creepy. But, I may not be remembering that correctly, and I cannot shoot it until I replace the seal. Again, I would consider aftermarket parts if there were a significant improvement to be realized.

    As mentioned, I am also looking for some better scope rings. I have heard good things about the Burris Signature rings for air gun use. Apparently barrel droop and other issues such as how close a range we sometimes wish to zero make adjustable mounts very useful, and the Burris has this with the offset inserts. They are said to interface with the transverse grooves on the receiver, but I’m not sure about this. The rings I use now have not slipped, but interfacing with the grooves seems to be good insurance. I have seen a picture of these rings in medium height used with the above mentioned Leupold scope, and they seem to mount the scope fairly low. Since my Tasco is virtually the same objective diameter as the Leupold, I know the clearance will be the same. I like scopes to be low so I can still get a good cheek weld, but having just learned of the “Artillery Hold” a firm cheek weld may not be what I want.

    To summarize:

    Will tuning greatly increase the longevity of my rifle, or can I expect it to last with proper maintenance?

    If proper maintenance will suffice, where can I learn what is now considered to be proper maintenance? For instance, is chamber oil no longer recommended? It seems some say this cause premature seal failure.

    If I elect to do it myself, can you suggest a source for the piston seal? Is there any special material I should be looking for?

    Should I consider some other aftermarket parts or kits other than the piston seal?

    Do you have any experience with Burris Signature (the ones with inserts) .22/airgun rings, and would you recommend them?

    Don


    • Don,

      Welcome to the blog!

      You’ve got a very fine airgun in the FWB 124. Sounds like you have the deluxe stock. Friendly advice: Put the white line spacers back in before you lose them.

      Many people tune their own airguns. I don’t. I’ve sent two FWB 124’s to Paul Watts and he works miracles. I’ve shot other “home tuned” FWB 124’s and there’s no comparison. The value of his work is highly respected when it comes to resale but you won’t get 100% of the cost back. The reason to have Paul Watts do your tune (or whatever you want to call them) is because he will hone the compression tube, custom fit all internals, use 5 different lubes where they belong, harden the sears and adjust the trigger to be its best. You will then experience what an FWB 124 is at its best. Not many airguns are worth this time and expense in my opinion but the FWB 124 is one of the few that is worth it.

      Once your gun is tuned and shooting to spec it will be harder on all scopes. Replacing the tasco with a leupold 3-9x33efr is a good move imho. Both are lightweight scopes which is important on a magnum springer since they’re easier on mounts/rings. Nonetheless, I would encourage you to upgrade your scope mounts/rings as you intend.

      The burris signature rings are among my favorites. They mount on 3/8″ /11mm dovetail, come with two different sizes of feet/clamps, have an integrated, optional vertical scope stop and have the plastic concentric inserts that allow adjustment of up to 40″ at 100 yards for elevation AND windage (if you buy the package of concentric ring halves that is sold separately). The burris signature ZEE rings are identical in all aspects except the ZEE rings are designed for mounting on a weaver/picatinny base. Neither of these rings are suitable for your FWB 124.

      BKL’s, as B.B. said, are one option. Unrivaled clamping pressure on the rail which is necessary on a magnum springer. Even the lowest BKL’s are medium-high in height though and you mentioned cheek weld being of utmost importance.

      I’d suggest using the sportsmatch mounts that are made specifically for your gun (and others like the webley patriot) that have the hardened cross pin integrated into the mount to marry with the cross hatches on top of your receiver. These mounts come in medium height or high height. I’d recommend getting these mounts in medium for the leupold 3-9x33efr. The one piece medium scope mount is Sportsmatch part no. OP22. The two piece medium scope mount is shown on some websites as Sportsmatch part no. TO3S but the Sportsmatch package should say part no. TO3C. Be careful you don’t get the wrong mounts.

      kevin


      • Don

        Welcome to the blog. I hope you stick around.

        I don’t have an FWB 124 but I do know that the breech block is the squarish piece of metal that the barrel is attached to that accepts the bellet when the barrel is open and mates up with the air transfer port when the barrel is closed. The part that will be pushed back by the mainspring when disassembling this gun would be the trigger assembly (I think). Most rifles have some type of endcap that comes off first, but not this one. In one of BB’s articles on this gun, he states that there was about two inches of preload on the spring.


  13. Don,

    You have asked a lot! Fortunately, I have written more reports on the 124 than any other model. Here is a link to the last article I wrote and the links to the 14 earlier articles are at the top of this one:

    /blog/2011/02/a-shrine-built-for-a-feinwerkbau-124-part-15/

    Tuning will improve how your rifle operates, but it doesn’t prolong the life. However, a rotten seal will shorten the life considerable.

    Oil doesn’t ruin seals. The material FWB used in their early seals was flawed. That is why all of them will fail. Most have by now, anyway.

    Once a gun is tuned the proper maintenance is to just shoot it. Don’t clean it, don’t oil it (if it was tuned for life). Just shoot it.

    Pyramyd Air (this website) sells 124 seals. These days I’m not aware of any seals that are using the wrong material. So all of then should be fine.

    You might try some Maccari Black Tar on the mainspring to smooth the shot cycle. You will read in several of the tunes I linked you to above that I used Black Tar several times.

    I do not have any experience with Burris rings, but Kevin Lentz does (he is an active reader). However, a 124 requires a ring that has a crosspin for the scope stop, or BKL rings will work.

    I hope our readers will see your questions and chime in with their advice.

    And welcome to the blog!

    B.B.


  14. B.B.

    Thanks for the welcome, and thanks for moving my email to the blog. Had I known it was going to the blog, I likely wouldn’t have written so much! I hope the readers are willing to read through it and help me out with answers!

    But first, hello all. My name is Don. Gun Doc is a “handle” I use on some other forums. I am NOT a gunsmith, at least not a professionally trained one. I used to have a job in ballistics research, I ran a two-stage light gas gun, and I have a PhD. So, add it all up and you get Gun Doc.

    I hope some of you can help me with answers. Dang, I was really looking forward to the Burris rings. I guess they might work if I find a “scope stop” that interfaces with the small grooves on the !24?



    • Don,

      Welcome to the blog! Scope stops for 124s are hard to find, because that crosspin isn’t a common one. I find the BKL one-piece mounts clamp strong enough on dovetails that are degreased to prevent any movement. I would look at them, if I were you.

      B.B.


    • Don,

      Welcome to the blog!

      You’ve got a very fine airgun in the FWB 124. Sounds like you have the deluxe stock. Friendly advice: Put the white line spacers back in before you lose them.

      Many people tune their own airguns. I don’t. I’ve sent two FWB 124’s to Paul Watts and he works miracles. I’ve shot other “home tuned” FWB 124’s and there’s no comparison. The value of his work is highly respected when it comes to resale but you won’t get 100% of the cost back. The reason to have Paul Watts do your tune (or whatever you want to call them) is because he will hone the compression tube, custom fit all internals, use 5 different lubes where they belong, harden the sears and adjust the trigger to be its best. You will then experience what an FWB 124 is at its best. Not many airguns are worth this time and expense in my opinion but the FWB 124 is one of the few that is worth it.

      Once your gun is tuned and shooting to spec it will be harder on all scopes. Replacing the tasco with a leupold 3-9×33efr is a good move imho. Both are lightweight scopes which is important on a magnum springer since they’re easier on mounts/rings. Nonetheless, I would encourage you to upgrade your scope mounts/rings as you intend.

      The burris signature rings are among my favorites. They mount on 3/8″ /11mm dovetail, come with two different sizes of feet/clamps, have an integrated, optional vertical scope stop and have the plastic concentric inserts that allow adjustment of up to 40″ at 100 yards for elevation AND windage (if you buy the package of concentric ring halves that is sold separately). The burris signature ZEE rings are identical in all aspects except the ZEE rings are designed for mounting on a weaver/picatinny base. Neither of these rings are suitable for your FWB 124.

      BKL’s, as B.B. said, are one option. Unrivaled clamping pressure on the rail which is necessary on a magnum springer. Even the lowest BKL’s are medium-high in height though and you mentioned cheek weld being of utmost importance.

      I’d suggest using the sportsmatch mounts that are made specifically for your gun (and others like the webley patriot) that have the hardened cross pin integrated into the mount to marry with the cross hatches on top of your receiver. These mounts come in medium height or high height. I’d recommend getting these mounts in medium for the leupold 3-9×33efr. The one piece medium scope mount is Sportsmatch part no. OP22. The two piece medium scope mount is shown on some websites as Sportsmatch part no. TO3S but the Sportsmatch package should say part no. TO3C. Be careful you don’t get the wrong mounts.

      kevin


  15. B.B.,
    Having lots of dovetail rings, and a couple scope stops, sitting around, I love the fact that this rifle has so many holes for stop pins! Scope rings that do have stop pins built into them, don’t always align with the hole in just the right way in terms of eye relief. Of course, Weaver rails/rings give you all the flexibility you’d want, most of the time.

    Also, you say that the trigger can be adjust for pull weight, and PA says that it’s 4 lbs. How light can the trigger be adjusted down to? This, I believe is critical for lots of people.
    Victor



      • Oh, we definitely need to let duskwight have a look. Germans may be famous for their fancy engineering, but Russians have proven to be absolutely BRILLIANT when working with limited resources. We see this with everything from weapons to radar. Modern stealth technology was made possible because of a Russian mathematician. What they can do with a tube is incredible. Sure, we can miniaturize things to the nth degree, but Russians are the masters of creating almost anything so that it truly functions.



  16. Welcome to the forum, Don!

    Today I was able to do something I had been trying to arrange all summer. I was granted access to the local police shooting range.

    Took my nine-year-old grandson Nicky with me. We shot from a shooting bench and table at fifty yards.
    I set our targets up at 30 feet and we both shot our Daisy Red Ryders.

    Then he transitioned to a Crosman 760 shooting pellets. After that, we took turns shooting my Daisy 15XT pistol. He was quite taken with a gun that did not have to be cocked before each shot!

    I let him take a few shots with my Daisy 856 with the Daisy 3-9X32 scope. He found that gun easier to pump than the 760 (longer pump lever), but it was a little too much pull to fit him.

    Finally, I hung a target on the fifty-yard frame and shot it with my RS-2 with a Tasco 3-9X50 scope. I hadn’t taken the time to sight it in, but was hitting about an inch from POA. It was Dieseling and making lots of noise. I let him try it, but had to cock it for him. We both had a real good time.

    I know this post is a little off-topic, but darn, it was so fun I just had to share it.

    Les


  17. WHY IS A BREAK BARREL HARDER TO SHOOT ACCURATELY THAN A FIXED BARREL SPRING RIFLE ? YOU SAID IT WAS THE HARDEST TO SHOOT AND I WAS WONDERING WHY. THANK YOU AND HAVE A BLESSED DAY.



      • I know little specific about air rifles, but I have an educated guess. Since one of the things done to “fix” barrel droop is sand or “adjust” the breech seal, it may be that no all breeches close completely “metal to metal.” If this is so, and to some degree even if the breech does close metal to metal, there is a hinge point that is much more flexible than a fixed barrel. It would not surprise me if high speed photography revealed the barrel of break guns moves more than fixed barrels during the dynamics of recoil. Now, this is just a guess, but if the rifles are otherwise similar, and the pellet’s “barrel time” is similar for both, then we are running out of things for it to be.
        -Don



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