FWB P44 10-meter target pistol: Part 2
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- RWS R10 Pistol pellets
- Read the manual
- Adjusting the velocity
- RWS R10 Match
- Sig Sauer Match Ballistic Alloy pellets
- Qiang Yuan Olympic pellets
- Gages don’t agree
It took me a while to get back to this pistol. First there was the filming of American Airgunner, then I had the incident with the retina detachment. But I’m back at it today. Just as a reminder — this isn’t just a test of this one pistol — I’m also comparing it to the Morini 162MI 10-meter target pistol I tested for you earlier this year. That’s why I have linked to that series at the top of the report.
Last time I said I was going to adjust the pistol (the grip and possibly the trigger) in this part, but I got curious about the power, so today will be velocity day as Part 2 normally is. There will be some adjustment, however, as you shall soon learn.
RWS R10 Pistol pellets
I started the test with RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets. The pellets I used have a 4.50mm head and the tin was brand new. I normally like to use RWS Hobby for a pistol velocity test, so this 7-grain target pellet seemed like a suitable substitute.
The average velocity was 602 f.p.s. and the spread went from 598 f.p.s. to 605 f.p.s. So the spread was 7 f.p.s. — about what can be expected from a regulated PCP. But 600 f.p.s. is too fast for a 10-meter target pistol.
Read the manual
I read the manual, looking for the instructions about how to adjust the power. But they aren’t in there! In a somewhat haughty way, the manual tells you that your pistol has been carefully adjusted at the factory to give the optimum velocity that will get you maximum number of shots on a fill of the air tank. Baloney! I think 600 f.p.s. is too fast for a 10-meter target pistol, and Feinwerkbau agrees, because they say the pistol is set to deliver pellets at 150 meters per second (492 f.p.s.). They don’t mention which pellets they used or even their weight, but at least I have a ballpark number to refer to.
That’s the sort of velocity I expected from this airgun — 492 f.p.s., not 602 f.p.s. Granted the R10 is a light pellet, but the gun was still set way too fast in my opinion. However, nowhere in the manual does it tell you how to adjust the velocity — it just tells you not to do it, because the gun has been set by the factory. So, I had to figure it out on my own.
I wanted to bracket the power, so I also tested some 8.2-grain Qiang Yuan Olympic pellets. I think they are too heavy for a target pistol, but I do plan to test them for accuracy in the P44 because of how well they have performed in other accurate airguns. They averaged 556 f.p.s. on the factory setting, with a spread of 6 f.p.s from 554 to 560 f.p.s. That’s way too fast for such a heavy pellet!
Adjusting the velocity
Off came the grip, exposing the action. A large slotted screw at the rear of the receiver seemed to be the power adjustment, so I turned it out (counter-clockwise) just a little. The velocity with R10s dropped a little. I kept turning it out until the R10s were clocking 536 and the Qiang Yuans were running 489 f.p.s. That was about two full turns out and seemed like a good place, so I stopped adjusting and started the velocity test. I should add that the report of the pistol went from a loud bang to a quiet pop at the reduced velocity. Clearly it had been wasting air!
RWS R10 Match
The first shot from the gun with this pellet went out ast 519 f.p.s. Shot two registered 533, which told me that like most PCPs, the FWB P44 needs to wake up before it settles down. I disregarded the first shot and made a mental note to always fire a shot before shooting for record.
The average was 530 f.p.s. The 6 f.p.s. spread went from 527 to 533 f.p.s. This is very stable, and highly representative in my experience with regulated airguns. I’ve heard tales of guns that don’t vary by over 1 f.p.s., but the best I’ve ever seen was a TX200 that varied by around 4 f.p.s. And, it’s a spring gun!
Scott Pilkington is a source for all target shooters — both airgun and firearm. Scott was the repairman to the U.S. Olympic team for many years, plus he is a world-famous engraver! He makes and sells his own brand of target pellet called the Vogel, so I tried them next. I’m shooting Vogels with 4.50mm heads and the weight is 8.3 grains. Vogels averaged 466 f.p.s. in the P44 with an 8 f.p.s. spread from 461 to 469 f.p.s. If they prove to be the best pellet for this pistol I will adjust the velocity up just a bit, to around 490 f.p.s.
Sig Sauer Match Ballistic Alloy pellets
Sig Sauer’s Match Ballistic Alloy light 5.25-grain pellets were going to be the fastest in this test. They averaged 583 f.p.s., with a 14 f.p.s. spread from 578 to 592 f.p.s. If they prove to be the most accurate pellets I would adjust the power down, to get them around 525 f.p.s. That’s arbitrary, of course. I would expect to get the best accuracy at that speed, but if not, I’d adjust them to wherever that was. The goal is to have a pellet that doesn’t go too fast and waste air. But accuracy trumps everything.
Qiang Yuan Olympic pellets
This heavy Chinese target pellet averaged 481 f.p.s. with a 14 f.p.s. spread from 476 to 490 f.p.s. I expect them to do well in the accuracy test and, if they prove to be the best, I would leave the velocity set where it is.
Gages don’t agree
The manometer is a gage on the P44’s air tank that tells you how much air remains. When I filled the tank to 3,000 psi as indicated by the gage on my carbon fiber tank, the pistol’s manometer read about 160 bar (2,320 psi) instead of 206 bar. I will trust the gage on my carbon fiber tank, because I know from experience that it’s pretty accurate. This sort of thing drives some people up the wall, but I have pointed out many times that small pressure gages seldom agree.
I had planned to adjust the grip angle and perhaps the location of the trigger blade today, but the adjustment of the power band and then testing it took up my time. But don’t worry, I plan on giving this pistol a very thorough test!