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FWB 127: Part One

FWB 127
FWB 127. It’s the same rifle as the 124 only in .22 caliber.

This report covers:

  • What is the 127?
  • History
  • The .22 rifle
  • In 2010 in said:
  • The Beeman R5/model 125
  • How I got a 127
  • Good investment?
  • From an acquaintance
  • The plan
  • Summary

Monday is Christmas day — one of the four holidays I get. So there will be no new posting on Monday. The next new report will be posted on Tuesday. Merry Christmas everyone!

I have written dozens of reports about the FWB 124 for this blog. Today I start a series I never thought I would ever write — one about the FWB 127.

What is the 127?

The FWB 127 is a .22 caliber version of the much better known .177-caliber 124.  To understand that a little better let’s examine some history.

History

To clarify a point for the collectors, the basic rifle we are discussing today (124/127) has existed since 1972, but in it’s earliest days in the United States it was called the F-12. In Germany and Europe it was called the model 121. The 124/127 was first called by that designation in the 1975 edition (published in 1974) of the Beeman catalog — the ultra-rare second edition. That means the 124/127 designation came in 1973/74.

second catalog
Both the first and second editions of the Beeman catalog had black and white covers. They are very rare and valued highly among collectors.

In that catalog, Beeman explains that the 124 is an upgraded version of the F-12 rifle that previously existed. That probably means the 124 designation started some time in 1973. Yes, there are FWB sport rifles marked as model 121. When the exact upgrades were made that differentiated a 124 from a 121 I do not know, but it sounds like a great research project for some day when I’m tired and just feel like reading.

The .22 rifle

To round out the history of this family of air rifles in this report, there was also a .22 caliber version that was marked as the model 127. That’s the rifle was are looking at today. They were never as popular when the gun was being made, because in those days .177 caliber was king in the United States. Also the velocity of the 127 has to be lower than that of a 124 and, at the time when the rifles were available, the airgun world in the USA was in the velocity wars.

In 2021 I said:

“Finding a 127 is more difficult than finding a nice 124. However, for some reason, the price is seldom that much higher. The 124 still holds sway over the 127, even today.”

{I said that in 2010, but the times did change!}

Stock Up on Shooting Gear

The Beeman R5/model 125

Beeman also had a very small number of 124s barreled in .20 caliber and labeled as the model 125. It was never an official model, but Robert Beeman was very keen on .20 caliber and was seeking at the time to create an R5 rifle for his line. Beeman remembers three or four of these model 125 rifles being built by Feinwerkbau. They were not marked with the R5 designation, though that was the plan once production began.

What stopped the project cold was the requirement to purchase .20 caliber barrels 5,000 at a time. Beeman was prepared to order 500 of the R5s, but he wasn’t ready to commit to 5,000, so the rifle was never built. Two of the prototypes, marked as “Sport 125 Cal. 5mm/.20” were sold from the Beeman used gun list. The company also advertised the new R5 in their 10th edition catalog; but since there were no guns to sell when that catalog came out, the price was listed as NA. Catalog 10A followed the same year, and the R5 model was removed. Many people who have only seen the 10th edition of the Beeman catalog believe that a Beeman R5 existed, when in fact it never did. Robert Beeman wrote a very detailed description of all that transpired on this project for my magazine, Airgun Revue #3.

How I got a 127

On December 12, reader Kevin posted the following comment to this blog on the Leapers warranty service blog report.

“For you vintage springer guys, here’s a rarity….FWB 127 in deluxe stock with period Feinwerkbau rear diopter/peep sight:”

He put a link to the eBay listing in his message, but if you follow it today you’ll see that the auction has ended. I had seen it several days earlier, but didn’t pay attention to the title. I thought it was for an FWB 124. The starting price of $600 was on the high side for a 124, even though the rifle was supposed to be in good condition and did come with a valuable FWB peep sight. But when Kevin posted that comment and opened my eyes to the fact that it was a 127, I had to act.

There were no bids when I posted my upper limit proxy bid of $800, but this is a 127 and I figured there would be bidders lurking in the wings. And there was one guy who bid against me right up to my maximum proxy within an hour of me making my bid. But he never went higher and I got it for — not $800 but $912.61 when the tax and shipping was added. That doesn’t matter. I now own a very nice FWB 127 with a valuable FWB target peep sight!

Good investment?

Was this a good investment? I think it was. It’s worth all that I paid for it and in time it will be worth more because that business I wrote in 2010 about 127s not being worth that much more than 124s has changed. A nice 127 these days is one of those Holy Grail airguns, alongside Whiscombes, FWB 110s and Sheridan Supergrades. And you know what they go for.

Since this is the Pyramyd AIR blog folks, you don’t just get to SEE this rifle, you get to watch me test it, take it apart and tune it (tell you why in a moment) and test it again.

FWB 127 markings
Outside an airgun show I have never seen 127 markings, nor have I ever seen an FWB 124/127 serial number this low.

San Anselmo
Doc Beeman was working from home when this address is on the airgun.

From an acquaintance

It turned out that I bought the airgun from the son of a man I have known for a long time. He told me the piston seal was tight in the compression chamber which kept the velocity down around 500 f.p.s. He said he would be interested in seeing what happened when I resized the seal. I am, too. That’s why I’m going into the powerplant.

I also want to inspect that piston seal to make certain it’s made from modern material, because vintage FWB piston seals all dry-rotted over time. That’s all — as in 100 percent.

Tuned

Looking through the cocking slot I see a blackish grease on the mainspring. That, plus the fact that the seller said the piston seal needs sizing tells me it’s been opened before. I want to see what was done.

The plan

The plan is to shoot the 127 for velocity, then open it and see what’s inside. From that point on, I will plan as I go.

Summary

I like to show you guys airguns you can own, but every so often I have to show one that’s beyond most folks. This is one of those.

75 thoughts on “FWB 127: Part One”

  1. BB,
    What a great find! This should prove to be a really interesting series of reports.
    That’s a beautiful rifle, and a really nice Christmas present from you to yourself. 😉
    Merry Christmas to you!
    dave

  2. BB
    I’m sure the previous owner is glad it went to a good home and will be well looked after. A deluxe stock does make a difference for sure. Hope those fingerprints are not rusted in and it turns out well.
    Now all you need is “Just one more Airgun”
    Merry Christmas!

  3. B.B.

    I will follow this series with great interest.

    Also, Merry Christmas everyone!

    P.s. I just purchased slavia 618, it seems to be in pretty good shape and it was really cheap. IF my 3 y.o. son give me some rest- it may become a guest blog.

  4. BB

    In what way is the rear sight on this one different, if any, from those on the FWB300S? I know that many FWB300S rifles were manufactured after production stopped on the rear sight and were sold “for scope”.

    Nice catch with the bid. When you go inside I hope you don’t need to replace parts that you can’t custom build.

    Merry Christmas to you and to everyone!

    Deck

  5. Hi,

    B.B

    I have been reading the blog but have not commented in a while.

    I have two FWs 124. One passed down from my grandfather, the other I won at an action. The seller had misppelled the heck out of it and won it for cheap. Since then, I have been looking for an 127. I remember from one of or your blogs saying that the 127 was a dog so would like to know what changed your mind. I was looking at the same auction and was hopping to bid on it but went past my budget. Looking forwards to see what you do to the gun.

    • Alex,

      Good luck finding a 127.

      I don’t remember calling them dogs, but I do recall saying that the rifle (124/127) came out at the time of the US velocity wars and the .22 just couldn’t keep up with the .177. It still can’t, but now we get to see more about it.

      BB

    • Alex2no, I was wondering the same. I recall B.B. writing that the powerplant was not powerful enough for it to be effective in .22. Perhaps ‘dog’ is an exaggeration. But as a result, I avoided 127s I have seen in prior auctions, some of which sold for less than $800. Oh well. I’ll get the 124 I have working, and then we’ll keep our eyes out for 127s. I hope we don’t have to bid against each other!

  6. Merry and blessed Christmas to all and to all much health in 2024 – keep on shooting but don’t shoot your eyes out, “kids!” That’s a purty one you brought to the dance, B.B.

  7. B.B.,

    Congratulations! That other bidder on ebay was nipping at your heels right up to the end.

    “Was this a good investment?” Although I’m sure you don’t buy any airguns as an “investment” I think you could make a good profit on this by relisting it on ebay and spreading the word on airgun forums that this rare airgun is for sale. This FWB 127 has many things going for it…great condition, a period correct rear diopter sight, the preferable Deluxe stock and a San Anselmo address. That gun is pre 1975 is in amazing condition.

    I remember back in July 2020 I bid on an FWB 127 with San Anselmo address that was listed on ebay. Got beat. Someone paid over $1,400.00 for that FWB 127 over 3 years ago. That information is no longer available on the ebay site but here’s a link to the chatter it created on the old yellow forum now called Airgun Warriors:

    https://airgunwarriors.com/community/airgun-talk/fwb-127-value-in-a-crazy-market/

    • Kevin,

      Thanks to you, my friend, for alerting me to what this was! Like I said — I thought it was a 124 priced at the high end of the range. I had no idea it was a 127 until you commented.

      I also had no idea of what they sell for today. Before reading that Airgun Warrior’s link I thought I paid the max. I could sell this thing today and make a profit!

      BB

      • A little over a year ago an FWB 127 sold on gunbroker for over $1,200.00. Very poor condition and wouldn’t fire a pellet. Can’t find the info. You did very well and YES there’s still a lot of meat on that bone.

        Someone earlier questioned parts availability for the FWB 127/124. These heirloom airguns are still supported by many air gun parts suppliers. There are very good reasons for this. You shouldn’t worry about parts availability for these guns.
        Many, many other airgun parts availability you should be very worried about but not the FWB 124/127. Here’s just one example:

        https://www.airrifleheadquarters.com/page/page/251483.htm

  8. B.B.,

    What a report series this will be!

    I have a San Anselmo address FWB 124 in left-handed, and I consider it and my FWB 150 Tyrolean in left-handed to be the crown jewels of my collection. This 127 looks sweet, sweet, sweet!

    Michael

  9. AAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOH! What a jewel you have there! If for some real strange reason you should decide that old gal needs a new home, do not forget about RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns! I am certain there are quite a few of the other old gals around here that would be quite happy to make a little room for her.

        • LOL! You talk about my shameless plug?!

          There comes a point where you take a look around and realize you do not really have any more room for the “old gals” and hope others will step up and cherish them as you do.

          Could I manage to squeeze this one in? Oh yes. It would likely mean that one of the younger gals would have to find a new home.

          Now, if someone was to send me an old PCP, possibly a Girandoni… 😉

          • Ha! I am learning from the master. But I am not a jedi, yet. But I am of similar mind, as you know. How is Diana 50? I’m still looking for her twin in Winchester 450 dress.

            • LOL! I wish you well in your quest, young jedi. The 34 has taken its place in my heart, plus there have been several other gals that have recently moved into RRHFWA that have as of yet to see any time on the range.

              Now that I am retiring, I am hoping to spend more time shooting.

      • Nothing really. I could not possibly afford it.

        The truth is I would like to dance with her a bit, but I do not really have a need for her. I have more airguns here than I can possibly shoot now. I have some I have not even shot yet. I have a few projects for my retirement.

        I would really like to spend the day with her on the range, but then she should be with someone else who would cherish her for what she is.

  10. Off topic but maybe someone here has had some experience with rail guns. I just happened across this video and am intrigued because I haven’t seen one before. I wonder if anyone has used something similar with a spring-powered air gun. It seems to me that it might be able to be rigged to allow for both the forward and rearward recoils and make testing accuracy of guns and ammo less dependent on the person shooting. Any thoughts on this idea?

    https://youtu.be/Yv274JUfSOg?si=VM-u_dFtCp5oqpRm

    • Ooookaay! It is my understanding that a rail gun operates on electromagnetic fields. What this will mean is the lead pellets/bullets/slugs we use now are useless. Also, how many folks are you going to have to haul around your power supply to generate the electromagnetic fields. Elon and friends have a loooong way to go before this is even close to practical.

      As for the mass of these rail guns, who is going to carry them very far?

      These things also require a very precise turning on and off of the fields in a certain order to hurl the projectile down range.

      All of this costs a pretty penny. Why do you think the only ones who are doing anything serious with these things are governments who take large quantities of money from their people at gunpoint? The person who designed and built these toys certainly had a lot of money to waste. They could have found a better way to throw it away.

  11. Elmer Fudd,

    Over the past decade or more i have paddled the Potomac River past or from Dahlgren and have watched the US Navy Railgun Testbed. Just in the past two or three years it has been slowly losing support infrastructure.
    My Unclassified knowledge is that the problem is in the power supply and poor reliability/survivability of the actual projector.
    The project is dead (after a minimum of US$ .5 Billions spent) other than (reportedly) the actual projectiles that are in testing from other more conventional projectors.

    shootski

            • Yes, I agree. It is something that might help to test accuracy of guns and ammo. There is still some skill needed to set the device up and make sure everything is done correctly and safely. But the skills needed for a person to shoot a gun have been eliminated. What might be interesting is to design and build a device that works similarly but is less complicated and therefore costs much less to build.

              • EF,

                It can be done. It has been done. I personally see it as an act in futility, but others may deem it to be interesting. The air rifles at Extreme Bench Rest are almost there now.

                This is one reason I do not participate in FT. When it started out, it was a great idea. It soon became a contest of who could spend the most money on equipment. Interest in such soon died away. Then came the “Hunter” class. It brought new life to FT for a bit, but many such as myself still find it ludicrous.

                I grew up hunting. It is how I helped to feed my family. I never saw anybody carrying around a bucket to sit on or sticks to prop up their rifle. You were lucky if you had a convenient tree to lean against.

                Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying it is wrong. I am just saying it is not me.

                • I understand you and agree RR. However ingenuity usually fascinates me. And I find the different ways that they have approached this very interesting. There are some rifles with internal devices that eliminate the recoil (Diana 54 Airking Pro, Norica Omnia). And one that BB reviewed that has two opposing pistons which counter each other’s recoil. The artillery hold is a method of trying to accommodate the unique recoil of springers. But learning the artillery hold and consistently performing it well is easier said than done. Yes, that challenge makes it fun. But it also adds a human element to the testing of accuracy of ammo and guns.

                  • EF,

                    Yes, the artillery hold is indeed difficult, most especially when you consider what is going on in your hands. The issues arise when manufacturers do not understand fully what is going on with a sproinger and do not learn the basics of compensating for such. The gas spring greatly aids in some of the issues but is not the final solution with sproingers.

                    My experience teaches me that there is no cure all when it comes to sproingers. Each will have its own little “quirks”. I do believe that BB will say the same thing. There is no one “sled” that will work for all sproingers. Do not let these old curmudgeons discourage you in your pursuit of a solution.

                    If you wish to have an example of what I would consider the pinnacle of sproinger technology, get your grubby little paws on a resealed, but unmodified otherwise FWB300 and study how it works very carefully.

                    I do wish for you and yours a Most Blessed Christmas.

  12. B.B.,

    Congratulations on the win!

    I hope your Christmas airgun not only provides you with a great Blog series but also shoots smoothly and up to at least the upper range of type accuracy.

    Frohe Weihnachten und Gutten Rutsch ins Neujahr!

    shooski

  13. The only thing missing for those rail guns is a phone app so they can shoot them from the lounge. The trigger puller can easily be replaced with a radio-controlled solenoid and a belt feed.

      • Shootski,
        Or, just have participants text in a picture of a target with a single hole punched in the center. Everybody wins, gets a picture of Trophy and a ‘Sharpshooter Certificate’ in their email.

          • Shootski,
            This year started out in a severe drought, followed by torrential rain falls, a dangerous heat wave, half my property destroyed in a wildfire, followed by a tropical storm front that left me without any electricity for well, water pressure and home for two months and cost me $10,000 in repairs.
            For a year end topper. California raised my property value and tax due. Charcoal trees and ground cover must be in demand?

            It was a good Airgun year however. Acquired a TX200 MkIII, a long desired accurate, powerful, select fire PCP, the Western Sidewinder and a few others to lift my spirits.

            Unless my property slides off into the ocean in 2024, it must be a better year. What are the odds? Earthquakes? Fingers crossed!

  14. B.B.,
    Congratulations on acquiring your FWB 127 and Merry Christmas. I’ll be watching this project with special interest. I have a 124 that I bought in the late ’70s and rebuilt after discovering your blog here. I particularly enjoyed your series on a shrine to the FWB 124. I still think it’s a marvel of engineering. Such a smooth cocking, smooth shooting rifle. I did celebrate it with a stainless steel trigger kit and a Maccari laminated stock from Air Rifle Headquarters a few years ago.

    Feinwerk

  15. A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone! I recently mounted a Diana Zero-Recoil mount on my Diana 54 and have been very happy with the results. It appears that POI shifts in the middle of shooting sessions are a thing of the past.

    Brent

  16. BB,

    What a find! Your mini museum far outshines even mine. I am really looking forward to this series.

    May everyone have a most Blessed Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!

    Even Bob M.

    • RR,
      Back at ya!
      Spent 16 of my 20 years at 3 Navy bases in CA then got a great job across the bay from NAS North Island at Lindbergh Field San Diego for another 20, so its home and I try to make the most of it. Not too bad if you can afford it. I forgot about ever going back to NYC.
      The weather is getting crazy right along with the government so who knows, may pack-up one day after 53 years. But then it’s home to my girls. May not go too far.

  17. I would appreciate any advice regarding an apparent Beeman R1 trigger malfunction. The rifle is cocked but the trigger will not release the piston. The safety has never engaged for as long as I have had it. My stepson thought that it didn’t even have a safety. So I assume that it never engaged while he had it. The trigger moves back further than it normally does and has no resistance. I have tried unsuccessfully to de-cock the rifle. I did remove the pellet. But would like to at least take the cocked tension off of the spring. How should I proceed from here?

    • Elmer,

      It sounds like a wire from the safety’s coiled spring (that makes the safety engage when the rifle is cocked) has gotten caught in the hole the safety slides in and is preventing the safety from coming off.

      If I’m right the solution can be to cock the rifle and close the barrel then push the safety to release it. Do this again and again and you might work that wire loose and the rifle will fire again. You should feel the safety pop off when it releases.

      Remember to load a pellet and to point the rifle where it’s safe to shoot each time you do this.

      BB

  18. Thankfully that worked! I will take a closer look at the safety first chance I get. It might just need some cleaning. I had tried pressing the safety a few times before. But it really didn’t want to move. This time I used a small hammer with a plastic head that is normally used to hammer in frets on a guitar fingerboard. Now the safety moves and seems to have some spring tension on it. Thanks again for the timely help!

  19. ‘Twas two nights before Christmas
    and Fudd’s Safety was STUCK ON!
    The mice were all over the place!
    And Elmer saw his chance of getting the one
    with the RED Nose slipping into the good night!
    What to do!
    What to do?
    So Elmer posted his plea to one of the few places
    where he might get some clues…
    Lo and BEHOLD!
    The BIG GUY, God Father of Airguns®,
    himself told Fudd what to do!
    And saved the season from being one of despair
    Not one mouse can be heard in Elmer’s house…
    And that Rudolph had better beWARE
    ’cause Fudd is gunning for him tomorrow NIGHT!

    The Dark Sider!

    PS: Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

  20. Can’t help but speculate about the Diana 27 in .22 caliber and the FWB 127 .22 caliber since B.B. loves his Diana 27 in .22 caliber.

    Yes, they both are “slow” in .22 vs. .177 but each has a “thwack” on the target that you can’t help but smile about. Had an R7 in .22 caliber and yes, it had a rainbow trajectory too but was lots of fun at medium ranges. You just had to “get to know the gun” and its’ trajectory. Part of the fun for me.

    Can’t wait to read about the fps and fpe on the FWB 127, since I’ve never been fortunate enough to own one, especially after B.B. goes inside this gun and resizes/replaces the piston seal and lubes it properly. Sounds like it has lots of the old black tar inside.

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