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My new old Feinwerkbau 300S

 

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Way back in 2007 I wrote about the Feinwerkbau 300, a gun I had fired a few times but never owned. Then just a few weeks ago I found a very affordable one in a a target shooting forum I regularly check into . I sent payment, and four days later it showed up on my porch.

It’s actually a 300S, a later version with a few improvements. There were several models made, mostly differing in the stock and the sights. There was the standard 300S, a Running Boar version, set up for scope use, a Universal model, and a junior model, and maybe more. Feinwerkbau made untold thousands of them between the 300 in (I think) 1968 and its replacement with the single-stroke pneumatic FWB 600, though I believe they kept making the 300S for some years after the introduction of the 600. .

This particular rifle has  seen a lot of use, judging by the scores of dents in the wood and the scratches in the metal, but it’s been well maintained where it matters. It was resealed not too long ago and shoots smoothy and accurately- more accurately than I can, certainly. I started out shooting it at my Gehmann air pistol target trap, which inflated my ego, as I was getting a lot of 10s, but then the Gehman air rifle trap and targets I’d ordered arrived to put me in my place.

ISSF air pistol targets are 17cm square with an 11.5mm 10 ring. The air rifle targets are 10cm square, the actual target ring is 4.5cm, and the 10 “ring” that’s more of a dot is a huge 1.5mm in diameter:

 

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These were fired at a distance of 10 meters- official ISSF distance. On an air pistol target, those would be 9s and 10s. On this target, it’s a 9, three 7s, and a 5. In international competition, the 10 ring is further divided into decimal fractions, so depending on how well centered your shot is, it might scope anywhere from 10.1 to 10.9. I definitely have a lot of work to do over the winter.

The pellet trap I’m using, in case you haven’t seen a Gehmann trap, is a very clever affair. It’s a small box made of stamped steel, and inside is a movable steel plate held in position by a spring. The spring is just strong enough to absorb the energy of a 7.0-8.0gr pellet traveling  at 400-600fps. The result is that all the pellets get trapped in the box and there’s no splatter or pellets bouncing out:

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Mine cost me $20 + shipping from an eBay supplier. I’ve got two of the pistol traps, too. Less walking across the basement to replace shot out targets.

Over the winter I plan on removing the heavy varnish that’s been applied to this stock, raising as many of the dents as I can, using steam, and refinishing it with a Tru-Oil finish, which I think will compliment the walnut stock much better. I’ll post photos in this blog when I do.

Update: I’ve been practicing. My first two shots today, from an honest 10 meters:

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Bipods for Air Guns

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It occurred to me that adding a bipod to my night vision equipped Crosman Marauder would definitely improve its abilities as a night time vermin hunter and be a lot handier than hauling out my bench rest.

The US Military uses Harris Bipods, I’m told, and a 6-9″ Harris can be had for $64 for the basic version and $95 for the swiveling version, which allows the gun to rotate a few degrees around the bore axis in order to compensate for uneven ground. I don’t plan on carrying my Marauder into combat so I settled on the cheaper $37 (for the swiveling version) clone from Caldwell, which is almost as good and costs a third as much.

Installation is dead easy- there are two prongs that engage a strap swivel, and a screw that is tightened to secure the bipod That’s it.

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It looks kind of crude, but the Harris uses an identical means of attachment.

So how does it work? So far, in my limited testing, very well. Easy to deploy, and it makes a very stable platform to shoot from. I may just add one to one of my bull barrel .22s.

One note: Bipods work great on PCP and CO2 air rifles, but not so well on spring guns, which do not shoot accurately off a rigid support.

Diana K98

I’m generally not a big fan of replica air guns, but this one caught my eye for a number of  reasons:

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First, it’s a replica of a classic metal-and-wood bolt action rifle, the WWII-era Mauser K98, and not some modern futuristic-looking polymer machine gun. Second, it’s a real practical pellet rifle, delivering an advertised  1100fps with light .177 pellets and 870 in .22. It’s a gun you can actually hunt with, not a BB or air soft gun, as well as being a future collectable. And it’s built to last, of wood and steel. No molded plastic or cheap stampings here.

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What Diana has done is taken their magnum under-lever action from the model 460, added period sights, and mounted it in a very authentic looking wooden stock, all for about $420 at Pyramyd. No, I have no intention of buying one, but if they made a matching K98  scope mount that I could slip my compact Burris 4x scope into-  I’d be awfully tempted.

Night Vision for Airguns

Sightmark Photon

 

Night vision scopes are very popular these days, especially with hunters of feral wild pigs. They’re excellent for all sorts of nocturnal vermin, which is what led me to start thinking about getting one. We’ve had rats showing up in our city in the last few months and while I managed to bag a few during the daytime with an air rifle I thought it would be more effective to hunt them at night.

After several weeks of debating the various options with myself (cheap Gen 1 scope, better Gen 1 scope, digital scope, unaffordable thermal scope…) I decided to order a Sightmark Photon 4.6x digital scope from Amazon, as they have far and away the best return and customer service policies. It arrived yesterday and I mounted it on my Benjamin Marauder.

Installation is very easy, as it mounts in standard 30mm rings. Setup is almost as easy, as there are only two controls on the scope. One is a power/illumination button. One press turns it on. Successive presses cycle through various levels of IR illumination, and a long press turns it off. The level off illumination is displayed in the viewfinder, along with battery life. The other control is a combined button and knob that normally controls display brightness. Press and hold, and a menu comes up that allows you to select between reticle shape, color, and position. The position adjustment allows for one-shot zeroing, or close to it. Shoot a group at a target, then move the reticle to point to the group. That’s it.

Last night I took it out after dark to search for the rats that have been showing up in our neighborhood. Like those of many animals, a rat’s eyes reflect light, which makes them very easy to spot, as the IR illuminator turns their eyes into bright white spots- you can see the eyes long before you can pick out a rat’s body hidden by vegetation.

The scope uses two AA batteries to power both scope and illuminator, and the manual says they’re last from 4-6 hours, depending on how much IR illumination you use. I found the lowest setting was more than adequate at garden ranges, but I might add an external illuminator just to stretch battery life.

At $490, it was $190 more than the cheapest Gen 1 sight I looked at, but from what I’ve been able to learn from other reviews, the image is much clearer and wider. Sightmark warranties it for three years, which is better than most electronic devices. So far I’m pretty impressed.