There was a time when Weihrauch’s HW 80 and HW 35 reigned supreme – but, as Richard Saunders points out, they weren’t the only game in town
During the 1980s, the Teutonic titans from the Weihrauch stable were the guns that everyone wanted. They were big, heavy and powerful. We marvelled at how they would split tin cans and pieces of wood, and knock down rabbits, pigeons and squirrels.
Back then, your choices were simple: if you didn’t have a Weihrauch, you had a BSA – probably a Mercury, or an Airsporter – or a Webley Vulcan. But there was an alternative. It was another German rifle, but about as different to the HWs as a gun could get. The Feinwerkbau Sport was more delicate and refined. Where the Weihrauchs were airgun hammers, the FWB was more of a precision instrument.
Launched in 1973, the FWB Sport 124/127 stayed in production until 1986, by which time approximately 61,000 rifles had been made. The .177 FWB 124 was designed to put out just over 10ft-lb, while the .22 FWB 127 was detuned slightly from 13ft-lb for the UK market. Today the 124 is more desirable from a collector’s point of view, especially the early models.
Easy to cock and smooth in the firing cycle, the FWB 124/127 was admired for its accuracy and build quality. The trigger came in for some criticism – then again, so did every trigger that wasn’t Weihrauch’s Rekord unit – but it was better than those offered by BSA and Webley. And the stock was a little delicate and prone to cracking across the pistol grip.
The Mk 1 was distinguished by a plastic trigger, which was uprated to aluminium for the Mk 2 – a deluxe model featured stylish chequering and a black pistol grip cap.
Today the Feinwerkbau Sport 124/127 is remembered fondly as an capable and slightly exclusive alternative to the rest that Germany, not to mention Great Britain, could offer at the time.