Feinwerkbau 100 is a competition air pistol. It was produced between 1988 and 1997 in Germany by the company Feinwerkbau Westinger & Altenburger. It is a firm with a long tradition in competition gun making having made the first competition air rifle in the early sixties and the first competition air pistol in 1965.
The model 65 and its successors 80 and 90, have dominated the shooting sport for many years. But they used a spring to power the gun. In 1988 the first compressed air pistol was introduced, the model 100. It compresses the air with a lever, so there are no more moving parts that produce vibrations or recoil. This kind of gun is called SSP – single stroke pneumatic.
The SSP pistols were short lived on the shooting scene. Even though they were simpler and lighter than springers, it was still required to pump the lever on each shot, that takes some effort. After came CO2 pistols but they also had some disadvantages like the carbon dioxide not providing constant pressure, so they didn’t last long as well, making place to the modern PCP pistols – pre compressed air.
PCP pistols use a small cylinder with compressed air at 200 bar or more. With one cylinder charge you can fire 100-300 shots depending on maker. Each shot is made with the same pressure due to the regulator equipping all PCP pistols.
But PCPs also have an disadvantage: to fill the 200 bar cylinder special equipment is needed. 200 bar is quite a lot, a car pump only manages 10-15 bar. There are special pumps that go to 200 bar but cost a bit much, around 150-300 euros and require serious effort (around half and hour of pumping). Another alternative is a quality compressor that costs 800 to 2000 euros. Or a SCUBA cylinder that you can fill at a diving center, from which you can fill the air pistol cylinder about 20 times. Of course you need a diving center in the vicinity.
As there is no diving in my city, the compressor is too expensive and i don’t feel like pumping that much, i chose to acquire an old SSP pistol. Old because today no one is making a competition SSP pistol. The only SSP with an ok quality produced today is the Baikal MP-46M made in Russia. It’s ok but it is not on the level of a Feinwerkbau.
The working principle is quite simple. The lever in the open position lets air get into the cylinder. The piston compresses that air into a small space. When the trigger is pressed, a metal block hits a valve that opens and releases the compressed air through a tube directly into the barrel, behind the pellet.
The lever compresses the air in the cylinder (green rectangle) with the help of a piston. All that air is compressed in a small space and high pressure. The striker, shown in cocked position, is released by the trigger and strikes a metal rod that is the valve. This rod moves back for a fraction of time letting the air go by. The air goes up through a tube and into the barrel through the pellet pushing pistol. So the pellet is pushed from directly behind and leave the barrel.
The optimal exit speed of the projectile is 150 m/s. But that can be adjusted between certain limits using this screw.
At the maximum open lever position, the loading flap automatically pops. One pellet is put in this channel and, when closing the flap, the small piston pushes the pellet into the barrel.
The gun is 4.5 mm calibre or .177 and uses as projectile lead pellets. 4.5 is the only accepted caliber in shooting competitions. For sport shooting wadcutter pellets are used. They have a flat head to make clean holes in paper targets. You can see some clean target holes.
What set apart a competition pistol are the sights, the trigger and the grip. All are of superior quality and are very adjustable.
This is a mechanical trigger in 2 stages. The first stage has a short travel and requires some force and the second stage has no travel and requires very little force. This is stage 1 and this is stage 2. This system is useful to have a very sensitive trigger that is also safe. The trigger of a competition pistol needs to have a minimum of 500 grams. So stage 1 has 300-400g and stage 2 has 100-200g. This makes releasing the shot very easy when the gun is properly aligned with the target.
Of course there are multiple adjustments available for the trigger so one can customise it as prefered. The trigger shoe position can be adjusted backward and forward, up and down and rotate left and right. Also it can be adjusted the trigger point, weight, stop and slack by individual screws. Here are 2, one here ,one there behind the trigger and a few more behind the grip.
The gun can be put in dry fire mode, when the trigger operates normally but does not reach the valve rod and so it does not release the air. Now it’s live, now it’s dry fire. This mechanism is very useful for training.
You the see the striker, and when released it does not reach the valve rod. That is the valve rod, the striker is this aluminium block and you can see that in dry fire it does not reach. In live mode, it does.
The sights are also adjustable. First, the front sight is removable. It is this small piece that can be removed with this screw. Now on the gun is a 3mm front post and i have here a 3.8mm front post.
The rear sight is also also adjustable with thumb screws – no screwdriver needed. By turning this, the windage is adjusted – if the group is to the right, turn one click towards R. And from there elevation is adjusted – if the group is too high, turn one click towards H. The group position plus windage and elevation indications can be found with the TargetScan app. The width of the aperture is also adjustable, with this longitudinal screw – insert a tool in there and turn. The width can only be adjusted between 3 and 3.8mm. There are rear sight modules with different apertures available.
The third important module is the grip. It is made of walnut wood and it is anatomical. It has a thumb rest, a middle finger place and an adjustable palm shelf. You can slide the shelf up and down. Those whole grip inclination is adjustable for 10 degrees.
Unfortunately, if the tigger and the sights are up to modern standards, the grip is not. It is the same design from 1965. It’s made out of 2 pieces.. You can see here. And it is held together with these 2 screws. Also it does not have finger grooves. Because of this, for me at least, is not a perfect fit. A modern grip is made of a single wood piece and it is adjustable in all directions.
As you can see, Feinwerkbau 100 is a massive pistol. The length is 42 centimeters, which is the maximum length for ISSF competitions. The weight is … 1128 grams. Below the maximum allowed weight of 1500 g but above normal modern pistol weight of 900-1000g.
Another element new with this model and after adopted by other brands is the barrel compensator. It has the role to deflect the air coming out of the barrel so that no turbulence is created behind the pellet and affect the trajectory. Modern pistols have a more complicated design and probably more efficient.
For a 25 years old gun it performs exceptionally well. All it needs from time to time is a seal kit that costs around 11 euros and the replacement procedure is not too complicated. Otherwise it does not require maintenance, cleaning or lubrification.
In his time, Feinwerkbau 100 and its successors, 102 and 103, were used in world championships and olympics. Today is the preferred gun of shooting enthusiasts that don’t what to pay 2000 euros on a new PCP and related infrastructure. It is still used in regional matches, especially in Germany.