Very good post.
So, BSF owners own up. Come out of the 'gun cabinet' so to speak.
In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s only ONE air-rifle could reliably get to the legal limit in the UK (with the exception of the Feinwerkbau Sport), particularly in .177 calibre.
Say what you like, the HW35, BSA Airsporter and Webley Mk III, and yes, even the Relum Tornado, were all actually chugging out 10.5 ft/lbs if you were lucky. Of course the standard lube in those days was Three-In-One which would give the odd 50 ft/lb deisel and a ruined spring, but as most people didnt bother lubing it was 10 ft lbs until your spring failed.
The top power gun was the BSF made by Bavaria Sport Fabrik of Bavaria, which was in West Germany. Their range of rifles had ferocious mainsprings under a massive amount of preload, screwed tightly into well engineered break-barrels - the BSF B55, the S60, the S70 and latterly the S80, as well as a super-tough tap-loading underlever called the S54. They came in a variety of stocks and the break barrels only really differed by barrel length.
Now, they were also marketed in the US under the Wischo brand name and were so popular that Maccari still offers a replacement stock off the shelf for the B55 even though they ceased production at least 20 years ago.
Every copy of Airgun World from the 1970s to the mid 1980s mentions them, they are on sale from the main mail-order places and gunshops.
They are built like T-34 tanks from solid steel.
I have one B55. Buddyboy has one B55 deluxe (for sale at the moment). I.J. has several, including the impossible 'S65'. Another BBS member has several. So, that is four owners among the thousands of BBS members. Where are all the others? Who else owns a BSF? They must have sold thousands and they are tough guns so where are they? Was there a BSF virus that wiped them all out?
I have asked this before but didn't get a satisfying answer so I am asking again. Please, no-one say that the HW85 was a BSF rebadged after HW bought the company because it ain't. Its an HW95 with a fat scope ramp screwed to it.
Own up, BSF owners!
Last edited by Hsing-ee; 24-11-2006 at 12:16 AM.
A very interesting post.
Prior to the launch of Airgun World, most UK gun shops stocked BSA or Webley, with the occasional Haenel 303 or HW35, so most people only ever saw and so only bought BSA and Webley.
Airgun World changed everything by making people aware that there were other air rifles on the market, and that must have had a huge impact on the sales of West German air rifles. IIRC, the 'big three' aspirational air rifles were the FWB Sport, the HW35 and the BSF55/60/70, and I suspect that the late 1970s probably saw the peak in BSF sales, though I don't think that even then they came anywhere near FWB Sport or HW35 sales figures.
As far as power is concerned, very few people (even few gun shops) had the means to measure it, and owners of other air rifles were probably unaware just how low their power was, but were happy if their high penetration pellets went through enough pages of a telephone directory. The Webley Vulcan and HW80 would have taken a lot of sales from BSF, because not only did they match it for power but both by then had far better trade distribution.
In the early 1980s, my own observations suggest that the BSF could not have been selling in anything like the quantities that the Weihrauch, FWB Sport and British air riles did, because in those early days of FT before anyone took it too seriously and people turned up at club events with everything from Tornados to Normay Vixens and the like, I recall rarely seeing BSF air rifles.
As FT took off, people simply HAD to have a Weihrauch, FWB Sport (usually prepped by Venom or Airmasters) or - if you didn't want to run with the herd - an Original 45. BSF simply weren't in it.
That's a very long-winded way of saying that I don't think the BSF ever sold in any quantity in the UK. Given that the peak sales occurred a quarter of a century ago, perhaps it's little wonder that so few appear to be around today.
I owned a BSF55 in the late '70s and liked it immensely, though I found that I shot more accurately with other air rifles, and eventually sold it. It seemed very robust, but I do wonder how many were damaged following DIY 'tuning' or even induced dieseling courtesy of the old 3-in-1 through the transfer port.
I have 5 , Eddie Barber's S54 Bayern that was featured in a few AGW articles, A BSFS54 Bayern 'carbine' which has a shorter barrel than normal but may only be 'home customised' , 2 .22 S54 Standards one of which has only been fired to test. Finally I have a B55DL.
I wrote a potted history for this BBS and it was posted on AGF.
I agree with JT that the dealer network was never as good as HW or FWB and indeed changed several times from Parker Hale in the early 1950's and they never recovered from the demise of Norman May in the 1980's.
I suppose they were expensive when compared to the contemporary BSA Mercury in the late 1970's and did not have the looks of the FWB.
Ironically the earlier models had better quality wood.
I dreamed of owning a BSF S54 Match that MAG had in their shop for at least 5 years - by the time I had saved up £165 it had gone - one of the worst days of my life .This was when a new HW80 was £80 !
Looking forward to closet outings of other owners !!!!!!
Ian - I'll give you £20 for the model 65 . ( There is no reference to this in the factory catalogues and brochures I have so it must be a model pre 1970 IMHO)
Last edited by BSFNUT; 24-11-2006 at 09:51 AM. Reason: typo
Might be worth keeping your eyes open for a copy. It's quite possible that the 65 only went in any quantity to the USA.
I have not stripped & re-lubed mine yet and it's running a bit low on power (10 ft/lbs). I tested it for accuracy and it seemed quiet pellet-sensitive, with a marked preference for H&N FTTs. The groups tended to string vertically, which suggests to me the rifle is very hold-sensitive. The potential seems to be about 15-20 mm at 30 yards once the stringing is resolved, which is not bad. The recoil is quite heavy and sharp, and the rifle is a lightweight for its power level. Maccari says that he has taken some very long shots with his BSF, so perhaps it is a matter of finding the right technique for the particular gun. The Feinwerkbau Sport can be a tricky rifle to master - too firm a hold will give huge groups, and this is another rifle with alot of pre-load.
I'll give the gun an overhaul, do some more testing shortly & report back.
Weihrauch also manufactured version of the BSF models for Marksman including models 28,40,55, 56,58 59, 70, 71, 72 and 75 but NOT a 65.
I'll make my position clear. Sadly, I do not own any BSF's (yet)...
Beware the fury of a patient man... John Dryden (1631 - 1700).
My family motto: 'Be what you appear to be'
I may actually get round to shooting mine someday - very well made gun, this post ahas me thinking that maybe I should keep it afterall ?
Bought my first AG back in high school, a Wischo 55D. Back then I shot it maybe 2x daily as I had much time on my hands. I wore the bluing off the barrel and had it reblued. Excellent guns (esp. for the price) except for the trigger.
I've disassembled it a few times to tune it as it has had 3 springs (the latest is a Maccari). A tricky bear to disassemble/reassemble, but not hard one you know how (the rear site is the trick).
And yes, this Wischo is in the US.....
Last edited by chuckjordan; 25-02-2007 at 03:17 AM.
This shows the pictures of my BSF's with a catalogue from the late 1970's.
Ian - I also have a 1958 parker hale catalogue with some BSF's in (54 and 60)
I suspect the 65 was either confined to the home market in Germany rather than the US, or a model that was quickly discontinued. Yours has an adjustable trigger screw in the end cap I seem to remember so may be this was a prototype ?
I have an early production (s/n 1547) .177 S70 with the Wischo branding.
It was purchased new in 1973 from Air Rifle Headquarters complete with the Air Rifle Monthly 48 page Special Handbook.
It likes 8.5 Japanese Jet pellets at 775 fps (newer spring & top hat)
One nice feature is the hardwood dowel through the grip area preventing the cracking that occurs on some Dianas and Feinwerkbaus.
Trigger adjustment is a tradeoff between travel and/or weight.
The trigger definitely benefits from the use of a trigger shoe.
The diecast pot metal sights and scope rail are a bit of a turnoff, but my Sept 1980 FWB124D III came with aluminum front and plastic rear sights.