Posts Tagged ‘FAS’

G12 Chiappa FAS 604 004-001

My first thought when I opened the case for the 6004 FAS by Chiappa Firearms was, “Wow, this is a nice air pistol.”

And, indeed, it is. I’ve been reviewing air rifles and air pistols for a while now, and everything about the Chiappa 6004 says to me: “This is a serious air pistol, made by people who are serious about quality.

The 6004 comes in two models, the standard, which has an ambidextrous walnut grip, and the match, which has a match-style grip with adjustable palm shelf. Other than the grips, I believe the single-stroke pneumatic powerplants for both models are identical. Airguns of Arizona sent me the standard model for test.

G12 Chiappa FAS 604 006

The 6004 stretches 11 inches from end to end and weighs just two pounds. At the extreme aft end of the pistol is an ambidextrous walnut grip that I found extremely comfortable. It seems to grip my hand with a small shelf at the top of the grip and another at the bottom. There are sculpted finger indentations which seemed to fit me “just right,” and the finger indentations and the back of the grip (where the palm wraps around) is stippled for easier gripping.

Forward of the pistol grip, the lower part of the receiver forms a black metal guard around a black metal trigger that is adjustable for trigger weight and position and pull. Plastic must be some sort of dirty word at the Chiappa factory in Italy, because I couldn’t find a scrap of it anywhere on the 6004, with the exception of a tiny o-ring at the breech end of the barrel.

Underneath the receiver, you’ll find the caliber, “Made in Italy,” and a serial number, all inscribed in white lettering. On either side of the receiver, also in white lettering, you’ll find 6004 FAS by Chiappa Firearms. There is a pin, secured by e-clips, for a pivot point at the extreme forward end of the lower receiver. Above that is the upper receiver, which has an inset opening for the muzzle and, above that, a blade-type front sight that can be swapped out if needed or desired.

G12 Chiappa FAS 604 007

At the extreme aft end of the upper receiver is a micro-adjustable notch-type rear sight with knobs for adjusting windage and elevation. On the left side of the upper receiver, just forward of the rear sight is a latch for releasing the upper receiver for loading and cocking.

That’s all there is to the 6004. The fit and finish are excellent, and everything smacks of quality. The only addition that I would make to the 6004 would be the inclusion of a small dovetail on the top of the upper receiver so that a red dot or scope could be added if the shooter desires.

G12 Chiappa FAS 604 011

To ready the 6004 for shooting, press the latch on the left side of the upper receiver in. This releases the upper receiver so that the aft end can pivot up and forward so that the upper and lower are open almost flat. This exposes the breech end of the barrel for loading. Slide a .177 pellet into the aft end of the barrel. Return the upper receiver to its original position – this requires about four pounds of effort – and this pressurizes the action for shooting.

Take aim at your target, ease the first stage out of the trigger. This required 1 lb. 9.2 oz. of effort on the sample that I tested. At 3 lb. 2.5 oz. of pressure, the second stage trips, and the shot goes downrange with a mild “pop.” Depending upon the weight, the 6004 launches pellets up to 400 fps.

With the right pellet, the factory claims accuracy of 0.08 inches center-to-center. That’s plenty good enough for 10-meter competition, air pistol silhouette, and high-precision backyard plinking. Because of its low velocity and low power, the 6004 would not be suitable for pest control, except possible mice or hornets at close range.

Now here’s a surprise: because the 6004 is produced in a modern firearms factory with efficient manufacturing techniques, the price is actually much less than I had expected; the standard model is under $400. That strikes me as a bargain for a pistol that, based on the quality of its construction, promises to deliver decades of shooting fun with occasional replacement of seals.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

There is something about full-out competition equipment that gets my blood moving faster and my heart pumping quicker.

I once got to drive an SCCA national class winning MGB sports car (complete with roll cage, teensy front windshield, five-point harness, and an engine that didn’t even start to breathe deeply until it revved over four grand) and by the time the ride was over, a little voice in my head had begun whispering, “Hey, maybe you need one of these.”

The FAS 609

And so it is with the FAS 609 precharged pneumatic match air pistol. This is a pistol designed for 10-meter international/Olympic style competition. It stretches 16.54 inches from end to end and weighs 2.09 lbs. It is a single shot competition pistol, designed to launch match-grade .177 pellets at about 500 fps.

At the extreme aft end of the 609, the most prominent feature is the highly ergonomic righthand walnut grip. Available in three different sizes (and lefthand version as well) the grip, which has an adjustable palm shelf is designed so that it exactly fits the shooter’s palm and fingers. The finger slide around the grip and seem to just naturally fall into place. The result is that it feels not so much that you are gripping this pistol, but that you are wearing it.

Forward of the grip is the silver-colored metal trigger, which is adjustable for fore-and-aft position, trigger stop, something called trigger “trim,” first stage weight, first stage length, second stage weight, and second stage length. Forward of that is the black metal receiver, which wraps around the trigger slightly to form a trigger guard.

Moving forward again is the silver air cylinder, which has a gauge at the end and which unscrews for charging. Above the air cylinder is the match grade Lothar-Walther barrel which has a compensator at the muzzle that also serves as a mount for the blade-type front sight which can be interchanged with other optional blades to suit the shooter’s preference.. Moving back along the barrel, on the left side of the receiver is a black lever with a silver tab at the end. Lift the tab, and the breech opens for loading.

The FAS 609 with the breech open. The dry-fire activator is that tiny lever visible just below the breech.

On the right side of the receiver is a tiny black metal lever. When the breech is open for loading, this lever can be pulled to the right, and the FAS 609 will be put in dry-fire mode. At the aft end of the receiver is the notch-type rear sight which is, of course, adjustable for elevation and windage. Like the front blade, the rear notch can be changed with optional inserts that the shooter prefers.

The FAS 609 from the left side showing the breech activation lever in the closed position.

To ready the 609 for shooting, unscrew the air cylinder and attach it, using the special fitting, to your pump or SCUBA tank and charge the cylinder to 200 bar. Re-attach the cylinder to the pistol. Pull up the loading lever, place a pellet in the breech, and return the lever to its original position. Take aim at the target, ease the first stage out of the trigger, squeeze a bit more, and the shot goes downrange. Ten meter pistols are usually set up to break the shot at .5 kilograms or about 1.1 lbs.

The accuracy of these 10-meter match pistols is usually staggeringly great. With its Lothar-Walther barrel, I suspect you could clamp the FAS 609 in a vice and put shot after shot through the same hole at 10 meters. I would expect nothing less.

I do, however, have one complaint with the 609: the manual. When you spend 1.3 kilobucks on an air pistol, you ought to get more than four pages (half of which is in Italian) of explanation of how to use and adjust the thing properly. Come on, FAS, an excellent pistol deserves an excellent manual!

Having whined about the manual, I find the actual FAS 609 an entirely worthy air pistol that any 10-meter competitor or casual shooter ought to enjoy for a long, long time.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

I have a serious weakness involving air pistols. I like them all, but there are some days when a single-stroke pneumatic pistol is just the right thing for shooting casually at 10 meter pistol targets, knocking a bagful of dollar store dinosaurs off a fence rail, or chasing a wiffle golf ball around the yard.

Single stroke pneumatic pistols have a lot to offer. They are self-contained, so you don’t have to fuss with CO2 cartridges, pumps or air tanks. Only one cocking stroke is required for each time you shoot it, so the effort per shot is agreeably low. Accuracy is typically superb. Triggers are usually good to excellent, and the report is generally pretty low. The downside of any SSP pistol, if you can call it that, is that they don’t generate much power. You certainly wouldn’t want to use one for hunting anything bigger than a mouse or maybe even a hornet. But even that is an advantage when you realize that you don’t need a tremendously strong target backing to stop pellets from an SSP pistol.

So when Airguns of Arizona told me that they would be importing the FAS line of pistols, I couldn’t wait to try one. A few days later, an FAS 604 standard pistol showed up in its foam-lined plastic case, and it makes a really good first impression. Stretching just under a foot long and weighing a smidge less than two pounds. The 604 is lovingly crafted out of metal and wood. I surmise that plastic must be some sort of dirty word at the FAS factory, because I certainly couldn’t detect any on this pistol.

The grip appears to be carved out of a single piece of hardwood and is fully ambidextrous. Grooves on either side of the top of the grip help to position the thumb and forefinger, and stippling helps the other three fingers to stay in position. Forward of the grip is a metal trigger guard which is integral to the metal receiver and houses an adjustable metal trigger.

At the forward end of the receiver is a pivot that allows the entire top of the receiver to rotate for the cocking stroke. The front sight, naturally, is located at the front end of the receiver, and the micro-adjustable rear sight is located at the extreme aft end. The whole thing is solidly built yet retains a certain amount of rakish style.

To ready the 604 for shooting, you press a small metal lever located on the left side of the receiver just about the pistol grip. This releases the rear end of the top receiver half so that it can pivot upward and forward. This pulls the piston back to the beginning of the compression stroke and exposes the aft end of the barrel so you can load a pellet in the breech.

Once a pellet has been loaded, grab it near the rear sight and return it to its original position. This pressures the action. The website says this takes about six pounds of effort, but I suspect it is a bit more.

There is no safety, so all you have to do now is take aim and shoot. Squeeze the trigger, and on the sample that I tested, the first stage came out of the trigger at about one pound, two ounces. Squeeze a bit more, and shot goes down range at 1 lb. 9.5 oz. The trigger is crisp and highly predictable, and the FAS 604 launched Beeman .177 Laser pellets at around 380 fps and RWS Meisterkugeln 8.2 grain wadcutters at about 345 fps.

In all, I found the FAS 604 standard to be fun, accurate, and built to last a lifetime or two. It saddened me to send it back.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott