[ADIHEX 2019] Fine Ballistic Tools – FBT – from Austria

    Fine Ballistic Tools, or FBT (three letters we hold dear), is a young Austrian company which many of our readers have likely never heard of. It is always interesting to go to an event such as ADIHEX and finding companies like FBT, bringing something new to the market.

    Core activities of FBT revolve around carbon fiber. They have 3 main product lines, namely: Carbon Stocks, Suppressors and Weapon Accessories.

    At ADIHEX they brought a selection of the above and then some. Let’s look at each in further detail with the help of some photos.

    FBT Carbon Fiber Stocks

    Carbon fiber stocks are the main product line of FBT. They are offered for bolt-action hunting rifles of several manufacturers, such as Howa and Blaser.

    There are a few options of stock shape, and the bedding can either be through aluminum blocks or solid carbon fiber fully integrated in the stock. All models offer an interface for direct connection of carbon fiber Spartan bipods, which complement the looks and lightweight package.

    FBT Carbon Fiber Stock with Spartan bipod.

    Carbon fiber stock with custom finish (urban camo?), Spartan bipod and a neoprene sleeve over the integrally suppressed barrel.

    FBT Bahrain flag thumbhole stock.

    Carbon fiber thumbhole stock with custom finish and custom case patterned to reproduce the flag of Bahrain.

    FBT UAE flag set.

    Set of stocks and suppressed barrels in a case, the color arrangement reproduces the flag of UAE, host country of ADIHEX.

    FBT purple and blue stocks.

    Suppressed models with custom colored carbon fiber stocks.

    FBT INCA Suppressor

    In a booth with unique products, it may be hard to identify something which really stands out. However, when you put together: carbon fiber, 3D printed and suppressor, you may have a winner.

    FBT INCA suppressor.

    INCA suppressor with its case.

    The item, conveniently shown in cutout form, may seem to offer a fairly conventional internal geometry, in the eyes of silencer aficionados. Indeed our boss and Silencer Guru Pete called it a “Carbon fiber Maxim” at first glance. However, it is packed with technology and, according to FBT, performance.

    FBT INCA internals.

    Full view of the suppressor cutout. While the internal surfaces may seem conventional, a keen eye will notice that some features could not be obtained in a single piece without employing additive manufacturing.

    First of all, we are talking about a .30 caliber silencer, with an external diameter of 32mm (1.26″) for a length of 200mm (7.87″), all in 185g (6.5oz) of mass. This is primarily achieved through a core obtained by selective laser melting of a proprietary aluminum alloy called Scalmalloy, which claims properties intermediate between aluminum and titanium. The external carbon fiber sleeve adds rigidity and style.

    The internal design, with features only obtainable through additive manufacturing, is deemed to be self-cleaning. Caliber compatibility is up to .300 Norma Magnum and sound suppression is rated at 29dB.

    The INCA is designed to offer an option for hunters willing to reduce the report of their rifle without penalizing handling with a front-heavy setup. With bolt action hunting rifles in mind, the system is not designed for semi/automatic or sustained rates of fire. It has however been tested for over 5,000 rounds, with no decrease of performance.

    FBT offers it both as a standalone silencer and in integral configuration, the latter offering the same core but a carbon fiber sleeve covering the full length of the barrel.

    FBT Accessories

    While the website lists bipods and muzzle devices, the company brought to ADIHEX a few non-catalog items such as AR components. The experience with carbon fiber and the manufacturing in house allows FBT to experiment with new product fairly easily.

    FBT accessories on a DAR-15.

    Carbon fiber handguard and buffer tube on a lightweight DAR-15.

    FBT customized DAR-15.

    Details of the handguard interface with the DAR upper receiver

    FBT Carbon Fiber AUG.

    Definitely not a standard item: carbon fiber stocked AUG.

    Availability & Future

    Dr. Wolfgang Erhart, founder and owner of FBT, mentioned that currently, their products are not available in the American market. The suppressors, of course, would need to be manufactured directly in the US, and options are indeed being investigated. The 3D printed approach could actually help in streamlining the set up of a production on American soil.

    Regarding the stocks, which the 5 years old company sells in Europe to the tune of 1,000 pieces per year, an undisclosed cooperation with a big name was hinted. We may see more of FBT in the future.

     

     

    Giorgio O

    Italian firearm enthusiast now living in an even more restrictive country, Giorgio has a passion for innovative or plainly unusual mechanical solutions. He’s also interested in manufacturing technologies with a recent focus on additive manufacturing.

    You can contact him at giorgio_o at zoho dot com and you’ll find him in the comments section as Giolli Joker.


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