Walther was founded in 1886, and made target rifles for the remainder of the nineteenth century. Following World War II, the firm was re-established in Ulm, German, located about 100 miles west of Munich. One of its main competitors, Anschutz, is also located in Ulm.
In 1951 Walthers came out with their first post-WWII air rifle, the LG51, followed by the LG53, and then the LG55. Walther models 51, 52, 53, and 55 were made in parallel during most of their production lives, all being break barrel springers. The 51 was a simple open-sighted sporter with smooth bore, 52 included bore, the 53 had a sporter stock with improved trigger and match sights, the 55 had the target stock, an even finer trigger, and a lot of interesting options.
The LG55 began production in 1955 running through 1967 (available through 1974) and was a truly dedicated 10-meter match air rifle. It was superseded by the LGV. The LG55 is a break barrel, cocking with simple chisel detent, heavy lead chunk inside the fore end to dampen recoild and wobble, 550 fps velocity, full match sights, and a superb adjustable match trigger. Wood is shaped in the classic rounded Olympia style, and was available in both beech and walnut. Tyrolean stocks were also available.
The Walther LGV was introduced as a further refined rifle in 1963. It was the ultimate development of the 53/55 series target springers, and incorporated the lever breech lock. It relied upon mass from a heavy barrel sleeve and weight in the forestock to damp recoil. This boosted the weight to a pretty hefty 10.4 pounds. The LGV is a beautifully made rifle. The initial Olympia-stocked version was later followed by more angular Match and Junior variants. A Tyrolean version was available as well. Most styles were available in both beech and walnut.
In 1968 Walthers introduced its ultimate match springer with the LGV Special (or in German, the LGV Spezial). The LGV Special has the leaded stock like the LGR, but added two short springs wound in opposite directions, an improved match stock, an adjustable buttplate, and an even more refined adjustable trigger (major difference from the LGV is an adjustment for length of pull). Many feel the LGV Special is almost Feinwerkbau 300S like in its firing behavior, neatly eliminating the twist and most of the vibration of a single spring. The first LGV Special had a rounded forestock, but in 1972 the squared Match version was introduced. According to John Walters The Airgun Book, The LGV Spezial is the epitome of conventional air-rifle design, with minimal recoil, but is also very expensive.
Due to the nature of competition, and perhaps encouraged by all German target rifle manufacturers (Anschutz, Walther, Feinwerkbau, Diana) being located within the same region, technological advances in their match rifles came rapidly. Much attention was devoted to reduce or eliminate springer recoil.
Anschutz introduced the advanced fixed-barrel model 220, with pneumatic recoil-suppressing brake, in 1960. Their model 250, with an improved hydraulic brake, followed in 1966. Diana introduced the first truly recoilless design, the break-barrel model 60 featuring the Giss double-piston system, in 1963. More refined Diana Giss rifles were the model 65 (1968), model 66 (1974), and the highly refined fixed-barrel model 75 in 1977. Feinwerkbau introduced the model 150 in 1963, featuring a fixed barrel and a simple sledge-type recoil elimination system. Following were the improved models 300 (1969) and 300S (1972), the latter remaining in production for over 25 years. A modified version of the sledge system was borrowed for the last spring-piston match rifle to be introduced, the Anschutz 380 of 1980.
Walthers went in a different direction. Even while refining their LGV into the LGV Special series, they shocked the competition by introducing an entirely new concept in 1974--the single stroke pneumatic LGR model. Immediately after its introduction, the LGR broke both the individual and team 10-meter world records. This forced the international shooting union to reduce the size of the 10-meter air rifle target to where it remains today. The LGR also forced all their match air rifle competitors to ultimately drop the springers and move into the pneumatic era.
In 1984 Anschutz won the Olympic Gold Medal in women air rifle with their LG380 --- the last springer to do so. Walther's won the men's Gold with a LGR-Universal.
In 1984 Feinwerkbau introduced the first of the pneumatic FWB 600 series, and by the late 1980s all of these builders with making single stroke pneumatics.
Please consider this a breif overview covering the history of Walthers air rifles from the 1950s through the 1980s. Variations in models. Production runs and other peculiarities have been reported by others with much more experience.