Archive for January 2007

By Jock Elliott

About 10 days before the New York State Field Target Championship in 2006, I was chatting on the telephone with Greg from Airguns of Arizona. I remarked to him that I would love to find a precharged air rifle, suitable for field target, that was inexpensive but good.

Half expecting Greg to laugh at my foolishness at combining “inexpensive” and “good” in the same sentence, I was surprised when he said, “You might want to give one of the single shot FX Typhoons in .177 a try. I was going to send you one to review – I’ll get it out today.”

A week later, on Thursday three days before the match, just as the sun was nearing the western horizon, Brown Santa (the UPS guy) shows up with a long slim package containing the Typhoon. I dash inside, unzip the package and pull out the air rifle. My first impression: it’s light, really light compared to the springers I’ve been shooting (In fact, the Typhoon is only 6.1 pounds without scope), and its matte black composite stock is stealthy looking. But never mind all that; it’s getting dark out. If I’m going to shoot this gun in the Hunter Class at the Championship, I’ve got to hustle because there’s almost no time for me to fool around with air rifles on Friday and Saturday, and the match is on Sunday.

Quickly, I zip into my basement workshop and detach a Leapers Mini Tactical 3-12 x side focus scope and mounts from another air rifle. I choose this scope because I am limited to 12x in the Hunter Class; the scope has a mil-dot reticle, and I know the scope mounts have an anti-recoil pin that can be easily retracted. Further, I’ve had good luck with this scope in the past. With the scope mounted, I charge the Typhoon, grab a couple targets and tear outside in the fading light.

Greg has thoughtfully included a chronograph ticket in with the packing materials. It tells me the Typhoon averages 913 fps with Crosman Premier heavies (CPHs). I start feeding the Typhoon CPHs and dialing in the scope. The trigger is nice. The first stage is very light. The second stage is maybe 1.5 pounds, and it breaks very cleanly. The Typhoon seems to be grouping well at 15 yards, but now it’s too dark for any longer range experimentation.

Back inside, I measure the height of the scope above the bore with a ruler (two inches). At airgunexpo.com, I plug the necessary info into the Optimum Point Blank Zero calculator and get the information that my optimum secondary zero is 20.29 yards. I then plug that result into the calculator that reads OPBZ SIR (Optimum Point Blank Zero with HoldUnder Sight-in Range) and get a chart that tells me hold under/over all the way out to 200 yards when the air rifle has been zeroed at 20.29 yards.

On Friday morning I steal half an hour from my schedule, dash outside and zero the Typhoon at 20.5 yards. I figure out that the aiming point for 10 yards is the first mil-dot down from the crosshairs. There’s no time to shoot groups to find the best pellet (although the CPHs seem to be grouping very well), no time to shoot through a chronograph to find out at what point the velocity drops off, no time to maybe fit a scope with lower mounts. I do have time to appreciate that the Typhoon is almost Zen-like in its simplicity. You fill the tank to 2,900 psi, lift the bolt and pull it back, insert a pellet, close the bolt, and pull the trigger. That’s all there is to it, and it all seems to work pretty well. I spray some Krytech lube on a tin of pellets and declare myself ready.

Saturday goes by in a blur. At 7 am Sunday morning, my brother-in-law rolls into the drive; we throw the tank and the guns into his trunk, and we’re off to the Eastern Field Target Competitors Club in Wappingers Falls, NY, for the New York State Championship.

At the sight-in range, I make a couple of minor tweaks to the elevation and windage and soon find myself nailing spinners at ranges out to 40 yards with no problem whatsoever. I hope this is an omen of Good Things to come.

An aside: when I go out the door the morning of a match, my quick prayer is: “Lord, just let me knock down at least one target so I’m not completely embarrassed.” I figure once that first target is knocked down, I can relax and have fun. But there was one match where I went six lanes without dropping a single target, so I’m always a little tense until the first one drops.

The first lane for our squad featured a black bird target at 45 yards with a one-inch kill zone and a frog target at 36 yards with a ¾ inch kill zone. (I found this out after the match. In Hunter Class, you have to estimate the range. What I “knew” at the time was the targets seemed moderately far away and fairly small killzones.) I settled into trying to shoot well, pulling the Typhoon firmly down onto my knee in a sitting position. Before I knew it, I had “cleaned” the lane, dropping both targets twice. I was amazed and pleased.

I’d like to tell you that I didn’t miss a shot for the rest of the match, but it just isn’t so. At the end of the day, the Typhoon knocked down 30 out of 50 targets, good enough to win the Hunter Class Championship by a comfortable margin (If my score had been counted in the PCP Class, I would have taken 3rd place).

I thoroughly enjoyed shooting the Typhoon. Its light weight made it easy to hold on the offhand shots, and the accuracy was simply astounding. On Lane J, I encountered the Sneering Bird, a sparrow at 22.3 yards with a 3/8-inch kill zone. That’s .375 inch. Subtract from that the diameter of a pellet, .177 inch, and you realize that leaves just about a tenth of an inch on either side for the pellet to slide through the killzone. No wonder some of the other shooters were calling the target “that #@&%! Bird.”

I sucked in a breath, blew out half, held my breath, and squeeeezed the trigger. Bang! The Sneering Bird dropped. I pulled the target back up, reloaded, and tried again. The Bird bit the dust once more. Match director Ray Apelles later told me that there were 19 shooters in various classes at the match. Out of the 38 shots taken at the “little birdy,” there were only 8 knock-downs. I was the only shooter to drop the bird with both shots. I credit a lot of that to the accuracy of the Typhoon.

In the middle of the match I had been missing some of the longer shots, and I thought that I was misjudging either the range or the elevation. But on the last lane, which featured a 48-yard shot at a 1.5-inch killzone and a 51-yard shot at a 1.75-inch killzone, after missing the first shot, I notice some leaves blowing across the target from right to left. I held to the right edge of the killzone on the next three shots and dropped the target each time.

The Typhoon is light enough to carry all day in the woods, and it does everything well. It’s about as loud as a hammer solid whacking a sheet of plywood, so it’s not the air rifle you’d choose first for shooting in the basement or for plinking in the back yard when you neighbor is trying to sleep. Because the Typhoon has no on-board pressure gauge, you need to keep track of your shots and refill after 20-25.

The upshot is that the Typhoon is one wickedly accurate air rifle at a very reasonable price. What’s not to like? I give it my heartiest personal recommendation.

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