Archive for September 1st 2008

To my eyes, the Ranchero is a handsome pistol, and it shoots better than it looks.

Recently I had the opportunity to play around with a pistol that I had been curious about for some time: the FX Ranchero.

Right off, I’ve got to tell that I liked the Ranchero a whole lot, and we’ll get to the reasons why in just a little while, but first let’s take a walk around the Ranchero.

It’s a big pistol, stretching 18 inches from end to end and weighing 3.3 pounds without scope or red dot. The version that I tested had a beautiful sculpted walnut grip with a stippled pistol grip, palm shelf, and walnut trigger guard. The two-stage match trigger is adjustable, and just forward of it, underneath the forend, you’ll find a gauge that tells you how much air pressure is left in the reservoir.

Moving forward again, there’s a lip at the end of the forend. Above that is the air cylinder which can be unscrewed when it runs low and replaced by another so you can keeping on shooting during a day afield. At the end of the air cylinder is the quick-fill charging port, and you can fill the cylinder on or off the Ranchero. Above the air cylinder is the shrouded Lothar-Walther with a threaded muzzle for mounting a silencer where those are legal.

Moving back along the barrel, you’ll find the receiver, which is handsomely finished in gloss black and has scope dovetails along its full length except for the breech opening. At the mid point of the receiver is the breech, where a removable 8-shot magazine slides into place (in only goes in one way, so you can’t get it in backwards).

The left side of the Ranchero, showing the cocking lever and the power adjustment lever.

On the left side of the receiver, just forward of the breech, is a small power adjustment lever. Push it all the way forward, and the Ranchero is on low power (around 8.5 fp for the .177 version, about 9 fp for the .22). Put the lever in the middle, and the pistol is on medium power (12 fp for .177; 13 fp for .22, and when the lever is all the way back – bingo! – high power (15 fp .177, 16.5 fp .22). Unlike many other power adjustment systems, which rely on changing the loading on the hammerspring, the Ranchero varies power by changing the size of the transfer port through which air flows to the barrel. The result is very high shot-to-shot consistency, regardless of what power setting you select.

On the left side of the receiver just aft of the breech is the cocking arm. Pull it straight back, and it cocks the pistol and rotates the next pellet in the magazine into position. Push it forward, the action closes, and a bolt probe pushes the pellet into the barrel. At the tail end of the receiver, you’ll find two brass disks. The first slides back and forth as you activate the cocking arm. The second you pull back to allow the magazine to be removed from the breech. On the right side of the breech is a forward-and-back safety lever.

Next time, we’ll talk about shooting the Ranchero.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

- Jock Elliott

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