My experience to date with FX air rifles is that they are wickedly accurate. I cannot remember shooting one that was of merely average accuracy. As a general rule of thumb, you can figure that virtually any FX rifle with the right pellet under decent condition will put 5 shots in a one-inch group at 50 yards. In my mind, it has gotten to the point where I sometimes wonder if I really need to test an FX rifle for accuracy because they are so darn consistent.
Yet, despite FX’s richly deserved reputation for producing accurate air rifles, there have been those of you in the airgunning community who have requested that FX produce a full-out competition air rifle.
The FX Royale Field Target series of rifles is the answer to that request. The FX FT series is designed for bench rest and field target competition and is available in three variations: the Royale 200, available in .177 and .22; the Royale 400, also available in .177 and .22; and the Royale 500, available only in .25. The number after “Royale” tells you the capacity, in CCs, of the air reservoir. All models weigh right around 10 lbs. (some a bit heavier, some a bit less) before a scope and mounts are added. The overall length of an FX FT ranges from a bit over 41 inches to around 48 inches, depending upon the model, the caliber, and how the stock has been adjusted.
All of the FX FT models have a number of common features. Chief among these is a fully adjustable alloy stock with adjustable grip, cheek piece, length of pull, and butt pad. Basically, these guns are designed so that you can tweak the ergonomics so that you can feel completely comfortable, whether you are shooting field target or bench rest. In addition, each of these air rifles includes a precision air regulator that keeps the velocity of the pellets extremely consistent from shot to shot. Each Royale FT also features a multi-shot magazine that is self-indexing, a three-position power wheel, a pressure gauge and highly effective sound moderator. Finally, each FX FT includes a match trigger that can be highly adjusted to the shooter’s preference, all the way down to a few ounces.
The model that I tested was the FX Royale 400 Field Target in .22 caliber and was fresh from the Extreme Benchrest competition. It was fitted with a Hawke 8.5-25 sidewheel scope, and the entire rig was impressive. I don’t think the fit and finish could be improved upon, and the whole thing felt incredibly solid, as if it had been machined out of a solid block of metal.
It launched 15.9 gr. JSB pellets at an average of 928.5 fps, and the report was remarkably subdued for an air rifle that was making slightly over 30 foot-pounds of energy. It makes a kind of “fap” noise that doesn’t sound at all like a shot and should not annoy the neighbors.
Included with the rifle was a machine rectangle of metal that could be attached to the front rail for benchrest shooting, but I didn’t mess with that. Instead, I laid the forestock in the crease of my Caldwell Tackdriver bag and started launching some pellets. At 13 yards, the results were predicable: a tiny group, but what really surprised me was that, at 33 yards, the FX FT would usually put three out of five 18-grain JSB pellets through the same hole! I tried a couple of times to pull off a 33-yard, 5-shot, one-hole group, but I couldn’t quite manage it. Either I would yank a shot ever so slightly or the wind would kick up (I was shooting in early December), and the group was “ruined.”
I really enjoyed shooting the FX FT. I think it would be a lot of fun to shoot in competition, and I also think it would be a delight to shoot as a long-range varminter.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott