Posts Tagged ‘pcp’

The Omega CTF75 carbon fiber tank.

Here at El Rancho Elliott, I probably have at least one example of every single type of airgun powerplant. There are things I like about each type of airgun powerplant, and some things that I’m not so crazy about.

For example, airguns that are powered by 12-gram CO2 cartridges are excellent for family shooting because the cocking effort is usually very low and are convenient because all you need to do is throw a handful of cartridges and a tin of pellets in your pockets, and you’re good to go. The downside of the CO2 powered guns is that their performance can suffer if the temperature drops below 50 degrees or rises well above 90.

Similarly, the good part about spring-piston airguns is that they deliver a fair amount of power for a single cocking stroke. The shortcoming is that you have to deal with the weird recoil of the springer powerplant. And so on.

When it comes to precharged pneumatic airguns, the big why-to-buy is that they are the accuracy champs and generally easy to shoot well. The disadvantage is that they have to be refilled periodically using a high pressure pump or SCUBA tank . . .  which brings us to today’s subject.

For almost a decade now, I have had an 80 cubic foot aluminum SCUBA tank that I have used exclusively for filling and refilling precharged pneumatic air rifles and pistols. The guy at the SCUBA shop regards me with deep suspicion (even though I am a certified diver) because this tank has never been in the water and in fact has never been mounted in a dive harness. “It’s just not right,” he says.

I finally bought him around to my way of thinking by bringing in one of the precharged guns to show him. “At 50 yards, this gun will put pellet after pellet in a group you can cover with a nickel,” I said. He reckoned that was pretty neat (he shoots black powder), and I pointed out that, as the owner of a dive shop, he wouldn’t have to worry about a plentiful supply of air.

But I have a love/hate relationship with my insect green aluminum SCUBA tank. It seems like every time I turn around the thing needs to inspected or “hydroed,” which means an extra charge and delay in addition to the normal fill-up.  Further, my aluminum tank can be charged only to 3,000 psi. Most precharged airguns take a standard fill of 3,000 psi. So that means as soon as you charge just one air rifle off the 3,000 psi aluminum tank, you will have knocked the pressure in the tank down some. The next gun that you need to fill you will not be able to fill all the way to 3,000 psi, and with each succeeding fill, the pressure will be a little bit less. This will continue until the pressure in the tank will get down to, say, 2,000 psi, at which point it will not be useful for filling precharged pneumatic airguns, unless you have to own a low-pressure gun, even though there is quite a lot of air left in the tank.

In addition, my aluminum tank has a standard SCUBA valve and filling yoke attached to it, which mean you need to have a safecracker’s touch to open the valve just a tiny bit so that you can fill the reservoir on your PCP airgun s-l-o-w-l-y.

The slow fill system makes it really easy to fill the reservoir on your airgun slowly, the way you are supposed to.

Not too long ago, the good folks at sent me an Omega CTF75 carbon fiber tank with a slow safe fill system, and I’ve got to say that it has changed my whole attitude about tanks. The tank is about two feet long and weighs 10 lbs empty. It can be filled to 4500 psi, which means that you can fill a lot of airgun reservoirs to 3,000 psi before you are not getting full-pressure fills. This means far fewer trips to the dive shop.

In addition, the slow safe fill system means that airflow into the airgun reservoir is automatically restricted, so you don’t have to worry about inadvertently opening the valve too far. It’s a lovely system, easy to use, and I am already addicted to it.

So, the bottom line for me is as follows: if you plan to shoot PCP air rifles or pistols and are thinking about getting a SCUBA tank for filling your PCP guns, if you have a shop or firehouse that can fill carbon fiber tanks to 4,500 psi, I would heartily recommend the Omega tank. Sure, it’s more money than an aluminum tank, but it is much more convenient and easier to use.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

The Crosman 1720T is the only air pistol that I am aware of that was purpose built for Pistol Field Target. It can be used for unlimited class air pistol silhouette as well.

One of the cool things about being an airgun writer is that occasionally you get to hear some background on a product that you probably might not have known about otherwise.

The Crosman 1720T Target PCP Pistol is a case in point. Russ Page, Crosman product design engineer, was sitting at his desk one day when he gets a call from Ray Apelles. Ray and his father Hans are enthusiastic field target competitors and represent Crosman Corporation at various FT events as “Team Crosman.” Crosman, in turn, supports Ray and Hans with parts, guns, and so forth.

“Pistol field target is growing in popularity,” Ray says, “and we would like a PCP pistol specifically designed for pistol FT. Ideally, it would have a little longer barrel  and more air capacity than the Crosman 1701 silhouette pistol and would shooter faster too – over 700 fps with light pellets and over 600 fps with Crosman Premier Heavies.”

According to Page, “So we built a couple of prototypes using most of the lower from the Marauder and some parts from the silhouette pistol. We had to get a special barrel, a 12-inch choked Lothar Walther barrel, and the result, after some tweaks, is the 1720T.”

The 1720T is quite some air pistol. A single-shot, .177 caliber, precharged pneumatic, it stretches nearly 18 inches from end to end and weighs 2.8 pounds. It is the first pistol that I am aware of that is purpose built for pistol field target.

The 1720T can be set up with the bolt on the left or right hand side.

At the extreme aft end of the 1720T is the black metal bolt which can be set up for right or left hand usage. Below that is the pistol grip which is ambidextrous. Forward of the pistol grip is a push-button safety and a black metal trigger guard which surrounds a gold-colored metal trigger that is fully adjustable. Forward of that is a polymer forestock which has a circular pressure gauge set into the bottom.

The cap at the end of the air reservoir slips off to reveal a male foster fitting for filling the reservoir. The barrel above the reservoir is shrouded for a very neighbor-friendly report.

Above the forestock is air reservoir. At the end is a black plastic cap which slips off to reveal a male foster fitting for charging the 1720T. Above the air reservoir is a shrouded, choked Walther Lothar barrel. Moving back along the barrel, there is a band that connects the air reservoir with the barrel shroud. Moving back again, you’ll find the receiver, which has a dovetail in front of and behind the breech for mounting a scope. There are no sights on the 1720T, so you have to mount a scope or red dot for aiming.

To get the 1720T ready for shooting, charge it to 3,000 psi with a high pressure pump or SCUBA tank. Pull the bolt back, insert a pellet into the breech, and return the bolt to its original position. Click the safety off and squeeze the first stage out of the trigger. This took 1 lb 2.1 oz of effort on the sample I tested. At 2 lbs., 0.3 oz., the shot goes down range. With the shrouded barrel, the report is extremely muted – not dead quiet, but certainly quiet enough for suburban use.

In factory trim, the 1720T launches 7.9 grain pellets at 715-720 fps and will get about 30 shots per fill. It will send 10.5 grain pellets down range at 630-640 fps for the same number of shots. Page says, “You can play with the tuning to get 750 fps with light pellets, but you won’t get as many shots or as flat a shot string.”

The 1720T also comes with an additional transfer port that can be installed by an airgunsmith to lower the velocity to 550 fps with 7.9 grain pellets and about 70 shots per fill.

I shot this 5-shot group at 25 meters (27 yards) off a very casual rest with the 1720T.

In stock factory trim, shooting off a rest, I got a 5 shot group at 27 meters that measured 0.6 inches center to center, and Crosman claims they typically shoot 5 shot groups at 10 meters that measure .375 inches. Clearly, the 1720T has the accuracy necessary for field target and silhouette.

The plastic shoulder stock normally used on the Crosman 1377 pistol turns the 1720T into a very neat and handy ultracarbine. I used this rig to test the 1720T for accuracy.

To test the 1720T for accuracy, I mounted the shoulder stock that is often used on the 1377 pistol (it is not included with the pistol and is available at additional cost from Crosman), and I “discovered” that the 1720T makes a really cool ultracarbine, perfectly suited for defending the birdfeeder.

In short, I think Crosman has come up with a real winner in the 1720T – a pistol suitable for field target, unlimited class silhouette, plinking, or even close range small game hunting. What’s not to like?

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

Wives . . . you gotta look out for them, ‘cause sometimes they will nail you with an insight that is just cosmic in its significance.

Here’s what happened, I was wandering through the house this am when I noticed the book my wife was reading. About two-thirds of the way down the front cover was a cloverleaf which, in this case, was a symbol for the Holy Trinity. For me, though, it brought something else to mind.

“You know,” I said, “just the other day when I was visiting with the airgun benchrest folks, I shot Todd Banks’ air rifle and produced a group just like that – a little tiny cloverleaf. It’s a really, really (I could have added a couple of more reallys) accurate gun.”

“Okay,” she said, “but weren’t you telling someone a story today about a day when you shot two air rifles, got the same crummy results, and concluded that you were the problem?”

“Yeah, so?”

“Well, how do you know that you weren’t shooting extra good when you got that cloverleaf? How do you know if it’s you or the gun?” she asked.

All I could say was: “Wow, sweetie, that is a darn good question . . . a DARN good question . . . how DO you know if it is you or the gun?”

So, in this blog I am going to attempt to make some progress on answering that question, but bear in mind that I don’t claim to have all the answers. So if any of the good readers of this blog have their own methods of sorting out whether it is you or the gun, you are cordially invited to post in the comments section of this blog.

From a theoretical standpoint, I think there are two key concepts in figuring out whether it’s you or the gun: (1) look for common factors and (2) eliminate variables.

Look for common factors. The day on which I shot two guns and got crummy results with both is a classic example of spotting the common factor. I was shooting a springer in the side yard and could not get it to group better than 1.5 inches at 20 yards. I stormed into the house, muttering darkly under my breath: “those darned springers are soooo difficult to shoot well . . .” I then grabbed a precharged rifle which I knew was a tack-driving sonofagun, shot it at 20 yards, and got nearly identical results. What’s the common factor here? The guy behind the trigger.

But if you shoot two different guns and get a good result with one gun and a bad result with the other, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not the cause of the bad result. I had a perfect example of that a few years back at a field target match. One of the fellows was shooting Hunter Division with a springer, and he beat me, fair and square, with a tuned springer. Afterwards, I asked if I could try his gun. I tried six times to drop a large target at close range and failed miserably, so much so that he thought maybe something had broken in his scope. He took the gun from me and promptly dropped the target. The problem was that I wasn’t holding his springer the way that he did. If I wanted to shoot his gun, I would probably have to re-zero it.

Here are some common factors you might look for: are you using the same scope on both guns? (A bad scope can really screw things up.) Are you shooting in conditions that are not typical of what you usually shoot in? (Wind from an unusual direction, even if it isn’t particularly strong, can wreak havoc with accuracy, just ask the benchrest shooters.) Are you using a particular tin of pellets with both guns? (Recently I talked with a shooter who has two “identical” tins of pellets – one shoots true, and the other habitually spirals the shot, and nobody can figure out why.) Have you recently changed your rests or shooting position? (That can mess things up in subtle ways. If you just changed rests and suddenly can’t shoot for beans, try reverting to your old rests and see if that doesn’t cure the problem.) Common factors will, in general, affect all guns that they touch. If it turns out that the common factor is simply that you are having a bad day, there’s hope that on another day things will be better.

The other thing that you have to do if you’re trying to figure out if it is you or the gun is to eliminate variables. With springers, in particular, you have to make sure that your scope mounts and stocks screws are snug. If any of those screws are loose, weird, erratic stuff can happen that can really affect accuracy. It should go without saying that, having made sure that none of the fasteners are rattling, you should test for best pellet by shooting groups off a rest. With precharged pneumatic airguns, make sure that you are charging to the correct pressure for that particular gun. If you are using a scope with a mil-dot reticle or any other reticle with multiple aiming points, make sure that you use those aiming points at the same power every time. If all else fails, try cleaning the barrel.

Every airgun sold by comes with a small pamphlet that I wrote on airgun maintenance. If you ask nicely, I bet they will send you a copy. The tips in there should prove pretty useful.

Okay, now, dear reader, it’s your turn: how do you tell if it is you or the gun?

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott


I find the FX FT very pleasing to the eye.

To ready the FX T12 FT for shooting, attach the filling probe to your high pressure pump or SCUBA tank and charge the reservoir to 200 BAR.

To load the magazine, begin by turning the transparent lid to the magazine counterclockwise until it stops. Put one pellet in the open slot on the rear (black) side of the magazine so that the tip of the pellet is pointing out of the hole. This locks the magazine spring in place.

Next, turn the magazine so that the transparent lid is facing you. Turn the lid clockwise one slot at a time and fill the slots with pellets with the tip of the pellets facing into the hole. When all the slots have been filled, slide the lid back into its starting position.

Pull the bolt lever all the way back and insert the magazine, black side toward the muzzle, into the breech from the right side. When setting up the FX T12 FT, make sure the scope mounts are high enough that no part of the scope interferes with the magazine sliding fully into place. If you are purchasing an FX T12 FT and scope from Airguns of Arizona, the good folks there can make sure you have the proper height scope rings.


The trigger is light and crisp.

Now you are ready to shoot. Push the bolt forward, flick off the safety, and squeeze the trigger. The first stage required only 10.4 ounces of pressure on the sample that I tested. At 1 lb. 4.4 oz., the shot went down range. This is an excellent trigger that is a pleasure to shoot, and while it is adjustable, I really can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t be delighted with the trigger just as it comes from the factory.

The built-in moderator subdues the report of the FX FT.

The FX T12 FT launches 18.2. JSB pellets at average of 836 fps, or 28.1 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle  and delivers 50 shots per fill with a 35 fps spread. Even with the built-in barrel, there is a significant POP when the shot goes off, but it is not nearly as raucous as one would typically expect from a .22 caliber PCP generating this kind of power. Still, this is not the air rifle you want to be shooting in the back yard while your neighbor is catching up on his sleep from the night shift. But this a hunting gun and out in the field the report should be just fine.

I have yet to test an FX rifle that was anything but a tackdriver, and the FX T12 FT is no exception. At 13 yards, from a casual rest, the FX T12 FT will put pellet after pellet through the same hole. At 30 yards with JSB pellets and fitful winds, I put 5 shots into a group that measured just .625 inch edge to edge. That works out to well under half an inch center to center.

The FX T12 FT is a handsome air rifle that shoots as good as it looks. It should put a smile on the face of any air rifle enthusiast.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

Recently I had the opportunity to speak at length by telephone with Fredrik Axelsson, owner of FX Airguns. This is the second part of that conversation.

JE: So what happened next?

FA: In 2001, I called Ingvar Alm and asked him who should I deal with in America? He said try Airguns of Arizona. Robert Buchanan agreed to have one or two samples of the FX2000 and the Excalibur, and he was over the moon about them. The accuracy is fantastic, he said.

JE: How do you achieve that accuracy?

FA: When I set out to design an airgun or something for an airgun, I don’t look at other people’s stuff at all. When I made my PCP rifle, all the ideas came from myself, and what I came up with was a very small valve and very small striker. That makes a difference. When you pull the trigger, you have very little mass moving inside the gun, compared to other designs. Some of the others have very heavy hammers and valves, and they are almost as bad as a springer when you pull the trigger. As a result, you need to build a heavy gun to compensate for all the mass moving inside it. An FX gun can be relatively lighter because you don’t need to compensate for a heavy valve and striker.

JE: What are some of the other things that have happened during the evolution of FX as a company?

FA: One key event was that I got fed up with the Italian company that was supplying us with stocks, so we started making our own synthetic stocks. That was very hard; we had to select a material that would do the job and build the machines that would make the stocks. At the beginning, that was a big negative, because nobody wanted synthetic stocks, but I didn’t care because at last I had a reliable supply of stocks.

JE: What else?

FA: Later we came up with the power adjuster and interchangeable air tubes. I made the power adjuster for hunting. I wanted to do the ultimate hunting rifle, one that would be quick for reloading and that you didn’t have to shoot at the same power all the time. Here’s the basic idea: at 50-60 meters, you shoot high power; at 30 meters or so, medium power; and if you are shooting pigeons inside a barn at 15 meters and don’t want the pellet to go all the way through, you use low power. Because you’re simply changing the orifice that the air flows through with the rotation of a wheel, you don’t have to fiddle with all the adjustments that you do with some other guns.

JE: How important is the US market to you?

FA: The US market is getting more and more important for us. We look to that more than anything else right now. I think the attitude toward airguns in the US is changing, and the market is growing quite dramatically. I love America because you don’t have restrictions on airguns at all. That’s not the case in Sweden where we are based.

JE: What is your philosophy when it comes to designing airguns?

FA: I do things that appeal to myself, and they seem to appeal to Americans as well. I love to build guns that a harmonious. They are light, quick, and everything works together well. The guns you love are the guns that deliver great accuracy and handle well. If you turn up the power too much, it’s a completely different feeling when you fire it. If you aren’t happy with the power of a .22, you should go to a .25. If you’re not happy with the energy of a .25, you need to go to an even bigger caliber. If you go too fast, you ruin accuracy. I refuse to do bad rifles.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

Recently I had the opportunity to speak at length by telephone with Fredrik Axelsson, owner of FX Airguns.

JE: How did you get involved with airguns?

FA: I had my first airgun when I was five years old. I have been told that I had problems operating that rifle because I was a little too weak, but about a year later, I was an expert and a good shot.

JE: So how was it that you got into the airgun business?

FA: I started making things for the airguns at the end of 1989. I had purchased a .22 caliber English air rifle that was supposed to be a very good one, and I was very disappointed. I wanted to use it for shooting pigeons in a tree (I use a shotgun for flying pigeons but didn’t want to use it for sitting birds). After a couple of months of hunting, the spring broke, and I had done very little actually shooting – a lot of the time you spend sitting and waiting.

So I had the idea of making my own gas ram. I made it, and it was working quite well, but I didn’t like the recoil. So I started thinking about other kinds of air rifles. I did a lot of experiments with CO2 rifles that I made myself, including a 9mm rifle and a 20 gauge air shotgun with replaceable chokes. I also started doing pump-up rifles, then I moved to PCP rifles. I was very interested in air rifles, and it was a natural progression. I’m not Einstein, but I am very interested.  Now I work with airguns every day, and I don’t get bored with it; every day that I get to work with airguns is a good day!

JE: So then what happened?

FA: In 1994, I made the original design for the Independence rifle. I made five of them, I think, and Ingvar Alm had one of them. One of the first problems that I addressed was that with PCP air rifles, you need a diving bottle. Here in Sweden, there isn’t a lot of SCUBA diving. I came up with a three-stage hand pump that opened the door for everyone here to enjoy PCP airguns.

In 1995, I took my ideas to a company in the area where I live, and we started production of the hand pump. Then I took the pump off the Independence, and it became the Axsor rifle, and we sold it to Webley & Scott, and we also made the Timberwolf.

In 1999, I was so fed up with that company that one morning in May, I told the owner “I quit!” and I just walked away, leaving all my patents and everything . . . but I was convinced that air rifles were what I wanted to work on.

JE: Was starting FX Airguns the next chapter in the story?

FA: Yes. In 1999, I started FX Airguns, and I’m very happy about that, because I am in total control. I contacted Webley & Scott, and they said “We have 3,000 Axsor stocks, so whatever you make must fit into that stock. I made the FX2000, and it fit into that stock. In a sense, it wasn’t the rifle I wanted to make then, but it was the rifle I was forced to make by the opportunity that was at hand.

In 2000, I came up with a patent on a new pump and an electrical compressor that year as well. In 2001, we developed the Cyclone.

Next time: FX Airguns coming to America.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

The left side of the FX Royale 200 .25 caliber

To ready the FX Royale 200 Synthetic .25 caliber for shooting, attach the filling probe to your high pressure pump or SCUBA tank and charge the reservoir to 200 BAR.

Now it’s time to load the magazine. Begin by turning the transparent lid to the magazine counterclockwise until it stops. Put one pellet in the open slot on the rear (black) side of the magazine so that the tip of the pellet is pointing out of the hole. This locks the magazine spring in place.

Next, turn the magazine so that the transparent lid is facing you. Turn the lid clockwise one slot at a time and fill the slots with pellets with the tip of the pellets facing into the hole. When all the slots have been filled, slide the lid back into its starting position.

The left side of the receiver.

Pull the bolt lever all the way back and insert the magazine, black side toward the muzzle, into the breech from the right side. Helpful hint: make sure the scope mounts are high enough that no part of the scope interferes with the magazine sliding fully into place. If you are purchasing a FX Royale 200 Synthetic .25 caliber and scope from Airguns of Arizona, they can recommend the proper height scope rings.

Now you are ready to go. Push the bolt forward, flick off the safety, and squeeze the trigger. The first stage required only 11.1 ounces of pressure on the sample that I tested. At 1 lb. 5.3 oz., the shot went down range. This is an excellent trigger that is a pleasure to shoot.

NOTE: The section below has been corrected. I had the wrong shot string. JE

FX Royale 200 Synthetic .25 caliber launches 31.1 gr. H&N Barracuda pellets at average of  800fps, or 44.20  foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle and will deliver 35 usable shots from a fill. Even with the shrouded barrel, there is a significant POP when the shot goes off, but it is not nearly as raucous as one would typically expect from a .25 caliber PCP generating this kind of power. This is clearly not the best choice for stealthy plinking in the back yard without disturbing the neighbors, but for a hunting gun it is just fine.


One other thing I notice while shooting the FX Royale 200 Synthetic .25 caliber is that this air rifle is generating enough power that you can actually start to feel some recoil when the shot goes off. Not some heavy-handed slam in the shoulder, but a gentle push that reminds you that Sir Isaac Newton was right: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. You don’t put .25 caliber pellets down range with the kind of power that this rifle generates without getting some push in the opposite direction.

Like all FX air rifles that I have tested, the FX Royale 200 Synthetic .25 caliber delivers the goods when it comes to accuracy. At 30 yards from a casual rest with JSB Jumbo pellets, I put 5 shots into a group that measured just .625 inch edge to edge. That works out to well under half an inch center to center.

The FX Royale 200 Synthetic .25 caliber is a powerful, handsome air rifle that does everything well. I think any air rifle hunter would be pleased to own one.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

The FX Royale 200 Synthetic .25 caliber is handsome and powerful.

FX airguns enjoy a well-deserved reputation for excellence and accuracy, and the FX Royale 200 Synthetic in .25 caliber is no exception. It is a big airgun – 45.5 inches from end to end – that weighs just 6.7 lbs. and delivers a tremendous wallop, nearly 44 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

The butt pad is adjustable vertically.

Starting at the extreme aft end of the .25 Royale, you’ll find a black rubber butt pad that is adjustable vertically. Just loosen a screw and slide the butt pad up or down to meet your need. The butt pad is attached to an ambidextrous matte black synthetic stock that has a raised comb, cheek piece on either side, and a pronounced thumb notch.

Here's the trigger, breech, and magazine.

Forward of the butt stock, the pistol grip is flared at the end and has ribbing on either side. Moving forward again, the matte black synthetic material of the stock forms a trigger guard that surrounds a black metal trigger. The trigger is adjustable for first stage length of pull, second stage weight of pull, and, if you have tinkered with the trigger adjustments, the safety catch adjustment. The manual warns that “Failure to adjust this screw (the safety catch adjustment) after altering the trigger can result in a non-functioning safety.”

Just ahead of the trigger guard is an allen head bolt that holds the receiver in the stock, and forward of that is a black and white air pressure gauge that is about 7/8 of an inch in diameter. Beyond that, the forestock is relatively unadorned, except for ribbing molded into the polymer on either side.

The air reservoir protrudes nearly a foot beyond the end of the forestock. At the end of air reservoir is a port into which a filling probe is inserted for charging the reservoir. This is the only thing about the .25 Royale that I didn’t like. I personally prefer that air reservoirs be equipped with male Foster fittings. In my experience, they work pretty well, providing a quick and secure connection for filling PCP airguns. I don’t understand why a special filling probe was required but then again I am not an airgun engineer, just an airgun shooter.

Above the reservoir is the fully shrouded barrel. The shroud stretches 25.5 inches from muzzle to where it meets the receiver, but the specifications say that the .25 caliber barrel itself, which is inside the shroud, measures 23.6 inches.

At the aft end of the shroud is the receiver, finished in shiny black with white lettering. On top of the receiver, forward and aft of the breech, are dovetails for mounting a scope. In the middle of the receiver is the breech, which is just barely deep enough to allow loading single pellets by hand and which allows the 11-shot self-indexing .25 caliber rotary magazine to be slid into place.

On the right hand side of the receiver, you’ll find the toggle-action bolt. You cock the action and ready it for the next shot by pulling it full back and then sliding it fully forward again. It’s smooth and easy. Just below the aft end of the cocking lever is the safety.

That’s all there is to the FX Royale 200 Synthetic in .25 caliber. It’s a handsome air rifle with a utilitarian and purposeful look about it. As a .25 caliber, it is most likely to be used as a hunting rifle, and I like that there is no wood to worry about scratching or damaging with moisture. This is a serious tool designed to withstand inclement conditions without serious concern.

Next time, we’ll take a look at how the FX Royale 200 Synthetic in .25 caliber shoots.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

It shoots as good as it looks!

To get the Daystate Huntsman Classic XL ready to shoot, remove the cap at the end of the air reservoir, attach a high pressure pump or SCUBA tank, and charge the reservoir up to 230 BAR maximum.

To remove the 10-shot magazine from the breech, first apply the safety catch. Next, lift the bolt handle at the rear of the breech block and pull it all the way back until fully cocked. Next move the bolt forward just a little bit until you feel a click. Now the magazine can be removed. (If you attempt to remove the magazine before you feel the click, it won’t work.)

There is a lot to like about the Huntsman Classic, but one of the things that I particularly like is the 10-shot rotary magazine. It is, hands down, the easiest to load magazine currently available. There is no twisting of top plates, no dropping in pellets to lock the top plate in place, no clicking your heels and saying “there’s no place like home.”

The magazine is super easy to load.

Instead, all you have to do is drop a pellet head-first into the large hole at the bottom of the backside of the magazine. You have to make sure that the pellet head slips past the o-ring that circles the perimeter of the pellet ring, and sometimes I use the tip of a ballpoint pen to give the pellet a quick poke to do that. Next rotate the pellet ring counter-clockwise to bring the next empty bay in line with the loading port and drop in another pellet. Frankly, it takes longer to describe the procedure than to do it. Continue this one click at a time until all 10 pellets has been loaded. When the magazine is full, slide it back into position in the breech block and return the bolt forward to the closed and locked position. Now you’re good to go.

Take aim at the target, flick the safety off, and start to squeeze the trigger. On the sample that I tested, the first stage required only 9.6 ounces of pressure. At about 1 pound 4.4 ounces, the shot goes off.

The Huntsman Classic XL launches JSB .177 Heavy 10.3 grain pellets at an average of 904 fps, making average energy 18.77 foot pounds. In addition, because of the extra large (that’s what the XL stands for) air reservoir, it delivers over 55 shots on a fill (see the curve below.)  Peak velocity is 918 fps, for 19.35 foot pounds of energy.

The XL produces a surprisingly subdued report. It is by no means completely silent, but it is not nearly as loud as I expected. There is some shrouding in the barrel, which helps to quiet the XL, but the main reason for the relatively quiet report is the Steve Harper designed “slingshot” valve. This patented valve design eliminates the hammer bounce that plagues so many other pre-charged, CO2, and multi-stroke air rifles and air pistols that store gas under pressure and employ a knock-open valve.

Here’s how hammer bounce happens.  When the airgunner triggers the shot, the hammer hits the valve and knocks it open. The very next thing that happens is that the compressed gas inside the reservoir acts like a spring and pushes the valve shut, often with enough force to drive the hammer back off the valve. The hammer then slams back down on the valve and pops the valve open again. When this happens, the gun wastes air (or CO2) and makes a louder report than necessary. Even worse, hammer bounce does absolutely nothing useful, since the pellet has already left the barrel when the hammer bounce occurs.

Because Harper slingshot valve prevents hammer bounce, it produces performance comparable to a computerized Daystate air rifle – including efficient use of air, a very high number of shots per charge, a flat power curve, an ultra-fast firing cycle and a relatively quiet muzzle discharge. As effective as the slingshot system is, it’s also remarkably simple and, therefore is backed by a three-year warranty.

The Huntsman delivers the kind of accuracy that I have come to expect from Daystate air rifles. At 30 yards, under far less than ideal conditions, the XL put five shots into a group you could easily cover with a dime. I expect that, under ideal conditions, it will deliver similar sized groups at 50 yards.

The Daystate Huntsman Classic XL has just about everything any serious airgunner would want: excellent accuracy, high efficiency, a very nice trigger, and a reasonable report . . .  and those good looks don’t hurt either. Who wouldn’t be pleased with an air rifle like that?

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

The Daystate Huntsman Classic XL

Some years ago, very early in my career as an airgun writer, I was taught an important and harsh lesson: when it comes to airgun performance, looks don’t matter. The gun in question was a Beeman Crow Magnum. It had been loaned to me, and when I pulled it from the box, I fell instantly in love. The exotic hardwood stock was a thing of beauty, and the bluing on the metal work looked like it was a foot deep. After just one look, I was already making plans to justify purchasing such an expensive springer.

As soon I shot the Crow Magnum, I rapidly changed my mind. I couldn’t adapt to the recoil of the powerful Theoben gas-ram powerplant, and I was unable to shoot better than 1.5 inch groups at 10 yards. Beautiful or not, I couldn’t wait to send that gun back to its owner. (Eventually I asked another airgunner who had mastered the Crow Magnum how he did it, and he said that the secret was to “apprentice yourself to the Crow Magnum and don’t shoot anything else. When you do that, the Crow Magnum shoots as good as it looks.”)

Having said all that, I would be less than forthright if I didn’t admit that I was taken with the looks of the Daystate Huntsman Classic XL in .177. It is a beautiful air rifle that stretches 38 inches from end to and weighs just a bit over six pounds.  The version that I tested was designated “XL,” which means that it has an extra-large air reservoir to extend the shot count per fill, although the folks at Airguns of Arizona tell me that the short air tube version actually out-sells the XL. Go figure.

The ventilated butt pad and other goodies.

At the extreme aft end of the XL is a ventilated rubber butt plate attached to a Walnut stock with a black spacer. The stock is right-handed and has a distinct cheek piece on the left hand side of the stock. Forward of the buttstock is the pistol grip, which is checkered on both sides and is fitted with the rosewood cap and a lighter colored spacer.

The trigger group, bolt, and magazine.

Ahead of the pistol grip is a metal trigger guard with a silver-colored metal trigger inside. The two-stage trigger is adjustable for second stage weight, trigger blade angle, and first stage travel. Above the trigger guard, on either side of the stock, the Daystate name and emblem are incised into the stock. Ahead of the trigger assembly is an allen screw for holding the action in the stock, and just ahead of that is an air gauge that reads in bar.

Moving toward the muzzle again, the forestock is checkered on either side. At the end of the forestock are a barrel band and a black metal cap, which when removed, reveals a foster fitting for filling the air reservoir. Above the air reservoir is the matte black finished barrel which is shrouded to reduce the report of the XL. At the end of the barrel is a cap that can be unscrewed for fitting a silencer where legal.

Traveling back along the barrel, you’ll find the receiver, which has dovetails for fitting a scope, the breech – where the ten-shot rotary magazine can be inserted – and the silver-finished bolt handle. Below the bolt handle on the left side of the receiver is the rotary safety. Flick the red anodized tab UP for fire and DOWN for safe.

Next time, we’ll see how the Daystate Huntsman Classic XL shoots.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott