To ready the Gladiator Mk II for shooting, attach the filling probe to a SCUBA tank or high pressure pump, slide it into the filling port at the end of the forward air tube, and slowly fill the Mk II to 220 bar.
Next, load the rotary magazine. You’ll notice that the Gladiator now uses the same magazines as the FX Royale. Start by turning the transparent lid to the magazine counterclockwise until it stops. Put one pellet in the open slot on the rear side of the magazine so that the tip of the pellet is pointing out of the hole. This locks the magazine spring in place.
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. Lock the lid in its starting position.
Next, pull the bolt lever all the way back and insert the magazine, black side toward the muzzle, into the breech from the right side. Now, this is where life got interesting for me while testing the Gladiator Mk II. When I mounted the first scope, the magazine hit the “saddle” of the scope (the bulge where the elevation and windage knobs are mounted) when I tried to slide the magazine into the breech. So, down into the workshop again and I mounted another scope. This one slide into the breech slot, but I couldn’t get the bolt to work properly. I called Airguns of Arizona, and Kip helpfully walked me through the process until I could finally figure out that the magazine was hitting the tube of the scope so that it couldn’t be seated all the way home (almost, but not quite). Finally, a third scope with higher mounts fit properly, and the magazine slid into place.
Push the bolt forward, flick off the safety, and squeeze the trigger. The first stage required only 9 ounces on the sample that I tested. At 1 lb. 2.2 oz., the shot went down range. This a phenomenal trigger, light and crisp, that feels a lot like a match trigger.
On high power, the Mk II launches 18.1 gr. JSB pellets at average of 855 fps, or 29.38 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle; medium power, 655 fps and 17.24 fp, and low power, 499 fps and 14.42 fp. The good folks at Airguns of Arizona tell me that the Mk II will deliver 95 shots per fill on high power and an astonishing 190 shots on lower power.
And the accuracy? Well, the accuracy is just fine. At 30 yards 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.
Yup, if I were in the vermin control business and needed an air rifle that required a minimum of ancillary equipment for a day’s shooting, I think the FX Gladiator Mk II would be number one on my list.
Til Next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott