Over the last few years I’ve written about several PCP Bullpup rifles, and while I’ve liked some better than others, I often said things about the class like they are good examples of form following function, a good example of the class, but mentioning my preference tends towards carbines when I want a compact gun. Many bullpups I find too heavy, others too chunky, some I don’t love the ergonomics, but I can still appreciate how they would appeal to shooters who’s sense of aesthetics run that way. I am able to use these guns, evaluate and write about them, but I’ve never come across one that breaks into the ranks of my favorite guns.
That may change. In last weeks blog I posted on bullpups in general, saying I was waiting on the delivery of the FX Wildcat in .25, and to my great pleasure it arrived the next day.With respect to some of the standard caliber bullpups I’ve used, I liked the Crickets overall design and thought the ergonomics were pretty good, but all three of the guns I had to shoot were fidgety with feeding problems and I found them pellet sensitive. The Evanix Bullpups are powerful, accurate and I liked the side lever, semi, and full auto versions, but they are chunky, heavy, the semi/full auto version wasn’t good for the cold weather I hunt in. The Snowsummit P-12 surprised me, a budget version accurate, powerful, and a nicely proportioned stock at a budget price, but the bolt action positioned behind the shooters cheek made it hard to cycle without dismounting. A couple of the custom Marauder bullpups I shot had all the positives of the full sized rifle with respect to performance, but they tended to by chunky with an awkwardly placed bolt. Now don’t get me wrong, none of these critiques are meant to imply I disliked the guns altogether, and I felt several (maybe most) offered a solid hunting platform. It’s just none of them offered the complete package necessary to pull me away from my compact little hunting carbines.
My last few days with the Wildcat may force me to reexamine this position. The guns ergonomics are really outstanding: compact, lightweight, the guns comes to shoulder with a perfect fit. The cocking uses a sidelever that is smooth as silk and features an articulated cocking handle. But what sets it apart if the fact that FX has managed to position the cocking handle in front of the trigger allowing for the fastest cycling manual bullpup I’ve shot. The two stage trigger would be very good in a quality full sized rifle, but in a bullpup it’s as rare as common sense in Washington. On a 215 BAR fill (the Wildcat fills to 230 BAR but my local fill source has not been able to fully charge my tanks recently) I’ve been getting about 50 usable shots, but in a four (eight pellet) clip sweet spot am only seeing about an 8 fps spread, with the FX .25 caliber pellets hovering around the 910 fps range. So having power in the xxxx fpe range is great, the ability to deliver pellet after pellet exactly where you want them to go is what brings it all together! I set up a baby sized prairie dog target first at 40 yards then at 65 yards, and put 8 shots into one fat hole at 40 yards, then the next 32 pellets into the kill zone at 65 yards on every shot!
This is the first time I am using a gun of this persuasion and not thinking of it as a bullpup, but rather a very solid hunting gun that happens to be a bullpup. The rifle appears able it realize it’s full potential to be a great compact hunter, it doesn’t seem to make any compromises. Over the coming weeks I am taking the gun along on a few upcoming hunts in target rich opportunities (prairie dogs and Eurasian doves) and will make it my primary squirrel gun in the upcoming season. So stay tuned, I’ll be bringing you some real world experience as I gain it.
Other than shooting the Wildcat, I’ve been working on enhancing my office/gun/trophy room and on my basement range and filming studio. I am getting all set for the cold months of winter, after the hunting seasons has ended. This is the time when I do my chrony work, look at different pellets, test trigger, strip guns down, (try) some rebuilds, and do all that busy work that I don’t want to give up field time in the hunting seasons for. Would be interested in seeing what you guys are doing for indoor shooting ranges, and am always looking for good ideas to enhance my own. Maybe in one of the upcoming blog posts we can take a closer look at what I’ve built. The fact that the right set up lets you put hundreds, or even thousands, of pellets through your hunting guns in the off-season is a benefit the vast majority of powder burners will never get.
Also getting ready for my 8th airgunning safari to South Africa, and was on Skype this morning with my friends on the Eastern Cape planning out the session. Were going to focus on some coastal and some mountain properties so that I can get a chance for some of the last species of plains game I have not yet taken. But we’ll also spend a lot of time predator hunting for jackal and lynx, and of course the array of small game species. For the first time I am going with the intention of shooting video footage of all the small game species for my YouTub channel.
That’s about it for this week, hope you’re all having a great summer and be back with you soon!