I was out a couple times this weekend, getting some practice with my guns before we leave for the Eastern Cape. This weekend I focused on the FX Boss, which is going to be my gun for small game up to predators, and maybe the mini-antelope. As you probably know, this is an upsized version of the Royale, which is a superb rifle in its own right. I usually take a .22 or .25 for my small game needs, then pack a .308 and a .50 (or .457) caliber (shooting cast bullets) for bigger stuff. My plan this year is to use the .303 for this purpose, feeling it will anchor everything up to a jackal without being completely overgunned for Guinea fowl.
A lots been said about the accuracy of this gun, and Fredrik Axelsson (president and design maven for FX) did dominate the field at last years Extreme Benchrest competition with it. As a matter of fact, AOA has opened up the registration for 2013 ERC and this is the rifle I’m going to use at the event in November. I think that the Boss is probably the most accurate air rifle, or at least on a very short list, that I’ve ever shot. Especially when you start to reach out a bit further, I’ve printed several MOA 100 yard groups with the Boss when shooting off a rest. However, this weekend I shot either standing, kneeling or sitting at 40 and 50 yards, or off of sticks at 50 and 75 yards. This is more representative of what I can expect when in the field, so my results say more about my ability to shoot the gun accurately than the inherent accuracy of the rifle.
The ergonomic design of the gun helps wring the most from the proprietary smooth twist barrel, the thumbhole stock is very comfortable and provides a consistent hold and a excellent sight alignment from any shooting position. The trigger on this gun is an absolute pleasure; it is a light, crisp two stage design that is fully adjustable and breaks at about 14 oz on my gun. The trigger is a post with a trigger-shoe style blade, that fits the pad of the finger perfectly. I found that when I moved between guns the Boss’s trigger spoiled me for the other rifles, and it took me a few shots to acclimate. I’ll have to keep that in mind as I move between guns on the hunt.
The 500 cc air bottle in the forestock configuration provides a lot of air, which is good in a larger caliber air hungry design. I got up to 50 usable shots per 250 bar fill, but noticed a marked shift in POI at about the 40th shot. If your going to shoot this gun you’ll need a 300 BAR tank and a place to fill it, this is definitely not a gun you’ll routinely want to fill with a handpump. I think the sidelever cocking action is probably one of the fastest to cycle, and on this gun it is as smooth as glass. The 9 shot magazine is an “on steroids” version of the standard Royale magazine, and holds 9 pellets. In my shooting to date, it is has been very reliable. The magazines load the same as for the Royale, the first pellet is loaded skirt first, then flipped over with subsequent pellets going in head first. Even tough easy and quick to load, I’m going to order a couple more magazines for fast reloads in the field.
I have both the 50.1 and the 46.3 FX and JSB pellets that generate approximately 830 and 860 fps respectively, producing about 75 fpe. This is not an exceedingly powerful 30 caliber gun, which is why the relatively light weight Diabolo style pellets are such a well suited projectile for it. I’ve shot jackrabbits at 100 yards and bobcats at 50, and the gun is very effective both in terms of the terminal performance and ability to place the shot exactly where it needs to go.
I don’t know another way to describe the accuracy of this gun than to say it is phenomenal. Based on my experience with this gun to date, I have complete confidence that out to 100 yards, I can hit the kill zone with every shot, whether I’m shooting at a prairie dog or something bigger.
I just got home from Scotland on Friday, after a week of meetings in Edinburgh. I’d wanted to visit an airgun shop while in the UK, but couldn’t find anything within a couple of hours of the city. Scotland has enacted some pretty restrictive airgun laws recently, and I can’t help but think this has caused businesses to shut down. I’d been to an outdoors shop there several years back that had a nice selection of airguns, but those seem to be the “good old days”.
We continue the countdown for our departure to South Africa. We’ve got the invite letters from our outfitter, the South African Police (SAP) forms, and out temporary export licenses on our guns from US customs. I’ll be flying out to Atlanta and meeting up with the other guys flying in from Phoenix, then we fly to Johannesburg and on to Port Elizabeth together. I always like to travel in with the guys hunting with me the first time, to help them get through the formalities.
That’s all for this week, hope you all get out to do some shooting and well sync up next week!