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Gun test: FX Impact

PUBLISHED: 15:50 07 December 2016 | UPDATED: 15:50 07 December 2016

In the shoulder the Impact feels like no other rifle

In the shoulder the Impact feels like no other rifle

Archant

Phill Price takes a second look at this complex and brilliant rifle

Some novel support bags were needed to get the Impact stable on the benchSome novel support bags were needed to get the Impact stable on the bench

My first impression of the FX Impact super-gun was that it is quite possibly the most adaptable and innovative airgun I’ve ever seen.

My test rifle is a high-power version, supplied to me with a .25 and .30 calibre barrel, which pleased me no end because they allowed me to experiment with the calibres I know least well. Of course, you could choose the 12ft.lbs. version and .177 or .22 barrels as well, but to see just how flexible the rifle is, the high-power version appealed.

The Impact has a high cheek piece because the action goes straight back, rather than dropping down as most sporting rifles do. Despite the raised scope rail section, I needed to fit Sportsmatch high mounts to see through the scope. I later found that even these were not high enough for my implausibly huge head, so I had to ask Sportsmatch to supply their Weaver 11mm riser blocks so I could adopt a somewhat natural head position. With the scope mounted too low, I was forcing my head position and that’s not good at all over a long shooting session. The risers added 13mm to the scope height and relaxed my neck no end.

I needed riser blocks and high mounts to see through the scope properlyI needed riser blocks and high mounts to see through the scope properly

With the fit adapted to suit my body, I set about some accuracy tests. The Impact recoiled far less than the FX Wildcat bullpup I’d tested recently. The greater mass and far more weight at the muzzle meant the sight picture hardly moved as each pellet was launched. At the right setting, the muzzle energy of the two guns was similar. but the extra forward weight of the Impact made for a more forgiving rifle to shoot.

Despite a fickle wind, I was soon getting 1” to 1 1/2” groups at 50 yards, so I decided to try using the power adjuster to launch the .25 calibre, 25.4 grain pellets at velocities from 700 to 940 fps to see if I could find a ‘sweet spot’ velocity. Much to my surprise, I didn’t. The group sizes stayed similar whatever the velocity, with the wind playing the biggest factor in group size.

The power adjuster has a real affect on velocity at every stepThe power adjuster has a real affect on velocity at every step

I found this interesting as I’ve often wondered if big heavy pellets, fired fast enough, could ignore the wind, and from these results it seems to me that the answer is ‘no’.

Sure, the big .25 or .30 pellets arrive with impressive impact energy, but I know only accurate pellet placement kills cleanly and no amount of extra airgun energy can affect that.

Despite the massive muzzle energy, the Impact remains benignly quiet with the trombone-style silencer fully extended. The rifle feels quite light and handy on the move, although my standard complaint about not being able to fit a sling comes up. If it were mine, I’d have to find a way to fit one because I simply cannot carry a rifle in my hands for three or four hours without adding to my fatigue, which makes for poor accuracy and the increased chance of wounding my quarry.

This shows the height relationship of the cheek piece and scopeThis shows the height relationship of the cheek piece and scope

The huge, carbon-fibre buddy bottle can be safely filled to 250bar to deliver 100 full power shots in .25, which is mind-blowing. That’s enough for a full night’s lamping from a truck with no need to refill.

Satisfied that I understood the .25 set-up, I swapped to the .30 calibre barrel, which is child’s play. You unscrew a small thumb wheel and then the .25 barrel pulls out. The .30 barrel goes in and you do up the thumb wheel. The barrels run though a series of ‘O’ rings for support and I found that a light spray of clear silicone lubricant made inserting them far easier and should reduce wear on the rings.

A light spray of silicone made fitting barrels much easierA light spray of silicone made fitting barrels much easier

Next, I needed to swap the probe that seats the pellets. This requires unscrewing a 2mm grub screw and, again, is dead easy. Load up the .30 magazine and the job is done.

I zeroed the rifle on the lowest power setting and dialled up full power. This caused noticeable recoil and an increase in noise, but it’s still acceptably quiet. The impact point moved up unsurprisingly and also 2” to the left - interesting. Accuracy was similar to the .25 barrel, but the noise of the pellet burying itself into the soil was much louder. The .30 pellets weigh 46.3 grains and feel huge as you handle them. My usual .177 Air Arms Field pellets seem impossibly tiny by comparison.

I chronographed the .30 at each power setting, and velocity ranged from a rather leisurely 623 fps on minimum power all the way up to a stunning 845 fps, which equals over 73 ft.lbs. No wonder they land with such a thump!

I noticed the thumb wheel that locks the barrels in worked loose a couple of timesI noticed the thumb wheel that locks the barrels in worked loose a couple of times

This makes it one of the most powerful airguns on offer in the UK, but I’m not quite sure what you’d do with it. It’s a lot of power to shoot a rabbit and perhaps, you might say, overkill. I wouldn’t shoot squirrels or birds in trees with this. The outfall range and energy are too high to be safe. Some people claim it’s powerful enough to take foxes, but it’s not an animal I’d tackle with it.

My choice would be to select the .22 barrel and dial in around 900fps, keep pushing the velocity up until accuracy deteriorated, and then back it off until the accuracy was at its best. This is where this gun is so versatile. You can have any calibre except .20 and then optimise the velocity to get the best accuracy.

Of course, you need to like the M16 looks and handling, but the rifle was instantly liked by everybody I showed it to, so I think that’s a given.

It’s an extraordinary rifle and ASI is selling them as fast as they can get them. Stunning looks are backed up with leading-edge engineering and manufacture. It’s truly state of the art, and I can see why people are clamouring to buy them, but you’d expect nothing less from FX.

SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: FX Airguns

Importer: ASI Guns

Model: Impact

Type: Pre-charged pneumatic

Length: 30” (76cm)

Weight: 7lbs (3.2kg)

Trigger: Two-stage adjustable

Shots per fill: .25 100 .30 40

Fill pressure: 250 bar

Extra barrel: £275.00

Spare magazine: £65.00

RRP: £1,644.00

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