Hunting with the Dreamliner Lite
PUBLISHED: 13:11 09 October 2019
Mick Garvey is in dreamland – in more ways than one
Many moons ago, in a place far, far away, I met an interesting foreigner who said, 'I have a dream … for you.' Well, actually, it was back in February and the place was Birmingham; the NEC to be more exact, and the event was the British Shooting Show. The man in question was no other than Johan Axelsson from FX Airguns. I have been in contact with Johan for a few years now, we have always got on very well and I just cannot get enough of their air rifles.
I knew he was attending the show and I was eager to chat with him about the new products that were in the pipeline, especially the Dreamline range of rifles, but my immediate query was whether or not I could reveal the Wildcat Compact in these very pages because before this could happen, the retailers had to have them in stock.
Well, after meeting with Johan, our very own Terry Doe, Edward and Tony from ASI, I was given the green light so I was as happy as a sandboy and ready to grill my Swedish friend on the new line of products. However, before I had a chance, I heard these words; "Mick, I have a Dream … line for you." I must have stood there like a shop dummy in amazement. Words failed me for a minute, and then I asked if he was serious. He was, and my mind raced with thoughts of what I had seen on the interweb.
A modular gun with so many guises, the Dreamline Lite is a skeletal rifle which can be 'modulated' into various styles, including compact, bullpup, tactical and more. I would be receiving the Lite model, which suited me fine because I intended to change and swap out various parts in forthcoming issues, to give you an idea of what to expect.
Getting to grips
I was that keen on getting my hands on the 'Dreamer' that I actually made the 181-mile journey to the brilliant guys at ASI. This included traffic jams for roadworks, and an accident, giving me a one-way journey time of five hours, but I wasn't deterred and arranged to call in on my Norfolk relatives for the weekend. It's always good to see the family but all the time I was thinking of getting to grips with the Dreamer.
I had a Hawke Airmax 4-16 x 50 Compact on its way from Jamie at Deben, which would complement the lightweight FX perfectly. The Dreamer weighs in at an unbelievable 2.6kg unscoped, so the light Hawke would be the perfect match … I hoped.
I have to give a massive thanks to Edward and Tony at ASI for working with me on this, along with Johan from FX, also Jamie for getting the scope out to me in double-quick time.
So some info on the Dreamer: It's a .22 FAC model with a dovetail scope-mounting system, which is not my favourite attachment set-up, but I will be addressing this later. There is an underslung Picatinny rail on the main block for a bipod, an so on. The barrel is fully shrouded and threaded for a moderator; the shroud does quieten the bark down somewhat, but it really does need additional silencing. This will be provided by the very impressive Donny FL Sumo. I also met Donny at the BSS19, and we had a good talk about the various moderators he produces. I also need to thank Donny for working with me, and for his support since our meeting. We often chat on social media and I'm looking forward to meeting up with him again sometime very soon.
Now I have a confession to make. When I opened the Dreamer box, I found a magazine I had not seen before and thought that I'd been given the wrong one. I'd studied various Internet videos on the Dreamer and all showed the old-style mag' from the FX Crown - a plastic affair with a removeable clear cover. It took a while, but a quick call to Johan confirmed that it was the new Side-Shot mag'. I was aware of the Side-Shot, but hadn't seen it yet, so with a gasp of relief I was back to having a play with my new FX.
I have to gush about the silky smooth cocking action. This has to be the smoothest action I have ever had the pleasure of cocking - with or without the mag' it remained silky smooth. The current models come with a little plastic tube that acts as a barrel stabiliser because the barrel is a fully floating affair, and although only 500mm long, does appear and feel longer, and is definitely not truck friendly!
I found that without the stabiliser, the weight of the Donny Sumo caused the barrel to droop, so I ordered one along with a couple of mag's. Be aware that you need to have the FX Crown mag's and not the FX Impact ones because they feed into the action from opposite sides, and although they fit the angled bottom edge of the mag' slot, the mag' will sit far too high and send the scope way up, so make sure you order Crown mag's.
The new Side-Shot mag's work very well and I have had no issues with them. You no longer have to insert the first pellet in backwards; just remove the clear lid, take up the tension, and insert your chosen pellets. I'll be setting the stabiliser toward the front of the barrel when it arrives, and might even use an 'O' ring to avoid any further movement, although I think movement will now be non-existent.
Ready for action
Once home, I started the build-up, but the Airmax Compact threw me a curve ball because it was too compact to sit clear of the mag' slot, and so would interfere with the mag' itself when set up for the required eye relief.
So, I was back on the phone to Jamie at Deben, ordering a two-part dovetail-to-Picatinny adapter. When it arrived, I set it up on the rear part of the Dreamer's dovetail, and now had just enough clearance for the mag' and the needed eye relief. I am toying with the idea of fitting a fixed x10 Hawke Sidewinder in place of the Compact, but we will see about that. The set-up was complemented with a Deben fixed 9-13 bipod, and I was now ready for the hunting fields.
Ten minutes in
I'd returned to my most favourite wood for some squirrel action, and the weather was warming up nicely and I knew I had to make an early start. I had taken care of topping up the two feeders I had chosen for the air attack, together with a good spreading of loose feed, so I knew I would be 'among them' the following day. It had been a while and the fiasco surrounding the recent general licence had kept me out of the woods. I know the skinnies weren't affected by the General Licence revocation, but anyone with 'anti' views could have seen me and thought I was shooting avian pests, so it was better to be safe than sorry. With the GL now sorted, though, I was free to carry out my pest control for crop protection, at will.
It was obvious that the feeders had been visited because the feed was all over the scratched ground and the peanuts were conspicuous by their absence...squirrels!
Ten minutes in and I had my first one. It had come from the left, as usual, and was sitting on top of my feeder, merrily picking peanuts from the mix. A straightforward 34-yard headshot brought it down like a stone. I left this one out because I didn't want to present myself to any watching greys.
Now this is where I have to do a little boasting. I still had the Pulsar Axion Key thermal spotter and as I scanned the area around my second feeder, I saw something large - a fox, I thought, but then it became obvious that it was no such thing. It was a female roe deer and its fawn. I was gob smacked. I knew they were here because we get a rare sighting whilst foxing, but never with the fawn.
I take full responsibility for this success. I often chase people off this private land and make the whole area a safe haven for these magnificent animals. I was in heaven and felt so proud of what my actions had achieved. I even managed to get a photo of them half hidden in the foliage … great times!
I took a couple of skinnies from this feeder before returning to my first station, and the Axion picked out another feeding grey on my way back, but I had to get into position. Now, I have done this many times and it works well; I walk without moving my arms and take tiny steps; the way we walk differentiates us from any other animal, so cut that out and you have another advantage. I managed to get all the way back to my seat and take the shot without being noticed. I made the decision to stay put and not disturb the deer again, and took another two skinnies and a couple of pigeons from this one hide before deciding to call it a day.
I was happy, to say the least; doe and fawn spotted, six skinnies, two pigeons and a magpie in the bag...a great day!
Nest time, I'll be on the stubble with the Dreamer - and I can't wait for that!
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