ED’S TEST

FX CROWN

Airgun World - - Contents -

The Crown from FX Airguns of Swe­den isn’t a ri­fle, so much as a con­fig­urable shoot­ing sys­tem, where, in ad­di­tion to the height and hor­i­zon­tal align­ment ad­just­ments avail­able from the stock’s cheek piece, and more of the same in the ver­ti­cal plane from the butt pad, there’s a per­fectly tune­able, match-style trig­ger. Th­ese fea­tures are im­por­tant, es­pe­cially when you take gun fit as se­ri­ously as you should, but I’m obliged to con­cede that, for once, they take a back seat com­pared to what else the FX Crown has up its sleeve.

That sleeve not only shrouds the ri­fle’s fully-float­ing – fixed at the breech only - bar­rel it also cov­ers an en­tire in­ter­change­able bore and pel­let probe sys­tem that can ac­com­mo­date .177, .22, .25 and .30 cal­i­bres within the same ac­tion. Swap­ping bar­rels is a mat­ter of loos­en­ing the twin fix­ing screws, as shown in the in­struc­tions, then slid­ing out the en­tire bar­rel as­sem­bly, sleeve and all, be­fore re­plac­ing it with a dif­fer­ent cal­i­bre bar­rel. The pel­let probe is then swapped over and the ri­fle is a mag­a­zine change away from be­ing ready to dial into its new cal­i­bre.

SMOOTH-TWIST X

Wel­come to the Smooth-twist X bar­rel, which is the very lat­est pro­gres­sion of the Smoothtwist con­cept and while its unique ‘ri­fling’ is ap­plied from out­side the bore in a sim­i­lar man­ner to the orig­i­nal method, the ‘X’ process is dif­fer­ent and the ri­fling is present through­out the en­tire length of the bore.

That’s about all I can tell you about the gen­er­a­tion X ver­sion of Smooth-Twist, other than FX Airguns’ owner and ge­nius-in­res­i­dence, Fredrik Ax­els­son, has also de­vel­oped var­i­ous twist rates for it and th­ese are matched to a se­lec­tion of the best­per­form­ing pel­lets avail­able. The re­sult of all this bar­rel tech­nol­ogy is an abil­ity not only to change cal­i­bres to suit the sit­u­a­tion and pref­er­ence, the Crown owner can also mix and match the ri­fle’s bore to suit a par­tic­u­lar pel­let. Oh, but there’s so much more on of­fer, here.

AD­JUSTABLE EVERY­THING

Once you’ve de­cided on the cal­i­bre you pre­fer, a fur­ther hat-trick of hi-tech op­tions of­fer more con­trol over this ri­fle’s per­for­mance than I’ve ever en­coun­tered on any sporter. Please turn your at­ten­tion to the twin di­als on the left-hand side of the Crown’s breech block. The for­ward dial pro­vides cal­i­bre-spe­cific set­tings for op­ti­mum air­flow, plus a uni­ver­sal ‘LOW’ set­ting for train­ing pur­poses. With those es­sen­tials es­tab­lished, the rear dial con­trols the ten­sion of the in­ter­nal ham­mer spring, and thereby gov­erns how hard the Crown’s striker im­pacts the reg­u­la­tor’s air-re­lease mech­a­nism, and in turn, how much air is de­liv­ered for each shot. This gov­erns the muz­zle en­ergy and by now it should be pretty ob­vi­ous that this ri­fle’s main mar­ket will be UK air­gun­ners with firearms cer­tifi­cates, and the over­seas mar­ket, al­though there’s def­i­nitely a place for the Crown in the wide world of 11-plus per­for­mance. Be­fore we ex­plore the po­ten­tial ap­pli­ca­tion of this tech­nol­ogy in a sub-12 ft.lbs. for­mat, there’s an­other ma­jor ad­just­ment to be con­sid­ered.

REG­U­LAT­ING THE REG­U­LA­TOR

The FX Crown is a fully-reg­u­lated ri­fle, in that each shot is pow­ered by a pre­cisely me­tered ‘pulse’ of air, drawn from the main sup­ply. Thus, if you’re go­ing to change the en­ergy

out­put of this ri­fle, you’ll need to change the set­ting on its reg­u­la­tor. This is a sim­ple process but the in­struc­tions pro­vided must be fol­lowed to the let­ter. I can­not stress too strongly – this is NOT a ri­fle for those who pre­fer to tin­ker first and read the man­ual when they get in trou­ble. If you tweak the Crown’s reg’ the wrong way, you could se­ri­ously dam­age it, and I prom­ise you the tech­ni­cians at FX will know ex­actly what you’ve done and your war­ranty will be in dire peril. Do not, not even once, at­tempt to do any­thing with this ri­fle be­fore you study its man­ual. You have been warned.

Once you’ve ab­sorbed the cor­rect pro­ce­dure, ad­just­ing the Crown’s reg­u­la­tor pres­sure takes less than two min­utes, and even I can do it with no bother at all. This par­tic­u­lar reg’ can be set to op­er­ate at pres­sures from 55 bar to 150, ac­cord­ing to your needs and at which en­ergy set­ting your cho­sen pel­lets pre­fer.

THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT

Now all you have to do is de­cide if you want the ad­justable-vol­ume bar­rel shroud mod­er­a­tor ex­tended, or not. Yes, re­ally. The test ri­fle was a .177 cal­i­bre, sub-12 model and I hon­estly couldn’t de­tect that much dif­fer­ence in muz­zle noise wher­ever I set the shroud, but I’m sure that dif­fer­ence would be more marked in the Crown’s high-power modes. Be­sides, once I’d ex­plored all of the fea­tures you’ve just read about, I was yearn­ing for the sim­ple life and just wanted to load up the ri­fle’s 21-shot mag­a­zine and get some shoot­ing done.

THOSE MAIN FEA­TURES

As is usual th­ese days, the Crown’s lam­i­nated, am­bidex­trous, thumb­hole stock is sup­plied by Ital­ian spe­cial­ists, Minelli to the specifications pro­vided by FX Airguns. In ad­di­tion to the ad­justable op­tions al­ready men­tioned, this stock of­fers a ‘thumb up’ po­si­tion for the trig­ger hand, and that’s some­thing I be­lieve greatly as­sists trig­ger con­trol. This trig­ger is sim­ply su­perb, with mi­cro-tweaks avail­able for weight of pull and length of first stage. The grub screws that trans­mit th­ese ad­just­ments are a bit awk­ward to ac­cess and you might wish to re­move the stock be­fore do­ing so, but how­ever you do it, please take the time to get this trig­ger ab­so­lutely as you want it, and that very much in­cludes the po­si­tion of the trig­ger shoe. At this level of per­for­mance, and let’s face it, cost, shot-re­lease should be al­most a sub­lim­i­nal process, rather than a de­lib­er­ate mus­cu­lar ac­tion, and if you think that sounds poncy, then you’re not yet cruis­ing at the right men­tal al­ti­tude. This FX Crown de­mands your full at­ten­tion, from ini­tial set-up of stock and ac­tion, through op­ti­mum pel­let se­lec­tion, to your duty to get your­self into the best shoot­ing form of your life to make the most of what’s on of­fer here.

HUGE CA­PAC­ITY

A de­tach­able, 480cc, car­bon-fi­bre buddy bot­tle houses the Crown’s air sup­ply and each 250 bar (3,600 p.s.i.) charge will power over 400 shots at the .177 test ri­fle’s 11.6 ft.lbs., or over 450 shots at sim­i­lar power in .22. With the Crown’s ac­tion cranked to the max, suit­ably tick­eted air­gun­ners can con­fi­dently ex­pect muz­zle en­er­gies of 30 ft.lbs. in .22, ris­ing to 45 in .25, and a ro­bust 82 in .30 cal­i­bre. I’ll get the full out­put spec’, plus the an­swers to any ques­tions aris­ing from this ini­tial test, di­rectly from Fredrik Ax­els­son when I catch up with him at this year’s IWA show in Nurem­berg, and th­ese will be re­ported in my fol­low-up test.

Mean­while, I’ll just men­tion the easy-ac­tion sidelever cock­ing and that high-ca­pac­ity, re­mov­able ro­tary mag­a­zine, along with a nod to­ward the Crown’s snap-fit charg­ing con­nec­tor and the twin gauges that dis­play the work­ing pres­sure of the reg­u­la­tor and the static pres­sure in­side the buddy bot­tle. Right, let’s get the Crown to the shoul­der, where we’ll dis­cover what I be­lieve is its finest fea­ture by far.

The Crown from FX Airguns. Not so much a ri­fle, as a whole range of high-per­for­mance op­por­tu­ni­ties.

A full 21, .177 pel­lets, loaded and ready to go, but would a lower ca­pac­ity mag­a­zine be use­ful?

Han­dling and bal­ance is, in my view, the Crown’s finest fea­ture.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.