Living the Dream
Revamped FX air rifle better than ever, says Neil Wheatley
A few years ago in this magazine I reviewed an FX Streamline air rifle which for me ticked all the boxes being lightweight, consistent, accurate, well-priced, efficient and aesthetically pleasing. So it was with some disappointment that shortly after that review, FX announced it would discontinue the Streamline and replace it with the rifle I’m assessing here, the FX Dreamline.
It took me a while to finally get around to reviewing the new offering, having hoped the basic premise of the old air rifle had been retained and, on looking over the specifications, I could see that indeed it has. I ended up buying a new Dreamline sight unseen on the strength of online reviews and to my great relief it lived up to – and in my opinion – surpassed the Streamline. Evolution is a good thing.
All the attributes of its predecessor are still here along with a few tweaks and improvements which make it a worthwhile successor. Inside that chunky-looking outer tube the FX Dreamline has a removable barrel liner which can easily be switched to allow changes in twist rates while calibres can also be swapped out by a barrel, magazine and pellet probe change. The factory supplied liner on my 22 calibre is the newer ‘superior’ type which proved an excellent match for the 15.9-grain JSB pellets I had for accuracy testing but can also be used with the new hybrid slugs becoming popular with air rifle enthusiasts for long-range shooting (100m-plus). The JSB pellets worked well with five-shot groups often coming in under half an inch when used on a still day at 45m (my preferred zero distance).
So what other changes have been introduced to this new rifle over its much-loved older brother? Aside from the barrel, the regulator is the new AMP (Adjustable Match Precision) which is externally changeable and seems to be consistent, mine being set at 110 bar from the factory as can be seen on the small gauge mounted on the side of the receiver. The 220cc tank is rated to 230 bar or 3380psi which when full and used on factory settings gave me around 50 shots before tank pressure fell below the regulator setting. What this equated to was around three full magazines of 18 shots each per fill of accurate shooting at roughly 900 feet per second.
The magazine is another new feature. Called the side shot, it delivers high capacity (22 shots in .177 cal, 18 in .22 cal, 16 in .25 cal and 13 in 30 cal) and features simplified loading. The magazine comes apart for refilling but this is simple and loading was an easy task. Next update is an slight paring-down of an already light design. A weight of 2.6kg without scope is certainly light for a PCP air rifle with this one being the synthetic stock variant which would have helped slightly too as timber and laminate versions are slightly heavier.
The synthetic stock had none of the cheap feel or flex that some lesser varieties have and aside from the weight, you could easily believe it was actually timber painted black with a ‘grippy’ feeling paint which I’m sure it is hard wearing (the stock is also ambidextrous). Other features include a gauge on the tank at the muzzle end to show remaining stored pressure, extremely light adjustable match-style trigger, three adjustable power levels via a small dial on the receiver and an adjustable-height buttpad.
I bought this rifle primarily for rabbit hunting on some small local properties and it didn’t take long for me to reach for the Dreamline for that very purpose. Air rifle hunting requires accurate shooting as you don’t have the power of even a .22LR to humanely despatch game, so fortunately accuracy is where FX rifles truly excel. The first trip out on rabbits saw me take quite a few for less than a full magazine of pellets, the hunt especially notable as I really appreciated the light weight of the FX compared to my previous PCP air rifle.
The quiet report of the FX Dreamline compared to say a .22LR with subsonic ammo allowed for multiple shots at groups of rabbits without scaring them on the first shot. I’d fitted the optional FX muzzle brake as I felt it improved consistency as well as the optional barrel support band, though neither is necessary to extract excellent performance from the FX but a custom touch to personalise a rifle is always welcome. As with all PCP air rifles you need a way to recharge the air cylinder as it has maximum fill pressure of 230 bar (3400psi) so a scuba tank or specialised hand pump needs to be part of your kit.
Having paid for this FX Dreamline myself, it impressed a few of my hunting pals with its accuracy and quality which was enough for three mates and my son to buy their own on the strength of my rifle’s performance. The Dreamline is available in different configurations with mine and my son’s being the Classic variety (mine a synthetic stock, his in walnut) and for those who like a different look there are Tactical, Bullpup and Lite versions available which have even more versatility with a thumb-adjustable hammer spring tension as standard.
These are all the same basic rifle but now everyone’s taste can be catered to with some variants even able to use a large bottle-type reservoir and as mentioned earlier, different calibres are also available with 177, 22, 25 and 30 cal offered by FX. Since testing its predecessor the Streamline in 2018, I’ve wanted one of these rifles and the FX Dreamline hasn’t disappointed as I’m actually in awe of its accuracy, quality and smooth function.
The new-style magazine took a little getting used to but now it’s a breeze to load and there are even ‘speed loaders’ available on eBay for those who want them. FX are an innovative company with advances being made in new models with efficiency, weight and accuracy all being constantly tweaked to give the end user the best they can buy.
At time of writing the FX Dreamline Classic is priced around $1729 from dealers around Australia with back-up and support from Hermann’s Sporting Guns in Mirboo North, Victoria. I’m looking forward to many years of use with my FX and wholeheartedly recommend one to anyone chasing a high-quality PCP air rifle.