|The FX Verminator MK II Extreme|
|This new version of a great varminting gun has something for everyone; the kit comes with a short barrel, long barrel, arrow barrel, and a bunch of cool accessories!|
|Between the SHOT Show in Las Vegas and the IWA in Germany this year, I saw a lot of interersting new airguns. One of these guns was a new version of a takedown carbine that I've admired for some time, packaged in a kit that will allow a single platform to be configured for just about any small game / vermint hunting task it could be called into action for. With the long barrel set up its about perfect for a prairie dog shoot in the wide open plains, and it's a natural for pest control in a suburban environmet when fitted with the short barrel and shroud extension, oh and for something completely different, go out and arrow some bull frogs and reel them in with the fishing accesories.|
|Pest Control at an Industrial Site
I had the chance to do some pest control at an industrial complex situated on the outskirts of town. Starlings were entering one of the buildings through breeches in the roof and walls, and they wanted to clear them before sealing these holes. They didn't want me shooting inside, so I set up to take them out before they got into the building.
I've written a lot about urban hunting guns and my criteria has been consistant; compact (takedown preferred), accurate, quiet, multishot (preferred), adjustable power (preferred), this gun has it all.
|Arriving on site I mounted the stock and checked my zero at 50 yards before starting the pest control shoot. A five shot group using JSB Jumbo Diabolos was obtained with me kneeling and the carbine rested on a section of metal framing. Seeing these results I felt confident, and in the course of the afternoon I fired two magazines and dropped a dozen of these winged rats. Its going to take a couple days of follow up.|
|There was a hole in the metal wall of this industrial building that the starlings were flying through to reach their nests. I dialed the gun to the low power setting so that in the event of a flubbed shot there wouldn"t be any collateral damage.|
|The comprehensive kit comes packed in a hardcase with foam compartments securely holding all the bits, which includes:
a) Short 11.8" barrel
b) Long 19.7" barrel
c) Arrow barrel
f) Rifle mounted light
g) Variable 6-18x Scope
h) Arrows: Broadheads, and field tip
i) Fishing reel and mount
When the stock/air bottle is rmoved, it fits into the case as well, without requiring the short barrel to be removed. If you've been using the long barrel or shooting arrows, the short barrel will have to be mounted before packing. in the case.
|Swapping the propriatary FX Smoothtwist barrels is simple, loosen the knurled retaining knob (1), unscrew the barrel (2) and slide it out. Reverse the process to install one of the other barrels, screw it in (3) and tighten down the knob again. The whole thing takes a few seconds and all the pieces lock together giving the impression of a solid and well built piece of machinery.
In terms of shooting, this gun is very nice; it is ergonomic and mounts well. I sometimes have a a problem obtaining a consistant sight alignment on bottle stocked gun, but FX has done their homework in designing the ambidextrous synthetic stock / bottle cover with an integrated cheekpiece. It allows me to get my head in the same position whether shooting prone, sitting, kneeling, offhand, or rested. The pistol grip fits my average sized hands very well and allows a comfortable hold and trigger address The trigger is a match grade two stage adjustable that allows a pull weight of 14 to 24 ounces. With an excellent tactile responsiveness this trigger breaks crisply and cleanly which contributes to the high degree of accuracy achieved.
The verminator is cocked and the 12 round magazine indexed via a drop down side lever cocking mechanism,. It cycles smooth as silk and can be cocked without lifting your head. off the cheekpiece.
The 400 cc bottle is charged to 3200 psi and is filled while mounted to the action. The high pressure tank is connected to the gun using a Foster type quick fill nipple.
3) Long barrel
4) Arrow barrel
|With the long barrel mounted this gun balances well, and is quiet. Add the shroud extension and it is very quiet! The molded buttstock and pistol grip allow a solid and consistant grrip.|
|Pest Control on the Farm
I went with my hunting buddy Brian Beck to one of his family members farms to do some pest control. They had barns and grain lots where pest birds such as pigeons and starlings were creating a real mess. I selected the Verminator as my gun for this outing, where we had conditions ranging from point blank in the barns, to the top of the grain elevators 100 yards away. The ability to dial the power up or down depending on the setting, was a very useful feature.. But the thing that was of primary import
|was the accuracy. As we worked our way along culling birds we were in proximity to buildings, equipment, farm animals, and workers. We needed our shots to go exactly where intended, and at one point I dropped six starlings in a row with head shots at 35 yards, while the workers went about there tasks not even realizing I was there.
The other feature of this gun that proved valuable was the large air capacity, there was a lot of shooting on this day, and I never had to return to the truck for a refill. The Verminator is probably the perfect pest control rifle for any situation.
|The Verminator weighs between 6.4 to 7.1 lb depending on how you've configured it. Compact and lightweight it carries very well in the field.|
|I like the fact the Verminator Mk II uses the proven Royal breech block.|
|To get to my shooting area I needed to leave my car in a shared parking area and carry my rifle back behind the buildings where the starlings were causing a problem. I liked that I could break the gun down and slip it into my daypack. With the short barrel and shroud extension this is a true stealth hunter!|
|The Quantitative Results|
|While the Verminator MK II looks very much like its predecessor, it is different in a couple of meaningful ways. Importantly, the MK II utilizes the Royale block as the rifles platform, which means that it has the super slick cycling characteristics of the Royale rifles, it uses the same 12 shot cassette magazine as opposed to the alloy construction 8 round used previously, but on the downside (if you want to be picky) requires a higher profile mount. The gun has an onboard manometer, and a three position power adjustment wheel.
In the figure to the left, the average velocities from each of the three power levels was obtained using the proprietary FX pellets, Beeman Kodiaks, and JSB Exacts. I simply averaged five shots from each setting, starting at a 200 BAR fill, to estimate the average velocity. The objective was to give a general idea of the velocities that one might expect at each level. I use the 3 dot setting for most hunting/ pest control, the two dot setting when shooting in more sensitive areas (i.e. starlings around/in an industrial building), and the one dot mostly when practicing in the basement.
|This 108 shot string was obtained using the FX pellets at the high power setting, starting at 200 BAR|
|Starting at a 200 BAR fill I shot nine full magazines, air consumption was approximatly 10 BAR/magazine, the last couple mags using a bit more air. While I ran the gun down from 850 fps to 698 fps over 108 shots, the shot to shot variation when in the sweet spot was quite reasonable. Using the gun for a day of pest control, I never had to shift the POI to stay on target.|
|These ten shot groups with a variety of pellets started at a 200 BAR fill , using the FX, JSB Exact, JSB Jumbo,RWS Superdome, Beeman Kodiak, Crosman Premiers, and Eu Jin pellets. With the exception of the Eu Jins, which hung up because of their length, all cycled without a problem.|
|These 12 shot groups were obtained using FX pellets at 35, 50, 75 yards, and demonstrate a high degreee of accuracy (using the short barrel). This gun is intrinsicaly accurate, has an ergonomic design, and a great trigger.|
|35 yards 50 yards
|These 12 shot groups were shot at 50 yards using Kodiaks, JSB Jumbo, and RWS Superdomes. The gun digests a wide range of ammunition, which is a result of the Smoothtwist barrel technology.|
|Kodiaks JSB Jumbo