The FX Royale Jim Chapman
Part I The Pre-Hunt Work Up
Over the years, Iâ€™ve had the opportunity to shoot several
guns from the Swedish manufacturer FX, using both the
Gladi8tor and Vermintaor on multiple hunting trips, and have
always been impressed with the design, quality of build, and
performance associated with the brand. So when I received
the FX Royale to use on an upcoming hunt out west, I was
very excited to see what it could do.
Airguns of Arizona sent me the Royale in .25 caliber topped
with the 6-18x44SFIR FX scope. The gun wore a black
synthetic thumbhole stock, with an inletted shelf on the left
side to support the thumb for a very secure and consistent
hold on the rifle during shooting. There were additional reliefâ
€™s incorporated on the right side to house the cocking lever
and the safety. The forestock is cut away to form a shelf that
supports the 500 cc air bottle, and on the underside a cut out
to allow access to the manometer and quick release filling
connector, and the trigger guard is incorporated into the
stock. The rollover cheekpiece is nicely contoured and has
both ergonomic and aesthetic appeal.
This configuration yields an excellent sight alignment with medium profile rings. The manual safety is positioned to the rear and under the
cocking lever, and can be easily manipulated without taking the gun off shoulder. I am sometimes critical of the fit and feel of bottle type
reservoirs on field guns, but this is one of then best designed examples Iâ€™ve shot.
The metalwork is solid without being at all chunky; it is beautifully executed with a deep glossy bluing. The receiver has an incorporated
11 mm dovetail for mounting a scope, and a side lever cocking action with an ergonomic drop down handle. The .25 caliber gun I am
shooting utilizes an eleven shot rotary magazine that automatically indexes as the action is cycled.
The weight without scope is 7.7 pounds, though it balances well and feels lighter due to the design of the stock. The overall length of this
rifle is a very manageable 47 inches, with a 25 inch barrel dressed in a partial (and very effective) shroud. The Royale utilizes the smooth
twist barrel which is propriatary to FX.
The Royales 500 cc bottle does not need to be demounted for filling, as it incorporates a Foster type quick release connector. The gun
fills to 200 BAR (3000 psi), and yielded up about 75 full power shots per fill. I found that on my gun, the â€œsweet spotâ€� was not
reached until a couple magazines had been fired. So if getting the most consistency outweighs the most shots, it would make sense to fill
to the top of the sweet spot rather than maximum fill pressure, But for me, Iâ€™ll keep ramping it up to 200 BAR for hunting.
The cocking action of this rifle is one of the slickest side lever actions Iâ€™ve used. It hardly takes any pressure or movement to pull the
lever rearward, which cocks the gun and indexes the magazine. It has a smooth and solid feel, and a subtle nudge closes the action and
brings it into battery. I find it one of the easiest cycling actions Iâ€™ve used on a hunting gun, allowing a quick follow up shot without
taking my eye off the crosshairs.
The rifle has a really nice two stage trigger that can be set as low as a 6 ounce pull, with a crisp break and no appreciable over-travel.
Every FX gun Iâ€™ve shot has a nice trigger, but even compared to its stablemates the Royale stands out! Itâ€™s almost like I think
about shooting and the gun does it
The magazine is very similar to the ones used in the Theoben and Marauder rifles, though it may take you a few minutes to figure out the
somewhat cumbersome loading process which requires that you turn the clear cover counterclockwise until it stops, flip the magazine
over and load the initial pellet skirt first into the open chamber, then turn it over once again and load the remaining chambers. However,
once you have the knack the chamber is easily loaded and most importantly is very reliable. The only problem I encountered was that Iâ
€™d hope to shoot some of the new Predator International .25 Polymags in the Royale, but the magazine cover could not be rotated
due to the long points of these pellets.
With respect to accuracy, this gun is the real deal; At 50 yards the Royale gives 5 shot groups just a tease over .3 inches opening up to
just about a half inch for 11 shots. These days I like to get the bench testing over so I can shoot the gun off sticks, like I do when
hunting. This gives me a better idea of what I can do with the gun when in the field, and again the gun impresses. I printed five shot
groups at 20, 30, 50, and 75 yards sitting with the guns on a gorilla bipod, the 20 yard group was one ragged hole, and at every other
distance the groups were easily covered by a quarter. There are very few guns in my collection that I can get this level of accuracy with,
and would be impressed with these results even if shot off a bench let alone sitting there with the rifle propped on sticks!
" From an ergonomics point of view, this gun is spot
on! Not always an easy design objective in a bottle
reservoir design, but FX has executed it perfectly. The
stock design allows a consistant, comfortable, and
solid hold. The position of the safety, the tactile
resxponse of the trigger, and the ease of cycling with
the drop down lever cocking handle all combine to
make this a great field gun"
When Iâ€™ve got accuracy, the next thing Iâ€™ll look at in my hunting guns is power, and the .25 caliber Royale offers that up. An
honest 45+ fpe gun that I can knock a flea off the nose of a prairie dog at 75 yards â€¦.. now thatâ€™s something to take notice of.
This gun generated more than enough power for medium sized quarry at even longer ranges, and would considering the accuracy,
consistency, and power Iâ€™d feel comfortable doing head shots on larger game at appropriated ranges. Besides offering excellent
accuracy and very good power, I should also mention how quiet this gun is. The shroud on this gun is one of the more effective Iâ€™ve
used, making this one of the quietest of the powerhouse breed of PCPâ€™s Iâ€™ve shoot.
The â€œshootabilityâ€� of this rifle is truly superb; I find it fits my shoulder and points very well whether I am supine, kneeling, or
shooting offhand. The fit is further optimized by the adjustable butt pad used on this rifle. The crisp trigger is light and the break is
predictable. The Royale is a hammer putting out a high (60+) shot count in the 45 fpe range. But power without accuracy is not
interesting in a hunting arm, and man is this gun interesting! The rifle generated .32 CTC 5 shot groups at 50 yards off the bench, and I
consistently shot groups out to 75 yards that could be easily covered by a quarter. And this was done off shooting sticks, not bench
rested! Iâ€™ll be taking the Royal out on a prairie dog shoot next month and am excited to see what I can do with it under challenging
field conditions. My expectation is that it will be impressive. Based on my pre-hunt work up of the FX Royale, I believe this gun offers a
benchmark as to how a high powered, high shot count hunting gun should behave!
I generated the 60 shot string shown above using JSB
Kings with the muzzle of the gun positoned two feet from
the chronograph. The gun was filled to 200 BAR, as my
initial impression was that filling above this point with the
gun set up for approximately 45 fpe didn't enhance
performance. Maybe if I tweak it for more power a
higher fill pressure will make sense. I found that the JSB
Kings yielded the best results when looking at retained
velocity and accuracy at 50 yards.
The test target shown to the left demonstrates bench
rested results at 50 yards, with 5, 6, and 11 shot groups
respectively. Anyway you cut iut this gun is a sub MOA
But what I really wanted to see is what I could expect on
my next hunting trip. Sitting down and shooting off sticks
the gun was everything I could hope for. I am going to
give any prairie dogs encountered a raging headache!
" I love the way this gun performs, one of the best all
around .25 calibers I've shot! This rifle is heading towards
my short list of favorite guns"