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FX Verminator

Take down rifles offer the shooter a level of discretion not possible with a conventional air rifle...

I’ve been a shooter for most of my adult life, and I’m very proud of my hobby. Shooting in all its forms is a fantastic past time, but not everyone thinks the same. There are a lot of people that consider us to be bloodthirsty killers, hell bent on shooting any wildlife that crosses our path. Other people see somebody carrying a gun bag as a potential burglary victim. Even though I live in a ‘nice’ area, I’m still conscious that every time I load my guns into the car, some scumbag walking past could be making a mental note of what I’m doing, and be planning on paying me a nocturnal visit. I try and put my guns and shooting gear in the car when there’s nobody about, even though my vehicle’s parked on my drive. Call me paranoid, but I don’t see the point of flaunting my pastime to every Tom, Dick or Chavvy out there. My gun bags are all fairly bulky, tactical style models, and don’t scream ‘look at me, I’m carrying a gun’ to the neighbours and their visitors. Oh to live in Switzerland, where you can walk across the road carrying an assault rifle in broad daylight without causing panic!

Air rifles that can be broken down into a smaller package have been around for a long time, and I own a rather nice example of one of the earliest, a Colchester Gamekeeper. The advert for this takedown rifle featured a chap leaving home with an innocuous looking case. He was off shooting, but nobody would have guessed from what he was carrying. This type of case is also a lot shorter than a conventional gun bag, and can be tucked into even the smallest of vehicles. The takedown rifle obviously has a lot going for it, but what are they like to actually use?

Fredrik has the answer

The Swedish air rifle company FX Airguns was set up by Fredrik Axelsson, and it produces a wide range of pre charged pneumatic airguns. One model, the Gladiator, features a buddy bottle air reservoir where the butt of a normal air rifle would be, and another, more conventional, tubular air reservoir beneath the barrel. The total air capacity is 645cc, and this massive volume accounts for the rather impressive figure of 500 shots per charge in .22 calibre. The Verminator is basically a Gladiator with a much shorter barrel (8 inches) and a vestigial forward air reservoir. The resultant package is therefore extremely compact, and as the buddy bottle is removable, the two main components can fit neatly into a purpose built, foam-lined hard case. The case is a sturdy affair, well up to protecting its cargo from even the most ham-fisted owner. The eggshell foam is pre-cut for the rifle parts as well as for a moderator and a pellet pouch. In fact everything you’d need for a shooting session in one container.

Assembling the rifle is simple; it’s just a case of screwing the buddy bottle into the back of the action. Care should be taken, as the last thing you want to do is cross thread it as it goes in, but if you take things slowly there won’t be a problem. I found that by holding the action vertically, and screwing the bottle in from below, things went together without a hitch. When the bottle is tightened fully, a hiss is heard as air passes into the rifle’s forward chamber. The circular gauge in the underside of the stock then shows the on-board pressure. The silencer, in this case a Weihrauch unit (but any ½” UNF moderator will fit), screws onto the brass thread on the end of the barrel shroud. Charging is accomplished via a plug-in charging probe. The port at the end of the reservoir lacks any form of cover, and I think this is one thing FX should address, as grit getting inside a PCP should be avoided at all cost. Charging to 220 bar only takes a minute or so from start to finish, and each trip to the diver’s bottle will give you 170 shots in .177, and 200 in .22.

The buddy bottle is covered with a rather neat, matt black synthetic shell that forms the butt, it has a slightly raised section forming an ambidextrous cheek piece and the length of pull can be adjusted via an Allen key. The butt pad can also be raised or lowered if necessary. The front section of the stock is more akin to those found on pistols, and has finger grooves moulded in and a squared trigger guard. The ‘forend’ is tiny and in use I found myself gripping the end of the air reservoir. In front of the trigger guard is a circular cut out for the pressure gauge. The whole package looks rather futuristic and wouldn’t look out of place in a sci-fi film, but once up in the shoulder, the Verminator’s a joy to use, allowing you to really become at one with the rifle. With a moderator fitted, the centre of balance is through the pistol grip - pretty much perfect. This rifle’s styling won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but trust me, if you actually pick one up and put it into your shoulder, you’ll be an instant convert.

A bit on the side

The Verminator features the familiar FX side lever action which – when pulled back and returned - cocks the hammer, rotates the 8 shot magazine and loads a pellet into the breech. The rotary feed device is simple to load, and pellets are held in place by a rubber O-ring running round the circumference. To change the magazine, a pin at the rear of the action is pulled back, but care should be taken not to lose the mag in the grass, as it can spring out when the side-lever is pulled. Warning, it will also ping out next time you cock the action, if you release the mag pin thinking it’s the safety catch - I only did it once, but luckily a mate spotted it fall out. The action’s got an ace up its sleeve too, as if you want, you can let go of the side-lever and it’ll fly forward under spring pressure. This makes for an extremely fast back up shot should it be required in the field, and a lot of fun on the range against those pesky spinners. The trigger unit was set up nicely at the factory, but is user adjustable if required. A safety catch is fitted above the trigger, forward for fire, back for safe. 

Classy Glass

Some form of sight is obviously required, and Deben sent down one of the new Hawke Eclipse 30 SF models. The scope features a one-piece 30mm body, side focus parallax adjustment and an illuminated mil dot reticule. The ocular lens is 50mm in diameter and the magnification is from 4-16x power. This nice bit of glass was a perfect partner for the Verminator, and is good value at £179. The scope was soon fitted in a set of Match Mounts, and believe it or not, I only had to fire 5 shots to obtain a perfect 35 yard zero. All up weight of the combination is 7 ½ lbs, but it feels a lot less. On its first outing to the range, I fired half a tin of pellets without a problem of any kind; the action is very slick to operate, magazines are easy to change and charging is child’s play. The .177 FX pellets grouped into tiny clusters at 35 yards, and I could regularly hit mini kill targets out at 55 yards. This was obviously an extremely accurate, consistent rifle, and I was itching to get out and do some ‘real world’ shooting with it. I therefore took the neat little FX with me on my next early morning trip to the golf course.

Oh, what a beautiful morning

I know that when the alarm clock went off at 4 am I wasn’t too keen to leave my bed, but once I was at the course I was raring to go. The first rabbit of the day was stupid enough to make an appearance near to where I’d parked in a small copse. He was only 25 yards away when I spotted him on a green, but he hopped into what he thought was cover in some nettles. As the Verminator balances so well, and there was a tree handy to brace myself against, the kneeling shot was simplicity itself, and he went down without a flinch. The second rabbit had flattened itself on a footpath hoping not to be spotted, but at 30 yards I took the shot prone. Three more conies went down to perfect brain shots (if I do say myself!) and I went back home extremely pleased with the FX’s performance. I took it to a local farm the week after, and bagged an extremely wary crow and two squirrels in half an hour.

Conclusion

I’m not saying I couldn’t have done the above with any other quality air rifle available, but I really enjoyed using this rather unconventional little carbine. It handles so well, and feels so ‘right’ in the shoulder that I’ll be sorry to see it go back. FX have struck gold with this take down rifle, and I can see it becoming extremely popular in the years to come. The fact that it is rather discrete is an added bonus.

Technical Specifications
Model FX Verminator
Type Take down pre charged pneumatic
Action Auto return side lever
Magazine Removable rotary 8 shot capacity (two mags supplied)
Length 27 ½"
Barrel length 8 ½"
Weight 5½ lbs
Stock Ambidextrous synthetic
Trigger Adjustable match unit
Sights None fitted, 11mm dovetail for scope mounting
Price £799

All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates

Gun Mart Shooters Forum - Get Involved in the Discussion!
User Comments
  • I bought a verminator having read a few articles in various mags. Getting used to putting together is very easy and once zeroed with a new Nikko scope its rather difficult to put into words just how good and accurate this light weight rifle really is. Lucky enough to have around 200 acres of farmland to roam, there are plenty of rabbits to be taken. The Verminator does what i ask of it with ease. Its a case of point, aim and drop! Its a breeze to use, even the other half has a go and for someone with no shooting experiance finds it easy and has no problems dropping as many as myself! To sum up in a word Awesome.

    Comment by: GRANT NEWMAN     Posted on: 04 May 2009 at 04:51 PM

  • Glad you like the Verminator. We've had good reports from three different reviewers plus readers who have bought the Verminator, which is always a good sign. Now that FX rifles are being distributed in the UK by Deben Ind.Group you can expect to see more rifles from this genuinely innovative manufacturer.

    Comment by: pat farey     Posted on: 05 May 2009 at 11:39 AM

  • Can I screw down buddy bottle, when there is air in the resorvoir and bottle

    Comment by: ramana rao gssv     Posted on: 30 May 2009 at 10:34 AM

  • My Verminator has leaked pressure since new if it's left assembled - it can lose about 10 bar a day. OK, it's designed to be taken down and you might expect some wear to the bottle thread over time. But is this right?

    The thread looks OK, and I've improved it by using a rubber washer between the buddy bottle and the other end, to avoid over tightening it and accelerating wear.

    In all other ways it's been superb.

    Comment by: John     Posted on: 31 May 2009 at 01:16 AM

  • To Ramana
    When you take the buddy bottle off the Verminator, the front reservoir should empty automatically, i.e. you should not be able to fire the gun with the buddy bottle/stock detached. So it will not affect re-attaching a full buddy bottle.


    To John
    Your Verminator shouldn't leak when left assembled. There should be a manufaturer's seal, so you shouldn't need another rubber washer on the thread. Take your washer off and run the gun as supplied by the manufacturer (or to their instructions.) If it still leaks, contact the shop that you bought it from or the UK distributor, Deben Group Industries.

    Comment by: pat farey     Posted on: 01 Jun 2009 at 02:54 PM

  • It is my intension to purchase a new F.A.C. fx .22 verminator air-rifle.
    Has anybody got one!!!!!!!! if so what distance/range are you shooting out to and what pellet is suitable for this little gem. My new gem will be set at 18lbcan't wait for it to arrive.
    P.S. any info would be most appreciated thank-you

    Kind Regards John.

    Comment by: john     Posted on: 04 Jun 2009 at 11:51 PM

  • hi, im in the middle of doing a part-ex from my theoben SLR to an FX Verminator. Has anyone had any problems at all? ? ? i have been told about some pellets loading slightly off so the rifle wont fire accurately however this was a while into using the rifle.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks

    Comment by: Anton     Posted on: 24 Jun 2009 at 11:00 PM

  • I purchased my new FX .22 verminator F.A.C. Air-rifle last week, and I am absolutely elated with it's performance. I have tried out Eley-wasps pellet's,superdome,Air-arm's,Bisley magnum, marksmen, and many other Brand name's. The best pellet I found suitable after spending a few bob was .22 Accu-pell this pellet was consistant and Accurate. I am purchasing another Air-buddy for my FX they do a 400cc+a 500cc I rang Deben;s it's £174.00 for a 500cc bottle. I am getting 20ft/lb using accupell .22pellet's. Set my rifle at 60yds max for vermin control purpose's if anybody as a question to ask i will try to help.

    Regards BJ.

    Comment by: BJ.     Posted on: 28 Jun 2009 at 10:00 PM

  • I've had my Verminator for about 3 months now. It's a standard 12 ft/lb and I
    have used on ranges from 10 to 30 metres. The accuracy is unbelievable at
    any of the ranges I fire and the feel of the rifle in your shoulder is terrific. I have
    tried lots of different pellets, includin FX, but have settled on Daystate FT.
    Can recommend it to anyone.

    Comment by: John Turner     Posted on: 09 Jul 2009 at 07:38 PM

  • hi, i have just purchased a verminator, the book isn,t very clear to me, do you fill the bottle off, like the rapid seven, it shows the gun being filled at the front, when i take the bottle off i hear alot of air loss, can someone help in laymans terms, john, on 07799626282

    Comment by: john cheswick     Posted on: 19 Jul 2009 at 08:22 PM

  • very dissapionted with my new verminator, only shot 16 pellets and it asto go back to deben, air loss through the barrell, so can,t fill it, took the back bottle off and all the valve came out, spring shot out, not a patch on a rapid seven, no chance of buying a saab or a volvo

    Comment by: john cheswick     Posted on: 02 Aug 2009 at 10:19 PM

  • My verminator started leaking on the filler valve, due to dirt. dead easy to sort out. Unscrew the end cap, undo brass valve shake out spring and valve, clean valve and seat ,reassemble.

    Once got a powapell stuck in mag pin hole in block when mag securing pin went through pellet hole instead of center hole and wedged pellet into blind hole in block jamming mag in gun. (bugger to remove), it was pitch black at time. As much chance of winning lotto as that happening again

    Other than that it's a nice toy, good looking, ergonomic, scary accurate & light.
    Even the kids can use it (under close supervision of course)

    Comment by: chris     Posted on: 29 Aug 2009 at 03:21 PM

  • Doesn't look all that well made though, the pressure gauge isn't exactly central to the shroud aperture in the 4th photo from the top. Quite a few reports of gradual air leakage too, which is a shame because I really like the look of this.

    Comment by: Mark     Posted on: 07 Oct 2009 at 10:14 PM

  • my Son-in-Law is so keen to buy one of these, he has a second job delivering Pizza, evenings, to save up!!

    That's KEEN.... ;<)

    Comment by: toosavvy     Posted on: 03 Jan 2010 at 12:27 PM

  • I have an FX verminator for sale if anyone is intrested, it has a hawk scope worth £200 and a silencer worth £50. All in all it is worth £800 but i am selling it for £650. It is pretty good shape and still has the solid break down case it came in. My price isn't set so i'm willing to take offers but it won't be much lower than the £600-£650 mark.
    Email me on
    jackc-w@hotmail.co.uk
    Or ring me on my mobile:
    07833460025

    Comment by: Jack Cory-Wright     Posted on: 11 Jan 2010 at 10:17 PM

  • the fx verminator is a fantastic gun:i highly recommend:its much better than the logun s16 evo due to its walther match barrell,portable case and three stage power adjuster

    Comment by: tom     Posted on: 18 Feb 2010 at 02:17 PM

  • You say you have a colchester, would you have the original instruction leaflet & can I have a copy?
    Thanks

    Comment by: brian manners     Posted on: 07 Mar 2010 at 12:40 PM

  • I've just got a Verminator in .177. My first PCP, and so light compared to my HW80K, although I'm not convinced the build quality is as good for a rifle of this price when compared to the Wiehrauch. Also rather disappointed only to receive 1 mag.

    One thing I've noticed,, after only approx 30 shots, is an odd knocking noise coming from the underside(I can't quite pin point it exactly) if I tilt the rifle backwards and forwards. Sounds like something sliding back and forth. Perhaps someone can give me an idea to what it might be. I hope it's not faulty.

    Thanks

    Comment by: Mark L     Posted on: 30 Mar 2010 at 12:49 AM

  • Re last sentence,I suppose it is discrete but did you really mean discreet?

    Comment by: ade     Posted on: 30 Mar 2010 at 06:06 PM

  • He probably meant discreet, but I was too discrete to ask

    Comment by: Pat Farey     Posted on: 31 Mar 2010 at 07:00 PM

  • Just a genuine concern that the rifle may have developed a fault when so new and therefore may need to be returned. I don't want to possibly make it worse by ignoring it.

    Comment by: Mark L     Posted on: 01 Apr 2010 at 12:17 AM

  • Graham Allen, the author of the article, says this is nothing to worry about. You probably have one of the newer models, and the 'knock' that you are getting is caused by a factory change over to a shorter hammer spring which allows the hammer to slide a little as it is not pre-tensioned. This modification makes the FX operate more efficiently.

    Comment by: Pat Farey     Posted on: 01 Apr 2010 at 12:20 PM

  • Thanks for the information Pat, and Graham.

    The model I have is different to the one pictured above as it does not have the brass thread at the end of the barrel. It's reassuring to know that this is a normal part of the rifles operation and nothing to be concerned about.

    Comment by: Mark L     Posted on: 01 Apr 2010 at 11:25 PM

  • fx realy knew what they were doing when they made this babe. Its so portable, accurate, easy to use. Great to hold and aim, it realy covers a whole spectrum of usage. 10/10, buy one

    Comment by: rick baker     Posted on: 29 Oct 2012 at 09:54 AM

  • Having read the review , I would love to buy the .177 fx , problem being that I live in Thailand married to a Thai wife who can own a gun licence. To have it ship over hear is another hurdle . If I got all the document in order and licence through my wife's name would it be possible to have it sent ? Can anybody throw any light would be the best option.
    Eddie

    Comment by: Edward Walker     Posted on: 14 Sep 2013 at 10:43 AM

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