FX Arms Indy
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- Last updated: 27/01/2017
As the creative driving force behind Swedish brand FX Airguns, Fredrik Axellson should be mightily proud, as over the years his brainchild has evolved and developed as a major player in cutting-edge manufacturing. Okay, some of the models have seemed relatively pricey, but that hasn’t stopped an army of enthusiasts, eager to invest in the company’s unique approach. A combination of design flair and the latest production techniques has certainly helped build FX an enviable reputation, but their knack for forward thinking, is perhaps another factor in the company’s fortunes.
Consider the latest craze for the concept of bullpup airguns. FX have had a couple of designs in their line-up, long before recent enthusiasm has prompted a plethora of manufacturers to come forward, and under the spotlight here is the Indy - a specialist tool, that comes very well-appointed.
Of course, much of the inspiration for the Indy comes from its full-length stable mate, the Independence – a model that fuelled my obsession for truly selfcontained pneumatic airguns, back in 2010, when I first tested one.
What made, and indeed still makes, the Independence so different, is that, unlike a conventional PCP that has to be fully charged via an external air supply of some sort, the Independence comes complete with its very own on-board pump, effectively offering a choice of charging methods. Suffice to say, after my original encounter, I was left mightily impressed with the efficiency of the system.
Fast-forward to the FX Indy on test here, and what we have is an ultracompact bullpup layout that utilises that very same on-board pump system, lifted from its full-length stable mate. Bristling with features, and with more than one trick up its sleeve, the Indy has an awful lot to offer, and highlight… so we’d best make a start.
First stop, and for those unfamiliar, a quick confirmation of what the bullpup label really means. It refers to a gun that has the main action set right towards the back of the stock, giving it an ultracompact configuration. If you favour a more fast-handling gun with weight distribution naturally more central or towards the rear, then these could be the answer. Military rifles, such as the SA80, have long since adopted the concept, and the bullpup phenomenon is slowly creeping into other shooting disciplines, but one thing’s for sure, those visuals will divide opinion.
My test gun came in .22 calibre with a 12 shot rotary magazine (16 shots in .177), side-lever cocking, raised scope rail, 2-stage match trigger, Smooth Twist barrel, fulllength shroud and, as mentioned, the on-board pump system.
Synthetic stocks have become something of a speciality for FX, and the combination of clever configuration and that super ‘soft to the touch’, composite material utilised, makes for a great end product. The main thrust of the Indy’s handle is a generous onepiece moulding that features a drop down pistol grip, integral trigger guard, flared forend complete with accessory rail and an adjustable buttpad. There’s even a small cavity for the magazine to be stored, push-fit style, alongside the inset manometer; so top marks for attention to detail. The cheek piece is a neat separate attachment, adjustable via an Allen key, and it shields the face from contact with the action block.
Given some of those top-end RRPs, I haven’t always felt the finish to be quite up to scratch on a few FX models tested. Well that is all in the past, as this pioneering brand has really upped their game. The Indy sports an ultramatt finish covering the full-length barrel shroud and compression cylinder, and everything seems precisely machined and finished to an exacting standard. Marks around the axis and contact points of the pumping arm, along with evidence of fine wear around the piston seal, are minor details, and to be fair, probably par for the course on this type of airgun.
Having the action set directly over the entire stock means bullpups naturally create a higher sight line than normally configured rifles, as the shooter’s cheek sits above the action. FX deal with this by offering a chunky raised scope rail, fitted as an ‘intermount’ above both the breechblock and shroud. It’s a reassuringly rigid set-up, and with deep dovetail rails cut, fitting a scope is made simple.
The Indy uses an FX magazine that’s very similar to Theoben’s old cassette design, with an obvious change to differentiate it. To fill the mag, grip it clear face on, and twist the front see-through cover fully anti-clockwise, then insert the first pellet skirt first, from the rear. Turn the mag over, and just fill head first as normal. Now cock the Indy’s side lever, push the mag into position, and you’re ready to go. Slightly quirky, but in operation, it was faultless.
Pressurising the Indy is where the fun starts, and once familiarity sets in, it’s incredible versatility becomes obvious. A conventional Foster-style valve connection sits underneath the action, and this can be connected via the adaptor, to an air bottle and charged in the normal way to the recommended 220 bar. From here, you can just shoot it to empty; but you’d be mad to do so! For the beauty of the system is that you have the option of using the on-board pump to top up as you go.
Pumping the action requires that large side-lever handle on the right of the action, to be gripped, the lever pulled up and all the way out and up in one big arc until it stops, then pull the lever all the way back to closed, compressing air that has now been sucked into the air chamber as you go. The effort required to complete one stroke, is extremely low, and interestingly, remains so, up to a max of around 25-30 pumps to fill an empty chamber. It’s so slick: just gently top up pumps in between every shot, or just after every couple of shots.
On the range, the Indy had a novel feel and shot really well, although I did find it just a little disconcerting having the lead hand so near that muzzle due to the barrel shroud barely extending past the forend. A usual grip right up to the forend tip can find the hand close to where you don’t want it, and it would make sense for FX to extend the shroud by a couple of inches for that reason. As for the forend itself, the flared grip is really comfortable. The two-stage trigger works well, with the match blade a big asset, whilst, for those who are interested, a manual, and re-settable safety catch is neatly positioned to the rear of the breechblock.
As for confirmation of the statistics, from a full charge of 220 bar, I returned 24 shots within 31fps using FX’s own pellets. That may sound a low shot count, but it becomes pretty meaningless once the on-board pump is used to top-up, either after each shot or every few shots. Adopt this method and rolling consistency figures came in at around 17fps. Accuracy was also extremely good from the Smooth Twist barrel, with sub half-inch clusters easily managed over a 40 yard range in this case.
I’ve got this far, and not even mentioned the fact that FX also fit a power adjuster feature to this model! This allows the power to be switched from 7, 9, or 11.5ft/ lbs approx., at the simple turn of the tiny wheel on the left side of the action. It really is that simple too, and it brings further versatility to an already cocky airgun!
As an intriguing aside, the manufacturers actually specify the Indy as quickly convertible to fire arrows when specified in FAC spec! Apparently, the barrel is removed first for this curious makeover, and it surely serves as a perfect illustration as to the thought processes of Fredrik Axellson!
Where bullpups are concerned, opinion will always be divided, but an increasing number of manufacturers are taking the plunge and adding one to their range. It’s a radical configuration at the end of the day, but if this sort of airgun appeals, then the Indy is comfortably one of the better offerings. The onboard pumping system is the trump card here, and it means that this model remains largely unchallenged within its own sector of the market, holding as it does, unique appeal for the serious enthusiast, looking to go down the self-contained route.
At £1364, the Indy represents a significant outlay, but once you consider the features included, and that unique on-board pump system, there’s little on the market to compete with it. As for niggles, some sort of push-on cover/cap is needed for the filling valve end under the action, but otherwise, it’s a cracking design!
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