- 5 Comments
- Last updated: 27/01/2017
The FX Gladiator was one of the ‘bunch’ of Swedish built FX air rifles that was ‘lost’ in the pack. This high shot capacity PCP didn’t rely on a big buddy bottle, instead it used a clever double air reservoir. The design positions the air tanks front and rear, which helps to evenly distribute weight and in theory should improve balance.
The Gladiator shows a synthetic stock, which is reasonably short in the forend as the forward reservoir does rather dominate this area. At the back end the rear reservoir is in fact a buddy bottle that doubles up as the butt. Sensibly FX also designed an ambidextrous, slip-over cover that offers a rubber recoil pad and cheek piece/comb. To a degree this is length and angle adjustable as it can be positioned longer or shorter left or right of the bottle. Here I have one gripe!
Obviously the gun was not new when I got it as it had done the rounds as a ‘tester’. There is just one tiny grub screw that threads through the butt cover to locate it on the bottle. This is cut from the synthetic and was worn to such an extent you could not really position and keep this section in place. A metal insert would be better instead!
With that out of the way, I can say that when adjusted to suit, the Gladiator is surprisingly comfortable to handle and shoot. This is certainly due to its separate pistol grip with finger grooves and stippling on its sides, and the short flat forend section. The synthetic material has a nice, non-slip feel to it too.
Inset into the underside of the stock, just forward of the integral trigger guard is a relatively large air gauge that will indicate fill status from both reservoirs. Filling is ‘on-gun’ via a push fit probe that simply locates just to the rear of the forward air tank behind the barrel band. Due to the abbreviated forend the reservoir seems very exposed and lengthy although the rifle only measures 36 ½” from butt to muzzle.
To The Max
The rifle takes a maximum fill of 200-bar. On the side of the action is a 3-stage power adjuster lever, which allows you to vary the power output and capacity accordingly: 500/450/400 shots per charge at the settings of 7, 9 and 12 ft/lbs respectively in this .177 test rifle. In .22 calibre you can add approximately another 100 shots more in each power setting.
The Gladiator uses the familiar FX side handle with drop down grip. This cycles the action/feeds the pellet and also indexes the detachable, 8-shot, rotary magazine. The barrel is from Lothar Walther and threaded ½ x 20” UNF. barrel. The cocking and loading procedure for the FX action has been detailed many times before, there’s no need to do it again apart from to say it’s now starting to look a tad dated, but as basic as it is, it does work efficiently.
I took advantage of the ½” UNF muzzle and fitted a Logun CCFC Silencer up-front, which pushed the rifle to nearly 43 ¾”. However, though quite long, it didn’t feel unwieldy due to the clever distribution of weight. Scoping up with a Hawke Map Pro 4 – 16 X 50AO I set about getting a 30-yard zero. As well as using FX’s own brand pellets, I tried my usual favourites and the rifle was not overly fussy about what it was fed and shot pretty much as well as most other PCP’s – certainly kill-zone accurate at my zero, but considering the price you’d expect nothing less. The adjustable 2-stage trigger unit has a broad nicely curved blade and releases shots cleanly without creep. The safety catch is handy, situated directly above the blade on the right of the action. A red dot shows when the lever is pushed forward to visually indicate this is now in the live fire position. So after testing what are my opinions of this mega-shot monster?
Well, I’ve no doubt the FX Gladiator was designed with every good intention and the onus on producing an air rifle with a high shot count per fill has definitely been achieved. I’ve also just as much respect for the ingenuity and innovation that must have gone into the design of the internal valving, that allows it to use this ‘double’ compressed air storage. Especially after testing it through its ‘flat spot’, when it showed how consistent and accurate it could be for so many shots in comparison with a more conventional designed PCP. However, for the price, there are plenty of other FX rifles to choose from that in my opinion are far more attractive propositions for the hunter.
Unusual and different
Overall a bit dated
Maybe better FXs around for hunting