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- Last updated: 31/10/2019
Think pre-charged pneumatic and the list of suitable manufacturers will be surprisingly long. But whilst there are a host of models out there, all perfectly capable, it’s fair to say that many just follow a tried and tested format.
One company that genuinely stands out from the crowd is FX Airguns, based in Sweden, and with the ever-ingenious Fredrik Axelsson behind their operation, a steady succession of innovations and exciting designs have become their accepted norm.
FX airguns have often seemed a little expensive compared to many rivals, but over the last couple of years several models have been introduced that have bucked that trend, such as their highly popular Wildcat model. On test here is the latest FX Streamline and, as the name suggests, this one keeps the visuals fairly simple and unfussy. My test model came supplied as the walnut stocked version, with an RRP in the region of £855, yet the identical action is also available complete with a synthetic stock, trimming the asking price to £755.
So externally, the Streamline has an unfussy profile, but look closer and there’s plenty of onboard features, all designed to enhance performance. So, let’s run through the specification, see just what we get for the money and then check out how it performs down range.
Firstly, the pneumatic action is regulated, the now standard Smoothtwist barrel is fitted and shrouded, and there’s the option of fitting a secondary silencer. There’s a highly competent two stage trigger, manual safety catch, manometer, and of course that ultra-subtle side-lever. The Streamline also comes supplied with an 11-shot magazine, and an adjustable power control. A tasty spec sheet then, so let’s get started.
Handle this model for the first time and it’s difficult not to be impressed. I love the sleek profile, and the slim-line walnut stock of my test model just looks and feels spot-on. The forend is unusually long for a start, and that means a relaxed comfortable hold is easy, free from contact with the metalwork. The pistol grip is nice and slim too, which should fit most hands with ease.
Perfect laser-cut chequering enhances the looks and feel of both the fore-end and grip areas, whilst a smart rubber buttpad is perfectly mated to the wood.
At 6.2lbs, this model is easy to carry out in the field, but for the record opt for the synthetic clad version, and you can trim that down to 5.7lbs. You’ll miss out on the visuals of the walnut though, and with ambidextrous configuration, it’s hard to fault.
FX so often opt for a practical finish on their models, and the Streamline gets a matt finish throughout. Not as classy as conventional high gloss chemical bluing, but ideal for a hunting scenario, the natural environment for this rifle at the end of the day.
FX specify this model to be charged to 230-bar, and for safety that’s stamped on the breech block. A probe-style filling adaptor is supplied, and once this is screwed to the air line (be that diver’s bottle or pump), the probe is simply pushed into the inlet valve underneath the front of the cylinder. Once the charge is complete, remove the probe and twist the dust cover closed to keep the valve free from dirt.
Next we need to fill the magazine which comes supplied. Unusually, this is an 11-shot mag, and is the cassette type, similar in looks and function to the old Theoben style. With the clear cover towards you, turn the front cover gently anti-clockwise, all the way round, look to the reverse side, and load the first pellet ‘skirt first’ from the rear into the one visible chamber. This pellet will now block the springloaded mechanism. Now turn the mag over and drop pellets headfirst into each chamber in turn until full. Now pull the side lever back and cock the action, push the full magazine back into the breech block from the right-hand side, close the lever/bolt and the Streamline is now ready for action.
The adjustable power feature on this model is a great idea and brings incredible versatility. Power is adjusted to three levels, low, medium and high, and is easily and precisely done by just revolving the small adjuster wheel on the left side of the action to the corresponding marker. Low power is shown as one dot on the dial, medium as two, and three dots denotes high power. Energy levels set on my test model equated to 4ft/lbs/8ft/ lbs, and a full 11.9ft/lbs. All my main testing was carried out on full power, but shot count will obviously increase significantly if the Streamline is used on low power for informal practise or fun shooting for example.
FX now fit ‘Smoothtwist’barrels to all their models and the Streamline also comes fitted with a full-length shroud. Smoothtwist, for those unfamiliar, is a system used to rifle a barrel, devised by Ben Taylor of Theoben fame, where the barrel is effectively smooth bore save for the last couple of inches that are crushed under pressure to form shallow rifling. The idea is that the pellet experiences minimal resistance and deformation along its path, but the production process is also significantly cheaper for the manufacturer.
Muzzle crack on my test rifle seemed slightly muted by the shroud, but if you want to add a full-blown silencer for optimised stealthy hunting then the shroud has been designed to be easily removable. Just unscrew it from the breech block, pull clear of the action, and then fit a screwon silencer to the ½-inch UNF thread exposed at the muzzle. As it stands, the muzzle report is quite slick; more of a satisfying quick snap than a lazy rasp that comes of more basic PCP valving.
On test, I did find pushing the magazine cassette into its slot within the breech block was occasionally a little irritating, as the clear cover sometimes twisted out of alignment before I had the mag fully in position.
It’s a small point, and once the mag is in place and the lever and probe closed, all functioned perfectly, but it’s a niggle, nonetheless. Storing a spare mag in the pocket would need care on that basis, since the mag design is less robust than some rivals.
Once loaded up though, the side lever cocking action is just superb. FX relieve the stock slightly around the lever, and with its perfect shape, and beautifully weighted action, this is about as slick as multi-shot cycling gets with an airgun. 11 shots just as quickly as you can cycle that lever… and its quick, believe me! The 2-stage semi match trigger is very sweet too, and it’s a fully adjustable design that even allows for the blade to be swivelled to achieve the desired angle. Those plus points are stacking up nicely then.
And so to the chronograph. From that 230-bar pressure fill the regulated .22 action on test returned 198 shots, with a creditable 22fps total velocity spread. I stopped at that shot number, as the gauge was showing residual pressure at just under 90-bar, and that must be close to where FX set the reg pressure. 200 shots is pretty impressive regardless! I used FX’s own excellent pellets straight from the tin, but you’d be hard pressed to detect any change in trajectory with that level of consistency. As for down range performance, I tore easy ragged hole clusters over 25-yards, then moved back to 35-yards, and matched them shot for shot. Just over quarter inch c-t-c is excellent stuff, and all the evidence I needed that this Streamline was a serious tool, working at its optimum.
The more time I spent with the Streamline, the more impressed I became. It really is a highly appealing, superversatile airgun. That side lever action alone just puts a big smile on the face, and with the power adjuster to play with and a really comfortable stock at your fingertips it’s a great gun just to enjoy over an extended session down at the range. But with excellent performance figures and an overall air of subtlety, it’s also capable of pretty well any task asked of it – be that precision hunting, or even Hunter Field Target.
Weigh all that up, and I reckon it’s well worth the money. Another gem, then, from this most innovative Swedish brand.
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