FAS 611S Field Target air rifle
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- Last updated: 15/12/2016
Any newcomer to FT may be forgiven for thinking that they need to go on an emergency body building course, given the sheer heft of the top rifles in vogue. Full blown Olympic-style match guns have long dominated the results, and despite notable exceptions such as the Air Arms EV2, most flagship models from the big names tip the scales at between 10 and 11.5lbs! This is serious weight; all before a chunky piece of parallax adjustable glassware is even been bolted into place!
For shooters of a slighter build, ladies, and youngsters just starting out, the issue of weight alone can be very off-putting, which is where my test rifle comes in. FAS of Italy are no strangers to the world of shooting, having been synonymous with producing top flight competition grade equipment for some time. The fact that they are turning their attention to FT should be a cause for celebration, as this model 611S is an extremely well produced offering.
Let’s face the facts. Since the 611 retails in excess of £1000, we aren’t talking entry level here. What we are talking, is a beautifully made, scaled down FT target rifle, which is proportioned and configured in such a way, as to be easily managed by youngsters and ladies alike. The action is manufactured on CNC machinery, with the production processes including the use of strong yet light 7075T6 spec aircraft aluminium. FAS haven’t tried to be radical here, with the classic barrel over cylinder design being adopted. What they have done though, is offer a package of superbly executed features and top class engineering to give this rifle the edge.
Power is metered by a stainless steel regulator, and further peace of mind comes from the inclusion of a choked, Lothar Walthar barrel – almost an industry standard fitting these days, especially on many best quality rifles out there.
The traditionally blued barrel is fitted with a pleasantly angular weight, adding style as well as function. The weight comes complete with dovetail rails, allowing for the fitting of match sights etc. Bear in mind that a 6ft/lbs indoor version is also available and the fact that this feature exists suddenly makes sense.
Loading is single shot, and to this end the 611 comes fitted with an extremely slick and positive side-lever. Deep dovetails sit at the top of the block, and the whole action just oozes fine machining.
The target stock is full FT spec, with a super deep section, just forward of the trigger, and an accessory rail recessed in the forend. Standing and over-arm style shots are therefore well catered for, with the full drop down 90° grip and sweeping cheek-piece not only stylish, but perfectly shaped for the smaller shooter. With the length of pull i.e. butt, often a problem for novices too, the 611 comes suitably trimmed with a shorter than usual back end, putting the shooter back in the driving seat. Not all butt pads are the same, but the cosy soft rubber in place on the 611 is the real McCoy; well shaped and cosseting at the shoulder. Subtle, laser-cut patterns are neatly applied to the beech stock, and are the finishing touch to what has to be seen as a great piece of design.
Before any action could start, there was the small matter of getting 200bar into the cylinder, which has to be removed first. Whilst not ideal, most manufacturers go down this route until a quick fill version finally emerges, with a valve at the front of the cylinder. Any focus group of top shots would tell manufacturers as much, yet the same path is trod with many new models time after time! To proceed; open the action and leave it in its rearwards position, which effectively seals the valve. Unscrew the cylinder and fit the adaptor (supplied) then hook up the air supply and fill to the recommended pressure and refit it and you are ready to go.
My first port of call was the chronograph, and here I got to grips with the loading mechanism. Pulling back the mini side lever revealed a perfectly weighted and reassuringly positive cocking mechanism; although, a slightly wider section of lever to pull back on would be easier on the fingers. With the action open the pellet is simply rolled across and into the loading tray, and at this point, that breech opening just felt a little snug for my sausage-sized fingers. Ladies and junior shooters would undoubtedly fare better with their scaled down digits, and since they are predominantly the target audience, so be it. Indeed a willing female participant was roped in here for further feedback, and the 611S passed with flying colours.
The fully adjustable, two-stage trigger shows off this rifle’s pedigree, with a well shaped flat blade, and an excellent mechanism that trips predictably. FAS claim a shot count of 80-90 with this .177 model, and using Daystate Li pellets, my results came in exactly on cue. 86 shots within 15fps is impressive stuff, and my only reservation was the slightly low energy levels. The Daystate pellets produced around 10.3ft/lbs, whilst JSB’s (possibly the benchmark used by the manufacturer in any case) made a more healthy 10.8ftlbs. Other examples of this rifle will undoubtedly slightly vary (as they all do), but if it were mine, I would just have the action tweaked a touch.
As for the firing cycle, the action feel extremely snappy, and whilst I lack the facility to scientifically test for it, I suspect an extremely fast lock time is probably the outcome. Since the fitting at the muzzle is purely a barrel weight, with an open bore clearly visible inside the tube, the lack of any baffle or silencer means the 611 does go off with a fair old crack. But performance is what it’s all about and bar some minor irritation to the neighbours, during an extended practise session in suburbia, what really matters is down range.
At 35yds, using Daystate Li’s and JSB’s (Air Arms Diabolo), extremely tight clusters were the norm, with .25” centre-to-centre, occasionally less. I just couldn’t wait to see what this plucky little rifle could muster over a more challenging distance. At 50yd, the pint sized 611S just blew me away, with stunning accuracy. Shot from a rest in some of the best conditions admittedly, all groups were benchmark sub-1/2”, with many shot with the JSB’s little more than a ¼”... Superb stuff!
My willing lady assistant again helped to prove a point, finding the 611S totally manageable and comfortable from a variety of positions; with the important point being that she has failed to find a rifle to date, that hasn’t been a burden - both in operational effort and weight in general.
All I can say is that my time spent with the 611S was an extremely enjoyable experience, since it just felt slick and professional from the off. Raw potential accuracy puts silverware on the table, and this technological gem, should be capable of anything. FAS clearly have faith in their product too, and with a 3 year guarantee to its name, the 611S should bring piece of mind as well as pure shooting enjoyment. It’s an extremely well thought out design; superbly produced, by one of the most respected names in the business.
With a top class performance to match its status, this pint-sized beauty is just about guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of anyone prepared to stump up the cash.