Chris Bentley on the FX Dreamline

If you’re dreaming of owning a Dreamline but don’t know which to choose, Chris Bentley’s here to explain the options FX has to offer.

“Beware the man with one gun,” as the old saying goes. But is it possible there is one gun to rule them all? I think I found it in the FX Dreamline.

The Dreamline is not a single rifle, but a family of rifles, with five Dreamline styles and interchangeable components. The idea was to produce a block around which you could build a rifle that would meet and surpass the needs and desires of the modern shooter.

The Dreamline is a beautifully engineered, regulated multi-shot sidelever action. This action can accommodate most airgun calibres (.177, .22, .25 and .30) and be changed quickly and simply using additional barrel kits and a small selection of Allen keys.

The engine is slim, angular and like all FXs, has a precision-machined, slick cocking action. The trigger is a two-stage fully adjustable match-grade item with a moveable trigger shoe, factory set at a very usable 15oz. The magazines are sturdy, generous and easy to load, with a capacity of 22 pellets in .177 calibre, 18 in .22, 16 in .25 and 13 in the mighty .30 cal.

FX pioneered variable valving and a fully adjustable hammer spring, so the Dreamline can be individually tailored to optimise pellet weight and power. If we accept the fact that irrespective of Dreamline style the heart/engine of the rifle offers outstanding performance in terms of accuracy and consistency, then what are the real differences?

Dreamline Lite

While discussing the aesthetics of the Lite with a club colleague, he muttered that it looked like it had been designed by a small child. While the “walking stick” appearance of the stock is not to everyone’s taste, having handled the rifle, I like its cleverness. 

It is possible to remove the stock in seconds by the use of the large knurled knob on top. This reduces the length of the rifle by 250mm (9.8”) and allows it to fit snugly into a standard rucksack. With the stock on, the rifle itself weighs a paltry 2.6kg, or less than three bags of sugar in old money. This makes it one of the best, easy-carry-all-day rifles I have ever used.

There is no real forend to the design, so your supporting hand finds either the cylinder/bottle or the vented midships area which continues forward of the trigger guard. The stock is a heavy, rubberised shaft, impregnated with aluminium, which does not flex or twist. The venting on the butt pad mirrors that on the action and allows for a tiny bit of give when planted in the shoulder. Whilst the stock has substance, there is nothing there to snag or catch on a pocket or sleeve when the rifle is mounted.

While the stock on the Dreamline Lite may resemble a walking stick, it does the job it’s meant to do, keeping the weight down to a svelte 2.6kg

Dreamline Tactical 

The Dreamline Tac does not come furnished with a stock. Instead, you can choose from a range of butt stocks to best suit your personal preferences, tastes and needs. Not all of us are the same size, and by adding a sturdy buffer tube you now have an AR-15-compatible system which can reduce or extend the rifle’s length of pull by as much as 105mm (4.1”). 

The practical benefit of this is that when shooting in cramped environments, or taking extreme angled shots, the stock can be altered incrementally with a push button to provide the ideal fit. 

AR-15 stocks from manufacturers such as Hogue and FAB Defense are available in a bewildering array of shapes, finishes and colours. Many offer additional adjustability for the cheekpiece and butt pad height, further allowing you to create your own bespoke handle.

One butt stock that I have seen even comes with a custom survival kit/rifle toolkit hidden in its storage compartments. The Tac conversion kit also features a raised Picatinny mounting rail with a cutaway to perfectly fit, and more importantly totally clear, the large magazine, allowing you full choice over mount height and location. 

If you choose the folding stock option, the tube and stock fold smoothly into a locked position next to the action. This takes up to 310mm (12.2”) off the overall rifle length and allows it to be stowed in a rucksack or holdall.

Dreamline Bullpup

In close quarters, be it a barn, hide or the glorious warmth of a luxury 4×4, nothing can match a quality, well-balanced bullpup for rapid target acquisition. For this member of the Dreamline family, FX utilised the superb synthetic stock from their popular Wildcat. 

A proven design, made from high quality polymers, it provides a beautifully soft and tactile surface to grip. Unscoped, the bullpup still only weighs 3.4kg (7.5lb), with a sawn-off length of 720mm (28.3”). 

Atop, a very long 11mm dovetail rail provides a clear run for any mount height and scope configuration. The long-throw cocking arm is at the rear of the stock, and better for it mechanically in my humble opinion. The location keeps the directness of the loading action, so it doesn’t rely on additional linkages and is easily adapted to (once you stop taking your finger out of your ear!).

Dreamline Field Target

The modular concept of the Dreamline project has given rise to a number of collaborations between FX and some hugely respected aftermarket product suppliers. Czech-based Aeron Stocks have produced a tailored fully adjustable stock, and the rifle I acquired was wearing the Saber Tactical Dreamline Chassis/Stock.

Looking like a leftover from the Forth Railway Bridge, this stock is a skeletal extravaganza. It features a fully adjustable butt pad, cheekpiece, detachable bag rider and QD sling mount holes – and it folds magnetically.

A full-length Arca Swiss rail runs the length of the bottle or cylinder with T-slots for M-LOK accessories and a serviceable Picatinny rail right at the tip for stability on a bipod. The chassis handles well, although it is front-heavy. The all-encompassing stock adjustments allow a secure and ultimately precise grip, and shooting positions for prone, kneeling and standing shots. 

This is an intriguing and stunning piece of engineering, and if you like being exclusive this could be your ticket.

Dreamline Classic

If all this hi-tech wizardry is too much for you, then the Classic returns us to more established territory. The Classic provides a familiar and beautifully crafted ambidextrous stock which is available in a walnut, laminate or a synthetic finish. 

The forend is long and unsculpted, which I liked more than I anticipated. I have long arms and feel that the curves in some stocks force my palm into an unnatural location. As the rifle is so balanced on aim, and so firmly controlled by the wide pistol grip, my supporting arm was able to wander almost at will along the length of the forend to arrive at the most comfortable stance.

The stippling on the grip and out front is subtle, and the grip itself has a medium angle which encourages a relaxed, thumb-up hold and trigger engagement. There is no such chequering on the synthetic stock, which holds your contact points perfectly. 

To the rear, the comfortable, raised and level cheekpiece allows front-to-rear positioning of the face with no loss of eye contact from the centreline of the scope. A fixed rubber butt pad provides a neat and supremely secure anchor, and the overall impression of the rifle is one of confident and assured elegance.

Conclusions

Is this the ultimate shooting solution? You decide! The Classic in isolation is a subtle and handsome hunter, but in the end, and for pure versatility, I bought the Tac in Compact form. Maybe next time, don’t ask: “What can I do with my rifle?” Ask: “What can the Dreamline do for me?”


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