High-end airgun hardware with Andy McLachlan

Andy McLachlan can’t resist the allure of FX Airguns, so out comes his wallet and in comes another high-end tackdriver

Here’s Andy’s new Impact complete with ambidextrous cheekpiece, Saber Tactical adjustable butt plate and bottle clamp

There cannot be that many keen airgunners who have not taken notice of the innovative and high-quality products being produced by FX Airguns in Sweden.

FX can be described as truly innovative in their thinking, and go their own way when it comes to designing gun actions that meet the needs of shooters all over the world.

They are truly at the forefront of cutting-edge design and can be relied upon to tackle things differently to most manufacturers, who generally prefer to travel down the more traditional route of gun design when considering future product launches.

For those of us who have been around airguns for half a century, as I have now, the traditional format an airgun takes of blued action and well-grained wooden stock that was the epitome of what was known as a classic airgun has very recently been joined by the tactical rifle that looks more like it should be found in the hands of a patrolling soldier rather than a shoot at the local airgun club.

I was sceptical about this futuristic pseudo military appearance until I handled my first example of such a gun, my first FX Impact, a few years ago now.

What I discovered was that the short carbine-length Impact was a well-balanced and very pointable gun that had clearly been well thought out at the design stage by somebody who clearly is a regular shooter and knows what modern airgunners require.

Personally, I can’t stand the term “bullpup” as it reminds me of some of the strange-looking contraptions that have appeared over the years that have often failed to deliver performance-wise, particularly when it comes to trigger pull due to the rods and linkages required to control the release of the shot. 

No, I refer to a gun of Impact proportions as a carbine, not that what we call it happens to matter to how it performs in the field or downrange at the club.

The first FX airgun I purchased was an example of the initial release, the MkI Impact. Unfortunately, this innovative gun was not greeted by everyone with open arms, as various owners complained of leaking actions and other problems associated with a brand new design. 

Andy’s not the only convert to the Impact MkII – his shooting buddies Dave and Jim are shooting theirs at the Turton outdoor range

I beg to differ on this point as my friend Dave Pilkington and I both bought a new one each, with neither of us experiencing any problems whatsoever.

Personally, although I can understand that the odd rogue gun will always slip through the net on occasion despite all of the quality control procedures the manufacturer introduces, I reckon that some of the problems might have been associated with new owners messing about with the mega-adjustability of the powerplant and damaging component parts in the process. 

Anyway, the supposed issues surrounding the initial release of such a genuinely groundbreaking gun are well behind us now. The latest version of the design, although still relatively complicated and requiring more air seals than normal, has nothing other than a great reputation amongst those shooters wishing to purchase an example of a gun offering a large amount of adjustability in its performance, in addition to the capability of changing calibres.

Such adjustability for UK airgunners who do not possess a Firearm Certificate is not really something that, apart from the Impact’s ability to reduce power via the sidewheel hammer spring adjustment, can be used to any great extent. 

Foreign shooters whose governments don’t impose power restrictions on responsible citizens (such as the USA) are therefore able to adjust  the power of their guns to suit individual applications according to the muzzle energies they require and even the type of ammunition used.

This makes the Impact a highly adjustable and extremely popular gun platform for enthusiasts who appreciate the ability to fine-tune their own gun to suit what they want it for, be that field work or long-range target shooting, for example.

Regardless of the high majority of UK sub-12 foot pound users of the FX impact not being able to adjust components such as air regulators, does the additional adjustability still justify the considerable outlay for an FX Impact? Well, for myself and the three fellow club members who have recently done just that, the answer is a resounding “yes”.

I will only report to you things as I find them, and I can categorically state here that the latest FX Impact MkII is a genuinely superb airgun. In addition to shooting, in my own experience, far more accurately with its SmoothTwist X barrel liner than it did as the MkI, the gun has been made with genuine care and looks and feels absolutely bomb-proof.

The finish is truly outstanding and is a credit to whatever manufacturing process and quality control procedures that exist within the FX factory.

Although it is clearly important just how any gun looks and feels in the hand, what really matters is how it performs downrange. All I can say on that front is that my new Impact is able to produce target rifle-sized groups at all ranges, using its preferred ammunition of JSB Exact 8.4 grain pellets, or for that matter the new JSB Hades heavier offering that also allows superb accuracy. 

The new FX Impact MkII has proved itself to be a versatile all-rounder, excelling in the field as well as at the range

Apparently, each individual UK-bound sub-12 ft-lb gun is set up using this ammunition, with my own gun producing velocity variations of two feet per second over a 10-shot string straight out of its well-designed and high-quality case.

Interestingly, all three of the new Impacts that have recently appeared within my circle of close friends all produced precisely the same readings over the chrono, indicating that each individual gun has been properly set up by somebody who cares back at the factory. All are reading a perfect-for-us 787 feet per second with the JSB Exact for 11.6 foot pounds of muzzle energy. 

My problem with my new MkII Impact is that I find it hard to put down. It is most definitely my favourite gun already and has thus far consumed nearly four tins of pellets within a fortnight.

Providing that the barrel is cleaned following the use of a single tin of pellets, accuracy will continue to be excellent, with another shot just a swift movement of the loading lever away from the 38-shot .177 magazine.

Finally, as the FX Impact is such a popular gun platform, many custom accessories have become available allowing you to really go to town on your own gun if that is what floats your boat.

Personally, I have gone for a bottle clamp for my new Accu-Tac bipod and am awaiting delivery of the superb Saber Tactical adjustable butt pad assembly which will allow the fine-tuning of individual gun fit.

In addition, I have bought an ambidextrous cheekpiece and some plenum chamber covers. Along with a couple of additional magazines and a speed loader, hopefully that will be the end of my additional expenditure for now. Although somehow I doubt it, unfortunately.

I can honestly say that the FX Impact is a gun guaranteed to put a smile on your face. It’s truly an outstanding purchase if you can afford one. I haven’t enjoyed shooting a new gun as much in years! 

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