The new Maverick from FX Airguns combines proven features with an innovative dual regulator system – Mat Manning gives his verdict on this exceptional PCP.
Swedish gunmaker FX Airguns is known for making some of the finest PCPs in the world, and the Impact MkII bullpup has an almost legendary status among airgun aficionados – especially high-power shooters who demand a high degree of tunability in their guns.
FX also has a reputation for taking an unconventional approach, and not being afraid to do things differently from the rest of the crowd.
The new FX Maverick will reinforce that reputation on both fronts. This innovative airgun burst onto the scene just a few months ago and quickly became the gun that everyone is talking about.
And for good reason too, because not only does it combine winning elements of the tried and tested Impact and Wildcat models, it also has a very unusual dual regulator system. On top of that, it also manages to be a lot more affordable than many of its competitors.
FX Maverick review – specification
MAKER: FX Airguns, Sweden
UK DISTRIBUTOR: Sportsman Gun Centre (www.sportsmanguncentre.co.uk)
MODEL: Maverick (standard black)
PRICE: From £1,214.99 (£1,408.99 for model tested)
TYPE: Dual-regulated bullpup
CALIBRE: .177 (tested) and .22, plus .25 and .30 at FAC
OVERALL LENGTH: 810mm
LENGTH OF PULL: 361mm
BARREL LENGTH: 500mm (tested), also 600mm and 700mm at FAC
WEIGHT: 3.1kg (model tested without scope)
TRIGGER: Two-stage adjustable
POWER: 11.6 ft-lb on maximum output (high-power versions also available)
Dual regulator system
It’s fair to say that the dual regulator system – which is the real standout feature on this gun – is geared more towards shooters who want to really ramp up the power.
However, there are benefits for everyone because a system that enables an airgun to shoot sweetly at power levels beyond 80 ft-lb should ensure that it shoots extremely sweetly at sub-12 ft-lb.
Two regulators means the one which delivers the air for the shot is not receiving air at such a high pressure as the main bottle. This eliminates regulator creep, which helps shot-to-shot consistency.
The .177 calibre sub-12 ft-lb review gun showed a variation of four feet per second over a string of 10 shots and hardly deviated through the charge, which amounts to hundreds of shots. Considering the fact that some variation can be attributed to anomalies in pellets rather than power delivery, the Maverick really does boast an exceptional degree of consistency.
The dual regulator also means extremely good air efficiency and the test gun (a standard model with 500mm barrel and 480cc carbon air bottle) returned about 500 shots at full power output from a 250 bar fill – you can probably expect even more in .22.
Air filling is via a Foster connection by the neck of the removable bottle, and the connector comes supplied as standard.
Unsurprisingly, the sub-12 ft-lb model is restricted to keep it UK legal so you can’t adjust regulator pressure. The test gun was producing 11.6 ft-lb at full power. A dial at the rear of the action enables you to wind down the muzzle energy should you wish to.
The bottom point of the dial shows the chosen level and there are eight settings, which take this gun down as low as 7.4 ft-lb by adjusting hammer spring tension.
Again, the adjustment will be more useful on FAC models, but plenty of sub-12 shooters will find it handy being able to wind down for indoor pest control on farms or for shooting on a garden range.
The Maverick is also kitted out with FX’s brilliant Smooth Twist X Superior barrel. The barrel is interchangeable so you can switch between different lengths and calibres, and also has FX’s interchangeable liner system. Barrel options go all the way up to 700mm, which will probably be of most interest to FAC shooters.
A chunky shroud comes fitted as standard, and on the sub-12 ft-lb review gun it did a reasonably good job of hushing down the muzzle report. It is threaded for silencer attachment and I expect hunters will probably want to add something extra to make it whisper-quiet.
Higher than usual magazine capacities are something of a speciality at FX these days, and the Maverick runs the same setup as the Dreamline and Crown.
The magazine on the review gun held a generous payload of 22 .177 calibre pellets and was driven by a very slick sidelever mechanism, something that FX perfected some time ago. The lever is well positioned and the mechanism works extremely well so you can count on fast, reliable follow-up shots.
Value and features
Despite its remarkable pedigree, the FX Maverick is comparatively well priced. The gun featured here is the standard model which retails for £1,408.99. There are also Compact and Sniper models as well as a VP version which has an aluminium bottle instead of a carbon one, and costs about £200 less.
Thanks to its bullpup design, the standard Maverick measures just 810mm, has a 361mm length of pull and weighs 3.1kg before you fit a scope. Typical of all FX bullpups, it is very tactically styled and has a Picatinny-type scope rail, forward accessory rails on both sides and one on the underside below the neck of the bottle.
Overall stock design may look fairly simplistic, but the Maverick is a very comfortable gun to shoot.
The cheekpiece has a really nice curved edge, the AR-type pistol grip sets you up very well for the trigger and the butt pad is height-adjustable; just slacken off the locking knob and it slides up and down enabling you to tweak eye alignment with your scope. The only real shortcoming with fit will be for left-handers, as a left-hand version is not currently available.
I am always very picky about triggers, and bullpup triggers can be problematic because of the linkage required to create a connection between the trigger blade and the set-back action.
The Maverick’s two-stage unit is fully adjustable and the match-type blade can be adjusted for height and angle. Let-off wasn’t as crisp as it is on my Impact, but it was still good – and that was without any adjustment at all. From the box, it had just the right amount of first-stage travel and weight, and the second stage broke cleanly, predictably and with no creep.
Moving on to the safety catch, and I have to say that, aside from the absence of a left-hand option, this is one thing that I would change about the Maverick.
It works perfectly well and is quiet to switch on and off, but I think it is positioned too far back, which makes it a bit of a faff to reach. That is a very small niggle on an otherwise excellent gun.
On the range
As you would expect from an airgun that combines features of such illustrious airguns as the Impact and Wildcat, and has the added advantage of a dual regulator system, the Maverick shoots extremely well.
The Superior version of the Smooth Twist X barrel isn’t too particular about what it’s fed, and the test gun gave good results with a wide variety of quality domed pellets.
JSBs just had the edge, and groups measuring within 20mm from centre to centre were commonplace at 40m, and that was shooting in less than perfect conditions.
The Maverick’s barrel has been proven to deliver remarkable grouping at outrageous ranges so I would expect to be able to improve on my results on a completely windless day.
The barrel design and very consistent power delivery obviously play a very important part in the accuracy equation, but the Maverick’s predictable trigger is also a real asset. And this isn’t just an airgun that shoots well when rested on a bench; I also found it very comfortable to shoot from sitting, kneeling and standing positions.
One thing I did notice when shooting was a distinct “ping” from the action, but it’s nothing to worry about; it stands out because everything is so quiet. Also, it is more noticeable to the shooter because your face is right next to the action – nothing is going to hear it downrange.
So that’s the FX Maverick. That dual regulator setup is something really unique right now, but I can see it becoming a lot more common on high-performance airguns over time.
Of course, the greatest gains will be enjoyed by those who are able to shoot the high-power version, but there is still a heck of a lot here for sub-12 shooters to get excited about.
I personally think it would make a cracking little hunting gun, and its stubby proportions would make it very well-suited to hide shooting. Like all high-end PCPs, the FX Maverick is not cheap, but it is a lot more affordable than some of its rivals and it boasts performance and features that far exceed its asking price.
More reviews from Mat Manning
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