FX Dreamlite precharged air rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

FX Dreamlite
FX Dreamlite PCP.

This report covers:

  • Unique features
  • The manual is a problem
  • Transfer port adjustment
  • Trigger
  • Fill
  • Fill probe
  • Regulator
  • Transfer port adjustment
  • Keep the baby
  • The rifle
  • Free-floated barrel
  • Smooth Twist barrel
  • tock replacement
  • Summary

Today we begin looking at the FX-Dreamlite precharged air rifle. It’s been several years since I tested an FX rifle, and I’m curious to see what has changed. The last rifle I tested was very accurate.

The Dreamlite I am testing is a .177 at my request. The rifle also comes in .22 and .25 calibers, and the barrels can be swapped. So can the butts.

The Dreamlite is part of the FX Dreamline series that includes their lower-priced PCPs. I say they are priced lower, but we are still looking at $1,180 for the Dreamlite, so they aren’t cheap!

Unique features

The Dreamlite comes with a bundle of desirable features that I’d like to mention first. It’s a repeater with a sidelever bolt action that’s very light and smooth to cock. The .177 I’m testing has a spring-loaded circular magazine that holds 21 rounds. I think that’s a record for this kind of magazine. In .22 caliber the mag holds 18 and in .25 it holds 16. I would think that should suffice for a day of hunting! Of course this mag does stick up high above the top of the receiver, so 2-piece scope rings are a must. And no, there are no open sights.

Adjustable power

Oh, my gosh! The Dreamlite has a regulator they call the Adjustable Match Precision (AMP) externally adjustable regulator! You can also adjust the air transfer port. And, the striker/hammer spring tension is also adjustable. Best of all, everything adjusts externally! It sounds daunting, as in — what do I do first — but I’ll try to make sense of it for you as we go.

HOWEVER…

The manual is a problem

FX has put the instructions for all their PCPs into one manual — so it reads like the manual for a new smart TV — meaning nobody can understand it except some of the engineers and programmers who work for the manufacturer! The manual talks about arrows and reservoirs that attach to the butt — none of which the Dreamlite has! It reads like it was written by the marketing department rather than by someone from engineering. Here — take a look!

Dreamlite manual
This is what FX says about adjusting the power. Nothing in these instructions matches anything on the rifle I’m testing!

FX Dreamlite huh?
My official name for this picture is “huh?” I can figure out that I’m supposed to put the caliber of the rifle on the wheel next to the arrow on the receiver, but WHAT DOES IT DO??? Come on FX! The “manual” shows nothing like this!

Transfer port adjustment

The specs on the Pyramyd Air site tell me there is a 3-stage transfer port adjustment. There is nothing in the manual telling me what to do and I don’t see a knob on the rifle that says transfer port, but I finally figured out that the knob pictured above is the air transfer port adjustment. It’s something you need to know — so I just told you. I guess you turn the wheel and watch the chronograph. Remember this adjustment has to be balanced with the striker spring adjuster and the regulator pressure.

FX Dreamlite huh? too
If the previous picture was “huh?”, this one has to be “huh? too”. I can’t tell what the wheel with the numbers and letters does! I guess when I missed that secret FX meeting I missed a lot. The large thumbscrew at the top right of the picture is the way to remove the buttstock.

I did some research on the internet and discovered that “huh? too” is actually the striker/hammer spring adjustment wheel — BUT — where is the reference mark for indexing it? What do I do, just turn it until I like the numbers coming off the chronograph?

And — which trigger is on the test rifle — the Standard, the Bobcat/Indy or the Wildcat? There are three shown in the manual. The Dreamlite is complex enough without a Chinese menu of instructions that may or may not apply! I’m going to have to extract what I can from it and write my own manual for the rifle.

Trigger

After studying the “manual,” I think the Dreamlite has the Wildcat trigger. That’s based on comparing what’s on the rifle to the pictures in the manual.

FX Dreamlite trigger
The Dreamlite trigger is very adjustable, but came from the factory set up perfectly for me.

I will say this — the Dreamlite trigger on the rifle I am testing is two-stage and absolutely delightful. Stage two is relatively crisp and light. I’ll have no problem doing my best with this trigger.

Fill

The Dreamlite has a reservoir under the barrel that holds 250cc. According to the engraving on the action, the rifle fills to a maximum of 230 bar, which is 3,336 psi. The externally adjustable regulator allows the shooter to adjust this down to a lower pressure that should give many consistent shots. And there is a gauge on the right side of the receiver that shows the pressure the reg is set for.

There is also a gauge on the end of the reservoir that tells you how much pressure is in the gun. Referring to both gauges gives a sense of how much air remains before the rifle drops off the regulator and your velocities start declining.

Fill probe

The fill probe is proprietary and does not have a male Foster adaptor on the other end, so you have to either have a dedicated air hose for this rifle or you have to change fill probes every time you want to use the rifle. I installed the probe on my tank and will leave it dedicated for the remainder of the test. In this respect, FX is five years behind the rest of the market. Even the Chinese have figured out that you put a male Foster fitting on the other end of the fill probe so everyone can attach their universal air hoses!

Regulator

There is NO MENTION of the regulator or how to adjust it in the manual!! That is a serious flaw that I intend to correct as we go. This lack of basic information is a shame! Some websites say to adjust the reg with a 2mm Allen wrench — BUT WHERE IS THE SCREW TO ADJUST??? They might also mention that!

FX Dreamlite regulator gauge
The regulator gauge on the right side of the receiver shows the pressure the reg is set to. No — neither of the two screws in this picture are for adjusting the reg.

FX Dreamlite regulator screw
There (arrow) is the 2mm Allen screw for adjusting the regulator, deep inside that hole. Now everybody knows!

Keep the baby

Okay, the bathwater (FX manual) is bad. Don’t throw the baby (the Dreamlite rifle) out with it. I still think it’s a fine air rifle. Once I decode all the gobbledegook and we know how to adjust things, everything should be fine. And when I say “we,” I’m talking about all those who have bought this rifle and have gone on websites around the world, asking the same questions I am asking today.

The rifle

Enough of the background — what do we have here? The FX Dreamlite is a repeating bolt-action rifle that’s reasonably lightweight. It weighs 5 lbs. 10 ounces, which makes it one of the lightest PCP rifles. Only the Gen 2 Fortitude, all of the AirForce Escape series (AirForce Escape, EscapeUL and Escape SS) and a few others are lighter.

The rifle is 42.5 inches long (I measured it) and the buttstock does come off, taking it down to just 32 inches. The rifle comes with a silencer installed and I agree with the Pyramyd Air rating of a sound level of 2. I had to dry-fire the rifle many times as I adjusted the regulator, which I had to do to know I had found the correct screw. I will describe how to adjust the reg in a future report — probably Part 2.

The Dreamlite gets up to 20 foot-pounds in .177 and more in the larger calibers, so it is a serious hunting rifle. We will explore more on that when we test velocity.

Free-floated barrel

The shrouded barrel is free-floated. The shroud moves when touched, leading some to wonder if the rifle will hold its zero. I will check that as we go, but for now let’s assume it will because this rifle already has a reputation for being a tack-driver.

There is a DonnyFL silencer (that is what the manual calls it) on the end of the shroud, which is what keeps the rifle so quiet. I have read some people’s comments that the barrel is a “soda straw” tube, but that’s not true. The actual barrel on the test rifle measures 14.14mm outside diameter — anything but a soda straw. Oddly FX seems to call the true barrel a “liner” and the outside shroud the barrel. I guess that’s the way it looks to people and I won’t fight the trend.

Smooth Twist barrel

The Dreamlite rifle comes with a Smooth Twist X barrel. Most of the length of the barrel is smoothbore and the rifling is just near the end. I have read that it gets tremendous accuracy but is pellet-specific. I have no problem with that, as accuracy is all that really matters.

These barrels are designed to interchange, which makes the Dreamlite more than just a rifle — it’s a whole shooting system. In other words, you can change calibers. And that, I guess, is the reason for the confusing wording on the air transfer port selector knob — because the gun can be several calibers.

Stock replacement

The fact that you can take the buttstock off is meaningless unless you know that other butts can take its place. Because you certainly would not want to shoot this as a pistol!

Summary

There is more to tell but this report is already getting too long. I really like the rifle I’m testing, but I think the documentation is beyond poor. Therefore, I plan to document the rifle as I go and people can refer to this series when they have a question about the rifle’s operation. I know I will.

I apologize for bashing the FX manual, but the last job I had in the Army was developing the user’s manuals for the XM1 tank. A piece of equipment can be state of the art, but until the user understands how to use it, it can have no positive impact.

I’m actually considering purchasing this rifle at the end of testing, so you know I am impressed. Can’t wait to see it in action!

89 thoughts on “FX Dreamlite precharged air rifle: Part 1

  1. B.B.

    This is by far and away the most popular air rifle at the range where I shoot at.
    Most days it is one or 2 springer guys(I’m raising my hand) and 4/5 PCP guys shooting this very model.
    Some in .177 and some in .25. They have no trouble hitting small targets at 120 yards+.
    They always ask if I want to try it….like a crack dealer offering me my first fix for free. lol.

    -Y





      • R.R.,

        I have been in and out of the Seven Step PCP Recovery Program for decades to no avail!
        Every time I see my DAQs I relapse. I am an unredeemable lost soul of the Dark Side!

        Give up all hope all who enter here!

        shootski


        • Shootski
          Sorry but I’m going to have to send you down the wrong path.

          The pcp addiction is a hard one to break. The more you try to get away from it the more you see why you do pcp’s.

          Don’t fight it anymore. Give in. Once you get that pcp in hand and start popping off those small targets at very long distances you will remember why you love them pcp’s so much.

          It’s too late you done bit it. It don’t take much to get hooked on the dark side.

          How about this. I’m addicted and I don’t care what anybody say’s. I will do everything in my power to keep shooting them. It would be a lost day without a shot from a pcp. 😉


        • Shootski,

          I bought my HM1000X .357. I then bought a compressor because it is VERY impractical to fill it with a hand pump. I then bought a tank so I did not have to haul the compressor around with me.

          There is no hope.



    • Yogi,

      Well,… there you have it from the PCP shooter side of things. It is a commitment to some equipment. Plus, there is so much to choose from. Seeing your shooting buddies results at the range should be all of the convincing that you would need to convert to the “dark side”.

      If you decide otherwise,… then so be it. But,…. at least try one.

      Chris



  2. Man. Really spending half a post bashing a manual? From my 100$ to 1000$ airguns I have never got a decent manual.

    The only thing I’ve ever bought that had a decent manual was a metal detector that cost more than this rifle. And the complete manual was only available bad a download because it was a couple hundred pages.


    • Edw,

      Could it simply be they hired a translator who had no idea about airguns and then had no one who could check their work? I know that many Swedes speak English but technical subject matter English translation is an entirely different Kettle of Fish.

      shootski


      • Shootski
        I don’t believe I see a translation problem with the manual as far as what BB pointed out.

        They plain and simple didn’t address what the gun features are in the manual.

        For the most part from what BB reported was easy to figure out. Well then again maybe not for some.

        What I say is shame on FX for not going back and to simply say proof read the manual before it was released.

        As top notch as FX is. They definitely have a Faulty Manual. There’s a newer reader that has a user name of FaltyManual. Wonder why he chose that user name.


  3. “I apologize for bashing the FX manual”

    You would only owe us an apology if you didn’t criticize this abomination that is laughingly called a manual.


  4. The reason FX wants you to attach their proprietary fill probe to your hose only is:

    In their eyes, once you buy an FX why would you want any other air rifle.

    So you only need the 1 probe to fill their gun.

    That, and you don’t have any airgun money left over to buy another airgun…

    Now in the real world, how hard is it to have the foster fitting on the probe to begin with..

    If the Chinese can do it and sell and ship the probe all the way from China to you for the princely sum of $3.99 US Dollars.

    And still make a profit, why can’t FX.



      • RR,

        As a Draftsperson/Designer I always saw my position as being the buffer in between the theoretical world of the engineers and the practical “make it work” world of the manufacturing people. It was always interesting/challenging to have a foot in both camps.

        Always said that engineers work at a “high level of confusion” …this manual just goes to prove it. LOL!

        I can only guess that the FX Draftsperson was off on vacation with their Documentation person when this rifle and its manual were done.


      • R.R.,

        We had a Revolution over that kind of thinking! All our shipping had to go through England before it could get to the recipient.

        EU = SOCIALISM/Greased Palmism!

        shootski


        • Shootski,

          Now we use our economy. We are the marketplace. If we don’t buy, they don’t sell. Sooner or later they come around.

          They airgun world is a primary example. For many, many years the Europeans have been building very fine airguns. Their market was quite limited though. Now that the American market has started to show interest, these companies have begun to grow. With that growth they have had to learn to cater to our tastes. If they don’t do such, they don’t sell.


    • My Crown doesn’t need a probe…
      It’s a foster fitting on the rifle…
      You just need an extended female foster fitting,
      or really strong fingers.

      As good as their guns shoot, you start to forget all the nick-picking things you can complain about…

      BB, I believe the Smooth Twist X is “rifled” for the length of the barrel.
      It was the Smooth Twist that only had rifling at the muzzle end.

      I don’t thing I’ve taken a serious look at the manual…
      I just watch Matt D, Ernest Rowe and Ted videos…
      I knew what I needed to do to adjust the thing before I even owned one after watching these guys.


  5. BB
    Please post a picture of the fill probe. I had a couple FX guns and have a idea of what to do. And Pyramyd Air even sells the product to make it work with out it being dedicated.

    Oh and I like the gun alot.




      • BB,

        I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate for a minute on the fill probe issue.

        You would know better than I if all or most hand pumps and whips come with a female Foster quick connect, but if a buyer of this gun didn’t have a Foster fitting on his setup and no access to one, he would be be out of luck if the gun shipped with a probe that had a male Foster turned onto its end. With a threaded end, at least the buyer can get it connected to his whip as you did. Then if he has access to Foster style fittings he can convert in the future. Of course, the ideal would be to supply a screw-on male with the probe that could be removed if it wasn’t needed, but that takes a number of machining operations and probably accounts for the Chinese method of just making it part of the probe to begin with. That practice. however, could be causing some problems in some parts of the world and we don’t know about it.

        Half


  6. B.B.,

    Looking forwards to this one. Why .177? .22 would have been more conducive to the longer range testing, I would think. .25 even better, but limited pellet selection.

    Bash away! No excuse for that. Even my Red Wolf manual could have been better, but nothing that even comes close to that.

    As I said,… looking forwards to seeing more of this one.

    Good Day to you and to all,……. Chris


  7. BB,

    Woohoo! This is THE air rifle I am trying to have move in next at RidgeRunner’s Home For Wayward Airguns. My HM1000X may have to find somewhere else to live. You may rest assured that I am looking forward to this review.

    There is no excuse for that manual. None. Nada. Zip. The Dreamline air rifles are almost the “entry level” air rifles for FX. I do realize the costs involved in importing materials, design, production, yada yada yada. I am even aware of Sweden’s almost insane taxes, but you would think Fred Axelsson would hire someone to work in Documentation. It seems almost like they wish to remain on “The Dark Side”. If you don’t know, you shouldn’t be here.



      • I’ve been throwing my spare change in a gallon jar ever since these hit the market. Apparently I don’t use cash enough to get spare change. At the rate the jar is filling it’ll be 5 or 7 years before i can get one of these. By then there will be something “better,faster,stronger” and it will only be $6 million.



      • Shootski,

        THAT is not going to happen. So much of what I know, I have learned from him. He and others are what is pushing the market to develop such things for us to play with.



  8. Hi B.B. and all,

    Yes I was also planning to get me this one for my birthday. So I am very happy to see this being reviewed. I think people talk about the straw sized barrel because it is is just a thin barrel liner in there held in the outer barrel.

    Here is a pic of one of the so called liners, interesting about them is that as I have come to understand; the rifling is pressed into them from the outside.. Pretty cool.

    (I have ripped this picture from the internet, so please feel free to sue me.)

    Carel


    • Carel,

      Do you know if it is a mandrel or if it is a clamping rifling jig that uses a press to actually form the ridges into the bore?
      IF so, that would mean there are no Grooves and Lands in the conventional sense!

      shootski


      • Well there are so many different kinds (smooth twist, smooth twist X, slug liners..) But at least one of the bores they make have an octagonal shape on the inside. Giles from the ‘airgun gear show’ showed this on the video where he shot the pringles.

        Also a very entertaining video.

        Carel


        • Carel
          Wow really. A octagonal inside?

          Haven’t heard of that either.

          Am I really that out of the loop. Or maybe that was some kind of test barrel they was doing. Not a production barrel.

          I would like to know more.


          • Agh I meant, polygonal. You must have heard about polygonal barrels right? An octagon is an n-gon, but I do not think the barrels are limited to 8 sides.

            Lothar Walther even makes them. I have not heard very great things about the LW ones though. But that is all anecdotal. And I bet some people shoot great groups with them

            http://lothar-walther.eu/459.php


            • Carel
              Well I can honestly say I never knew that FX used even that kind of barrel

              Just to say. I do have faith in the FX smooth twist barrels.

              The others I just don’t know.


  9. BB
    There is a lot of info and videos on their web site. Very good u-tube graphic on the concept design there as well. There is a folding AR stock available and they may have 10yr. battery powered slightly larger digital gages soon. Trigger set at 15 ounces from factory.

    I was really considering this rifle until I saw that video on LCS Air Arms. Who knows ?
    Bob M





        • GF1,

          Yes, even .30. The Dreamline platform is awesome. If your wallet can stand it you can take this air rifle and have a serious medium game hunter and change it into a FT competition air rifle in moments. This platform is why I will be selling my HM1000X.






                • Chris,

                  I have looked at it. It appears to be an awesomely nice air rifle. I already have an awesomely nice air rifle with my HM1000X. My issue is I am a tinker at heart. I enjoy getting my hands on old airguns and restoring them.

                  I also enjoy modifying airguns to see if I can improve performance or personal ergonomics. Look at what I did with the Edge. I am rebuilding a Crosman 101 right now. I have an AirForce Talon SS that is a bag of parts at the moment awaiting it’s turn.

                  For quite some time now I have been fighting the urge to “tune” my HM1000X. Right now it is tuned from the factory for JSB pellets. I have been wanting to take it into the world of cast bullets. This will call for adjusting the regulator and striker spring, maybe even changing the twist rate. I can do all of this, but do I really want to? This is a very nice air rifle just like it is.

                  The Dreamlite can be set up for an afternoon of killing feral soda cans and in moments be converted into a rifle that will kill groundhogs at over 100 yards, then back again. This is the modern air rifle that I have been looking for.




  10. Dang! I had a long, drawn out dissertation I intended to deliver concerning the differences between the Smooth Twist and Smooth Twist X barrels. Pooky.



      • GF1,

        Well, you seem to understand the Smooth Twist barrels. With the Smooth Twist X you have an outer barrel sleeve and an inner barrel insert. The insert has the rifling pressed into it from the outside along it’s entire length, creating a polygonal rifling. You can change inserts, probes and magazines for different calibers. You can also change out the shrouds, outer barrels, etc. for different lengths.

        FX is also researching different twist rates for different projectiles such as diabolo and cast bullets which require a different twist rate for optimum performance. Matt Dubber and others have been working with FX to help develop these.

        These are almost as versatile as the AirForce line.



      • Yogi
        The old smooth twist barrels were smooth bore to about the last 2 inches. Then it was rifled.

        But what is interesting is the old barrels actually got twisted to make the rifling. FX has a factory tour video that shows the machine that did the barrel twist on the old guns.

        Like I mentioned. I had a couple FX guns. And they was .22 caliber Monsoons. I could shine light down the barrel and see the smooth bore and where it transitioned to the twist.

        And as BB noted about the old barrels. The ones I had was very accurate.


        • So you are saying that there was no rifling until the last 2 inches?
          I would think, straight lands and groves the whole way and then a twist of this rifling would be much better?

          -Y


          • Yogi
            Search some videos or animations of the FX smooth twist barrel.

            What they advertised was that the smooth bore allowed the pellet to get to a higher velocity than a rifled barrel of that legnth. Then when the pellet hit the twist it gave the accuracy.

            Tell me what you find. I from long ago suggested that they should make screw on tips that had various twist rates and choke down.

            That’s what I was hoping the X barrel would be. A smooth bore with different screw on tips.


  11. I have been anonymously following this blog for a few years and enjoying the content. I joined today because I wanted to join in on this conversation. I agree that the FX manual is one of the worst I have. The worst is the Artemis PP700sa. But in defense of FX, they seem to have put their money in informational videos. I have a FX Wildcat mk1 and a FX Crown. The Wildcat doesn’t have much adjustment capability so not a big deal. The Crown has similar adjustments to the Dreamline. Before I bought the Crown I downloaded the factory manual and was very disappointed. I then surfed the internet and found that FX had comprehensive videos on FX guns. I prefer a well written manual but I’m older. Maybe in this day and age a well produced video is the wave of the future. The problem is FX doesn’t include a DVD version of their videos with the rifle. As an aside I have just ordered a Weihrauch HW30S and have linked all 13 parts of B.B.s 2006 “Spring gun tune” blog posts in a folder so that I can do my own maintenance.



    • Fderry
      And what maintenance might you be doing to your hw30 after reading BB’s 13 part report.

      And really tune a HW30s. Why? I mod alot of stuff all the time. But the HW30s has needed nothing. Well for me shooting it anyway. Very accurate out of the box when I shoot it.

      Interested in what your going to do.


      • Gunfun1,
        I like to understand mechanical devices. I have bought maintenance manuals for all of my cars and motorcycles for over 50 years even if I didn’t do the maintenance myself. Part of my enjoyment of airgunning is understanding how they work and tweaking for better performance. No planned modification to the HW30s at this time but have linked the Air Rifle Headquarters web site just in case!

        You are right about the HW30s in that there isn’t much that can be improved but I want to understand how it works so that I can do maintenance if required. About 18 or 19 years ago I got into airguns (after a lot of research) with a Beeman R9. After shooting for awhile I realized it wasn’t what I was looking for. I then ordered a R7. Sort of like the three bears story, it fit what I was looking for. A few years ago I gave the R7 to a friend that needed a good air rifle to manage pests on her property and in her horse barn. I was visiting her about a month ago and shot the R7. Realized my mistake in giving it away so I ordered the HW30s!



    • Fderry,

      DVD???? What’s THAT!!! As a Geezer I completely understand but DVD Manuals are “SO YESTERDAY”….
      Welcome to the Posting Side of the Blog ;^) ✓ old school emoticon!

      shootski


  12. For all those who have a PCP with a proprietary fill probe:

    I’ve been waiting for B.B. to do a blog on PCP that uses a fill probe. I know my Urban and the Hatsans and others use a special fill probe. It’s imperative that the O-rings on the fill probe be kept lubed with silicone grease, and equally important, to keep it from being contaminated with dust or debris. I’ve seen others use a plastic ziplock bag or such to keep the probe clean. That works but it’s kind of messy and a nuisance.

    I’ve come up with a much better solution that I would like to share. I use a pill bottle. I drilled a hole in the cap (as I recall 1/2″) so that the male foster adapter would slide through. Then when the hose is connected to the foster fitting the cap is captured and held in position. Then simple screw the bottle onto the cap to keep the probe protected. Here are some pictures of how it looks.

    Geo






  13. I am sure someone else covered this at least in parts the smooth twist is a twist in the barrel instead of cut rifling that gives twist rate to pellets without distorting the surface of the pellet and was developed to be effective with skirted pellets. This is why the new slug barrels had to be developed for using non skirted projectiles. If i remember correctly the 2017extreme benchrest competition in Arizona had high winds and the FX airguns pretty much dominated the competition and in watching a video one of the competitors was putting fourth the theory that the smooth twist barrels in not deforming the pellets might have been making them less susceptible to wind.

    So that’s just my understanding however incorrect it might be.


    • Another post…
      I hate tinkering…
      I want a gun to shoot.

      I bought a Slug Liner for my FX Crown and installed it.
      It would have come off (to be sold) if it could not shoot pellets well…
      …because I’m NOT switching liners for the few times I might like to hunt long range with slugs.

      Long story short…
      My 22 cal Slug Liner shoots 15.89 JSB pellets at .6 (and as good as .3) at 50 for 5 shots.

      As an aside…
      There’s growing evidence out on YouTube that, in some cases, standard airgun barrels can shoot slugs well…
      I just wish the cost of slugs would come down… I can shoot reloads out of my .223 cheaper than I can shoot slugs out of my Crown.

      Really glad the Godfather is reviewing FX these days…
      How about the Impact MKII next?


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