FX Dreamlite precharged air rifle: Part 2
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Start velocity test
- Transfer port
- Hammer spring tension
- My test
- Big test
- Where is the knob pointing?
- Played with the rifle to learn how it works
- Max power (up) 90 bar reg 155 bar in reservoir
- Reservoir reads 155 bar, Max power (up) 90 bar reg
- Filled reservoir to 230 bar, max power (up), 90 bar reg
- Power knob to 4 (up), reg at 90 bar reservoir reads 220 bar (last fill may have been light)
- Power knob to 2 (up), reg at 90 bar reservoir reads 210 bar
- Power knob to Min (up), reg at 90 bar reservoir reads 200 bar
- Power knob to B (up), reg at 90 bar reservoir reads 195 bar
- Power knob to D (up), reg at 90 bar reservoir reads 190 bar
- Power knob to Max (up), reg at 90 bar reservoir reads 180 bar
- Discharge sound
I begin today’s report with a large correction of Part 1. I said the Smooth Twist X barrel is not rifled until the end of the barrel. That is true of the original Smooth Twist barrel, but not the Smooth Twist X. The Smooth Twist X is rifled all the way up the bore. I have read many reports of stunning accuracy from this rifle — actually from the entire Dreamline series — and I hope the test rifle will be one of those.
Start velocity test
Today I will look at the velocity of the test rifle. Now we know that there are three adjustments on this rifle. The regulator is adjustable, the air transfer port is adjustable and the hammer spring tension is adjustable. While the manual sadly lacks pertinent information on how to adjust any of these things, reader Yogi posted a link to the FX drawing of the Dreamlite that shows the hammer spring adjuster is a rack and pinion gear.
After playing with the knob for a while I discovered that the adjustments increase and decrease as the knob it turned in either direction. I will have to experiment to affirm that, plus to see if the rifle comes back when it is set to the same place.
I won’t be able to test every possible adjustment for you. There are too many. What I will do is establish a baseline and see what the adjustments do from there. If I owned this rifle that is exactly how I would test it for myself.
Now let’s look at where the rifle will be set at the start of the test. The rifle came to me with the regulator set at 100 bar. I will leave it there to start the baseline of this test. If I change it I will tell you.
The air transfer port has 4 positions. It’s got to be set on one of those 4 so the hole through the port will align with the valve. You can’t set it in-between them or no air will flow. For today’s tests I will leave the air transfer port set on the .177/.22 setting that I showed in Part 1.
Hammer spring tension
Who knows where the hammer spring is at this time? There is no index mark to align anything with and the knob is engraved with numbers, letters and the words Max and Min.
I don’t care about maximum power. I will test the rifle with good heavy pellets, but not with solid slugs! The Dreamlite’s circular magazine prevents me from using the longest heaviest pellets anyway. The manual cautions you not to exceed 16 grains in .177 caliber for a different FX air rifle, but I think it also applies to this one.
Besides velocity I am interested in stability. Does the velocity return to the same place every time when the controls are set the same?
My review seems to be the only one that’s focused on the .177-caliber Dreamlite. Everybody seems to be going for the most power. Normally I would be right there with them, but with the AirForce Condor and the new Ring Loc Kit on the market, I think that’s a futile quest. Instead I will concentrate on what this rifle has to offer — adjustability, accuracy and a fine trigger.
I also want to know how low the Dreamlite can go. Can it drop below 12 foot-pounds to be legal in international field target matches? I don’t know — gonna try to find out. At 20 foot-pounds it’s certainly okay for American matches as is.
That’s a lot to test. I won’t finish everything today, but because many readers are waiting to see the accuracy, I will split this test up into parts that I publish now and later. Because of the lack of documentation and the lack of information about the .177 caliber Dreamlite — as far as I have been able to discover — this was the largest and most confusing velocity test I ever conducted.
Where is the knob pointing?
Look up at that power knob again. Where it is pointing? There is no way to tell. When I started the test I thought it should “point” forward toward the front of the rifle, but I soon discovered there are more stops in the knob than there are markings. So, I played around with it awhile and settled on straight up as my reference point. It may be hard for you to understand how confusing this is, but it’s really difficult. I will get a handle on it, but apparently I have farther to go.
One thing I did establish is the knob returns to roughly the same place every time it’s rotated. Clockwise or counter-clockwise doesn’t seem to matter. When “Max” is at the top, the velocity is roughly the same regardless of how many turns the knob has gone through or the direction they took. That means that each power setting should repeat.
Played with the rifle to learn how it works
I shot the rifle 62 times with Baracuda Match pellets, trying to figure out that power knob. As the test progressed I also lowered the reg pressure from 100 bar to 90 bar for the final 13 shots. The rifle shot faster on the Max power setting at 90 bar than it had at 100 bar.
Over the 62 shots the reservoir pressure had dropped from 230 bar to 155 bar. With the reg set at 90 bar, there are still many shots until the rifle drops below 90 bar in the reservoir and falls off the regulator.
Max power (up) 90 bar reg 155 bar in reservoir
At 840 f.p.s. this 10.65-grain pellet generates 16.69 foot-pounds at the muzzle.
I’m not looking for averages yet, but this is how the test rifle performs for 8 shots on those settings. HOWEVER — I think the reg on this test rifle is a little slow. So, on the next test I will wait 5 seconds between each shot.
I turned the power knob three complete turns counter-clockwise and stopped with the Max reading up again.
Reservoir reads 155 bar, Max power (up) 90 bar reg
Okay, what I can say at this point is the reg does take time to fill with air. Fortunately we just learned about that in another test a few days ago, so no surprise there. The rifle now has 150 bar in the reservoir and the reg is set at 90 bar. The power should be identical at this pressure to what it is if the reservoir is filled to 230 bar, so I filled it to see.
Filled reservoir to 230 bar, max power (up), 90 bar reg
That’s very close between 150 bar and 230 bar. I will call the rifle stable at this time. Now I will adjust the power knob to several different settings. I played with these during the first 60 shots, so I have some idea of what to expect.
Power knob to 4 (up), reg at 90 bar reservoir reads 220 bar (last fill may have been light)
At 753 f.p.s. this 10.65-grain pellet develops 13.41 foot-pounds at the muzzle.
I am now waiting perhaps 8-10 seconds between the shots, letting that reg fill again. And the rifle is becoming more uniform.
Power knob to 2 (up), reg at 90 bar reservoir reads 210 bar
At 710 f.p.s. this 10.65-grain pellet develops 11.92 foot-pounds at the muzzle. There is my sub-12 foot pounds and I shot it with a heavy pellet. Obviously the Dreamlite can go lower!
Power knob to Min (up), reg at 90 bar reservoir reads 200 bar
Velocity gained just a little. I don’t know if putting the power setting at the top is correct yet, so although I am thinking it’s set to Min, it might be somewhere else. What about the letters on the power knob?
Power knob to B (up), reg at 90 bar reservoir reads 195 bar
Power knob to D (up), reg at 90 bar reservoir reads 190 bar
Well, I don’t know what to say about the letters. They don’t seem to act like the numbers do. But let’s set the power to Max (up) again and see where it takes us.
Power knob to Max (up), reg at 90 bar reservoir reads 180 bar
The velocity went back to about the same place when the knob was set back to Max (up). The Dreamlite is repeatable, but for a regulated air rifle it’s not yet as stable as I’d like to see it. However, for a hunting gun it’s probably all that’s required. I do think that the reg will work faster as the rifle breaks in, just as we discussed last week.
The Dreamlite is whisper quiet! It’s been a few years since I heard a PCP that was this quiet, and the silencer that did that was over a foot long. This one is compact! It is way quieter than my .22 rimfire silencer with subsonic ammo!
The rifle cocks and feeds each pellet butter-smooth. I have to say it’s the best repeater (for a smooth repeating function) I have ever tested and almost as nice as a 10 meter target rifle for smooth feeding. The magazine functioned quite well. I loaded it five times for today’s testing!
The two stage trigger has a light first stage (12 ounces) that stops positively at stage two. Stage two breaks crisply at 17 ounces. It’s very similar to the feel of a 10-meter target rifle trigger, though heavier. Many shooters are going to have to get used to it, because it is so light!
I’m just getting started! I only tested with a single pellet today and I only really tested the power knob at a reg setting of 90 bar. There is still the variable transfer port adjustment to test, though I will leave it where it is for the first accuracy test.
If this Dreamlite turns out to be as accurate as I have read, I will probably buy it. It’s such a flexible powerplant that I need it — plus it’s quiet enough to eliminate pests in my small suburban backyard.
The adjustable regulator works well, but doesn’t control the velocity as closely as other regulators do. That may not be a problem — OR the rifle may just need an extended break-in period for things to slick up.
What a shame FX doesn’t tell you more about the rifle in the manual. This manual is like the ones the Brits used to ship with their PCPs back in the early ’90s. This one has more words and better pictures, but it’s a total confusion when you try to use it.
Behind the poor documentation lies a very nice precharged pneumatic air rifle — I think. If it will shoot as well for me as it has for others, I will call it a winner.