FX Dreamlite precharged air rifle: Part 3
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- New Dreamline manual!
- First accuracy test
- Mounted a scope
- JSB Exact Heavy
- H&N Baracuda Match with 4.53mm heads
- JSB Beast
- Air Arms Falcons
- RWS Superdome
- JSB Exact
- What now?
- Final group
- What have we learned?
New Dreamline manual!
Pyramyd Air sent me a copy of the new Dreamline manual and it is far more specific! I was delighted to discover that I had actually guessed right on all my assumptions, and the work I carefully reported in Part 2 of this report is exactly how the Dreamlite should have been adjusted. I even got the location of the power settings correct — meaning that the power setting that points straight up is the one that is in effect.
There are 7 power settings that range from Min. to Max., with 5 numbers in between. The letters on the opposite side of the wheel are equivalent to the numbers opposite them, so number 1 and letter E are both the same low power settings and number 5 and letter A are both the same high power settings. Max. power is maximum of all the settings and Min. is the minimum for every caliber.
The air transfer port adjustment is specific to caliber, so I set it correctly. You are not supposed to change that setting when you adjust for a specific caliber. It’s there for when the barrels (liners) are swapped.
Isn’t it nice to finally know these things? I guess the manual was being made but didn’t catch up with the first shipments of rifles. That’s not good, but at least there is now a manual that makes sense.
First accuracy test
After all I went through to discover the performance parameters of the .177-caliber FX-Dreamlite I’m testing, I took a break today and switched over to the accuracy mode. Accuracy is normal for a Part 3 report, but given the complexity and flexibility of the Dreamlite’s adjustments, there is more to be tested there. I will come back and test more of that after I establish the accuracy of the rifle. Today’s report is surprising, so read every word!
Mounted a scope
There are no open sights on the Dreamlite, so I mounted a UTG 8-32X56 SWAT scope. This is the same scope I had used on the AirForce Edge for the test of the 18-inch barrel. That scope was shimmed in the UTG rings, so it should have been close to zero.
But it wasn’t. The Dreamlite I am testing shot two inches below the aim point at 25 yards and had to be adjusted up. Since the scope was shimmed to begin with there seemed to be plenty of room to adjust it up — BUT — this scope adjusts in 1/8 MOA clicks and I may have gone up too far. When you see the results of today’s test I think you will agree.
JSB Exact Heavy
I sighted-in and started the test with the 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavy domed pellet. At 25 yards 10 of them went into 0.528-inches. That surprised me because I was expecting to bring out the trime for this pellet and rifle.
I had fired 6 shots during sight in so there were five pellets left in the 21-shot magazine and I shot them at a second target. This one was even more puzzling. Five shots grouped in 0.795-inches at 25 yards. That’s significantly bigger than the 10-shot group with the same pellet. Something was up but I didn’t know just what it was yet.
I did not adjust the scope from this point on.
H&N Baracuda Match with 4.53mm heads
I tried the H&N Baracuda Match with a 4.53mm head next. Ten went into 0.581-inches at 25 yards, but I noticed something strange this time. The first couple pellets landed apart from the main group and once the rifle began shooting into the main group, it remained there. So the target shows a couple separate holes next to a larger main group. I tell you that because it happened with almost every pellet.
At this point in the test I decided to shoot 5-shot groups and only expand to 10 if the first 5 were good.
Next to be tested was the heavyweight JSB Beast. For some reason I thought shooters had said the Dreamlite likes heavy pellets over lighter ones. Five of the Beasts went into 0.582-inches at 25 yards. The last three pellets went into the same hole, so something was definitely up. But I still didn’t know what it was.
Air Arms Falcons
The next pellet I tested was the Air Arms Falcon dome. Five of them went into 0.562-inches and, while that is a smaller group, one look tells you it isn’t the right pellet for the Dreamlite.
Next I tried five RWS Superdome pellets. They were promising! After 5 shots I had a reasonably small group, so I loaded 5 more Superdomes into the magazine and shot them at the same target. Ten Superdomes went into 0.585-inches at 25 yards and, curiously, it was the last shot that opened the group up. Without that one, 9 pellets are in 0.354-inches.
I was onto something, but I wasn’t sure just what.
The last pellet I tested was the 8.44-grain JSB Exact dome. Five went into a small group, so I loaded 5 more and completed the 10-shot group. Ten of these pellets went into 0.504-inches at 25 yards. I watched through the scope as the group grew horizontally.
That group gave me confidence that I had found the right pellet. So I loaded 10 more of them into the magazine and shot a second group. I thought everything was solved until the last shot — once again — opened the group. It measures 0.457-inches between centers
I still had no idea of what was causing these open groups from a rifle that clearly ought to stack them, but I started writing the report anyway. Then, as I was writing, it dawned on me — this is how a scope behaves when the erector tube is floating because the elevation has been adjusted too high. If one of you had reported the same thing do you know what I would have advised you to do? Dial your elevation down 60 clicks and shoot another group with your best pellet — which is this last one. I couldn’t resist the challenge — I had to know. Because, if that solves the grouping problem, all that’s needed is a scope mount with droop compensation.
I set up the entire range a second time and shot 10 more 8.44-grain JSB Exacts. Before shooting I dialed the elevation of the scope down 60 clicks to get some tension on the erector tube spring. Then I shot. The pellets went into a single hole that did not grow much — until shot 10. Nine are in 0.325-inches with ten in 0.445-inches. I think I have found the “problem.” True the group before this is almost as small, but I have a suspicion that if I ran the test again, all the groups would be smaller.
What have we learned?
I can’t say much about the Dreamlite yet because most of today’s test is flawed. I can tell you the test rifle is a drooper, and to remind you that drooping isn’t just a problem encountered on breakbarrel springers.
I can also tell you that my fix for testing whether the erector tube is floating works. You just saw it demonstrated. I still need a different mount for this rifle, but at least I know the problem is with how the scope is mounted and not with the airgun.
Today was just a quick accuracy test. There is still more to be tested, plus we need to refine the adjustments a bit. I also want to test the sensitivity of the barrel to being hit from the side, because that’s something many readers have asked about.
So far the Dreamlite is testing out well. I haven’t seen any of the screamer groups that others have reported, but I’m shooting 10 shots and they mostly shot five. I could have stopped at five shots many times in today’s test and shown great results, but I want to know how accurate the rifle is — not how good it can be made to look.