FX Dreamlite precharged air rifle: Part 4
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- The Dreamlite
- Another issue
- Pellet sensitive
- Suggestions, suggestions!
- Sight in
- 5-shot group
- JSB Exact RS
- Air Arms Falcon
- The 10th chamber
- Say hello to my little friend
- Discussion and summary
Before I begin today’s report I think I need to tell everyone what it is that I do with this blog. I look at airguns just as though I bought them — the same as you. I’m not here to fix design flaws or manufacturing faults, though I often have to do that to proceed with the tests.
I tell you this because today’s rifle, the FX-Dreamlite, retails for $1,180. At that price it should come from the box ready to go. For that matter, so should any airgun, though, like everyone, I tend to cut the less expensive airguns a little more slack.
Now, sometimes the “problem” isn’t with the gun itself. For example, if it is an extreme drooper like this Dreamlite I’m testing, then the scope can be adjusted up too high for accuracy. That happens with firearms as well as airguns, but people shooting firearms don’t shoot as close as we do so they seldom mention it. But AR-15s are notorious for drooping.
In the first accuracy test the FX Dreamlite let us down with groups that were much larger than expected. I have resolved that today, and found that it was a combination of several things I’ll address in turn. Let’s get on with it.
First of all, the test rifle is a severe drooper and that has to be corrected before anything will work. Because it has a magazine that sticks up way above the plane of the receiver, only 2-piece scope mounts can be used. Years ago we had B-Square adjustable rings for this problem, but that company is no longer in business. So I had to find a good replacement.
The 30mm FX No Limit scope mounts look similar to the older B-Square mounts and are probably what I need, but they are out of stock. So, for today’s test I shimmed the UTG Max Strength 30mm rings I have been using. They already had a shim, so I doubled it. That isn’t a good way to proceed, but it will get us through today’s testing. Since the Dreamlite is a PCP with no recoil I didn’t tighten the ring cap screws very tight. That will keep from denting or bending the scope tube.
In the first test the magazine chamber for the 10th pellet came under suspicion, because any pellet that was shot from it was always a flyer. So today I did not load a pellet into that chamber. Instead of 21 pellets this mag now holds just 20. I will also specifically test that chamber at the end of the test to determine whether I’m right to suspect it, but for the bulk of today’s testing, it was left empty.
It seemed in the first accuracy test that this Dreamlite is very sensitive to what pellet is being used. I already have a list of heavier pellets the rifle doesn’t like. Today I will test some lighter ones. But before we do that I need to find out whether this rifle can be more accurate than we have seen thus far. And there is one pellet that seemed to work okay last time — the 8.44-grain JSB Exact. So that was the one I concentrated on.
You readers have had many suggestions for me, regarding this rifle. Remove the barrel shroud. Remove the silencer. Well, the barrel shroud has nothing to do with accuracy, because it’s not what you think. It’s simply a sleeve or jacket around what FX calls the barrel liner.
The silencer is also unconventional. I don’t see any baffles inside. Instead there is a screen that probably has sound-deadening material behind it. The only place where the pellet can clip this silencer is at the muzzle and there are no marks to indicate that it has.
A couple of you told me to remove the barrel because it was perhaps misaligned with the breech in some way. That I could do and did do. Just two screws on top of the receiver hold it in the action. Loosen them and it comes off.
I detected nothing wrong with the way the barrel had been installed by the factory. But perhaps removing and reinstalling it will make some slight difference. Now it was time to test the rifle again.
I loaded the magazine with 20 pellets like I described above. Pellet chamber 10 was left blank, so when the spring-loaded magazine wheel gets to that slot, it skips past it and stops at chamber 11. For the first few tests I am shooting the JSB Exact 8.44-grain dome.
The scope had been off the rifle since the last test (to remove the barrel) so it was necessary to sight in again. But I found that it was very close to being zeroed when I shot. Only the elevation had changed because of the additional shim that was installed. It took three shots to get on target at 25 yards. Unfortunately I zeroed the scope to hit the aim point, so when I shot the first group I blew my aim point away! I had to guess where the center of the bull was for most of the 10 shots! That potentially introduced a 1/8-inch (0.125-inch) aiming error into the group.
Nevertheless, the Dreamlite managed to put 10 JSB domes into 0.284-inches at 25 yards. This was the kind of accuracy I had been hoping for!
Okay, the rifle can shoot. Now we are seeing the level of accuracy others have shown. But nearly every other shooter shows 5-shot groups instead of 10, so let me show you what one of them looks like.
I adjusted the scope to hit higher on the target, to preserve the aim point. Then I shot 5 shots with the 8.44 grain JSBs, being as careful as I could be. The group measures 0.204-inches between centers, so I photographed it for you before shooting the other 5 shots to complete it.
That’s the trime, taped next to the 0.204-inch 5-shot group that was shot at 25 yards. I left the target on the pellet trap for this picture and had to use tape to hold the trime. This photo was taken with a flash and hand-held, plus greatly enlarged and both the coin and group are under tape, so it’s very blurry.
That’s the sort of group people are showing online for Dreamline rifles. Its possible because there are only 5 shots. Ten shots would tend to be at least 40 percent larger. I went back to the bench and shot another 5 rounds at the same target. This time 10 shots are in 0.425-inches at 25 yards. That’s more than double the 5-shot group size.
This is what happens when 5 more shots are fired at that same bull with the great group. Ten JSB Exacts are in 0.425-inches at 25 yards. It’s a good group; just not great. Aren’t you glad I showed you the first 5 shots before completing the group?
Now we know that the Dreamlite rifle can shoot. But only with one pellet. I have heard that FX purposely rifles their barrels for JSB pellets, and I think that is very wise. Shooters spending this kind of money for a rifle have no problem buying the right pellets for it, even if they are pricy.
But are there other pellets that will perform in this rifle? It would be nice to find some.
JSB Exact RS
Since I knew that FX designs their barrels for JSB pellet, or at least that’s the word on the street, I tried the JSB Exact RS pellet next. Weighing just 7.33 grains, this dome is even lighter than the one I have been shooting. Once again I skipped the 10th pellet chamber in the magazine when I loaded it. And the scope zero remained the same.
This time 10 pellets went into 0.563-inches at 25 yards. It’s okay, but nothing to shout about. Especially not for a rifle at this level.
Air Arms Falcon
I tried the Air Arms Falcon pellet next. We know that JSB produces this pellet on dies belonging to Air Arms, so it is similar to, but not the same as the RS pellet. This time 10 pellets went into 0.798-inches at 25 yards, with 9 of them in 0.572-inches. Once again it’s okay but not great.
So far I have found just one pellet the Dreamlite likes — the 8.44-grain JSB Exact. I will try one more time to find some other good pellets and then I am through testing this rifle. It has been given every chance to perform, and has been shown to be extremely accurate, but just with one pellet.
The 10th chamber
Now that we know the rifle can shoot the 8.44 grain JSB, it’s time to test that 10th magazine chamber. I fired the first 5 shots and was surprised by what I saw. It’s time to introduce a new standard for accuracy.
Say hello to my little friend
You are comfortable with the dime I place next to groups for relative size and over time you have gotten to know the silver three-cent piece (trime) that I occasionally bring out when the group is very small. But there is one more American coin that’s even smaller. It’s the Type One gold dollar that was minted from 1849 through 1854. The trime is 14mm in diameter. This coin is 13mm. In the future when groups get exceptionally small, I will place the dollar next to them. So, given that introduction — guess what is about to happen?
Back to the 10th Chamber test
Okay, what did I see after 5 shots from the Dreamlite? Well, I saw a group so small that I took the target and its backer off the trap and photographed it. Five pellets went into a group measuring 0.158-inches between centers at 25 yards!
After photographing this group I remounted the target and returned to the bench to fire the next 4 shots. The first 9 shots went into 0.242-inches at 25 yards. This is great! I photographed that group for you while it was still mounted in the trap.
And now it was time to shoot the 10th shot. This time the pellet was sitting in the 10th magazine chamber — the one we have suspected is misaligned with the breech and have avoided loading until now. This shot opened the 0.242-inch group to 0.463-inches at 25 yards. It’s a good group, but not when you consider how great it could have been if that chamber had not been used!
And there it is! The pellet from the 10th chamber landed to the lower right and outside the main group, opening the group from 0.262-inches to 0.463-inches a 0.201-inch increase in group size from one shot. That’s more than one full pellet diameter of group growth!
Discussion and summary
Well, I got the FX Dreamlite to shoot. In fact, the results were stunning for the one and only pellet it handles well. I did learn in the process than the barrel is quick and easy to swap.
The new owner’s manual is good. It’s much better than the marketing brochure that passed for a manual before!
The 10th pellet chamber in the one magazine I have is now very suspect. I will not use it in accuracy testing again.
The rifle cocks easily, has a gorgeous trigger and gets a nice number of shots, though the fill is to 250 bar. All of the power adjustments work as they should and the regulator is quite easy to adjust. And the Dreamlite is very quiet.
The power is not up to the 20 foot-pound rating, though I haven’t tried the heaviest pellets that might get it. But if they aren’t accurate nobody will shoot them, because missing with a lot of energy isn’t as effective as hitting with less.
I still want to test the accuracy of the rifle with several other pellets. I can shoot 5-shot groups that will allow me to test with a lot of different pellets.
I also want to test the accuracy after bumping the barrel, because many readers have expressed concern over such a long free-floated barrel. There is at least one more test to come, so stay tuned.