FX Dreamlite precharged air rifle: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

FX Dreamlite
FX Dreamlite precharged pneumatic rifle.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 1 UTG 4-16 OP3 Compact scope
Part 5

This report covers:

  • Unscheduled test
  • Small magazine flops around
  • Quick review
  • The bad
  • Sight in
  • The test
  • Group 1
  • Meopta reticle
  • Adjusted the scope
  • Group 2
  • Group 3
  • Superdomes
  • Group 4
  • Group 5
  • Group 6
  • Oh, NO!
  • What’s next?
  • Summary

Unscheduled test

This is an unscheduled test. I looked at the .177-caliber FX Dreamlite and realized that I had been hard on it in past tests. The poor manual (that has since been fixed), the confusing power adjuster (that is not fixed and still confusing) and the rifle’s seeming inability to group with any but a couple selected pellets put me off. But at the root of my bias was the large 21-shot circular magazine that comes with the rifle. Who in their right mind wants 21 shots in a magazine — especially when it makes the mag as large as a dinner plate? That is a rhetorical question. I know there are lots of shooters who want 21 shots in their magazines. But not me.

One reader suggested that I try the 13-shot mag that is sized more normally. Another suggested that I look at a single-shot loading tray. I looked online and, sure enough, both items do exist for the Dreamlite. I ordered them, only to discover that the single-shot tray wan’t available at the time of my order. But I received the 13-shot mag last week.

Then I thought — what if I mounted the new Meopta MeoPro Optika6 3-18X56-scope that I have been testing? It is the most precise and clear scope I own. I actually tried to do that before and discovered the Sportsmatch 30mm high adjustable scope mounts that scope is mounted in do not allow the scope to clear the 21-shot magazine. But they will clear the smaller 13-shot mag, I am sure. I need that mount for this rifle because this Dreamlite is a super-drooper.

FX Dreamlite big mag
The 21-shot magazine sticks up high and requires special consideration when mounting a scope.

FX Dreamlite small mag
The 13-shot magazine is lower and allows more options for scope mounting.

FX Dreamlite two mags
The small and large magazine.

Small magazine flops around

I found when installing the smaller mag that it is so much smaller that it doesn’t touch the bottom of the receiver. It keys on the breech, allowing it to rotate to the right and flop down even lower. This is a clever design that accommodates the dimensions for the larger mag while retaining precision with the smaller one — I hope!

FX Dreamlite small mag clearance
The small mag sits up above the receiver, keying on the breech rather than the receiver.

Quick review

Before I continue, let me tell you why I’m spending this amount of time testing the FX Dreamlite. I am doing it because this rifle has a number of good things going for it. The trigger is a real pleasure to use and the silencer is also very good, though the rifle’s power level is low enough that it isn’t really challenged.

The Dreamlite has an externally adjustable regulator that the user can easily adjust. A second pressure gauge tells where the operating pressure of the regulator is set, so you can adjust the pressure to support how you have the power adjusted. That gives you razor-fine control of the power output at all levels between the two extremes. This is not something to keep tweaking. Find where it wants to be, then leave it there!

The Dreamlite is light! Before it’s scoped it weighs less than 6 pounds. That makes it comfortable to carry.

And finally, in the last report (Part 5) I found that 10.5-grain Crosman Premier Heavy pellets are well-suited to the Smooth Twist II barrel that’s on the rifle. That gives me two good pellets (8.44-grain JSB Exacts are also accurate) for the rifle.

I got a lot of good shots (62) from a full fill of the rifle (250 bar) when the reg is set at 90 bar and the power level is set at maximum. I find that to be very much in the Dreamlite’s favor!

The bad

Other than the Smooth Twist barrel being fussy about the pellets it likes (not really bad, just peculiar and something to watch), the only bad thing so far has been the 10th chamber in the 21-shot magazine. I tested that and proved that it hindered accuracy. When I compensated for it, the groups shrank. Well, today I replace that mag with the smaller one that I’m hoping will be just as good and also allow me to mount the Meopta scope.

Sight in

I mounted the scope quite easily, with much clearance underneath. Then I went to 12 feet to sight it in with the 8.44-grain JSB domes. One shot told me I would be on paper at 25 yards. So I went back to the bench and set up to shoot.

The test

I’m shooting from 25 yards off a sandbag rest. Each group will have 10 shots. If I adjust the scope I’ll tell you. It did turn the illumination on to see the central dot in the reticle more clearly.

Group 1

I finished the sight-in with two more shots at 25 yards and, since the magazine holds 13 pellets, I shot the first group. The first 10 JSB Exact pellets went into a group that measures 0.503-inches between centers.

FX Dreamlite JSB group 1
Ten 8.44-grain JSB Exact domes went into 0.503-inches at 10 meters.

As you can see, I shot my aim point away on the 7th shot. After that I had to guess where the center of the bull was. But the highest shot came on number five, and I don’t have an alibi for that. [I really did, but I didn’t know it at this point in the test.]

Meopta reticle

During this group I notice that the tiny central dot on the illuminated Meopta scope was blinking slowly. That helped me see where it was against the black bull.

Adjusted the scope

I dialed the scope 5 clicks higher in hopes of missing the 10-dot on the next group. I did, but not the way I expected.

Group 2

The first shot from the second group hit the paper an inch to the right of the aim point. I was surprised and I still don’t know what happened. Apparently the erector tube wanted to go there because the rest of the pellets went to the same place — sort of. The fifth shot hit the paper way higher than the rest and gave me what I’m showing you here — a 1.102-inch group with 8 shots in 0.22-inches. That’s the heart-shaped group in the middle with one shot lower and that other shot way higher. I think I know what happened this time. [I really didn’t know. I found out much later.]

FX Dreamlite JSB group 2
Ten JSB Exacts in 1.102-inches with eight in 0.22-inches. What happened? Two things — one I will explain and the other one had not yet occurred to me.

Remember the blinking central dot in the scope? Well I now noticed that it was perhaps a quarter mil below the dark dot at the center of the reticle. And I was alternating between aiming with the dark central dot and the blinking red dot. I have no way of measuring how far apart the two dots really are. When I say they are a quarter mil apart I’m just guessing. It’s my way of saying they are very close but not quite together.

I tried one more target with the reticle illuminated and swore to use only the blinking red dot.

Group 3

I adjusted the scope 6 clicks to the left and three clicks up and then shot another group. This 10-shot group measures 0.457-inches between centers and it was the very first shot that went farthest to the left. That blinking dot was still confusing me, so I turned it off in the middle of shooting this group.

FX Dreamlite JSB group 3
Ten JSB Exact pellets went into 0.457-inches at 25 yards. I was still playing with the blinking dot.

Superdomes

I tried shooting a group of RWS Superdomes, but they were horrible. So I switched over to the 10.5-grain Crosman Premier Heavy. I was now using the black dot in the center of the reticle as the aim point and I could see that easily against the white 10-dot on the target.

Group 4

Now it was time to try the 10.5-grain Crosman Premier Heavy that did so well in Part 5 last time. The first group of ten made a group that measures 0.402-inches between centers at 25 yards. That’s not bad. In fact it’s the best group so far.

FX Dreamlite Premier group 1
The first group of 10 Crosman Premier Heavys was smaller than all the groups before.

Group 5

By this time I had fired 53 shots and the reservoir was getting low so I refilled the gun to 250 bar. My next group of Crosman Premier Heavys measures 0.424-inches between centers, so it’s not that different than the previous one.

FX Dreamlite Premier group 2
The second group of 10 Crosman Premier Heavys measures 0.424-inches between centers.

Group 6

The last group of 10 Premier Heavys measured 0.377-inches between centers, but look at the group of 8 shots on the lower left. Those 8 measure 0.208-inches between centers. I got so excited at seeing those 8 shots group together (the other two are shots number 7 and 10) that I fired the rifle very quickly. And that came back to haunt me.

FX Dreamlite Premier group 3
That final group was the best of the test. Ten Premier Heavys are in 0.377-inches at 25 yards, with 8 in 0.208-inches.

Oh, NO!

As I was writing this report and evaluating all of today’s data, I was also reading over the past 5 reports with all the testing I had done. That’s when I discovered something crucial. I had forgotten that this Dreamlite regulator fills very slowly. I didn’t take that into account in today’s testing! Please notice that ALL of my group enlargements are vertical! That often means large velocity differences! I had not waited long enough between shots for the regulator to fill and I cannot discount that for some or all of the vertical stringing we see. I do think the reg is starting to fill faster than it did before, but I should still wait at least 25 seconds between shots for the best results. I did not always do that today.

What’s next?

I am not going to re-run this test. I’m pretty sure I know how this Dreamlite wants to be treated now, and I’ve already spent a lot of time getting to this point. However, for next time there are some things I need to remember.

1. Fill to 250 bar.
2. Wait at least 25 seconds between shots.
3. Premier Heavys are best. JSB 8.44-grain Exacts are also good.
4. Do not use the illumination in the scope.

Next time I want to do one final thing that some readers have asked me to do. The Dreamlite has a short Mil Std 1913 Picatinney rail just forward of the triggerguard and some readers have asked me to shoot a pellet gun with a bipod. Leapers has sent me one of their new TBNR bipods to test. And now that we have a good baseline on this Dreamlite, I think it is the ideal testbed for that bipod, which at $160 is not cheap.

Summary

At the present time the best 10-shot group I have gotten with the Dreamlite has been 0.284-inches at 25 yards. Now, THAT is a group (see it in Part 4)! The groups that measure 0.35 and 0.4 are about the same as my TX200 Mark III can do with 10 pellets at the same 25-yards distance, which is what put me off this rifle. You guys know me. If this was a world-beater I would be out in front with my pom-poms! (There is an image you need to scrub from your mind!) If it can really do that (0.284-inches for 10 shots at 25 yards) consistently, I will be impressed. We shall see!

39 thoughts on “FX Dreamlite precharged air rifle: Part 6

  1. It seems like this rifle should really feel it’s legs in 22 or 25. But it’s a fairly cheap swap to do that. Any thoughts on the screw on moderator coming from the factory vs just buying one from Donny?


  2. B.B.,

    The etched reticle and the lighted dot not matching is odd. I have read some reviews about folks having the red and green dots not matching because they are two distinct LASER DIODE and are not illuminating the same point on the etched glass. IIRC this is a multi color so it must have at least three LASER DIODE to do that. Could you see if other color choices move the dot around on the reticle.

    Also, could you talk to Meopta techs to see if that is a defect?

    Thank you,

    shootski


  3. So, is the red dot blinking due to a low battery, or some setting you were not aware of they built into the scope.
    The next question, why did the dot shift positions in a scope of this quality/price.

    Any ideas?


  4. B,B,

    Could you please explain why a PCP rifle would be a drooper? Springers, I understand why. PCP’s no…
    How about a full report on the scope and its suitability for FT usage?

    -Y


    • Yogi,

      Remember what a drooper is. The barrel is mounted so it points down. It does not actually droop.

      Most firearms droop, with the AR-15 being notorious for it.

      I think this scope would be ideal for Hunter field target. You would have to0 stop the power at 16X. If Meopta would make a 40 to 60X scope that parallax adjusted down to 10 yards it would probably be right up there with the other biggies like Nighthawk. But until such a scope exists, it’s only talk.

      B.B.



  5. B.B.,
    When the scope is adjusted, why is the amount of movement of the point of impact per click much larger than 1/4 moa (1/16” at 25 yds)? The diameter of a dime is .705”, which is a bit more than 11/16. – Don


  6. B.B.,

    Interesting on the blinking dot. I do not think I would care for that. I do like the etched, mil-dot reticles like the UTG that illuminate and can vary in brightness. I like them a lot.

    Looking forwards to the bi-pod test. That should improve steady a bit. I think that maybe the POI will change. The slow fill reg. would be the killer for me. I would not put up with that. I wonder how other reviews have done and if this issue was ever brought up? or worse yet,…. never noticed, but did exist?

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


  7. BB,

    Lloyd had recently bought a Dreamlite .25 and I shot it some at our Fun Shoot. I tried the JSB Heavy, Heavy MKII and Exact. I found the Exact did better, but I was not that impressed with the accuracy. There is a good chance that it was partly my fault as I am not used to something this light, but I was expecting better from FX. Perhaps with time and a thorough pellet search it would be better, but at these prices I need to feel it is worth the investment. My HM1000X shot 1″ CTC at 100 yards on its first trip to the range.


  8. BB,

    I know that in the past you have stated that your set up doesn’t allow for you to do accuracy and velocity testing at the same time. I assume that it is space constraints. I would like to suggest that you looked into the new FX radar chronograph. It now comes with an attachment that lets you actually strap it to the end of the gun’s barrel. It will, at that point broadcast, through your cell phone, the speed of the projectile as you fire each shot. It also frees you from the inconvenience of trying to get the exact lighting, either indoors or outdoors.
    Even if you decide to mount it on a tripod for some reason, you will find that it is a much smaller package and easier to use than any traditional light operated chronograph.
    Had you used one in today’s text it would have been telling you, without you even taking your eye away from the scope, that your velocities were fluctuating.
    So far I can’t say that I am as impressed as I once was with this brand of PCP. I thought these guns were nearly guaranteed 1MOA at as much as 100 yards, to hear reports from other owners.

    Half


    • Half,

      The radar chronograph was news to me. Thanks.

      Yes, I am not overwhelmed by this Dreamlite with its Smooth Twist II barrel, either. I want to give it every chance to succeed, but I am beginning to have my doubts that the Smooth Twist technology is as good as conventional button rifling done well.

      I remember when people were touting the original Smooth Twist barrels and then over time it came out that they were very pellet specific and couldn’t keep up with other premium barrels. But this is why we test. And I’m not finished.

      B.B.


      • B.B. said, “Yes, I am not overwhelmed by this Dreamlite with its Smooth Twist II barrel, either. I want to give it every chance to succeed, but I am beginning to have my doubts that the Smooth Twist technology is as good as conventional button rifling done well.

        I remember when people were touting the original Smooth Twist barrels and then over time it came out that they were very pellet specific and couldn’t keep up with other premium barrels. But this is why we test. And I’m not finished.”

        I’m not an authority on FX smooth twist barrels. Only have experience with two guns, an early 400 Royale in .22 and a Crown in .25. With the disclaimers out of the way I’ll share several things.

        Although the smooth twist barrels are pellet picky they can shoot well. FX Smooth Twist barrels have proven themselves time and time again in world wide competitions like Extreme Benchrest. They can shoot hard pellets well but prefer soft/pure lead pellets.

        My biggest complaint with Smooth Twist barrels is that they need to be cleaned on a very regular basis, especially if you shoot hard pellets, to perform at their optimum level.



          • B.B.,

            I’m not defending FX and did not get the impression you were bashing.

            I’m not an FX fanboy but like their tarantula and cyclone/ranchero platforms a lot. These early platforms had LW barrels which performed very well.

            I’ve read in many places that Fredrik created the in-house production of smooth twist barrels because of an inconsistent supply chain and/or unacceptable quality from LW. Don’t know if this is true or not.

            My main point was that smooth twist barrels require higher maintenance, i.e., cleaning the barrel more often, to perform on par with a good LW barrel in my experience.


  9. B.B.

    The FX Smooth Twist barrels have (traditionally) been tweaked to shoot JSB pellets; the newer Smooth Twist X barrels are rifled their whole length and are a bit less pellet fussy.

    I don’t see a barrel preference for JSBs as a negative thing, as my experience with them is that they are consistent, readily available and competitively priced. It is nice if a rifle is not fussy and you can feed it anything but I just find the golden pellet and that is what I buy for that gun.

    The hammer spring adjustment wheel has numbers and letters and if you do a bit of testing you will see that the velocities of the alphas are (approximately) half way between the corresponding numbers giving you pretty good control. You can also fine tune the spring preload if you are setting up for a specific pellet.

    Something is not right if the regulator needs 25 seconds to come up to pressure – I was watching a video where a (bench mounted) Dreamlite was fired rapidly (~ 1 second per shot) 5 times and each time you could see the regulator pressure pulse and return pretty well instantaneously.

    90 bar is at the low end of the regulator range on a gun that will shoot .30 caliber pellets (think that for the Dreamline 150 bar is the top). If that was my rifle I would try increasing the reg pressure 10-20 bar and shoot it a bit to loosen things up before dropping back to 90 bar.

    The Dreamline platform is for .177 to .30 calibers but IMHO I think it would perform best with the .22 and .25 calibers. I read (somewhere – don’t remember where LOL!) that there is an optimum balance between the volume of the barrel and the volume of the plenum and that if the pressure in the plenum does not drop enough that the regulator valve does not fully and it is slow to return to the set pressure. Maybe you should get a .22 barrel kit, set the reg to 110 bar and try that on the rifle… with .177 you are kinda driving around in first gear.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Hank


    • Hank,

      You may not remember this but I did try higher reg pressures and found 90 bar to be the best.

      I may have picked the wrong caliber to test, but the rifle’s lower power level suggested it to me. I like the rifle for many features like the trigger and the way it handles air — it just isn’t that accurate. My TalonSS and TX200 Mark III will both outshoot it.

      B.B.


  10. B.B.

    I didn’t recall that you had tried higher pressures – sorry ’bout that!

    Don’t understand what is happening with the accuracy. It seems that .2 – .3 CTC @ 25 yards and .5 – .6 @ 50 yards is more what the Dreamlines are capable of. They use the same barrels as the Impacts and those guns are stacking pellets at 50-60 yards.

    Don’t have my Impact yet (should be here before Christmas) so I can’t say from personal experience. Other that shooting out of the bedroom window (when my wife is out shopping LOL!) I won’t get much chance to do much testing – been below freezing for a couple of weeks and it’s snowing like heck at the moment so it’s “10 meter time” in the basement.

    Guess it’s officially winter – Christmas shopping done (and mostly wrapped), I’ve started tying flies had 14 deer were here this morning.

    Hank


  11. What a cool platform. I like that I could increase my velocity if I wanted to shoot a heavier pellet with external adjustments and no tools. So, going from 25gr pellet to a 33gr pellet would not require an overhaul, but it’s not something I would do in the field, at least not without that FX chrono. This is a win for lower powered springers in my book. Who needs the headache?
    But the second you want to go out to 50yds plus, this rifle will give access to plenty of pwer. Slug barrel this puppy!
    Too bad about the Meopta. I dont think they let you adjust where the blinking mill dot is..
    Rob




    • Shootski,

      I will add,… above all!,…. I prefer to see new concepts/offerings,… (with 100% full testing results posted that IN FACT shows that it is better),….. ((((before)))) the product is launched.

      If I were to offer a new product,… that is the only way I would (responsibly) launch it.

      If I make a claim and have nothing to back it up with to my potential customers,… what is it? Snake oil? The new fishing lure to catch the fisherman’s wallet and not more fish?

      I am the biggest fan of innovation,…. but PLEASE,… back it up! 😉

      Chris


  12. On a related note, would it be possible to make a PCP with a 500cc carbon bottle into a low pressure high volume air rifle like the USFT or would you have to change the valve or regulator? That would work great for those of us who have scuba tanks and can’t afford carbon tanks now.

    Brent


    • Brent,

      Most air rifles are designed that way to begin with. Some allow you to adjust the regulator, striker spring and transfer port, but that only works to a certain point. The closest I have seen to what you are looking for is the Marauder. You can adjust it to operate at 2000 PSI. You can also get a bottle kit for it.


    • Brent,

      Having talked with Tim extensively about the current USFT I think I know what you are asking for. I think some time back RidgeRunner posted about his AirForce rifle with custom Plenum. The Plenum is one way to make a high volume relatively low pressure, say 700-1,000 psi (depending on caliber and weight of pellet/bullet) many shot PCP. I’m not certain I understand the relationship between the 500cc CF bottle (4,500PSI) and SCUBA tank with at best 3,600 PSI maximum pressure? How does the CF bottle get more “X” in your concept out of SCUBA pressures? Depending on the setup of the valve dwell (sort of a dump style) since all you are emptying is the Plenum untill the low pressure side of the regulator is reached.

      Well this has been a shot in the dusk! Lol!
      I think I’m suffering from the high altitude…

      shootski



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