Fredrik Axelsson Talks To HAM – Part Two
In this second part of this exclusive Hard Air Magazine interview, Fredrik Axelsson – the owner of FX Airguns– talks to Hard Air Magazine.
The first part of this interview covered his initial interest in airguns. Now Fredrik brings us up to date with some more recent FX products and the thinking behind them.
Hard Air Magazine: You obviously enjoy pushing the boundaries of airgun development. Can you tell us how you come up with new product ideas?
Fredrik Axelsson: I start with a wish. I sit down and look at the products we have. Because I’m an active airgunner that gives me ideas.
For example, I wanted a regulator that was adjustable from outside the gun. And I wanted that so badly that I started thinking how to do it.
Other people can think the same thing, but when something is very hard to achieve, I think most other people give up. But I don’t!
Now I have so much experience and confidence from previous projects, it’s much easier for me.
If I want the power to be adjustable, I start thinking about how I can do that. I let my brain go bananas about it and then out pops the idea. But I’m not working for months on each product concept.
For example, I created the Impact, the Wildcat and seven other guns in one week – at least as “computer products” working with my son Johan.
When I got stuck on one gun, I’d work on another, then go back to the other. And so on. At that point the Impact had all the features, but it was a butt ugly rifle! We had no intention to produce it then.
But a few months later, I jumped back in and we finalized the design…
Hard Air Magazine: It’s interesting that you work so closely with Johan. Not many fathers and sons work together. How does it work out for you?
Fredrik Axelsson: I find it very inspiring. Of course, we have our disagreements sometimes and I think I’m a very tough Father. But I really enjoy having him there. He inspires me a lot.
Of course, I’m very proud of him!
Working under me, that can’t be an easy thing for him (Fredrik laughs)…
You see, the boss in my world is reality and reality is really tough. You can come with excuses but that’s not going to help us. Even if I buy the excuse, the world won’t.
Hard Air Magazine: Fredrik, what is your personal favorite FX airgun for hunting?
Fredrik Axelsson: Probably the gun I haven’t made yet!
I like the Impact, I like the Crown, I like the Dreamline, I like the Wildcat. It’s hard to say. The Wildcat is a good hunting gun. But they’re all good. It’s really hard to make a choice. That’s probably why most FX owners have more than one!
Hard Air Magazine: And your favorite for target shooting?
Fredrik Axelsson: The Impact.
That’s because I can put a 700mm barrel on it and it’s still not a long gun. I like the combination of .30 caliber and the 700mm barrel. The bullpup configuration still makes it a very comfortable gun to shoot.
Hard Air Magazine: FX Airguns attends Extreme Benchrest every year in force. You are also a big participant in the new Rocky Mountain Airgun shoot. This is a large investment in time and money! What are the benefits for you and the company in doing this?
Fredrik Axelsson: It’s needed because you have Internet Forums and other things like that where people talk. Once I heard a few people saying that the SmoothTwist barrel was no good. I’m not on the Forums myself, but I knew that was wrong!
A lot of people think that if it’s on the Forum it must be reality. But that’s not necessarily true.
So, I had the idea that we should have a long range shooting competition as it’s really hard to argue with the result of such a public competition. That became Extreme Benchrest. And FX Airguns has always done very well in these competitions.
These competitions also push me to develop better products. I’m a winning character, I hate to lose!
Hard Air Magazine: The Dreamline was announced at the 2018 IWA Show. Can you give us an update on this exciting new airgun?
Fredrik Axelsson: We first showed the Dreamline at IWA but I had some more ideas before we moved into production. So, I stopped everything while we did that new stuff.
That made it even more interesting, but it held things up by 6 – 8 weeks.
But we still delivered the first products in 2018! And there’s more to come…
Hard Air Magazine: Do you see FX Airguns moving into big bore airguns in future?
Fredrik Axelsson: Not really. We have the .30 caliber and I’m very happy with that. I’m not keen to go big bore yet, but you never know. Maybe one day but not now.
If big bore turns out to be a big enough market, then maybe. But right now, it’s not my cup of tea…
Hard Air Magazine: FX Airguns is obviously growing rapidly. Can you give us an idea of the size of the company?
Fredrik Axelsson: If you include everything, we are over 70 people. Five years ago, we were 16 people!
We have 50 people in Sweden assembling airguns. We work in groups of 4/5 people for assembly, so that’s 10 groups. The assembly process is the same however many groups we have. So, it’s not that hard to ramp-up the company size.
And, of course, we now have 10 people in the US for FX Airguns USA.
Hard Air Magazine: FX Airguns USA was a new initiative for 2018 and a big investment. What is the importance of the US market to FX Airguns?
Fredrik Axelsson: The US market gives me the freedom to do any crazy gun I want, due to the least regulation and the biggest potential!
We have a lot of hope and faith that the US will be our biggest market, so we’ll be very dependent on it in future.
Our plan for the US is simple. Grow like crazy!
Hard Air Magazine: Will we see another exciting new air rifle from FX Airguns in 2019?
Fredrik Axelsson: Maybe. I’ll see you at the IWA Show…
If you missed the first part of this exclusive interview, check out this link.
Thanks to Evelyn Elvegaard for taking the photographs at the FX factory in Sweden.