30 Caliber FX Wildcat Mark II Review
The HAM Team has been testing a 30 Caliber FX Wildcat Mark II for some time. Overall, this is quite similar to the original FX Wildcat in .22 caliber we tested two years ago. After all, it is a “Mark II” version of the same basic gun…
The .22 cal Wildcat earned a HAM Gold Award with a 93% score, so it’s clear that the Wildcat is a great air rifle. This time we’re looking at the Mark II version.
This has longer (700 mm, that’s 28 Inches) barrel, combined with a higher capacity HPA reservoir. These are appropriate for the increased power output of the larger caliber.
Wildcat Mark II models also incorporate the FX SmoothTwist X interchangeable barrel liner system. This allows users the ability to exchange barrel liners for pellet or slug use, for example.
There’s a range of barrel liners in varying twist rates and bore specifications for compatibility with various airgun projectile weights and shapes.
We tested the regular, pellet liner in this 30 Caliber FX Wildcat Mark II.
.30 Caliber Specifics
.30 caliber is rapidly increasing in popularity. However there is still not a huge range of pellets available for it. The HAM Team had some tins of 44.75 Grain JSB Exacts. We also had some .30 caliber Predator Polymags.
Given that the 30 Caliber FX Wildcat Mark II is clearly a hunting gun, we had expected to use the Polymags for our main testing. Unfortunately – and surprisingly – the Polymags proved too long to fit into the Wildcat’s magazine.
So we undertook all the testing with JSBs…
As we know from the previous Wildcat test, this air rifle is a beautiful, fine-handling “traditional” bullpup air rifle. It’s traditional because it has a full, regular stock – either laminate, walnut or synthetic, to your choice.
If anything the 30 Caliber FX Wildcat Mark II is slightly more comfortable to shoot than the original – in the HAM Team’s opinion. We preferred the somewhat greater muzzle-heaviness of the large caliber version.
The sidelever action remains a pleasure to use and the trigger pulls back with almost no pressure at all. The average pull weight was 1 Lb 2 Oz. That’s very close to that of the .22 caliber gun we tested before and an indication of very consistent manufacturing and assembly at the factory.
In spite of the very light trigger pull weight, the second stage is very easily detected. It’s no problem at all to hold the trigger just at breaking point. Sear release is crisp and predictable.
As usual, the HAM team tested the Wildcat’s trigger as received “out of the box”. We saw no need to make any adjustments.
The gun we received was supplied with a separate Donny FL silencer, although we didn’t find the need to install it for our testing as the factory moderator muted the report sufficiently for us.
The overall shooting weight of the test gun was 9 Lb 2 Oz – including the mounted Holland’s scope. Length was 35 1/4 Inches. Both these figures would, of course, be slightly higher with a silencer added.
HAM Tester Doug Wall is a left-hander. However he found the Wildcat pleasant to shoot as the magazine protrudes very little from the receiver and because the cocking lever is mounted amidships.
The magazine is very easy to load. However there’s no “blank shot” prevention. The Wildcat does not warn you if there’s no pellets remaining in the magazine. So you do have to keep count of the number of shots fired.
We tried the 30 Caliber FX Wildcat Mark II with two scopes. First was the MTC Cobra F1 4-16 x 50. This scope balanced well with the Wildcat and the First Focal Plane configuration clearly offered benefits for a dedicated hunting air rifle.
Then we swapped the MTC scope with a Holland’s Game-Getter 2.5 – 15 x 50 model. This dedicated hunting scope was also mounted using Leapers UTG PRO rings.
Although designed primarily as a hunting scope for firearm use, the Game-Getter displayed some interesting benefits, including the oversize elevation and windage turrets. We’ll be talking more about this scope in a future post in HAM.
Using the UTG PRO high rings, we had no problems achieving a good sight picture with either scope.
As with the first version, the 30 Caliber FX Wildcat Mark II has a fixed buttpad. It worked just fine like that for both shooters. But we felt that an adjustable buttpad would not be too much to ask on a $1,700 (plus scope) air rifle – just in case.
Speed And Accuracy
The 30 Caliber FX Wildcat Mark II tested by HAM was a powerful and accurate air rifle.
Shooting the 44.75 Grain JSBs, we recorded a 10-shot average Muzzle Velocity of 825.4 FPS. This translated to a solid 67.41 Ft/Lbs of Muzzle Energy.
As the graph below shows, the 30 caliber Wildcat achieved 28 consistent shots from a fill of HPA before “falling off” of the regulator. While there was still plenty of power available after shot 28, it would definitely make sense to re-fill with HPA to ensure vertical accuracy.
Of course, 28 consistent shots is plenty for almost any airgun hunter. Combined with the 8-shot magazine, that represents a very practical, usable combination of power and shot count.
As for accuracy, this “one hole” group of 5 shots at 25 Yards was deemed very acceptable by the HAM Testers. This combination of Wildcat, Game-Getter scope and JSB pellets certainly shoots!
At 50 Yards, the 5-shot group had opened out a little, possibly due to some gusts in the crosswind. However, this was still very satisfactory hunting accuracy.
We left the scope windage and elevation unchanged for the 50 Yard shots. The drop from 25 Yards (the sight-in range) was 1 5/8 Inches.
The 30 Caliber FX Wildcat Mark II tested by HAM proved to be powerful, consistent and accurate. It’s clearly a very capable bullpup air rifle that would be a pleasure to own.
We’ll finish this review by repeating the conclusions from the review of the original Wildcat. “The FX Wildcat air rifle is beautifully-designed and manufactured bullpup that’s a joy to shoot. It has the power and accuracy to be an outstanding hunting air rifle.”