FX Royale 400 Air Rifle Test Review .22 Cal
25 March, 2016
Provided by Airguns of Arizona
Really, just about everything!
Unintuitive magazine loading.
No double feed prevention.
Can you afford it?
VALUE FOR MONEY
Let’s be clear about this. We’re looking at a $2,000 air rifle here. In fact, $2,063.00 for the Walnut FX Royale 400 air rifle with regulator and the free 3-12 x 44 AO FX scope that is currently available with the gun.
For $2,000 and change, the FX Royale 400 air rifle has to be something VERY special to justify the cost.
And it is!
This is a beautiful, powerful, extremely accurate PCP air rifle that’s a joy to shoot. For the HAM team, it’s close to perfection, with an outstanding trigger and buttery-smooth sidelever action. The tactile experience of holding and shooting the FX Royale 400 air rifle is just outstanding. We’re almost lost for words. This is a gun the HAM team did not want to ever give back.
So can it be considered as good value for money?
Well, as always, the best is never cheap. But if value for money is seen as being the price paid for a thing of beauty and perfection that will give the owner joy in use and pride of ownership for ever, the FX Royale 400 air rifle is clearly outstanding value for money. Most buyers of the Royale will take this view and so this HAM rating is given in that light.
If you are prepared for the asking price (and many people are), you’ll agree that the FX Royale 400 air rifle is great value for money.
|HAM Test Rating||95%|
|Value For Money||A beautiful gun if you can afford the best.|
|Best For||Hunting, long range target shooting.|
|Best Pellet Tested||H&N Baracuda Match|
|Street Price at Time of Test||$2,063|
Easy to Shoot
SPEED AND ACCURACY
Muzzle velocity with the FX Royale 400 air rifle tested by HAM peaked at 1131.62 fps with Gamo Platinum alloy pellets. This is a .22 caliber gun, remember.
But realistically, owners of a FX Royale 400 air rifle will be using lead pellets for accuracy, and are knowledgeable enough to be using heavier pellets as the best match for their airgun. They will be less interested in the theoretical maximum fps than the muzzle energy that’s attained by this air rifle using medium to heavy lead pellets.
As you can see from the table below, the FX Royale 400 air rifle provides above 32 Ft/Lbs of muzzle energy with any lead pellet weighing more than 14.3 Grains in .22 caliber. This is serious knock-down power for a hunting air rifle of .22 caliober.
Accuracy was also excellent with all of the standard HAM test pellets weighing 14.3 Grains or more. Exceptional results were obtained using Crosman Premier Hollow Point pellets, with JSB Jumbo Exact Express and H&N Baracuda Match heavy pellets. It was a very tough call, but the HAM testers agree that the Baracuda Match pellets gave the best group with the FX Royale 400 air rifle tested for this review.
Obviously the vaunted Smooth Twist barrel works as well as claimed in the FX Royale 400 air rifle tested by HAM.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 9.7 Grain||1131.62 FPS||27.58 Ft/Lbs||Good.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 10.03 Grain||1115.22 FPS||27.70 Ft/Lbs||Good.|
|RWS Hobby 11.9 Grain||1057.71 FPS||29.56 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|Crosman Premier HP 14.3 Grain||1007.02 FPS||32.20 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|JSB Jumbo Exact 14.35 Grain||1005.36 FPS||32.21 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 14.66 Grain||997.48 FPS||32.39 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 21.14 Grain||851.44 FPS||34.03 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best Tested.|
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
As anticipated, both trigger and cocking action of the FX Royale 400 air rifle were superlative!
The trigger pull weights measured in the FX Royale 400 air rifle tested by HAM averaged just 15.75 ounces. The trigger pull was almost imperceptible. A very short, light first stage was followed by a very slight, predictable resistance as the sear released. This is a beautiful trigger, it’s one that you don’t even have to think about when shooting. It just operates intuitively and perfectly.
The trigger is adjustable for pull length and pull weight – as described in the Instruction Manual that’s supplied with the gun. As usual, the HAM testers did not adjust the trigger, preferring to shoot it as received from the supplier. In our opinion, there was no need to adjust the trigger of the FX Royale 400 air rifle. It was close to perfect already!
Cocking is attained by operating the side lever of the FX Royale 400 air rifle. This is a buttery-smooth action The first stage of the action has a slight “spring” out from the rest position. Then you continue to pull back and are rewarded with a subtle “click” as the travel reaches its end – this being an indication that the gun has been cocked. It’s a sensual pleasure to operate…
Cocking effort measured just 8 Lbs 4 Oz. This is a true one finger cocking effort.
HAM tester Doug Rogers did note that alloy pellets did not feed so smoothly as lead – another reason for using lead….
The safety is easily operated and is manually-set. It’s an impressively simple, yet reliable trigger-block mechanism. This is the HAM testers’ preference, but of course it requires control and self-discipline from the shooter to be completely safe with this arrangement. As the FX Royale 400 air rifle is very unlikely to be purchased by a beginner, this is the ideal arrangement, in our opinion.
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
The manufacturer claims a power level of 30 Ft/Lbs for the FX Royale 400 air rifle in .22 caliber, although Airguns of Arizona staff say that the Royale can be adjusted to provide more power than this. HAM testing achieved a maximum of 34.03 Ft/Lbs with heavy (21.4 grain) H&N Baracuda Match pellets. All our testing was undertaken with the power adjuster wheel set to “3”, the maximum setting, but without making any other adjustments.
The muzzle velocity claim for the FX Royale 400 air rifle in .22 caliber is 920 fps. HAM testing exceeded this with all except the heaviest (Baracuda Match) pellets.
Consistency was outstanding for the FX Royale 400 air rifle tested by HAM.
Accuracy was good even with light weight alloy pellets and improved with heavier lead pellets, as you can see from the test targets.
Standard Deviation – the measure of shot-to-shot consistency in muzzle velocity was excellent, with an average of only 4.41 fps across the whole spread of HAM test pellets. This is probably the best performance we’ve seen in any air rifle tested to date!
The tested Royale was fitted with a regulator and this clearly contributes to that very impressive performance!
Trigger pull weight was also extremely consistent on the FX Royale 400 air rifle tested by HAM. HAM tester Doug Rogers recorded pull weights varying by less than 1.5 ounces around the 14.75-ounce average pull weight. That’s way below detectable by the average human and means that the trigger pull weight is effectively completely constant on the Royale.
Consistency of performance doesn’t get much better than this!
Noise level is always difficult for the HAM team to measure, as we do this subjectively.
But the consensus of opinion is that the FX Royale 400 air rifle is very quiet – just about “Marauder quiet”, this being our benchmark for perceived noise levels.
HAM gives the FX Royale 400 air rifle a great score for quietness, courtesy of the built-in silencer. There’s not many quieter air rifles, certainly at this power level.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
As you would expect from a high-end PCP air rifle, the FX Royale 400 air rifle is supplied without iron sights. Any user will be using a scope in order to extract the accuracy performance that this airgun is able to provide. So the lack of iron sights is no demerit to the Royale 400.
The FX Royale 400 air rifle tested by HAM was fitted with an FX-branded 3-12 x 44 AO scope, mounted in BKL rings.
The FX scope gave excellent image quality, combined with focusing down to 10 yards using the front “bell” of the scope. Brightness was good also. Windage and elevation adjustment were achieved with sharp, clearly-defined clicks from the capped turrets. (Once the caps had been removed, of course!).
The scope reticle featured the mandatory Mil dots to cope with changes of range and wind in the field. The reticle itself is illuminated – if required – with 11 steps of brightness, but is a little thick for this class of scope. It’s probably a wire reticle.
Overall, this 3-12×44 AO FX scope proved to be a good match for the FX Royale 400 air rifle tested by HAM.
The FX Royale 400 air rifle is easy to shoot well. At an all-up weight of 8 Lbs 7 Oz – including the scope – the Royale is not heavy. But it feels lighter than that in the hand, probably because of the perfect point of balance on the shooter’s forward hand.
The ambidextrous thumbhole stock is comfortable to hold and the comb provides a perfect cheek weld for the FX 3-12 x 44 AO scope and the HAM testers. If a different cheek weld is required, it can easily be achieved by adjusting the rubber buttpad.
FX gives a shot count of approximately 60 at full power with the FX Royale 400 air rifle. Obviously this count will vary with power level selected and pellets used, but this seems a realistic number to the HAM team. This good shot count can be extended in the field by swapping the 400cc capacity carbon fiber HPA tank for a spare, should the owner choose.
Combined with the excellent accuracy from the Smooth Twist barrel and outstanding trigger, shootability of the FX Royale 400 air rifle is of a very high order.
The biggest gripe among the HAM test team about the FX Royale 400 air rifle concerned the 12-shot rotary magazine. (It’s 18-shot capacity in .177 cal).
None of us found it easy or intuitive to load the Royale’s magazine. Having to load the first pellet backwards, then turn the magazine over to load the remainder seemed far more difficult than lopading the magazine of a Benjamin Marauder, for example. Of course, it’s true that experience would make the process easier, so probably most owners don’t find it so much of an issue as we did.
And it is possible to double feed the Royale. So, like most PCPs with a rotary magazine, some concentration is required from the shooter to not double-load pellets between pulling the trigger.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
This is easy…
The FX Royale 400 air rifle is absolutely gorgeous!
Finish of the metal parts is flawless and beautiful. There is excellent anodizing on the breech, combined with deep, black bluing on the barrel.
The design and finish of the oil-finished Walnut stock is, likewise, beautiful. The wood has a comfortable, satin sheen. Stippled sections are provided appropriately around the pistol grip and forend. These are beautifully laser cut. A classic, simple yet high quality rubber butt pad finishes off the stock. This is adjustable for height and has a nicely-curved shape that fits well into the shooter’s shoulder.
The ambidextrous, thumbhole sock design is attractive, well implemented, beautifully-finished and compliments the overall design of the mechanical parts very well. Being manufactured by Italian stock designers Minelli, this is exactly what you would expect…
The carbon-fiber air tank is another high-end touch to the FX Royale 400 air rifle. It keeps the balance point back close to the trigger and although not a beautiful, uniform finish, the carbon fiber appearance is attractive to the knowledgeable owner.
BUYING AND OWNING
Like most high-end products, the FX Royale 400 air rifle is not likely to be available off-the-shelf in your local sporting goods store. However, it is readily available online from Airguns of Arizona and a number of other high-end airgun retailers. Of course, if you’re in the Phoenix AZ area, you can walk into the AoA store and buy right over the counter.
Filling with high pressure air is convenient and quick, using a standard 1/8-inch NPT quick disconnect. This is placed in the underside of the forestock. Happily, the pressure gauge (in Bar) is alongside it in the underside of the stock. The HAM team much prefers this location to pressure gauges on the end of the tank: it’s much better than almost looking down the barrel to check pressure, particularly when the gun is loaded!
Of course, accessories for any expensive product are never cheap either. So the price of an additional magazine – $89.00 – or a spare HPA bottles – there’s a choice in the $250 – $275 range – should come as no surprise. Single shot trays have just been released for the Royale 400 by FX, but the price was not known at the time of writing this review.
FX provides a nicely-printed, well illustrated instruction manual with the Royale. However, the HAM team found this somewhat confusing in use as it’s a generic manual that covers all FX air rifles. You have to hunt carefully for the instructions that match the gun you own. And it’s in English only – at least for the US market.
Warranty coverage for many other high-end air rifles is typically of the 3-year or “limited lifetime” variety. So it’s somewhat of a surprise to discover that the FX Royale 400 air rifle is covered by only a 12-month warranty. However, the obvious quality of workmanship and finish indicates that servicing is not likely to be required for a very long time…
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