FX Impact Air Rifle Test Review .22 Caliber
November 1, 2017
Airguns of Arizona
Used demo gun.
Versatility - calibers, power settings etc.
Not good for left-handers.
Magazine could be better.
Cheek rest can be cold.
VALUE FOR MONEY
The FX Impact is an extremely versatile air rifle with a huge range of configuration possibilities. It’s easy to change calibers between .177,cal, .22 cal, .25 cal and .30 caliber – just swap the barrel and bolt appropriately. Then there’s multiple controls to set the power level, change the regulator pressure, interchangeable HPA tanks and more.
Pretty well any type of scope can be attached to the long rail on top of the breech. Other accessories can be attached to the three additional rails.
HAM decided to test the FX Impact in a fairly basic – and likely typical – specification. We took the gun from Airguns of Arizona in .22 caliber, attached HAM Tester Doug Rogers’ own Hawke 4.5 – 14 x 42 Sidewinder scope and set the power to maximum.
In this form, the FX Impact costs a cool $1,999.99 for gun alone. Plus about $469.99 for the scope. Plus the rings. So, all-in the FX Impact tested by HAM represents about $2.5K. With additional calibers and a higher-specification scope, it’s easy to see $3,000 as the price for this air rifle. And then there’s the cost of HPA filling equipment, although this is true, of course, for any PCP air rifle…
$3K for an air rifle!!!! Is there any way that the FX Impact can be considered good value?
Well the HAM Team is here to tell you that – for the right person – yes, the FX Impact can be great value.
It offers outstanding accuracy. Anyone attending the Extreme Benchrest competition will immediately see more Impacts on the firing line than any other model.
Want a different caliber? There’s no need to buy a separate air rifle, just a new barrel and bolt will do the trick. For about $500.00, that’s a big saving on the price of another gun of equivalent quality.
And there’s just an indefinable something about the FX Impact that makes it a joy to hold and shoot. Out of all the air rifles that Hard Air Magazine has tested to date, the FX Impact has to be HAM Publisher Stephen Archer’s personal favorite.
Is the FX Impact perfect? No, it’s not. We’ll point out the flaws unmercifully in this test review. But in spite of this, it’s an incredible air rifle and we feel that – if you can afford it – you’ll agree with us that it offers outstanding value for money, too.
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SPEED AND ACCURACY
In .22 caliber and full power, the FX Impact tested by HAM achieved a maximum Muzzle Velocity of 1,024.52 FPS with the alloy Gamo Raptor Platinum pellets. It made 988 FPS with RWS Hobby wadcutters, the lightest lead pellets.
As anticipated, accuracy with the lightest, fastest pellets was poor. But things changed fast once we loaded mid-weight (14.3 Grain) and heavier lead pellets. Accuracy immediately became excellent!
Of course, FX Impact buyers are unlikely to be influenced by the marketing hype of FPS. They want solid power combined with accuracy. The Impact tested by HAM delivers around 24 Ft/Lbs of power with 14+ Grain pellets at an ideal 870 FPS Muzzle Velocity. We found best power and accuracy were combined when shooting 21.14 Grain H&N Baracuda Match pellets at around 730 FPS.
This is the sort of performance that is attractive to many knowledgeable airgun enthusiasts. That’s why it’s fairly representative of other high-end PCP air rifles, too.
All the performance data collected in this HAM test review of the FX Impact was obtained with the gun set to full power.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 9.7 Grain||1024.52 FPS||22.61 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 10.03 Grain||988.21 FPS||21.75 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|RWS Hobby 11.9 Grain||932.55 FPS||22.98 Ft/Lbs||Good.|
|Crosman Premier HP 14.3 Grain||872.33 FPS||24.16 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|JSB Jumbo Exact 14.35 Grain||871.91 FPS||24.22 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 14.66 Grain||866.51 FPS||24.44 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 21.14 Grain||731.45 FPS||25.12 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best Tetsed.|
When shooting at 25 Yards, HAM Tester Doug Rogers found this “one hole group” of 10 Baracuda match pellets easy to achieve.
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
Average trigger pull weight for the FX Impact tested by HAM was 1 Lb 13 Oz.
The two-stage trigger has an extremely light first stage. Pulling through this, the shooter’s finger reaches a very definite, predictable release point.
The sear breaks with just a slight further pressure. The trigger does not feel to require any further rearward travel to release the sear, just a little extra pressure from the finger produces the shot. This is a very nice trigger straight out of the box!
As always, HAM tests the trigger “as supplied”. But in spite of the many adjustments possible to the trigger, we’d leave it firmly alone. It feels just perfect to the HAM team as it is.
The safety is a simple, manual lever. It works precisely and easily, clicking into position with tactile pleasure and crisp efficiency.
The photographs above and below shows the trigger adjustment setscrews. That brass setscrew in the lower photograph is for adjusting the regulator pressure.
The side lever cocking action of the FX Impact tested by HAM is also close to perfect!
A little pressure on the lever causes the arm to spring out part-way, as shown below. The action is then cocked by pulling back further on the side lever to the full travel point.
Pushing the lever back forward requires very little effort. The final closure is undertaken by spring action. Very nice! Just cocking this air rifle is a joy to the senses for the mechanically-inclined shooter.
HAM Tester Doug Rogers summed it all up with elegant simplicity in his testing notes. “Very nice trigger” he wrote. “Easy side lever”.
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
As with all the high-end airgun manufacturers, FX is fairly conservative in its claims for the Impact.
For example, the maximum Muzzle Velocity claim is given as 920 FPS in .22 caliber. This was exceeded with all three of the lighter pellets during this test review.
The claimed maximum Muzzle Energy for the FX Impact in .22 caliber is 30 Ft/Lbs. HAM has recorded a Muzzle Energy of over 29 Ft/Lbs when using this gun for Ballistic Coefficient testing of .22 caliber 25.39 Grain JSB Exact Monster pellets. As there are heavier pellets available and Muzzle Energy rises in PCPs with increasing pellet weight, it’s clear that the 30 Ft/Lb mark would be achieved with an appropriate heavier pellet.
FX also claims a “shot capacity” of approximately 130 shots for the Impact in .22 caliber. Of course, it depends what is meant by “shot capacity”. As you can see from the following chart, the FX Impact tested by HAM achieved 65 consistent shots at full power. Clearly, many more shots than this are available from one fill of HPA, but the FPS will be falling consistently beyond shot 65.
We expected outstanding consistency and the FX Impact tested by HAM did not disappoint.
Accuracy was uniformly excellent with all domed lead pellets of 14.3 Grains and over. It was also consistently poor with lighter pellets!
The Standard Deviation (the measure of shot-to-shot variation in FPS in a string) was also outstandingly low at an average of just 3.58 FPS over the full HAM pellet test suite. That fell to a Standard Deviation of just 1.78 FPS for the four heavier lead pellets. This is probably the best consistency in FPS ever seen in a HAM test review.
Trigger pull weight was also extremely consistent with a variation of only 2 Ounces above or below the 1 Lb 13 Oz average figure.
Of course, the Impact is a regulated PCP air rifle and the shot curve clearly shows the effect of this. There’s good consistency out to about shot 65, after which the regulator pressure is reached and the FPS tails off as the pressure declines. As you can see from the chart below, the gun was tested with 16 Grain FX pellets.
Noise level of the FX Impact tested by HAM was very low . Subjectively, it was the quietest air rifle we’ve ever tested.
In a side-by-side comparison with the Benjamin Marauder – HAM’s gold standard for noise level – the Impact was significantly quieter with the built-in extending silencer deployed around the .22 caliber barrel.
Even with the telescoping silencer pushed back – as shown in the photographs for this article – the FX Impact tested by HAM was still pretty quiet. This is definitely a backyard-friendly air rifle.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
As you would expect for a high end PCP air rifle, the FX Impact is supplied with no scope, leaving this choice to the new owner.
There’s no iron sights, of course, but a long and very robust Weaver/Picatinny rail is provided above the breech. This provides plenty of length to allow a very wide range of scopes to be fitted to the Impact, together with the ability for the eye relief to be set appropriately for the individual shooter.
The narrow, flat-sided design of the breech allows for sidewheel scopes to be fitted with no problem. Of course, magazine loading takes place at the rear of the gun. So again, there’s no issue of interference with the scope due to the bullpup design.
Let’s start this section with HAM Tester Doug Rogers’ comment. “You don’t realize how easy it is to shoot the FX Impact until you shoot other guns and compare.”
Yes, the Impact is supremely easy to shoot! The light weight – less than 7 Lbs plus scope – and the compact length of the bullpup design make handling an absolute delight.
The FX Impact comes easily and instinctively onto aim, aided by appropriate positioning of the adjustable buttpad.
Of course, the whole bullpup handling experience is loved by some but hated by others. If you fall into the latter camp, FX Airguns has you covered with the equally-beautiful Crown.
The HAM Team is not so happy with the plastic cheekpiece of the FX Impact. This is well-shaped for a right-handed shooter, but can be distractingly cold to the touch when your cheek contacts it.
And in fact, although it’s not apparent at first, the FX Impact really is designed for right-handed shooters only. Doug Rogers shoots left-handed and he found the cheek rest uncomfortable. Not only that, but the magazine protrudes into the face of the left-handed shooter.
Yes, these things can be overcome by the shooter adapting his/her hold to the Impact’s design – or at least accepted. But the fact remains, the Impact is really for right-handers only.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
Of course, appearance is in the eye of the beholder. And the “black gun”, bullpup design of the FX Impact is definitely polarizing.
Many love the design – Stephen Archer is one – while others don’t. Again, the Crown is for those who want similar performance and functionality to the FX Imapct, but in a more traditional design format.
As HAM Tester Doug Rogers put it: “If you like the all metal look, it is a thing of beauty.”
As a highly-experienced Machinist by trade, Doug had unreserved approval for the quality of the finish. “Machining is excellent”, he wrote in his testing notes. That’s a high compliment indeed for the finish of the FX Impact.
As the gun uses a standard AR15-type pistol grip (a Hogue grip is fitted by the factory), it would be possible for a user to customize the appearance of the Impact by substituting one of the many alternatives available in the firearms aftermarket world.
BUYING AND OWNING
As an expensive, specialized product, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find the Impact in a local “bricks and mortar” store near you. However there is a number of FX Airguns dealers around the USA and the number is increasing all the time.
So, for most people, the FX Impact is a purchase to be made remotely on the Internet. Accompanied by huge anticipation when the package is delivered to your doorstep!
The overall experience for the Impact owner is likely to be outstanding. But there are a couple of wrinkles – apart from that cold cheek rest – that you should be aware of.
Firstly, the design of the Impact has the male quick disconnect fill nozzle recessed deeply into the underside of the breech. This means that it requires an extra-long female quick disconnect. It’s true that such an extra-long female fitting is supplied with the gun, but you need to be sure to use it.
If – for some reason – you need to take air from a tank fitted with a regular female quick disconnect, you’ll find that it’s tough – really tough, like almost impossibly difficult – to disconnect the fittings without skillful use of needle-nosed pliers. We know, HAM Publisher Stephen Archer tried it by mistake.
Don’t try this at home, folks!
The photo below shows the dedicated quick disconnect fitting supplied by FX with the Impact.
Also note that the Impact requires 3,600 PSI (250 Bar) for a complete fill of its tank. This is on the high side for a PCP air rifle, but of course the gun can be filled to a more modest 3,000 PSI pressure with perfect results due to the regulated design. The result is simply fewer shots, not less power.
As well as the left-hander hostile location, the magazines of the FX Impact are not a strong point, in the HAM Team’s opinion.
The magazines themselves are not marked with the caliber – you’ll regret this if you have multiple calibers. They also provide no indication of the number of shots remaining, as is common practice on even low cost magazine-fed PCPs. So you will have to remember how many shots you have taken.
This is not so easy with such high capacity mags – the .22 cal version holds no less than 18 pellets, for example. Of course, the empty magazine prevents a “blank shot” from taking place, but it would still be good to know how many pellets are still in the magazine.
And then there’s the need to place the first pellet skirt first into the magazine when loading. That’s really unintuitive.
Doubtless, experienced Impact owners overcome these issues, but really the HAM Team feels that a $2K air rifle should have a superior magazine system to this!
On to more positive things. The ability of the FX Impact to be converted to different calibers is very well implemented. Just pull out the barrel and replace the bolt. It literally can be done in two minutes or less. The photograph below shows bolts for the Impact in .22 cal, .25 caliber and .30 cal. for comparison.
The Owner’s Manual for the FX Impact is comprehensive, well illustrated and easy to follow. It’s in English only. However, the warranty coverage is surprisingly short for such a high-priced air rifle – it’s only a 12-month limited warranty in the USA.
As a final point, the FX Impact is supplied in a very solid, protective rifle case. This has cutouts in the foam to allow the Impact to fit with a mounted scope. It also accommodates multiple magazines, tins of pellets and an alternative barrel. This very nice case does require something of a knack to open, however. You have to both push in and pull out the latches at the same time to open them.
Some of the HAM team found this very difficult to accomplish. For others, it was easier…
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This entire article including scoring, test targets etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.