PRODUCT TEST: FX PUMPS
Created on 14th May 2009
MARK CAMOCCIO puts the FX four-stage pump and the FX standard pump to the test - and finds the four-stage version is a major improvement
OWNING A modern pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) brings with it a new set of requirements, the most obvious being the need for a ready air supply. Being reliant on an external power source has to be the biggest drawback with this kind of rifle. Factor in the safety regime, storage issues, and all the paraphernalia associated with divers' bottles, and the prospect of PCP ownership can seem a little daunting.
There is, however, an alternative - and for those of us less than enamoured with large cylinders of compressed air kicking around the place, a device such as the stirrup pump exists to ease our path to recoil-free shooting. FX Airguns of Sweden has been producing dedicated airgun pumps for many years now, and its latest offerings are a huge improvement on the early designs.
With Deben Group having recently taken over the UK distribution for FX, the pumps also now join that line-up. Coming in for scrutiny here are the two models which FX currently offers: the standard three-stage, and the brand new four-stage pump.
Both pumps come supplied in flat-pack form, but there's no need to fret. It's hardly Ikea, and with three main separate assemblies it's not overly taxing. This is just as well, since the instruction leaflet supplied is fairly woeful.
The flat metal base is simply screwed into place with the screws supplied, along with the micro-bore air hose. One point to mention here (and I wish the instructions had included it!) concerns the plastic disk insert inside the adaptor receiver. This needs to be pushed into place when the pump is assembled. I actually thought the disk was just packaging protection since it was falling out, but a call to Deben soon had me back on track.
Both pumps share the same solid construction, and appear very well-made, with soft rubber handles to aid the task. They differ visually in the ‘gearing' button between the handles on the four-stage. This works by pumping initially with the gear open (300cc of air per stroke) until 150bar is reached. The gear is then closed and subsequent pumping produces a lesser 200cc per stroke, making the latter stages less demanding.
For the purposes of my test, an Air Arms S400 Classic was to be charged from a residual pressure of 100bar up to 170bar, then a regulated S400 extended custom model was to be charged from 150bar to 200bar.
The results (tabled above) show that the four-stage version really is a major improvement on the standard pump, with the latter stages notably easier strokes once the gearing button had been closed. FX recommends that the gearing be used after 150bar, and in practice this worked well. Why the four-stage is marked up with 270bar on the body is anyone's guess, however! Technique is important with these pumps, and a downward stroke, bending the knees as you go, makes the job a light workout.
The standard pump is perfectly usable, but that slightly easier non-adjustable stroke means more pumps are needed overall, which takes its toll. For the marginal difference in price, I'd opt for the more versatile four-stage model every time.
On a final technical point, it's worth noting the following: divers' bottles use dry air but pumps take air from the atmosphere, which will have a moisture content. All FX pumps include a moisture trap and particle filter, but it is fairly well-acknowledged that some moisture will still enter the rifle's air cylinder, albeit in (hopefully) small quantities. This means that a periodic safety inspection of the rifle's internals would be good practice further down the line. With corrosion checks part of any PCP's service regime in any case, this is largely academic.
FX standard pump: £129
FX four-stage pump: £159
Contact: Deben Group
T: 01394 387762
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