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FX Verminator .177 Review

FX Verminator .177 Review

I am not the most technical minded person in the world so dont expect this to be going on about seals, ft per lbs etc. This is just a review of owning and using the Verminator and my experiences of it.

Firstly, the gun and the first time you shoulder it will tell you pretty much instantly if this gun is for you. Very point able, compact, shoulders well, light yet it does feel solid. When the gun arrives it comes in a nice padded case to keep everything together and with a little help from a Stanley knife to adjust for your particular scope and mounting etc it keeps it all tidy.

vermin.png

The cocking action I love. Joy to work with and also you can cock the rifle without taking the scope away from your eye unlike my daystate X2r for example. The mags are easy to load and robust as they have no working parts in them like air arms or daystate. The mechanism is somewhat lively though and its going to cost you along the way. If you remove the pellet pin to take the mag out make sure you lean the rifle over to its left by 90 degrees. I now have a technique of putting my fingers down the sides of the scope and having them either side of the mag when I am about to change it. Why?? Well, if you don't the mag is ejected with quite some force. Goes out of the gun like a spent cartridge and they are not easy to find. They also cost 29-99 to replace. Could be an expensive night time hunting trip especially.

Assembling the gun can be a tad dubious until you are used to it. The bottle needs to go on at an angle or you cross thread. This will NOT be covered by your warranty. Also I have heard from another owner that he over tightened the bottle partly due to the angle he set the stock at in error. When he went to remove the bottle he took the internal fixing out with it. I haven't had this problem but you only need to do it "Finger" tight if you like. Once the air comes into play you don't have to go much further. Never keep going until you start to grimace.

The bottle is solid and charges up to 210 bar on my clubs cylinder. You need a cylinder for this gun. You are likely to need medical assistance if you go anywhere near it with a pump. I've easily had 200 shots out of this with no real obvious loss to the power. The bottle is encased in the butt of the rifle. By loosening the Allen key you can slide the butt back and forth until it suits your reach in the shoulder. Watch out on the small Allen key (about 5mm) that holdings the brass tube containing the spring for the cocking system. The manual says to loosen off the internal bolt if using a silencer to reduce the pressure and wear and tear. Now that's easy. BUT the little 5mm bolt that keeps the thing in place is VERY prone to stripping the stock and I think in all honesty is too feeble for the job. Its going to have to be changed sooner or later if you enjoy tinkering with your gun. If not then I strongly suggest you don't go near it.

On the side of the gun is the power adjuster. power goes 6/9/11.5 I haven't used it on the other settings yet but could see the advantages if you're limited in space. Easy to change back and forwards with it if you so wish. I could also see the advantage if shooting in a barn for example.

Pellets? well can be a tad fussy. Ive found the best so far (I've a couple of others to try JSB exacts being one) that Bisley mags go through well and true. Good groups. Obviously quite a drop over longer distances on sub 12 at 10.6g. But bang on for say 35yards at least and I don't do a lot of live quarry over that distance to be honest.

Now the one thing you are going to have to get used to is this.....when you turn up at the club, flip open the case and get to putting it all together YOU ARE GOING TO LOOK A !!! No ifs or buts. You'll face alll the usual remarks about James Bond, Jason Bourne etc. Then you are likely to go out on the course and get beaten on HFT by a 12 year old with a springer. Its just the way it goes isn't it???

And here in lies my big issue with the Verminator..... It is a GREAT gun as long as you don't actually take it apart!!! Which kind of detracts from one of the things you actually like about it. Personally I love the feel of it so I would have bought it if it wasn't sold as a TDR. But I don't view this as a TDR is the full terms. Leave it all together you'll get less going wrong with it, you won't look so much of a knob and you still get what you want from it.

OK, now here is the main thing. Its now going back to Deben as the barrel has gone rusty in under three weeks from brand new. Kept in the same conditions as my Daystate. Not in a room with central heating, no huge temperature changes and in fact only used ONCE at the club and wiped down after. I am very dubious as the quality of the finish on the barrel. As is goes back tomorrow for Deben review I won't comment any further at this time and will wait for Deben to return their comments. Ill then post on this thread what that feedback is.

Now, I love this gun. To hold and move around with etc its my favourite rifle by far. BUT is it really worth the price being charged if you can't really use it as a TDR, there are a number of wear and tear issues such as the 5mm bolt I mentioned and the barrel finish appears dubious. In all honesty NO! At least a 100 cheaper is where I would gauge it if not 150 would be more realistic.

This is a gun straight out of the factory that in my opinion really needs a tune. Not something you expect to do on a brand new gun but I feel a tune would make this gun silky which isn't quite how I would describe it at the moment.

Hopefully the barrel issue will be resolved and I wont say more till I hear from Deben. BUT my advice really is to buy a second hand one if you really want one. Its more of a swallow able figure for what you actually get. BUT check out some of the features I have mentioned BEFORE you buy. My advice is do a face to face ONLY. Make sure the threads haven't been crossed, the 5mm bolt mangled, the trigger not been adjusted within an inch of its life. That the safety still works if the trigger has been played with and the pressure gauge not damage by removing the stock. Buy one of these without seeing it at your own peril.

Now I feel that the gun is a "teenager" at the moment that can be fun to be with in the right mood but drives you to murder in another. SO.... as long as the barrel issue resolves I intend to stick with it. I reckon that with a "HydroDip" and a tune and constantly leaving it assembled this will most likely be my favourite rifle of all time. BUT its a tough thing to swallow at how much that is likely to cost and the initial price of the rifle.

UPDATE:
As promised an update on the barrel issue. Deben have replaced the barrel and have said they are unsure as to why it actually happened. There was no argument on its replacement and it was a three day turn around door to door. So I can't fault that service. The barrel has gone back to FX to be looked at. I have to agree with Deben that it is odd. Maybe I just got a dodgy barrel. As I have already stated my Verminator is in the same conditions (an unheated spare room) as my daystate X2r and I've no problems with that gun.

After using my rifles I bring them home, give them a wipe over with a dry cloth and leave out in a room overnight. Then its a wipe over with silicone pre soaked cloth and off to bed in their cases. I perhaps now feel that being in its case limits air flow over the gun and perhaps this has caused a problem. Which means I won't be storing the Verminator in its box but only using it for when I want to transport the gun in a TDR state. So this is another point. If you are best leaving the gun out of its box then you won't want to leave all your gun its bits all over the place. So you'll leave it assembled. So perhaps another argument towards not treating the Verminator as a full on TDR. So I guess its another reason to leaving it all assembled.

I think the rifle being left together will be better for it in the long run. But it still doesn't change the things that I really do like about the vermi and hopefully it will live up to its potential as one of my favourite guns. As Ian has stated below " 'loose spring' noise is an annoyance at worst " and I agree and will put up with it for the cocking lever that I like so much. The air loss on disassembly doesn't bother me in the slightest and is resolvable by following the advice but in all honesty is negligible. The gun going to rust after three weeks off not actually being used is an issue but as Deben is at a loss and sent the barrel direct back to FX to be tested etc I hope this issue won't arise again.

So fingers crossed for happy night hunting trips with my black beauty.

6 Months On:
The TDR and the Vermi tactical look is not everybody's cup of tea. Just as much as walking round the country side carrying a wardrobe isn't mine. But I love this little beauty and she has pretty much everything I like,TDR, tactical look, light, point-able, fantastic cocking action, accurate, great fill to shot ratio, reliable.

Back to being a TDR due to lack of space in the new house etc. As of yet I haven't seen a single problem with the barrel that was refitted. The conditions of storage and care not changed I can only assume I was unlucky with the original. But I can't fault the service Deben gave to sort it out.

The problem with the mags is easier to resolve if you do the following. Draw back the magazine pin then slowly cock the rifle. This controls the exit of the mag a lot better and it doesn't fly straight out. Also the advice to cock on its side remains. These little black mags are a damn pain to find if they fly out especially night shooting. They are not that cheap to replace either.

Ive been lucky enough not to have any thread problems. I think this is because I have been wary but also got to know my gun a lot better. I know straight away now if its lined up right before I even start to screw the butt/bottle back on.

I think for the money involved, especially new, Deben should have had the action dipped. I say this because they actually promote this as a TDR and provide the storage so a little investment into better protection would not have gone a miss. But like I say no problems since barrel replacement.

The rifle seem to have settled down. Perhaps this is bedding in but action, cocking everything feels just that bit smoother now. Maybe its just me.
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MacOne
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