Silent partner 1207 NEW STYLETake this down 0107

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					Silent partner 1207 NEW STYLE:Take this down 0107                 7/11/07    11:37    Page 41

                                                                                                                               FX T12 Whisper

             The FX T12 Whisper - could this be the
      quietly clinical sporter you’ve been looking for?

                 he first rays of the morning             prior to that. Changes have been made
                 sun were throwing blue-gold              to the prototype, in discussion with Ben
                 spears of light through the              Taylor, of Ben Taylor & Son, the main
                 tree line behind me, as the              UK distributors of FX Airguns of
                 dawn chorus tuned-up for its             Sweden, and the rifle I currently hold is
     matinee performance. I had my back to                quicker, slicker and less quirky than the
     the trunk of a massive oak, my knees                 one I helped field trial.
     formed a platform for the rifle and my                   That’s the way field trialing works,
     new hunting outfit was keeping me                    especially when you’re reporting to
     warm, dry and inconspicuous. The rifle               someone like Ben Taylor. Ben is the most       Silent sign-off. The
     was cocked, loaded and trained on the                healthily obsessed person I know and his       Whisper’s air-stripping
                                                                                                         muzzle end-cap.
     base of a hedgerow, where a visibly worn             mania for efficiency definitely verges on
     track announced its use by rabbits.                  some sort of disorder, but he gets stuff
         Within 20 minutes the first rabbit               done. His job is not made easier by
     emerged and I bent my head to the                    having field testers like me who report           The pre-charged pneumatic, multi-shot,
     scope. Tracking the rabbit until it                  complex technical issues as ‘Erm…it           T12 Whisper is made by FX Airguns of
     stopped to sniff the moist morning air I             feels a bit…you know…urgent.’                 Sweden, a company headed by the affable
     centred the cross-hair and squeezed the                  ‘Urgent?’                                 genius that is Fredrik Axellson. Ben Taylor
     trigger. A brief, metallic ‘tak!’ signalled              ‘Yes. Sort of vigorous and racy.’         and Fredrik are a potent combination and
     the firing of the rifle and the rabbit                   ‘Vigorous and racy? Do you mean it’s      have established a working relationship
     sprawled in the grass. No fuss, no drama,            fast?’                                        that’s a fine thing to see. I’ve seen it in
     just a clinical example of efficiency in                 ‘Probably… or not.’                       action, purely as a slack-jawed outsider, and
     action. I’d made my first kill with the FX               ‘What an asset you are, Terry.’ At        the ideas and solutions these two bat
     T12 Whisper.                                         least I think he said ‘asset’.                around between each other have to be
         I’ve had this new FX for two months                  Thus it is that function is refined and   witnessed to be believed. I’ve witnessed
     and a prototype of it for several months             great advances made. Impressive, isn’t it?    loads of them, and I still don’t believe them.

     Silent Partner                                                                                     Terry Doe is in quiet
                                                                                                        contemplation of the
                                                                                                        FX T12 Whisper
                                                                                                            Fredrik and FX develop rifles and Ben
                                                                                                        Taylor takes them to bits, customises
                                                                                                        performance at every possible turn, then he
                                                                                                        and Fredrik get together with the FX
                                                                                                        technical bods to see how many of Ben’s
                                                                                                        custom tweaks can be incorporated in the
                                                                                                        production guns. So far I’m told they’ve all
                                                                                                        gone in, in one form or another, which can
                                                                                                        only be good news for FX owners.
                                                                                                            Right, let’s take a look at the test subject
                                                                                                        and see what the first impressions
                                                                                                        department think about it. I think the
                                                                                                        T12 Whisper is the airgun equivalent of a
                                                                                                                      Subaru Imprezza or one of
                                                                                                                                  those      Mitsubishi
                                                                                                                                    Evo’ jobs, in that
                                                                                                                                    there’s no way it’s
                                                                                                                                   pretty, but it looks
                                                                                                                                 like it does the
                                                                                                        business so that makes it attractive. Having
                                                                                                        tested this one in the field, on the range, in
     My first rabbit was taken                                                                          several downpours, during a mini-heatwave,
     without fuss or drama. This                                                                        at night, during the day, on short-range
     rifle just does the business.                                                                      ratting trips and as a max-range rabbit rifle,

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                                                                  apparent weight. It doesn’t
                                                                  take long to see that FX                        …Rotate the clear cover to
                                                                  Airguns are going for a                          tension the internal drive-
                                                                  function first policy, here, and                                   spring…
                                                                  every trip out with this sporter
                                                                  convinces me that they’ve got
                                                                  it right.
                                                                       The thumbhole stock is oil-
                                                                  finished American walnut,
                                                                  enhanced with panels of laser-
                                                                  cut chequering at the grip and
                                                                  fore end. These panels carry a
                                                                  fleurs-de-lis flourish and in the
                                                                        case of the fore end, the
                                                                         letters ‘FX’, and very well
                                                                         presented they are too.        plenty of ‘meat’ on its woodwork to house
                                                                        Personally, I’d have liked to   a thumb-up option, although the bolt-
                                                                  see the fore end panels either        shaft’s need to extend beyond the action
                                                                  shifted forward a touch, or           and into the rear of the stock might present
                                                                  extended until they all but           a problem. I still think the combined fixit-
                                                                  reached the tip, but that’s old       firepower of Fred and Ben could handle it.
                                                                  gorilla arms me, and normal           Perhaps some of my field-testing
                                                                  humans may well think                 observations were not made forcibly
                                                                  differently. That fore end tip        enough.
                                                                  forms a sort of angular                   Overall, while the T12 Whisper’s
                                                                  Schnabel design and is a              woodwork is more ‘muscle-car’ than classic
                                                                  pleasing handful for those of         roadster, it looks the part and does an
                                                                  the sporting, arm-extended            efficient job, just like the action it holds.
                                                                  persuasion.                           That’s where we’re going next, then.
     I found the lightweight T12                                       At the back end there’s a            The T12 Whisper is called a Whisper
     amazingly stable from the standing
                                                                  sliding butt-plate, complete          because it’s damn quiet on firing. To
     and kneeling stances.
                                                                  with soft a rubber curve that         achieve this, it’s got a humungous silencer-
                                                                  snugs securely into the               shroud around the full length, and beyond,
     I’m saying that the more you use it, the        shoulder while the height adjuster puts eye        of its 18-inch barrel. In addition to the
     prettier it gets. That’s because it works and   and scope on the same plane.                       sheer volume of ‘silencer space’ available to
     works very well indeed.                             I’m big on having a thumb-up option            tame the rifle’s discharge, it runs a
         The first thing that takes the eye is the   on rifle stocks and this one would benefit         conventional silencer ahead of the muzzle,
     ‘double tube’ effect of the T12’s air           from that feature, no doubt about it. The          complete with a spring-loaded, active baffle
     reservoir and shrouded barrel. This bulks       thumb-up grip has always seemed to help            system. Active baffles are simply baffles
     out the look of the rifle and makes it appear   me control the trigger better and every            that move, rather than remain fixed, and in
     to be heavier than its 7.5lbs. The FX           custom stock I’ve had made incorporates a          this case they’re backed by ports, which
     statement about being ‘Whisper’ quiet is        ‘scoop’ to accommodate it. This is a               vent residual blast into the barrel shroud
     punctuated by six inches of silencer which      dedicated, right-hand stock, and there’s
     protrudes beyond the wide barrel-band
     above the air reservoir end cap. In reality,
     this ‘silencer’ is simply an extension of the    Plug-and-play
     barrel shroud but it adds the impression of      charging comes
                                                      as standard.
     length to the Whisper’s

     The sprung bolt-handle
     gives you a head start
     when cocking the T12                                                                                                             Bracing my thumb
                                                                                                                                         against the rear
                                                                                                                                   mount as I cocked the
                                                                                                                                    rifle worked for me.

     42 AIRGUN WORLD 2007
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     …then flip over the mag’                                                       Once the magazine is fully
     and load the first pellet                                                      loaded and the clear cover             …the mag’ slides into the
     skirt-first…                                                                   has been returned…                     action, the bolt is closed –
                                                                                                                           and the T12 is ready to go.

                                         …before flipping it back and
                                         loading the remaining pellet bays.

     void, plus an ‘air-stripper’ at the muzzle-tip.    all, and the knack takes but seconds to get           amazingly easy to handle well.
     This is a rifle that’s serious about silence.      sorted, after which you’re never more than                The T12’s trigger is the standard, FX two-
         Important point; don’t go poking about         a swift cycle of a short-throw bolt away              stage, adjustable unit and it does what all such
     in the silencer’s front section. If you throw      from another shot.                                    units do, in that it breaks cleanly, consistently
     the spring-loaded baffles out of alignment,             Lifting the bolt from its front keeper           and with no hint of creep or drag. Off the test
     you’ll see inaccuracy unfold before your           notch sees it spring back roughly half the            bench, this rifle is as near match-accurate as
     eyes, and you don’t want that. What you            length of the cocking slot, leaving you to            makes no difference, and part of that
     want, is the T12’s capability to produce           snick it back around an inch until it engages         performance has, as ever, to be down to its
     half-inch, 10-shot groups at 50 yards –            with a ‘click’ that’s actually louder than the        trigger. The rest of the credit is split between
     that’s what you want. Here’s how I got             rifle’s report. That’s the problem with ultra-        the ‘enhanced’ Lothar Walther barrel – Ben
     those groups.                                      quiet rifles, they make normal sounds seem            Taylor won’t tell me what’s been done but
         First, you’ve got a knack to acquire.          so much louder. Here’s a tip; pull back the           ‘something has’ – the consistent power-
     The .177 Whisper’s removable, rotary,              bolt as shown, i.e. with your thumb braced            delivery from the firing valve, the handling of
     internally-sprung, 16-shot magazine – 12-          against the back of the rear scope mount.             the stock and finally, the way each pellet is
     shot in .22 – is not unlike that of the            There’s no need to lock back the bolt,                shifted from the magazine, to the breech, then
     Theoben Rapid range, with the                      though. As soon as you get the engagement             through the barrel and silencer without
                                                                                                              damaging it on the way. That last point is a
         ‘Between them, FX Airguns and Ben Taylor have                                                        vital one, and a requirement that has cost the
                                                                                                              producers of multi-shot airguns untold time,
            produced a remarkable sporting airgun, here.                                                      money and gallons of midnight oil to get right.
                                                                                                                  Between them, FX Airguns and Ben
         It’s easy to handle, easy to run, easy to look after                                                 Taylor have produced a remarkable sporting
                                                                                                              airgun, here. It’s easy to handle, easy to run,
             and, yes, easy on the eye, especially when it                                                    easy to look after and, yes, easy on the eye,
                helps you shoot it to its full potential.’                                                    especially when it helps you shoot it to its full
                                                                                                              potential. By today’s standards, the T12
     remarkable exception of having to load             ‘click’, you can return the bolt and seal the         Whisper is fairly easy on the pocket, too.
     the first pellet skirt-first into the ‘exit        system. It’s fast, foolproof and it becomes           Given what it does and who’s behind it, it
     side’ of the magazine, once you’ve                 second-nature in no time.                             doesn’t take a genius to work out that the FX
     tensioned the internal drive-spring by                  Charging the T12 is a swift matter of            T12 Whisper is set to be a big noise in the
     rotating the magazine’s clear cover, which         plugging in its supplied, self-sealing probe,         world of sporting airguns.
     is held on its stop position until the first       turning on the air – or doing the up-down,             TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION
     pellet is loaded. Once that’s done, you flip       pantomime policeman ‘ello-ello’ routine with           Model: T12 Whisper
     over the mag’ and load the rest of the             a manual pump, should you be feeling robust            Manufacturer: FX Airguns
     pellets through the chamfered port in the          – and injecting compression until you’ve got           Country of Origin: Sweden
     cover a slot at a time until the magazine is       220-bar installed. In the test .177, this will fuel    Distributor: B.T.A.S
     filled and the clear cover returns to              90 shots at an average of 11.4 ft.lbs., and a          Contact: 01223 872655
     alignment with the mag’ body.                      healthy 120 in .22, with a recorded 40-shot            Price: £599 includes 16-shot magazine
          With the rifle’s bolt drawn fully back        string showing a deviation of 12 fps. from start       (12-shot in .22), and charging connector
     and locked down, the loaded magazine is            to finish, using FX pellets straight from the tin.     Type: Pre-charged, multi-shot sporter
                                                                                                               Calibre: .177 or .22
     inserted from the right-hand side, with its             For reasons I’m still not certain about, the      Cocking: Bolt-action
     clear cover facing you. Push the mag’ firmly       T12 Whisper is easy to shoot accurately from           Loading: Removable, rotary magazine
     home, then lift and return the bolt to load        the standing and kneeling stances. Being a             Trigger: Two-stage, adjustable
     the first pellet. The sequence photos reveal       confirmed fan of heavyweight rifles for                Sights: Scope rail only
                                                        deliberate accuracy, I find myself puzzled at          Stock Type: Right-hand thumbhole, American
                                                        how well I do with light rifles these days. My         walnut
                                                        own FX Verminator weighs next-to-nothing               Weight: 3.5 k. (7.8 lbs. unscoped)
                                                        and is ridiculously easy to keep on track, and         Length: 1054 mm (41.5 inches)
                                                        I’ve been shooting an ultra-light DIY rifle            Barrel: 457 mm (18 inches)
                                                                                                               Shots-per-charge: 90-plus from 220-bar in .177
                                                        made by a clever chap who will soon be                                     120-plus in .22
                                                        featured in AGW, and that too proved

                                                                                                                     FX have gone big on silent shooting,
                                                                                                                     but the T12 Whisper is more about
                                                                                                                     sound performance.

                                                                                                                                     2007 AIRGUN WORLD 43

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