by B.B. Pelletier
Today we begin our look at the BAM B40 underlever spring-piston air rifle. It’s a direct copy of the Air Arms TX200, and you know I think highly of it. This first part is a physical comparison between the two. The B40 comes in both .177 and .22 calibers, and I will test both for you. Because I own a .177 TX200, I will start there.
BAM B40 (bottom) is a close copy of the TX 200…at least in appearance.
This is the most beautiful Chinese air rifle I have seen! The stock is a hardwood stained to the light side of medium, and the contouring is nearly perfect. I found two spots where wood filler was used, but that is almost a trademark of Chinese woodwork. The thick black rubber buttpad is perfectly fitted. Even the two parts of the forearm that extend past the breech are nearly centered on the barrel and underlever mechanism.
This wood putty repair on the pistol grip of the B40 is about one inch long. It’s typical of all Chinese wood stocks – even the ones they consider high quality.
The stock differs from the one found on a TX200 in that is there is no checkering on the pistol grip or the forearm, and the forearm wood isn’t tapered to a slimmer profile. Also, the pistol grip isn’t quite as deeply scalloped as the one on the TX. As a result, the B40 stock feels slightly bulkier when held to the shoulder for firing.
The metal is polished, but not to the same extent as a TX. It is, however, up to the same standard as a Weihrauch rifle, which puts it light-years ahead of where Chinese rifles used to be. The triggerguard is dull but evenly black, and the trigger blade is well-formed.
Breech not finished as well
When I cocked the gun, the sliding compression chamber slid back to reveal a cone-shaped breech with some tool marks. The squared-off TX breech is perfect, by comparison. Cocking effort is slightly higher (a pound or two at most), but my TX has thousands of shots on it and this is a brand-new action, so I’ll cut it some slack. Cocking is just as smooth as the TX, and the anti-beartrap ratchet that holds open the sliding compression chamber is just as crisp as the one on the TX. The underlever lock (a ball bearing) has been exactly replicated on the B40 and works fine.
When you scrutinize the work it comes apart, like these tool marks left on the breech.
Very smooth shooting
I’d heard a comment that the B40 had lots of spring noise and vibration, but that isn’t the case with the one I’m testing. It shoots just as smoothly as a TX200, which says a lot. The TX shoots like a tuned gun right out of the box, and I’m saying that the B40 does, too. It’s also just as quiet as a TX, which means the baffles in the barrel shroud are just as effective.
Trigger light but mushy
The two-stage trigger is a copy of the TX trigger, which in turn is a close approximation of the famous Rekord trigger that Weihrauch has used for five decades. The release is very light, but, like I commented about the BAM B26 trigger, the first stage is mushy and the second stage is imprecise. I can get used to it, but it’s a far cry from a TX trigger. I hope I can do something about it before I go to the range for accuracy testing.
From the firing behavior, I suspect the rifle will shoot either in the high 800s or the low 900s with the Gamo Magnum pointed pellets I used to check firing behavior. If that’s true, I would expect to get the best accuracy from either Beeman Kodiaks or JSB Exact domed heavy pellets.
We’ll find out in the next test!