by B.B. Pelletier
I finally completed the accuracy test of the Mendoza RM-200. The day was breezy, but the wind was not a problem. I shot at 25 yards, which I felt was in keeping with this type of rifle.
One of our readers suggested scoping the rifle with a Bug Buster, and I had one already set up in rings, so that's what I used. It was a Bug Buster 2, 6x32mm scope. It fit the rifle very well and the small size of the scope compliments the rifle, but shooting from the bench made the eye relief a little too long. I managed, but it would have been much nicer shooting offhand.
From the first test, I knew that neither Crosman Premiers or JSB Exacts would shoot in this rifle. It seems to need a fatter pellet, which is why RWS Hobbys did so well. For this test, I chose pellets that are either fat or have thin skirts that can be blown out into the rifling. The first pellet was a 5.6mm Eley Wasp that is, unfortunately, no longer available. It grouped well. Since it can no longer be purchased, I won't tease you. It did tell me that the rifle was accurate and that it probably did need bigger pellets.
I also tested RWS Superpoints, Beeman Silver Bears, RWS Hobbys and Logun Penetrators in the 16-grain weight. Well, the Superpoints were a complete bust. The Silver Bears were not much better. Both pellets gave 2.5" to 3" groups at 25 yards. Since the Wasps worked so well, I knew the rifle could shoot.
RWS Hobbys shot groups of about 1.5", which isn't horrible but isn't as good as I expected from this rifle. However, I had an ace up my sleeve. One of our readers, powermacsc, got half-inch groups with his new 200 shooting the 16-grain Logun Penetrators, so I saved that pellet for last. And, it did perform well. I got groups between 3/4" and 1" for five shots. That's close to what the Eley Wasps were doing, but the Loguns were ever-so-slightly better.
Technique, technique technique!
Then, I went to work on my shooting technique. I tried all kinds of holds and I balanced the stock at various critical spots. My conclusions are these:
- The RM-200 is very sensitive to hold.
- It likes the forearm to rest as far out as possible from the triggerguard.
- Pellet seating pressure is very critical.
- Being a carbine, the rifle wants to be held as loosely as possible.*
A reader asked about the stock, because I neglected to mention anything about it. The stock is not strictly ambidextrous, having a low comb on the left side, but the shape of the butt is ALMOST symmetrical. A lefty could use the rifle with no problem. The automatic safety is completely ambidextrous, with a lever on both sides of the receiver.
The bottom line
I think the Mendoza RM-200 is a wonderful little .22 sporting rifle. Expect it to shoot groups of 3/4" to 1" at 25 yards with good pellets. I suspect that as you become more familiar with your rifle, the groups will shrink because this rifle is very sensitive to how it is held. I don't know how you could do any better at the price!