Testing the Air Arms Pro-Sport: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Before we begin, we have an announcement. On July 7, we showed you a short video tour of Pyramyd Air’s new website. Today, we’re including a second tutorial that’ll show you some more new features. The site is still in the beta stage, and we’re making daily improvements based on customer feedback.

Now, let’s get to today’s report

Part 1
Part 2


The Air Arms Pro-Sport underlever rifle has a unique look and style.

Today is accuracy day, and I know some of you have been anticipating this part of the report very eagerly. We learned in Part 2 that the Air Arms Pro-Sport performs about the same as a TX200 Mark III out of the box and that it will speed up as it breaks in. We looked at the cocking linkage, which most shooters find to be awkward, but we also learned that the cocking effort of 40 lbs. is not that much greater than that of the TX200.

Of course, the trigger is identical to the one found on both the TX200 Mk III and the TX200 Hunter Carbine, and it would be difficult to find a better sporting airgun trigger anywhere. It’s based on the Weihrauch Rekord, but it has more adjustability that allows you to finesse the trigger exactly the way you like it.

A question of style
Up to this point, then, the main difference between a TX200 Mk III and a Pro-Sport is a question of style versus convenience. Do you like the sleek shape of the Pro-Sport enough to put up with the location of the cocking lever fulcrum? Many shooters will. So, then, is the Pro-Sport as accurate as the TX200? That’s what we’ll learn today.

Scope
I wanted to give the test rifle every chance to excel, so I mounted the fine Hawke 4.5-14x42AO Sidewinder scope on the gun. I gave the Hawke its very own test report back in March of this year and have used it on a couple other rifles that promised superlative accuracy. While it certainly won’t make an airgun more accurate, it will allow all the accuracy that’s present to emerge.


The Hawke 4.5-14x Sidewinder scope is a good match for the Pro-Sport.

The accuracy test
I shot the rifle off a rest, indoors, at 25 yards to give it every possible advantage. The sight-in pellet was JSB’s Exact dome that weighs 8.4 grains. I had a feeling it would be an accurate pellet in this rifle — and it was!

This pellet fit the breech of the rifle very well — not too loose, but also not tight. This is important for a rifle that has a sliding breech because you often have the muzzle elevated when you load the pellet.

The best group I got with this JSB pellet was ten shots into 0.365 inches at 25 yards. There was a small amount of movement to the rifle when I held it and that no doubt enlarged the group. The movement was due to an odd balance (for me) to the rifle. It’s very light in the muzzle, and that allows the muzzle to move around more than I like.


Ten JSB 8.4-grain domes went into this group measuring 0.356 inches at 25 yards.

Next, I tried Air Arms Falcon pellets. At just 7.3 grains, they’re very light and fast, yet they also fit the bore of the gun pretty well. If anything, they’re a trifle loose in the breech.

But at 25 yards, they grouped even better than the JSBs. I was still struggling to hold the rifle steady, so some of the 0.317 inches of group was due to my wobble, but it’s still a pretty impressive target.


Air Arms Falcon pellets tightened things even more, as this 0.317-inch group demonstrates.

Then, I thought I’d try some heavier pellets. First up was the Beeman Kodiak dome. But right from the start I could see that this is not the right pellet for the Pro-Sport, so I didn’t continue testing it. Next, I tried the JSB Exact dome that weighs 10.2 grains. It was another non-starter. Apparently, the Pro-Sport likes light pellets, and that’s all there is to it.

The last pellet I tried was the Crosman Premier that weighs 7.9 grains, and it proved to be the most accurate pellet of all in the test rifle. I shot only a single group that measured 0.256 inches, but it was even smaller than that until the final shot. For some reason, these Premier Lites act like they’re on rails when shot from this rifle, so I tried an experiment that I haven’t tried in a long time.


Though it doesn’t look much smaller than the previous group of Falcons, this batch of 10 Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets measures just 0.256 inches between centers.

Shooting directly off the bag
I rested the rifle directly on the sandbag instead of on my hand and proceeded to shoot the first five shots into a hole that would have measured about one-tenth of an inch. Of course, the rifle has to be taken off the bag to cock every time, so each time it must be laid exactly where it was before or the point of impact will change. On shot six, I didn’t get it right, and I knew I wasn’t in quite the same place when I settled in. But I shot anyway and ruined the group. The next two shots were also outside the tight original group and the final shot went back to the original group, but hit on the edge and opened it up. The group doesn’t look very good, but the ramifications are wonderful! As long as you’re very careful to place the rifle in exactly the same place every time, the Pro-Sport is a spring gun you can shoot directly off a sandbag. I knew the TX200 could do it, but this is the first time I’ve tried it with the Pro-Sport.


Even fired straight off a sandbag rest, the Pro-Sport grouped surprisingly well. The openness of this group was due to imprecise positioning of the rifle on the rest.

Muzzle report
Is the Pro-Sport a quiet air rifle? While I lack the instruments to measure the sound, I do have a good backup way of assessing whether the air rifle makes too much noise. Punky, one of our three cats, laid slightly to the right of the muzzle the entire time I shot this test. The only movement I detected from him was one time when he yawned.

Lest you think this was a setup, allow me to explain that you cannot pose a cat. They either do what their agents request or they do what they like, but they certainly don’t pose. For Punky to have slept through the entire shooting session was a good indication that this rifle is not loud.


Punky slept through the entire session. Though it doesn’t look like it from this angle, the rifle is about 18 inches above the cat.

Conclusions
At this point, I feel I can make a good judgement of the Air Arms Pro-Sport. It’s everything I remembered and perhaps something I didn’t remember. The power and accuracy are certainly in the same class as the TX200. What I didn’t remember was how light the muzzle is, or how much that affects my shooting. I guess I need the extra weight out at the muzzle to stabilize the rifle.

I’m so glad I got a chance to test this rifle the way that I did. Although it wasn’t a direct comparison with the TX200, it felt like one. I can certainly see the styling that many shooters find so attractive in the Pro-Sport. The TX is much blockier or club-like in that respect. I have always been a function-over-form kind of guy, and so the TX200 wins the day in my book. But I can see why so many shooters like the Pro-Sport.

You certainly cannot go wrong with this rifle. You may have to learn how to cock and shoot it. Once you do, you’ll have a rifle you can be proud of for the rest of your life.

41 thoughts on “Testing the Air Arms Pro-Sport: Part 3

  1. Hi BB. I have an off topic question for you. I am look at getting a BB gun for my children. What is your preference between a Daisy Red Ryder and a Crosman Marlin. Cheers Ken


    • IMHO they’re pretty much the same, some of the Crosmans has a few more misfeed than the Daisys but the Crosman seems more solid and better made (an extra screw here, sunken screw head there etc).
      I have the Marlin and don’t regret the 30$ I spent on it, I also have two RedRyders, a regular one and a pink one for my daugther, I shoot all 3 in alternance, my RedRyder is the best follow closely by the Marlin and the pink RedRyder is dead last and barely worth it’s 30$ price tag. The pink RedRyder shoots to the left and there is no adjustment for that, and it misfeeds more often than the Marlin.
      Around 30$ I’d pick the one you think looks better.

      You could also give the Mod.25 a try, BB got pretty good results with his, mine has a hard time keeping the BB’s on a soda can.

      J-F


      • My boy’s aged 7&10 now, started with a Daisy Little Buck, and Grizzly. The Grizzly was easier for the youngest to cock. They have now graduated to a old well used, Daisy Champion 99 and it’s the one they fight over, that and my 45 year old mod 25. The only problem is the magazine(shot tube), as it’s a hard one for kids to load. If I were buying a BB gun today ,I would buy a Daisy Avanti 99 even though it’s a single loader and expensive for a BB gun. The kids catch on quick which guns make hits, and hits make them happy and keep them interested, and me focused on their markmanship progress. Just my experience as a middle aged dad and a guy with more BB guns than anyone should ever need.


        • My boys both have Red Ryders, and I swear by them.
          Easy minute of pop can accuracy at 25 ft.
          I have one famous (in our family) RR story. One day my then 8 year old really wanted to buy a toy after we finished shooting. I made him a deal (feeling he had enough toys). I pointed to the pop can I was shooting at, at a ranged 70ft, and told him if he hit it we’d go buy a toy. He took aim, the muzzle bouncing around, fired…and damn if the can didn’t jump 6″ into the air.
          He still tells our friends that he’s a better shot than dad!
          Anyway…though only 5 years old now that RR has thousands of shots on it, still works fine, has had less than a couple dozen feed failures in all those shots.
          The clincher for me is the wood stock. With reasonable care, and the odd bit of touch up stain these things will be handed down to their kids. I’ve seen a lot of 20 years old guns/toys with plastic stocks where the plastic is either broken or so brittle that breakage with normal use is a strong possbility.
          That factor alone would tend to sway my recommendation to the Daisy.


          • Ouch LOL… Lesson learned, never challenge the kids to something you don’t want to do…

            The Marlin is also made of wood and nice one on the one I have.

            Why don’t you just get one of each Ken? That way you can shoot togheter, let the kid try both and let him shoot the one he likes better…

            J-F



      • Ken

        I have two Red Ryders of recent vintage, and I really like them. I shoot em at about 25 feet, and rarely miss a soda can. If the kids take to it, I would get a Daisy Avanti 499.

        I don’t have any experience with the Marlin.


    • No one else has talked about this, so maybe not a big deal, but I feel a BB guns is more dangerous than a pellet gun. Those solid steel BBs will ricochet, more so than a soft lead pellet. Yes I would rather get hit by a ricocheting BB at 300 fps than a pellet at 1000, but maybe something to consider.


      • Gene,

        You are right! And lead pellets don’t bounce back at full speed like BBs do.

        But when a guy gives me just two choices, I figure he has narrowed it down to just them.

        B.B.



          • The BB’s do bounce back, which is why I make my boys wear shooting glasses. Might as well get them used to it now’ and BTW, it is strictly enforced. When I was a kid my folks wouldn’t let me have a bike because we lived on a busy street, and they were afraid of accidents. They were wrong. Both my boys also have bikes and helments. You have to teach them right . As a side note , both my boy’s think that the Crosman 760 (the old ones with the metal receivers) are the most powerful BB guns. Regards ,Robert


            • Yup, shooting glasses for sure. Being a photographer (eyes kinda important for this) I too wear good military grade shooting glasses (Revision) whenever I’m shooting.
              But in honesty, in 5 years of b.b. gun shooting (and countless 1500 count bottles of b.b.’s) we’ve experienced the odd ricochet, but nothing that has hit any of us (touch wood).
              With a proper backdrop (I don’t let them shoot at anything metal) even the Storms have not been an issue.


              • As they say, shoot as many thousand as you want, it only takes one to go wrong.
                There are much better ways to achieve a life changing experience.


  2. BB – I had a feeling where this was headed, so I went forward with the TX200 two weeks ago. It started out a little buzzy, so I installed a Vortek PG2 kit. Problem fixed, and it gave me a chance to look over the internals. Not only is it exceptionally easy to work on, the finish and lubes looked perfect. In comparison, I’ve found Diana’s to be bone dry and Weihrauchs to be “thoroughly lubed”… I suspect my HW77k may not see much more use! One thing that really attracted me to the TX200 was the fish scale “checkering”. I’m sure it is done by laser, but I really prefer it to the pressed checkering of my S400, which looks very similar to the ProSport.

    Kevin – yes, my new R10 action is in the stock you helped me refinish. I’ll send a pic once it’s properly scoped. Looks very nice with the full barrel shroud.


    • Jay

      The bone dry Diana seems to be standard. I have heard of it many times. They can eat themselves up pretty fast that way.

      HW lube.. sure looks like a lifetime lube job, but I ran into problems with it. Does not work or last as good as you would expect. It’s a long story.

      twotalon


  3. B.B.

    Looks like you have a good shooter there. Seems to do well with several pellets.

    Always nice when a rifle does well with more than one pellet. When a rifle only likes one or two kinds good enough and shotguns everything else I think it is cause for worry. Too much chance that the favorite will be discontinued, changed, or a new die that is not up to snuff might show up.

    twotalon


  4. That thing about muzzle heaviness is interesting. You have mentioned the same thing several times over the years and I have proved it to myself with learning your artillery hold. But, what do you do with a gun that is not muzzle heavy like the ProSport as you note, or in my case in considering the HW 50s which is by most accounts a light gun that is ‘easy to point’ which I take to mean that it is not muzzle heavy. In looking at the pictures, it does seem to have a relatively short barrel. But it also has a reputation for being very accurate. Is it just a matter of learning how to shoot such a gun, or is it that perhaps that one is better suited for bench shooting and the other for offhand, or what? I’d still be interested in seeing a review on that HW 50s to see what you (or Mac) find if and when you get a chance.


    • Fused,

      Often it is a matter of learning how to shoot the gun. Sometimes people’s descriptions are off, even though they mean well.

      If you keep after me I will test an HW 50, but there are a lot of airguns in the que right now.

      B.B.


      • BB

        How about a blog of the HW50S before and after the installation of a Vortek kit? I think the HW50 is a great rifle, and would benefit most from a kit like this out of HW’s offerings.

        One thing I noticed is that the tune kit you installed in your Diana 34P from Air Venturi was called a Pro Guide kit. The kits offered by Vortek are called Pro Guide 2, or PG2. The PA photo of the Air Venturi unit looks very similar to Vorteks. I’m thinking AV’s kits were sourced from Vortek?


        • SL,

          Yes, the Pro Guides came from Vortek. But there is a problem. I installed that kit when PA was selling the Pro Guides. They no longer do, and I would need permission to modify one of their new rifles. The 34P was a gun I kept for all future tests of Diana guns.

          While I would test the HW 50, I doubt I would modify it.

          B.B.




            • BB

              You could put the kit in my HW50S, i give you permission. In all seriousness.

              Gotta love Punky. If I so much as hold an airgun, both my cats will beat a hasty retreat. Both were strays. It looks like we will have a 3rd stray. I found a kitten at work that was skin and bones and screaming at the top of his lungs, which wasn’t very loud. Maybe I can train this one to disregard muzzle reports.

              Loren

              Shhhhh!



            • Excellent! B.B. you can cancel my request (unless you just want the pleasure of testing it again). I’m really impressed with Mac on that one. .46″ 10 shot group at 30 yards with open sights! Nice. I am now firming up the direction of my collection: HW 50s .177 with rear aperture sight and a R9 .22. After that I’ll stop. No, really I will… well maybe after a TX200 in .177. But then I’ll definitely stop. Probably.


              • I’m almost done too (unless the come out with new guns… But why would they do that?).
                I want in no particular order : a GSG 92, a vintage 10m springer, a HW30 and I’ll have to find a way to get a Marauder and Talon SS in Canada and I’ll be done! Unless I find something nice like a used target pistol or maybe a SteelStorm if they finally put a shoulder stock on it, then there’s alway one of the old Crosman peacemaker replica that would look good in the collection and of course if I can find a cheap used HW40… THEN I’ll really be done! Ooops almost forgot a Marauder pistol and the Crosman 1701P Silhouette pistol.
                Ugh who are we trying to fool, we’ll NEVER be done (but don’t tell my wife)!

                J-F


  5. B.B.,
    Like you, I find that having more weight at the muzzle end really helps with stability. Except for air-rifles, I add extra weight using the utility rail on my target rifles. I also found this to be the case in archery. If you are fairly strong, the extra weight reduces jitter. Too much weight and you feel fatigue. If you’re not particularly strong, then it’s probably best to not add any.

    But this is precisely why it’s important that manufacturers give us options. A TX-200 really many NOT


    • (accidentally entered before completing)
      … be best for some shooters. Weight, feel, hold, trigger, cheek, forearm, are all very personal.


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