by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Let’s look at the power and velocity of my TX200 Mark III. You must bear in mind that my rifle is 13 years old and has been thoroughly broken-in. A new rifle will be much slower for the first thousand shots, or so.
Several readers mentioned how difficult it is to load the TX200 and other spring guns that have sliding compression chambers. I don’t find it difficult at all, and it’s not the size of your fingers that’s at fault. It’s your approach to loading. To load the TX, the muzzle needs to be pointed up. Not straight up, but close to it. The base of the pellet is then held between the thumb and index finger as it’s inserted into the loading port (not the breech, yet — just the loading port). I find the loading port is more than large enough for most hands.
Once you get the pellet inside the loading port, you need to use some technique. The trick to loading any airgun with a sliding compression chamber is to not try to insert the pellet directly into the breech on the first try. Instead, let the pellet connect with the breech face sideways, then move it around with thumb pressure until you feel the head pop into the breech. That helps straighten out the pellet so it can then be pushed into the barrel. Obviously, domed pellets load the easiest this way and wadcutters are the hardest. It takes a minute to read how to do it and about 2 seconds to actually do it!
Loading this way is not done by sight, but by feel. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll load the rifle so fast that you’ll forget about how “hard” it’s supposed to be. Then, it won’t bother you if the scope’s objective bell hangs over the loading port because you’ll be doing everything by feel.
I measured the effort needed to cock my rifle. For most of the underlever’s stroke it took 32 lbs. of force, but there was one spike that rose to 34 lbs. near the first click of the sliding chamber catch.
The first pellet I tested was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite. The specs say this rifle has 930 f.p.s. velocity; but with these Premiers lites, my rifle averaged 963 f.p.s. The low was 958 and the high was 970 f.p.s. My TX200 has always liked Premier lites, so I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise…but it does.
At the average velocity, this pellet produces 16.27 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. As I recall, it was launching this pellet at around 875 f.p.s. when it was brand new, so this is quite an increase. The total velocity spread with this pellet was 12 f.p.s., which is pretty tight for a springer.
Next up were the Beeman Kodiak Hollowpoints. These weigh 10.34 grains and qualify as heavyweights in .177 caliber. They averaged 818 f.p.s. for 10 shots, with a low of 810 and a high of 836 f.p.s. That’s a 26 f.p.s spread, which is a little on the high side for a spring gun in good condition.
At the average velocity, the Kodiak Hollowpoint produced 15.37 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. I noticed that the heads of these pellets fit the chamber very tight, so I’m writing a note to myself to try them in the Fast Deer rifle the next time I test it.
The last pellet I tested was the Predator Polymag. At 8 grains, it weighs close to what the Premier lite weighs, but the Polymag is a pure lead pellet with a plastic tip, so the performance should be different. Many shooters feel this is a very accurate pellets, so I thought it would be good to test it in a rifle that’s known to be accurate.
Predators averages 916 f.p.s. in the TX200, but the velocity spread was large. It ranged from a low of 887 to a high of 936 f.p.s. That’s a total of 49 f.p.s. The second-slowest shot went 909 f.p.s., by the way. That would have tightened the spread to 27 f.p.s. At the average velocity, the Polymag puts out 14.91 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
I adjusted the TX trigger many years ago. So many years, in fact, that I don’t remember when I did it. The 2-stage trigger now releases at 9 oz. on my electronic scale. Since the first-stage take-up is more than 7 of those ounces, this trigger feels really light!
That’s the performance of my TX200 Mark III. If any of you own newer Mark IIIs and have chronographs, I’d appreciate hearing how fast your guns shoot.
The next step will be to mount a scope on the rifle and sight it in. I think I’m going to slow down the report and document that procedure very carefully, so newer readers have a reference on mounting a scope and sighting-in. That will make Part 4 the first accuracy test.