TX200 Mark III: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Air Arms TX200 MkIII air rifleBB’s TX200 Mark III.

This is my second trip to the rifle range to shoot the TX200 Mark III at 50 yards. Last time, I shot only heavy pellets; today, I’ll shoot the hopefully more-accurate lightweight pellets, plus one JSB medium-weight pellet that several blog readers have had success with.

I also shot the rifle laying across the sandbag, instead of in the long groove down the center. Several readers said that was the best way to rest the rifle directly on the bag.

TX 200 Mark III rested lengthways
When I tested the rifle last time with heavy pellets, this is how it laid on the sandbag.

TX 200 Mark III rested sideways
For most of today’s test, the rifle laid sideways on the bag.

The day was perfect for shooting pellet guns at long range. There wasn’t a breath of air during the entire session.

Crosman Premiers
The first pellet I tested was the Crosman Premier lite — a 7.9-grain dome that some say is the most accurate pellet of all in the TX200. The group landed about 2-1/2 inches above the aim point because the rifle was still sighted for heavy pellets. But it was centered perfectly, and 10 pellets made a group measuring 1.077 inches between centers. That’s not a bad group, but I’ve seen TX200s do better at 50 yards.

TX 200 Mark III Premier lite sideways group
The first group was 10 Crosman Premier lites. It measures 1.077 inches between centers.

That was a good start. The group was only slightly larger than the smallest group fired in the session before, which was 1.042 inches.

Following the first group, I adjusted the scope down several clicks. I wanted to keep the shots on or near the bull at which I was aiming.

JSB Exact 8.4-grain dome
Next up was the JSB Exact 8.4-grain dome, a pellet that several readers said was the most accurate one in their TX200s. Alas, that wasn’t the case in my rifle. When the first 5 pellets landed in a very vertical 2.40 inches, I stopped shooting. There’s no way the last 5 shots can improve things. Clearly, this isn’t the pellet for my rifle!

TX 200 Mark III JSB Exact group
Five JSB Exact 8.4-grain domes landed in 2.4-inches between centers. This is not the pellet for this rifle.

JSB Exact RS
The next pellet I tried was one I had high hopes for — the 7.3-grain JSB Exact RS dome. It does so well in so many spring rifles; but, once again, the TX200 Mark III is not one of them. Ten pellets made a group that measured 1.957 inches. It’s a vertical group, as well.

TX 200 Mark III JSB Exact RS group
Ten JSB Exact RS domes made this 1.957-inch group. Another non-starter for my TX200.

Air Arms Falcon
About this time I was suspecting that the rifle does not like lightweight JSB domes. The next pellet up was the Air Arms Falcon, another lightweight domed pellet that’s also made by JSB. While Falcons are great in many air rifles, the first 5 landed in an open group measuring 1.658 inches, and I stopped right there. It looked like this pellet wasn’t for my TX, either.

TX 200 Mark III Falcon group
Five Air Arms Falcons spread out to 1.658 inches, so I stopped. No sense finishing the group.

What was happening?
Three out of 4 pellets I brought to the test were not good. Had I made a mistake with the Premier lites, as well? Was that good first group just a random event? I decided to shoot another one to see. This time, though, I laid the rifle the long way in the bag to see if there was any discernible difference.

Ten pellets went into a group measuring 1.241 inches this time. That is much closer to the first group than any of the other 3 pellets tried on this day, though it’s still larger. Maybe, laying the rifle lengthways made the difference? I don’t think so.

TX 200 Mark III Premier lite lengthways group1
Ten Premier lites went into 1.241 inches when the rifle was laid lengthways on the bag.

I decided to shoot another group with the rifle laid lengthways, again, just for comparison. This time I hit the jackpot and all 10 pellets went into 0.658-inches.

TX 200 Mark III Premier lite lengthways group2
Now, that’s a group! Ten Premier lites in 0.658 inches. The rifle was laid lengthways, once again. This is what I was expecting to see from my TX.

Lessons learned
The TX 200 Mark III is capable of phenomenal accuracy at 50 yards, even when rested on a sandbag. From the limited testing I did I can’t say laying it crossways or lengthways is better. It works well both ways.

My rifle seems to shoot best with 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite pellets. It does not seem to like any light pellets made by JSB.

This is not the end of our testing. Pyramyd Air has sent me a new TX200 Mark III that I promised you I would test right out of the box. Some of you have been concerned that my rifle is too well broken-in, and you think it may not reflect what you will get if you buy one. So, we shall see!

As a final note, I’d like to point out that I got several groups that were okay with the Premier lites and one group that’s exceptional. That’s the way it goes with any airgun — I don’t care which one you’re talking about. All the talk about half-inch groups at 50 yards has to be taken with this firmly in mind. You’re going to shoot larger groups most of the time.

That being said, Premier lites seem to be the most accurate and also the most forgiving pellet we’ve tested in my TX200. They may not always shoot into a super-tight group, but they’ll always shoot where you want them to. That’s what’s important.

46 Responses to “TX200 Mark III: Part 6”

  • Pop’s SLR Says:

    Great shooting B.B.! Thanks for the blog. What sort of FPE would the CPL’s retain at 50 yards? Enough for hunting squirrel/rabbit?

    • Gunfun1 Says:

      Pops
      If the gun will shoot the .658″ group ALL of the time. I would think about using the gun to shoot squirrels.
      As far as fpe goes that’s another story. I went back to part 2 and BB said the gun was averaging 963 fps with the Premier lites.
      I guess that is at the muzzle or somewhere close. If so the gun is only making 16 fpe at whatever distance it was chronyed at.

      963 fps x 963 fps x 7.9 grns. / 450240 = 16.2718 fpe

      But what is happening out at 50 yards? The pellet ain’t going 963 fps any more. So I would bet that the gun will be on the edge of doing the job out at 50 yards. I wonder what percentage the fps of the pellet drops off at every yard it covers.
      Maybe some people would use that gun for the squirrel hunt. But if it was me I would have to take my shots well under 50 yards to try to do the job right.

      Now on the other hand BB’s 25 Mrod seems weak to me. I have my 25 Mrod adjusted to a average of about 945 fps with the 31grn. Barracudas.

      945 x 945 x 31 / 450240 = 61.486707 fpe.

      And that is chronyed about 12″ from the barrel. And if I bench rest my gun it is grouping about .960″ at 50 yards. Which again the fps of the pellet falls off by time it gets to 50 yards.

      All I know is I think I would rather be shooting my 25 Mrod than the TX200 Mark III during a squirrel hunt.
      Hmm, maybe I got lucky and got another good gun?

    • RidgeRunner Says:

      IMHO, as a general rule most sproingers are not suitable past about 25 yards for hunting because both power and accuracy falls off dramatically. Although the TX200 has phenomenal accuracy for a sproinger, it is not a “magnum”. I know there will be a bunch of naysayers to that, but there are also a bunch of people who are not concerned with whether an animal suffers a slow death or not. I’m a head shot kinda dude. No gut shots for me.

      Is it powerful enough to kill squirrels / rabbits at 50 yards? Yes, many do indeed hunt with them. In England, they have to have a FAC to own one this powerful and they hunt with 12FPE sproingers all the time.

      The TX200 has the accuracy if you are up to the task. After all “What good is +500FPE if you can’t hit what you are shooting at”.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Pop,

      Yes, the TX will retain enough energy at 50 yards to kill a squirrel or rabbit. For a rabbit the energy is a lot lower than for a squirrel, because squirrels are very tough. I would think the rifle retains at least 7.5 foot-pounds at 50 yards.

      But how many people can make a good shot at 50 yeards in the field? Not nearly as many as can do it off a bench. Therein lies the problem.

      B.B.

      • Gunfun1 Says:

        BB
        I’m with you about the 50 yard shot in the field and the bench rest shot. But most good hunters will prop their guns up against trees and such or use shooting aids. You can actually get a pretty good shot off that way.

      • Robert from Arcade Says:

        I see a lot a references to “head shots” and I would like to point out that it’s WHERE in the head you hit the squirrel or any other animal . Not just any place in the head will kill cleanly. I’ve seen many animals that had their jaw blown away. The worst was a doe whitetail which I put down , that had it’s lower jaw completely blown off with a .22 centerfire round. BB’s right, 50 yards is a VERY long ways in the woods , squirrels are tough, and there aren’t any bench rests.

      • Gunfun1 Says:

        BB
        Maybe you can put your chrony out by the target at 50 yards and see if the Preditors will hold that .658″ group one more time so we can really know what fpe the gun is making at 50 yards.

        And I would for sure use the bench rest shot to make sure the chrony didnt get clipped.

    • /Dave Says:

      Pop’s SLR,

      Chairgun says that with the info given here for CP lites there will be 6.9 lbs/ft retained energy at 50 yds. Assuming sea level and a standard day. I don’t claim the Chairgun is 100% correct, but it’ll get you close… Personally, I’ve never taken a shot at a squirrel over about 30 yds. Squirrels are tough! Rabbits can almost be killed by just scowling at them….

      /Dave

  • Beazer Says:

    Howdy Mr. BB, your last 2 paragraphs are gems! Can’t wait to watch over your shoulder when “my”
    T-Rex is in the hands of the Master. Thanx, sir. Shoot/ride safe.
    Beaz

  • Michael Says:

    B.B.,

    I’ve been tempted to write this comment for a long time as you have done this series, at least as far back as Part 3, with its many pictures — man, is the stock of your TX a thing of beauty! It has a satin luster that is just . . . gorgeous.

    I know that is probably the result of countless hours of sunlight and handling, the original finish combined with sweat and skin oils, followed by followed by innumerable quick swipes of a soft cloth. A magical chemistry, to be sure. Or is it something more mundane — do you periodically treat it with a wax?

    Michael

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Michael,

      My TX stock has had nothing on it — ever. It has been in the rain and wiped dry. This is the standard finish that comes on the rifle, but where my hands have rubbed it, it has gotten shiny. That doesn’t show in these pictures.

      B.B.

    • Slinging Lead Says:

      Michael

      That is just how the beech stocks are. The photos don’t do them justice. My stock is only 4 years or so old, and it glows, it is just beautiful.

  • Feinwerk Says:

    Hello B.B.,
    Were you using boxed Premiers? If so, I think you should point out in the blog the difference between them and the standard ones in a tin. I don’t think that the average reader or newbie knows that the boxed ones are more uniform and come from the same die.

    I’ve never seen long sandbags like the ones you use. After years of blogs where you describe always shooting springers rested on your hand, this comes as a great surprise to see you lay one in a long bag.

  • Tunnel Engineer Says:

    BB
    One inch groups at 50 Yd off sandbags… I would not call that inaccurate!
    That’s is what I get under similar circumstances in an absolutely fantastic day. It can be better with artillery hold I using consistent technique and not tiring.

    TE

  • Matt61 Says:

    Nice shooting, B.B., that equals the Marauder. But surely you must have found the optimum pellet for the TX200 a long time ago. The photo of the benchrest makes me think of something which may be pretty obvious. There are all different kinds of benchrest and using a rear bag makes a huge difference. I found that out with my set-up last time with my two hard-packed leather bags and my airplane neck pillow used on top of the rear bag for fine adjustments. I believe that springers do not take rear bags at all, so benchresting with them is more challenging than with a firearm.

    Yes, a completely handcrafted firearm sounds truly exalted. But what happens after all that when it doesn’t shoot or gets outshot by some cheaper production gun. One will have to like the crafting an awful lot to stay satisfied.

    Thanks for all the advice from all corners about powder. I think the powder has generally come back. But my problem is that I’m tied to IMR 4064 because of the way my Garand was adjusted and there is no sign of that whatsoever–not even in Powder Valley which I had never heard of. I toy with the idea of buying another Garand adjusted for mil spec ammo, but I’m sure by the time that goes through, the IMR 4064 would reappear, leaving me with two Garands and not enough time to shoot them….

    Matt61

    • /Dave Says:

      Matt,

      Vihtavouri N530, Alliant Reloder 12, Accurate Arms 4064, and Hodgdon H4895 should all be able to duplicate the results of IMR 4064 once you work up a load. They are all pretty close on Vihtavouri’s burn chart. I trust the Finns research even with their disclaimer…

      The chart can be found here:

      http://www.vihtavuori-lapua.com/product-charts/

      /Dave

  • BG_Farmer Says:

    BB,
    That is more than credible with a springer! As some stated above, hunting at 50 yards with a springer isn’t practical or even necessary for many of us, but it is always fun to shoot longer distances with paper and practical targets. Have you or anyone else broken 1MOA@50 yards with a 10 shot group from a springer yet (I know I haven’t!)? Maybe gives me a LONG winter project/challenge with the 36-2 :) !

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      BG-Farmert,

      I can’t remember doing better than a half-inch at 50 yards, but I may have. That would be 10 shots, not 5.

      B.B.

      • BG_Farmer Says:

        BB,
        I think that kind of shooting would be world class, although reading the fora, you’d be tempted to assume everyone does it 2 days a week in their backyards. I’m just kidding about my being hopeful of doing it, but I am seriously considering setting up my 36-2 for “aerochunk”, i.e., practicing with my chunk, a cant block, and sighter. The stock and sights are set up similarly to my chunk gun. I was thinking I would scale it to 30 yards or less, but I can try at 50 also. Of course, a scope would help quite a bit, but making Kevin’s epoxy shimmed Accushot mount has been on my list for over a year and the marksmen’s helpler elves never visit, even when I leave all the parts out overnight :( .

        • Fred DPRoNJ Says:

          That’s because that shoe making slave driver has us busy making shoes all night so we can’t get to your project (for those of you too young to know or too old to remember, do a search on “elves making shoes at night”).

          Fred DPRoNJ

        • /Dave Says:

          BG,

          Your 36-2 must be a lot better than my TF99 (same thing as far as I know). Even after all of the work I’ve done to it, I haven’t yet been able to get good enough performance from it at 27 yds to think of taking it to 50. It’s a track driver at 10, not horrible at 20 but after that it really falls off and starts scattering them. Might be time to go trough it again…

          /Dave

          • BG_Farmer Says:

            Probably my standards are just lower :)! At our peak, 1/2″ at 25 yards and under 2″ at 50 (I want to say better, but I’m not sure) were the expectations, given perfect conditions and right pellet of right lot; also keep in mind that I do only 5 shot groups at most, normally, when I bother to shoot groups. Over the past few years, I’ve had typical middle age complications to get use to, e.g., some eyesight problems (avoiding bifocals :)) and my BP medicine makes me a little shaky. The rifle also is in need of some new seals and lube at least, as the two of us couldn’t come anywhere near our old expectations last time I tried it, and I found that not only did it need ANOTHER breech seal (Vince gave me OCD on that) but that the piston seal was worn to the point of not sealing at all. I “fixed” the piston seal temporarily with a little extra tape around the anchor post and put a fuel-line breech seal in it, but I know that after 15K++ pellets (since I “tuned” it) it needs a lot more to get back to where it was.

            Mine is or was pretty mild (detuned) with JM and shade tree internals. I think the bore is nice (not mark free, however), but a hair on the sloppy side (making it a little pellet picky), though nothing like some of the Chinese bore-or stories I’ve read about. Is yours sprung like the factory and/or big-bored? I thought the original spring/pre-load gave me a headache and from BB’s tests on smoothbores, esp., I expect there is a maximum bore size where at some point long range shooting will not be feasible with available pellets, and my impression is that Chinese boring mills go all the way to the edge of spec’s.

            • /Dave Says:

              I made a new piston and seal assembly from some 1″ Teflon stock and a quad seal o-ring with a backing ring. I honed the cylinder bore, put a square-profile, coated die spring in on top of greased thrust washer sets to take out the torque. I tweaked the receiver and barrel straight so there isn’t any droop. Re-crowned the muzzle and deburred the chamber. Stoned the trigger faces to smooth and lighten it up. It’s a really smooth shooter now, but I still haven’t been able to get good groups at 27 yds and beyond (about 1.75″ from seated and resting on a mono-pod). I mostly shoot at 9.5 yds in the basement, and it performs well there so I haven’t gone through it again but will because now it needs the stock fixed.

              • BG_Farmer Says:

                I think you did a better job on yours than I did on mine and it may just be luck of the draw, but there still might be some things you could try. I would check the seals, clean the barrel thoroughly (esp. for wheel weight build up) then look for good pellets with size specified. Push some through and look for rifling marks, and pay close attention to either wide spots in the bore or a constriction near the breech. If you find a problem, you can likely lap/polish out minor problems with compound and using varying stroke lengths, e.g. 10x 1/4 stroke from breech, 10x 1/2 stroke, 10x 3/4 stroke, 10x full stroke, or something of that sort to polish out a bore that is narrow at the breech and wide at the muzzle. I know it sounds a little wacky, but it has worked for me on muzzleloader bores where the breech area gets micro-pitted from combustion (it will tear patches), for example, but you don’t want to wallow the whole thing out. Ideally, the bore should be 100% uniform up until the muzzle or choke (if present), but as long as it gets more uniformly narrow toward the muzzle, that will work OK too, at least that is my theory. I suspect you already know this and more, but if you did that much work on the TF99, you must be like me and sometimes enjoy trying to make improvements, even in the face of difficulty :)!

                I guess I better practice what I preach and get back to work on mine soon :)! Between the ML’ers and the D34P, I’ve neglected my old friend except to ring a gong at 50 yards every once in a while.

                • /Dave Says:

                  I guess I enjoy a challenge? Barrel cleaning first. Bore seems pretty uniform but a little oversize. Might need some big headed pellets too. Easy to forget to clean the barrel when it’s an airgun…

  • KansasHeat Says:

    Okay, I can’t help myself…..
    This is only my 2nd post, but I’ve been reading BB’s test reports, tips and everyone’s comments for about 6 months now. I consider myself a quick study and continue to learn something new from all of you each week.
    I feel today has been milestone event for me. I took a step past the ‘faster is better’ stage of my air gun obsession last week and ordered a TX200 MKIII walnut .177. It arrived today. I am amazed. I wiped it down, admired the bluing, fondled the walnut stock, and held it for balance. Tonight the scope goes on and tomorrow the pellets will fly.
    I’m confident that all the stubborn persistence I’ve put into being consistent with the artillery hold on my GAMO Whisper will pay off ten fold with this beauty.
    BB, and other contributors, don’t think that us all of us newbies are deaf to your teachings. I for one am listening and want to thank all of you.
    Can anyone tell that I’m pretty darn excited ?
    Randy

    • Fred DPRoNJ Says:

      Boy, are you in for a great surprise. Those Gamos will never feel just right again. That TX is just an incredibly put together rifle. Enjoy and welcome to the blog. Oh, please let us know your thoughts after putting down the TX.

      Fred DPRoNJ

    • klentz Says:

      KansasHeat,

      Congratulations on the TX200!

      You have been listening. Be patient pellet testing. 10 shots on target with a certain pellet may tighten up after your new gun has a couple tins of pellets through it. Be vigilant about keeping all your screws snug.

      kevin

    • Slinging Lead Says:

      Randy

      Nice choice. I am thinking that you will not be disappointed. Like BB’s TX, mine shoots the boxed Crosman Premier Lights the best, so be sure and give those a try.

      I would also suggest finding a couple rubber O rings of the right size and put them into the two grooves in the end of the cocking lever. This will protect it better than that little rubber bumper installed in the barrel shroud.

      Also, don’t fondle that stock for too long, you’ll go blind!

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Rndy,

      Welcome to the blog! We do this for people like you who are just getting into this hobby. I hope you enjoy your new TX!

      B.B.

  • SuperTenere1 Says:

    Hi, BB, this is probably sacrilegious when talking about a TX200 MKIII, but is there a gas piston for it? Would there be any accuracy advantage or power advantage? It is my favorite air gun, favored over the Mrod. 22cal even though the Mrod has more power and slightly more accuracy. Thanks.

    • Edith Gaylord Says:

      SuperTenere1,

      I am unaware of a gas piston for the TX200. Why mess with perfection? :-)

      Edith

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Super,

      Thought was given to a gas spring in the 1990s, then everyone realized they were trespassing on perfection. No, to my knowledge there are no gas springs for TX 200s.

      B.B.

  • 103david Says:

    I’d be a newbie to this site and have a few questions…one being, of course, are there any more where Edith came from? Alas, I thought not. You’re a lucky guy.
    Anyway, is (are) there such a thing as iron sights for the Pro-Sport/TX200 rifles?

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      103David,

      No. There are no open sights for the TX rifles. Of course anything is possible, but it would have to be an entirely custom job to install sights on one.

      B.B.

    • Fred DPRoNJ Says:

      103David,

      while there are any number of target style rear sights that will fit on the TX including Williams peep sights, the front sight will be a problem. To my knowledge, the barrel of the TX at the muzzle is not grooved to accept a front sight. However, there appear to be some products on the market that might work. Here’s a clamp-on front site base from a competiting website that I’m pretty sure PA does not sell. It will accept any number of front sights – which PA does sell: http://www.champchoice.com/detail.aspx?ID=1295

      The above is in aluminum but they also sell steel clampon site bases. As an alternative, how about a non-magnifying red dot sight? PA does sell those.

      Fred DPRoNJ

  • Tim Says:

    Hi, BB!

    This is my first time to write you. I just got a TX200. I was happy shooting it with JSB Match Diabolo Exact Jumbo .22 15.89 grain at 25 yards, but I just shot it at 50 yards and it didn’t do too well? The 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite are only available in .177. What would you recommend for .22?

    Thanks so much for the help!

    Tim TX200 Mk3

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Tim,

      Welcome to the blog!

      Try some of the JSB pellets. I like the 15.89-grain Exact Jumbo, but I haven’t tested it in a .22 TX before. There is also a 14.3 Exact, but I haven’t had much luck with it in any airgun. Other have, though.

      Try either Kodiaks or Baracudas (same pellet). They are very heavy, but sometimes surprisingly accurate. And try RWS Superdomes. They sometimes do surprisingly well.

      Please let us know how it goes.

      B.B.

  • Tim Says:

    Thank you taking the time to reply, BB! I already have the JSB pellet 15.89 grain, so I will try the Baracudas next and let you know how it does.

    Cheers,
    Tim

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When it comes to spring-piston air rifles, the Air Arms TX200 Mk III is a favorite of many airgunners, including airgun writer Tom Gaylord. His favorite caliber is .177. While the gun will initially impress you with its beauty and superior craftsmanship, you'll be even more impressed with the incredible accuracy! Tom claims this is "the most accurate spring gun below $3,000." Beech or walnut, left-hand or right-hand stock. Isn't it time you got yours?

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