TX200 Mark III: Part 10

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9

TX 200 Mark III new rifle
Brand new TX200 Mark III. It’s very similar to my older TX, but the checkering is different and the line of the forearm is more scalloped.

I’m writing this extensive report to fully explore the fabulous Air Arms TX200 Mark III, which is without a doubt one of the finest spring-piston air rifles in the world! The good news is that it’s still available today. The better news is that it’s everything it’s cracked up to be! Writers have a few trite phrases to convey quality in the airgun world. “As good as a TX 200″ is one of them, and it’s very high praise.

There are 9 links above that will take you all the way back to the beginning, when I started by testing my own well-broken-in TX 200. But now I’ve shifted over to a brand-new rifle that Pyramyd Air sent to me to test. Some readers wondered if my rifle, which is so well-used that it might be performing above the bar, so to speak, because of the use it’s had. They wanted to see a rifle that’s being made today, and also one without all the wear on the parts. That’s what we’re testing now — a brand-new TX whose only shots are the ones you have witnessed on this blog.

Scope
The TX has no sights and must be either scoped or have some other kind of optical sight mounted. One of the tests we’re going to do with this rifle is to mount a red dot on it and see what that does for it. Blog reader Mannish from Mumbai asked for that test a long time back.

We’re also going to test the effects of shooting the gun at 4X and again at 16X with the same scope. Reader Duskwight asked for that — to see if the increased magnification would affect the group size. I also want to see if changing the magnification changes the point of impact, so that test will be a twofer.

I’m leading up to the scope I chose for this test. I might have selected the same Hawke 4.5-14X42 Tactical Sidewinder that was on my TX when I tested it, but that didn’t give me all the magnification I wanted for Duskwight’s test. So, I selected a vintage AirForce 4-16X50 scope, instead. Mine is older than the model being sold today, but the specifications are essentially the same. For a mount, I selected a nondescript 1-piece mount. I chose it because it has a vertical scope stop pin for the TX scope stop holes, plus it has the height needed for the scope’s objective bell to clear the spring tube. I have no idea who made it.

The test
I started sighting-in at 12 feet, putting 3 pellets into the target and adjusting until they were in line with the center of the bull, more or less. They were high, so I cranked down about 4 complete turns on the elevation knob, knowing that back at 25 yards the gun would be shooting higher than at 12 feet.

When I shot the first pellet at 25 yards, it was still about 1.5 inches high, so a couple more turns down on the elevation knob brought it to the center of the bull. As always, I tried to intentionally keep the pellets from striking the center of the bull, as that erases my aim point very quickly. The sight-in was now complete with about 7 shots being expended.

All of today’s shooting is at 25 yards, which is really close for a TX. I rested the rifle directly on my sandbag, with the bag turned sideways, so the rested area touched about 5 inches of the forearm. I used an ultra-light hold, and the groups showed the results. I selected a couple pellets that had done well in the test of my personal TX and one that had never been tested for accuracy before.

H&N Baracuda Match
The first pellet was the one I used to sight-in the rifle — the H&N Baracuda Match. It was landing to the left of the aim point and in the center of the bull for elevation. Ten shots landed in a group that measures 0.417 inches between the centers of the 2 pellets farthest apart. That’s well within the range fired by my personal TX at 25 yards.

TX 200 Mark III new rifle H&N Baracuda Match 25-yard group
Ten H&N Baracuda Match pellets went into 0.417 inches at 25 yards. The rifle was rested directly on the bag.

JSB Exact RS
Next, I tried a pellet I haven’t tried for accuracy in the TX — at least not that I can remember. The JSB Exact RS dome is a very lightweight pellet for a rifle this powerful. The first shot landed about 1.5 inches above the spot where the Baracudas were hitting, but it was still on paper, so I continued to shoot. Each shot that followed seemed to drop a bit lower on the paper, and as I was shooting I discovered something important. The rifle shoots this pellet very well, but it is extremely hold-sensitive. Moving the rifle a quarter-inch on the sandbag makes a tremendous difference. So, I was able to adjust the hold carefully and get the pellets to land closer together.

I think the RS pellet can be made to shoot, but it isn’t worth the effort when there are other pellets that shoot even better without all the fuss. The 10-shot group I got measures 1.501 inches between centers, which is terrible; but 6 of those pellets were the ones I took special pains to hold exactly the same, and they measure just 0.496 inches between centers. That’s the potential of this pellet when you handle the gun like it’s a soap bubble!

TX 200 Mark III new rifle JSB Exact RS 25-yard group
Ten JSB Exact RS pellets went into 1.501 inches at 25 yards, but 6 of them are in 0.496 inches. It’s too much trouble to shoot that carefully, if you ask me, but the rifle can do it.

Crosman Premier heavy
The last pellet I tested was the Crosman Premier heavy. The group was a phenomenal 0.333 inches between centers! That’s slightly better than the best group I shot with my own TX at 25 yards, but the difference is only 3 one-thousandths of an inch and could easily be hidden by an error in measurement. So, the 2 rifles are equivalent.

TX 200 Mark III new rifle Crosman Premier heavy 25-yard group
Ten Crosman Premier heavys made this 0.333-inch group at 25 yards. Clearly, the new TX 200 Mark III is a tackdriver!

I could have shot other pellets and shown you more targets, but by now you’re getting the picture. The new TX is the same as it has always been — one of the finest and most accurate air rifles on the market.

Next
Next, I’ll test this rifle at 50 yards. I’ll do essentially the same test that I did with my own TX at that distance, but then I’ll add the 4-16X test. That will tell us if there’s an advantage to more magnification, and it will also show if the point of impact changes as the magnification changes.

After that test, I plan on mounting a red dot sight on this rifle and testing it at 25 and 50 yards. I think that will end the test of this rifle, unless something else comes up.

54 Responses to “TX200 Mark III: Part 10”

  • Gunfun1 Says:

    BB
    I don’t know how many shots you have through the new TX yet. But you mentioned before it was kind of twangy.

    Has the gun smoothed out yet? Or is it still a little to soon on the break-in period to say for sure.

    And ok here’s the question that’s going to put a little pressure on.
    When you purchased your original TX. What made you choose it over the other guns that was in its category?

    • Gunfun1 Says:

      Oh and I forgot to say. Nice groups. Here is something I want to bring up also.

      Now that the pellets are in the picture with the target it looks like the longer pellets are working at the 25 yard range.
      I wonder if that will hold true when you move out to the 50 yard shots. Maybe a shorter pellet will turn the table around at 50 yards? Or not?

      • RidgeRunner Says:

        Probably not. With aerodynamics, longer shapes tend to be more stable. Having said that, with the thinner skirt of the JSB, the COG is more forward and as the pellet slows is less likely to yaw or pitch.

    • RidgeRunner Says:

      He had no choice. His readers made him.

      http://www.pyramydair.com/article/The_Air_Arms_Fabulous_TX200_November_2007/44

      It’s a nasty job, but someone has to do it.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      GF1,

      The new TX is still a bit twangy. Maybe ity is smoothing out as little, but it still twangs a little.

      You don’t know the whole story about me and the TX. I owned a TX 200 Mark II that was tuned by Ken Reeves. It was ideal. I ordered the TX I now own from Pyramyd Air because it was the new Mark and I wanted to test it. When I found that it shot just as smooth as my older rifle, I sold the older gun and kept the new one.

      As for the longer pellets versus the shorter ones, I may try another short pellet at 50 yards. I’m thinking the Premier lite.

      B.B.

      • duskwight Says:

        B.B.

        To get rid of twangs in a steel-spring rifle I put a “sleeve”/”cup” made of coke bottle plastic into the piston, to fit its full length and grease the spring with heavy MoS lube. What’s Ken’s recipe for de-twanging?

        duskwight

      • MichiganWestCoast Says:

        As to trying a shorter pellet please please try the JSB 8.4 grain they shoot extremely well though my new TX200 MK111 at 25 yds & also at 50 yds. I have had good accuracy with JSB Heavy 10.34 also. Crosman Premier 10 grain are tight in my barrel how do they fit in yours? I don’t know about the CPL for I have not shot any thru this gun yet. I been waiting for this shooting test between the Crosman Premier Lights vs JSB 8.4 before I buy any Boxes of CPL. The H&N Match pellets what size heads were you using 4.51mm or something different?

      • Gunfun1 Says:

        I read the 2007 article that RR posted.

        All I can say is. Nice.

        Seems to me that what was reported back then is the same today. That’s a good way to stay in business if you ask me. The word Quality comes to mind.

  • RidgeRunner Says:

    Those are the kind of groups I used to get with my CFX with the Baracudas, FTTs and CPLs, but I had to handle it like the soap bubble you spoke of. That is why it went away.

    I have another sproinger to play with now. :o)

  • Tunnel Engineer Says:

    BB

    If you still have a chance, please try resting near the end of the forearm on the sandbag. In my newer TX groups seem to shrink that way but it would be good to have confirmation.

    TE

  • Fred DPRoNJ Says:

    BB,

    reading into your blog, I’m not certain if you are saying it seem that the TX was more hold sensitive with the lighter JSB pellet or just as sensitive compared to the heavier H & N’s and Crosman pellets?

    Fred DPRoNJ

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Fred,

      Yes, Fred, that is exactly what I am saying. I can relax with the heavier pellets, but with the light pellet I had to be super-attentive of exactly where and how the rifle was rested.

      B.B.

    • duskwight Says:

      Fred,

      Same here. It’s a long equation and pellet weight plays some role in it. Lighter pellets start to move at different speed and different position inside the cylinder and so it turns out to be slightly different firing cycle behaviour. Rifle becomes kickier (that’s why there’s a “never shoot light pellets out of magnum springer unless you have a scope factory” rule). So that requires much more finesse.

      duskwight

      • B.B. Pelletier Says:

        duskwight,

        The TX is very tight inside. But spring torque is a problem, so Ken put a flat thrust washer with roller bearings around it under the spring guide in the rear. The new guns don’t seem to need that, though.

        B.B.

      • Fred DPRoNJ Says:

        Boy, it’s really nice to still be able to keep one’s eyes and mind open and learn something new. Doing this everyday would also be a great thing. The additional part of the shooting equation now tells me if I have two pellets that shoot relatively the same in terms of accuracy, the heavier pellet should be given the “favorite pellet choice” as it may reduce hold sensitivity of the rifle one is shooting. Of course, I don’t think this is a hard and fast rule but it bears testing with each rifle.

        Fred DPRoNJ

  • Joe Says:

    B.B.,
    Based on your many test reviews and my own accuracy tests, it seem like the guns with the Lothar Walther barrels are not as accurate as guns from Weihrauch, Anschutz, BSA (England only) or even Dianawerk. I guess gun accuracy is more than just the barrel, but the entire design & make of the gun. What is you opinion of this?

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Joe,

      I wouldn’t say that. AirForce rifle have Lothar Walther barrels and they are very accurate.

      The most accurate airguns barrels in the world come from Lothar Walther, Anschutz, Feinwerkbau, BSA and Weihrauch. The USFT target rifle uses a Weihrauch barrel.

      I think there is more difference in the individual barrels from these companies than there is between any of the companies, in general.

      B.B.

      • Joe Says:

        B.B.,
        Thanks for the reply, but it must be the entire gun. If it is just the barrel, then the Daisy 853 will be just as accurate as a FWB 600. They both have a German barrel, correct?
        Joe

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Joe,

          Yes, they are both Grman, but the 300 has a barrel by Feinwerkbau who makes the best barrels in the world. The 853 has a production Lothar Walther barrel of thin stock and made to a production standard. They are not equivalent.

          Remember, the Rolls Royce and the Austin Mini are both British cars, but that doesn’t make them equivalent.

          B.B.

          • Wulfraed Says:

            But the current Mini is BMW… And I recall a review that a recent Rolls had a German designer…

            • Slinging Lead Says:

              Wulfraed

              BMW owns both Mini and Rolls Royce. And they are both made in England. So technically, BB’s metaphor is still valid. Only thing wrong is that the new Mini has nothing to do with Austin.

              A Belgian company owns Anheuser-Busch. That does not mean that Budweiser is a Belgian beer.

              • Wulfraed Says:

                In some countries, Budweiser is a Czech beer… In those where A-B managed to get first rights, the Czech version shows up as Budvar…

        • Matt61 Says:

          I wouldn’t say that all German barrels are the same anymore than I would tell a visitor from Germany that I happen to know another person from Germany… Even the Germans with their reputation for quality surely have some different levels of it. I feel certain that the barrels alone of the Daisy and the Feinwerkbau would exhibit a huge difference if they could be tested on some equivalent platform. The fire-lapping that B.B. told me about in relation to the Anschutz barrels is only one of many possible reasons.

          Yes, it is my own understanding that all of the gun contributes to accuracy with the barrel being one necessary but not sufficient condition. Others are the way the barrel is bedded without which it will go bouncing around; the trigger that allows you to transmit your intention to the gun; the stock ergonomics that allow you to achieve the most stable shooting position; the sights that allow you to see what you’re trying to hit.

          One gun writer said that he had one rifle that wouldn’t shoot anywhere near its potential. He got obsessed. He glass-bedded the barrel and fire-lapped it. He stoned the trigger. I think he might even have restocked it. The horrible groups stayed. He concluded that perhaps he had discovered some new principle but he never figured out what it was. His only other guess was “faulty barrel harmonics” whatever that is. Anyway, the point is that I don’t believe that we have fully understood everything that goes into the function of guns.

          Matt61

          • Joe Says:

            Matt61,
            Thank you for your feedback. I always thought is the entire gun system, because many airgun manufacturers nowadays buy (NOT make) their barrels from Lothar Walther. I guess it is more cost effective. I have a Beeman Mako, made by Daystate with a BSA barrel, I was told. The most accurate air rifle I ever have and known. I was told Daystate now buy barrels from Lothar Walther and not from BSA, is this true? sad : (
            I kept shooting my Mako until the seals went out.

  • Mike Says:

    This looks like it will be my next air rifle. I noticed that one customer comment said that the cocking lever broke on his after 10 shots. Is this a weak point?

    Mike

  • John Says:

    The gun has pretty good accuracy as long as you feed it something it likes. Not too bad. I wonder how it would do side by side with one of my custom jobs. Keep in mind I can write my name in a piece of wood with pellets 20 feet away…legibly with one of my custom guns. It’s not as efficient as using a pen, but it is impressive.

    • Matt61 Says:

      Twenty feet is my shooting distance. Are you talking rifle, pistol, rested, offhand? I wasn’t writing much of anything last night with my Daisy 747 except maybe an imitation of Bonnie and Clyde.

      Matt61

      • John Says:

        I don’t shoot rested. I have a rather unique way. I lock my forward arm in the sling so I have a steady triangular brace position. I am steady and able to move quickly from target to target if I need to. It’s a trick I learned in the army to steady my aim so I can scoot and shoot with accuracy. It’s helped me out of a few sticky spots in my military career. Your enemy can’t return fire if you are sending shots inches above their heads. This would be useful for somebody into airsoft skirmishing. Also comes in handy for hunting and some target shooting. Keep in mind I take a few months to a few years to fashion a custom gun depending on what I want it to do. So I usually go into a target shoot or out hunting with guns that are tuned to the edge of what they are capable of doing.

  • duskwight Says:

    B.B.

    Thanks for remembering about me ;) Sorry, I’m extremely irregular these days – I live in the air, spending lots of time aboard the plane and sometimes to little aboard bed.

    Concerning “duskwight experiment” I must notice that I found this effect both on PCP and SPR and it was all the same – lower magnification leads to easier shooting. Just like I told you – it may be purely psychological, and it may an issue with my eyes and their own optics.

    By the way – how do you feel about Hawke Sidewinder 4.5-14×42 AO in terms of clarity and sharpness of the picture?
    I have a Vector Optics 6-25x FFP, but the picture is disgusting past 12x – blurry (I call it “soap”) and pillow-like. Maybe it’s just my eyes, who knows, but my friends with perfect vision seem to feel the same, however past 15x.

    duskwight

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      duskwight,

      I think the Hawke 4.5-14 is very sharp. It is also extremely clear, though there is a blueish haze that I see when the light is low. I think that may be the lens coating. But I’m colorblind, so what do I know?

      B.B.

      • duskwight Says:

        B.B.

        Thanks, bluish haze is not a problem – it’s supposed for shooting black and white targets, not Playboy covers in color :) The thing is to get a sharp image and a thin crosshair at maximum magnification.

        duskwight

  • Matt61 Says:

    So, has the TX200 now started generating popular phrases? I don’t see why they can’t offer a set of really fine open sights. But maybe that would not be economically viable if they are selling to the field target crowd.

    I like Duskwight’s test of scope magnification. It gets at my own questions about scope backlash. I have my IZH 61 scoped with a Bug Buster for my 5 yard range, and I like scopes as much as the next. But there is a point where you are overglassed. What happens to me is that the jerkiness of the reticle on high magnification gets distracting and demoralizing. It is more reassuring to have a steadier hold with less resolution. Ignorance is bliss as the saying goes. It would be interesting to consider what this experimental design can prove. One would expect better results for the higher magnification. But I wouldn’t conclude from this that higher is better, just that one higher magnification is better than one lower magnification. I suspect that higher magnification would generally improve things in a steady way and then start dropping off. The goal would be to find this sweet spot which will probably be fuzzy rather than sharply defined for a general population because of various personal preferences.

    Can we all agree that pistol shooting is a heck of a lot harder than rifle shooting? I had one of my better days with the IZH 61 but was doing all sorts of bonehead mistakes with the Daisy 747–jerking the trigger and overholding–on the way to putting up a most unimpressive target.

    Matt61

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Matt,

      It is a case of no demand. Suzuki could offer the Huyabusa motorcycle with a sidecar attachment, but very few buyers would want it, since that is the bike to buy when you want to go over 200 m.p.h.

      The number of buyers who would buy a TX 200 with open sights would be similarly small.

      B.B.

  • Louis Says:

    Hi BB, I had a quick question. I was the gentleman who owns the TX 200hc in .22 and was shooting JSB exact jumbo heavys. How come the HC doesn’t get the kind of attention the Mark III does? Is it not as good of a rifle. Just wanted your opinion. Also I have noticed that when you go to Pyramyd Air and look under the comments section for the HC, that there are just a handful more than 20 comments on it. Thanks.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Louis,

      The Hunter Carbine is shorter and therefor harder to cock. Accuracy-wise and in terms of quality it’s equal to the regular TX, but the firing cycle is harsher.

      The low number of reviews reflects a smaller number of owners.

      B.B.

  • Bob Says:

    Hi B.B.
    In an earlier e-mail, I mentioned that I had installed a 12lb spring assembly in my TX. I have some chrono data. Would you like me to forward it.
    Cheers
    Bob

  • Poppy Says:

    Off your specific topic, I’m imposing to seek your collective expertise. My son-in-law lives in a wooded subdivision of Atlanta and wants a pellet gun to control the critters in his backyard. Gamo Bone Collector Bull Whisper Air Rifle 177 IGT 4×32 Scope and PBA Platinum Pellets was recommended. However, upon research, I thought the RWS 34 spring piston Diana might be better for him. What do you recommend?

  • Bob Says:

    Re Air Arms TX200 Mk111
    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you re chrony results for the 12 lb spring assembly which I installed in the TX with the exception of the top hat since at the time I was unable to get the heavy spring top hat out.
    JSB 10 gr heavies (4.52) – 5 shot string: 679.4, 679.7, 677.1, 680.0, 679.2. Av vel 679.2. Range 2.9 ft/s (with heavy spring – Av vel 885 ft/s)
    JSB 8 gr (4.52) – 5 shots – 685.6, 683.1, 686.1, 689.8, 688.8. Ave vel 686.6. Range 6.7 ft/s
    RWS Hobbies 7 gr – 5 shots – 812.5, 805.5, 810.5, 809.5, 812.8. Av vel 809.0. Range 7.7 ft/s with heavy spring – Av vel 1060).
    I have since removed the heavy spring top hat (using brake fluid to get it loose and installed the top hat that came with the 12 lb assembly. I have not repeated the chrony work but will in the future to see if that made a difference. I recently re-installed the heavy spring assembly using at tiny bit of loctite (blue) to secure the loose top hat to the top of the spring (the top hat for the 12 lb spring has a snug fit so no need for loctite.) I will do some chrony work to see if the velocity range had tighten up using the heavy spring and its firmly attached top hat. Interesting that while I have not seen any change in accuracy the buzz using with the heavy spring has disappeared so I am guessing the heavy spring was disengaging from the top hat causing the heavy spring to vibrate.
    Looking forward to additional articles on the TX.
    I also have a Disco and am considering installing the Marauder trigger and am wondering how yours is working out.
    Thx again.
    Bob

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Bob,

      Thank you for sharing your data with us.

      Regarding the Marauder trigger in my new Disco, the gun hasn’t arrived yet. It’s still being converted to a Double Disco.

      I should have it in a couple weeks.

      B.B.

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