TX200 Mark III: Part 8

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

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

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

This is the second look at the brand-new TX200 Mark III that Pyramyd Air sent to me for this test. We’ve been looking at my older TX200 Mark III until recently, but now we’re looking at the gun that comes when you order it today. Over 40,000 TX200 air rifles have been sold since the model was first introduced in the late 1980s, and today’s version is probably the best of all.

Today’s look will be a traditional Part 2 velocity check because that’s one of the things you readers have been asking about for many years. I keep telling you that the rifle comes out of the box shooting slower than it’s rated; but as it breaks in, the velocity continues to climb. Today, we get to really look at the gun right out of the box. I’ve purposely held off shooting the rifle more than just a few shots, so this test can be as accurate as possible. Here it goes.

The TX200 Mark III is rated to shoot 930 f.p.s. in the .177 caliber we’re testing. That’s not an advertiser’s claim. That’s based on my testing the guns over the past 20 years. And it’s also not with lead-free, lightweight pellets. It’s with Crosman Premier 7.9-grain lites. In other words, 930 f.p.s. or more is what you can expect from your TX200 with Premier lites, as long as it remains original. But it doesn’t start out that fast. It’s been my experience with TX200s that they start out shooting Premier lites around 875-890 f.p.s. I’ve written these words before doing any testing of today’s gun, so I’m going to find out what actually happens right along with you.

Crosman Premier lites
Well, shut my mouth! Imagine my surprise when the first Premier lite came out of this new rifle at 936 f.p.s.! Boy, was I off the mark on this one!

The first 10 Crosman Premier lites averaged 926 f.p.s. The spread was broad for a TX — from a low of 917 to a high of 936 f.p.s. That’s 19 f.p.s. difference across 10 shots. And there was a smell of burning oil in the room, so I know combustion had something to do with both the higher velocity and the larger spread. At the average velocity this pellet produces 15.05 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

H&N Baracuda Match
Next, I tried H&N Baracuda Match pellets. They weigh 10.65 grains, making them a heavy pellet in .177 caliber. They averaged 830 f.p.s. in the test rifle, with a spread from 821 to 835 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet produces an average 16.30 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. That’s uncharacteristic of a spring rifle — when a heavier pellet produces more power than a lighter one. But that’s what this rifle did.

RWS Hobby
Whenever airgun manufacturers wanted to show how fast their guns were in the days before lightweight lead-free pellets, they invariably tested them with RWS Hobbys. At just 7 grains, this wadcutter is one of the lightest lead pellets around and should give the highest practical velocity the rifle is capable of.

Hobbys averaged 1011 f.p.s., with a low of 1000 and a high of 1022 f.p.s. Right there you have proof that Air Arms is being very conservative in their velocity estimates. At the average velocity, Hobbys produced 15.89 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

This TX is shooting much faster than I anticipated. It’s doing essentially its advertised velocity right out of the box — with Crosman Premier lites! What will happen as it breaks in? My thinking is that it will continue to get faster like the other rifles I’ve seen, but this one may not get that much faster. It may be closer right now to where it will end up after 10,000 shots have gone through it. My well-broken-in TX now averages 963 f.p.s. with Crosman Premier lites. It started out around 875 out of the box. I think this one will eventually be just as fast, but not proportionally faster.

Cocking
I mentioned some noise when cocking the rifle in the first report. That has already begun to decrease with just the few shots in this test. I think it may disappear entirely in a few hundred more shots.

The cocking effort is at 34 lbs. right now, but I can feel some stiffness in the linkage. I think that’s going to smooth out and drop by several pounds over time.

Trigger-pull
Of course, the TX trigger is extremely adjustable, so this is just a measurement of how it came from the box. In the next installment, I’ll discuss adjusting the trigger in great detail.

The trigger breaks crisply at 1 lb., 12 oz. as it’s currently set. That’s 28 oz. It feels heavier than the trigger on my TX, which it should, since mine is releasing at just  9 oz., or roughly one-third the weight of this one. The point is that when it comes to triggers, TX200s are so refined that almost no other sporting spring airgun has a trigger in the same category.

Observations thus far
So far, the new TX is performing pretty much as expected, with the exception of shooting way faster than anticipated. Everything else is right on the money, so I know the elves at Air Arms are still making these airgun the same old way — which is very good.

I have a couple of other experiments planned for the TX after the final accuracy test, and I was going to go back to my own rifle after I tested this one for accuracy; maybe I should do them all with this one. One test was requested by blog reader Mannish from Mumbai, who asked me how dot sights do on springers. I had planned on testing that on a TX, so perhaps I might use this one. Blog reader duskwight wondered if the group size will change when switching your scope from 4x to 16x. I’d planned on testing that at 50 yards with a TX; and with that particular test, we’ll get a bonus — seeing if the point of impact changes as the power changes. Good stuff!

But the trigger adjustment is next.

75 thoughts on “TX200 Mark III: Part 8

  1. Eotech makes a special red dot with a dovetail mount especially for rimfire rifles, etc. It’s a little higher end than most red dots, but so is the AA TX200. The optic is airgun rated at least that’s what they told me.


  2. Hello B.B. and Fellow Airgunners
    These TX200 Mk111 blog tests have really captured my interest like no other airgun. Maybe it’s the mystique this gun seems to possess. That, and the fact it delivers the kind of numbers I like to see in a higher end airgun. I have two HW97′s in .177 and .22 cal., so I’m on the fence about shelling out $700.00 for another spring piston gun. I feel my next move should be towards ownership of a PCP airgun. Decisions, decisions.
    I have one request of you concerning the up coming trigger test. You have stated the TX200′s trigger is like the Record, only more refined. Could you elaborate on this in a bit more depth. In what ways is the trigger more refined, and adjustable? When I shoot any of my Weihrauchs, It is difficult to believe there could be a smoother trigger available. I have been known to accept the fact that I could be wrong though. Thanks for going the extra mile, by testing a new model for us to compare with your older one.
    Ciao
    Titus


  3. Hi B.B.,
    I recently read a post in which you reviewed a sig sauer bb pistol that claimed it had a hop-up system like airsoft guns use. You said in the review that pyramydair warns that it did not, in fact, utilize a hop up system. I found your article on the sig while looking for information about hop up systems applied to steel bb’s. I then found this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5a7512RvDA

    It appears that some bb guns may be using a spin-inducing system. I am curious as to whether the effects are positive, negative, or negligible. It seems to me that the density of the bb would make backspin have very little affect in flight, but it might be worth looking into. I know that the backspin principle worked very well on a paintball marker barrel that I used many years ago. Do you have any experience with the hop up system’s effectiveness with steel bb’s?


    • DMTT,

      Welcome to the blog!

      Well, that You Tube video was a good one. It does show a rubber backspin device in a BB gun barrel. Does it work? I don’t know, because I haven’t tested it, knowingly.

      Hop Up does work with airsoft balls, but I don’t know about BBs. I can’t think of a reason that it wouldn’t. On the other hand, how long could it last against steel BBs?

      Too many unknowns for me to say anything for sure. But thanks for making me aware of this.

      B.B.


  4. I don’t know about the rest of you all. But I can shoot a pretty good group with a red dot sight.

    I have surprised myself with the red dots.
    If you got a red dot with a small dot that focus sharp. And center the dot on your target. It seems like the margin for error is less than with a scope. For what your eye’s see anyway. And your natural instinct is to hold for the center of the object.
    And I believe it will show the true groups that a gun will produce. I have shot the red dots at targets out to 50 yards with good results. (and yep I even zero my red dots at 50 yards) And it kind of defeats the purpose of the dot if you try to hold over for the longer distances. Which I have tryed the longer distance shots just to see what the results would be with out holding over. I just let the shots fall below the target but still put the dot on the bullseye when I shot.

    I like to fire off 10 shots in a row as fast as I can load the gun, get sighted for the next shot then fire till all 10 are done. And not having the scope to actually know were I was hitting every time I lined up for the next shot. Its kind of fun to see the group when you get out to the target.

    I think the TX 200 would be a great gun to do a red dot test with.


  5. Oh And I will just keep my mouth shut about the group size verses magnification. And the POI verses magnification.

    But throw one more thing into that test BB. What happens when you range find at different magnifications?


    • GF1,

      I’m not sure what you are asking about rangefinding at different magnifications. Rangefinding means focusing as sharp as possible, so the greater the magnification, the more critical the focusing can be, because you can see better to focus on smaller objects. That goes without saying.

      So what are you asking?

      B.B.


      • Well BB you just explained it. ;)

        And how about what happens with magnification on a scope verses group size and POI? I guess maybe when people use a bigger magnification it gives the illusion that the groups are bigger or father away from the bullseye because of the magnification?

        Maybe I’m looking at those questions the wrong way?


      • The higher the magnification, the thinner the plane( depth) of sharp focus is especially as distance increases. Lets say you are shooting at 50 yards. At 32x the plane of sharp focus might be 1.5 yards. At 12x the plane of sharp focus might be 5 yards.(These numbers for illustration only) Being 5 yards off at 50 yards can result in a vertical miss of over an inch if the slope of your trajectory is .22-.25 per yard. This reduces the usefulness of a scope for accurate rangefinding as the magnification goes down. In field target competition 50x scopes are becoming commonplace due to the shallow depth of field that they bring to the table and the accuracy of their rangefinding. In hunter class FT that limits scopes to 12x, those who rangefind by using mill dots are out shooting those who use their sidewheels to rangefind.

        Larry Pirrone
        Range master
        CASA Field Target Club.


        • Larry P
          Thanks for the info.
          And as far as focusing goes to range find. I guess Range finding by focus is ok for plinking and such.
          But I like what you talked about with the Field Target class using the 12 power scopes. I think mil dot use is the way to go.

          Most of the time when I hunt I will use the side wheel to focus the object then compare with my laser range finder then use the mil dots for hold over or under. And that works out pretty good.

          I don’t competition shoot but FT would be were I would go if I did. I think it is a cool sport.

          And range finding with a laser range finder is not allowed in the 12 power FT class right?


          • separate rangefinders are not allowed in ft competition. As for ranging with mill dots it is not a simple process and only really useful in the hunter class where 12x is the max scope power. In order to use mill dots for rangefinding one has to know the base measurement of every brand of field target and create a table for each one to refer to. I know of one particular FT competitor who has done the work and earned two national championships. His name is Scott Hull. He did it with a Marauder that is near stock and a relatively inexpensive scope, I think a Centerpoint or UTG.


            • Larry P
              So are you allowed to walk the range before a match?
              And can you measure the target size also? Or is there standard size targets that people would know the size of for that match?


              • not allowed to walk the range or go out and measure target bases. Scott did this the hard way. He aquired some targets and measured some that were sitting around and got measurements from some of the makers. He also measured the common cement blocks that rangemasters use as bases. He literally has a book. He also uses the killzones as reference measurements in some cases.

                The idea behind ft is to have to shoot various size kill zones at distances that are unknown to the shooter. The challenge is accurately estimating distance either using your scope sidewheel (that you have calibrated) or using some mill dot measuring system that you have developed or in some cases eyeballing it. In open class you have whatever magnification you can buy so using some complex system of mill dots or eyeballing is not needed. In hunter class with a 12x mag limit it is more complicated. Hunter class shooters however get to shoot off a rigid bypod or prone. Hunter class shooters are close to open class scores as the class has grown and shooters have learned rangefinding.
                Hunter class shooters have to use hold over (or under) and cannot use turret clicks to adjust poi for the distance. Open class shooters typically use clicks. Successful shooters also master wind.

                BTW, at our range we use targets from 1/4″ kill zone to 1.75 kill zones and everything in between. Distances are 10 yds to 55 yds.

                By the way, the TX 200 is far and away the most popular springerin ft. I shoot a PCP now but shot with a tx 200 and eventually a Pro Sport. The smallest 55 yard group I have EVER shot was with the Pro Sport. I have never matched it with a PCP. I shoot higher scores with a PCP because there are others issues with springers that PCP’s overcome.


                • Larry P
                  Well One of the words I use all the time when it comes to range finding or target sizing is (estimating).
                  But you up it one and added the other important word (accurately).
                  So yes when a person learns to (accurately estimate) range or size using the parallax focus and mil dots you can end up with some amazing results.

                  And it sounds to me like that the 12 power hunter class was derived from actual hunting encounters and practices. Exactly what you would encounter when lets say hunting squirrels or rabbits out in the field or woods. You have to know the kill zone size for what you hunting. And know the distance and elevation to make a successful shot hit the kill zone.
                  Again I would say hunter field target would be the class for me if I was to compete.

                  Oh and by the way thanks for taking the time to talk. And now I know more about how the field target program works. Great info you shared.


    • I have a Leapers Red Dot on my Mossberg 715T (the M4 lookalike).
      At 50m, with the fore-end rested on my rangebag it will put all 25 rounds (its mag capacity) into 2″, which is just fine in my opinion.
      But this is the limit for somewhat precision shooting. At 100m (where the red dot covers the entire bull of my 100yd smallbore target) the groups grow to 6 or 8″. At the same distance (100m) the gun shoots 2-3″ groups with a 4x scope.
      But still…definitely ‘minute of bad guy’ (or minute of deer), which is what red-dots are really meant for.


      • CSD,

        Yes, dot size is what kills precision. It’s strange, but with the right kind of target-type non-optical sights shooting at the right kind of targets, the same thing doesn’t happen.

        B.B.


  6. Dave,

    Yes, I am referring to the gas piston at mechanical rest, fully extended. With gas in it. Ready to be compressed mechanically, but not. ;o)

    My whole thing here is that with the exception of a few like the TX200, you need a spring compressor to work on them. Now, do the manufacturers of the gas piston versions of sproingers also have them under compression?

    And now for a general rant.

    Air Arms has shown the world that you can build a decent sproinger that can give the PCPs a serious run for their money. Wang Po Industries can even make a halfway decent copy of it! When are you other guys going to kick your R & D people in the burgeebers and show the world what YOU can do?!


    • And I don’t mean how fast you can send a piece of aluminum or plastic or combination thereof across a chrony! At least I would like to hit my intended target with some consistency!


      • Lol! Burgeebers! :-) That gave me a giggle! Haven’t heard that one in a while…

        A short spring is easy to work on without a compressor because there isn’t much force required to depress it that quarter to one inch to get everything lined up and put beck together. A gas spring will be much harder because you’re starting with almost the full power of the spring right from the get go. So even moving it a quarter of an inch is going to be tough without a compressor or at least a chunk of wood to take the strain off of your hand. But, on the other hand, a shorter spring compressor is easier to cobble together at home. I just use my lathe’s tail-stock, so I’m set even without having a dedicated tool just for springs.

        /Dave


    • RR,

      Okay, prepare for a counter-rant!

      You can’t compare ALL spring guns to the TX 200. Breakbarrels have their own, unique problems, just because their barrels pivot. Yet there are shooters who absolutely will not shoot anything else. Even Air Arms cannot make a breakbarrel springer that shoots as well as the TX 200.

      There there is the “style” issue. Some shooters are so hung up on how their rifle looks that the hump of the TX, brought on by a centered transfer port that is also straight, that they buy HW 97s in opposition to the appearance of the TX.

      Walther does make at least one good breakbarrel — the LGV Challenger. But the naysayers all want more power!

      I think the TX 200 Mark II is the best spring gun on today’s market, bar none, but you will never convince all shooters to buy one, for these reason and for the cost issue.

      So the other rifles will continue to be built. And it isn’t the stupidity of the manufacturers that is holding them back. It’s having to build guns with gas springs that hammer themselves and their shooters like slide hammers. It’s building guns that can retail for $130. It’s building guns that can push pellets out the muzzle at 1,200 f.p.s. instead of 800.

      Everyone wants what’s not out there. The super-magnum, non-recoilling, soft-shooting, hard-hitting, accurate gun for a nickel. Oh, and can it please have a nice piece of walnut?

      My job is to tell people about all these guns — telling it like it is, and, when I find a good one, shouting it from the rooftops! We can’t all like TX 200s — regardless of how good they are. Out!

      B.B.


      • Howdy Mr. BB, Thanx & amen, sir. Most of the Gang has forgotten more about airgunnin’ than I’ll ever know, so it’d be kinda silly for me ta even try explainin’ shootin’ my T-reX. While I was waitin’ for mine, Fred D made the comment that the T-reX wasn’t everything “they” said it was, it was more. Didn’t sink in until I got mine. He was wrong. It is way, WAY more. I have a ridin’ T that sez, “If I hafta explain, ya wouldn’t understand”. B.t.w. am watchin’ over your shoulder & currently testin’ pellets. Not sure how it happened, musta been my lucky Roy Rogers Lil’ Buckaroo tighty whities, but I managed a .270 yesterday & my neighbor, Blind Melon Chitlin’ can vouch! Thanx again, sir. Shoot/ride safe.
        Beaz


      • LOL!

        Oh, I do indeed understand what you are saying. I also ask for your forgiveness if I have offended you in any way. I am VERY thankful to you for doing this most thankless task of having to day in and day out shoot all of these air guns and muzzle loaders and antique target rifles, etc.

        I would also want you to know that I am truly thankful that you have allowed me to spend time with you, talking to you and such.


        • RR,

          No, you didn’t offend me. Not at all. I do appreciate your opinion on everything and I don’t want you to stop giving it freely.

          But every once in a while, my trigger gets tripped and I have to spout off.

          As wrong as I have been in public on this blog, how could anyone ever think that I know it all? I don’t, and people need to keep telling it the way they see it. And that includes you.

          If Edith ever opens up with all my boneheaded mistakes and misguided advice that she has had to endure, a very funny bathroom book could be written. ;)

          B.B.


        • Ridgey, Love sarcasm! Best served on wry, w/cheese, a pickle on the side & would ya like fries with that, sir? Well dun. B.t.w. the Dusk questions ya asked, I put a GRT in mine but as a far as overall quality, you’re askin’ the wrong guy! Could hop up on my soapbox/barstool & pontificate (not bad, huh?), but I really don’t know enough ta even know what I don’t know!?! My only frame of reference is an M4, T-reX & the Dusk. At best an apples/prime rib comparison. Sorry, but Ms. Edith only let’s me in here if I sit @ the little table, not bother the folks @ the big table & provide some comic relief w/2 shows nightly!?! Shoot/ride safe.
          Beaz



  7. I’m a big fan of red dot sights. I’ve used them on several of my AGs. I use the 3min dots the most. My favorites are the Millet and Bushnell sights. I do not shoot bench much as I’m a plinker but with red dots I had no problem hitting Coke cans at fifty yards with the gun zeroed at 35.


  8. 7 parts to the TX200 MK III and really nothing bad about them that I saw other than they can be tough to load left handed. But even that appears to only require a minor adjustment. I’m sold! All I needed now is to find the funds and I know I won’t regret it!

    BB, any chance of ever running a quick test on one of these in .22? I’m not likely to ever shoot field target…

    /Dave



    • Howdy Slasher Dave, 4 lines & not a single booga booga? Almost didn’t recognize ya! Geez, hope you’re ok. Need a group hug, or maybe a candlelight vigil? Have the southpaw version. Haven’t seen anyone else mention, that in addition ta the cheek rest, the loading port is also reversed. Saw the loading lefty comments + all pics are righty versions. Got mine fully expecting it ta be tough ta load, but it was easy squeezy! Huh? Didn’t even realize until BB’s part 1 of this T-ReX series that I was comparing the pic of his with mine, that it hit me. Duh! Loading port is reversed! Yup, kinda cute, but ain’t real bright. Shoot/ride safe.
      Beaz



      • No booga booga’s must have been an oversight on my part, Beaz. I’ll get it straightened or maybe bent back to normal… Either that or the phone is lulling me into complacency to set me up for the kill.



  9. BB,
    I liked your rant. As good as the TX200 sounds and almost certainly is (I trust your judgement in most cases :)), it really doesn’t do anything for me anymore, though it was once a sort of goal to own one. Too clunky, too heavy, no open sights, stock I’d be reluctant to drag down a creek bank, etc. I can appreciate the good points of it, certainly (and I copied the low-preload scheme on my 36-2 for ease of maintenance), but they just don’t fit into my priority list at this time. Likewise, yesterday’s masterpiece left me unexcited, for different reasons (one of which being that I am not at all convinced that springers NEED gas springs, nor that I even want one; another being that copies of anything are a hard sale for me). My point is that we all want different types of things, and some of us want different things at different times. For example, the Walther LGR synthetic with FO sights looks like it might be perfect for me (or well worth the price to try) at some point, even though those two features weren’t loved by all. So, keep testing as many as you can and giving us honest feedback on all of them — not everything might be useful to everyone all the time, but you know from experience that everything will be useful to somebody at some point! Who knows, when I’m older and blinder and less active, I might take up bench rest or FT with a scope and find the TX200 is again my dream rifle :) !


  10. Thanks BB for doing this text on the new TX 200 MK111, looking forward to see what pellet this gun likes mine so far likes the JSB 8.4 grain, what scope are you thinking of putting on this gun?



    • No, that’s the pellet my rifle likes best. Unfortunately, most of my notes were destroyed last year when we lost power during a storm and my basement flooded (won’t happen again – generator). I seem to recall that RWS Super H’s were pretty good in my rifle but you’ll have to give me some time to figure out results again.

      Fred DPRoNJ



    • Ha ha! I’m sitting here chewing my tongue in half waiting for the next blog bedtime story. I can’t sleep without visions of of airguns in my head. This blog and every update is getting addictive! I love everything printed because I can learn something new each time. Currently I’m more excited because I own two of the air rifles in the mix that B.B. is reviewing.




  11. I guess we have to make up our own blog today.

    How about we look at an imaginary rifle that was displayed at the last Shot Show . Something that will never go into production, but we can imagine that it did ?

    Maybe something way beyond anything ever seen in a sci-fi movie . Outlandish looks, enough power to blow a full grown hog in half with a gut shot from 800 yards ? Shoots like a laser and never requires any holdover ? One hole accuracy at 5 miles with the cheapest pellets ? Pre filled PCP that never needs filling again ? Full auto ? Absolutely silent when switched to “quiet” mode, but makes a blast that sounds like a nuke going off when switched to the “impress” mode ?

    Any more ideas ?
    We gonna have to make up our own today .

    twotalon



      • J-F

        Maybe , but has to look and sound more exotic. Also has to go for less than $150 at China-Mart and has to be made in Germany.
        Will need a name that looks like the cat spent three hours walking around on the keyboard to produce.

        twotalon


        • Whatever name you come up with, it must include ‘can’t-miss’ technology that makes it so accurate that it has been banned by the Olympic committee and other-world/off world entities. You should literally be able to just point it in the general direction of the target and think off the shot without touching the trigger and have the poi take out the x. Also needs to be available in everything from black polymer to highly figured walnut with no price increase…

          Guess I’ll check back later to see what happened to my favorite way to start the day….



    • TwoTalon,
      Your spec’s sound good, and I think I have an idea for the styling and name, as I just watched the excellent (for them) syfy original movie “Crimson Force”. It should be shaped like the pole-axe type laser weapon wielded by the priestly caste on Mars (Nibiru) and called something like the Cydonian Bolt 2037 XLP-1. If it is sold by Crosman, the name needs to be M4122 if it is available in .177 and M4125 in .22.


      • PS. Don’t forget to recycle the 160 or an old Gamo trigger design but take out any adjust ability and replace all the parts with “high-tech polymer!”…



  12. To Mike, BB,
    I have about 2000 pellets through a new TX200 Mk III in.22 Cal and it seems to be the tack driver to at least 50 yards the .177cal is with “pass-through” power for pidgeons, rabbits and similar sized game that the. 177 Cal is but maybe with more knock-down power. It is not very pellet sensitive. I woulad love to see a “BB” review of the 22 Cal TX200.
    Thanks! SuperTenere


  13. B.B.,
    I read that the Diana 460 is suppose to compete with the TX200. Could you do a review of the current Diana 460 with the T06 trigger and compare it against the TX200?

    Thanks,
    Joe


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