by B.B. Pelletier

Before we get into today’s blog, I want to tell you about something that’s coming. I’ve asked Pyramyd Air to loan me a Chinese BAM B40 rifle to test. This is a direct copy of the Air Arms TX200 Mark III that I always brag about. We had one request to test this rifle, but the airgun forums are full of talk about it, so I thought it would be nice to take a closer look at it.

Instead of just testing the gun like I normally do, I’m going to do a side-by-side comparison test between the B40 and my TX200 Mark III. That’s what I think you readers want. It will be a feature-for-feature comparison, so it will have to be broken into several parts.

Pyramyd Air does not normally stock Chinese air rifles, but they got this one when they recently purchased Airgun Express. The BAM B40 sells for $286, while the TX200 sells for $548, so if you could get the English rifle’s performance for just over half the money, that would be a great bargain. In my experience, there aren’t that many great bargains, but there are a lot of heartaches and disappointments. As you can see, I’m skeptical about the B40, but I will test it fairly and let you decide.

Great bargain No. 1: Marksman 2004
To be a real bargain, the airgun has to be accurate, reliable and priced right. Most guns have two of these, but it’s rare to find all three in one airgun. In that light, the Marksman 2004 is a real stand-out! I reported on it in the February 10 blog, and my opinion hasn’t changed. If you read that report, you’ll learn that the 2004 is an exact copy of the Weihrauch HW40 PCA, which Beeman sells as the P3. Yet, this one sells for less than one-third the price of the other two. It’s just as accurate, just as powerful and just as well-made, too. I know that comes as a shock to those who own the other two pistols, but it’s the truth. I am extremely surprised that the Chinese can put a good barrel in an airgun this cheap and make them all to the same standard. That’s not typical, but, in this case, it is what’s happening. Don’t be shocked by the amount of plastic on the gun, because the other two have it, as well.

Great bargain No. 2: IZH 61
The IZH 61 is a Russian 5-shot sidelever spring piston repeater with legendary accuracy. When I say legendary, there was an owner who installed Olympic aperture rear sights costing $350 and had a target stock custom-made from a laminated wood blank. He then used his modified rifle to compete in 10-meter target competition. The gun shot as well as a Daisy 853C, which is saying a lot! You don’t have to go crazy to enjoy this rifle, though. And, at less than $90, it’s a sure thing. The power is low, with target pellets traveling between 450 and 475 f.p.s.; but for targets or informal plinking, it’s hard to beat. I reviewed it for you in March 2005 (A gift from B.B.! – The IZH 61 air rifle).

Great bargain No. 3: Daisy 22SG
For under $100, I don’t know where else you’ll get a new scoped multi-pump this good. I’m talking about the Daisy 22SG, of course. Please understand that there’s a world of difference between this model and Daisy’s other multi-pumps. This is a .22 with a real rifled barrel and powerful enough for limited small game hunting. It comes with a decent scope and easy pumping effort, despite the power. I reviewed it in September 2005 (Daisy 22SG). There’s a lot of plastic on this rifle, but it’s very durable. Don’t let that dissuade you from one of the best buys on the market.

There are many good deals in airguns these days. These three, however, go far beyond that category. These are real bargains!