by B.B. Pelletier

Part 3
Part 2
Part 1

I finally completed the accuracy test of the Mendoza RM-200. The day was breezy, but the wind was not a problem. I shot at 25 yards, which I felt was in keeping with this type of rifle.

Scoped!
One of our readers suggested scoping the rifle with a Bug Buster, and I had one already set up in rings, so that’s what I used. It was a Bug Buster 2, 6x32mm scope. It fit the rifle very well and the small size of the scope compliments the rifle, but shooting from the bench made the eye relief a little too long. I managed, but it would have been much nicer shooting offhand.

Pellets
From the first test, I knew that neither Crosman Premiers or JSB Exacts would shoot in this rifle. It seems to need a fatter pellet, which is why RWS Hobbys did so well. For this test, I chose pellets that are either fat or have thin skirts that can be blown out into the rifling. The first pellet was a 5.6mm Eley Wasp that is, unfortunately, no longer available. It grouped well. Since it can no longer be purchased, I won’t tease you. It did tell me that the rifle was accurate and that it probably did need bigger pellets.

I also tested RWS Superpoints, Beeman Silver Bears, RWS Hobbys and Logun Penetrators in the 16-grain weight. Well, the Superpoints were a complete bust. The Silver Bears were not much better. Both pellets gave 2.5″ to 3″ groups at 25 yards. Since the Wasps worked so well, I knew the rifle could shoot.

RWS Hobbys shot groups of about 1.5″, which isn’t horrible but isn’t as good as I expected from this rifle. However, I had an ace up my sleeve. One of our readers, powermacsc, got half-inch groups with his new 200 shooting the 16-grain Logun Penetrators, so I saved that pellet for last. And, it did perform well. I got groups between 3/4″ and 1″ for five shots. That’s close to what the Eley Wasps were doing, but the Loguns were ever-so-slightly better.

Technique, technique technique!
Then, I went to work on my shooting technique. I tried all kinds of holds and I balanced the stock at various critical spots. My conclusions are these:

  1. The RM-200 is very sensitive to hold.
  2. It likes the forearm to rest as far out as possible from the triggerguard.
  3. Pellet seating pressure is very critical.
  4. Being a carbine, the rifle wants to be held as loosely as possible.*

*This needs some explanation. When you hold a spring rifle, and especially a breakbarrel springer, you want the gun to move freely when it recoils. However, there is one final trick that the RM-200 really likes. After you have your sight picture, relax and see if the reticle moves. Your goal is to relax with the reticle remaining on target. If it moves when you relax, the rifle will throw the pellet in that direction. I found the RM-200 very sensitive in that respect.

Ambidextrous?
A reader asked about the stock, because I neglected to mention anything about it. The stock is not strictly ambidextrous, having a low comb on the left side, but the shape of the butt is ALMOST symmetrical. A lefty could use the rifle with no problem. The automatic safety is completely ambidextrous, with a lever on both sides of the receiver.

The bottom line
I think the Mendoza RM-200 is a wonderful little .22 sporting rifle. Expect it to shoot groups of 3/4″ to 1″ at 25 yards with good pellets. I suspect that as you become more familiar with your rifle, the groups will shrink because this rifle is very sensitive to how it is held. I don’t know how you could do any better at the price!