Testing the Air Arms Pro-Sport: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


The Air Arms Pro-Sport underlever rifle has a unique look and style. This one is stocked in walnut.

Today, we’ll test the velocity of the Air Arms Pro-Sport, plus a few additional things. Because I also tested my TX200 Mark III with the same pellets, I’ll give you a comparison of the two. I normally don’t do that because I think it’s dangerous and can lead to bias, whether intentional or not. But when people contemplate buying one of these rifles, it usually comes down to a choice between one or the other. Other underlevers — like the Beeman HW 97K — are never in contention when these two are on the line. That’s not a slur against the 97. It’s just that when an airgunner starts considering one of these two Air Arms guns, the field narrows very fast.

This will not be a fair test because the Pro-Sport I’m looking at is brand new and my TX200 has been broken in with thousands of shots over the years. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that Air Arms spring rifles do get a lot faster when they break in. A lot faster. I’ll attempt to extrapolate the Pro-Sport numbers out to a gun that’s broken in for you. I’ve owned two TX200s and one Pro-Sport, as well as having tested many other Air Arms spring rifles, so I have some experience with this.

My TX200 still has its factory tune. I’ve opened the gun, but I haven’t tuned it because it kept on getting faster and faster just as it was. Although it’s well broken-in, nothing special has been done to the powerplant.

Velocity test
First thing, let’s test its velocity. Crosman Premiers weighing 7.9 grains are first up. They’re such a standard for accurate spring rifles like the Pro-Sport that they must always be included in any accuracy testing, so of course they get tested for velocity as well.

Premier lites averaged 909 f.p.s. in the test rifle. They ranged from 892 to 918, but you must remember that this is a new gun and will settle down some as it gets more shots on the powerplant. At the average velocity, the gun produces 14.5 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. In comparison, my broken-in TX200 averages 961 f.p.s with the same pellet, for an energy of 16.2 foot-pounds. The last time I tested the velocity of this pellet in my rifle, it was in the 930 f.p.s. region, so it’s still increasing in power. When it was brand new, the same rifle averaged less than 900 f.p.s. with Premier lites, so I would guess that the Pro-Sport will shoot at least as fast as this one when it’s broken in.

Next up are JSB Exact 8.4-grain domes. They averaged 863 f.p.s. in the Pro-Sport and ranged from 858 to 875 f.p.s. At the average speed, they produced 13.89 foot-pounds of energy. By comparison, the well broken-in TX200 averaged 915 f.p.s. and averaged 15.62 foot-pounds. I think you could expect the Pro-Sport to equal or surpass that number when it’s completely broken in.

The final pellet I tested was the venerable lightweight RWS Hobby wadcutter. The Pro-Sport launched them at an average 1003 f.p.s., with a spread of velocities from 997 to 1011 f.p.s. That’s very tight for such a light pellet. At the average velocity, they churned out 15.64 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. In contrast, the TX200 sent them downrange at 1065 f.p.s., for an average muzzle energy of 17.63 foot-pounds.

Trigger-pull
I then measured the trigger-pull of the Pro-Sport. It broke crisply at exactly one pound, and that’s right out of the box! No other sporting spring rifle trigger I’ve tested has been so right-on from the start. My broken-in TX200 trigger has been adjusted by me to release at 8 oz. and is every bit as crisp as the trigger in the Pro-Sport. But they’re the same unit, so the Pro-Sport trigger should adjust to the same place as my TX200.

Cocking effort
I’ve said a lot about the Pro Sport’s cocking effort, because the location of the fulcrum for the underlever puts the force in a tough spot to handle. However, on my bathroom scale, this rifle requires just 40 lbs. to cock. My broken-in TX200 needs 35 lbs. to cock, so they’re closer than you might think. You’ll just have to find the best way to position the Pro-Sport to cock it.

Firing behavior
The Pro-Sport started out very buzzy when the velocity test began; but after just a few shots, perhaps as few as three, it got noticeably smoother. There’s still a hint of buzz, but it’s nothing like it was in the beginning. The TX200 is dead calm and always has been.

Where are we now?
I hope this comparison is helping those who are undecided between these two fine air rifles. What I say about the Pro-Sport getting faster as it breaks in is something I know to be fact. But I wasn’t as aware of the fact that it would also get smoother. I wish I could put a couple thousand shots on it and do a follow-up report for you, but perhaps some lucky reader will buy this gun and do just that for us down the road.

Next, I’ll test accuracy, and I don’t see running a comparison with the TX200 for that one. The Pro-Sport has always been an accurate gun and can stand on its own in that regard.

34 thoughts on “Testing the Air Arms Pro-Sport: Part 2

  1. B.B.

    Must be nice to find springers that keep on shooting faster the more they are used. My “bigger” HWs seem to keep getting slower. And then there is the vibration. I have issues with all four of them for one reason or another.

    twotalon





        • R9 and 97 will get the kits. Power has been dropping on both, and the spring in the R9 iz pretzelled. Both are buzzers.
          The kits should be here tomorrow. Time to get dirty again.

          twotalon


          • TT

            You mentioned some difficulty a while ago about taking apart the HW97. You appear to have it down to a science now. Any tips for someone doing their first tear down?


            • You will need some punches , a hammer, a spring compressor, something to stick in the trigger assembly hole for leverage, a crescent wrench, some padding to protect the rifle when you use the wrench, and something to put the small parts in.

              Expect the pins that hold the trigger assy in to be VERY tight. When the assy is free, hang onto the safety so it won’t jump across the room (along with the little spring behind it) when you pull the trigger assy out. Watch out that the small nut for the rear trigger screw does not fall out and get lost.
              REMEMBER… all parts need to go into a container IMMEDIATELY.

              Remove the front trigger mounting lug (unscrew with wrench), but watch out…there is a small washer under there with the antibeartrap bar (which is spring loaded for your enjoyment in both dissassembly and reassembly).

              Knock out the cocking lever pin and remove the lever and anti beartrap bars. Watch the bars that you don’t lose the small spring that hooks between them.

              Set the back end on the floor with the muzzle pointed up. Hold onto it good when unscrewing the barrel and tube from the plug. It will try to launch through the cieling.
              Stick your leverage bar into the trigger assy hole and get the whole works between your feet. Use the crescent wrench with some padding to grip the squared off part just behind the barrel. It does not unscrew easy the first time. The spring is longer than the tube, so it will launch as soon as the last thread comes loose.

              When you put it back together, you need the compressor. Also be darned sure you have the piston in right with the sear catch pointed down. It is tricky getting the plug lined up right and with enough pressure to get the threads started. Alternately tighten the plug and tighten the compressor until you are sure that you have plenty of threads engaged.
              You can stand it back up between your feet now and crank it back together. Now you can have fun getting the scope grooves on the plug and tube to line up.

              The trigger assy must be cocked to install. Install the safety and spring and hold it down while you fit the trigger in. Once you get the pins in far enough to hold it in, you can let go of the safety. Finish tapping the pins in, then pull the trigger to unlatch the sear.

              Reinstall the cocking lever and anti beartrap rods. Now have fun with that little washer , the rods, and the forward trigger screw lug. Make sure you have not lost the nut for the rear trigger guard screw, and slap that mutha back in the stock.

              What you want to do with it while it is torn apart is up to you. It gets easier after the thing has been torn apart and reassembled a few times . Things are not as tight.

              twotalon


    • Ok, I’ll bite. How does the 97 compare to the 200 and pro sport? Those three are the ones at the top of my lust list, so it’s always fun to learn more about them.



        • I know B.B. And that’s what makes your reviews so valuable. They allow us to decide for ourselves what we value more or less when trying to make a decision. I was just trying to bait TT and derrick into coming out with what they weren’t saying.


          • Fused,

            I wish they would, as well, because I can’t really say what the differences are. I owned an HW 77 K that was tuned to within an inch of its life and it was just as good as my first TX 200, but then I got the TX tuned by Ken Reeves and it became the smoother gun. However, when I bought the TX 200 Mark III, it was as smooth as the Reeves-tuned Mark II right from the box. And it just got faster and faster. And now there isn’t a spring rifle in the world that can hold a candle to it, as far as I’m concerned, and that includes my JW 75 Whiscombe. The Whiscombe has more features and is the more flexible airgun, but my TX 200 is still smoother.

            B.B.


          • O.K.

            Why would someone NOT consider a 97K for the next rifle…
            Not everyone would like it.
            Not everyone wants a heavy underlever with a hard cocking stroke (short lever). Not everyone wants to stick their fingers into the jaws of death to load it (with some difficulty). Not everyone wants that general power level. Not everyone likes the price tag. Not everyone wants a scope only rifle.

            twotalon


    • Here is my take vis a vis the TX200 vs. Beeman HW97.

      My TX200 is a newer MKIII in .177

      My HW97 is an older model in .20

      The TX200 wins in most every category. It has more power, it is more accurate, has a smoother shot cycle, and is more pleasing to the eye. And a better trigger too!!

      The 97 is no slouch. It just can’t match my TX.

      If I had the 97 tuned, or installed a kit, such as the Vortek, which is supposed to make things much smoother a la BB’s Air Venturi kit in his Diana 34P, I think the HW97 could match the TX, maybe even … nah. But that has yet to be determined, and would require extra ca$h and effort.

      The cocking lever on the HW97 has the feeling of the door on a bank vault. It is solid and smooth… did I mention solid? Cocking the rifle is a pleasure. Once outfitted with the required scopes and mounts, they weigh about 76 pounds, or is it kilos?

      Oh, did I forget to mention the trigger? The TX trigger is sculpted such that it feels like it is giving your finger a firm hug, if not a loving embrace. It is extremely adjustable, but I can’t conceive of a better feel than I already have, out of the box.

      Did you hear that Paul? Out a da box! The HW97 trigger is great, being a Rekord afterall, but requires some adjustment to get it to the dreamy smoothness that the TX unit achieves so effortlessly.


      • OK, well, gee, if you’re gotta put it like that, then no, not everyone needs a 97K. I had an early RWS co-branded TX-200 in .22 cal and it was exceptional in every respect. Had a tuned HW77 in .20 cal at the time as well in the full length rifle version–not the “K” iteration. Currently have a .22 cal Pro Sport and a .20 cal HW-97k. I’d say the triggers are very, very close with the nod going to the AA triggers, though it’s not a deal breaker to me. The Pro Sport is the winner in the off-hand shooting position. The flat underbelly makes for the perfect place to rest the rifle on fingertips, palm or fist of the support hand. Both the 97K and the TX guns are easier to cock–better leverage. I haven’t been chronographing the guns over time, so I don’t know if the TX will speed up or the HW’s will slow down, but I’ve got no reason to doubt you guys. I do know that the AA guns tend to be better lubed/fitted from the factory than similar HW guns. Truth be told, I’d prefer to have a simpler break-barrel for ease of loading compared to a sliding compression chamber, but that’s another story. Any of these aforementioned rifles is somebody’s dream gun and any are far more accurate than I am.


      • Now that’s what I’m talkin bout! Thanks guys, those are comments I can sink my teeth into! Can’t wait to see how BB finishes up on the pro sport, but it looks like the consensus is TX200 still no.1. I’m also mindful of TT’s comments about the weight, I know it helps with competition and all, but that’s my only strike against these. As far as a realistic purchase goes, for me I’m still saving my pennies for a 50s.


        • David

          In my non partisan review I may have neglected to mention the TX is every bit as heavy as an HW97. Also left out by me, the barrel of the HW97 extends further into the compression chamber than a TX, which makes it easier to load. The TX with its infernal short barrel which has a tight bore to boot, make it the most difficult to load of all my guns. In spite of this, it is my favorite, and I have some nice ones at this point.


  2. Happy Independence Day everyone!!! (except you, Dave UK 😉 ) My favorite holiday of the year.

    This is normally RikiB’s realm, but here is a quote:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security…”


    • SL,

      Well, I’m not US too, but it’s ok, since 4th of July is my good friend’s birthday. I know her for 24 years now, and she’s ok with airrifles 😉

      duskwight



  3. Hi all, I’m hoping someone can give me a bit of direction.

    I recently purchased a Crossman M-1 that the seller advised had just been reconditioned at the Crosman factory. However, I seem to have an issue with getting BBs to fire out of the gun. I believe the issue is related to a ton of factory grease/oil on the metal parts (seems excessive on the outer parts, so I expect the same internally). Most likely inside the path the BBs take to get from the loading port to the firing point is over-oiled, and not letting them get to where they need to be. I am using Daisy PrecisionMax .177 BBs.

    Any suggestions on how I can address this, without sending it back to Crosman? I do have the Factory Service Manual, and disassembly seems to be my only choice.

    Many thanks for any information thats provided.


    • Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with the M-1, but my best advice (which I never follow myself,) is to send it back to Crosman to get it professionally repaired. On the other hand, the thing you should never do (which is what I do first) is to dig right into these things and see how they work, it’s a lot of fun and sometimes exasperating. If you have the diagram that’s a head start. Also look on http://www.network54.com/Forum/79537/ and see if you can find some support info. Beware though, it can be maddening and addictive at the same time.


    • Sentry,

      I know that Crosman Copperhead BBs are a trifle smaller than Daisy Zinc-Plated BBs, so that’s a start. I would use a .177 cleaning rod with a patch and run it down the bore, both to assess how much oil is in there and also to soak up some of it. The other place oil can affect the BBs is in the gravity-fed magazine. Unfortunately I don’t know of an easy way in there without some disassembly.

      I used to sweat excess oil out of 1903 Springfield stocks in the hot summer sun. Perhaps a day or two exposed to the sun would help in your case. Bring it in an night, of course and don’t leave it where it can be stolen.

      B.B.


      • I took another look at the Manual, and on the last page in the Comments section:
        ‘Crosman Super BBs are produced (and rigidly controlled) at .1735″, plus or minus .0015″. Crosman precision BB Gun barrels are rigidly controlled at .176″, minus “zero”, plus .002″ for better accuracy.’
        I’m assuming that is my issue, if the Daisy’s are indeed .177…

        I did run a patch down the barrel, and found it was rather dry (and slightly rusty). The gravity fed mag, however, is pretty wet, as the few BBs that I put into it and was able to get to roll back out, seemed to be covered in sticky oil.

        As I am getting air out of the barrel when cocking and firing, I expect the above to be the issue. I’ll probably do as Fused does, and dive into the inner workings, if only to clean out the excess oil in the magazine.

        As a plus – I do have the storage clip that comes with the M1, though no cover for it. I’m sure gonna take care of that one part. 😀

        Thanks for the help!


        • Sentry

          That is a cool gun. Blog reader Chuck recently commented on how there needs to be more classic military gun replicas. I agree, and I think the Crosman M1 is a great example. It is also sure to increase in value, so take good care of it!


  4. Happy Fourth of July to all. (Boy, it’s hard to get going when you don’t have to get up for work.) To honor this occasion, I will quote from Marine Captain William Barber who led the defense of the Toktong Pass during the retreat from the Chosin Reservoir. After several days and nights of constant combat against attacking forces of over 10:1 superiority with the temperature down to -40, his order of the day read in part: “We have nothing to worry about if we fight like Marines.” I love it.

    I’d say that the one less of the comparison between today’s rifles is that you will never be able to own all of the cool guns out there. That’s one reason I bought my Anschutz: so that the furthest reaches of shooting performance would be mine by proxy.

    PeteZ, you’re implacable looking through all those online catalogs. I guess I’ll settle for some version of a Feinwerkbau. Maybe he got a custom stock of the kind that duskwight likes to put on his guns.

    Victor, you would make a heck of sniper if you were minded that way. Carlos Hathcock says that for the sniper in the field, it’s never hot or cold, it never rains, everything just dissolves into concentration although it would be much harder to achieve this with the physical challenges you describe. I have thought relative to health problems of my own that maybe this was the real challenge that all the martial arts training was for–not actually fighting anybody. On a brighter note, the grandmaster of my style says that one should always be learning and growing throughout one’s life which I find to be a much worthier goal than taking someone out or just looking forward to deterioration as my grandfather said, “Getting old is hell.” I don’t think it should be that way.
    And on that note, thanks Anonymous for the article on the Indian grandmother shooter. Heck, I’ve got may years to go before she even got started.

    As to the mathematics, Victor, I agree with your point-of-view but appreciate that of your students as well. How do you not give up on a problem when you don’t have the faintest, foggiest, clue about what’s going on or how to get started. 🙂

    B.B., you’re kidding, an M1 Garand in Jaws? Well, I saw that long before my interest in guns so I wasn’t paying attention. Here’s proof that the gun did not jam in seawater as the Marines initially feared before adopting it. Knowing that it was an M1, I might have changed his strategy a bit. I recall him taking careful aim with individual shots until he hit the dive tank. I might have waited until the shark was a little closer and emptied the whole clip; I don’t believe that even Jaws could have handled eight 30-06 rounds. Slinging Lead, yes, the devouring of that guy in the back of the boat was pretty gruesome. I remember thinking “car trunk” as those jaws kept slamming down with all of that blood and thrashing. I believe my Dad was quite freaked out. Afterwards, while brushing my teeth too hard (quite unhealthy for the teeth actually), I drew some blood in the sink, and my Dad walking by got startled and threw a fit. Maybe he thought that Jaws had come back.

    B.B., interesting about your treasuring the letter from P.O. Ackley who I am not familiar with. I would probably save your email responses if there weren’t so many of them. 🙂

    Well, I have devoted the holiday weekend like an ancient Ramses to building my pyramidal shaped reloading bench. I have just about consumed the many baskets of nuts and bolts that were required, but here was a job to make a strong man weep. My guess is that the whole thing is partly held together by a slight tension between all of the parts. So, once I got one part screwed in, I couldn’t fit the other screws. The solution, similar to mounting a scope, seemed to be in gently tightening everything together, but it was quite the repetitive process with one screw popping out as I applied pressure on another. It was like whack-a-mole. I’m proud of not losing my patience and hammering frantically away at the offending screws. Anyway, it looks like I’ve got the thing assembled more or less and am at long last about to mount the press.

    Matt61


    • Matt61,
      At some point, I did look back and wondered why I did not become a sniper. I had the aptitude on what I think are the more important fronts. On the other hand, I killed one bird, and lived to regret it. I honestly believe that my purpose in life does not include killing. As for martial arts. Many have told me that I survived that head-on collision because of my intense martial arts training and the physical condition required for it. I was knocked unconscious, but was able to control myself enough to think things through (I had no idea where I was or how I got there, but I figured out and accepted what must have happened). I tried to maintain control, even to the point of walking to, and getting into the ambulance on my own. Looking back, that was incredible, as I was effectively wearing the car.

      The training mattered a great deal. We were “encouraged” to practice our form as hard as we could (with kime), even when bleeding with inches of the bottom of our feet peeled off. Part of the beauty of really good training is that you learn what your body can really handle. You lose the inclination to panic, or lose focus.

      I understand that a student can hit a road-block. The question is how soon? We can practice giving up, just as we can practice trying hard. Trying and failing is not a sin. When you do seek help, the answers will make more sense after you’ve really tried. Regardless of subject, these are some of the valuable lessons that we get from our education. The real world won’t be much different. Learning to overcome ourselves provides valuable experiences and insights. I see education as practice for the real world. Subject matter isn’t as important as the process we allow ourselves to go through.

      Victor


  5. Summer of ’69.

    I sat on the back porch with Uncle Bill while the rest of the family went to plant flowers at the cemetery. My belly was full of what is still the most tender and flavorful roast beef I have yet to experience, the normal from Aunt Grace on any given Sunday. After dinner we had her strawberry preserves and butter on homemade bread. I always found it odd that they kept the butter in a cupboard rather than the refrigerator, but then it spread as easy as, well, warm butter. I can still see her drinking with a straw, as her hands shook too much from the palsy to drink directly from a glass.
    The surprise in all this is when Uncle Bill remarked he needed to take care of the horses or his father would be mad. He needed to get to the barn. Now since Bill had retired from the coal mines before I was even born and certainly his father had pasted long ago and there was not a barn let alone horses on their modest Appalachian property, I felt a bit uneasy. Clearly, he was starting to lose touch with reality, and I hope he would return to normal soon.

    So how does this relate to today’s post? My reaction was the same when I read that the statement that “Other underlevers — like the Beeman HW 97K — are never in contention when these two are on the line.” Personally I really can’t think of any two Springer’s that go toe to toe with buyers more than the HW97K and TX200. Forget about the Pro Sport, the standard school of thought when comparing the TX 200 to a HW 97k is the 200 will be better out of the box, and the 97K will match or better it with a tune. A tuned TX will probably win overall, but that will be the mostly costly route. By tuned, I am talking about a professional job, not a drop in kit with some lube. Hopefully this was just a joke to get a reaction from readers.



      • Volvo

        Oooo, testy! I knew your blood was boiling.

        Your insolence in the second paragraph will be forgiven for your eloquence in the first. Did Norman Rockwell have his easel set up in the front yard?

        Do you have a 97 currently?



  6. Singing Lead:

    The HW97K was sold for the revenue it could provide, like some 50 others. As I recall it was the last of the 5 tuned Springer’s, and those 5 were the last of the spring rifles, so yeah I guess I liked it a little. First of that elite group to leave was the FWB124D.

    When the dust settled a well used but incredibly hot shooting R7 stood in the rack in .20 caliber all alone. The combination of low street value and being an all around shooter kept it at home.

    Final four:

    FX Cyclone – this one came back home via the Kevin the Kind Hearted, who sold it back to me when he noticed I was in the market for a PCP again.

    HW50M – still in Paul Watts skilled hands, I have hopes it will be the show piece of my tiny collection so when other post photos I will have something worthy of the bandwidth.

    QB 79 – tuned by Rich in Mich in .22 caliber it gets 16- 18 ft lbs from a 9 oz paintball tank and about 500 shots from that $2.00 fill. He also set it up to run on HEPA if ever needed.

    R7- from above.


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