by B.B. Pelletier
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.