Testing the Air Arms Pro-Sport: Part 3
by B.B. Pelletier
Before we begin, we have an announcement. On July 7, we showed you a short video tour of Pyramyd Air’s new website. Today, we’re including a second tutorial that’ll show you some more new features. The site is still in the beta stage, and we’re making daily improvements based on customer feedback.
Now, let’s get to today’s report
Today is accuracy day, and I know some of you have been anticipating this part of the report very eagerly. We learned in Part 2 that the Air Arms Pro-Sport performs about the same as a TX200 Mark III out of the box and that it will speed up as it breaks in. We looked at the cocking linkage, which most shooters find to be awkward, but we also learned that the cocking effort of 40 lbs. is not that much greater than that of the TX200.
Of course, the trigger is identical to the one found on both the TX200 Mk III and the TX200 Hunter Carbine, and it would be difficult to find a better sporting airgun trigger anywhere. It’s based on the Weihrauch Rekord, but it has more adjustability that allows you to finesse the trigger exactly the way you like it.
A question of style
Up to this point, then, the main difference between a TX200 Mk III and a Pro-Sport is a question of style versus convenience. Do you like the sleek shape of the Pro-Sport enough to put up with the location of the cocking lever fulcrum? Many shooters will. So, then, is the Pro-Sport as accurate as the TX200? That’s what we’ll learn today.
I wanted to give the test rifle every chance to excel, so I mounted the fine Hawke 4.5-14x42AO Sidewinder scope on the gun. I gave the Hawke its very own test report back in March of this year and have used it on a couple other rifles that promised superlative accuracy. While it certainly won’t make an airgun more accurate, it will allow all the accuracy that’s present to emerge.
The accuracy test
I shot the rifle off a rest, indoors, at 25 yards to give it every possible advantage. The sight-in pellet was JSB’s Exact dome that weighs 8.4 grains. I had a feeling it would be an accurate pellet in this rifle — and it was!
This pellet fit the breech of the rifle very well — not too loose, but also not tight. This is important for a rifle that has a sliding breech because you often have the muzzle elevated when you load the pellet.
The best group I got with this JSB pellet was ten shots into 0.365 inches at 25 yards. There was a small amount of movement to the rifle when I held it and that no doubt enlarged the group. The movement was due to an odd balance (for me) to the rifle. It’s very light in the muzzle, and that allows the muzzle to move around more than I like.
Next, I tried Air Arms Falcon pellets. At just 7.3 grains, they’re very light and fast, yet they also fit the bore of the gun pretty well. If anything, they’re a trifle loose in the breech.
But at 25 yards, they grouped even better than the JSBs. I was still struggling to hold the rifle steady, so some of the 0.317 inches of group was due to my wobble, but it’s still a pretty impressive target.
Then, I thought I’d try some heavier pellets. First up was the Beeman Kodiak dome. But right from the start I could see that this is not the right pellet for the Pro-Sport, so I didn’t continue testing it. Next, I tried the JSB Exact dome that weighs 10.2 grains. It was another non-starter. Apparently, the Pro-Sport likes light pellets, and that’s all there is to it.
The last pellet I tried was the Crosman Premier that weighs 7.9 grains, and it proved to be the most accurate pellet of all in the test rifle. I shot only a single group that measured 0.256 inches, but it was even smaller than that until the final shot. For some reason, these Premier Lites act like they’re on rails when shot from this rifle, so I tried an experiment that I haven’t tried in a long time.
Shooting directly off the bag
I rested the rifle directly on the sandbag instead of on my hand and proceeded to shoot the first five shots into a hole that would have measured about one-tenth of an inch. Of course, the rifle has to be taken off the bag to cock every time, so each time it must be laid exactly where it was before or the point of impact will change. On shot six, I didn’t get it right, and I knew I wasn’t in quite the same place when I settled in. But I shot anyway and ruined the group. The next two shots were also outside the tight original group and the final shot went back to the original group, but hit on the edge and opened it up. The group doesn’t look very good, but the ramifications are wonderful! As long as you’re very careful to place the rifle in exactly the same place every time, the Pro-Sport is a spring gun you can shoot directly off a sandbag. I knew the TX200 could do it, but this is the first time I’ve tried it with the Pro-Sport.
Is the Pro-Sport a quiet air rifle? While I lack the instruments to measure the sound, I do have a good backup way of assessing whether the air rifle makes too much noise. Punky, one of our three cats, laid slightly to the right of the muzzle the entire time I shot this test. The only movement I detected from him was one time when he yawned.
Lest you think this was a setup, allow me to explain that you cannot pose a cat. They either do what their agents request or they do what they like, but they certainly don’t pose. For Punky to have slept through the entire shooting session was a good indication that this rifle is not loud.
At this point, I feel I can make a good judgement of the Air Arms Pro-Sport. It’s everything I remembered and perhaps something I didn’t remember. The power and accuracy are certainly in the same class as the TX200. What I didn’t remember was how light the muzzle is, or how much that affects my shooting. I guess I need the extra weight out at the muzzle to stabilize the rifle.
I’m so glad I got a chance to test this rifle the way that I did. Although it wasn’t a direct comparison with the TX200, it felt like one. I can certainly see the styling that many shooters find so attractive in the Pro-Sport. The TX is much blockier or club-like in that respect. I have always been a function-over-form kind of guy, and so the TX200 wins the day in my book. But I can see why so many shooters like the Pro-Sport.
You certainly cannot go wrong with this rifle. You may have to learn how to cock and shoot it. Once you do, you’ll have a rifle you can be proud of for the rest of your life.