Air Arms Pro-Sport: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Pro-Sport
Air Arms Pro-Sport.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Surprise
  • Surprise number 2
  • Sleek
  • Velocity
  • RWS Hobby
  • Air Arms Field domes
  • H&N Baracuda
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Surprise

Today we look at the power of the .22-caliber Air Arms Pro-Sport underlever air rifle. When I unboxed it I was amazed that the bluing is as deep and lustrous as ever! Air Arms hasn’t lost sight of what made them the top spring gun company in the world — their quality! Nobody can look at this air rifle and not be impressed! Not only is the bluing deep and flawless, the beech stock is finished just as well. Instead of the skip-line checkering that’s found on a TX200 Mark III these days, the Pro-Sport has a different type of skip-line checkering, and it is a unique variation. It’s laser-cut of course, but I defy anyone to prove it! It looks like genuine hand-cut checkering. I say it has to be laser cut because the rifle doesn’t cost enough to pay for hand-checkering.

Pro Sport checkering
The Pro-Sport checkering is a unique pattern of skip-line checkering. The diamonds look like they have been pressed into the wood, but the scroll lines look cut, so I am thinking they did it with a laser.

Surprise number 2

I couldn’t resist cocking the rifle and shooting a pellet. I did try to load a .177 until I remembered that this is a .22. Cocking was hard, just like I remembered, and, although the spring is strong, the main reason for hard cocking is that the fulcrum is located way back near the trigger. Also, this is a brand new air rifle and it needs to be shot some to break it in. After 300-400 shots the cocking should smooth out, though I doubt the effort will decrease. I’m going to measure the effort to cock the rifle for you today.

HOWEVER — and this is a big however — When I cocked it the first time I didn’t pull the underlever back far enough to set the safety! And, when I put the underlever back to be stored in the forearm, it wouldn’t go all the way in! This is very common with a new Pro-Sport.

Pro Sport lever
When the safety isn’t set the underlever will not go flush with the forearm like this, even though the rifle is cocked.

Pro Sport no safety
The rifle is cocked, but the safety was not set. It looks like this.

Pro Sport safety
By pulling the underlever back hard the safety sets and the underlever can then be stored. The set safety looks like this.

Is it a little hard to tell the difference between a safety that is unset and one that’s set? That will come with familiarity with the Air Arms spring rifles.

I tell you this because a couple people have reviewed their new rifles on the Pyramyd Air website and criticized them for not cocking all the way and setting the safety. They don’t seem to appreciate that closely-fitted metal parts need to wear in over time before they work smoothly. An analogy would be when you put new street tires on your car. They sound so quiet and feel so smooth on the road. A year later they have hardened up and sound like all other tires. The manufacturer can do nothing about that because if you wanted tires that were always soft and quiet your mileage would be reduced from 60,000 miles to perhaps 5,000 miles — maybe. Nobody wants that. My point is, learn how a quality spring gun behaves as it breaks-in and stop fussing about something you won’t notice in a few weeks.

Sleek

The Pro-Sport is sleek, there’s no getting around it. Not only is the underlever hidden in the forearm, there is no ratchet mechanism on the right side, because this rifle has no ratchet. There is no annoying three clicks as the sliding compression chamber is withdrawn. But there is still an anti-beartrap, so the rifle cannot be uncocked. Once it’s cocked it has to be shot.

Velocity

This is velocity day, so let’s get started. I will test it with three pellets — light, medium and heavy.

RWS Hobby

First to be tested was the RWS Hobby wadcutter. They averaged 760 f.p.s. in the Pro-Sport. They fit the breech about right — not too loose and not too tight. The low was 751 and the high was 764 f.p.s., so the extreme spread was 13 f.p.s. Not bad for a rifle right out of the box!

At the average velocity the Hobby pellet generated 15.27 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The firing behavior for this pellet was smooth.

Air Arms Field domes

Next to be tried was the 16-grain dome called the Diabolo Field from Air Arms. They fit the breech very loose. The average velocity was 616 f.p.s. and the spread went from a low of 604 to a high of 627 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 23 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generated 13.48 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. And the action buzzed when these were shot.

H&N Baracuda

The final pellet I tested was the H&N Baracuda with a 5.50mm head. These fit the breech snug, which is how I like them to fit. This 21.14-grain pellet averaged 580 f.p.s. in the Pro-Sport. The low was 575 and the high was 585 f.p.s., so a spread of 10 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generated 15.79 foot-pounds at the muzzle. Heavier pellets usually generate less power than light ones in spring rifles, so I think from a power standpoint this is a Goldilocks pellet.

Cocking effort

The cocking effort measured 48 pounds of effort. The scale’s needle spiked over 60 pounds during this cocking, but that was entirely due to some stiffness in the mechanism — just what I have been talking about. Cock it fast and the effort stays around 48 pounds.

Now, the cocking effort is something you will notice and though it may smooth out it probably won’t get a lot lighter. I hope to do something about that by tuning the rifle for smoothness and lower power. I know lower power is anathema to most shooters, but that usually disappears when they first cock a gun that’s set up right.

Trigger pull

The two-stage trigger, as the rifle came from the box, needed 6.7 ounces for stage one and 14.8 ounces to release the sear. Stage two is crisp right now. If I didn’t want to show you the trigger adjustments I would leave it exactly where it is. But the Air Arms trigger is an advance over the Rekord design, drawing on the German pattern and refining it to be more adjustable and sensitive. That will be in the next report, so for today I’m leaving the trigger as it came.

Summary

There is a lot to like in the Pro-Sport. The finish is excellent, the trigger is set up right from the factory, the firing behavior is smooth. But there are also things that can be better. The cocking is not only heavy, it’s awkward because of the location of the fulcrum. And there is still some vibration with certain pellets that I’m sure I can get rid of.

Of course the next step will be to mount a scope and test it for accuracy. Then it’s on to the tuning. We have a lot more to come with this one!

62 thoughts on “Air Arms Pro-Sport: Part 2

  1. B.B.

    When I saw a guy’s AA Prosport at the range my jaw dropped. Blueing that is really blackening, almost mirror polished.
    Unfortunately, gun is heavy, cocking is hard, and how is it really different from a TX Mk.3?? Wish they would make a new breakbarrel!!!!

    -Yogi


  2. B.B.,

    Just wondering if cocking this in a non traditional manner, as in placing the butt on top of your shoe and pushing down on the underlever, might make it easier for some people to use it?

    Siraniko


  3. Air Arms builds awesome sproingers. They shoot great and look great while doing it. I myself would have to have a walnut stock version though. I mean really. A beech stock on something like this is like buying a white Bugatti.


  4. I’m glad they don’t make a left hand version. After trying some FT Barracudas in the R10, this rifle seems harder
    to justify as a new purchase. For me, ergonomics matters, and for extended shooting, the sporter style just forces me to make too many compromises with my hold. I may try my hand at a custom stock for the R10, something with a much more verticle grip, like on the LGU. By the way, the FT ‘cudas shoot awesome, will get more.
    BTW, I broke the bolt handle on my tuned Bandit. What a POS. It was shooting so nice. Will try a rear pull design I guess, something like Crosman does. Springers win again!
    Have fun with the Prosport B.B.
    Rob


    • Rob,

      Just a me thing I guess, but I have not been willing to jump on the SPA airgun band wagon. I do not care whose name is put on it.

      Don’t anybody get me wrong as I have heard some good things about some of these. More and more though I am starting to hear about this breaking and that breaking. One vid reviewer took his bandit to the range only to have it fail immediately. He sent it back and they sent him a new one, but I myself would be hesitant to do such as unfortunately the Chinese have a habit of cutting back on quality control after a bit.


      • I had it in my head that I liked the scale of the SPA guns in .177.and would try for a ‘mini Prod’ project. But for .22, I would let Crosman do the heavy lifting. A beefier, time tested range of products, eh? For all the trouble to get the performance out of the valve, which has some nice design features, and then to integrate an internal SSG which has a cocked hammer indicator, modding the rear cap plus lightening the hammer and adding a good regulator, and changing the springs and T.P. ‘s only to be let down by a cheesy bolt handle, makes me realize a quality PCP pistol will cost actual money. I think its worth fixing, but a nice, scopeable FWB with some power is out of reach for me I guess.
        We get what we pay for?
        Rob


        • Rob,

          I do understand. There are many airguns I would like to give serious consideration to, but the price pushes them out of the running. Sometimes it is easier to build something up, and it can be quite an enjoyable experience, but you have to be careful of the base with which you start.

          What I usually end up doing is not buying any for a couple of years, all the time building up my brownie points. When the bank account can stand it and I have enough brownie points saved up I get ONE of the airguns I desire. Of course, the lower the base price, the sooner I can buy.

          Accessories and parts usually do not count against the finances for airgun purchasing, but they do sometimes take away brownie points.


          • RR,

            “brownie points”? LOL! 😉 I can relate. I find that the,… “both work, both contribute to common/immediate needs and goals,. but,… both have their own “splurge budget” worked best for me. Equal,. but partisan. Hey,… “whatever” gets the next air gun works too,…….

            While I doubt it to be your case,… I am reminded of a late? 60’s song in which the question was asked,… “How much do I give?”,… and the only answer was “More! More! More!”. CCR I do believe.

            From over the years here,… I have come to gather that you are not under any undue duress. So,… I only have a “little” bit of sympathy for you. 🙂 You have some nice ones in your collection!

            Chris


            • Chris,

              LOL! I do have a few nice airguns hanging around. After the purchase of the HM1000X, the compressor AND the tank, the number of brownie points required for a major expenditure on airguns went WAY up. That’s OK though as it helps me to focus on just what I really want and Kathy did buy me the Webley Service Mark II for Christmas a couple of years ago, so I cannot complain.

              Our money goes into one “pot”. We each have a weekly “allowance’ which we use for eating out, entertainment, etc. We can save it up for major expenditures, but it would take me a couple of years to save up for some of these gals. I pretty much have to rely on the brownie point system for any expensive airguns I may want.

              Fortunately there is only one more room available for permanent residence here at RidgeRunner;s Home For Wayward Airguns. I would like to see a nice .22 PCP move in. I have my eye on a couple of gals, but I am in no rush as there are plenty of other ladies around here to distract me. Kathy does a mighty fine job of that also. 😉


  5. BB ,

    A little TIAT on the rear spring guide and the effort is much smoother and the shot cycle will become vibration free . The factory grease is too thin to prevent vibration. Air-Arms cannot source TIAT in the UK . You are absolutely right about the break in period , I tell people to treat them like a pump shotgun , You will not hurt the gun. Quick motion to set the sears. The safety is our number one phone call on TX and Pro-Sport guns .


    • Gene,

      Know what? I may put some TIAT on that spring guide before I start accuracy testing! I will show folks how easy the Pro-Sport and TX 200 are to disassemble. And I would like to get rid of that tiny bit of vibration!

      As far as the cocking of the rifle, I have owned two in the past and I knew the problems of setting the safety on a new rifle. I also know that they do break in if people would just shoot them and give them a chance.

      B.B.


  6. Hey guys, I have one dumb question here:
    Has anyone shot one of these, or a TX200, in both .177 and .22 caliber; and if so, do you have a caliber preference; and can you tell me why (ex: more accurate or smoother)? (thank you in advance for your responses =>)



    • Dave
      I have had 3 TX 200’s now. One beech .177 right hand. One beech .22 right hand. I don’t have those anymore. And right now a .177 walnut left hand.

      All 3 shot well. Really no difference. The only thing I noticed that is different is the .177 caliber guns had a flatter trajectory than the .22 caliber gun. All it really did is made the .177’s easier to shoot because I didn’t need to learn the holds at different distances like I did with the .22 caliber Tx.

      Why you thinking about getting one? Do it. You won’t regret it. And I would say after owning the walnut one I have now to get walnut. Much prettier guns than the beech. Let us know if you (spring) for one. 🙂


      • Gunfun1,
        Thank you; I have been missing my old .177 HW97 from my Field Target days. I sold it to another Field Target shooter when our club lost our range. I was thinking about getting another one now that I have some room to shoot (I have a 40-yard range from my garage door to the base of an old tree, the tree being protected by my trap plus a wooden backstop). But from the reports B.B. has done on the TX200, it sounds like it might be even better. The only thing I wonder about is the retention of the underlever; I have seen some comments on the PA site about the lever drooping, where the HW97 was very positively retained. Did you have any issues with that, or did you beef up the retention spring in some way? Thanks again for your reply.
        Take care,
        dave


        • Dave
          No problems at all with the under lever retention on the Tx’s I had and have. The LGU did though. It would pop open when it was shot sometimes. Don’t know if Chris had that happen when he got it from me. It wouldn’t happen but once in awhile but it did happen.

          And I had a thumb hole stock 97 in .177 caliber. It was a nice gun. But I like the Tx’s and LGU better.

          So to say it this way. If I had a chance to own all of the under levers I just mentioned I would have them all.

          So does that make it any easier for you. 😉


          • “But I like the Tx’s and LGU better.”
            Gunfun1, OK; it looks like you and Chris and B.B. are all singing off the same sheet of music.
            And I noted what you and B.B. said to Titus (below) about the TX.
            *shrugs*
            I guess I need to start saving my pennies and using them to buy PA gift cards for myself. =>
            Thanks for the advice,
            take care,
            dave
            P.S. I just had a flashback; I recall a guy with a .177 caliber TX200 shooting like wildfire at a Field Target match…that ol’ boy knew his gun, and his gun could shoot!


            • Dave
              I think I can safely say that you will probably never get a lemon with a Tx 200. Maybe I’m wrong. But from what I have seen and read about them. They as in Air Arms can (consistently) make quality air guns.

              And I’ll say this. The Tx 200 is one air gun you should never miss out owning. Every air gunner needs to experience one at some point in thier life. They are just cool guns all the way around. No doubt in my mind.


              • “The Tx 200 is one air gun you should never miss out owning.”
                This is a good opinion from an experienced owner…making me want one even more.
                I did see one Air Arms gun here at the Base, and I was impressed by the quality of it! =>



                • Chris
                  I don’t know why I don’t pull the trigger on getting one of those.

                  They are cool bb guns. It just seems that other interesting guns come up and I don’t get one. As I keep saying maybe one day.

                  Speaking of interesting. That full auto pellet gun came tonight. I will be opening it first thing in the morning. And found something interesting out about it. The brand is Air Ordinance and it’s made in the same factory as the Tipman paint ball guns. And it’s made in the US. I believe Indiana if I remember right.


            • Dave,

              The LGU lever would pop open on occasion for some reason. It definitely would throw the shot. I found that by squeezing the lever closed (and then further past) and let it “pop” back did the trick 100% of the time.

              I think that the LGU shot better more often, but did not look anywhere as good as the TX. The TX was making a bit more power as I recall. Really, the accuracy would swap off between the 2. Both very close and both very fine. Again?,… I would go for the TX.

              Chris


              • “Again?,… I would go for the TX.”
                Chris, OK, that’s you, Gunfun1, and B.B. all saying the same thing, that the TX200 is about as good as it gets for a nice springer…thank you all for the inputs…time to start saving $$. =>



                • I’ll add my vote, FWIW — I have both the LGU and the TX 200, both in .22. I really like them both, but If I could only have one, I would get the TX. By the way, I bought my TX and ProSport of the reman /refurb sale list at P.A. I had them do the 10 for $10, just to make sure they worked well, and both rifles looked brand new when I got them. There’s a bit of savings on those returned items.

                  Jim M.


  7. Hello BB and Fellow Airgunners
    This Air Arms Pro Sport test really caught my attention. I have only ever shot one in .177 about ten years ago when I was still shooting right handed. I too was disappointed with the difficult cocking mechanism, but assumed it was merely an issue to be overcome with practice and time. I did find it to be very accurate, and pleasing to the eye. The person who owned it eventually sold it because of the awkward, his words, cocking. It’s interesting how BB always described the trigger for the TX200, and Pro Sport as being a more refined version of the venerable Rekord. As I own a number of Weihrauchs with Rekord triggers, I often wondered how they could be made better. I’ll be looking forward to the next instalments as BB addresses both the trigger, and the cocking effort. gain it is a beautiful airgun, but why no left hand version?
    I’m about to purchase a TX200 lefty, in .22cal and walnut stock. After 10+ years of drooling over countless videos, and pictures, as well as listening to BB sing of it’s praises, I’m finally taking the plunge. This does mean a PCP will have to wait a while longer before acquiring a permanent home in my airgun safe. Safe shooting to all.
    Ciao
    Titus



    • Who is that classy gent demonstrating the artillery hold in that video? =D
      Very cool; thanks, Shootski. And thank you, B.B.;
      I learned a few more things by watching that video several times. =>




      • Ed & B.B.,
        While perhaps not a direct comparison, I note that my (factory, unturned) HW97 shot 7.9 grain Crosman Premier pellets at 870 fps for 13.2 ft-lbs of energy. In B.B.’s velocity testing of the TX200 Mark III here:
        https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2013/09/tx200-mark-iii-part-2/
        I note that he is getting 15 to 16 ft-lbs of energy…significantly more than my HW97. Since the guns are similar in size and weight, it appears that at least some of that increase in power is due to the better efficiency of having the compression chamber and barrel centered in the TX200.
        Wishing a blessed day to all,
        dave


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