Air Arms Pro-Sport: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Pro-Sport
Air Arms Pro-Sport.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • The plan
  • Setup
  • BB’s quick tip
  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy
  • JSB Exact Jumbo
  • Beeman Devastator
  • JSB Hades
  • H&N Baracuda with 5.50mm heads
  • The million-dollar group
  • Summary

To my US readers around the world — Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I shoot the first accuracy test with the Air Arms Pro-Sport. It’s the first of many because of all that I have planned for this rifle

The plan

After this accuracy test, that I will explain in a moment isn’t a real accuracy test, I plan to tear the Pro-Sport down and tune it for ultimate smoothness. If I can get it up to 12 foot pounds that will be fine, but a smooth-shooting rifle that is light to cock is all I’m after. The energy is a bonus. I’m also going to devote a report telling you how to adjust the trigger. This Air Arms trigger can be adjusted beyond a regular Rekord for lightness and crispness.

I will also use this pro-Sport as a testbed for the Meopta MeoPro Optika6 3-18X56-scope I have been testing on the Air Arms S510XS Ultimate Sporter I have been testing. Meopta thinks this scope is rugged enough for springers, but they don’t have experience with spring airguns, so I volunteered to be a test subject for them. Many people think that the heavy recoil of a .50 BMG rifle is severe, but the two-way recoil of a spring-piston air rifle can be worse. It’s different than firearm recoil and that’s what makes it so hard to handle. The Pro-Sport is smooth enough that I think there will be no reason for concern, but that’s why we test, isn’t it?

Once the rifle is tuned I plan to test it for accuracy again in my conventional way — with 10-shot groups. Today is just getting me a baseline against which to compare. I want to know if this Pro-Sport is as accurate as I have come to expect from Air Arms. If I’m lucky I will also find one or more pellets that are worth testing further.

Setup

The Meopta scope is going to be used in a different test soon, so I didn’t want to mount it on the Pro-Sport today. So I mounted the new UTG 4-16×44 AO OP3 Compact Scope that was last used on the FX Dreamlite rifle. This scope is a beauty, and I had it jacked up in the back with shims because the Dreamlite I’m testing is such a massive drooper. So I knew it would be more than good enough for this Pro-Sport. And it was!

BB’s quick tip

The Pro-Sport is a recoiling rifle that needs a scope stop. The scope I’m using was formerly on a PCP that did not need a scope stop, so I adjusted the stop pin up and out of the way. Rather than to take the scope out of the rings to lower the scope stop pin in the rear ring I used a trick I’ve been using for years. I put a separate screw (actually another scope stop pin) in the rear hole on the Pro-Sport, then I slid the rings back to it and jammed it tight before tightening the rings down. Recoil moves scopes and mounts to the rear on rifles like the Pro-Sport, and this pin in the hole prevents that. It isn’t pretty and I wouldn’t leave it there permanently, but for today’s quick test it works well.

Pro-Sport scope stop
This is my quick scope stop. The loose screw is in the back hole on the Pro-Sport, and I have used the fat end of the screw for more bearing surface. The rear ring is pushed against it and eventually the recoil will tighten things further.

Pro-Sport scoped
The 4-16 UTG scope is sized perfectly for the Pro-Sport.

The test

Today I shot 5-shot groups from a rest at 25 yards. Only five shots because the Pro-Sport is so hard to cock and also because I wanted to test a lot of different pellets. Until I tell you differently all shots were fired with the rifle rested directly on the sandbag. Let’s get started. Once I sighted in I made no more changes to the scope until the final group.

Sight-in

I shot two shots from 12 feet and determined that the rifle would be on paper at 10 meters. Then I backed up to 10 meters and refined the sight picture with several more shots before backing up to 25 yards.

JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy

The first pellet I tested was also the one I sighted-in with, the JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy. Five of them went into a group measuring 0.402-inches between centers at 25 yards. While that is a wonderful group for many spring-piston air rifles, for this one it’s only okay.

Pro-Sport JSB heavy group
Five JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets went into 0.402-inches at 25 yards. A Pro-Sport can do better.

JSB Exact Jumbo

Next up were 5 JSB Exact Jumbo pellets. They made a group that measured 0.379-inches between centers at 25 yards. Now we are talking. I expect even better, but this is a pretty good start.

Pro-Sport JSB Jumbo group
Five JSB Exact Jumbo pellets went into 0.379-inches at 25 yards.

Beeman Devastator

Next I tried a group of obsolete Beeman Devastator pellets. They were a trick hollowpoint pellet that never made it. Five of them made a 0.531-inch group at 25 yards. They are not right for the Pro-Sport, plus they were very hard to load.

Pro-Sport Devastator group
Five Beeman Devastators went into 0.531-inches at 25 yards.

JSB Hades

The next pellet I tried was the new JSB Hades hollowpoint. This pellet weighs the same 15.89 grains as the JSB Exact Jumbo, so it should perform close to the same, but not in this Pro-Sport. Five went into 0.766-inches at 25 yards. Yes, four of them are in 0.385-inches but I watched them shoot and didn’t get a good feeling that they were right for this rifle.

Pro-Sport Hades group
Five JSB Hades pellets made this 0.766-inch group at 25 yards.

H&N Baracuda with 5.50mm heads

The last pellet I tested was the H&N Baracuda with a 5.50mm head. I had a strange occurrence with this one. The first pellet went to the left of the target, but the second one landed in the black almost three-quarters of an inch away. Then pellets three through five went to where the first pellet hit. It was so strange that I thought perhaps the wrong pellet had gotten into the tin for the second shot. So I shot a 6th pellet — vowing that if it went where the other 4 went I would call it a group. It did and I’m calling it a 5-shot group that measures 0.454-inches between centers. Not great but not shabby, either.

Pro-Sport Baracuda group
Five H&N Baracuda pellets went into 0.454-inches at 25 yards. The one pellet in the black at the right was part of this group, but it went so far away that I’m not counting it.

The million-dollar group

At the end of the test I wanted to do something to verify that this Pro-Sport is just as accurate as I believe it to be. So I chose today’s most accurate pellet, which was the 15.89-grain JSB Exact Jumbo dome, and I adjusted the sights to get it into the bull. I didn’t want it in the center of the bull, as that is my aim point, and with this super-sharp UTG scope I can see it clearly.

For this group I used the artillery hold instead of resting the rifle directly on the bag. And I learned everything I needed to know from this one group.

The last 5 JSB Exact Jumbo pellets went into as group that measures 0.49-inches between centers. So what? I shot three smaller groups just today. Why is this one so good? I’ll explain.

The second pellet went through the first hole without enlarging it. The little devil standing on my left shoulder told me to take a picture of it and call it a 5-shot group. Fortunately for all of us, the angel standing on my right shoulder won out.

Shot three landed apart from the group to the left. It made the group as big as it is. Then shot four landed above the first two shots and I figured the artillery hold wasn’t working. But shot five passed through the hole made by the first two pellets, giving me a three-shot hole that measures 0.056-inches between centers. That told me two things.

Pro-Sport Best group
This last group is the best one because of what it showed me. Three shots are in that hole on the bottom right, and they measure 0.056-inches between centers.

First, the artillery hold is the best hold for this rifle, but I must not have been doing it the same way every time. Second, this Air Arms Pro-Sport air rifle is dead-nuts accurate! It’s just like a TX200 Mark III — and you know how I feel about them!

This is going to be a spectacular series because I’m testing a spectacular air rifle and I’m sparing no expense to doll it up with the best accessories and to tune it for the best results. I’m going to take my time doing this because I want to do it right the first time.

Summary

I had a lot of reservations about testing an Air Arms Pro-sport because of my history with them. But after shooting reader Jeff Cloud’s Pro-Sport, I knew they could be tuned to be fantastic. So I relented to the requests many readers have submitted over the years.

The Pro-Sport is a well-built spring gun that’s accurate right out of the box. It’s gorgeous to look at, it has a superb trigger and as you can hopefully see today it is accurate. And, to quote Al Jolson, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

40 thoughts on “Air Arms Pro-Sport: Part 3


  1. B.B.,

    Like the TX200,…. there is some little inconsistency in the hold that you must find. I did the Vortek HO tune on the TX. I remembered measuring the spring length, the coil count and the wire diameter,…. which were all more than stock. I am not sure that the kit will give you any lighter cocking effort,.. which was something that you said that you sought. As for power, there was a slight increase. As for smoothness,… I felt that it smoothed it out a bit more.

    Perhaps give then a call and see what their take on it is. I called them when researching mine and found them to quite friendly and helpful. Of course I inquired about any power increase and they were quick to play that down. The kit is made to tame spring vibration, but in doing so,… the spring must be a bit “beefier” in order to overcome the added drag of the guide tubes and not decrease in power,…. or something to that effect. There is also a soft-ish rubber washer inside that sits at the breech end of the kit. 😉

    Happy Thanksgiving to one and all,…….. Chris (my family one will be on Sat., so just chillin’ till then) 🙂



  2. B.B.

    Wishing you the best for Thanksgiving. This blog is one of the things that I give thanks for.

    Boy that scope is pointing down a fair bit. I bet you can see the muzzle tip! On some forums I hear people brag about 1 inch groups at 25 yards, I have to laugh.
    When you lighten things up, will you still be using 16 grain pellets or go to a lighter pellet?

    Happy Turkey Day everyone!

    -Yogi


  3. First.
    Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

    And next BB and all. This is a good time to bring this up. The other day I mentioned that the Air Ordinance gun I had came with 3 tins of these pellets.
    https://www.pyramydair.com/s/p/Gamo_Match_22_Cal_15_43_Grains_Wadcutter_250ct/164

    When you check them out you will notice they are wadcutters. And they are priced pretty low. It is a tin of 250 bit still under $10 for 500 pellets.

    But these pellets produced .600″ groups at 50 yards out of my modded Maximus that has a drop down air resivor adapter and 3000 psi 13 cubic inch regulated at 1200 psi hpa bottle. It’s the only .22 caliber air gun I have right now. So don’t know how they would be in a springer. But I was shocked when I was shooting the 10 shot group.

    I’m going to order 4 tins on my next PA order to see if I get the same results from tin to tin. If so they will be my new pesting pellet for that gun. Been looking for a good flat nosed pellet to shoot out to 50 yards for pesting. Oh and I shot at a old metal pizza pan out at about 40 yards and it made a bigger hole than the 15.89 grain JSB dome pellets and the Hades pellets I have. If the other tins I get repeat accuracy they will be the ticket for me.

    And BB the reason I brought that up. Maybe if you get your hands on some of them cheaper wadcutters you can give them a try in the gun your reporting on today. I think it would be interesting to see if they do group well in a nice springer. And trust me if I had a .22 caliber springer I would be trying right now.

    Ok I’m done. Back to the Thanksgiving cooking.


  4. Those are nice groups, and from a .22 no less! And the scope fits, but wont that pin mar the scope ring?
    A spring gun that shoots like that is a great feeling!
    Happy Turkey day!


  5. BB,
    If you were using a BKL one piece scope mount like this https://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/BKL_1_Pc_Mount_30mm_Rings_3_8_or_11mm_Dovetail_4_Long_6_Base_Screws_Matte_Black/2913, you wouldn’t need no stinking stop screw. I abhor those stop screws, because many times they damage the appearance of the rifle by elongating that hole. I use BKL and nothing else on my springers, and I’ve never had a scope slip yet. I don’t shoot magnum level springers though.

    Happy Thanksgiving BB and everyone.
    Jeff


    • Cloud 9,

      I have quite a few BKL rings and I use them all the time in tests.

      In THIS test I wanted to use THIS scope that was already set up in different rings that had been shimmed. I wanted zero scope mounting issues so I could get right intro the test.

      B.B.


      • BB when I needed a scope stop I just cut off the ring flush on a cheap package mounted scope and put it behind one of the rings holding the scope.. The guy is right about a stop screw hole getting bigger. On a Diana 48 it happened and wore a slot into the RWS aluminum peep site


    • Those are good mounts. I get the UTG one piece mount drill and tap two more holes get 2 screws from the hardware store bring it to 5 total. aluminum very easy to tap and the UTG rings 15 bucks


  6. B.B.,

    I wish I’d known you were interested in this, as I would have offered up my ProSport for you to play with – it’s a .22. By the way, I’ve been buried — as usual — but I will get the R10 off to you very soon.

    On another note — I showed my sons a couple of videos of you, Rossi, Jim Chapman, and Tyler, at the round table. The boys think it’s “very cool” that I have met you famous YouTubers!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and all the readers here. May everyone have a wonderful day. God bless.

    Jim M.


  7. B.B.,

    I have a spreadsheet I started a few years back, and I just looked to see what data I have on my ProSport and TX200 — both in .22. Turns out I have only chronied one pellet in the TX200, but have data on four through the ProSport. I’m attaching a screenshot of the ProSport data. The one pellet I have recorded for the TX is the 16.0gr Air Arms Diabolo Field. A ten-shot string gave an average of 599.8fps, Std Dev. of 12.16, and 12.78fpe. The extreme spread was 40fps. I’m thinking it just wasn’t broken in at that time.

    Jim M.



      • Oh wow! I hadn’t read Part 2 yet. Yes, big difference. I do not believe they could be UK models. I bought both my ProSport and my TX from Pyramyd. Both of them were refurb/reman sale items. I bought them back when Tyler still worked the sales desk. He and I spoke several times on the phone about different rifles. If I remember correctly, I think he may have even done the 10 for $10 on these himself.

        Jim


  8. B.B.,

    I have an off-topic question — does the SIG ASP20 Whiskey combo come with scope end-cap covers? Mine did not have any when it arrived. I got it in August, and kept forgetting to call /write P.A. to ask about them. I did finally email yesterday morning– their phone lines seemed overwhelmed yesterday — but did not know how long it might take to get a response that way.

    Thank you.

    Jim M.




        • Jim M.,

          You would think so but scope manufacturers like MeOpta and Schmidt & Bender have them as accessories. Some of it may have to do with individual requirements that different cap/cover designs provide. Some folks like the Bikini style, some the screw in, others like see through, and still others like ones with dope sheet holders and others the slip on flip-up.

          A wealth of choices in accessories just for scopes;
          all at a cost to we the buyers.

          Happy Thanksgiving!

          shootski


          • Shootski,

            While obviously not the norm,…. at least (something) should be supplied. The UTG’s and the Athlon all came with them. The UTG I have on the .25 M-rod has an eye cup/shroud on it and I use a cheap sandwich baggie and a binder clip to cover it. The cheap Center Point has see throughs I do believe.

            Q: On accessories,… I have an objective extension for the Athlon,… but wonder if the “honey comb” shades/disc would do as well or better for sun/glare blocking? Less weight and bulk. Thoughts?

            And,… if you are looking for “add-ons” for your new scope,… (make sure they even exist) before you buy the scope. For instance,… there seems to be no “ready to go” side wheel available for the Athlon,.. a feature I like. Eye shades? Good luck. Magnification levers? Again,… good luck. Those knobs are all unique and what you buy has to fit well/perfect. Oh well,…. 🙂 It has been awhile since I looked,… but that was the case when last I looked.

            Happy Turkey Day to you too,…. Chris

            Speaking of which,… Rush Limbaugh had a interesting history lesson on the program yesterday regarding the Pilgrims and the origin of Thanksgiving. While explaining,… it seems they switched from a socialism society, at the start (failed) and found that a free market system worked much better. Mmmm? I am no historian by anyone’s account,… but I found it to be quite relative to current day.

            Chris


            • Chris USA,

              HAPPY FRIENDSGIVING!
              Q: On accessories,… I have an objective extension for the Athlon,… but wonder if the “honey comb” shades/disc would do as well or better for sun/glare blocking? Less weight and bulk. Thoughts?
              They are often refered to as ARD (Anti-Reflective Devices,) Flash Kills and Glare Suppressors. Those refer to what things various folks want them to accomplish. All of those things they do to various degrees. If you need a short Sun Shade for some real reason they do that well and a much shorter ARD will do the job of a much longer shade. Folks that don’t want to give away their positions caused by the flash off their big objective lens use them day and sometimes at night. Others believe that they keep game from being spooked by the EYEBALL! The downside of ARDs is you loose some light gathering, a little image clarity, and the loss of protection from barrel heat mirage on firearms.

              As far a Pilgrims, I’m not really big on them, I came over on a boat and no Indians met us! As far as Socialism I have no truck with the Right Wing nor the Left Wing forms of that religion! I prefer the Libertarian point of view within the framework of a Republic. God bless FOREVER the Bill of Rights especially the 1st, 2nd and 9th Amendments! More folks need to pay attention to the Ninth Amendment especially our politicians and beaurocrats!

              I’m waiting for my Statler Special Sandwich made with the leftover turkey!

              shootski



  9. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Has anyone taken a close look at the new Winchester pellets? They used to be made in China, but now it says they’re made in Spain on the tin. They don’t seem like they weigh 9.8 grains either. As with the pellets from China; though, the hollow points seem to get better accuracy than the domes. Good enough for just general shooting but not good enough for field targets so far.

    Brent


    • Brent
      I use them in my .177 caliber plinking guns because they are pretty accurate and the price is good.

      Like you say. They aren’t the most accurate pellet but they are accurate enough for what I use them for.

      And yep the new ones that are made in Spain are better quality than the older China made ones. The Daisy wadcutters are like that now too.



  10. B.B. and USA Readership,

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING! May you all be blessed with health, happiness, and enough wealth to have some left over for the regular airgunitis fix!

    For everyone and B.B. if I get a spring piston powerplant air rifle the SIG Air ASP20 and this rifle in .22 are probably the top contenders. I look forward to this series as well as learning more about the MeOpta scope.

    shootski


  11. BB,
    I can only assume you’re going to drop a Vortek kit in there. Could I suggest trying both the HO and 12 kit? In my 97k in 177 the 12 kit is just as smooth as the HO kit in ,22. So that works out to 12fpe on the 177 and 17fpe on the 22, but same smoothness, and perhaps the 22 is a bit smoother.


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