Air Arms Pro-Sport: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Pro-Sport
Air Arms Pro-Sport.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • The inspiration
  • The kit
  • Installing this kit
  • Disassembly
  • Examine the parts
  • Factory top hat
  • Install the PG3 mainspring/li>
  • Spring guides very tight!
  • Assemble the piston and spring
  • Compression chamber is buttoned
  • Finished assembly
  • Discussion
  • Cocking effort
  • Firing behavior
  • Velocity with Hobbys
  • Additional benefit
  • Velocity with H&N Baracuda
  • Summary

Today is the day, airgunners. This is the day we open the .22-caliber Air Arms Pro-Sport we are testing and install a Vortek PG3 tune kit. It’s a drop in one-for-one replacement powerplant kit that promises to lower the cocking effort of the rifle and smooth out the shot cycle. The power output is 12 foot-pounds in .22 caliber which would be a 11.9-grain RWS Hobby leaving the muzzle at 674 f.p.s. And someone says, “Gee, BB, don’t you know you’re not supposed to tune for LESS velocity?”

Yes, I do. And this is exactly what I want. Even if I only get 625 f.p.s. with the Hobbys it’s what I want. Because I’m going for smooth — not power.

The inspiration

The initial inspiration was a Venom Mach II rifle that was owned by Trooper Walsh. That was the rifle that the Pro-Sport was built to copy, and it was a sheer delight to cock and fire. However, at $2,000 in the 1990s, it was an airgun I could never afford to own.

Then a few months ago I happened to shoot Jeff Cloud’s Pro-Sport. Once again it was a sheer delight to cock and shoot. It reminded me of the Mach II of my past. Only this rifle is still being produced, and at a far more affordable price. And Vortek makes the spring kit that tames the beast,

The kit

The kit consists of a new mainspring, a spring guide, a “top hat” that is a forward spring guide living inside the piston, two spacer washers, a small tub of grease and instructions.

Pro-Sport PG3 kit
The PG3 kit consists of a new mainspring, a white spring guide, a black “top hat” forward spring guide for inside the piston, two washers that can be used as spacers to increase the preload of the mainspring , a small (but way more than adequate) tub of grease and the instructions.

The instructions tell how to install the kit. There are several options that can be applied, and the instructions address them. They do not tell you how to disassemble the rifle.

Installing this kit

I found this kit very easy to install, but before you jump in with both feet, remember that I have been doing things like this for decades. What seems easy to me may not seem that easy to you. I do find Air Arms spring guns easier to work on than any other brand for several reasons. First, they are so well made that you seldom if ever encounter a problem from the manufacturer. Second, neither the TX200 Mark III nor the Pro-Sport require a mainspring compressor to safely open the powerplant.

I had never opened a Pro-Sport before this day, so what you are about to see was as new to me as it will be to many of you. But the Pro-Sport only differs from the TX200 in a few small ways that aren’t a hindrance, and I know TXs very well.

Disassembly

First remove the barreled action from the stock. This is straightforward, except that both of the triggerguard screws need to be removed and the triggerguard with them. Both screws are attached to the barreled action. The rear one attaches to the rear of the trigger unit.

To get the action out of the stock the underlever needs to be opened (not cocked — just pulled away from the barrel) to slip out of the cocking slot of the stock. Once the action is out you can open it by unscrewing one bolt. It’s the bolt that the front triggerguard screw attaches to. It has an 11mm head and comes right out, but here is a tip. If you want to find out how much preload the mainspring is under you can press the back of the end cap on the action against a padded place on your bench while unscrewing the bolt by hand (once it’s loose). The pressure you have to press the action down with to make this bolt loose enough to turn by hand is the amount of preload the spring is under. The factory mainspring took about 40 pounds of downward pressure to turn the bolt.

Pro-Sport bolt out
When the bolt is removed the trigger comes out. It’s pushed by the mainspring, and this is as far as it goes. This is why a compressor is not needed.

Slide the trigger out of the gun and then slide out the mainspring and spring guide, followed by the piston. Because the Pro-Sport has a sliding compression chamber, the piston is not held in the gun at this point. If it doesn’t slide right out it may help to pull the underlever down smartly and the piston should come sliding out.

Pro-Sport mainspring and piston
The trigger slides out and so does the mainspring and piston.

Examine the parts

I looked at the parts at this point. I expected to see perfectly machined and finished parts because this is an Air Arms airgun. I was not disappointed. The spring was lubricated with their grease in what looked like the correct amount. Their grease is thinner than the Tune-In-A-Tube I plan to use, so a lot of vibration should disappear when I install and lube the new spring.

Pro-Sport mainspring lube
Air Arms lubed the mainspring perfectly. But their grease is thinner than TIAT.

Factory top hat

A top hat is a forward spring guide that lives inside the piston. It is engineered to take up all the slack in the inner diameter of the mainspring, so it doesn’t vibrate on the piston rod when the gun shoots. It can also add significant weight to the piston, which makes the gun more efficient with heavier pellets. I could see a top hat inside the piston by shining a bright flashlight inside.

The Vortek kit comes with its own top hat, so the factory part must be removed. It didn’t just slide out, so I used a 4 by 4 wooden post and whacked the rod end of the piston down on the post to jar it loose. One rap was all it took.

Pro-Sport top hat
One whack of the end of the rod against a post was all it took to get the top hat (left) out of the piston.

Install the PG3 mainspring

The PG3 mainspring has a short black Delrin top hat (forward spring guide) on one end. That goes into the piston. But that part has three notches on its rim for the end of the mainspring to rest in. These three are at different heights, so each puts a different amount of preload on the mainspring. I selected the lowest notch to put the least amount of preload on the spring.

Pro-Sport spring in top hat
See the end of the spring in the rounded notch? That determines the preload on the mainspring. This is the lightest setting.

Spring guides very tight!

I must comment here that both spring guides are very tight on the spring. The black one that’s inside the coils needed padded pliers to turn it so the end of the spring could go into the right notch. The white rear guide goes around the outside of the spring and is also tight. There was just a bit of Vortek lubricant on that end of the spring. I removed it because I am lubing with TIAT.

Tight spring guides are an airgun tuner’s trick for removing vibration. They are more difficult to control in manufacture because coiled steel springs don’t like to hold tight tolerances, and in this case both the OD and ID of the spring have to be precise. So, I have a lot of respect for the PG3 kit!

Assemble the piston and spring

Now I tried to slide the piston and new spring back into the gun. It should slip right in, but for some reason it stopped at the entrance to the sliding compression chamber. I fiddled with it for a minute and couldn’t get it to slide in, so I removed the sliding compression chamber to slide the piston into it outside the gun. Just one Allen screw connects it to the cocking linkage.

Pro-Sport Allen screw
Just one Allen screw (arrow) holds the sliding compression chamber inside the rifle. Remove it and the chamber slides right out.

Compression chamber is buttoned

I was surprised to see three button bushings at the front of the compression chamber. They keep the front of the chamber centered in the spring tube and offer little resistance to the chamber sliding when the rifle is cocked.

Pro-Sport chamber
The Pro-Sport sliding chamber (bottom) has three button bearings around its circumference to center the chamber in the spring tube. The smaller hole on the right is for the Allen screw.

Finished assembly

Once the chamber was out of the gun I was able to insert the piston into it and then slide everything back into the gun. The new mainspring is shorter than the factory spring, so there was even less preload on the end cap when I inserted the bottom bolt.

Discussion

It took me a total of 40 minutes to install this kit, start to finish. At least 15 of those minutes were spent taking pictures. I had to wipe my hands before handling the camera for each photo And, when I say start to finish I mean starting with an untuned rifle and finishing by shooting the rifle after the installation. You always test a spring gun by shooting it after the tune because sometimes the parts aren’t in correctly. Shooting is the only way to find out.

The rifle fired the first time and I knew I had hit the nail on the head. It now cocks with much less effort and fires very smoothly.

Cocking effort

The factory-tuned rifle cocked with 48 pounds of force. Not only is that a lot, the fulcrum of the underlever is located in a place that makes working the underlever particularly difficult.

After the PG3 kit was installed the cocking effort is reduced to just 35 pounds. It’s still not light, but it’s far easier to cock this Pro-Sport now than before.

Firing behavior

The Pro-Sport is now calm when it fires. The factory rifle buzzed a little, but that is all gone, as I knew it would be. The TIAT guaranteed the buzz would leave, and the tightness of the PG3 parts assured me that I could use the TIAT sparingly. This rifle is now a delight to shoot!

Velocity with Hobbys

And now for the big test. I chose the RWS Hobby to test the rifle. In factory trim the Pro-Sport launches Hobbys at 760 f.p.s., which is good for 15.27 foot-pounds at the muzzle. The spread was 13 f.p.s.

As the rifle is now tuned the Hobby averages 633 f.p.s. for an energy of 10.59 foot-pounds at the muzzle. The spread of the 10-shot test string went from 628 to 639 f.p.s, a difference of 11 f.p.s.

Additional benefit

Not only is the Pro-Sport now easier to cock, it sets the safety every time. Because the cocking effort is reduced, the lever pushes the piston far enough back to set the safety without fail. It even set when I conducted the cocking effort test on the scale.

Velocity with H&N Baracuda

On my velocity test with the factory spring the H&N Baracuda pellets with a 5.50mm head were the most powerful, when they should have been the least. All things being equal, a lighter pellet produces more muzzle energy than a heavier one in a spring gun — or at least that is how it used to be. But the factory top hat I removed from the piston was weighted, which made the piston’s weight greater, and I felt this gun was made to shoot heavier pellets.

Since I removed that heavy top hat and replaced it with a Delrin one that has very little weight, I guessed the Baracuda pellet would no longer be more powerful than the Hobby. To produce 12 foot-pounds this 21.14-grain pellet has to travel 506 f.p.s. I guessed it would average around 475 f.p.s., which is good for the same 10.59-foot pounds as the Hobby. But that was wrong, too. With the PG3 tune as I applied it Baracudas now average 437 f.p.s., which is good for 8.97 foot-pounds. The spread went from a low of 433 to a high of 443 f.p.s. with is 10 f.p.s.

Summary

This Vortek PG3 tune kit did exactly what I wanted. The Tune-In-A-Tube slowed things down below the 12 foot -pound spec, but I couldn’t care less. I finally have the sweet and mellow Pro-Sport I was after!

The next step will be to mount the Meopta MeoPro Optika6 3-18X56-scope and see what she can do. I have very high expectations! After that — who knows?

53 thoughts on “Air Arms Pro-Sport: Part 5

  1. B.B.,

    During reassembly where would one put those washers if one wanted to slightly increase the power output of this tune? How much of a difference in cocking effort and power output would the addition of the washers produce? Just curious, since you didn’t install them now do you plan to later on?

    Siraniko


  2. B.B.

    To finish up the review, how about exploring the other 2 notches in the PG3 kit? Maybe one notch is full OEM power, second notch is the desired 12 fpe, and the third one(the one you have it set on) is good for 10.5pfe.
    This way you have a full report on the Pro-Sport AND the PG3 kit.
    Happy Holidays,

    -Yogi


  3. BB,

    The Vortek HO kit for the .22 TX200 was very much the same. Some differences though.

    -Note the blue rubber washer in the bottom of the white outer spring guide. That is there to cushion the spring end. Mine had that. It is a special compound, per when I spoke with them.

    -The top hat did not have the notches. I am not sure yours does. To me, with spring rotation, I would think that it will always seek the lowest notch. (( Did the instructions state an adjustability option at this point? ))

    -Did you install the washers? My understanding is that these provide a rotational spring bearing point to minimize twist forces entering the stock. (( Did the instructions specify added power options with use of these? )) Note, this is where I used the Torrington bearing,.. 2 hard washers with a needle bearing in-between in place of these washers.

    Time is short now (work day) but those are my thoughts. Glad you like the outcome! 🙂

    Good Day to you and to all,……… Chris


  4. B.B.

    Sorry a bunch of other questions:
    How is the Vortek spring different from the OEM one, # of coils, ID, OD, wire diameter.

    If you set the power level at the second notch and then left the gun cocked overnight would this bring you back to 10.5 fpe?

    -Y


    • Yogi,

      The Vortek spring is made of thinner wire than the factory spring. I didn’t measure the wire diameter. I also did not measure the ID or OD, but I did point out that the Vortek sporing is nailed on both spring guides.

      Your question about leaving the gun cocked overnight is about scragging the spring. I have found that just shooting the gun normally does that ion a few hundred shots.

      B.B.






  5. Always like a look inside!

    Have a couple of 12 fpe kits for the TX. One was installed when I got the rifle and I remember it being very calm.
    I put in the factory FAC spring to try it out, think I am going to drop a 12 fpe spring back in for 10 meter shooting in the basement this winter and will likely leave it that way.

    Thanks BB!


  6. Portable shooting stand that I built that’s my Christmas gift to my nephew and his family. I used a couple of pairs of old blue jeans for a pellet stop but I’m going to suggest that he cut a piece of plywood to put inside the
    container. I cut out a 6×9 inch section out of the lid to tape targets over.


  7. Here’s a portable shooting stand I made as a Christmas present for my nephew and his family. I put a couple of old jeans as pellet stops in the container. It works fine for bbs and pellets under 500 FPS. I also cut a 6×9 window to tape targets over ( you have to tape them to 8×11 printer paper first.). Since he’s a woodworker, I’m going to suggest he cut some 1/2” plywood to fit in the bottom of the container.




  8. Hank,
    That sounds like a good plan; even down here in Georgia, you need an indoor range. I mean, what if it’s pouring out (like yesterday and today) or you want to shoot at 2 AM (do it all the time). My wife thought I was crazy, but I only use half my closet (in the “gun room”) for clothes; the other half is for airgun targets. *shrugs* Guys don’t need that much room for clothes, hahaha! Plus I need the indoor range to teach the two pre-teens next door to shoot, in a very controlled environment, before I take them to the outdoor ranges.
    Take care & have a great Christmas, and an even better New Year,
    dave
    P.S. B.B. is often mentioning the need for more kid-friendly airguns; I found this one to be a good one:
    https://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Crosman_P1322_With_Shoulder_Stock_Black/3608
    The heavy trigger is easy to fix by squishing down the trigger spring a bit (about 1/8″ shorter); and I drilled the hole for the peep sight out to 7/64″ (soft steel, very easy to drill). At three pumps (a level the girls can handle with the small pump arm), it’s on one-hole shooter with a few different pellets (the top hole was to verify windage; the bottom one to verify elevation about 1/4″ high so they can aim at the bottom of the 1/2″ spinners and hit them).
    Someday, I may add a steel breech and longer barrel; but for this moment in time, I have an accurate and kid-friendly small carbine with which to introduce young shooters to the sport…and I’m having a ton of fun with it myself. =>


  9. Here’s a portable target stand I made as a Christmas present for my nephew’s family. I use old jeans to stop the pellets- works fine for anything under 500 FPS. A sheet of 1/2” plywood cut to fit works for 800 fps.


  10. Hank,
    I tried to post a reply to you, but it disappeared…
    OK, let’s try again…
    “for 10 meter shooting in the basement this winter…”
    Yes, for sure; even in Georgia, an indoor range is a necessity, in case you need to shoot when it’s raining, or it’s like 2 AM. Plus, you may want a very controlled environment in which to teach a couple of pre-teen girls to shoot.
    This is my upgraded closet range, and the little carbine I have been adjusting for their use (a one-hole shooter on this small range, and the trigger is pretty good, once you squish it a bit). PA has these things for $80…
    https://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Crosman_P1322_With_Shoulder_Stock_Black/3608
    …and while you can do a ton of upgrades (as I have in the past, and may do to this one in the future), even in stock form they are most useful; I’ve been having a ton of fun with this one. =>
    Take care, have an awesome Christmas and a great New Year,
    dave




  11. BB
    Way off topic.
    I received a blog reply today in my email from a blog on the Crosman DPMS ( Pt 2 ) on Oct 25 2018 and I could not find the comment that would normally be there to reply to. It was from someone known as “Nouser”. I replied at the end of that blog anyway but it never posted as it usually does, quickly.
    He questioned my reasons for the way I had set mine up with a longer barrel and scope and I explained in my reply.

    I assume he was talking about the picture I posted in that blog and not the one I posted in the P/A customer pic section with the basic black model. Both have extended barrels and scopes. Remember the Connie Rodd entries?

    If you decided to not post his comments, not sure what’s going on with older blogs or how it was sent to me in the first place. You can add mine to the end of pt. 2 anyway, If you want. Or, forward it directly to him?
    Bob M


    • Bob
      Sometimes I find that also. People replying to older blogs.

      I took it as someone was searching some type of gun or something and ran into the blog. Then commented.

      Hmm maybe we shouldn’t respond to those older reports?


      • GF1,

        Really????? How about maybe?? steering them to the current blog? How about maybe explaining that off (current day) blog comments are very welcome? I have done this more times than I can count. Geo too. BB,… of course.

        Some (new) people may not yet be familiar with the site layout/navigation.

        Lucky,.. for the new poster,… some of us use the RSS comment section as a first sort tool. We see these new comments (and know FULL well that most others will not). The new guy is unworthy of a response? I am amazed at the # of times that I have openly searched something and found BB’s blogs at the top of the pick list! New blog and old blogs,…. sometimes very old.

        Ok,…. (breathe),…. rant done! 😉

        You and yours have a very Merry Christmas,……….. Chris


        • Chris
          Maybe not.

          Look what happened on today’s blog. We couldn’t be even get our comments through.

          Maybe that’s how they are hacking the blog. I don’t know. Just say’n.

          Maybe being nieve is what they are feeding on. I think you missed the point that I was trying to get across.

          How about a general comment the next time to the blog instead of including my name in your rant.


          • GF1,

            I do see your point. On the other hand,.. it is our collective responsibility to welcome all that come here. To me,… it is up to the site masters to weed out the bad guys with filters. If that does not work,.. then it has to be dealt with. Like today. How are we as poster’s supposed to know? We can not. If someone post something that is obviously inappropriate,… then I think that more than a few here would be quick to firmly respond… along with BB,… if not behind BB.

            I will take my chances and welcome all who show here. And,… is it that bad guy’s initial post that does the dirty work or is it an innocent welcome by one of us? Is a simple log in enough?

            At any rate,… I do (now),.. better get your point. Still,… get mine too!

            Have a good one,……….. Chris



              • GF1,

                I do not know. When multi-billion dollar corporations can get hacked,… what chance does PA have? What chance do we have? I think they all do their best. I also think that that the bad guys are staying “one step ahead” all of the time too. If not immediate,… very soon. It is all WAY above me to understand fully.

                Go away!,… be with the family,…… Chris 😉 LOL! 🙂


                • Chris
                  Exactly why PA should be more aware if they ain’t a multi billion dollar company.

                  In my opinion they got more to loose quicker than the big dollar stores.

                  Maybe now I know more reasons why I never opened my own business. 😉


                  • GF1,

                    Maybe Geo could chime in?,… but if I were to say,…. PA is like the “kiddy sandbox” of hacking. Hacking Amazon would be like graduating from Princeton with a Doctorate degree with full honors. Hacking government sites,.. not aside.

                    Whatever the hacking skill level (or lack there of),….. they are all scum sucking vermin!

                    Chris


                    • Chris
                      Doesn’t matter what level. But I would think it could be more dangerous to a smaller company.

                      But thinking more. I guess it could be bigger problems with bigger company’s.


                    • Okay…chiming in 🙂
                      People are getting a bit paranoid regarding their personal information. Guys, it’s already out there…remember the Equifax hack? The identities of 26 million people were stolen. Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and everything the credit reporting entities collect without our permission. Equifax didn’t even get a slap on the hand for being negligent in securing our personal information. Everyone should be freezing their credit at all three reporting agencies. This is the ONLY way to protect yourselves. Forget the identity monitors like LifeLock. They only alert you after the fact.
                      Hackers are mostly about stealing information that can be used for financial gain. I see no reason anyone would take the time and effort to hack this blog. There are many more lucrative things to hack into. It’s all about $$$$.
                      B.B. reviews each and every comment here and if anyone posts anything inappropriate, he will censor it. There will always be trolls in forums like this, though I’ve seen very little of that on this one. One has to register an account in order to comment. So, if someone makes rude comments, or is just trying to cause trouble, B.B. could ban them from the blog. That is one of the nice things about this forum, it’s family friendly and everyone is kind and helpful.
                      Hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas today.
                      Geo


                    • Another thing, be very aware of phishing emails. They are prolific now and if one is not careful, and clicks on a link, they can be infected with malware. The counterfeit web sites that these links take you to are not discernible from the real sites. Always use your browser to go directly to any financial sites to login. Never believe any kind of popup that appears on your computer screen saying you’ve been infected by a virus. They are 100% bogus, as well as phone calls saying your computer has viruses. I get at least one phishing email every week, and several scam calls on the phone. Just like door to door salesmen, a percentage of people will fall for it.
                      Geo


        • Chris,
          I agree with you. You and I, maybe a few others, use the comments RSS feed and see new comments posted on older blogs. We always try to point them to the current blog to post their comments or questions to insure the most views and responses.


          • Geo,

            Thank you for the “chime in”. 🙂

            Freeze credit with top 3 agencies? I did that once, but it was (after) a possible breech. So,… this is something good to do?,… and,… the credit can still be used as normal? I do get the 3 free reports,… 1 every 4 months.

            On the “pop ups”,… I rarely have any. If something does pop up,.. it usually gives an “ignore” or “dismiss” or “cancel” option. Clicking on (anything) on it is bad? If so,…. options?

            Thanks for helping out with the “new guys” hitting older blogs.

            On the names appearing differently,… mine shows as normal in both RSS Comments and blog page. Yours on the other hand appears normal on the RSS, but full in the blog comments. Best I can tell,… yours is the only one. 🙁 ?

            Chris


            • Chris,
              Yes, freezing you credit at all three reporting agencies is the best option for preventing identity theft. Like I said, our identities have already been stolen. So all we can do is limit what they can do with our identity. The hacker won’t be able to apply for any credit using your identity. Nor will they be able to apply for a loan. When you need to get a loan, or a new credit card, etc. you contact Experion, for example, and ask for the freeze to be temporarily thawed. They gave me a number to give the credit union when I applied for a car loan. The credit union just had to enter the number I gave them and they were able to view my credit report for the loan. Very easily done. I’ve only had to thaw my credit freeze once in three years.
              Regarding “popups” on your computer, if there is a cancel button then it is not bogus. The bad ones won’t have any way to close them, and they just pop back up if you restart the computer. You have to actually use the task manager to “end task” on the popup, then run Malwarebytes and that will eliminate it in most cases. Where people make their mistake with the bogus popups is, they click on something in the popup. That often will unleash malware onto the system. Then that has to be dealt with. Sometimes you just have to hold the power button in until the machine shuts down to get rid of a popup too.
              I don’t think mine is the only name showing the full name in the comments. I have noticed several others as well. Strangely, yours and Gunfun1’s still only show your user names. I think it must have something to do with the recent hack on the blog, and the fix for it.
              If you want more information on freezing your credit, here is a reliable source of information:
              https://clark.com/credit/credit-freeze-and-thaw-guide/


              • Geo,

                Thank you for your assistance and education to those of us that might not be so tech/hack savvy. You are a gold mine in that regards. Thank you for sharing.

                Just me and GF1 post’s not showing abnormalities? I can assure you I know nothing of that,… or him. I do not even know the guy! It is odd too, and do agree,… why the P.A. site? But,.. I did say too,… PA might be like the “kiddy sandbox” of hackers. 1st grade,… if you will? Show what you can do (disrupt) and get a promotion to 2nd grade? 🙁

                Chris (Merry Christmas to you as well my friend!)


      • GF1
        That’s exactly how I found the blog and someone here rescued me. I had no Idea how blogs worked.

        I was looking for parts to restore my old 1894 lever action. I eventually found a new one being sold by Crosman but it turned out to be lawyered up junk. Got it for parts but they changed the way it worked also.
        I eventually modified the new one to work like the original 60’s version. That was 10 years ago.

        That new 1894 disappeared from the market. It had a wood stock but a lousy trigger set up that had to be pulled out from under the spring instead of using the hammer to strike it away.

        I only recently realized it was marketed by Winchester but made by Crosman. Hard to find any info on it on the internet. It disappeared fast.
        Bob M


  12. B.B.
    I noticed today when I made some comments that my full name was displayed instead of my user name. This is something new. It doesn’t matter to me but I did notice it. I noticed it on other commenters also.


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