by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Impossible dream
  • B-I-L
  • Bottom line?
  • Keep it simple
  • My choices
  • The wrong question
  • Requirements pile on
  • Look for positive features
  • TX200 Mark III
  • What not to do
  • Did I succeed?

Today I have an early holiday gift for you. No, it’s not an airgun. This gift is much more valuable than just an airgun, and you can use it for the rest of your life. Today I am going to tell you how to decide on something and always be happy with your decision.

Impossible dream

I get emails from my own website, all the time asking questions that belong on this blog, but seldom ever make it here. I think the main reason they don’t is the person asking the question knows the answer and doesn’t want all of you telling him what he already knows. And this is one-hundred percent a guy thing. Women do ask me questions from time to time, but they always seem to accept the answer I give.

Here is an email message I received past week.

“Need a little expert, unbiased advice, if you would be so kind. I have a few airguns, but I’m thinking I need another. Looking for something to punch paper and probably hunt with, my criteria is as follows.. #1 accuracy #2 decent power #3 quiet as possible #4 something I won’t have to tune or mod. Prefer gas piston in either a break barrel or under lever, oh, did I mention I’d like all this in the $200.00 range? Too much stuff out there and reviews seem to be all over the place, any input from you would be greatly appreciated. Thank you sir.”

Here is my answer.

“You are asking for a 200 mph car that gets 60 mpg. Two hundred dollars restricts you to lower-powered guns and gas springs take away accuracy most of the time.”

I just tested the Umarex Synergis that has accuracy and price but not power. Check it out.”

The guy responded with thanks and told me that he had been considering a Synergis. See? I told you he knew the answer. He just wanted to see if there was something else that he hadn’t yet discovered.


My brother-in-law, Bob, had a very similar request at the start of this year and he also made his inquiry with me offline. Bob actually started talking to me back in February, believing the Synergis was the air rifle he wanted. But he wanted to see how it stood up in my tests before he bought one. I think that is very reasonable. If I wanted to buy something for myself and didn’t know anything about it I would do the same thing — look at one or more reviews and see whether the thing operated like I expected it to, and also did the tests cover the things I was interested in? Remember drones?

I won’t talk about drones today, other than to tell you I now own two of them. The first was a gift from Bob, and the second was the result of me doing exactly what I’m telling you to do in this report. And I discovered that there are things about drones that you just can’t comprehend until you are flying one. Back to Bob.

So Bob came to my house several weeks ago and we spent a pleasant hour in my back yard shooting the Synergis. I had told him I felt it was relatively easy to cock for a rifle with a gas spring, but that didn’t make it easy to cock. Under 20 pounds of effort is what I consider easy to cock. The Synergis requires 30 pounds of effort, and the cocking underlever has to come back far because the piston stroke is long. Bob knew all of that before he cocked the rifle for the first time because he had read my review. So, yes, he thought it was cocked heavy, and he also had no problem with that because he knew it going in.

Bottom line?

The bottom line is Bob now owns a Synergis and he shoots it a lot. He has discovered ways to make cocking it easier and his accuracy is getting very good. He is happy with his choice. Why? Because he kept it simple.

Keep it simple

The title of this report is also the point. If you will keep your needs simple you will be able to find things that satisfy them as closely as possible. Another way of saying this is — it’s better to have something that works as it should than to have something that makes you feel like you were cheated.

My choices

Over the years I have been testing airguns, several of them have stood out for good reasons. Take the FWB 124, for example. If a guy wants a good breakbarrel air rifle that cocks easily and is accurate, the FWB 124 is one I recommend. The problem is, they aren’t being made anymore, and many people know they are desirable, so the prices for good used examples are rising fast. That’s why I got so excited about the Sig ASP20 breakbarrel when I tested it. It’s a rifle you can buy right now for the money you WISH an FWB 124 sold for! It does cock a little harder than a 124, but it delivers way more power and the same accuracy and smoothness. And the trigger is better.

The wrong question

As soon as I recommend something like the ASP20, a question invariably arises. “BB, I know you like the Sig breakbarrel, but how would you compare it to the Zombie Killer X11 breakbarrel? That one gets 1400 f.p.s. and they are on sale right now at Buy The Box — my local discount store — for just $187.00 out the door.”

Tell you what. You start an airgun blog and test airguns and then YOU test the Zombie Killer X11 and tell people how good it is. I tested the ASP20 and told you what I thought. I never heard of the Zombie Killer X11.

Requirements pile on

One reason I don’t do complete You Tube reviews of airguns is they don’t let me show all the details. Put something in front of a camera and there are only two things you can do with it. Either show how it works or show it to sell. I like teaching and showing, but I hate sales pitches when they override common sense. Sure, I could add the heavy metal music and show perfectly cropped clips, all showing the one time out of five when the thing did what it’s supposed to, but I don’t work that way. You come to me and I will tell you how it was for me — I will not show it to you how you want it to be!

People watch those videos and see things they never knew about but now have to have. You want a smooth-shooting spring-piston rifle that’s accurate. Then you see someone touting a Diana 54 Air King and you see the sledge anti-recoil system and just gotta have it. I was trying to show you a nice Beeman R7, but it doesn’t have the sledge system, so it isn’t as cool. You want cool — until you learn the price.

The 6.1-pound R7 sells for $300. The 10-pound Diana 54 Air King sells for $580. The R7 is a backyard-friendly lightweight rifle that’s easy to cock and hit stuff with. The Diana 54 is a serious airgun that meets specific needs in a way no other spring rifle can.

You need that minivan for your growing family. Forget the Porsche until the kids have flown the nest and you have more folding money to call your own!

Look for positive features

I have a hierarchy of features and benefits I look for in products. For airguns there is a principal list.

• Accuracy
• Smoothness
• Trigger
• Overall ergonomics

And there is a secondary list.

• Price
• Noise
• Vibration
• Weight
• Cocking effort

When an airgun comes along that is accurate, smooth, has a wonderful adjustable trigger and fits me well, it goes on my “good” list. Let’s look at one example.

TX200 Mark III

The TX200 Mark III is a spring-piston air rifle I have recommended to hundreds of people over the years. Let’s look at how it passes through my lists.

First it’s hyper-accurate, so that’s a big plus. It’s smooth right out of the box — another plus. It’s very ergonomic, so plus number three and the adjustable trigger is superb! The TX200 Mark III has a lot going for it. However…

It’s also quite heavy, so buyers need to know that. The cocking effort is around 40 pounds which is heavy — something more for buyers to know. And at $600, it’s expensive. On the other hand it has almost no vibration, it’s extremely quiet and the finish and appearance (not on either list) are superb! My job is to make sure the buyer knows about the price, the weight and the cocking effort. Each of those can be a deal killer. But if there are no concerns, then the TX200 Mark II is what I will pick for you.

What not to do

Here is what I don’t do. I don’t look at how much money I have and then see what I can buy for that. Why? Because doing that limits my field of view too much. I miss stuff I wish I had known about. What you probably say is something like, “Oh, I wish I had known about that! I would have found the extra cash somehow!”

Okay, this is getting long. Time to wrap it up.

Did I succeed?

I promised in the beginning of today’s report to give you a way to always make up your mind so that you would be happy with your decisions. Did I succeed? For some of you I’m sure I did. But not for others.

If your world consists of 90 percent imagination and 10 percent reality, my solution won’t work. That’s because you don’t believe it, and if you don’t believe it you are never going to try it. And if you never try it, it can’t possibly work. The marketing departments of the world are working on new ways to tickle your fancy to entice you to try their products.