Air Arms Pro-Sport: Part 7

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Pro-Sport
Air Arms Pro-Sport.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

This report covers:

  • Disassembly
  • Rotate forward spring guide
  • The washers
  • Factory top hat
  • Last note
  • Assembly
  • Relubed
  • Gun back together
  • Velocity with RWS Hobbys
  • Velocity with Baracuda 5.50mm heads
  • Cocking effort
  • The question
  • Summary

Today we look at the Air Arms Pro-Sport with the Vortek PG3 tune kit installed at its most powerful setting. This test was suggested by reader Yogi in the comments to Part 5.

“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 foot-pounds, and the third one(the one you have it set on) is good for 10.5 foot-pounds.

This way you have a full report on the Pro-Sport AND the PG3 kit.”

I though that was a great idea. Unless I test it, who knows what the other notches will do? And also there are the two heavy washers that add weight to the piston and more tension to the mainspring.

What I won’t do is test every possible combination of the kit. Besides the three notches there are two washers, so that’s a possible 9 different combinations to test — low notch no washers, low notch one washer, low notch 2 washers, mid notch no washers etc.

Instead, I will go to the opposite end of possibilities and set the mainspring on the high notch with two washers installed. That will bracket the power possibilities.

Disassembly

The Pro-Sport came apart in a few minutes with no mainspring compressor needed. Remember that with this Vortek kit the pretension on the mainspring is even less than on the factory gun and even that doesn’t need a compressor.

Pro-Sport Vortek kit
The thousand-word picture. The mainspring is in the lowest notch from the previous tune. The two washers from the Vortek kit are going in ahead of the forward spring guide (black thing the mainspring is wound around) that’s inside the piston. The factory top hat is shown below. One of the washers is stuck to the tip of a magnet to show that it’s ferrous.

Rotate forward spring guide

To get the end of the mainspring into the highest notch in the base of the forward spring guide, the spring guide has to be rotated. However, the inside diameter of the relaxed spring is smaller than the outside diameter of the spring guide — so the spring is on the guide extremely tight. It look me 20 minutes of fiddling with a screwdriver to move the guide high enough to make the slight rotation that was needed. You don’t want to grab the base of the guide with pliers because it is synthetic!

After that was accomplished the rest of the job took mere minutes. But before I go there, let’s look at what I’m about to do.

The last tune was with the spring set in the lowest notch of the spring guide. And no washers were used. So the piston was almost as light as it could be. By removing the synthetic spring guide it would have been a few grains lighter, but the spring would then have had room to vibrate on the piston stem. Vibration is a bad thing, so those few grains of weight are well spent.

The washers

I weighed the two washers, which are steel. One weighed 85.5 grains and the other weighs 86.2 grains. When I add that the two should weigh 171.7, but for some reason my scale says 171.4 grains. We are talking about a weight difference of a postage stamp, so it may be more in the technique I was using to place them on the scale than any real weight difference. At any rate, an additional 171.4-grains of weight is being added to the Pro-Sport piston.

Pro-Sport Vortek washers
Both Vortek washers together weigh 171.4 grains. They will be going into the piston ahead of the mainspring.

Factory top hat

For curiosity I also weighed the factory top hat that goes into the piston like the washers. It weighs 352.2 grains, or 180.8 grains more than the two washers. It’s a little over twice the weight of the two washers. That’s interesting but I don’t know why.

Pro-Sport top hat
The factory steel top hat weighs 352.2 grains.

Last note

If someone reads this entire report they will discover that I removed the sliding compression chamber for the first tune in Part 5. I did it because the piston didn’t want to go into the chamber when I started assembling the gun. But it really isn’t necessary to do that. Just fiddle with the piston and the piston seal will eventually clear and go in the chamber. This time I did not remove the sliding chamber and the time to assemble was cut by several minutes.

Assembly

I won’t show you the entire assembly of the rifle because that was covered pretty well in Part 5. I will just show you the order of the parts as they go back into the gun. The two washers go onto the piston rod first. They add that 171-grains of additional weight to the piston, which should change its performance with heavier pellets a little. They also add perhaps a quarter-inch or a little more of preload to the mainspring.

The higher notch on the spring guide also adds a little preload to the spring. I would guess that together the notches and the two washers add about 3/8-inch of preload. That isn’t much, so Yogi, I doubt we are going to see the factory spec with this kit. I think it may get a little closer to 12 foot-pounds, which is what the specs tell us to expect.

Pro-Sport notch
There is the end of the spring in the highest notch. It isn’t seated all the way but when I cock the rifle it will seat.

Pro-Sport assembly
And here is how the parts go back in the piston and then into the rifle.

Relubed

Handling the parts during this procedure removed most of the Tune in a Tube that was on the outside of the mainspring, so I added just a bit as the spring went back into the gun. It was still coating the inside of the spring, the rear spring guide and the sliding chamber so I left those alone.

Gun back together

Excluding the 20 minutes I spent playing with the forward spring guide, the job took 30 minutes including pictures. That’s from shooting condition back to shooting condition. It was now time to test the results!

Velocity with RWS Hobbys

In the previous lightest possible tune the kit pushed 11.9-grain RWS Hobby pellets out at an average 633 f.p.s. for 10.59 foot-pounds at the muzzle. With the PG3 tune set to maximum the rifle now launches Hobbys at an average 667 f.p.s. for an energy of 11.76 foot-pounds. The lightest tune gave a velocity variation of 11 f.p.s. This tune gave a range of 16 f.p.s. — from 660 to 676 f.p.s.

Velocity with Baracuda 5.50mm heads

In the previous lightest possible tune the kit pushed H&N Baracuda pellets with 5.50mm heads out at an average 437 f.p.s. for 8.97 foot-pounds at the muzzle. But remember, we added 171.4-grains of weight to the piston besides increasing the mainspring preload. This time Baracudas average 463 f.p.s. for an average 10.07 foot-pounds at the end of the barrel. The spread previously was 10 f.p.s. and this time it’s 14 f.p.s. — 456 to 470 f.p.s.

Cocking effort

The cocking effort felt almost the same with possibly one or two more pounds of effort needed to cock the rifle. On my scale it measured 37 pounds of force required, where with the lightest tune it was 35 lbs. and from the factory 48 lbs.

Firing behavior

I can’t detect any difference in the firing behavior from the previous tune. Recoil seems the same, too.

The question

Should I test the rifle for accuracy again with this tune? It’s bound to be very close to where it was before.

And how should I send the rifle back to Pyramyd Air — with the tune just installed or returned to factory spec? I guess I’m asking whether you think anyone would want to purchase a .22-caliber Pro-Sport that has been tuned to 12 foot-pounds?

Summary

I don’t know if this is the last report or not. I’ll await your decision on that.

I have to say I am thoroughly impressed by the Vortek PG3 tune kit that delivered EXACTLY what was promised! With all the variables involved (TIAT and me being two of them) I think it’s remarkable it turned out as well as it did.

74 thoughts on “Air Arms Pro-Sport: Part 7


  1. “I’m asking whether you think anyone would want to purchase a .22-caliber Pro-Sport that has been tuned to 12 foot-pounds?”
    B.B.,
    I would venture to say “yes” to that. While there are lots of shooters who will go to a big box store and buy a rifle with the highest fps, this rifle isn’t sold in those types of places. I think the people who buy from PA are more discriminating shooters; and I think there will be someone who will value the smoothness of the tune you have done.
    Take care & have a blessed day,
    dave


  2. I am not a springer guy
    Yes I can shoot them, and appreciate the dedication that goes into to shooting one well, but its just not my favorite power plant for all day plinking, or playing.

    That being said, from a shooter prospective, anyone who appreciates a good quality smooth shooting rifle, and knows what 12 ft.lbs. is capable of would be thrilled with the rifle.

    Especially as Pyramyd air would sell it as an open box return, or a refurb.
    And possibly at a reduced price.

    It would perfect as a grab and go pesting rifle for 30 yards and less.
    Or perfect for an afternoon in the backyard doing what you enjoy.

    I do understand the greed for more power, speed and power sells (to most people), but eventually in this hobby, at some point, most of us stop the race, and buy at least 1 top quality smooth shooting well mannered rifle to enjoy.

    Ian



    • Ian,

      Do not shoot one of these. You will become a sproinger guy. You have no idea what it is like to take one of these Air Arms sproingers into your hands and shoot it. They are so beautiful you do not even want to touch it. The trigger is soooo nice and the firing cycle is so smooth you barely notice it is a sproinger.


      • While I haven’t shot the Prosport, I have used a tuned TX200 MKIII extensively for several months.

        They are beautiful as you say.
        Accurate, great triggers, smooth shot cycle, just a thunk and its done..
        The one thing i never could get over on the TX i was shooting was having to wedge my fingers between the barrel and cocking lever to seperate them.
        At that price point, and level of fit and finish, and quality, a different mechanism should have been there to release the detent, other than having to wedge my fingers between 2 steel rods for every shot.

        The Prosport seems to not have that problem.

        I love air arms weapons.
        I currently own a 200T, have used one of their MPR’s.

        To me, they have very few competitors at their level of quality at the same price.




            • Dave,

              I really lucked out on that trade (my AR20 for the TX200 MKIII) as the rifle was all tricked out for FT shooting. The original owner was in an accident (could see that his shoulder was badly damaged) and had difficulty cocking the rifle even with a 12 fpe spring. When posted that he was looking to trade for a FT capable PCP I was quick to contact him.

              In addition to the rifle and it’s original (unused) beech stock I got a 4 spring kits, a scope riser, a couple of Rowan Engineering upgrades (trigger and grip) and a GinB FT stock. I didn’t realize until recently that the GinB stock is worth more that the original rifle!

              It was a good trade with both parties happy with the deal.

              Hank



              • Chris,
                I could see how they would improve the shootability of that gun. I had the HW97 (which I got from Brad Troyer; I used to shoot Field Target with him…he’s a really cool and helpful guy), which has a little different latch up, a button on the front you depress to drop the cocking arm, so it doesn’t really need that piece…I’ll find a pic that shows it (can’t find one of my gun, but google will have one, hahaha!) for any readers that are not familiar with it.
                Take care,
                dave



                  • Chris,
                    Yes, that rifle was very easy to shoot, and I likely should have kept it; but I knew the place to which we were moving had no Field Target action going on, and I felt that a gun like that should go to another Field Target shooter, someone who would really get some use out of it. Even though it is not as refined as the TX200 (the HW97 has the offset chamber) or quite as powerful, it still made pretty good power (after some tweaking by Brad), putting out 870 fps with Crosman Premier 7.9 grain pellets (13.26 fpe). It’s definitely not a rifle you would want to lug around the woods, but for Field Target or bench rest target shooting, it’s a great rifle…easy to cock and accurate. =>
                    Take care,
                    dave


        • Ian,

          Hank beat me to it. I have seen several versions of this aftermarket piece. Why is something like that not on there to begin with? Possibly not wanting to disrupt the clean lines, possibly KISS or a combination of these.


  3. BB,

    An interesting kit. My understanding of the 2 washers was that they acted as “bearing” surface in way by allowing them to rotate against each other,.. reducing stored spring twist. (this is where I replaced them with the Torrington needle bearing set up) Neither kit I put in the TX200 had a stepped spring guide.

    You said prior that the instructions were very clear on what did what and options, so I can not question that.

    I would say that no further testing is needed. It would be nice if this rifle could go to a reader here. Leave it as is and send the spare parts with it. PA should easily be able to accommodate such a custom sale with a reader.

    I said years ago that I thought that any gun that you tested, wrote a report on and returned to PA,….. ought to demand a premium. (signed hard copy of blog reports, targets, etc.,…… an 8×10 glossy of BB,..signed,..of course!)

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


    • Chris,

      In other words don’t use the washers for weight in the piston? Okay, there is then three more ways this kit can be installed — with the washers back at the other end of the mainspring. I don’t know if they will fit inside the rear spring guide or go behind it. That’s something I would need to experiment with.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        From my very limited understanding (obtained from reading the British forums) if you put the washers at the back end of the mainspring this will not increase the mass of the piston but will still increase the power output, this method is best used in .177 caliber. The heavier piston is advised for .22 caliber. So in this case this is the proper application.

        Siraniko


      • BB,

        It was my understanding that (not) using the washers was (not) an option. I strongly urge you to give them a call to verify your understanding of the kit. I did and spent at least 10 minutes on the phone with the owner. (And no,… washers in the piston only.) They would not work the other way. The spring guide tube has that blue synthetic washer (in the bottom) that absorbs impact/vibration. The spring is fixed/anchored at the blue washer end and can twist freely at the 2 washer end.

        You sounded confident in your interpretation of the instructions,… so I left it there. They offer a lot of kits for a lot of guns. Things may have been improved, upgraded or even new designs implemented. I do not know. They would.

        The stepped piece for the spring was new to me. I do not recall that, but I was also only looking at options for a TX200 at the time too.

        Chris



      • BB,

        Also, while the stepped guide end does allow for minute adjustment, it may also be (cheaper) to make the spring. Maybe? As you know,… to do a proper flat grind,.. there must be a less aggressive twist rate at the ends.

        That entire tweak/concept does seem custom tailored to the 12 FPE UK market. Mmmm? Now who would know that? 😉

        Chris

        (and,… since on the topic,… they did state very clearly while on the phone that the HO (high power kit) would not increase the FPS by very much. I think I got plus 40 fps. I did measure the springs from the kit and stock and the kit spring was heavier wire and longer than the stock one. Larger OD too, as I recall. Since the kit is so tight fitting,.. I think the added length and wire diameter is necessary in order for the kit to (not) loose any fps.)



    • That’s the reason I will probably never sell, or trade my Diana RWS 34P that B.B. tuned with a Vortec Kit for me. I copied all of the info from the six blog parts into a Word document to be stored with the rifle as part of it’s history. It most definitely has much more value to me now that B.B. has reviewed and tuned it.
      Hey! I didn’t get the glossies either! I do have the hand written note that he included though.
      Geo


  4. BB,

    It is starting to sound like you may not need to send it back to PA. I myself am a little tempted and I do not need any more sproingers around here, at least not right now. 😉

    With practice one could learn to shoot this air rifle as tuned and humanely take small game at 50-60 yards. This sproinger is accurate and smooth enough to do such once you learn her ways. She is not meant to be a safe queen, she is meant to be an obsession. Once you shoot her you will never forget the sensation and you will want more.


  5. B.B.

    Thank you! It seems like the difference between the 3 notches is minimal. Why bother? Not a great difference, but the ES on velocity is going the wrong way. So what really is the value of the PG3 kit? Seems like it would be easier to just clip a few coils?????

    -Yogi


    • Yogi,

      This kit is like the essence of the best tune most airgunsmiths could perform. Clipping coils is for messing around. This tune is serious.

      The difference is so drastic that I can’t put it intro words. You need to experience it.

      B.B.




      • Hank-
        UK shooter are limited to 12 fpe with any pellet. The UK shooters that I head about of the forums talk about 11.3 fpe. If the police tested a gun with a 18 grain .177 pellet it might exceed 12 fpe even though the shooter normally shoots lighter pellets. They do not want to get to close to the 12fpe limit!

        -Y



        • Chris,

          I make a point of reading UK blogs and watching their videos – shooters who can consistently and humanely dispatch rabbits at 30 to 40 yards with a sub 12 fpe .177 rifle obviously know their stuff and I can learn from them.

          That and I like the British accent and sense of humor.

          TTFN,
          Hank


    • Yogi,

      Cutting coils is not as easy as it sounds. It does not even compare to a properly wound and ground flat spring. That said,… if cut only,… the stepped end piece like this kit has would be what you would want.

      Chris


  6. Yogi ,

    Clipping coils is not a good idea , only as a last resort . A properly made spring is dressed at the end to sit squarely on the thrust washer or top hat . The value of the Vortek kits is the longevity of the springs . The springs are Ni Si wire and manufactured like engine valve springs . I have quite a few customers over 10 k on these kits, most OEM springs will not even last half that long , some even less than that if the guides are sloppy. The Vortek kits are expensive , but the longevity makes them a better value over lesser springs . More time shooting and smoother performance.


    • Gene,

      Thanks for that. I know that top tuners do many of the same things that Vortek has managed to package in this kit. But they take days and even weeks sometimes getting everything right. The Vortek kit does in minutes most of what they take long hours to do. Of course Vortek relies on an airgun being perfect from the start, which Air Arms almost always are. A tuner often has to correct faults both before and while they tune a specific gun.

      B.B.


    • Well I meant, clipping a coil, flattening the heat treated end, hot clenching and sanding the ends smooth.
      FWIW-My Motorhead tuned HW 50 with OEM spring is smoother than my Motorhead tuned Vortex PG2 kitted HW50. Shoots the same pellets 10 fps faster too………

      -Y


  7. BB ,

    In my opinion the Pro Sport should only be a 12 ft lb. gun . Talk to Claire about it at Shot . This is easy enough to implement and it will not cost any more money . Just a different spring and top-hat at assembly . Also the cocking arm is less likely to be damaged by the decreased stress on it . Worth a shot .

    Gene


  8. BB ,

    You are correct on the Air-Arms being perfect . As factory guns the guides are usually tight and they use good materials on the springs and seals . If I was a tuner there would only be a few manufacturers guns I would even attempt to improve . There are so many poorly made guns that even a tune kit cannot help them . There is no substitute for good metallurgy and proper fit/ finish . The clue I will give to everyone is this , if a springer is less than $300.00 retail a tune is a waste. Just my 2 cents .


  9. I recently installed a PG3 HO kit along with the Vortek moly vacseal in my HW50s and on the third highest preload setting the rifle is producing around 10.5fpe with Hatsan Vortex Express domed pellet(7.50gr H&N FT Domed).

    So far I have only tried the one preload setting however I must add that only 3 of the 4 settings are usable in my kit the second lowest is cut/milled in such a way that there is enough material in the notch to catch the spring end. Seems like he should have cut the stepping notches in the other direction.

    As with my other HW votek kits the shot cycle is very smooth an muted. It seems at position 3 the rifle is generatin approximately 50fps more over the stock spring from roughly 735fps to 785fps, havent yet tried the other settings. My kit came with two brass washers in the rear spring guide and each one has a highly polished surface which I had faced together with some grease to act as a rotational bearing to help with spring twist.


    • Chachoze,
      I have an HW30S that I absolutely love (great all-day plinker), but I am intrigued by the HW50S, as it has a good bit more power, but not a lot more weight. It looks like a nice gun to use as a field rifle. What kind of accuracy do you get? You already noted how smooth it is with the Vortek kit, so I assume it is not very hold sensitive? Thank you.
      Take care,
      dave


      • Dave i haven’t really had a chance to stretch out some target sessions beyond 12 yards as it is winter here in Minnesota, the timing hasn’t worked out when i had the time to do it and when the weather would cooperate. Hopefully soon i can push it out to 30-35yrds.

        As far as hold sensitive well I think nearly all springers are sensitive from one degree to another and I am sure this one is no exception, in the included photo is a 10 shot group at 12 yards using a semi rested position keep in mind the two outside shots were thrown by me and not indicative or the rifle or pellets performance. The pellet in this case were .177 Predator GTO Lead free 6.79gr. The majority of the shots landed in the same center group. I would feel fairly confident in saying if I had better optics than the bundled Weirauch 4×32 scope or perhaps a better shooter it may be possible to put all 10 through the same hole at that yardage.

        All in all it does make for a nice field gun as far a weight and carry ability which is why I purchased it just wished I had done so sooner, I also have a 30 and a 98 and all sporting vortek kits and seals,


        • Chachoze,
          I’m from the Tri-State area (CT-NY-NJ) so I know “cold”…but I’m sure it’s even colder where you are!
          Thanks for the info and the group; I’d love to see what that rifle can do at 30 yards or so…but not now, perhaps in April or May. =>
          Thanks again,
          take care,
          dave



  10. A couple of general questions. Ihave about a @0 yearold Crosman Phantom springer in .177. Shot very little, mostly because it’s pretty noisy. I’m considering removing the stock and applying a bit of grease on the spring. I know about the Tune in a Tube that Tom likes. I believe it’s a silcone grease. I have some tubes of a silione grease called Sil Glide. I used to use it on engine o’rings on the big rigs. It wouldn’t degrade the o’rings, and would ease many assembly situations. As in, dress up surfaces with a fine emery paper, apply Sil Glide onto o’ring and cleaned surface, push the tube i to place and assemble. It also helped keep the o’ringsfrom damage on assembly.

    Here it is:

    https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/BK_7651351

    It’s semi clear, not a white grease. I’m wonder if this would work on the spring?




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