TX200 Mark III
The TX200-MkIII is a legendary underlever spring-piston air rifle.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • The best-laid schemes…
  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • Premier Heavies
  • Air Arms domes
  • Now, for the big one!
  • Adjusted the scope
  • What is happening?
  • Ta-da!
  • Stopped right there
  • Meopta scope is great!
  • Tony Leach 22mm kit
  • Summary

Today BB Pelletier learned a lot about his TX200 Mark III and about the Meopta  MeoPro Optika5 4-20×50 RD BDC3 scope that’s now mounted on it.

The best-laid schemes…

…o’ mice and men gang aft aglay. So said the poet Robert Burns. I THOUGHT I was going to test the TX200 today with 8 different pellets, in an attempt of finding the best one or two to continue with. And I had planned to do a test within a test. I wanted to pit H&N Baracuda Match pellets with 4.50mm heads against the same pellets with 4.52mm heads, to see which was more accurate. What happened, though, was something entirely different.

The test

I shot the rifle at 10 meters off a sandbag rest with the rifle resting directly on the bag. Because I was hoping to shoot so many different pellets I went with 5-shot groups instead of 10.

The Meopta scope is remarkably clear — especially at 10 meters. As I told you in Part 3 the eyepiece was adjusted so the reticle was clear. And I found that if I illuminated the dot I could hold it over the 10-dot (the 10-ring) of the 10 meter target, because it appears almost the same size.

Sight-in

I sighted in the rifle at 12 feet and the first shot landed exactly where I wanted, which is below the bull and close to the centerline. So I backed up to 10 meters and completed the sight-in. It took 7 shots in all and I was careful to avoid the 10-ring because that was my aim point. The Meopta scope has quarter-minute clicks, but at 10 meters I just turn it in the direction I want to go and don’t bother to count the clicks. When the pellet starts hitting close to where I want, then I count the clicks as I refine the zero.

Premier Heavies

The first group was made with five Crosman Premiers Heavy pellets that were used to sight-in the rifle. They made a 0.29-inch group at 10 meters. I noticed that the pellets were “walking” on a down-and right diagonal. This thought impressed itself in my mind and would return in a bit. For now I just thought that perhaps Premier Heavies are not the right pellets for this rifle. That thought would change after the test was finished.

TX200 Premier Heavy group
The TX200 put 5 Premier Heavys into this linear group that walked from top left to bottom right.

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Air Arms domes

Next up were five 8.44-grain domes from Air Arms. Now, we know these are made by JSB, but they do seem to perform differently from JSB Exact 8.44-grain domes. They were fun to watch because the first pellet hole didn’t seem to enlarge as I shot. When I measured the group I found that it was 0.098-inches between centers. I used the gold dollar in the photo, though I have another smaller silver coin from India for groups that measure less than one-tenth inch between centers of the two pellet holes that are farthest apart. I simply forgot about it at the time I took the picture. This is the smallest group of today’s test.

TX200 Air Arms domes
The Air Arms 8.44-grain dome made the smallest 5-shot group of this test. It measures 0.098-inches between centers. Though I show it with the gold dollar, it’s really worthy of the smaller silver Chuckram comparison coin, which is the smallest coin I own!

Now, for the big one!

What I intended to do next was shoot a 5-shot group of H&N Baracuda Match pellets with 4.50mm heads, and then compare that group with one made by 5 of the same pellet with 4.52mm heads. I seem to be out of the 4.53mm heads. Something happened to derail that plan, though, and what happened is far better, because we learn two different things from it.

The first shot with this pellet both sounded and felt much different than shots fired with the previous two pellets. It was noticeably quieter and smoother; so much so that I thought this had to be the right pellet for this rifle.

But the first shot hit the 9 ring, almost removing the 10-dot that is my aim point. Shot two got it completely. That left me without a precise aim point. I fired the last three shots trying to guess where the aim point was and my group was a nice round hole that measures 0.192-inches between centers. I thought it was a nice group, but this Meopta scope is so sharp and clear that the hole in the target looked like more like a failure than a success. I really didn’t know how good this pellet was for sure. I had to shoot a second group.

TX200 Baracuda Match 1
Five H&N Baracuda Match pellets went into this nice 0.192-inch group at 10 meters. It’s a good one and worthy of a silver trime for comparison, but since I shot out my aim point and had to guess where the center of the bull was for the last three shots — is it representative of the best this pellet can do?

Adjusted the scope

After shooting this group I adjusted the scope many clicks (10-12?) up to get the group away from the aim point. I thought the next group would show me if the Baracuda Match domed pellet with the 4.50mm head was better than I had seen in the first group. Well, I learned something alright, but it wasn’t what I expected!

The next 5-shot group was a vertical line that goes up from the center of the bull. However, the fifth shot hit in the middle of the first four shots that were strung vertically and made this group look like a nice tight hole. This group measures 0.202-inches between centers, so it’s also a good one, but after seeing those shots walk up the paper, I thought something else was happening.

TX200 Baracuda Match 2
Before the fifth shot hit there were four hole in a straight line up the bull. This group measures 0.202-inches between centers. But could this pellet do even better?

What is happening?

I have never seen it unfold this way, but what this looked like to me was a case of scope stiction. That’s when the scope takes a few shots to move from where it was to where you adjusted it to be. In my experience scopes with stiction have always jumped suddenly from the old place to the new one within a few shots. They didn’t move in small steps like this one. And guess what? Because this Meopta scope is so crystal clear I can prove whether or not it has stiction by shooting another group with the same pellet. Since I saw the pellets walk up the bull after I adjusted the scope up, a third group should be a smaller roundish hole above the 10-dot.

Ta-da!

And that’s exactly what I got. Group three with the same H&N Baracuda pellet with the 4.5mm head is above the 10-dot and is a 0.126-inch round hole. 

TX200 Baracuda Match 3
Now that the scope has settled into its new location, five H&N Baracuda Match pellets with 4.50mm heads went into this nice round 0.126-inch group at 10 meters.

Stopped right there

I ended the test right there because what I had to tell you today was too important to risk my forgetting any detail. There will be at least one other 10-meter accuracy test before we move on, because I still want to know if the 4.52mm Baracuda Match pellet will be better or not as good as the 4.50mm one. I also want to give the other premium pellets a chance to shine. Also, after some consideration I feel I owe the Crosman Premier Heavy pellet s second chance because I shot that group right after sighting in the rifle and adjusting the scope several times.

My goal is to move back to 25 yards and test again, once I have one or two of the best pellets identified. I’m going about this very slowly with a purpose, because this TX200 is worth it. Only my FWB 300S match rifle and my Whiscombe can give it a run for the money among spring-piston rifles.

Meopta scope is great!

I am in love with this Meopta scope that I’m testing. The dot seems brighter than the one in my Optika6 and it was so easy to see it against the targets. And now I have my most accurate springer coupled with one of my very best scopes.

Am I upset about the stiction? Absolutely not! Now that I know what to expect, I know to always shoot the rifle with this scope several times after any adjustments. That’s the kind of thing you need to know about your equipment.

Tony Leach 22mm kit

I have also contacted Tony Leach in the UK who now makes a 22mm piston tuneup kit for the TX200 Mark III and I will install and test that one for you. Several people have commented that Tony’s kit makes a TX shoot as smooth as a PCP.

The kit isn’t cheap. To get it to my house costs 245 British pounds, which on the day I sent funds worked out to about $346. That’s expensive, but the TX200 Mark III is the best spring-piston air rifle you can buy today and I want to do this test for all those who own one.

Tony tells me his kit limits the rifle’s power to about 11 foot-pounds, which is fine with me. Many years ago I shot a handmade Venom Mach II, which was closely associated to the TX200, I believe. It was also a sub 12 foot-pound rifle and I have never forgotten how smooth it was. I lacked the $2,000-plus that rifle cost (in the 1990s!), so Tony’s kit gives me a poor man’s way of obtaining something similar.

Summary

I knew when I started this report series that it was going to be long and thorough. I had no idea of all that meant, but it’s a fun journey, nonetheless.