The TX200-MkIII is a legendary underlever spring-piston air rifle.
This report covers:
- The best-laid schemes…
- The test
- Premier Heavies
- Air Arms domes
- Now, for the big one!
- Adjusted the scope
- What is happening?
- Stopped right there
- Meopta scope is great!
- Tony Leach 22mm kit
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.
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.
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.
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.
The TX200 put 5 Premier Heavys into this linear group that walked from top left to bottom right.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
44 thoughts on “TX200 Mark III: Part 4”
We look forward to the next test.
Yes it is good to know things like that about your equipment.
I have always assumed any scope I owned had stiction issues to some degree, so after any adjustments I always tapped the turrets lightly a few times with the rubber handle of a small screwdriver before shooting the next shots.
Just to help settle things in place.
For anyone interested, the Air Venturi Avenger bull pups hit the warehouse at Pyramyd, and at this time (11:42pm CST) the website shows them in stock,
Hopefully mine will be delivered soon.
I too assume every scope has stiction especially when tension on the turret spring (springs) is decreased. I use the soft heel of a loafer shoe to tap turret area. I enjoy sighting in scopes and do way too much scope switching. There is one question I have for you, BB and any readers. After moving either the elevation and or windage turrets on a UTG scope do you retighten the locking knobs before you take a shot? I don’t because I want the turrets to settle to the new location. But I often wonder if I’m wrong. What say you?
If you don’t mind Deck, I will throw my 2 cents worth in.
All of my airgun scopes are either UTG or CenterPoint (I think they may come from the same company since they use the same turret lock system.)
And I have always knocked the turrets before locking them down for the same reason.
To me, accuracy is all about consistency, doing the same thing the same way every time…
I have a new First Focal Plane 5-25 from another company that is ready to go on the Avenger Bull pup when the rifle comes in.
Hope you will tell us about the first focal plane scope and why you chose it over a second focal plane.
I will give a report on it, I have shot FFP scopes before, but just a couple of shots at the distance they had the targets set.
This is the first one I have actually owned.
I have been playing with it this last week and have learned a lot about it.
The proof will come with putting the lead on the target.
I normally do lock the adjustments if there are any locks. This Meopta scope doesn’t have locks. It has scope caps that completely cover the adjustment knobs.
Do you wait until zeroed in before tightening any locking knobs? Or do you loosen, adjust, retighten, shoot, loosen, adjust, retighten, etc until you are zeroed in?
I usually tighten them every time.
I was checking pretty much daily (OCD maybe?) and saw the PA site listed them in stock on Saturday. And sure enough, I was notified mine was shipped this morning. (Well, tracking number generated anyway.) Arrival on Wednesday.
Check your email.
I saw where mine was shipped today, to be delivered Wednesday!
Then I got an email a few minutes ago, update! New delivery time.!
Oh well, good thing come to those that wait..
I also got a notice from FedEx–arrival wed between 9:35 am and 3:05 pm. If it shows at 3:06 I’m complaining to Corporate!
So if it shows up at 9:34 am you will give them a gold star. LOL
$346?! Ouch! That is a big chunk of change to tune that sproinger down! We will see how it does, but it does kind of support a theory I have had for some time. My theory is that sproingers operate better in the sub 12 FPE range. There always seems to be an exception to the rule, but to properly exceed that range, a lot of engineering has to go into the design, otherwise a lot of the flaws with sproingers start showing up.
This sounds like a kit design That Gamo should be talking to Tony Leach about.
It took 7 shots in all, and I was careful to avoid the 10-ring because that was my air (aim) point.
Fixed it. Thatks,
I agree ouch, without a scope, that puts over $1000 into the rifle.
While I do think the TX200 is worth it, if that’s the upgrade route you want to go, on an already fine shooting rifle, it’s still a hard pill to swallow.
It may not be cost effective for the maker, as I don’t know how much he actually has in the kit.
I may be wrong in my thinking, But personally I would rather sell 2000 of something every month and make a little money from each one, than to only sell 200 of them a year at a much higher price.
Thanks and looking forward to your focal plane report.
TX dressed in walnut. .22 caliber. Tuned in at 12-14 FPE. Mmmmmm…
Most tempting! She is a beautiful thing to hold and shoot.
I purchased the sleeve kit which is about $100 cheaper, still a chunk of change. After doing the conversion, I felt it was money well spent. Most in the UK will tune their springers below 12 FPE, even those who have FAC licenses. If you look at the results of field target matches many of the guns, PCP’s included, will be tuned to below 12 FPE.
12 FPE seems to be an almost magical, mystical level, most especially with sproingers. When you have a well designed and properly manufactured sproinger, it will likely be a dream to shoot at that power level. You also still have enough power to humanely kill small game out to about 50 yards, if the shooter can deal with it.
I have a shrew that I wish to try to tame a bit and she what she turns into.
Is not the rules for HFT and WFT below 12 FPE?
Yes for HFT and WFT. Here in the States, AAFTA is not limited to 12 FPE. Check the results of the 2021 Nationals. You will see PCP shooters are well above 12 FPE. Also notice that springers are running below 12 FPE. Here is the link to the article (results are at the very bottom) https://hardairmagazine.com/news/event-news/eric-brewer-reports-on-the-2021-aafta-field-target-nationals-part-two/
Even then most are limited to 20 FPE, but at EB there is no limit.
Here is a bit for the new Crosman 362 fans.
Also, it looks like Crosman is not going to give up on the multi shot sproinger.
I would probably take the Ultra myself. I like the look of the stock better. An adjustable gas sproing and a decent scope would be awesome. It does look like they fixed that pellet advance issue.
RidgeRunner,, thanks for the links, man! I had seen the first one, but not the second one; much appreciated! 🙂
I have to say HA is pretty dead on with their comments on the 362. Pretty much how I see it.
I thought you would like that.
Was is the head size of the Air Arms 8.44 pellets that you shot? They come in 4.52 head sizes too…
What is the difference between the AA TX200 Mark I, Mark II, and Mark III?
The Mark II has a longer ratchet that bothered shooters a lot. The III has just three ratchet teeth at the end of the cocking stroke. The stocks changed a little and beyond that there aren’t any significant differences that I know of.
MK I does not have a bear trap. Piston stroke and spring for the MK I and II are the same, stroke is 84mm. MK III has a longer piston stroke at 93mm and a softer spring. There are many MK I & MK II owners in the UK that will replace the MK I or MK II spring with a MK III spring to get a softer shooting TX.
Thank you for focusing on scope stiction; I was adjusting my BugBuster a few days ago, trying to perfect the horizonal adjustment. I was getting a bit frustrated, so I put the gun up for another day; but now I am thinking that I was not firing enough shots after each adjustment; so, thank you for this report, which can apply to many rifles and many different scopes. 🙂
Take care & God bless,
I always love a Robert Burns reference, so here is one from John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”: Some days you’re George but other days you’re Lennie. That last group definitely made you George! :^)
The shots “walking” due to stiction is very interesting, BB. I experienced a similar phenomenon with a vintage underlever springer I borrowed from a friend. In testing a variety of pellets for him, some groups form a nearly horizontal line of touching holes about 3/4″ across at 10 yards. Other groups are more vertical or rounder but more scattered. The rifle has a post front sight and a peep rear sight. But I am not making any adjustments to the peep. If I could figure out the horizontal stringing, I would be getting remarkable groups. Perhaps the gun is just super hold sensitive? It does jump around quite a bit with the artillery hold, but I have been trying a variety of holds with each pellet.
B.B. and readership, any ideas of cause and solution?
You’re doing the right thing by testing different holds, because a horizontal spring comes from either the hold or from a loose scope or sight.
Thanks for the encouragement.
In part 3, why you did not put a shim in the rear ring, like you usually do? (Or use adjustable rings as you have done in the past?). – Don
I did put a shim under the scope in the rear ring, as I always do.
Thanks. I am new to this and wanting to know more. This blog is great for picking up useful info from those that have “been there, done that, …” – Don
In the last couple of years I have taken to always shimming the rear ring and I find it solves most of my “what the heck is going on with this scope?” issues, especially with troublesome guns (usually springers or gas piston guns). If you only shoot at 50 yards or more and have a scope in low rings, you will never see the problem. I have a hatsan bullpup that is scoped on a high rail with high rings (and may also suffer barrel droop) because there is no way to get your eye any lower on the stock without removing your jaw. The scope is 2-1/2″ +/- above the bore. I shoot at all the ranges I can hit something. I mean, Right? I don’t think there is a scope made that could adjust for that much drop at 10 yards. What I would love to see is someone market is a set of stackable shims. Scope Legos. Soda cans and credit cards work fine in the meantime.
Thanks for the comment. It prompted me think about the elevation in terms of MOA. 2.5 inches at 10 yards is about 25 moa. Not using a shim would require a scope with more than 50 moa total elevation adjustment range.
The minimum total elevation adjustment range spec of many scopes is not stated (UTG, CP, …). Some scopes spec 50 moa (15 mil)(barely enough at 10 yards, with no droop), 60 moa, 90 moa, … . Some Hawke scopes are 100 moa.
Using a shim, a 20 (or 30) moa rail, or adjustable rings (or rails) seems like no-brainer for many of us. – Don
Last year I wanted to upgrade the binoculars that I use for hunting. I knew how much you liked the Meopta scopes so I thought, if their scopes are that good, their binoculars must be great too. So, I ordered a Meopta 10X42 HD. They are the best binoculars I have ever looked through. While not cheap, they are a LOT less then something like Ziess. I don’t think Ziess could be much better.
That’s my feeling, as well. I don’t see how they can be made better. I also have the 10X42 and they are wonderful!
The discussions about sights and sighting-in took me here, in what appears to be FM’s quixotic quest to work with the Truglo globe on his HW95. After taking in and hopefully absorbing the wisdom in that post, will give things one more try, though there’s 99% probability the Weihrauch front sight is going back on the rifle.
Wow so accurate! The TX200. I should just get one and be done.