Air Arms TX200 Mk III air rifle: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Air Arms TX200 Mark III air rifle is impressive in its optional walnut stock.

Today, we begin our look at the accuracy of the legendary TX200 Mark III. Since the rifle has no sights, I mounted a Hawke 4.5-14×42 Sidewinder Tactical scope in two-piece UTG Accushot 30mm medium rings. These rings are tall for a medium-height ring, but the TX200 cheekpiece is so high that many higher rings will be just right and fit the shooter perfectly. I know they come very close to a perfect fit for me, and the 42mm objective bell still clears the spring tube by a lot.

I’m showing a photo of the rifle with the scope mounted because you’ll see that the end of the scope hangs over the back of the loading port. In a TX200, that isn’t a problem unless you have summer sausages for fingers, because the loading port is very large — but on other underlevers and some sidelevers it may be. The Hawke is not a long scope, so this clearance is something a new TX owner needs to consider.

The Hawke scope hangs over the loading port just a little, but was not in the way during loading. See how much clearance the 42mm objective tube has above the spring tube?

What pellets to shoot?
This question is the one every shooter asks whenever they get a new gun — air or firearm. I have a lot of history with this rifle, but in the time since I last shot it many good pellets have come to the forefront. The JSB Exact RS is just one example. I know that Crosman Premier 7.9-grain domed pellets are averaging 958 f.p.s. in my rifle, and that means the lighter 7.3-grain JSB Exact RS will probably top 1,000 f.p.s. Six months ago, that might have turned me off; but after the exciting 11-part “Pellet velocity versus accuracy test” proved that harmonics and not velocity is what causes inaccuracy, I see no reason not to try a faster pellet.

I sighted in with Beeman Kodiaks, just because I used to shoot them in my other TX for field target, and they always worked well. But in reviewing my past reports, I see that this will be the first time I’ve shot 10-shot groups for a report. What a difference that makes!

Naturally, group one was with the Kodiaks. I had hoped to shoot around my aim point, but as you’ll see, that didn’t happen. The group may be a trifle larger than it should be, because for the last four shots I was guessing where to put the crosshairs.

Ten Beeman Kodiaks went into this group that measures 0.584 inches between centers at 25 yards.

Notice how round the group is? Actually only the first shot went low and right — the rest made that small hole you see. And that was exactly where the aim point was, so after six pellets there was nothing to guide on. Nine of the ten pellets went into a group measuring 0.302 inches!

Next, I tried 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavies. Often, I get the best results with this pellet in an accurate .177 rifle. Ten shots in the TX made a group that measures 0.523 inches. Let’s see what that looks like.

Ten JSB Exact Heavies made this group that measures 0.523 inches between centers at 25 yards. It looks more open than the Kodiak group, but it doesn’t have the one straggler the Kodiak group does.

Next, I tried the light JSB Exact RS pellet. The point of impact shifted up about an inch, and the group opened to 0.687 inches. It’s still fairly round, but more open than the first two by a lot. The RS probably isn’t the pellet for this TX.

Ten JSB RS pellets went into 0.687 inches between centers at 25 yards. The shots are less-tightly grouped than those made by the first two pellets.

Then, I tried 10 Crosman Premier lites, just to see what they would do. They made a pleasing group that measures 0.559 inches between centers.

Ten 7.9-grain Crosman Premier pellets made this 0.559-inch group at 25 yards.

By this time, I was remembering everything I liked about a TX200. For one thing, it’s not at all sensitive to the hold. In fact, this is one of the very few spring-piston air rifles that can be shot while rested directly on a sandbag. To demonstrate that, I shot 10 more Premier lites with the rifle rested on the bag. I had run out of targets on this sheet, so I used a single pellet hole for my aim point. Ten shots went into a group measuring 0.414 inches between centers — the smallest group of the entire session!

Ten 7.9-grain Crosman Premier pellets made this 0.414-inch group at 25 yards when the rifle was rested directly on a sandbag. The hole at the 7 o’clock position and outside the group was the aim point and is not a part of this group.

The bottom line
I hope this test demonstrates the accuracy potential of the TX200. Also, I hope you appreciate how important it is that the rifle isn’t sensitive to hold. It will make a better shooter of almost anyone! Of course, I used the very best scope I have for this test; but besides that, nothing special was done. I didn’t even use a scope level.

Have you noticed how similar in size all the groups seem to be? The rifle seems to like a lot of different pellets. That’s another plus, and a good reason why this rifle is worth the price.

I love this rifle because it doesn’t fight me. I can relax almost as though I was shooting an accurate PCP. And I’ve adjusted the trigger to such a fine point that it doesn’t disturb the finest aim when it’s pulled. No wonder I compare other spring rifles to this one!

We now have a baseline for the TX200; so when the Benjamin MAV 77 becomes available, we can compare it.

Air Arms TX200 Mk III air rifle: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Air Arms TX200 Mark III air rifle is impressive in its optional walnut stock.

Let’s look at the velocity of my .177-caliber TX200 Mark III. My gun is more than a decade old, and it didn’t always perform like it does today. When it was new, it was 60-70 f.p.s. slower than what you’ll see today; but as I shot it over time, the rifle broke in and became faster. This gun is still in its original factory tune. It hasn’t been shot that much — perhaps 2,000 shots or so since new. I was no longer competing with a spring-piston rifle in field target when I got this one, so it sat around a lot. In fact, I think most of its life has been spent in tests like this one.

In the description in Part 1, I forgot to mention that the pistol grip of the stock is shaped for either right or left hands. You must buy the specific stock you need. It has a swell that fills your palm as you hold the rifle, and Air Arms made the grip fit well for most shooters. The grip is very vertical, which is perfect for a target-type trigger because it allows the best control over the trigger-pull.

I also didn’t mention the latch that holds the underlever. I have seen everything from a complicated spring-loaded catch that has to be pulled back or pushed forward to release the lever, to a friction fit that can wear out and drop the lever at the wrong time. The TX200 has a spring-loaded ball bearing that holds the underlever tight, yet releases it easily when you pinch between the barrel and lever with your fingers. It is the best underlever latch I’ve seen. The only thing better is using over-center geometry to eliminate the need for the latch altogether.

Cocking effort
My TX200 cocks with 34 lbs. of effort. Cocking is smooth, and the three detents that hold the sliding compression chamber don’t start catching until the last part of the cocking arc. The rifle is agreeably quiet when cocked, yet also reasonably safe from a beartrap accident, where the sear slips and the compression chamber slams forward on fingers that are loading pellets.

Another thing I’ve been adamant about is the superb trigger on the TX. In Part, 1 I showed a schematic of the trigger and the adjustment screws. I have mine set for a long first stage (which I like), and a second stage that releases at 9 OUNCES! I believe Paul Watts is able to tune a Rekord trigger this light, but not too many other people are. And all I did with this one was adjust the stage one and stage two trigger screws! It was nothing special.

There’s also a trigger-pull weight adjustment screw located behind the trigger blade. You can lower or increase the trigger-pull weight with this screw, though the limits on both ends are finite. However, look again at what I have been able to achieve and see if that isn’t what you want.

Jerry, how about taking a stab at adjusting your trigger and telling us what you discover?

The first pellet I tried was the Beeman Kodiak that weighs 10.2 grains. They average 842 f.p.s. with a 10 f.p.s. spread from 837 to 847. At the average velocity, they generate 16.06 foot-pounds. I felt a slight buzzing at the end of the shot cycle, which is very unusual for this rifle, so I think these may be a bit too heavy for the powerplant. They’re very accurate, however.

Next, I tested the time-honored Crosman Premier 7.9-grain domed pellet. They averaged 958 f.p.s., with a spread from 952 to 967 f.p.s. The shot cycle smoothed out with these, and they felt great! At the average velocity, they generate 16.1 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

The final pellet I tried was the 8.4-grain JSB Exact. They fit the breech loosely and also varied a lot in size (from the feel at loading). They averaged 918 f.p.s., but the spread went from 897 to 929 f.p.s. Compared to the other two pellets, that’s large. At the average velocity, this pellet generates 15.72 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

My rifle is stronger!
This is hard to believe, but my rifle is even stronger than it was the last time I tested it in 2006. Then, it shot Premier Lites at an average 933 f.p.s., with a 19 f.p.s. spread and delivering 15.27 foot-pounds. It’s increased 0.80 foot-pounds over the past six years — mostly while lying dormant in my closet! But it’s not going to be dormant for long, because we’re going to see at least one accuracy test — and maybe two — from this air rifle.

Jerry’s rifle
As I mentioned in Part 1, one of our new readers — Jerry — recently bought a TX200 MK III. I saw it at the LASSO big bore shoot, and Jerry let me shoot it. The rifle is gorgeous, and today Jerry has been kind enough to submit a couple pictures to show us what he received. He bought the walnut stock on the advice of many, both for the looks and for the lighter weight. Here, now, is Jerry’s new rifle.

Jerry’s TX200 Mk III is stocked in walnut

This closeup shows the beautiful wood grain. This is considered a standard walnut stock. And look at that checkering!

The forearm allows another look at the unusual checkering.

Leapers 4-16x scope looks just right on Jerry’s TX. Even though it extends over the loading port, there’s still plenty of room for loading because of the shape of the loading port.

I said in Part 1 that the barrel is nine inches long. That was a mistake. It’s just over 13 inches — a fact I confirmed by measuring mine. The TX200 Hunter Carbine has the shorter barrel. I tested one of those and didn’t care for the extra effort it takes to cock because the underlever is shorter than the one on the standard TX200. But the Hunter Carbine develops the same power as the larger rifle.

I’m going to mount my best scope on the rifle for the next test. Hoo-boy!