Air Arms TX200 MkIII
Bruce Potts takes a fresh look at an airgun classic, the TX200 Mk III from Air Arms…
The TX range of air rifles have undergone subtle changes over the years and still remain a home-grown underlever air rifle that offers a great little spring gun for hunters or FT shooters alike. Build quality is every bit as good as any European springer and, in fact, the action is super smooth, accurate and the wood work on all walnut-stocked Air Arms is superb. The build quality is tangible in the hand, as it has that satisfying solid feel yet well balanced with a high gloss blued finish. On test is the full length TX200 version, although an HC (Hunter Carbine) model is also available.
The overall feel of the gun has a lot to do with the walnut stock that has a wellproportioned amount of flare to its design. The woodwork is nicely scalloped, shaped and curved in all the right places and is visually pleasing, as well as functional. The forend has a well-portioned, rounded section in front of the trigger guard that tapers as it reaches the forend and finishes in a very subtle semi Schnabel tip. This allows a good position of the supporting hand at two differing positions.
The pistol grip, too, is big enough to accommodate the largest hand, but is thin enough in the grip with open rake for a good hold. It is finished off with a white spacer and rose wood cap, an unnecessary but nice touch. The cheekpiece is a roll over high position, which suits me very well and a smart no-nonsense black ventilated recoil pad finishes off a very good stock design. Chequering is laser cut, which is very neat and tidy with fish scale cuts that I like but are bordered with leaf edges, which is a bit over the top for my tastes. Best of all is the superb walnut that Air Arms use; this model had superb colour and dark swirling figure, very nice in deed!
Action and cocking
The TX200 has a smooth and consistent action with all metal work having a deep nicely finished and blued finish, a bit reflective but it really gives a feel of quality. Cocking the rifle is easily handled with its 9.5-inch underlever needing a certain amount of pressure to release the lever from the detent ball bearing, which acts as a retaining mechanism and the cocking stroke can be easily carried out in one action.
As with all TX rifles, there is an anti bear trap mechanism (Safe Lok) that ensures that the cocking handle does not inadvertently fly back up half way through its stroke if you accidently let it go. Three large slots cut into the compression chamber ensures that fingers are not trapped in the loading port if the sear was to fail.
There is a large loading port cut into the side of the receiver wall and pellets are easily thumbed into this port into the back end of the barrel.
With the cocking lever locked in the back position, you need to push the front edge of a 2.5-inch button on the right-hand side of the action just behind the breech area, as this releases the antibear mechanism so that the underlever can be returned to sit under the barrel again. It is a bit fiddly but if you’re right handed just hold the pistol grip in the right hand as the left hand cocks the action; then, supporting the gun in the left hand, you can thumb a pellet in to the breech with your right hand and then press the release button. Internally, the TX utilises a balanced mainspring, guide and piston system that runs on synthetic bearings to reduce friction, thus higher efficiency, easier cocking and reduced recoil.
There are no open sights furnished, for a smooth look and the rifle has a long nineinch, 11mm wide dovetail for scope mounting.
Roll out the barrel
The 13-inch Walther barrel sits within a 16-inch shroud, making for a neat looking and compact overall design. This has many benefits, one of which is that the muzzle crown is thus protected from mishaps whilst hunting and this void between the muzzle and the end of the shroud acts as a small, yet quite effective, primary expansion chamber for noise reduction. Muzzle report is very low and muted to a dull ‘thut’, the HC version I seem to remember has more of a crack to it.
The CD (Computer Designed) trigger unit is fitted to the TX200 range and is great ‘off the self’ trigger unit, especially for an air rifle primarily designed for hunting. Factory settings are light enough to please most shooters and certainly the smooth trigger helps achieve the HC’s impressive accuracy. There is quite a long first travel from this two-stage trigger and then the sear breaks very cleanly at 2.75-3lbs weight.
The safety is an automatic unit, with a button protruding from the left rear of the end cap of the receiver. On cocking, the button pops out and makes the trigger safe and then needs to be pushed in, conveniently with the firing hand’s thumb, before the rifle will fire. It’s a fool proof and reliable system.
I chose a variety of styles and weights of .177 pellets for the testing and conducted the accuracy groupings at 30-yards, which is a pretty standard hunting range.
The TX200 range tends not to be pellet fussy, as was shown in the tests. Highest velocity went with the two lead free pellets as expected due to their light weight. The RWS Hyper Domes at 5.4-grains sped along at 954fps, (Yahoo!) for 10.92ft/lbs energy and were accurate too, with 0.54-inch 30-yard groups. Similarly, the H&N FTT Green pellets, at 5.6-grains weight, shot 977fps for a healthy 11.87ft/lbs and again good groups at 0.67-inch. Traditional lead pellets also fared well, with the Lazadomes at 11.64ft.lbs and 0.52-inch groups and the Air Arms Fields with 0.44-inch groups for 777fps and 11.40ft/lbs. That’s accurate and powerful — nice!
In truth, most of the pellets tested would work well in this TX200, which is more than enough for real-world hunting ranges.
As with other Air Arms rifles, they are well made, handle well and finished to a very high standard. The walnut stock on this TX is unbelievable and as a springer offers a compact and very accurate sporting arm. True, the ratchet system may put some off but I like the solidity and safety this system provides and the TX200 HC is a good rifle to train shooters how to shoot a sporting arm with correct hold and follow through. The stock is well-proportioned and styled but the laser cut chequering decoration is too much for me but overall a timeless classic. Many thanks again to Mark Sinclair at C H Westons in Brighton, www. airgunexpress.co.uk for the loan of the TX200.
|Calibre||.177, .22 (.177 on test)|
|Length of pull||14.25-inches|
|Price||£459 Walnut stock, beech available|
|Contact||Air Arms. www.air-arms.co.uk|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates