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Air Arms TX200 MKIII

Air Arms TX200 MKIII

Even though I’ve owned and tested many variants of the Air Arms ‘TX’ family of springers, it’s only recently I realised I’ve never tested a MkIII Standard (full length) rifle, since it was upgraded to its now MkIII status. Many will know it’s actually quite some time since Air Arms re-vamped all the rifles in their spring gun roster, with the main change being that they all now sit in new stock designs. So, as the mechanics of the rifle aren’t in question, cosmetically the TX now stands alongside other stylish looking modern springers of its ilk. An impressive looking piece of hardware so to speak.

Dressed to impress

The quality, beech wood stock boasts a generously sized, relatively high, right-hand rollover cheekpiece, with a ventilated, thick, black, rubber butt pad. The neck of the relatively steep, drop-down pistol grip is quite slim in comparison to the rest of the stock but more than adequate and makes for a very comfortable hold. The slab-sided, deep-set forend is quite lengthy but in proportion to the rest of the rifle, so doesn’t feel or appear out of place. It’s here you could use the term ‘elegant’ as the forend displays a very nicely contoured and forward taper design, which ends in a semi-Schnabel tip.

The stock is adorned with a very generous amount of stylish chequering, that Air Arms term as ‘High Definition.’ Based on a fish scale pattern, it is laser cut and oil finished, giving the chequering a very ‘well-defined’ appearance. This superbly configured ‘grip aid’ is applied on the pistol grip and forend, plus it even has engraved ‘fleur-de leys’ flourishes incorporated into the design, that add even more style to the overall cosmetics. The panels are ideally positioned along the forend, so wherever you’re leading hand holds the rifle, you’ll feel the benefit. Another nice touch is the pistol grip finishes at the foot with a stylish rosewood end cap, with white line spacer. Incidentally, the stock is available in Walnut, plus there’s a dedicated left-hand option available.

Lock & load

The relatively lengthy under-lever is held securely under the barrel by a sprung ball bearing détente, but ‘unlatches’ quite easily from the rather basic looking, yet practical, underslung retaining block. The under-lever of the TX has been machined so there are two concentric ‘bands’ at the very front, which to some extent help you grip the handle to make it easier to unlatch from the closed position. Slightly set back from the under-lever housing, to prevent noise on closure (over-travel), is a stiff rubber grommet on the underside of the chunky barrel shroud. This also shows its worth if you fit a ‘stud band’ for attaching a sling, as the under-lever won’t rattle around while moving.

The cocking stroke is quite lengthy but very smooth in operation. It’s while undertaking this procedure that you hear the ‘TX family familiar’, 3-clicks as it progresses back until finally engaging with the trigger sears. As the rifle is cocked, the sliding stainless steel breech cover slides back into the action for direct pellet loading. Upon completion of the cocking stroke, the automatic trigger safety comes into play. This is a button positioned rear/ left of the air cylinder and it pops out to show a green band, visually indicating that the rifle is on SAFE. Once the generously sized loading bay is exposed, a pellet can easily be thumbed directly into the Lothar Walther tube. Then, the large elongated rocker catch positioned rear/ right of the sliding breech needs to be pressed inwards, to allow you to return the lever to the original closed position.

story continues below...

Incidentally, a very useful mechanical feature that this rifle boasts is the fact that the underlever is attached to an articulated cocking linkage. That, in turn, is attached directly to the piston sleeve, rather than any other part of the piston arrangement. This negates the need for the linkage to touch any part of the piston body and in turn helps accuracy, as the piston is free to rotate on firing as the mainspring is unleashed after compression. The company also use internal bearings that ensure the firing cycle stays in line, again resulting in the action staying true on firing. This all might sound like a case of over-engineering but fire a TX200 and you can ‘feel’ the difference, as many agree it behaves unlike any other springpowered air rifle, except maybe for one that’s been ‘tuned’.

Top performance

After mounting a Hawke Sport HD 3-9x50AO Mil-Dot IR scope in the lengthy deep-cut dovetails and setting a 30 yard zero using quality ammo, the rifle is easily capable of producing ragged ¾” groups and sub 1” holes out to 40 yards. Granted, this was in .177 calibre, but in my opinion a timely reminder of why this rifle has long been an award winner in both ‘Production Springer Class’ Field Target (FT) as well as Hunter Field Target (HFT).

All those previously detailed mechanical shenanigans deserve a very high-quality trigger unit to function to their optimum level, and what better unit to release lead than the highly acclaimed CD (Computer Designed) trigger unit. After reacquainting myself with this 2-stage adjustable gem, I still reckon for unleashing spring power, that it’s on a par with the now recognised industry standard, Weihrauch Rekord mechanism. The ergonomically curved alloy blade is slightly set back in the metal trigger guard and coupled with the slim neck and steep drop-down pistol grip, a high degree of trigger control is effortlessly achieved.

For a full power springer, the TX200 MkIII has minimal muzzle report and recoil, the latter obviously being quelled due to the weight and balance of the gun. Of course, let’s not forget the internal design has to be given credit for the gun’s very smooth and predictable behaviour during the firing cycle.

Conclusions

When you haven’t been in the company of a TX200 for a while, there are initially two factors that will impress. The first is the overall build quality and the second, the superb high lustre finish of the metalwork. However, this isn’t a rifle that needs to rely on its graceful and very stylish cosmetics, as it’s a true workhorse that handles well and is extremely accurate.

With seemingly so many new models of springers ‘springing’ up, it’s good to see a rifle with a pedigree such as the Air Arms TX200 MkIII, as it can still stand up to the opposition and now equally looks as good as it shoots.

Thanks to T & J. J McAvoy LTD for supplying rifle on test

  • Air Arms TX200 MKIII - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Air Arms TX200 MKIII - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Air Arms TX200 MKIII - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Air Arms TX200 MKIII - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Air Arms TX200 MKIII - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Air Arms TX200 MKIII - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Air Arms TX200 MKIII - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

gun
features

  • Name: Air Arms TX200 MkIII
  • Type: Under-lever, Spring Powered
  • Stock: Right Hand Beech Wood Sporter
  • Sights: None
  • Overall Length: 41.5”
  • Barrel: 16”
  • Weight: 9lbs Un-Scoped
  • Calibre: .177 on test .22 available
  • Price: £396
  • Contact: Air Arms - www.air-arms.co.uk

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