Air Arms TX200 MkIII
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- Last updated: 06/02/2017
Whenever the TX200 comes up in conversation, a brief history lesson is required; for it was back in the late ‘80’s that the seeds of this rifle were sown.
When Weihrauch introduced the classic HW77 and took the field target scene by storm, other manufacturers just couldn’t stand by and ignore its runaway success. Indeed a reaction was called for, and the broadside from Air Arms, in the form of the TX200, was pretty emphatic to say the least.
What Air Arms did with the TX200 was bring out a rifle that cleverly included many of the features provided by custom houses, as extras when customising spring rifles. By utilizing the engineering skill and design flair of Ken Turner, a master airgun-smith, and additional input from three times World FT Champion – Nick Jenkinson, the TX200 was destined for great things.
The test rifle is the standard model (a shorter Hunter Carbine version is also available) that takes the Air Arms philosophy a stage further and deserves a closer look. The main configuration of the rifle is very similar to that of the HW77, with a fixed barrel being the main obvious feature that gives peace of mind to the user. A full length underlever runs underneath the barrel, and this gives that classic ‘double barrelled’ look to the whole set-up.
This is now technically the MkIII version, and one main difference between this and earlier versions is an extended cocking stroke, in order to make the rifle easier to cock. Because the length that the piston travels has been increased, this has slightly increased the lock time. Yet in practice, it’s so minimal as to be insignificant; and the benefits of a longer and easier cocking stroke far outweigh any shortcomings.
The other main difference on the latest version is the revised muzzle end, where the underlever is retained. The lever is just held in place by a spring-loaded ball detente, and no catch has to be fiddled with to gain its release. Attention to detail is impressive, with a small button of rubber fitted to the underside of the barrel to absorb any contact with the lever - a nice touch which adds to the overall appeal. The Lother Walther barrel fitted to the TX, is a satisfyingly chunky ‘bull barrel’, which neatly conceals an integral silencer at the muzzle end. The standard safety catch sits above the trigger, and is easily nudged off with the thumb.
Scope rails are cut into the topside of the cylinder and run virtually along the entire length from the breech back, providing plenty of options with regards to positioning a scope; this is a pre-requisite in today’s demanding airgun market.
With regards to safety, Air Arms fit an anti-bear trap device to the TX200, known as ‘Safe-Lok’. Basically, on the cocking stroke, as the underlever is pulled down to compress the mainspring, a spring loaded ratchet engages with the large teeth, cut into the side of the piston slide (as can be seen on the breech cut out). The ratchet engages at different stages of the levers travel, and guarantees that the lever cannot come flying back under extreme spring pressure, to crush any fingers caught in the open breech area! On completion of the cocking stroke, whilst holding the underlever in the left hand (for added safety), a pellet can be loaded directly in the barrel. It just then remains for the large button on the right hand side, to be held in, which allows the underlever to be returned and clipped back into place; and the shots ready to be taken. It’s worth noting that the loud ratcheting noise generated by such anti-bear trap devices have been the bain of many a hunter over the years; but with this TX200, if that same large button is depressed whilst the lever is cocked, then the system becomes silent.
As triggers go, the ‘CD’ (computer designed) unit fitted to the TX200 is impressive indeed. An attractive cast alloy blade, offers a comfortable, nicely set back trigger position. It offers just about everything one could wish for in a trigger; and bearing in mind that it has to hold back severe poundage from a spring/piston mechanism, it’s a nice piece of engineering.
The internals are still first class, with the piston running on synthetic bearings to ease its path and smooth out the firing cycle. In addition, connoisseurs will tell you that the fact that the transfer port runs concentrically in the piston, is preferable to the off-centre design of the HW77. In the real world, the difference is largely theoretical, yet goes some way towards demonstrating the level of thinking behind the whole TX concept.
With the consistent use of socket headed screws throughout, and an extremely high finish to the metalwork, the TX200 gives off an aura of slick business like quality.
Over the chronograph, and using my main .177 test pellets (JSB’s and Crosman varieties), results were everything you’d expect from such an established product. Accupels returned just under 11ft/lbs and varied by a reasonable 16 fps. But JSB Exacts returned just 9fps variation over a ten shot string, and gave 11.4 ft/lbs energy - consistency worthy of any top class air rifle out there!
Accuracy on the range was a foregone conclusion. Suffice to say ragged enlarged one hole groups at 30yds were easily attainable with both pellets; identical groups measuring just 1/3” across. It has been accepted (and much reported) just what these guns can do, so accuracy is not really the issue, so much as how it’s arrived at.
What amazed me was the mild manners of the TX. I’ve shot a few over the years, and in all honesty, thought they felt a bit harsh, just kicking that little more than a comparable HW77; the obvious rival. However, this latest incarnation is in a different league. The TX200 was always blisteringly accurate, but now the firing cycle is so smooth, with just a muted bounce. I apologize for the cliché, but this really did feel like a tuned rifle, straight from the box!
Good enough for just about any airgun discipline, be it hunting, HFT or even as an introduction to FT, this rifle has to be worth a look.
Easy to cock, smooth and civilized to shoot, if 9lbs of unscoped heft doesn’t put you off, then the Air Arms TX200 represents a classic choice of self-contained quality spring power.
Beech sporter on test, now superseded by models in beech or walnut with High Definition chequering
Beech stocked models (Standard rifle or Hunter Carbine) £306
Walnut stocked models (Standard rifle or Hunter Carbine) £349