Air Arms T200 Sporter Air Rifle Test Review
Testers: Sean McDaniel, Stephen Archer
Test Date: 23 October 2016
Serial Numbers: B902383
Source of Supply: Supplied by Air Venturi.
We Don't Like
Air Arms name but not Air Arms quality.
Rough first stage to trigger.
- Value for Money 80%
- Speed and Accuracy 80%
- Trigger and Cocking Effort 70%
- Comparison to Makers Claims:100%
- Consistency 90%
- Noise Level 70%
- Sights 90%
- Shootability 90%
- Appearance and Finish 90%
- Buying and Owning 90%
HARD AIR MAGAZINE TEST CONCLUSIONS
The Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle is ideal in its core task as an entry-level dedicated target rifle. It’s capable of the required accuracy with match-grade wadcutter pellets and the diopter peep sights. In this configuration it’s competition approved, light and easy to shoot.
But the T200 has a largely-unknown dual personality. With the power cranked-up and a scope fitted, it becomes a delightful gun for plinking, Field Target competition and even some light hunting. It can even be converted into a 10-shot repeater!
This makes the Air Arms T200 Sporter an interesting, versatile and unusual air rifle.
But don’t let the Air Arms name lead you to expect quality that’s not here. The T200 is a relatively low-priced gun that’s manufactured by CZ in the Czech Republic. Approached in this way, the T200 is a capable, good value product that well justified its HAM Silver Award.
VALUE FOR MONEY
We – or at least HAM publisher Stephen Archer – thought that the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle would be a simple, easy gun to review. Wrong! It’s actually a surprisingly complex air rifle, as you’ll see from the following story.
That complexity is reflected even in the product’s name.
We’re calling it the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle because that’s what leading US dealers Pyramyd Air and Airgun Depot call it.
But the Air Arms website and print catalog call it the “S200 Target”. The breech carries the designation “AA 200T”. When you open the outer packaging, you find a second cardboard box showing the manufacturer to be the Czech company CZ. The instruction manual calls the gun the “CZ200”. And, if that was not enough, the pressure gauge on the end of the tank of the gun tested by HAM carries the word “Avanti” – yes, that’s the Daisy brand name.
Confused? We certainly are…
We mention this complexity because that complexity extends to the price. The Street Price of the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle is $525.00. This includes a fill adapter. However this adapter does not fit the standard female 1/8-inch NPT quick disconnect fitting that’s on the end of your pump or tank. To make this connection, you’ll also require an additional adapter. That additional adapter, the Air Venturi SS Female DIN Adapter With Male Quick Disconnect, adds another $39.99 to the cost of the gun.
Peep front and rear sights, sight inserts and tools are, however, included in the price.
So, for most of us, the actual “ready to shoot” T200 Sporter air rifle will cost $564.99, including the Air Venturi adapter. Assuming, of course, that you already have the filling equipment for this cute little PCP air rifle that’s intended for 10 Meter competition shooting.
At that price, and including peep sights, the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle compares favorably with its main competitor, the Crosman Challenger. Including peep sights, the Challenger has a Street Price of $650. The T200 also has the possible benefit of interchangeable HPA tanks and dual power options – 7 Joules (5.16 Ft/Lbs) and 16 Joules (11.8 Ft/Lbs).
Air Arms positions the T200 as an entry level target rifle. It also scores with its “high power” (16 Joules) capability. This makes the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle much more versatile than just being a paper puncher. Now this delightful little gun can be used for Field Target shooting, plinking and even hunting small critters and birds.
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Air Arms T200 Sporter Air Rifle
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Air Arms T200 Sporter Air Rifle
SPEED AND ACCURACY
As a paper-punching, 10 Meter competition target air rifle, the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle is not intended to have a high muzzle velocity. For this application there’s no benefit in 1,000+ fps performance. So 500 fps, or thereabouts, is perfectly acceptable performance, in conjunction with wadcutter pellets. This is the “out of the box” 7 Joule setting for the T200.
The Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle is supplied with a set of tools. These tools, together with some basic instructions on the Pyramyd Air website and a couple of other hex wrenches, allow the power to be increased to a nominal 16 Joules (11.8 Ft/Lbs). (Sadly, the manufacturer’s instructions do not cover how to make this change).
Naturally, HAM publisher Stephen Archer could not resist the opportunity to make this modification!
The result was that – when opened out completely – the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle tested by HAM shot RWS R10 Match pellets at 870 fps – a cool 230 fps more than in the “out of the box” configuration. That gave a Muzzle Energy of 13.8 Ft/Lbs – considerably higher than the promised 16 Joules (11.8 Ft/Lbs). HAM will publish a separate post on how to make this power increase and the tips we learned while doing so.
Yes, the increased power cuts down the shots per fill, makes the gun much louder and increases the trigger pull weight. It also increases the cocking effort. But now the T200 is capable of being not just a paper-puncher. It’s also capable of use in Field Target competition, plinking and hunting. For many shooters, that’s a very worthwhile trade-off.
Of course, whatever the muzzle velocity, accuracy is absolutely required!
Now, the HAM standard test suite of pellets doesn’t include any real “match target specific” pellets. This is because the majority of the air rifles we test are primarily intended for hunting and plinking. Also, HAM tester Sean McDaniel used a scope for his test of the T200 – you can see the usual targets at the foot of this review.
So, HAM Publisher Stephen Archer shot the T200 with the peep sights using the most accurate pellets determined from Sean’s tests – H&N Field Target Trophy Green – together with some outright target-competitive wadcutter ammo: RWS R10 Match pellets. You can see the results below.
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H&N Field Target Trophy Green pellets, .177 caliber
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H&N FTT Green Pellets .177 Cal
The first point is that the target shot with peep sights and the H&N Field Target Trophy Green pellets was better with peep sights than with a scope. Stephen Archer claims no special credit for this as he freely admits to being a lousy “target shot”. However, it does indicate that the peep sights supplied with the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle can be at least as accurate as a scope at 10 yards/Meters range.
Secondly, when Stephen Archer shot the T200 with the RWS R10 Match pellets, the group tightened much closer, giving an almost “one hole” group for 10 shots. And it would probably be better with a higher-contrast black/white target as is used for target shooting. This, of course, is exactly what is required from a match rifle!
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 4.7 Grain||658.2 FPS||5.2 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 5.56 Grain||630.1 FPS||4.9 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best Tested|
|RWS Hobby 7.0 Grain||562 FPS||4.9 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|Crosman Premier HP 7.9 Grain||543.9 FPS||5.2 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|JSB Exact Diabalo 8.44 Grain||552.3 FPS||5.7 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 Grain||543.3 FPS||5.7 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 10.65 Grain||482.2 FPS||5.5 Ft/Lbs||Good.|
Note. Our scoring for this section is based on the 870 fps capability of the T200.
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
The trigger on the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle tested by HAM was OK, but definitely not as good as we expect for a gun carrying the Air Arms name.
The pull weight averaged 1 Lb 15 Oz in our testing (this increased to 2 Lb 5 Oz with the power increased to 13.8 Ft/Lbs). This was fine. And the second stage let-off is very precise and easy to control.
However the first stage was very rough and “catchy”. That first stage seemed to come back in 3 distinct steps. Yes, we got used to it. Yes, it worked. Yes, it had no ill effects on accuracy. But it wasn’t the superlative trigger we expect from a product carrying the name Air Arms.
The trigger is adjustable for pull weight and also trigger blade position. This flexibility will be appreciated by target shooters searching for the perfect trigger position, but – as usual – HAM used the trigger in “out of the box” condition.
Cocking effort was about average for a bolt-operated, cock-on opening action. The bolt was not exactly slick or “butter smooth”, but it operated effectively. Again, it didn’t give the superlative quality feel that we have come to expect from Air Arms.
Some pellets also displayed a tendency to be rough to chamber – this was particularly the case with the alloy, domed pellets. But we need to remember that the T200 is designed for use with wadcutters as its primary fare.
CAUTION. The Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle is not fitted with a safety. Pulling the bolt handle fully open does not make the action safe. Due to the cock-on-opening action, if the bolt is fully open, pulling the trigger will cause the bolt to slam forward and fire the gun. Once the T200 is loaded with a pellet in the breech, it must be discharged in a safe direction before the gun can be considered safe!
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
Note that the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle is supplied set to 7 Joules nominal maximum power for competition use. That’s 5.16 Ft/Lbs. This power level was attained with pellets in the 5.5 to 8 Grain range, exactly the weights that would be expected for target shooting. That’s why the T200 is approved for Sporter Class competition.
However, the side of the breech carries the marking “MAX 16 JOULE”. The explanation for this is that that the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle has two “tuning” settings that will increase the muzzle velocity – and hence power.
These adjustments will be familiar – in principal – to anyone who has tuned a Benjamin Marauder. Once screw adjusts the flow of air from the valve into the barrel. (Larger hole = more air = faster muzzle velocity). And the hammer spring tension can be increased to further increase the power.
After increasing the power to the maximum, the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle tested by HAM produced a Muzzle Energy of approximately 13.8 Ft/Lbs using 8.2 Grain pellets – that’s 18.7 Joules, handily above the claim.
The muzzle velocity claim for the T200 is 575 fps. In HAM testing, we achieved 562 fps with 7.0 Grain lead pellets, 658 with 4.7 Grain alloy pellets. Set to “all out” performance, we achieved 870 fps with 8.2 Grain pellets. So the T200 clearly is capable of matching or exceeding the fps claims made for it – even though that’s not at all significant for a paper-punching target rifle..
Consistency is an absolute “Must” for any air rifle used in target shooting competitions.
Trigger pull weight of the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle tested by HAM was very consistent, at only +/- 2 ounces of its 1 Lb 15 Oz average. That’s much less than any of us can detect as a variation in pull weight!
Standard Deviation – the measurement of shot-to-shot variation across the string – was well controlled at around the 3.0 FPS mark with pellets that the T200 “liked”. Obviously no-one would seriously expect to use the heavy H&N Baracuda Match heavies for precision target shooting, so the 15.3 FPS Standard Deviation they displayed is not a big issue. More unusual is the 23.5 FPS Standard Deviation displayed by the RWS Hobby pellets, although it has to be said that the resulting target was not too bad, in spite of this.
The Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle is not silenced, but the very low power output means that the report when firing is fairly quiet. It’s a sharp, quite high-pitched “crack” that’s not obtrusive – in the HAM team’s opinion. However, it seemed rather louder outdoors than on an indoor range.
So, this is not Marauder-level quiet, but it certainly could not be called a loud air rifle by any means…
Once the power’s cranked-up, all of that changes fast! When shooting at 870 fps, the T200 gave a significant bark, courtesy of the large additional quantity of air that’s being used to propel the pellets.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
As a dedicated target air rifle, the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle is supplied complete with iron sights. These comprise an elevation- and windage-adjustable diopter (peep) rear sight, together with a globe front sight. Both front and rear sights attach to the gun with dovetails and can be easily removed and re-attached.
The rear sight adjusts with precise clicks. It’s supplied with a rubber eyeshield and the diopter assembly is removable from the sight body, so that it could be replaced with a different aperture size, if required.
The front sight accepts interchangeable sighting elements. Four elements are included with the gun: these have 4.4, 4.0, 3.8 and 2.6 mm apertures, which should accommodate most target shooters’ requirements.
These sights are ideal for use with the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle in Sporter class competition at entry/intermediate level.
If required, a scope can be fitted to the T200, using the short dovetail rails on the breech. Removing the front globe sight gives a clear sight picture through the scope. The front scope mounting block can be moved further forward along the barrel, if required to gain space for a longer scope.
“Wonderful. The gun is light and just feels good in your hands” That’s what HAM tester Sean McDaniel wrote in his testing notes.
Other HAM team members agree with that, although there’s one caveat…
When using the diopter peep sights, there’s very little clearance between the opening bolt handle and the bottom of the rear sight body. Stephen Archer cut himself on the sharp(-ish) lower edge of the sight body. So be careful when cocking the T200 with the peep sights fitted!
Overall, the gun is delightfully light and delicate in the hand. The point of balance seems about perfect. The pull length is short, as you would expect for a target rifle at 13.75-inches. But the cheek weld is good and the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle is comfortable to shoot for even tall, long-necked shooters like Stephen Archer.
To be 100% clear, this is not just an air rifle for juniors!
Although the T200 is not regulated and has a small HPA capacity of just 122cc, on its standard, 6 Joule power setting, it gives a huge number – about 130 – very consistent shots per fill. This enables a complete match, with sighters etc, to be completed on the capacity of just one tank. The availability of additional tanks extends the shot count even further.
HPA tanks must be filled off of the gun. Tanks can be installed and removed from the T200 easily, even when at full pressure. There’s no bleed required – just screw-in, or unscrew, the tank as required. Simple.
But, if your HPA air supply is provided courtesy of a standard, female 1/8-inch NPT quick disconnect, you will need to use not only the included adapter, but also the Air Venturi adapter to make a fill. Our photograph shows how.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
Overall appearance and finish of the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle is good.
The close-grained hardwood stock has some figuring and is nicely finished. There’s small areas of stippling either side of the grip area and a plain rubber buttpad at the rear. This is an ambidextrous stock and the comb is comfortable against the cheek, giving a pleasant feel when shooting.
Metal finish is good and bluing is deep and even on breech and barrel. But again, don’t expect this to match the quality of finish you see on guns that are manufactured in Air Arms UK facility.
The HPA tank – with its Avanti name! – of the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle tested by HAM had a dull, matt finish that looked almost gray instead of black. Unfortunately this finish proved to be very easily marked. The tank looks OK, but the finish gives the appearance of being a couple of grades below that of the stock and action.
BUYING AND OWNING
The Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle is readily available from many of the usual online airgun specialist retailers such as Airgun Depot and Pyramyd Air. But you’re very unlikely to find this air rifle at your local sporting goods retail store.
As you would expect from an Air Arms product, the T200 benefits from a limited lifetime warranty that’s supported in the USA by Air Venturi.
There’s also a wide range of spare parts and accessories available for the Air Arms T200 Sporter air rifle, although you may need to search around to find them, even on Pyramyd Air’s site. So here’s a list of some of the main ones:
Additional 122 cc HPA tank with gauge – http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Air_Arms_Air_Tank_Fits_S200_T200_Air_Rifles_with_Removable_Tanks_Gauge/3963
Front sight inserts (same as those supplied with the gun) – http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Air_Arms_Front_Sight_Inserts_4ct/5549
Repeater upgrade kit http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Air_Arms_Air_Tank_Fits_T200_S200_CZ200_Air_Rifles/4349
10-shot .177 cal magazine for repeater upgrade kit (required additionally) http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Air_Arms_S200_177_Cal_10_Shot_Magazine/726
But remember – as HAM tester Sean McDaniel pointed-out in his test notes – that even once you have the additional Air Venturi SS Female DIN Adapter With Male Quick Disconnect adapter for your T200, you will need to carry it with you at all times if you plan on using anyone else’s air supply.
Instructions are provided in English, Spanish, French, German and Russian. They contain a complete parts list and diagram, but cover the CZ200S and CZ200T models – yet more confusion in naming! The English version is clearly not written by a native English-speaker, but you’ll get the point pretty well.
The instructions do explain how to change the barrel. It’s a simple process and is something that will be useful in the club environment for cleaning. Replacement barrels are also available…
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Air Arms T200 Sporter Air Rifle
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Air Arms T200 Sporter Air Rifle
This entire article including scoring, test targets etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.