In 1991, after consultation with Ken Turner & Nick Jenkinson, Air Arms launched the hugely successful TX200 – for more detail about the development of this legendary rifle please see the separate TX200 page.
In 1993 the TX200 Mk2 version was launched, which incorporated an anti-beartrap device.
After feedback from hunters that a carbine version of the TX200 would be most welcome, Air Arms started work on designing such a rifle.
The March 1995 edition of Airgun World featured a new, yet un-named, carbine TX, which they nicknamed “The Tomahawk”.
I would personally have welcomed the moniker of “The Tomahawk” for the new rifles but later in 1995 the sensibly named TX200HC (Hunter Carbine) was launched. The rifle was an incarnation of the Mk2 TX200 and was described by Air Arms as “An out and out no-nonsense hunting rifle combining all the virtues of its big brother in a more compact and portable package.”
To achieve this, the HC had a shorter barrel that was housed in a shroud, with the UK version having a built in moderator. The action block and stock were identical to those of the TX200 Mk2.
With the initial HC being based around the Mk2 TX200, it came to be referred to as the TX200HC Mk2. So, in effect there is no actual Mk1!
In 1998, the Mk3 TX range was launched.
Mk 3 TX Review - Airgun World March 1998
The Mk3 saw some significant changes to the power plant as the stroke was increased from 82mm to 91mm. This resulted in the sub 12fpe and FAC versions of all rifles in the TX range now sharing a common piston, with the former being “tuned down” by use of a softer spring. The result is that the sub 12fpe version is easier to cock and has less recoil. The downside is that the firing cycle is not as quick, which leads to a slight increase in hold sensitivity.
The Mk3 anti-bear trap now had 3 unevenly spaced notches that can all be seen on the visible area of the sliding breech – the Mk2 has 3 visible evenly spaced notches and a further 7 that can’t be seen.
Over the years there have been a number of minor changes to the TX200HC Mk3 action and stock but overall there has been no significant change to the rifle that is a firm favourite with shooters, hunters in particular.
The TX200HC is another rifle in the Air Arms arsenal of springers that with a quality build, good looks, reliability and accuracy I expect will be with us for many years to come.
Mk3 (Walnut stock)
Barrel length: 9.5in
Calibre: .177 & .22 (Initially only offered in .22)
A solid steel piston, with a bore of 25mm runs inside a polished compression tube. With a pair of delrin bearings being present at each end the piston is radially floating, meaning there is no metal to metal contact and it can rotate during travel. The system eliminates the torque on fixed piston rifles that leads to twist being experienced when firing, providing greater spring efficiency and smoother operation. Adding to the efficiency of the rifle is the concentrically designed breech/transfer port which ensures a smooth flow for air on firing.
The sub 12fpe Mk 2had a 82mm stroke and the hi-power versions 91mm. The Mk3 saw a stroke of 98mm for both versions, with a softer spring bringing the power on the sub 12fpe version within the UK limit.
TX200HC On Test - Airgun World June 2009 - Part 1
The high power linkage in the Mk3 resulted in the arc of the cocking stroke increasing from 115 degrees to 135 degrees. With this increase and the softer spring the cocking effort was reduced from around 56lb to 35lb.
The HC benefits from a 9.5in, 12 groove precision choked Walther barrel. This is shrouded in a 29mm sleeve with the UK version having a built in silencer. The end of the shroud is threaded to accommodate a 1/2in UNF silencer if required. Without a silencer added the HC is 3in shorter than the standard TX.
The under-lever catch is attached to the end of the shroud. The catch uses a simple sprung ball mechanism with a synthetic stop to prevent over-travel. On the Mk2 the ball catch was at the end of the cocking lever. For the Mk3 it was moved and located in the lock housing.
TX200HC On Test - Airgun World June 2009 - Part 2
As the cocking is significantly stiffer than the standard TX due the shorter lever, there is a knurled steel sleeve at the end of the lever to add grip and thicken up the handle end.
The ratcheting anti-beartrap mechanism is referred to as the “Safelok”. The Mk2 has 10 notches cut along the piston shroud, 3 evenly spaced ones can be seen with the other 7 being hidden further back and out of sight. The small black lock on the side of the action would engage these as the rifles was cocked. After cocking the lock must be depressed before the breech can close as the under-lever returns.
Holding the lock down during cocking will stop the mechanism operating and therefore reduce the noise, which can be useful in hunting situations. This is not ideal of course so to reduce the noise caused by the system when cocking the notches on the Mk3 were reduced to 3 unevenly spaced ones, all visible.
TX200HC On Test - Airgun World June 2009 - Part 3
A new trigger unit was developed for the TX rifles in the form of the C.D. unit – the C.D. being an abbreviation of “Computer Developed”. This is a multi adjustable 2 stage match trigger with sears machined from solid steel and a chasis screwed together rather being formed from folded steel. At the end of the cocking stroke the top sear automatically locks and the safety catch is set.
The sporter style stock, available in beech or walnut, features:
A rollover cheek-piece with a high comb to aid scope/eye alignment
Raked pistol grip
Chequering – initially to the pistol grip and then later to the fore-end as well (The fish scale chequering on current models was introduced around 2006)
Black rubber ventilated butt pad
I have tried to be as accurate as possible but please excuse any inaccuracies and bear in mind this wording I found in an old Air Arms advert:
“In pursuance of our policy of continuous development we reserve the right to change specification without prior notice”