S 200 Article
Finally, after all these months of waiting, Top Gun Air Guns (T.G.A.G) received their shipment of S200 S from Air Arms. As soon I was told I drove over to test one for an article. But let me start with some history about this rifle. It is produced for Air Arms (A.A.) in the Czech Republic by C.Z. (Ceska Zbrojovka) located in Uhersky Brod. A couple of years ago A.A. approached CZ to produce the airgun using A.A. ideas. The idea took hold and after many changes the rifle is being produced. The reason it took TGAG so long to receive one: CZ was not producing them in great quantities. It appears that that last obstacle is behind the factory so the orders should be caught up on. I almost wish I had more of a history to tell but there simply is not much to tell, the rifle is that new.
.............. The first S200 was displayed in the German gun show IWA in Nuremberg a couple of years ago. The model I picked up the other day is basically the same, but with some minor changes. For example; the bolt handle has been redesigned and moved back, the rest being the same. Internally I can't comment on since they would not let me disassemble the rifle, I even had my own screwdrivers. CZ still produces the Slavia model to this day. This is in addition to their ever expanding line of firearms and air arms. A pistol is in the works just in case you were wondering.
The rifle comes double boxed; a CZ green box then an Air Arms box. Included with the rifle; the manual, a test target, pressure test certificate and a quick disconnect for the air reservoir. The manual is rather nicely printed on long lasting paper. The front cover has a nice color picture of the CZ 200 T labeled (AVANTI Valiant). On the back is another picture of a CZ 200 with a hunting style stock. Not the vertical type with the high cheek piece but just the standard hunting stock and a red dot sight. It's labeled CZ 200 S with (Air Arms S200) added in parentheses.
It looks like there are three models of the same rifle. So far the CZ 200 T is the one that Daisy is importing with the air tube and the manometer installed. Interestingly, the model pictured is equipped with a scope and not the peep sights as Daisy sells it. I tried the Tau rear peep sight and they also fit. I prefer the Tau sight to the Gamo after using them both for a considerable time. The CZ 200 is the base model that can be sold in the Czech Republic. I have been told all stocks are interchangeable as are the pressure tubes. Also; any of these models will accept a scope or peep sights. Text in the manual is all English, in a fashion. I recognize Oxford English, but this manual reminded me more of a Czech-English-Oxford. It should be understandable to anyone on this continent.
The test target is something different from what I am normally used to. It is computerized with no actual holes in the paper. It shows the sights and where the shots went on the paper that was used in the factory. I have seen this same format used on other CZ rifles: I am not sure if they use it on pistols. All the pertinent information is on top of the test target, including the shooter's ID number. It lists the pellet used as a JSB but does not define which one. I imagine it was the Exact, a dome shape running 8.4 grains. Center to center accuracy is stated as 3.1 mm. Which impresses me. All shots for their test were at the standard 10 meter range. The pressure test certificate is in reference to the air tube. A quick disconnect is also included but does not come with a hose. I attached my to a short six inch metal wrapped hose. This way I do not have to pump up a lot of hose before I start charging the air reservoir.
The pressure certificate could have been another thing that held up the introduction of the S200. In the Czech Republic any new item that is going to be produced has to go through a government inspection. There is a department that does all the testing and issuing of the production permit for that item. For example; if there was going to be a change to the existing line; let's say a CZ- 75 9mm pistol. Further more, all that was going to be done would be a change to the length of the barrel and a minor improvement on the trigger. That change has to be approved and given a production permit. Many times this will hold up production. That is another reason why a lot of things that come from that country do not change a lot. The permit costs the companies relatively large sum of money.
Just one thing could be explained in more detail from page 8. Pellet energy is described in Joule's. No mention about velocity. A Joule is equal to 0.7375 foot pounds, so a calculator is needed for this manual. It will tell you that CZ 200 and CZ 200 S are factory set at less than 10 Joule, or 7.375 foot pounds. It will also say the rifle can be adjusted to 16 Joule or 11.8 foot pounds. The Daisy Avanti or the CZ 200 T is set to 7 Joule. I can't comment if that model can be adjusted to more or not. The manual does not mention anything about the 16 Joule maximum when referring to this model. Before I go any further, please read the manual before adjusting or rather misadjusting anything.
When I brought the S200 home the first thing I did was top it off with air then choreographed it. Using 7.9gr. pellets velocity came to 775 feet per second which worked out to be 10.53 foot pounds. After some adjusting of the #22 adjustment screw I came up with 805 fps (11.37 ft lb.). I am sure some will try to adjust this rifle to more than the 16 Joule limit so I tried it see what would happen: The rifle will not cock. Therefore magnum-itis infected shooters are stuck with the energy level of a stock rifle. But so they are not forgotten, TGAG informed me there is a fix in the works using a stronger spring. That will be available before too long, please call them for more information (480-516-3778).
The .22 that will be available before too long will have an 18 foot pound capability. The number of shots should be the same since the .22 is far more efficient on air consumption. At the present setting the S200 is good for about 50 shots. As I see it, 40 very usable shots then I would fill it. Not that the zero wonders but I can tell they are not as fast as the previous shots; even without using a chronograph.
Let's get to the important part: How it performed. I tested fourteen different pellets, all shot at 25 yards. None were flat head or match type pellets. I felt those types of pellets are not what this model is designed for. I mounted a Simmons 6.5-20x44 set in Millet high rings. The scope came right down on the barrel but the front parallax could still be adjusted. This rifle does look strange with a large optic on top of it (I will install something much smaller after the testing).
Here is how they did at 25 yards.
Crow mag ..............8.8 grains .....1.388 center to center
H-point............ ...... 7.7................. 0.932
Silver Bear .............7.2 .................0.798
Sheridan ................7.5 grains .......1.589 center to center
Ruko Accupoint ....7. 9................ 1.076
Quick Silver ......... .7.5..................1.642
JSB Straton ..... .....8.4................. 0.105
Wasp ...................7.5 grains .......0.937 center to center.
Chinese ................8.9................... 0.267
FPS.....................10.5 grains; ......0.746 center to center
Kodiak..... ...... .....10.5. .. . .. ... ....0.220
Some points I would like to go over on the pellets. JSB Straton shot the second best group just barely beating out Exact. At first I did not think they were going through the same hole, since none of the other pointed pellets were as good. I did shoot several other groups with very similar results and one amazingly even smaller. But the group shown is the first shot so I used it. I think the group size makes it more than a premier hunting pellet. All the Crossman Premier pellets are from my old stock of #2 die. The H-point was doing great except for one flyer that gave it the larger group; with only four shots the group was 0.517. Again, more than usable for hunting but it was quite obvious this rifle was made for dome pellets.
Are there any bad points? naturally. One I heard about before this batch came in; the fore end has only one screw holding it and it comes loose. So far mine is holding tight. However; I can see that it could loosen. I recommend the addition of a lock washer, not a difficult remedy. Another problem I heard about prior to this rifle test is the 2X4-ish fore end style. Aesthetically I agree, but it sat so solid on the sand bags I quit looking at it. It could use some restyling if the rifle is used for hunting. One minor thing that bothered me was the bolt. It was sort of gritty when cocking the rifle. With some silicone oil and use this gritty feeling will go away. However; my main concern is with the trigger itself. Not the let off, that is great and adjustable but the shape it self is strange. It tapers from the top to the tip rather sharply. That angle hits my trigger finger at an odd angle and I feel it. Granted that is personal hang up but for me that is an irritant. That's it for the complaining.
The good aspects of the rifle are: It is very accurate, very light, user friendly, and very easy to cock. It is just screaming to be modified with a better stock and the shooters' imagination. At less than four hundred dollars it is an ideal little carbine for the starting shooter or the veteran.