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Air Arms Pro-target Mk2

Discussion in 'Gun Gallery' started by cloverleaf, Jul 16, 2018.

  1. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    As we all know by now I've scoured the face of the planet for years, trying to replace the Mk3 Pro-Target I stupidly sold 20yrs ago..

    I thought I'd struck gold a couple of years ago when I found one for sale fairly locally, however sadly it turned out to be a bit of a dog.

    As such I still keep an eye out but decent unmolested LH variants of a fairly niche (in the grand scheme of things) 20yr-old FT rifle aren't exactly common..

    Anyway, a Mk2 came to my attention last weekend; I dropped the seller an email but was told that it was already on hold for a potential buyer until Monday.

    I asked the seller to keep me informed but put it out of my mind as it looked good in the pictures and was very keenly priced, so I figured it was as good as sold. Tuesday came and I'd heard nowt from the seller, so got back in touch. The other potential buyer had been delayed and was now viewing on Wednesday.. so again I resigned myself to missing this one.

    On Thursday it transpired that that the other guy didn't bother showing up (t*sser). To further make my day, while the gun was a fair distance from me it was fortuitously only a 5-10 mile detour from my route to a stag do I had on Friday. Plans were made and the gun was collected on the way :D

    Sadly the seller was clearing her late husband's estate; the gun apparently having been sat in its bag for seven years since he died. The whole family was sound - I dealt with the son who was very accomodating; letting me partially strip the rifle to give it a good once-over as well as firing it in the back garden to test the muzzle energy.

    The gun was empty when I got there (not a good sign) but I'd taken my pump with me and banged some air into it; allowing me to put three shots through the Combro that were right on the money - 779, 782 and 783ft/s with Exacts straight off the bat :D

    I whipped the stock off and all was grand beneath, apart from some tightness and superficial damage to the inletting thanks to a proud trigger pin. I also checked the port restrictor screw thread (as this was shafted on my Mk3, unbeknown to me when I bought it). While a little sloppy it was intact and serviceable.

    Money changed hands and I left a happy man; the gun spending the rest of the weekend locked in the boot of the car while I went out and got cooked and pickled with a good bunch of old mates :)


    Anyway, if you've made it this far you deserve some pics!

    I believe the rifle is a late Mk2 for various reasons I'll cover later on.. while not mint it's bloody good for a rifle that's over 20yrs old and a credit to its former owner:

    [​IMG]

    The no-show "buyer" who messed the sellers about before I got a pop at the gun really missed a cracker if condition is anything to go by; at a bargain price too.

    [​IMG]

    Condition is generally good throughout; the gun appearing to have been subjected to a lot less abuse and fewer rounds through it than my Mk3. There is wear on the action block beneath the sliding breech; it's just getting through the anodising but it's nowhere near as bad as my other example. I'll be looking to do something to prevent this wear getting any worse; although I'm not sure what yet..

    [​IMG]

    The LHS of the block carries the same inscriptions as my Mk3, while the serial is higher - my only guess as to why being that the serials were reset with each subsequent mark that was released..

    [​IMG]

    The RHS of the block looks very similar to my Mk3; identifying the gun as a "Pro-Target" with no mention of the "RN10" moniker found on the Mk1 and sometimes used in conjunction with the later PT designation on earlier Mk2s. In addition there is no "Mk2" designation to be found, as there was on earlier rifles. In addition the reg is the later silver, "seven ring" item introduced during the Mk2 run that remained until the Mk3 ceased production.

    [​IMG]

    The Mk2 ran from around 1996-1999, so I'm guessing this was probably produced in 1998-99.

    The stock appears to be exactly the same as that on the Mk3 and is in excellent nick - unlike the example on my other gun which would have been mint had some idiot not attacked it with a Black and Decker :facepalm:

    [​IMG]

    Being a Mk2 the gun has a fat 20mm diameter shrouded barrel with integral muzzle brake, as well as a support at the end of the fore-end that connects the stock, cylinder and shroud:

    [​IMG]

    The fill valve is the familiar Air Arms "snap connector" as found on all of their PCPs up until about 2004. Unlike the later Mk3, the Mk2 has a push-fit fill valve cover than snaps onto the valve itself.

    Unfortunately the geometry of the valves changed a while ago; the newer ones being shorter and preventing the caps from snapping home correctly. Unsurprisingly for a 20yr old gun this rifle has been fitted with a new valve; the cover being shortened accordingly to allow it to fit properly:

    [​IMG]

    The eagle-eyed afficianados might have spotted that the transfer port adjustor screw is located on the RHS of the gun's block. Conversely the Mk3 has the adjustor on the LHS, while the Mk1 / RN10 didn't have one fitted at all.

    Unlike my Mk3 the threaded hole and its counterbore have been left in the white (i.e. not anodised). My guess is that this is because AA machined the blocks then sent them out to be anodised (or did it in house) in bulk. I reckon they must have had a large stock of blocks when they decided to add the port adjustor to the Mk2; so just modified existing blocks without getting them re-anodised.

    The script on the side of the gun changed a few times during the Mk2s production run however this appears to also have been CNC'd in after anodising, so this change isn't at odds with the theory above about the ports.

    Thankfully the threads are good in this one although did need a little TLC. The finish around the counterbore is a little scuffed, however its not the end of the world and looks worse in the photos than in reality..

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately the thread at the mouth of the hole was a little stretched / deformed; thanks to the minimal thread engagement allowed by the counterbore in the hole and the very, very short and crudely-chopped-off cover bolt that was fitted. Gently winding the adjustor screw out and back in again numerous times set the threads straight, while I've now fitted a proper 4mm cover bolt; having transferred the O-ring from the original, butchered item:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The breech; showing the rear of the barrel which (due to being used with a shroud) is in the white, while the Mk3 item is blued:

    [​IMG]

    Detail of the muzzle and fill valve cover - somewhat bizarrely the shroud has a dovetail for a foresight running through the vents for the brake:

    [​IMG]


    Since I'm now in the fortunate position of owning both Mk2 and Mk3 variants of this cracking vintage target rifle I though a little comparison was in order. Please note that this isn't definitive as there were some changes throughout the Mk2 production run - although it should give a pretty good idea of the big changes.

    Both guns together:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The obvious difference between the two is the barrel format; the Mk2 sporting a 20mm OD shrouded barrel with integral brake that's restrained at the forend by a separate bracket, versus Mk3's the floating 15mm plain barrel with separate ally muzzle brake.

    The Mk2 looks "beefier" and perhaps a bit less quirky, however we all know the dangers of restraining barrels (especially to the stock :facepalm:) so the Mk3 wins here in practical terms. In addition that fat steel shroud adds a lot of mass; and while I'm generally a fan of front-heavy guns, the Mk2 does feel noticeably more cumbersome than the Mk3 with its skinny barrel and ally brake.

    [​IMG]

    In addition, while the actual fill valve is shared the housing is different. The Mk2 is fitted with the same "thin" housing and push-fit cover as found on later AA 300 series guns, while the Mk3 housing has a thicker section visible at the end of the cylinder and is of same screw-fit-cover format as that found on the 400 series guns introduced a few years after the Mk3.

    The cover itself is unique to the Mk3 PT; being longer with a plain section at its rear to cover the part of the housing which on the 400 series rifles would interface with the barrel band.

    Moving rearward the regs appear to be the same "seven ring" item, however their cylinder adaptors are different - being plain and black on the Mk2 and silver anodised with two circumferential rings and a serial number on the Mk3.

    [​IMG]

    Identification on the block is very similar and in the same font; the "Pro-Target" script on the Mk2 gaining an "FT" suffix on the Mk3. The nice old-skool Air Arms logo is present at the rear of the block on both guns, however on the Mk3 it's a little higher up to better clear the stock, and is set back into a little square pocket.

    Finally, as previously discussed the port adjustor is located on the RHS of the block in a non-anodised hole on the Mk2, while the Mk3's hole is located on the LHS of the block and is anodised. There are no other differences between the two guns that I can see on this side of the block:

    [​IMG]


    So, that concludes our little tour. I've not had chance to properly test the gun yet but so far I'm very happy with it. While I'd still prefer a minty Mk3, this is a really nice example in its own right and I'm lucky to have found such a nice one at such a reasonable price!

    So far tinkering has been restricted to replacing the port cover screw, moving the scope rail a little to align better with the block, fitting my trusty EB 6-24 scope and tweaking the cheekpiece and butt pad for a better fit. I've also removed some 2nd stage creep from the trigger, moved the blade rearward a bit to suit my cocktail-sausage fingers and set the over-travel nice and short.

    I'm not sure what work the rifle has had in the past but it certainly seems to be behaving itself at the moment. Despite being empty when I first looked at it (perhaps intentionally?) it's held air with no apparent leaks since I collected it on Friday.

    I have no idea how old the seals are and like most guns it'd probably benefit from a good setup, but facilities are currently very lacking and I think I'll leave it alone until something it demands attention.

    In addition I'd like to remove the potentially troublesome barrel support and replace it with some Mk3 blanking pieces in the stock, although I suspect these were popular back in the day so getting hold of some is likely to be difficult.

    Needless to say it'll be off up the club at the first available opportunity to see if it shoots as well as it looks :)
     
    jaisalmere, rbov, markyboy and 16 others like this.
  2. Pete236

    Pete236 Big Poster

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    It's a beauty! I rather fancy one having seen your pics. I've no use for one, but I really want one now!
    Will watch the thread with interest, that is for sharing!
     
    cloverleaf likes this.
  3. mikeyhall1

    mikeyhall1 2018 & 2019 Forum Nice Guy

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    Pleased you got there on the end Mike and I hope it continues to impress. I like it a lot!!
     
    cloverleaf likes this.
  4. littleJon365

    littleJon365 Democracy unless they disagree

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    Great read as always, coffee in hand. Hope it’s as good as it looks :thumb:
     
    cloverleaf likes this.
  5. Rotherham Owl

    Rotherham Owl It's all about the enthusiasm!

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    That's a fantastic example Mike. I'm pleased you managed to find one eventually.

    In regard the Air Arms serial numbers, I haven't managed to work out how they allocated/changed these and Air Arms themselves are unable to shed any light on the matter.

    I'm quite certain that all the PT Mk3's had the push on covers rather than the screw on ones that were used on the 300 series a few years after they were introduced. I reckon that your Mk3 has had an aftermarket fill valve housing/fill adaptor/filler cap. Although the housing on the Mk3's was thicker yours seems to be thicker still. Also, on my late Mk3 the end of the filler valve is just about flush with the end of the shroud, Of course, I could be wrong though!

    I would say that the shroud has the dovetail for a foresight as the same shroud design was used on the PT 10M rifle - although this would have been longer.

    Julian at Air Arms Spares should be able to sort out a pair of the blanking pieces but if he is out of them let me know as I may have a spare pair.
     
    cloverleaf likes this.
  6. The Robin

    The Robin Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Nice one Mike, I'm pleased you've landed one and happy with it. Always good to get what your after and this one looks just to be the one for you :thumb:

    One day get the hw77 .22 I wanted as a kid.....
     
    cloverleaf likes this.
  7. TrickyDicky

    TrickyDicky Life in the slow lane

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    Looks very nice, i love a bit of older engineering when it comes to air rifles its fascinating to see how various things are approached, and you always do a good write up...will you be dismantling this one? go on you know you want to.
     
    cloverleaf likes this.
  8. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Cheers guys :)

    Thanks Steve :)

    Aye, the serial situation is an odd one - bit of a poor show that even AA can't shed any light on it. My best guess is that they reset the numbers when they introduced each new Mk.

    I'm quite certain that at least some Mk3 PTs were fitted with the screw-fit fill valve covers :p I had thought that all Mk3s were fitted with them, however having looked at my small amount of "official" source material on these guns it appears that the early ones at least were fitted with the push-fit covers of the Mk2 / S300 as you describe. However, I'm 100% sure that my old Mk3 had a screw-fit cover. In addition the bits couldn't simply be lifted from the 400 series since, as previously mentioned the screw-on covers were longer than usual on the Mk3 to cover the section on the housing usually occupied by the barrel band.

    Irritatingly I know I've got a photo or two of my old Mk3 somewhere; although of course I can't bloody well find it now, can I? It would figure that the fill valve setups on these niche, lower-volume guns would follow those used on the higher-volume sporters. Hence, it seems plausible that the Mk3 started life with the push fit item and ended with the screw on alternative; since production began in late 1999 and the S400 was introduced in 2000/2001 sometime. I see no reason why AA would continue to fit their target guns with the fill valve assys from earlier rifles when they'd switched to a newer design on the 400 - that's at least two separate sets of parts being manufactured; for the sole reason of keeping a design going that they'd seen fit to replace.

    I'd agree about the dovetail on the shroud; perhaps they had a glut of old 10m items to use up..?

    Ta for the thought about Julian, although I suspect everyone's most likely out of them. I'll be seeing a man in the trade in a few days so will bounce it off him; although I suspect the Rothery / Deben transition will only serve to muddy the waters. Thanks for your offer - I may well take you up on that if I can't source any new :)


    Thanks - glad you enjoyed it :)

    No doubt the rifle will have to come to bits at some point for some reason.. if you want to see inside one there's plenty of info in my Mk3 thread ;)

    Tbh they can be a swine to get to bits (cylinders and regs grossly over-tightened) however I'm always happier owning a rifle once I've been inside it and know that everything's in good nick / properly setup, and that there are no nasty surprise lurking within!


    One more thing I forgot to mention yesterday was that the gun also came with a pretty presentable period Gun Gear case. Usually I end up shifting cases and bags I've got with guns, but I think I'll hang onto this one for the forseeable :)
     
  9. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Found it!

    My old Mk3, circa the early 2000s. I bought it new and it remained absolutely stock throughout my (pitifully short) ownership ;)

    [​IMG]
     
    Rm29 and The Robin like this.
  10. Rotherham Owl

    Rotherham Owl It's all about the enthusiasm!

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    That would seem to back up your filler cover feeling Mike.

    I have checked my Mk3 Pro Target Tactical Hunters - 1 from 02/2000 & 1 from 08/2000 - and both have the push on filler. My standard Mk3 is from 10/2000 and has a push on cover but this is because I swapped the aftermarket one that it had to what I felt was the right set up! I say aftermarket, but will now be checking the original one when I get back in to see if I have actually been a tit and took off what was actually "correct".

    With the 400 series coming out mid 2000 it is feasible that once the housing/filler caps they had been using on the PT's ran out they started using the new 400 series variety.

    As for my theory on the dovetail on the Mk2 shroud - Air Arms were still offering the 10m version throughout the life of the Mk2 although I believe this was to special order only. I actually own one that is dated 09/1998. The originally purchaser wanted to cover all bases so asked Air Arms to fit the standard Mk3 regulator. It is doing about 10.8fpe but I fancy using it for a bit of bell target at 6fpe. Do you reckon this will need a full reg set up or will even that struggle to get it shooting well at 6fpe?
     
  11. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Yeah, that sounds about right - I hope you've still got the fill valve setup off your later Mk3!

    I think fill valves will just have been standardised across the whole range of rifles, so when they shifted from the push-fit to screw-on covers when the 400 series superceded the 300, everything else changed too. Just as when the "snap connector" changed to the banjo type filler, it was rolled out across the whole current range - S200/400/500 and EV2.

    Sounds about right with the shroud dovetails - again making an effort to keep inventory as minimal as possible. Regarding your reg, you could just try winding the port adjustor in to reduce the energy as if the striker is left alone ideal pressure should remain broadly in the same place, give or take. This is of course assuming it's properly setup to start with. The downside is that winding the adjustor in will increase pellet mass sensitivity and (relatively speaking) reduce shot count, so the best route would be to set it all up properly from the off for its intended application with a wide open port and adjusting the reg pressure and striker spring preload to suit ;)
     
    Rotherham Owl likes this.
  12. raven hunter

    raven hunter Posting Addict

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    So when are you opening the shop then mike :D :facepalm:
     
  13. Rotherham Owl

    Rotherham Owl It's all about the enthusiasm!

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    Cheers Mike. I'm not too worried about the shot count and although I don't usually I could always weigh some pellets to get a batch about the same. This means it will be easy to adjust back to full power once I realise that with my level of shooting skills the only bell I'm likely to hit is Big Ben.
     
    cloverleaf likes this.
  14. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Numbers are holding steady / depleting at the moment actually - I still have another two guns to shift yet and don't plan on buying any more ;)
     
  15. pjgtech

    pjgtech How many days till Xmas?

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    Lovely write up, as usual, really like these threads..... :)
     
    cloverleaf likes this.
  16. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Thanks - makes it worth writing them if I know people enjoy reading the end result :)
     
  17. pjgtech

    pjgtech How many days till Xmas?

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    I wish I had 100th of the knowledge that some of you guys have about air guns, theres always new stuff to learn and posts like yours make it very enjoyable for those of us trying to pick up a few tips, etc, so thanx... :up:
     
    cloverleaf likes this.
  18. raven hunter

    raven hunter Posting Addict

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    Love your wright up's this is what forums are all about reading clovers views ,,,and the rest of you guys i give up reading books now because i don't have time the forum takes it all up but love it...thanks a bunch mike.,.,

    Andy.
     
    cloverleaf likes this.
  19. lone wolf

    lone wolf Pro Poster

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    Abother cracking read there CL well done!

    Its nice when you finally get something you really want.

    .
     
    cloverleaf likes this.
  20. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Cheers guys - I'm flattered but end of the day we're all responsible for making the forum what it is :)

    In other news some quick calculations suggest that the barrel shroud assy on the Mk2 adds more than half a kilo to this gun in comparison to the Mk3!

    I also tried to remove the shroud and / or barrel to pull it through, however it doesn't want to come off so I'm not going to force anything. It's been liberally daubed in oil for the time being and I think I'll have to seek out a drinking straw to get the pull through down the barrel...
     

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