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Side by Side: Air Arms S200 Mk2 and Mk3

Discussion in 'Anything Airgun Related' started by cloverleaf, Sep 3, 2016.

  1. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    As it happens I currently have an example of each iteration in my possession, so I thought I'd do a quick comparison of the two.

    Since I'd like to round my evening off with a nice bath and preferably a crap '70s British horror film, I'll try and keep this fairly brief!

    Jointly designed by Air Arms and CZ of The Czech Republic, the original S200 was introduced to the world in the early 2000/2001. Manufactured by CZ, numerous variants are exported all over the world - the rifle being sold under the CZ brand (CZ200) as well as Air Arms in the UK (S200) and Daisy in the US (Avanti).

    While the S200 Mk1, Mk2 and Mk3 are distinctive and well-known in the UK, CZ's website shows a range of variations that aren't available over here through Air Arms - most of which are set apart by variations in stock material and geometry, sights and muzzle energy output.

    Regardless of age the S200 is championed as a no-nonsense, budget-priced giant killer that punches well above its weight. Loved by women and kids on account of its short length of pull and light weight, the rifle puts many more expensive offerings to shame in some areas - thanks to it's extremely fast lock time, excellent air efficiency, high level of build / finish and generally great barrel quality.

    On the down-side air capacity is limited and at 12ftlb the rifles generally only give around 35 good shots in .177 and maybe 40 good shots in .22. The trigger is usable but fairly crude, while a lack of pressure gauge can catch out the unwary. Bolt housings can wear through repeated heavy handling, causing the loading bolt to jump (and in extreme cases blow open) during firing.. this is usually terminal, although avoidable if care is taken to properly unlock the bolt during operation before applying rearward load to open it.

    A ten-shot mag system is available for the S200 - making an excellent budget multi-shot although operation is a little clunky compared to the integrated systems on other guns, while improper adjustment causes them to be notchy and prone to destroying breech seals.


    The Mk1 S200 "Sporter" was quickly replaced in the UK by a Mk2 variant that had a number of updates and arguable improvements, including: the addition of a plastic support around the barrel and cylinder that's attached to the stock, alteration to the forend geometry (addition of a cutout at the top), introduction of a parallel profile to the barrel OD at the muzzle, changes to the material used for the loading bolt handle and fill valve cover (ally to plastic), switch to a stud and nut through the pistol grip to retain the stock (as opposed to a bolt) and numerous other small differences.

    More info on the sadly tatty example of the Mk1 below can be found here.



    The Mk2 ran from from maybe 2003-2007/2008, and bore witness to most of the significant changes made to the rifle. In around 2005 the "snap fit" hydraulic fill valve setup was replaced with Air Arms' own design (inkeeping with the rest of the AA range) and in 2007 these guns became blighted with anti-tamper - taking the form of a shear bolt over the transfer port adjustor on the RHS of the action block, as well as a similar, non-adjustable mainspring preload adjustor.

    During their lifetime there were also various small cosmetic changes made to the Mk2, as well as a few minor alterations such as the switch back from a plastic loading bolt handle to an ally alternative late in the Mk2 run.


    The Mk3 was introduced in around 2007/2008 and is still in production some 8-9yrs later. It has a number of differences to the Mk2; the most obvious being its one-piece stock - which significantly changes the feel and aesthetic of the rifle. Mechanically there's little to separate the late Mk2 and Mk3 variants.

    The Mk2 featured in this write up is my own rifle from 2007; so a late example. It had no anti-tamper shear bolt over the transfer port adjustor (thankfully retaining the long grub screw adjustor and locking nut) however did have an anti-tamper spec mainspring preload adjustor (now thankfully removed!). Other features that set this gun aside as a late model are the powder-coated alloy loading bolt handle and rebated stock with button head fixing at the front of the forend.

    The Mk3 is a four month old example I've recently acquired, and will soon be for sale ;)

    Some pics of the two:

    Mk2 (top) and Mk3:


    Both are fitted with period-correct Air Arms moderators, which do the job but aren't too splendid tbh. When fitted with a decent mod the efficient little 200 is particularly quiet..

    Mk2 action, RHS - note the long port adjustor grub screw and lock nut:


    Mk3 action, RHS - note that the shear bolt in this example has been replaced with a much more palettable button head alternative since the gun was running a little warm:


    Both rifles from the LHS:


    Mk2 action, LHS:


    Mk3 action, LHS:


    A funky gif of the above, serving to highlight the main differences in the stock around the pistol grip and action:


    Back to back - note how the Mk3 is shorter (which I believe is only down to differences in the mod) and has the barrel support positioned further back:




    Of course, this is all a matter of taste. The Mk3 certainly looks more modern, flowing and streamlined - while the Mk2 arguably looks like it would be more at home as a weapon provided by some tinpot communist European state in the 1980s for its top shots to take on the West in international competition :D Possibly in this respect we have the Czech Republic's history to thank for its design - a throwback perhaps courtesy of designers who lived through the country's Communist era.

    Personally I love the quirky, angular, retro look of the Mk2 - you might not :p


    Both guns feel quite different in use. The Mk2 has a slightly slimmer pistol grip with a much more generous scallop at the wrist, and is hence more comfortable in this area than the Mk3 - which is quite fat at the base of the wrist causing uneven contact with the stock in this area.

    The comb of the Mk2 appears fractionally higher (which is usually a good thing), and terminates further forward - which can mean it sometimes fouls the hand operating the loading bolt. The pistol grip is more upright and further forward on the Mk2, which makes it feel like a slightly more target-oriented design and promotes tucking in the elbow of the strong arm - something encouraged further by the accomodating relief at the wrist.

    The forend of the Mk2 is flat, while on the Mk3 it's radiussed. Again this comes down to personal preference - the rounded belly of the Mk3 is around 10mm deeper though, which is welcome on standing shots.

    Functional Issues

    The retro-fit 10-shot mag was designed in the Mk2 era, and consequently relies on the split nature of the Mk2's stock to allow access to its adjustment mechanism - a grub screw in the underside of the LHS of the unit. Unfortunately this is obscured by the Mk3s stock, so adjustment on the Mk3 is a far more laborious task that requires removal of the unit (preferred) or the gun's stock.

    Stock Removal
    Both parts of the stock are straightforward to remove on the Mk2. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason the inletting on the Mk3 stock is very tight around the trigger guard - meaning that stock removal can be a right ballache. I recently retro-fitted a Mk3 stock to a Mk2 (the original was broken and no spares were available) and chamfered the inletting around the trigger guard - making stock removal and refitting far less of a headache. After 9 years of struggling to get the actions in and out of their stocks, fap knows why this hasn't been done from the factory, tbh..

    Floating the Barrel

    Sadly the oft-claimed high quality of the barrel is somewhat hampered by the barrel band fitted to all Mk2 and Mk3 rifles. A barrel this reputedly good deserves to be free-floated, which is best achieved by over-boring the aperture for the barrel in the band, chopping off the top of the band or replacing with an alternative that doesn't interfere with the barrel.

    The separate fore-end on the Mk2 relies somewhat on the cylinder and barrel for support at the front, being anchored by a fairly weedy M4 bolt at the action. Conversely the single-piece stock of the Mk3 is far stiffer, so lends itself better to floating of the barrel.

    So there we go - pros and cons for both. While I respect the capability of each variant, overall I think I prefer the Mk2 for its quirkyness, more comfortable stock and (usually) lack of anti-tamper from the factory.

    Regardless of variant a decent, well-cared for example is bound to give many years of reliable and honest service :)

    EDITED to correct numerous late-night SPAG errors, as well as to appease Squirrelking's keen Geo-political knowledge!
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  2. john79

    john79 sywell ft club

    Likes Received:
    kettering, SYWELL FT CLUB
    some nice examples you have there :cool: thank's for putting this review together :up:

    markturver likes this.
  3. Philpot

    Philpot Keyboard Hero

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    Goxhill, North Lincs
    Good read Mike and I also like the looks of the Mk2, just something about this little gun.

  4. bobnik

    bobnik Engaging Member

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    Hemel Hempstead
    What an excellent write up. Thank you.
  5. Jack's Da

    Jack's Da Its all about the macho cal

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    Land of the Prince Bishops
    Cracking write up.
    I'm going to bed with a little bulge tonight
    Everyone knows my indulgence for a CZ/S200 :D
  6. Honest Bob

    Honest Bob Big Poster

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    Yet another good write up and pictures. I have the Mk3 in .177 and liked it so much I regulated it and put a new fill port with pressure gauge on it, the only thing I did not like was that awful trigger shoe, so altered it. The S200 is a gun I would not hesitate to recommend. Once again an excelent write up. Atb, Bob.
  7. audi swift

    audi swift Man up & pull the bloody trigger.... HFT 101.

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    Stoke On Trent, Staffordshire.
    Cracking write up there along with some mint photos has normal. Good info about the different versions.
    I've just got the youngish step kids a 2nd hand cz 200s Hunter what looks good & feels nice, in addition I have also got the 2 piece target stock to use when if & when needed.
    Also I will be putting on a spare hw silencer off my hw100, along with a nice little Hawke Airmax 2-7x32 AO AMX Rifle Scope.
    However I have not really used the rifle has yet :( apart from over the Chrono nice fps, might be because its got a huma regulator fitted.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
  8. AndrewE

    AndrewE Busy Member

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    I am a 6ft, 17 stone builder. My 10 year old son and I both have s200's, obviously in the name of fair compitition. Last father son head to head I put three pellets through the same hole, smack dead centre at 35 yards. Even though my dream gun is a s510 super lite, what is the point?. I can shoot pellet on pellet out to 45 yards and ring the 90 yard bell whenever I want just to 'P' off the R10 boys at the club. A cracking little gun.
  9. Rotherham Owl

    Rotherham Owl It's all about the enthusiasm!

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    South Yorkshire
    Great write up as always. Thanks for taking the time to write it & I hope you found a good horror film to watch.
  10. Squirrelking

    Squirrelking Donator

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    Good writeup, for someone like me who is a newcomer it certainly answered a few questions (including a few I didn't even know to ask) so thanks.

    FWIW my money is on the Mk2, looks more like a target rifle with the split stock though I'd have to see how it feels which is more important tbh. Only niggle, Czechoslovakia hasn't existed since 1992 ;)
  11. Blackmax

    Blackmax Rebel!

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    A quality read as always Mike.

    How's the work on those Rapid's going?
  12. Akita177

    Akita177 The Absolute State of Britian podcast

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    Treacle Town
    Proper 12ftlb rifle, light weight, fast lock time, carbine lenght with full lenght barrel and as accurate as they come

    On a MK1 or MK2 first thing i do is shim between the air cylinder and the action to just enough to take the play out the air cylinder so the air cylinder and fore stock doesnt influence the barrel.

    On a MK3 i zero the rifle then remove the barrel band and see how the POI changes usualy its a large amount as the stock inletting isnt good enough to line the action/barrel with the barrel band, i then open up the barrel band so theres around 3mm clearence from the barrel so the barrels free floating but still some protection from the band, then shim the action in the stock so it and the air cylnder sit straight in the stock.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
    markturver likes this.
  13. Paddler

    Paddler Donator

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    South Devon where the cream goes on first!
    Cracking write up Mr Leaf.

    The best I've seen regards the S200 Mk1/2/3 variants. A good point of reference... :up:
  14. carnivore

    carnivore Language Pedant

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    Informative and with the usual superb photography. It's always worth the time to read Cloverleaf's input. :up:
  15. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Thanks guys - nice to see that the modest little S200 can still command such attention :)

    As usual in my head the post was only going to take half an hour (plus photos) but it dragged on as there's always the temptation to add more info.. I'm sure there's plenty more than could be added, but that's pretty much these rifles in a nutshell.

    There were also 12ftlb "Target" variants of the Mk1 and Mk2 offered - these differed in thier butt assemblies that incorporated an adjustable-height cheekpiece, adjustable height butt-padd and adjustable length of pull. Below is a Mk2 S200T I had some years ago and I kind of regret selling (apologies for the sub-par pic quality!):


    Finally there's a 6ftlb version designed for 10m competition which has the adjustable stock, plus a detachable cylinder with pressure gauge and fitted aperture sights..

    Ta - unfortunately went to bed too late in the end :p

    Thanks - work on my own Rapids has stagnated I'm afraid - I can't be arsed with the LH/RH one as I don't much care for the ergonomics and the barrel is crap (and .22!), while the full-RH item is so original I'm reluctant to tinker with it and destroy the AT cover.

    I do have a very patient forum member's MFR in bits currently which needs a bit of TLC, so I'm still learning :)

    Thanks - of course there's always more that could be added but you have to draw the line somewhere!
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
    Blue BSA and The Robin like this.
  16. Patrick

    Patrick Donator

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    Yep i've got one in .22 and quite like it,its lightweight,accurate and the only criticism(s) i have are that horrible trigger blade;not so much that it's plastic but its shape and the narrowness of it.Why they made it that shape . only knows,it needs to be a bit wider and slightly more curved.
    Have to disagree with cloverleaf on the shot count though,mine with a 180 bar fill i get 50 consistent shots from it.
  17. Shoto1

    Shoto1 Donator

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    Nice job Mike - I like the 'Funky gif' too... :cool:

    Thank you for your efforts.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
  18. Elk hunter

    Elk hunter Keyboard Hero

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    If that was a "Brief Write Up" I'd hate to read an in depth one.

    Ill be be honest couldn't make it to the end but I do think you should get a pat on the back as you take good photos and did it on a Saturday night for all to read.

    Thank you you cloverleaf for taking the time.
  19. Riddmeister

    Riddmeister Airgun Nut

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    South Wales
    I was in my local RFD yesterday and in the second hand rack was a .177 CZ 200 that caught my eye because of its split stock. I picked it up and it shouldered beautifully, more so than a MK3 that I have previously handled. It is a bit beat up but it intrigues me (I too like the quirky retro look of the Mk1 and 2).

    I phoned up afterwards and was told it was a MK 1 without anti-tamper with an AA multi-shot magazine. I asked about a barrel band and was told that it had one and a removeable air cylinder that doesn't need to be removed before it is filled. So with a barrel band is it a MK 2?

    After a couple of lethargic BSAs I would like a gun I can easily adjust to 11.5fpe if needs be. Would do I need to look for to determine which model it is and if it doesn't have anti-tamper. I have read this thread and I'm still not sure what it looks like :eek:

    It has a 6-24x50 scope of unknown make and an old AA mod and the asking price is £295.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
  20. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Cool - that certainly sounds like a Mk2 on account of the barrel band - many (including myself in the past) mistakenly identify them as a Mk1.

    If it's a Mk2 it's highly unlikely that it will have AT as this was introduced in 2007 and the Mk3 was introduced in 2008. I have a 2007 Mk2 that had :)D) the AT crap on the striker adjustor, but not the shear bolt over the port adjustor on the side.. I'm not sure if the Mk2 ever got the shear bolt - if they did it would only have been the very last ones and tbh unlike the 400 series the AT can be removed without leaving any trace that it was ever there (if you're careful), so it's not such a deal-breaker IMO.

    Depending on the scope £295 for a tatty example sounds pretty steep tbh - I'd be inlined to try to haggle it down or look for better alternatives elsewhere..

    As an aside, what's up with the BSAs (other than the usual slew of quality issues)? Have you checked the exhaust valves for deformation? IME this is usually the cause of low output ;)

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