After several months and thousands of rounds through this rifle, I am feel comfortable reviewing what I now consider the best Chinese Spring Piston Airgun on the market.
While the subject of Chinese guns can polarize the shooting community, I must say that I like some of the more recent guns coming out of Shanhai. These products are being manufactured in their factories which had produced military arms, as they find new opportunities in the post cold war world. One of the new guns I quite like is the BAM B40, which Iâ€™ve been using for a few months now. During this period I have had a chance to run the B40 through its paces on the bench and in the field! The B40 is a clone of the Air Arms Tx200 and comes in both a .177 and .22 versions. I purchased the .177 caliber, as I like the smaller bore in most spring piston air rifles (not a hard fast rule, but more of a leaning).
As mentioned, the B40 is a clone of the AA Tx200 and is very similar, however it must be stated up front that the fit and finish are not comparable. What you get with the B40 is a much planner stock and a less refined finish. The B40s stock is formed from a nice Asian hardwood blank, and given a light matte finish. The woodgrain is not highly figured, but still a nice pice of wood, and (at least on my example) has no blemishes or imperfections. The stock is well shaped without any roughly finished areas, even in the recessed forestock the wood has been sanded and stained. The cheekpiece is setup to allow a good sight alignment with the scope set up in low profile mounts; the pistol grip is deeply sculpted and offers a very comfortable positioning of the trigger hand and finger. The ventilated recoil pad that is standard on the B40, both looks good and is functional The overall package is moderately heavy, yet the ergonomic design does result in a very shootable package!
The metal work on this gun has been manufactured to a high quality, there are no machine marks to be seen anywhere, and the bluing on the metal work is a good quality that is as good or better than Iâ€™ve seen on any other Chinese guns. As a matter of fact the quality is in the same class as many more expensive European guns. For the most part the gun is all metal and wood, the only plastic is the cover on the Anti-beartrap release, and the overall impression is one of a no frills, quality product
The fixed barrel B40 uses an underlever cocking arm with an anti-beartrap mechanism. The gun has one feature that I have never like a lot, which is an auto-safety. On a field gun under high stress conditions, I like to be able cock it and shoot it quickly. The cocking effort is not too difficult yet is none the less, substantial. The cocking motion has a moderately large sweep, and initially was quite rough, but smoothed out after a few tins of pellets were fed through. Holding the stock in your right hand with the butt resting on your hip or leg, the left hand pulls down on the cocking arm until it clicks. A large loading chamber opens, providing access to the receiver. A pellet held in the right hand is pushed directly into the barrel. While the loading port is large and easy to access, the fit is very tight and it can be difficult to seat the pellet. I took the advice of one of the Chinese Airgun Forum members (Rich) and opened up the loading port a bit. This was accomplished by using a small Dremel tool and a cone shaped reamer with a piece of tape around it to serve as a guide so as not to open up the throat too deeply. The pellets drop in much easier now and accuracy was not impacted.
Once the pellet has been fed, the anti beartrap is depressed while the cocking arm is repositioned. A spring loaded ball bearing is mounted in the housing at the distal end of the barrel, about a quarter inch from the muzzle, and retains the cocking lever once it is closed.
The trigger on this gun is the nicest of any Chinese gun Iâ€™ve ever shot, and is in fact one the nicest triggers Iâ€™ve ever experienced on a mid priced product and even out performs many of those on my more expensive guns! Out of the box the trigger was set at just under 3lb pull, and there is zilch creep or over travel. It is about a perfect trigger on a hunting gun â€¦ not too heavy not to light.
The gun shoots very well, it comes to the shoulder naturally, and for me any way it fits perfectly. On firing the gun, you will experience a moderately strong recoil, that is dampened by the straight back push which is a function of the stock configuration. I also think that the heavy bull barrel on this gun helps to further dampen the recoil. The sound from the B40 being shot are those of solid machinery at work, there is no ‘twanginess’ at all. The report is not too loud, all in all a satisfying gun to shoot!
I shot a number of pellets with this gun, including RWS Superdomes, Predator Polymer tips, CPs, and an assortment of Gamo pellets. The B40 is pretty load tolerant, and it handled a variety of ammo well. The three which gave the best accuracy were the Superdomes, the Gamo Hunters, and the Crosman Premiers. I could consistently get sub half inch groups with all three of these.
This gun shot all three of my selected pellets at over 1000 fps. I will update this review with hard data in the near future ( I am traveling as I write this and forgot to bring my shooters notebook with me).
In the field the B40 was a nice hunting gun, though a bit on the heavy side to lug around all day without a sling â€¦. I havenâ€™t quite figured out the best way to mount the sling swivels on a gun with this type of cocking mechanism. I carried this gun with me in the desert in pursuit of jackrabbits, and the Midwestern forest after tree squirrels, On both of these quarry, the gun yielded good results out to 40 yards. I shot the B40 well, standing, sitting, prone, kneeling and the multitude of transitional and off balance positions one finds themselves in under field conditions. The power was more than adequate to consistently deliver clean one shot kill.
So what do I think about the BAM B40? It is a well made field gun, and while the fit and finish is not on a par with the original Tx200, it is much more than Iâ€™d expect for the price. My gun has functioned flawlessly after a few thousand rounds have passed through it, without a single malfunction. In fact, the velocities produced have dropped a little bit, but the firing cycle has smoothed out nicely. I think that if you are looking for a functional hunting rifle to carry in the field, that is accurate and powerful, but wonâ€™t break your heart to get a couple dings in you might want to take a look at the B40. I think it would also make an excellent project gun, on which to experiment with checkering or reworking the stock.
What the Distributor Has to Say Practically identical in every respect to the English-made Air Arms TX 200 from which it was copied but the B40 is made in China by BAM so now you can enjoy a high quality underlever air rifle and still have some change in you pocket. The B40 features fully engineered construction throughout and you will be amazed at the attention to details like the dual wiper rings on the compression piston, coned breech seal, polished compression chamber, machined (not stamped) cocking arm, spring rotation bearing surface, steel (tightly fitted) spring guide plus you will thoroughly enjoy the two stage, three way adjustable trigger. The stock is fashioned from walnut-stained hardwood and includes a high, Monte-Carlo cheekpiece and rubber recoil pad. In .177 caliber this powerhouse is capable of up to 1340 fps velocity depending on your pellet weight and type so this is one rifle thatâ€™s made for outdoor field hunting.