Mendoza .22 Break Barrel Rifle with Auto-loading Pellet System and Rear Peep Sight.
When it comes to rifles, it is no secret that I’m a fan of the Mendoza brand. Up until now, I’ve only had experience with their RM200 but now I can add the RM2000 to the list. At first glance the Mendoza RM2000 looks like a bigger version of the RM200 with a few upgrades.
The Mendoza RM2000 has all the standard Mendoza characteristics such as a fiber optic front sight and double trigger system, but Mendoza added a few extras onto the RM2000. For starters, where you would normally have a rear sight, you have an auto-loading pellet magazine designed for their special solid base pellets. What they’ve added for a rear sight is an aperture sight that mounts right on the 11mm scope rail. While it took me a little getting used to, I found this open sight system EXTREMELY accurate.
Hooded Front Fiber Optic Sight
Rear Mounted Aperture, Micro-Click, Adjustable Sight.
Mendoza’s Double Trigger System
With the RM2000 Mendoza promises greater velocity as shown by their inspection tab. My test rifle boasted 924 FPS and an impressive shot group to boot! Wow, 924 FPS in a medium sized break barrel. We’ll see how this all turned out later in the article.
Ok, so let’s look at the whole pellet auto loading magazine contraption. (Although the rifle has an auto-loader, you can still manually use one pellet at a time.) I really like to hunt squirrels and when they get to running through the trees and you want to take another shot, it is a pain to have to take your eyes off the game to load a pellet into the barrel. This mechanism has the potential to eliminate this as a problem, at least for 5 or 6 shots. The system works quite easily as the following photos will show.
Mendoza’s auto-loading pellet system
First of all you pull back the loading pin and rotate the catch into the locked position.
Then you start loading your pellets and this is where things can get REAL interesting. Not just any pellet will work in this system. Since I don’t have any Mendoza .22 solid base pellets, I tried several types to see what was needed to feed and load reliably. I only found one pellet that worked 99% of the time. Fortunately for us it was the RWS Superdome, which also happened to be the most accurate pellet! I figured the RWS Superdome would be a good choice from my time spent with the RM200 and I was right. There are 2 things that make this pellet the right choice for the auto-loading magazine, first is the dome shape. It lends itself well to smoothly entering the pellet catch. The second aspect is its heavy skirt. Other pellets, like the Crosman Premiers, with a thin skirt will easily deform in the magazine and you’ll find yourself with a nasty jam and potentially a damaged rifle. The RWS Superdome seemed to have the right combination for this rifle.
The skirt of an RWS Superdome Pellet. Notice how thick the walls are.
RWS Superdome getting loaded into the magazine.
The pellets load easily into the top of the magazine. While you can load up to 6 or 7 pellets into the mag, I stopped at 5. I did not experience any misfeeds when I loaded 5 pellets, but occasionally I had problems with 6 pellets. So stick to loading only 5 in the mag.
RWS Superdome pellets loaded into the magazine
Loading the rifle with the auto-loading system is well… automatic! Just cock the rifle as you normally would and the pellet holder slides up, the magazine rod pushes the next pellet into the holder and when you close the rifle, it pushes the pellet holder in line with the barrel and combustion port. It may not be fancy, but it works! Take a look at the photos below to see the procedure. Also, as with the RM200, Mendoza uses a “locking” barrel with a fixed bar to hold the rifle in perfect position every time.
The magazine is loaded and the pellet pushing arm is engaged with the pellets to move them forward as the rifle is cocked. Having too many pellets in the mag will cause this to put too much pressure on the pellets deforming the skirts and causing jams. Also, once loaded the only way to get them out is to shoot the rifle. Don’t leave them in the mag and the constant pressure will eventually deform the pellets and cause them not to load.
As you cock the rifle, the pellet breach is allowed to raise up and the pellet slides into place.
Fully Cocked. Noticed the notch at the end of the barrel that matches the barrel rest in the next photo.
A feature that I’ve only seen a couple of times, the barrel rests on the metal bar shown at the bottom of the photo. This ensures that the barrel returns to a secure position every time.
As the barrel is closed the prongs at the end of the barrel push the loading breach down with the pellet that was loaded from the mag. The notch on top of the breach prevents the next pellet from moving forward until the barrel is cocked again.
Fully loaded, cocked, and ready to fire.
Now that we’ve explained how the rifle loads itself, how does it perform in real life? The short answer is that this rifle proved itself to be a moderately powerful, extremely accurate rifle. What it took to get to this point will take some time to explain.
As I mentioned above, the tag boasted 924 FPS and I was very excited to test a .22 break barrel that could generate that kind of velocity. The first few shots were in the 900 and even 1000 FPS range with Crosman Premier pellets. The down side is that the rifle was dieseling badly. So much that I thought for sure one of my neighbors was going to call the cops for me shooing a .22 in my back yard. Much like the KralAv rifle we looked at recently, the velocity was all over the place. One shot would be 900+ FPS and the next would be down around 600 FPS. Frankly this was very frustrating to deal with, but I just kept manually feeding it pellets. Eventually, after about 500 pellets, the rifle settled down and the velocity stabilized at the high 600 FPS range. This was a real disappointment. I figured that 900+ FPS was a lot to hope for in a mid range break barrel.
Now that we’ve got the dieseling under control I went to work learning how to use the rear peep sight. It did not take long for me to fall in love with this sighting system. Unfortunately this is also were I ran into my second problem. I had to adjust the sights to the extreme right and to the lowest most setting to get close to the bulls-eye, and I was still shooting high and slightly to the left as my shot groups will show. Shooting a little high is not a problem, I was only shooting at 10 yards so I know that it would be more on target at 20 and 25 yards, but not being able to get the shot centered left to right, was a real bummer. I’m tying to get with the manufacturer to see if there is a resolution to the problem. I could mount a scope, but that negates the usefulness of the rifle and the unique open sights.
Close-up of the rear sight. Notice that I had to move it all the way to the right.
With the sights adjusted as best I could, I started looking for just the right pellet. I knew the RWS Superdome pellet would work well, but I wanted to give some other pellets a try. Bottom line is that if you like the Mendoza rifles, buy stock in RWS. I found one other pellet that grouped almost as well as the RWS. The BAM 100% lead precision wadcutter pellet was a surprising 2nd place. I did not try using them in the auto-feeder because I know they will jam. The 100% lead composition means they are very soft and as they go through the barrel, they really squeeze into the lands and grooves producing excellent rotation and stability. They also seemed a bit oversized which is necessary to shoot well in the Mendoza barrels. The following shot chart shows four different five shot groups shot from ten yards. The RWS is the winner, but only by .12 of an inch. All of the groups were shot with open sights.
Different pellets matter. These were all shot with different pellets from the same rest, hold and distance!
BAM 100% Lead Precision Wadcutters.
Still the king of the hill, the RWS Superdomes delivered the goods with the RM2000.
RWS Superdomes, 14.5grn
High – 674, Low – 663, Average – 667, Difference - 11 FPS
BAM 100% Lead Precision Wadcutters, 13.9grn
High – 671, Low – 667, Average – 668, Difference - 4 FPS
So in summary, the Mendoza RM2000 shoots .22 pellets not at 900 or 850 FPS, but at a respectable 670ish FPS, which is a 100 FPS jump from the RM200. With a price at nearly $195, you’ll have to ask yourself if 100 FPS is worth the $85 premium over the RM200. It definitely has the accuracy and power for hunting small game, but there are a lot of good, accurate rifles that generate the same knock down power for less money i.e. the BAM B26. The unique features of the RM2000 such as the auto-loading system and the rear peep sight, make it a very interesting rifle, interesting enough for someone like myself to buy one. If you like shooting with open sights, then this may be just the rifle for you. I found that with the open sights, if you can see it, you can hit it. On my one hunting expedition with this rifle, the squirrels were all out of town at an acorn convention, but the dreaded pine cone monster was everywhere, so I used them for practice. This is where I really decided that even though it did not shoot as fast as reported, and even though the sights were not perfect, it was still one heck of a rifle. I’d like to see it priced a little lower than $195.
Next up is the Crosman NightStalker Tactical. The NS Tactical really impressed me. Check back to see how this awesome gun puts lead on target EVERY time!
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