A great write up Phil, such a pity that your experience of the top AA springer was ruined by quality issues that should never have happened. I just had to log in to tell you that you may have had issues, there may be quality control issues or a bad batch has slipped through, whatever it is has done AA no favours because we are all so quick to pick up on a problem.
The PS cocking system is under a high strain because of the geometry but there is no real excuse for it to fail.
The problem you had with yours is diabolical I agree, by comparison my PS has now passed 70,000 shots with little wear and no replacement parts on the cocking mechanism. I did have an issue with a pin working out, again a rarity but easily fixed, no more of a problem than little issues that crop up on many makes of airguns.
I hope AA take this seriously and look closely at what went wrong, I hope they also do something about the cowboy outfit they used as couriers.
The much vaunted HW range of airguns rightly have a place in the top echelon of manufacturers but remember it wasn't too long ago that there were so many horror stories about chopped springs, HW100s running hot and probably a few more. Again, most of the comparisons are between a standard PS and an HW that has been tuned at SFS, bearing in mind that even the chap who does the tuning, Tony is it? has said that he can't improve the action of the Prosport.
I'm glad you liked the gun, the accuracy, the balance and the looks, It's sad that you were let down by shoddy workmanship/quality control but unfortunately that can happen with any manufacturer.
Hopefully at some point you'll give the PS another chance, try mine when you come down here on the pigeons and I'll try your HW, not to prove which is best but to show that a bad PS is a rarity, not the norm.