There has been a lot of buzz on the Internet lately about the Crosman NPSS (that stands for Nitro Piston Short Stroke) air rifle. Crosman sent me one in .177 caliber (.22 is also available) for review, and I found it pretty interesting in a lot of ways.
The first thing that sets the NPSS apart from the herd is its looks. It has an ambidextrous composite “thumbhole” stock that has a carbon-fiber-look “soft-touch” covering. A digital camo version is also available. Starting at the rear of the NPSS, you’ll find a ventilated soft black rubber butt pad. Moving forward, a soft rubber cheek piece wraps over the comb of the stock and down both sides. Moving forward again, there is a triangular hole in the buttstock that serves as the thumbhole.
The pistol grip has small bumps on either side (as does the forestock) that provide additional gripping surface. Just ahead of the pistol grip, the trigger guard is made of plastic and has a hole toward the rear edge, through which a screwdriver can be inserted for adjusting the length of the trigger’s second stage. The black trigger is made of metal, as is the Gamo-style safety lever (push forward to fire, pull back to safe the action).
Moving forward again, you’ll find the forestock, which has a screw hole on either side for securing the receiver and a slot down the middle on the underside to provide clearance when cocking the break barrel action.
Ahead of the forestock is the barrel, which swells from the breech block into a 7/8-inch matte-black-finished bull barrel. Moving back on the top of the NPSS, you’ll discover the breech block. Move back again, the shiny black metal receiver is fitted with dovetails for mounting a scope and a hole for engaging an anti-recoil pin from a scope mount. The extreme rear of the receiver is covered by a black plastic cap.
Included in the box with the NPSS is a CenterPoint 3-9 x 40 scope and a one-piece scope mount. To mount the scope, of course you have to take the tops off the scope mounts, and when you do, you need to take the smaller allen wrench included with the mount and use it to run the anti-recoil pin down so that it will engage the hole on the receiver. The NPSS weighs 9 lbs, 7 oz with the scope mounted and stretches 43 7/8 inches from end to end.
To cock the NPSS and open the breech for loading, pull the bull barrel down and back until it latches. Cocking requires about 27 pounds of effort, and this is where you’ll encounter the second thing that sets the NPSS apart from the herd: the gas-piston action (sometimes called a gas spring, and which Crosman calls a Nitro Piston) action. Because of the gas-piston action, there is no spring noise during cocking, and the air rifle can be left cocked for extended periods without worry about spring fatigue. Slide a pellet into the breech, return the barrel to its original position, and you’re good to go.
Next time, we’ll shoot the NPSS.
Til then, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott