I suspect that many of the people who read this blog may be old enough to remember the old air-cooled, rear-engine Volkswagen Beetle. Back in the day when I purchased a new Pontiac Firebird 326HO for $3700, you could purchase a fully equipped Beetle for $1800. They were cheap, pretty reliable, and it wasn’t long until a very healthy market in custom parts for Beetles sprang up. People began modifying them to suit their tastes, and pretty soon you could find Baja Bugs, Meyers Manx dune buggies, and even Beetles that looked like truncated Rolls Royces tooling around the streets.
The Crosman 1377c is a lot like the Beetle, and I think it is probably the most widely customized airgun in the world. It’s easy to understand why: you start with a multi-stroke pneumatic .177 caliber air pistol that costs about $60 and is perfectly adequate for bouncing cans around the back yard. With the exception of the rear sight (the adjustment of which drives me nuts, but others seem to deal with it), everything about it is straight down the middle of the road – not great, but not awful either – and, like the VW Beetle, it’s a great platform to build on.
The first basic step that most customizers take is to add a steel breech and maybe a red dot to improving the aiming system.
From the steel breech, it’s not much of a step to add the pumping arm from the 1389 backpacker, a Crosman .22 caliber barrel, and a Crosman plastic rifle stock. Now you have turned the 1377 into a .22 caliber carbine. This one was built for me by Kip at Airguns of Arizona, and I have added a Leapers Bug Buster scope and a muzzle break from a Daisy 753 target rifle to protect the crown of the barrel. But this is barely sticking a toe in the water, because these are all modifications done with readily available factory parts.
What follows below is what happens when you take a walk on the wild side and really start to customize the 1377.
For example, Michael Chavka created this beautiful 1377 carbine. He says: “I don’t do much to them other than to add some comfortable wood. These examples have Blue Fork Designs barrel bands, Crosman breeches, and a few of my own accessories to dress them up a bit. The barrels usually need a new crown and some leade work, but other than the trigger, I don’t modify the internals.”
Chris Dowling put together this 1377 rifle that has been converted to .22 caliber. It has a 24″ barrel, lighter valve spring, angled and enlarged valve and barrel ports, reduced valve stem, and poly port. It’s getting 530 fps with Premiers, but he hopes to increase this with a flat top piston. The stock is by RB Grips; I asked for unfinished walnut and put around seven coats of tung oil on it. It sports a Crosman steel breech, TKO trigger and muzzle brake, Grant Stace polished aluminum endcap, Blue Fork Design barrel band, Mountain Air bolt, and RJ Machine bolt handle.
Eric W’s “stick gun” is also a .22 caliber. It has a Daq breech, Mountain Air flat top valve and piston. Mountain Air bolt and probe, Blue fork Barrel band, TKO shroud, Crosman 24″ barrel, Muzzle mac stainless steel screw kit, Muzzle mac wire stock, RB laminate grips, Air gun Smith trigger, Mountain Air trigger guide and spring, Barska scope, and BKL mounts.
Walther built this beauty that actually started as a 1322, which is the .22 cal version of the 1377. Purchased parts include RJ Machine long riser breech with stainless bolt handle in .22, Larry Rowlins Barrel shroud 1 inch diameter 13.75 inch long, and flat top delrin piston from Derek Vineyard. Custom or modified parts include: Laminated maple thumbhole stock and pump arm with adjustable cheek piece, stainless cheek piece hardware, stainless escutcheons and 3mm socket head bolts all custom checkered and lathe trimmed to length, dtainless Trigger and sear pivot pins, custom pump pivot plug, lighter trigger spring with custom plunger, checkered stainless rear breech cap, RJ’s bolt handle reshaped and checkered, weaver mount, and brazed on brass trigger shoe. In addition, this airgun has been extensively tuned to improve performance.
“Zoned” created this beautiful ultra-carbine with custom wood, a wire stock, and a flat top aluminum piston and valve from A.C. Custom parts. In his blog, he reports that it shoots around 50% faster than the unmodified factory 1377.
“TWhooper” created this highly functional custom pistol with 11″ .22 barrel, Airgunsmith brass flat top piston and valve, old Cutters alloy breech, Simmons variable pistol scope, and unknown alloy barrel band. It is fitted with old style two power cocker knob, and a two-stage sear from Big Ed, green grips and 1389 fore end.
He didn’t explain how it did it, but Brad turned a 1377 into a side-pumping bullpup designed that, to me, looks like sculpture that shoots!
Finally, James Perotti modified a 1322 turned it into a self-contained PCP pistol that, after an initial charge of 20 strokes, is capable of delivering three shots of 7.4 to 8.9 foot-pounds of energy before it requires an additional 15 strokes to recharge it again. It incorporates a hammer debounce device, aftermarket breech, custom piston rod, custom trigger, hammer spring adjuster, guide, and custom spring, and full custom (2x volume) valve as well as a number of other modifications.
This brief look barely scratches the surface of the remarkable custom work being done by airgun enthusiasts. If you want to learn more about how and why they do what they do, please visit the new Crosman Airgun Forum .
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott