Archive for August 9th 2010

Back in 2004, I had an assignment from SHOT Business magazine to do a profile on Crosman Corporation. As part of putting that together, I had the opportunity to speak at length with Ken D’Arcy, CEO of Crosman.

When D’Arcy arrived at Crosman, the company had been coasting for eight years. Management had not brought a serious new product to market in years, and it was not looking for ways to reduce costs to remain competitive.

“The company was dead,” D’Arcy said. “It just didn’t know it yet. Like many companies that have been around for a long time, it had forgotten what drives the business. Consumer products companies are about just that–consumer products.”

“Clearly the answer is to bring new offerings to market that consumers will want to buy,” D’Arcy said. We’re a consumer products company. Our responsibility is to introduce new products. You become stale if you are only changing the cosmetic appearance of existing products.”

In some four decades of writing for a living, I’ve found that CEOs love saying stuff like “We’re taking the company in a bold new direction,” but it’s not so common for them to actually get it done.

But D’Arcy certainly appears to be making good on his promise. During his tenure at the top, Crosman has introduced dozens of new products including the Discovery rifle, which shattered the price floor for PCP rifles, and, last year, the Marauder PCP rifle which had all the goodies on most airgunners’ Christmas list: quiet, wickedly accurate, excellent trigger, repeater all for about $500.

Among the new products being introduced this year by Crosman is the .25 caliber Marauder. Outwardly the .25 cal Marauder is nearly identical to the .177 and .22 versions. It stretches 43 inches end to end and weighs 7.5 lbs. What’s really interesting is that this is, apparently, Crosman’s first venture into .25 caliber.

The new Marauder is equipped with a .25 barrel manufactured by Green Mountain. The slot in the breech for the magazine is deeper to accommodate the new 8-shot .25 cal rotary magazine, which in turn is deeper to make room for larger .25 pellets. Those are the major differences from the .177 and .22 Marauders. To accompany the new Marauder (and a new .25 cal gas ram rifle to be introduced later this year), Crosman is also introducing Benjamin .25 cal domed and pointed pellets.

I had the opportunity to shoot one of the very first production .25 caliber Marauders. It was my first experience shooting .25 caliber, and I didn’t know what to expect, but I was very quickly delighted. At 35 yards, shooting Benjamin .25 domed pellets, I was easily able to put five shots into a tiny group that you could cover with a dime. Even better, the report was remarkably quiet, and the trigger was well behaved (1 lb 10 oz first stage, 3 lb second stage).

Cliff Tharpe, producer of Airgun Hunting the California Ground Squirrel, has shot similarly tiny groups at 50 and 65 yards with his .25 Marauder, and he routinely hunts prairie dogs at 50-100 yards with it. He finds he can get 16 shots (two magazines) before he has to recharge the air reservoir. Shooting Kodiak pellets, his Marauder generates about 46 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. He says of his Marauder: “I’ve got a lot of expensive shiny rifles, and when it comes to accuracy, this one shines with the best of them.”

In the end, the Marauder has a whole lot going for it for hunting and pest control: outstanding accuracy, enough power to deal with anything you might reasonably want to hunt with an air rifle, and a very neighbor-friendly report.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott