Posts Tagged ‘Crosman’

When you do a career 180 and begin to spend your work week reviewing airguns, there’s a certain phenomena and awareness that quickly turns to clarity… when seeking the one, you’ve got to try all brands and offshoots of a manufacturer’s pellet and you’ve got to cull with 10 shot groups. Yesterday for example, I spent the day getting familiar with the new Benjamin Maximus Euro, the 12fpe variant that our brethren in the U.K. have access to (and us as well). As always before shooting video, I’ll spend 2-3 days familiarizing myself with the gun’s tendencies & preferences in order to streamline my time come video day. What did I learn this week? … the branding phenomena is reality and my above discovery is true.

Take the below for example:

These are 5 shot groups at 25 yards experimenting with 6 different brands of pellet. I came away from the session thinking the Maximus Euro was a shooter across 4 of the 6 pellet types and in my mind, I’m starting down the path of, “This rifle isn’t pellet fussy at all… but I need to run some more brands through it to confirm.”

But is it?…

I spat all of the above through the Euro and confirmed that I could scratch them off the list. 1-2” groups at 25 certainly wouldn’t work for YouTube land… I’d be leaving this rifle’s reputation permanently scared and forever lost in the airgun graveyard. Having used up the day working through several rounds of culling and cleaning, I finally came away with 9, most of which I felt shot well enough to be consistently dangerous.

Check it out:

Now if you take a moment and study the above, you’re probably feeling fairly confident in a few of these groups, right? Don’t feel bad if you do, I did… that was until this morning when I funneled the assortment one final time and discovered the below takeaways:

Lesson 1: This rifle (and maybe yours) can keep to dime-sized groups 5 maybe 6 times across a good variety of pellets, but when you change the rules of the game, the picture begins to tell a different story. If you truly want to know what pellets your gun will be most consistent with, begin experimenting repeatedly with 10 shot groups and with lots of barrel cleaning in between batches. It’s clear to me now that Maximus Euro .177 is a dagger with the 8.4 gr Air Arms Diabolo Fields… 9/10 landed within .35” of one another. It also performed pretty well with the Diana Magnum and JSB 10.34… all three of which will accompany me on video day tomorrow.

This brings me to lesson 2: Have a another look at the above. The 8.4 gr Diana Exact is supposedly the same pellet as the 8.4 gr Air Arms Diabolo Field. JSB manufactures both and the forums will tell you they’re the same thing just re-branded… but I beg to differ. To me, it’s clear that this rifle performs better with one than the other. If that’s not enough to convince ya, have a look at the Diana Magnum and H&N Baracuda. This is the same scenario… H&N manufactures both brands and to the eye, they look the same… however, they clearly don’t perform the same out of this rifle. In yours, the reverse may be true.

What this means to us airheads is that before you give up on your rifle and call it a lemon, try all the brands and offshoots of a pellet manufacturer. JSB and H&N make most of them, and while seemingly disguised as the same thing, they are not. You’ve got to try them all. Then, once you think you’ve got things narrowed down, make your final decisions with 10 shot groups.

You’ll have a better time shooting & your prey will appreciate it.

YouTuber & Columnist
Steve Scialli

Just last night I had an encounter with a fellow who is an experienced hunter, firearms user, and sportsman, and he knows very little about airguns. His lack of knowledge of about airguns about airguns isn’t a rare thing. Most of the experienced sportsmen that I know have very little conception of the world of adult precision airguns. Their knowledge is pretty much limited to what can be found on the shelves of the big-box stores, and there the packaging screams: 1200 feet per second, 1300 feet per second, 1500 feet per second! This leaves the consumer to assume that more feet per second is somehow better, and it does the consumer a gross dis-service in making a buying decision.

So let’s suppose that you think maybe it would be neat to try airgunning, but you really don’t have a clue what to buy.


First on my list would be a Benjamin 392. This is a solidly made single-shot, bolt-action, .22 caliber, multi-stroke pneumatic air rifle. It is easy to shoot well, delivers enough power for small game hunting or pest control, and with care should last for decades. I would buy one with a Williams peep sight. Scoping the 392, or its .177 caliber brother the 397, is difficult.


Next up would be the highly respected RWS Model 34. This is a single-shot, break-barrel air rifle available in .177 or .22 with power enough for hunting or field targe. Like all spring-piston air rifles, it requires some care to shoot well. The build quality is excellent, and the trigger is far better than you will find in the typical big-box break-barrel springer. In addition, the Model 34 is easy to mount a scope on.


Third is the Weihrauch HW30S. This is a lower-power break-air rifle that is easy to cock, offers excellent accuracy, and is perhaps the easiest springer to shoot well. Many airgunners I know say it is the last air rifle they would sell. It can be readily scoped, the build quality is outstanding, and it will deliver decades of service with the occasional rebuild. It can be used for pest control and garden defense with careful shot placement at close range.


My favorite springer is the Walther LGV. These are break-barrel, single-shot spring-piston air rifles that are easy to cock and incredibly smooth to shoot. With a scope mounted, you could hunt, plink, shoot field target with a huge grin on your face. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend one to a friend.

When it comes to pre-charged pneumatic rifles, it’s hard to go wrong. Virtually all of them will deliver one-inch groups at fifty yards under good conditions with the right pellet.


Turning to air pistols, the Crosman 1377c is an excellent starter pistol that people love to customize. It’s a single-shot, bolt-action, .177 caliber pistol that is fun to shoot and can be used for small pest control at close range. The rear sight, however, requires a safecracker’s touch to adjust.


If you want pure, accurate, air pistol shooting fun, the Daisy Avanti Triumph 747 can’t be beat. It’s a single-stroke pneumatic pistol that’s wimpy in power and no good for pest control or hunting but highly accurate, and people use them all the time in air pistol silhouette matches.


If you want more power and a challenge, I suggest any of the Weihrauch HW45 pistols. These are spring-pistol air pistols that are tricky to shoot well but are fun to shoot and master. They also offer enough power for defending the birdfeeder at short range.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott




Total weight: 3 pounds, 14.9 ounces.

Total weight: 3 pounds, 14.9 ounces.

For me, one of the best ways of spending an afternoon – besides shooting airguns with a friend – is reading, or watching, a man-on-the-run thriller. I have a particular fondness for some of the older ones, like The 39 Steps by John Buchan which first appeared as a magazine serial in 1915. In it, an ordinary guy – Richard Hannay – finds himself thrust into international intrigue and on the run from sinister forces. Buchan was both the 15th Governor General of Canada and the author of dozens of books, both novels and non-fiction. Talk about an overachiever! The 39 Steps is available as a book and has been turned into a film several times. I recommend it.


Recently I had the opportunity to watch another man-on-the-run thriller that I had not seen in several years: Rogue Male. Based on the 1939 novel by Geoffrey Household, the 1976 film stars Peter O’Toole as Sir Robert Hunter, a British sportsman who stalks and takes aim at Adolph Hitler with a high-powered rifle. He misses and is captured and tortured by the Gestapo, who make up a fanciful story about why he is missing, throw him off a cliff, and leave him for dead. But Hunter doesn’t die, and he makes his way back to England only to find that the Gestapo is still after him. To escape his pursuers, he literally “takes to ground,” burrowing into a hillside in far out in the countryside.

As I watched Rogue Male, I couldn’t help but think, “Sir Robert really would have benefitted from having a small, light air rifle for collecting small game. And that’s where the trouble began.

I got to thinking about what would be the smallest, lightest air rifle that could be reasonably counted on for taking small game, at say, 20 yards. I’m not aware of any really featherweight springers. The venerable Benjamin 392 tips the scales at 5.5 pounds. The Crosman 2100 weighs 4.8 pounds. The Crosman 760 weighs only 2.75 pounds, but I would want something that breaks down easily to a smaller size for easy transport. The 1377 pistol with a steel breech and red dot weighs 3 lbs. 6 oz., and as I have written before — — can be challenging to shoot accurately to harvest small game (even though it is a lot of fun to shoot).

The Kip Karbine in its original configuration.

The Kip Karbine in its original configuration.

Then it came to me: what about the Kip Karbine? Some years ago, Kip at built for me a tiny air rifle based on the 1377 multi-stroke pneumatic pistol. It featured a pumping forearm from the backbacker rifle, a plastic detachable shoulder stock, a steel breech and a .22 barrel. When it arrived at El Rancho Elliott, I mounted a muzzle brake from a Daisy target rifle (mainly because I liked the look of it, and it protected the muzzle) and a diminutive Bug Buster scope. The whole rig weighed about five-and-a-half pounds, and I used it that way for some time.


I mounted a globe front sight.

I mounted a globe front sight.

But as I looked at the Kip Karbine and thought about Rogue Male, I wondered what I could do to reduce the weight even more. I took off the Bug Buster scope and mounts. They were surprisingly heavy – 1 lb. 5.8 ounces. The Daisy muzzle brake already had dovetails for mounting a front globe sight, so I clamped one to the rail with a post-and-bead insert mounted inside.

The rear peep sight clamps to the scope rail.

The rear peep sight clamps to the scope rail.

The rear sight was more of a problem. I couldn’t use any sort of peep sight that hung over the rear of the breech because a screw got in the way. A Williams peep sight looked like it would interfere with the operation of the bolt. But while rummaging through my parts drawers, I came upon a peep sight – I believe it is from Mendoza airguns – that looked like it would clamp to the dovetail on the breech. It worked! Even better, when I went outside, I found that it had sufficient vertical travel that it would sight in.

Here's what the finished Kip Karbine Ultralight looks like compared to a Sheridan (the same size as a Benjamin 392).

Here’s what the finished Kip Karbine Ultralight looks like compared to a Sheridan (the same size as a Benjamin 392).

The final question was: would it generate enough power for reliably taking small game at 20 yards? I began banging away at a tin can at 20 yards, increasing the number of pumps until it penetrated both sides of the can. At twelve pumps, the Crosman Premier pellets punched through with authority. I chronographed the gun – which I have no dubbed the “Kip Karbine Ultralight” – and found that it was launching 14.3 grain .22 caliber Crosman Premier pellets at 484 feet per second. That works out to 7.4 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle, and ought to be enough to get the job done. I really like shooting it, and since there are no custom parts, it ought to be possible for readers of this blog to put together their own version of the Kip Karbine Ultralight if they so desire.

Kip Karbine Ultralight 007-001

For those who would like a much higher quality way of traveling light, I understand that FX airguns makes a sight attachment accessory which allows most FX’s (or anything with a standard threaded muzzle) to have a front sight rail:

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

At top, the HB17; the EB22 in the middle, and the HB22 at bottom. Classic pistols that have been discontinued.

At top, the HB17; the EB22 in the middle, and the HB22 at bottom. Classic pistols that have been discontinued.

Well, it’s official: three Benjamin air pistols – the EB22, the HB22, and the HB17 – have been “obsoleted” according to a Crosman Corporation spokesperson and will be dropped from the line.

The EB22 is a .22 caliber, single-shot, bolt-action, CO2 powered pistol. Overall length is just nine inches, and the weight is 28 ounces. All the metal is black with the exception of the silver metal trigger and silver bolt at the back of the receiver. Under the receiver is the metal pistol grip frame, which is fitted with a couple of dark-colored hardwood grips. Ahead of the grips is a safety button. Push it full left to allow the EB22 to fire. Just forward of that is the silver metal trigger inside the black metal trigger guard.

Above the trigger guard is the tube that holds the 12-gram CO2 Powerlet that powers the EB22. At the end of the tube is a black knurled metal knob, the filler cap. Above that are the muzzle of the 6.38-inch brass barrel and the front sight. Moving back along the barrel, you’ll find the breech and the loading port. Behind them are the rear sight and the bolt.

To ready the EB22 for shooting, remove the filler cap and insert a CO2 Powerlet small-end-first into the tube under the barrel. To ease removal of spent Powerlets, it’s helpful if you smear a dab of Pellgunoil on the end and around the neck of the Powerlet. Replace the filler cap and make sure it is completely screwed into place. Cock the action by rotating the bolt knob ¼ turn counterclockwise and pull it full back until you hear two clicks and it stays back. Put the EB22 off “safe” and pull the trigger. This usually punctures the CO2 Powerlet, and you should hear a “pop.” If not, reactivate the safety, tighten the filler cap, and repeat the procedure.

Next, cock the action again, insert a pellet into the breech, close the bolt and rotate it clockwise until it locks. Now you’re good to go. Take aim at your target, click off the safety, and squeeze the trigger. At around 2.5 pounds pull, the shot goes down range at velocities up to 430 fps, depending upon the pellet weight. That’s enough power to punch through one side of a soup can at 10 yards. You can expect 25 to 35 shots per cartridge before the velocity really starts to die.

I like that the EB22 is solidly made of brass, metal, and hardwood, is its handy and compact, has enough power to defend the bird feeder or garden at short range, and is just plain fun to shoot..

The Benjamin HB17 and HB22 are multi-stroke pneumatic pistols that are outward identical. Both weigh two-and-a-half pounds, stretch 12.25 inches overall, are single-shot bolt action, and are made of metal (including a brass barrel) and American hardwood. The only difference between the two is that one is .177 caliber (the HB17), and the other is .22. With 8 pumps in them, the HB17 will launch pellets a little over 500 fps, and the HB22 will propel them a bit more than 400 fps. The HB17 will punch through both sides of a soup can at 10 yards, and the HB22 will punch through one side. Like the EB22, they are solidly built.

If you are fortunate enough to acquire either of these MSP pistols, there are a couple of tricks that make life easier. First, lubricate the gun before you shoot it the first time. The manual recommends Crosman Pellgunoil, but you could use some light machine oil or non-detergent 20 or 30 weight motor oil. Put a drop of oil at each spot recommended in the owner’s manual. This will ease the pumping effort a bit and extend longevity, since the guns are shipped nearly bone-dry in their factory packaging. Be sure to give your pistol a little lubrication before each shooting session.

Second, when pumping the HB17 or HB22, make sure that you don’t grip the forend so that the heel of your pumping hand is over the trigger guard. If you do, you’ll whack the heel of your hand on the trigger guard with every stroke, and this becomes annoying very quickly. Instead, grab the forend so that the heel of your hand rests on it just forward of the trigger guard. Wrap your other hand around the barrel and the trigger guard so the heel of your hand is resting on the breech. Open the forend all the way, then return it to its original position by driving your two hands together. When the pumping stroke nears completion, wrap the fingers of your forend hand around the barrel to help finish the stroke.

It saddens me to see these classic air pistols go out of production. I suspect that many airgunners will treasure the ones that they own. I know I will.

Til next time,

Aim true and shoot straight.

Jock Elliott

Just recently I heard from a spokesman at Crosman Corporation that, after nearly 70 years, the Sheridan air rifle has been discontinued. Crosman will, however, continue to make .20 caliber pellets.

The Sheridan enjoys a long and glorious history that stretches back to the 1940s.

Note: for a lot of what follows, I owe a deep debt of gratitude to Ted Osborn who was a beady-eyed, totally-committed, non-in-the-twelve-step-program Sheridan fanatic. Ted conducted hundreds of hours of research and interviews into the history of Sheridan and in 2004 was extraordinarily generous of his time in helping me prepare an article about the Sheridan for The Accurate Rifle magazine. Sadly, Ted passed away at home on February 16, 2011. I still miss our phone calls, his hearty baritone, and his ready laugh. He once drove from Ithaca, NY, to my house to allow me to shoot all three grades of classic Sheridans.

In 1943 Ed Wackerhagen and his friend Bob Kraus thought they could build a better airgun, so they set about designing and building one. By mid-1944, they had completed a prototype. On June 20, at 9:30 am, the two men pumped and loaded their creation and launched a pellet at a block of wood a few feet away. The pellet buried itself in the wood, and it was time for celebration: their gun worked! The block of wood was dated and signed and tucked into Kraus’ pocket.

By 1947, advertisements appeared in the magazines of the day, offering the Sheridan pneumatic air rifle (known as the Model A Super Grade) for sale for the princely sum of $56.50. That was a lot of money for an air rifle back then. For the same price, you could purchase a Winchester model 94 30-30. But never mind, an American classic, manufactured in Racine, Wisconsin, had been born, a classic that endures to this day.

The very first Sheridan, the Model A Super Grade. Only 2130 were produced.

The very first Sheridan, the Model A Super Grade. Only 2130 were produced.

The Sheridan Super Grade was a .20 caliber (all Sheridans were .20 caliber.) multi-stroke pneumatic air rifle. It had a large cast and machined aluminum receiver, bronze barrel and pump tube, walnut stock with Monte Carlo cheek-piece, ball-type valve mechanism, adjustable trigger and peep sight. It weighed 5 pounds 14 ounces, stretched 37 inches overall, with a 20-inch barrel with one turn in 12 inches.

About 800 Super Grades were produced that first year. Over the six few years, total production would amount to 2130 units. Today, a Sheridan Super Grade is among the most sought-after collectable airguns, and you might pay as much as 10 times the original price for one.

In the April 1947, in American Rifleman magazine, Major General Julian S. Hatcher reviewed the Sheridan and said, “The accuracy of this gun is superb . . . Here is a gun which is capable of real target shooting, is deadly on small pests, and is a real pleasure to shoot. It is a quality job all the way through.” He reported velocity of 400 fps with just two pumps and 770 fps with 12 pumps (which is not recommended).

The Model B Sporter Sheridan. Only 1051 were produced over 3 years.

The Model B Sporter Sheridan. Only 1051 were produced over 3 years.

In 1948, the company introduced the Model B Sporter, a lower priced gun that sold for about $35. It had various changes, including no cheek-piece and a painted finish, to keep costs down. During the three years that this model was produced, only 1051 were built, making the Model B highly sought by collectors.

The Sheridan Silver Streak. Over half a million Streaks were produced in various forms.

The Sheridan Silver Streak. Over half a million Streaks were produced in various forms.

The Model C first reached the public in 1949 and has been in continuous production until now. The Silver Streak was introduced first. It had a nickel finish that was beautifully polished, a walnut Manlicher stock, and a hold-down safety. It cost $19.95. The Blue Streak, with a black oxided finish, was introduced a few years later. Various versions of the Streaks would be produced over the years: the hold-down safety, the rocker safety, and the modern push-pull safety. No one knows exactly how many Streaks have been produced in total, but it is over half a million.

In 1977, the Benjamin company, which also manufactured air rifles, acquired Sheridan after Ed Wackerhagen’s death. Benjamin management ran the Sheridan from afar until 1982, when Benjamin closed its plant in St. Louis and merged the two businesses in a new plant on Chicory Road in Racine.

Along the way, Ray Katt had bought Benjamin-Sheridan from the Spack family, and he now began homogenizing the two air rifle lines. The pistols were first: they became Benjamin-Sheridan pistols. Next, the two pump-up rifle lines began moving toward each other until there were only minor cosmetic differences separating the two.

In 1992, the operation was purchased by Crosman Corporation. About a year-and-a-half later, the Racine plant was closed and production was moved to East Bloomfield, NY. Now the guns were identical except for caliber.

To be continued in Part II.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

The blog that I wrote on installing the GTX aftermarket trigger in the Benjamin Trail NP All Weather has proven to be one of the most commented-upon items in all the time that I have been writing this blog. You can find the original posting here:

Recently reader Don Swyers wrote: “I upgraded my nitro trail trigger to the gtx generation 2 and my safety hasn’t worked since.. I tried adjusting the secondary, and it still doesn’t work…”

I contacted Steve Woodward, inventor of the GTX trigger, to answer Swyers’s question and some other common queries regarding the GTX trigger.

Woodward: In addition to correct adjustment of the GTX Secondary screw (you can find the directions for adjustment here: http://www.airgunsofarizona.​com/GTX.htm Just click on the blue “Installation Guide” button), proper operation of the Crosman “Gamo-Style” safety depends on a number of things. (Note: the picture below shows the trigger assembly with the trigger pointed up and the receiver pointed to the left.)


One of those things is Correct installation of the Safety “hairpin” spring, including alignment with the Safety Toggle index notches (#1) and retaining tab (#2).  The leg that engages the index notches (#1) should press against the trigger housing and should be underneath the outer tab labeled “1”. It curls around the pivot pin and is held in place with an e-clip. The other leg should be clipped firmly behind the retaining tab (#2). It is the anchor for the free end of the spring.

Also, these springs are sometimes made of poor quality wire, resulting in inadequate tension.  This can sometimes be improved by removing the spring, bending the two ends together, and then reinstalling.

Finally, the profile of the sheet-metal Toggle (#3)  is sometimes malformed, and can be improved by minor reshaping to better conform to the face of the trigger blade.

These factors are especially important with the GTX, due to its machined anodized aluminum fabrication, which is smoother and has a lower coefficient of friction than the stock steel trigger blade.

Another common Question: Why doesn’t the GTX trigger reset when I pull halfway and then let go without firing?

Woodward: The stock trigger does the same thing, but you probably never noticed before because it hides the fact from your trigger finger. After the gun is cocked, the mating surfaces of the sear hold the piston back against hundreds of pounds of force from the compressed mainspring or ram. When you pull the trigger, moving the mating surfaces toward break, there’s such a lot of friction; the spring that returns the sears to the original position while the gun is being cocked, is not strong enough to overcome the friction. The behavior of the GTX trigger is the same, but with the stock trigger, the trigger spring makes the trigger blade return to the original position, while the sear is still partially disengaged.  By contrast, the GTX trigger tracks the true position of the sear and reports that to your trigger finger. In both cases, with the stock trigger and the GTX, what the prudent shooter needs to do is adopt the habit of always recocking the gun whenever the trigger is touched without firing. Incidentally, this applies to almost all inexpensive airgun triggers, not just springers.

Question: The GTX trigger feels really light. Is it safe?

Woodward: Any trigger that will never fire unless it is being touched at the time is a safe trigger. The GTX satisfies that criterion just as well as the stock trigger does. The safety of the trigger depends on the engagement of the sear. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. We recommend practicing with your GTX trigger until you are familiar with the feel of the first and second stages.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

Back in 1974, your Humble Correspondent was recorded picking his banjo on an album entitled “Alternate Plan B” recorded by Bert Mayne. I remember there was a line in the album notes that stuck with me: “Winter has been too long in my hills.”

I can relate. Despite relatively low snow fall, winter has, indeed, been too long in my hills this year. Maybe you have a case of the I-can’t-wait-for-spring mullygrubbs as well. If you do, don’t despair, help is just around the corner.

What you – and I – need is a little quality trigger time with an airgun. And if the weather outside is inclement (here is upstate New York, it has been just plain cold and damp), no problem . . . here’s your recipe for putting a smile on your face.

What you need is an air pistol, some pellets, some paper targets, and a pellet trap. (If you live someplace where folks might complain about noise, get a pellet trap that is lined with putty at the back to absorb the sound of the pellets hitting the trap).

The lovely thing about shooting an air pistol is that you don’t need a lot of space to provide a challenge. If you only have 15 feet to shoot in the basement (or even a hallway . . . make sure that no one can walk into your line of fire), that still can be mighty entertaining. Print out some ten meter pistol targets at half scale, and you’re all set.

What’s that you say? Shooting at 5 yards would be just too easy? Okay, try this: try shooting one-handed with your non-dominant hand. That’s right: if you normally shoot right-handed, try left left-handed. If you want to turn it into a game, try fanning out some playing cards on the face of your target so that only the corners are exposed and now try shooting a winning poker hand for yourself. Or fan out two sets of cards and turn it into a contest with someone else.

The Browning Buck Mark URX fills the bill for a basement plinker at a very reasonable price.

The Browning Buck Mark URX fills the bill for a basement plinker at a very reasonable price.

There are a bunch of pistols that will fill the bill for satisfying indoor shooting at close range. The Browning Buck Mark URX immediately comes to mind. It’s a break-barrel, spring-piston, .177 caliber air pistol that looks like the powder burning Buck Mark URX offered by Browning. You can read my full review of it here: It is a relatively quiet, slow pistol that is just perfect for messing around indoors.

For some additional pistol suggestions, check out this blog:  The Daisy Avanti 747, the Crosman 2300S, the RWS LP8, and, of course, any of the Weihrauch HW45 series pistols are all excellent candidates for indoor practice that will help to cure those –end-of-the-winter blues.

In addition to a pistol, pellet trap, and some pellets, you will also need some eye protection in case an errant pellet ricochets. Finally, as always, you need to keep safety first and foremost. If you are shooting indoors, take care that no person or pet can inadvertently come between you and your target. I sometimes shoot in the basement at El Rancho Elliott between the washing machine and the workbench. I put my pellet trap on top of the workbench, and everything usually works just fine except one day when I triggered a shot before I had carefully taken aim. One of the drawers in the cabinet where I keep nuts, bolts, and screws now has a .177 caliber hole in it! So be careful . . . please.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

Last time I suggested that if you really want to put a grin on someone’s face this holiday season, you might want to make them the gift of an air rifle, combined with the gift of your time shooting with them.

The excellent Daisy Avanti 747 pistol.

But for some folks, an air pistol might be a better choice. If you want an air pistol that is suitable for casual plinking and backyard shooting yet could be used for silhouette competition or club-level ten-meter competition, the Daisy Avanti 747 is an excellent choice. It is a single-stroke pneumatic that is completely self-contained, is easy to cock and shoot, make a mild “pop” when it goes off, has virtually no recoil, and is wickedly accurate with the right pellet. The 747 is so mild-mannered that it probably could be shot in an apartment with a silent pellet trap and a little covering music. About the only thing that the 747 is not good for is pest control. It is simply too low powered to be used for humane pest control.

The CO2-powered Crosman 2300S has excellent sights.

If you want an air pistol that doesn’t even require a cocking stroke, consider the CO2-powered Crosman 2300S. It has a Lothar-Walther choked match barrel and meets IHMSA rules for “production class” silhouette competition. It uses 12-gram CO2 cartridges but delivers around 60 shots per cartridge. This pistol features a Williams rear notch sight with target knobs for easy adjustment and is extremely accurate with the right pellet. I would not recommend the 2300S for pest control, except for very small pests at close range.

An LP8 pistol equipped with an optional red dot sight.

If you want an air pistol that recoils, there are two really good choices that immediately come to mind. The RWS LP8 is a break-barrel springer pistol that can be readily fitted with a red dot, and is powerful enough for defending the bird feeder at close range.

An HW45 in the Black Star configuration.

Any of the HW45 series of pistols are also excellent. They are slightly more difficult to fit with a red dot, but they are extremely well made and deliver enough power for pest control at close range. I have personally terminated a squirrel using a .177 HW45, and I have heard stories of folks killing much possum-sized game with an HW45 at close range.

One of the interesting things about the HW45 is that the piston works backwards. A pistol like the RWS LP8 is like a scaled down breakbarrel rifle. You crank the barrel down to cock the gun, and you’re driving the piston and spring back, toward the palm of your shooting hand. When you trigger the shot, the spring and piston rocket forward, just like a break barrel rifle.

But cocking the HW45 is totally different. You pull back the ‘hammer’ to release the rear of the upper, and then you pull the rear part of the upper up and forward to cock the pistol. While you’re doing that, you’re actually dragging the spring and piston toward the muzzle of the pistol until they latch. When you trigger the shot, the spring and piston leap toward your hand. The shot cycle feels different than the LP8, but both the LP8 and HW45 are a lot of fun to shoot, and I have spoken to several airgunners who really enjoy the challenge of learning to shoot these spring-piston air pistols well.

With any of these air pistols, you’ll likely need a pellet trap, a selection of pellets, some eye protection, and perhaps a red dot sight. Ask the good folks at, and they’ll fix you up with what you need.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

The Crosman TR77 is a break barrel air rifle with some surprising characteristics.

Recently, the good folks at Crosman Corporation sent me a sample of the Crosman TR77 air rifle. Right on the box it says “Tactical Break Barrel Rifle,” and that got me to wondering: what makes an air rifle “tactical?” Then I read further: “military-style all-weather synthetic stock” and “tactical muzzle break.” Then I got it: “tactical” is really marketing shorthand for “military look.” Okay, I’ll accept that.

This is what a “tactical” break barrel looks like.

The TR77 certainly is an interesting looking rifle. It stretches 43 inches from end to end and weighs just 7 lb. 6 oz. including the CenterPoint 4X32 scope and mounts. At the extreme aft end is a rubber butt pad which is attached to a molded black synthetic stock. The stock is fully ambidextrous and has a slight rise toward the rear that functions as a cheek piece. Ahead of that is a short section of stock that has a cross section like an I-beam. Ahead of that is the main receiver with a pronounced pistol grip at a fairly steep angle. The same black polymer forms a trigger guard around a black polymer trigger and lever-type safety. Forward of that, there is a slight indentation on either side of the stock, followed by a section of forestock that has fat ridges for easier gripping.

Underneath the forward end of the forestock is a long slot that allows clearance for the barrel during cocking.  Forward of that is the barrel, which has a fluted polymer muzzle break on the end that can be gripped during cocking. Moving back along the barrel, you’ll find the breech block and main receiver. Near the aft end of the receiver, there is a dovetail for mounting the CenterPoint 4X32 scope and mounts, which are included with the TR77.

To ready the TR77 for shooting, grab the muzzle break and pull the barrel down and back until it latches. I estimate that cocking effort is in the 30-35 lb. range, and the cocking stroke is surprisingly free of creaks or groans or other noise. This opens the breech for loading. Slide a .177 pellet into the aft end of the barrel and return the barrel to its original position.  Push the safety lever forward to the FIRE position, and squeeze the trigger. The first stage requires about 2 lb. 5 oz. of effort, according to my digital trigger gauge. The second stage is long, with lots of creep, and ultimately requires 6 lb. 7 oz. of pressure.

While this is clearly an air rifle that could benefit from some trigger improvement – either a trigger job or an aftermarket trigger – I found that I could shoot reasonably well with it and produced nickel-sized five-shoot groups from a rest at 13 yards using Crosman Premier 7.9 grain .177 pellets. I suspect that I could have achieved tighter groups with a higher-power scope, but the TR77 came with the CenterPoint 4×32 scope, so that is what I used.

What really surprised me was the speed and consistency of the TR77. It put 7.9 grain Crosman Premier pellets through my chronograph at an average speed of 943 fps, and the variation from high (946) to low (940) was only 6 fps! I find that quite remarkable in an unturned, inexpensive factory air rifle. Despite the TR77’s speed, the shot cycle was not harsh, and the report was typical of a medium-power springer.


The butt pad can be peeled off . . .

, , , to reveal storage spaces inside.

The other surprise that the TR77 has for the shooter is that the butt pad can be peeled off to reveal two small storage chambers inside the butt stock. This really spoke to me.

Ever since I was a kid, I have had a fascination with survival scenarios. Starting with Robinson Crusoe and the stories I would read in Boy’s Life and Outdoor Life, I loved reading about people who find themselves in survival conditions and the tools and ingenuity they use to stay alive.

In particular, I remember the story of three young men who decided to paddle the length of one arctic river. They had planned pretty well, but lost some of their gear (if I recall correctly) and found themselves in a subsistence situation. It seems to be that if game were available, an air rifle might be pretty useful for keeping body and soul together. I have even written about this idea a time or two in this blog and elsewhere.

So I could envision setting the TR77 up as a survival rifle, storing a supply of pellets, an allen wrench for the scope mounts, and some fire starting materials in the cavities in the buttstock. Maybe I would wrap some parachute chord around the I-beam section of the stock. The possibilities are endless, and I think the TR77 would be a fun gun for this type of project, defending the garden, or hunting small game.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

The Crosman 1720T is the only air pistol that I am aware of that was purpose built for Pistol Field Target. It can be used for unlimited class air pistol silhouette as well.

One of the cool things about being an airgun writer is that occasionally you get to hear some background on a product that you probably might not have known about otherwise.

The Crosman 1720T Target PCP Pistol is a case in point. Russ Page, Crosman product design engineer, was sitting at his desk one day when he gets a call from Ray Apelles. Ray and his father Hans are enthusiastic field target competitors and represent Crosman Corporation at various FT events as “Team Crosman.” Crosman, in turn, supports Ray and Hans with parts, guns, and so forth.

“Pistol field target is growing in popularity,” Ray says, “and we would like a PCP pistol specifically designed for pistol FT. Ideally, it would have a little longer barrel  and more air capacity than the Crosman 1701 silhouette pistol and would shooter faster too – over 700 fps with light pellets and over 600 fps with Crosman Premier Heavies.”

According to Page, “So we built a couple of prototypes using most of the lower from the Marauder and some parts from the silhouette pistol. We had to get a special barrel, a 12-inch choked Lothar Walther barrel, and the result, after some tweaks, is the 1720T.”

The 1720T is quite some air pistol. A single-shot, .177 caliber, precharged pneumatic, it stretches nearly 18 inches from end to end and weighs 2.8 pounds. It is the first pistol that I am aware of that is purpose built for pistol field target.

The 1720T can be set up with the bolt on the left or right hand side.

At the extreme aft end of the 1720T is the black metal bolt which can be set up for right or left hand usage. Below that is the pistol grip which is ambidextrous. Forward of the pistol grip is a push-button safety and a black metal trigger guard which surrounds a gold-colored metal trigger that is fully adjustable. Forward of that is a polymer forestock which has a circular pressure gauge set into the bottom.

The cap at the end of the air reservoir slips off to reveal a male foster fitting for filling the reservoir. The barrel above the reservoir is shrouded for a very neighbor-friendly report.

Above the forestock is air reservoir. At the end is a black plastic cap which slips off to reveal a male foster fitting for charging the 1720T. Above the air reservoir is a shrouded, choked Walther Lothar barrel. Moving back along the barrel, there is a band that connects the air reservoir with the barrel shroud. Moving back again, you’ll find the receiver, which has a dovetail in front of and behind the breech for mounting a scope. There are no sights on the 1720T, so you have to mount a scope or red dot for aiming.

To get the 1720T ready for shooting, charge it to 3,000 psi with a high pressure pump or SCUBA tank. Pull the bolt back, insert a pellet into the breech, and return the bolt to its original position. Click the safety off and squeeze the first stage out of the trigger. This took 1 lb 2.1 oz of effort on the sample I tested. At 2 lbs., 0.3 oz., the shot goes down range. With the shrouded barrel, the report is extremely muted – not dead quiet, but certainly quiet enough for suburban use.

In factory trim, the 1720T launches 7.9 grain pellets at 715-720 fps and will get about 30 shots per fill. It will send 10.5 grain pellets down range at 630-640 fps for the same number of shots. Page says, “You can play with the tuning to get 750 fps with light pellets, but you won’t get as many shots or as flat a shot string.”

The 1720T also comes with an additional transfer port that can be installed by an airgunsmith to lower the velocity to 550 fps with 7.9 grain pellets and about 70 shots per fill.

I shot this 5-shot group at 25 meters (27 yards) off a very casual rest with the 1720T.

In stock factory trim, shooting off a rest, I got a 5 shot group at 27 meters that measured 0.6 inches center to center, and Crosman claims they typically shoot 5 shot groups at 10 meters that measure .375 inches. Clearly, the 1720T has the accuracy necessary for field target and silhouette.

The plastic shoulder stock normally used on the Crosman 1377 pistol turns the 1720T into a very neat and handy ultracarbine. I used this rig to test the 1720T for accuracy.

To test the 1720T for accuracy, I mounted the shoulder stock that is often used on the 1377 pistol (it is not included with the pistol and is available at additional cost from Crosman), and I “discovered” that the 1720T makes a really cool ultracarbine, perfectly suited for defending the birdfeeder.

In short, I think Crosman has come up with a real winner in the 1720T – a pistol suitable for field target, unlimited class silhouette, plinking, or even close range small game hunting. What’s not to like?

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott