Crosman 116 – the last of the bulkfill pistols

by B.B. Pelletier

Before there were 12-gram powerlets, Crosman had a line of guns that owners filled with CO2 from a separate 10-ounce tank. Today, the airgun community calls all these guns “bulkfill,” referring to the way they are charged.

Crosman made many bulkfill models
Starting before World War II and resuming production soon after the war was over, Crosman produced a number of bulkfill guns. The pistol I’ve chosen for today, the model 116, was the last one produced. The Blue Book of Airguns, Fifth Edition says it was produced from 1951 to 1954, when it was replaced by Crosman’s first pistol to use a 12-gram powerlet – the 150.


Crosman 116 was the last of the bulkfill pistols from that company.

Specifications
The caliber is .22, which was far more popular at the time. A companion .177 model, the 115, was also made in fewer numbers. The brass barrel is 6″ long and rifled with a right-hand twist. The pistol is slightly longer than a 150 but slimmer, too, because the bulk reservoir doesn’t have to accommodate a CO2 powerlet. The pistol holds and balances very much like a 150. That’s important because the earlier .22 bulkfill pistol, the model 112, was two full inches longer, and some shooters objected to the extra weight and muzzle-heavy balance. A rotating knob behind the receiver lets you vary tension on the hammer spring to adjust power. This works well with a CO2 gun.


Bottom wheel is for power adjustment. Top wheel cocks the gun.

Finish
The 116 was originally painted gloss black, except for the aluminum frame, which was finished with a crackle paint. Two-piece wraparound plastic grips are fastened with a screw on either side of the gun. The 116 typically had reddish plastic grips when new, but after so many years you could find a gray-white colored grip from the older model 111. The name, model number and serial number are filled with light-colored paint and appear on the left side of the receiver.

Filling
A 10-ounce rechargable CO2 tank came boxed with every pistol. It held enough gas for thousands of shots. When you wanted to refill the tank, the system broke down. Crosman had refilling stations where the tank could be mailed (not today!) for a refill. People were used to waiting in the 1950s, but when the 12-gram powerlet came to market it killed the bulkfill guns. That’s why so many of them are in such good condition today.

Today’s airgun enthusiast fills his own 10-oz. tanks from a 20-lb. CO2 tank (often called a fire extinguisher). You have to get into bulkfill with both feet if you want to save any money, so there is an up-front investment. I own four bulk CO2 tanks, plus various adapters, and I have no problem filling just about anything. I acquired my setup over a period of years.

Performance
By this point, if you have read my past postings on CO2, you probably know how a 116 is going to perform. It has the same velocity as a 150 (see the posting Crosman air pistols: then and now). Expect 425 to 500 f.p.s. with medium weight pellets from a 116 in good shape. Because the gas reservoir is smaller than the longer 112, you’ll get only 30-35 shots per fill, but your cost will be under a nickel. Compare that to 50 cents for a powerlet!

Price
This is one rare time when I will disagree with the Blue Book. It shows the 116 costs from $40 to $175 for just the gun. I’ve seen many that were $40, but I’ve never seen a 116 priced above $100, unless it was being sold either in an online auction or at a gun show. They are just too common to sell for that much. A good one in a box should cost $100. The longer models usually go for a little more, like $20 or so.

If you’re interested in vintage CO2 guns, you should add a 116 to your collection!

24 thoughts on “Crosman 116 – the last of the bulkfill pistols

  1. B.B.

    Appreciate this reveiw more now than when first read.

    Thanks for all the great articles, and comments.

    Airguns and collecting have become a real hobby and great fun. You have been and continue to be a great unseen mentor and friend to many of us.

    Thanks Again,

    Ray Ck



  2. Hello,
    I have a Model 115. It is missing the power selection knob. Does this just regulate the amount of gas that goes into the chamber? Can I make one?


  3. Bobosbones,

    The power adjustment screw simply puts more or less tension on the hammer spring. A regular machine screw that fits the hole will work.

    B.B.


  4. Thanks for the great info I have been doing some research for a elderly friend of mine how asked me clean it for him and to find some info also. Where is that adpter for filling the resivior to be found any ideas?


  5. These guns are now bought and sold as vintage collectables. Here is the address of a man who may have a vintage tank and/or a fill adapter for the tank (I can’t tell which you need):

    John Groenewold, PO Box 830, Mundelein, IL 60060-0830, (847) 566-2365
    http://www.jgairguns.biz

    Other guns have been imported that use the same CO2 tanks as the 116. If that;s what you need, you may be able to find a tank on the American Airguns webpage free classified ads:

    http://www.airguns.net/classifieds/classifieds.html

    B.B.


  6. I have a Crosman 116 with the cylinder. Does anyone know if you can use USP to send a gas cyclinder. I know I can mail the Air pistol but not sure about the gas cycliner ?




  7. They sure do! In fact, your comment prompts me to write a report on the Crosman Corporation. They are perhaps the largest airgun manufacturer in the world, and certainly the largest in the United States.

    Some of their products, notably some breakbarrel spring piston air rifles (but far from all of them) are made under contract in China, but the bulk of the guns with the Crosman name on them are made in their plant in East Bloomfield, New York.

    B.B.


  8. Anonymous,

    Yes Crosman is stilled made in the USA.

    You posted on a blog that was done in 2005. B.B. does a daily Mon-Fri blog. Please come pay it a visit and chat with a bunch of good people who have alot of knowledge and are very willing to shasre it with one and all.

    You will find them, @ http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/


  9. Thank you for answering, that is very reassuring. That must be why you see crosman airguns bought a long time ago work good still today. I got a powermaster 66 from the 60′s and it works good still today.


  10. Great article. I have a Model 116 with a whitish/black… faux ivory handle, along with the original tattered box, handbook, and catalog. My grandfather gave it to me maybe 35 years ago or longer. Years ago, the tank ran out and it took my grandpa a long long time but he found somebody to refill it. It stopped holding a charge and blasted out as I filled… this was probbaly 30 years ago or so. I still have the gun and the tank still has the same charge. I tried to load it the other day and it held long enough to fire 1-2 times but it leaked out through the hole near the loading area. Is it possible to replace the seal? I took the whole gun apart but I was not able to access the seal. It has sentimental value, my grandfather is gone and it would be nice to repair. Thank you.




  11. I just discovered that the air pistol my dad gave me years ago is a model 116.The gun used to be my uncles and it's in amazing condition ,but we can't find a serial # anywhere on the gun.Is this a rareity, or an early or late run gun?
    The serial # from what I've learned is suppost to be on the left side of the reciever and it's not.It is however marked model 116 and is identical to all the photo's I've seen.
    Any imput would be great, thanx!


  12. Anonymous with the Crosman 116,

    From what I've read many/most of the model 116's didn't have serial numbers since they were manufactured from 1951-1954.

    According to the most recent blue book you gun in 95% condition is worth $155.00. You can add 30% for the original CO2 tank (you are advised not to charge the orignal Crosman CO2 tanks used on models 111. 112, 115 and 116). Add another 20% if you have the orignal box. Add 75% for a gun with Model A306 dealer display case, tank bell target, pellets. (Typical premium for such displays in other models)

    kevin


  13. to kevin, from anonymous,kevin my family owns a model 116 with the original box,targets,pellets, air tank and best of all an original leather holster for the gun.it was found in the attic.i was wondering what your previous blog meant when it said be advised not to charge the original crosman air tank i was wondering if it had anything to do with safety,if thats is the case i would rather not teach my 12 yr old son how to shoot on that gun i will just purchase another air gun .any info you have would be appreciated ,in the intrest of safety thank you for your time.. tim


  14. Anonymous with the 116 with original box, target, pellets, air tank and original holster,

    WHAT A FIND! Wish my attic held these treasures.

    I think the warning to not charge the air tank is all about safety but B.B. is going to have to chime in here. He's more knowledgable about this than I am.

    My vote would be to sell that collectable gun with all the accessories and buy your 12 year old 3 new guns!

    kevin


  15. Yes, the "no-fill" warning is about safety. As far as I know, those old model 110 bulk tanks do not have safety burst disks. And modern paintball tanks are so easy to adapt to fill the same guns with the right adaptor.

    On the other hand, the gun is perfectly safe and hundreds of thousands of them are used every day. I have owned and shot several, and most modern guns cannot compete.

    Contact Dennis Quackenbush or Ron Sauls for a paintball tank adaptor:

    http://www.quackenbushairguns.com

    Ron Sauls
    http://www.bryanandac.com/
    864-261-6810

    B.B.






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