by B.B. Pelletier
There is already an article about the Crosman Nightstalker by Tom Gaylord on the Pyramyd Air website. I just wanted to add my two cents and share some observations that are a little different.
A real semiauto with a twist
Yesterday, I reported on Crosman's 451 military pistol. That gun is a true semiauto air pistol in every respect of the term. The new Nightstalker is also a semiauto, but one with a strange twist. I spoke to Ed Schultz, Crosman's production manager, about why the trigger of the Nightstalker is as heavy as it is. It breaks at around seven pounds, where the vintage Crosman 600 and 451 pistols both break at less than two. Why the big difference? He told me that Crosman engineers made the Nightstalker auto-cocking, but left the advancement of the 12-shot clip manual for greater reliability. In other words, your trigger finger has to rotate the clip to the next pellet before it releases the sear, which is where the extra pull weight comes from.
This is similar to but not the same as Crosman's 1077 rifle, which is a true double-action only revolver masquerading as a semiauto. The 1077's trigger not only advances the clip (the same one the Nightstalker uses), it also cocks the hammer before releasing it for the shot. I do know that the triggers on all the 1077s I've seen became lighter with use. I have one that is very smooth and light, because it's probably been shot more than 10,000 times. My newer 1077 is stiffer, but still breaks about the same as a new Nightstalker. I have hope that both guns will lighten with use.
Schultz also told me that Crosman located the cocking handle on the left side of what they call the exoskeleton, so shooters would have some sense of the semiauto feature. I found that I had to back up and focus on the handle to see any hint of motion - it works that fast. That's when it hit me! Crosman left the indexing to the trigger so the Nightstalker cannot be turned into a full-auto machine gun, like the 600 pistol often is!
No need to seat pellets deeply
Crosman has examined the rifle Tom Gaylord tested and determined it had an indexing problem, which is why the pellets had to be seated so deeply. My rifle works fine with the pellets seated to the normal depth, and there has never been a tie-up like Gaylord experienced. His gun was apparently not aligning all the chambers correctly, and some of the gas was deflecting off the breech and pushing the pellets out the back of the clip.
When you load up the Nightstalker with everything in the kit, it looks wicked! There's a very accurate rifle inside all that stuff, too!
My Nightstalker is the kit model with all the accessories. Normally, I'm not an accessory kind of guy, but Crosman has put together a very nice package with this kit. The bipod works very well, so I used it for all my accuracy testing. That's the ultimate test of a bipod. The red dot sight works very well and was also used in accuracy testing. And, the tactical flashlight is just plain cool! It has no useful purpose mounted on a pellet rifle, but it is as bright as daylight and quite impressive! I'm using it off the rifle as the most powerful flashlight I currently own (which is a compliment of sorts, because I seem to collect flashlights!).
Accuracy is super!
My rifle out-performed the one in Gaylord's test by a wide margin. In fact, it was so much better that I asked Ed Schultz about it. He said the Nightstalkers typically give groups ranging from the size Gaylord got down to what I got. My five-shot groups with 7.9-grain Crosman Premiers measured under 0.30" at 20 yards. I shot many that size, so this wasn't just a fluke.
How many shots per cartridge?
I know this number is important to a few people, but frankly those are the same people who never buy the gun! They just want to know all the facts. The fact is, I shot hundreds of shots in 65-degree weather, and the gas cartridge is still working. I know the number was in the hundreds because I had to load all those 12-shot clips! I have no clue what THE NUMBER is, so please don't ask. Crosman says up to 350 shots on their website, so I'd guess it's something over 300.
If you like fun airguns, the Nightstalker is probably for you. If you already own and like a 1077, you definitely want to look at one of these. It's probably going to become an airgun classic!