Crosman 180: a collectible worth owning!

by B.B. Pelletier


Billed as a youth model, Crosman’s 180 was adult in every respect.

During the period from about 1947 to 1970, airguns of all types abounded in this country. Crosman was extremely prolific and designed some guns that have become classics and collectibles in recent years. The model 600 pistol was one such gun and the model 180 (in .22 caliber, model 187 in .177) rifle was another. Introduced in 1956 as a youth gun, it was kept out of the limelight by Crosman’s extremely successful model 160 rifle, which is also a classic and still being made today in the form of a Chinese copy called the QB78. But, the 180 had a few interesting features that should have made it more of a hit than it was. Sales finally ceased in 1967.

Two major variations
The first 180 had a stamped steel triggerguard and a crossbolt safety that went through the wooden stock. In 1963, it was replaced by the rifle with a diecast triggerguard that incorporated a rotating lever safety. But the difference is greater than just that. The second variation had a fully adjustable trigger that had been developed for the 160. It was adjustable for pull weight, sear contact and overtravel. This trigger, part of which Crosman engineers borrowed from an antique crossbow, was and still is one of the finest triggers ever found on an inexpensive airgun. Collectors need both variations, but all shooters want the second one.

What a barrel!
The 17-3/4″ barrel is finely rifled in a steel tube that also encompasses the bolt and could be considered the receiver. This rifle was considered okay in its day, but the modern pellets we now have turn it into a very accurate rifle. Back in the ’60s, the pellets were not well formed nor did they resist corrosion very long. Drop a .22 caliber Crosman Premier into a 180 and look for quarter-sized groups at 30 yards with open sights!

Adjustable power
The hammer spring pre-tension can be adjusted by an Allen wrench through a hole in the cocking knob at the rear of the gun. Adjusting that allows you to vary the power within limits.There are also two different power levels, depending on how far back you pull the cocking knob. My gun launches .22 caliber Premiers at about 380 f.p.s. on low power and 560 f.p.s. on high.


Power adjustability, 1956-style. There are two power settings, as well.

Economy
This was the real thrust of the 180. I remember being appalled that the 160 used 2 powerlets for 25 shots! That made it more expensive to shoot than a .22 rimfire, not that I was able to shoot .22 rimfires that often. But the 180 got about the same number of shots on just one powerlet, and that was worth talking about. Of course, those powerlets were the old leaky bottlecap design that wasn’t very good to begin with. Today, you should get 35-40 shots per powerlet from a stock 180.

Really an adult-sized rifle
The 180 may have been smaller than the 160, but it has a 13-3/4″ length of pull that is fine for a grown adult. The overall length is just a smidgeon less than 34-1/2″, so it’s a true carbine, but it doesn’t have to be just for youth. Adults can love this gun, too.

Where do you get one?
There are always a handful of good 180s at any airgun show I attend. They also pop up on internet gun auction sites from time to time, though I think the bidding gets out of hand there. Expect to pay $80 for a shooter in decent condition and up to $150 for one that’s like new in a box. I paid $20 for mine at a flea market and the guy sold it so cheap because he thought it was leaking. A little Pellgunoil got it back up and running, though I did eventually have to let Rick Willnecker reseal it.

You can learn more about vintage airguns like this in the Blue Book of Airguns.

71 thoughts on “Crosman 180: a collectible worth owning!

  1. Dear B.B

    are you aware of the proposed ban on sale, possession, and manufacture of adult c02 airguns and replica guns currently being proposed in Dallas?


  2. I need some help. I got au sed IZH-46M.
    The trigger has been adjusted so that the slightest pressure will fire it. I need a starting place to begin readjustment. There are 3 screws. In what order do I adjust and at what point? All the way clockwise or counter clockwise. I can’t seem to find a starting point. At some settings it will fire when the bolt is closed. Help!


  3. No, I’m not aware of this proposed legislation. Let’s hope it’s nothing more than last-minute grandstanding by the liberals, prior to the election.

    B.B.


  4. IZH 46,

    Your trigger adjusts in so many ways. What are you trying to adjust? First-stage length? Overtravel? Second-stage pull weight?

    B.B.


  5. I think that all screws are out of adjustment. There is not travel in the first or second stages. Just a light touch, like resting your finger on the trigger and the gun fires.


  6. Here is how Mac-1 adjusts the trigger on an IZH 46:

    Tension adjust: Rear Screw, Turn anti-clockwise until a few threads of the screw end protrudes beyond the block.

    2nd stage: Second screw from rear, Turn anti clockwise until there is no 2nd stage and then back in until there is just a hint of 2nd stage.

    Overtravel: Third screw rear, Turn clockwise until it won’t fire. Then anti-clockwise until 1/8th turn after it does fire.

    Take up: Front Screw, Turn clockwise to reduce or anti-clockwise to increase 1st stage travel.

    Blade: The trigger blade can move fore and aft on a dovetail by slacking the pinch screw, moving it to your preferred position and then retightening.

    I hope this helps. As you know, the manual is not much use.

    Ehrich


  7. Ehrich,

    Thank you for posting those instructions.

    I read the manual on the Pyramyd Air website and you’re right – it lacks a lot! From the wording of this manual, I believe the gun’s importer, EAA, had someone in this country write it, because the original Russian manual is more helpful and has fewer mistakes.

    B.B.



  8. BB, Thanks for the piece on the Xman 180. I am lucky enough to be in possession of a later model 180. It does everything you stated. Mine will do 40 shots per powerlet starting at about 585 fps and tapering off to 430 fps. with .22 cal crosman premieres. I recall that Crosman’s promos in the 1960′s stated the MV as a very conservative 450 FPS.

    I have also found the accuracy to be excellent. I would like to mount a scope or williams peep site on mine to see what the 180 will realy do in the accuracy department. With this level of performance from the 180, I realy wonder why anyone would want the 600.

    Regards,

    Fred


  9. Correction…….in my comments regarding the Xman 180 I referred to the 600 when I meant to say the 160. The 600 is of course, Xman’s late but great semi-auto C02 pistol.

    Fred



  10. Ray,

    Your question SOUNDS simple, but the answer fills several books.

    Do a Google search on rifling and you’ll uncover a wealth of information It will start with a Wikipedia article.

    Also, you might enjoy the book about Harry Pope’s barrels that describes his world-famous rifling method.

    B.B.


  11. Well When I Was About Six My Dad Gave Me A 180 Its Been Seriously Abuse d Over The Years Every Time You Pull The Bolt Action Lever Back You Get Sprayed By co2 About How Fast DoES THE 180 .22 gO aND How Much Are They Worth Refurbished ?


  12. A Crosman 180 is always a .22. The 187 is a .177. With medium-weight pellets and with the power adjusted to high, the 180 will shoot around 550 to 575.

    A shooting 180 sells for $75 to $90. A nice one in a box will fetch $150.

    B.B.


  13. Thank you for your excellent article. I am trying to sell a 180 for a friend (though your article makes me consider buying it, instead), but I have a most fundamental question: where is the CO2 cannister placed? I grew up shooting Benjamin Pumps, so this rifle is completely foreign to me. This one appears to be an earlier variation from your description, and I don’t see an allen wrench adjustment screw as you show in your picture, unless it’s in the middle of the plunger.

    Is there an online instruction manual for this gun somewhere? Thank you.



  14. I currently own a crossman 180 C02 rifle! I have owned this gun myself for about 35 years and got it from a friend of my fathers whom had had it since he was a kid i just contacted crosman company and you may get a copy of one from them. i love the gun myself and i will pass it to my son. and hope he does the same


  15. Dear Mr Pelletier:

    I should spend a week reading more of your expertise before saying anything but! Your comment about the Crosman 160 being a worthy collectible is right on. Mine was new in 1969 and it still is a fine shooting rifle. I filed off the safety lever way back when, because it drooped in front of the trigger. I have searched but I cannot find a replacement part. Got any suggestions?
    I live in Vancouver Washington where there are some avid and knowledgeable air rifle gurus in the area. A local gun smith refurbishes the 160,and claims he can give it a boost of 200 feet a second while tuning it up? Can he?

    I have a RWS Diana 34 and I often use the Crosman 160 instead when shooting starlings because of the comfort ease and accuracy. I really love my crosman, but then I have been shooting it for, oh my God, almost forty years!!

    Please answer another question . I just bought a Barska AC10008 scope a few weeks before I logged into your blog/(bless you). You recommend the B-SQUARE 17101 Interlock AA Air Gun Mount for a Diana 34. Will my cheap Barska work with that mount so if I upgrade to the Leapers later, it will be an easy transition? Do I need the scope stop?


  16. Happy Camper,

    Yes, the 160 can be tweaked up. 200 f.p.s. seems like a lot, but I have seen even more than that when longer barrels were used.

    Try Archer Airguns for your safety lever. It will be a plastic Chinese copy, but the 160 was plastic at the end.

    Try the Barska scope. It should work. The 160 needs no scope stop, but the 34 does. Use a 1-piece mount and hang the stop pin in front of the rifle’s rail.

    B.B.


  17. I have a JC Higgens 126.2831 seras roebuck and company.
    Stock is maple and it has the crosbolt saftey and a white strip between the barrel and body of the rifle.
    No adjustable power just two stage cocking.
    590fps with crosman 14g pellets.
    Is there any way to tell what year the rifle was made?
    This rifle looks brand new. I think the stock is maple becasue it smells like maple.
    Seem to get alot of shots per Co2.


  18. Does your rifle look like the one in this post, or does it take 2 powerlets? You may have a Sears model 180, which was never sold by Crosman in the U.S. It’s a cross between the Crosman 180 and the 160. Larger than the Crosman 180 but shorter than the Crosman 160.

    If it uses one powerlet, it’s a Crosman 180. Value of the Sears guns runs a little higher than the Crosman models. Maybe $80-100 in very good condition. $175 new in the box.

    It was probably made 1956-1962.

    B.B.


  19. I went shooting with a friend and he let me try his sears 180. Well I liked it so much that I went on the hunt for one. His sears takes 2 powerlets.
    I found an add and bought a sears 180. When it arrived it wasn’t like my friends 180.
    It was small and looked like the one in the picture above.
    I am still trying to find the one that takes the 2 powerlets but I have had no luck.
    I have found the 160 for sale but I want the Sears 180 long.


  20. Isn’t this confusing? Sears called their rifle a 180 without regard to the Crosman 180 of which there were many more produced. And you now want a gun that not many collectors know exists.

    Have you looked at the QB78? It’s a copy of Crosman’s 160, a two-powerlet rifle that you can buy today. It also has a longer barrel than the Sears 180, so it is more powerful.

    B.B.


  21. I have a Crosman 180 and was wondering what it takes to reseal it? I have used Pellgun oil with no luck. I would like to get it holding air again so that I can turn it over to my son.



  22. Which aperature rear sights can be used with the Crosman 180? Do these usually mount on the very rear of the receiver (the bolt lifts up pretty high) or between the bolt and the chamber?

    If you have one mounted, please e-mail me at jim.duda@ni.com

    Thanks!



  23. I also asked Crosman about mounting a peep sight on the 180 Pellgun and a nice lady sent me their 156MT…it clamps on the barrel just fine, but it looks like it was intended to mount a very small dia. scope.

    So, I’m still trying to come up with a way to mount a peep sight on it. Were they ever offered (by anyone) “back-in-the-day”?

    If you have one, I would love to see a pic…please either add it to this blog or e-mail it to me.

    All the best,
    Jim Duda
    Austin, TX
    jim.duda@ni.com


  24. Jim,

    I never heard of a peep sight on a Crosman 180. On the 120 they used a Williams S331 that was attached by screws to the receiver. Mongomery Ward had Crosman make a rifle THEY called the 180, but it was really a 160 that used a single powerlet. That “180″ may have had a peep sight, but it was a completely different gun.

    B.B.


  25. i have a crosman 180 that i got in the middle 1950′s. it is not a sears (jc higgins) and does not have the allen wrench adjustable power feature you mention in the article. was that a feature of the 2nd version circa 1963 or should it have been a feature of all 180′s? just wondering.

    918dewey@mchsi.com




  26. I have a crosman 180,after careful examination, the canister cap has a seal in it, from the diagram there is a screw that holds the block assembly in the cap..my cap does not have a screw or its takes a certain rig to remove it….are there any suggestions you could give me..also you recommended someone in your diatribe about sending it to be refitted…

    ron



  27. B,B.,

    Here we go….clearer…the 180 i have is in excellent shape…I would like to try the pell oil first before..sending it to repair shop…My local sport shop person is ordering some pell0il but it is not crosman’s brand..he stated that it was a #5 weight oil, would work just like the crosman pell oil…so i am going to try that outlet first…the other thing that i was asking is from the diagram the cylinder cap shows a screw to remove to replace the grommet or seal in the cap…maybe there is a special tool to take the inside out..i dont know..i thought maybe you had an idea..

    ron


  28. Ron,

    Thank you. I went to my 180 and looked. Leave the screw on. You can just pry the O-ring out of its seat and replace it with the cap intact.

    But if one O-ring needs replacing, they all do. It’s best to have the whole gun sealed at the same time.

    Pellgunoil is 20-weight, so 5-weight may be too light. Remember if you substitute, no detergent.

    B.B.


  29. Ok..i rechecked with my sports shop person..he said the oil he order is 20 weight and is specifically used for air rifles..also…if i pry the seal out of the cap…i am sure i will destroy it…can you tell me what size the seal is…

    ron



  30. Hi, I have a Crossman 187 that my grandfather gave me back in the 70s. Everytime you put in a new canister and pull the charging button, it all leaks out. I’m in North carolina near charlotte. Do you know any repair shops in my area.I really don’t want to mail it off due to it is the only thing I have of my late grandfather and to loose it would be unthinkable. Phil



  31. Howdy. you guys. I just had a crosman model 180 laid on me free. Along with a tin of 500 pellets. It was in lousy condition. I tore it down needing only one flat bladed screwdriver. Reblued,refinished the stock and replaced the one o ring one the cap you mentioned. cost 49 cents at the hardware store. I have fired off 35 shots very accurate to about 75 feet. I think it will make a real good gun for partrige. Fred in Ontario.


  32. I just went to put a put a CO2 cartrige in my 180 and I have to put two pennies behind the cartrige to get it to pierce- any idea why?
    Shoots strong and it tore holes all thru both side of a thicker soup can at 10 meters or so…..Well made.
    I was so dissapointed when bought my son a newer Walmart Beeman and they sure dont compare, looks like old rattley china crap-sigh…..


  33. Yes, I do know why you had to shim the powerlet. The valve in your gun is almost gone. The piercing pin is too short to do its job. Not too long from now you will not be able to pierce a cartridge and you’ll have to get the gun fixed./

    B.B.


  34. I was just given a crossman 180 from my uncle, who is older. He stated that it leaked very badly, but I could have it if I anted it. He put a powerlet in it and the air leaked out in about 5-6 seconds. Any idea why this would occur? Who would I have to send it to to be repaired? Thanks


  35. Pellgunoil may solve your leaking problem. Here's info on how to use it:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2008/09/what-to-oil-part-1-guide-to-sealing.html

    You'll have to cut-and-paste the URL in your browser as linking isn't possible in the comments section.

    If Pellgunoil doesn't solve your problem, then you can send it to any number of qualified repair people. Here's a list of them (again, cut-and-paste the URL into your browser):

    http://www.airguninfo.com/repairs.shtml

    B.B. is at a convention & cannot answer your questions directly.

    Edith (Mrs. B.B.)


  36. Edith,

    Thanks for the advice. The suggestion was to put 5 drops of Pellgun oil on the piercing tip and a drop of oil on each CO2 cartrige. I will get the oil tomorrow and try it out; although, the extremely fast rate that it was leaking makes me a bit skeptical whether or not it will work.
    Do you have any suggestions on the best place to send the gun for repair if it needs it?

    Thanks,
    Robie


  37. Robie,

    You may have to do the Pellgunoil procedure with more than one CO2 cartridge for optimal results. B.B.’s had tremendous success with Pellgunoil, so I’m guessing there’s a good chance it could work on your leaker.

    What state are you in? Once I know that, I’ll refer you to someone close to you. You’ll probably have to ship the gun to them, as most of these repair stations are home-based and aren’t set up for walk-ins.

    Edith (Mrs. B.B.)




  38. Thanks B.B. and Edith. I have tried to oil the gun to no avail. The air just pumps out after the first shot is fired; and in about 5 seconds, all I have is an empty cartridge and a cold gun (from the escaping gas).
    I will probably call Rick today. Thanks again to both of you for all of your help. You have been most helpful and informative.

    Robie


  39. Might you have any info on setting the power(size wrench, etc).

    I have a Hawthorne M180, and when I put a cartridge in, and pull the charging button, it no longer pierces the CO2 cartridge does not get pierced.


  40. Hawthorn,

    To set the power you need one thing – a chronograph.

    Your rifle needs a rebuild. The valve isn’t functioning correctly. This place can fix it for you:

    Rick Willnecker in PA. Contact him at http://www.airgunshop.net/ or call 717-382-1481.

    The 150 valve, which I think is in your rifle, moves when the gun is cocked. That’s what isn’t working right in yours.

    B.B.


  41. B.B. Does the Sears variation have the scope grooves in the receiver? My Sears 1400 version does whereas the Crosman 1400 does not. THX



  42. The 1400 was produced over a number of years and the features came and went. Some Crosman 1400s will have scope grooves, but as you point out, others don’t. The later 1400s have grooves and high cheekpiece stocks.

    The reason the Sears 1400 has the groove is because of when Sears bought it.

    B.B.


  43. I had my “160 Pellgun” resealed and calibarated recently. My Crosman 160 belonged to my father. He bought it back in the 60′s. I went to visit him and convinced him to let me have it and repair it. This is the rifle I learned to shoot with and hope to teach my own children with.
    I used by TMAC’S AIRGUN SERVICE. They are licensed by Crosman, and provided a very professional and fast service. They kept in contact through out the process and shipped it back expeditiously upon completion of repairs.

    You can Reach them at:
    C/O TONY McDANIEL
    1120 FINGER BRIDGE RD
    HICKORY NC 28602 PH: 828-294-2468
    CELL:828-851-0245
    http://WWW.TMACSAIRGUNSERVICE.COM



  44. I recently acquired a crosman 180 with the safety that runs through the stock… When I place co2 into the gun it begins to leak out the barrel before I can cock and fire the rifle. Because of this I believe that it needs to be re-sealed…
    I live in Michigan and would prefer to find a shop here to avoid having to ship the rifle off for repair. Can anyone help me?
    bozieman@yahoo.com


  45. bozie,

    I'm sorry, but I don't know of any Crosman repair stations in your state. That doesn't mean they aren't there, but Crosman repair is hardly a full-time job. They don't advertise.

    B.B.




  46. Hi,
    We just gutted the basement of the house we have lived in for eight years, and buried way under the stairs was a Crosman 180 Pell gun! I'd never seen one before, and I've enjoyed reading your blog to find out about it.
    Based on your info, it appears I have a first-variant. The only thing it seems to be missing from your description is the power adjustment hole.
    The gun is in OK shape; I haven't tried to shoot it yet. It's something like a time capsule for the house. The house was built in 1955, and this gun probably was made in the 50s. Kind of cool to think that the house and the gun have been together almost since the beginning…


  47. DP,

    Great find! Be sure to use a lot of Crosman Pellgunoil with the first CO2 cartridge and that gun may still hold gas!

    B.B.


  48. I have a 180 that I believe has an internal seal that needs replaced. Crossman does not have part available. Any idea where I might be able to find some or get it fixed? Thanks a lot.


  49. First, welcome to the blog. This is an old blog that will soon go away, but we publish a daily blog on a new software. It's located here:

    http://airgun-academy.pyramydair.com/blog/

    You can ask any question over there. We don't stay on topic.

    Now for the answer you want. This m,an manufactures the parts you need and can also fix your rifle:

    Rick Willnecker in PA. Contact him at http://www.airgunshop.net/ or call 717-382-1481.

    But by putting Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip of the next CO2 cartridge you pierce, the gun may fix itself. Pellgunoil fixes about half of these old guns. Unless the leak is a fast one try Pellgunoil. Here is where to get some:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Crosman_Pellgun_oil/222

    B.B.


  50. I do not understand the difference between the first variation of the Crossman Model1 made in 1981-1982 and the second variation made in 1983-1985.


  51. Thanks B.B. Pelletier,
    My Model 1 is the first variation. I can not remember where I purchased it or what I paid for it. Can you tell me what the pellet gun sold for when it was new?.


  52. BB,
    Just one more question. A friend of mine has a Sheridan Blue Streak made in Racine Wis. On the left side of the receiver where you put the pellet in there is a small number 86911. Is this a serial number?
    Thanks


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