Beeman Crow Magnum/Theoben Eliminator – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier


I call it the .460 Weatherby of airguns, the Beeman Crow Magnum/Theoben Eliminator is an impressive air rifle.

This one is for Timothy and anyone else who has a hankering for a powerful gas spring breakbarrel. The Beeman Crow Magnum is no longer made, but the rifle was essentially identical to the current Theoben Eliminator, except for the stock.

A loooooong test!
We purchased our Crow Magnum II for The Airgun Letter in 1995, and I tested it and wrote more about it there than any other airgun model except the Beeman R1, and I turned those nine articles about that rifle into a book. Out of the box, our rifle cocked with 59 lbs. of effort. I measured that by placing the muzzle on a bathroom scale and bearing down on the gun until it cocked. It’s a very accurate method of measuring cocking force, as long as you allow for the normal inaccuracies of bathroom scales.

Our .25-caliber rifle shot Beeman Crow Magnum pellets the best, which was easy to remember. They delivered 33.15 foot-pounds of muzzle energy and 0.75″ groups at 25 yards.

Advice from the peanut gallery
I want to report on some immediate observations I made following the first test report. I was flooded with email and letters saying the gun was more accurate than that. Well, mine wasn’t, I told them. During this mini-furor, I discovered that nearly all those who were concerned about my report didn’t actually OWN a Crow Magnum. They were just sitting on the sidelines and, having read the Beeman catalog, didn’t see how a thousand-dollar air rifle (actually $1,200) could not do better. I was debating the product with people who had never seen one, held one or shot one. That’s a theme that’s repeated many times since.

Try it yourself!
As for the cocking, I can write 59 lbs., and a hundred people can read it and not five of them appreciate what it means. So I started taking the Crow Magnum out to public events and letting others try it out. That’s when I learned that less than 10 percent of all men were able to cock the rifle on the first try! That’s right, all those big strong airgunners who were so savvy on the internet had trouble when the rubber met the road. Heck – so did I! The Crow Magnum is a two-handed cocker for most men when it’s pressurized to the max.

None of this is meant as a criticism of the rifle. It was fine. But those who had never encountered it had stars in their eyes from the dazzling descriptions written about it.

Super trigger!
The trigger was and still is one of the finest triggers I’ve encountered on a sporting air rifle. It was glass-rod crisp and light. I had mine adjusted to about 2 lbs., which I felt was ideal. I could feel stage two, but it wasn’t hard to break the sear (fire the gun).

Smooth firing!
The rifle just pulsed when it fired. If you held it light for best accuracy, there was no vibration and the recoil was surprisingly light for such power. That’s characteristic of all gas springs, and one of their most endearing attributes.

Looks!
The wood stock was as gorgeous as it always looked in the magazine and catalog photos. The African Heydua wood was highly figured and sculpted with an extremely high cheekpiece that was ideal for scope use. I had a Leupold Vari-X-II mounted on the rifle, and readers told me the gun was going to break the scope. The Vari-X II is a budget line within Leupold. I scheduled a 5,000-shot endurance test, to see if the scope could stand up.

Depressurize for best results
Before that test, however, a reader suggested that I let some air out of the gas spring. He said cocking would get easier and I wouldn’t lose that much power. He was right. I dropped the cocking effort back to 45 pounds and the muzzle energy was still 27.5 foot-pounds. What a difference that made! In those days, Theoben made their rifles to be accessible to the owner, so gas spring pressures could be controlled and adjusted by means of an external “slim jim” hand pump. They stopped doing that when most owners over-pumped the guns and burned out the piston seals. Later, when I met Ben Taylor at the SHOT Show (the Ben in Theoben), he told me depressurizing was what the company had always recommended. He said that Beeman was selling the rifle on the basis of sheer power, but that Theoben had always emphasized the smooth firing characteristics with a little less pressure in the spring unit.

I did lots of other things to this rifle, so I have broken this report into two segments. The second segment will run on Monday.

75 thoughts on “Beeman Crow Magnum/Theoben Eliminator – Part 1

  1. Have a good weekend Tom. Would it be a fair thing to say the RX-1 is the “little brother” to the crow magnum? From SavageSam


  2. Shadow Express dude
    BB, that sounds like it is in the same class as the Walther falcon/patriot range. My shadow express will shoot slow after 400 rounds. My remedy has been to take out the breech seal, soak it in oil, the reinstall. Then it shoots like new.



  3. B.B.
    Strange that CM’s shot the best.
    It does not matter what I shoot .177 or .22 CM’s from, or at what distance……they all hit cockeyed with oval shaped holes and rifling marks where the skirts hit the targets.
    Have to say that they do shoot better than I would expect with such unstable flight.
    Could it be that .25 CM’s have a high enough mass and large enough diameter to stabilize better with the rifling twist rate??
    twotalon


  4. Twotalon,

    I think the key here is that this was a .25 and they don’t shoot well to begin with. A three-quarter-inch group at 25 yards isn’t good. You know that.

    I don’t think the pellet manufacturers put any thought into that caliber, because the sales are so slow. So the Crow Magnum was just the best of the worst.

    My experience with Crow Magnums is the same as yours in the other calibers.

    B.B.


  5. B.B.
    While that 3/4″ @ 25 did not seem all that great (about the best a lot of .22 rimfires can do) it just looked odd to me.
    “The best of the worst” would explain that.
    About like getting pellets at Wally World.
    What we need now is CP heavies in .22 and .25 with softer lead.
    Would also be good if PA would stock Baracudas again. That Kodiak shortage is killing us.
    twotalon


  6. BB,
    I have a .25 caliber English Patriot with a JM Monolith kit in it and @ 21 yards this gun can shoot dime sized 5 shot groups if i do my part using Diana Domes, Kodiak’s and FTS’s also shoot well. I disagree that just because a gun is a .25 it is less accurate than a .177 or .22.


  7. B.B.

    Well, I can identify with talking about guns without having shot them…. How do you make a two-handed cocking effort. The only method I can think of is one hand on the barrel and one on the stock. If both hands go on the barrel, how do you hold the stock?

    Matt61


  8. G'Day B.B. & All,

    Thanks, "Bob from oz", I,m making new friends "Down Under"…Some nice folks want to distribute our raised bed planters down there…so I need the practice with the jargon….

    I'm with twotalon, bring back the Baracudas again, or have more Kodiaks…(aren't supply problems fun)….

    I would think 3/4" groups at 25yds aren't bad for hunting, unless they only come from a rest…….especially for a gun like the Walter Falcon Hunter, but in a $1,000 plus gun, you would expect better…Is the Crow Mag three times better for Hunting? Or just three times better all around?… Or do people buy these guns for FT also, I would think not..If only for hunting, then, and if it's no more accurate, than the Walter Falcon… why pay three times unless it's just for the quality..but a hunting gun gets beat up most of the time…

    It seems like the gas spring is going to change the direction of the "springer air rifles"…I'm new to this stuff, of course, but the adjustable feature you mentioned, seems like a great improvement…and no twist from rough steel spring ends, right?….basically a tuned gun out of the box?…..Less kick, smoother firing, so it is easier to learn to shoot…

    Will steel spring guns become collector items some day?

    Wayne,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range



  9. Matt61….
    I have a Beeman that requires 2 hands on the barrel. You have to sit or kneel, then pull the barrel down and foreward,then back toward your chest.
    Does not make for much fun.
    twotalon


  10. BB,

    I assume you’re measuring those 3/4″ groups as center to center? Of course, we can cry about a group that size as huge–but .25 cal probably isn’t going to be used as a field target gun. How many of us can even shoot a 5-shot 3″ group offhand at 25 yards anyway? At some point, it won’t be the gun that’s the problem–it’s our inability to hold steady and squeeze.

    Nice hearing that you get to argue with armchair experts who just KNOW it has to be a certain way. And how dare you argue facts against ad copy anyway?

    Derrick


  11. B.B.
    Next it will be the ads about how fast the .22 rifles are with heavily oiled Raptors…..with a few hundred more fps added on for good measure.
    twotalon


  12. English Patriot,

    Okay. That just hasn’t been my experience. And it’s the reason John Whiscombe dropped the caliber a couple years back.

    But I haven’t seen everything.

    B.B.


  13. Matt61,

    The butt goes into your crotch. The pressure from the spring holds the rifle steady against you.

    All Kodiaks and Crow Magnums are two-handed cockers. But I once owned a rifle that cocked with 75 pounds of effort. There are men who cannot cock that amount of force even with both hands.

    B.B.


  14. Matt61,

    Yes, he is topping the M1′s mag off by stuffing rounds into the en bloc clip while it’s still in the gun.

    It’s difficult to do and you run the risk of a clip in the face. When you get your Garand you’ll see.

    B.B.



  15. B.B. and twotalon,

    Ow. What a great reason to get a PCP.

    Thanks for the warning about the clip in the face. The face can be a target for all sorts of things in gun-handling whether it is recoil springs from 1911s or spring-loaded clips from the Garand.

    Matt61


  16. Twotalon,

    You suggest an interesting experiment. Because it has always been my experience that oiling pellets slows them down. But Raptors, being made of pot metal, might speed up.

    Have to try that sometime.

    B.B.


  17. B.B.
    I was talking about the detonation factor to increase velocity for the bogus ads.
    By the way….recovered Raptors no longer have the gold where they were in contact with the rifling. It rubs off somewhere along the line, exposing the rifling to the junk metal composition of the pellet.
    twotalon.



  18. I’ve recently purchased the Eliminator from Pomona in .22
    What can I say, worth every penny. 1″ at 50 yards if you know what you are doing. The only springer that can do that is my TX200.
    Had to put a Leupold on it: it’s a known scope breaker, just like the Patriot. I am sure, Mr. Pelletier, if you take your time, you can do 0.5″ at 25 yards all day long…


  19. I don’t have the rifle anymore, and it was a .25, not a .22. I can assure you, in the three years that I actively tested the gun, I did take my time.

    Be sure to read Monday’s blog.

    B.B.


  20. .25 caliber – I had a very accurate Patriot in .25. However the best reason for a .25 caliber is just the excuse for another gun. I found it fairly easy to cock with one hand if pushed with both hands at the same time as the brochure instructed. You could not use the same technique as you use on an R-7. I did use the “crotch” method when sitting. The downside is the somewhat limited selection of .25 cal pellets – most of which have poor ballistic coefficients.

    Lube – Being a slow learner, I conducted a pellet-lubing test for myself. The velocity was the same or lower to start then began to increase. Using the theory that if some is good, more is better, I drenched the pellets and kept getting higher velocity. The light bulb went on as the shots grew louder and the smoke more apparent, that the whole premise is to get the gun to detonate. It did take a 16 ft lb gun up to about 27 ft lbs before I quit. I stood the gun on its barrel for a week, and then cleaned it with dry patches and all was normal.

    In the latest Airgun Digest, Dr Beeman makes a reference to avoiding older used UK airguns, as this is a common practice. I guess if you’re limited to 12ft lbs, this is your work around.

    Volvo


  21. Hi BB,

    I published my guest blog, using Blogger.

    I’m not certain I did it correctly. First of all, the cut-and-paste technique did not bring the three photos I included into the Blogger. I used Blogger’s image importer, but couldn’t place them correctly (the photos appear AFTER the square they’re supposed to go in). Also, they seem too small. I re-uploaded photo #3 as a large image, but it appears to be the same size as the first (medium-sized) #3 pic.

    There’s a note to you at the end of the published blog that isn’t part of the actual blog. The note follows the standard # symbol, which also does not belong in the blog proper.

    If this works for you the first time out, I shall be very, very surprised.

    –Joe B. on Maui


  22. I saw something online that reminded me about your silencer posts from some time back. After doing some research on the Umarex 850 c02, people were recommending that you wrap tape around the optional compensator. In fact, if you look at a review of the item on Pyramyd, one reviewer actually talks about doing it. Isn’t that making a silencer?

    Al in CT


  23. BB,

    I have a question about upcoming weaver Diana scope base.

    What mounting rings would I use for 30mm tube scope? I don’t see any rings or one-piece mounts on PA?

    Thanks,
    Ivan



  24. I ve read the condor MM tank article!

    Thanks A LOT B.B. for doing this test for me. It must have taken many hours to complete! Thanks a lot.

    You have answered all my questions on this matter! The only one which still remains is whether the talon gets more shots than the Condor. At this point however, this does not concern me…

    btw the army is a powerful experience…

    Thanks a lot Tom, I really appreciate it.





  25. B.B.,

    I will serve for two years but I won't be away from home for large periods. Cyprus is a small island. Everything is within 3 hours drive max wherever you are…

    I am just home for the night, I ll return to camp tomorrow.

    btw just some information for the blog since I know some of the readers are also into firearms: the basic rifle that everyone gets in the Cypriot military is the Heckler & Koch G3A3. It's what the M16 is for the USA.



  26. Nice blog as always bb! I own a Theoben Eliminator .22 and I have fired about 2000 pellets. I get more accurate the more I shoot itand i have only good thongs to say about the gun. It is a great shooting school. My gun likes Logun Penetrators 16grn and Daystate Rangemaster 29grn the most. It is difficult to cock, but this has not stopped me from using it for hours. It is also big and heavy, but I like it. Built quality is superb and the gas ram system is fast and very powerful. You can hit a crow at 100m and expect it to fall.
    Greetings,
    Yorgos


  27. Can’t believe most people need two hands to cock a Webley Patriot. I am very tall but only average strength and I can shoot 75-100 shots with my .22 Patriot just cocking with right hand, no problem.


  28. Hi BB,
    Could you share with us the method ben Taylor told you yo clean the bore of the Eliminator in order to increase the accuracy?
    Thanks



  29. B.B.

    Thanks for the info on the Daisy 102 and Gunbroker. I picked one up today for $21.00. It has the wooden stock and metal lever as I remember it.
    Appears they have no collector value, but that isn’t why I wanted it.

    Now I need to find where I can buy my hair back at.

    Thanks.

    Volvo


  30. Shadow Express dude
    BB, me and my good friend went rabbit hunting today. He has a veggie garden that has about 15 rabbits in it. He took a RWS 34 combo(he has kept his gun cocked for 2 years, it shoots in the mid 600′s)and I took a shadow express. We went out and saw 4 rabbits at cabbage and the beets. He snuck around the side for a better look while I had my low class shotgun sights on the other two. I got in at 7 yards, he heard me, stood up then BAM. I had him with a factory shot shell. While we waited for them to come back, I loaded up some senkos. Out at 40 yards, Bam, #2. My friend arched a 55 yard shot to the neck using RWS meisterklugen. I think the reason a shot shell(being so weak) was able to take the first rabbit was he was standing up so more of the shot could hit him.




  31. well im sorry i dont have $300 to spend on a high quality toy gun and wont 400 fps hurt? so you know of any air soft gun that is good quality and affordable, beacuse with this new world i dont think any thing afoordable is worth getting.


  32. CritterController,

    Who said anything about $300? There are several AEGs under $150 that get into that velocity range. Here’s one:

    http://www.pyramydair.com/cgi-bin/model.pl?model_id=1640

    You are asking is the Crosman R73 is any good – right? Well, my experience is, guns in that price range tend to jam a lot more than guns in the $140 range.

    But you know, I have no clue how this will be used, so why am I even commenting?

    The only experience I have with AEGs under 100 has been bad.

    B.B.


  33. B.B.

    This might be putting the horse before the cart, but when you test the new Gamo Extreme CO2, I have a couple questions.

    First, they don’t just recommend their own brand of 88 gram of CO2; they say not to use anything else. Will you try the Crosman Airsource in it? Needless to say it is the most readily available.

    Secondly, could you give us your thoughts on the expected durability of the magazine? My Walther is plastic, but metal in the teeth area. The Gamo is all plastic polymer.

    Lastly, they are recommending in .22 cal a 22 grain pellet for best energy. I’m sure you will test a variety of pellets you have on hand, but could you try the TS-22 pellet also?
    They list the .22 caliber at 722 ft per second, which would be an incredibly 25 plus foot lbs of energy. I would guess in reality it will barely break 500 fps with a 22 grain pellet?

    http://www.gamo.com/portal/international/new_air_rifles

    Thanks


  34. I’ll use your comment to start the test report. That way I’ll be sure to address your concerns.

    The TS 22 pellet is also new and not available yet. We’ll do the best we can.

    B.B.


  35. B.B.

    Thanks in advance, I will be deciding between sending my Walther for trigger and valve tuning, or buying the new Gamo.

    Also, something I noticed after the first note, does it have provisions to mount a scope?

    Volvo



  36. Hi BB,

    I don’t mean to be a harpy, but have you spoken to PA yet about carrying the Tanaka SAA gas revolvers?

    –Joe B.



  37. BB,
    Thank you very much. Ive seen some of the $250 Aftermath guns. Thought they are probably very nice guns that is a lot of money. I didnt realize there were any that affordable. Yes, i was talking about the Crosman R73, and i want to use this airsoft gun for battles. Though i might be shooting some targets. now im just gunna take a guest and say for targets hese arent very accurate are they? Thank you very much.

    CritterController



  38. G’day BB

    The Oz Custom’s man relieved me of my silencer off the Eliminator, that’s about 5”off the barrel length. Any type of silencer is illegal here.

    Shot it for years like that but finally bought a muzzle brake. The extra length changed it from a heavy hunting bow to a lighter one. Its good exercise like archery.

    BTW that barrel clean did wonders.

    Cheers Bob




  39. BB,
    I just bought a used eliminator and it is only getting 24-26 ftlbs. You mentioned a fill valve on older guns. Where is this locacted and what pressure range is acceptable?

    thanks,
    Wayne

    PS It is 0.25 cal and after shooting a tin of Beeman FTS, it seems to be grouping tighter than yours did.



  40. Thanks BB,
    I found the Schrader valve, I have searched your blog and the net, and cannot find the maximum pressure anywehere. Do you recall what it is.

    Thanks for all of your knowledge
    Wayne


  41. Wayne,

    I’ve never seen a pressure number published. You are supposed to use a Slim Jim hand pump and pump a few times then chronograph the gun. When the velocity stops increasing, let out a little air and you’re done.

    B.B.



  42. G’day BB,

    What lubrication is recommended on these gas strut air rifles? I was told to lay off the oil in compression chamber.

    Cheers Bob


  43. Bob,

    The other lubrication would be the same as for any other spring gun. Oil the cocking linkage points with good oil. If you ever remove the barrel, lube the hinge pivot pin and the thrust washers on the side of the base block with moly grease.

    The gas spring unit needs no lubrication. And the triggers are usually lubricated from the factory and require nothing more.

    B.B.


  44. Hi B.B,

    I was hoping to get some info on the Beeman Crow Magnum/Theoben Eliminator–are this discontinued and will they every be available again…I saw the 33+ foot lbs. and got pretty excited!
    Thanks!
    Ryan


  45. Ryan,

    I understand. I was excited too, before I tested the rifle for my newsletter, "The Airgun Letter."

    If the Beeman Crow Magnum sounds too good to be true, that's because it was. It never generated 33 foot-pounds. On the best day, my .25 caliber Crow Magnum could just get to 31 foot-pounds. But many grown men could not cock it. It took 60 pounds of effort, which was more than many grown men can do.

    I know because I did a 1,000-shot test of the rifle, to see how rugged a scope was. Well, I broke several scopes during that test and I could only manage 50 shots at one time before my arms gave out.

    I never got the .25 to shoot accurately, but after rebarreling it to .20 caliber, and after working with that caliber for several years, and after a consultation with Ben Taylor, one of the Theoben owners (he is the "ben" in the name), I did finally get that .20 to shoot. By then I had reduced the cocking effort to 46 lbs. by letting out some of the gas in the spring. I had also replaced the piston seal.

    Ben Taylor is the man who taught he to clean my barrel with JB Bore Paste.

    If you wonder why I am such a fan of the Crosman NPSS (now the Benjamin Trail) it's because of my experience with the Crow Magnum. I finally sold mine and haven't missed it.

    You should think about an affordable PCP, since ther same power is achieved much more easily in that powerplant, and accuracy is assured.

    B.B.


  46. Ryan,

    To answer your question, the Crow Magnum is gone, along with the old Beeman company. But the Theoben Eliminator is still being made. Google the name and you'll find the places it is sold.

    B.B.


  47. G'day BB,
    Just received an email out of the blue about Theoban Eliminator. How do I find the rest of your reviews and why don't emails still arrive if a question is posted.
    Cheers Bob




  48. Tom,

    People can sign up for comments to their own comments by having certain accounts (I think it's the OpenID selection). They cannot get all comments unless they sign up through you.

    Edith


  49. G'day BB,

    Edith and your latest email popped out this morning. I was hoping to find what you wrote on The Airgun Letter about the Eliminator and all your experiments on that rifle. I have the pump for the rifle but was told by Theoban…"leave as is". I am getting around 860f/s with Crossmans in 20 calibre and happy.

    Perhaps Theoban did not pump it up as much as Beeman and that’s why I have had no trouble cocking it without the silencer?

    Could you demonstrate your demonstrate your bathroom scale technique for cocking effort?

    Cheers Bob



  50. Bob from Oz,

    Yes, I can do that. In fact, it's a great idea. I needed a video that I could produce that doesn't require me to go outdoors, since the weather has been so terrible this winter, and this sounds like the perfect thing.

    I will do it!

    Thanks,

    B.B.


  51. BB

    If you want to save yourself some trouble, Bob from Oz can just watch the bathroom scale cocking effort measurement technique on Paul Capello's airgun reporter review of the Crosman NPSS. He shows the technique after the chrony testing (and he gives credit where credit is due.)

    If you need subject matter for an indoor project, may I suggest a barrel cleaning/gun maintenace video?



  52. Don't understand this talk of these rifles being 2 handed cockers & so difficult. My English patriot w/ JM monolith spring takes 60 lbs of effort & I can cock it w/ one hand all day long. I am 59 & weigh 165 lbs soaking wet.


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