Crosman Challenger 2009 target rifle – Part 4

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Today, we’ll test accuracy! Always fun, when you know the rifle is going to perform.

First, I had to sight in, and now I’ll comment on the aperture sights. They’re made in Spain. From the adjusting I did during sight-in, they adjust crisply and positively in all directions. The knobs are marked clearly with which way to turn to move the pellet, and the adjustments are agreeably small.


Front and rear aperture sights are first class for budget sights!

Trigger
During the sight-in and accuracy test, I had the opportunity to test that trigger many times. I’m very familiar with the other Sporter-class rifle triggers out there, and this one has them all beat. It isn’t a Precision-class trigger by any stretch, because Sporter-class triggers have to break at 1.5 lbs. or more. So, you’ll never get a 20-gram pull. But, after trying everything else on the market, I think everyone will have to agree, this is the best by far.

First pass
After sight-in, I had the rifle printing close to the bull. I wasn’t interested in being exactly “on” at this point. What I wanted to see was what the groups looked like. I shot five shots at each target; and because I was shooting aperture sights instead of a scope, the aim point didn’t change as I shot. The first pass was to eliminate any “weak sister” pellets that didn’t deserve a closer look.


Looking at this target, which pellet(s) would you eliminate?

Crosman Supermatch–out
Is it any surprise that Crosman Supermatch pellets (upper right bull) didn’t keep up with the rest? I’m showing you this target because some new buyers are fooled by the name on the box. Clearly, these are not match pellets. But I have met coaches who used them for their team because they said they are good enough for what they’re doing. I don’t suppose many of those teams or shooters ever made it to the Nationals.

Next pass–get serious!
I knew I had four pellets that were worth a second chance. This time, the aiming was more precise, as another five shots were fired.


H&N Finale Match pellets were contenders.


Chinese Match pellets are okay, but nothing special. I would not continue with them.


RWS R-10 pellets were equal to the H&Ns in this test. Include them but don’t quit testing yet.


This group earned Gamo Match pellets a spot in future testing. This sometimes happens, and I don’t ask questions when it does.

Three pellets to test further
From this limited test, conducted off a rest at the regulation 10 meters, it appears that three pellets are worth further testing. H&N Finale Match are often among the final finishers. Only many more groups will tell.

RWS R10 8.2-grain pellets are always hard to beat. So far, it seems like a dead heat between them and the H&Ns.

But the big surprise were the Gamo Match 7.5-grain pellets that shot as well as the other two world-class target pellets. This sometimes happens, and they’re worthy of a further look. But remember that these are bulk-packed in tins, while both the others come sorted by dies and lot numbers and are packed in individual trays. While that does add a lot to the cost, what is a championship worth?

Bottom line to this point
I’ve seen great accuracy with the Crosman Challenger 2009, but I’m not done yet. I will now select just one of the three most accurate pellets, and I will adjust the powerplant to get the maximum number of shots out of the gun for that specific pellet. That way we’ll get to see how the adjustments work, and also if there are 100 good shots in this gun, as Crosman claims. I think there are.

If I were a parent of a good and interested young shooter and I could afford it, I would think seriously about buying this rifle for my child. If I were an adult shooter who has always wanted a precision 10-meter rifle but cannot afford the $1,000 price of a good used gun, I might also consider this rifle. And if I just wanted to own a nice a modern air rifle, this would be on my short list. The holidays are coming!

47 thoughts on “Crosman Challenger 2009 target rifle – Part 4

  1. Pinging RWS 48,
    If it's really happening after the shot, it's a dry mainspring spring vibrating inside the piston. A tune with some moly grease or Maccari velocity tar would take care of that immediately. I'm not sure that another few hundred break in shots would solve it.
    If it's happening at the time of the shot and you're shooting a very light pellet, it could be the piston slamming into the front of the compression chamber. I'd be tempted to shoot a heavier pellet and see if the noise vanishes. Battering the piston seal wouldn't be a good thing. Just some quick ideas. Let us know.

    Derrick


  2. Derrick.
    Ping is audible immediately after the noise from the shot (loud thump).
    Sounds the same with cp, 16 gr exacts, and FTS.
    Will try a Kodiak after a while, but do not expect any difference.
    twotalon



  3. Had I not just pulled the trigger on the old Walther 55 I would be interested in giving the Challenger a try. I like the fact that it is only 6.5 lbs and includes scope rails. I’m still curious on the front sight attachment; does it work as a mini shroud? I assume it is removable if one decides to scope the rifle? Perhaps down the road when the things picks up I’ll grab one.

    Speaking of the Walther I have continued to play with the level of JM heavy tar and she is now shooting H & N Match at 566 fps average. It has a new spring and seals so this probably about max, which is fine. I was actually able to get it down in the 470’s when I pondered your old advice to “butter” the mainspring. Well unfortunately I love butter and added it like that spring was a tall stack of pancakes from the Waffle House. I also went to the other extreme and dried everything out except a small bit of Rem –oil I fear, as the first shot went 711 fps, then slowly dropped to the 580 fps range. At the end of the day her current comprise velocity I believe is ideal.

    Mainspring damping compound is really a nice touch for most Springer’s, and it is even entertaining playing with the amount to find that fine line between performance and quiet.

    Pellet wise I have narrowed it to H&N match and the R-10’s also. BB, nice shooting by the way. Interesting about the Gamo’s as I have random luck with them sometime also and usually they are more econmical. I have had little luck with round nose pellets that I would like to use outside it. As of this point my shooting has all been at 40 feet indoors. Kevin, I will try and get out today, as the weather has finally cleared, but it is down to 41 degrees. However if not, I have confidence that it will group just as well at longer distances if I do my part. As far as the accouterments, The Walther now wears the Bushnell scope off my first R-1 and the two piece mounts that were on my R-7 of the same era (both came directly from Beeman, pre- internet) and just needs a muzzle brake which I have yet order from PA as I am debating the different styles. I am extremely pleased with my end result on this rifle, and the stock deserves the “furniture” moniker.

    BB, if you would like the Challenger tested at longer distances with a scope, just send it to me. I will get her back to PA. : )

    Volvo



  4. First I need to apologize for the omission of all the little words in my last post; I guess it really doesn’t pay to be in a hurry. Anyway, on a more serious note “directly from Crosman”. You know what that means, the same folks that feel Elvis is still alive and well are now going to look at your post a little differently. PA should pull a box of the shelf and get it to me as quickly as possible so as to squelch any conspiracy theories. Big Smile.


  5. B.B.

    So, can we say that this Crosman has the Daisy 853 beat for accuracy?

    At the elite level, how would the groups of a 10M rifle and pistol compare? I would expect that they are almost the same.

    Matt61



  6. matt, a comment if I may. I've shot extensivley with an 853c. I have not problem in obtaining the accuracy that B.B. has gotten out of the Challenger.
    Why I would be intested in the Challenger is the PCP aspect. In a 60 shot match the constant need to recock after every shot does have an affect on MY accuracy (not the guns) because it is darn tiring to recock every 45 seconds or so for 45 minutes. As well it would be much easier to maintain your shooting stance and such if you don't have to remove the gun from your shoulder to cock it. If you've ever been to an ISSF match apart from moving their loading hand to reach for pellet and then insert it…these guys stay stock still for the duration of the match.
    So I don't think that you would find the Challenger per-se any more accurate than the Daisy…but not having to recock and the lighter trigger would probably enable the average shooter to reach a higher level of competency quicker.
    CowBoyStar Dad


  7. B.B.

    I figured the rifle and pistol converge in performance as the distance shrinks sort of like a scope and good aperture sights. But it would appear that for pistol and rifle accuracy, the convergence point is not quite reached at 10m.

    CowBoyStar Dad, yes, I know that at a high level ergonomics become as important as intrinsic accuracy. However, the ergonomics advantages you mentioned are all present with the Crosman 2000. With the pcp conversion, I'm sure they hoped for an accuracy gain too. Even achieving parity with the 853 in accuracy would be a little below expectations.

    Matt61


  8. Matt, I don't consider myself to be anything other than a club level shooter, but I know that at the local informal group where I do shoot that in a 20 round match I am usually in the top 5 (out of 14 members). I'm the only one shooting an 853c (the poorer cousin, so to speak)…the rest are all shooting modern FWB, Tau and Anschutz rifles. None of us are olympic quality shooters (not yet anyways)…but at this level the 853c holds its own.
    CowBoyStar Dad



  9. Matt,
    I wouldn't expect much difference b/t two rifles with LW barrels in terms of raw accuracy, but the Challenger may have a better trigger and be easier to shoot.

    When I watched the Olympics, they were drilling holes, but some were off-center:)…remember they are shooting offhand and with non-magnifiying sights. Besides, I really wonder what the difference between 0.01" and 0.02" accuracy would mean at 10M's with a human shooter, although people will pay for the difference:).



  10. BG…I wish.
    It's wierd. I work in the photographic industry. I think I've mentioned in the past that it turns out that for some reason, the kind of people that take photography seriously also seem to like firearms and air guns.
    Through my work I've met a dozen or so photographers who all shoot.
    All of them were on a real informal basis, most basement shooting because their is no 'official' air gun organizations where I live.
    For about two months now we have rented a community hall twice a month and have informal matches. I had the mistaken idea the when I showed up with my 853c I'd be the creame of the crop…turns out I'm the poor cousin. Guys who can afford a $20000.00 dollar medium format digital back thinks nothing of springing $2K for a match rifle.
    But we've got a good little group going now.
    Lots of fun.
    CowBoyStar Dad


  11. Twotalon,
    If you pull the action from the stock (maybe you don't even have to do that for a Diana 48…) you can likely get a smear of grease on the mainspring through the cocking lever slot. Might be just enough to stop the ping if it's bothering you. Poiiing!

    Volvo,
    When PA loans you a Challenger, just drop it off in Akron when you're done. I'll make sure it gets back up to Cleveland. Uh, I promise.


  12. BG_Farmer,

    Yes, I noticed that even the Olympians were not always dead on with their shots. If high-power masters do not consistently shoot MOA, I suppose 10m air rifle champions do not either. They don't have to deal with weather conditions. On the other hand, all of their shooting is offhand. So, they're commonly .10 in. from the X ring which should be perceptible. I suspect that consistency is where the ergonomics come into play.

    CowBoyStar Dad, fascinating about the photographers. So there may be something to "shooting" as a metaphor for camera work. I've seen all kinds of people getting into shooting and believe that its appeal is so universal that everyone could and should. But there are certainly the stereotypes too like one of the range masters at my range who likes to flaunt his missing teeth and ponytail and brag about how many background checks he has failed…. Quite a colorful character.

    Matt61


  13. Derrick,

    Excellent point, two testers for the price of one, they might as well throw in a Marauder at the same time. I have been working over in Ashland County which takes me through the heart of Amish country. We could do a piece where we drop it off with the Yoder’s and see what they think. I gave an Amish boy on a framing crew a Daisy SG22 with a scope a couple years ago and I’d guess that rifle has seen some serious use. His face lit up like it was Christmas morning.

    First we probably need to promise BB not to make his groups look bad. (Maybe reverse psychology will help us)

    Made it outside with the Walther 55 and I will report on the results later.

    Twotalon, if you need some heavy tar for the mainspring, I have enough that I could send you some. Not sure exactly what it is, but it helps. Kind of like the green ointment my Dad’s family made when I was a kid for cuts. It worked, but no info or MSDS sheets.

    Volvo



  14. It's been raining again, so I will be getting the 10M AR and AP targets out. I may try shooting 953with the challenger sights. As for the new challenger 2009, that is pretty impressive shooting BB. I'd be luck to do that with a scope.

    I did order an adjustable williams sight for my modified 1377 for the fun of it. Not sure what other AGs it will fit, but it should be nice to have one.

    If I was more serious or competed in matches, a challenger 2009 or IZH 56M wouldn't hurt. No sense worrying about olypic grade AGs, they're way out of my price range.

    CBSD – hang in there, sounds like you got the knack for 10M shooting. No sense spending a lot until you got the most out of what you have. It sounds like you are getting there. Have you tried some of the other AGs? Did it improve your shooting?


  15. Volvo,

    Got a Marauder already. So you keep that one.

    Jealous and happy for you over that 55! Got it from Mr. GB?

    I'm sorely tempted by the new Challenger, I just can't justify another 10-meter gun. OK, I can, but I'm not going to. Maybe Matt or Wayne will buy my IZH-61 for $500 and I'll trade up. –Comes with 5 mags!

    Hey twotalon, my word verification is: boingers!!!!!

    hahahahahahahahahah



  16. Twotalon,

    Let me know if you change your mind, I wish I would have had this stuff 20 years ago when I shot my R-1 a ton. I think that rifle loosened my brain. It really does make a world of difference. If you would rather buy some it comes from Air Rifle Headquarters. The JM three pack gives you clear for the sliding breach, moly for metal to metal, and heavy tar for the spring.
    Volvo


  17. Derrick,

    How do you like the Marauder? Which caliber? Yes, the Walther LG 55 was from GB. He had 18 LG 55’s to pick it from! Now that is a collector.
    P.S. Drink some apple juice to help with the cheese.
    Volvo


  18. CBSDad,
    Modesty befits a Champion:). I do have FT near me (big whoop), but no 10M either as far as I know. I'm going to try to compete in the NMLRA shoot in a year or so. I wish there was something comparable with air rifles, but it will have to do as a way to satisfy my anachronistic urge to shoot offhand and open-sighted:).

    Volvo,
    I didn't think you were a tuner dude, but you seem to have caught the bug with the 55. I'm guessing if it slows down that much with heavy tar it is a 0.15 spring at most. What does JM have that will fit it? I've heard good things about the Merlin square spring on low-powered springers, but no idea if it would fit your application.


  19. Volvo
    I don't want to bother building a spring compressor to do the job just for a little Talon tank ping.
    The 48 shoots smooth enough as is. None of the twang, boing, buzz of my other springers. Just reminds me of my evil black rifles when I shoot it.

    twotalon


  20. Volvo,

    kidding about all the cheese–that's what they make around there for the tourists. That and way too sweet wine.

    Marauder is .22 cal. Got a Leapers 4-16X50mm on it. Absurdly accurate and easy to shoot: center cross hairs, pull trigger, hole magically appears. Repeat 9 more times. Pretty cool.


  21. BG, it's really strange. I live in Edmonton, Alberta…a million people, and there is no official airgun scene whatsoever.
    Their is one gun dealer in town that stocks a few Diana's and Canadian Tire, our version of WallyMart. I get all of my supplies through the mail.
    Yet when I really started to gain an interest in this stuff two years ago it would naturally come up at times with some of my clientele. I was astounded at how many times I'd get asked what I had planned for the weekend (the usual small-talk) and when I'd mention going out to shoot our airguns (as in myself and my two sons) I'd get the response that would run… 'gee, I have an R7 (or FWB, Umarex pistol) myself that I shoot in the basement'.
    Sort of an aside. I thinks this is the result of Canada's restrictive gun regulations. Gun ownership and gun-sports are demonized to the point that most people keep their involment very quiet so as not to get the 'good god what a redneck you are' response.
    I know that I don't tell too many people that my boys (6 & 8) like nothing better to head out on a nice day with their Red Ryders for an afternoon of popcan killing.
    Too often I've had the response…'how can you let your boys do this'.
    CowBoyStar Dad


  22. BG farmer,

    Last week my dishwasher died, and I installed a new one. But I am no plumber by any stretch. So similarly, I am definitely not a tuner, but I can manage small bits of the job. The Walther had already been rebuilt since making its trip from Germany, so I just played around with a little lube. Besides, the JM stuff looks good on my bench as décor, kind of like the funk on a TGI Fridays’ wall.

    Have you ever checked out Derrick’s blog? He appears to be the real deal.



  23. B.B.

    Have you given up more further review of the Evanix Blizzard? It's always interesting to learn what you discover. (Your Infinity review saved me a lot of effort)

    Two-talon, et al: If you want an easy way to quiet down an annoying spring, you may wnat to try what i do. Just remove the stock so you can get at the mainspring, and use an automitive grease-gun with a "seal needle", (like an oversized hypodermic), to reach as far in as you can and give it a couple of shots of Mobil-1 Synthetic grease.

    regards,

    David


  24. B.B.

    I have been trying to figure out something that you wrote in your blog today: "I shot five shots at each target; and because I was shooting aperture sights instead of a scope, the aim point didn't change as I shot."

    Could you please explain about the aim point shift with a scope? All I can figure is that the aperature sights help insure a consistent cheekweld and prevent paralax, but I am wondering if it is something more than that. Part of my confusion is that to me, your statement implies that the aperature sights will always be more accurate than a scope, which seems the opposite of what is should be to me.

    Respectfully,
    Alan


  25. Volvo,

    Great link. Reason number 5,678 to live in America and not Bangladesh.

    killing 83,000 rats = one 14" television? But he seemed thrilled with the prize.

    Glad to hear the 55 is living up to it's reputation. So it's a keeper or would you consider replacing it with a tuned HW50?

    kevin


  26. Last time for the night,
    This is for the great minds to ponder. The stock on my Walther is noticeable darker on the pistol grip. I expect that in a rifle with a hand rubbed finish. This is what I cannot figure, there is no corresponding mark on the forearm, but there is at the very end of the stock were it splits to make room for the barrel cocking. It baffles me as to how this rifle was held. Any thoughts?

    Kevin – If I were you I would go R-8 or old style HW50. However, I have no regrets on the LG 55.

    ps – I knew Jane was really an FBI agent the whole time, seems his name is "David"


  27. Volvo,
    Just a guess, but the grain is probably the reason. Sections where the end of grain is exposed (cross-cut) soak up more stain or oil than the sections where the surface is with the grain. Usually the tang area and the leading edge of the comb are also darker for the same reasons, although careful work will minimize the differences.

    Nothing wrong with being a plumber. I like electrical work but anything involving water intimidates me:).





  28. Alan,

    When a pellet hits the intersection of the crosshairs, you lose the aim point. When you shoot groups, the problem is larger, as the hole grows.

    With an aperture sight, you sight on the entire bull and cannot see the individual hole as they appear.

    B.B.


  29. BB,

    I can see your point about this being a fine rifle for younger shooters who compete if their parents can afford it.

    Some obviously simply cannot so what do you recommend for them? Is there any hope for those people?

    Also I shoot a Daisy 953 TargetPro and the groups I get at 10 meters rested are every bit as good as what you get with the Challenger. This gun is stock with the Daisy front aperture sight added and a spare unused Beeman Sport Aperture Sight which I had lying around.

    As I don't shoot competition none of the factors mentioned in the blog apply to me. If I did, I would just have to suck it up and over come the obstacles.

    I have shot competition extensively with regular firearms in my younger days. I find it is generally NOT the gun which wins the match, but the skill of the shooter.

    In the past I regularly competed in falling plates against "professional" shooters who used tuned "race" guns costing $2000 – $4000 using only a double action Dan Wesson stainless model 15V with a 4" barrel and hand loads and beat them. My gun cost me all of $300, including new grips, a millet rear sight and the wolf pack springs I used to modify the trigger pull.

    Ditto that for various combat disciplines I competed in with only an AMT Hardballer which I hand fitted a match bushing. I also replaced the rear sights with Millets and custom tuned the trigger to a crisp 2.5 pounds. My total cost for gun and modifications again was less than $300. And I regularly cleaned the clocks of shooters using tuned .45's costing $2000 to $4000.

    So I KNOW in competition it is never the gun that wins the match but rather the shooter.

    IMHO it is ONLY the guys with the skill to compete and win in National and International matches who have the skill to wring the last ounce of accuracy out of very expensive target guns.

    For those of you who can't do this but have the money for those types of guns, go for it! There is always the pride of ownership of a fine competition grade gun even if you can't use it effectively!


  30. I would argue about the "can't use it effectively." Using it effectively has nothing to do with its capabilities. I would say something like "don't use it to its full potential."



  31. BG,

    Well if you have the money, you earned it honestly, then it is entirely up to you what you do with it.

    It may well be conspicuous consumption or collecting, but neither is illegal. Some including myself might argue the money could be put to better use. Bottom line though, at least at this point, is this is a democratic country with freedoms and who am I or others to tell some one how to spend their hard earned honestly acquired money?

    I do NOT have the money to buy even a Challenger 2009 so I must ask what I want to do with a gun and what is the least expensive way to do it.

    Hence I own a Daisy 953 TargetPro and a Crossman 2240 (slightly modified), and a TF 59 with a GRT III trigger, and several other inexpensive guns. The TF 59 has an inexpensive Tech Force scope which does a great job and I am able to kill rabbits and squirrels out to about 40 yards with it. The 2240 is highly accurate, easily and inexpensively modified and just an all round fun gun. The 953 rivals the accuracy of the Challenger 2009. No, it does NOT have a good trigger like the Challenger, but is easily and inexpensively modified to a really good trigger. So for less than $150 total including cost of better sights and the trigger mods you have a gun which you could use in competition till you get good enough to compete at national level.

    On the other end of the line, I looked for a semi automatic pistol which was accurate. I tried many, sold or returned them all and settled for a Drulov Du 10 which cost me $405. Also I wanted a really light accurate break barrel and bought a Beeman R9 and scoped it with a nice Beeman 3 X 9 X 32 AO scope. The gun 25 years ago cost me $259.95 and the scope $159.95.

    Both were bought at a time in my life when I could afford these prices. Both imho are the "holy grail" of air guns in their respective categories. Meaning they exhibit a fit, finish, weight, balance, features and accuracy which is unsurpassed in any other gun for their price or less. And I would not part with them for less than double what they currently cost. Because if I did the quality of the next one I got might not be quite up to the quality back then.

    I also this year scrimped and saved to buy a Benjamin Discovery. It too imho fits in the "holy grail" category for entry level pcp's. It is light, highly accurate, fires a good number of shots per fill and packs a real punch!

    So to sum, if you have the money and want it, go for it. Who cares if some one thinks it is conspicuous consumption or collecting. After all it is your money!!!

    And if you don't have much money you can still find guns which will fill your needs inexpensively.

    What a great country we live in where you can STILL find hundreds or maybe thousands of guns to choose from in all price ranges!


  32. pcp4me,

    I couldn't have said it any better.

    Derrick's blog is Another Airgun Blog. Yes he is the real deal! If you haven't been there, go there–very interesting.

    Mr B.


  33. PCP4Me,
    I agree with both your posts, although I get the idea you want to call me a Bolshevik or something:). It is simply my opinion that buying something you don't intend to use to its potential is either a simple waste of money or a vain display, neither of which is illegal. My opinion doesn't have the force of law, and I wouldn't want it to:).


  34. For a given PCP air rifle, is there a relationship between the number of shots and the pellet in use? Does the combination of weight, alloy, pellet seal, and pellet design change the way the valving operates so as to give more or less shots per fill?


  35. JGC,

    You stated that very articulately, and my answer would be yes. Here is a brief explanation.

    Two of the reasons you cited–pellet seal, or tightness in the bore, and weight, determine how fast the pellet starts accelerating. A slower acceleration causes the pressure behind the pellet to remain higher for a longer period of time than if the pellet took off faster. We are laking milliseconds and fractions of milliseconds here.

    Higher pressure behind the pellet makes it harder for the valve to close, so it remains open a little longer and thus exhausts a little more air. That affects how fast the air in the reservoir is used.

    B.B.


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