Crosman MAR177 test report: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


Crosman’s new MAR177 makes a fine tactical target rifle when attached to an AR-15 lower.

Today, we’re going to see how the new Crosman MAR177 upper performs! Because this rifle is a precharged pneumatic, I used my Shooting Chrony Alpha chronograph to analyze the power curve. Though not absolutely necessary, a chronograph can eliminate a lot of shooting time and let you know how the rifle shoots on the first session.

The test rifle was showing a charge of just less than 1,800 psi when I started the velocity test. I chronographed Crosman Premier Super Match target pellets that Crosman sent with the upper for testing the rifle.


Pressure gauge is located underneath the end of the forearm. This is the pressure that was in the gun as it came from the factory — minus a couple of test shots. It reads just under 1,800 psi.

The first shot went 582 f.p.s., which sounded to me as though it might still be within the power curve. So I fired 16 more shots and the velocity ranged from a low of 559 f.p.s. for the final shot to the 582 f.p.s. that was the first shot. At that point 17 shots had been fired and the pressure gauge was reading 1,600 psi, so I guessed that the gun had fallen off the power curve. The average for these 17 shots was 569 f.p.s.

I filled the reservoir until the gun’s pressure gauge indicated 2,000 psi. I then fired five shots that ranged from a low of 580 f.p.s to a high of 585 f.p.s. It seemed the gun was certainly now on the power curve and that it hadn’t been that far off the curve on the first 17 shots.

But just to be sure, I filled the reservoir to 2,200 psi and fired another five shots. This time, the velocity ranged from a low of 578 f.p.s. to a high of 586 f.p.s. That’s not much different than the reading on the 2,000 psi fill, so the rifle is clearly on the power curve and has been since at least 2,000 psi. But then it wasn’t that far off at 1,600 to 1,800 psi, either.

To see if these assessments were correct, I filled the rifle to 3,000 psi — the top of the white sector on the onboard pressure gauge. If the gauge was calibrated correctly, the rifle should now be at the top of its power curve.


Filled to the top of the white sector, the onboard gauge now reads that 3,000 psi is in the reservoir.

Too much pressure
If you ever needed to see a demonstration of what over-pressurizing a pneumatic gun will do, this is it. The first shot after the fill went out at 549 f.p.s. and the next one went 537. In fact the first 11 shots were all below 550 f.p.s. Shot 12 went out at 551 f.p.s., and the pressure gauge on the gun read 2,900 psi. I accepted that this is the maximum fill pressure for this rifle. More than that shuts the firing valve too fast and costs velocity.

I then fired 33 more shots, for a total of 34 good shots (so far) on the 2,900 psi fill. The lowest velocity was 534 f.p.s. and the highest was 562 f.p.s., for an average of 552 f.p.s. At that velocity with this pellet, the rifle generates 5.39 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Having established the top fill pressure, I proceeded to test the rifle’s velocity with other pellets without refilling the gun. I tested only target pellets, but the test was more for the weight of the pellets than for their shape.

RWS R10 Match 7.7 grains
I tried the RWS R10 Match pellet that weighs 7.7 grains. This one is now off the market, and there is no replacement. It is in-between the RWS R10 Match pistol pellet that weighs 7 grains and the RWS R10 Match Heavy pellet that weighs 8.2 grains.

This one averaged 588 f.p.s. for 10 shots with a 13 f.p.s. spread from 581 to 594 f.p.s. That generates an average of 5.91 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

H&N Finale Match Rifle
H&N Finale Match Rifle pellets weigh 8 grains, even, and averaged 575 f.p.s. in the MAR177. The velocity spread went from 571 to 585 f.p.s. This pellet generates an average of 5.87 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

RWS Hobby
The final pellet I tried was the 7-grain RWS Hobby. They averaged 609 f.p.s., but the velocity spread was larger than the other two pellets. It ranged from 593 to 625 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet generates 5.77 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

Back to Premier Super Match
After these three pellets had been tested, there were a total of 64 good shots on this fill. Remember — I’m counting the start of the fill from where it passed 550 f.p.s. for the first time. That was when the gun registered 2,900 psi on its gauge. I shot another 10 Crosman Premier Super Match pellets, and this time they averaged 567 f.p.s. The spread went from 559 to 571 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet generates 5.64 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

How many shots per fill?
I fired 74 good shots on the first fill, and stopped with 2,200 psi remaining in the reservoir. If I continued to shoot until 1,600 psi, as the testing indicates is possible, that would add another 50 shots, minimum, to the shot count, taking the total to 124 shots on a fill. That’s more than enough, but what I now know is that the gun likes the range of 2,900 down to 1,600 psi on the onboard pressure gauge.

The dynamics of the MAR177
The MAR177 is unregulated, so it relies on just the action of the firing valve to control the velocity of the pellet. In the data I’ve shown here, the lowest velocity for a Premier Super Match pellet that’s still on the power curve is 534 f.p.s. The highest velocity within the curve is 585 f.p.s. I’m getting the high velocity from the string fired on the 2,200 psi fill. So, this rifle has a large velocity spread ranging from 534 to 586 f.p.s. to get those 124 shots that I maintain are in the power curve. That’s 52 f.p.s., and normally we wouldn’t consider a range that large to be good. But this rifle is meant for 10-meter target shooting, and for that reason I doubt we will see any group enlargement due to velocity. However, I’ll conduct a test to see if there’s any vertical stringing, which is what large changes in velocity can cause.

If we were shooting the rifle at 25 yards and farther, then I would recommend using a smaller section of the power curve. It’s apparent that, as the air pressure drops below 2,000 f.p.s., the velocity rises to the highest it’s going to be with a particular pellet.

If the large velocity spread bothers you, you can limit the fill to 2,800 psi, and your slowest shot will be 535 f.p.s. Or limit it to 2,700 psi and the slowest shot will be 549 f.p.s. If you decide to do the latter, your total shot count will be 104 shots, and the total velocity spread will be 37 f.p.s. For my money, the 2,900 psi fill looks best, so that’s what I’m going to use to test this gun.

This discussion would be impossible without the use of a chronograph. You would just load the rifle and shoot until the point of impact started to wander. By using the chronograph, you can look at the performance from shot to shot and also understand that there are always going to be some anomalies in the data.

If a different pellet is used to baseline the rifle, things could change dramatically. Premiers are made from a hardened lead alloy, where the other three pellets are closer to pure soft lead. That will have an effect on the numbers you get.

A major lesson demonstrated
This test demonstrates clearly why you cannot simply act as though the pressure gauge on a PCP is reading correctly, and the valve is responding according to the specifications. I’ve said in the past and I’m saying it again — these small gauges can easily be off by 300 psi yet still be considered accurate. The same is true of the firing valve — it may operate at a slightly different range of air pressures than the spec states. If you want to know for sure, you have to use a chronograph.

What we have seen here is the fact that this gun operates on less peak reservoir pressure and also continues to operate to much lower ending pressure. Without these tests, that information would not be known, because you certainly can’t tell from the sound of the discharge. Instead of obeying the owner’s manual in rigid lockstep, we’ve used a diagnostic to learn how our particular gun performs. Knowing that, we can get the best performance that this individual airgun has to offer.

The muzzle compensator
I mentioned the compensator in an earlier report, but I wanted to show it to you here. You’ll see that the turbulent air gets stripped off and cannot follow the pellet downrange after it leaves the muzzle because of how this compensator is designed.


When the pellet leaves the muzzle, it passes through a separate piece that strips off the turbulent air and directs it to the side. The pellet is free to fly straight without the turbulent gasses acting on its skirt.

48 thoughts on “Crosman MAR177 test report: Part 3

  1. “This test demonstrates clearly why you cannot simply act as though the pressure gauge on a PCP is reading correctly, and the valve is responding according to the specifications. I’ve said in the past and I’m saying it again — these small gauges can easily be off by 300 psi yet still be considered accurate.”

    I was taught to pay little attention to the onboard gauges on pcp’s and place more credibility in tank/pump gauges since they’re not only larger but typically more accurate.

    Anxious to see the accuracy testing.

    kevin



      • Chuck,

        Ohhh, that’s a nice big one. I like it. My tank gauges have readings in psi and bar. For whatever reason I use the bar readings but could get used to yours easily enough.

        My comment stemmed from years ago being perplexed about the differences in readings between the gauge on the gun and the gauge on the tank/pump. B.B. advised me to use the gauge on the tank/pump.

        kevin


        • I don’t know if you noticed but that tank hose has the adapter for filling the Talon SS. It is connected via a Foster quick disconnect between it and the hose. When I want to fill my Marauder it is a simple matter of quick disconnecting the Talon adapter from the female Foster and connecting the female Fodter to the male Foster on the Marauder. Love it!
          -Chuck



  2. I won a small battle today, after getting home from the shooting range with Nicky.

    While doing desert dwelling, I discovered Crosman Destroyer EX pellets. These .177 pellets are sold as “hunting pellets”, but I was impressed with their performance when attacking buffalo gourds. They literally tear themselves apart when they strike something solid. So they do a good job transferring their energy to the target. And they seem reasonably accurate, too.

    I bought several tins and shot them up. But, the last tin presented a problem. The darned lid was on too tight to twist open! I tried off and on to get into the thing over the past year.

    First, I tried just twisting the lid off. No go. Then, I held the tin under hot running water, hoping the lid would expand so I could unscrew it. Still no good. Then I turned on a burner on my wife’s gas range and heated the lid that way. Still no good.

    Then, I carefully applied WD40 to the rim of the lid (I tried that trick on two occasions). Let it stand for several hours. Still no good.

    I dug around in the toolbox in the trunk of my car and came up with a Craftsman ratchet handle and an oil filter wrench. This is the kind that fits on a ratchet and grabs the filter with three “fingers” that hold tighter as the wrench is turned.

    I went down to my basement workshop and clamped the pellet tin in my bench vise. Engaged the filter wrench on the lid and pulled. The tin rotated in the jaws of the vise!

    I squeezed it tighter in the vise. The tin was no longer round. It had developed two flat sides. The lid, however, was still round.

    I pulled again on the wrench. Still nothing. I was starting to think about putting a cutoff disc in my Dremel Tool and cutting the lid off.

    About that time, the lid started to turn, almost imperceptibly, then easier. Finally, it came off, and didn’t even ruin the threads.

    I examined the threads, and could find no reason the lid was stuck. Apparently, it was just torqued on too tightly when the tin was filled.

    Anyway, it was a small victory, but a victory just the same.

    Les


    • Desertdweller,
      For some reason it makes me proud that man is finally able to conquer the tin – and after so many decades. I will nominate you for inclusion in the Airgun Hall of Fame. :-)
      -Chuck


    • Desertdweller, you’re a model of persistence. I would have tried the old trick of wrapping a torniquet (rubber strip) around the jar and twisting, but I think your vice applied more pressure. Had exactly the same problem trying to open the plastic box containing my reloading dies. The top would not come off and there was nothing to grab to apply force. I finally smashed it open with the butt-end of my Kabar.

      Matt61


      • Matt I don’t have one of those “high end” Kabar’s so I just take a small Vise Grip pliers, latch onto the lip of the Crosman tin and roll a chunk of metal out.
        Loren


  3. BB,
    It looks to me as though the MAR 177 may have more in common with the Challenger than Crosman’s other PCPs. The Challenger however seems to have a tighter velocity spread. I’ll be interested to see if you in fact do see any vertical stringing when you test for accuracy.


    • I was going to mention that after Part I. I bought Challenger 2009,, the one with the Walther barrel,, and have been using it in 10 meter competitions within the VA. I wondered what was done to get the reservoir to hold the higher pressure,, as it looks so similar to mine.

      What ever they changed,, I hope it doesn’t interfere with the innate accuracy of the setup. It does, however,, take quite a lot of shooting to get it to settle down. Mine started hitting consistent one holers, only after about 1000 pellets… then again,, maybe it was me that needed the extra shooting.
      Ed


      • Ed,
        What wadcutter do you find the most accurate in your Challenger 2009? I have the new Challenger and have not found a wadcutter that satisfies me yet. (I don’t have 1,000 shots through it yet, though.) Yet, I find the domed pellets such as the H&N Baracuda (10.65gr) and the boxed Crosman Premier (10.5gr) and the JSB Exact (8.4gr) to be the most accurate. The only wadcutter that I’ve found equal to the above is the H&N Finale Match Pistol that comes in the foam separator sheets in the square plastic box. Expensive stuff compared to what I normaly shoot. I’ve tried about 16 different types of the wadcutter pellets that are the more popular brands.
        -Chuck


        • Chuck,
          Have you tried R 10s (7 gr may do better than 8.2 gr) ? They work well in mine as well as Meisterkugelns. Vogel also do well in my rifle.


          • cavaman,
            The R-10 did not do so well nor did the Meisterkugeln, which was the worse pellet of all followed by the Hobby. I don’t have any Vogel nor do I know where to get any. I do know there was a guy shooting them in the Airgunarena ematches and he was doing very well with them. But then I think he was also using an Anschutz rifle of some kind.
            -Chuck


            • I tried a lot of weights and brands,, but found my best consistency was with the R-10s and the Meisterkugeln. It seems that mine like the pellets in the 8gr range better than those lighter or heavier. Each barrel will be different, of course,, by I stand by the idea that a lot of shots have to go through it to get the best results. It also takes 40 or fifty shots to get it back after cleaning,, so I don’t,, unless I’m putting it away for a month. A couple of felt pellets,, the first moistened with synthetic oil,, don’t seem to bother it, tho.
              Ed



  4. OT…Savage update.
    Well, the weather was a bit better this weekend…if you call just above freezing with intermittent sleet better…so we headed out to the range (we Albertan’s are a hardy lot).
    First, the Savage .22WMR.
    Found out that just like pellet guns, these things (poweder-burners) can be finicky as to what they’re fed.
    If you’ll remember (Matt) the last time I was out it was shooting 1.5′ groups at 50yds (with Federal) ammo. I had read that the WMR cartridge was no target calibre and though was somewhat disappointed thought that maybe this was as good as it was capable of.
    Well…I was (thankfully) wrong.
    I had been told that these Savages usually really like CCI Game Point.
    So I chambered a round and after about 5 or 6 shots had the scope adjusted.
    My first 5 shot attempt produced a .75″ group. The 2nd and 3rd attempts both came in at about 1/2″…so it does appear to be capable of 1MOA.
    Very happy.
    But wait…there’s more. Picked up two Marlin XT-22′s for the boys. Sort of the Cooey of everyones childhood. Inexpensive (just under $200…less than a decent air-rifle) wood stocked bolt-actions. Started the boys (now 9 and 11) off at 30yds with the iron sights. By the end of the morning the 11 year old was shooting 3″ groups, the 9 year old a bit over 4″.
    Considering that all our air-rifles are under the Canadian 500fps limit and their usual shooting distance with these has been 15 yds I (and they) were quite pleased.
    Our air-rilfes will still see a lot of use, but likely now mostly in our 10yd basement range. At some point in the future I may re-think the HW97 I’ve been thinking of…but for this summer learning the ins and outs of the .22 rimfires will be keeping us busy.
    Gotta admit I have my moments of being a ‘religous’ man. My father, whose lifelong passion was shooting and hunting (and which I pretty much ignored for most of his life) is, I’m sure, looking down from above at his grandsons (and myself) and smiling…though probably wondering why it took me so long to clue in.


    • CSD,

      Great report!

      Don’t overlook Hornady ammo. I’ve gotten great results from their 30-grain V-Max bullet in that caliber.

      B.B.


      • Try any .22 Mag ammo you get your hands on. You never know what will be the magic pill that will cut ragged holes! The same goes for .22 LR.

        Mike



    • Great news and glad to hear it. 3 MOA for a savage rifle didn’t not sound right at all. Try the CCI maxi-mags too. Is the ammo in Canada under anything like the same restrictions as the firearms? Your boys are getting an ideal upbringing. So are the religious impulses related to shooting? I haven’t noticed the same thing myself yet. Mostly shooting is just a lot of fun.

      Matt61


      • Matt…yup, ammo cannot be purchased unless you have a PAL (possession, acquisition license).
        The religious aspect was not to do with shooting, per se.
        I’ve mentioned before that my dad was a passionate shooter.
        As I recall he had, before he had to give it up because of failing health (about 70 years old) a large gunsafe with 18 rifles, a 1/2 dozen shotguns (including a custom built Purdy) and two large aluminum camera cases to hold his pistols…everything from a S&W 41 to a SS Ruger 44.
        I used to shoot with him when I was young, obtaining my CIL bronze/silver/gold medallions by the time I was 14 (don’t know if this was a Canadian thing or worldwide)…by the time I was in high school I had ‘better’ things to do than hang out with dad.
        I realize now how much that hurt him.
        When he started to liquidate all his guns when he was hit with cancer he asked me if I wanted any of them and I said ‘no’…why would I want a bunch of his old guns?
        So, my dad died in 2005 of cancer. The next year (when my oldest was 5) we saw ‘A Christmas Story’ and there were Red Ryders under the tree in 2006. Fast forward to now and we’ve been through the AK Bams, the Steel Storms, etc and now the Marlins and Savage.
        I’m normally not what I would call ‘religious’ (spiritual is another matter)…but if there is a heaven, I hope the old guy is looking down on his grandsons and smiling…knowing that finally his son (me) has grown to appreciate his passion for firearms/hunting.


    • cowboystar dad,

      I’m happy for you that you found something that works well. Goes to show that you can’t believe blanket statements about brands (or many other things). Sometimes you just have to find out for YOURSELF. I’ve had very good luck with Federal .22 ammo (never tried the brand in other calibers), so my opinion is of limited value in practical terms. The .22 caliber “Auto-Match” ammo shoots very well in my Ruger 10/22 and Ruger Mk II.

      Don’t feel bad about your interest’s being different than your fathers. When my kids had an opportunity to participate in the same junior marksmanship program that I did, they weren’t interested. They preferred martial arts. Also, my son loved basket ball, and my daughter loved ballet. The issue here is that there was no continuity here. When my kids were old enough to start shooting, I had already been away from the sport for almost two decades. They had no reason to appreciate it.

      Now my son loves to shoot, and has become a bit of a gun enthusiast, thought not an air-gun enthusiast. But you know, it’s also not right to try to force your kids into things, including their choice of careers (what they major in while in college). When I was in college I got to know many a miserable pre-med student who was going to become a doctor just because that’s what the parents wanted.

      The more inspired a person is about something, the more naturally they be good at it. THAT IS THE SECRET, in my opinion! Allow your kids to become passionate about things that interest them. Allow them to cultivate this PASSION, and the rest will take of itself. While I wasn’t able to pass on my passion for shooting to my kids, my hopes are that I might be able to with my grand-kids. That’s why I want to get back into competition. Air-guns will be an important part of this.

      I wish you continued luck,
      Victor


  5. Yay! I got this email today. PA review team must be getting caught up.

    “Pyramyd Air appreciates that you took the time to provide a product review. Your review for the “Mendoza Front Sight Riser Assembly For Air Venturi Bronco” has been approved and published.”

    I only mention this because it looks like they haven’t gotten all their name changes done, yet. Maybe they’ll have those y’s removed by next April. :-)
    -Chuck



      • Edith,
        Thanks for that tip. When I removed the browser cache bag it was full of y’s. Don’t worry though, I safely disposed of them by dumping them in the recycling byn.
        -Chuck



  6. A 10 meter specialization seems a little odd for a rifle of this design. And I didn’t know that airguns needed a muzzle-compensator. Is this one for show? I can see what is going to happen now. B.B. will face his test about this design when it turns in good groups. The gun can be accurate as long as you’re not in a combat zone and you do your maintenance.

    Matt61


    • Matt,

      This gun is purposely built for National Match competition which takes place at 10 meters. It’s a new airgun sport.

      B.B.


  7. B.B.,

    Question. I know nothing about AR’s, but was wondering how “standard’ they are, in particular, whether this PCP upper would work with the S&W M&P 15′s, especially the .22 cal version? Any idea?

    There are two S&W M&P 15′s that I like; the Performance Center (PC) long range, and the .22 caliber models. If this PCP upper worked with the .22 caliber, I’d get it, and this PCP upper. What do you think?

    Thanks,
    Victor


    • Victor,

      I don’t know how standard the4 S&W M&P is. This is a question to ask Crosman directly. The MAR is made to fit a standard AR lower receiver.

      B,B.



      • Mike is correct. The S&W 15-22 lowers are slightly smaller to prevent centerfire uppers from being used on the polymer lowers. I have one of the M&P 15-22s, operate just like their bigger brothers and are a blast to shoot.


  8. Got my Bronco Target Gun today!

    Haven’t shot it yet. Wind gusts to 50mph kept me off the range.

    The gun looks great! I wiped it down with a Hoppe’s silicone cloth, and now it really shines! I like the light color, mine exhibits some grain pattern that is attractive.

    I had PA do the “10 for $10″ thing. The chrony tape showed a 10 fps spread between 566 and 576. A bit faster than what I would have expected.

    In addition to the target rear peep sight, the standard leaf rear sight was included (with screws) in a plastic bag.

    The gun looks so nice, I took one of my Daisy 880′s out of my glass-fronted gun case and put it back in the closet. The Bronco now resides on display between my Crosman Storm XT (another blonde) and my 70th Anniversary Model Red Ryder (a redhead).

    Les


    • Desertdweller,
      That’s a nice velocity range. Do you know what pellet was used for this? I’d imagine that the Bronco is a great rifle for 10 meter shooting.
      Congratulations!
      Victor




          • desertdweller/Victor,
            My Bronco likes JSB Exact RS 7.33gr the best and R-10 Match 8.2gr also. I have not tested all my pellets in it yet, but it’ll be very hard to beat the two I mentioned.
            -Chuck


            • Forget the JSB Exact RS if you’re looking at 10m matches. It’s a domed pellet (but very accurate in my Bronco). The 8.2gr R-10 Match is a wadcutter. I have the RWS 7.0gr R-10 for pistol also, but haven’t tried it in the Bronco, yet.
              -Chuck


  9. I have a Lucky McDaniel 50-shot force-fed bb rifle with the chinrest. It is in excellent condition and I’m looking to sell it. Idunno how else to get ahold of B B Pelletier, so I’m leaving the comment here. I wouldn’t know where to market it. My email is jerrycrackberry@gmail.com. Hope I’m not out of line putting this here.
    Thanks!


    • JC Berry,

      Your gun should be worth $300-400. I have the entire set in the box that I’m asking $350 for, but all the Lucky paint has been worn off the left side of the gun. All that remains is the electrostatic Daisy paint that looks like new.

      Where to sell is a toughie! I’m hoping to sell mine at an airgun show this year. You might try the Yellow Classifieds”

      http://www.network54.com/Forum/79574/

      B.B.



    • DC,

      Good eye! I mounted it backwards! Thankfully I haven’t shot for accuracy yet, plus I don’t think it matters that much, but I will switch it around and take yet another full-length picture!

      Thanks!

      B.B.


  10. Great review, BB.

    I learned that the “air stripper” (Crosman Part # MAR-200) is attached via the Lothar Walther barrel’s threaded end. Can someone confirm the measurements for the threaded muzzle of the MAR177 barrel (Crosman Part # MAR-006)? I’m looking for:

    - Threads Per Inch (TPI) :
    - Outer Diameter (O.D.) @ muzzle:

    Cheers!


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