Crosman MAR177 test report: Part 5

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4


Crosman’s new MAR177 upper is big news!

Today, we’ll look at the Crosman MAR177 upper shooting domed pellets at 25 yards. I’ll be using the 10-shot magazine, so we’ll get to see that in action, as well. I’ll tell you right now that today was a learning day that spawned another report that’s still to come. Read on to learn what it is.

As you know, the Crosman upper receiver is attached to a lower receiver that I built on a Rock River Arms lower receiver shell. I used Rock River parts, and the trigger is an upgraded two-stage National Match trigger, also from Rock River.

National Match?
To the uninitiated, the term National Match sounds like the finest possible precision. Well, it isn’t! A National Match trigger in an AR is about like a John Deere tractor — strong and effective, but as far from real precision as it is possible to get and still have a good trigger. My trigger has a light first stage and a crisp release in stage two, but it’s not what any target shooter would call precision. The break point is right at 5 lbs. My Trapdoor Springfield, which was made in 1875, has a trigger just as nice. My 1879 Argentine rolling block’s trigger is lighter and crisper, now that I have replaced the heavy service-grade trigger return spring. So understand that National Match does not mean the same as precision. You owners of Rekord triggers don’t know how good you have it.

The National Match AR trigger is quite a bit better than the single-stage trigger that comes standard on a military or civilian AR, but it isn’t a target trigger by any stretch. I tell you that so you’ll understand what I had to deal with in this test.

10-shot magazine
The MAR’s magazine is the same one that a .177 Benjamin Marauder uses. It’s wound under spring tension as it’s loaded and advances by spring power as the bolt is worked for each shot. Remember that on the MAR, the bolt is retracted by pulling back on the charging handle — the same as all other ARs.


The 10-shot magazine comes from the Benjamin Marauder and is completely reliable, as well as quick and easy to load. Here the last shot is in the magazine, holding it in place. The clear plastic cover is rotated to drop in the other 9 pellets.


To cock the MAR the charging handle is pulled back.

The mag loads easy once you know the right procedure. A couple of the chambers were tight, so I used a mechanical pencil to push in the pellets. Once they cleared the lips of the tight chambers, they dropped into place easily. There were no feeding problems throughout the test, which entailed about 90 pellets, give or take.

The scope
I mounted a Leapers 4×32 mini scope on the rifle. It’s not a scope that Pyramyd Air stocks, but it would be similar to this Leapers scope. You may criticize my choice for some lack of aiming precision; but when you see how good the little scope looks on the rifle, I think you’ll understand why I went with it. It allowed me to use medium scope rings and still clear the magazine that stands proud of the receiver top. If I were hunting feral hogs with a 300 AAC Blackout or a .50 Beowulf cartridge, this is the scope I would use. No, it doesn’t magnify as much as a good 3-9x scope, so we may have to take that into consideration when we look at these groups.


This mini-Leapers scope looks perfect on the MAR. The two-piece rings have to be close to each other because the scope tube is short.

Sight-in
I sighted-in at 12 feet, using my 10-minute sight-in procedure. If you haven’t tried this yet, you need to. It took just three rounds to get on target; and although a bit of luck was involved, this sight-in procedure always cuts time from the front-end of my scope tests.

Air Arms Falcon
I used the 7.3-grain Air Arms Falcon pellet to sight in. The scope seemed right on for elevation, but off to the right. I dialed in some left correction and shot again. Almost there, but not quite. One more adjustment put me at 6 o’clock, as far below the aim point as the center of the scope was above the bore axis (approximately). I knew I was safe to back up to 25 yards and start shooting.

The next 7 shots made a group measuring 0.422 inches between the centers of the holes farthest apart. It was an auspicious beginning for the test!


Three shots to get on target, then a great 25-yard, 7-shot group of Air Arms Falcons.

It was also the best group I shot with the Falcons. The other two opened up to over three-quarters on an inch, so although they made a good first impression, Falcons were not the best domed pellet in the rifle I’m testing.

JSB Exact 8.4-grains
I also tried JSB Exact 8.4-grain domes. They put 9 pellets into 0.495 inches, but threw the tenth shot low and right, opening the group to 1.047 inches. I detected no reason for this wild shot, so I’ll have to chalk it up to the pellets — maybe.

BSA Wolverine
Next I tried some BSA Wolverines. This is yet another JSB dome that sometimes out-performs anything else. But in the MAR, they were just satisfactory, putting 10 into 0.642 inches.

JSB Exact RS
Another tantalizing group was made by JSB Exact RS pellets. We’ve learned over many tests that the RS is one of the best pellets for low- to medium-powered springers, and the MAR177 shoots at the same velocity, so I wondered how well it would do. Nine shots went into 0.474 inches, but the tenth shot opened that to 0.874 inches. It was a second instance in which 9 shots were tight and the tenth was a flier. I cannot say where in the string the wild shots occurred, though, because the scope couldn’t see the pellet holes as they were made.


Nine were tight, then a tenth opened the group. JSB Exact RS pellets

H&N Field Target
Next, I tried H&N Field Target domes. A reader recently asked me why I don’t try these, as he had good success with them. I responded that I had, and had not experienced the same success; but when I checked my pellets, I discovered that I’d been shooting H&N Field Target Trophy pellets. The Field Target pellet tin was unopened. See what confusion a small name change can make?


Best group of the day was shot with 10 H&N Field Target pellets. It measures just 0.441 inches across.

These 8.5-grain domes gave me the best 10-shot group of the test — a stunning 0.441 inches between centers! This is a pellet I will work into future tests, you can be sure. This also serves to demonstrate that although the scope only magnifies four times, that’s good enough.

I was starting to tire from all the concentration, so this was the place to stop. I would say that the MAR177 made a good showing, but also raised some questions.

What comes next?
The performance of the rifle in this test was so intriguing that I want to reshoot the same test, only using the single-shot tray next time. Then I will know for sure whether or not the magazine has any influence over the group size. I’ve always had reservations about magazines in any rifle, and I really want to see if there’s any discernible difference. If there is, I may have to do a lengthy test of magazines vs single-shot operations in PCPs.

The next test that will also offer an opportunity to pit wadcutter target pellets against the best domes at 25 yards. I’ve always maintained that 25 yards is about the maximum distance at which wadcutter pellets are accurate, and we even shot a segment on the American Airgunner TV show in which we put that to the test. The domes were clearly superior to wadcutters at 35 yards, so this test will be at a closer distance and indoors. It should prove interesting.

22 Responses to “Crosman MAR177 test report: Part 5”

  • twotalon Says:

    B.B.

    Not bad for “straight out of the box”, and at 25 yds., particularly with a 10m rifle.

    I would suspect that the groups might shrink by 1/3rd or even 1/2 if the bore were polished.

    The mag with the two tight chambers looks like a good suspect for the fliers. Otherwise a small snag at the breech end.

    The wadcutter test should be interesting.

    twotalon

  • Titus Groan Says:

    Wow. Here it is noon in the Pacific Daylight Time zone, and only one response to your MAR177 part5 blog. I would assume there is something wrong with the blog master soft ware not letting people comment. I have found this test most interesting. There has never been a gun like this before. It needs to be evaluated by someone like B.B. if only for that reason. Because of it being a “black gun”, it will not be for sale in Canada any time soon. And that is a shame. Thanks for clearing up the Match Trigger question. I always wondered what defined a match trigger. Was it the adjustability, pull weight, one or two stages? I do like my Record triggers on my HW. rifles. The trigger I like most is the one on my TAU 200. Very adjustable and breaks clean.I have it set at 6oz. at this time.
    I was wondering if you,B.B., or anyone out there is familiar with Brocock guns. I have been looking at the Contour as my very first PCP. What is the scuttle bug on this shootin’ iron? Thanks for another interesting blog. I do hope a few more people are able to add their two cents too.
    Titus

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Titus,

      Well, with Brocock shut down in the UK and having to do business by remote control in Europe, I don’t know what to tell you. I have tested several of their guns and they don’t disappoint. The charging of the TAC, however, is another story. Unless you have a six-cartridge station, it can get tedious.

      B.B.

    • J-F Says:

      I’ve been eyeing these Brocock too!! Seems we go to the same places huh.
      That little rifle looks SWEET.

      J-F

  • Matt61 Says:

    Well, I’ve never had any objection to the looks of the AR-15. Interesting too about the national match trigger. I had indeed supposed it was of the highest quality. So, how does the Springfield Trapdoor compare with the British Martini-Henry in your estimation? (B.B.) The mechanism seems so simple that it would be hard to get wrong. At the same token, I would think both of these rifles would be great advertisements for a magazine. Just have a look at videos of the battles of Islandlwana and Rorke’s Drift as captured in the film Zulu which I have been watching. You fire off your shot and then you get swarmed by Zulus and take an Assegai spear where you are not expecting it…..

    I finally tried out Crosman hollowpoints in my Walther Nighthawk, and that was quite a revelation. Trigger pull was fine. I see that from the very beginning, the RWS Hobbys I was using were the wrong pellet for the gun, and that awful heavy trigger pull was not the norm. With the lighter pull, the ski slope design of the trigger guard does not bother me (although it is still mildly annoying). Unfortunately, initial accuracy was disappointing, but it bears further exploration and the shooting experience is such an improvement that I almost don’t care. I’m a convert for the need for the right pellet!

    Duskwight, great job with your gun. I had always wondered where our manufactured products come from. I can imagine certain dies and tooling that can stamp out a product. But thinking in terms of first causes, that tooling needs to come from somewhere. Its original fabrication to precise specifications, perhaps ultimately by hand, is another realm altogether–way beyond getting a particular product to work the way it is supposed to. Most impressive. Make sure to provide pictures when you can.

    Matt61

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Matt,

      The trapdoor and Martini Henry are studies in military history. The Trapdoor, for example, was supposed to be a cheap conversion of the muyzzleloading muskets left over from the Civil War. But in the end only about three parts were retaimned. The Trapdoor that was standardized in 1873 was an entirely different gun.

      Then some of the more conservative generals wanted to limit soldiers to single-shots so they wouldn’t waste ammunition. That remained in force until World War II, with the magazine cut-offs on the bolt guns.

      Matt, I have never fired a British Martini Henry, so I can’t compare them to the Trapdoor. All I know is that the trigger on my Peabody, which was the gun Martini improved, was much harder than my Trapdoor trigger.

      B.B.

      • Robert from Arcade Says:

        Although it is based only on one trapdoor Springfield (my old man had one and I shot it quite a bit ) , I am of the opinion that the Martini has the better trigger pull. I will also say that the small BSA Martini cadet rifles that I still own , and have shot a lot,have superb trigger pulls.

  • Fred DPRoNJ Says:

    I have an OT for you rimfire experts. I was at the range yesterday practicing with my High Standard Victor and brought some Remington .22 LR that I purchased as a bulk purchase (525 rounds, 40 grain, yellow and green box with no particular specialty type). Every other round refused to feed. They would feed manually but just refused to cycle, jamming as the round tried to feed into the barrel.

    Has anyone else experienced something like this with Remington? I’ve never had this problem with this pistol before and, even though it was pouring rain outside and very damp, I’m hoping it’s not the gun but the ammo.

    I have ordered some different target ammo and hopefully will pinpoint the problem (ordered target ammo by Wolf, Eley and RWS).

    Fred DPRoNJ

    • Chuck Says:

      Fred,
      I’ve had a few rare occasions of feeding problems with my Ruger MkIII. Look at the ejector and the area around it for accumulated residue. Mine was pretty messy when I had feeding problems. However, I’d be inclined to blame cheap ammo. For peace of mind, rather than wait for a mail order drop I’d head for the local gun store and buy just one box of something good and see if you can shoot all 50 without a jam. Peace of mind should be worth $15, right? BTW, I’ve mentioned this a few times on this blog – try CCI Green TAG when you get a chance.
      -Chuck

    • Victor Says:

      Fred DPRoNJ,

      In recent years I’ve bought over a dozen of the Remington Target ammo in the 100 round loading block. EVERY set had at least a few bad rounds. They either don’t cycle well, or are duds. I believe this is what others are seeing with Remington .22 bullets. Don’t waste your time with the Remington .22′s. On the other hand, Remington center file ammo is great, and a great deal!

      Try the Federal Auto Match. I’ve bought dozens of these at WalMart, and haven’t had a single failure. They come in bulk size of 325 rounds, have batch numbers (I buy everything on shelf of a particular batch number), and are reasonably accurate. One last thing about these, the price recently went up a buck, so you can probably find better prices online.

      Victor

  • Chuck Says:

    BB,
    I think I’ve figured out why you’re getting those single errant shots. Take a very close look at the chamber above the number 0 in your photo. You need to do one of two things: prep your magazines with a vaccuum or quit letting the cat load your pellets for you.
    -Chuck

    • Edith Gaylord Says:

      Chuck,

      I think his shooting IS cat-related, but not for the reasons you mention. While he shoots in the house, at least one of the cats is constantly running around meowing, chattering & complaining. I suspect the constant complaining/nagging from cats would disrupt his concentration & mess up his groups.

      Edith

      • Desertdweller Says:

        My cat Pender is very shy around my air guns. There is a good reason for this.

        About two years ago, when I was actually desert dwelling, I bought a new Crosman Storm XT at Wallyworld. The box had been opened, but the gun was obviously brand new.

        I brought it “home” to my little trailer house and examined the gun in my living room. Pender, as always, was right beside me.

        I handled the gun and examined the wood and finish, and prepared to mount the scope. I had not yet broken the barrel open.

        With the muzzle pointing in a safe direction (out of habit), I squeezed the trigger, just to get the feel of it. The gun discharged!

        The noise in the small room was loud and unexpected. Pender took off for the far end of the trailer.
        I was shocked for a moment, then began to figure out what must have happened.

        Someone must have opened the box at the store and tried to cock it. Having done that, they must have felt it took too much effort to cock. Then they put the gun back into the clear plastic bag it was wrapped in, and returned it to the box.

        The next time I was in that store, I talked to the manager of the Sporting Goods department about it.
        He offered to exchange it for another one, but I declined as it did no apparent damage to the gun.
        But a situation where a cocked springer is returned to the store shelf and is sold to someone that is unaware that it is ready to fire is a dangerous one. He agreed.

        Pender has not forgotten. When I get out an air rifle, he leaves the room.

        Les

        • Robert from Arcade Says:

          We have two female cats and they don’t care about us shooting . What we have to be careful about is that our older cat Puma will walk right into the shooting lane. She will also try vie for your attention if you are shooting. Talk about distracting!

  • cowboystar dad Says:

    Wow…it was brought home this weekend just how hard it is to accurately shoot springers at a distance.
    Sunday was absolutely beautiful…sunny, highs in the mid 50′s (warm for this time of year in Alberta) and a non-existand wind.
    Took out the Slavia, the Savage WMR and the boys new Marlin .22LR’s.
    First up was the Slavia at 30 yds with the JSB Exact RS which I have great hope for, but haven’t had a chance to really test.
    I was rewarded with a couple of .75″ groups…about the best I’ve had out of the Slavia…quite happy with the result.
    But then I set up the Savage (shooting Hornady 30gr V-Tip) at 100yds and let my 11 year old try it.
    His first time shooting ANYTHING at 100yds. 5 shots that could be covered by a silver dollar.
    I have a much better appreciation now for the skills I’ve developed with my air rifles.

  • Vulcanator Says:

    BB, thanks for giving the H&N Field Target pellets a try. I’m glad they did well for you in this rifle, and hopefully many others. :)

  • Joe in MD Says:

    re trigger:

    The USAMU course on shooting an M-16 (military AR-15) teaches one to grip the handgrip firmly and overlap the middle fingernail with the thumb and pull the gun firmly into the shoulder. The idea is that this will reduce the effect of trigger movement on the gun. Also, one should use the first knuckle rather than the ball of the trigger finger on the trigger blade. Both techniques will also help with “heavy” match triggers.

    In my experience, a good trigger is one that has consistent release pressure and minimal creep. Almost anything else can be forgiven. I prefer my triggers to be a bit on the heavy side of “legal” as the last thing I want just before a match is for my gun to fail the trigger test or to have a “new” trigger if it is adjusted on-the-spot to pass.

  • Western PA Says:

    HI Tom,

    just wondering if the Benjamin Maverick 77 has come across the testing bench yet, or if it is in the works? I got away from air guns for awhile (small bore competition led me astray), but just happened to see it on Pyramyd’s website and was intrigued. I just sighted-in my Webley Eclipse the other day, and every new underlever gets my attention.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Western PA,

      There is no Benjamin Maverick. Do you mean the Benjamin MAV 77?

      It hasn’t hit the market yet, but a couple weeks ago I finished testing a real TX 200, so we would have a comparison when it does come out.

      B.B.

  • Western PA Says:

    Yep, that’s the one. Sorry. That’s great to have such a good benchmark. Any idea about whether the Mav77 is a Chinese product? I get excited to see a lot of these new (relatively inexpensive) springers, but after I check them out firsthand – the plastic/cheap triggers and other cost-saving miscues return my focus to the Air Arms, HW and RWS models. One thing I got from shooting smallbore this winter was that a rifle is only as good as it’s trigger, and I’ve really found that to be true in airguns as well. Looking forward to that review.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Western PA,

      The MAV 77 is made by BAM, a Chinese company. It is called the B40 by them. I have tested the gun before and it came out good, but not as good as a TX 200. The trigger was the weak point in that one.

      B.B.

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