Crosman MAR177 test report: Part 6

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5


Crosman’s new MAR177 upper is big news!

Today’s test is shooting the Crosman MAR177 at 25 yards, both with and without the magazine. We’ll also shoot it with the best wadcutter target pellets and the best domed pellets to see what differences there are.

Rather than shoot the rifle myself, I let Mac shoot it this time. He is the better rifle shot between us, and I just wanted to see what the rifle would be like in his hands. He shot it off a bag rest at 25 yards indoors. Ten pellets were shot from the magazine, then another 10 of the same pellet were shot using the single-shot tray. Mac tested both domed and wadcutter pellets, so we get to compare the relative accuracy of both today. And the results did not turn out as I expected.

Magazine
I’d noted in an earlier report that the particular 10-shot magazine I’ve been using has two chambers with tight entrances. Mac found the same thing without being prompted by me. I had him use the same magazine as I did so I could compare his results with all other variables remaining the same.

You’ll recall that I mentioned not liking magazine guns because of how they handle the pellets. So, today was also a test between the magazine and loading each pellet as you shoot. I’m not saying that all pellets have feeding problems, but that some magazines may have a problem. But when you load each pellet singly, you have less chance of damaging the pellet.

Single-load tray
That said, the MAR177 has a gap at the front of the single-load tray that can catch the nose of certain pellets and make it very difficult to load. The H&N Field Target pellets that were the most accurate in an earlier test had this problem and had to be exchanged for a different domed pellet. The H&Ns have a semi-wadcutter rim around the head that just catches in the gap on the tray and causes the pellets to flip up and possibly get damaged on loading. I substituted 7.3-grain Air Arms Falcon pellets that fed perfectly through the tray.

On to the shooting
Let’s get right to today’s test. First, Mac tested the domed pellets at 25 yards.


Through the 10-shot magazine, 10 Falcon pellets made this 0.667-inch group at 25 yards. This is very good!


When the single-shot tray was used, 10 Falcon pellets made this 0.429-inch group at 25 yards. This is clearly better than the group made using magazine-fed pellets.

Mac tried the H&N Field Target pellets first, and they were very accurate, but a couple of them refused to feed through the magazine. But the Falcon pellets fed flawlessly, so we changed the test to use them as the domed pellet of choice. Once again, I want to say that in another magazine this pellet might have fed better, but this is a quirk you get with mags that you don’t get when loading singly.

Clearly the single-loaded pellets are more accurate than those loaded by the magazine. That may not hold from magazine to magazine; but for this one mag, you’re better off loading the pellets one at a time. Let’s see how the rifle does with wadcutters at 25 yards.


Using the magazine, 10 RWS R10 7.7-grain pellets (an obsolete weight for the R10) grouped in 0.484 inches at 25 yards. That’s great performance.


When each pellet was loaded singly, the R10s grouped 10 in 0.402 inches. This was the best group of the test!

The trend continued with the wadcutter pellets. The R10s grouped even tighter than the Falcons at 25 yards, and those that were loaded singly did much better than those that fed through the magazine.

What have we learned?
First, we’ve learned that some magazines do influence the accuracy of the gun with all ammunition — or at least with the pellet types used in this test. A different magazine might well give different results, but one thing it will never do is outshoot loading the pellets by hand, one at a time. As a 10-meter shooter, I knew this going into the test. But it was nice that we were able to demonstrate it so clearly.

Next, we see that wadcutters were more accurate than the domes in this test. Even though both pellets were very accurate, the wadcutters had the edge. That was the part that surprised me. I’d expected the domes to take over at 25 yards.

The bottom line
The Crosman MAR177 is a valuable addition to an AR and a wonderful target rifle in its own right. It was held back in this test by the use of an AR National Match trigger, which is by no means as good as a target trigger on an air rifle. Even so, we see accuracy that any 10-meter precision rifle would be proud of.

I think Crosman has made a winning rifle in the MAR177. And when they bring out more powerful versions of it in the future, it’ll be all the greater justification for owning an AR! My thanks to Crosman for the loan of this MAR177 for both this test and for the feature article I am writing for Shotgun News!

42 thoughts on “Crosman MAR177 test report: Part 6

  1. It’s great to see that wadcutters were still more accurate at 25yards and what accuracy this guns has!
    It’s really impressive and being a modular (can it be called that?) makes it even more amasing.

    Edith I think there’s a typo here: I’m not saying that all pellets have problems feeding pellets
    I’m not sure how pellets are supposed to feed pellets ;-) it’s probably mags feeding pellets.

    J-F


  2. You should look into some other AR-15 trigger groups. It may be that one of the others will give you more of what you are used to in a high end trigger.


    • Driften,

      No doubt there are many good triggers for the AR. But as I explained in an earlier post, I wanted to set up my lower with a National Match trigger that is legal in competition. Many of the better triggers aren’t legal under the rules. So I went with what works, rather than what I would have preferred.

      I did this to put myself in the position of an AR competitor who would also use the MAR177 for training. It may not be the best reason, but that’s what I did.

      B.B.


      • I totally agree with your reasonings from the first part of the review! I was just thinking now that is worked though you could see what the upper could really do with a better trigger. I have really enjoyed your work.


  3. This could almost make me run out and buy a black rifle. Not really, but if I owned one I would definitely put this on my Christmas wish list.


    • RR<

      I am also no fan of black rifles. But since Crosman has decided to go this route, I can’t ignore them any more. Now I find myself actually looking into firearm AR uppers!

      How the world can change in such a short time!

      B.B.


      • The world of uppers for the AR platform is huge. You can get crossbow uppers, .22lr uppers, 30 caliber uppers, and uppers that use the magazines and ammo from the FN P90 (5.7×28 if I remember correctly). Heck you can even get .50 BMG single shot uppers for it. I only have the .223 upper but had thought about the crosman upper you just reviewed. Its just great to be able to practice on a platform in the backyard. It may not be a traditional rifle but it sure is adaptable and only needs one FFL transaction which you have already done with the lower.



      • Okay, time for a companion test when you put a firearm upper on this gun and see what it does. It’s hard to dislike accuracy. I sense the black rifle might be starting to work on you.

        Matt61


        • Matt,

          I think I probably will report on any firearm upper I get, because it plays into the story.

          B.B.


      • I wasn’t real big on them either, but a couple of guys at work were always talking them up. So I got myself a Bushmaster XM15… and wound up liking the gun a lot.

        To the point where I recently bought a Chiappa .22LR upper for it… and I’m buying a 2nd lower… and so on…



        • Two of my buddies I shoot firearms with have ARs. One has a Bushmaster and one has a Rock River. After they got theirs peer pressure was high but I could never see the point in getting one since getting to the range was not easy therefore not frequent, and Pelletier rifles satisfied my precision shooting need. Now???? Things are lookin a bit different, ya know? Two worlds not so far apart are now at my trigger-finger tips.
          -Chuck


      • If you get a firearm upper. 5.56 NATO or .222 Remington. You can get a CMMG .22lr upper you can hit golf balls at 50 yards with it.


  4. Morning BB,

    I just looked through the first five parts of this test to see if you had commented on what barrel Crosman used for this rifle and was unable to find any mention within the blog. I didn’t review all the comments so perhaps it’s quicker this way to just ask you if this barrel was made by Crosman or if they bought someone else’s for this system, such as the L-W barrel?

    Fred DRPoNJ



      • No wonder why the rifle shoots so well. I was all set to compliment Crosman on making great barrels if it turned out to be an “in-house” unit.

        Fred DPRoNJ


      • I have a Crosman Challenger. It has a free floating loather walther barrel. as many shots as you want in one whole at 10m


  5. B.B. I’m looking forward to your article in Shotgun News. I take it from your comments Crosman has big plans for more AR style/compatible models in the future. Bub


    • Bub,

      They haven’t told me the details, but I imagine they are working on a Marauder-powered sporting upper in several calibers. It’s too obvious to miss.

      B.B.



  6. Thanks, B.B. and Mac, for giving this very interesting rifle so much attention.

    I’m yet another guy who is not a big fan of the black-rifle aesthetic, but still, this upper is almost enough to tempt me into an AR! I am neither a 10m shooter nor a service rifle competitor, but I have another possible application for the MAR177: tricking my kids into more shooting with Dad! My eight-year-old saw one of the earlier posts in this series over my shoulder, and right away said “That looks cool. You should get one of those!”

    As things stand now, I’ve inadvertently stumbled on a new firearms safety program for my children: give them near-unlimited access to supervised range time, and they lose all interest in the prospect. My kids are reasonably well trained in firearms safety and shooting (thanks in large part to B.B.’s articles on the subject!), but they are also militantly uninterested in guns and shooting! Sigh.

    PS, B.B., did you wind up having feed problems with the H&N Field Target pellets in both the magazine and the single-shot tray?

    Thanks,
    Jan


    • I guess it’s either there or it isn’t. I could shoot 24 hours a day. But you never know when the seed will sprout either. I left guns for 20 years. One thing you know for sure is that good firearms training is not easy to come by, so at least your kids have that in the bank.

      Matt61


      • I consider myself very lucky to have to very ardent shooting buddies…8 and 11 years old.
        Funny…if anything it was they who brought me back into the world of shooting that I left 20 years ago.
        And it all started with ‘A Christmas Story’.
        Saw it on the tube about 5 years ago and that’s all the (then 6) oldest wanted for Christmas. The next year the youngest had to have one and from there it progressed to pellet rifles/pistols and this year .22 rimfires.
        I think the thing that has kept them interested is that I try to make it very fun at home. Admittedly at the range there are very strict rules (as there should be) and it is very ‘target’ oriented.
        But at home, in the basement I have set up moving and reactive targets and they practice things like a tuck and roll and come up shooting. The only downside is that though I have put up fairly effective backstops my one wall is in dire need of mudding this summer…lots of b.b.’s embedded in the drywall ;-)
        Another thing that makes it a lot of fun for them is the range we are members of.
        It is perfect for kids!!
        It’s about an hours drive from our house. It has big bore, rimfire, pistol, shotgun and archery ranges…plus a trout stocked pond, plus a very nice overnight campsite. Often during the summer we head out on a Friday night, set up camp…are up at the crack of dawn to do a little fishing and then after lunch we head to the range.
        Just doesn’t get any better…all for $150/yr for a family membership.
        Wow…looking forward to the weekend all ready.


    • Jan.

      No the H&N Field Target pellets fed okay through the mag, but since we tested it with the Falcons single-shot we felt we had to test it in the mag the same way.

      B.B.


      • Aha. That’s the impression the early paragraphs give, but later, you say “Mac tried the H&N Field Target pellets first, and they were very accurate, but a couple of them refused to feed through the magazine.”

        My .177 Marauder magazines all have two-ish “tight” chambers. I used to go to the trouble of poking the pellets in when loading, but eventually I realized that I didn’t need to. Even though the pellets don’t drop completely into those chambers much of the time, they’re still deep enough that they don’t interfere with the clear plastic cover. I don’t think I’ve ever tested whether the tight chambers cause more inconsistency than the others.

        -Jan


  7. Somehow, I think those who are attracted to this type of rifle will not be eager to single-load the magazine…

    Matt61


  8. Inconsistent loading of these magazines must be common with Crosman. My .22 Marauder magazine has a similar inconsistency in that the first 5 pellets and # 9 & 10 drop right into the holes but 6-8 need a gentle nudge and then they’ll drop right in. However, the gentle nudge does not deform the pellet. At least, not on the way in and I haven’t noticed any anomaly on the target with shots 6-8.
    -Chuck


  9. Oops! In verifying my statement about the Marauder magazine loading, I decided to shoot a couple mags. I found out my new Crosman 852 target trap is not suited for the .22 Marauder. The pellets didn’t go all the way through the metal back but they almost did. They made large dents almost 1/4″ deep and I can’t dig the pellets out of the metal dents.

    Then I read the label on the back of the trap: 750fps .22 Read? We don need to stinkin read!

    My .177′s never even reached the metal backing as far as I can tell.

    -Chuck


    • That’s why they are so cheap. just buy a new one when pellets go through it. Just make sure you have a good backstop.


  10. AR’s are really great fun. I bought my first one in 1975. Back then, the only one out there was the Colt SP1 AR-15. I still have that one but I also now have a DPMS Panther Arms AR. The new DPMS is more accurate than the old Colt but the Colt just runs and runs. In 5.56/.223 they are cheap to shoot for a center fire and have very little recoil. What’s not to love!

    BTW, a new Colt AR-15 could be had for about $240.00 in 1975.

    Mike


  11. BB,

    I have had very good results using the H&N Baracuda pellets. My next pellet order from PA, I’m going to try the Field Target pellets, too.

    On another topic, do you have any suggestions where would I go to get a replacement recoil pad for an FWB 300S?

    Fred DPRoNJ


    • Fred,

      A replacement recoil pad for an FWB 300S will be a used part, or you might consider mounting a Morgan or Wegu adjustable pad to the gun. Those could both be purchased new and both adjust up and down like the original FWB pads.

      B.B.


      • Morgan it is. I hope that the pad that is/was on my 300S that I bought from Mac at Roanoke last year wasn’t put on by himself or yourself. At any rate, it’s off now. Lots of foam and glue on that baby :)

        Have a good weekend and enjoy the competition tomorrow.

        Fred DPRoNJ



          • Good because as I chiseled off the pad and insulating foam, sinister thoughts were passing through my mind along the lines of “how could anyone do this to such a great rifle”? And it is a marvelous piece of technology. I tell everyone who sees it that it was cutting edge technology back in the 60′s and an Olympic star (well a little exaggeration never hurt anyone).

            Fred DPRoNJ


  12. Wow! What a contrast between yesterdays rifle and today’s!
    We’ve gone from an underwater torpedo to a true example of air superiority!


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