Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle
Crosman MTR77NP air rifle

With the Christmas season approaching, I’m on the fast track to test several new airguns this month. Today, I want to begin our look at the Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle. It’s a .177-caliber -only copy of the M16. When I saw this one at the 2013 SHOT Show, I couldn’t believe my eyes! I actually had to break it down to prove it was a breakbarrel spring rifle because the M16 look is so authentic. But for a couple small clues, you would say the same thing.

And now that I own an AR-15, I’m no longer the barnyard Bubba whose last recollection of a military rifle is a Garand or a Mauser. I know what a black rifle looks and feels like, and I tell you — Crosman has nailed it with this one. And, when the barrel is closed, it’s just as solid as the firearm it copies. But the one thing I could not do at the show was cock the gun because the SHOT Show doesn’t allow firearms or airguns that are capable of firing to be displayed. So, the spring unit was out of the gun on display. I’ve been waiting all year for the opportunity that is now before us.

Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle barrel broken
And here it is, broken open during cocking.

Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle breech access
The top of the handguard has a slot that gives access to the breech when the barrel’s broken open.

Before I continue, let me tell you this rifle comes in 2 versions — one is the flattop scoped version that I’m now testing, and the other is a version with a carry handle and conventional M16 sights (peep and post). That one is just $10 less than the scoped model, and both of them have Crosman’s Nitro Piston (gas spring) for their powerplant.

This rifle is most like the M16A1 that I remember from my days of “owning” several in Germany. The stock is the triangular A2 that I prefer over all others. Crosman missed an opportunity by not putting a storage compartment in the butt like a real A2 stock has — this one has a solid checkered plate. The handguard is the web-reinforced, tapered cylinder that grips your hand so well — even when wearing gloves! Naturally it has a cocking slot on the bottom and a slot on the top to allow access to the breech when the barrel is broken open. But you can’t see either one from more than 10 feet when looking at the profile.

Not only is the look right on, but the weight is, too. The rifle weighs 7 lbs. on the money without the scope, so you can’t tell it from the firearm. Most of the controls such as the selector switch, charging handle, ejection port cover and bolt release are simply cast into the synthetic receiver, but these days that doesn’t detract much. They still look very realistic. The forward assist is more of a hint than an actual copy, but you don’t pick up on it because of the rifle’s non-reflective finish.

Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle receiver
The controls are mostly cast in, but look realistic.

The one thing that’s different is the safety switch that’s located ahead of the trigger. It’s a MANUAL safety — thank you very much, Crosman! You decide when to put it on and take it off.

They advertise the cocking effort at 45 lbs., which seems pretty close to what I’m experiencing. This is a gas spring, so you can expect that resistance from the moment the barrel is broken open. That makes the MTR77NP an adult’s rifle, for sure, and the adult had better be ready to work!

One thing I admire about Crosman that hasn’t changed over the years is their institutional memory. They have a morgue of airguns. It’s really a large closet filled with many of their old models, prototypes and some other guns, as well. But it allows them to look at the past and choose what was good for their future endeavors. On this rifle, it was the magazine. They copied the M1 Carbine BB gun magazine that was a removable container for BBs; only on the MTR77NP, it’s for pellets and it’s much larger. Of course, the rifle’s magazine release button is fully functional.

Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle magazine
The magazine provides storage for pellets.

The rifle comes with sling swivels built in, which is probably good, for many hunters may reach for this rifle. Given its potential power, which is rated to 1,200 f.p.s., I think it could be a great hunting gun if the gun is also accurate. Remember, you can leave a gas spring cocked for hours without degradation.

Scope
This rifle has no sights, so of course it comes with a Centerpoint 4X32 scope and mounts. The scope appears clear and bright upon initial examination, but I’ll give you a more detailed report when I test the gun for accuracy. It has a duplex reticle with mil-dots.

It also comes with scope rings. But unlike the photo that’s lithographed on the box, the rings have 2 screws per cap instead of 4. And everything clamps to a 1913 Picatinny rail that will accept Weaver mounts, as well.

Initial reaction
Of course, I tried the gun. I cocked and fired it a couple times just to familiarize myself with its operation. The Nitro Piston causes a heavy lunge forward on firing, but there’s very little vibration. The report is a bit louder than many powerful spring rifles. That may be due to the gas spring that always sounds a little snappier than rifles that have coiled steel springs.

The 2-stage trigger is crisper than most, though stage 2 does have some travel. But there’s very little creep in the movement. I believe I can do good work with this rifle.

This should be a fun gun to test because it’s so different from the rest of them. It’s a blend of the good old days of lookalike airguns and modern magnums. Let’s hope they chose the best of both worlds!

40 thoughts on “Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle: Part 1

  1. OOooo! I have been waiting for this one.

    “I’m no longer the barnyard Bubba whose last recollection of a military rifle is a Garand or a Mauser.” As always, your modesty is endearing, but I happen to know that you are young enough to have experienced the M16s, with all their shortcomings back in the day, hence your skepticism. So cut it out.

    As you stated Crosman really should have included a storage compartment in the butt of the gun. It would have been the perfect place to store extra peanut butter. Luckily the magazine will store enough for most of my excursions.

    I am looking forward to the accuracy test. For now, my biggest question is what kind of plastic is it made out of? Is it a high quality polymer like in the IZH60/61? Or is it more like the injection molded plastic in the M4-177?

    Do work!


    • SL,

      What I meant by that remark is I DO know about the M16, but I have forgiven the Army for buying it, because they have evolved it into something that works.

      The plastic used in this gun appears to be the real deal. It’s heavy and feels tough. That’s as much as I can tell you right now. This is not a light weight like their AIR17.

      B.B.



  2. BB,
    You failed to mention such with the exception of the 1200 FPS hint, but this only comes in .177 at least for now. Yeah, and I guess Crosman’s alphanumeric name gives a clue also. Never mind, it is just too early in the morning for my intelligence to function properly.

    What Crosman rifle is this based on anywho? I might have to check one of them out if the trigger is almost usable as you say.


    • RR,

      You know as much as I do, right now. But this rifle has a very good feel to it, and I think it’s going to surprise us.

      And I will edit the txt to include the .177 caliber, because I meant to put that in.

      Thanks!

      B.B.


      • Digging around I think this is based on the Vantage / Venom rifles. If this one proves decent, I may consider a Venom with a GRT III upgrade.


        • Howdy RR, having just put Mr. Nasty, my Nitro Venom Dusk back together w/a new barrel, can tell ya that the barrel on the MTR looks the same. Breech lock up, seal, breech block, pivot screw location all look the same in Mr.BB’s pics. Shoot/ride safe.
          Beaz


          • The Dusk is one I am thinking of. I know that the trigger can stand an upgrade, but how would you rate the Venom as far as overall quality?


  3. Nice gun. Unfortunately all replicas are banned in my neck of the woods so now I am like the kid with his face pressed up against the glass at the candy store.
    sad story about the kid in California who was shot by police as he was carrying a replica AK47. Hope nothing like that ever happens with this gun.

    Pete


    • Indeed a sad story about that California kid.

      I’ve never been to a public firearms training class, having spent my entire career in law enforcement. But I would recommend that folks who teach their kids (or anyone else) how to shoot, how to handle a gun (powder burner, airsoft, airgun, or toy), that they also include the following:

      If you are in possession of anything that resembles a weapon, and are approached by the police, DROP IT! Do not try to explain it’s only a toy–do that later. And, do everything the officer tells you to do–without argument.

      That being said, I love the SBR’s (Scarey Black Rifles, got that from someone in here). I got a MTR77NPC, the one with the carry handle, shortly after Crosman released them to the public. Man, that thing is a bear to cock! But, it is fairly accurate and holds well in the hands. It’s definitely not an all day shooter, but I can see where it might be a good hunter’s gun. It’ll be interesting to read B.B.’s report on it here.


      • chasblock,

        The problem is that many parents aren’t teaching their kids anything. If they don’t learn it in school or from their friends or on the internet, they’re figuring it out on their own. Sometimes, that doesn’t work out so well.

        I’ve been in a store more than once when I’ve seen a young boy accompanied by someone who looks about 18 years old (probably a brother), and it’s obvious they’re buying an airgun for the younger boy. Parents probably aren’t involved and may not even know their kids now have airguns or airsoft guns. I wonder if the parents of the youngster who was shot even knew the boy had a gun.

        Edith


        • From what I’ve been able to find on this last week the gun wasn’t his, it was his friends gun and he was on his way to give it back to him.
          The cops had a marked car and were in uniform, they use their flashing lights and the siren, they ordered the kid to drop the gun from behind the open doors of their cruiser with guns drawn. He didn’t obey, the cops feared for their lives he didn’t feared for his, they defended themselves. I would have done the same thing, everyone would have done the same thing.

          I was reading a friend of a friend comment who used to live in that neighborhood and was saying that it’s not uncommon for kids his age to actually carry firearm and use them.

          Bottom line is when your life is in danger you shouldn’t take chances. That poor kid took a chance and lost, the cops didn’t want to take a chance with their lives and no one can blame them for it.

          J-F


      • Yes, from what I read, the kid did not the drop the gun when ordered but turned around so that the muzzle, absent any identifying orange mark, was swinging towards the police. You could have the same problem with this gun which is completely identical to the original.

        Matt61


  4. BB,
    Can you order the reduced power nitro-piston from Crosman and would it be difficult to install to make this a nice medium powered springer?

    David Enoch


    • David,

      I don’t know. But since any gas spring can be regulated by the fill pressure, I guess it is possible. I doubt Crosman will see the wisdom in it, as there are probably only a few hundred of us who would like such a thing.

      This might make a good question to ask their Custom Shop.

      B.B.


    • David,
      On the topic of reduced power. I purchased a reduced power gas spring from Crosman for my Titan GP. It reduced the velocity by about 25%. I was shooting 8.5g .177 pellets at about 720fps after I changed the gas spring. The Crosman number that I got was BT5M22-00-1 and it cost 26 plus shipping.



    • Good question, NNJM. The pistol grip always draws attention but you also have to have a bayonet lug, an adjustable stock and a flash supressor to be considered illegal in the Democratik People’s Republik of New Jersey. Of course, it’s still considered a firearm and one must have a NJ Firearms ID card to purchase – or to own. Because of that, no mailorder to the house allowed – must go to an FFL holder. Plus, the FFL holder must then call the NJ State Police storm troopers to do our own instant check. Well, I have less than 2 years baefore retirement and then I expect to be living in the South where things are a bit friendlier, say within 3 years.

      Fred DPRoNJ


  5. Oh, here’s a new one for everyone. We’ve always discussed the pre-check for spring piston air rifles before shooting – stock screws, scope screws, scope rings for tightness but the other week, I discovered a new item. I was shooting my FWB 124 at the range during a .22 rifle competition with iron sights and the FWB refused to hold POI. It was moving all over the target. I checked screws, tightened the stock screws, tighted the rear sight but no help. When I got home I discovered that the hooded front sight that takes different inserts, was loose. Not only that, the Diana insert I had put in didn’t exactly fit the FWB sight. The FWB holder has a ring machined interally that the sight fits perfectly into and is then screezed tightly by the knurled screw on the sight. The Diana sight is just slightly offsize than the FWB sight holder. Because of this, the front insert didn’t fit into that machined internal ring and was free to move around. When I replaced it with the FWB insert, all was well. Go figure!

    Fred DPRoNJ



  6. I’ve seen a few videos on this rifle that have made me rethink how much I want it. The problem seems that the plastic that makes up the barrel isn’t very well attached and will move which throws off the front sight which makes the gun inaccurate. Would you check out the barrel. If it is that flimsy I will steer clear of this gun. If it’s solid I might think of putting this chinese made sell out in my gun rack for display purposes only. But I don’t want it if it’s in any way the typical chinese trash that china foists off on us.


    • John,

      There is no way for me to see the barrel’s profile because it is entirely covered. All I can do is do a good accuracy test and you can make up your mind from that.

      As much as I can see, the rifle is made very well. It looks and feels quite rugged. That’s as good as I can do.

      B.B.


      • You can see the part that counts. Grab the barrel and give it a twist. Observe the part the front sight goes on. If you see it rotate around the barrel this shows me what I want to know. If that front sight mount moves when you twist the barrel then the gun isn’t worth my money. From what I have seen in videos the plastic barrel sleeve is press fit on splines instead of pinned or glued on


  7. Some general questions concerning gas pistons.

    Am I correct in my assumption that a gas piston will supply the same amount of force along the entire length of compression and if this is so, can a gas piston then be installed in an air gun with little or no compression as long as it has a long enough stroke for that air gun? I am also operating on the assumption that the gas piston is of “equivalent” force as that of the spring.



    • RR,

      Yes, you can install one that is equivalent but doesn’t require much compression if it fits the trigger lockup, chamber, etc. (unless you want to do other, major mods, in which case you might as well buy a different gun…). The gas spring supplies more consistent force throughout its travel. It’s not exactly the same, but not starting off light and building the farther it’s compressed like a steel spring does. The gas spring starts out with most of its rated power right from the start and doesn’t increase much through its travel.

      /Dave


      • Yes, you do have to assume it will fit. My thinking is with most sproingers, the spring is compressed considerably, even at rest. Would replacing this compressed spring with a gas piston that has little or know compression at rest yield satisfactory results?


        • You’re not talking about an uncharged piston are you? A gas piston is never at rest due to the initial pressure required to compress the air ahead of the piston and friction when it’s fired. Fully extended just means it is at its extended mechanical stop. If by a piston at rest you mean fully extended, I think it’ll be at least as fast if not faster.


  8. Looks pretty cool, and the imitation is preserved right until you cock the gun… I thought it was the A1 that had the triangular handguard and the A2 that introduced the circular one. I remember the A1 well from a 70′s shows called SWAT whose opening montage featured people pulling their M-16s off a gun rack in succession during an emergency. I believe I also saw it in some movie about sniper at football game. SWAT was trying to take down the guy secretly without causing mass panic, and one team member, a real potty mouth with his cap turned backwards was drawing a bead on the sniper with his A1. I don’t know what he was expecting to hit.

    B.B., what’s to surprise about Tyrolean? There are a ton of things I don’t know. Let me make that clear now… :-) Remembering the suspenders and the mountaineering gear, isn’t this region mountainous? And weren’t the Tyrolean rifles–notwithstanding the zimmerstutzen–developed for long range accuracy–from one ridge to the next–in the same way that the fighting in Afghanistan has put a stress on the same thing?

    Titus, yes, I’m zonked on the accuracy of pellet guns and my airsoft collection has languished for that reason. What gets me about the Makarov is the relatively high accuracy of this bb gun. That should carry it over the threshold for what I have in mind which is to practice instinct shooting and action pistol shooting, arts in their own rights. I suspect most guns are probably adequate for this. You should read about Lucky McDaniel, the inventor of instinct shooting who could hit just about any thrown object with his bb gun. Sometimes, he would save money by loading his gun with a match and hit the target anyway. He said that nothing can beat God’s sighting system which is the eye and the mind (the Jaws of the Subconscious). His book makes for some interesting reading. It is a sort of a tour de force of redneck shooting in all of its jury-rigged genius.

    John, what is Endgame about? It sounds like my kind of movie. Perhaps the movie is actually representing a higher truth of combat about how the everything falls apart in action under the fog of war. The Forgotten Soldier describes the soldier’s eye view of what apparently was the Battle of Kursk. Here is, by some accounts, the ultimate tank battle in world history between some of the most destructive armies ever, operating more-or-less at their peak. What he describes is the elite German troops running around in a complete panic, some extremely gross things that he says “can scarcely be imagined”, and screaming that he says would be assigned to heroes or madmen afterwards depending on how the battle turned out. There was another night action which he described as so confusing that he felt like a spaceman who didn’t know which way was up or down. Maybe Endgame is onto something. Speaking of combat, I see that the Russians are coming out with their own movie version of Stalingrad which is a big hit in Chinese theaters. It doesn’t appear to have the special effects of Private Ryan, but it does look pretty intense. Probably too much for me. I’m fascinated by this historical event, but I don’t think I’m up for experiencing anything that approaches the real thing as this looks to do.

    I like films about aliens who can get nuked and blown up without any compunction. But it does present a problem how any civilization advanced enough to travel through space would find us any challenge at all. This was particularly evident in the Battleship movie where the aliens were turned back by a salvo from the U.S.S. Missouri. There was a novel I was reading about how humans were fighting aliens who were a little more advanced in their study of relativity and knew what the humans were planning before they did. That would be a problem, but nothing that human ingenuity couldn’t ultimately solve.

    Matt61


  9. BB Pelletier, I appreciate info on the Crosman M16A4 clone, It looks cool and if it should be accurate would be a good trainer in it’s aesthetics. However I would like to see a AK47, Famas, Sig 556 and more clones in the pellet rifle area. I know there are airsoft versions of these, but I own the Sig 556 rifle, and a Saiga 7.62×39. I believe these would be great for familiarization before shooting the actual firearm. Crosman M16 is a great start. Hopefully other firearms can be copied in the future. I have used actual M16A2: Pros are it’s accuracy, weight, and aesthetics. Cons are DGI system which fouls quickly, and 556 round is lacking in power compared to 7.62×39 and 6.8 Remington. Honestly I would have rather used a 9mm when I was deployed in Iraq. Thank you for info.


  10. i got to thinking about this gun all day today. Since I have an actual stripped AR lower here that I just finished machining today that I didn’t really know what to do with ( I couldn’t resist the $75.00 price), It seems like the pcp upper will be a better deal for me. I just don’t think I can trust a cheaply made chinese outsourced gun. I’m still pretty mad about the last break barrel chinese gun that threw parts of the barrel in my face the first time I tried to use it. I think I’ll be happier with the MAR177 on a custom built all american made lower. I’ll have to save up and go for what sounds like a better quality thing.


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