by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, we’ll test the velocity of the .177-caliber Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle. This rifle has a Nitro Piston, which is Crosman’s gas spring, so it should be interesting. The advertised velocity is 1,200 f.p.s., which we must assume is with a lightweight, lead-free pellet.
Blog reader John asked me if the front sight base is on tight or does if it rotates around the barrel. The one on this rifle is firmly in place, but I thought it would be good to show you how the front sight base is attached to the rifle. It’s part of a synthetic sleeve that goes over the end of the barrel, and I assume it’s held in place by epoxy. That would be the most cost-effective method of doing it. John mentioned the possibility of a splined barrel and jacket, but that has a number of problems. It involves extra manufacturing steps (the cutting of the splines); plus, it runs the risk of being installed in a not-perfectly-straight orientation that would cause a lot of problems with sales and returns. Epoxy has none of those problems and costs very little.
The advertised cocking effort is 45 lbs. The test rifle cocks with 42 lbs. of effort as measured on my bathroom scale.
Crosman Premier heavy
The first pellet I tested was the 10.5-grain Crosman Premier heavy. Because this rifle comes in .177 caliber, I had a choice between these and the lighter 7.9-grain Premier lites. I chose the heavier pellets because of the rifle’s power potential; but as you’ll now see, that wasn’t necessary.
Premier heavys averaged 675 f.p.s. through this rifle. The first measured shot from the gun went 705 f.p.s.; but after that, nothing went faster than 681 f.p.s. with this pellet. I threw out the first shot and ran the string from the second shot forward. The high was 681 f.p.s., which happened at the beginning and near the end of the string. The low was 665 f.p.s on the final shot. The spread of shots in this string is 16 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet produces 10.63 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
Next, I tested the RWS Hobby pellet that’s used for all legitimate velocity comparisons. It’s not a super-lightweight pellet and is made of pure lead, so the lubricity in the bore is what you want in a diabolo pellet. In the test rifle, Hobbys averaged 866 f.p.s., which is a good velocity for accuracy but a little slow for a rifle that hopes to see 1,200 f.p.s. with super-lightweight pellets.
The spread for this pellet ranged from a low of 856 to a high of 872 f.p.s., for a spread of 16 f.p.s. At the average velocity, Hobbys produced 11.66 foot-pounds of energy.
I tested the H&N Baracuda Match next. Normally, a rifle shooting this slow would be considered too weak for Baracudas, but I thought their all-lead content might speed them ahead of the Premier Heavys that are hardened with antimony. And it did! In spite of being 1.15 grains heavier than the Premiers, Baracuda Match pellets averaged 685 f.p.s., which is 10 f.p.s. faster. The range went from 677 to 692 f.p.s., for a total spread of 14 f.p.s.
I think this pellet might surprise us with its accuracy. I certainly intend to include it in the test.
Crosman SSP hollowpoint
The final pellet I tested was the lead-free, super-lightweight Crosman SSP hollowpoint. If anything is going to go 1,200 f.p.s in this rifle, it’s this 4-grain pellet.
They averaged 1094 f.p.s. in the test rifle, but the velocity spread was huge! The slowest pellet went 1018 f.p.s., while the fastest went 1142 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 124 f.p.s. After seeing how this pellet did for accuracy in the Fusion, I’m temped not to test it in the MTR77NP; but if I do a 10-meter test to start with, I could risk it.
Now that I’ve had some more time to assess it, I can make a better report on the MTR77NP’s trigger. It’s a 2-stage pull that feels more like a single-stage pull that has some slack before it engages. Stage 2 is very long and has some creep, but not a lot. For you newer readers, trigger travel is when you can feel the blade move and creep is when it stops and starts (is gritty or jerky) throughout the movement. Movement by itself isn’t bad; but with too much creep, you never know what’s happening. The MTR77NP trigger is not too creepy for good trigger control.
Evaluation thus far
I remain optimistic about the MTR77NP. I like the fact that the velocity is not over the top. Perhaps that explains the slightly easier cocking effort of the test rifle. Whatever it is, it fits my idea of what an air rifle should be.
I’m not a fan of gas springs, but there have been a couple I really liked. The Benjamin Legacy and the Benjamin Trail NP with lower velocity are 2 rifles that satisfied my criterion for what a decent air rifle should have and be able to do. Will the NTR77NP follow in their footsteps? We shall see.