Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2

Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle
Crosman MTR77NP air rifle

Today, we’ll look at the first of 2 accuracy tests planned for the Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle. As you know, this rifle has no open sights; so, the first thing I did was mount the Centerpoint 4X32 scope that’s included with the gun. That went quick because the scope caps have 2 screws each, but there was no slippage of the scope in the rings during this test.

The scope is very bright as you would expect a 4X scope to be, but at the 10-meter distance I shot in this test, it was fuzzy. The parallax is fixed for a further distance that isn’t indicated on the scope. I can tell from examination that it’s set farther than 25 yards.

I’m testing at 10 meters today and will take the best pellets into the next test, which will be at 25 yards. The first pellet up was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier. You will remember from the velocity test that the test rifle shoots considerably slower than its advertised velocity of 1,000 f.p.s. with lead pellets. It went an average of 866 f.p.s. with 7-grain RWS Hobbys.

I discovered that the rifle is shooting low, even with the scope adjusted up high. For the next test, I’ll shim the rear scope ring. That should raise the pellet up far enough.

Crosman Premier lites
At 10 meters, 10 Premier lite pellets made a group that measures 0.721 inches between centers. The group has a main group of 8 pellets within it and 2 flyers, though there were no shots that were pulled. This is a case where a better scope might do better on target because the image was so fuzzy that I might have been off the aim point by 1/8 inch at times.

Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle Premier lite group
Ten Premier lites went into 0.721 inches at 10 meters. The 2 flyers were not called.

Firing behavior
The MTR77NP fires with a solid thump. There’s no vibration, and the shot cycle is very quick. The recoil through the butt isn’t sharp the way it is on many gas-spring air rifles. And the A2 stock seems to be ideal for handling the recoil of this rifle without stinging your cheek.

Trigger-pull
Now that I’ve shot the gun for accuracy, I can tell you the trigger-pull is very long in stage 2. The pull length of stage 2 is supposed to be adjustable, but I turned in the screw about 7 full turns and nothing changed. It feels like a placebo screw; or if it does adjust anything, the effect is very small.

H&N Baracuda Match
The next pellet I tested was the heavy H&N Baracuda Match. This pellet showed some promise in the velocity test, and I thought it might do well in this rifle. Ten of them went into a group that measured 0.982 inches between centers. Like the Premier lite, there were flyers outside the main group, though I did not see them when shooting. I’m beginning to think that the next test needs to be conducted with a different scope.

Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle H&N Baracuda Match group
Ten Baracuda Match went into 0.982 inches at 10 meters. Two flyers in this group, as well.

The scope mounts had loosened by this point in the test. The rings remained tight, but the screws that attach the rings to the base on the rifle loosened up. I tightened them and also checked them after every 5 shots from this point on.

RWS Hobby
Next, I tried 10 RWS Hobby pellets. They went much lower and also to the left. They actually missed the target paper. The group was round and measured 0.826 inches between centers.

Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle RWS Hobby group
Ten RWS Hobby pellets went into 0.826 inches at 10 meters. This group is quite round, which is a good thing. It dropped below the target paper.

Crosman SSP Hollowpoint
I did check the Crosman SSP hollowpoint that was the lead-free pellet I tested in the velocity test, but after 2 pellets missed the target backer altogether, I stopped shooting. Not the pellet for this rifle.

JSB Exact Express
The last pellet I tested was the 7.87-grain JSB Exact Express dome. I haven’t had much luck with this pellet in the past, but I keep trying it just in case. Alas, the MTR77NP doesn’t like it, either. Ten pellets went into a vertical 1.661 inches at 10 meters. Another pellet to not use in this rifle.

Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle JSB Exact Express group
Ten JSB Exact Express pellets went into 1.661 inches at 10 meters. Obviously, not a pellet for the MTR77NP.

Evaluation so far
I like the way the rifle feels when it fires. It has good power and a solid thump when it fires. The trigger-pull is long but not too creepy.

The scope leaves a lot to be desired. I think I’ll replace it with a Bug Buster 3-9X scope for the next test, and I’ll shim the rear scope ring before mounting it on the rifle. That should give the rifle the best chance to do well at 25 yards.

Obviously, the pellets to try are the Crosman Premier lite, the H&N Baracuda and the RWS Hobby. The Hobbys will be at their maximum recommended distance, but they may surprise us.

If you like black rifles and have been considering the MTR77NP, I think it’s worth a look. We’ll know better after the next test.

28 Responses to “Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle: Part 3”

  • G&G Says:

    These groups are actually very poor at 10 meters. Any real reason to think they’ll get smaller at 25 yds? I don’t know, but I would say it doesn’t look good for this rifle. We’ll see for certain at 25 yds. It’s kind of a shame for I really like the looks of this gun.

    G&G

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      G&G,

      I have seen groups improve as the distance increases. I don’t know if that will happen with this rifle, though.

      We’ll see.

      B.B.

  • Kevin Wilmeth Says:

    I look forward to seeing how that particular Bug Buster does on this rifle. I’m wondering if it would be worth putting that scope on a flattop AR firearm in the usual 5.56 / .223 chambering. Traditionally I’ve always gone to Leupold for my riflescopes, but that’s been as much habit as anything. The Bug Buster seems to be pretty well regarded from what I can tell, and if folks think it would hold up, I’m intrigued to try it out.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Kevin,

      The Bug Buster is a purpose-built scope. It’s strong suit is the ability to focus down to 9 feet. While it has good optics, it isn’t in the same class as a longer UTG scope. You could consider it to be about the equal of a Leupold Vari X II, but not as clear and sharp as a Vari X III.

      You would get it for an AR for the size, only. Of that’s what you want, the Bug Buster is the best thing going.

      B.B.

      • Kevin Wilmeth Says:

        “You could consider it to be about the equal of a Leupold Vari X II, but not as clear and sharp as a Vari X III.”

        Thank you for that. That is exactly the sort of comparison that I can wrap my head around.

        I am indeed taken at least in part by the compact size, and agree that the raison d’etre of the Bug Buster (the ability to close focus) would seem to be of limited value on a multipurpose carbine. But with me there’s always a reason, even if it’s flawed. :-) The truth is, I’m still new to airguns, and still reasonably new to the AR platform in general (in general I’m much more a Steyr Scout and M14 kind of guy), and I’m thinking through options. The Bug Buster 3-9 seems to be a very nice blend of value-for-money, small size, light weight, and general-purpose-friendly optics and operation. If it is all that and also reasonably durable/dependable, it seems like a good glass to have in the rotation. That it might also be a friendly swap between firearms and airguns would be quite a bit of extra icing for someone who doesn’t yet know just exactly what he wants to do with his AR, or with future airguns. (To wit: I could easily see the AR firearm wearing the Bug Buster until I figure out “the right answer” for what I intend to do, at which point the Bug Buster can be repurposed to a suitable airgun, where that close-focus ability will get used more heavily.)

        At any rate, again: the comparison of optical quality is much appreciated, especially from someone who clearly knows a great deal more about optics than I do. One of the many reasons I’m here!

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Kevin,

          Thanks for telling me where you are in both your airgun and firearm journeys. That really helps me answer your questions.

          The Bug Buster’s compact size is a big advantage, as is the close focus.

          The big downsides of the scope are that the scope tube is very short, so you really need 2-piece rings to properly position it — or a 1-piece set that has been built especially for the Bug Buster.

          The other problem is getting the eyepiece close enough to your eye to see the whole image. However, the flattop AR or this air rifle, are ideal for positioning, because of the Picatinny cross notches. They allow you to position the scope in small back-and-forth increments.

          With the high line of the A2 stock, the high rings provided with the UTG Bug Buster should prove ideal. I will report on that specifically when I test the gun at 25 yards.

          B.B.

          • Bub Says:

            B.B.

            I’ve been looking at leupold’s rimfire scopes, which are vx1 and vx2 models. They seem ok. However based on what you indicate above there are as good or better quality options out there at better values. I don’t want some heavy scope weighting down a rimfire, can you point me in the right direction?

            Thanks, Bub

            • B.B. Pelletier Says:

              Bub,

              I don’t know the Vari-X I models at all, but the Vari-X II Leupolds are very ordinary optics. They aren’t especially bright, not are the optics as sharp as the Vari-X III.

              The midrange and top range UTG scopes are brighter and sharper than the Vari-X II scopes, for the most part. The Hawke 4.5-14 scope is much like a Vari-X III.

              B.B.

      • Michael Says:

        With the scope mounted that high, it would be useless to even try to use it at 9 feet! Better off looking down the side of the barrel at that point. Simple marketing gimmick.

  • Kevin Wilmeth Says:

    One other question, B.B. My own interest in this MTR77NP waned significantly on noting the design of the safety, which certainly seems to be a standard for breakbarrels, but is nothing at all like the AR design. If you’ll forgive me the unsolicited opinion: boo! (I rather liked the idea of using the rifle not only for hunting, but also as a training tool for precision single shots. But not without a safety that works the same way–that’s an instant deal-breaker, for a training tool. And frankly, I simply do not understand the logic of safeties which operate inside the trigger guard–not even on the otherwise magnificent M1/M14.)

    But, my own preferences aside, the question did occur to me: do you know why it is that we’d see such a choice here from Crosman? Are we looking principally at a choice of economics–maybe it’s just much cheaper to use the common safety design rather than try to tap into the AR’s “native” ergonomics? Or is it something else?

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Kevin,

      Yes, the AR safety is ideally located. That said, it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to create such a safety on a spring-piston air rifle. It has never been done.

      The safety has to be tied into the design of the gun. The safety on the MTR77NP is similar to the Gamo trigger safety that was first offered about 20 years ago, though this one certainly is smoother and works better. It is tied into the design of the trigger and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

      The closest that any spring piston safety has come to the AR design is the safety found on the Chinese Fast Deer rifle. And it is only an approximation.

      B.B.

      • Kevin Wilmeth Says:

        Thank you for the clarification. Not surprising, I guess. Design limitations are what they are, and I can respect that tooling changes might be an effort out of all proportion to the resultant value.

        It might amuse you to hear, then, that this makes me appreciate the design of the Air Venturi Bronco all the more. (It was following this blog that convinced me to start with the Bronco, and I have been deliriously happy with that decision ever since.) Now that is a safety design I can train with! :-)

  • RidgeRunner Says:

    If you are obsessed with the Mattelomatic and don’t care about the trigger pull or accuracy, then this might be worth a look. I guess the marketeers figure there are enough out there who will buy it just because of the looks that it will not matter how good it is. After all, most real Mattelomatics are not sniper grade rifles either.

    I guess I cannot afford to be too critical of black rifles though. I do own a Talon SS.

  • Gunfun1 Says:

    I think when a sharper focused scope gets on the gun it will be better.

    Also how thick is the reticle in the Centerpoint scope? The reticle that is in the Hawke scope on the FX Monsoon I got is so fine that it looks like a piece of hair strung across the eye sight.

    I believe that is why your groups were a little big. The good sign is when you get the groups that are rounded. And that one group that goes vertical. I guess that’s caused by the gun recoiling different with that pellet?

    Does the Bug buster have a finer reticle than the Centerpoint? I think that will help the groups if it does. And I’m sure the Bug buster will get focused at 10 meters even on the highest power setting of the scope.

    I think the groups will shrink the next time you take it out if you get the Bug buster on it.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      GF1,

      The scope on the MTR77NP is thin, certainly thinner than the Bug Buster reticle. But the image isn’t clear, so the thin reticle is lost.

      B.B.

      • Gunfun1 Says:

        BB
        With that point you brought up about the reticle being lost did have something to do with the groups then I suppose.
        Hard to get a pin point aim if you cant see your object.

        Any way next time out will show something.

    • RidgeRunner Says:

      I would not get my hopes up too high for this sproinger.

  • John Says:

    From what I’m seeing not quite all the rifle promised to be. I bet it would be much better if it was not chinese built.

    • RidgeRunner Says:

      It would also cost about 3 to 4 times as much. You get what you pay for. This thing is marketed to the newbies who have not learned that unless you shuck out the bucks, you are not likely to get anything worth having.

      • John Says:

        Not really. They outsource to a Chinese factory which pays people pennies per piece using the cheapest materials possible and they do not do quality control on the other side of the world then have to ship them all the way here which costs quite a bit of money. Then of course there is tariffs, customs fees ect. If they were to make them here they’d have control of quality, not have to pay to freight them into the country, not have all the fees and tariffs etc. They could make them here for roughly the same price and we’d get better quality products. I researched this. If anything we might see these guns for a little bit more, but the quality would be there and more Americans would find jobs making these things. Then I wouldn’t have an issue with the guns. The big issue is this is an American company selling our jobs to people on the other side of the planet that could care less if they make the product with some standards of quality. I’ve seen proof of this time after time from chinese guns that fall apart in my hands to shoes that fall apart when I’m wearing them to a chinese made bike trailer that was all slapped together any old way that couldn’t even be assembled because it was such poor quality. I simply want good quality that is safe to use and lasts.

        • cowboystar dad Says:

          I think John’s right on this one.
          Once you get into any degree of quality (I’m not talking about the obvious crap that does come from China), I think the monetary savings aren’t as great as many think.
          At $150 this thing is 1/2 the price of an Avanti 853. German Lothar barrel, put together and inspected in the US (there may very well be some parts sourced from China).
          Looks aside…if you really want it to look like an AR I quess you’re stuck…I’d rather put my money into something like the 853 which is dead nuts accurate, well made and is proven to be capable of lasing 100000 shots.

          • John Says:

            Point is Crosman haned over all control to the chinese to build something and put the crosman name on it. Time and again the chinese prove they do not care about quality and it always shows. This has potential to be an excellent and very popular gun. AR platform guns are the most popular style in America. But if the thing can’t do the job and hit a target accurately, people will take their money elsewhere. So did Crosman save anything by selling out to the chinese? Probably not since poor quality is going to hurt the company name. I was jazzed about this gun until chinese guns started falling apart in my hands and popping springs in my face. Now I won’t use a chinese gun. Reason, lack of quality.

        • RidgeRunner Says:

          Yes, more and more companies that outsourced our jobs are finding out that the cost of oversight, shipping and poor quality is costing more than it is worth. Slowly, but surely they are starting to bring the jobs back home.

          It may cost a little more to build them here, but I would be more likely to buy it if it said “Made In USA” on it. I have no love whatsoever for Wang Po Industries.

          • John Says:

            I have the money to spend on whatever gun I decide I want. So I can afford to be picky now and go for quality over price. So I sit and watch various reviews from several trusted sources and so far this gun is failing in several areas to convince me I want this. That’s a shame because I’m a Crosman fan. I was raised on Crosman. I’ll put up with a few minor parts made in china, but not the entire thing.

  • Matt61 Says:

    Yes, I was going to recommend the Bug Buster for its outstanding ability to focus up close which I enjoy all the time. I thought the 10 meter sight in distance was for the purpose of hitting the paper. I don’t know exactly what the set up is here but to miss the paper completely is a little alarming.

    Matt61

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Matt,

      The rifle missed the paper because it was shooting low. The fix is simple — just shim under the rear scope ring. We do that for plenty of other guns — why would this one be different?

      B.B.

  • Patrick S Says:

    I’ll probably wait for a more refined version to come out hopefully in .22, however I think the Bushnell scope that came with my RWS Diana Meisterschutze 3-9x40mm would be excellent. I’ve fired lots of pellets and not lost my zero. Mr. BB Pelletier I think trying the Meisterkugeln .177 RWS might make for good results. While they would not be fast, they might be consistent! Good review!

  • Back_Roads Says:

    I was ready to stop shooting the rifle, not the pellets , after trying all aiming devices, and high n low quility pellets that have been mentioned with similar scopes and open sights, i finally ordered a dot sight from China for $10. – $20 shipping , it looks good on the rifle and doesnt leave me dissapointed when im not right on target. @ 20 yards the dot is close to the 2.5″ grropings i get 50% of the time :) . The MTR is an ok plinker for close range “fun @ parties” lol .

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