by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Here’s an air rifle I’ve been waiting to test since this year’s SHOT Show last January, and now it’s Christmas Eve and I’m just getting started. Where do the days go?
There are 3 versions of the Crosman MK-177 multi-pump pneumatic. The one I’m testing is dark earth-colored with non-optical sights. There’s also a black version with non-optical sights and a dark-earth-colored kit gun that’s packaged with a dot sight instead of the non-optical sights. All 3 variations are pneumatic versions of FN’s Special Operations Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) in Close Quarters Combat dress.
This is both a pellet repeater and a BB repeater; and, yes, the barrel is rifled. Pellets are fed from a plastic 5-shot harmonica-style clip that’s inserted on the right side of the receiver. BBs are fed from an internal reservoir that holds up to 300. To shoot pellets, the rifle must not have BBs in it, or a jam might result. So, it’s one type of ammunition or the other. Not both at the same time.
I will shoot the rifle with both BBs and pellets, but it’s the pellets that I’m most interested in. They offer the opportunity for accuracy, and I hope the rifle delivers on that promise!
BBs go into an internal reservoir through a covered hole located on the right side of the breech. Then, a sliding switch on the right side of the receiver is pushed forward, and the rifle is pointed straight down and shaken from side to side. This fills a small visible BB magazine that works by gravity.
The gravity-feed BB magazine is on the right side of the receiver. Push the black switch forward and shake the rifle side-to-side with the muzzle pointed down to fill this magazine from the internal BB reservoir. The BBs are visible through the slots cut in the receiver.
The 5-shot pellet clip is just a carrier. It stops in place for each pellet to be pushed into the breech by the bolt. Once the last shot has been fired, a light push in from the right ejects it out the left side of the receiver. Be careful outdoors, or you’ll lose the small clip when it pops out. Any time you want to unload the rifle, you can just pull the clip back out or push it through — nothing prevents it from moving.
Speaking of the bolt, the handle is located on the left side of the gun. This accommodates right-handed shooters best because your off-hand is free to work the bolt. In reality, it makes no difference since the gun must be pumped for each shot, which means it has to be manipulated anyway.
The forearm is the pump lever, and the rifle uses a short-stroke pump similar to Crosman’s 760 Pumpmaster. Pump the gun from 3 to 10 times maximum, depending on what you’re shooting. The pump strokes are light and easy, but the forearm/pump handle sticks a little when its stored. That may change as the gun breaks in.
I intentionally asked to test the rifle with open sights, and am I ever glad that I did. I thought the sights would be plastic like the rest of the gun, but they’re both made from aluminum and built to last. The rear sight has a flipper with 2 aperture sizes, while the front sight is a simple post.
A sight adjustment tool comes with the gun. The front sight adjusts up and down for elevation (remember to do it in reverse of what you want on to target), and the rear sight adjusts side to side.
This air rifle is made of a lot of plastic, and I know that will upset some shooters. But you can’t get a metal air rifle at this price point today. The shape is very realistic, but none of the conventional firearm controls work. They’re simply cast into the shell of the gun. And the buttstock doesn’t extend, making the 12-inch pull something you must live with. The buttpad is soft black rubber and sticks to your shoulder very well.
The trigger is surprisingly good. It’s so good that I think they designed it during the lawyer’s vacation! I’ll report the specifics in Part 2, but I wish their Benjamin multi-pumps had triggers this nice.
Finally, Crosman has managed to eke out a tad more velocity from this valve in a redesign. They rate BBs at 800 f.p.s. with maximum pumps, which is screaming fast for steel BBs! Naturally, that’ll be tested in the velocity test to come.
In all, I think we have a nice air rifle to consider!