by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today is the start of accuracy testing for the Octane combo air rifle, and I’m going to make some changes. For starters, I’m going to give you the summary now. The Octane is a smooth-shooting, accurate air rifle. It’s everything the manufacturer wants it to be, and a couple of things they probably didn’t think about, on top of that. The rest of this report will justify and explain my summary.
Another thing, the Octane is different from any gas spring I’ve ever tested. Gas springs always fire fast, as in instantaneously. When the sear releases, the shot is over, and you usually know it from the sharp crack of sound and the painful slap to your cheek. The Octane fires slowly in comparison. There’s a lot of forward recoil and almost no vibration, and the discharge is very quiet, as I noted in part 2. I attribute this behavior to the Reaxis gas-spring design that’s reversed from the norm, and to the SilencAir silencer on the muzzle. Both apparently work as advertised.
I decided to just shoot 5 shots per pellet today, and to shoot the rifle with open sights at 10 meters. I wanted to get a good sense of how accurate it is before putting the walls of my house at risk. And what I discovered was that this rifle is fun to shoot! I normally don’t have much fun shooting a 20 foot-pound spring rifle, but the Octane is so civilized that it gave me a lot of confidence. By the time I’d fired the first 2 shots at the target, putting them into the same hole, by the way, I knew this day was going to be fun.
I held the rifle with an artillery hold, but the thumbhole stock makes you grip the gun harder than you normally might. So, I would have to call it a modified artillery hold. But the rifle cooperated, and there was noting to worry about. The muzzle heaviness holds the front sight steady on target once you’re dialed in.
The sights are fiberoptic, which destroy all attempts at precision, but by lighting the target brightly and sitting in a darker room to shoot, I could defeat the fiberoptic tubes and get a very sharp sight picture. When they don’t glow, the Octane’s sights offer a nearly ideal sight picture, and that was what made me decide to not mount the scope, yet. I wanted to have the fun of shooting with open sights since the rifle was cooperating.
The trigger is still quite heavy and very creepy, so I envy those who own their rifles and can modify them. If I could drop the release weight to under 4 lbs. and if there was a way to eliminate all the second-stage creep, this trigger would help accuracy greatly.
The first target was shot with 5 Beeman Kodiak pellets. This was when I first noticed how slow the Octane’s gas piston is. It feels like an airgun equivalent of a 45-70 single-shot. You feel the recoil and the rifle bounces around, but you know the pellet got out of the muzzle before all that started and that accuracy wasn’t affected in the slightest.
As I said, the first 2 pellets cut the same hole, though each made a distinctive mark. Then I stopped watching through the spotting scope and just shot the next 3 pellets. In the end, the group is larger than I would have liked for 10 meters, at 0.581 inches, but this is with open sights. Still, it is just 5 shots instead of 10.
Next, I tried the RWS Hobby pellet. It felt good while loading because it fit the breech tight but not overly so. And, though the point of impact shifted up a bit, the Hobby was quite accurate — putting 5 pellets into 0.368 inches! I thought that was remarkable. I couldn’t wait to test some more pellets!
Next, I tried the RWS Superdome. Here’s where you’re going to see something significant. RWS makes both Hobbys and Superdomes in Germany, and presumably they use the same lead alloy for both. And domed pellets are generally regarded to be the most accurate. Yet look at how the Superdomes did! They grouped horizontally, to exactly 1 inch, while the Hobbys stayed together.
You might try to blame me for getting tired at this point in the test, but there’s group coming that will show that I was still shooting my best. That’s one benefit of these 5 shot groups. They don’t tire me as quickly.
Now, for those of you who think I might have slipped up on the last group, I shot 5 Predator Polymag pellets next. They’re a recognized premium pellet, just like the Superdomes, and I’ve shown some great groups using them in recent tests. But not this time. Instead of the group stringing sideways, the Predator group were stringing vertically. Five went into 0.982 inches, so we won’t be seeing them in any future tests of the Octane.
If you have now decided that I’ve gotten tired and ho-hum, what’s so special about the Octane if this is the best that it can do — hold on! I saved the best for last. Actually, the Octane saved the best for last because the next group is the last one I shot on this day.
The 14.3-grain Crosman Premier pellet is sometimes the best pellet you can use in an airgun. And it is in the Octane test! Five Premiers went into a group measuring 0.245 inches between centers. It looks like only 3 pellets have passed through, but I did shoot all 5. This is very clearly and hands-down the most accurate pellet I tested in the Octane.
I already gave you the summary in the beginning of this report. Now you see the substantiation of what was said.
Several readers reported higher velocities than I got in the last test, and I was asked to change the breech seal. Well, I might do that, but frankly the rifle is shooting so nice right now that I don’t feel any urgency.
The Octane is unlike any gas-spring breakbarrel rifle I’ve ever tested. I wish the trigger was better, but it’s hard to argue with the accuracy or with the rifle’s firing behavior.
I will skip testing the rifle at 10 meters with the scope that comes in the package and go straight to 25 yards next time.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, I’m testing the Crosman MTR77NP scoped air rifle for accuracy at 25 yards. This is going to be a very different accuracy report, for I have no targets to show you. Well, there is one target, but it wasn’t shot with the test rifle.
In the last report, I mentioned that I wanted to mount a different scope on the test rifle and test it at 25 yards. I thought the Bug Buster 3-9x scope would be a good one, and I also shimmed under the rear ring because the rifle was shooting low in the 10-meter test.
I thought the rifle would group about 3 times larger at 25 yards than it had at 10 meters, but I also hoped some pellets might remain tighter than that. What happened, however, was just the reverse. Instead of 3-inch groups I got 5- to 6-inch “patterns.” I won’t call them groups because not all pellets fired even hit the target trap. And when that happens, I stop shooting that particular pellet immediately.
Crosman Premier lites
First up was the pellet I thought had the best chance to do well — the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier. They had done well at 10 meters with just 2 pellets outside the main group. Had they held to my 3X size increase, they would have grouped into about 2.2 inches; but when the third shot landed 6 inches away from shots 1 and 2, and then shot 4 landed 5 inches from that pellet, I stopped shooting.
I checked the scope mount to see that it was still tight. It was, and I’m pretty sure this scope is a good one because it has done well in other tests on other airguns. So, Premier lites are out.
H&N Baracuda Match
Next, I tried some H&N Baracuda Match pellets. But they were no better. They hit the target lower than the Premiers, and 3 shots landed in about a 5-inch pattern. Then, one pellet missed the target trap altogether. I stopped shooting after that shot, but I wasn’t done with this pellet.
I got the Air Venturi Pellet Pen and Seater and deep-seated a couple Premier lites to see what affect that would have. The point of impact changed, but the accuracy didn’t improve. And when the third shot missed the trap, I stopped shooting Baracudas.
The next pellet I tried was the RWS Hobby, which gave such a nice, round group at 10 meters. Two shots landed together, and I thought we were on the right road; then the next shot hit about 6 inches away from them. The 4th shot missed the trap altogether, and I stopped shooting that pellet.
By now, I was in a quandary. Was it me or the gun or the scope? I went back to 12 feet from the target and confirmed that the scope was still shooting to the same point, then I went back to 25 yards and tried an RWS Superdome. I had confirmed at 12 feet that the Superdome would be on paper at 25 yards and the first shot was. It landed high, but in good enough position to keep shooting. The next shot missed the paper altogether and I don’t know where it went. That was it for Superdomes.
What to do?
By this point I was really shaken. My confidence was ebbing fast and I needed to end this session on a high note. So I grabbed my Beeman R8 Tyrolean and a tin of Air Arms Falcon pellets and shot a final group of 10 at 25 yards. This one turned out good, as I expected it would. That’s where today’s target comes from. It isn’t the best group I’ve shot with the R8, but it’s a darn sight better than I did with the MTR77NP. Ten shots went into 0.41 inches.
I need some time to think about why this rifle might be performing like it is. If one of you made a report like this to me, I would tell you to check the scope because that sure seems like what it is. But I did check the scope and found no problems. The one thing left to do is to crank the elevation down all the way and all the way to the left and shoot a group. If it tightens up, then it was the scope. If not, it’s either the mounts or the rifle.
A little tip
What I did with the R8 today is a handy tip to remember. Sometimes the problem is you — or you wonder if it might be. Shooting a good group with a rifle of known accuracy is the best way to rule that out.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Just a word
Befoere I get started with today’s report, I want to say something about what happened this weekend. Friday’s airsoft report got a lot of comments. Among them are several questions about the technology of the guns. And some admissions that people didn’t think much of airsoft before they tried it, then they found their opinions changed drastically. That also happened to me, so I can relate to it.
But all you who don’t care for the subject don’t need to worry. This isn’t going to become an airsoft blog. I will continue to report on it at a low level, but I know this is an airgun blog, and that’s not going to change. I want to assure the readers for whom the subject of airsoft is not welcome that we are still going to talk about pellet guns and BBs guns for the most part. I will write a few reports on airsoft now and then, and I trust they won’t upset you too much.
Okay, that’s done. On to the topic of the day!
Today is our second look at the .22-caliber Octane combo from Umarex, and it’s velocity day. Before I get to that, there are a couple adjustments I wanted to make to the rifle. Let’s look at those now.
The first adjustment is the trigger. In the first report, I said the trigger is crisp but heavy. The adjustment screw adjusts only the length of the first-stage pull; so I adjusted it to be longer, and stage 2 decreased. Don’t go too far or the rifle will not cock at all because this adjustment does affect the area of sear contact.
I did go too far and had to call Umarex USA, where I learned that the Octane is supposed to come with a warning tag telling you not to turn in the adjustment screw more than one full turn. I went way past that, so all I had to do was turn the screw back out until the head stood even with the trigger blade — and the trigger was back to working again. For even greater contact, turn the screw so it stands proud of the trigger blade.
The second thing I wanted to adjust is the tension on the action forks because the barrel pivot was too loose. To do that, I normally take the barreled action out of the stock. But with this rifle, you need to be aware that the pins in the trigger are not held in and will fall out of the trigger if the action is tipped sideways. I didn’t know this, of course; and when the first pin fell out, it set me up for 45 minutes of work to get the trigger back together again. It seems that the trigger pins are held in place by the stock. Other airguns I’ve worked on have the same arrangement, and one solution is to put tape on one side of the trigger to hold the pins in place…and keep the trigger oriented straight up and down.
Each of the 6 free (not held by circlips or springs) trigger pins seen here is very loose in its hole and will fall out of the trigger if the gun is jostled or tipped to the side. They’re held in place by the stock. What appears to be a pin at the far right is actually a rivet.
Better still — what you can do (VERY CAREFULLY!) is remove both forearm screws and just LOOSEN the rear screw behind the triggerguard. Then the front of the action can be tipped up clear of the stock far enough to tighten the barrel pivot bolt and nut. I would advise against taking the action completely out of the stock. If you do, know how loose the trigger pins are and treat the rifle accordingly. When the pins fall out, the internal trigger parts start moving around. They’re fairly easy to align with their pin holes, except for the safety that takes a little fiddling since it’s a 2-piece assembly with an internal pivot. My advice is to leave the gun in the stock.
One final tip. When you tighten the stock screws, don’t tighten the rear stock screw (the one behind the triggerguard) too much or the trigger won’t function. It was not tight when I first took the action out of the stock; and I found that if I tightened it too much, the trigger would not work. Umarex told me the screw shouldn’t affect the trigger at all, but I’m just reporting on the behavior of my test rifle.
Now, let’s look at the velocity of the Octane. I’ve selected 3 popular lead pellets and one lead-free pellet.
JSB Exact Jumbo
The first pellet I tested was the 15.9-grain JSB Exact Jumbo. This is a popular and very accurate pellet in many airguns, and I think it may be accurate in the Octane. This pellet averaged 762 f.p.s. in the Octane. The low was 748 f.p.s., and the high was 787 f.p.s.; so the spread was 39 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet produced 20.51 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.
This pellet loaded easily, perhaps too easily. I think it might be a little undersized for the Octane’s breech. That could affect the accuracy. We’ll see.
The RWS Hobby pellet weighs 11.9 grains in .22 caliber and is very tight in the Octane’s breech. It averaged 889 f.p.s. in the rifle with a low of 867 and a high of 902 f.p.s. So the spread was 35 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet produces 20.89 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
I don’t know how Hobbys will do in the Octane, but I suspect they’ll do well because of the tight fit in the bore. Of course, the Hobby is a wadcutter, so accuracy will fall off after about 25 yards.
The .22-caliber Beeman Kodiak dome weighs 21.14 grains, which makes it a very heavy pellet. In the Octane, Kodiaks averaged 682 f.p.s. with a range from 665 to 691 f.p.s. That’s a total spread of 26 f.p.s. At the maximum velocity, the Kodiak produces 21.84 foot-pounds at the muzzle.
My guess is that the Kodiak pellet might also be a good one for the Octane. If so, that’s great because it also produces the most energy of all the lead pellets tested.
Okay, the name of the game with pellet rifles these days is speed, and the RWS HyperMAX lead-free pellet at 9.9 grains is the way to get it. In the Octane, they averaged 1029 f.p.s. with a spread from 1022 to 1075 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 53 f.p.s., so the rifle is probably still burning a lot of fuel. At the average velocity, the HyperMAX pellet produced 23.28 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.
The HyperMAX pellet fit the breech very loosely. That’s probably where the extra velocity spread came from, as more dieseling was generated by less pellet resistance. I doubt this pellet will do very well in the Octane because of the loose fit.
The rifle recoils noticeably in both directions, but there’s no vibration, whatsoever. Nearly all rifles with gas springs have a sharp buzz that hits you in the cheek, but the Octane doesn’t. In fact, aside from the recoil, it’s a very smooth-shooting spring rifle.
Remember that I had to adjust the trigger for a very definite stage-2 let-off. That affected the trigger-pull a lot. I was able to adjust it back to a release of 7 lbs., 14 oz. with very little creep. It’s heavy, as I noted before, but I think it’s crisp enough to do good work. We shall soon see!
The Octane IS NOT LOUD!
When I first tested the rifle it was very loud. And the sound persisted for longer than I felt the dieseling of a new airgun would last. But during this test the rifle suddenly became MUCH quieter. Obviously, it had been dieseling and I didn’t know it.
I originally told Edith it was a 3.7 on the sound scale when I tested it, and she adjusted the loudness level on Pyramyd Air’s product page to 4. But now she can hear that the Octane is clearly a 3. I apologize to everyone who was mislead by my earlier report. The Octane is a normal-sounding breakbarrel air rifle.
Observations thus far.
I said in Part 1 that the Octane holds very well in the hands. The weight is biased forward toward the muzzle, and the stock is slender when the off hand rests. Add the smooth shooting to this, and I think the Octane might surprise us in the accuracy test.
I plan on shooting the rifle at 10 meters with its open sights first. That should give us an idea of which pellets it likes. Then, I’ll mount the scope and shoot those best pellets at 10 meters, again. That does 2 things. First, it confirms the pellets are as good as we think; and second, it allows me time to adjust the scope for the second accuracy test at 25 yards.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Here’s another new air rifle from Umarex USA. The Octane combo is a breakbarrel air rifle powered by a gas spring. Umarex calls their gas spring the Reaxis gas piston. That title Reaxis signifies that the gas spring unit is mouned in reverse of what’s normal. Instead of the heavier piston going forward with each shot…what would be the tail end of most gas springs…is where the piston seal is mounted. That lowers the reaction mass, which lowers the recoil felt by the shooter. Whether or not it works as advertised is something I’ll test and report.
I’m testing a .22-caliber rifle, at my request. I dislike wasting the energy of a super magnum gas spring on a .177-caliber gun that can’t develop the full power potential, so this is a chance to test this gun the way I would order it. The manufacturer claims a velocity of 1,250 f.p.s. with lead-free pellets and 1,050 f.p.s. with lead. Of course, you know I’m going to test that, as well.
The rifle I’m testing is serial number 00371165. It’s clearly marked Made in China, but don’t ask me what the base gun is. I find that these rifles change their personality a lot when manufacturers have them built to their specifcations, and tracking down the lineage often becomes misleading.
The Octane is a huge air rifle — 48.5 inches overall with a 14.5-inch pull. And it weighs 8.5 lbs. and 9.5 lbs. with scope and mounts. So, it’s longer than an M1 Garand and nearly as heavy. But that weight is biased toward the muzzle, so the rifle holds very steady — a huge point in its favor. And the black synthetic stock has a forearm with a thin cross-section that makes the rifle sink deep into your hand and hold much easier. Laying your off hand under the forearm just forward of the triggerguard provides a stable resting point.
The stock is designed as a permanent thumbhole with a well-shaped pistol grip. The synthetic material is rough to the touch and is checkered on two small panels on either side of the forearm at the place you want to hold it. The buttpad is a very soft and grippy black rubber pad. It’s fitted perfectly and holds on the shoulder without movement. I normally don’t like thumbhole stocks, but this one saves weight, pushes the weight forward toward the muzzle and seems to compliment the rifle very well.
The open sights are fully adjustable, but they have fiberoptic tubes both front and rear. Aiming is, therefore, not going to be precise unless you light the target to keep the fiberoptics from appearing. I’ll initially shoot the rifle with the open sights at 10 meters to see if this is possible.
But this is a combo that comes with a 3-9X40 scope and mounts. The scope has adjustable parallax down to 10 meters, so it’s ideal for airgun use. I’ll report on it as the test progresses.
There’s one additional point to make about the scope. The rifle comes with a Picatinny scope base attached to 11mm dovetails that are cut directly into the spring tube. So the shooter has the choice of using either Weaver rings that will fit Picatinny grooves, or removing the base from the gun and using the 11mm dovetails directly. Either way, though, there’s no provision for a positive scope stop, which is risky on a rifle that recoils heavily. I’ll be watching for any movement of the scope mounts and bases during the test.
Here you see the Picatinny base that’s attached to the integral dovetails. Either can be used to mount a scope, but neither has a positive scope stop because the base is just clamped to the dovetails.
The metal on the barreled action is finished to a satin sheen. It’s shinier than a matte finish, but not as shiny as most European air rifle finishes.
Like all gas springs, there’s a loud crack when the rifle discharges. The Octane has a silencer muzzlebrake they call the SilencAIR. It has internal chambers that might attenuate the discharge sound somewhat. But it’s still a loud airgun — make no mistake! Pyramyd Air rated it as a 3 on the sound scale. I thought it was closer to 3.7, so Edith changed the loudness rating to 4 since Pyramyd Air’s scale has no fractions. It’s louder than most breakbarrel magnums that have coiled steel mainsprings.
You know I have tried the rifle a few times already — just to see how it feels. I found the 2-stage trigger a bit heavy but very crisp. It’s adjustable, so I’ll see what I can do to it in Part 2. I do like the fact that the trigger blade feels fairly straight up and down because that gives me the feeling of control I want.
I read the reviews of the rifle, and they rate it very high. Accuracy is mentioned by several reviewers. I can’t wait to see this for myself, as I’ve not had good luck with the accuracy of magnum rifles with gas springs. I would love to find one that was accurate.
One thing that might work in the Octane’s favor is that the barrel pivots are screws rather than pins. That means they can be tightened. The ones on the test rifle need to be tightened before testing, as the barrel will not stay in position. The owner’s manual also says to clean the barrel before shooting. I will do both things, and report back to you on how it works.
If there’s a category of airguns that I’m dubious about, it’s the magnum springer — especially the one with a gas spring. I’ve seldom seen them shoot accurately. But I’m more than willing to believe they can be good. And if any of them has a chance, this appears to be the one. Given its power and low price, if the Octane is also accurate I’ll sing its praises to the skies!
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.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!