Posts Tagged ‘Crosman Silhouette air pistol’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Length of pull
Before we begin, I want to say a word about the length of pull you get with this adapter. I gave the range of lengths in Part 1 as 14-1/8 inches to 17-1/8 inches, and that turned off many readers. In terms of conventional stocks, that pull range is very long! But Dave Rensing, who invented this adapter, made it for his 8-year-old son and his 7-year-old daughter. The son uses it conventionally, but the daughter collapses the stock past the first detent so it’s even shorter. Fully collapsed, the pull length measures exactly 14 inches but feels like 11 inches.
The AR adjustable stock is not very ergonomic. It stretches and contracts okay, but it doesn’t move in the other directions. It’s a one-size fits none kind of deal — at least from a rifle marksmanship standpoint. While it works very well for fast maneuvering and climbing in and out of tight places, your body has to adapt a lot to make it work.
On the other hand, when the R.A.I. adapter is added to it, the stock becomes almost universal! You can adjust the positions of the comb and the angles of the buttstock through a wide range of attitudes and make it fit almost anyone — young or old. I found when shooting from the bench that even the 15-1/8-inch pull I had initially set up was too short. I had to move the stock back until the pull was 15-7/8-inches before it felt natural again. However, in the offhand position, the 15-1/8-inch pull is the right one. That demonstrates why the adjustable stock works so well on this pistol! You can adjust it to whatever you need in the blink of an eye.
I discovered why this is. The AR adjustable stock has no width. The narrow tube is where your cheek rests, so your eye is closer to the centerline of the pistol than it would be with a conventional stock. The stock also does not drop at the butt, so your head thrusts forward farther than it might with a conventional stock. Instead of sticking up to rest on the cheekpiece, your head tilts forward, along the straight tube. Hence, 14 inches feels more like 11 inches. The Marauder’s pistol grip and close trigger enhance this feeling.
Scope and mounts
I wanted to test the pistol with a really good scope; and the last time I tested the Marauder I used a CenterPoint 3-12X44 compact scope. Leapers was making CenterPoint scopes back then, so this time I attached a UTG 3-12X44 compact scope. My scope is older than the one I linked to, but the optics and overall size are the same. Not only does this scope fit the carbine very well, it gives a crystal clear sight picture that makes aiming so easy.
I needed to get the scope high off the receiver because the Marauder pistol has a circular 8-shot magazine that sticks up above the receiver top. You can see it in the above photo. Also, the stock’s straight line puts my head higher than it would normally be. So, high scope rings are in order. I selected a pair of BKL 30mm high rings that have a single-screw top strap. The Marauder pistol doesn’t recoil, so these rings can be made thinner and still be strong enough to hold this scope. Once they were mounted, I noted they brought the scope’s exit pupil directly to my eye, making them the perfect height.
Testing the Marauder carbine
I tested this Marauder pistol extensively, back in 2010/2011. I already knew the right fill pressure (2,900 psi), the best pellet (.22-caliber Beeman Kodiak) and the effective number of shots per fill (32). Since it has an 8-shot magazine, I shot 8-shot groups instead of 10.
Sight-in went quick, and then I backed up to 25 yards and started shooting. The first group of Kodiaks was the second-best of the session, putting 8 into 0.554 inches. Looking back at the tests I did years ago, I wasn’t shooting as well on this day as I did back then. I shot a total of six 8-shot groups, and the largest one was 0.607 inches, while the smallest was 0.504 inches between centers.
While these groups are okay, they aren’t as small as the groups I shot previously. I don’t think it was me or the gun. In this case, I think it was the pellet. I used a different tin of Kodiaks in 2010, and they grouped much tighter in this pistol than these did. The best group back then was 0.405 inches between centers. Maybe they had larger heads, or maybe they were just different in some unquantifiable way.
I tried a number of different pellets in the Marauder pistol, but none of them did very well. JSBs of various weights, which I thought would do well, sprayed all over the place. I know from testing the gun that it wants a fat pellet, and the Kodiak is a good one for that. It’s slow, at an average 584 f.p.s., but even at that it produces about 16 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. That’s pretty good for an air pistol! Certainly enough for some hunting and pest elimination.
The rest of the test
I plan to take this pistol to the 50-yard range, so you’ll see the results of that. But I don’t think that’s quite the right way to test the R.A.I. adapter and adjustable stock. We already know how well the pistol performs. Now, we want the focus to be on the adapter and the stock.
Maybe I can put the gun in the hands of some other shooters and see how well it fits them. Perhaps, that’s the best way to evaluate this item. I don’t know, but I guess we’ll see.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Wives, I want to warn you — today, I’m going to be The Great Enabler! Last year, I was sent a product to test for Pyramyd Air — an AR stock adapter for certain Crosman pistols by R.A.I. It lets you turn a pistol like the Benjamin Marauder into a carbine by adding an M4 telescoping stock to the back of the gun.
But why would you want to do that? Well, Dave Rensing, the owner of R. Arms Innovations — rarmsinnovations.com — wanted to do it so his young son could shoot his Marauder pistol. The big pistol is heavy for a youngster, especially when it has a scope mounted; but with an adjustable carbine stock, the youngster can size it to fit and then rest it on any convenient place and shoot it like a rifle. And because the M4 stock adjusts for length of pull, Dave can adjust it for himself in seconds. If 2 or more people can shoot the same airgun, the $400 price tag gets spread around and diluted.
The Marauder pistol does come with a factory shoulder stock that turns it into a carbine, so what does this adapter do that the factory stock doesn’t? It all comes down to adjustability. The R.A.I. adapter allows the adjustment of the stock to a wide range of positions that should fit most shooters. Not only is the pull length adjustable because of the M4 extendable stock, you can also raise and lower the stock line (the amount of comb drop), which affects the height of the butt; and you can have a wide range of cast-off and cast-on stock positions (where the stock angles away from you or toward you). And it doesn’t end there. You can also rotate the angle of the butt from straight up and down to where the toe is slanted in toward you or out, away from you.
The R.A.I. adapter helps make the Marauder pistol (and some others others I’ll mention later) into a small carbine that fits the shooter. And let’s not forget that it attaches to a telescoping M4 stock. What that does will differ with each brand; but for this test, I’m mounting a UTG PRO 6-position mil-spec stock assembly that has 6 different lengths of pull. On my test pistol, the length of pull runs from 14-1/8 inches to 17-1/8 inches. This is a rare occasion where I find the length of pull is adjustable to my liking!
The R.A.I adapter
The R.A.I. adapter is made in 3 pieces. Two are machined aluminum, and the third is the bolt that holds everything together, plus attaching it to the gun.
The R.A.I. adapter consists of these 3 parts.
This view reveals the essence of the R.A.I. design. That elongated hole, which can be positioned at any angle around a full circle, allows the smaller piece to slide out to the edge of the larger piece.
The bolt fits through both machined pieces and threads into the hole at the back of the Marauder.
Here, the adapter is installed. The bolt runs through both machined pieces and fastens them to the pistol. The smaller piece fits over the Marauder end cap.
That elongated hole in the large piece allows the adapter to be rotated up.
Here the adapter is shown rotated down. It can be rotated to any position around a full circle!
Now that you understand how the adapter works, let’s look at the stock that attaches to it. I used a UTG PRO mil-spec stock assembly that has 6 positions for length. The mil-spec designation means the stock tube size conforms to military drawings.
This stock comes from Leapers as a complete package that’s ready to install. The buffer and buffer spring are shipped inside the stock but are not needed for the airgun application. The flange that locks the stock to the AR receiver to prevent it from rotating on the firearm can also be removed.
When the stock is screwed into the adapter, the castellated locknut that tightens the stock can be used to lock it in any orientation you want. Regardless of how the adapter is positioned, the stock can be snugged down. This makes the R.A.I. adapter a very adjustable item!
This castellated locknut allows you to lock the stock in any position. The adapter can be rotated however it suits you, and the stock can then be locked to it in any position.
I found this adjustability to be a blessing! As I’ve mentioned more than once, I usually have to adapt to the rifle I’m testing because not many rifles adjust. Most stocks are too short for me, and most combs are too low. I’ve learned to put up with just about anything to get the job done, but it’s rare that I get to shoot a rifle that actually fits me. This R.A.I. adapter may change that with the Marauder pistol.
I’ve now adjusted the stock so the gun comes up fast and feels fine against my shoulder. I won’t know for sure if I have it adjusted right until I shoot the carbine several times — so guess what’s coming?
With the stock mounted, I find that I can position it exactly as I like it. This might work!
I was surprised to find that the stock’s pull was 15-1/8 inches when I had it adjusted the way I like. I always knew that I liked a longer pull, but this was even longer than I’d suspected.
I also have the comb’s drop set at the maximum; but since this is a straight-line stock, it’s perfect. The cast is set straight for me. And I have the toe of the butt canted into my collarbone. It will require some shooting to establish if this is the best fit for me, but right now it feels good.
What else will it fit?
Besides the Benjamin Marauder this adapter also fits the Crosman Silhouette pistol, the Crosman 1720T PCP Target air pistol, and the Benjamin Marauder Woods Walker. These PCP pistols are all expensive, so the R.A.I. adapter offers a way to expand the utility of each of them across a wide spectrum of shooters.
Is it worth it?
The R.A.I. adapter costs extra, and so does any extendable AR stock you’ll need to purchase with it. The Marauder already comes with a shoulder stock, so is this setup worth the extra expense? It is if you want your carbine to fit a lot of different shooters. If you want to share your carbine with your wife or your children, then this adapter makes that possible, with the gun adjusting to fit everyone. It’s also something to consider if the regular stocks don’t fit too well. I can’t say this one is universal, but it does cover a pretty wide ranges of needs.
This accessory is unlike what I usually test. I’ll be shooting the Marauder pistol to see if I like how the stock makes it shoot for me. That’s a little different than my normal type of test, but I think it should be very interesting and perhaps even informative. Stick around — there’s more to come!
by B.B. Pelletier
Photos by Earl “Mac” McDonald
This is the second of my reports on the 2012 SHOT Show. There will certainly be at least one more after this, and perhaps even more, as there’s simply too much new information to pack into a single report.
The state of the airgun industry in 2012
Before I get to some specifics, I want to make a general observation. This year’s SHOT Show was different for me in a major way, because I saw for the first time that firearms shooters are beginning to understand airguns as never before. In the past, I always had to start my explanations with the cooling of the earth’s crust and then progress through the age of the dinosaurs because each firearms person I talked to thought of airguns as either toys or BB guns. This year, a lot of them were clued-in on what’s happening. They weren’t surprised by the accuracy we get, and they knew about big bores. A lot of them had some airgun experience and more than a few asked me the same kind of questions that I get from long-time readers of this blog.
That tells me the day of the airgun has finally dawned in the U.S. Instead of 25,000 to 50,000 active shooters (at best!), we will now see an influx from over 5 million active firearm shooters who are ready to augment their shooting experience with airguns. I’m already getting calls and emails from state departments of wildlife resources, asking about the issues of incorporating airguns into their hunting seasons.
It has been a long haul to get to this point, but we’re now seeing the start of the harvest of all the work that’s been done over the past 40 years — starting with Robert Beeman in the early 1970s. The job is now to manage this growth and provide useful information to the tens of thousands of new airgunners who are flooding in the doors.
Let me reflect on how the industry seems to be reacting to this trend. Some companies have been on board for many years and are poised to ride the new tidal wave of business as far as they can. Other companies are aware that airguns are very hot, but they’re foundering, trying to understand them. Let me say right now that it’s not as easy as you think!
The readers of this blog are among the most clued-in airgunners in the world. But they’re unique, and they do not represent the true market. The demographic of a new airgunner is a man (usually) in his late 20s to late 40s who is most likely a fan of AR-type rifles and Glock-type pistols. He wants repeaters, semiautos and he thinks that a five-shot group is the gold standard of any gun. Velocity impresses him, and he isn’t comfortable with the term kinetic energy.
Things like good triggers and good sights are not an issue with this customer until he experiences bad ones. His ARs have decent triggers off the rack, and he can choose from many drop-in triggers that are much better. When he encounters a spring-piston gun with a horrible trigger that cannot be easily modified, he’s surprised.
He does not use the artillery hold, and he equates all airguns to be alike in terms of performance. When he learns about precharged guns, he’s put off by the additional equipment he must buy. Spring-piston guns seem the best to him for their simple operation, and he doesn’t appreciate the fact that they’re also the most difficult airguns to shoot well.
That’s the customer who’s coming to airguns today, so that’s the person airgun manufacturers have to deal with. If you have wondered why many of the new airguns are what they are — this new-customer profile is the reason.
Okay, I’ve talked about those companies that get it and those that are struggling to understand. There’s one more type of company out there. I like to call them the “gloom and doom company” or the “zero sum company.” They’re firmly entrenched in the 1970s and cannot take advantage of this new windfall of business. They either fired their engineers years ago or they let them all retire, and now they couldn’t build a new airgun to save their lives. As far as they’re concerned, there are only 25,000 airgunners in the United States and it’s the NRA’s responsibility to identify and train them so these companies can sell them some guns.
They think of marketing in 1950′s terms, when a simple paint job and some sheet metal was enough to create a new product. Their “secret” business plan is to buy guns made by other manufacturers and have their name put on. If you’re a collector, better buy up the guns these guys sell because in 10 years their name will be a memory.
That’s enough of the big picture. Let’s see some more products.
More from Crosman
Many of you saw the list of new Crosman products Kevin posted last week, so the few that I show here are by no means all there is, but they’re the highlights. Crosman had about half the new airgun products at the entire SHOT Show.
New tan M4-177 and carry handle
The M4-177 multi-pump that I recently tested for you is going to be very popular this year. Crosman is also offering it as an M4-177 Tactical air rifle with a new carry handle that replaces the rear sight for improved sighting options. I think this gun will be in their lineup for many years to come.
I mentioned to Crosman’s Ed Schultz that this rifle looks like the A.I.R.-17 of the 1990s, but done better. He said he always wanted to update that design, and that is exactly what this is. So, what he said next came as no great surprise.
I shared my thoughts on a 2260 made as a multi-pump in .25 caliber, and Ed told me that was how the rifle was originally created (not in .25, however). The CO2 version was an afterthought that got put into production, while the multi-pump version languished in the Crosman morgue. I told him that I thought the time was ripe to bring it back as an upscale hunting rifle, and he seemed to agree. We can only hope.
Carbon fiber tank
As Crosman extends their capability into PCP guns, they know shooters are always looking for better options for their air supply. Besides the new butterfly hand pump I showed you last time, they’ll also be adding a long summer-sausage black carbon fiber tank with increased capacity over their current tanks. This is a 300-bar tank that has 342 cubic-inch capacity. It comes in a black nylon carrying case with sling for field transport.
More air for you! New Benjamin carbon fiber tank will help you take your PCPs further afield.
Benjamin Nitro Piston breakbarrel pistol
The Benjamin NP breakbarrel pistol certainly has people talking on the internet. This is the first commercial gas spring application in a pistol, I believe. The most distinctive feature is a cocking aid that can either be detached or left in place while shooting. That reminds us that this pistol is going to be hard to cock, but I’ll test one for you so we’ll all know just how hard.
New Benjamin Trail NP pistol is a breakbarrel with a gas spring. The cocking aid can be detached or left in place while shooting.
Crosman 1720T PCP pistol
Everybody was ready to jump down Crosman’s throat for creating the 1720T PCP pistol. They wondered with the .22-caliber Marauder pistol and the .177-caliber Silhouette PCP pistol already selling, why was this one needed? As Ed Schultz explained it to me — this one is for field target. It’s a .177 (naturally) that produces just under 12 foot-pounds through a shrouded Lother Walther barrel. It can be used for hunting, but field target was its primary purpose. They worried about the shot count with the Silhouette; but with this one, power was the criterion. Look for about 800 f.p.s. with a 7.9-grain Premier. And the trigger is the same as the Marauder, so excellent operation there.
Crosman MAR 177 PCP conversion
The Crosman MAR-177 PCP conversion is another new product that has a lot of people talking. This AR-15 upper converts your .223 semiauto into a .177 PCP repeating target rifle. Because it’s on an AR platform, almost everybody expects it to be semiautomatic — including those who should know better. This rifle is a bolt action that cocks and loads via a short pull on the charging handle.
This conversion is an Olympic-grade target rifle for a new official sport that Scott Pilkington and others have been promoting for several years. It will take the U.S. battle rifle back into the ranks of target shooting. However, the look of the gun has many shooters totally confused. I was even asked at the show if I thought Crosman should have come out with an “everyman’s” version of the gun first. That would be like asking whether Feinwerkbau missed the boat by not first making their 700 target rifle in a $300 version for casual plinkers.
Crosman TT BB pistol
It’s all-metal and a good copy of the Tokarev pistol. The weight is good and the gun feels just right. This will be one to test as soon as possible.
Crosman’s TT Tokarev BB pistol is realistic and looks like fun.
Benjamin MAV 77 Underlever
The Benjamin MAV 77 underlever rifle is going to force Crosman to recognize spring-piston air rifles instead of just calling them all breakbarrels. This is the TX-200 copy from BAM that was once sold by Pyramyd Air. When the quality dropped off, it was discontinued. Hopefully, Crosman will watch the quality on this one.
They didn’t have a firm retail price yet, but hopefully it’ll be significantly under the TX. Otherwise, why buy it? I may test one for you, but I already know that BAM can make a great rifle when they want to. I think it all comes down to price.
Benjamin MAV-77 is an underlever spring-piston rifle that looks and, hopefully, performs like an Air Arms TX-200.
The Crosman TR-77 is a conventional breakbarrel spring-piston rifle in an unconventional stock. It’s different enough that I want to test one for you. It appears to be a lower-powered rifle that probably sells at a bargain price because it’s branded under the Crosman banner rather than Benjamin. Mac photographed one in a sand-colored stock for you.
Crosman TR-77 breakbarrel in a sand-colored stock also comes in black.
There was a lot more at Crosman that I could have mentioned, but now let’s go over to the Leapers booth.
I’ve watched Leapers grow from a relatively small company back in 1998 to a major player — blasting past older, entrenched companies as they grew. This year, they were playing a video about the company on a continuous loop in their booth. I was impressed to see their plant in Livonia, Michigan, where they build airsoft guns, tactical mounts, accessories and scopes right here in the U.S. The plant is filled with many CNC machining centers and testing facilities to keep close watch over their products during development.
Leapers owner David Ding told me he wants to get control over the production process so he can assure the quality of all of his products. In keeping with that goal, I was shown the new scope line for 2012 that now offers locking target knobs on all of the upscale models. Many of them feature etched glass reticles that are amazingly crisp and sharp.
Mac was impressed by the reticle on the new 3-9x Bug Buster scope. He urged me to look through it; and when I did, I saw that the reticle is now fine and sharp — not the heavy black lines of the past.
David Ding shows me the new 3-9x Bug Buster scope (not out yet), with target knobs and a finer reticle.
But scopes were just the beginning at Leapers. Next, I was shown the whole line of tactical flashlights and lasers, including some mini lasers I will test on my M1911A1 for you. These are all made in the U.S. now and have more rugged internals, adjustments and optics than similar products from the Orient.
UTG 555 Long Range Light
One item I hope Pyramyd Air will consider stocking is a fantastic 500-lumen tactical light for law enforcement. It can be mounted on a rifle, handheld or even mounted on a bike! It comes with rechargeable lithium batteries and a smart charger…and believe me when I tell you it turns night into day!
The UTG Long Range light can go on your rifle, held in the hand or even mounted to your bike! The rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack will keep it shining at 500 lumens for 1.5 hours.
Fast Action Gun bag
Not all Leapers products are for airguns. They also make tactical and law enforcvement gear that rivals spec-built equipment but sells at a fraction the cost. As a result, many of their customers are ordering straight from the front lines of combat and from law enforcement agencies all over the country to get the products that their own supply lines cannot or will not furnish.
One of their latest developments is a Fast Action Gun bag that lets the wearer walk in public with a substantial firearm hidden from view. A quick pull of a strap, and the bag opens to reveal the weapon inside.
Leapers owner Tina Ding models their new Fast Action Gun bag. Here, it’s concealed; but she’s just pulled it over her shoulder from her back, where it looks like a tennis bag.
And in less than a second, the bag is open, giving instant access to the tactical shotgun or submachine gun inside.
Leapers has an entirely new range of quick-disconnect scope mounts coming this year, but there’s another innovation that I think you’ll find even more impressive. It’s an adapter that snaps into a Picatinny scope mount base, turning it into an 11mm dovetail. So, your conventional air rifle will now also accept Leapers Picatinny scope mounts with this adapter.
11mm-dovetail-to-Picatinny adapter is small and doesn’t raise the mount at all! This will be one to test!
Leapers is still the company to watch because the owners want to build a lasting corporation here in the U.S. They’re poised to move to the next level of quality in their optics, which gives me a lot of hope for the future — they’ve always been receptive to the needs of airgunners.
Whew! That’s a lot of products, and there are still many more to show. As I said in the beginning, there will be at least another report.
by B.B. Pelletier
Happy New year! I thought I’d review the best products I got to test last year. Some will be new, but others have been around a long time — I just got around to testing them.
Benjamin Marauder pistol
Back in January, when I was pouting about missing the SHOT Show, I had the opportunity to test the Benjamin Marauder PCP pistol. Actually, the test began in 2010 and extended into 2011, but it was such a good test that the pistol has to make it into this report.
I even did an extra accuracy test because for the first one I mounted an old Leapers 6×32 scope that didn’t seem to give the pistol a chance to perform up to its capability. When I substituted a CenterPoint 3-12x44AO compact scope in the last test, the pistol showed what it can do.
The Marauder pistol is a .22 caliber with all the accuracy you could hope for. The power is great for this size airgun, and I strongly recommend attaching the standard shoulder stock extension that comes with the gun.
The next great product of 2011 was the Beretta model 92FS air pistol with wood grips. I completed the test on this one in March. I was so impressed that I thought for a long time that Edith and I needed to get the firearm to go with it. In the end, we returned it because you just can’t keep them all; but while I had it, I thought it was a wonderful air pistol.
Hawke Sport Optics 4.5-14x42AO Tactical Sidewinder rifle scope
This one is not an airgun, but I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about the finest rifle scope I’ve ever tested — the Hawke Sport Optics 4.5-14x42AO Tactical Sidewinder rifle scope. I’ve owned several Leupolds and looked through other premium scopes, but this Hawke has them all beat.
What’s so good about this scope? The clarity. It’s even clearer than my Unertl 6x that used to be a standard for target shooters. At 14x, it’s clearer than other scopes are at 32x. You have to see it to understand how that could be possible, but it is.
It’s very costly, though with the clarity it surpasses others of greater price. It’s the best I’ve ever seen.
Crosman Silhouette pistol
The Crosman Silhouette PCP air pistol is another pistol that made my list. I’d tested it the year before, but this one had some improvements, the most notable of which was the trigger.
The power is great, in the high 400s with medium-weight .177 pellets, but the number of shots on a fill reached 75, which is even more phenomenal. Crosman really did their homework on this pistol — refusing to let it alone after the initial offering. The result is that they launched an even better model in 2011 that will have airgunners talking for a long time.
Walther Lever Action rifle
Walther already had a good lever-action air rifle, but last year they modernized it to accept the 88-gram CO2 cartridges, and the new Walther Lever Action Rifle is even better than before! I liked it so much that I did a special 4-part review on the gun and showed you accuracy you didn’t expect to see from this kind of airgun.
This rifle is pricy, but you get what you pay for. It’s slick, accurate and reliable. If you want a good lever-action pellet rifle it’s the only game in town. (My test featured the nickel version, but Pyramyd Air no longer sells it…but the blued version is still available.)
Crosman M4-177 air rifle
I would be remiss if I didn’t rave about the new Crosman M4-177 multi-pump air rifle. I liked mine so much I bought it! Does that tell you anything?
The gun is realistic, accurate and well-made. I bought one of the early guns that were mismarked, but Crosman begins shipping guns with the correct marking this month. I don’t know if Pyramyd Air has any of the mismarked ones left. However, don’t let that stop you — this is an airgun we can all enjoy.
MTM Predator Shooting table and Predator shooting rest
I use both the MTM Predator shooting table and the Predator shooting rest for almost all of my tests, if that tells you anything. But they’ve just been added to the Pyramyd Air product list and are now available to all of you. So, I included them in the 2011 list, even though I’ve had mine for several years. Both products let you make a firing line wherever you are, and that’s a necessity for someone who shoots a lot. I take mine to the rifle range and use the table in preference to the concrete tables on the range.
Dan Wesson BB revolver
We ended the year on a high note with the Dan Wesson BB revolver. When I reported on this novel new revolver, I said I was impressed by the realism they packed into the design. Twenty years ago, you just couldn’t get this level of realism in an airgun.
The one thing I failed to note in my report is the quirky way the safety works. Of course, a safety on a revolver is about as common as a unicorn horn; but if you have one, it ought to work right. This one doesn’t. You can put it on when the hammer is down and the action will be locked; but if the hammer is cocked, the safety does nothing at all. That’s dangerous, because there are new shooters who haven’t been properly trained and will test every safety in an unsafe way. This one will fire if they do.
Still, the gun is powerful, gets lots of shots and is quite accurate for a BB pistol. It’s also all metal. I don’t know what more you could ask for.
I reviewed many other airguns in 2011, including a host of vintage models that I won’t report in this list. These are the ones that stood out and caught my interest. You may have others, and now it’s your turn to comment.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today is accuracy day for the Crosman Silhouette PCP pistol. It’s been a month since I last tested this air pistol, so you may not remember all the details. This is a remake for 2011 of the Silhouette pistol Crosman brought out in 2010. I tested that pistol for you also and did four reports on it back before all the bad things happened. You can read those reports here.
That gun was a fine one, but Crosman decided to add the new Marauder pistol-style trigger and they made a few other small changes in the process. What they ended up with is an accurate pistol that also has a fine trigger. While this pistol is on the pricey side and is really meant for the sport of air pistol silhouette competition, it also serves well as an accurate air pistol, or as a carbine for general shooting if you attach the optional shoulder stock.
I selected a Leapers 3-9×40 scope with red/green illuminated reticle. The illumination means nothing in this test, as I didn’t use it. My scope is older than the one I linked to, but the specifications are exactly the same.
The scope was mounted on a BKL 1-piece mount, which isn’t appropriate for this gun because of how it loads (the breech needs clearance for loading the pellet), but I got away with it because of the long steel breech. Since there’s no need for a scope stop on this recoilless pistol, the BKL might be seen as overkill; but the scope was already mounted in it, and I’ve used it successfully on many other air rifles and the time savings was a consideration.
Accurate from the start!
Some days, everything just falls into place. I’ve learned to recognize those days as soon as they come, so this shooting session was a breeze.
The first pellet I tried was the 10.2-grain JSB Exact. Normally, I wouldn’t use such a heavy pellet in a gun of this power, but something told me it would work out well this time. And it did. After sighting-in, 10 shots blew away the aim point at 25 yards.
Pay no attention to the hole at 12 o’clock. It’s the last sighter before this group was shot. Ten JSB Exact 10.2-grain domes went through that hole at 25 yards. It measures 0.43 inches between centers.
I had to adjust the scope after the first group, because I was blowing away my aim point. So, I dropped down several clicks and shot a second group of 10 with the same pellet.
Next, I tried the JSB Exact RS dome that weighs 7.3 grains to see what a lightweight pellet would do. Same 25 yards and same conditions overall.
Ten lightweight JSB Exact RS domes made this tight group at 25 yards. Notice how the point of impact has shifted from the target before, though the scope settings remained the same. This group measures 0.484 inches between centers.
Time to try something new
Okay, we now have a certified tackdriver air pistol. I thought it might be nice to try out some of those non-lead pellets to see how they compare. The next target was shot with H&N Baracuda Green pellets. All conditions were exactly the same, and I concentrated on every shot just as hard as with the first two targets.
Back to what works
After the non-lead pellets, I decided to finish the test with H&N Baracudas — the real lead Baracudas this time. I figured they would be in the same ballpark with the JSBs.
The bottom line
The bottom line with this air pistol is one of accuracy. Crosman has really outdone themselves and given us a tackdriver with this setup. It likes both heavy and light pellets, though not those made without lead, which is common these days.
The trigger is crisp and the shot count is astounding, considering the little air that’s used. This pistol would really work well with a hand pump.
Then there’s the question of muzzle blast. The Silhouette is almost as quiet as a shrouded pistol because of its efficient use of air.
If you like stunning accuracy from an air pistol, consider this Silhouette PCP.
by B.B. Pelletier
Today is velocity day for the Crosman Silhouette PCP pistol, and there’s much to report. For starter…what a little sweetie this pistol is! This is one of those every-so-often-they-make-a great-one guns. The trigger seems to make all the difference in the world, but the power it generates is an additional benefit.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, I filled the gun to 3,000 psi, as indicated by the gauge on my carbon fiber tank. The onboard manometer read about 100 psi less. But no matter, as I only watch one gauge during the fill, and the larger one on the tank is very reliable.
Then, I just started shooting. Since this pistol is for airgun silhouette, domed pellets are fine, and I selected Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets. The shot string is presented below.
25……484 (avg. 1st 25 shots 476)
34……487 (fastest shot in string)
50……474 (avg. for shots 26-50 482)
The string shows that this pistol is well above the advertised 450 f.p.s. mark. It also shows that there are more than the claimed 50 good shots in the string. Whether you start with the first shot or drop 100 psi from the fill and start with shot number 6 (that’s a guess), you’ll still get over 60 good shots. We’ve discussed shot string analysis enough by now that you understand all too well how to look at this string and evaluate it. If you’re new to this blog and would like to see that analysis in greater detail, look at this report on the first Crosman Silhouette PCP pistol to see how a long shot string should be analyzed.
Foot-pounds of energy don’t matter that much in the silhouette game, because it doesn’t take much energy to send these little metal targets flying. Even the big rams that sit out at 18 yards will be bowled over by the energy that starts out at around four foot-pounds.
In centerfire rifle silhouette, the ram is at 500 yards and a light strike by a small caliber like the .243 Winchester is likely to turn the target sideways on the stand, but not knock it off. That’s a bad thing, for the target must be knocked off its stand to count. In airgun silhouette, it takes a really poor shot to not knock it off the stand. The real problem is finding those tiny chicken silhouettes on the dirt and grass after they’ve been launched 10 yards by a pellet. So, the power of this pistol is more than adequate.
They’ve come a long way
Five years ago, Crosman couldn’t even spell PCP, and now they’re one of the world leaders in the technology! That says a lot about the company and the resolute vision they have of the future. The valve in this test pistol seems to defy belief, getting so many powerful shots from such a small reservoir. It shows that Crosman knows how to design a valve and also how to build precharged pneumatics. Twenty years ago, the world would not have believed that such efficiency could be gotten from an air pistol.
Okay, so let’s test the pistol with some more potential pellets.
I won’t put you through the agony of the shot strings for these pellets. RWS Hobbys averaged 483 f.p.s. The spread went from 478 to 491 f.p.s. over a 10-shot string. The average muzzle energy was 3.63 foot-pounds.
RWS Hobbys aren’t used for shooting silhouettes, but they are a legitimate lead pellet that people really shoot. They demonstrate that Crosman’s advertised velocity of 450 f.p.s. is extremely conservative.
The next pellet I tried was Gamo Match. This is another lead wadcutter that no one will use to shoot silhouette, but they showcase what the powerplant can do. The website says they weigh 7.71 grains, but mine must be older because they weigh 7.5 grains. They average 484 f.p.s. in the Crosmann Silhouette with a spread from 479 to 490 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generate 3.9 foot-pounds.
JSB Exact 8.4-grain domes
The 8.4-grain JSB Exact dome averaged 469 f.p.s. in this pistol. It’s a pellet that might be used for silhouette. The spread went from 456 to 475 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generated 4.1 foot-pounds at the muzzle.
I said in Part 1 that I would report on the new trigger and this is it. As it came from the factory, the trigger had a 1-lb. first stage, then a definite second-stage stop and it broke at 2 lbs. on the nose. Because there’s an overtravel adjustment that’s set perfectly, the trigger is the paragon of crispness. If you’re a 10-meter pistol competitor, you’ll be used to pulling through stage one and stopping at stage two, waiting for the opportune moment for the break. Then, the trigger becomes like a 1-lb. trigger because the first stage has been removed from the equation. Don’t try to over-think it. It just works that way, and you need a precision trigger to learn that. This one certainly is.
A good day of testing and promise for a great finish for this latest release. Of course accuracy matters, so we still need to see that.
by B.B. Pelletier
I expect to get some negative feedback from this report. It won’t come from airgunners, but from airgun manufacturers who think I’m in bed with Crosman, because these days it seems like I’m always praising their work. Well, sorry guys; here comes another one.
In a day when many manufacturers seem to think their No. 1 testing resource is their customer, Crosman turns the tables and actually listens to what people are saying. The pistol I’m reviewing today has been on the market for the past year, yet the model I place before you now is completely new for 2011. How can that be? Well, Crosman learned a few lessons over the past 12 months while selling the earlier release, and they did something about it. They took a well-designed successful air pistol and improved it.
You see, the original Crosman Silhouette PCP pistol was actually introduced at the 2010 SHOT Show. It was touted as an air pistol made on the 2240 frame with an improved trigger, a better barrel and the ability to operate on air instead of CO2.
I was among those who told Crosman that changes were needed to that first Silhouette pistol. In my fourth report, while praising the accuracy of the gun, I was critical of the “improved” trigger. If you take the time to read that report, you’ll discover that I shot a quarter-inch five-shot group at 10 meters using an aperture sight! At the same time, I complained about the long, creepy second stage of the trigger.
And Crosman listened — not necessarily to me, but to all of you. The new Silhouette pistol has the same adjustable trigger that’s found on the Benjamin Marauder PCP pistol, a trigger that’s received a lot of deserved praise from those who’ve used it. I’m not going to report on that new trigger today, but I’ve tested it briefly and the praise is warranted.
My year-long illness, which began on March 29, 2010, created a time capsule that allows me to compare the first Silhouette pistol to the one I’m now testing. Because I never finished testing the first pistol before entering the hospital, I now have both of them on hand to examine side by side.
Something old, something new
The visible differences between the new gun and the old are very small. There are some lettering changes, a new muzzlebrake that serves as a base for the front sight and the front sight, itself. The old one was just a round post, while the new one is a square post that can be turned to vary the width. You can vary it, that is, if you plan to use a rear sight, which I don’t think many owners will, because this pistol is more like a small rifle when it comes to accuracy. In May, Crosman will bring to market a new CenterPoint scope with multiple reticles that’s well-suited to use on both this pistol and the Marauder pistol.
Just looking at the two guns doesn’t tell you much. But shooting does. That’s what you’ll get from this report. For now, however, let me finish my assessment of the pistol as if you were seeing it for the first time.
The Crosman Silhouette PCP pistol is a single-shot, .177 caliber target pistol based on the venerable 2240 frame. But it’s nothing like the 2240, which is a budget .22 caliber CO2 pistol. The Silhouette is a precharged pneumatic that operates on 3,000 psi air (206 bar). While the 2240 has a plastic receiver, the Silhouette receiver is 6.25 inches of machined aluminum, with a scope rail that runs the entire length. It will accept open and peep sights, but it’s really made for a scope and I suspect the majority of them will have one.
The gun is made of metal and finished in a non-reflective matte black. Steel is used for things like the reservoir, where strength is needed, and aluminum is used where it works best. Plastic is reserved for the reservoir fill port cap and the grips.
This pistol was designed with input from Steve Ware of the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association (IHMSA), so it conforms to the rules for silhouette airguns. It has a 10.1-inch Lothar Walther barrel that not only gives great accuracy but also provides a long acceleration time for the pellet. So, the gun doesn’t waste air. However, you have to face the fact that this is a pistol built for the sole purpose of silhouette shooting.
They didn’t make it a magnum handgun for hunting, and it isn’t a good starting point for those who modify, either. They made it powerful enough to send metallic silhouettes into space with a good hit, so it gets a great number of good shots, rather than far fewer high-velocity shots. Crosman advertises it as having 50 good shots on a charge of air, which is incredible when you consider the small size of the reservoir. If you read Part 2 of my report on last year’s Silhouette pistol, you’ll discover that I got over 60 good shots from it, so I expect to see at least as good from this gun. All of that is at an average of 450 f.p.s., which the first gun delivered, as well.
The pistol comes from the factory with the bolt handle on the left side, which is best for right-handed shooters. However, it can be switched to the other side, if you like. And, the bolt handle is longer than the one on the 2240, so cocking this pistol is smoother and easier.
Adjustable fill pressure
The gun comes from the factory set for a 2,900 psi fill (200 bar). You can adjust it from 2,500 psi to 3,000 psi. With a higher fill pressure, you get more shots per fill, but you also run your scuba tank out of air faster. Since we may see more shots than needed in the velocity test with the gun set at the factory setting (2,900 psi), a higher fill pressure would not make sense to me. A somewhat lower fill pressure might work just as well (give an adequate number of full-power shots per fill) and require less air from the scuba tank. Or, if filling from a hand pump, a lower fill pressure would make the job easier.
Why would you want this air pistol?
You would want this air pistol if you like to shoot silhouette in all kinds of weather and temperatures. The Crosman 2300S and 2300T pistols are both similar single-shot target pistols, but because they also both run on CO2, they’re inoperable in cold weather. This pistol won’t notice the cold nearly as much.
The trigger is great
I’ll have more to say about the trigger in Part 2, but it’s a winner. If you can live with about 450 f.p.s. in .177 caliber and great accuracy to boot, this might be the air pistol for you. However, don’t get into the modification mindset with this one, because for only a few more dollars you can buy the .22 caliber Benjamin Marauder pistol that’s both silenced and a repeater. Think of the Silhouette as a dedicated target pistol, and the Marauder as a do-all hunting pistol.