Crosman Triple Threat Part 1
Dan Wesson called, they want their gun back
By Dennis Adler
Well, not really, this isn’t their design, but it does just happen to coincide with Dan Wesson bringing back the famous three-barrel Pistol Pack set, which will set you back a cool two grand to own. That makes this Crosman Dan Wesson-inspired Triple Threat a really good buy at just $69.95. It’s an inexpensive, mostly plastic CO2 pistol (with a cast metal frame), that is more closely allied with the Crosman Vigilante CO2 BB/Pellet revolver, which, like the Triple Threat, uses 6-round BB cylinder clips and 10-round pellet clips. I normally wouldn’t test a gun at this price point for Airgun Experience, but the trio of interchangeable rifled barrels is irresistible at under $70.
What you do and don’t get
At this price you’re not going to get a revolving cylinder (except for the cylinder clips), everything that doesn’t have to move to make the gun work is molded in, but believe it or not, the rear sight is elevation and windage adjustable! The CO2 loads in the pistol grip like all modern CO2 revolvers, and the action is a full DA/SA design. The real hook for this simple wheelgun (even without the wheel) is changing between the 3-inch, 6-inch and 8-inch rifled barrels.
Let me start by saying that if this gun were an ASG Dan Wesson Model 715 with actual Pistol Pack style interchangeable barrels, it would have to cost at least $195 for the correct Dan Wesson frame and three removable barrels and bushings. ASG’s Dan Wesson (CZ) licensed CO2 models, with fixed barrels in 2-inch, 4-inch, and 6-inch lengths, are hand’s down the best built wheelguns on the market. Nobody even comes close in CO2 (unless you want to go with a Peacemaker). If ASG ever followed Dan Wesson’s re-release of the .357 Magnum Pistol Pack in a CO2 model, it would be the most popular air pistol in the world. One can wish. But the reality of the idea is the Crosman Triple Threat, which, at the moment is exactly that, three revolvers in one.
Means to an end
Once upon a time, a long time ago, when I was writing my very first handgun articles for Peterson Publishing (back in the early 1980s) I owned a Dan Wesson Pistol Pack. I sold it to get something else, and I can’t even remember what that was, but I do remember the Dan Wesson, and wish I had a little more forethought (actually I guess it’s hindsight) before jumping to the next new shiny thing. Just to show you how easy it is to do, I also traded a 4-inch Nickel Colt Diamondback for an AMT Longslide .45 Auto. The AMT is nice but worth a fraction of the $365 I got for the Colt in trade. The Diamondback is now hovering around $2,500. (Please feel free to share your own misgivings in the comments section and make me feel better about this; after all it’s only been 39 years!)
I am digressing here, the means to an end to which I am referring, is how Crosman was able to make a revolver with three interchangeable rifled barrels and sell it for less than $70. They didn’t follow Dan Wesson’s design, just the concept. The Triple Threat is based on a very old 19th century design using a topbreak pistol and removing the barrel at its pivot point by withdrawing the screw holding the barrel in place.
It wasn’t quite that easy on the old S&W topbreak revolvers (or other topbreak designs of the era), but it is that easy with the design of the Crosman. It’s all very simple because nothing on this gun works except the action, safety, adjustable sights and CO2 system. There’s no cartridge ejector to consider, not even a very complicated topbreak release, just a button on the topstrap that releases the catch in the top of the barrel shroud. Remove the screw passing through the frame and barrel, lift it off, set another barrel in and replace the screw. With no gunpowder involved, there’s no stress on the frame or barrel so a simple screw and locking mechanism is all the Crosman needs. What you are paying for is an idea that works with a CO2 pistol. And Crosman makes this one work quite well. How well, we’ll find out in Part 2.