Crosman Triple Threat Part 5

Crosman Triple Threat Part 5

From Target Pistol to Pocket Pistol

By Dennis Adler

From the 8-inch barrel down to the 3-1/2 inch barrel, the Crosman Triple Threat goes from being a 10-meter pellet pistol to a snub nose close range pistol that technically bumps heads with the ASG Dan Wesson pellet cartridge firing CO2 model.

You’d need a pretty good sized pocket to carry the Triple Threat with the 3-1/2 inch barrel, but back in the Old West pockets were pretty big and short barrel Colt Peacemakers with 2-inch and 2-1/2 inch barrels were considered pocket-sized. Today, even the Dan Wesson 715 with a 2-inch barrel would be a hard fit because of the combat grips, and the Crosman Triple Threat is even leggier, but with the 3-1/2 inch barrel it is still technically a snub nose revolver. And how great is that when you are still talking about the same $70 gun we started out with last week?

Shown are short-barrel Colts covering a period from the 1840s to the 1880s; a .31 caliber Colt Model 1848 Wells Fargo, .36 caliber Colt Avenging Angel, .44 caliber Colt 1860 Army (also popularly known as a “Natchez Special”, a copy of El Paso Marshal, Dallas Stoudenmire’s .44 Colt caliber 1860 Army Richards-Mason conversion, and a heavily modified Colt .45 Peacemaker Sheriff’s Model based on a Colt carried by Texas Ranger and Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Outlaw. Barrel lengths stayed the same but caliber continually increased over time, as well as the change from loose powder, cap and ball ammunition to the metallic cartridge.

Short and to the point

Snub nose revolvers going back as far as the 1860’s Colt Avenging Angel, which was an 1861 Police Model offered with factory altered 2-inch or 2-1/2 inch barrels. Only about 50 were produced, but a few of them ended up in the hands of some very famous and infamous people. The 1860 Army was also given the same treatment, though not by the Colt factory. They were done by gunsmiths. After the Civil War the .44 Colt Army models picked up the rather Southern sobriquet “Natchez Specials” because quite a few of the short-barreled Colt Army models ended up in the pockets of riverboat gamblers.

We are going from what is without question the best snub nose CO2 pellet revolver on the market, to what is ostensibly the cheapest (lowest-priced) snub nose (figuring one-third of the $70 cost of the Triple Threat). The difference between the ASG Dan Wesson and Crosman Triple Threat, with its shortest barrel, mostly comes down to aesthetics and price. In the end both are short barreled pellet pistols.

In the early 20th century a number of those late 19th century snub nose designs remained in use until Colt and S&W began making .32 and .38 caliber snub nose revolvers, which grew in popularity beginning in the 1930s and remained so well into the 1950s and 1960s. Colt Detective Specials and S&W Chiefs Specials were especially popular with plain clothed law enforcement officers and detectives. Snub nose revolvers are still among the most carried backup guns and personal defense guns in use today and the Triple Threat with the 3-1/2 inch barrel gives you that experience in a very affordable CO2 model.

Velocity falls

It didn’t matter if you were shooting a .36 caliber lead round ball or .45 Colt cartridge, a short barreled revolver wasn’t going to provide the same velocity as a 5-1/2 inch or 7-1/2 inch barrel, and it certainly isn’t going to be the same in the Crosman with the 3-1/2 inch barrel as it was with the 6-inch or 8-inch barrel. But how big of a loss are we taking about in CO2? Using the H&N Sport 5.25 gr. alloy wadcutters to get the most velocity out of the Crosman, the goal is to see how close the 3-1/2 inch barrel comes to the 8-inch barrel’s scorching 527 fps average. Again starting with a fresh CO2, the 3-1/2 inch barrel sent the alloy wadcutters downrange at an average velocity of 428 fps, which is pretty good for a short barrel. High velocity was 450 fps and low 419 fps for 10 consecutive shots.

I went into the 3-1/2 inch barrel chronograph test without readjusting the rear sight for the shorter barrel and everything went right, but grouped tight. I adjusted the rear sight left, and the last two of 10 rounds for the velocity test hit the bullseye.

Now, just to keep things equal, the Dan Wesson 2-1/2 inch, firing the same H&N Sport alloy wadcutters clocked in at an average of 398 fps with a high of 421 and a low of 394 fps.

On the accuracy side from 21 feet, shooting through the chronograph, the Crosman put 10 shots into 1.25 inches, and this was before readjusting the rear sight for the shorter barrel. Of the 10 rounds fired, eight hit right of center in one ragged line measuring 0.5 inches, and after windage adjustment the last two hit the bullseye. The Dan Wesson landed its six inside 0.875 inches shooting through the chronograph. Both guns were fired single action.

I had shot in the DW with Meisterkugeln last year and when I shot the velocity test with the H&N my sights were off and my spread was wider than usual for this gun at 21 feet. My backer board was also getting shot through and the targets were ripping rather than making holes with the wadcutters. (Excuses, excuses….)

I went back with adjusted sights and ran one more test from 21 feet with each gun using Meisterkugeln 7.0 gr. wadcutters (still my favorite for accuracy with most pellet firing revolvers), and the Crosman, which hit a little low with the heavier lead rounds, put its 10 into 0.9 inches with a pretty good rip across the 7 and 8 rings plus one under the 10.

When I did the final head-to-head between the Triple Threat and the Dan Wesson I shot with Meisterkugeln, which hit low but grouped tight; 10 shots under an inch.

I really got on a roll shooting the Dan Wesson, with my first five rounds in the bullseye and 10 ring, and then I pulled my sixth shot to the left. I still ended up with a total spread of 0.75 inches. Without the flyer, my other five rounds measured 0.437 inches (which would have been the best I have ever done with that gun at 21 feet, but would have been doesn’t count). Even with the flyer it’s 0.75 inches for the pricier DW vs. 0.9 inches for the Crosman. Both guns under an inch anyway you cut it.

Two for flinching! I had a really good run going and then blew the sixth shot pulling it left in the 8 ring. Total spread 0.75 inches with a gun that costs considerably more than the Crosman, a gun that you expect to deliver this kind of accuracy. When a $70 kit gun (I say “kit gun” because it has three barrels), can do almost as well, you have to admit that Crosman makes a pretty darn good entry-level pellet pistol.

We end up with one gun with one barrel, vs. one gun with three barrels (setting aside the differences in design, authenticity, and pellet cartridges compared to a pellet clip), but you have two guns that are otherwise pretty equally matched for overall accuracy, at least with short barrels at 21 feet.

For a head-to-head shootout, I’m pretty satisfied that both guns, regardless of price and with comparable barrels, can group under an inch. With the Crosman you get to shoot three different length barrels, and if you’re not looking for a 1:1 design with a centerfire gun like the DW, the Triple Threat, like all Crosman models, lives up to its historic reputation; a good airgun at a reasonable price.

We’re going to kick off next month with a week long 4th of July celebration review and test of the brand new Sig Sauer P365!

2 thoughts on “Crosman Triple Threat Part 5

  1. So let’s see. Umarex has the grip frame and co2 mechanism from the Peacemaker,so they could do 2 things . First an 1872 Open Top, and then a 3 1/2 inch Avenging Angel Open Top.


  2. And I’m sure that engineers in Umarex can make my dream for an 1860 Army come true. The bored through cylinder idea with moke nipples for accepting pellets. Or front loaded with round balls. And 5fpe please.


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