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Crosman’s Challenger 2000 makes these the “good old days”

By B.B. Pelletier

Yesterday, I covered an old classic, and some of you probably wish you had been around in the “good old days” to buy guns like the Crosman M1 Carbine. Well – I’m telling you right now – THESE are the good old days, too!

The best from Crosman
As proof, I submit the Crosman Challenger 2000. This CO2 target rifle was not made for the popular market but for serious NRA competition, but it became such a hit with airgunners (and right away, too) that Crosman had to make the gun for everyone.

Everything about the Challenger 2000 is designed for one thing – NRA Sporter-Class competition, and that’s exactly why adult airgunners LOVE this gun! It’s dead-on accurate, it feels great to hold and it has everything a shooter needs to punch the 10-ring out of a target at 33 feet.

Crosman and Daisy went separate ways
Daisy is Crosman’s sternest competitor in this market, but Daisy went a different way when they designed their equivalent competition rifle for the NRA. They made their Avanti 888 Medalist a bulk-fill CO2 gun instead of one charged by powerlets. Now, there’s nothing wrong or inferior about that, but the average shooter doesn’t have bulk-fill equipment at home.

The Crosman Challenger runs on conventional 12-gram CO2 Powerlets (from Crosman – who else?). That makes it more of an average shooter’s rifle than the Daisy, and, as such, it has a strong following among individual shooters (as opposed to organized teams). It’s a gun you can take out of the box and be shooting in a few minutes, yet it gives away no accuracy to do so.

Loading is a breeze!
To load, all you do is pull back on a T-shaped rod. It is SO easy that I’m surprised Crosman hasn’t yet used it on any of their sporting airguns. Since there is no magazine, the pellet lies easily in the loading trough, and a light push on the T-handle closes the breech for firing.

The rest of the gun has more great features
The stock is ambidextrous, as is the loading process. The stock also adjusts for length and the height of the comb. The trigger is good, but not an Olympic target-grade trigger, so there will be some creep. The sights are first-rate target sights, though designed to save you money.

The Challenger 2000 is not a magnum air rifle, and it does cost more than other Crosman air rifles – a lot more! But, it does what it was designed to do. If you’re considering an affordable target air rifle, you had better check out this one!

31 thoughts on “Crosman’s Challenger 2000 makes these the “good old days””

  1. Denny,

    I haven’t examined an HW 50S, but since it’s based on the HW 50 (which is related to the Beeman R7/R8 rifles) I’ll take a stab.

    The HW50S is a sporter with target sights. It has the Rekord trigger, which is a very fine one, but it is a spring-piston gun, so there’s a lot of shooting technique involved. The HW 55 (also a springer and close to this design, but with a more refined trigger and manual barrel lock) was a good target rifle for its day, but don’t expect recoiling spring guns to keep pace with gas guns in the target game.

    Crosman borrowed from the Benjamin line when they designed the Challenger, but there is also a lot that is new, like that T-handled bolt I mentioned.

    To compare the two quickly I’d say the Crosman is easier to cock and load and has a better target stock profife and the Weihrauch has the better trigger. As for accuracy, I think the two are close and I couldn’t say which one is better.

    B.B.

  2. Quest 1000X,

    We have some readers who are interested in the Quest 1000X. If you like yours, how about telling us about it? Post a comment to the most recent posting, please. Tell us accuracy, and what you’ve done with your rifle.

    B.B.

  3. This is kind of kool. Mine is a real great deal. I mean, The scope is plastic but can get me within .5″ at 30 yards. Basically what i do with my rifle is take it into the woods and set up targets. I use wood because the gun is 1000 f.p.s. Overall it is great!
    To B.B.,
    Quest 1000X(with case)

  4. I just came across this review because I, at the moment am saving up for the Crosman Challenger 2000 (I’m 17), and now I have been alerted about the Quest. As someone said earlyer, they believ the Quest is much better than the Challenger, I have taken the quest under consideration, but the Crosman web page claims the Challenger has the most acurate barrel that Crosman produces! On another note, what about gun velocity? I understand the concept of gun velocity, but arent “Match Grade” air guns suposed to be a lower velocity (give or take 500 FPS)? Do lower velocities take less skill and experience to operate?

    P.S.: Obviously I am new to the sport of competitive airgun shooting.

  5. Lazy Steve,

    The Crosman Challenger 2000 is a real competition airgun. The Quest is not a competition gun. You could only compete with the 2000, because the Quest, which is a sporting airgun, lacks a number of features for competition, plus it is too powerful. As for accuracy, I’d be surprised if the Quest could keep up with the Challenger 2000 at 10 meters (33 feet), which is the international competition distance for both air rifle and air pistol.

    Yes, match guns do shoot at lower velocity than most sporters. At 10 meters, velocity doesn’t matter.

    If I were you, I would visit the NRA site and the ISSF site to study the rules for competitive shooting. The NRA has programs for guys your age who want to compete and perhaps try out for the Olympics. There are competitive events all around the U.S., plus there are postal matches (where you compete my mail).

    B.B.

  6. Again, another question, what amunition would you prefer for the Challenger 2000? I am looking at Hyper-Velocity lead free Type 4 Black Max Match Grade pellets by Skenco. To be honest with you I don’t really care about the whole “Hyper-Velocity” deal going on, but I like the lead free idea, would that mean I don’t have to clean the barrel as much?. Plus, would the Skenco Type 4 pellets work well in a Crosman Challenger 2000, would they fit?

  7. Lazy Steve,

    You are going to LOVE airguns because you never have to clean the barrel! And in no gun is this more true than the 10-meter target airgun. Airguns seldom lead the bore (only with very high velocity or gard pellets containing antimony) and there are no powder deposits, so there’s nothing to clean. Many top Olympians NEVER clean the bore of their guns.

    Forget synthetic pellets. If you are going to compete, try both RWS R-10s and H&N Finale Match. You want to shoot a pure lead wadcutter pellet for competition.

    B.B.

  8. Ive had experience with the quest.. It was my first springer So i had to get used to the shooting. It was pretty accurate after i tightened screws and shot about 1000 through the barrel but the accuracy was still not good enough. I shot the gun at 15 feet, 10 yards, 15 yards, and 25 yards. THe tighter the groups got the further i put the targets. After 800 pels the accuracy stopped tightening up. It is very Hold senstivive. I would never shoot at a competition. We all know that sometimes high velocities are not a good thing. You dont need 1000 FPS to hit a taget thats 10 meters away. Im pretty sure the rifling on the challenger is alot better then the quest.

    YOu see alot of bad ratings on the quest. You also seee great ones. People claiming crows at 50 yards. This gun may be a great rifle. You can never be sure about the quality of the one you purchase.

    If you want a quest go for it. But id suggest taking a look at the benjamin legacy that is also made by crosman. They look alot alike. It is 50 dollars more but you get the benjamin quality. The cocking is lighter then that of the quests.

  9. I bought the Crosman Quest 800 about 7 months ago. Just recently I began to shoot the gun more often and what I have found about this gun,(well at least mine) this gun have alot of twang and desiling out of the box. Do not let this discourage you from buying this gun, because I have put around 50 pellets thru it and least to say the desiling is down but the twang is still there. My gun is very accurate shooting nickle size groups from 30 yards using Beeman Hobby 11.90gr and Beeman H&N Match 13.75gr. Let me tell you that heads shots are very easy when squirrel hunting with this gun using these pellets, and might I say great penertration as well. For the money I would say this gun deserve a grade B for great consistency and craftmanship. If it wasn’t for the twang I could easily give Crosman a grade A, but who knows maybe after a few hundred shots thru this gun maybe the twang will go away like the desiling did!

  10. Carl,

    The Challenger 2000 is based on a Benjamin barrelled action, so it has the same accuracy as one of them. I don’t have my test numbers in front of me, but 1/4″ to 1/3″ at 10 meters sounds about right. It’s not in the precision class, for certain, and many shooting coaches feel that their kids will eventually out-shoot its capability.

    However, as an informal target shooter it’s much easier to shoot than the Daisy 853, which is its principal competition. The Diasy is more accurate and the Crosman is easier to shoot.

    B.B.

  11. Looking at the crosman website, it looks like they changed the cocking mechanism on the challenger to the side. Is this all they changed? Has the quality of the rifle improved? When did they do this? Why would they change the ambidex T-bar mechanism?

  12. For the above poster concerned about the Crosman official site pictures with the bolt mechanism on the left side of the rifle: Fear not. I just today received my Challenger 2000 from Pyramid Air (who else?) and the bolt is still the ambidexterous T bar as described in this review. I’d venture a guess the photos on the Crosman site are either of an older version or a prototype. If you have any doubts about this airgun, rest assured it is well worth the price of admission. The rifle, and especially the diopter sight, is far above my initial expectations. Until I have in excess of $2,000 for an Olympic-grade rifle, this will keep me very happy.

  13. B.B.-
    Any thoughts about the Challenger 2000 vs the Gamo Recon for a)indoor target shooting; b) annoying deer; and ultimately, c) first gun for my son (several years from now)?

    new in CT

  14. New in CT,

    Here is a riddle. What can you sit on, write with and use to brush your teeth?

    Answer: A chair, a pencil and a toothbrush.

    You want to buy a rifle and you are wanting to use your son as a beard? And you want me to cooperate?

    You have to decide which gun you want and for what reasons.

    I will pretend you didn’t ask the question about shooting at deer because we have had several people on this blog who have accidentally killed deer doing that. Pellet guns are not for disciplining animals.

    Now, to answer your question, the Recon is a good gun to start with. The Challenger 2000 is too specialized to be a first airgun

    B.B.

  15. Hello!
    I have a question please, or a comparison. Can the Cros. 2000 compete with the Daisy 753’s and 853’s guns??Or, would you please rate them from great to least, and which one is really good for competition. and also, does it really matter which one’s better, the co2 air or single stroke pneumatics? ok, thanks!

  16. You ask this question in two different places. I will answer it here.

    The Crosman Challenger 2000 is not as accurate as the Daisy 853. The Daisy 753 is the same rifle in a different stock, so it’s just as accurate. Only the Daisys are good for competition.

    The Crosman does shoot faster, but it cannot compete for accuracy.

    B.B.

  17. BB-
    Thanks for such an excellent blog.

    I was looking at this rifle but maybe I can tell you my purpose and you can suggest something.

    I belong to a pistol/rifle club, we have an outdoor range. I shoot primarily bullseye pistol. I've gotten friendly with the rifle guys and would like to learn rifle and join them for some of their (NRA-style, no scopes) outdoor matches, which means shooting out to 100 yards. Mostly paper, some steel silhouettes. The rifle range does not allow any caliber greater than .22.

    I don't really want to spend the thousands these guys do on their Anschutz rifles…nor do I want to burn through a lot of (not so cheap anymore) .22 ammo while I learn the basics of target rifle. Just have fun, but also a target capable rifle out to 100 yards…and preferably capable of knocking down silhouettes.

    So I was wondering if there are co2 air rifles < $500 (or <1000 if need be) that might suit?

    Thanks

  18. melchloboo,

    Two words – Benjamin Discovery. It will shoot alongside those thousand-dollar rifles and yet with the pump it costs under $400. It doesn’t get any better than that.

    Get the .22 for the longer distances and shoot JSB Exact domes weighing 15.8 grains. Crosman Premiers in the cardboard box if you can’t get the JSBs, but weigh the Premiers and shoot only those that weigh the same to one-tenth of a grain.

    B.B.

  19. Thanks! Seems exactly what I’m looking for! I found your blog review Part I, did you ever do more, I can’t find them through google.
    Thanks again!

    Any reason to avoid a used one if I found it?

  20. melchloboo,

    Here is the link to the third one, which links to the first two:

    /blog/2008/1/the-benjamin-discovery-part-3-velocity/

    Beware of a used Discovery. They haven’t been out too long and many experimenters have been hacking away at them.

    B.B.

  21. BB,

    Thanks for your review for the Crossman Challenger 2000. I noticed the rifle is rated one of the more quiet rifles by Pyramydair. Is that pretty much the case for 10-meter guns or is there something else that makes the Crossman Challenger more quiet?

    Backyard Shooter

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