Another oldie – Crosman 130!

by B.B. Pelletier

Here’s another blast from the past. The Crosman 130 pneumatic was made from 1953 to 1970. It was a multi-pump pneumatic in .22 caliber, plus a model 137 in .177 was also made. These guns replaced the model 105/106 multi-pump pistols that had been in the Crosman line since 1947. Where the 105/106 guns were conventional in all ways, the 130/137 were groundbreaking new airguns.

Crosman’s 130 ushered in a revolutionary new valve!

Crosman invented a new type of valve
Airgun companies were tired of customers over-pumping their guns and complaining that they wouldn’t shoot. When they over-pumped them, the valves would lock up and the guns would either fire very weakly or not at all. To prevent over-pumping, Crosman engineers invented a new type of valve that worked much differently. Instead of knocking the valve open with a heavy hammer, the new valve used the trigger to hold the valve shut until the trigger was pulled and released the air.

Valve lock-up became a thing of the past
Crosman hoped this new valve would end the complaints about valve lock, which it did. However, it started a new round of complaints about a trigger than gets harder to pull as the air pressure increases. That didn’t stop them from putting it in the model 140 rifle in 1955, where it lasted into the newer model 1400 but was finally washed out of the system in 1978. In the rifles, the new valve was alleged to be the most powerful multi-pump ever made, though my own tests with a 140 modified for power proved it to be only slightly superior to a stock Sheridan Blue Streak.

How the valve affects the trigger
The trigger becomes harder to pull with every pump stroke. It also becomes more gritty as increased pressure reveals flaws in the linkage. With one or two pumps, the trigger is very chancy – sometimes working and other times not. In fact, my own 130 doesn’t fully seal the valve until the second pump. This can be heard as a hollow “pop.”

You’ll never have to cock these guns!
Because the act of pumping the gun sets the trigger, no cocking is needed. There’s no hammer and no hammer spring, so the gun is always ready to fire when pumped. That makes it somewhat unsafe, even though there is a safety to lock the trigger blade. My 130 has fired many seconds after the trigger was pulled when only a few pumps were in the gun. My souped-up 140 actually fired once on its own without touching the trigger. I think the latter incident was due to the airgunsmith trying to lighten the trigger, but it still warrants approaching with caution when handling any gun that has one of these valves. Don’t store a pump of air in the gun and don’t load a pellet until you’re ready to fire!

Your gun may need to be resealed
The 130 shown here was located in an antique shop for just $20 only a month ago, so the finds are still out there. It shot okay but it leaked, so I had it resealed. If you have a vintage pneumatic like this, you need to read the posting on airgunsmiths from July 20, CO2 and pneumatic airguns: where to get them fixed. A seal job will cost $25 to $60 depending on the smith. All the names I listed are people I trust to do a good job. I paid $37 for my reseal job, so now I have $57 in the gun. Blue Book of Airguns says that’s about what it’s worth. But they don’t make them anymore, so I’m happy!

These aren’t powerful airguns, as indeed most pellet pistols are not. But they do have rifled barrels and will shoot fairly well with good modern pellets. My choice would be Crosman’s Premier for this one. While a gun like this has its limitations, it’s also a nice tie to the past. I like that.

22 thoughts on “Another oldie – Crosman 130!

  1. BBP,

    Thanks for the book link.

    Got out for a few this eve, w/ your’e advice on fine tuning the talon tank in hand things at 100 yds are shaping up much better w/the added power.

    It’s possable the problem was with trying to sight too low on the recticle…or the adjustment changed the harmonics with out changing the barrel mounts as you mentioned.

    Thought of another benefit you may mention to useing the SS frame as a starter, besides the looks. One of your readers commented on sight spacing recently. It came to mind that the longer frame of the SS will allow an increase in spacing between the sights, and may improve the accuracy of open sights for many shooters.


  2. Thanks for the information on the Xman 130 in your 9-19-05 blog. I too obtained an old specimen for around $25. It needed seal work as well as a new pump. It now fires .22 premiers at 326 fps with 8 pumps. I thought this was rather anemic. What do you think a healthy 130 will do? Thanks.


  3. BBP

    After owning my 130 for several weeks, I must say this is a strange air pistol. Your comments lead me to believe that the idosyncracies my 130 exhibits are common. At times, it will pop on the first or second pump, releasing all the air. Occasionally, it will do this repeatedly, so I am unable to get off a round at all. At other times, it works flawlessly.

    I can’t say I am impressed by Crosman’s engineers of the 1950’s.



  4. I have a Benjamin 137 manuf. in 1976 that I got from my Dad. I loaded pellet and tried to fire, but nothing happened! It was VERY hard to pump. I was wondering if it is over pumped as refered to in a blog here. If so, what do I do? If not, what could it be? The gun seems to be oiled OK.

  5. Hello, JW in N.Central Ohio. Looking for a local person that can help me restore a non-pressurizing Crosman 140. I would LOVE hands-on experience, if someone would like to take the time to show this ole Grandpa! Pleae send info to me: [email protected]

  6. I have a M140 Hawthorne (crosman 140) that I am restoring. I refinished and reblued the barrel, and sanded and re-stained the stock. It shoots great and is very powerful. I hae no idea of the fps but with the old crosman super-pells (still sealed in the container and in good shape) shoots great. I shot a squirrel with it the other day at 20 yards and I have never seen a squirrel drop that fast from an air rifle. Not even a tail twitch. Don’t know where I hit it cause it fell out of the tree, rolled down a 30 foot bank and into Lake Ontario. Anyway, the point is that this thing is superbly accurate and quite powerful. I was wondering if I could put a benjamin sheridan style scope mount that clamps onto the barrel and if you have any idea what the listed fps might be.

  7. 140,

    The Crosman intermount should fit your barrel fine.

    Average velocity for a 140 is about 610 f.p.s. with a Crosman Premier on 8 pumps. I once had one hot-rodded and it would do over 700 f.p.s. on 10 pumps, but that was hard on the pump mechanism.


  8. Hello,

    I happen to have one of these air pistols. It's used, but I still have it in its original box (I even went as far as to Food Saver the gun, pellets, and box). Is there any way for me to determine how much this gun is worth?? Thanks to much for your help in advance!

  9. I have a crosman 130 that I paid 10 dollars for it was resealed by phil briney in canton ohio and it shoots great. Strong and accurate. Best money I ever spent an an old airgun.

    Robert O
    Austin TX

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