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.