Beeman Crow Magnum/Theoben Eliminator – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


I call it the .460 Weatherby of airguns, the Beeman Crow Magnum/Theoben Eliminator is an impressive air rifle.

This is a continuation of the report from Friday.

Cold test!
Some readers advised me that gas springs are very susceptible to cold weather, so I tested them at 10 deg. F, 45 deg. F and 80 deg. F. It turned out that the gas spring lost less velocity in the cold (at 10 degrees) than a steel spring R1 I’d tuned. It did lose velocity, but not as much as the gun with all the grease on the coiled steel mainspring. When I reported that, I learned that some “professors” (that’s what I call guys who always have a theory they can “prove” but never bother to test it) could explain in writing why my test was flawed. The gas spring should have lost much more energy than the steel spring, because gas loses pressure in the cold. Well, despite a cold soak of TWO HOURS, mine didn’t!

If you’re beginning to suspect that I used the Crow Magnum as a tool to test a lot of the street knowledge and myths about the performance of gas springs, you’re right!

Endurance test!
Then came the 5,000-shot endurance test I mentioned last Friday. I filled up the gas spring back to the 33 foot-pound level for this test. The pellet I chose for the test developed just over 30 foot-pounds. I could only cock the rifle for 50 shots per session, so I tried to do two sessions a day. By shot 1,000, the Crow had lost considerable power and I shipped it back to Beeman. Don Walker told me it had just been over-pumped, so he let some air out and sent it back. But the best power with that test pellet was now just 28 foot-pounds.

I never did learn why the power declined, but it was a couple foot-pounds below where it had been at the start of the test. No amount of careful filling could get those foot-pounds back, so I released even more air and continued the test at 27 foot-pounds. But that episode took the wind out of my sails! I felt I was struggling to prove a point that nobody cared about, because those who will buy the Leupold scope I mounted on it will do so with or without my test results, and those who won’t will not be convinced by me. So, I set the rifle aside for two years and did other things.

What I should have bought…
But our Airgun Letter readers didn’t forget. Along with Ben Taylor, they were telling me that I had picked the wrong caliber for the rifle. They said the .20 caliber was what I really should test.

I sent our rifle to Davis Schwesinger at Air Rifle Specialists for a caliber conversion. Dave was the first U.S. Theoben importer and he had many parts on hand, plus he knew the Theoben system better than anyone. Dave happened to have a customer who really wanted a .25, so he swapped our barrels and did a checkup on my rifle at the same time. He said it was in top shape, but on Ben Taylor’s recommendation and with parts Theoben donated, Dave rebuilt the gas spring and gave me a new piston seal.

The .20 was not as accurate as the .25!
I shot and shot the rifle with the new .20 caliber barrel to no avail. The power was back up but the accuracy was horrible! I couldn’t shoot a group smaller than 1.25″ at 40 yards to save my life. Our readers and others on the internet were convinced, I am sure, that I had it in for Theoben, and this was a long drawn-out plot to discredit them. This was reported in November of 1999.

At the 2000 SHOT Show in February, Ben Taylor met me and we sat and discussed the rifle. We talked at length about scopes, shooting positions, handling and pellets. I assured him I was using Crosman Premiers, which he said were the absolute best for the gun. Then he asked me how often I cleaned the barrel. I said never. In those days I believed that cleaning an airgun barrel only promotes wear and damage. That was about to change.

…and that’s where the cleaning comes from!
My friends, the ranting I do about cleaning air rifle barrels with JB Non-Embedding Bore Cleaning Compound came out of this conversation! Taylor told me that Crosman pellets are made from hard lead that smears on the inside of any steel rifle bore and eventually has to be removed. I had no idea what the guy who owned the barrel before me had done to it, but I bet he never heard of this, either. I went home from the SHOT Show and immediately cleaned the bore Taylor’s way, then re-tested the rifle. Hallelujah! It worked! Finally, I had an accurate Crow Magnum. I could then report the super groups everyone had come to expect.

I was now able to group five Crosman Premiers inside 0.318″ at 35 yards with a clean barrel. Five Beeman Kodiaks grouped as small as 0.335″. Finally, I saw the accuracy that everyone had been shouting about, and I had to admit it was good. The rifle was now delivering about 24 foot-pounds, which is very good for a hunting air rifle.

When RWS brought out their 20 foot-pound .22-caliber Theoben-built RA800, I knew it needed a clean barrel, so there was never a bobble testing that gun. It took much less effort to cock than the Crow Magnum, and I always thought it was a great rifle. Too bad they discontinued it so soon.

I eventually sold the Crow Magnum, because The Airgun Letter bought most of the airguns for testing. We couldn’t afford to sit on a huge inventory of guns we no longer needed. Had the rifle been my personal rifle, I might not have sold it.

So, Timothy and all others who have contemplated a Theoben Eliminator, I’ve told you what I know about them. They’re great air rifles, as long as you know what to expect.

39 thoughts on “Beeman Crow Magnum/Theoben Eliminator – Part 2”

  1. PV=nRT (which equates to energy!)

    n=moles (number of atoms)
    R=Gas Constant
    T=Temp in degrees-Kelvin

    The problem for many people is that temperature is in Kelvin which is (I think I remember this correctly) 473F plus air temp in F. Thus, changing from 80F to 10F is not a huge change in “temperature” but really the difference between 553K and 483K. Hence air temperature would only be expected to have about a 14% or so effect (your 10% would seem very reasonable).

  2. Hi,B.B.,I have been lusting for a Tx200 in .22 Cal. for the longest time and now that I’ve saved enough money Pyramid is and has been out of stock.The new arrival date keeps getting set back and I’ve been tempted to get the HC version,but I saw your review of Its lack of power compared to the standard version. I’ve also considered the Pro Sport, but have never heard you speak of it .What can you tell about it. I really need your help,as their all pricey and I don”t want to make a mistake. Thank You.

  3. Lusty,

    I owned a Pro Sport and never found it as nice to shoot as the regular TX. It’s certainly as accurate, but the cocking linkage is a bit on the harsh side for me.

    The styling of the rifle, though, is way past the TX 200, which is why it sells well.

    I never shot one in .22.


  4. Lusty (Nice tag, BB)

    I owned a TX200 in .22 cal. Great shooting gun. A totally different animal from the Pro Sport. Much nicer to cock. Great accuracy. Don’t have it anymore–it was stolen. I replaced it with a .20 cal HW-97K. Also a good choice.

    I did buy a walnut stocked Pro Sport from Pyramyd this year also in .22 cal. Gotta agree with BB here. The cocking linkage is in serious need of a redesign. The biggest problem is that the cocking arms are aluminum against aluminum. There’s tons of friction that wouldn’t be present if they had just added bushings or built it from steel. I’m looking to modify mine in the near future. The rifle is as heavy as a 10-meter gun with a barrel weight once you scope it.
    It’s also almost as accurate as a 10-meter gun which is probably why we put up with the ineptly inspired cocking lever design.

    And Lusty, yeah .22 cal is the way to go.


  5. B.B.
    You mention a leaded barrel…
    I took some bad advice one time and started shooting dry pellets with my Talon SS. Only took about 50 shots before it was shooting all over the place with Crosmans.
    Pushing a pellet through the bore with a cleaning rod gave about the same feel as pushing the tip of the cleaning rod down a mile of bad road.
    After some Break Free and a good scrubbing it was back to normal.
    Everything gets FP-10 lubed now, no mater what brand.Just have to watch it in the springers.

  6. Lusty
    I waited on back order for 2 months and fianlly bought the HC in 0.22. I have never shot the full length version so I can’t compare them, but I get 16.5 fpe with JSB exacts. I am sure the HC is harder to cock and may be less quiet.
    I don’t remember that BB ever shot the HC. Must have missd that blog. Can you give me the date? I would love to read his comparison.

  7. MCA,

    I did test a Hunting Carbine for The Airgun Letter, but I never blogged it.

    I found the .22 version, which was what I tested, to have a sharped jolt upon firing. I didn’t pay attention to the sound as I recall. Cocking was harder, but not bad.


  8. Thank you all very much for your infomation and input.I guess I’ll just wait it out until a new batch of TX-200s come in. That info and B.B. is what makes this site such a great asset to our sport.My respects to all. Still Lusty!

  9. B.B.
    The time the SS got really loaded up, I ran a wet patch through the bore and let it soak while I filled the tank. Afterwards I ran a brass (or bronze?) brush through the bore a few times, followed by another wet patch and two dry patches.
    After that,I would run a wet patch through the bore every time I filled, then followed with 2 dry patches.
    After a while got lazy and would do this only once in a while. Think the bore texture got polished to the point that it is no longer necessary as long as the pellets (any kind) have just a film of lube.
    Have heard of some people using the CLP Breakfree for lube. Tried this in one of my springers and found that you REALLY have to go sparingly because it detonates much easier than FP-10. Does not seem to be a problem with a PCP due to the lack of heat.

  10. B.B.,

    I need help diagnosing a problem. A year ago I bought a Crosman 1077. In 1,000 shots I only encountered one malfunction: a pellet failed to fire after a long (10 min) pause. While I wasn’t impressed with the gun’s accuracy–it shot too many fliers, about one per group–it worked.

    Later I bought an AirMagnum 850 that not only worked, it grouped. It grouped so well that I stopped shooting the 1077. Since I see no point owning a gun I’ll never shoot, I boxed up the 1077 and placed an ad on the Internet. Seventh months later someone bought it. And here’s what that someone had to say about it:

    Things aren’t going so well with the gun..finally got to shoot it this weekend only to find out that it’s just lobbing pellets at extremely slow speeds. By lobbing, I mean I could probably throw the pellet faster. I noticed that I’m getting a pretty hard spray on my hand after each shot and I can see a ghostly cloud seeping its way out of the trigger area when a co2 is loaded up. I’m not too sure what I need to do, but I just figured I’d let you know and see what you thought.

    As for what I think, I think I’d better ask B.B. Suggestions?

    Bob in CA

  11. W&S Patriot is a Beeman Kodiak (spring). Has nothing to do with Eliminator/Crow Magnum (gas-ram).

    AATX200s are superior weapons in every way. I own both HC in .177 and a full MK3 version in .22
    Both are super accurate and hold-insensitive. My longest kill with
    .177 was at 64 yards on a crow – dropped it instantly. TX in .22 delivers great groups out to 80 yards, didn't hunt with it yet.

  12. Shadow express dude
    BB, does adding a gas spring to your rifle increase the cocking effort? I might install one next year into my Shadow express. The plasic barrel cover might bend if I put a gas spring on it.
    BB, I came across some winchester airguns (not made by daisy), they kinda resemble RWS and beeman modles. They say “made in Germany” on them. Some have rose wood stocks, others English walnut. some are desighned for 10m target, others hunting. Also, the cocking action is unlike any other gun I’ve ever seen on a side lever model. They all were made in the 80s.

  13. Bob,

    That 1077 is leaking at the breech and now when the gas cylinder is installed, too. The gun needs to be rebuilt.

    The barrel is probably loose and the seal on the intake side of the vale is missing or torn.

    Have you used Pellgunoil with each cylinde4r?


  14. Shadow Express Dude,

    Can you please put your signature at the end on your message instead of where the salutation goes? I almost pass by your messages every time because I think someone else is writing to you.

    The gas spring only feels like it increases the cocking effort. It usually remains the same or it can go down. It won’t bend your barrel.

    The Winchester you have seen are rifles and pistols Diana made for them, just like Diana makes airguns for RWS today.


  15. B.B.
    I have done all my barrels initially with JB Bore brite.
    At the time, the description of the cleaner and the polish looked about the same, so I tossed a coin.
    Some barrels have slicked up pretty easy, while others take more time.
    Have to tell you some time about a horrible looking barrel (inside and out) that I got one time.
    Almost sent it back, but glad I did not. It gives “one hole groups” a new meaning.

  16. B.B.
    It was a once in a lifetime find that would have gone in the dumpster at PA if I had sent it back.Hard to believe that Airforce did not throw it away.
    First time I ever saw a sow’s ear turn into solid gold.
    Hardly worth a guest blog over some freak accident.

    Goes to show you that getting something you do not expect is not always a bad thing.

  17. twotalon,

    Are you saying that because of the exterior finish of the barrel, or was there something else wrong with it? I used to see many barrels that turned purple and splotchy, but that was only on the outside. Inside they were fine and accurate.

    It three years and after testing several thousand barrels, I only ever saw one that failed its accuracy test. That one had very little choke at the muzzle.


  18. B.B.,

    Yep, I used a drop of Pellgun oil on each powerlet.

    That was my second 1077. Out of the box, the first one couldn’t push a pellet ten feet, let alone send it sailing at 625 fps. I exchanged that 1077 for another, which (as I said) worked fine for me. But, as you said, it likely had a slow leak that, over time, grew faster. I’m guessing the whole lot had problems.

    A Chinese-made Crosman with defects. Never heard that before. Tongue firmly in cheek.

    Thanks for your input.

    Bob in CA

  19. B.B.
    This one (24″ .22) was RED with rust on the outside…along with dents and scratches.
    The first few patches through the bore came out a combination of red and black. Horrible. Like it had burned a pound of FFG.
    But pushing a dry pellet through gave an immaculately nice feel…even with the remaining crud.Every inch from the breech to the muzzle had the right feel.
    That’s when I decided to clean it up.
    A lot of work inside and out, including emery cloth, stripper, and a re-blue job on the outside.
    It’s the wrong color (not black), but an incredible shooter.
    Only a small increase in velocity over the standard 18″ but deadly accurate. It shoots from the bench just as close as I can hold it. And on top of that, the Talon is not fill sensitive with it like with the 18″. The muzzle must be at a null vibration point.
    I seldom use it because of the extra weight and length get in the way for me.
    If only either of the .22 18″ barrels shot so nice.

  20. twotalon,

    The reason it STILL isn’t the right color is the surface hardness of the barrel. It’s so hard that the bluing will not take properly. It goes to the purple. Some 98 Mauser actions have the same problem.

    A solution might be to install it in a Talon SS and cover it with a bloop tube from Airhog. Whatever you do, don’t get rid of it.

    AirForce finally bought a centerless grinder, so they could control the depth of the barrel grind instead of Lothar Walther USA. Now they are getting much better results on finishing, because the hard shell of drawn steel is completely ground off.


  21. B.B.
    Who cares what it looks like!
    I could bloop tube the SS , but there is the length and weight thing again.
    The SS is reserved for my in town starling and sparrow wacking, and the 12″ barrels are suitable for that purpose. The standard Talon for chucks and tree rats in the country. The new 12″ .22 shoots better every day, but think I will go back to .177 for winter.
    .177 and micro make for some quiet wacking without spooking the flock.
    I have a string hanging from the bird feeder out back at 21 yds. On calm mornings I shoot the string.
    Just need a bullet proof bird feeder now.

  22. I should also mention that I live in a small unincorporated village…..no mayor, no town council, no cops, no town ordinances. Clear field of fire out my back door for over a mile. Not clear out the front door!!!
    And the neighbors that know don’t care. And nobody hears it anyway.

  23. BB,
    Thanks for the info on airsoft guns, i didnt realize they were so pricey. I dont want to spen $100 on a toy gun. I can buy a .22 rimfire for that. I am going to continue my hunt for an inexpencive, good quality airsoft gun!

  24. CritterController,

    No, that’s not what I said. I said you couldn’t get an AEG for that little. I never said you couldn’t get a good airsoft gun. I know several spring guns for less than $50 that are fine. But AEGs have lots of expensive parts like motors and gearboxes and so on. That’s why a cheap one is REALLY cheap.


  25. I know a lot about the Falcon FN 19. Too much to answer a general question like this. Pyramyd Air doesn’t carry them because they have not had a reliable shipping record. Now they are carried by Beeman, and they don’t import the FN-19.


  26. BB

    Does the Falcon FN-19 single shot have adjustable power? How much power does it have? How many shots per fill do they get? What kind of accuracy does it have at long range(40-75yards). What kind of quality is the metal finish and stock?

  27. The 19 power can be adjusted, but you have to take the action out of the stock. It isn’t an easy thing to do. I don’t know much beyond 55 yards, but a 19 will get half-inch groups at that range when things are perfect. The FN-19 has the most beautiful blue possible. It’s like a Colt Python or a Whiscombe.


  28. I have had a Crow Magnum IV in .22 for 5 years or so. It is still one of my favorites. Very powerful and accurate. I found that it is extremely sensitive to hold position, due to the recoil, but once you figure the hold out, it’s hard to find a better non-pcp hunting rifle. I had to replace the breech o-ring with a solid urethane one. The factory o-rings had a slot in them that was getting torn up and allowing gas to get by. Mine really loves the CrowMag and Predator pellets. They expand nicely in my pellet trap/target holder filled with duct seal. I also think it is fairly easy to cock, one-handed, if you rest the butt against the inside of your left thigh, support the stock with your left hand and crank with your right. You have to love a powerful self-contained gun that you don’t have to tote a pump or air tank around with.

  29. Yup! I've had my Crow Magnum III for over 15 years now. It's still my favorite rifle! I've never had to do anything to it but cock it and shoot. Many thousands of rounds later and it's still going strong. The secret is to let a little air out of the ram so that it performs at 25 FPE…


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