The Crosman 1400 Pumpmaster: an American classic–Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

My rifle gets the following ballistic performance with various numbers of pumps. I stop at eight strokes of the pump, because there IS a limit to what the valve can take–blow-off design notwithstanding! Over-pump a 1400, and you’ll soon need a new valve, as the excessive pressure will extrude the seal material right out of its seat! More on that in a moment.

Velocity with 14.3-grain Crosman Premiers
Oiled with FP-10, point-blank, 60-deg. F

2 pumps…345 f.p.s.
3 pumps…415 f.p.s.
4 pumps…471 f.p.s.
5 pumps…514 f.p.s.
6 pumps…547 f.p.s.
7 pumps…573 f.p.s.
8 pumps…598 f.p.s.

The velocity figures for my 1400 seem low for the gun. I’ve had others that shot Premiers in the mid-600s, and I once owned a 140 that got 740 f.p.s. on 10 pumps. This rifle would never get near that velocity, as the diminishing gains clearly show.

Still, the rifle delivers 11.36 foot-pounds of energy with the very accurate Crosman Premier. That’s enough to bag a rabbit at 20 yards or so. A gain of several foot-pounds could undoubtedly be realized (with a loss in velocity) if a substantially heavier pellet were used.

You can’t pump forever!
One thing many of us overlook when we talk about this valve that can’t be over-pumped is the fact that the valve material can be extruded by too much pressure. In other words, it is possible to ruin the valve by too much pumping, because the pressure will force the valve material through the valve seat. So there is a limit to the top end, even though it is impossible to make the valve lock up.

Fit & finish
The metal finish on my rifle is just mediocre. It’s better than the finish on the typical Chinese airgun, but not quite up to the finish of current Spanish guns. Because of this, the blue is very uneven and there are patches where the bluing process was not completely stopped and corrosion set it. I find this to be typical of Crosman rifles from the mid-1960s to the end of the 1400 era in the 1980s. You can improve things somewhat with a soft abrasive metal polish (like Flitz), but there’s a limit to what can be done. Be sure to oil the metal after polishing, or you’ll promote new rust to replace the old.

The wood on 1400s varies greatly. Some rifles have a laminated wood stock called “Croswood,” which looks quite striking. Others, like mine, have a muddy blonde finish over what looks like maple. This latter finish is brittle and chips off easily around the sharp contours of the stock.

The stocks varied in shapes and finishes over the years. The 1400 has had both a Monte Carlo stock with a strange swoop to the buttstock and a plain straight-comb butt. The Croswood laminate with the Monte Carlo is the most attractive of the bunch, although the raised cheekpiece is lowered so much by the downward swoop of the butt that there’s no height advantage to either design.

To some collectors, the Crosman 140 and 1400 rifles represent the high water mark of airgun development. They like the steel and wood construction and the knowledge that they can’t lock up their valves by over-pumping. This has kept the market demand for the guns somewhat higher than for equivalent older collectible Crosman rifles. An excellent 1400 often brings over $100, while a much older Crosman 101 in the same condition will only sell for $20-40 more. There’s no rationale for this small a difference, other than acknowledging that the all-steel Crosmans have a following.

56 thoughts on “The Crosman 1400 Pumpmaster: an American classic–Part 2

  1. B.B.
    OT subject…..
    Do you know what the breech o-rings for AF guns are made of?
    I had been using some rings from hardware stores that I think are just silicone. They do not seem to hold up well with the combination of FP-10 and silicone grease.
    Just got some nitrile/buna rings from a TSC store to try out. Have a different feel to them and are supposed to be more resistant to oils than sillycone is ( spelled wrong on purpose).

    twotalon


  2. Twotalon,

    Although I have installed thousands of o-rings in AirForce bolts, I never stopped to see what they were made of. They came in packages of 1000, as I recall, and we bought a couple thousand at a time.

    I’m pretty sure they are not silicone, though. I would think silicone would dissolve in the presence of silicone oil. They are a black material.

    Buna sounds good, but like I say, I don’t know.

    You know that AirForce might sell you some o-rings?

    B.B.


  3. B.B.
    I just wanted to let you know. I was able to find some bore paste, not JB but it seems like a very similar product. It’s made by Break Free and it comes in a small tube. I cleaned my bore as you instructed and I could not believe how much mud came out of the bore. It was disgusting. The gun is much better now. The accuracy came right back to where it used to be. I guess after I finish the CPs I have now, I’ll start using JSBs exclusively. I found that I can reshape the skirts of the deformed pellets very easy using the tip of another pellet since I don’t have a Pell Seat. I didn’t think that the 34 Panther had a high enough velocity in .22 to lead the bore using the Premiers, but I guess I was wrong. Thanks again for the advice.




  4. B.B. : Good caution on the damage over-pumping can do to these guns. I have seen posts where people say they regularly pump these up 12 or 15 times. I have just restored a very abused 1400 that was often over pumped. Not only did the valve need repair, but the trigger had to be replaced as well. It was so worn it would not hold more than four or five pumps of pressure without slipping and releasing the charge. What groups are you getting with your gun? I put an old Mossberg peep on mine with a white bead replacement front sight to match. The best groups I’m getting average around an 1 1/2″ for five shots at 25 yards in good conditions. I couldn’t do that at 10 yards with the original sights. Mine likes RWS superdomes and Meisterklugens. Take care, Robert


  5. Phil,

    I have never seen a good book on 10-meter shooting – rifle or pistol. The best help I ever saw was a video that used to be available from RWS. It showed how top shooters set up and shoot. My series in this blog is based on that video. It was how I learned to shoot 10-meter.

    I doubt the video is available anymore.

    B.B.



  6. BB,

    I don’t know about this rifle being the “high point”, but it definitely comes from an age when good solid functionality was the expectation. I also think the less than perfect finish is telling. At some point, we consumers came to value superficial apearances excessively, even in guns, which is rather silly unless you collect wall hangers or are carelessly wealthy.

    Since deep polish and complex castings and claro walnut cost more than most can afford, we got faux-wood and injection molded plastic, plus a boutiquey set of upscale makers and aftermarket go-getters. That’s progress.


  7. Cowboy dad,

    What you did seems to have fixed your rifle. Don’t worry about the RWS lube. The 863 is low-enough velocity that even straight petroleum oil will not be a problem.

    And you have just demonstrated that even the “experts” don’t know everything. I wouldn’t have advised putting the oil there, but it worked — so what do I know?

    As for the darkroom — I think Santa’s workshop is in jeopardy.

    And on the 1010 — good for you and for your son! Shoot it in good health.

    B.B.





  8. Thanks BB.
    I figure the only thing I can do is shoot the thing (853C)…it will either keep working or it won’t.
    A bit of humour. I have a good friend who years ago had a bunch of ‘business’ cards printed up.
    On it was his name and the simple description “Master Of The Universe”…
    You wouldn’t believe how many girls (and most were nice) he picked up with that card.
    Humour really does go a long ways.
    CowBoy Dad


  9. B.B. & All,

    Air Arms S410 .22 cal report…

    She is just as beautiful as my walnut stock .177…Not a scratch on the stock, and just a little one on the bluing… a perfect big sister, or brother, for the .177, I'm not sure yet…

    The Air Arms S410 .22 cal I just got, has a bolt in the back, like my S310 .22 cal. but the barrel is longer by 1-1/2" than the 310 and 1/2" longer than the Air Arms S410 .177 that does have the side lever…

    The Power adjuster on the S410 .177 makes it able to get 130 shots on a 205 bar fill with the power adjuster set at half and it shooting 8.4 JSB Exacts at 780fps avg over the 130 shots with the low of 760fps and the high at 835fps. That's where I like to shoot it… very steady POI.. In the wind at 50 yards I turn it up to almost (full power 1041fps) and get out the 10.2 heavy exacts. At 3/4 power, it shoots them at 930fps, which is where I can get some 1/2" groups..

    The .22 cal S410 with out the power adjuster, has a valve lock issue, so on a 205 bar fill, it shoots the first 30 shots slower, until the valve can take all the pressure in the tank and open all the way, which is about 150 bar, then it gets about 40 good shots before dropping off.. It likes the 21 gr Kodiak best.. I actually got a 1-1/2" 10 shot group at 75 yards with them yesterday. It drops about 10" from 20 yards to 75 yards, so it took a few shots to re adjust the leapers 6-24x50AO scope.. but it grouped 10" low real nice, then did it again when I adjusted up…

    This is a powerful dude.. It shoots the 28gr Eunjin at 669fps under the valve lock, at 200 bar, and 790fps at 150 bar… 18gr Crow mags at 937fps at 150 bar, and 17gr silver arrows at 965fps at 120 bar and still 920fps at 90 bar.. This one is great for hunting or Field target, if you can only have one for both tasks, this might be it..

    Wayne,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range


  10. B.B.

    To my astonishment, I received my B30 back from Rich from Mich on Saturday in about half the time I was expecting, and I just finished a phone conversation with him. Shall I spill the goods here or try writing a guest blog?

    All, on the general subject of shooting books, I’m making my way through Jeff Cooper’s Art of the Rifle which is referenced a lot. Anyone know the inner and fundamental reason why we shoot?…Power. I’m not sure how to scale that down to airguns. Actually, the philosophy, of which there is a good deal, is not as simplistic as it might sound, and there are plenty of good practical tips. For instance, I was surprised to learn that there is a difference between the standing and offhand positions.

    Matt61


  11. B.B.

    As I mentioned, My Panther is shooting much beter after the bore cleaning. I tested it at 20 yards indoors and my groups were at about an inch or so while they were at about three inches before the cleaning. I went outside to try shooting at 50 yards and the pellets seem to be going everywhere. I’m still not sure that my scope isn’t having problems. In addition to the scope concerns I mentioned before, I have also noticed that I have to keep adjusting the allen key on the turret to allow adjustments to be made. I think that when I adjust the turrets, the allen screw is turning too. I will turn the turret maybe a full turn before any clicks are heard. Is this normal? Also, what kind of groups shpould I expect from a .22 Panther at 50 yards? I am shooting the JSBs and the wind is a variable direction at about 5mph. I am shooting at 2″ Shoot n See targets on a sheet of typong paper and some of my shots aren’t even on the paper. I will hafe two in a row hit the target and then the next ten will be low and left or randomly scattered around the sheet. I am usoing the artillery hold as you have described. I am resting the gun on my open palm just in front of the trigger guard and barely touching anywhere else. I am pretty new to shooting spring guns, but I think I should be able to shoot better than this. Am I asking too much from a Panther? This will have to do ubntil I get my Condor. Hopefully soon!




  12. Matt,

    See, didn’t I tell you all about Rich?…he did the same thing with me…whatever air rifle you send him is back before you even think about expecting it, and better than you expected. One good fellow to work with, no doubt about it.

    Re. power, yes, anything than can magnify one of our senses (hearing, vision, strength, speed, etc.) will be extremely attractive/valuable, and especially to men. Anytime that you are contemplating an invention, ask yourself, “does this magnify one of my senses?” If yes, you have a sure fire winner.

    Wayne,

    Some 410s are adjustable, and some not? Why buy a non-adustable?

    – Dr. G.


  13. B.B.

    I had a drooper mount and I had to shim the front rings to get on target. I optically centered the scope and used a one piece Leapers mount with no droop correction and had to adjust the vertical adjustment very minimally but I had to almost max out the horizontal adjustment. I determined that my particular gun has very little if any barrel droop. My particular scope has the zero lock feature and that seems to be the part that is moving when I adjust the vertical adjustment. The vertical adjustment has nice fine clicks when the zero lock screw is in the right position, but the horizontal adjustment has very sloppy, soft feeling clicks. This is the only air gun scope I’ve ever owned so I can’t compare it to anything, but it just doesn’t seem right to me. I’m not sure it is the cause of the seeming inaccuracy, but it seems off a little. I think I’ll reinstall the open sights an see how that goes. I don’t know how good I’ll be at 50 yards with open sights regardless though. I wish I had another gun to try the scope on, but I don’t…..yet

    Thank you very much for your help. I don’t know anyone who takes airguns more seriously than a Red Ryder. Everyone I know thinks airguns are toys, so this blog is my only source of valid, useful information.


  14. UW Hunter,

    Okay, the soft clicks are bad. I might have gotten the reason wrong, but bad they are. Try to adjust those screws so the clicks are crisp again.

    Forget the optical centering for now. Let’s just get you on target. Those soft clicks indicate that the return spring isn’t pressing against the erector tube that contains the crosshairs. It that tube floats, you get scope shift.

    Once again, get both knobs back to crisp clicks.

    Open sights at 50 yards can get you 2-inch groups if you do your job. Maybe better if you are a good shot. They are half as precise as a scope.

    B.B.


  15. Matt61,

    Once you go tuned, you’ll never go back. I’ll admit I got so bad for awhile I was looking for a tuner for my Daisy 102.

    The difference is like a sharp knife compared to a dull one. They look the same from a distance, but the disparity shows up when you use them.

    I funded my tunes by selling off half my modest collection. I now don’t own a single springer that has not been to Paul Watts or Rich in Mich.

    That said you should be sure you plan on keeping the rifle once tuned, as chances are you cannot get the full value of what you paid back.

    Volvo


  16. Alright B.B., I reinstalled the open sights and shot some groups in the indoor range. My groups with the open sights seem a little tighter than with the scope. This is even though I can barely see the 1″ dot at 20 yards. While I was waiting for my scope mount to arrive, I shot the gun for a while wit hopen sights and had the same problem I just had again. With my rear sight at its lowest position, my groups are a good 3″ above the aim point with a 6 o’clock hold. I’m not too concerned with that because I will keep the gun scoped as soon as I can resolve this issue. Th eimportant thing is that the shots were much more consistent with the open sights than with the scope. The soft clicks are on the horizontal adjustment. I have heard of shimming the scope for vertical adjustment but not for horizontal. Should I try shimming the scope on the side of the mount or should I send the scope back to Leapers? Or do you have another suggestion? I would really like to make this one work since my open sights will not get me on target and I don’t have another scope to use, so that would meen nothing to shoot for however long a repair would take, but on the other hand, if the scope is defective, I don’t want to rig it instead of having it repaired. What do you think?


  17. B.B., one more note. I just adjusted my horizontal adjustment from one extreme to the other and the clicks are soft throughout the range. Completely different than the vertical adjustment.


  18. UW Hunter….
    Do you have a centerpoint scope?
    You describe things that I have seen happen with mine…
    Adjustment caps slipping, one knob adjusts easy while other adjusts hard.

    twotalon


  19. uw hunter,

    Of the 10 or so scopes that I’ve owned, I’ve gotten soft clicks on the windage twice, once due to someone else and once due to me. Or perhaps both due to the idiotic scope maker who came up with this added inconvenience/something to break.

    Both scopes never got the hard click back, and ended up having to be used as permanent 10 meter scopes, and took about 45 minutes using shims to get them right.

    There is no reason at all to buy this type of scope.

    – Dr. G.


  20. B.B.

    I’ll give it a go with the guest blog.

    Dr. G. right you were about Rich. Thanks again. I’ll be addressing the burning smell among other things in my blog. I think the magnification of senses is a good way to generalize the business about power. Some of Cooper’s comments like the way a gun feels in a man’s hand being analogous to the way a women feels touching a baby; the sense of being monarch of all one surveys by being able to destroy anything in sight; and a lot of military and hunting applications don’t really relate, but the magnification idea does.

    Volvo, I can see what you are saying especially after the report about the crap that was inside my gun. I have no intention of selling this gun, so I’m okay there. Instead, I want to test out its capacity to last for centuries and millions of rounds.

    Matt61





  21. Good evening B.B. I’ve got a 140 that was a used gun when I got it probably 30 years ago. Is there any way for me to tell when it was made? Talked with Rick Willnecker and it’s leaving for an overhall tomorrow.

    Wayne, Thanks for the update on your S410 in .22. Too bad it doesn’t have that mystery part in it so that it would perform the way your other one does. Enjoy Mr B.




  22. BB,

    I was considering buying a Gamo CFX in .22 cal; fairly certain I saw them on Pyramyd at one time.

    Looking at all the Gamo listings on this site, I see only one listed as a .22, the Gamo Hunter Pro. Everything else is listed in only .177 cal. Has Gamo stopped making .22s, or is Pyramyd carrying only the .177 models?

    –Witt


  23. Dr. G.

    Well if you can find an Air Arms S410 with the power adjuster “+” on the barrel side and the “-” on the butt side, then let’s see if it does what this one does… The last two I got from PA came from a later shipment, and had the power adjuster going opposite my first walnut stock. I almost called right away, to send it back because it shot so weak on full power, but when I put my glasses on, I saw the + and – were on the opposite sides.

    So, I don’t know if they come that way anymore, or when they started putting power adjusters on them at all, the S310 and S410 .22 cals don’t have power adjusters at all. The S310 doesn’t even have a gauge, but I love them all the same, because they perform just as well on accuracy, even if it’s for less shots.. And they cost less too, buying used… And I like the game of playing the valve lock issue… unless I’m in a contest….

    But if shopping, ask if the power adjuster + is on the barrel side…If it is, tell me, so I can try and buy it… because it’s nothing you would want..

    Wayne,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range


  24. bb,
    Whats the difference between the sheridan C9 and a benjamin 392 besides caliber. I saw them at my local gun shop, 165 each. Graet job with the video. I cant believe I live here and still couldnt make it. Kicken myself. I have a chance at a enfield MK4 no2 rifle again for 145$. Barrel conditions good, little surface rust, original stock is in good shape and the action looks good. I would plan on modifying the stock. Why did makers put a wood slab on top of the barrel? I would cut the fore arm length in half, is this safe?
    Shadow express dude


  25. Hi BB, i wanted to ask how accurate a walther falcon can be at 25 yds. i want to use it for crows in .25. the reason i choose .25 is that i was thinking this, couldnt u use #3 or 2 buckshot for cheap ammo? its like 21-26gr each. Would this damage the gun?



  26. BB and all,

    In my tinkering, I have arrived at a power setting that gives me tested accuracy up to 30 yards (thats my maximum backyard space). Less than half inch groups are the norm.

    But, I have observed this is achieved at a much lower mv that I run out of scope adjustments.

    Perhaps if it is a mildot scope I just can assign some of the dots but I have a normal 30-30 reticule.

    Any suggestions here please.

    Dave



  27. Brian, thanks for the heads up. I was wrong cause it says 11 4 right where you said to look. Wow three years older than my X wife. Be nice Mr B., besides Rick doesn’t work on them.:)
    Matt, yes to your guest blog. What’s taking sooo long?
    Take Care
    Mr B.
    By the way my word verification was dumbme–how’d you swing that one B.B.?






  28. B. B.,

    Thanks for the timely article on the Crosman 1400.

    I picked up a recently rebuilt 1400 at Roanoke this year. I have to admit it was an impulse purchase, didn’t know much of anything about this model. After getting to know it for a while I’m fairly impressed. Mine’s a third variant like the one shown on your photo (bolt action, tapered slim-line stock) and it does shoot a little harder than yours, Premiers at 620 fps on eight pumps and about 670 fps on ten pumps. It’s a nice solid, compact package, hits hard and accurate and not too difficult to pump. I really like the 1400 better than the Benjamin-Sheridan pumpers I’ve had. Definately a keeper.




  29. Hi B.B. I’d also like thank you for the 1400 article. It got me excited (I like pumpers) and I managed to buy one quite similar to yours only it has the Sears name on it. It has a dove tailed receiver for my 3X9 scope. At my backyard range of 27yds I’m seeing consistant 5 shot groups from Beeman FTS pellets of 5/8″ and JSB Jumbo Exacts are under a dime. No chrono numbers yet. 8 pumps





  30. Hi, hoping someone can help me find a solution in repairing my Crosman 1400. i have had this rifle for over 30 years. The problem is that i can no longer pump the rifle. not sure if it is the valves that need replacing. is it possible to repair it yourself and is it worth repairing.
    Frank




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