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Education / Training Crosman’s new Nitro Piston Short Stroke – Part 4 Addendum

Crosman’s new Nitro Piston Short Stroke – Part 4 Addendum

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


The NPSS has a GREAT adjustable trigger!
This is just an update, but I thought it was important enough to tell you, so I’m adding a part 4 to the NPSS report.

Two weeks ago, I attended a field target match in Wappinger Falls, New York, while filming American Airgunner. The club is run by Ray Apelles, his wife, Laura, and his father, Hans. The match was shot in a downpour, which dampened spirits a might, though field target isn’t like baseball. You’re never rained out, only rained on–sometimes.

While the match was running, Ray invited me to try the trigger on his brother-in-law’s Nitro Piston SS rifle he was competing with. He warned me it was sensitive, so I tried it with my very best 10-meter-pistol trigger finger, and sure enough, Ray was right. It was a splendid pull! I shot the rifle only a couple of times because the match was still going on. I figured I would report about what a wonderful trigger tune Ray had achieved, but that would be the end of it. Then he dropped the bomb.

“I didn’t tune that trigger. I just adjusted it,” is what he told me. Well, I’ve been party to wishful thinking in the past, so I was still skeptical, but I vowed to try to adjust the trigger on my test NPSS when I returned home. And if there was any merit at all, I would report it to you. I did, there is, so I am.

Oh, oh!
In rereading my report on the NPSS, I see that I praised the trigger for being so crisp. I actually guessed its pull weight to be a pound less than it really was, which was 3 lbs., 12 oz. And I also tried to adjust it. This is ironic, in light of today’s report, so I’m quoting exactly what I said in Part 2:

Just for fun, I adjusted the screw a full turn in each direction, but the only thing that changed was the length of the first-stage pull. The pull-weight remained constant. The second stage was also mushier after adjustment in either direction until several shots had been fired. Then, the crispness returned.

That is exactly what happened, but the problem was that I didn’t go far enough. This time, I turned the one and only adjustment screw three and one-half turns counter-clockwise and got approximately what I felt on the other rifle. I have to tell you that I didn’t arrive at this on the first try. It took several attempts before I got the second stage where I wanted it. At one point, it was adjusted out of the trigger-pull altogether, so don’t give up until you arrive where I’m reporting.


There’s the one and only trigger adjustment screw, behind the trigger. Turn it counter-clockwise to reduce the second stage, as described in the text.
Since we know what the trigger measured before this adjustment, you’ll be just as astonished as I was to learn that it now breaks with the exact same force–3 lbs., 12 oz. And yet I feel it is so much better that I’m making this special Part 4 report. What gives?

What gives is a special technique that, until now, I’d only seen in expensive target pistol triggers. Some of the pull weight is loaded into the first stage. After it has been pulled through stage one, stage two only requires a few ounces of effort before it breaks. Or at least that’s what it feels like. When I measured it, it took exactly 34 oz., or just under 3 lbs. to break. So, why am I so excited?

Because this trigger is glass-crisp! If you want to feel what a glass rod feels like when it breaks, set the NPSS trigger up this way and try it.

What to expect
When Ray warned me about the trigger, he was inadvertently making it possible for me to shoot the rifle correctly, because I try to set up all my 10-meter pistol triggers the same way–with most of the pull weight in stage one. So, I’m prepared to pull carefully through a heavy first stage until the trigger bumps into a light stage two. Most shooters find that very difficult. They pull and the trigger feels mushy until it suddenly lets go with no warning. They haven’t trained their fingers to feel for the light second stage.

With the NPSS trigger adjusted this way, stage one is very long and heavier than most shooters are used to. Stage two is there, but the moment the trigger contacts it all pulling has to stop. That takes some learning to get used to the feeling. But after you know how it works, the trigger is superbly crisp when set up this way.

I know the numbers I’m reporting don’t seem like much of a change. But when you try it, you’ll see what a huge difference this adjustment makes. Believe me, if it didn’t make a huge difference, I wouldn’t have reported it.

author avatar
B.B. Pelletier
Tom Gaylord is known as The Godfather of Airguns™ and has been an airgunner for over a half-century, but it was the Beeman company in the 1970s that awoke a serious interest in airguns. Until then, all he knew were the inexpensive American airguns. Through the pages of the Beeman catalog, he learned about adult airguns for the first time. In 1994, Tom started The Airgun Letter with his wife, Edith. This monthly newsletter was designed to bring serious reports about airguns to the American public. The newsletter and Airgun Revue, a sister magazine about collectible airguns, was published from 1994 until 2002, when Tom started Airgun Illustrated -- the first American newsstand magazine about airguns. Tom worked for three years as technical director at AirForce Airguns, the makers of the Talon, Condor, and Escape precharged air rifles. Today, he writes about airguns and firearms for various publications and websites. He also makes videos, and you'll find short clips embedded in some of his artices on Pyramyd AIR's website. Tom is a consultant to Pyramyd AIR and writes under the name of B.B. Pelletier.

54 thoughts on “Crosman’s new Nitro Piston Short Stroke – Part 4 Addendum”

  1. Hi Tom, I got your email from /blog/2008/04/
    and I was wondering if I can ask you some simple questions about air rifles?
    I have shoot chinese air rifles most of the time with a 3X scope when i was a kid. Now I am thinking to pick it back up again and I was wondering which one would you recommend that has a higher velocity? I'd expect some full sized ones with 17" barrels and i prefer underlever cocking mechanism b/c i believe that wouldn't drop the barrel over time. So far I found QB36-2 fairly attractive but from what i read it has some problems. I haven't venture out much to compressed aired powered ones yet but seems QB78 is receiving pretty good attention overall but I don't know how to recharge those with compressed air tanks.
    Any pointers?
    Thank you very much.

  2. Keaton,

    I don't answer questions sent to the Blogger account. That's for guest blogging, only.

    The QB36-2 is the TF 99. I have tested them and only gotten mediocre accuracy. The TF 97 is usually much better.

    But the Ar1000, which is the TF Contender 89 is superior. So are several Beeman derivatives of that model. However, Beeman is changing models so fast these days that I can't give you a model number that I have any confidence in. So those two model numbers are the way to go.

    The QB 78 is CO2–not compressed air. And charging is no problem whatsoever. The gun you buy will come with instructions.

    But the Benjamin Discovery is both more accurate and able to use both CO2 and compressed air. If you want a really fine air rifle, it's the way to go.


  3. Thumbhole,

    I agree with you on not liking thumbholes. But once again, we are in the minority. Crosman knows its market.

    However, it is easy to restock this rifle and I would expect they would do it, just to get those of us who like classic patterns better.


  4. Keaton, the barrel on a breakbarrel rifle doesn't bend from cocking. They can bend for other reasons – but not from normal use. I HAVE bent barrels intentionally to straighten them, and believe me – it takes a LOT more force to bend a barrel than you're ever going to exert while cocking the gun.

    The QB36-2 (TF99) is heavy and has mediocre power and accuracy. Not a particularly good gun at all. Tom's right about the AR1000 variants, and the TF89 version does come with a nice stock. The trigger on these guns is quite good.

    But if you're really stuck on an underlever consider the Gamo CFX. Much better gun than the QB36-2, and it won't cut your fingers off.

    What are your other parameters – price, weight, intended use, that sort of thing?

  5. B.B.,
    Your comments above on the AR1000 and TF89 reminded me of the Razor review. Just a gentle reminder, I know how busy you have been. And truthfully, my idea of actually buying one in the near future have been dashed thanks to the economy drying up my business AGAIN. Anyway, I can dream about it and I have hopes of what you'll find in relation to the Chinese variants, but I don't want to tell you what they are in order not to bias your review.

  6. On my visit to the Hawaii range, the vast majority of rifles were AR-15s. I expect that military guns and features (like the digi-camo stock) are going to be very popular, especially since we are at war.

    Nightstalkers, don't undersell the accuracy of the Crosman 1077. At any distance at which you can fire CO2 rapidly without degrading accuracy, the 1077 is hard to beat. I think that the key is learning to prep the heavy trigger. Once that's done, it does much better than you might expect.


  7. .22 Razor is exactly what I had requested. Also, to refresh your memory, I was interested in your thoughts in comparing it to the Chinese copies like the TF 89. Vince offered to take it apart and inspect/compare the internals to a TF89 when you're done. What exactly do you get for your extra money was the over-riding thought.

    I love the 94! It's very accurate and smooth after your rebuild. The hollow sound that it originally had is gone and the firing cycle feels very smooth. That trigger is great! (Draw, draw, stop, crack!) I'm sure in the right hands it would be even more accurate, but with me it has to settle for 3/8" 10 shot groups at 10 yards. I'm still trying to work out my off hand shooting positions so that I can keep it accurate while not on the bench, but that will take time.

    The 92 (popper, as I've nicknamed it) is also proving to be almost as accurate as the 94 now that I've discovered that 3rd stock screw and tightened it. The trigger is nowhere near as nice as the 94 though.

  8. Not related to today's post, just a general request. Would it be possible to discuss the new electronic sights? I grew up with non-optical sights, and still prefer good ones (like on the Avanti's). I know scopes, and I know a little about the tube style Red or Green Dot sights. The one I do not know is the Panoramic or Holographic sights. I thought that they keep the dot on target regardless of your viewing angle (within reason), so you don't have to he perfectly positioned like a high power scope. Reading some of the reviews hoverer, my understanding doesn't seem to be correct.

    The reason I'm interested in these is for a mouser to deal with a mouse problem. I thought these Holo sights might be good to get on target quickly. Easy shots to make with standard open sights, but these Holo sights look like they'd do well for this task as well. (Pest control only, I'm not a hunter myself and don't particularly enjoy shooting these moving targets. When I do, I want it to be a quick kill (aka good shot); I owe them that much).

  9. Bristolview,

    I think the holographic sights do have some parallax, but perhaps not as much as the tube types? But I really don't know.

    However, for mouse elimination they should be good enough. I mean, aren't your ranges all under 10 yards? Any parallax would only be a fraction of an inch at that distance, I think. But I'm not sure.

    It's the 10-20-yards range where parallax starts to be a problem.


  10. With regard to this post and comments above… I'm also apparently in the minority as well. Nothing against "tactical" styling (I really do like the NightStalker as a fun plinker), but I like the classic lines and styles. I must be getting old.

    My favorite gun is my Benjamin Discovery; excellent shooter and nice classic lines, near perfection. If only it were a hardwood stock so I could add sling swivels without them pulling out of the soft wood. (And that's the major gripe? Yup, near perfection.)

  11. If you want "parallax-free" red dot sights, look at Aimpoint and EOTech military sights. They're somewhat pricey, but they're designed for extremely low parallax in CQC situations.

  12. B.B.

    My Discovery is a U.S. Model (I live about 5 minutes from Crossman in Bloomfield, gotta support my neighbors!), but the wood (whatever it is) is extremely soft, very unlike my other hardwood stocked rifles. I had assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that they saved some cost and used a soft wood. The rifle is a bargain after all. From its feel, I think swivel screws would pull right out.

    Jake, Thanks but BB. was correct, mousing shots will be under 10 meters, so parallax shouldn't be an issue. Eotech is a bit pricey, but isn't that technology designed around military shots to a human chest cavity. Having never used this technology before, I was wondering about accuracy for a mouse sized target, just a smidge smaller than the military target zone. That was my bigger concern.

  13. Bristolview,

    Sorry. I assumed you were a Brit. Yes, the wood in your stock is walnut, which is one of the softest of all the hard woods. If they had not used that they would have used beech, which is much harder, but also much heavier.

    If you use the proper sling swivel studs, they should hold. And if they should tear out, you fill the hole with Plastic Wood that will hold no matter what.


  14. BB,
    I have to agree with all the comments on the aesthetics of the NPSS stock, but reports (most importantly yours) are showing it is a nice (gas) springer. Sounds like a real two-stage trigger, which is not my favorite thing, but a lot of folks love them. My reasons are personal: clumsy hands further numbed by arthritis and CTS; can't feel the second stage come in.

    Incidentally, another report (tomorrow's? 953) is showing up for today at 2:15 — you really need to pace yourself and stick to one piece per day:).

  15. Vince,

    regarding your comment on yesterday's blog about PA selling to Jersey and just filling out the Certificate of Eligibility – they might be in compliance as the purchaser only needs to be a NJ resident. If out of state (and they apparently are only talking about the purchaser) only then must the sale proceed through a licensed firearms dealer in NJ – not specifically someone who holds an FFL. See http://www.state.nj.us/njsp/info/pdf/firearms/sp-634.pdf

    Interesting. Again everyone, this is ONLY for long arms – not pellet pistols.


  16. For most people, who don't compete, it's just nice to have a predictable trigger down in the 2 to 3 lbs range.

    BB – With the 953, I went to 10 shot groups and you went to 20. lol!!! With the crosman target set about .400 or less and with leapers 4x32ao scope .200 or less at 10M, but my trigger is under 2lbs and I have been practicing a bit.

    Without the 853/753 lw barrel the 953 can be picky with pellets. My best luck have been with R-10 7.0 (pistol) or jsb exact heavy, but I should get out and get some 20M groups in.

    One Daisy owner said he owned all three at one time or another (853, 753 and 953) and said they're all about the same once you've worked it all out.

    Cool tip on the crosman nitro. I guess a light trigger over all is not always needed as long as you have a very slightly heavier predictable 2nd stage. All airguns should have adjustable triggers. That would be nice.

    BTW…did you ever tell everyone about "The windbüchse of Prostl?"

  17. So Blogger auto-posts stuff? That would explain why posts are added at 1:15 in the morning.

    On the NPSS stock, having held the Remington Genisis (same stock in dark gray) it's actually pretty comfortable to hold, despite its appearances. And yes, the cheekpiece is adjustable.

  18. I had a Remington Genesis and found the pull to short for an adult. A slip on recoil pad solved that problem.

    The gun was easy to cock and shoot although the barrel became loose after 800 rounds. I returned it for a refund and bought a German made are rifle.

    I hope Crosman has solved the breech block/barrel lock problem.

  19. B.B.

    Thanks, I may add some swivel studs then and see what happens. My gut says "Don't do it, it won't hold!"; but you haven't steered me wrong yet. Oh no, if I do get a decent sling on my Discovery, what can I complain about? Again, nearly perfect. (I thought about the Marauder quite a bit, but the Discover is just fine; no regrets]

    The Crosman crew down the road did an amazing job on these.

  20. Andy,

    No, breakbarrel guns do not bend their barrels over time. That isn't even a rumor in airgunning. It never happens.

    What can happen is if the breakbarrel is fired with the barrel open it will bend every time! But that is owner abuse, not fair wear and tear.


  21. Am interested in buying (soon) a .22 Cal. pellet file for practice shooting and small game (pest) hunting (rabbits, squirrel, armadillo, possum). Am drawn to the Nitro Piston power plant for performance and ease of use concerns. Have been looking at six air rifles and was wondering if you had any recommendations or preferences amongst these. Am trying to stay around the $300 range. Would appreciate any advice/recommendations, or other preferred rifles. Have found alot of useful information on your blog site and am inclined towards the Crosman NPSS. Also, it's made in the US. Here are the rifles:

    1. Gamo Viper Shadow Express with Nitro Piston

    2. Gamo Whisper with Nitro Piston

    3. Crosman NPSS Nitro Piston Short Stroke

    4. Walther Talon Magnum with Nitro Piston


    5. Tech Force 99 Premier

    6. Benjamin Super Streak – can this be equipped with the Nitro Piston?

  22. ccobbster,

    You've got a very interesting choice to make. However, you did your post on a blog that was written last August. There arn't alot of us looking at the older blogs for current posts.

    Please repost on the current blog which is at/blog//. You'll reach alot more readers who will be glad to help you out.

    Seee you there,
    Mr B.

  23. Absolutely! thanks for your response and help. Would also be interested in the recommended pellet types as I've read several differences, and realize that each gun might differ…if you didn't guess Will take your suggestion to post on updated blog. Thanks again.

  24. B.B. – am not sure if I successfully posted on the November/current blog. The November page had no "Post A Comment" link that I could find…am kind of confused how to post one. Seems only the old posts have that link?? Thanks.

  25. Ccobbster, several minutes after reading your post it occurred to me that you were thinking about the TF99 – NOT the TF89. Wouldn't do that if I were you… the 99 (QB36-2) is a sliding-breech gun (with inherent safety issues) that is a leftover from the way Shanghai (the manufacturer) used to do things.

    Unless Shanghai totally revamped the QB36-2 model (unlikely), the TF89 breakbarrel is far superior.

  26. Dear BB,

    I just got the NPSS a few days ago. I actually didn't really like the way the trigger was set up in terms on first stage and second stage when i received it, it was unpredictable to me. After adjusting the trigger, like you suggested, the trigger is very crisp and predictable and has decreased my groups dramatically. Thank you for the tips! So far, it is a fantastic gun, worth every penny. The gun I had before this one was a Crosman 1077, so its quite an upgrade.

    Thank you,

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