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Crosman 116 CO2 pistol

by B.B. Pelletier

Today, we have a guest blogger. Paul Hudson has done other guest blogs for us; and true to form, he’s been very thorough. This blog is about the Crosman 116, which is a great vintage gun that’s the father of the Crosman 150. I’d say this is the ultimate test, as he tried 18 different pellets!

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Bloggers must be proficient in the simple html that Blogger software uses, know how to take clear photos and size them for the internet (if their post requires them), and they must use proper English. We’ll edit each submission, but we won’t work on any submission that contains gross misspellings and/or grammatical errors.

Take it away, Paul!

by Paul Hudson

In 1950, Crosman introduced a line of CO2 pistols and rifles that were filled by an external tank. The .22 cal. 116 model (6-in. barrel) shown above was one of them.

This guest blog could almost be labeled as “Part 2” since B.B. did a very good review of the history and details of the Crosman 116 bulk-fill CO2 pistol. I had an opportunity to borrow a Crosman 116 from Jason, my brother-in-law. During the months I had it, I resealed it and did some testing. This 116 originally belonged to Jason’s grandfather, who used it for pest control. It was passed down through his father to him and has seen a lot of use over the years, but the bore is still in excellent condition. A few hours spent stripping and repainting would make the gun look almost new. It turned out to be a lot of fun shooting this old pistol; and with the right pellets, it’s surprisingly accurate as we’ll see later.

What sets this pistol apart from most other CO2 guns (and the reason I like it) is that it’s a bulk-fill gun. It doesn’t use the familiar Powerlets but is, instead, recharged using an external tank. The old Crosman 10-oz. tanks are still available, but many filling stations will not service them. However, with a simple adapter, you can charge these guns from a paintball tank that’s inexpensive to refill and will provide over a thousand shots.

Introduced in 1951 as a companion to the 8-in. barrel models, the .22 ca. 116 was produced in a time when American manufacturers could afford to put more hand work into making a gun. Most of the gun is made of brass to avoid rust. The breechblock and front sight are silver-soldered to the lower tube and fix the barrel in place. Overall, the pistol gives the impression of having been solidly built for years of service. All of the bulk-fill Crosmans were phased out after 1955 and were replaced by similar guns using the now-familiar Powerlets. The modern equivalent to the 116 is the 2240, which has the advantage of being modular and thus easily upgraded with a longer barrel, improved trigger, and many other parts.

At 23 oz., the 116 has a nice weight — heavy enough to be steady without being muzzle-heavy like the long-barrel models. A square front post and fairly wide rear notch are easy to use and work well at plinking ranges. The rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation and can be locked in place once adjusted.

Anyone who has used a 1377 or 1322 will immediately recognize the grips, trigger and safety of the 116 since they are identical to the 13xx models. The trigger-pull measures right at 5 lbs., but it feels far better than my 1377. There’s almost no detectable creep, and with a little practice it’s easily controlled.

Top wheel cocks the gun; bottom wheel adjusts the power.

The bolt is opened by rotating the upper knurled bolt handle and pulling back until the striker clicks. A pellet is then loaded into the breech. Push the bolt forward and rotate the handle into the locked position and you’re ready to go. Unlike my 1377, there’s no screw head in the breech area, and pellets almost never flip during loading. The longest available pellets load easily. Below the bolt handle is a power adjustment screw that controls the amount of tension on the striker spring. Backing the screw out reduces the tension and the velocity. It also conserves CO2.

Long pellets load easily and there is no screw hole to make them tip!

Shooting the 116
The 116 was shot at both full and reduced power. At full power, it gets about 30 to 35 shots per fill and is roughly as loud as a 1377 at six pumps. With the power adjuster three full turns out, it’ll get around 42 to 48 shots per fill and the pistol is noticeably quieter. For indoor shooting, this would be a real plus. At full power, the velocity spread was surprisingly low — never more than 11 fps and in several cases less than five. On low power, the spread was as much at 27 fps. With the lighter hammer blow, the valve is probably operating outside of its optimal range but accuracy didn’t seem to suffer. The temperature was around 80 degrees, and I took about 45 seconds between shots during all testing.

Velocity results
All pellets were tested at full power and some with the power adjuster three full turns out (the low column is on the right):

Pellet Weight FPS FtLbs ES Low FPS Low FtLbs Low ES
Beeman Crow Magnum 18.2 380 5.8 7 273 3.0 20
Beeman FTS 14.6 422 5.8 6 376 4.6 22
Beeman Laser 13.3 440 5.7 3 318 3.0 20
Crosman Premier Ultra Magnum 14.3 431 5.9 3 329 3.4 27
Crosman Premier HP 14.3 407 5.3 11
Eun Jin Domed 28.2 285 5.1 4
Gamo Hunter 15.3 402 5.5 3 360 4.4 14
Gamo Match 13.9 422 5.5 9 378 4.4 12
Gamo TS-22 22.0 340 5.7 8
Beeman H&N Match 13.6 430 5.6 8
JSB Exact RS 13.4 432 5.6 8 323 3.1 13
JSB Exact 15.9 382 5.2 7
JSB Predator 16.0 391 5.4 3 287 2.9 5
JSB Straton 16.0 397 5.6 10
RWS Hobby 11.9 474 5.9 6 376 3.7 22
RWS Super Dome 14.4 430 5.9 9 356 4.1 10
RWS Super-H-Point 14.4 410 5.4 10 294 2.8 17
RWS Super Point 14.4 413 5.5 5

A pistol scope really aids the accuracy of the 116.

New meets old
To get the best accuracy from the 116, a BSA 2×20 pistol scope was added using Crosman intermounts. With just the open sights, the best groups I could get were about 1″ at 10 meters. With the increased precision of a scope, several pellets grouped well under an inch at 10 meters, and 25-yard hits on soda cans were easy. None of the pellets performed poorly; most gave 5-shot groups in 1″ to 1.5″ at 10 meters. There were a couple of standouts, however.

RWS Hobby pellets were about average in the 116, giving groups like this 1.05-in. example

RWS Super H-Point pellets produced this nice .60-in. group.

Gamo Hunters matched the RWS hollowpoints with a .60-in. group.

Crosman Premiers gave the best group at 10 meters at .53 in.

At 25 yds., the Beeman FTS pellets grouped in 1.55 in. The scope definitely helps at this distance.

Where do you get one?
There are plenty of Crosman bulk-fill guns still around, and they can be found at most airgun shows and on the usual auction sites. The 116 is probably the most common of the pistols since .22 was the preferred caliber in the 1950s and the shorter guns are more handy. Expect to pay about $90-$100 for a working sample in good condition. Many of these guns have not been shot for many years and are in need of resealing. The parts are readily available, and there are people who will do the job for a reasonable cost. If you have one of these guns, there’s no reason to let it lie around. With new seals and regular use of Pellgunoil, they’ll give many years of service. It would be a shame to leave one of these fine, old airguns sitting in a box and gathering dust.

I’ve had a lot of fun shooting the 116. Part of the charm is getting a 55-year-old gun working again. The 116 is also more accurate than I expected. For short range at low power, they’re a real joy. Lots of shots with no pumping!

54 thoughts on “Crosman 116 CO2 pistol”

    • C-S
      I prefer the pistol over the rifle, but to each his/her own. I like the look even better now with the steel breech mod. and the red dot, but I’ll like it better with a pistol scope and a longer barrel.


    • C-S
      If you want to see a beast go to PA’s site and look up 2240’s then view customer images. There were only two images I seen on there but both looked amazing for a pistol that starts at about $55 US. Mods. are not expensive either, but alas I do have some other priorities at the moment.


      • Rikib as i said before 2240 looks great and 22 cal packs the greater punch and areally air guns and pistols are cheaper in America then here!I AM CONCERNED ABOUT OIL SPIL every day i see it on tv and i am sad 🙁

        • C-S
          Yes the oil spill is tragic. My wife and I are very much into environmental concerns and are animal (all kinds) lovers. We are members of several societies and give a lot of money to them, but sometimes it is just not enough. As tragic as this is I feel that “BP” is doing as much they can. This was an accident, not something planned. We rely on this oil. We don’t say much when oil spills occur if it does not directly impact our waters or country.


          • Rikib i think that wright now it is not important who s to blame (you are wright)for this catastrofy i think that whole man kind should be aware that IT WILL IMPACT ALL OF US so it is not just”American” problem so it is sad 🙁

    • C-S
      I couldn’t tell you why it is a .22cal. It packs a pretty good punch for a CO2 pistol. Many mods. available. Sometimes I think I should have gone with the .177 cal 1377, but I’m happy with what I have and like I said the mods. I can do as money permits.


  1. Hello BB and Paul:
    Reading about these old Air guns is a real treat.Thank you guy’s.
    I am probably wrong but I am sure the first Co2 air rifles and pistols didn’t break onto the market in the UK till the 80s.
    Trust me I am not an expert on these matters but I was pretty aware of most options concerning air guns back then and I can’t remember Co2 guns being as available as they are now in this country.
    I always think of Co2 and PCP airguns as a recent innovation you see.
    Not something that was made and sold in 1950 like the Crosman 116.Amazing!
    Then again we didn’t get Air conditioning in our cars till the mid 90s.LOL

    To answer from yesterday about snacks.
    When I’m on the computer my wife often brings me a ‘Mother in Law sandwich’ with a ‘Cold shoulder and tongue’ filling:(

  2. Paul,

    Good morning and thank you for the time and effort that you spent on writing this blog. I am amazed at the low ES on full the power shots. Were your groups fired from a rest or off hand?

    Again thanks,

    Mr B.

  3. I want to work for Pyramydair. I have tried calling their customer assistance today and keep getting a message that due to Memorial Day observation the office is closed. Wow, who else gets 17 days off for Memorial Day?

    I got confused and put this in yesterday’s blog so I put it here, too, where I really wanted it.


  4. RoninUT,
    If you don’t get one hole groups at 10m with your .22 Marauder try the boxed Crosman Premiers 14.3gr. That’s what I use and that’s what I get. Unfortunately I don’t have the convenient facilities to shoot farther than that. I will be keenly interested in your results with the JSB’s. They didn’t work as well at 10m for me but other comments on this blog say they may be ideal at longer ranges.

    • CJr,

      I’m using the brown box CP 14.3 pellets. Those were the only ones I ordered at first because they seem to work well in most of the reviews I’ve read. Next time I order pellets I’m going to get some heavier ones and a chrony so I can tune for them.

      Not sure what 10 meters equates to in feet off the top of my head. But the group I posted on yesterday’s blog was at 20 yards as measured with a laser range finder.

      I was using an adjustable rifle rest, but it’s kind of “rickety” and I find that sandbags are a lot more stable to shoot from. I imagine my groups will get a little smaller if I shoot from bags next time. I’m a terrible shot offhand.

      • RoninUT,
        I was playing catchup on today’s blog and hadn’t read your shooting results yet when I mentioned the CP’s. Sounds like your on track with pellets. 10meters is about 10 yds (33 feet).

  5. Matt61,
    At one time there was an attempt to outlaw any knife that had an assisted deployment, including gravity and those little pegs on the side of the blade. I guess the thought is that you won’t stab anyone if you have to use two hands to open your knife. Or it gives your victim more time to run, I don’t know, lawmakers don’t make sense to me most of the time.

  6. I got a walking stick/rifle support as a free gift one on of my orders from PA and tried to use it as a mono pod rifle support. My offhand shooting skills (or lack thereof) were more productive than shooting off that stick standing alone. I suspect the technique is to lean the stick against something else to stabilize it and still have the v-shape up top to support the rifle.

  7. Paul, nice blog. Did they really put more handwork into guns in the 50s than they do now? I thought the profit motive was alive and well at that time.

    Chuck, yes, the knife laws are strange. And I’ve never understood the prohibition against the Filipino balisong knife. I think it is because there is a way of opening it very fast one-handed. However, this takes a lot of skill and is not a realistic threat to most people.


    • Matt,

      Thanks for the compliment.

      The 116 cost $19.95 new in 1951. In today’s dollars that would be around $160. A 2240 goes for about 1/3 of that amount. Crosman’s current guns are all designed with easy assembly in mind; this is partially driven by the much higher current labor costs.


  8. Paul,
    You do a really good job wringing out a gun. Thanks.

    Lawmakers don’t make sense — are you crazy? At lunch today, my heart swelled with pride watching those selfless public servants asking the BP CEO penetrating questions about drilling mud and concrete tests. It was obvious they’ve all had a lifelong interest in the responsible extraction of crude oil in deep water and know how to put things right. Not a one seemed to be grabbing attention or asking questions they didn’t understand about esoterica written by a staffer. The republic, our oil reserves, and the environment is safe! I just wish I lived in SC and could vote for that promising newcomer to the political scene, Alvin Greene; he seems like he would be a credit to congress, pending charges being dropped.

    • BG_Farmer,

      Alvin Greene needed a job. Like other unemployed Americans, he decided that getting elected to a cushy, overpaid job in Washington would be the ticket to the easy life. He probably thought the pornography charges would make him a shoe-in. It seems he’s politically savvy because he was right! I’d bet that almost every vice is represented by our currently elected officials. What’s the difference between Alvin Greene & our current Congress critters? A big paycheck and a fantastic retirement. In all other aspects, they appear to be the same.


    • What happened to people running for office to serve the people who elected them? They have other jobs that they continue to receive income from. When you tally up the days they actually are working for us, it is ridiculous that they receive anything from taxpayers. Several times it has been shown on TV that they are sleeping during these meetings they are being paid to attend (both by us and the lobbyist). We do have one person here in Georgia that says he will not except pay until unemployment in the state drops to a certain level, but like everything else it is probably just a campaign promise.


    • Talking Politics…here is a quote. Haven’t posted a quote for awhile.

      Politics I supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
      Ronald Reagan


  9. I’m going to go on a completely off topic rant for a moment.
    Lead poisoning…it’s been discussed here as well as every airgun forum I frequent.
    A good friend of mine who is a shooter and whose wife is expecting a child asked me if I was concerned about my kids shooting pellet guns…and the possible effects of lead buildup in our basement range.
    I explained the precautions I take…regular cleanup, washing of hands…the usual drill.
    But I decided to do some research and found, on an AMA (American Medical Association) website the mortality rates for lead poisoning in the U.S.
    They are…are you ready for this…423 deaths.
    From the period 1923-1966! (when this particular study was done).
    So less than 10 a year. And that’s from all the different kinds of lead exposure.
    In other words if you’re going to die from the lead in a bullet/pellet…it’s because you’ve been shot…not because you’ve ingested it.

  10. Edith,
    I believe it was yesterdays blog that you had mentioned personal security and needing to use your keys as a defensive weapon “just in case”. I found this on amazon, don’t know if you would be interested: Elite Forces Finger Hole Dagger Neck Knife. It’s $9, don’t know if it is legal to walk around wearing everywhere you live. Just thought I’d let you know. They have several other models as well.


  11. Just discovered a # 116 deep in the bowels of my garage. The gun was cleaned up and would appear to be complete. From your site I answered many questions I had. Some mentioned restoration and I would like to know more info on where I could get this vintage gun repaired or sources of “seals” and other parts. A exploded view of the gun would be extremely helpful. Best regards, Bucky Contario, Upstate New York

    • Hi Bucky and welcome to the blog, you’ve found one the nicest place to talk airguns on the web but you posted your question on a blog that’s a few months old and since there’s a blog everyday of the week (even on holidays) quite a few blogs have pass since this was posted and not many of us monitor the activity here.
      For an answer to your question (and to read the current day blog) you can click here :/blog// and post your question there, off topic question are welcome and there’s a lot of people there that can help you.


    • Razor Blade,

      welcome to the Blog. Unfortunately, you’ve posted to a blog that’s some 3 years old and very few of us monitor these old ones. Feel free to post questions on the current blog which can be reached at/blog//.

      As for someone nearby to repair your Crosman, try this gentleman:

      Good luck.

      Fred DPRoNJ

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