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Ammo Crosman Optimus .177 rifle: Part 2

Crosman Optimus .177 rifle: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Photos and test by Earl “Mac” McDonald

Crosman’s Optimus offers a lot of power for a low price.

Today is the day we find out if the Crosman Optimus delivers all the power it’s advertised to. We learned from the comments on Part 1 that several readers are watching this report because of all the potential value the Optimus has to offer.

Before I get to the velocities, though, there are a couple things for all of us to remember. When Mac took the rifle from the box, it was dripping with oil. Although it made sounds like the piston seal was dry, it also smoked a lot when shot, so he didn’t oil the piston seal.

The cocking effort is remarkably smooth. The piston squeak comes at the end of the cocking stroke.

Mac was very disappointed by the trigger. It has no defined stop, so you just have to keep on pulling it until the gun fires. That seems to be the experience of all who own this airgun, so be aware of it.

Okay, with all of that behind us, let’s take a look at the performance. Mac says the rifle is very stable and smooth when it fires.

Velocity
The first pellet Mac tested was the RWS Superdome, which in .177 caliber weighs 8.3 grains. They averaged 930 f.p.s., with a spread from 919 to 944 f.p.s. At the average velocity, they generate 15.94 foot-pounds, or almost 16 foot-pounds. That’s a lot of power for a rifle in this price range. The Superdomes were the most powerful pellets Mac tested.

The next pellet he tried was the 10.2-grain JSB Exact dome. It averaged 807 f.p.s., with a spread from 795 to 815 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 14.75 foot-pounds. Heavier pellets usually deliver less power in spring-piston guns, so this is no surprise.

Next, Mac tried the 8.4-grain JSB Exact dome that should have been more powerful than the 10.2 pellets. It averaged 877 f.p.s., and the spread went from 867 to 889 f.p.s. That’s a muzzle energy of 14.35 foot-pounds, which seems to defy the rule mentioned above, however Mac says these pellets fit the breech of the rifle very loosely; so there could have been some air blowby. All other pellets tested fit the breech tightly.

Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets averaged 923 f.p.s., with a spread from 913 to 929 f.p.s. That’s just a 16 foot-second spread and the tightest of the whole test. At the average velocity, the Premier lites produced 14.95 foot-pounds of energy.

Mac also tried the heavy 10.5-grain Crosman Premiers. They averaged 759 f.p.s. and went from a low of 743 to a high of 770 f.p.s. That works out to an average of 13.43 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

The last pellet Mac tested was the RWS HyperMAX. At 5.2 grains, these non-lead pellets are among the fastest pellets in the world. He got one velocity of 1138 f.p.s., but the firing characteristics of the gun were so harsh with this pellet that he didn’t complete the sequence. He was trying to see if the rifle could meet its published velocity of 1200 f.p.s., which it didn’t quite do. However, please remember that the piston seal was dry and also Mac didn’t use Crosman SSP pellets, which are the fastest on the market. At just 4 grains, they fly! Still, I’d say the rifle is within specs.

Next, we’ll test accuracy. At this point, the Optimus is stacking up to be an interesting air rifle. The appearance is okay for the price, and the powerplant seems very stable. I hope it can shoot!

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.

38 thoughts on “Crosman Optimus .177 rifle: Part 2”

  1. Crosman’s Optimus, Phantom, and Quest all seem to offer about the same specs at about the same price range. What are some key differences between the three? Optimus is a bit faster than the other two (1200fps vs. 1000fps), but other than that, is it just a matter of aesthetics?

      • My bet is that the internals are identical (they are between the Phantom and the Quest). The 1200 fps rating of the relatively new Optimus probably stems from Crosman picking up Gamo’s habit of using very light pellets to rate their guns.

      • Hi B.B. and everyone.

        I recently acquired an Optimus. I noticed that when I turn the rifle from one side to the other, I hear a clicking on right on the trigger area. There seems to be a small loose part. I removed the stock and I found out that the trigger roller pin is the one making the noise, it’s not detached but it’s moving. It is supposed to be fixed or loose like that? Which should be normal?

  2. I WAS HOPING THAT YOU COULD DO A BLOG ON SPRING AIR GUN MAINTENANCE . I AM NEW TO SPRINGERES AND WOULD LIKE SOME INFORMATION ON LUBRICATING THE GUN WITHOUT DISASSEMBLING IT. ANY HELP FROM OTHER BLOG READERS WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED. HAVE A BLESSED DAY.

    • Bubba,

      on the right side of this screen, you will see a column of archives by month. Almost anything you need, including maintenance issues, can be found using the search function near the top of that column. For the historical archives, you need to click on a month and then do a search for what you would like to know.

      New to airguns, read all about it here: /

      Welcome to our blog. I know I speak for all when I say I hope you stick around. This is a great but addictive sport.

      Fred PRoNJ

    • bubba8,
      Welcome to the blog.

      Here’s three links that might answer your question:

      /blog/2005/8/lubricating-a-spring-piston-airgun/

      /blog/2005/11/lubricating-your-spring-gun-part-1-chambers-mainsprings/

      /blog/2005/12/lubricating-your-spring-gun-part-2-cocking-linkage-breech-seal-and-trigger/

    • bubba8,

      Welcome! Maybe these will help:

      /blog/2005/8/lubricating-a-spring-piston-airgun/

      /blog/2008/11/what-to-oil-part-3-finishing-the-spring-guns/

      /blog/2005/3/how-when-why-to-lube-your-spring-guns-piston-seals/

      kevin

        • Bubba I think your caps lock button is stuck… 😉
          Not to be rude or anything since you probably weren’t aware of this but when on the internet either in chat, forum or blogs, since there is no other way to tell when someone is angry all capital letters is considered the equivalent of yelling.

          J-F

  3. You guys are absolutely awesome. I bought a spring compressor kit a few weeks ago, and am gonna put it together this weekend. Naturally, my next question was what kinda lubes and where are they used. BAM! You guys are on before I even asked. Outstanding, really.

    Chris in Li NY

  4. Hi BB… its Iyonk your Podcast Biggest fan…

    i really miss your new podcast… i’ve been waiting for a couple of months but no new one released… are there any info about them?…

    thanks alot BB… Keep up the great work!

  5. The Crosman Optimus is rounding the final turn looking good. All that remains is accuracy. Let’s hope it doesn’t repeat the Indy 500 experience of J.R. Hilldebrand and run into the wall on the last turn.

    Thanks to all for the advice yesterday about my screw problem. I gather that the options amounted to putting in an oversize device to create friction on the stuck screw and pull it out or cut into it somehow. A few more particulars. The screw in question is used to fasten the motor shaft of the motor. It is 1.5mm in size and as a set screw does not protrude but is sunk into a tiny hole! The Ace Hardware man was not optimistic and said that there was some device selling for $15 that you could attach to a drill bit that would grab hold of the screw and pull it out although he didn’t believe they stocked one small enough. Or he said that I could just pulverize the screw with a regular drill bit although I didn’t see what that was supposed to accomplish. Anyway, it turned out that there was a radically different and elegant solution. I called the retailer about the problem and they are sending me a whole new motor! Now there’s an ideal in the retail business to live up to. Reading the situation, I decided not ask further questions but to keep it shut.

    Out of curiosity, I tried my superglue idea but it didn’t work. There was some promising resistance at first but the surface area was not sufficient and the bond gave way. Fred, that’s a good tip about inserting the hex driver completely so as not to strip the screws. Should I get into more serious gunsmithing (and why rule that out with everything else that’s happened), I would be sure to invest in real gunsmith screwdrivers.

    Interesting about the Stradivarius violin. Fifty years is quite the break-in period although I wonder if that is chronological time or sheer playing time. I’m reminded of a climactic scene in the Nick Nolte film Prince of Tides. The problem is what to do when you are raised in the Louisiana Bayous and are invented to a high class party in a New York penthouse where a world-famous violinist uses his prestige to start humiliating you. It gets ugly as the conflict spreads through the assembly.

    One woman: I don’t see how you have the nerve to criticize such an eminent violinist.

    Other woman: I don’t see how you have the nerve to come in here when you’re [committing adultery] with my husband.

    Violinist: My we’re getting testy.

    Nick Nolte’s response is to slip away from the hubbub and then call everyone’s attention to the balcony where he is dangling the violinist’s Stradivarius 40 stories over the street and has this conversation.

    Violinist: That Stradivarius is worth over a million dollars.

    Nolte: Well, if I drop it it won’t be worth s—-. Whee (throws it up and catches it.).

    Hilarious.

    Matt61

    • Interesting about the Stradivarius violin. Fifty years is quite the break-in period although I wonder if that is chronological time or sheer playing time.

      Playing time… The vibrations induced in the wood are what “opens up” the tone… I fear my instruments (a number of guitars and mandolins) may never reach the “starting to open” stage unless I do massive lessons/practice once I retire…

      • Matt,

        get the torx bit and stick it in the allen head cap. It’s going to work. If not, send me the motor. (last flying I did, my plane had control wires and I used an .049 Cox Tihimbledrone engine)!

        Fred PRoNJ

  6. somewhat off-topic…

    BB/others,

    Will the Gamo .22 lead balls work well in the Gamo Viper, since it’s a smoothbore? Will they even fit the adapter?

    Thanks!

  7. BB, I was looking through the recent blog on the R7. Is there a follow up planned? We cant let a rifle with such a good reputation without a chance for redemption!
    Also, can I put in a request for a review of the HW 50s if your plate is not too full?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Fused,

      No, there is no plan to revisit the R7. A gun gets one good look and that’s it–usually. If there are extenuating circumstances we might do something a second time, but the R7 had its chance.

      The HW 50S is a distinct possibility, however I have several very cool guns to wade through before I get to it. I have been doing upper body building exercises three days a week so I could get in shape for powerful springers again. I’m almost to where I need to be to cock some of these monsters.

      B.B.

      • If you’re excited about upcoming break barrels, then I can’t wait to see what they are. If I didn’t know you better, I’d ask to make sure you’re not getting caught up in the power over all craze are you?

    • What you wanna know? B.B. and Mac came up short on the accuracy test because of a fritzed scope.

      They will shoot, if that’s what you want to know.

      twotalon

      • I was merely curious, I’m sure they will shoot. The report just seemed to indicate that there was more to come – taking apart, rescoping etc. I thought it would be interesting to see inside the rifle if Mac took it apart and walked through his process of whatever it is that he was going to do. I’m not really even in the market for an R7, like I said – just curiosity.

        Also, since Herb never took up the nickname I suggested for him, I’m modifying it and taking it for myself. Unlike Herb, thinking has never been my strong point – but tinkering, that’s another story. So – PlinkerTinker – what do you think?

        • The drift that I got was that a new scope and maybe a droop mount was all that would be needed.
          I don’t think they had any indication that anything else was wrong. It was a new rifle, so it would not have been torn apart anyway.

          Use any name you want. Makes no difference to me.

          twotalon

          • Hope you are doing well twotalon (someday I hope to get just one:)) I’m not trying to take you or anyone else to task. This is not my first time here, I know the typical drill. I’m only suggesting it because that’s what the blog said:
            “Well, Mac is going to mount a different scope on the gun after the Roanoke airgun show, and he’ll use a mount with some built-in droop compensation. We’re also talking about stripping the gun to see what’s happening in the powerplant. … At any rate, we are going to get to the bottom of this together.”
            If it is or isn’t in the deck, I’m ok either way. Just thought It’d be interesting.

            • I went back and reread it. Yes, it did sound like there was some other kind of problem too.

              When there is not something wrong with an R7, it is a very nice little rifle to shoot. No smoke or buzz, eats an assortment of pellets well at close range. It takes distance and a bit of wind to start showing which pellets are working at these velocities. Still playing with it myself.

              twotalon

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