Bulk-fill from 12-gram cartridges! Part 1
by B.B. Pelletier
If you’re a veteran CO2 user, the title of this report will confuse you, because bulk-filling and CO2 cartridges are two different ways of charging a CO2 gun. But, today, I’ll show you a device that lets you use a CO2 cartridge to bulk-fill a gun. And there’s a lot more to this story than just that!
Over two years ago, my good friend Mac traded or sold me a .22-caliber Crosman model 114 CO2 rifle — we can’t remember which. The rifle was in nice shape except that it didn’t hold gas, which is the kiss of death for a CO2 gun. No problem for me. I sent it off to Rick Willnecker in Pennsylvania to be resealed.
A couple weeks later, Rick called and asked if I would like to have the metal refinished, too. He said he had a friend who owed him a favor, and I could get the rifle refinished for nothing if I was willing to wait. I was in the middle of reporting on the gun at the time, but the work had stopped the report, so I figured why not? Little did I know that it would be two years before I would see this gun again.
Since the Crosman 114 was refinished, it looks like a new gun again.
If you’re interested in the first two parts of the report, they are linked below.
Back to today
Back to the main part of this story. At this year’s Roanoke Airgun Expo, I spotted a small device on Mike Reames’ table. It turned out to be a device that lets you charge a bulk-fill Crosman gun with a 12-gram CO2 cartridge. When I saw it I knew I had to report on it for you; and with the recent return of my now-refinished 114, I had the perfect test vehicle.
This device, made by Mike Reames, will attach to any fill port on a Crosman bulk-fill gun with an internal reservoir. It cannot be left on the gun when firing, though, because it will be hit by the pellet.
The bulk-fill device attaches to the rifle in the same way that the Crosman bulk tank did (read Parts 1 and 2 to see that).
Now that you have seen it you may be interested in where to get one of these. They run just over $30 with shipping, and I’m darned if I have the contact info for Mike. I thought I got it at the show, but a search has turned up nothing. However, I bet one of our readers has Mike’s info and can get it for us.
What is bulk-fill?
You probably know that most CO2 guns today rely on 12-gram or 88-gram cartridges to get their CO2. But it didn’t used to be that way. Back in the 1870s, Giffard of France made many CO2 guns that had a separate tank. When the gas ran out, you exchanged tanks; and they had it set up so you could mail them in.
Crosman made CO2 bulk guns starting is 1932 and continued building them until about 1955. Some of them had tanks that were separate, but others, like the 114 we are looking at today, had the reservoir built-in. In fact, when I initially had the idea for what turned out to be the Benjamin Discovery, I was thinking of a bulk-fill CO2 gun. When Crosman built the first prototype, they built it on the now-discontinued Crosman 2260 frame. Just the reservoir on the prototype was changed to hold the compressed air.
There have also been quite a few target rifles and pistols that operate on bulk CO2. For these, like the early Crosman guns, a separate bulk tank of CO2 is connected to the gun to fill it.
Back to this report. There was also a .177-caliber model 113 rifle that looks exactly like this .22-caliber 114. These were both single-shot, bolt-action guns that didn’t change substantially throughout the years they were manufactured, which was 1950-1955.
The 114 used to get around 70 good shots on one fill of gas when I filled it from a separate bulk tank. If you took the time to cool the gun before the fill, you could get even more shots than that.
A 12-gram CO2 cartridge doesn’t have that much gas inside it, plus some is lost when you make the transfer, so this isn’t the most economical method of filling the gun. It just lets you fill your guns without the need to own a bulk tank. Some people will like that, while others will complain that it’s costing too much to fill their guns. For them, I caution that what I’m showing today is not the best solution. However, if you’re like me and want to shoot your bulk Crosman guns occasionally, this is probably the most convenient way to do it.
Filling the gun
To fill the gun, simply attach the device to the fill port of the gun and insert a 12-gram cartridge. Screw down the top on the device, which pushes it onto the piercing pin and starts the gas flowing. With this device, there’s no way to stop the flow of gas; so when everything gets quiet, you know the gun has taken all the gas it will accept. If you dry-fire the gun one or two times at this point, you might get a denser fillbecause dry-firing lowers the temperature of the gun, causing more gas to flow.
Once the gun is filled, you just keep cocking and loading pellets and shooting until the power seems to go away. This is done by listening to the rifle’s report and is fairly easy to learn.
As far as shooting the 114, I was just about to get to that back in 2009 when the gun failed, and that’s where we are now. There’s a lot that needs to be tested on this rifle, but I’m going to end this tale right here. I’ll save the velocity testing, number of shots per fill, which in this case is also the same as the number of shots per cartridge, and accuracy for another day.