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Education / Training Crosman MAR177 test report: Part 1

Crosman MAR177 test report: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Some announcements before we start:

Silas McCulfor is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd AIR gift card. Congratulations!

BSOTW winner Silas McCulfor took this great picture of his sister holding his Beeman Sportsman RS2 model 1073 dual-caliber air rifle.

Get free tickets to the NRA show in St. Louis. If you’re not an NRA member (they get in free) or have family members and friends who aren’t members, Pyramyd air has some free passes for you ($10 value). To get yours, click to send an email request. Limit of 2 tickets per person. Limited supply. First come, first served!

Pyramyd AIR is awarding double Bullseye Bucks for each purchase you make from March 15-18, 2012. If you don’t have an account, create one. Then, use that same email address when placing any orders (whether you sign in to your account or not when placing an order). If you already have an account, you’ll get double credit for any orders you place March 15-18…as long as you place them using the same email address as your Bullseye Bucks account (even if you don’t sign in when ordering).

On to today’s blog.

Crosman’s new MAR177 upper is big news!

Okay, lads and lassies; settle back while uncle B.B. tells you a nice long story! This report will be a big one because there’s so much to tell.

The Crosman MAR 177 upper is a target precharged pneumatic upper that fits on any standard National Match AR lower (I’ll cover that in a moment) and turns the U.S. M16 service rifle or its civilian-legal semiautomatic counterpart AR-15 into a target air rifle. Those airgunners who own AR rifles can buy the MAR177 right now and have a target PCP that’s ready to go. This report will be a thorough test of that rifle.

But I don’t own an AR-type rifle. And none of my shooting friends do, either. So, I was at a disadvantage when I was asked to report on this unique new air gun.

There have been other air rifles before now that have resembled the AR-15/M16. Crosman just introduced their M4-177 multi-pump rifle that I tested for you at the end of last year, and back in the 1990s they made the much simpler A.I.R. 17 — another multi-pump that was crude but did follow the AR styling. So, the story is not that an AR airgun has been made. The story is that this one is a precision target rifle and should rival some 10-meter rifles.

The AR system
Before I continue, everybody needs to be on the same page. The AR system that the Crosman MAR (modular adaptive rifle) belongs to is comprised of two principal subassemblies — the upper receiver and the lower receiver. The upper receiver contains the barrel, gas system, bolt, sights and operational hardware for the rifle. The Crosman MAR177 is an upper. I will talk a lot about the upper throughout the rest of this report, but let’s look at the lower receiver for a moment.

The lower
The lower, as it’s called, is a frame that contains the operational parts, pins and springs for the trigger, selector and safety, magazine catch, as well as the buttstock and buffer assembly. It’s considered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF&E) to be a firearm. It’s the part that has the serial number. You can buy and sell uppers almost anywhere in the U.S. without paperwork, but each lower is classified as a firearm. The fact that this is a modular system with many different uppers — all on one lower — allows you to own many different rifles, all under one registration.

But I didn’t own an AR — so I didn’t have a lower receiver and the MAR177 isn’t sold as a complete rifle, yet. There are plans to build it that way at some time in the future, but for now all you can buy is the upper. I needed to get a lower.

At first, I looked around for just a complete lower receiver to buy used, and they do exist, but as I searched I found that the people who have them don’t always know exactly what they have. For example, the upper and lower attach via two cross pins, and there have been different sizes of pins over the years. Colt made pins that were larger than those made by other manufacturers, so you might get a Colt lower that doesn’t fit the MAR upper. There are bushings to reduce the sizes of the holes in the lower; but since I was doing this from scratch, I didn’t want to begin with a workaround.

I located a brand new Rock River Arms lower receiver that was stripped of all parts. It was just the receiver shell by itself. But there are parts kits to build up such receivers, so I went online and ordered a National Match lower parts kit and an A2 buttstock assembly from Rock River. I would build the receiver myself; and when finished, I would have a complete Rock River lower — not a bad thing to have. Rock River is a good name; one of many you will find if you look. And there are also a few names to avoid — just as there are with airguns.

This Rock River lower receiver is the basis for my new rifle.

When I placed the order, though, I failed to notice the fine print at the bottom of the Rock River webpage that said some of the parts were on indefinite backorder. They didn’t specify which parts those were from the hundreds of choices on the page, but sure enough it turned out to be the entire parts kit I needed for this report. That’s because Rock River is currently experiencing a 60-90-day backorder status on their whole rifles, and they certainly aren’t going to sell their parts faster than they can build entire rifles to sell. It makes perfect sense, but only when you know it. And I only found out when I didn’t get the parts I ordered. So, I had a stripped receiver without the parts to complete it.

Once I realized my backorder status, I placed a call to Rock River to see what the expected delivery date would be, and that’s when I learned everything I have just shared with you. I then explained my short publishing deadline to them (a special feature article in the July color issue of Shotgun News) and they bent over backwards to fix the problem — but don’t expect them to do the same for everyone. If you want to build a lower receiver, you had best first pin down a source for parts before doing anything else. So, this test is made possible through the good graces of Rock River Arms, who, before last Wednesday, had never heard of Tom Gaylord.

National Match lower
Now that you know what a lower receiver is, what’s so special about a National Match lower? Simply put, it’s a lower that meets the specifications for the U.S. Service Rifle National Matches held at Camp Perry, Ohio, every year. One of the most important aspects of this specification is the trigger. Standard AR rifles come with single-stage triggers that are barely adequate at their best. But the National Match specification allows for a two-stage trigger that breaks cleanly with no less than 4.5 lbs. of force. There’s a host of additional information available for National Match triggers; but for our discussion, this is sufficient.

I was hardly going to test the MAR177 — a target rifle — with anything less than a good trigger. I say “good” advisedly; because to someone used to a nice match airgun trigger or even a Rekord sporting trigger, these AR triggers are fairly crude — even those that are National Match. But in the sport they’ll be used, the National Match triggers are as good as you’re allowed to have. Testing the new air rifle upper with a stock single-stage trigger would be a crime.

You’ll watch the build
That’s enough about the lower for today. When the parts arrive, I’ll photograph their assembly and describe the experience for you. For now, let’s concentrate on the MAR177 upper from Crosman.

The MAR177
The Modular Adaptive Rifle (MAR) is a .177-caliber target upper that operates on compressed air. It’s a 10-shot repeater with Crosman’s (Benjamin’s) familiar rotary magazine. My test rifle also came with the single-shot tray for loading pellets one at a time. The rifle is not semiautomatic like most ARs. It feeds and cocks via the retraction of the charging handle, so for each shot the handle must be pulled back.

I shot a preproduction version of the rifle at this year’s SHOT Show on Media Day. But standing on an outdoor firearm range with hundreds of firearms being discharged is not the best place to evaluate a target air rifle. And I couldn’t even evaluate the trigger of the rifle I tested, because it will differ from the trigger I put into my gun. Are you getting a sense of how this modular thing works?

The target pellets exit the muzzle at up to 600 f.p.s., putting them in exactly the same range as most modern 10-meter target rifles. The barrel is from Lothar Walther, which leads me to expect accuracy will be the same as Crosman’s Challenger PCP target rifle.

Unlike airsoft ARs and the two muti-pumps mentioned above, this upper is full weight and will feel like a firearm when mounted on a lower. Therefore, besides being a match rifle, the MAR is also ideal for owners of ARs who want to train with their rifles in their homes under safer range conditions and at a fraction of the cost of even reloaded centerfire ammunition. They can shoot a couple thousand rounds for less than $50 when they use Pyramyd Air’s “Buy three, get the fourth tin free” promotion. So, even when the initial purchase price of $600 for the MAR and the cost of a hand pump is factored in, a serious shooter will get his money back in less than a year and will be training ten times as much with his service rifle.

The MAR operates at pressures between 1,000 psi and 2,900 psi (69 bar and 200 bar, respectively). Crosman says you’ll get up to 120 shots per fill. As the reservoir appears to be the same as the one on their Challenger PCP, I would expect that estimate to be correct.

It has a built-in pressure gauge, as you would expect.

The gun comes with service-style sights. The rear has two peep sizes, accessed by flipping the post they’re mounted on. And the rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation. It’s built into a conventional carry handle, like the rear sight on many ARs. The front sight is a plain post that’s also adjustable for elevation via the same type of detent locking mechanism found on other ARs. You can also remove both sights, and there’s a Mil-Std 1913 Picatinny rail underneath, for those who want to mount optical sights.

The rear sight is in the carry handle. It adjusts for both windage and elevation. Two different apertures are available with a flip of the sight post.

The front sight will be familiar to anyone who has ever owned or carried an AR-15/M16. It adjusts vertically, the same as the service sight.

There’s a lot to this new rifle, so we’ll see more of it in the reports that follow. And the MAR isn’t the only AR-15 PCP pellet rifle on the market. Anschütz also sells an entire rifle with similar features for around $1,850. So, the MAR177 is even bigger news, because it offers all this value at a fraction of the cost. Figure around $500 if you build a lower like I’m doing. If you already own an AR, there’s no additional cost. Either way, this gun is a bargain!

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

95 thoughts on “Crosman MAR177 test report: Part 1”

  1. I’m not an assault rifle guy so I’m having trouble wrapping my head around this. I”ll keep an open mind. The anschutz link takes me to a complete rifle on the PA site that is discounted to $2,499.99. This price puts it in competition with the current 10 meter offerings from walther, fwb,etc. but I don’t see the quality of sights, stock adjustments, etc.?? No answers necessary since it sounds like this will be a lengthy series.

    The photo of the week is right out of a movie. Glad they won a prize.

    Like most movies it has little to do with reality. Halt your horse, wrap your reins around the horn and bring your gun up for a precise shot? Yea right. The horse has his weight on the right side. When he shifts his weight mid shot you’ll shoot into the next county. The horses ears are straight back since it doesn’t know what’s going on. Pull that tirgger on an empty chamber and that horse is positioned to drop you on your arse since you don’t have the reins in hand.


    • Kevin,
      John Wayne seemed to get by holding the reins in his teeth as I recall from True Grit.
      However, my wife has hunted Ibex on horseback in northern Iran in the Shah’s days. Most shots taken at full gallop.
      Cheers Bob

      • I seem to recall that John Wayne, in that same movie, used a revolver and took out multiple “bad guys” with rifles 50 yards away to get a fresh horse to save the girl. Even John Wayne’s gun antics were full of BS back in the day….Surviving that gun fight is as bad as the sparks you see “bullets” make in today’s movies!!! 🙂

    • I wondered about the picture too. Well, shooting from a horse can be done. I saw a documentary about the Mongolian militia who practice firing their AK 47’s at a gallop. So, it can be done, but I suspect it requires a lot of training. Closer to my experience is shooting riding a bicycle. I’ve seen pictures of Annie Oakley doing that but from my daily commutes, I cannot imagine for the life of me how you could shoot a firearm and keep your balance.


  2. Yes, horses can be trained to allow you to shoot from their backs. Unfortunately, the training usually results in deafness.

    As to this series of tests, I too am not a black rifle fan (even if my CFX is all black), but I am curious about this top end and whether it is interesting or not. Of course a lot of that will be dependent on the lower and how nice B.B. can get that trigger. I know that after shooting my FWB 601, I would not care for that 4.5# pull, but I doubt I would want to give a soldier a weapon with a 601 trigger in it either. The most surprising thing about this test so far is that B.B. has never owned a Mattelamatic before.

    • RidgeRunner,

      Never owned an M16? Oh, but I have! I “owned” 90 of them when I commanded a Combat Support Company in a Tank Battalion in Germany. At least the FBI thought I owned them when one went missing after a field exercise! I was lucky, though. After a couple hours and some real pressure from the FBI agents, my sergeants “found” the rifle and I got to finish my tour as company commander.

      I qualified with the M16 in 1968 at Ft. Lewis, Washington in basic training. I had just qualified Expert with the M14, so I was afforded the opportunity to qualify with the new M16. Most of them were going to Vietnam, but a few were being used to train troops in the states. I had one heck of a time hitting the 300-yard silhouettes with that rifle because of the slow-twist barrel. That left me with a sour taste for the thing.

      But I continued to use them all the time I was in the Army. Because I was an officer I was never assigned a rifle, but whenever we went to the range, I got to shoot one. They never impressed me then and they still don’t today. But Crosman has given me a reason to own a lower, and I will now get an upper to go with it, after this test is completed. It will be the best one I can afford and maybe it will group inside an inch at 100 yards (ten shots), but I won’t hold my breath. However, the .450 Bushmaster is also a possibility, as is the .50 BMG, since the lower connects to those, as well!


      • I knew it when I saw the title of the post: Agghh, B.B. has gone AR-15 on us. It’s called the process of reverse colonization where we try to convert the firearms people and they turn the tables on us. Anyway, good can come out of this. I was going to suggest that you get a firearm upper and see how the gun performs. With all the endless debate, I was sort of getting the urge to get an AR-15 and see what the reality is. Now you can do it for me and report!

        So, what is the expensive part of the AR-15, the upper or the lower? Rock River Arms does indeed have quite a good name. When I was most tempted about AR-15s they are the ones I was leaning towards. They have a number of models on their site which are guaranteed to group below .5 MOA, so I recommend you get those for your upper. Also RRA is known for their high quality target triggers which are a significant improvement over the mediocre ones you usually get with the AR. Does such a trigger come with your lower?

        Regarding ARs, I’ve actually been taken by a little-known model called the AR-18. The word is that Eugene Stoner was so annoyed with criticism about the unreliability of the M-16 that he created a piston version called the AR-18. So, the piston modifications that are source of so much attention now were already done by the original designer of the gun! Whatever forces have the AR-15 entrenched now were at work then, and the AR-18 never really went anywhere although it is supposed to have achieved great popularity with the IRA at the height of their violence. They called it the “Widowmaker.” But now it appears that the excellent German assault rifle, the G-36 has a piston design that is closely based on the AR-18. This rifle appears to be very successful and it is the basis of the HK416 piston driven AR in use by Delta Force, so the original design has come home to roost.

        It will be interesting to see your encounter with the AR design in both airgun and firearm formats. Clint Fowler has posted on his site his own impressions of the AR: “At first I didn’t think much of this gun, but it intruded itself on my consciousness against my will. The little sucker can shoot. Not all of them though.”


        • Matt,

          Dom’t worry about me — I’m not about to embrace black rifles. But if they are going to be used as air guns, I have to be interested, and if I am, why not also own a firearm? So there is a reverse on your reverse colonization.

          Yes I got a good Rock River two-stage trigger. That was the whole point of buying Rock River. And yes, I will only buy a premium upper that promises accuracy. I can’t abide inaccurate guns.

          As for the gas piston reliability issue, the M16 was certainly unreliable — I can attest to that! So I may get an upper that has a gas piston. As for the caliber, though I may get a .223 I’m really interested in the more useful calibers like the .50 Beyowulf and the 6.8 SPC.


          • I think you will find ARs much more reliable than the ones you were working with back in the day. I don’t won’t to get in a argument over calibers, but there is a lot of new 5.56 stuff on the market these days than the FMJ the military used. No personal experience, but I have heard good things about the new 300 Blackout round from Advance Armament.

  3. Possibly useful info…scope problems…..

    Some history…

    When I got my first R7, the scope that came with it was shimmed (drooper) and the windage was adjusted almost full left. Tried reversing the rings, same thing. Different mount ( one piece drooper) same thing. It did seem to work though.

    Two days before yesterday was out shooting. Rifle seemed touchier than it should have been. Groups were spastic. Scope adjustments did not seem to work right. Did finally get a mostly good group that was a bit off, and called it a day.

    Day before yesterday went out to touch it up a little better and found that it was quite a bit off for some reason. Scope adjustments were not working worth a hoot, and it was shooting all over the place. Not the first time something like this has happened.
    Went home and took off the scope (Bushnell 4-12x). Replaced it with a Hawke that I had for a spare.

    Yesterday morning the sight in only required a few clicks from factory preset. Positive adjustments.
    Hold sensitivity was gone. I could slop them into the same hole with no problem.
    Bet it will still be zeroed next time I go out.

    A scope can be bad right from the start, can get worse and sneak up on you, or can suddenly go from good to bad. And it need not be on a megamagnum springer to do it.
    It has gotten to the point that I can almost smell a bad scope when something does not seem right. I have a pile of them in a corner.


    • No kidding.

      I don’t know if B.B. ever did a blog on how to tell if a scope is crapped or not.
      Makes me wonder how many guys have fits trying to get a gun to shoot good when the scope is the real culprit.


        • B.B.

          That could get hairy. There are a lot of things that can go wrong, including missing a small detail, or not testing under enough different conditions.
          Kind of like working on a car engine (nowdays) or working on electronics. You sometimes have to assume that there can be multiple problems when there is even the most remote possibility that there can be more than one thing wrong. You don’t dare fixate on just one thing. You could end up on a wild goose chase.


    • I have two scopes that almost do that…
      They go to crap when they get cold, but work fine when warm. I am going to junk them one of these days. They suck. You can’t trust them.


    • I gave some thought to why hold sensitivity went away after changing the scope. It should not have been hold sensitive in the first place because it was not before.

      Best guess…..
      When I was extremely careful about taking shots, it shot better. I think that by trying to be very consistent, I was letting the recoil vibrate the scope more consistently and letting it return to the same place more consistently.


    • Bob,

      I believe it is. Crosman makes the Challenger PCP in New York, and that supplies many of the parts for this rifle. Plus they have an advanced PCP production line that is worlds ahead of what you would find in China. So I can’t imagine them building this rifle anywhere but here.


  4. I see this as a brilliant marketing idea from Crosman to get more firearm owners to cross over to airguns. Just the thought of being able to practice with your black rifle on the comfort of your home any time you want has a addictive appeal. Factor in ammunition costs and I don’t see how this can fail.

  5. I can appreciate crosman’s we make it in america attitude. I wish more companies would do that. My “make it cheaper china” guns usually sit in the rack while my spain made and american made guns get used. Even though I hate plastic guns I seem to have collected more gamos than any other brand. Crosman comes in second.

  6. Slinging Lead,
    Have no fear, if I had won that TX200 I am sure I would have sold it after giving it a try. The amazing part was my half hearted attempt was almost successful. I think new ones in walnut go for $659.00 and that LN specimen with wood blessed by mother nature and God sold for just $435.00. Oh well, ones of these days I am sure I will get to try one of those BAM copies. Smile face.

    Kevin and BG Farmer,
    Replaced the Uberti with a Ruger New Vaquero, very happy with the way things turned out. I traded my standard Blackhawk on the Vaquero along with some cash of course. The visit to my favorite gun shop (sarcasm) was eventful as usual. First I stopped at the airgun section where the older fellow who apparently hates his job, people and knows nothing about airguns was explaining a Crosman nitro piston to a couple guys. Pretty sure it would bring a tear to B.B.’s eye to witness this.

    Next I waited patiently in front of the SA display for “help”. When my number came up ( they have a ticket machine like the DMV ) the clerk tried to sell me a new .22 semi auto rifle without even asking what I had just waited 25 minutes to see. When I finally got him to focus, which was harder than calling a 4 week old puppy – he gave me a Colt clone and said the cylinder did not spine like on the Ruger. Really? The guy works at a gun shop for years and doesn’t understand the half cock position for a SAA????

    Looks like I need to open a firearm store.

    • Congratulations on the new purchase — if you feel the need to make any modifications, you have my address. Just send it to me and I’ll keep it until you feel better :)! A gun store would be great for you. It would expand my list of gunstores worth a —- to 3 (more like 2.5, as one is on the edge of useless)! I can even see you on TV like “Sons of Guns” (who actually know what they are doing for the most part) and less like “American Gun” (who are a version of the typical gun store in my opinion — and I don’t mean that in a completely good way).

  7. Hi B.B.,

    I’m not real gung ho with the “black rifles” either however, two of my sons are and I will talk with them later and see what they think. They both have been looking at .22 caliber uppers for practicing at a reasonable cost. Dedicated .22 caliber uppers start around $450 with drop in kits starting around $130. Could be some real stiff competition for Crosman with this one. I’ll run this one by the guys and get back to you.


    • The drop in 22lr conversion kits work really well with a few limitations. First off I would recommend the stainless steel version, of which CMMG makes a really good model. POI will shift a little when you switch from .223/5.56 to 22lr. Accuracy will suffer some as well due mainly to a faster barrel twist rate, expect something under 2 inch groups at 25M (which for running a lot of AR style training drills is just fine). The kits are designed to run with 36gr Federal bulk ammo, which is still fairly cheap and the kits last through thousands of rounds. I have between 5000 and 10000 rounds through one with no problems. Another plus is the indoor ranges I have been to have no problem with you using 22lr in your AR, but don’t always allow .223/5.56.

      I kicked around the ideal of getting a dedicated upper, which would have been more accurate than the conversion kit, but instead went with S&W 15-22 rifle for about the same money. The S&W functions just like a true AR with all control functions the same, some models on the market do not. The only downside to the S&W is it is about a pound lighter than most 5.56s on the market.

      As for Crosman’s new upper I’m impressed and will seriously consider one if B.B. review turns out positive. For backyard marksmanship work it could be a winner.

      I’m normally not big on spending money to save money, but with cheap 5.56 at $300/1000 and better stuff at 2 to 3 times that amount it would not take long to break even plus the added benefit of not having to run to the range to get in practice.

  8. Now… When is Crosman going to bring out the sporter version…

    900fps range…

    Blowback action (maybe using a larger air-tank, or [since we haven’t seen details of the “magazine well”] an auxiliary CO2 cartridge in a dummy magazine to power just the blowback).

    Not that I’m really tempted — I just don’t like the AR series (I don’t like 1911s either). Not because it’s a “black gun” — after all, I own one of the relatively rare HK-91s. Even with the, as being demonstrated, customizability of swapping components.

      • Got the smelling salts ready?

        While a 1911 is easy to draw (art wise — almost any beginner drawing a semi-auto pistol ends up with something like a 1911), and is so ubiquitous that everyone makes tune-up parts for them… I’m not enamored of them. The closest my collection gets is a WE airsoft model.

        Partly; the .45ACP is a long round, making grip frames less than optimal (which reminds me, I still haven’t Dremel’d the trigger finger groove of the Baikal target pistol — even with the trigger all the way to the rear I’m almost using my finger nail to catch the trigger). A double stack shorter (front/back) grip is more comfortable for me. My nightstand gun is a Walther P99 (first generation — the one with the accessory rail that is incompatible with Weaver/Picatinny [sp?] lasers) in .40S&W. The previous nightstand was a S&W 459 with the shrouded adjustable sights (someday I’ll find a source of #5 machine screws — the previous owner had replaced the thin grip panels with thick wood, and half stripped one screw socket; I’ve installed thinner Pachmayr grips [one piece, wrap-around, so having one of four screws missing isn’t that bad]). In between is a S&W 4006 (with shrouded adjustable sights) — only reason it isn’t the nightstand gun is that I tend to shoot three or four inches to the left at defense ranges.

        Give me another four months to complete a decent residency period, and I intend to take the MI CCW class and get a carry permit. Then I’ll have to find a pistol for concealed carry usage — Probably a small single stack 9mm with some sort of elevation adjustment [replaceable fronts?] and easy drift windage, since 9mm defensive ammo has improved over the old overly penetrative ball ammo. Stuffing a 4006 into a Bianchi military holster doesn’t constitute concealed carry <G> Hmmm, Wonder if the Hornady Z-Max “Zombie” load will still be available (from what I can tell, it is basically their “Critical Defense” load in a brass case rather than nickel, and a green insert rather than red)

        I favor the original 180gr .40S&W over the 165gr (whose velocity would contribute to hitting lower than I already do).

          • Not really… Looks like a fast way to empty a pair of magazines… And how do you measure group size? (especially if one side is hitting to a different area than the other).

            As a technical exercise — okay… Where’s the model for those silly movie gunfights — where the shooter is holding the pistol sideways…

            Think of it… two grips, one for each hand, a pair of barrels and a shared slide in between… fit sights on the “side” of the slides… you hold it like motorcycle handlebars… Could be designed for down eject, up eject, or eject on both directions. Difficult part will be linking the trigger/safety mechanism so that either side fires the other too.

        • Okay, so what is the objection to the 1911? The length of the round? It looks stubby to me, but that is probably a function of its width. The 1911 has an impressive battery of things in its favor, narrow profile, high reliability, great accuracy, straight-moving trigger. And about the ergonomics, it has been said that “Everything just feels right.” It feels that way to me although personal preference trumps everything.

          As for the .40SW and 10mm rounds, I’ve heard that rather than a compromise between .45 and 9mm, they are actually a mix of the worst of both with high recoil and relatively low stopping power.

          But I’m not a fan of the double-barreled .45 either. The round was invented, I believe, to be the maximum for a service handgun, so why would you want double the recoil?


          • I find the 9mm to have worse recoil than the .40S&W… The .40 pushes, the 9mm slaps.

            You have to look at the history… The 10mm (Mag) came out in .45ACP type frames. After the infamous FBI loss in a (Florida?) shoot-out, the FBI decided on the 10mm (back then they were still revolver users, .357 at best). After some field time with the 10mm, they decided they needed a lighter shooting round for the guns and would save the full loading for shooting, oh, engine blocks, car doors and windows… The ammo makers came up with this 10mm light load. S&W and one of the ammo makers realized they could duplicate those ballistics in a 9mm frame firearm — which included the high-capacity double-stack models. This became the .40S&W (same bullet, shorter case).

            I recall one Ayoob Files report (American Handgunner, he tends to run through various gunfights to discuss what went right or wrong) that cited one of the first police uses of the .40S&W. It penetrated the perp’s shirt front/t-shirt, traversed the chest cavity, poked out the back, and was stopped by the t-shirt on the back. This was considered ideal — all energy dumped in the body, no spent bullet to endanger anyone in the background (unlike common 9mm ammo, the Energizer bunny — it just keeps going).

            Granted, some subsequent shootings found a desire for a bit more velocity — replacing the 180gr with a 165 or 155gr. Since I tend to shoot low (at the range, I put an orange sticky at the TOP of the black bull as an aim point), I favor the 180gr — a 165gr would exit the barrel even sooner, and hit the target even lower.

            A bit later, someone realized that the ballistics of the .40S&W was a close match to one of the old rounds from years ago.. the .38-40 (which, contrary to the name, really was a .40 caliber)

            • Aha! I find the AR15 recoil to be annoying, while the M14 recoil is a friendly shove from a friend, I can and have plinked all afternoon with an M14/M1A offhand (standing position) and found it to be very mellow, the Golden Retriever of rifles.

  9. If they sell this thing with a lower receiver the transfer would have to be through an ffl holder, or it becomes illegal once you put a firearm upper on it. I could see that lomitingthe market acceptance.

  10. BB

    “So, this test is made possible through the good graces of Rock River Arms, who, before last Wednesday, had never heard of Tom Gaylord.”

    Do these people live under a rock in that river? Wake up and smell the coffee people! Perhaps they are more familiar with your alias.

  11. Hello again, I forgot to ask this the last time I asked about scope mounts. Would you recommend a one piece or a two piece BKL mount for my superstreak ? Thanks for the great advice :D.

    • Robert,

      B.B. is out of town today & Saturday for the big bore airgun shoot in Sulphur Springs, Texas. He may not get to your answer til next week.

      Generally speaking, though, he recommends 2-pc mounts for most applications.


    • Robert,

      Edith is correct (obviously). One-piece mounts are sometimes better if you need an offset, or when two-piece mounts won’t work.

      For instance, I have a rifle that I like to shoot in the prone position. Mounting the scope at the far end with most mounts still leaves the scope too close to my eye. Using mounts with an offset allow me to mount the scope just far out enough out so that I have the right amount eye-relief. There are other times when you want the scope closer to your eye, so you need these offset mounts to move the scope closer to your face. It all depends.

      Two-piece mounts allow you to stretch the mounting across a wider range along the scope tube, which in theory, makes them more accurate and stable.


  12. B.B.,
    This product should do very well, if adequately advertised in the right places. It’s what us airgunners like, namely, something that allows us to practice in our own back yard.

  13. BB,
    An airgun upper for an AR?..Brilliant.
    The modular configuration potential of the AR series is limitless as we already know.
    New developtments in a familiar package.Can’t argue with that.

    Stretched my air gunning legs last Sunday.
    Nothing scientific just a bean Can on a metal pole at various distances.
    Started at 20 yards and went out as far as 50.
    Using the open sights on my .22 HW99s I was hitting the Can 8 out of 10 shots at 40 yards.
    At 50 yards 3 out of 10 shots.
    What a difference that 10 yards make but with a scope I’m sure I could have turned things around.
    Powerwise the rifle was still ripping holes in the Can at 50 yards no problem,so I am well pleased.
    Talking of Cans.Do I now open that Can of worms which is Scoping a breakbarrel Spring rifle?lol

  14. Argh! I threw pearls last night. I sent the link to this article to my AR friends and when I brought it up in conversation all I got was a snort. They don’t see the connection. To them you’re not learning anything if you’re not shooting 50 yds and beyond, smelling burnt powder, and massaging a bruised shoulder. I put my pearls back in my pocket.

    • Chuck,

      I had better luck one on one, face to face yesterday. He thought this was a bit pricey, since you can get a .22lr cheaper, but really liked the idea of using his AR in his back yard! Try again with the pearls, just not to the swine….


    • Chuck,
      I think that anything that helps with the fundamentals, like dry-firing or shooting an airgun, is valuable to a serious shooter, no matter their preferred caliber. A buddy of mine set a world record at 300 meters by imagining that this high-power rifle was an air-rifle during each shot. Maybe your friends need to look a little deeper to see the benefits. I’ve always appreciated a good, accurate, airgun because the fundamentals are all the same.

      • Here here.

        Frankly, for me, I’d rather spend the same $ for a decent 10-meter rifle. But if your pockets are deep and maybe you already have your good 10m gun…..

        • flobert,
          Sure, if someone didn’t already have an AR rifle, this wouldn’t make sense. Why make the expense for a PCP this way? But for those who are into AR shooting, and especially for competition, or who want to really hone their skills, this product is great, I think.

          • Yeah I guess that’s where I was headed, if you want the ultimate AR training tool, if it’s made by Anschutz/Feinwerkbau/Walther the accuracy should be really excellent, and the longer lock and barrel time means you really have to emphasize followthough which is good training.

    • /Dave/Victor,
      Yeah, I’m thinking they’re just in it to get more bang for the buck. Pun intended. They’re not really interested in precision right now, just the fun of blasting at stuff. Maybe later.

    • Well, you have to ask yourself just why someone buys an AR in the first place. No doubt the reasoning is image heavy and has to do with perceptions of power. Well, that is funny too since as service rifles go, you can make an argument that the AR is underpowered. Well, as the Bible says, shake the dust from your feet….


      • People by them for the same reasons one would by any firearm. They have lots of uses, are accurate and accept lots of mods that you can do yourself. This air rifle upper is just one of many. If the .223/5.56 isn’t enough power, change the upper and move on up in caliber. If you don’t like the direct gas system, change the upper and go to a piston operated system. If you try it you might just like it!


      • Wulfraed,
        In order for me to do that I’d have to go back and re-read all those comments about knives that keep cropping up on this blog. I certainly wouldn’t want to do a messy job on anyones head.

  15. Hmmmm! I wonder if Crosman could be convinced to offer this with the “dual-fuel” capability of the Challenger 2009. It already shares the reservoir, why not the valve? I really like the capability to use CO2 or air, as the urge strikes me. While I do have a pump, the CO2 fill is much easier and more convenient, without giving up much in the accuracy department (with the AR trigger, I might not even be able to tell the difference anyway).

    Just a thought.


  16. Flobert, as for boxing punches being harder than Karate punches, physics actually seems to be in your favor. There is just a lot more mass behind the boxing punches. Karate punches draw power from a push-pull dynamic of yanking the opposite arm back coupled with a limited amount of hip rotation and explosive breathing. Boxing punches use rear leg drive and a more pronounced rotation of hip and shoulder. There is just more mass moving. And there are more advanced techniques that involve stepping forward with your weight committed and your back leg coordinated to spring forward–the so-called “falling step.” Anyway, having tried boxing and Karate it is my experience that boxing hits harder, and it is also the opinion of world kickboxing champion Kathy Long whom I spoke to about this.

    But all bets are off at the higher levels of Karate with people smashing bricks and baseball bats. I don’t know what is going on there. Also, some have claimed that Karate punches either have faster acceleration or are faster off the mark precisely because they don’t require a commitment by the body. It’s been my experience that you get hit more than you might expect from what at first appears to be a simple style. Karate punches are certainly plenty hard enough for what they are designed to do and within the fighting context there are all sorts of trade-offs that make a direct comparison difficult.

    Duskwight, yes, I certainly was not referring to an RPG machine gun. Perhaps an RPK? A Czech machine gun called the UK59 was also mentioned in this category.

    Victor, I have need of your warrior engineering background and the same goes for Wulfraed and anyone else interested. I was in a discussion the other day about whether the Viking culture was superior to the Japanese culture–not the most mature topic of conversation. And not surprisingly, the discussion devolved onto a comparison of the swords of the two cultures. The fundamental problem of swordmaking is to make a blade that is hard enough to cut but soft enough to bend. The Japanese solution was to form layers of soft and hard steels that were hammered flat, heated, then folded over and over again. Some swords have over a million laminations which actually only takes 20 foldings by the equation.

    n = 2^x where n is number of laminations and x is number of foldings.

    However, the Vikings were doing the same thing hundreds of years earlier. But instead of using one bar for the blade, they used several, say 5, that were bent and folded like the Japanese. Then the 5 were hammered together. I make the lamination out to be

    n = 2^x(5)

    But before combining the bars, they were individually twisted. Now, the question is how do you evaluate twisting in terms of number of laminations or ANY structural improvement? I have supposed that in twisting the bars, you increase their length within the same volume. Increasing length implies decreasing thickness of layers and a bar of the same dimensions implies more layers or laminations in effect. Taking this into account, the Viking sword would be described by

    n = 2^x(1/V(arclength/axial length)wh)(5) where V, w, h are the volume width and height of an individual bar.

    If you’re taking this seriously I’ve got you fooled. 🙂 But the larger question is the structural effect of twisting metal. You see it in the spirally grooved bolts of rifles that are appearing and even in the mainsprings of air rifles. Maybe these are distinctly different cases. But maybe they’re not….


    • Ignoring the arguments over twist-steel/Damascus vs folded…

      Japanese blades weren’t just a chunk of steel folded a number of times. At various periods you’d find the final blade consisted of up to five different types of steel… A many-folded and hard edge, a soft core, a pair of medium side “plates” and maybe a medium “back”, all forge welded together.

      European blades tended to be a single chunk (even with twisting rods, the entire blade is made from a consistent blank).

      Japanese blades are designed to cut — flesh if possible, bamboo armor if not. Hence the fine edge.

      European blades, in contrast, are very long cold chisels — the edges are optimized to beat against metal (chain mail, scale [overlapping thin sheets — like asphalt roofing], ring [rings fastened to a leather support], and plate). Take a katana to such armor and the edge would shatter!

      Once, at an RPG convention, I permitted “hungry”* and “reluctant” (some of the earliest swords by Museum Replicas — back when they were made by Del Tin in Italy, rather than Windlass Steelcrafts of India) to be part of the display of the SCA lecture room. Sir Hilary (yes, she’d earned knighthood in SCA combat) had a cookie tin that she normally used to keep time during battle demos. She also had a custom made sword which matched her combat rattan sword is weight&balance. When questioned about broadsword edges she first used her sword on the tin — not a real strike, just letting the weight carry the sword in a 2-3ft drop. Just a dent. She then tried “hungry” (I granted permission). Same type of drop. “Hungry” put a 3″ hole in the tin. “Hungry” does NOT have an edge! (The blade edges are as thick as the /back/ of a swiss army pocket knife blade).

      * “Hungry” is one of the longer one-hand swords; a horseman’s length, weighing about 3.5lbs, but with the balance well back — heavy Brazil nut pommel — easy to change direction of the blade. “Reluctant” is a bastard sword (or hand and a half), about a foot longer, but not any heavier (smaller disk pommel, thinner blade); used in one hand, it does NOT want to change direction when moving {one of 500 — when Museum Replicas [a branch of Atlanta Cutlery] started, they were unsure of a market, so introduced five swords, with production of 500 each, and advertised in the SCA Tournaments Illuminated}.

        • At least they are honest… Compared to “Terminus Est” (from “The Book of the New Sun”; a blunt-pointed executioner’s sword with a hollow blade containing a volume of mercury; the mercury shifts from the hilt to the tip of the blade during a swing — and looking nothing like the generic sword in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqY0dCmAyNM [not blunt enough on the tip] )…

      • Katana edge would shatter on metal armor eh? That I didn’t expect. But surely you could put an edge on a European style sword if you wished. I’ve seen demonstration swords cut through solid bone in a pork shoulder, and surely you’ve seen the Cold Steel demonstrations with all they can do.


        • As implied, Hungry and Reluctant were unedged (Museum Replicas now permits one to have a sword “sharpened” when ordering).

          Next time you are in the hardware store, compare the edge of a cold chisel to the edge of a wood chisel [ignore that wood chisels are only tapered on one side]. Or consider the edge of an axe/hatchet… Almost rounded. Enough edge to focus the energy into a thin line, but thickens rapidly for strength.

          At an extreme, the katana is a straight razor vs “broadsword” being a meat cleaver. European swords weren’t really cutting (as in slicing) weapons — they were chopping tools (and the shorter ones with a bit of point were also thrusting). In truth, against armor, battle axe, mace, or flail were more effective (though the axe needed as much skill as the sword — to hit with the edge). SCA “wisdom” is that broadswords were favored by knights/nobility just because they were: costly to make, required lots of training to use, and were still so ineffective that one might survive battle against another sword. If you break through the armor you just create a thin wound… A flanged mace, OTOH, is likely to break lots of bones without penetrating the armor (and the bent in armor may restrict movement — not only do you have broken ribs, but you can’t inhale due to your own armor squeezing you). An upward hit to the hips is likely to drive bone shards into the intestines…

          Yes, there are records of severed legs from swords.

          Later period one has the small sword/rapier period — emphasis is on the point, there may not even be an edge per-se. If there is an edge, one begins to enter the stage of attempting slicing cuts instead of the chop cuts of earlier days. I don’t want to discuss sabers — the replicas I’ve handled are all too tip heavy to really “fence” with; hold out to the side from horseback and let momentum do the work..

    • Matt- I took some boxing lessons, then quit because there was too much fighting going on (ba-da,boom!) they teach using the whole body in some interesting ways, for instance to do an uppercut, you squat DOWN, puts the power in the punch. Westers-type boxers don’t study how to use their legs, not even hook-type take-downs that are so useful in a fight, but boy do they learn how to use the closed-hand hit. No elbows, no blade-hand stuff, but within the rigid rules of boxing, look out.

  17. Matt61,

    The twisting and layering (as found in pattern steels) might have some slight advantages in the grain allignment, but I think most of the advantage comes from the steel recipe. How much carbon, manganese, nickel, etc and the subsequent heat treatment. Modern steels have pretty much negated the necessity of combining tool and mild steels in layers commonly (and sometimes mistakenly) called “Damascus”. http://www.anvilfire.com Lots of good info and references on black/bladesmithing. You can find additional links there too.

    Boxing vs TKD punches- Boxing has more of a push to it, coming from the body’s core. TKD has a bit more speed at the finish and starts with a slight rearward movement but comes from the rear heel. The off hand retract adds to it and lines the skeleton up to minimize the rebound and return the shock back to the rear heel. Done correctly, you can actually feel it in your foot. Both boxing and TKD punches are accomplished without losing your center of balance, require follow through and are very powerful. I have punched and kicked through stacks boards, concrete tiles, and bricks. This is a regular part of our training and testing and it is something that has to be worked up to in stages and over years. And yes, my knuckles are somewhat deformed and ugly from the added bone mass that develops from repeated micro fractures, but they work just fine! 🙂


    • I’ve heard of how the solid stance of Karate and TKD are supposed to contribute to the punch, but I haven’t felt any rebound in my foot. And neither have I kicked and bricks, just boards. Glad your fingers still work and that there is not too much calcification.


  18. Flobert, your friends A and D can step aside. There was a recent article about people who have spent up to $130,000 preparing for the apocalypse. One guy has a bunker in South Africa which he will travel to from England if the need arises. Also, it turns out that for those in the know, “zombies” does not refer to the undead. It refers to unprepared people who are crazed with hunger and will kill for food.

    Also, the Japanese do it again, but I’m afraid their latest effort is a falling off after the silence gun. They have invented urine powered batteries.


  19. Am I the only one with AR and airgun experience on the blog? I am and old Airgun Letter subscriber, shot M-16s (original, A1, and A2) in both the USMC, National Guard and Army, and now am a contractor in Afghanistan (and formerly Iraq) carrying a Bushmaster M-4 clone. I was a high-power shooter and airguner (both field target and silhouette). I still shoot an M1 Garand, but my high-power work is now all John C. Garand and issue military rifle matches only. The ARs are not the issue stuff we had in the 70s and 80s. AR platforms totally dominate national match course. Those of us with M1s, M1As and M-14NMs are just along for the ride, our equipment is as out of date as Springfields and Krags. This new upper is aimed at dedicated target shooters who are not worried about the unit not being semiauto. For the rest of us, think of it as a way to get more practice out of your NM lower.

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