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Education / Training Crosman M1 Carbine BB gun: Part 2

Crosman M1 Carbine BB gun: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Crosman M1 Carbine and U.S. Carbine
M1 Carbine on top and Crosman M1 Carbine below. A realistic copy!

Today, we’ll take a look at the velocity of the Crosman M1 Carbine BB gun. My gun is one that has a plastic Croswood stock, which means it was made between 1968 and 1976. It doesn’t have any indications of having been taken apart, so I’m assuming that it’s factory original.

Strange spring-piston gun!
This rifle is unique in that it has a valve. Despite being a spring-piston gun, there’s a pop valve in line with the piston. It remains shut until overcome by pressurized air. A small coiled spring holds it shut as long as possible. That allows the maximum air pressure to build up, so the BB doesn’t start moving before the piston has almost reached the end of its travel.

Most BB guns use a hollow tube to push the BB off its seat and get it up to about 50-80 f.p.s. Then, the compressed air comes through the air tube and blasts the BB on up to terminal velocity. But the Crosman M1 Carbine and the Crosman V-350 action from which is is designed do not have the tube. So, the compressed air is held back until it reaches overwhelming pressure, and it’s the only thing that acts on the BB. How well does it work?

Daisy Premium Grade zinc-plated BBs
The first BB I loaded was the Daisy Premium Grade zinc-plated BB. I’ve found these BBs to be very uniform and larger than some on the market. They measure 0.171″ to 0.173″ in diameter, and their surface is smooth, though not as smooth as some. They weigh 5.1 grains, on average.

Daisy BBs averaged 383 f.p.s. in the Crosman M1 Carbine. The range went from a low of 365 f.p.s. to a high of 391 f.p.s. That’s a pretty large spread for a spring-piston BB gun, but the average velocity is also on the high side. We’ll have to wait to see how accurate they are; but in my experience, Daisy BBs are always near or at the top, as far as accuracy goes.

Loading BBs
BBs are loaded in the front of 2 holes in the upper handguard of the gun. The rear hole is for oiling the piston seal, which on this gun has a huge impact.

Crosman M1 Carbine BB loading port
The BBs load into the 22-shot gravity-fed magazine through a hole in the front of the upper handguard. Pull back on the operating handle to open this hole for loading. Although Crosman says the magazine holds 22 BBs, my gun holds 23.

Crosman M1 Carbine oil hole
The rear hole in the upper handguard is for oiling the mechanism. You can also see BBs through the hole if the gun is loaded.

Crosman M1 Carbine BB comparison
Daisy Premium Grade zinc-plated BB on the left, Umarex Precision steel BB on the right. The Umarex BB is visibly smoother; but in tests with many guns, these 2 BBs are similarly accurate. It’ll be interesting to see how the Crosman M1 Carbine handles each BB in the accuracy test.

Umarex Precision BBs
Next, I tried Umarex precision steel BBs. They averaged slightly less velocity, as 375 f.p.s., but the spread was also tighter. The low was 367 f.p.s. and the high was 382 f.p.s. That’s a range of 15 f.p.s., compared to 26 f.p.s. for the Daisys.

The Crosman M1 Carbine trigger is light, breaking at 2 lbs., 13 ozs. on the test gun. The blade is very thin, though, and that makes the pull feel heavier.

This airgun is performing at the peak of its power right now. An average Crosman M1 Carbine will shoot around 350, so this one is certainly a little hot. I can’t wait to see how well it does in the accuracy test.

22 thoughts on “Crosman M1 Carbine BB gun: Part 2”

  1. We didn’t have a Crosman M1 carbine but my younger brother had one of the V350’s and it was the hottest shooting BB gun around when I was a kid . The only thing that equaled it was the Benji 3030 ,but that took the little CO2 carts which were un-obtainium for 10 year olds suffering under minimum allowance wages, plus they were mail order only. Have a dying PC here and replying to the blog is problematic at best, but I’ve been thinking about your swaged bullet experiment in your Cherokee ML. Think you might be using bullets that are a little too small. maybe you need to go to a .320 dia in pure lead and about 100grs in wt.

  2. B.B.
    You said the Daisy BBs were 0.171″ to 0.173″ in diameter and weighed 5.1 grains, on average. Can you tell me the diameter and average weight of the Umarex BBs? You’ve probably told us this in another post no doubt, but I can’t remember. Thank You and I’m looking forward to the accuracy test!

    • I find the diameter of BB interesting. On the PA site, all the “steel bbs” are listed at .177 (4.5mm) yet they range from .171 to .173. None made it to .177. Looking at the lead bb’s on PA, I find they range from .175 to almost .179 (4.54mm). That smaller one got me to thinking, I could try these in some of the small in my “smooth bore” bb barrels. Today’s kids (or adults new to bb guns) don’t know how good they have it. When I was a wee one, bbs had “dents” or “dimples” on them (small flat spot). BBs today seem much better. Same is true is pellets for the most part too.

  3. On the subject of the original M1 Carbine, wasn’t its light weight achieved by trimming down material to the extent that there was a shot limit to the receiver? I seem to remember reading that on the blog. I think technically every firearm has a shot limit. That for a 1911 is about 250,000 rounds–another fact from the blog I think. This number is not a concern for any individual although it might be for service pistols that are in armories for decades. B.B. I expect that you would have encountered worn out pistols in the army if that were the case. But for M1 carbines to have an explicit shot limit worth mentioning seems to indicate that the number is much lower, and I would think that limit would be reached pretty quickly in battle, especially with the M2 version on full-auto.

    Victor and Wulfraed, thanks for your comments about the value of the clean break. I can see that as a way to limit the kind of uncertainty that is inevitable with long trigger travel. But for psychological pitfalls, how about this for hard triggers with a specific release point. You apply measured pressure to the trigger and it doesn’t move. You strongly resist the urge to apply demonstrably more pressure, and the trigger still doesn’t move. By now you are running out of oxygen. The urge to pull on the trigger becomes overwhelming. Heroically you resist by maintaining steady pressure and still nothing happens. So, if you are very strong mentally, you will put the gun down and start over or, more likely, you jerk the shot way off target…. Well, I guess there are no easy roads to a good shot, and you maximum your chances with something like an Anschutz trigger.

    Well, like an emperor from ancient China, I am seeking to banish care with a round of amusements. It will start tonight with Pacific Rim, all about giant robots and aliens. Sounds like just my thing.


    • Matt,

      I don’t know if I said there was a limit to the Carbine or not. But if any rifle has a limit, the carbine would be it. Everything is the bare minimum that will work and give reasonable life. But a Carbine will not last like a Springfield 03 or a 1911.

      If there is a limit to the 1911 I don’t know what it is.


      • Bradly,

        It has been tried. Gary Barnes called it “screening,” when he rolled a lead ball between two screens to raise crosshatches on the surface to increase the diameter of the ball for certain guns. It worked very well.


      • Victor,
        That (leaving safety on) has happened to a “friend of mine” a time or two :)! I’ll take a crisp, heavy trigger over a long gritty, creepy one anytime. I like single stage triggers, too, as long as they are definite about when they break.

    • If you’re running out of breath, I’d say you need to do the same thing that has long been recommended for drifting off aim…

      HOLD the pressure, take that breath, bring the aim back to target, and only then resume the squeeze.

      Don’t release and start over.

  4. Hello B.B., and fellow airgun enthusiasts. Wow, this Crosman M1 carbine BB gun certainly has nice lines about it. If I recall correctly, in the early 60’s there was a one hour weekly TV series called Combat. I would watch it faithfully every week. One of the characters was a lieutenant, and he carried an M1 carbine. The main character, Sarge, played by Vic Morrow, the Blackboard Jungle tough hood, carried a machine gun of some type. Of coarse, the regular foot soldier was issued the Garand. I thought the lieutenant had the best gun of the lot. I haven’t thought of this fine series for years. It is quite amazing how Crosman designed their carbine to look so much like the real McCoy. After all, the real M1 carbine was designed to shoot bullets as fast as a soldier could squeeze the trigger. To faithfully reproduce the same lines in an airgun, would take quite a bit of re engineering. I suppose the term I am looking for would be “thinking outside the box”. Definitely looking forward to the accuracy part of this specimen.
    I took out my Weihrauch HW70 this past weekend for some pistol shooting. The first thing a noticed, was the long pull of the single stage trigger. This has always been a sore spot with me, as I have grown to value a great 2 stage trigger pull. II own all the current Weihrauch pistol models, and they all have real nice 2 stage triggers. It blows my mind that Weihrauch would put such a horrible one on the 70 series of gun. It still shoots great groups if you employ patients when squeezing through the long single stage. By the bye B.B., did you finish testing the HW70 you featured on a blog a few months past? I recall requesting you try JSB Exact 7.33gr pellets for the best groups. I don’t recall the result, or if you did indeed try the JSB’s. I celebrated my 62nd birthday yesterday, so I am able to chock any lapse in memory to my age. Age does have it’s benefits. 😉
    Caio Titus

    • Titus,

      I found this as the last report on the HW 70A:


      Indeed, I said I would tighten the breech and rerun thew accuracy test when I got back from my trip to see Mac. Well, that never happened. I knew Mac didn’t have long and I guess I just forgot everything else.

      I still have the pistol, so I’ll see about doing something with it.


  5. Found myself a gremlin today.

    It was right in front of me, but did not see it until an hour ago.
    Been having trouble with the T200 for a few days. Wants to shoot at two different velocities. Tried adjusting striker preload to no avail. Adjusted the trigger twice also to no avail.

    Finally found it… the cocking arm was not returning to the forward position when cocked and closed. The weak shots happened when the arm stuck to the rear cocking position, and rode the cocking “pin” on the striker down when fired. Some times it did it, and sometimes it returned forward with the bolt like it was supposed to.

    Cleaned and lubed the arm and return spring. Operates right now. Will have to burn some pellets to get the preload set right, along with the velocity adjustment screw.

    Wasted a lot of pellets fooling with this. Should have it set up right with no trouble in about an hour tomorrow.


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