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Education / Training Sheridan Supergrade: 2

Sheridan Supergrade: 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sheridan Supergrade
Sheridan model A, also called the Supergrade.

Sheridan Supergrade: Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Test 1
  • Unscheduled test
  • Test 2
  • Test 4
  • Pump effort
  • Accuracy next

I was able to borrow a Supergrade Sheridan for today’s test. Since we all compare this rifle to the Blue Streak anyway, I decided to run the same test that I did for my recently rebuilt Sheridan Blue Streak.

This rifle was made in 1948 and as far as we can tell, it has never been rebuilt. When the owner received it, the valve wasn’t operating correctly. So he opened up the rifle and cleaned all the parts he could see. The valve was not disassembled. He also lubricated the gun, and it started shooting for him.

I have to tell you that I experienced the same thing with my Supergrade. They don’t like to sit around. If you own one, it’s best to shoot it often, just to keep it operational.

Test 1

This will be a test of the velocity when shooting Crosman Premier pellets on variable pumps.

Pumps……………….Velocity (f.p.s.)
8…………………………602 (air left over)

This first test shows that this rifle is faster than my Blue Streak. My Blue Streak got 373 f.p.s. with this pellet on 3 pumps, where this one is almost 100 f.p.s. faster. But this rifle did top out on 6 pumps rather than 8, and the top velocity of 609 f.p.s. is identical to my rifle on 9 pumps. Mine had air remaining after 9 pump strokes, this Supergrade left air in the reservoir after 8 strokes. If this was my rifle I would stop at 6 pump strokes, because that’s all that’s needed.

Unscheduled test

I wondered about those 6 pump strokes, so I went back and did an additional test — one that I didn’t do with the Blue Streak. How would this rifle do on 6 pumps all the time? These next shots were all with Premiers fired on 6 pump strokes.

Shot……………….Velocity (f.p.s.)

This tells us that the valve is still acting up a bit. Probably with more shooting it will settle down.

Test 2

For the second test I pumped the rifle 5 times and fired a string of 5 shots. Let’s look at those velocities now. Remember — I’m running the same tests I ran with my Blue Streak.

Shot……………….Velocity (f.p.s.)

The average for this string is 552 f.p.s. That’s 40 f.p.s. faster than the average for my second test with the Blue Streak, but only 9 f.p.s. faster than the second string I ran with the Blue Streak on 5 pumps. I said in that report I thought the Blue Streak valve needed to be warmed up, but this Supergrade valve which is different doesn’t appear to need that. Because it was up to speed already, I’m not going to run another test with 5 pumps. So, Test 3 of the Blue Streak will be skipped.

My Blue Streak varied by 19 f.p.s. for 5 shots on 5 pump strokes with Premiers. This Supergrade varied by only 8 f.p.s. That is so tight! It tells me that 5 pumps is what this rifle likes.

Test 4

I’m skipping Test 3, which is just a repeat of Test 2. Test 4 is the rifle shooting vintage Sheridan cylindrical pellets with variable pump strokes.

Sheridan Cylindrical
Vintage Sheridan Cylindrical pellets.

Pumps……………….Velocity (f.p.s.)
7…………………………582 (air left over)

This time the rifle performed strangely. It popped air out after three of the five shots. This happened without me doing anything. Apparently not all the air was exhausted with the shot, because it did this after the shots on 4 and 5 pump strokes, as well as after the shot on 6 pumps. When I set it aside after this test I filled it with 2 pumps and then uncocked the striker, and it popped air again about a minute later. It’s like there is a bubble of air leaving the valve on its own.

On 7 pump strokes the rifle did not fire the first time. I cocked it again and it did fire the second time. But there was a good amount of air remaining in the reservoir after this shot.

Pump effort

Let’s see what effort it takes to pump the Supergrade for these shots. I do this by placing the end of the pump arm on a bathroom scale and pressing down until the arm closes.

Pumps……………….Effort (lbs.)

If you compare this to the Blue Streak test, you’ll see that the Steak pumps easier than this Supergrade.

Accuracy next

Now that we have baselined the Supergrade’s performance, the next step is accuracy. The owner says the rifle is zeroed, so this should be fun!

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.

42 thoughts on “Sheridan Supergrade: 2”

  1. BB,

    I don’t know, but things don’t sound quite right with this old girl. Maybe she just needs some shooting to settle things in, but if this popping and stuff continues I would think she might need a rebuild.

  2. I think the wise man has given us a piece of air gun prophicy. “They don’t like to sit around.” We should exersize all our air guns often enough to keep them operational. Thanks for the tip.

  3. B.B.,

    Are the pump arms of the Blue Streak and Sheridan Supergrade the same length? Is it because this particular Sheridan Supergrade has been always used with 5 pumps which is why it so consistent at that number of pumps rather than the 6 pumps you tried?

    Thanks in advance for the answers.


  4. B.B.,

    I asked a while back when you were going to do the trigger upgrade on the daisy 853, I’m glad I decided to wait on you instead of going ahead myself 😉

    after putting a couple thousand pellets through my refurbished CMP daisy 853, all the creepiness is gone, when I first got it, it actually was making crackling noses, LOL. I guess they put a new sear in during the refurb. The only thing else I have done to it is put quite a generous amount of PTFE power steering fluid in the pump, which did make it down over the trigger by some route. I use this on my bicycle chains, it will make squeaks stop immediately.

    the other issue of the length of trigger pull i solved today, just by changing my finger position. 🙂

    As an explanation, I never touched a bb gun, firearm or anything before joining the army. I couldn’t qualify with the M16A1, so after 5 failures a former Army marksmanship team member drill sergeant took me and a couple of other dead heads to the range and taught us to shoot. I then qualified and went on to score 40 out of 40 eleven straight times.

    it has however been more than 20 years since I left the army and had not fired anything since, till this past summer when I got my first air rifle a crosman 22 nitro piston. I had forgotten how to shoot so I resorted to the internet for instruction, LOL. the internet told me I needed to put the middle of the pad on my finger tip on the trigger and bend the second knuckle to pull straight backwards. So that’s what I’ve been trying to do, and it worked well, a little tiring on the finger though.

    Eventually I started recalling that I had used the middle segment of my finger to pull the trigger on the M16A1, which according to the internet is the worst thing you can do if you want accuracy, although of course it worked quite well for me when I was in the Army. So, I finally decided to give it a try on my 853.

    The result, smaller group size with the daisy flat head pellets, and unmeasurably small (for me anyway) group size using the meisterkuglen pellet at 7 yards. I had been using my last finger segment on the bottom of the trigger for better leverage (i have small hands and fingers) switching to the middle segment I moved the position up to the top of the trigger right against the trigger housing. this results in slightly poorer leverage on the trigger, but using the middle joint of the finger greatly improves the leverage of the finger.

    the result, because of the position higher up on the trigger less movement of the finger is required to fire the rifle and the greater strength/leverage of the middle joint makes the trigger feel lighter. it may be different for someone with larger fingers, but for me I would not want to have a shorter travel or lighter trigger. It now feels almost frictionless and instantaneous now (although I know it actually isn’t)

    • 6.5,

      That is not how I would have done it, but hey, I am not you.

      What you have done is figured out what works for you. You have taken the time to learn your rifle. You have trained your mind and body to bring forth the best performance with it.

      Also, every air arm and firearm will be different. What works for my 1906 BSA is not going to work for my Diana 46 and is not going to work for my Edge…

      Thanks for sharing what you have learned.

      • LOL,

        I’m a full on city boy, aside from this current air gun obsession my shooting experience is with the M16A1 and every belt-fed machine gun the Army has in inventory. I would always volunteer to go to the range & burn off excess training ammo. 🙂 I wouldn’t know a match trigger if it bit me on the butt, 😉

        Unless we get a Zombie Apocalypse I don’t think I’ll ever go hunting and I’m kind of anti-social so competition shooting is out of the question. So I just focus on making little tiny holes in paper for my personal enjoyment. o)

        next step I need to get a beeman p17 and see if I can ignore all the rules and be accurate in pistol shooting too 😉

        • 6.5,

          You will have to adjust to the trigger on the P17 as it is the exact opposite of the Daisy 853. It is light and comparatively crisp. One word of advice for the P17 is to make sure the pellet is always fully seated. (Swizzle sticks are great pellet seaters.) Sometimes the pellet skirt can protrude and wear the breech seal. I like to put a dab of Pellgunoil on the seal of mine every now and then.

          Personally, I usually use the tip of my finger, but I extend it so that the trigger blade is up against the fold between the tip and the next segment. That way it is always in the exact same spot.

          Happy shooting, fellow paper-puncher!


          • Well I couldn’t resist, I just ordered a P17 from Pyramyd 🙂 This should be interesting, I have no experience with pistols.

            maybe the trigger on the P17 will spoil me and I’ll realize I should want to do the trigger job on the 853 🙂

            • 6.5,

              Definitely get a P17. It is a bargain and shoots like a dream. As a city-dweller you will also appreciate its quiet report.

              But don’t open up the trigger assembly on the 853! B.B. showed that it is a complicated mess if disassembled. My advice is to leave it alone, especially if yours is breaking in well.

              Have fun, and please let us know how you like the P17.


              • OK, I just got my Beeman P17 (according to the gun marking) Model 2004 (according to the packaging) pistol from Pyramyd. Here’s my first review, WOW :):):):):)

                First, I have zero pistol shooting experience, though I did learn how to completely disassemble and reassemble a M1911 except for the barrel link and ejector during my 6 months as a unit armorer 😉 (I think that was probably unauthorized maintenance for a unit armorer)

                first, I was surprised by how large and heavy it is, I guess necessary to accommodate the large diameter piston and to give you a long enough lever for compressing the piston.

                2nd, opening the slide, you need to not only pull open the pseudo hammer but actually pull down and hold to open the pump lever. on closing the pump lever, I found out do not use the area between your thumb and finger 😉 the dove tail between the sights is extremely sharp and I cut 2 nice little slits in my hand. LOL, so use the heal of your hand next to your wrist to safely close the pump lever. It does take quite a bit a force, not for kids or weaklings, LOL And I can definitely see how loading for someone with large fingers could be difficult, too bad they didn’t design it with a higher pseudo hammer slot so one could use a loading pen.

                I decided to start at 8 feet, not knowing the gun/sights or my pistol ability. my first shoot landed less than 3/4 inch from the aim point. seemed louder than my daisy 853 rifle, probably due to the shorter barrel. after firing 3 shots I felt comfortable moving back to 15 feet, then 3 more shots and I moved back to 8 yards behind my rifle bench. First group size at 8 yards, with no pistol shooting experience 1 & 5/16 inches using $3/500 daisy flat head pellets, WOW 🙂 better than I expected.

                I am cross eye dominate and decided to just do what felt natural without thinking about it, , which was closing right eye, shooting single right handed from a left hand stance, LOL, probably looks hilarious but it worked. I’m sure I will experiment a lot, but that is what I naturally did without thinking about it. 😉

                And, as Michael said, that trigger is a revelation, I have never felt a trigger that nice 😉

                • 6.5,

                  I knew you wopuld love that trigger; everyone does.

                  Yes, it is not the easiest to cock. And loading pellets is extremely tricky at first. After two dozen shots, I found it merely tricky ;^). After 100 shots loading was not difficult but it will always require concentration with that pistol. You will develop a method that works for you and then perfect that technique. I do find domed pellets slightly easier to load than wadcutters.

                  Remember to fully seat each pellet to prevent wear on the breech seal, and oil the breach seal periodically.



  5. Hi B.B.
    I’m fairly new to the world of adult airgunning and reading your blog and articles has been invaluable to me. Thank you. I’m wondering if you still have your so gamo 300 in your collection and if you do would you be willing to test it for accuracy again this time using H&N match wadcutter pellets? I recently picked up an el gamo in a trade for a ruger air hawk. I think it was a good trade for me as after trying a lot of different pellets including buying more at the local gun shop the H&N seem pretty accurate. I’m not as good of a shot as you and would like to see what you could do. Thanks

      • B.B.,

        Thanks for the info.

        I figured they would be in the neighborhood of the Benjamin Cylindricals, and without the slight waist of the Benjis, I guess that’s where the extra weight comes from.

        Looking at the pic you supplied above, I can see why the Sheridans are not especially accurate. Without the diabolo “wasp waist” they are like the “flying trash cans,” which I believed referred to the old, pre-Premier style of Crosman Pells.


  6. Changing the subject here but I have a question.

    What do we have to do to get Crosman to listen to Airgunners?
    WE ARE their intended market after all.

    Didn’t they learn anything from the Rogue?

    The Bulldog made a big splash when it first came out, but it hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire since then.

    I am waiting for Crosman to take the Innards of the Bulldog,
    take it out of the cheap plastic starship trooper shell.

    Make it in .25 &.30 caliber in addition to the existing .357.
    And Market it towards AIRGUNNERS not the powder burner guys.

    The mechanics of the Bulldog are very good, it has great potential in other calibers with minimal (in my opinion) changes.

    Not everyone wants a .357 or larger airgun that gets 5-10 shots before topping off,
    And looks like it came out of a video game.
    The customer base is just too narrow.

    With so few states allowing deer/hog hunting with airguns (the numbers are growing slowly)
    it would seem logical, to normal people, to offer more calibers favorable for small game.

    Thereby making more appealing to a broader base of customers.

    Crosman has a winner with the Marauder, available in 3 calibers, but it wasn’t available in all three when it was introduced.
    They have dressed it in other clothes (the Armada) with minor success.

    The Discovery is a winner, and is available in 2 popular calibers.

    The Maximus is going to be a winner due to the pricepoint, and the 12 ftlb Euro version is going to be a hit as well due to the shot count, and the muzzle adapter for add on devices.

    Unfortunately, Crosman has a track record of running things into the ground, (pellet dies run so long after they should be retired the pellets are not “pellet” shaped anymore)

    .22 rifling tooling that should have long been retired.

    They can build a accurate barrel, they have proved that over sand over.
    And same with the pellets, for years they were THE pellet in most guns.

    They just need to look a little more towards “what can we do with this?”
    Rather than “look at what we have done with this.”

    just my thoughts..


    • Ian,

      I think that for some time now Crosman has relegated the “Crosman” brand to being in the same part of the market as Daisy and Marksman. Benjamin is settling into being in the same market as Gamo. Fortunately, they retired the Sheridan brand rather than sully it with junk product.

      Crosman is in a difficult spot, albeit one of their own making. They can’t compete with Asian-made CO2 replicas marketed by other companies such as Umarex, ASG, and Gletcher. They have never manufactured first-rate springers, so German and Turkish companies have them beat there. PCP is their obvious hope, but AirForce is so far ahead of them in design and build that it will be hard to catch up. And PCP repeaters of excellent quality are marketed by a half dozen other companies.

      I almost (almost) feel sorry for them.


      • It wasn’t intended as a vent.

        I apologize if it came across as such.

        Michel said Airforce is ahead of Crosman.

        Airforce has a base design, (the aluminum chassis tube) and all of their Line starts with the same basic design.

        The Bulldog and the Airbow chassis could be their future winner.

        • Ian,

          The Bulldog is designed for easy and cheap assembly. The individual parts are suspended in place by the shell. If you take it apart, it literally falls apart. I have shot the Bulldog. If you gave me one, I would immediately sell it without bothering to put air in it.

          The Marauder can be taken up to .30, however after talking with Lloyd Sikes the other day, the design is not suitable for .357 or bigger. That means for Crosman to build a decent big bore it will require them to go back to the drawing board.

          The cost of designing and building a big bore far exceeds their desired expenditure levels. They do not believe their returns will be sufficient. Keep in mind that those who are in charge at Crosman are not those who brought out the Discovery and Marauder and do not grasp what the market will actually support. They do not grasp that there are several small companies that are producing quality big bore air rifles just as fast as they can.

          The AirForce design is deceptively simple. They are very well made, easy to modify and work very, very well. Besides being very accurate, with a few extra parts you can shoot a variety of calibers from one frame. The main issue is as you pointed out, they all look alike.

          Crosman is focused on supplying the big box stores, customers who buy thousands of units. Since what they are making is being bought, they must be making what the market wants.

  7. BB

    Can you comment on the trigger of the rifle you are borrowing? Do I remember correctly that the trigger pull weight increases with the air pressure (number of pumps)? Perhaps a test of trigger weight with progressive numbers of pumps would be instructional.

  8. GF1 and Chris,


    If you should not heed my warning and do such you will find yourself immediately going into debt!

    THIS THING IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I finally had the opportunity to shoot it some this afternoon and at 50 yards I was able to shoot a 7 shot group that will completely hide under a quarter! The pellet is over a 1/3″ in diameter itself!

    • RR,

      It has been awhile since I had seen one of those. I had to look it up. Impressive stats. and,….. sticker shock!

      No doubt it would be a blast to shoot,…. but what the heck are you going to do with it?

      • Chris USA,

        What else would RidgeRunner do? But shoot at targets as far as he can. He’ll probably go for the Pepsi Challenge or some such long distance target one day.


        • Siraniko,

          This rifle is not up to the Pepsi Challenge I am afraid. The last record I am aware of is 417 yards. That is quite a distance. Now hitting a deer in the eye at 100 yards is very possible with this air rifle.

      • Chris,

        Once I have a decent scope on it (read much more powerful), I intend to shoot out to 100 yards and further. It also has enough power and accuracy at that range that I can hunt with it.

        I shot it some this past Sunday and shot a group of seven shots at 50 yards. I pulled two of the shots, but the group would still completely hide under a quarter. Keep in mind that the pellet is over a third of an inch in diameter.

  9. This isn’t a question just a duct seal silent trap easy pellet clean up. Oh and ya need make those lil pot holders in craft sections like wally world. I have a gammo cone trap with plastic card stock, (gift card) cut to fit just above lower screw set then packed with Ductseal. Just below the top screw set. Now comes the potholder. It’s placed over your Ductseal then slide a paper target into the groove. And shoot away. as long as not dumping 20+ into the same area. Center all corners then remove your confetti that’s behind your target not into your seal. Then pull away potholder (yes they are just kids crafts) and the majority of the pellets you shot will be embedded and held in the fabric. Some yes will get thru. I shot my Talon SS co2 on setting 4 also my Sheridan 2260 .22
    From distance of 30′. Sorry for the small book just wanted to share. Laterz

    • Rock,

      That is a neat little tip, thanks.

      No need to apologize for expressing your ideas here. It is the open sharing of ideas and experiences that helps all of us to learn more. As for writing a small book, some here can be quite long winded, myself included. 😉

      • Thanks! I just know how much a chore it is digging the lead out. Granted still gonna have to dig at some point. But long as you don’t empty a tin into the same spot it will be some time before need to. Just gotta either weave the potholders yourself, lol or get the grands or kids depending where ya at in life. Always great to read theses blogs I get lost when gets into the technical stuff but learn as well.
        A great day to all & everyone.

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