Crosman MAR 177: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Crosman MAR
The MAR177 from Crosman.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • What happened?
  • Second group with Sig Match Alloy
  • What to do?
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • The trigger
  • Do triggers affect accuracy?
  • Ten Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • RWS Hobby
  • Qiang Yuan Olympic
  • Discussion
  • The rear sight does adjust!
  • Summary

I finally managed to schedule for a minute past midnight, so that is back to normal. Today’s report is a follow-on from last Friday’s report. I am still testing the Crosman MAR177 target rifle’s accuracy with the sights that came with it. And I learned something big today. I hope it will help all of you with your shooting.

Actually, I learned two big things today. I had a stupident that I hope will help the rest of you.

The test

I said at the end of Part 4 that I wanted to test the MAR again, and perhaps with different pellets. That test happens today.

Once again I shot the rifle from a rest at 10 meters. The test was identical to what I did last Friday, and I started with the pellet that proved to be the best — the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy wadcutter.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

This rifle was already sighted in as much as I was going to (read what I think about adjusting M16/AR-15 sights in the Part 4 section titled “Sighting in the MAR”), so I just shot the first group. I was relaxed and ready to shoot. Last Friday the MAR put five of these pellets into 0.152-inches at 10 meters. This time five went into 0.492-inches. Disgraceful!

Sig Match Alloy target
Five Sig Match Ballistic Alloy target pellets made this 0.492-inch group at 10 meters. Previously all five pellets had gone into an area the size of the central hole in this group.

What happened?

Am I loosing it? Can I not hold a good group anymore? Am I too old to be shooting? I have to shoot another group to disprove all the unkind thoughts that are running through my mind right now.

Second group with Sig Match Alloy

I concentrated more on the second group. This time I put 5 in 0.339-inches which is better. Better, but not good. If this pellet can put 5 into 0.152-inches it ought to put 10 into 0.20 inches, or so. It shouldn’t just fall apart this way.

Sig Match Alloy target 2
The second target with Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets was better, but not that good. Five pellets are 0.339-inches apart, c-t-c.

What to do?

At this point it was looking like the fault rested with me. I decided to try a different pellet, one that worked well in the first MAR. The Air Arms Falcon pellet is a dome that did very well in 2012.

Air Arms Falcon

I shot 5 Falcons into 0.36-inches. While that is no better than the previous group, something remarkable happened during this group. Let’s look at the group first and then I want to talk to you.

Falcon target
Five Air Arms Falcon pellets went into 0.36-inches at 10 meters. Not a particularly great group, but something great happened while I was shooting it.

The trigger

Remember I said in Part 4 that I had to get used to the Geisselle trigger all over again each time I shot the MAR? That was the key! While I was shooting the first group of Falcon pellets I suddenly focused on the trigger and all my problems went away. The Geisselle trigger is what caused the open groups in the first three targets!

The trigger has a very heavy first stage that’s followed by a second stage that breaks with just 8 ounces more pressure. I said earlier that stage two feels crisp, but that was a mistake. Not only is it not crisp, the Geisselle trigger’s second stage is very creepy when compared to a good airgun trigger. For an AR trigger I suppose it’s okay, but I am shooting the MAR like it is a target rifle and the trigger is not helping me one bit. It is fooling me, which is why I have to reacquaint myself with the trigger every time I shoot the MAR.

I discovered that while shooting the third target of 5 Falcons, and I was so certain that I had found the answer that I shot ten Falcons at the next target. They grouped in 0.254-inches, c-t-c. That’s right, TEN pellets landed in a group that is 0.106-inches SMALLER than five of the same pellets shot just before! And that was all because I now knew how to shoot the Geisselle trigger!

Falcon target 2
Ten Falcon pellets went into 0.254-inches at 10 meters, once I used the Geisselle trigger correctly.

Do triggers affect accuracy?

I have always maintained that triggers do not affect accuracy. They only affect how easy it is to be accurate. Well, that is only partially true, and because of that it is entirely wrong. In Part 4 and now again in Part 5, I have twice been fooled by the trigger at the beginning of the test. Once I learned the trick I have been able to snap back and shoot better. This Geisselle trigger has been a harsh learning tool for old BB!

I always thought in terms of triggers with heavy pulls. Shooters complain about Mauser and Springfield military rifle 2-stage triggers that break at 5 and 6 pounds, and I have had no trouble shooting well with them. But this Geisselle trigger has a heavy first stage that conceals a light but very creepy stage two that has been foiling my attempts at accuracy. Now that I knew stage two is creepy I could deal with it, and I did! I treated it just as I would a creepy single-stage trigger.

Ten Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

Now that I knew the trigger I fired 10 Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets next. They did so well in Part 4. Well I must have pulled one of the shots because what I got was nine shots in 0.319-inches, with a lone shot opening the group to 0.509-inches — all at 10 meters. It was not a called pull, but I think you can agree that it was me and not the rifle.

Sig Match Alloy target 3
Nine Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets went into 0.319-inches at 10 meters, with the tenth shot opening the group to 0.509-inches.

RWS Hobby

Remember I said I wanted to try some pellets I hadn’t shot before? I have already tried Falcons, so RWS Hobbys were next. Ten of them went into 0.304-inches at 10 meters. That’s surprisingly good for what is considered a practice pellet.

Hobby target
Ten RWS Hobby pellets made this nice round 0.304-inch group at 10 meters.

Qiang Yuan Olympic

The last pellet I tested was the Qiang Yuan Olympic target pellet. They did second-best in the Part 4 test, with 5 going into 0.226-inches. In this test the MAR177 put 10 in 0.255-inches at the same 10 meters.

Chinese Olympic target
Ten Qiang Yuan Olympic pellets went into 0.255-inches — the second smallest group of this test!

Discussion

I learned a valuable lesson about triggers in this test. They can cause inaccuracy in a way I never anticipated. People have been telling me that for years and I always argued against it, but now I see that I was wrong. This Geisselle trigger faked me out with a heavy first stage that concealed a creepy stage two. I was firing before I was ready! And I am not done confessing my mistakes.

The rear sight does adjust!

A reader named Bruce contacted me through my website to tell me that I was mistaken about the rear sight not adjusting. I then argued with him in the comments on the blog. But he was adamant and contacted me a second time off the blog to get my attention. Well, he got it!

I examined the MAR177 rear sight and saw that it clearly does adjust for elevation. Why did I think it didn’t? Was it the manual?

Well, the manual does clearly state that the rear sight adjusts for elevation, but it also goes into a lot of detail about adjusting the front sight. I think I had a flashback to my Army days when I read that and started remembering the bad old days. I ignored the rear sight instructions in the manual and was back at Fort Lewis in 1968 again. Thank you, Bruce, for keeping after me on this. It really does make a huge difference. Now I can shoot from 25 yards as so many readers have asked, and use the open sights as well as a scope.

MAR rear sight
The MAR177 rear sight does, indeed, adjust for elevation. My thanks to reader Bruce, for calling my attention to this fact.

The bottom line is when I make a mistake like this I want it to be brought out. The purpose of this blog is to instruct, period. BB Pelletier is just the imperfect tool that’s used to do it.

Summary

I told you at the beginning of this report that today would be special. I hope it has been. The rear sight oversight is a mistake anyone can make. Now that we are aware of it, the record of the MAR is more complete.

It’s the trigger lesson that really upset me. Oh, I can still work with almost any trigger devised by man. I’m just surprised that it took me so long to figure this one out.

What’s up next? I think next I will back up to 25 yards and give you all what so many have asked for. Now that I can adjust the rear sight, it won’t be difficult to get on target at this distance.

39 thoughts on “Crosman MAR 177: Part 5


  1. B.B.,

    Go easy on yourself…don’t let that selfdoubt creep into your head. You are stronger than that!

    Now that the vertical adjustment is back under your control…when you do the 25 yard would you please add a slightly heavier pellet as the last pellet. Perhaps a typically accurate round nose JSB Match Diabolo Exact .177 Cal 8.4 Grains Domed. It is a PCP and the slightly heavier pellet might be a pleasant surprise.

    shootski



  2. B.B.,

    The trigger may not affect the accuracy of the gun but it sure can affect the accuracy of the shooter.

    I especially notice it when changing guns. Even going from a bad trigger to a good one takes a few shots.

    I finally ignored the reviews on the PA site for the Seneca Aspen and ordered one in .22 caliber, it showed up late Saturday. So far it has exceeded all my expectations. Your report was very helpful. More to follow.

    Don


  3. BB,

    I think Benji-Don is going in the right direction there. I know I am “preaching to the choir” mostly, but there might be a newbie out there reading this for some strange reason. Shooting is much more than looking through the sights and pulling the trigger and accurate shooting is far more. It involves the weapon, the ammunition, the environment, the mind and the body.

    Mrs. RR cannot grasp how I can shoot for hours. She is amazed at how I can take one of the gals out on the back porch and just “plink” away. When I am not “right” I immediately stop and put everything away. It is not fun then and I could not hit the side of a barn if I was standing inside.

    Putting it all together is when you drop into “the zone”. The world is gone and the shot is all. Suddenly, you cannot miss. That is when the feeling you have when the trigger releases is awesome.

    I think you misspelled a made up word.

    I had a supident (stupident?) that I hope will help the rest of you.


  4. BB,

    Uh, am I missing something here or did it get lost in the fog? Benji-Don bought himself an Aspen and since I have been hearing decent things about them, I decided to go back over your reviews. Well, I was reading through the .22 review and came to the end of Part 5. You listed a few things you wanted to do with this airgun and strongly suggested there would be a Part 6. Did it happen and I just cannot find it?

    You also sorta dropped the .25 review after telling us about the upcoming Part 5.


  5. If I could only have one airgun it would be my FX Independence but that’s because I already have one. If I didn’t, it would be the Aspen or Nova Freedom. OK, one of each. One setup for day and one for night.
    I would go as far as to call it an Airgunners Airgun. One that gives you total control.

    BB
    I think a Stupident would be something that had a Dior Consequence. I would go with a Senior Moment.
    Don’t you just hate it when you unintentionally pull the trigger and then proceed to do it a few more times.

    RR
    In the zone …. Kind of like a 15 ball run on a pool table 🙂
    Bob M



  6. Good morning all and Happy Monday!

    I saw that some people were wondering where I had gotten to as I have not posted any comments in a while. My Bad! I should have kept in-touch especially in these trying times so I apologise for not doing so.

    With lots of post winter projects and a long “honey-do” list I’m not at the computer much but I do check the blog when I can and skim over the comments. Hoping things settle down and I can get into a more relaxed routine.

    All is good here; living on 10 acres in a swamp (actually it’s a spring-fed beaver flood but “swamp” sounds more cool) self isolation is “normal” for us and the lockdown is not much of a problem. Lake access is restricted so no fishing this spring (bummer) but I have 35 pounds of .22 caliber pellets and a new airgun so I can concentrate on my shooting activities. Just extended my range to 125 yards so I am anxious to try some of the long range stuff.

    Hope everyone is doing well. Stay safe and stay healthy!

    Cheers,
    Hank




        • Hank
          You really should make up a few of those signs. That would be cool in your yard and by your shooting area.

          If you do I would like to see some pictures. Well and of your 125 yard range when you get a round tuit. 🙂



    • Hank
      Glad all is good.

      Can’t wait to hear how the 125 yard testing goes. I do hope you try multiple guns out there. Most people are surprised how well their 60 yard guns do out that far once they give it a try.

      Last week and this week finally shut all the way down at work because of the COVID-19. The first time I have been laid off in 35 years. Let’s just say I’m getting a little taste of retirement. It does feel good to take a break for a change. Me and a few others go back next week. They say everyone else is coming back June 1st. We’ll see how that goes after next week. It’s been some crazy stuff since March.


    • Hank, so glad to see a comment from you, and glad to hear all is OK!
      As with you, self-isolation on the mini-farm is the norm; I can work outside for weeks without leaving here. =>



  7. RidgeRunner,

    Here is my take on the .22 caliber Seneca Aspen multi-pump hpa airgun. First off I was impressed with the quality of the gun. It has pretty much all the features we have been talking about .

    Pumping is easy but very awkward. I found sitting the rubber butt plate of the gun on the floor and pumping while sitting in a chair and pumping slowly works real well. I hold the gun at the barrel band with my off hand. There were many comments about the gun leaking and the pump failing. I think folks were pumping as fast and hard as they could; that is the death of a hpa pump. I also think they were not using silicon oil on the pump felt wiper; the lube should help with leaks and pump reliability. The pump feels like a quality one to me. Time will tell.

    I like the scope that comes with the gun it looks well made and has the basic airgun features with no frills. You should like that. It has a good mil-dot reticle that is not illuminated and the parallax can be adjusted from less than 7.5 yards to infinity. It is a basic 4 power scope that seems to have well made turrets. My only problem with the scope so far is that I can not get it to focus with my prescription glasses on. It is very clear with out my glasses though. Not sure what is going on. I have never seen that in a scope before. I can usually adjust the scope either for either with or without my glasses???? I will have to check this out some more.

    The Aspen is getting .5 inch 5 shot groups with JSB 15.89 dome pellets at 25 yards right out of the box. That is on high or low power, it should do even better as I and the gun spend more time together.

    The Trigger is good right out of the box. I have not adjusted it yet. It is pretty much single stage right now.
    I ran some numbers yesterday on the pressure vs pumps and the velocity vs pressure for high and low power. They are shown below. The velocities are using JSB 15.89 gr dome pellets.

    I comes with two ten shot magazines and a single shot tray! The side lever bolt/pellet probe works great. The safety is manual and out of the way of the trigger also good.

    It is a large gun. It is more ergonomic than I thought it would be. It has more function than form but is easy to get used to.

    Don


    • Don,

      I am glad all is working out well. 1/2″ at 25 yards is winner! Those side levers are super sweet ehh? 😉 Those will will spoil you from bolt action for life!

      Chris


    • Don
      Good info about the gun.

      And weird about the scope. I wear prescription glasses and have not had the happen at all. Interested in seeing what you come up with on the scope.


      • GF1,

        The problem with the scope was the nut behind the eyepiece. I knew if the scope was adjusted for me without glasses, near sighted, then I needed to unscrew the eyepiece for glasses. I unscrewed it till I thought it would fall off and still could not get a focus. So I decided to unscrew it all the way off to see how many threads were left. After a bunch more turns it was still attached and had come into focus. So I unscrewed it some more to be sure there were threads left. It never did unscrew all the way so I was able to screw it back to focus and tighten the locknut. It is now clear and in focus with my glasses on.

        Don



      • RR,

        As B.B. said the Aspen is more of a multi-pump. As you know I like multi-pumps so I am biased. If you want a PCP I would go with a Maximus or Gauntlet and a hand pump or one of the new compressors. A compressor is on my list. Not sure which one to go with.

        If it is reliable the Aspen is a great hunter and survival gun. You get more than enough backup shots if needed.
        Don



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