Crosman Vigilante CO2 Revolver: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Vigilante
Crosman Vigilante.


This report covers:

  • Come on, Crosman!
  • The Vigilante
  • Dual ammo
  • Pellets?
  • Breakopen
  • Adjustable sights!
  • Overall impressions
  • Summary

Today we start looking at the Crosman Vigilante CO2 revolver semi-auto. The what???

Come on, Crosman!

Is this a revolver, or a semi-auto? Or, has Crosman resurrected the Webley-Fosbery semiautomatic revolver? A semiautomatic revolver has to somehow advance the cylinder to the next round and also cock the hammer for the next shot without any input from the shooter. The revolver does all the work. The Webley-Fosbery is recoil operated to accomplish these things.

Webley-Fosbery
The Webley-Fosbery is one of the very rare semiautomatic revolvers. Prepare to spend five figures for one, if you can find it!

This Crosman revolver is just that — a revolver. In no way is it semiautomatic. Pyramyd Air wisely avoided the Semi Auto portion on the pistol’s title when they put it online.

Vigilante semiauto card
Yes, Crosman really says the Vigilante is a semiauto!

Come on, Crosman! You make airguns, and that requires a modicum of knowledge of the shooting sports. Sure, you hire young men and women to work for you, but someone in the know has to oversee them.

The Vigilante

Rant over. So, what is the Vigilante? Is it an update of the iconic Crosman 357? I wish I could answer that question with authority, but the Crosman 357 was an air pistol I never tested. I’ve read plenty of raves from owners who love them, but I never got my hands on one. Looking at the design and the specs of the Vigilante, though, I have to think that’s exactly what it is.

The Vigilante differs from the 357 in one exciting way. It has a single Weaver groove on top of the barrel for a dot sight. I’m thinking I have to test it that way and I hope the UTG Micro Reflex dot sight will attach, because it is small enough for the job.

Vigilante sight groove
The Vigilante has a single Weaver groove on the top rail of the barrel. It’s perfect for a small dot sight!

Dual ammo

The Vigilante shoots both BB and pellets in two different circular clips. I uncharacteristically loaded the test pistol (I usually don’t shoot the guns in Part 1) with BBs, because I didn’t want to be embarrassed when someone told me the revolver really is semiautomatic. In doing so I learned that the two clips load differently, depending on the ammo they use.

Vigilante clips
The Vigilante comes with two circular clips. Pellets on the left and BBs on the right. They load differently, so read the manual!

Pellets?

Yes, this revolver does shoot pellets. In fact it is made to shoot them and it even has a rifled barrel! The 357 was the same, so this comes as no surprise to their owners, but over the years I have read their stories about how accurate this revolver is and now I plan to find out!

Vigilante rifling
The Vigilante barrel is rifled in the conventional way. I hope it’s accurate!

Breakopen

The Vigilante breaks open to load clips, in the same way that many revolvers of the past did — going all the way back to the first Smith& Wesson .22 in 1856. The 357 did the same and there were no problems that I know of from this. The placement of the circular clip behind the barrel ensures a short jump into the barrel, which is required for good accuracy. One of my most accurate firearm revolvers is a .455 Webley Mark VI that was made in 1916, and in 104 years its breakopen joint hasn’t suffered in the least!

Vigilante breakopen
The Vigilante breaks open to load and this design has been in use since the dawn of cartridge revolvers.

Adjustable sights!

Yes the sights are adjustable for both windage and elevation. The directions are not marked on the revolver because of space constraints, but they are clearly shown in the manual.

Vigilante rear sight
The rear sight adjusts both ways.

Overall impressions

This is a large air pistol. It fills my hand and then some. It is both single and double action, and I plan to test the velocity both ways. The accuracy I’ll test single-action only, but I will report on the double-action trigger pull.

The Vigilante is synthetic all over and at this price nobody minds. Does that mean it will eventually wear out? All things do and of course it certainly will over many years of use, but this synthetic is quite strong, and as long as you don’t abuse it you should get many, many years of good use.

Summary

This will be an interesting report. I have long wanted to explore this pistol and now I get the chance!

67 thoughts on “Crosman Vigilante CO2 Revolver: Part 1


  1. B.B.,

    For a pistol mainly made with synthetic parts costing under $50 it does not seem to be a heartbreaker if it lasts for two years or more. Maybe the person making the description has been getting confused by our calling the semi automatic pistols being marketed as actually revolvers inside due to to their circular clips.

    Siraniko


    • Siraniko,

      You’re a nice guy. Here you are trying to give the person who designed the packaging a way out.

      The truth is that many of those “semi automatic” pistols ARE revolvers. I have owned one and have shot several. I have an old Daisy 45 replica with a stick magazine that fits along the top that is still technically a double action revolver. The Sig Saur belt fed CO2 pistols and rifles are revolvers also.

      The world of replicas can blur the lines between the various types. Still no excuse.


  2. This should be a fun test. Kate liked hers so much I had to buy her another one asap when I ran over her first one with the bull dozer. The Vigilante is a good plinker and practice pistol. Haven’t tried bbs just pellets.

    It wasn’t too long ago the price was even less, guess the shortages have let the prices climb a little.

    Don



      • Fred,

        Well we were up the hill knocking down some beetle kill white fir and it got late before we realized it. On the way back to the cabin I took a shortcut, never a good idea. We got in a rough area and Kate decided to walk. When she got off she left her bag with the pistol on the dozer. It must have fell on the tracks and was carried right to the front and under. A grouser hit right in front of the cylinder and broke the gun in half. She was following me and found the bag.

        and that is the rest of the story

        Don


  3. B.B.,

    I just realized; what the heck is going on with the inside of that pellet. What did you use to push it through the barrel or is it fired into some soft material?

    Don


  4. B.B.

    Your explanation of the mechanical complexity of the Marauder SAM and for that matter all semis, has got me thinking. This is always a dangerous proposition!
    Anyway, I am now interested in how different designers solve the 2 fold problem of how to load the next pellet AND cock the gun at the same time.
    I hope to learn something here.

    -Y



    • Yogi,

      Most of the time it is accomplished with a portion of the propelling gas being diverted to push the bolt back and cycle the action.

      With the Huben K1 and LCS SK-19 they use a different magic. They have two valves, one operated by the trigger and the other operated by the previous valve’s exhaust. All this not only propels the pellet through the air, but also cycles the bolt and rotates the magazine/chamber, bringing the next pellet in line with the barrel. It is a really nifty neato action and is pretty efficient also.

      Do like BB says and study the different ways it is accomplished in firearms. Some of them are really awesome.


  5. BB,

    Looks like a fun gun and the price is nice too. The Webley-Fosbery is quite fascinating. It looks like the entire upper half of the frame slides backwards in the lower half of the frame/grip. Cool! I would also think that design would make for some very unique firing/recoil/feel characteristics as opposed to a standard revolver.

    The “semi auto” thing is funny. I suppose they were getting single shot VS repeater confused with semi auto.

    Looking forwards to see how this does. I would have to use a dot or laser as well. I like the looks of the gun and the grip. It looks like it would fit the hand very nice. The break open is cool. It is interesting they went with the exposed clip and non rotating drum/cylinder like so many revolvers. Function over form I suppose.

    Chris


    • Chris,

      It is less expensive to turn a little clip versus turning a bigger cylinder, and getting it too lock up straight, and it created a nifty place to put the valve.

      That whole top end does indeed slide back and forth. A pretty neat contraption really. Not very practical though. Maybe somebody at Webley was trying to figure out what to do with all of those revolver parts they had left over from WWI?


      • RR,

        I would think that the felt recoil in hand would be quite different. You have the usual muzzle flip and also a mass of metal moving rewards,.. which at some point has to come to an abrupt halt. It would be a cool replica if they could pull it off.

        Chris


    • Chris
      Were I looking to lose some money, I would bet that whoever ok-ed the semi auto line was a non shooter that thought of double action as a semi. “Pull the trigger and it shoots” kind of thing. I have spoken to not a few shooters that have a problem with understanding what single/double action means,,, until after we talk.
      Ed


      • I would like to claim that the silly “semi-auto” label on the packaging is the equivalent of a typo: The (possibly non-standard) box packaging for the Vigilante I bought in 2016 didn’t say anything like that, and the Vigilante manual says “Mechanism: Single or Double Action / 10-shot Repeater” without a word about “semi-auto”.
        However:
        (1) The current Crosman website labels both the Vigilante and the “Triple Threat” 357 as “semi-auto”:
        CROSMAN VIGILANTE CO2 AIR PISTOL (.177/BB) “CO₂ Powered, Semi-Auto Dual Ammo Air Revolver (Model: CCP8B2)” “The Vigilante is a double action, semi-auto revolver that shoots pellets and BBs”
        CROSMAN TRIPLE THREAT (BB/ .177) “CO₂ Powered, Semi-Auto Dual Ammo Air Revolver, 3\” , 6\” and 8\” Barrel”
        (2) Paul Capello’s very useful 2013 Airgun Reporter Episode #104 shows the 2013 clamshell packaging for the Vigilante. It isn’t identical to the packaging BB shows in his review, but it says in two languages “Semi-Auto CO2 Revolver Revolver Semi-Automatique au CO2”.
        So we have to admit that this is something Crosman has been saying in several places for a long time. As B.B. appropriately says, “Come on, Crosman!” At least their website shows two other SA/DA 357 revolvers without labeling them as semi-auto.
        Merry Xmas,
        Guy Carden, Pullman, Washington


  6. Im certain Sam Spade’s partner in The Maltese Falcon was shot and killed with a Webley Fosbery. Also a victim in an episode of Murder She Wrote. Funny how these things stick in one’s mind due to the airgun connection.
    Merry Christmas to B B and all blog readers.

    Drew


  7. There seems to be some interest in the Webley-Fosbery. What can I say, I like neat contraptions myself. That thing is most definitely Steampunk worthy.

    Just so you know, you can get a semiautomatic revolver if you want. The Mateba 6 Unica. Pretty awesome handgun really. It comes in .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum and .454 Casull.

    They have a double action revolver also. It looks a lot like the Chiappa Rhino.


  8. B.B.

    “Is it an update of the iconic Crosman 357?”

    I believe the Vigilante is an update of the Crosman 357. If you compare pictures of the the 357 with pictures of the Vigilante and Triple Threat and block out the portion of the picture showing the barrels, you will see that all three are identical in appearance from the front of the cylinder to the back of the grip.

    I’ve attached a picture showing my Crosman 357 (bottom) and Crosman Triple Threat with the 4″ barrel (top). The barrels are interchangeable between the 357 and Triple Threat. I don’t have the Vigilante, but I’m confident that the Vigilante barrel is also interchangeable with the 357 and Triple Threat because all three guns have the same base.


    • Cstoehr,

      You beat me by one minute. Your 357 on top appears to be sporting a barrel from the briefly marketed version Crosman did that looked like the S&W Model 27.

      Michael


    • BB and Cstoehr,
      This is one of my favorite airguns; I am looking forward to BB’s review. The material below follows up on your discussion of the history:
      BB – “Is it an update of the iconic Crosman 357?”
      Cstoehr – “I believe the Vigilante is an update of the Crosman 357. …”

      Judging from the Crosman website, a number of models going back to 1983 share the basic 357 / Vigilante mechanism, including one paintball gun (1985-1991). As various reviewers point out, the versions labeled “357” are close replicas of the Colt Python 357 Magnum.

      The Vigilante version with the dual Weaver rails goes back to at least 2007-2008; it won PA “Best Seller” awards 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2019. (I comment on the “semi-auto” label in response to EdLee above.)

      You can look up manuals and part diagrams here:
      https://support.crosman.com/hc/en-us/sections/200658070-Crosman-Air-Pistols
      Most parts appear to be interchangeable between 357 and Vigilante; the very helpful Crosman Customer Service sold me a 357 barrel (357A103 – 6”, rifled), which fits the Vigilante fine.

      Here’s the model list, based on manuals and diagrams and the current Crossman website:

      Variants on the basic Vigilante / 357 mechanism:
      (1) Current 2020 models, “Vigilante” CCP8B2 and “Triple Threat” CR44TTKT:
      (1a) Vigilante Model CCP8B2 (look under “CCP8B2”) — 6’ rifled barrel, DA/SA, pellet and BB, Weaver rails above and below barrel — CCP8B2B515.pdf CCP8B2_EVP.pdf
      Dates? The Crosman website says 2013, and the packaging in Paul Capello’s 2013 Airgun Reporter Episode #104 is labeled “New”, but the oldest PA customer review is dated 2007. A 2008 review mentions mounting a red dot sight, so it has to be the “Vigilante” CCP8B2 model with the weaver rails.

      Current listing for Vigilante – note “Semi-Auto” label; note failure to mention single-action mode. https://www.crosman.com/product/crosman-vigilante-co2-air-pistol-177-bb/ — CROSMAN VIGILANTE CO2 AIR PISTOL (.177/BB) — “CO₂ Powered, Semi-Auto Dual Ammo Air Revolver (Model: CCP8B2)” “The Vigilante is a double action, semi-auto revolver that shoots pellets and BBs” “The dual accessory rails can accomodate picatinny or weaver mounts…”

      (1b) Current listing for Triple Threat”: – note “Semi-Auto” label; note single-action mentioned. CROSMAN TRIPLE THREAT (BB/ .177) – as described by Cstoehr. — https://www.crosman.com/product/crosman-triple-threat-bb-177/ — CO₂ Powered, Semi-Auto Dual Ammo Air Revolver, 3\” , 6\” and 8\” Barrel (Model: CR44TTKT) “Single or double action firing”, “Die cast full metal frame”, no Weaver rails

      earlier version of “Triple Threat”: “Models 357 six and 357 four” (1983-1997) — 357 Owner’s Manual & EVP: 177 cal. repeater w/6 shot clip, 4″, 6″, 8″ barrel, no Weaver rails C357-OM1.pdf

      (2) Earlier pellet or BB versions:
      (2a) 357-6W EVP (2000-Present) = 357 357 BB Phase III Start manufacture March 2000 — 6’ rifled barrel, pellet and BB, no Weaver rails “ Black wrap around grip” ? (The grip looks like the Vigilante in the parts list.) no owners manual C357-EVP___PL3.pdf

      (2b) 1357 (357 series) Owner’s Manual & EVP (1988-1996) — same mechanism, no Weaver rails , 6” barrel, BB only

      (3) Paintball gun — same mechanism, adapted to .50 cal. paintball rounds — Model 3357 Spot Marker (1985-1991) — 3357 (357 series) Owner’s Manual & EVP C3357-OM.pdf Spotmarker, .50 Cal. CO2 paintball revolver

      In addition, Crosman has two current models that are labeled “357” but use a different cylinder mechanism:
      CROSMAN SR357 (BB) — CO₂ Powered, Full Metal Air Revolver (Model: CRVL357S) — BB only; 6-shot swing-out cylinder with reusable cartridges
      CROSMAN SNR357 (BB/ .177) — CO₂ Powered, Dual Ammo Full Metal Snub Nose Air Revolver (Model: SNR357) smooth bore; 6-shot swing-out cylinder with reusable cartridges
      Guy Carden, Pullman, Washington


  9. B.B.,

    The first version of the Crosman 357 had a metal barrel, and one deluxwe kit came with multiple barrels of different lengths, a la Dan Wesson revolvers.

    Crosman switched to plastic barrels eventually, perhaps both to save costs and to address the one design problem of the 357. The weight of the barrel tended to eventually wear down the plastic retaining tab so it wouldn’t function when it came time to close up the revolver. From the photo above showing the Vigilante cracked open, the tab appears to be more pronounced than it was on the old 357.

    Michael



      • BB,

        On several of the 357s that I have dealt with the latch is held in place by a rubber wedge inside the top strap. It acts as the spring and gets work hardened or something and crumbles and breaks into pieces.

        Would you check and report on the lockup of barrel to the frame? On my 357s the barrel sometimes droops and since the sights are on the frame it causes elevation issues when aiming because it isn’t repeatable. I have installed shims to take up some of the gap in the latch.

        Merry Christmas, everyone.

        ps My guns have 6 and 10 shot clips for pellets. Are yours one for pellets and one for bbs?


  10. BB,

    What would be funny is if the big cylinder, instead of just being molded for looks, could actually be advanced by some CO2 gas diverted for the purpose— but the little pellet clip was still turned by a double action trigger.

    Also, looking at the specs, the velocity is peppier than I expected. Just out of curiosity, I wonder how close to 500 fps it could get with a really light alloy pellet?


  11. BB, I saw a youtube with the Chiappa revolver. J.M. says you need to be aware of your hold. The gas escapes
    near the barrel when it fires. He used hot dogs to show what happens with a target load, and what happens with a magnum load. Ouch. I like the clips for ammo instead of the shells. The Gamo revolver I have is metal but I suspect Crosman is the way to go. Maybe the Rhino is worth the money, even for a bb gun?
    R


  12. Ridge Runner
    Falling back. Matelomatics, I think I understand now, it’s not just the wood.
    Anyone who has graduated to the likes of a RAW1000x and appreciates the finest in the airgun world is entitled to a little distain for anything that is pretty much a plinking toy.
    I on the other hand enjoy the diversity offered in the air gunning world. OK, so it’s a plinker … but is it good at being one when I want to plink? Or is it junk?
    I am intrigued by mechanical things and how they work, like early motorcycles and aircraft, and the way people overcame problems in creating them. Ingenuity!

    Take the ASG Cobray M11 pistol for example. Definitely a plastic plinker with a somewhat hard trigger. So I took it apart to find out why. The trigger actually pushes the barrel forward against spring pressure and allows it to capture a BB from the top of the mag when it returns home to slam into the air valve. How simple can you get for dependability.
    Would be nice in metal but marketing made it’s decision.

    Crap the power just went off for another wind storm 🙁

    OK generator on, No power in the house? Forgot to reset the CBs I shut off at the power pole. What? still no power? OK, lets see if I just turn the generator power switch to ‘ON’ things just might work out. Old stinks !
    By the way, according to an Airgun Depot vidieo some people are switching to the chassis so they can preserve the wood stock finish on their RAW.
    Bob M


    • Ahhhh!
      Now, in addition to the power being out because of 60 MPH winds there is a house fire east of me that has started a brush fire and the wind is blowing in my direction. No sleep tonight !
      The wind here at 2700 FT elevation is almost constant to some degree and keeps changing. Kind of nullifies any plans for long distance target shooting. Getting seriouser and seriouser about getting out of San Diego.


      • Bob,

        Hope you have a way out away from the fire. If not time to stop packing and moving out. You can’t rely on evacuation orders. In those winds the fire can jump a long way.

        At least in Northern CA we have had a little rain. Be safe.

        Don


        • Don
          It’s so bad I never unpack my valuables any more. Everything is in my living room packed up and ready to go all the time. Sad way to live. Probably should get a very large steel building.
          Bob M


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