Crosman Vigilante CO2 Revolver: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Vigilante
Crosman Vigilante.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • RWS Hobby single action
  • Circular clip doesn’t advance all the way
  • Hobby double action
  • Air Arms Falcon domes single action
  • Air Arms Falcon domes double action
  • RWS Superdome single action
  • RWS Superdome double action
  • Shot count
  • Discussion
  • BBs
  • Crosman Black Widow BB
  • Air Venturi Dust Devils
  • H&N Smart Shot
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Today we look at the power of the Crosman Vigilante CO2 pellet and BB revolver. I learned a few interesting things about the revolver’s operation during this test. Let’s get started.

RWS Hobby single action

The first pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby wadcutter. I shot the revolver single action for this string by cocking the hammer for each shot. The first string of 10 averaged 408 f.p.s. but the spread went from a low of 399 to a high of 440 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 41 f.p.s. At the average velocity this 7-grain pellet produces 2.59 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Circular clip doesn’t advance all the way

While shooting the pistol I discovered that the cylinder doesn’t advance all the way to where the pellet lines up with the barrel. The amount is small but there on every shot and it doesn’t matter whether I advance the circular clip with the hammer or by pulling the trigger. This will make a difference when it comes to accuracy and it could affect velocity, too, so I made sure to manually index the clip for every shot.

Hobby double action

When fired double action the Vigilante launches Hobbys at an average of 402 f.p.s. At that velocity the Hobby generates 2.51 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The spread ranged from 395 to 411 f.p.s. — a difference of 16 f.p.s. So the spread was tighter but the average velocity was lower. I think that may partly be due to the fact that I was taking a little less time between shots in this mode. I will continue to check this for the two other test pellets.

Air Arms Falcon domes single action

The second pellet I tested was the Air Arms Falcon dome. They averaged 394 f.p.s. in the single action mode. The spread went from 385 to 402 f.p.s., which is a difference of 17 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generated 2.53 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Air Arms Falcon domes double action

When I pulled the trigger to advance the clip and pull the hammer back (double action) the same Falcon pellet averaged 380 f.p.s. The spread went from 367 to 384 f.p.s. — a difference of 17 f.p.s., just like the single action mode. At the average velocity this pellet generates 2.35 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

RWS Superdome single action

The last pellet I tried was the RWS Superdome. When I cocked the hammer for every shot Superdomes averaged 375 f.p.s. The spread went from 362 to 390 f.p.s. — a difference of  28 f.p.s. At the average velocity Superdomes generated 2.59 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle when fired single action.

RWS Superdome double action

I tested the Superdomes double action next. The averaged 360 f.p.s. with a spread from356 to 366 f.p.s. That’s 10 f.p.s. difference. At the average velocity Superdomes generated 2.39 f.p.s.

Shot count

At this point in the test there were 60 shots on the cartridge. I now fired another string of Hobby pellets to see how they did. I will show each shot

Shot..……….Vel.
61…………..428
62…………..416
63…………..407
64…………..391
65…………..379
66…………..366
67…………..359
68…………..352
69…………..360
70…………..330

An hour later after lunch I shot another 10-shot string. That gave the revolver time to warm up again.

Shot..……….Vel.
71…………..337
72…………..325
73…………..314
74…………..296
75…………..282
76…………..265
77…………..247
78…………..232
79…………..217
80…………..208

The Vigilante is definitely off the power curve now. I’m going to say it fell off around shot 63. If you were outside and just shooting it you would hear a difference in the report around shot 78 and know to stop. Given the power the revolver has, this is a lot of good shots on a CO2 cartridge.

Discussion

The Vigilante is clearly a little faster in the single action mode. Since that is how I’ll shoot it for accuracy, that’s how I’ll test it from this point forward. Now let’s look at BBs

BBs

I will test a standard steel BB, a Dust Devil and a Smart Shot. The circular BB clip holds 6 BBs so the test will be strings of 6. Here we go!

Crosman Black Widow BB

First up was Crosman’s new Black Widow BB. Six of them averaged 414 f.p.s. The spread went from 392 to 449 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 57 f.p.s. I noted that the BB clip also didn’t advance all the way and had to be hand-indexed.

Air Venturi Dust Devils

Dust Devils turned out to be too small for the Vigilante’s rotary clip. Two fell out as I was shooting. But I reloaded and did get an average of 427 f.p.s. for 6 shots. The velocity ranged from a low of 410 to a high of 438 f.p.s. That’s a 28 f.p.s. spread.

H&N Smart Shot

The final BB I tested was the H&N Smart Shot lead BB. They averaged 322 f.p.s. and the range went from 322 to a high of 344 f.p.s. That’s a 22 f.p.s. spread.

Trigger pull

In the single action mode (with the hammer cocked) the trigger is single-stage and releases with 5 lbs. 8.5 oz. Because the revolver grip fit my hand so well, it felt like several pounds less.

I said I would report on the double-action trigger pull but it is well beyond the range of my trigger scale. I’ll estimate it between 15 and 18 lbs. If you know firearms it’s approximately equivalent to a double action Colt revolver trigger of the 1930s to the ’50s.

Summary

The Crosman Vigilante is doing well so far, and I’m excited about the accuracy test. I think I will break that into two reports so I can take my time testing both pellets and BBs.

52 thoughts on “Crosman Vigilante CO2 Revolver: Part 2

  1. B.B.,

    So this sample of a revolver is a perfect illustration of the difficulty in cylinder timing? Maybe the lever is just a little short to advance the cylinder properly?

    Siraniko


    • Siraniko,

      I’ve been thinking aboit it. If the hand (the name of the lever that advances the cylinder) were too long it would break parts.

      Also, the kids you shoot this are liable to pull the trigger extra fast, and the inertia will align the clip.

      Thosae are my thoughts.

      BB


  2. B.B.
    You reported a very heavy double-action trigger pull. You may want to measure again at the end of your testing, since my Vigilante showed a major improvement after breaking in:
    new: DA breaks with 10 lb SA breaks with 5 ½ lb
    after 1500 rounds: DA lifts 6, breaks with 6 ½ lb SA lifts 3, breaks with 3 ½ lb
    Pull and reset info: Pull: DA 7/8”, SA 1/8” SA reset 1/8”?
    Paul Capello’s useful Airgun Reporter review reports DA 6 lb 5 oz, SA 3 lb 5 oz, presumably with a new gun. http://www.pyramydair.com/video-details/Crosman_Vigilante_review_AGR_Episode_104/328
    Guy Carden
    Pullman, Washington



      • BB
        Another thought: Is it possible that the failure to index correctly is related to the super-heavy DA trigger pull? Something out of alignment internally?
        I would go crazy if I needed to index manually for every round. Can you send the gun back and get a fully functional specimen for the rest of the test?
        Guy



          • BB: A thought comes to mind here, namely, “Is there a place for a revolving air pistol that doesn’t try and be a firearm wannabe?” I note that there are rotating magazines for an array of PCP rifles and even a pistol or two. I wonder if a purpose-built CO2 revolver utilizing this existing tech might be an interesting development? Or even a CO2 revolver that seeks to be a CO2 pistol revolver without seeking to be an homage to some firearm? Would it make a difference in how the engineering could maximize the airgun potential instead trying to weave an airgun into a firearm design limitation? Could such a piece utilize, from the start, the larger CO2 cartridges once freed from the necessity of hiding them in the handle? Could indexing and sealing a cylinder for pellets be made more efficient than what we now have? Would machined metal be used rather than softer thermoplastics? I suppose the fatal flaw in such a notion would be: would anyone buy such a thing without a firearm mystique?


    • that guy paul does high quality videos has expensive gear but every gun he tests shoots like a German match gun. I have never saw on his tests anything different
      then look at BB. even when he tests a very expensive air gun some groups not that good with all pellets tested being BB does an honest test. paul is like the firearm gun writers who write for the mag rags


      • Mildot
        Not putting BB down in no way at all. And I don’t know the guy your talking about. But really some people can shoot better than others for multiple reasons.

        What a conversation to start the day with.


      • Mildot52,
        I haven’t noticed a bias problem with Paul Capello’s reviews, but I’ll check for the future.

        I do appreciate the good data we are getting from BB, and also, in my opinion, from Dennis Adler’s Airgun Experience blog.

        For the trigger-pull numbers Capello reports, that’s a direct measurement. Hard to get it significantly wrong. And individual guns do differ in trigger pull.
        Cheers,
        Guy



  3. BB,

    Too bad the clip does not advance fully. That kind of compromises the whole test. Maybe others will weigh in on what they are seeing with theirs?

    Is the magazine lined up (after) the shot,… if you do (not) manually advance it? As I recall on my 92FS, the barrel moves forwards and falls back to contact the clip face during the shooting/trigger pulling.

    Chris



  4. On my 357 (older model, same action) the cylinder rotates into battery when the trigger is pulled. It’s by far my most favourite Co2 pistol and is very accurate. Even more so than my S&W 586.


  5. Got my toothpick crossbow yesterday. Opened it this morning.

    Remember I bought the upgraded stainless steel one. I payed $15 for mine. BB bought the lower cost one.

    I was thinking mine would be the same as his but I just payed more for it.

    Mine came with a extra string and 100 bamboo toothpicks and was already assembled.

    Mine is a 3 layered stainless steel stock and held together with Philip head screws. The bow arms are also stainless steel. (And the bow arms are assembled with the curve of the arms facing down).

    BB said his stock was cast steel and painted because the paint was wearing off from the bow string.

    I was glad to see I did pay more and got a better one. Still need to shoot it though. Who knows. And here is a few pictures of it.




        • BB
          Right now it is everything the seller described it to be in the description. So I’m happy about that.

          Shooting it some now. Already found something out. That top arm above the bow string is very important for velocity and accuracy. On mine I can bend it up or down very slightly and it controls the pressure on top of the toothpick to hold it in the groove below the bow string. A nice slip fit of the toothpick gives the best accuracy and velocity. And I load the toothpick all the way back to right before the sear that holds the bow string. Have tried different locations of the toothpick and that works the best for mine so far. Others might need a different technique.

          As usual more testing to do. 🙂



          • Wonder if you used surgery-grade rubber bands for the string if it would help velocity/accuracy and power? Perhaps FM has watched too many Joerg Sprave videos, but just throwing that at you for the fun of it. Of course, bands might not last very long. Seems like an entertaining artifact for Pandemic Times. I believe I’ll order one.


            • Fawlty
              Actually the cable I think would be better if it was shorter a little bit. That would put more bend on the bow arms. I think the rubber bands wouldn’t pull the arms back. Then you would just rely on the strength of the rubber band then.

              But then again you never know till you try. And you should get one. They are fun to mess with. If you do let me know.




      • Chris
        Check out my reply to BB.

        And thanks. It is a cool little (gun). Pretty fun.

        And I made me a target trap out of a cardboard 18 pack box and some copy paper in the middle. Basically by cutting a hole in the big side of the box a little smaller than the copy paper. I cut a hole in the back to hang it on the door knob. So now when I shoot the toothpick it goes through the copy paper and ends up in the bottom of the box.

        So far 4 yards. And actually got a Robin Hood sort of. The toothpick was stuck side by side to the other toothpick. Of course by accident. 🙂


        • I see Sunhilltoys sells a 3-bow 9 lb model – is that what you bought? I’m thinking “if you gonna shoot, shoot large.” That one is listed at $13.99; ironic possession is banned in the manufacturing country, I believe.


  6. B.B.,

    I just checked out Kate’s new Vigilante. When shot double action without pellets or bbs the clip is lined up upon completion of the shot cycle. I can’t tell when it is lined up. I know it moves into alignment after the hammer is released. But I can’t tell when the lineup happens. I think it is before the pellet or bb starts to move. I only say that because I don’t see any evidence of clipping on the barrel.

    In single action the clip stops a little short of alignment. When shot though, it lines right up. Still can’t tell when it lines up. Same as double action though no evidence of clipping on the barrel.

    I guess that was not very helpful. Kate’s Vigilante cylinder definitely stops short when the hammer is cooked. I think that is normal for these guns. Trying it both ways in the accuracy test to see if it makes any difference is all that matters.

    Don



    • I just realized that the metal lever behind the trigger kind of like the safety on some guns does the final alignment of the cylinder. Not sure why it was made this way.

      Don


      • Benji-Don

        I noticed the same thing on my Crosman 357 revolver. Manually cocking the hammer moves the magazine only part of the way to the position it moves to with double action. Pulling the single action trigger all the way through completes the magazine rotation to the final double action position as the shot is fired. These revolvers appear to have two triggers that work together. The metal lever behind the trigger blade is not a safety but is a second trigger. That metal lever is the actual trigger that releases the sear and hammer to fire the shot.

        Do this test: manually cock your Vigilante, insert a very small flat blade screwdriver between the trigger and the metal lever, then pull back on the metal lever with the screwdriver. Watch the magazine as you pull back on the metal lever. The final rotation of the magazine is almost simultaneous with the release of the sear.



  7. I remember when these came out a few years back, everyone on the forums was talking about them, and their mods.

    From what I remember, the conversations were quite active.

    People talked about the potential of the platform.

    Ian


  8. B.B.,

    Just my opinion, but I think that when you test accuracy, manually indexing the cylinder so it lines up properly with the muzzle would make your test invalid. If, as you suspect, all examples of the Vigilante have this “feature,” and if it adversely effects the accuracy, then that is the natural performance of the product. Not manually indexing the cylinder is how 99% of owners will shoot it (unless they return it for a refund).

    Consider, if a car has poor mileage performance, a reviewer could manipulate the mileage of it by abnormally coasting to stops, accelerating from stops abnormally slowly and by drafting behing big trucks on the freeway. Would the mileage results be valid? Even if the review stated that it was tested that way, is that a reasonable expectation of how consumers would drive the car?

    I do think it would be both valid and intereting if you tested accuracy both ways. That would rfeveal if the quirk is a defect (poorer accuracy) or unimportant (about the same accuracy).

    Just a thought.

    Michael


  9. I think we need to consider that this is not truly a single/double action revolver. Regarding the cylinder advancement, single action doesn’t align the cylinder. Pulling the trigger finishes the clip rotation into alignment. I don’t have a Vigilante, but do have an older 357. I remember seeing somewhere that the internal parts are different yet function the same. At the end of the pull, the backside of the trigger contacts the rocker piece and advances the hand assembly, moving the clip into final position. Don’t have a schematic in front of me, so the part names probably aren’t correct, but that’s what happens. There is no need to align the clip by hand. It’s done by the trigger. Automatically….

    Hey, maybe that’s where the writers at Crosman got the idea for Semi-Auto in the description!

    Another tip about the trigger pull- I picked up a couple of the Crosman 357s as refurbs a number of years ago. Triggers seemed stiff. As i do with many firearms, I cycled the action (empty, no gas) 500 times or so. Triggers were much better. I don’t remember what the gauge numbers were, but the improvement was noticeable. I should probably pop them open sometime and apply some lube and test again.

    All in all, these are fun guns. Well worth the money.



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