by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Crosman 38T.

Part 1

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Expected velocity
  • The test
  • RWS Hobby
  • Norma Golden Trophy dome
  • RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • JSB Exact RS dome
  • Discharge sound
  • Next
  • Double action
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Today we look at the velocity of the Crosman 38T target revolver from the 1960s through the ’80s. This one is a .177 model and is probably the third variation, but there is still a 38T in .22 caliber yet to come. There are a lot of things in store for us in this series, so grab your coffee and let’s get started.

Expected velocity

In Part One I said I expected the velocity with lightweight lead pellets to be in the 375-390 f.p.s. range. I determined that from several reports online. 

The test

Since the circular magazine holds six rounds, six was the number used to calculate velocity. Most strings were fired single-action, but I did shoot a couple double-action strings at the end of today’s test.

RWS Hobby

The RWS Hobby pellet that weighs 7 grains is the lightest lead pellet I know of. There are several in the RWS pellet line that weigh the same, like the Meisterkugeln Pistol and the Basic. All of them are wadcutters like the Hobby.

Six Hobbys averaged 431 f.p.s., which is pretty brisk for an oldie like this 38T. The low was 425 and the high was 439, so the spread was 14 f.p.s. This performance was unexpected and a pleasant surprise! At the average velocity this pellet develops 2.89 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Norma Golden Trophy dome

Next up was the Norma Golden Trophy dome — an 8.4-grain pellet that many say is equivalent to the RWS Superdome. Six of them averaged 398 f.p.s. The low was 386 and the high was 405 f.p.s., so the spread was 19 f.p.s. At the average velocity the Golden Trophy develops 2.96 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

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RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle

The next pellet to be tried was the 8.2-grain RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle wadcutter. Six of them averaged 401 f.p.s., with a 21 f.p.s. spread from 394 to 415 f.p.s. At the average velocity the Meisterkugeln Rifle develops 2.93 foot-pounds.

JSB Exact RS dome

The next pellet I tested was the 7.33-grain JSB Exact RS dome. Six of them averaged 422 f.p.s. with a 24 f.p.s. spread that ran from 412 to 436 f.p.s. At the average velocity the RS develops 2.9 foot-pounds of energy.

Discharge sound

The pistol registered 100.4 decibels on the sound meter. So it’s close to a 4 on the Pyramyd Air sound scale and not very suburban backyard friendly.

38T sound


Now that I had a good idea of the power of the pistol, the next step was to determine the shot count. From my reading I expected it to be in the neighborhood of 50 shots per CO2 cartridge, but, given the additional power, who could say?

For this test I selected the RWS Basic pellet that weighs the same 7 grains as the Hobby. I did this because I’m running short of Hobbys and I wanted to save some for the accuracy test.

Double action

The first string of six that I fired single action averaged 413 f.p.s. with an 11 f.p.s. spread The next string that ended with shot 50 (the first shot was a blank to ensure the cartridge was pierced) averaged 416 f.p.s. with a 18 f.p.s. spread. That string I fired double action. So the difference between single-and double-action is almost nonexistent.

The third string I also fired double-action. It ended with shot 56 and averaged 405 f.p.s. I could hear that the discharge sound was diminishing with each shot. I could call that the end and say this cartridge gave me 56 good shots. But I continued and fired 12 more times. Let me show you what they were.


I stopped there just to avoid jamming a pellet in the barrel. Clearing the 38T of a jammed pellet would be more involved than many airguns because of the revolving cylinder.

Trigger pull

The single action trigger breaks at 4 lbs. 14 oz. There is some creep in the second stage pull.


This Crosman 38T revolver is performing sweetly so far. It has great power and gets a lot of shots on a cartridge.

Next up is the accuracy test. I can’t wait!