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CO2 Crosman 38T Target revolver: Part 2

Crosman 38T Target revolver: Part 2

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.

Stock Up on Shooting Gear

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!

58 thoughts on “Crosman 38T Target revolver: Part 2”

  1. Happy Friday everyone!

    This is a vintage co2 gun, I had to crawl out from under my rock for this one…

    Just kidding, work has been crazy lately, not enough staff or hours in the day.

    We all know that co2 guns can shoot consistently.

    I think the mechanical loading mechanism possibly aids in that.
    It seats all of the pellets to the same depth, and with the same amount of force.
    Hopefully that will also help the accuracy portion of the test.

    I would not have guessed the pistol would be turning 400fps.
    I wonder what velocity and shot count to expect from the .22?
    In some guns, .22 is more efficient in shot count over .177.


  2. I concur on the TGIF. This has seemed like a long week!

    BB, that is good velocity performance, sounds like on a hot day in the summer the pellets would really be zippin’ along. By the way, it’s been cool to see you find two examples recently in which the Marksman BBs perform well.

    Above the “Expected Velocity” subheading, “grab your coffee and let’s get **stated**”

  3. BB,

    I tried something that seems to help with preventing pellets from flipping backwards in the Daisy 35. You can try it if you want and see if it makes loading easier.

    After pumping, slide the bolt forward just far enough that part of the shiny magnetic tip is actually inserted into the start of the barrel bore, yet part of the magnetic tip is still visible. This blocks the pellet from initially being able to enter either the barrel bore or the trough of the loading port.

    Place the pellet on the ramp and slide it or roll it until the side of the pellet is against the bolt/probe. Pull the bolt back to allow the pellet to roll the last little bit into the trough of the loading port, then push the bolt forward to chamber the pellet.

    The reason for having part of the magnetic tip visible at first is so that the bolt can be pulled back decisively yet smoothly when allowing the pellet to fall/roll into the trough.

    This method still requires developing some finesse, but it makes it a easier to maintain control of pellet attitude by preventing the pellet from picking up a lot of speed sliding/rolling on the ramp before entering the trough. Also if the pellet happens to flip while it’s initially on the ramp, the pellet’s blocked from entering the trough and you can just tip the gun to let the pellet fall back off the ramp and try again.

  4. There’s a copy of the Crosman instructions here, with advice for clearing an obstruction in the bore


    Either push it back into the cylinder with a cleaning rod, and then from the cylinder via the loading port, or remove the barrel shroud and barrel. I would imagine, though, that isn’t something to to do regularly if the relevant screws are just going into alloy?

    Interesting comment about setting the barrel-cylinder gap on re-assembly.


  5. I can see why this was a popular CO2 pistol when it was in it’s heyday. It is kind of interesting that this also coincides with the heydays of law enforcement carrying such revolvers. Today it is the semis, even though most of the pellet shooting replicas are still really revolvers. It will be kind of nice when they figure out how to pull that off in the pistols.

    I noticed you were having a comma problem in this sentence.

    … From my reading I expected it to be in the neighborhood of 50 shots per CO2 cartridge, but,(no) given the additional,(no) power(,) who could say?

  6. B.B.,

    This kind of pistol is rarely seen in these shores and were usually shot with an adaptor that was made by some enterprising gunsmith machinist that made an ersatz CO2 cartridge out of brass with a bulk fill port at the side. It had reduced gas capacity and only allowed 2 cylinders full to be shot before needing to be recharged with CO2 from a 10 oz cylinder.


    PS Section RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle Last sentence: “At he (the) average velocity the Meisterkugeln Rifle develops 2.93 foot-pounds.

  7. As were you B.B., was pleasantly surprised by the power and performance of my recently-refurbished .22 38T; sharing the “field notes” on the first shooting session since receiving it from the repair shop, mostly for the amusement of the readership. It is a very unscientific report from a very rusty and OCD-type lover-of-things-that-propel-projectiles old kid.

    Tried finding the weight of the .22 “ashcan” pellets, but could not, though I did come across your two blog entries on vintage/ancient pellets. Later, fired 10 shots from 40’ to the target using Crosman hollowpoint 14.3 gr pellets and the groups were better than at 25’ with vintage Crosman pells. Any shooting deficiencies are strictly FM’s to own.

    • This column made me recall when I had a 38T (in .22, mid 70’s). I suppose that I should have never sold it. But I broke the rear sight (plastic), couldn’t glue it or replace it so I sold to a guy that I worked with that said he’d take it, as is.
      As I recall, it was fun to shoot and ‘reasonably’ accurate (tin can wise), before the rear sight went away.
      The pellets that I used to shoot were the Crosman ‘ash cans’ and also AmPell pellets.
      I found these ‘on the back shelf’ (see picture) and weighed a few. The weights (in grains) were:
      I can only guess that quality control was somewhat short of what it is now.
      Enjoy your newly refurbished launcher.


      • Bill,

        WOW! +/- 2 grains!,……… I guess we have come a ways with regards to consistency

        The can is interesting. Reminds me of a 2 cycle oil, oil can,………. I think.


      • Thanks! It was enjoyed many years ago, and it is nice to do so again. It seems to like the Crosman 14.3 hollowpoint pellets. Fortunately, mine has the metal sights; when sending it off for rebuilding it was emphasized the sights needed to be well-protected because parts were not available. I will be experimenting with other pellets, such as wadcutters. There is a lot of good information and guidance on this blog about that from B.B. and all other contributors.

        • RR,

          I have kinda poked around the internet, and haven’t seen any new ashcan style for sale (but I wasn’t looking too hard).
          When I said that those were found ‘on the back shelf’, they really were. I bought these for use with the 38T that I had in 1977, so they are over 40 years old! (The price tag on the side says $1.50.)
          Even if they were available, I don’t know that I would get any new ones unless the QC was way, way better.


          • Bill,

            The truth is, I have found some that are close. JSB has the Ultra Shock, the Beast and the Monster. H&N has their Sniper lineup. Skenko has a couple that are also reminiscent of the “ashcan” style.

            I have not tried the JSB, but I have tried the Skenko Ultra Mag in .177. Although apparently well made, it probably does not shoot any better than your “ashcans”.

            The H&N Sniper series is another matter. In some of my air rifles they shoot very well, almost always in the top three.

            I myself am hoping for more .357 pellets. Now that FX has gotten into this caliber game, we may start to see more pellets in this caliber. There are “slugs” available and I intend to try some, but I am going to go slow there. With the JSB 81gn pellet I can shoot one inch, five shot groups with my HM1000X at one hundred yards. If I start shooting “slugs” I will have to start adjusting the regulator up for the extra horsepower I will need. I would not mind having more umph with the pellets, but I do not want to lose the accuracy they produce.

  8. The reason Sig discontinued the ASP20: that short run of rifles are all now collectors items, with price tags to match.
    And, they can’t compete on price with a good Chinese copy. Replica’s, on the other hand, are the “dark side” . They tend to fall short as airguns, because they only aspire to mimick a firearm. I bet a Dirty Harry version in .44mag would sell. C’mon..you feel lucky punk? I know what you’re thinking, did he fire six rounds or only 5. Clint was the man. I’d have the .22 version.

  9. Hello! Gamo cf-s custom reporting in.
    Fitted the Tasco 4×32 scope ( old gold) and started plugging away at 50m. Sat in my beach chair ( very comfortable, too comfortable actually…) shot some not so amazing groups. Then switched to sitting, and tried out various holds and discovered…. that I need a “Hamster”. Darn ! More building. So my stance in sitting, is left elbow on left knee ( Right hander here ) , tried elbow wrap, fist sit etc. Mostly not having a hamster OR a built up forestock made all of this impracticable. So…. I tried out a saw horse to rest the barrel on while shooting sitting.
    And this is where it gets interesting. My groups were normally low. ( did adjust elev on scope till on paper then left it. ) but after shooting a group with the rest….. all high. HUH? What the …. well the rifle is “bucking” and sending them all high. Wow. I went back to shooting sitting with my arm wrapped and … all low. The things we learn.
    Also this: bagged a rabbit. Will casserole it. The bounty of nature, wide open spaces etc we are blessed. Q: Is too many browned onions a bad thing ? AND… also I have had to move to using a scope. I have a very old TASCO 4×32 ( Oh I mentioned this already… hmmm. ) which I bought used for very very little. $10 nzd ? It’s still clumping along! The wind/elev still work and it does not rattle if shook. Glass is clear. But this introduces issues with the rifle being shorted in the stock end. So I have to put it all back… oh dear. This is easy though and means some new bits to make. and I will finally have to get round to making everything adjustable. The cheek piece being quite important! Have a nice day! Robert.

    PS. Really diving into modifying your rifle ( or anything !!! ) to what you think you want is a really cool way to learn a lot. You may end up with an ugly duckling that does nothing well, but I am pretty certain you will have learned things and you can always try again. Experiment on cheap stuff first then move up grades cautiously. I have been blessed with a work bench a vice and a drill press. You can actually do with less. But these are the basics. Tools come next. and tenacity. Do not give up. Pace yourself. If you make a mistake, recover. Yes you may have to back track and come at it from a different angle. Do so. and.. accidents: take a breather, make a cup of tea and learn why it happened, use this to avoid doing it again. Yesterday I stabbed my thumb nail with a file. I was in a “hurry”. The most simple thing to avoid. Just slow down. It hurt! I had to shoot with a throbbing thumb! Learn. Educate yourself. Experiment and do it your way. Join the experimenters. also listen to the old hands and the other experimenters! We owe all our science and technology to this kind of spirit! : – )

    • Robert,

      Yes,… (any) difference in hold (hand pressure, what it is rested on, pull pressure to shoulder, etc.) with a springer,… can send them flying high,… or low. You are getting to know it,.. and that is a good thing! 🙂 Fit to (you) is critical. That is why those SUPER high end air rifles have all of those adjustments.

      Keep pressing on! 😉 Thanks for the update.


      • Chris,
        Yes my “fit” was for off hand… now I have to work in three other stances… shucks… more time in the garage! oh no… I like the idea of super high end! I guess I am building a super high end springer… but not a double acting one… that would be too cool. 🙂 Robert.

      • GF1,
        I live for modding! Stock is … well it’s stock! I took the badge off my Nissan Sentra and stuck a Kelvinator ( a NZ brand .) deep freeze badge on. It is understated and looks very cool. inmo. and why not? I don;t do bull bars and gun racks and fat tires. But who else on the planet has a Nissan Kelvinator ??? he he he Mods! Robert.

        PS Casserole is on the slow cook as I type. Will be a late lunch. Need to get the right bread. or rice or mashed potato. and steamed cauliflower with cheese sauce? Brown gravy and cheese sauce. Is that too much? I have lost all perspective and hungry. Robert.

      • GF1,
        I live for modding! Stock is … well it’s stock! I took the badge off my Nissan Sentra and stuck a Kelvinator ( a NZ brand .) deep freeze badge on. It is understated and looks very cool. inmo. and why not? I don;t do bull bars and gun racks and fat tires. But who else on the planet has a Nissan Kelvinator ??? he he he Mods! Robert.

        PS Casserole is on the slow cook as I type. Will be a late lunch. Need to get the right bread. or rice or mashed potato. and steamed cauliflower with cheese sauce? Brown gravy and cheese sauce. Is that too much? I have lost all perspective and hungry.

          • GF1,
            Oh dear…. I made a couple of mistakes… I set the casserole on too high and had to talk to someone… I saved it just! ( dry and tough ) So to recover I stripped all the meat off the bones and then simmered it for a little bit. It was really brown, sweet and rabbity. Ate the lot though on rice. Next one I will keep a stern eye in things and not let my attention wander! I do not tune my nose up at food, even if it is a wee bit over cooked. Will try and find a slow cooker. ( a light bulb in a big pot covered in insulation … ) Robert.

              • Yes they are; here is another tasty (?) dish made possible by successful air-gunnery. I would taste it if did not know what the “mystery meat” was, before chomping on it. Be glad you don’t have these critters in NZ or in colder latitudes. There is already enough weird stuff walking, crawling, flying or swimming around in the Sunshine State.


                    • Chris
                      My dad was like that.

                      How about sardines, snails, snapping turtle snake, grub worms, chocolate covered bugs or open fire cooked mice. You got to crunch the mice up first with a rock after you cook em though.

                      Sorry but all that stuff ain’t for me.

                  • GF1,

                    I draw the line at bugs, slugs, worms and spiders. Sardines and any canned seafood is fine. They have skinless and boneless sardines now. Snails I would try as that is common high end fare. I would have to question eating a rat as I am not sure of any safety concerns,.. even cooked well done. I hear they can get quite large.


                    • Chris
                      I didn’t say rats. I said mice.

                      Search it. Mice (not rats) are survival food.

                      Although I guess in a survival situation alot of things could become survival food.

    • Hello. Me again.
      Had to make some field modifications as I completely forgot about eye relief etc when I put the scope on at the field range. Had a mini hacks saw and found some thing wood from a building site. Packed up the stock and built up the cheek rest, used sticking plasters to hold the packers down. This was marginal. All lose and not quite enough… So I need way more adjustment in the butt plate and the cheek piece needs up/down. Once I get this sorted I can switch from peep sight to scope no problems. Which is something I want to do. Oh and this PEARL: I was wondering why I had this weird fuzzy ring in the scope sight picture… it was the foresight… I had forgotten to take it off. oops… Robert.

      • RobertA,

        Well you do know that to achieve a multi position capable stock you have to remember to mark what your position on the stock is supposed to be? That means making your stock adjust to the shooting position you are going to take. Eye relief when prone is going to be different when shooting offhand. Which translates to more experimentation and woodwork! You have a destination but it’s a journey that makes it fun.


        • Siraniko,
          Yes well aware, but how? I think I really only need two settings. Off hand and prone. I think sitting an kneeling can use the prone position. Do not hold me to that as I am just ruminating. so that’s two settings: 1) But plate up and back. 2) Butt plate fwd and down. Off hand has the most radical setting 1 . It looks so much different than your garden variety stock. I think I can wing eye relief. Cheek rest is the same, I think. and how do I do all this ? I am not sure. Some kind of design will have to rise up out of the er, foliage…. Thinking about it as I type. Robert.

    • RobertA,

      I have been enjoying your project, please keep sharing. It is fun to work with simple tools. I rebuilt the shaft on the water pump of our 1948 Massy Ferguson tractor in 1969 using a bench grinder. I had to replace the waterpump in 2018 so goodwork can be done with simple tools if you take your time and think things through.


      • Ben,
        We make do! and sometimes we make better. I cannot remember all the patch up jobs I have had to do over the decades. At the moment I am stripping out the dashboard of a car to get the rats nest out of the heat exchanger box for the air con. The small pile of plastic that came out…. and I am still not done! Water pumps are funny, no one knows they are doing their job till they don’t. Best water pump rescue I had was in a car, the pump it was just on the verge of seizing, I had to wiggle the shaft out very slowly, clean it carefully and then reload it with grease. It was like brand new. A garage would have thrown it away. Careful maintenance and careful use equals longevity. And in some cases those things will never fail. Keep the revs down, warm it up, drive carefully. I plan on keeping my 1995 car for a few more decades yet. It’s got actual window winders! and I just figured out a adjustable cheek piece. and I can make several of them. That game with the wooden blocks… Jenga? really cheap source of regular rectangle squared sided nicely finished blocks of wood! I have a bag of them. : – ) Robert.

  10. I have 2 in 177 and 2 in 22. Two-need resealing, who do you recommend? Fun shooters. As stated accurate and pretty powerful. The next incarnation of da revolvets

  11. BB,
    I have a question and it’s probably a blog in answering… the loud noise that a say this 38t is making, you say it is a 4 on the loud scale, how does it make such a loud noise? The round is not supersonic so it’s not breaking the sound barrier. or is it?
    If we look at the factors here we have the round, the gun and the escaping gas… and I am wondering if the barrel length to pressure etc is a thing worth looking at too. To get a fast projectile out of a short barrel…. etc. Actually this might be more of a can of worms than a simple Question! ( I like the rough and fast idea of say 9mm pistol vs a 9mm carbine using the exact same ammo, different outcomes but same power source. )

    I was tinkering with the idea of a crosman 2240 but then heard about how loud it is. I bet the 38t is in the same ball park in loudness. and then there is the derating it debate, to reduce the noise. and the idea of all that propellant escaping… seems wasteful. What to do? Thank you! Robert.

    • Robert,

      The loud sound is pressurized CO2 gas expanding rapidly when it exits the muzzle.

      I have covered the barrel length to velocity in the past for both CO2 and for air. CO2 gets to max velocity in around 18 inches of barrel. Air can use a much longer barrel — perhaps 30 to 36 inches.


  12. B.B.,

    I had asked you a few days ago if you knew of anyone who had ever made a device/method to Dry Fire a Spring-Piston powerplant. I was reading an old Blog of yours: /blog/2011/10/pellet-velocity-versus-accuracy-test-part-1/
    And I found this: “Next, I’ll install an air transfer port limiter and test the rifle with the same four pellets shooting through the exact same rifle at a lower power level.” This was on your Whiscombe JW 75 i have searched for the Transfer Port Limiter to no avail!

    Do you have a picture of it? Is it only usable for the Whiscombe? It certainly sounds like a potential way to “Invent” a Dry Fire capability for Spring-Piston powerplants.

    Of course right after i wrote the above I found this series you wrote: /blog/2008/11/the-air-transfer-port-part-3/ I will be reading those with great interest tomorrow.
    I suspected buying a Spring-Piston was going to do this to my life! Here I was content with at least knowing most of the basics of the Dark Side and now I will need to do the same for these verflixte SPROINGERS!

    Grumble, grumble… insoweit erhaltenen!


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