Fire rifle
Crosman Fire breakbarrel air rifle.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • H&N Baracuda Magnum
  • Qiang Yuan Training
  • Trigger pull
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • Cocking effort
  • Summary

Today we look at the velocity of the Crosman Fire breakbarrel air rifle. The specs rate it at 1,200 f.p.s. and that speed is no doubt obtained with lightweight pellets. If it does shoot that fast it’s going to break the sound barrier, which means a lot of noise. I will sample the discharge sound with both subsonic and supersonic pellets to show the difference. Today should therefore prove to be an interesting test.

H&N Baracuda Magnum

I wanted to test the rifle with a heavy pellet to be certain of subsonic velocities, so I picked the H&N Baracuda Magnum that weighs 16.36 grains. In .177 caliber that’s a super heavyweight! But that pellet doesn’t fit the breech of the Fire barrel very well.

Fire breech
This is as far as I could push the H&N Baracuda Magnum into the Fire breech.

I deep-seated the first three pellets with a ballpoint pen, but after that I discovered that it made no difference to the velocity. Ten pellets averaged 580 f.p.s. with a spread of 21 f.p.s. — from 569 to 590 f.p.s. At that average speed this pellet generates 12.22 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Since the pellet was clearly not breaking the sound barrier, I recorded the discharge sound on the third shot. It registered 97.5 dB on the sound meter. That’s in the middle of the loudness range — not silent but also not very loud. I can tell that the silencer on the end of the barrel really works.

Fire discharge 1

Qiang Yuan Training

The second pellet to be tested was the Qiang Yuan Training wadcutter. At 8.2 grains I didn’t expect them to be supersonic either and they weren’t. Ten pellets averaged 953 f.p.s. with a low of 945 and a high of 962 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 17 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generated 16.54 foot-pounds of energy. It points out something I need to say about the Baracuda Magnum pellet.

It wasn’t just the weight that kept the Baracuda Magnums so slow. It had to be the poor fit of the pellet in the barrel, as well. There will always be some difference in muzzle energy between pellets, but when it’s this large — 4.32 foot-pounds, which is more than a 25 percent difference — something else is at work.

Trigger pull

There is one more pellet to test, but I want to discuss the trigger pull at this point. Remember what I said in Part 1 about the second stage of the trigger having length? Second stages of triggers aren’t supposed to have lengths. What this trigger feels like is a single stage trigger that has a slack part to the start of the pull. Because when the pull gets heavy the trigger blade moves through a long arc, just like any other single stage trigger.

Ask reader RidgeRunner what a smooth single-stage trigger feels like. The Webley straight grip Senior pistol I traded him has a long smooth trigger pull that is almost as good as a two-stage. When you get used to it you can almost guess when it’s going to release. It’s not crisp but it sure is smooth!

The Fire trigger pull measures 4 pounds 8 ounces, so it’s not that bad. And there doesn’t seem to be a lot of creep in the trigger blade as it moves through stage two. The manual says I can reduce the amount of stage two travel by turning the one adjustment screw behind the trigger blade clockwise, so let’s now see what that does.

Well I turned the screw in several turns and stage two does seem a little shorter. There’s not much difference, but maybe there’s a little.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

Okay — time for the lightweight pellet test. For this I chose the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellet. Ten of them averaged 1201 f.p.s., so the velocity claim was right on the money. The low was 1195 and the high was 1204 f.p.s., so a spread of 9 f.p.s. across ten shots. At the average velocity this 5.25-grain pellet generated 16.82 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. In spring-piston airguns we expect lighter pellets to generate more muzzle energy. And the Fire is performing classically

The discharge sound spiked up to 106.7 dB, which is a huge increase. The rifle cracked like a .22 rimfire when it was shot.

Fire discharge 2

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Cocking effort

The test rifle cocks with 34 pounds of effort. As long as you don’t rush the cocking stroke it becomes quite easy when the midpoint is passed.

Summary

That’s what we are working with on this Crosman Fire air rifle. For the price it seems well behaved and quiet. The powerplant feels smooth. But the accuracy test that comes next will tell us everything.

Because of the trigger I plan to test the rifle at 10 meters and then again at 25 yards. I want to get used to that trigger before I really test the accuracy.