Crosman 38T Target revolver: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

38T
Crosman 38T.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Grips & tips
Part 4
Resealing the Crosman 38T revolver: Part 5

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • No description
  • The test
  • RWS Hobby
  • The grip
  • Velocity drops
  • JSB Exact RS
  • RWS Meisterkugeln
  • Discharge sound
  • Double action
  • Summary

Today we are going to look at the velocity of the .22-caliber Crosman 38T that reader 45Bravo resealed. This report should be interesting because we saw the reseal and now we get to see what it did. 45Bravo did test it after he finished, of course, but he held off telling you so I could write this test. 

No description

I’m not describing the revolver because it is identical to the .177 version that we saw in Part 1. And we saw a lot more of it when it was apart for the resealing. Let’s get right to the test.

The test

I shot 6 shots for the record. That’s because 6 is the number the revolver accepts when you load it. Also, this one may not get a lot of shots per CO2 cartridge. The first three tests will be fired single-action.

RWS Hobby

The first pellet I tested was the RWS Hobby wadcutter. They are the lightest lead pellet I have and I wanted to know just how fast this revolver would shoot. But when I saw 389 f.p.s. on the first shot I was amazed! But the next shot was 343 and the one after that was 329 f.p.s. When shot 4 was also 329 I knew the pistol had settled down after receiving a fresh CO2 cartridge. The first couple shots on a fresh cartridge are usually much faster, because liquid CO2 gets into the valve where it flashes to gas and boosts the velocity. After that the gun settles down and starts to become consistent. So I dropped the first two shots and recorded the next ones. However there was a problem.

The Hobby pellets had tremendous difficulty loading. They wanted to turn sideways in the loading trough after they dropped in. So to get all six shots for the velocity I had to fire 12 shots.

The average velocity, once the gun had settled down, was 328 f.p.s. The range was from 320 to 335 f.p.s., so a spread of 15 f.p.s. At the average velocity the Hobby generates 2.84 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

The grip

I noticed that the left grip that was repaired  kept partially separating from the pistol. It wasn’t much and a squeeze would click it back in place. But it kept happening, so I had to keep an eye on it.

Velocity drops

As the gun is fired the velocity drops in the same way we have seen with some other CO2 guns. I found it best to wait 15 seconds between shots for the velocity test.

JSB Exact RS

Next to be tested were JSB Exact domes. They weigh 13.43 grains so they should be slower than Hobbys, which they were. Six averaged 311 f.p.s. That made the muzzle energy 2.89 foot-pounds. The low was 305 and the high was 322 f.p.s.

These pellets loaded perfectly, though the first one had to be smacked into the chamber a second time. But they loaded perfectly and will be a pleasure to shoot.

RWS Meisterkugeln

The RWS Meisterkugeln wadcutter was the last pellet I tested. At 14.2 grains you know it’s going to shoot a little slower. But not that much. The average for six shots was 306 f.p.s. and the spread ranged from 299 to 314 f.p.s.

This wadcutter also loaded perfectly. And they all went into the chambers of the cylinder like they were made for it.

Discharge sound

In Part 2 I tested the discharge of the .177 revolver and got 100.4 dB. This time the discharge sounded quieter, so I tested it. It was 96 dB, so I guess that’s enough to tell the difference. Remember, the last time I tested the discharge was about a month ago.

38T discharge

Double action

At this point in the test the gun  had been fired 25 times. Now I loaded 6 Hobbys and tested them in the double action mode, waiting 30 seconds between shots. They were just as difficult to load as before, so that wasn’t imagined. Three shots were lost in this test. Six shots averaged 291 f.p.s., with a low of 273 and a high of 313 f.p.s. So the pressure was definitely falling off. That’s a shot count of 34 shots on a cartridge. I need to know that for the accuracy test that’s yet to come.

Summary

Well, the .22 revolver is performing well after the reseal. But I think it goes through gas much faster than the .177. I’d like to hear from readers about their experiences with these revolvers.

Accuracy testing is next, and from what I have heard the 38T in .22 is quite accurate. We shall see!


The EM GE Zenit air pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Zenit
The German Zenit air pistol from before World War II is a fascinating collector’s item.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • A little afraid
  • Sight-in
  • Adjust front sight
  • Falcons at 10 meters
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the EM GE Zenit air pistol. This is normally a 10 meter test, but today there were differences. Let’s go!

A little afraid

This test gave me some concerns. This Zenit is approaching 90 years of age and it has a cocking process that leaves the pivoting barrel in a position that I consider hinky at best. Could it even hit the paper? I was so concerned that I started cautiously, and I’m so glad that I did.

Sight-in

I started with Air Arms Falcon pellets. And I used a 6 o’clock hold on the bull.

I fired one shot from about 18 feet and it landed high on the target. It looked pretty good at this point so I backed up to 10 meters and started shooting. Neither of the next two shots hit the target paper. This wasn’t working!

So I moved the bench up to 5 meters and tried again. The first shot hit above the bull and the second shot hit next to it. These holes were lower than the one from 18 feet, but in the same general area. The front sight needed to go up to bring the shots down. Talk about hinky! Would that sight adjustment even work? Do you remember where it was set when I got the pistol?

Zenit front sight left
The front sight blade swings up to adjust the elevation. This is how the front sight was set when I purchased the airgun.

Adjust front sight

I loosened the jam screw that holds the front sight blade fast and levered the sight blade up to the second index mark on the blade. Shooting from 5 meters the next pellet hit the top of the bull. Nine more shots went into a group that measures 0.743-inches between centers at 5 meters.

Zenit 5 meters
This is the Zenit at 5 meters with Falcon pellets. The highest hole (arrow) was shot from 18 feet. The two shots under that one (arrows) were shot from 5 meters, rested, with the original sight setting. Then I adjusted the front blade up a little and shot ten more times. That group with one stray measures 0.743-inches between centers.

I held the pistol in two hands that were resting on the sandbag. My off hand was under the butt, which might have caused the muzzle to jump up when the pistol fired.

While shooting at 5 meters I noticed that the muzzle of the pistol flips up with every shot. As slow as this pistol shoots that’s got to have an impact on where the pellet lands. But from the group size I could tell that the pistol wants to shoot. So I dragged the bench back to 10 meters and adjusted the front sight a lot higher.

Zenit front sight
You can compare this front sight setting to the one that was on the pistol when I got it. This sight is cranked up 4 index marks.

Falcons at 10 meters

I shot the first round at 10 meters and the pellet hit the 8-ring at 4 o’clock. That’s well within the bull. I shot the next shot and saw that it landed close to the first one, so I then settled down and fired 8 more times. At ten meters 10 Falcon pellets went into 1.096-inches, with all pellets inside the 8-ring or higher. This little oldster can shoot!

Zenit Falcons 10 meters
The Zenit put 10 Air Arms Falcon pellets in 1.096-inches at 10 meters.

Okay, this little pistol can really shoot. I do have to mention that the flight time of the pellet is quite long. It seems like the pellet couldn’t possibly go where you want it, but when you look you see that it did.

RWS R10 Match Pistol

Next I tried the RWS R10 Match Pistol pellet. I guessed they would be really good, but that was wrong. They hit low on the target and ten made a somewhat vertical group that measures 1.689-inches between centers. It’s not that bad, but the Falcons are much better. Notice that the group remains centered on the bull — left and right.

Zenit R10 Match Pistol 10 meters
The Zenit put 10 RWS R10 Match Pistol pellets into a 1.689-inch group at 10 meters.

JSB Exact RS

The last pellet I tried was the JSB Exact RS dome. The Zenit put 10 of them into a vertical group that measures 1.901-inches between centers. Even though it was large, this group climbed back into the bull like the Falcons.

Zenit JSB RS 10 meters
Ten JSB Exact RS pellets went into 1.901-inches at 10 meters.

Discussion

I never would have thought this old pistol would shoot so well. It was just a matter of adjusting the sights and then letting her do her thing. She is no powerhouse, but she is very well made and she shoots like you want her to.

Summary

It has been a pleasure testing this old air pistol. I hope our readers who own a variation of one of these Zenits will chime in and tell us how theirs compares.


Resealing the Crosman 38T target revolver: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

38T
Crosman 38T.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Grips & tips
Part 4

History of airguns

Today we have another guest blog by reader Ian McKee who we call 45Bravo. He shows us how to reseal a Crosman 38T revolver. The revolver he reseals is the same .22 that I am about to test for you and also the same gun whose grips he fixed for us, so I linked to all the previous Crosman 38T links, because this is a large series.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me at [email protected].

Take it away, 45Bravo.

Resealing the Crosman 38T target revolver

Resealing the Crosman 38TThis report covers:

This report covers:

  • Start
  • Disassembly
  • The seal kit
  • The piercing assembly
  • The tube assembly
  • The valve group
  • Assembly
  • Hammer and trigger assembly
  • The valve group
  • The barrel and shroud

The 38T is a vintage all-metal (except the grips, rear sight, and the rotating pellet cylinder) CO2 replica revolver that closely mirrors the lines and grip of a 1980’s Smith & Wesson revolver. 

In the firearm world, most revolvers are considered a simple design, and they do have relatively few parts.  But when you make a airgun replica of a firearm, you have to work within the envelope (profile and dimensions) of the original. 

That means you have to get creative with your engineering and layout as to where you can place your necessary components such as the CO2 cartridge, the valve, and the way to feed the intended projectiles. Typically, on a piece-by-piece count, an airgun will have more internal parts than its firearm twin. Today we look at such an animal.  

I apologize in advance that it is a long blog, but there are a lot of steps to cover.

Start

Start by removing the grips, the right grip is held in place by 2 screws, the shorter one of the 2 goes in the top of the grip, the longer screw goes in the bottom. The left grip is held in place by a spring clip that attaches to the CO2 cartridge, so the grip will not stay in place unless a CO2 cartridge is in the gun.  Remove the left grip, and then unscrew the CO2 cartridge piercing screw, and remove the cartridge.

TIP:  I would suggest leaving a cartridge in the gun, but not pressed into the CO2 face seal. Just tight enough to hold the grip in place.  You sometimes see these pistols listed for sale without the left grip as it has become lost over the years. 

These grips are thin, and tend to break and crack around the alignment pins and also where the CO2 clip is attached. The gun I’m resealing had those issues, and the repair has been covered in the GRIPS & TIPS BLOG.

Phase 2 parts

Disassembly

Included with this blog, are a few different exploded views of the pistol, please use them to guide you in removing the parts, which I will list as we go. 

The above parts diagram is for a Phase II gun, which is what I am working on, so the part numbers will match. There are a few differences in this gun from a Phase I gun, but the differences are minor. I will include a Phase 1 parts diagram at the end of the blog for those that have the earlier gun. I believe the Phase 3 guns will have the same parts as the Phase 2 guns.

Start by loosening the rear sight elevation screw 2 turns to relieve tension.

Remove the outer barrel shroud by removing the single screw that is under the barrel in the end of ejector shroud (140-013), then with a slight wiggle, slide the outer shroud off of the barrel. 

There are 5 screws on the left side of the gun, that hold the cover in place. They are all the same length, and it does not matter which hole they go into when the gun is assembled. 

Slowly lift the left side cover, there is only 1 spring that will want to pop out (38A083), and it is the spring that pushes the sliding loading gate into its forward position.  The spring is relatively weak, and not under much tension.  

38T cover off
Here are your thousand words. 

Remove the sliding pellet loader (38A042) and spring (38A083) from its tray. 

Using tweezers, remove the sear spring (38-039) and spring guide (38-089) that is behind the sear (38-040) near the rear of the trigger. 

Next, remove the detent ball (38-064) and spring (600-079) that are in the front of the gun, right below the base pin that the pellet cylinder rotates on. 

Remove the hammer spring (38-B038). It is a long flat spring that goes from the bottom of the grip to the hammer. Use needle-nosed pliers to remove this spring by lifting the bottom straight up out of its resting place. It is not under much tension. 

Depending on which phase your pistol is, there MAY be a small ball detent that is under the rear sight elevation screw, be careful not to lose it if yours has one. You may remove the rear sight and spring now, but it is not necessary for the reseal, or you may cover it with masking tape to hold it in place while working on the gun — your choice. 

You will see a large flat lever assembly (38A054) that goes from the trigger to the front of the gun. On the right side is a small roller (38-125) that is in a raceway, remove this roller. 

Congratulations! You have now removed all of the springy bits that are likely to take flight easily.  

Place your hand over the exposed components, turn the revolver over and remove the valve body screw (150-013) from the false “cylinder” on the right side of the gun.

Turn the gun back over, unscrew the base pin (38-127) on which the cylinder rotates. 

Now remove the pellet cylinder (38-107), the entire valve assembly (38-073), and lever assembly (32A054) all at the same time and set them aside. 

The lever assembly (38A054) is factory assembled with special jigs to assure proper timing and should not be disassembled. 

Remove the trigger (38B034), the trigger spring (38-126), and the transfer bar (38A102). 

Remove the hammer (38-106) and hammer pawl (38-021) that pivots inside the hammer, carefully remove the pawl spring (38-039 and guide (38-081).  

Now for the reason we are here. This airgun leaks and we need to stop that foolishness. 

38T valve breakdown

The diagram shows the valve is broken down in 3 sub-assemblies, 55 (the piercing assembly), 56 (the tube assembly), and 60 (the valve assembly).

TIP: The factory service manual says not to separate the 3 assemblies unless absolutely necessary, but since you will be replacing a seal on each end of the tube, you have to separate them.  It is also better to take them apart so you do not inadvertently bend the tube. 

(I tried it their way first, and DID accidentally bend the tube, and had to correct that problem when putting it back together).

Using 2 small adjustable wrenches, unscrew the copper connector tube and piercing assembly from the valve body, being careful not to bend or break the tube assembly.

A small metal washer (part 51 in the diagram) may come out with the tube assembly, but that is ok, just make sure it goes back in first. 

Then using the same 2 small wrenches, unscrew the piercing assembly from the tube assembly. Do not disassemble the tube assembly itself unless it is absolutely necessary, as it is flared on each end. 

The seal kit

The seal kit Tom ordered for this pistol came with all the parts necessary to reseal the pistol including a small bottle of lubricant I will call Pellgunoil.  It is a very complete kit, and the seals are very good quality compared to others that are sold online. 

38T seal kit
I have labeled the parts to match the part numbers shown in the diagram.

The piercing assembly

38T piercing assembly
The piercing assembly.

Using a wide blade screwdriver, or a spanner wrench, unscrew the guide collar (24), end seal (25), piercing pin (27), and piercing screen (28) from the piercing block. 

Clean the assembly with alcohol and a Q-tip. Using the new parts from the reseal kit, lubricate them with the Pellgunoil, or your choice of lube, and reassemble in reverse order and set aside. 

The tube assembly

38T tube assembly
Tube assembly.

Remove the old small seal (part 65) and lube the new seal and carefully put it over the flared end of the copper tube. 

Remove the old larger seal, (part 17) and lube the new one and carefully put it onto the other end of the tube. Set it aside. 

The valve group

Using a spanner wrench, or needle nosed pliers, or a wide blade screwdriver modified for this purpose, remove valve seat (91), being careful to keep finger or thumb pressure on as it is under spring tension. 

Remove the valve components gently using a dental pick to remove the inner parts.

Pay special attention to the parts orientation as they come out. 

Clean the assembly with alcohol, let it dry, and then lube the parts as you reassemble. 

38T main valve order 1
Main valve order 1.

Lay the cylinder (part 9) large end down on a rag or towel, lube the parts with the Pellgunoil as you assemble them. 

The o-ring (part 88) goes in first, valve washer (part 13) goes in with the small lip down toward the o-ring, and the flat side up toward the valve spring.

The valve spring (78A) is tapered, and the large end goes in first. 

Start stacking the components in order, 22, 78A, 18, 92, install the oring (part 58) on part 91. 

38T main valve order 2
Main valve order 2.

Being careful not to cross-thread the top valve seat (91), tighten until contact is made with the valve washer. Then tighten 1/8 – 1/4 turn more. This will squeeze the o-ring a little to make it seal against the valve body. 

Assembly

Now we are ready to put it all back together.

Hammer and trigger assembly

Wherever there is metal-to-metal contact, lube lightly with moly lube or your choice of lubricant. 

TIP: The key word is LIGHTLY, since the speed the hammer falls does have a direct effect on the velocity, and excess lube could slow the hammer fall. 

Install the hammer pawl (38-021) into the hammer (38-106), and the guide pin (38-081) and spring (38-039), and the small bushing (38-125), and place the hammer on the hammer pivot pin.

Insert the flat hammer spring (38B038) into the lower part of the frame, and into the hammer.

Install the transfer bar (38A102), trigger spring (38-126) and trigger (38B034) onto the trigger pivot pin. The transfer bar goes into the smaller of the 2 holes in the trigger.

The trigger spring goes over the trigger pin, the short leg sits on top of the trigger, the long leg rest on the lower part of the frame as shown in the photo. 

38T trigger and hammer assembly
Trigger and hammer assembled.

The valve group

Carefully screw the tube bushing into the piercing block, taking care not to damage the new seal. But do not tighten it yet.

Insert the metal washer 51 into the valve, and screw the other end of the tube assembly into the valve taking care not to damage that new seal. Again, do not tighten this end yet either. 

38T 38-073
The valve group — assembly 38-073.

As one complete unit, install the cylinder (38-107) (the plastic part that holds the pellets), the valve group (38-073) (the valve, tube and piercing block, and the lever assembly (38A054) (the long silver bar with the spring loaded hook on one end.)

NOTE: the piercing block fits into a matching recess on the right side of the frame, the gas tube should be in the position farthest from the hammer. 

Carefully holding everything in position with the palm of your hand, install the valve body screw (150-013) that holds the valve to the right side of the frame. 

Install the cylinder base pin (38-127).

Check that the gas tube is not rubbing on the hammer, and then tighten both ends of the gas tube. Check the clearance again. 

Install the ball detent (38-064) and spring (600-079) into the front of the cylinder, and the sear (38-040) on its pivot pin below the hammer, then install the sear spring (38-090) and plunger (38-089).

As it sits, the springy things should not want to fly out. 

Double check the bushing on the hammer/lever assembly is in place, the cylinder ball detent and spring are in place, and the sear spring/plunger are in place as indicated by the arrows in the photo below. 

38T springs in place
The springs have been installed (arrows).

Place the pellet loader (part# 38-42) in the loading tray of the main valve body with the rounded or tapered end toward the pellet cylinder. 

We will install the loader spring after the side cover is installed. 

Install the side cover with the 5 screws, they are all the same, so it does not matter where they go. 

Double check the trigger and hammer function in both single action and double action to ensure there is no binding.  

At this stage of assembly, if it is binding, the tube is probably rubbing on the hammer, or you forgot to tighten the valve body screw on the right side of the gun (part# 150-013).

The barrel and shroud

If you took the barrel off, look for the mark the set screw left on the barrel, and install it with that mark aligned with the set screw, insert a 0.004 feeler gauge or shim between the barrel and cylinder, and tighten the set screw (part#38-050).

Install the spring (38A083) for the pellet loader in the grove with the end that is tightly coiled toward the back of the gun, and using tweezers or a similar tool, put the front of the spring under the rear of the loader. 

Install the outer barrel with screw (140-013).

Install the right grip panel with the 2 screws.

Hopefully, you have no leftover parts. 

Now you can function test the gun again, checking that everything moves freely. Install a fresh CO2 cartridge, and check for leaks. 

Here is the Phase 1 parts diagram I promised.

Phase 1 parts

ONE FINAL TIP: The manual suggests using a coin to tighten the piercing screw, because a screwdriver could provide too much leverage and may possibly damage the gun.

If you are into revolvers you should have one of these very neat replicas in your collection. 

Thank you,

Stay safe.

Ian


The EM GE Zenit air pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Zenit
The German Zenit air pistol from before World War II is a fascinating collector’s item.

Part 1

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • What should I do?
  • RWS Hobby
  • Leakage at the breech
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Trigger pull
  • The grip
  • Cocking effort
  • Summary

I wanted to run 45Bravo’s guest blog about resealing the Crosman 38T today, but it’s long and has a lot of pictures, and today is busy for me, so instead I will test the EM GE Zenit that we started looking at on Monday.

What should I do?

Only one person responded to this request that I listed as a questioin at the end of the last report. Reader 1stblue said I should oil the piston seal. That’s what I was looking for. Now, how is it done? What I did is stand the piston on it’s grip with the muzzle pointed straight up and drop 5 drops of Crosman Pellgunoil down the muzzle. Then I let the pistol stand that way for a day. That gives the oil time to run down the bore and through the air transfer port to get onto and soak into the leather piston seal.

It did work, though I will have more to say about it in a bit. So now let’s look at the velocity. I shot two shots just to get the oil out of the barrel. Then I shot the following with Air Arms Falcon pellets.

Shot………Vel.
1…………..262
2…………..276
3…………..291
4…………..281
5…………..284
6…………..293
7…………..294
8…………..285
9…………..297
10…………299
11…………296
12…………297
13…………299
14…………293
15…………291

I show you this string because it shows that the pistol is still settling down after being oiled. Where to start counting for the record is arbitrary, but I decided to let the first five shots go and start counting at shot 6. If I do that, the average velocity for shots 6 through 15 is 294 f.p.s. I always round off to the closest whole number.

Taking my string, the low is 285 and the high is 299 f.p.s. — a spread of 14 f.p.s for 10 shots. And an average energy of 1.41 foot-pounds.

So, 294 f.p.s for Falcons. That’s a little faster than I expected from the Zenit. Let’s try a different pellet.

RWS Hobby

The next pellet I’ll try is the RWS Hobby wadcutter. I know that the Hobby, though lighter, is also larger at the skirt. And the Zenit isn’t very powerful, so I expected a velocity decrease.

Ten Hobby pellets averaged 237 f.p.s., which was a bit slower than I envisioned. The low was 224 and the high was 259, so the spread was 35 f.p.s. At the average velocity the Hobby produced 0.87 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Leakage at the breech

Some of you wondered how well this pistol seals at the breech. You didn’t see an over-center cocking link on the pistol and frankly there isn’t one. Because of the oiling, the pistol was dieseling and I saw smoke come out of the breech contact point under the top strap on every shot.

The breech seal is in fine shape. This is a design flaw, not a seal issue. Yes, I could spend the time to make a new leather breech seal that would seal better for a while, but before too long we would be right back where we started from. This seal relies on a butt joint fit and nothing else. It’s always going to leak a little.

Zenit breech detail
The leather breech seal sits flush with the air transfer port in a butt joint. The cocking link holds it down, against the air transfer port. 

JSB Exact RS

The last pellet I tested was the 7.33-grain JSB Exact RS dome. Ten averaged 287 f.p.s. with a 27 f.p.s. spread from 273 to 300 f.p.s. At the average velocity the RS pellet developed 1.34 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Trigger pull

The first stage takes 3 lbs. 2 oz. Stage two breaks at 5 lbs. 7.5 oz. Both stages feel two pounds lighter because of the trigger placement.

The grip

The pistol grip looks nice and rounded, but the heel of my shooting hand hits the bottom of the grip on the right side and it doesn’t feel as nice as it looks. It’s odd because a P08 Luger looks so similar and yet it feels so much better!

Cocking effort

A couple readers thought the top strap might be hard to lift up in the beginning, but it isn’t. Instead of an over-center cocking linkage geometry, all that holds the top strap down are two dimples in the metal on either side of the cocking lever, back by the breech.

Zenit breech detail
The breech is held closed by two dimples in the cocking lever — one on either side of the pistol. They fit into two depressions on an extension of the frame. They may push the barrel back ever-so-slightly but it’s hard to tell. It’s a simple arrangement and it works, but the breech will always leak a little.

The Zenit cocks with just 10 pounds of effort. And, since you use your thumb to press against the cocking lever while your hand pulls the lever up and forward, it feels like even less. This air pistol cocks easily.

Summary

Well, that’s it for today. The EM GE Zenit is a pleasant little air pistol. It’s easy to cock and has a nice trigger pull. I just hope that it’s also accurate.


Saving money at any expense

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Crosman Premiers
  • A dollar cheaper
  • Cut a slot in your head!
  • Back to airguns
  • Which one?
  • How to choose
  • Same for airguns
  • We’ve been invaded!
  • Whatcha do
  • Summary

Ahhh! Saving money. Many of the airgunners I know will go to extremes to do it, and it often costs them a lot.

Crosman Premiers

I remember back in the middle ’90s, when the Crosman Premier pellet was the talk of the airgun world. Everybody wanted Premiers because they flew so straight in so many airguns. I remember talking to the Crosman engineer who designed the Premier. He attended an airgun show in Baldwinsville, New York, and no, it wasn’t Ed Schultz. He told me he designed the Premier line to be aerodynamic and when the design was finalized, all the pellets in the line were very aerodynamic. So Premiers flew straight and true and everybody wanted them.

A dollar cheaper

But because they were airgunners, everybody wanted the cheapest Premiers they could buy. So when Rick Willnecker offered Premiers in his store at a dollar a box less than what they sold for online, the hunt was on! One guy on my Airgun Letter yellow forum bragged about driving from southern Virginia to Rick’s place in Pennsylvania, where he saved five dollars! He drove over 200 miles round trip to do it and spent the better part of a day on the road. Some savings!

Cut a slot in your head!

When I worked as a contractor, teaching members of the Department of Defense how their acquisition system worked, the talk was always about saving money. And yet the actions that were taken were often just the opposite. The systems my clients bought were huge telecommunications systems that were unique, as in one of a kind. They used minicomputers, which in those days were VAX 11-780s — tall cabinets the size of two large school lockers, and the systems might have dozens of them! We were also pushing the state of the art, when it came to the response times of these systems.

Guys, when you build a unique system you want it to work well, come in on time and be cheap. Pick two of those three things, because it is impossible to get all three! I got so frustrated with this “buying on the cheap” mindset that I told my clients if they wanted to save money they should cut a slot in their head and become a piggy bank.

Back to airguns

How does this relate to airguns? Simple! You want a pellet rifle that’s pleasant to shoot, accurate and has a good trigger. Looks aren’t as important, but you don’t mind if the gun you get looks traditional. You want a .177 because you are getting this airgun just to plink and to have some fun. Your choices are a Beauregard Woods Raider QT XDR with a lightning gas ram, an HW 30S and a Shining Mountain single shot. These three are all breakbarrels that shoot at under 700 f.p.s.

The Woods Raider QT XDR retails for $249. The HW 30S retails for $299 — $339, when it’s in stock, but it seems to be sold out everywhere. The Shining Mountain sells for $169-199.

Which one?

You are not new to airguns. You know that the Shining Mountain breakbarrel is from China. It could be good, but it’s being sold by small fly-by-night dealers on eBay and Amazon, and you also know that the accuracy will be a crap shoot. Some of the dealers will be honest and easy to deal with if you get a rifle that’s lousy, but you just went through a nasty return experience with a no-name dealer and you aren’t up for another one so soon.

The Beauregard Woods Raider QT XDR with lightning gas ram is being sold by a major distributor and Pyramyd Air has them in stock. However, you know that this rifle is also probably Chinese, so you will be taking the same chance with accuracy as you would with the Shining Mountain. The good news is there are two reputable companies between you and this purchase. Both of them have good reputations for customer satisfaction. But still, there is all that doubt about the DNA of the airgun. And it has a gas piston that, I don’t care who made it, always makes the rifle a little harder to cock.

And then there is the HW 30S. Without question this one is the most expensive of your three choices and what’s worse, it isn’t available right now. You just got your income tax refund and you want an airgun!

The HW 30S will be smooth and accurate. You know that it will have the best trigger of all three choices and also that Weihrauch air rifles are made to be serviced by their owners. So, if you ever want to modify it or to lubricate it, this is the only one of the three that makes it easy for you.

How to choose

Allow me to reflect on how a 73 year old diabetic looks at something like this. It’s lunchtime and I want a hot fudge sundae for dessert. I have the ice cream, the whipped cream and the hot fudge on hand to make it. I know that if I eat one right now my blood sugar will be off the chart for the next two days. And also, because I am lactose intolerant, there could be problems during my daily walk that comes up in about three hours.

Having gone down this trail many times in the past I have learned that abstinence always hurts up front, but it also almost always pays off in the long run. I say almost always, because sometimes I just gotta have that sundae!

Same for airguns

It’s the same for airguns. Right now you can’t find an HW 30S for sale in the United States.  But there are still plenty of Beauregard Woods Raider QT XDRs with lightning gas rams and Shining Mountain breakbarrels for sale. Why?

We’ve been invaded!

The socio-political events of recent times have driven all the packrat airgunners in the United States to fill their nests with shiny trinkets to the point that there is no room for them anymore. Also, a hundreds-of-times larger herd of packrats has crossed over from the world of firearms. They can’t find enough 9mm, .40 cal. and .223 Remington ammo to fuel their weekly habit of punching paper, and they heard that airguns are the next best thing. They are used to paying thousands of dollars for an all-up AR-15 and when they saw that the HW 30S was only $339, they figured that was chump change.

These guys listened to all of you before they made any purchases and you warned them about the Shining Mountain breakbarrels and the Beauregard Woods Raider QT XDR with lightning gas ram. They were able to run over the barbed wire entanglement that you guys fell on in your years of becoming airgunners, by stepping on your backs. And now there is no toilet paper in the airgun world. Whaddaya do?

Whatcha do

You can buy what’s out there right now, and in a few days the brown Santa (or the dark blue Tooth Fairy) will deliver a happy package to your doorstep. Or, you can grit your teeth and commit to spending even more money by ordering an HW 30S from whomever will take your order. And then you wait. Yeah — I hate waiting too, but what’s even worse than waiting is opening that happy package and discovering that you now have to justify an air rifle that’s deficient in multiple ways, when old BB Pelletier told you there is something much better. Darn it, BB, why didn’t you stick to straight razors?

Summary

There are a lot of ways to go, these days, but not all of them will get you where you want to be. This stuff is so easy for me to write because over the years I have made all these mistakes — many times!


Crosman 38T Target revolver: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

38T
Crosman 38T.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Grips & tips

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Crosman ashcans
  • How did they do?
  • The test
  • RWS Superdome
  • Crosman ashcan pellets
  • RWS Superpoint
  • Discussion and summary

Today will be the last report on this .177-caliber Crosman 38T target revolver. Reader Billj commented to Part 2 that ashcan pellets were the most accurate in his 38T, but after some discussion he mentioned that they weren’t Crosman ashcan pellets. They were Ampell pellets.

Crosman ashcans

Ampells I can’t remark on, but Crosman ashcans I have. For the record, they aren’t called ashcans. Crosman called them Superpells. We call them ashcans because they look more like that than they do a conventional diabolo.

38T Ashcans
Crosman “ashcan” pellets are uniquely shaped. But are they accurate?

The first thing I did was weigh 10 of them for you. Here is what I saw.

Pellet….weight
1……………8.4
2……………8.3
3……………8.3
4……………8.4
5……………8.3
6……………8.3
7……………8.4
8……………8.3
9……………8.3
10..…………8.3

That’s pretty consistent. Most modern pellets don’t do any better.

How did they do?

Well, for starters ashcan pellets didn’t load into the rotating cylinder very well. The spring-loaded pellet loading tool wouldn’t push them all the way into the chamber unless I pressed down and pushed on it very firmly. It felt like they were much larger than average diabolos.

38T ashcans loading
Every ashcan pellet went into the rotating cylinder this far and then had to be pushed in the rest of the way by hand. They went in with a click.

Just for fun I measured the heads of a few of the ashcans. They were all larger than 4.56mm, which is as large as my Pelletgage goes. So they are large!

The test

I shot off a sandbag rest at 10 meters today with my hands resting on the bag. I shot 6-shot groups because that’s how many pellets fit into the 38T cylinder.

RWS Superdome

I started the test with RWS Superdome pellets. In Part 3 they grouped the best, with 6 going into 0.97-inches at 10 meters. Today these were the first pellets I tested, with the hope that they would groups similarly. And they did. Today 6 Superdome pellets made a 0.999-inch group between centers at 10 meters.

38T Superdomes
Six RWS Superdomes made a 0.999-inch group at 10 meters. 

That was close enough to the group shot on Day 3 that I feel this 38T really likes this pellet.

Next up were the ashcans.

Crosman ashcan pellets

I already mentioned the ashcan’s sluggish loading. That gave me hope that these Superpells might be wonderful because of how large they are. But alas, they turned in a 6-shot group that measured 1.455-inches between centers at 10 meters. 

38T ashcans
The 38T put six vintage Crosman “ashcan” pellets into this 1.455-inches at 10 meters.

RWS Superpoint

The last pellet I tried today was the RWS Superpoint. The 38T put six of them into 1.587-inches at 10 meters. This is the largest group of today’s test, and it’s also larger that all the groups in Part 3.

Superpoint
Six RWS Superpoints made a 1.455-inch group at 10 meters.

Discussion and summary

Well, that’s it for the .177-caliber Crosman 38T. I always wondered how this air pistol shot and now we all know. The airgun is powerful and accurate. It looks very realistic and functions quite well. For an airgun made no less than 36 years ago, I have to say it gives up nothing to an air pistol made today.

Now, the good news is, we are just half finished with this report. Yesterday’s guest blog by 45Bravo, Grips & Tips, was written about the left grip panel of my .22-caliber 38T that I sent to Ian for a reseal. I told him the left grip panel was wonky and he turned the repair  of that into a guest blog, with a second report on resealing the pistol that’s yet to come.

Then I will test that pistol for you and, because Ian sent me some .22-caliber ashcans, I’ll also test it with them. When this series is over you should have a very good understanding of the Crosman 38T!


Crosman 38T Target revolver: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

38T
Crosman 38T.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Lotsa pellets
  • Jim outshot BB
  • Getting tired
  • The next day
  • What the heck?
  • BillJ — this is for you
  • Summary

Well, I’m hot into it now, and as long as that’s the case I decided to do the accuracy test on the .177-caliber Crosman 38 T Target revolver. Reader Jim M. was down for a visit and to help me pack up all the guns and stuff I’m returning to Pyramyd Air, so when we finished I thought I would let him get in on the test, too.

The test

We both shot from a rested position at 10 meters. The revolver was rested directly on a sandbag and we used a two-hand hold. We shot with a 6 o’clock hold on the bullseye and we shot 6-shot groups, since that’s how many pellets the revolver holds.

Jim and I both shot on the first day. But I also shot again alone on day two.

I backed the bullseyes on the second day of the test with white duct tape to help the pellet holes show more sharply.

Lotsa pellets

I had no idea of which pellet or pellets this air pistol might like, so we went through a lot of them! Actually, Jim and I shot a great many targets until we both seemed to tire — or at least I did. After all, we had been working for several hours packing boxes and accessories and checking them off a spreadsheet.

38T pellets
We shot many pellets on the first day and I added a few more on day 2.

38T targets
And we shot more than a few groups.

Jim outshot BB

At first Jim was not familiar with the heavy trigger pull, which on this 38T is 4 lbs. 14 oz. But he adapted quickly and soon proved to be the better shot. Of the four different pellets we tried this day, H&N Finale Match High Speed proved the most accurate. I put 6 into 1.401-inches at 10 meters and then Jim trounced me with 6 in 0.831-inches at the same 10 meters.

38T BB target
I put six H&N Finale Match High Speed pellets into 1.401-inches at 10 meters.

38T Jim target
And then Jim put 6 into 0.831-inches to skunk me!

Getting tired

We shot so many groups that I had to change the CO2 cartridge. Jim and I had worked a lot before that and I was pooped, so we called it a day after shooting 8 groups. But I was not satisfied that we had tested the pistol thoroughly. So I left the indoor range set up, vowing to resume shooting the next morning when I was rested.

The next day

The next morning I picked up where I left off. The CO2 was still good, as I had replaced it just before shooting the final group on the previous afternoon. I started with three different pellets — The Crosman Premier Light, the Premier Heavy and the RWS R10 Match Heavy pellet. All three gave me open groups that measured over 1.5 inches between centers.

At that point I figured I could either wear myself out again trying different pellets or I could return to the one pellet that both Jim and I shot the best the day before — the now-obsolete H&N Finale Match High Speed. It’s lighter than the current Finale Match Light, but that would be the place to begin to look for something equivalent.

On day one I put 6 of them into 1.401-inches, center-to-center. This day I put another 6 into 0.981-inches and almost in the same place on the target. I had adjusted the rear sight to the right at the end of the day before and hadn’t touched it since.

38T Finale day 2
On day two I was fresher and better able to concentrate. These six Finale Match High Speed pellets went into a group measuring 0.981-inches between centers.

What the heck?

As I was ending the test I decided to try just one last pellet — the RWS Superdome. Lo and behold, six of them went into 0.97-inches at 10 meters. And not only that but without adjusting the rear sight they went to the center of the bull. When I use the right pellets this 38T can shoot!

38T Superdome day 2
This group of 6 RWS Superdomes is my best group of the test. It measures 0.97-inches between centers.

At this point I was inspired to shoot a second group of Superdomes, to prove that the first group wasn’t a fluke. Then common sense prevailed and I said, “Naaaah! Why tempt fate?” I’ll just pretend that I can pick this revolver up anytime and shoot another group just like this one.

BillJ — this is for you

Reader BillJ commented that Crosman ashcan pellets were the best in his 38T “back in the day.” Here is what he said.

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:
16.2
14.3
16.0
14.8
16.0
16.0
14.8
16.0
16.2
15.8
I can only guess that quality control was somewhat short of what it is now.

“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

Well, I have a supply of .177 ashcans, so we are up for one more test. Next time I will test with vintage Crosman ashcans, RWS Superdomes and RWS Superpoints in this 38T. I just wanna know, and a bet a lot of you do, too.

Summary

Though it may be 40+ years old, this one hangs in there with the best of the modern air pistols. I’m looking forward to the next test.