Crosman Challenger PCP 10-meter target rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Crosman Challenger PCP
Crosman Challenger PCP.

Edge Part 1
Edge Part 2
Edge Part 3
Edge Part 4
Edge Part 5
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 1
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 2
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 3
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 4
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 5
Airforce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 6
Challenger PCP: Part 1

This report covers:

  • Held for 11 years
  • H&N Finale Match High Speed.
  • Gamo Match
  • JSB Match Heavy Weight
  • RWS R10 Match Pistol
  • Shot count
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today I check the velocity of the Chrosman Challenger youth 10-meter target rifle. In 2009, the last time I tested the rifle, I adjusted it to get lots of shots with H&N Finale Match High Speed pellets. They were 7-grain wadcutter pellets that are no longer available. Back then they averaged 545 f.p.s. for 116 shots on a fill. We will see where they are today — 11 years later. read more


Crosman Challenger PCP 10-meter target rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Crosman Challenger PCP
Crosman Challenger PCP.

History of airguns

Edge Part 1
Edge Part 2
Edge Part 3
Edge Part 4
Edge Part 5
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 1
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 2
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 3
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 4
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 5
AirForce Edge 10-meter target rifle: Part 6

This report covers:

  • History — Crosman Challenger 2000
  • CH2000
  • NRA
  • Whaddaya do?
  • Description
  • Trigger
  • Comments???
  • Adjustable power
  • Summary
  • History — Crosman Challenger 2000

I put this report in the historical section because the Crosman Challenger PCP has had a short but interesting history. In the year 2000 Crosman introduced the Challenger 2000. It looked like a target rifle but was not as sophisticated as the rifle we are reviewing in this report. The closest I can come to a description was it was a CO2-powered bolt action rifle with target sights. It came with a composite stock in colors of gray, blue, dark blue, gloss black, red, and silver. Though it had target sights, the trigger was heavy and creepy and the best you could hope for was ten pellets in about 3/4-inch at 10 meters. The velocity was rated at 485 f.p.s. The buttplate and cheekpiece were both adjustable. read more


Crosman MAR 177: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Crosman MAR
The MAR177 from Crosman.

Part 1

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Why muzzleloading pneumatics and gas guns are extremely dangerous
  • AR with a reservoir
  • Premium quality
  • Receiver difference
  • National Match trigger
  • AR firearm
  • Summary

Why muzzleloading pneumatics and gas guns are extremely dangerous

I am answering this discussion topic today because nobody had figured it out when I wrote up today’s report last Friday. Maybe someone did later, but I will answer it here so everyone understands. And just to let you know — I didn’t figure this out, either. Dennis Quackenbush was kind enough to explain it to me.

A pneumatic or gas gun may leak air or CO2 at any time. If it did, and if its forward escape path was blocked by a bullet in the barrel and the rear path was blocked by o-rings, pressure would build up until something let go. The most likely thing would be the bullet. In other words, a muzzleloading airgun can potentially fire at any time — if it is loaded and if there is a leak. Since a leak can occur at any time unannounced, a muzzle loading airgun is very dangerous. read more


Lov 21 CO2 pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Lov 21
The Lov 21 is a CO2 target pistol; made in the Czech Republic. It doesn’t look like much, but people speak well of it in Canada and Europe.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Learned a lot!
  • The CO2 cap
  • Velocity — H&N Finale Match light
  • JSB Exact RS
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • Shot count
  • Trigger
  • Evaluation

Learned a lot!

We learned a lot from new European readers’ comments to Part 1 of this report — especially reader H3P04. I told you the Lov 21 is an air pistol that I am completely unfamiliar with, and from the little I do know so far, it seems like a winner. Today we start finding out.

The first thing we learned is this pistol isn’t even mainstream in its country of origin! They know about it, but it doesn’t stand out, according to the comments made by several Czech readers.

The CO2 cap

I was asked by H3P04 to show the bottom of the CO2 cap, so here it is.

Lov 21 cap
As you can see, there are no threads on the end of the cap, so it is not a bulk-fill cap — just a CO2 cartridge cap. The hole in the knurled side allows a bar to be inserted for more leverage when piercing the cartridge.

How was I able to pierce the CO2 cartridge, when the pin inside the cap is flat? There is a hole on the side of the piercing cap that accepts a small bar. Stick an Allen wrench in the hole and you multiply the force with which you turn the cap to the extent that a flat pin can be driven into a steel CO2 cylinder.

Lov 21 cap wrench
The Allen wrench in the hole gives a lot more leverage for piercing the cartridge.

Velocity — H&N Finale Match light

The first pellet I tested was the H&N Finale Match light with a 4.50mm head. They averaged 436 f.p.s. for 10 shots. The low was 433 and the high was 440 f.p.s., so a 7 f.p.s. spread. That is extremely tight for CO2. It borders on the consistency of a regulated PCP! I waited no longer than 10 seconds between shots, and only that slow because the Lov 21 is a single shot pistol with a lot to do to get the next shot ready. It seems safe to say the Lov 21 is not affected by the cooling of CO2 gas, which is a bigplus in a target pistol.

JSB Exact RS

I knew readers would want to see something more than just target pellets, So I tested the JSB Exact RS dome. It’s an accurate pellet that I would try in this pistol anyway. They averaged 443 f.p.s. with a 12 f.p.s. spread that ran from 435 to 447 f.p.s. That’s still pretty tight. I will shoot them for accuracy, as well.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy read more


Pump-Assist Benjamin 392: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Pumu-assist Benjamin 392
The Benjamin 392 pump assist is an interesting side street in the hobby.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Crosman Premier
  • RWS Superpoint
  • JSB Exact Jumbo
  • Whadja get?

Today we look at the accuracy of the .22-caliber Benjamin 392 with pump-assist. I tested the rifle at 10 meters off a rest using the open sights that come with the gun.

Crosman Premier

We will begin with Crosman Premier pellets, that I expect to be one of the most accurate in this rifle. Shot one landed high on the bull at 11 o’clock, so I left the sights where they were.

Ten Premiers made a group measuring 0.577-inches at 10 meters. It’s not the best I have ever done at that diostance, but for a 392 it’s acceptable.

Pumu-assist Benjamin 392 Premier group
Ten Crosman Premiers went into .0577-inches at 10 meters.

RWS Superpoint

Next up were ten RWS Superpoints. This is a pellet I have not tried in a multi-pump, as far as I can remember, so I didn’t know what would happen. Alas — it wasn’t that good. Ten Superpoints landed in a group that measured 1.174-inches. The group is scattered all over the place. Obviously this is not the right pellet for this air rifle.

Pumu-assist Benjamin 392 Superpoint group
Ten RWS Superpoints made this 1.174-inch group at 10 meters. Not a good pellet for the 392 pump-assist.

JSB Exact Jumbo

The final pellet I tested was a JSB Exact Jumbo. This was the pellet I thought might be the most accurate, though to be so it would have to edge out the Premier. Ten pellets made a 0.748-inch group that is ironically shaped like a frown.

Pumu-assist Benjamin 392 JSB Jumbo group
JSB Exact Jumbos did not best Crosman Premiers. Ten made this 0.748-inch group at 10 meters.

Are there other pellets the 392 likes even more? Probably. But accuracy isn’t why I own this air rifle. I own it for what it is — a multi-pump that almost was, but never caught a break. A multi-pump that’s easy to pump.

Whadja get?

I’d like to hear about your special Christmas gifts today. Not the socks and sweaters — just the good stuff. Or maybe it wasn’t a gift you got but onw you gave. Please share.

Today’s report is short because I wrote it last Thursday, so I could spend time with my sister who came for Christmas. I still owe you the video of the 392 being pumped, so don’t despair!


Pump-Assist Benjamin 392: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Pump-Assist Benjamin 392
The Benjamin 392 pump assist is an interesting side street in the hobby.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Pump-assist pump effort
  • Sheridan Blue Streak pump effort
  • How it feels
  • Velocity test 1
  • Velocity test 2
  • Velocity test 3
  • Velocity test 4
  • Velocity test 5
  • Trigger pull
  • Conclusion

Today we look at velocity and some other things that relate to the pump mechanism of the pump-assist Benjamin 392. We will start with the effort to pump the gun.

Pump-assist pump effort

In the past I have used the chart supplied by the pump-assist manufacturer, Bob Moss, to show the pump effort of the pump-assist Benjamin 392. Today I actually tested it, by pumping the gun on my bathroom scale. I know an analog spring bathroom scale is not an accurate test instrument, but it should give us a basis for comparison, because I will also measure my recently rebuilt Sheridan Blue Streak.

I laid a thick book on the scale and pressed down on the book with the pump handle for each pump stroke. I did discover that if I went too slow the pump effort remained very low, because air was not being pumped into the reservoir. So I pumped each stroke as fast as normal and them shot the gun to verify that it was filled. I have subtracted the weight of the book (2 lbs.) from these numbers.

Pump stroke…………..Effort in lbs.
1………………………………….11
2………………………………….16
3………………………………….13
4………………………………….15
5………………………………….15
6………………………………….15
7………………………………….15
8………………………………….14

After verifying the gun was full, I then pumped it as fast as I could this way. The scale needle never went above 20 lbs., and 2 lbs. of that still has to be subtracted for the weight of the book.

Sheridan Blue Streak pump effort

Next, I tested my recently rebuilt Sheridan Blue Streak the same way. We know from recent velocity testing that this rifle is on spec. for power.

Pump stroke…………..Effort in lbs.
1………………………………….13
2………………………………….27
3………………………………….33
4………………………………….36
5………………………………….40
6………………………………….40
7………………………………….42
8………………………………….42

There you have it. I would say those numbers accurately reflect the difference in effort for the pump-assist rifle and the Blue Streak. Until you try it the first time it is impossible to imagine — particularly if you are a veteran multi-pump shooter. Fred — you now own Mac’s pump-assist (and mine before he got it). What’s your take?

How it feels

I don’t have that video of my pumping the rifle ready for you today, so I will describe how it feels. Initially the pump effort is very easy, but somewhere in the middle of the stroke the effort goes up to the maximum. It stays there for an instant then drops back to almost nothing as the stroke is completed. The peaks are the efforts listed above.

I watched the pump piston head while I was pumping and discovered that the peak effort comes as the pump head is almost home, which is what you would expect. The pump-assist mechanism changes where in the stroke this happens, because as I reported in Part 1, the fulcrum changes as the number of pumps increases. Now, let’s look at the power of the rifle.

Velocity test 1

First I want to establish the velocity of this rifle on a varying number of pump strokes. The 392 manual says to use a minimum of two pump strokes, and not to exceed eight strokes. From experience I have decided that three strokes is a better minimum. Maybe that was the recommended minimum at some time in the past, or maybe I had a bad experience with fewer pump strokes, but three is the fewest number of strokes I will use. Here is the velocity of the gun with Crosman Premier pellets on a varying number of pump strokes.

Pump stroke…………..Velocity f.p.s.
3…………………………..451
4…………………………..494
5…………………………..535
6…………………………..567
7…………………………..585
8…………………………..608

That’s right where I expected it to be. It seems to be functioning like a new gun. At the maximum velocity this rifle generates 11.74 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. I have seen 392s go from 11 to almost 14 foot-pounds with Crosman Premiers, so this one is on the low end of normal. Just for fun I went back to Part 2 of the test I did on this rifle back in November of 2007. At that time 5 strokes got me 509 f.p.s. and 8 strokes got 589 f.p.s. Things are pretty much where they were back then, if not a little better.

Velocity test 2

In this test, I first oiled the pump piston head. I noted that the pump head was oily when I did this, so I doubted there would be any change, but sometimes people wonder if the gun was given a fair chance to do its best. So I oiled it. Here are the results. I’m still shooting Premiers in this test.

Pump stroke…………..Velocity f.p.s.
5…………………………..508/535
8…………………………..594

Notice that my first shot on 5 pumps was slow. That often happens right after you oil a pneumatic. Then the speed increases as the oil gets distributed around the pump head. That’s why I shot a second time.

Velocity test 3

This test was for the stability of the gun with a certain number of pump strokes. I tried it with 5.

Shot…………..Velocity f.p.s.
1…………………..536
2…………………..537 (fastest)
3…………………..531
4…………………..530
5…………………..534
6…………………..529
7…………………..526 (slowest)
8…………………..533
9…………………..527
10……… …………534

The average for 10 shots was 532 f.p.s. The maximum spread was 11 f.p.s. That means the 392 pump-assist is pretty stable.

Velocity test 4

Now it was time to try the rifle with some different pellets. Because this is a pneumatics, it’s going to become more powerful as the weight of the pellet increases. First up was the H&N Baracuda Match with 5.51mm heads.

Pump stroke…………..Velocity f.p.s.
3…………………………..390
5…………………………..464
8…………………………..523

On 8 pumps the rifle develops 12.82 foot-pounds with this pellet. That’s plenty of power for hunting, and of course the 392 is a .22 caliber airgun, after all.

Velocity test 5

In this test I shot the lighter JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy that still weighs 18.1 grains in .22 caliber. Even though it’s lighter than the Baracudas, it’s still considered a heavy pellet. They gave me these velocities.

Pump stroke…………..Velocity f.p.s.
3…………………………..416
5…………………………..492
8…………………………..558

On 8 pumps this pellet delivers 12.52 foot-pounds at the muzzle. It’s another good performer for hunters.

Trigger pull

This is a new 392 so the trigger is not like the one in my Blue Streak. The 2-stage trigger broke at 5 lbs. 9 oz., which is not exactly light.

Conclusion

I tested the pump-assist Benjamin 392 multi pump several different ways and learned that it is still performing like new. And, this was the first time I tested the actual pump effort. My test was simple, but the results are similar to the chart the maker gave me.

The pump-assist Benjamin 392 was a wonderful idea that was never fully realized. If it had migrated to the hand pump, the world of PCPs would have changed, in my opinion. We may never know, but I know I own a remarkable invention that few airgunners will ever get to appreciate.


When I was a kid

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • I started out young
  • My first new BB gun
  • A real BB gun
  • Fanner 50
  • Old blue and white
  • First pellet gun
  • Second pellet gun

I started out young

Little boys in the 1950s wanted to be cowboys or astronauts. We didn’t use the word astronaut then, we called them spacemen, and spacemen were what we wanted to be when we didn’t want to be cowboys. Oh, and lest I forget, we also wanted to be soldiers.

I do remember wanting guns with infinite ammo loaded in them so I never had to stop to reload. Hollywood said that was possible, but reality clashed with that view every time.

Some kids were into dressing up in cowboy clothes and wearing fake leather quick-draw holster rigs with a pair of matching nickel-plated cap pistols. I had the holsters and cap pistols, but what I liked more than anything was shooting at things and actually hitting them. I was an airgunner in training.

My earliest recollection of an airgun was my father’s Benjamin model 107 pistol. He kept it in a green cardboard box and the nickel plate made it shiny silver in color. It had a pump rod that extended from the front and I think I saw him shoot it outside one time. As I recall, he put the pump rod end against a tree and pressed inward on the gun to pump.

My father passed away when I was 9 and I inherited that pistol. Then I tried to shoot it for the first time. It took forever to pump it  and the best I could do at the age of 9 was three pump strokes. I found a couple darts in the box, so I shot those to begin with. The pistol wasn’t very powerful and I bet those darts were traveling under 200 f.p.s. They stuck in a dart board pretty well, but the pistol didn’t give me much satisfaction. I wanted a BB gun!

My next door neighbor had an old Daisy that was probably a 102. I remember it didn’t have a forearm. It shot to the left, but Duane knew how far to aim off and he was pretty accurate with that rusty old gun. I wanted one just like it, but not that many kids owned BB guns in my neighborhood.

My first new BB gun

Then came a watershed day — a day that separated all that had gone before from all that was to come. My mother finally relented and bought me a BB gun! At least that is what it said on the box. It was a Kruger (looked like a Luger) single shot BB gun that you loaded through the muzzle. Then you pulled back a knob on the breech and slid one or more paper caps into a slot. The theory was when the breech slammed shut it would set off the cap(s) and the resulting explosion would send the BB hurtling downrange with accuracy and power. That was the theory.

In practice, the caps exploded about one time in 5. Since you never knew when that would happen, you didn’t concentrate on the trigger-pull or breathing very much. It was more of a guessing game, as in “I wonder if this will be the time?” One time I saw the BB come out and drop into the water in a concrete pond in our yard. It was going slower than if I had thrown it.

No, the Kruger, made by Wamo (also spelled Wham-o) was not a successful BB gun. Maybe that’s why I own several of them today. They are the train-wrecks of the airgun world — the Yugos, if you will! If you are interested, you can read more about the Kruger here.

After the Kruger was behind me I dug out that old Benjamin pistol and shot it some more with pellets. It still wasn’t powerful.

A real BB gun

I was getting older, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I had a paper route by this time and money was available. So, when one of my sister’s boyfriends said he owned a Daisy pump gun (a number 25) for sale I jumped at the chance to own it for $5. A Daisy pump was the Holy Grail of BB guns. Everybody knew they were the most powerful BB guns of all. Why, they could sometimes shoot through one side of a tin can! In those days cans were made from steel plate. I would lord it over Duane like he never imagined.

And lord it I did! For the first few days I had that gun Duane couldn’t say anything without me reminding him who was the fairest in the land. My Daisy pump put Duane’s pitiful old rusty lever action to shame. It was more accurate, more powerful (we got cans and proved it) and in much better condition than his old gun. I was king of the neighborhood!

Then came a horrible day — a day of learning that made me the airgun writer I am today. My pump gun started shooting slowly like the Kruger! Then it got worse than the Kruger. And the payback for all the bragging was swift and sure. In fear and desperation I started disassembling the gun. To do what I don’t know. I got just far enough that I couldn’t put it back together and then sadly announced that my glory days were over. Duane started in on me with ruthless abandon. He shot his BB gun in my yard — a thing kids normally had to ask permission to do — just to let me know he still had a BB gun that worked.

Finally, I cracked under the pressure. I couldn’t take it anymore. I put all the parts of my pump gun into a grocery bag and sold them to another kid for a quarter and a .50 caliber BMG bullet. He took the bag home and a week later he returned to show me the gun was assembled and working perfectly. “My dad put it together for me,” he told me. I didn’t have a dad at the time, so there was no place to get that kind of help.

“My dad says you’re a dope for not knowing that you have to oil these guns to keep the power up.” Duane was quick to validate his statement and little Tommy sucked his head back inside his turtle shell to ride it out. You have to oil a BB gun. Okay, I won’t forget that. And, I still had a very nice .50 BMG bullet!

Fanner 50

I now made a brief excursion into CO2 pellet guns, buying a Crosman Single Action 6 — because it was all I could afford. I wanted to buy the Crosman model 600 or even the Webley Senior, but both were priced out of my reach, so it was the SA-6 or nothing. It was a .22 caliber revolver that used CO2 to propel expensive lead pellets. The CO2 cartridges of the day were capped with bottlecaps and leaked horribly. But I could carry that gun in a real cowboy holster and draw it and fan it rapidly — just like the real cowboys did on TV.

At any rate, I thought I was the bee’s knees. We would say cool today. We actually said cool back in 1958, but I was a dork, and dorks always talked different so the bullies would be able to spot us. Anyway, I was convinced this gun was the one, so I went hunting with a buddy. We went into the woods behind Isley’s ice cream parlor and started our trek. We walked for a long time before we saw anything, but then a rabbit jumped out of the weeds and took off running. After he was gone I drew my revolver and fanned off six quick shots in the general direction he had departed. I might even have hit one of the footprints he had made moments before!

My friend was impressed by this awesome display of raw firepower, but when nothing could be found he started laughing at me. He called me Fanner 50, after a popular cap gun that was advertised on TV in those days, and the SA-6 quietly retired to its box. Hey, the CO2 cartridges leaked — don’t forget.

Old blue and white

I needed another BB gun. This time there would be no mistakes. No vintage guns for me — no, sir! I was buying new this time. I walked to Eddie’s — the local cross between a convenience store and a general store in Stow, Ohio. They always had several Daisys on display. Except when I had cash in my pocket, of course.

What did I find for sale in my price range? An Air Force Rocket Command BB gun that was painted medium blue and had a pure white buttstock and forearm. But it was new and it was a BB gun — two of my most important criteria. Until I got it home.

Then Duane saw it and screamed, “You got a girl’s gun! Ha, ha, ha!” After that Old Blue and White didn’t see daylight very much. It had a hole for oil on the side of the barrel, but I didn’t have to oil it. Because I didn’t shoot it.

First pellet gun

My mother remarried and we moved from Stow to Sharon Center, to a place with three acres. Our house was located on the town circle — as close to the center of town as it was possible to get — and yet we still had acreage out back. I could have a firearm at last! And I did. I had a .22 single shot, a Colt Army Special in .38 Special and a 12 gauge single shot shotgun. I also had no job and no money to buy ammo, so I didn’t shoot for different reasons than before, but the result was the same.

Then I got a pellet rifle as a present — birthday or Christmas, I forget. It was a .177 from Precise Imports Corporation (PIC), and I still remember the name on the tube. It was a Slavia! The model has slipped my memory, but it was either a 618 or the next size up. I shot it a lot and learned that it wasn’t that accurate, plus it buzzed when shot. Boy, could the me of today ever help the kid me of the early 1960s with his first pellet rifle!

That pretty much ended my flirtation with airguns for awhile.

Second pellet gun

In 1975 I was a first lieutenant in the Army, serving in Erlangen, Germany. I had a wife and a young son and absolutely no extra money to spend. However, in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a walled tourist city, I discovered and bought a Diana model 10 target pistol. I also bought 5000 pellets and a steel trap that hung on the wall. This was a 10 meter pistol that sparked my return to airguns after about a 10-year layoff, and this time I stayed with it. The gun was accurate and I also knew how to shoot — thanks to some coaching from a former squadron commander a few years earlier.

The accuracy of that one target pistol erased all the negative feelings of my youth and made me a dedicated airgunner from that point on. Twenty years later I started The Airgun Letter and began to write about airguns.

Your experiences are probably a lot different than mine. How did you come to airguns?