Daisy 880: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Daisy 880
The Daisy 880 multi-pump is a classic.

This report addresses:

• Mounting the scope.
• Sighting in.
• Accuracy testing.
• Loading problems.
• Summary.

Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the Daisy 880S at 25 yards. As you may recall, Daisy sent this rifle to me to test after I had problems with the velocity of my old Daisy 880, and also with a brand-new one that Pyramyd Air supplied. We tested the velocity of this rifle in Part 4, and it was right where it should be, so we moved on to accuracy 10 meters. That was in Part 5. I showed you the targets Daisy sent, and then targets I shot. I managed to do a little better than Daisy, but on the whole my best targets were comparable to what they sent.

The rifle they sent is an 880S that has a 4X15 scope and rings included. I thought it was identical to the 880, but a sharp reader pointed out the 880S rifle doesn’t have fiberoptic sights. If you want plain sights, this is the model to get. And the first step for today’s test was to mount the scope.

Mounting the scope
I’ve had other scopes that were difficult to mount, but this one ranks right there with the worst of them! The small, thin clamping jaws gave me fits when I tried to attach them to the scope rail. It took me 15 minutes of repeated tries to get the scope to clamp to the rifle, and even then the scope was pointed off to the right. I remounted it and had the same problem. Up to this point the scope, was still clamped tight in the rings, which may have been the problem.

I loosened the scope tube in the rings and found that it really helped with positioning. Finally, after about 25 minutes, I managed to get the scope mounted reasonably straight. Loosening the rings was the key. However, even at its best, the scope was still pointed to the right.

Sight-in
I looked back at the velocity data for this rifle from Part 4 and decided that 6 pumps per shot would be best. That’s a compromise between velocity and the time it takes to pump the rifle. When you shoot 10-shot groups, each group takes 60 pumps to complete. I was going to be shooting pellets that were mostly lighter than those used in the velocity test, so the rifle would probably be shooting just over 600 f.p.s.

Beeman H&N Match
I sighted-in with Beeman H&N Match pellets. No particular reason for this. From the 10-meter test, I knew that only RWS Hobbys were accurate enough (of those pellets that were used in the 10-meter test) for shooting at 25 yards, and they would be included — but I was almost out of them.

As most of you know, I sight in most airguns at close range, then back up to the target distance I want to shoot when I’m on paper. The first shot from 12 feet landed low and about 3 inches to the left. That’s how far to the right the scope was pointed. If it was off that far at 12 feet, it would be several feet off the target at 75 feet (25 yards). I cranked in a lot of right adjustment; and by the third shot, the pellet hit below the bull at 6 o’clock.

Then, I cranked in a bunch of up elevation. The scope that comes with the rifle doesn’t have click detents, so it was several turns of the adjustment screw. I knew I should now be on target, so I backed up to 25 yards before shooting again. Time to shoot the first target.

The first shot hit the target in the bull but very high up. That was okay, though, because in an accuracy test we don’t care about hitting the center of the target — only in how close the pellets group. When the second shot went to the same place, I stopped checking the target with the spotting scope and just finished the first 10-shot group.

The first 10 shots landed in a group that measures 1.958 inches between centers. That’s not what I was hoping for. I tried my hardest to shoot well; I shot off a rest and with a scope. This was the best I could do with this pellet.

Daisy 880 Beeman H&N Match target
Ten Beeman H&N Match pellets went into 1.958 inches between centers at 25 yards.

RWS Hobby
Next up were the RWS Hobbys. These were by far the most accurate pellets at 10 meters, so they earned a spot in this test. Nine of them went into 1.154 inches at 25 yards, but the tenth shot opened the group up to 2.216 inches. It certainly wasn’t a called flier; but given where the other 9 landed, I think Hobbys showed fair accuracy, overall.

Daisy 880 RWS Hobby target
Ten RWS Hobbys made this 2.216-inch group at 25 yards, but 9 of them went into 1.154 inches, which is fairly good.

So far, the groups were only average or worse. Since I was pumping 6 times for each shot, this test wasn’t going to continue much longer, but I felt the rifle deserved at least one more chance. This time it would be with a domed pellet of known quality — the Falcon from Air Arms.

Air Arms Falcons
The Falcon pellet has shown real promise in some airguns I’ve tested. I hoped that it would also shine in the 880. Since it was the only domed pellet I tried, and since 25 yards is about the maximum distance at which accuracy can be expected with wadcutter pellets, I hoped to see a real star.

Ten Falcons went into 1.482 inches at 25 yards. The group is reasonably round with no fliers, which tells me the Falcon is very stable in the 880. The group is actually the best of this test, though not as good as I’d hoped based on what people had said about their 880 rifles. But, I was shooting 10-shot groups, and they really point out the accuracy potential of an airgun in a way that 5-shot groups often can’t.

Daisy 880 Falcon target
The Falcon group was the smallest of the session at 1.482 inches between centers. Of course, the holes are harder to see because this is a domed pellet.

Loading problems
I had two loading accidents with the Falcons that didn’t occur with any other pellets. Two pellets fell back through the BB loading port and disappeared. They didn’t tie up the gun, but it was disconcerting. Daisy warns about this possibility in the manual, and it happened to me twice in a row. If it happened just once, I’d say, “Shame on me.” But two times in a row is the rifle’s fault.

Daisy 880 hole in breech
The BB feed hole at the back of the 880’s breech is so large that it swallowed 2 Falcon pellets.

Summary
No one can say this rifle didn’t get a fair test! It turns out to be an okay plinker that’s easy to pump and reasonably accurate at close range. I would not choose the scoped model, nor would I mount a scope on any 880 unless my eyes demanded it. A dot sight might be best for those who can’t use the open sights.

The loading of pellets is a real problem area. It isn’t easy under any circumstances, and it’s all too easy to lose a pellet in the action because of the large BB feeding hole. Perhaps the 880 is a better BB gun than a pellet rifle for this shortcoming.

Given all the problems I had, I would have to put the 880 lower on the list of inexpensive multi-pumps than some other brands and models. I think it’s a fine gun for those who appreciate it for what it is, but it’s not a diamond in the rough. Taken for what it is, the 880 will satisfy a purpose and will be a good plinker and informal target rifle.


Daisy 880: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Daisy 880
The Daisy 880 multi-pump is a classic.

This report addresses:

• Examining test targets sent from Daisy with this rifle.
• Accuracy with 3 different pellets.
• Accuracy with BBs.

Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the brand-new Daisy 880 that Daisy sent for this test. Before we begin, I’ll show the test targets Daisy sent with the rifle. Then, I’ll shoot the rifle at 10 meters with 3 different pellets. Finally, I’ll move up to 5 meters and shoot steel BBs.

Daisy targets
When Daisy sent me the rifle, they included the results of their testing. So, I have 2 targets for the rifle. They did not indicate which target was shot with BBs; but since they used a 10-meter target for the one test and a 5-meter target for the other, I’ll assume the first was shot with pellets and the second with BBs.

The target they shot with BBs was enlarged before they copied it, so it looks larger than its actual size. The black bull is supposed to measure 18.415mm across, but the target they sent measures 25.07mm from side to side. So, it’s approximately 137 percent the size it should be. I’m telling you that because I can’t put a dime next to that target and make any sense out of it.

They also shot just 5 shots per target, where I normally shoot 10. So, my groups should be 40 percent larger than theirs. They did give me the center-to-center measurements for each group, however, so we’ll be able to make some comparisons.

Daisy 880 Daisy BB target
Daisy shot 5 BBs into 0.65 inches at 5 meters with the test 880. Remember, this target appears larger than it really is.

They also sent a 10-meter target they shot with pellets. They didn’t indicate which pellets were used for this test, but I would think they would use Daisy Precision Max pellets — that only makes sense. This 5-shot group measures 0.60 inches between centers.

Daisy 880 Daisy BB target 2
Daisy shot 5 pellets into 0.60 inches at 10 meters with the test 880.

There was no indication of how many pumps were used for either target. I will therefore use my best judgement when I shoot my own groups.

Pellets first
I shot the 880 rested at 10 meters using 3 different pellets. The first was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier dome that was used for the velocity test. I used 6 pumps for each shot with pellets. The rifle was rested in a sandbag rest.

Sight-in took 2 shots because the rifle was shooting low for a 6 o’clock hold. It was also shooting a little to the right, but I didn’t bother correcting that on the first group. Ten Premiers went into 1.037 inches. While not bad, I hope to find another pellet that does better.

Daisy 880 Premier target
Ten Crosman Premier lite pellets went into 1.037 inches at 10 meters. Not a very great group, but there’s the silver dime several of you obsessed over.

Daisy wadcutters
After the first group, I adjusted the rear sight down one notch and over to the left. Next, I tried some old Daisy Superior Match Grade wadcutter pellets. How close they are to the current pellets Daisy sells, I have no idea. Ten of them went into 0.713 inches, which is better than the Premiers and, accounting for my 5 additional shots, also better than what Daisy got.

Daisy 880 Daisy wadcutter target
Ten Daisy Superior Match Grade wadcutters made this 0.713-inch group at 10 meters.

RWS Hobby pellets
I felt the rifle had redeemed itself with the Daisy pellets, but I wanted to try just one additional pellet. This next one was an RWS Hobby. When you see what it did, I think you’ll agree with me this was a fortunate choice.

Daisy 880 RWS Hobby target
Ten Hobbys made this 0.458-inch group at 10 meters. Now THIS is a group!

So, the 880 I’m testing can definitely shoot. Both Daisy and I got good results from the rifle with pellets. Let’s see what it can do with steel BBs.

Daisy with BBs
I moved the shooting table up to 5 meters from the target and started shooting with Daisy Premium Grade BBs. At this distance I used 3 pumps for each shot. They were hitting the target right where the top of the front sight was, so I decided to hold for the center of the bull instead of at 6 o’clock. They did hit a little to the left, but it was nothing to be concerned about. Ten BBs went into 0.624 inches.

Daisy 880 Daisy BB target
Ten Daisy BBs went into this 0.624-inch group at 5 meters.

If you check my other BB-gun targets (other than those made by the 499), you’ll see that this gun really groups tight with BBs. I’m surprised it did so well.

Summary
This Daisy 880 can certainly shoot! Next, I’ll mount the scope and back up to 25 yards.


Does the pellet matter? Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

A couple weeks ago we had several comments that said there are people who believe all pellets are the same, and it doesn’t matter what you shoot in your airgun. Then others chimed in and said the same is true for .22 rimfire ammo. Well, I started a test of .22 rimfire ammo last week and hope to finish it soon, but today I thought I’d start exploring the pellet side of the question.

Today was supposed to be a first look at the accuracy of the BSA Supersport SE; but for the first time that I can remember, I couldn’t get the open sights on target at 25 yards! I didn’t want to fool with the rifle for a long time, so I set it aside and picked up my super-accurate Beeman R8 Tyrolean. That’s a rifle I know I can count on.

My original plan was to buy .177 pellets from wally world and pit them against the best premium pellets I have; but since this was a last-minute test, I just selected some pellets from my supplies. I made this a Part 1 because I still intend doing what was planned.

Today, we’ll look at 4 pellets. Two are what I consider premium, though one of them is pointed and I usually don’t shoot pointed pellets for accuracy. That should be interesting.

The other 2 pellets are ones I actually bought at a discount store some time ago. They’re representative of what’s out there right now. One’s a wadcutter; but since I’m shooting indoors at 25 yards, I felt it might still do its best. The other is a pointed pellet that Crosman made for Remington several years ago. These 2 pellets are the ones I believe will not do well.

I shot the rifle at 25 yards rested directly on a sandbag, which I’ve determined works well for this gun. In the entire test, there were no called fliers.

Air Arms Falcon
The first pellet I tested was the Falcon from Air Arms. It’s made by JSB on dies owned by Air Arms, so there’s no equivalent JSB pellet. There are several that look similar, but testing shows they perform differently. Ten Falcons went into a group that measures 0.667 inches between centers. You can see a single pellet hole to the right of the main group. That was the third shot. Nine of the 10 pellets went into 0.399 inches.

Falcon group
This group of 10 Air Arms Falcon pellets measures 0.667 inches between centers, but 9 of them are in 0.399 inches at 25 yards.

RWS Superpoints
I normally don’t recommend pointed pellets for accuracy; but 25 yards isn’t that far, and RWS pellets are certainly in the premium category. I didn’t expect RWS Superpoints to do as well as the Falcons…and they didn’t. But they were close! Ten made a group measuring 0.732 inches. Once again, one pellet was outside the main group, and 9 pellets went into 0.43 inches

RWS Superpoint group
These 10 RWS Superpoint pellets surprised me by going into 0.732 inches. And 9 went into 0.43 inches.

Now, it was time to test the 2 pellets in which I didn’t have any faith. I still tried as hard as possible to shoot the best group. Frankly, I’m surprised they did as well as they did!

Daisy Precision Max wadcutter
The next pellet was a older pellet I had that is similar to the Daisy Precision Max wadcutter — a flat-nosed target pellet. I didn’t expect it to do much, but 10 of them went into a group measuring 0.804 inches. And, to be fair, 9 of them are in 0.591 inches. While that’s not great for this particular rifle, it’s a lot better than I expected.

Daisy Precision Max group
Ten Daisy Precision Max wadcutters made a larger group at 25 yards, but it wasn’t as big as I expected. This group measures 0.804 inches, with 9 pellets in 0.591 inches.

Remington pointed pellets
The last pellet I tried was one Remington sold for many years, but one that Crosman made. So, it has a sort of premium heritage, though the discount store pellets that Crosman sells (which is where I got this tin) are not normally as good as the ones they make for their cardboard boxes — by which I mean Premiers, of course. I didn’t know what to expect from these pellets. Ten went into 0.821 inches, which is better than I expected, and 8 of them went into a group that measures 0.402 inches. That’s hard to argue with.

Remington pointed group
Ten Remington pointed pellets made this 0.821-inch group. Eight went into 0.402 inches.

The results?
This test worked as expected, but it wasn’t as conclusive as I’d hoped it would be. Clearly, I need to look harder into these discount store pellets.

The Beeman R8 rifle is really an accurate platform that makes all these pellets look good. I think it’s a great testbed, but I won’t rule out trying the same test with a different rifle at a later date.

I could run the test at 50 yards, and the groups would all open up a lot — but that isn’t what I’m testing. Most airgunners don’t often shoot at 50 yards. I think 25 yards is more representative of what they do most of the time. I think I’ll just stick to the original plan of buying some representative pellets at a discount store and pitting them against the best premium pellets I have.


The Relum Telly: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Today, we’ll finish Vince’s report on his new Relum Telly.

If you’d like to write a guest blog, please email us.

Over to you, Vince!

The Relum Telly: Part 2
by Vince

When we last saw the Telly, I’d just reduced the cocking effort by repairing the cocking linkage and smoothing the outside of the spring tube. Then I set about to fix the other things that were wrong with my new airgun. I had just fixed the stripped stock screw holes and was about to go into the gun’s innards. So, today join me on a tour of the Telly’s belly.

The piston is basic enough, and the fact that the leather piston seal was still in passable condition saved me a fair bit of hassle. It’s riveted in, so replacement wouldn’t have been very straightforward:

Relum Telly piston seal
The leather piston seal looks good.

Relum Telly piston body
Looking inside the piston reveals the rivet that holds the piston seal to the body.

So, a soaking in 30 weight oil is all it gets before reassembly.

I mentioned the concentric springs earlier. This is what they look like:

Relum Telly springs
The inner and outer mainspring. The inner spring shows a bit of “snakeiness” from its long life.

The thinner inner spring has about 1/3 the spring rate of the outer, which means that it does indeed contribute significantly to the powerplant energy.

The trigger is a linked direct sear. Oddly enough, it’s sorta similar to the linkage in the el-cheapo Industry Brand S2 pistol. The trigger blade pops right out but the actual sear pin is peened in place so I can’t remove the sear block. I’ve sketched in what it sorta looks like, sorta (yellow area).

Relum Telly trigger
The trigger blade came out easily. The sear is held in by a heavily peened pin, so I didn’t remove it. The yellow area is approximately what the sear looks like in profile.

As the blade is pulled back, it rotates the sear block clockwise (downward in back), which releases the piston. Here’s where I discovered something. Remember that goofy lockscrew I noticed in the front triggerguard bolt? It wasn’t a lockscrew at all. The bolt itself threads into the hole identified by the yellow arrow (above picture), and the concentric screw (which is both smaller in diameter and longer) pushes up on the sear block opposite of the trigger. This can be used to reduce the sear engagement and adjust the trigger. In fact, you can adjust it to the point of not even working. I don’t like messing too much with direct sears of any type, so I run the gun with the screw all the way out.

Relum Telly trigger adjustment
What I thought was a lockscrew turned out to be the trigger adjustment screw. It controls the amount of sear engagement area.

All the innards look usable, so after proper cleaning and relubing I reassemble the gun and get ready to shoot.

This is not going to be a super-comprehensive shooting test. Considering how few of these things that are around, the Relum Telly is not exactly a vintage gun you’re gonna want to use as a routine shooter. If you want a nice, usable vintage gun for a youth, get them something like a Diana 25. We just want to see what sort of performance the Telly was capable of.

The gun didn’t like Daisy Precision-Max or Crosman Wadcutters, but (surprise, surprise) it thrives on 7-grain RWS Diabolo Basic pellets. This 5-shot group shows what the gun is capable of at 10 meters:

Relum Telly target
Five RWS Diabolo Basic wadcutters made this 0.35-inch group at 10 meters.

That’s 0.35 inches, center-to-center, with rotten open sights. The rear blade has a “V” notch, while the front post tapers to a point on top — which means to my eyes, the top of the post sorta fades in and out like Captain Kirk stuck in a malfunctioning transporter. It’s very hard to make sure I’m getting a consistent aim point, which makes me think the gun is capable of even better.

Next up is the velocity — and laziness dictates that I only bother testing the pellets that shot well. Or, in this case, the one pellet. After 5 warm-up shots, the gun laid down this string:

618
605
625
603
622
621
624
624
606
623

The average was 617 f.p.s. This is just shy of 6 foot-pounds of energy…which, for the size of the rifle, really isn’t bad. On the OTHER hand, it’s HORRIBLE for a gun that requires as much as or more cocking force than a Diana 350 or a Baikal 513, while delivering less than 1/3 of the energy.

Anyway, it’s at this point that I decided to snap a quick picture of the breech with a pellet loaded to show you how loose it fits:

Relum Telly pellet in breech
See how deep into the breech the pellet falls?

See? It drops right in with no fuss or fighting. But then I get to thinking that SOMEbody’s going to carp about that ancient leather breech seal! So, should I replace it? The gun is probably doing as well as it can, so I have no reason to. In fact, I can even hear that little voice in my head saying, “LEAVE IT ALONE!”

So, naturally I popped it out, destroying it in the process. To my delight, it seems to be the same size as a Diana seal, which means I can use a #109 o-ring. But wait — there’s something funny about the groove it sat in.

Relum Telly breech seal groove
The groove is cut parallel to the bore, but not to the slanted breech. As a result, it’s deeper on the top than on the bottom.

Dang. The breech face is slanted on this gun (like on a lot of Dianas), and the groove is cut parallel to the barrel bore, not parallel to the breech face. This means that the top of the grove is a lot deeper than the bottom.

At first, I tried to see if I can “split the difference” by shimming it just right, but obviously that won’t work:

Relum Telly new breech seal 1
The shimmed breech seal obviously isn’t going to work.

Eventually, the obvious solution hit me, and I cut a wedge-shaped washer out of semi-rigid tubing:

Relum Telly wedge washer
By cutting this washer on a bias, I got a wedge shape to lie under the new o-ring breech seal.

…and VOILA!

Relum Telly new breech seal 2
The wedge-shaped washer raised the new o-ring to be level with the slanted breech.

One final note: the gun shoots no faster with the new seal.

So there you have it, the Relum Telly in a nutshell. Cocking effort aside, it’s a decent little plinker. I’d say it’s easily the equal of a small Diana or Slavia in accuracy but superior in power. Granted, this pup ain’t gonna get shot very much — but at least in looks at home in my airgun rack:

Relum Telly airgun rack
The new Telly is near the right side of the top rack.

My New Relum Telly!
Not such a bad little felleee,
At least with the right pelleee…
My New Relum Telly!

And so, both my Telly review and brief poetical foray draw to a long-overdue conclusion.


Crosman’s 160: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


Fresh from the closet, another fine Crosman 160 emerges into daylight. We’ll watch this one blossom.

Today, I’m testing the Crosman 160 for accuracy. This is a target rifle — originally intended for 25-foot ranges, so 10 meters, which is very close to 33 feet, is the distance I shot for this test. And I shot at 10-meter rifle targets. It’s important to remember this rifle is a .22, not a .177, because the larger pellets will influence the overall group size.

The 160 has a post front sight that isn’t as precise as an aperture, but I learned to shoot on a similar sight, so it still works well for me. I’d disassembled the rear aperture sight during cleaning, so when I sighted-in there was a lot of adjusting to get the pellet on target.

I held my eye as close to the aperture as I could get, because my recent experience with both the Ballard and Remington model 37 has taught me that this is the way to get the best accuracy from an aperture sight. The tiny hole made my pupil dilate and the front sight came into sharp focus, as it always should.

I sighted-in with the JSB Exact 15.9-grain dome and left the sights there. So, the first group is well-centered and the other pellets are a little bit off.

Remember that wonderful trigger I told you about last time? Well, this is where it came into its own. It is breaking so light that I leave my finger off the blade until the sight picture is correct. Then it’s just touch and “Bang!” It breaks at a pound. I’ve bump-tested the gun several times without a pellet just to see if I could jar it off the sear, and it’s holding fine…but it feels like a precision set trigger. Perhaps, having the overtravel adjustment makes the difference.

Memories!
I remember these 160s as being more accurate than they have a right to be, given their original price, and this one is, too. The first 10 shots went into a group that measures 0.313 inches. The group is very round and gives every indication that the rifle loves this pellet.


Ten JSB Exact 15.9-grain domes made this 0.313-inch group at 10 meters.

Next, I tried the .22-caliber Premiers. Back in the early 1990s, when this pellet first came out, 160 owners discovered their rifles were much more accurate than they had believed. When the 160 was new, it was thought that the best they would do was a quarter-sized group at 25 feet. Now they were shooting into a dime at 33 feet.

This time, the group wasn’t as good as some others I’ve shot. Ten shots measure 0.449 inches between centers. The point of impact shifted to the left a bit, as well.


Ten .22-caliber Premiers made this 0.449-inch group at 10 meters.

I also wanted to try a pellet I’d never used in a 160, so the next pellet was an RWS Superdome. They should do well, being both medium weight and thin-skirted. A thin skirt can be blown out into the rifling by the low pressure of the CO2 gas, which will seal the pellet in the bore quite well.

Before you get excited from looking at these next targets, you need to know that I was interrupted while shooting and as a result I put 5 shots on each target, instead of the 10 on one, as planned. Although this was a mistake, it does illustrate, once again, the difference between the sizes of 5-shot and 10-shot groups.


If you didn’t know there were only 5 shots in this group, you could make up all sorts of claims for the RWS Superdome pellets. The group measures 0.107 inches between centers. This is 10-meter target rifle size — even though it was shot with the larger pellets! But it is only 5 shots.


Five RWS Superdomes measure 0.313 inches between centers. Looks good, but, again, it’s only 5 shots. This group was fired when I noticed the gun was running out of gas.

As I loaded and shot, I reflected on the ease of the bolt’s operation. Opening it requires just the flick of one finger, because you’re not cocking a spring. It’s as quick as pulling back the bolt on a biathlon target rifle. Pushing the bolt forward takes some effort, though, because this is where the hammer spring gets compressed.

The big .22-caliber domed pellets lie in the loading trough and feed without a bobble. Where some guns want to flip pellets around, the 160 feeds them effortlessly every time. I can describe the cocking and loading experience as having an oily smoothness.

Best pellet
Upon examination, I feel the JSB Exact pellet did the best in this test. It put 10 pellets into a group the same size as the final 5 Superdomes made. It would be interesting to shoot another group of Superdomes that were not shot at the end of the gas supply, but I still think the JSBs will turn out better.

Shot count
I noticed on the final 5 shots that the rifle sounded like it was losing power. Since 5 shots were used for sight-in, this rifle has given me 35 good shots on two cartridges. Blog reader Jim in PGH commented that an Archer Hammer Debouncer Device (abbreviated HDD and designed to give the valve stem a dead blow to exhaust gas without valve flutter) installed on a Chinese version of the 167 (a .177-caliber version of the 160) that he owns has increased his shot count to 80. That would be worth looking into, if you decide to go the 160 route.

Where are we?
As I shoot the 160, I cannot help but think of a fine 10-meter target air rifle. Kevin would be proud to shoot one so fine. I think most of you would be impressed with what this gun can do.

This is the last report I have planned for the 160. As I suspected, the owner of this 160 was not too keen about the two CO2 cartridges needed to power his gun, so he sold it to me. I have no plans for it at this time, other than to show it to several firearms shooters to impress them with what an airgun can do. I’m also toying with shooting it at 50 yards, just to see how it does.


Crosman’s 160: Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


Fresh from the closet, another fine Crosman 160 emerges into daylight. We’ll watch this one blossom.

Today, I’ll report on the cleaning of Jose’s Crosman 160 and the adjustment of the trigger. This rifle was quite rusty when I got it, so today it came out of the stock for a thorough cleaning. The barreled action comes out of the stock by removing one nut on the bottom of the forearm and by removing the safety switch. To remove the switch, it must be turned toward SAFE while you push it out of the triggerguard. It will pop right out when you get it in the right position.


The broken safety has been pushed out, and the nut removed from the stock. That’s a new safety to the left of the broken one. The barreled action is now ready to come out of the stock.

Once the action was out of the stock, I could see that it was far rustier than I originally thought. The rust that could be seen when the rifle was intact was just surface rust, but the stock was hiding deep active rust that had to be removed.


This was under the stock — heavy, active rust that must be dealt with!

I used Ballistol and a special scrubbing pad I bought at a recent gun show. A friend of mine says this pad looks like a stainless steel pot scrubber. All I know is that it removes all the rust and doesn’t harm the blue.


I used Balistol in a spray bottle and a special metal scrubber to remove the rust.

I was surprised at how fast the rust was removed. In all, it probably took no longer than 15 minutes to completely clean all the metal parts.

The trigger
With the gun finally clean, it was time to address the trigger. I mentioned in Part 1 that this trigger is one of the finest ever put on an inexpensive air rifle, and it can be adjusted to a very light, crisp pull. When I got the gun, the single-stage trigger had lots of creep and was breaking at 5 lbs., even. Something had to be done about that.

The Crosman 160 trigger is an adaptation of a 15th century crossbow trigger, where a rotating piece called a nut forms the sear that releases the hammer — in the case of the pellet rifle. The nut is a lever that’s shaped like a circle. It allows a small force (the sear) to overcome a greater force (the hammer spring) through leverage. No filing or stoning of the trigger contact surfaces is necessary, because the trigger doesn’t work like a conventional one.


From Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey’s book, “The Crossbow,” (published in 1903) this illustration of a 15th century crossbow nut shows how a great force can be overcome by a smaller one.

But the Crosman 160 trigger is more sophisticated than the crossbow trigger. It allows the adjustment of the sear contact area and also the point at which the trigger stops. This gives the shooter a safe trigger that breaks cleanly, yet feels like an expensive precision target trigger.

The trigger in the subject rifle was about as filthy as I’ve ever seen. This trigger has a sideplate that allows the user to watch the adjustments of the parts and even to cock and fire the trigger with the parts exposed. Normally, this sideplate keeps the parts inside pretty clean, but you can see from the photo what I saw inside this one.


I’ve removed the trigger unit from the action here. It isn’t necessary to do this, and in fact you must be able to cock the rifle when you adjust the trigger, so leave it connected. I did this for cleaning purposes.


Compare this photo to the previous graphic, and you’ll see all the important trigger parts. This is before cleaning. The rusty red part at the upper right is the nut that’s the sear.

I removed the trigger blade from the trigger assembly and cleaned it outside the trigger box, but all other parts were cleaned where they were situated. Ballistol on cotton swabs worked wonders at removing the rust, dust and dirt. And it left all the parts with a lubricated surface.

The two trigger adjustment screws were stuck in place by dried grease, so Ballistol had to dissolve that before I could clean the threads. The final touch was to apply moly grease to the mating surfaces of the trigger blade and the rotating nut that serves as the sear. Then it was time to adjust the trigger.

Trigger adjustment
The first step was to back off the trigger return spring, which is located at the bottom rear of the trigger box. With this spring relaxed, you can feel the engagement of the sear much better.

Next, I adjusted the top screw, which adjusts the trigger/sear contact area. I set it very quickly because I’ve adjusted dozens of these triggers over the years and I know what they need. You may have to adjust the screw then cock the rifle and fire it several times to get the engagement you want. The engagement needed is very narrow, and it looks like the trigger is about to slip off the sear; so I always give the cocked rifle a bump test after adjusting the trigger, just to be safe. If I can’t jar the trigger off the sear, it’s safe.

The final screw to adjust is the trigger stop or overtravel screw. It stops the trigger blade after the sear has released, and the closer this is to the release point without impeding the trigger-pull, the better the trigger feels. Once the engagement area is okay, it’s easy to set this screw to stop the trigger immediately following trigger release.

With that done, I put the cover plate back on the trigger and shifted my attention to the S331 sight. By the way, Robert of Arcade explained in a comment that the S331 sight was actually made by Mossberg and not by Williams, as I originally said in Part 1. I changed the maker to Mossberg in Part 1, and now I’m telling you.

The rear sight on this rifle was loose when I examined it, so I removed it from the rifle and disassembled it for cleaning. Most of the parts are aluminum, but a couple are blued steel and suffered from rust to the point that there were pits left on their surfaces after the rust was removed. The detents are very crisp and easy to feel as you make the adjustments. This is a simple peep sight assembly, but it works very well and adjusts precisely, which is all you can ask of a sight.

Once the sight was clean and back on the rifle, I put the barreled action back into the stock. I had to use the old broken safety switch because the replacement I have is slightly too large to fit the hole. I’ll trim it down in a separate session so the gun has a complete safety switch. For now, I’ll just keep the rifle off safe.

How does it look?
Because the bulk of the deep rust lies below the stock line, the deep pits that appeared from cleaning do not show. What was above the stock line was mostly just surface rust that’s now completely gone. The metal on this rifle now appears to be 80 percent or better. The stock finish is still flaky and needs to be taken down all the way with sandpaper and reapplied, but it doesn’t detract from the rifle’s appearance.

And the trigger?
The trigger now breaks at one pound, even. It’s glass-crisp, and you would swear that it releases at just a couple ounces if you didn’t see the trigger-pull gauge. I think the owner will be amazed at the transformation this rifle has undergone.

Yet to come
I won’t bore you with the other mundane jobs like the safety and the stock finish, but I’ll test this rifle for accuracy. So, there’s one more report yet to come. We already know the velocity is in the right ballpark — 656 f.p.s. for a 14.2-grain Daisy pellet on a 90-degree day. But I want to show you the accuracy these old rifles can give with modern pellets.


Crosman’s 160: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Jacque Ryder is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their airgun facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd Air gift card. Congratulations!

Jacque Ryder is this week’s BSOTW.


Fresh from the closet, another fine Crosman 160 emerges into daylight. We will watch this one blossom.

I was at the rifle range yesterday, and a friend delivered an air rifle that another friend had asked him to give me. It’s a Crosman 160, and that’s a classic air rifle that I’ve never reported in this blog, so here we go.

History
The Crosman 160 and 167 (.22 caliber and .177 caliber, respectively) was first produced in 1955 and lasted until 1972. There were several variations of the basic model over the years, but most airgunners rank them by their triggers. There was a very simple trigger in the first variation from 1955 through 1959, then Crosman put out a very special variation with a super-adjustable trigger in the guns made after 1959. The gun I’m testing has this wonderful trigger.

At some time in the 1960s, the Air Force bought a large number of 160s that were fitted with a Crosman S331 peep sight (made by Mossberg) and sling swivels that held a one-inch leather sling. As chance would have it, several hundred of these rifles were discovered unused in a government warehouse in Maryland or Virginia in the 1990s, and Edith and I bought one. It was brand new and still contained the original Crosman CO2 cartridges that had been used to test it at the factory. I knew they were original cartridges because they were sealed with the patent-dodging “bottlecap” tops Crosman had to use for several years. The end flap of the box had the Air Force Federal Stock Number for the gun, and everything inside the box was new and untouched.


Still rusty and dusty from long years of storage, the Crosman S331 peep sight is a great addition to this accurate target rifle.

I reported on that 160 in The Airgun Letter several times, but eventually I got rid of the rifle. And until yesterday, that was all I had to do with a Crosman 160.

A shooting friend of mine told me a couple months ago about an airgun he had, and from his description I guessed that it was a 160. Yesterday, he sent it to me so I could examine it and tell him what he has. Jose — I have your rifle, and it’s a Crosman 160!

Yours is the last variation they made, which in all ways is the best 160 model to have. It isn’t a former military model, because they all have sling swivels and your rifle has no evidence of ever having them. But you do have the adjustable trigger and the S331 peep sight.

Your rifle has a lot of surface rust that I’ll remove with Ballistol and a special scrubbing pad I’ll show you in the report. I’ll also open the sideplate on your adjustable trigger and clean and adjust it for you. If it’s like the other 160 triggers I’ve adjusted in the past, I should be able to get a glass-crisp trigger-pull of a little less than one pound. I think you’ll be surprised!

Barrel lottery
Back when these air rifles were new, people thought they were only capable of putting 5 shots into a quarter at 25 feet. What we didn’t appreciate back then were the poor pellets we used held us to that level. Once world-class pellets became available in the 1980s, everything changed and these rifles suddenly became capable of putting 10 shots inside a dime at 10 meters. That is — if they had a good barrel.

Crosman made the barrels for the 160s. When they were good, they were very good. But when they were bad, they were horrible! I’ve heard tales of barrels with only half their rifling and even some that had no rifling at all! It isn’t common, but it happened often enough that old Crosman collectors know about it.

Pellgunoil works, again!
I installed two fresh powerlets and a LOT of Crosman Pellegunoil, and the gun held gas. I then fired 5 shots at a 50-yard target, just to see what kind of barrel it had. I got a group of about 5 inches, but it was a windy day and all I was trying to do was see if the barrel was rifled or not. It is. When I shoot it for accuracy, this rifle should do very well.

The safety switch is broken, which means I’ll have to use pliers on it, because it’s key to disassembling the rifle. The good news is that some plastic aftermarket safety switches exist and I may be able to locate one.

Gas-guzzler
The big problem with a 160 is that it uses gas like a Hummer towing a house trailer! Typically, the two CO2 cartridges give about 30-35 good shots before they give out. Since they cost at least 50 cents apiece, a 160 can cost more than a .22 rimfire shooting good ammunition.

The solution is to convert the rifle to bulk-fill operations. That reduces the gas cost per fill to around 5-7 cents per fill. You still get the same number of shots and the same velocity, but the operating cost is much lower. Of course, you have to have all the equipment that’s needed for bulk-fill to do this, and that does cost some money.

Power
Most 160s I’ve tested pushed 14.3-grain pellets out the spout at between 600 and 630 f.p.s. on an 80-deg. F day. It was about 90 when I shot through the chronograph at the range and the 14.2-grain Daisy pointed pellet (very similar to the current Precision Max) went through the Oehler skyscreens at 656 f.p.s. — right on the money! The rifle can be souped up a just a bit, but at the cost of increased gas usage. There’s really no convenient way around that.

By contrast, the Crosman 180 was a single-cartridge rifle that shot a .22-caliber pellet at around 575 f.p.s. and got about 40 good shots per cartridge. It was the favorite of many shooters. But the Air Force obviously didn’t care about how much CO2 they used, and the slightly more powerful 160 also had a better stock, a longer barrel and better sights. It was the obvious choice for a target rifle. I feel the procuring agency must have bought the gun, not so much for its accuracy but more for its much safer operation when compared to a standard .22 rimfire that was the normal target rifle of the time. A pellet rifle range could be set up safely in a gym, where a rimfire range required more safety measures.

General description
The Crosman 160 is a .22-caliber single-shot CO2 rifle. It cocks on closing the bolt. It needs two CO2 cartridges to operate, though it will work with just one at lower velocity and with fewer shots.

The rifle weighs 6 lbs. and is 39-1/2 inches long. The barrel is 21 inches. The pull is 14-1/4 inches.

The rifle is mostly blued steel in a solid wood stock. The metal was not highly polished and I’ve always thought that the wood stock was some very clever kind of laminate, since it shows more grain than I think it should. I will show you the detail and let you be the judge.


The stock sure looks like a laminate to me.

What’s next?
I plan to clean the metal of this rifle and preserve it with Ballistol. I’ll open the sideplate of the trigger and show you the inner workings, then I’ll adjust the trigger to get it working as fine as I can.

Next, I’ll test the rifle for velocity with several pellets. I’ll also get a shot count for you.

Finally, I’ll shoot the rifle for accuracy at 10 meters with several pellets. I’ve examined the barrel, and the bore appears sparkling clean. The rifling is deep and everything looks okay. We should have some fun with this one.

Jose, you have a very nice air rifle, here. I hope you enjoy this report!