Why “they” can’t do what “they” ought to

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • NightStalker
  • Velocity?
  • Why did “they” drop it?
  • They built it before
  • What about the Crosman 600?
  • Would a new Crosman 600 sell today?
  • Summary

Today started out as one thing and quickly transitioned into another. I wanted to write a Part 5 to the Daisy 35 report. It was time for a test with BBs. But last week I shipped all the airguns I’ve tested for the past several years back to Pyramyd Air and unfortunately the Daisy 35 was among them. I’m sorry, but it was a busy week and that one slipped past me.

So then I wanted to run the test of bedding the IZH MP532. I shot a “before” group using my old glasses, but then I discovered that the bedding that needs to be corrected is not as straightforward as it seemed. I want to do that work under the watchful eye of my neighbor, Denny. We conferred this morning but the work will have to be done later.

NightStalker

While searching for the Daisy 35 my eyes fell on a Crosman NightStalker that is standing in the corner of my closet.

NightStalker
Crosman NightStalker.

The NightStalker is a 12-shot semiautomatic carbine-sized pellet rifle that uses an 88-gram AirSource CO2 cartridge. It was launched in November of 2005 and lasted through 2007, so not that long. The cartridge fits in the butt and gives the all-synthetic gun some weight. 

Velocity?

I don’t have velocity numbers for you but I think it would be in the same range as the Crosman 1077, which is to say somewhere in the mid 500s with 7.9-grain Premier domes.

NightStalker butt
An 88-gram CO2 cartridge fits inside the butt and gives over 300 shots at maybe something in the mid 500 f.p.s. range.

The gun has real blowback that does cock the hammer on every shot, but Crosman elected not to allow the clip to advance to the next chamber. So, unlike the Crosman 600 that has an incredibly light trigger pull, the pull on the NightStalker is heavier and the blade moves through some distance as the clip rotates. The trigger breaks at about 7 pounds on my gun.

But this is a 12-shot semiautomatic! And surely something could be done to lighten the trigger by half. At least that would be my vote.

NightStalker clip
The NighStalker used this 12-shot circular clip.

NightStalker clip installed
The NightStalker clip slips into the receiver and then the trigger advances it one chamber at a time.

Immediately I thought of contacting Ed Schultz to tell him that Crosman ought to bring back the NightStalker. Well, they may (and I am not saying that I know they will) but, and this is a really big but, if they were to bring it back it would be like creating an all new airgun.

Why did “they” drop it?

Why does any company stop production of anything? Well, the answer isn’t always as simple and straightforward as you might think. You might think that the sales were not high enough, and that might be the case, but not high enough for what? What if Crosman placed the NightStalker under the management of someone responsible for sales of guns to large discount stores — maybe the same person who was also responsible for the 760? Well, the 760 probably sold for $29 at that time and the NightStalker was priced at $200. You can’t sell as many airguns for $200 as you can for $29, and the manager would have noticed that right away.

Also the NightStalker is a semiautomatic, where the 760 is a multi-pump, so the level of complexity for the semiauto is much higher than for the single shot. It’s so much higher that, regardless of the price, it may be too complex for a typical discount store buyer.

I am not saying this is what happened and that it was the reason Crosman dropped the NightStalker. Maybe someone who was the NightStalker’s champion left the company and his replacement didn’t care for it. Or perhaps some of the folks who were old-timers in the company wanted it gone.

It could have been any of those reasons or others we don’t know about. Whatever the reason, the NightStalker was dropped from the line just two years after it was launched. But Crosman built the gun. Surely they could do it again if they wanted to?

They built it before

Why wouldn’t it be easy for Crosman to build the NightStalker today? They were still making it as recently as 2007. Why couldn’t they just build it again? Well, let’s see — why can’t Ford build the Model A again? Not that they would want to, but Ford is in no position to build the Model A in 2021. They don’t have the tooling, the metal or any of the parts they need. Maybe if they wanted to they could fabricate a good copy, but it would just be a one-off. They couldn’t produce Model As, even if they wanted to.

I chose the Model A to illustrate the difficulty of the problem. It’s so old and obsolete that it’s easy to see why it couldn’t be manufactured today. If I chose a car that was closer to a model of today people might think it would be easier for Ford, and in some respects it would be. Materials for a near-term obsolete car would be easier to come by than the metal for a Model A. But the tooling and machine settings would have to be redone from scratch, just like they were back in the day.

What about the Crosman 600?

Why am I going on about the NightStalker? I am because it was a real semiautomatic pellet gun — just like the older Crosman 600 that many airgunners love.

Crosman 600
Crosman 600.

The Crosman 600 is a .22-caliber 10-shot semiautomatic air pistol that feeds from a linear magazine located on the left side of the receiver. Because of how it fed it was a little pellet picky, but it still functioned with a lot of domed pellets and even some wadcutters. The trigger was superb, releasing at less than one pound with reasonable crispness.

The 600 is such a good pellet pistol that they sell for high prices today. Anyone who has shot one wants to own one. But could Crosman make a 600 today? They could if they were willing to reverse engineer it and start from scratch, but it is not a matter of dusting off the blueprints. It would be a ground-up design. And the generations of machines used to make airguns have changed twice in the time since the 600 left the range.

Would a new Crosman 600 sell today?

Forget the 1965 price tag. How about somewhere around $250 today? The same guys who complained about them when they were $19.95 (and I was one who did) would complain about them today.

And what about that light trigger? It certainly isn’t going to pass legal muster today. So, as much as I would like to see the Crosman 600 come back, I don’t expect to ever see one new again. The model name might be recycled, but the design — never.

Even the NightStalker would challenge Crosman today, though it would be less of a problem than the 600. Some of the machines that made a NightStalker have gone away, too, and remaking it would present a new set of challenges. So I won’t be calling Ed Schultz with a, “What you outta do.” message anytime soon.

But a true semiautomatic airgun that is accurate and has a good trigger would sell, if the price was reasonable. Crosman calls the 1077 a semiauto, but shooters know different. My advice to the company would be to do it right if you plan to do it at all. Give us true semiauto feeding, a good trigger and accuracy. Don’t let the lawyers talk you into compromising in any of those three areas. The price can be a place to fudge if you have to, but give us the rest of it or forget the whole deal.

One last note. It appears that Sig is about to end production of the ASP20 rifle, if they haven’t already. Six months after that they wouldn’t be able to restart the line without a significant investment of time and money. So love ’em while they last. And with some companies like Weihrauch and AirForce, that can be a very long time.

Summary

We sometimes think that if a company manufactures airguns they can make anything. But AirForce can’t make a 1077 without breaking their manufacturing model, and Crosman would turn themselves inside-out to produce a TalonSS. The iconic airguns of the past are just as hard for the companies to make as they are for other companies who don’t compete in the same market.

Why do I tell you all of this? Well, I’m really telling myself, because when I saw that NightStalker in my closet I was about to call Ed.


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!


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!


Grips & tips

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Today we have another guest blog by reader Ian McKee who goes by the handle 45Bravo. He tells us about fixing some vintage Crosman plastic grips and some other tips he has for us.

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

Take it away, 45Bravo.

Crosman 38T
Crosman 38T.

Grips & tips

This report covers:

  • The grips
  • Now for some useful tips
  • Barrel alignment
  • Velocity adjustment
  • Leaks
  • Cleaning and protecting your vintage airgun

Judging by the interest in B.B’s Crosman 38T blog, this is a very popular vintage CO2 revolver that seems to have flown under some people’s radar.  Since I have one on my workbench at the moment, I thought I would share a few helpful tips from the Crosman Factory Service manual, and some things I have learned from working on one. 

The grips

I’ll start with the grips. Unlike the Crosman Mark I & II pistols that have a metal tube in the grip frame to house the CO2 cartridge , the 38T is different. In this model you have to remove the left grip panel to change a cartridge. The grip panel is held in place by a metal clip that is attached to the grip and clamps onto the CO2 cartridge when it is installed in the gun. The grip then aligns to the frame by two locator pins on the pistol’s grip frame.

Since the grip is held in place by a CO2 cartridge, people sometimes left a cartridge in place thereby shortening the life of the CO2 face seal.  

TIP: If you decide to leave a cartridge in the gun, tighten the piercing screw just enough to hold the cartridge in place, not enough to compress the face seal. 

The plastic grips are now over 40 years old, and may have become brittle. On this pistol, the lower grip alignment post is broken and the top one is deformed from repeated use.

Crosman 38T left grip bottom
The locating pin hole at the bottom of the left grip panel is broken. Where the metal spring clip attaches there is also a hairline crack on both sides.

Crosman 38T left grip top
The locating pin hole at the top of the left grip panel is deformed from use.

All of these faults should be repaired. They will only get worse in time, so now is the time to fix them.

[Editor’s note: I discovered when searching for Crosman 38Ts, that damage to the left grip panel is a common problem with these guns. Several guns are being sold with either a damaged panel or even a missing left grip. There are no replacements other than from donor guns, so fixing the panel is the only way to go, unless you plan to make custom grips.]

I chose to use superglue and baking soda for the repair. When mixed these materials create a chemical reaction that hardens instantly. I don’t know the science behind it, but I remember some readers discussing the science after I used it on the Beeman P17 sight fill in blog.

To give the plastic post some extra support I wound part of a ballpoint pen spring around the damaged part. I then used the superglue and baking soda to build up the area in layers. Once it had hardened, I used small files to shape it to the approximate size, and shape.

Crosman 38T spring repair
This section of ballpoint pen spring reinforces the location pin hole, so the superglue and baking soda has something to shape it.

Crosman 38T locating hole repair
The baking soda/superglue mixture hardens right away. The next step is to file it flush or just below flush.

When you finish the posts need to be either flush with the grip level, or just a smidgen below level. 

Crosman 38T locating hole repair 2
Here I am cleaning up the repair of the bottom locating hole.

I used a drill press with a Dremel tool round ball bit to make the dimples for drilling the alignment pin holes. That allowed me more precision than if I had just tried to drill them out freehand.

Another reason I chose the superglue/baking soda repair is, as you can see, the white repair area stands out like a sore thumb. 

When both locating holes were repaired I used a Minwax stain marker that’s used to cover scratches in wood furniture, as the baking soda/super glue absorbs the color readily. The red mahogany color is a perfect match for the grips on this pistol.  

(Note: the color and pattern of the grips vary from pistol to pistol, no two are identical).

Crosman 38T wood stain
Minwax 225 Red Mahogany stain marker blended the two repairs very well.

Now for some useful tips

According to the new Blue Book of Airguns, the Phase I pistol has a metal rear sight and cylinder as mentioned in Part 1 of the 38T blog. The Crosman Factory Service Manual shows that it also has a 1-piece cylinder base pin and screw that the cylinder rotates on, and holds the outer barrel in place. 

The Phase II pistol has a plastic rear sight, a plastic cylinder, a 2 piece cylinder base pin, and a screw that holds the outer barrel on. Like Tom, I have no clue how the Phase III model differs.

[Editor’s note: one of our readers said that in Phase III only .177 caliber was available. But no other differences were mentioned.]

Barrel alignment

Sometimes the sights may not have enough adjustment to get your point of impact to meet your point of aim. The manual says to remove the outer barrel, and then loosen the grub screw on the top strap (38-050). Then you can rotate the inner barrel to a different position to adjust your point of impact.

Crosman 38T parts

Velocity adjustment

The manual says there may be two reasons for a low velocity, first improper lubrication of the moving parts. Or, the velocity adjuster is either missing, or not in the correct place. Yes that’s right, this pistol has a velocity adjustment! It is a small spool-shaped spacer between the frame and flat hammer spring, shown as part # 38-104 in the exploded parts view above. If yours is missing, you can use a small nut, or plastic spacer

Crosman 38T power adjust
That spacer (arrow) puts variable tension on the hammer spring to vary the power of the gun.

For best results, the service manual suggests it be placed about 1 ¼ inch from the bottom of the spring, but since we don’t know the diameter of the original, it will be trial and error. 

Leaks

If the pistol is leaking from somewhere other than the CO2 piercing seal, you will have to remove the left side cover to locate them. 

DO NOT REMOVE THE COVER WHILE THE GUN IS PRESSURIZED!

The piercing block is under 800 psi or more when there is gas in the gun, and the block is held in place by the side cover only.

Once the gun is degassed, remove the sear spring and plunger (38-89 & 38-39), and the ball detent and spring (600-079 & 38-064) so they don’t get lost.

You have to hold the piercing block in place while you pressurize the gun. Use a parallel clamp or something similar, do not use vice grips, or other sharp-jawed tool that will damage the softer pot metal of the gun’s frame.

Crosman 38T clamp
Use a clamp to hold the piercing assembly in place when you pressurize the gun to check for leaks.

Put a several drops of Pellgun oil on the indicated areas (three arrows) to see if any bubbles form from leaks. If there are leaks, you can try tightening the connections just a little, if that does not stop the leaks, put your small parts back in and just wait until your seal kit comes in the mail. 

Cleaning and protecting your vintage airgun

I have been using Renaissance Wax for a while on my airguns, and for others I have worked on for friends. It is a brand of microcrystalline wax polish used in antique restoration and museum conservation. It cleans and protects the surface; so far I am quite pleased with the product. 

Crosman 38T Renaissance Wax
After repairs I use Renaissance Wax to protect the surface of the guns.

So there you have it, a quick repair, and hopefully some insights into a very neat vintage CO2 pistol. 

Take care, and be safe.

Ian


Crosman 38T Target revolver: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

38T
Crosman 38T.

Part 1

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • Expected velocity
  • The test
  • RWS Hobby
  • Norma Golden Trophy dome
  • RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle
  • JSB Exact RS dome
  • Discharge sound
  • Next
  • Double action
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Today we look at the velocity of the Crosman 38T target revolver from the 1960s through the ’80s. This one is a .177 model and is probably the third variation, but there is still a 38T in .22 caliber yet to come. There are a lot of things in store for us in this series, so grab your coffee and let’s get started.

Expected velocity

In Part One I said I expected the velocity with lightweight lead pellets to be in the 375-390 f.p.s. range. I determined that from several reports online. 

The test

Since the circular magazine holds six rounds, six was the number used to calculate velocity. Most strings were fired single-action, but I did shoot a couple double-action strings at the end of today’s test.

RWS Hobby

The RWS Hobby pellet that weighs 7 grains is the lightest lead pellet I know of. There are several in the RWS pellet line that weigh the same, like the Meisterkugeln Pistol and the Basic. All of them are wadcutters like the Hobby.

Six Hobbys averaged 431 f.p.s., which is pretty brisk for an oldie like this 38T. The low was 425 and the high was 439, so the spread was 14 f.p.s. This performance was unexpected and a pleasant surprise! At the average velocity this pellet develops 2.89 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Norma Golden Trophy dome

Next up was the Norma Golden Trophy dome — an 8.4-grain pellet that many say is equivalent to the RWS Superdome. Six of them averaged 398 f.p.s. The low was 386 and the high was 405 f.p.s., so the spread was 19 f.p.s. At the average velocity the Golden Trophy develops 2.96 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle

The next pellet to be tried was the 8.2-grain RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle wadcutter. Six of them averaged 401 f.p.s., with a 21 f.p.s. spread from 394 to 415 f.p.s. At the average velocity the Meisterkugeln Rifle develops 2.93 foot-pounds.

JSB Exact RS dome

The next pellet I tested was the 7.33-grain JSB Exact RS dome. Six of them averaged 422 f.p.s. with a 24 f.p.s. spread that ran from 412 to 436 f.p.s. At the average velocity the RS develops 2.9 foot-pounds of energy.

Discharge sound

The pistol registered 100.4 decibels on the sound meter. So it’s close to a 4 on the Pyramyd Air sound scale and not very suburban backyard friendly.

38T sound

Next

Now that I had a good idea of the power of the pistol, the next step was to determine the shot count. From my reading I expected it to be in the neighborhood of 50 shots per CO2 cartridge, but, given the additional power, who could say?

For this test I selected the RWS Basic pellet that weighs the same 7 grains as the Hobby. I did this because I’m running short of Hobbys and I wanted to save some for the accuracy test.

Double action

The first string of six that I fired single action averaged 413 f.p.s. with an 11 f.p.s. spread The next string that ended with shot 50 (the first shot was a blank to ensure the cartridge was pierced) averaged 416 f.p.s. with a 18 f.p.s. spread. That string I fired double action. So the difference between single-and double-action is almost nonexistent.

The third string I also fired double-action. It ended with shot 56 and averaged 405 f.p.s. I could hear that the discharge sound was diminishing with each shot. I could call that the end and say this cartridge gave me 56 good shots. But I continued and fired 12 more times. Let me show you what they were.

Shot.…….Vel
57….…….398
58……….383
59……….374
60……….361
61……….361
62……….356
63……….342
64……….326
65……….313
66……….299|
67.………288
68……….284

I stopped there just to avoid jamming a pellet in the barrel. Clearing the 38T of a jammed pellet would be more involved than many airguns because of the revolving cylinder.

Trigger pull

The single action trigger breaks at 4 lbs. 14 oz. There is some creep in the second stage pull.

Summary

This Crosman 38T revolver is performing sweetly so far. It has great power and gets a lot of shots on a cartridge.

Next up is the accuracy test. I can’t wait!


Crosman 38T Target revolver

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

38T
Crosman 38T.

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • History
  • Realistic
  • Single and double action trigger
  • Loading
  • Adjustable sights
  • Accuracy
  • Power
  • .22 is coming
  • She can also cook
  • Summary

Today we start looking at a vintage air pistol that many of you already love — Crosman’s 38T revolver. The T stands for target. This will be an in-depth look at the CO2-powered revolver that came in both .177 and .22 calibers. I hope to review both calibers for you in all the usual ways, plus I’m hoping that we’ll get a look inside the gun!

History

The 38T was produced from 1964 until 1985. It is distinguished by its 6-inch barrel. There was also a 38C (Combat) revolver in both calibers that had a 3.5-inch barrel. It also started in 1964 but ended in 1981. I bought a .177-caliber 38C brand new and used it for perhaps 20 years, but until this report I never owned or even handled a 38T. But other than the barrel length everything I say about the 38T also holds true for the 38C.

There are three variations of the 38-series air pistols. The first variant (1964-1973) has a metal rear sight blade and revolving cylinder. Variation 2 (1973-1976) has a plastic rear sight blade and revolving cylinder. And I haven’t got a clue how Variant three (1976 to end of production) differs from the other two, but the Blue Book of Airguns claims that it is separate, while giving no reason why.

There is also a chrome-plated version that is extremely rare. The Blue Book says it was a salesman’s sample, but other references say it was never issued. Maybe they are all agreeing because salesmen’s samples were never supposed to be sold to the public.

Realistic

These revolvers are very reminiscent of Smith & Wesson’s Hand Ejector revolvers — the ones with shrouded cranes. The grips are very reminiscent of later Hand Ejectors. The outside of the gun is nearly all metal — cold to the touch and heavy.

Even today, 36 years after the last one was made, the 38T is regarded as one of the most realistic pellet pistol lookalikes ever made. It has the weight, the size, the correct grips, the adjustable sights and all the features of the firearm it mimics with no condescension to plastics. It stands as an icon, together with the S&W 78G /79G and the Crosman Marks I and II.

The barrel is rifled so the pistol has the potential to be accurate. Naturally that will be something we test.

Single and double action trigger

The revolver has both a single and a double action trigger. The single action trigger pull is reasonably crisp, though there is a tiny bit of creep. The double action pull is heavy and creepy. It feels like the trigger parts need to be lubricated and just that may slick up the whole action.

While is looks to have a normal cylinder at first glance, only the thin front part of that cylinder rotates. That’s the part that holds the pellets until the gun  fires.

Loading

These revolvers loaded in a unique and peculiar way. On the left side of the gun there is a spring-loaded cover. To load, place a pellet in the U-shaped groove in the thin forward part of the cylinder that rotates, then cover the pellet with your finger or thumb and slide the pellet to the rear with a wiping motion. The pellet pushes the spring-loaded sliding cover back and when the pellet is over the open chamber that the sliding cover conceals, it drops right in. Finally, release the spring-loaded sliding cover and it pushes the pellet forward and into a chamber in the rotating cylinder.

38T pellet
To load a pellet, place the pellet in the groove in front of the spring-loaded sliding cover.

38T pellet finger
Put your finger or thumb on top of the pellet in the groove and press downward and to the rear in a wiping motion. The tail of the pellet’s skirt pushes the sliding cover back.

38T pellet drops
The sliding cover is all the way back and the pellet has dropped into the chamber. Release the spring-loaded cover and it will push the pellet into the chamber of the rotating cylinder of the revolver.

Adjustable sights

Like the revolvers they copy, the 38T and C both have adjustable sights. The .177-caliber gun I am testing for you in this report is either a second or third variation and the rear sight adjustment has no detents. This is the plastic sight and that might be the reason why.

Accuracy

I read reports of owners who say the 38T is quite accurate. That’s one of the big reasons why I wanted to test it. The 38C I once owned was not that accurate, because if it had been I would have remembered. At the time I owned it I was shooting a number of .357 Magnum revolvers that were shaped similarly and were also quite accurate, so I’m sure I gave the 38C a fair shake.

Power

From the reports the .177-caliber 38T should put lighter lead pellets out in the high 300 f.p.s. region — perhaps 375-390 f.p.s. The .22-caliber 38T will put light lead pellets out at around 350 f.p.s., so not that much slower. Of course that will be something we test.

.22 is coming

As I mentioned in the beginning, there is a 38T in .22 caliber in the works, as well. That one will be a special look at the gun, as well as a full test.

She can also cook

You may think that you don’t like lookalike airguns that much. Well, the 38T isn’t just for looks. If you were to set about to make a fine repeating air pistol today, you would be hard-pressed to do much better than this one. In other words it looks great and it also works. I think this is the real reason why the 38T has achieved the status of an airgun icon.

Summary

This series that will include several airguns from the past should be a good one. Once some of our collectors get on board we should all learn a lot about these fine air pistols.


The Daisy 35: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Daisy 35
Daisy 35 multi-pump pneumatic.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Velocity per pump stroke
  • More than 10 pumps?
  • Loading
  • Consistency
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • Velocity with BBs
  • Daisy Premium BB
  • Marksman Premium grade BBs
  • Smart Shot
  • Pump effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

Today we look at the velocity of the Daisy 35 multi-pump pneumatic. Let’s get started.

Velocity per pump stroke

First I tested the velocity per pump stroke with RWS Hobby pellets. Daisy says in the manual that 2 pumps are the least that should be used, so that’s where I started. Ten pumps are the maximum, and I was concerned to see if there would be any air left in the gun after firing after the maximum pumps. 

Pumps……Vel.
2…………….359
3…………….429
4…………….483
5…………….518
6…………….548
7…………….567
8…………….585
9…………….606
10..………….622 no air remaining after the shot

We see that the velocity increases with each pump stroke. The early strokes add the most velocity and things level off after 6 pumps. Velocity still increases, but the amount of the increase diminishes significantly.

More than 10 pumps?

I know that people always wonder what happens with additional pump strokes. I used to test that and here is what I have learned over the past 30 years. If you don’t exceed the recommended maximum number of pump strokes your airgun will remain fresh for a long time. Eventually the atmosphere does harden the seals and the velocity starts decreasing. This is when the gun starts to respond to more pump strokes than the recommended maximum. However, it will seldom exceed the maximum velocity of the same airgun with fresh seals. If it does, it will only be by a small amount. If you read the report I did on my Sheridan Blue Streak in 2016, especially Parts 2 and 3, you will see exactly what I’m talking about.

Pumping more times than the recommended maximum puts a strain on the bearings of the pump linkage. Any repair center can tell you that when they overhaul an older multi-pump, the linkage bearings are often shot. So I don’t do that anymore.

Loading

I tried loading the airgun with the reverse tweezers I told you about in Part 1. It did work, but not a hundred percent. While doing it I discovered the real loading problem with the gun and also how best to address it.

Daisy 35 loading tweezers
Loading the Daisy 35 with reverse tweezers was easy, but not necessary.

Several times the pellet I was loading fell backwards into the BB loading hole and that turned out to be the loading problem. It even happened when I used the tweezers. To load reliably I have to hold the rifle with the muzzle pointed down and roll the pellet into the loading trough with my thumb. It almost always falls into the breech when loaded that way.

Daisy 35 BB hole
That hole in the left side wall of the pellet loading trough is for BBs to be attracted to the magnet on the tip of the bolt. Unfortunately the hole is large enough for the skirt of the pellet to fall in and get jammed, so it won’t load when the bolt slides forward.

Consistency

Next I tested the 35 on 7 pump strokes with the same RWS Hobby pellet. This time ten shots averaged 576 f.p.s. The spread went from a low of 571 to a high of 579 f.p.s. That’s an 8 f.p.s. difference, which is reasonably tight and very typical of a multi-pump in good condition. Now let’s see how the gun does on different pellets.

Air Arms Falcons

I decide to test all other pellets on 7 pumps. The Air Arms Falcon dome averaged 554 f.p.s. The low was 542 and the high was 565, so the spread was 23 f.p.s. That is very large for a multi-pump. It suggests the Falcon may not be right for the Daisy 35.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

The last pellet I tested was the 5.25-grain Sig Match Ballistic Alloy wadcutter. On 7 pumps they averaged 624 f.p.s. The low was 621 and the high was 631, so a 10 f.p.s. spread that is not bad.

Thus far we have seen that the Daisy 35 is just as powerful as advertised on the Pyramyd Air website. Just for fun I pumped it 10 times and shot a Sig Match Ballistic pellet. It went out at 681 f.p.s. Is that close enough to the 690 f.p.s. printed on the box? You decide.

Velocity with BBs

Now let’s look at the velocity with BBs. I’ll test a conventional steel BB, a frangible BB, a lead BB and an oversized BB. All will be with 7 pumps. Let’s go!

Daisy Premium BB

First I tested 10 Daisy Premium Grade BBs. On 7 pumps they averaged 582 f.p.s. The low was 570 and the high was 605 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 35 f.p.s., which is not terrible considering how much smaller these BBs are than the bore of the 35.

Marksman Premium grade BBs

We know from testing that Marksman BBs measure 0.176-inches in diameter and are therefore too large to fit in many BB guns. But this gun is also for pellets and it fed and shot these BBs fine. They averaged 572 f.p.s., with a 47 f.p.s. spread from 549 to 596 f.p.s.

Smart Shot

Next tested were 10 Smart Shot lead BBs. Since they are not ferrous I didn’t try to feed them through the BB magazine but loaded them singly, like pellets. Smart Shot averaged 478 f.p.s. with a low of 453 and a high of 512 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 59 f.p.s.

Dust Devils

The last BB I tried was the Air Venturi Dust Devil. It’s lighter than the Daisy BB but also smaller in diameter, so I wondered what that would do to the velocity. Dust Devils averaged 570 f.p.s. with a 28 f.p.s. spread from 554 to 582 f.p.s.

Well, BBs weren’t as consistent in the Daisy 35, nor were they as powerful as lead pellets. I guess their one advantage beside low cost is that the steel ones feed through the magazine.

Pump effort

I said in Part 1 that the Daisy 35 seems easy to pump. But is it? 

Pump…Effort lbs.
1……………….5
2..…………….12
3..…………….12
4..…………….15
5..…………….20
6..…………….21
7..…………….19
8..…………….20
9..…………….19
10…………….21

What is happening, here? Why are more pumps taking less effort? I think the reason has to do with the speed of the pump stroke. Slow down and it gets easier, but you don’t seem to lose any velocity. So the Daisy 35 is definitely an airgun for younger folks.

Trigger pull

The single-stage trigger breaks with 5 lbs. 5 oz. pressure. That is about ideal for young people and new shooters. The break is reasonably crisp, so it’s very pleasant.

Summary

The Daisy 35 is stacking up quite well so far. And with my previous experience back in 2011, I believe it will also be accurate. We will see.