Things I liked: I have waited a while to do this review after my purchase. I bought 2 of these guns in .22 in July, one of which was for my father. The gun is clearly priced as an entry gun. It has a nice looking stock and is powerful. Both guns averaged around 730 FPS with 14 grain pellets in the 10 for ten tests, but with high variability indicating much dieseling - they both smoked for a long time. I like the entry price, look, weight, power, and balance of the gun.
Things I would have changed: The poor trigger and poor reliability are the gun's biggest drawbacks. Neither shot even close to accurately until I put in Charlie's GRT-III triggers. The scope mounts are junk, and the scope is OK to start but won't last long term on a gun that fires as harshly as this. I suggest Crosman ditch the scope and sell it with just open sights, and put the money in the trigger and make sure the mainspring is more reliable. The price could stay the same and customers would get a robust entry shooter with good power at a fair price/profit.
What others should know: Out of two guns purchased, both failed. My father's gun had the sear and anti-beartrap mechanism fail at around 50 shots - the barrel slammed shut without the trigger being pulled, with the safety on. The barrel bent and the stock broke, but fortunately no fingers were near the breech. PA exchanged the gun with no problem. My father's new gun is still under 700 shots, 300 of which I did without the scope mounted to start to get it to settle in for him. On mine, the front scope mount failed almost immediately necessitating buying a new mount (one piece), then the scope stopped holding zero at around 700 shots, and the mainspring broke at around 1400 shots. Rather than go the warranty route (Crosman would likely have replaced it and set me back to square one on breaking it in), I sent it to Gene in SC for a Turbo Tune. My gun has turned out to be quite a nice little shooter, but the final cost was $300 (original gun plus $30 trigger and $150 fix/tune), plus more for another scope. Mine now chronys at 700 FPS with Beeman FTS 14.6 grain pellets (the best for my gun), and I can get 1/2" 10 shot groups rested at 20 yards, so I'm reasonably happy with it. My father's, without the tune, is not as accurate and is a lot harsher to shoot, but he still likes it - I just wonder when his will fail too. I wish I had spent less money in the end by spending a little more up front for the much superior RWS-34, or at least the Nitro NPSS.
Things I liked: It makes focusing so much easier, especially with a palm up forehand hold - just rotate it with a finger or thumb while sighting in. Easy to install and easy to use.
Things I would have changed: Nothing about the product, but the information on this item should point out that it works best on pneumatics and low recoil springers. High recoil springers should not use this product - I know because that is what I tried to use it on.
What others should know: Do not use on a higher power springer. I have a fairly smooth shooting tuned Quest 800, and the additional mass of the wheel (even though it is light)caused the focus to "walk" off its setting in only 1 or 2 bench rest shots. The recoil was still too strong for the wheel and scope combo. I feared for the durability impact on the scope, and thus took it off. I'll save it to use on a future PCP.
Things I liked: Simply a wonderful rifle! Very nice shot cycle, and not too hold sensitive – just enough to make you need to be fairly consistent, but not so much that being a little off throws the shot way wide. Very accurate – mine can put ten shots inside 0.3” ctc at 20 yards with my front hand supported on the bench and no rear bag, if I do my part (which I’m working on more now that I have this fabulous rifle). The open sights are very good, but I prefer to use a peep sight on it (I have the Daisy Avanti Precision Sight on it fits it quite well, but it has to be really torqued down to stay in place). It is becoming my favorite rifle to shoot. It is also a much better value than the R7 – I’d trade checkering on the stock for good open sights any day, and you get to save about $50 too.
Things I would have changed: The cocking linkage needs to improved – it is a “U” channel, and the rough edge slides along the tube making scraping noise and cutting a groove as you shoot. There is a simple fix that can be applied by most of us by installing a plastic strip as a bearing inside the main link channel (if you are comfortable working with tools you can do this), and with it the gun cocks very quietly, smoothly, and easily (Google R7 or HW30 cocking link for info on this and where to get a good fitting piece). After this 20 minute fix, the gun is a dream to shoot. I don’t know why HW does not do this themselves – it would cost them very little and it greatly improves the gun. It is a shame to have to tear into a new gun and risk voiding the warranty, but this is a fix that is best applied sooner rather than later – even one tin of pellets leads to noticle grooves being cut in the spring tube (all hidden by the stock, of course).
What others should know: I have found the best pellet to be the JSB Exact 8.4 grain, after having also tested CPLs, JSB 7.33 grain (second best), JSB 7.87 grain, and Predator Polymags (the worst). But other than the Polymags, all are quite useable. After over 1000 shots it is shooting the 8.4 grain JSBs right at about 610 fps for just under 7 FPE. Interestingly, the 7.9 grain CPLs shoot at about 595 fps – they fit the bore real tight, so that might be why they are slower than the JSBs.