Sunday, 7 December 2014

Crosman 2240 Co2 pistol, The Most Moddable Pistol Ever. A Review

The Crosman 2240 is Co2 air pistol that only comes in .22, but will knock out a pellet at close to 6 ft/lb if you get a good one. This one tends to do around 5 ft/lb with medium weight pellets on a warm day, though as is the case with all Co2 guns, power drops with the temperature.  

That's 4.65 ft/lb on a cold winters day

Costing under £100 quid, you could easily spend up to four times that on replacing parts and modding the gun to your own satisfaction which thousands of owners have done, turning out some rather splendid guns, some of which are nothing like the original.

My basic model, this one is over two years old and has had a lot of use.

The pistol itself is a very simple design and one that Crosman and Benjamin have been using for many decades, though the 2240 is by far the sleekest model to date. It consists of a tube that holds the 12 gram Co2  and the 22XX valve, with a hammer and spring behind that and an end cap to hold it in place. The front end has a weighty knurled steel front cap which when screwed in pushes the Co2 cartridge against the valve to seal it.  First shot will pierce the Co2 capsule, then it's ready to shoot pellets at it's full power.

The front cap needs only to be fairly finger tight, though there is a slot so it could be made tighter by using a penny or a screwdriver with a very large flat head.

The trigger guard and pistol grip frame screw in with two screws from the underside; the pistol grips are ambidextrous  with a thumb rest both sides which sweep back in the way that modern pistol grips do. It is just as comfortable to hold and shoot in either hand and the trigger, though quite thin, is a crescent moon shape and is surprisingly comfortable to use, a bit like one you would find on a PO8 or Luger (same thing really). The safety is built into the frame and blocks the trigger, a typical Crosman design.

A design that has been going for decades on many American air pistols.

The breech is plastic and holds on with an Hex screw found in the loading tray, which itself is fairly spacious and loading pellets is a doddle. 

Pellets just drop in, even these 25 gr Norica bullet shaped ones, and they are very long.

The sealing O ring is found on the brass cocking bolt as is the way with the majority of single shot pneumatics. 

Bolt probe with seal and a hex bolt that connects the plastic breech to the body. Can easily strip if not careful when removing it.

The bolt handle is small but does the job, there is no spring but it locks into place in the L shaped slot on the right hand side, being only an annoyance to left handed people. The size, shape or material of the breech means there are no scope rails, though some scope mounts would bolt onto the 10 mm barrel if you want to scope the basic model. The Sheridan multi pump air rifles use the same block mounts.

Brass bolt and plastic breech, cheap but it does work.

The barrel sits in the breech and is supported by an ali barrel band that is held in place with a grub screw and protrudes past the main tube of the body.  It is cast and not of a high finish as you can clearly see the molding lines, same with the plastic breech as well.

The one grub screw is ample to secure the short barrel in place.

Over the front end is a plastic ramped sight with a square post, which has a tendency to be knocked out of place at times. 

The front sight which is not glued or heat shrunk in place and annoyingly moves, suppose its an easy way to adjust the windage.

The rear sight is a flat piece of steel that screws into an adjustable plastic mount at the rear of the breech. Adjustment is made by loosening the screws and moving the sight to the desired position by small nudges then tightening again. I tend to find it annoying if truth be told, but on the bright side you can flip the rear sight upside down giving you the option of a square notch or a hole for a simple peep sight.

The rear sight, loosen screws, adjust to taste then tighten. Tight enough so they don't move when knocked, but not too tight so you strip the plastic that is in abundance here.

At arms length the front post has a lot of space either side of it when viewed through the rear notch, so one could be smaller or the other a bit wider to increase accuracy. Practice can only improve your group sizes as you get use to the sights, a lot more practice in my case and a new glasses perscription as well!

Five shot group with superdome's with two hands free standing at 10 yards, vertical line is because power was dropping off (honest!). I got off three more shots then ended the test as I had no more Co2 capsules on me.

The basic pistol is moddable in countless ways without even buying any extras. A small screw and hex kit, some small round files and a cheapo Dremel drill and you're away. Though there are countless companies out there that sell upgrade aftermarket parts, you could end up spending a large amount of money doing one up. Access to a lathe and milling machine will save you loads if you have the knowhow to use them, but most people will order all their upgrades from companies such as Gmac for the UK market. In the US, the Crosman company itself now offer their own design yourself 2240 as home modding has proved so popular.

The starting point for some of the wildest air rifle and pistol creations out there.

Steel breech conversions are the most popular and make good sense as you can fit scope rings onto them; shiny brass replacement parts to bling up the pistol are another popular choice. With Gmac alone the possibilities are endless, with countless pistol grip designs, full stocks, extension barrels, conversion to HPA (high powered air, or something like that), muzzle breaks, power adjusters, shiny barrel bands and bits and bobs in brass or many adonised colours. As I say, the choice is never ending. If you look at the Ratcatcher Crosman 2250 which is being sold for 200 quid at the moment , you will find it's just the same valve, hammer, spring and tube as the 2240 pistol, but with a steel breech for mounting scope rings, a plastic fore stock and shoulder stock, and an 18 inch barrel which knocks the power up to 10 ft/lb from 6 ft/lb. As it is not a pistol any longer but a carbine rifle you can get it up to 12 ft/lb will a little fettling, I have heard of FAC versions of 60ft/lb which with a larger bore, a long barrel, and a bit of valve and transfer port fettling is entirely believable. 

The best conversion i've seen to date is one where it's made to look an AR 15, but it's all down to personal taste and it's only imagination that can limit any creation based on the 2240 chassis. But I like the basic model, it is accurate and is very comfortable to hold and shoot and fun. I have often taken it with me when taking the dogs on a walk around the woods where I can shoot, just shooting stones off walls or hitting small branches and leaves keeps my simple mind happy.


Keep safe and warm, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Crosman 1077, Smoothbore Repeating Rifle, A Review.

The Crosman 1077 air rifle is a CO2 'semi automatic' air rifle based on the famous Ruger 1022 rimfire rifle. In truth, it's not a true semi automatic as the trigger moves the circular mag onto the next round before releasing the hammer against the valve, and the barrel is (on the UK version at least) smooth bore and not rifled which really just makes it a pellet gun and not a rifle. It's great fun though, so much so that the wifey claimed it for herself! This is the ultimate seal of approval in our household and means I have as much chance at tinkering with it as a chicken enjoying a holiday at a Colonel Sanders theme park.

It's another Co2 gun that tries to look like the real thing....  good fun though.

There is no actual law stating you can't have a rifled semi automatic air rifle in the UK but it's all pretty ambigious and importers are playing it safe. G mac sell an aftermarket rifled barrel for under 20 quid to pop right in, but these have to be sent to an RDF, though can posted to your home as long as you send them your old smooth bore barrel. On the whole I reckon this is worth doing as they are fairly accurate out to 30 yards with the rifled barrel whereas with the smoothbore you're luck if you can hit a tin can at that same distance.

The rifle is mainly made from plastic with the inner and outer barrel liner, Co2 tube parts, most of the valve and most of the trigger mechanism being the only metal parts on the thing. There was once a model with a wooden stock but they are mostly made from a hollowed black plastic which makes the rifle very light and is pretty tough and sturdy. It could be filled to give the gun some substance.

The knurled rod has got to be the heaviest lump of metal on the whole gun

The trigger pull is quite heavy, as it has to not only pull the hammer back but cycle the next round as well. People have shortened the hammer spring to increase muzzle velocity, but this only makes the trigger stiffer and in my opinion isn't worth doing given that the increase in power that it achieves is minute. The trigger does get lighter in time but not by that much; a polish of the sear and some molly grease helps a little as well. 

It's upside down, but the tab on the right is hooked by the trigger to index the next shot. It's all plastic here.

Just when you think it can't get any heavier, the hammer releases and hits the valve, it fires the pellet with a fairly loud report for the 7 ft/lb of power the rifle produces. The safety is on the trigger guard and pushes over to one side stopping the trigger from moving, this is a typical Crosman design.

Plastic safety, plastic trigger, plastic trigger guard, plastic plastic plastic

There is a plastic revolving 12 shot magazine which fits into the top of a box mag that slides and locks into the underside of the gun.

Pull back the lock pin to release the 12 shot mag, push back the lock pin when replacing the mag or it tends not to work.

Press in the two tabs either side of the box mag to release it from the gun and slide back the spring loaded pin on top of that to remove the revolving mag to reload. 

Squeeze tabs either side of the mag and pull down, it just slots straight back in. A gormless expression while doing this is of course optional.

Wadcutters give the best result, and besides, you couldn't fit any longer pellets for love nor money. In case of a pellet getting jammed, the inner barrel can be slipped forward a little by lifting and unclipping two plastic tabs connected to the barrel in the receiver end.

The barrel tabs.

Push down then forward moves the barrel forward.

 One 12 gram Co2 sits in the tube below the barrel; the  Co2 is connected to the valve by a copper tube that bypasses the mag and firing mechanism. When the firing pin in the valve is struck, it moves forward allowing Co2 to shoot out the valve through the hollowed out end of the pin. This pushes the end of the valve airtight against the revolving mag, which in turn is pressed airtight against the breech end of the barrel to send a pellet merrily on it's journey to the tin can of your choice.

Hopefully you can see where the rotary mag fits and seals between the barrel and the black tip of the valve, seal being the opprative word here.

The open sights are your typical simple Crosman affair, with the front sight on a ramp with a green tru-glo rod in it, 

Tru-glo sights, you either love them or hate them. They actually work on this gun and i despise the fucking things.

and the rear sight adjusts side to side by using a screwdriver and lots of trial and error, and elevation set on a sliding notched ramp. 

Rear sights are a bit rudimentary, but then it's not exactly a competition rifle is it?

These work just fine with the smooth bore barrel and are even good fun in speed shooting games; though most people use action type replica pistols for this, I think it would be just as fun using rifles as well. If you want to mount a scope or dot sight then there is an 11 mm rail molded into the top of the receiver; having the rifled barrel would really make good use of a mounted scope.

Scope rail on top, yep they're plastic. But with no recoil they work well enough along as you don't over tighten the mounts.

I got just under a two inch group with 12 shots at 15 yards using the open sights. I think a scope would vastly improve this grouping, but don't count on it. I found that the square front post filled the square notch in the rear sight too much, so that the grouping spread out from left to right; vertically the group spread half an inch which shows promise considering I was shooting from a kneeling stance. Some extra support between the inner and outer barrel has been proven to increase accuracy by other 1077 owners, so this looks like a good route to follow in the future. 

That grouping is instant death to any beer can at 30 yards.

One 12 gram Co2 bulb will give you four mags worth of shots before there is any drop in power, that's 48 pellets. You could probably squeeze another mag, but you will really start to notice the drop in power and could even end up with a pellet stuck in the barrel. 

At around 80p a bulb it could expensive if you had a lot of Co2 guns and rifles.

When fitting a new Co2 cartridge, it is recommended to put a dab of silicone oil on the tip so that you make a better seal, and so that the oil shoots through the valve, lubricating those all important small parts of the valve and it's seals.

A smear of silicone oil is best, but grease will work. However a dab of grease may gunk the gun up, which is where I think I have gone wrong.

On firing, you can notice a good old spray of Co2 follow the pellet out of the barrel, which makes me wonder if there is a bit of wastage there. Maybe a heavy pellet might be of some use in this case, but you won't be getting any where near the advertised 620 fps.

Two years ago when I first got this rifle, i'm sure it was spitting pellets out at pretty close to Crosman's estimate, however i'm lucky to get 450 FPS with 7 grain Wadcutters nowadays.  

It should do better than this with 7 grain wadcutters.

It looks like this gun will be coming apart to see what is causing this lower muzzle velocity, not that it's a major problem at the moment, but it should be doing better. On the bright side, there was only a 20 FPS drop when I fired a full mag of 12 pellets in rapid fire mode, and taking into account that it was a cold winter's day in Britain, I wasn't too disappointed. 

I always thought that converting the rotary mag to take 10 .22 pellets and fitting a .22 barrel would be a bit of a hoot and would certainly use up a lot of that wasted Co2, but that's just a pipe dream at the moment, even though it would most likely put out 9 ft/lb and be pretty handy at short range ratting.

It's a fun gun and for £100 you can't go far wrong. There is plenty of info on the internet about them and even a detailed strip down. plus lots of info on which modifications work and which don't. So if you're bored and have a savage dislike of tin cans then I suggest you get one of these.


Fondest wishes, Wing commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe. 


Friday, 24 October 2014

.22 Air Arms s410 Carbine Review pt2

I bought and reviewed the s410 very early on this year, which really could only be a cosmetic review. Now that I have owned and used it for nearly a year, I can give a more comprehensive practical review of this classic air rifle.

.22 Air Arms s410 carbine with Bushnell Trophy 3-9x40 scope.

This particular S410 is a pre-anti tamper model from 2002; the serial number to tell you this can be found on the hammer housing below the breech on the right hand side. 

Air Arms will be happy to let you know the age of your rifle.

The bolt handle on the right hand side curves upwards, almost as if someone had put a left handed bolt handle on by mistake, but this was how they were fitted from the factory for a short period. I perfer it this way as it feels a lot more solid and easier to use, it sticks out more but you can just tap it up with your palm and pull back. To cock and cycle the mag you need to use clear defined motions with a firm hand.

Bolt sticks out, but I actually prefer it that way.

There is no safety on the trigger blade which shows it's an earlier model, so I got into the habit of not cocking the rifle until I needed to take a shot. The trigger is two stage and adjustable in both, though it is set up perfectly as it is. There is is a shortish first stage travel and the second stage let off is crisp, predictable, and relatively light. I don't have any equipment to measure the trigger pull but I know a good trigger when I feel one!

Old style trigger with no safety, but still has all the adjustment you could ever want.

The Air Arms moderator is very good and on firing the rifle is whisper quiet, in fact the spring and hammer are heard over the report.  It slips over the end of the barrel and is secured with a grub screw, the fitting is 10 mm diameter.

Air Arms moderator

The barrel band at the front is secured by two grub screws and can shift if the moderator is knocked hard enough; this is sorted by loosening the grub screws, letting the barrel reset itself, then locking it in place by tightening the grub screws. You know this has happened if your POI has shifted over to the left or right for no apparent reason, though you can buy after market barrel bands that have three grub screws to hold it in place more securely.

One of the two barrel band securing grub screws,

Accuracy is very good, with the selection of .22 pellets I have tried in it so far giving half inch groups at 40 yards. Shots were taken sat down with my elbows supported on my thighs so could be improved upon if bench rested.

Pellets in order of accuracy.               Muzzle energy.

Air Arms diabolo's 16gr                            11 ft/lb

H&N Field Trophies 14.65gr                      11.3 ft/lb

Falcon Accuracy Plus 13.65gr                    10.2 ft/lb

RWS Superdomes 14.5gr                          10.5 ft/lb

Falcon Accuracy Plus being a lighter pellet will give less muzzle energy than a heavier pellet.

Until I recently got a new chronoscope I had been charging the rifle to 185 bar, shooting six or seven mags of 10 pellets, then topping up the cylinder when I got back home. The guage on the rifle will only give you a rough idea of how much air you have, after seven mags the rifle guage reads 100 bar but the more accurate pump guage reads 115 bar. One time air pressure in the rifle got so low that it dumped the rest of the air over the two hours before I got home to refill it, and this is why I now shoot no more than seventy shots.

On board pressure guage gives a rough guide.

I ran a shot string through the chronoscope recently with 5,51 AA diabolo's starting at 195 bar, pellets were straight from the tin and some of their skirts were not that round either. I measured one shot in every five, removing the mag and dry firing the other four. 18 shots were recorded giving the equivalent of a 90 shot string, I was mildly surprised and very happy with the results as there was only an extreme spread of 12 FPS.

The magazine is indexed by the rifle itself from a unit that runs along the right hand side of the action, and although the mag in it's plastic casing looks like a spring loaded magazine, it's not. 

Pellets are loaded nose first through the hole in the yellow plastic.

The casing keeps the pellets in the mag and helps it slide into the action and lock it in place, though sometimes the bolt slips forwards a little if not held back, and clashes with the mag when loading it. 

The tip of the bolt can get in the way of the magazine if you're not careful.

Pulling the bolt back to change mags also cocks the rifle, so fitting a full mag will leave the rifle cocked and ready to fire. I usually leave the last chamber empty then fit the mag returning the bolt; firing the empty chamber leaves it ready to cock and load the next pellet and acts as a safety. Filling the mag with most .22 pellets is simple as they fall in leaving it free to click on to the next chamber, however pellets that are 5.52 mm tend to need a nudge in from the head of the next pellet to be loaded.

The brass pin moves up to cycle the magazine when cocking the rifle.

The rifle is light and has a compact feel to it even with the moderator fitted, with a bipod fitted it would need a sling but I am in no immediate rush for one. I have found that it's size and weight make it easy to carry over the most treacherous of ground, and it comes to the shoulder and aquires target easily whether standing, supported, kneeling, or prone. What would be a vast improvement would be an adjustable butt pad; the rifle tends to sit high in my shoulder most of the time. Everything else fits really well; the length of pull, the fit of the pistol grip, and the chequering on the forestock and pistol grip works well and is not too obtrusive on the laquered beech stock.

Simple chequering gives good grip, even when wet.

The Bushnell Throphy 3-9x40 scope has got to be the best scope I own, most of my other scopes are Nikko Sterling and as good as they are, you can see how much better this one is. The quality of the lenses is absolutely amazing by comparison, though to look at externally the low turrets would be the only indication that this is a more expensive scope. 

A rather splendid Bushnell Trophy scope.

The sight picture is crystal clear and at 9 mag there is no distortion around the rim of the lens, it transmits plenty of light well into dusk and in dark woods which is where I do a lot of shooting. It has a very fine half mil dot recticule, this also makes for a good aquisition of target in low lighting. It's sighted for 8 and 30 yards, around 20 yards is a mil dot above, 38 yards is a mil dot below and 45 yards is two generally.

Just to show the half mil dot recticule, the sight picture is really crystal clear. Honestly.

Admittedly I don't tend to shoot things as far out as I do my other Air Arms PCP which is the Shamal, but that one is .177 and the S410 is .22; the larger calibre with it's more pronounced trajectory hits home with more authority. There is room for improvement but Air Arms have addressed this over the years by bringing out the S510 and then the Ultimate Sporter, and the quality is reflected in the prices for these air rifles

Air Arms Shamal, one solid, accurate air rifle.

One niggle I do have is that when the end cap is removed to fill the rifle with air, if you are not careful the adapter on the pump can scratch the underside of the moderator when taking it off after charging. I have have to be really careful when doing this, although I could just wrap a piece of cloth around the moderator to protect it which is the better option all round.

Scuff marks on the moderator are caused when removing the charging adaptor.

So there you have it, a review on the Air Arms s410 Carbine after using it for ten months. I could have shown you some groupings with different pellets at different ranges, but truth be told the rifle easily outperforms my ability as a marksman.


Best wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe.

Using the Pro Chrono Digital

 An out of the box review.

Having already owned a chronograph which unfortunately met an untimely death, you end up wondering how you ever coped without one in the first place. But after six months without one, I am relieved to say I am now the proud owner of a brand new Competition Electronics Pro Chrono Digital, and bloody good it is too. There is another version which is not digital, but the advantage of going for the digital version is that it can be connected to a laptop and stores your info in a file. For an extra £60 (at time of writing), ProChrono will supply you with a cable to connect the unit to a computer, and a software disk which stores the full range of info in an easy to read format.

Well worth the wait.

On opening the box you see the 3 by 4 by 12 inch unit, two light diffusers, four metal rods and a booklet of easy to understand instructions in English. The body is a tough plastic and the whole unit is two lbs in weight. It is powered by one 9 volt battery with storage space for a spare which is handy in case you run out of power down the range, though a good battery should run for 10 hours solid. 

Extra battery storage is a clever idea.

The battery box is on the underside next to a brass screw-in connector which allows you to mount the unit on a camera tripod, this makes it easy to target shoot off hand and get a reading at the same time.

There is a tripod around, but the wifey tends to use it for photography.

The read-out on the front gives you the FPS read-out; it can be changed to MPS at the touch of a button and will tell you the high and low of each shot string. If you want ft/lb's you have to work it out yourself (I use this handy free online calculator: ), or buy the software supplied by ProChrono. The two buttons above the read-out and three below are easy to understand and use, and after one read of the instructions I understood their function completely.

Very wide sensors.

To set it up and use is simplicity itself; pop in a battery, turn it on at the side, shoot over the sensors on top and you get the speed of the projectile on the read-out. Next to the on/off button are two jack plug ports for the remote and PC cable, this is in a shallow recess which offers a degree of protection from damage when using outdoors.

This bit seems straightforward.

The two light diffusers front and back sit on two 13 inch rods and mount solidly into the unit, also giving a rough guide to a 12 inch ark of sensor coverage. When I used it for the first time, it was in the shadow of a woodland on a sunny day. I shot 5 20 shot strings without a single error from the chronograph. There was no need to calibrate anything, just put in the batteries, switch on and shoot. 

It really is a case of fit the batteries and you're ready to go.

The read-out gave the speed in FPS after every shot without having to reset, and stores the info even when the batteries are removed. The only time I have had an error was on one occasion when trying to measure a very slow moving pellet; although it should measure from 30 to 7000 FPS, more care must be taken over slower projectiles.

Chronoscope with light diffuser and poles

The five buttons around the read-out are used respectively to change the shot string, redisplay, review, delete shot, and delete string. The unit will store up to 9 strings - each string containing up to 99 shots - before it's full and needs deleting. This is where having the PC cable and ProChrono software come in handy. It would also be handy to be able to view a live readout on a computer screen.

It really isn't rocket science, in fact it's pretty self explanitory.

All in all I am utterly impressed by the ProChrono Digital, it can be set up in seconds and can be easily operated even by an idiot (which is just as well in my case). Now I can get to diagnosing problems in my old air rifles and make sure my favourite air rifles are still performing well. I may even test my crossbow and slingshot. Until then ...


Best wishes, Wing Comander Sir Nigel Tetlington- Smythe.