DT Fletcher's Crosman model information
DT Fletcher's Crosman model information
Taken from an incomplete list Dean drew up starting in about 2000.
With thanks to Citizen K for the heads up.
The model 100 is the .177 caliber version of the Crosman rifle. The .177 caliber version is first introduced around 1940 fully fifteen years after the first Crosman rifles. The only explanation is that Frank Hahn, Crosman Arms President/owner from 1925-1939, was extremely conservative in his business practices after his son, P.Y. Hahn, left the company in 1930/31. The Crosman Arms product lineup remained essentially unchanged for the next 10 years until the elder Hahn's death in 1939. When P.Y. took over the company in 1940 he had little money or resources to make the changes that he really wanted to make. However, the addition of the new caliber was an easy way to expand the product line without any extra engineering or manufacturing costs. It would remain the only change to the Crosman line up until after the war.
The 101 was manufactured, in one form or another, under one name or another, from 1925 to 1950. The "Crosman" was the first air rifle made in the United States with adults as the intended users. Up until 1923, air rifles were strictly a boys gun designed to shoot BBs, slugs, or darts. No air rifle made-in-America possessed a rifled barrel until the Crosman. After 1925, the design settled down to what we now call the model 101. For a quarter-century, it is standard by which all other air rifles were compared.
The heritage of the first Crosman rifle is clearer to this author now than at first. I originally speculated that the famous Giffard air rifles from the 1880s and 1890s were involved. But, it is now clear that the idea for the Crosman came from the combination of the British BSA Air Rifle and the early Benjamin model "E" and "F" Air Rifles. The Benjamin connection has always been clear but where the European influence camer from was muddy. But, in researching for my latest book, the St. Louis and Benjamin Air Rifle Cos., I came to better appreciate the importance of the 1903 Birmingham Air Rifle "Riot" and the resulting popularity of the BSA Air Rifle.(Read about it in Ring My Bell 'An old Black Country sport" by Frank Spittle.) It almost certainly was all of this commotion, and the BSA Air Rifle, that drew the attention of a Rochester, N.Y., chauffeur's European-traveling benefactor.
Value? Depends on the variation and even more on condition. These were not closet queens. 101s were purchased to be used and used they were. So, any 101 in something close to excellent original condition is rare and usually commands a stiff premium, often double or more in value when compared to the same model in typical condition. Bottom line: an average-condition post-war 101 complete and working is worth at least $100 - $125.
But not all Crosman 101s were created equal. The variations are so many that cataloging every one of them could prove to be difficult. Minor production variations abound. With an educated eye, it's possible to tell the vintage of almost any individual model 101 to within a year or two of manufacture. Those collectors looking for real insight into the post-war guns have the newThe Crosman Arms Library Vol. 2 - Crosman Arms Model-101 & 121-CG Engineering Parts Drawings. These engineering parts drawings (EPDs) provide the roadmap to identifying the late models down to the month in some cases. Fascinating stuff to see how many changes actually occur over time with even a long proven design.
The Crosman Rifle was a modern design, but, until 1945, they were all made with 1890s-era manufacturing technology. The machine tools used to produce the first Crosman Rifles were, even by 1923 standards, obsolete overhead- drive machine tools, probably powered by a steam engine. Since the machine tools could not be moved, each journeyman airgun assembler would have to move a rack of guns to each machine to perform the needed functions. This is the exact opposite of modern manufacturing. This style of individual hand building also results in small detail variations gun-to-gun. It all adds to fun and mystique of collecting this, the grand daddy of all collectable American air rifles.
Approximate values for some common variations: Add $25-$35 for a pre-war model. 1925 - 1926 models add about $100 when condition permits. $25 for walnut stock. $15- $25 for high-comb stock. The pre-war models all had decals on the pump stock, add $20 for this. Some 1925 - 1930 guns have some simple checkering on the stock and/or pump arm, add another $10 - $15 for this.
The early 1925-1930 models were in general more fragile than the later guns, so, it seems that these early models, besides just being that much older, really took a beating, many are incomplete. At a recent auction, a first variation 1925 model 101, with the original box, went for over $300, and was considered to be a bargain at that. The box was in poor condition but the gun was a honey. There is a special quality to the 1925 - 1930 vintage Crosmans that is unique. 1925-1930 were the happy years for Crosman Arms and it shows both in the exciting advertising and in the guns. After 1930, things were different and the guns began to take on a more consistent-manufactured look.
Read all about these fascinating and historic airguns in my book,The Crosman Rifle 1923-1950.
Getting service on a gun that hasn't seen manufacturing in 50 years can be a problem. Only a few shops are left that want to deal with 'em. Self-service really isn't a great option with these guns either, unless you are handy with a lath. For proper servicing, the main air chamber needs to be pulled out and a groove cut for an O-ring. This puts the job out of reach for all but the most advanced hobbyist.
DT Fletcher 12/2000
Crosman Arms Model "CG" (Compressed Gas) Rifle
Certainly one of the most interesting and interesting-looking airguns ever manufactured. Really, little more than a CO2 tank stuck under the standard Crosman Model 101. And, other than removing the check valve and using a hard-rubber valve seat, there is almost no difference between the two. Still, when introduced in 1947, the CG was the first commercially-available CO2 rifle in America. In fact, as far as I know, the Crosman CG was the first commercially-available CO2 airgun anywhere since the Giffard's from the early 1890s in France. A span of over 50 years! Remarkable when you think about it. How many other product applications are there where the second attempt at commercialization takes place 50 years later? However, the failure of the Giffard guns wasn't so much a failure of CO2 as an airgun. The intent, and eventual failure, of the Giffard guns was in trying to compete with firearms.
The CG was the handy-work of famed-Crosman-design-engineer Rudy Merz, but knowing that alone would miss the point. The CG was entirely the idea of Crosman Arms President and owner Philip Yawman Hahn. Hahn cared nothing about what the thing looked like, he just knew that CO2 was the genie that would produce millions for whoever could contain it and he was determined to be the one with the magic container.
Speaking of containers: One of the stories that W.H.B Smith talks about in his book, Gas, Air, and Spring Guns of the World (pg.96), is that the CO2 tanks for the CG guns came from war-surplus supply. According to the Crosman buyer at the time (Jerry Sorce), Crosman never purchased war-surplus material of any sort for production. That certainly wouldn't have stopped Rudy Merz or Hahn from bringing in some boxes of war-surplus tanks. If any CG guns do have war-surplus tanks then, chances are, that they would be the ones without the safety on the bottom. The CG tanks with the safety were specified by Crosman, see The Crosman Rifle 1923 - 1950.
100CG, 101CG: No factory records exist for the production of these model numbers. Guns described as being a 101CG model are often found to be .21 caliber (121CG) models. In the factory, a .22 caliber CG would have been a model 122CG.
122CG: Referring to W.H.B. Smiths (page 208) That ain't no misprint. There is no question that the gun pictured (x-ray'd) is a 122CG. The first giveaway is that the rear sight is a standard-model-101 rear sight. Notice also that the rear cocking knob is not the CG-style cocking knob. In Smiths, what we are looking at is a 122CG prototype! It's a standard off-the-shelf 101 that's sporting one of those war-surplus CO2 tanks (no safety). I don't think that this particular model ever saw production. When CG production started, it was as the model 121CG.
Slant Tank models: Some CGs came with a slanted tank. The general consensus has been that this was a later variation. I'm not convinced of this, one way or the other. It wasn't until late-in-production that Crosman opened up the sales of CG guns to the public. Even then, you had to be a member of an organized shooting club to get one. The slant-tank 22 caliber CG may have been a gun sold to the public via the shooting club program. Or, the slant-tank models may also have been in reaction to requests from gallery owners for a gun that could be used by shorter shooters. Crosman was extremely anxious to get these pioneering CO2 guns in the field and would take special orders. A slant-tank model usually adds about $50 to the value. It should be noted that the slant-tank feature is movable. There is no way of telling if the gun originally came with the slant-tank feature or if it was added later.
121CG: As a modern .21 caliber pellet gun, the 121CG is unique. It is unique in another way also, it is a commercial airgun. The 121CG was intended to be used by commercial shooting galleries. This explains the .21 caliber. The intention was to restrict the shooting galleries to purchasing supplies from Crosman only, ie, a monopoly. A great idea, only the entire Crosman Rifle Ranges Inc. idea failed and the .21 caliber guns quickly faded away. 121CG are probably the most common of the CG guns found. There are some sub-variations of the 121CG that add special interest and value. As stated before, Crosman took special orders on these guns and any gun with unique features can command added value. Some 121CGs have an extended bolt and a bent-metal tray to ease loading. These features would have been helpful to patients in hospitals, which was one of the intended markets. (Imagine if Hahn had sold the Veterans Administration on the idea and every Vet Hospital purchased a complete Crosman CO2 Rifle Range, using the exclusive .21 caliber pellets of course!)
102CG, 104CG: magazine-style CG guns were produced. In the pictures of the Crosman CG Rifle Ranges, seen in The Crosman Rifle 1923-1950, it is clear that the CG guns being used are magazine fed. But these are all removable magazines! Any CG gun equipped with a removable magazine is extremely rare. Most 102CG guns appear to be little more than standard 102/104 models in CG configuration. Values: I'm really pressing here. These guns just haven't appeared for sale. So it is hard to gauge what the actual demand would be. My guess is that any repeater-CG model is going to be worth $300 - $400, maybe more. A removable-magazine version would be worth much more than the plain-Jane 102CG.
102 CO2 'hose guns': In 1931, Hahn put together the first-ever CO2 rifle (and pistol!) gallery and took it to Camp Perry. Where it was a sensation, of course. Unfortunately, PY Hahn left Crosman Arms shortly after. It is one of the strange twists in the Crosman Arms story that when PY Hahn left Crosman (he was fired by his own dad, Frank Hahn) he took over the Texaco gas station directly across the street from Crosman Arms. 'Fill Up with Phil' was his slogan, sounds sorta like 'Power Without Powder' doesn't it. I can't help but wonder if it was these hard years at the Texaco station (PY slept in the station many nights) directly across the street from his, yeshis, air rifle company that gave him the inner drive and strength to make Crosman Arms into what it became. Interesting, too, because Hahn rarely, if ever, talked about the 'Fill UP with Phil" years. In the 1950s, Hahn always described how he had 'purchased' the defunct company. Which sounds much better than saying he had to pump gas for 8 years waiting for his father to die and inherit the company after he had been fired. I'm sure that PY would say that a good salesman (which he was) never let the truth get in the way of a good story. So, what the heck does this have to do with 102 CO2 'hose guns?' Everything. I'm pretty certain that these 102 'hose guns,' which are extremely rare, are from the 1931 Camp Perry demonstration. There are no records of any other Crosman CO2 gallery operations in the 1930s, although that doesn't mean that there weren't a few. But, after PY was gone, at the end of 1931,allmarketing efforts at Crosman Arms came to a screeching halt. And absolutely no marketing of anything like a Crosman CO2 gallery occurred before or after Oct. 1931 Camp Perry demonstration of the Crosman Liquid Gas Rifle.
The Crosman '1931 Camp Perry Liquid Gas Rifle' is the oldest CO2 gun made in America. After which, PY Hahn, fired for his efforts, would spend the rest of his life proving what a great idea CO2 really was.
How much value do you place on history? Hard to say. Somewhere between $500 and $1000 would probably be fair. Add a Crosman flyer from the 1931 Camp Perry demonstration and things might get more interesting.
Crosman Model #102: the Airgun that went to war!
For the duration; meant struggling for survival during the war years for tiny Crosman Arms Co. One of first problems P.Y. Hahn had to deal with was finding a new manufacturing location. The 420 St. Paul street building was not included with his inheritance of the airgun company and he had to move. For the duration, Crosman Arms moves to 392 St. Paul street which is even older and more run-down than the 420 St. building. PY Hahn would later joke that, during heavy rain, one of the three employees having to be assigned a full-time job of emptying the pails placed under the many roof leaks.
For the duration; all material supply is cut off. Production of new airguns is impossible. One result was, airguns sent in for repair became a critical source of income. But the material used for making exhaust-valve seats was unobtainable. The vital replacement material was found in the plastic-yellow-handles of screwdrivers. For whatever reason, the manufacture and sale of screwdrivers during the war was not restricted. PY Hahn was constantly sending his sons down to the hardware store to purchase as many of the yellow-handled screwdrivers as possible. Somehow, Hahn was also able to keep the pellet machines running. How he did this, with lead being restricted, is not known, that he did it is a testament to his life-long obsession with keeping the Crosman pellet machines always working.
Hahn's determination to keep Crosman Arms going was inexhaustible. Since materials could only obtained with a government contract then the answer would be a government contract. Hahn made several trips to wartime Washington, D.C.with his son P.Y. Jr. The meetings took place in the old munitions building on Connecticut Ave. Against the odds, life-giving government contract was obtained. Interestingly, Hahn always referred to it as the "Marine contract." However, the source of the contract was the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). The OSS built up the ability to supply all sorts of odd and interesting weapons including gift weapons of 500 Civil war era muzzle loading rifles for the Kachin tribesmen of Burma.
How the 1000 Crosman model 102 airguns from contract #623 were used is open to question but where they ended up isn't, since 957 model 102's are counted in a January, 1945, inventory of OSS Calcutta stock. If any of the airguns were actually distributed is not known. But, the order for the airguns was certainly a well considered purchase as evidenced by the ammunition specified in the order. The .22 caliber round ball shot was non-standard wares for Crosman and Crosman had to special purchase shot and size it to meet the government specifications. This seems to indicate that these guns were intended to be used! Making it easy to let the imagination run wild with romantic ideas of a thousand silent airguns lurking behind enemy lines creating terror, inflicting small-scale sabotage. Or, the airguns could have been used by the Island Watchers. The OSS had the responsibility of supplying the Pacific and Indian ocean Island watchers. The chore of living on a island completely held by the enemy would be, of course, extremely difficult. One of the requirements would be to live off the land as much as possible and use of regular firearms would be restricted, due to the noise. A Crosman Silent Rifle model 102 would have been perfect for the job of filling the evening stew pot even under the harshest conditions. Although any such combat role is very much open to question, the Crosman model 102 status as a war veteran is secure.
(U.S. archive information is from correspondence from Dr. John W. Brunner in preparation for his book OSS Weapons )
The model 105/106, actually called the "Bullseye" until 1949, was the first pistol ever sold by Crosman. It was also the first original airgun design of Crosman head-designer Rudolf "Rudy" Merz. Introduced in late 1947, the Bullseye pistol was an instant hit, so, as a consequence, it is not rare. However, neither Crosman, or anyone else for that matter, has ever produced a better pneumatic pistol. Made entirely of brass with a super-bronze barrel, this is a great air pistol that is consistently overlooked by both collectors and shooters. These guns can often be obtained for less than the cost a new gun, yet, it excels for close- in shooting where only two or three pumps is all it takes for living room target practice or for those occasions where lethal power is not desired.
There are 2 major production variations. The original, and most common, version (pictured above) has a dove- tail rear sight which had a problem of falling off and is often found missing. It was later replaced on the second major variation with, what would become the standard, open Crosman rear sight.
Values: due to no fault of their own, low. A nice 105 or 106 mint-in-the-box is hardly worth more than $100. Prices only plummet after that. One of these days, these guns will get proper respect. Until then, they are still one of the best bargains in vintage airguns. I have several that are always on-hand for around-the-house duty.
Note to anyone interested in repairing a 106/106. The exhaust valve design of the 105/106 was used essentially intact for all the 107-thru-120 series of guns. This makes most of the internal parts readily available. Just don't lose the the dove-tail rear sight!
The Town and Country (model 107 and 108) air rifles are unique in several respects. It is one of the largest air rifles Crosman ever produced. It also has a convertible front-sight assembly that corrects for the change between the rear combination peep and open sights. That's right, the Town and Country has both styles of sights. That's what the Town-and-Country name is all about. Peep for Town shooting and open sight for Country shooting. What makes the 107/108 models particularly interesting, to me anyways, is that Army General Sidney Rae Hinds was involved in the design. General Hinds was also the head of the American Shooting Association which was another idea of Hahn's. As such, the Town and Country was immediately adopted by the ASA as an official training rifle. In fact, the Town and Country was Crosman's first attempt at an air rifle designed specifically for training. No doubt, the hard experience Hahn and Crosman Arms had during WWII led him to back up his plans with an airgun design with a direct military training application. Had Crosman developed the Town and Country prior to WWII then Hahn probably would have sold a million of them to the Army for training purposes. It was an opportunity that Hahn would work tirelessly to never miss again. See my book, theCrosman Arms Model '160' Pellgun, for the whole story about the wild 1960s era and the Crosman Arms Professional Division with their extensive military (Increased Combat Effectiveness, I.C.E.) programs and police training programs.
The Town and Country Jr. seems to suffer from an identity crisis. It was introduced at about the same time, in 1949, and, obviously, takes it's name from the jumbo-sized Town and Country Senior (107/108) guns. Then, in 1950, it is up against the introduction of the first Crosman CO2 models113/114. Then, before it has chance to establish itself, it's replaced by the model 120 in 1952. There are few advocates of the Town and Country Jr., but there is something to be said for these rather homely looking (i.e. slab-sided stocked) airguns. They are all brass and the construction is always first rate. If ever an airgun design followed the K.I.S.S principal it's the Town and Country Jr. and model 120. Both the check and exhaust valves just unscrew apart and the valve seat material (it was not by chance that Rudy designed the valve seats to be the exact size of a no. 2 faucet washer) can be easily replaced. The only other part needed for a complete valve overhaul is the exhaust-body gasket (105-31) which, in a pinch, can replaced with an appropriately-sized O-ring.
With their simple construction and easy-to-rebuild exhaust and check valves, I've long advocated the models 109/110 and the model 120 as the perfect survivalist airguns.
Introduced January 3, 1950, the Crosman Arms models 111/112 were one of the first CO2powered pistols to be made generally available to the American public. Crosman Arms was an early pioneer in the use of CO2 as a propellant for pellet guns and Mr. Philip Y. Hahn, president/owner of Crosman Arms Co., from 1940 to 1971, was the driving force behind its adoption. As early as 1931 Hahn was running a Crosman shooting gallery demonstrating CO2powered airguns which were fed gas from a single large tank. These early CO2gallery guns (commonly referred to as "hose guns") were followed, in 1947, by the "CG" (Compressed Gas,) models which used a detachable 4 ounce CO2tank that hung underneath the gun. The role of the "CG" guns was also mostly confined to use as gallery guns and were typically sold as part of a complete "Crosman Rifle Range" which was marketed to clubs, organizations, and even to companies as an employee benefit for after hours recreation. With the new 111/112/113/114 models P.Y. Hahn finally had a CO2gun he could sell to the general public and sell it he did. Although no Crosman production records exist it was the huge popularity of these guns that required Crosman to relocate, in 1952, from their Rochester Henrietta Street factory to a larger facility in Fairport, N.Y. Still, the requirement of the separate filling tank was seen as a major problem in public acceptance of CO2for airguns. So, in 1955, the model 150/157 pistol was introduced as a major advance being the first airgun designed to use the new large, Walter Kiddie produced, 12 gram disposable CO2bulb.
The design of the 111/112/113/114/115/116 models belongs toRudolf "Rudy" Merz. Head engineer for Crosman from 1945 to 1971. Rudy was the bottling superintendent at American Brewing Co. for 12 years prior to Phil Hahn hiring him away in 1945. The connection makes sense when one considers that a beer bottling superintendent would have practical experience working with carbon dioxide. Realizing this, it is easy to see Rudy's practical experience in the brewery as the origin of, what I call, the "plumbing style" design of the 111-116 guns. The CO2charging method using the 10 ounce Super Charger (model 197) was pretty successful, but it does requires a bit of working knowledge of liquid CO2 and is definitely not fool proof.
Introduced January 3, 1950, the Crosman Arms models 113/114 were the first CO2 powered rifles to be made generally available to the American public. The earlier, 1947-1949, Crosman "CG" CO2 rifles were, for the most part, limited to shooting gallery use and were never marketed to the public beyond that. Philip Y. Hahn, president/owner or Crosman Arms Co., 1940 - 1971, was the driving force behind the adoption of CO2 as an airgun power source. As far back as 1931 he ran a shooting gallery demonstration of CO2 powered airguns at Camp Perry.
Credit for designing the model 113/114 belongs toRudolf "Rudy" Merz. First hired by Crosman Arms on Hiroshima day (August 6,1945) Rudy is the first Crosman design engineer since the original Crosman Rifle inventor, William McLean, left in 1930. An immigrant from Switzerland, and bottling superintendent at American Brewing Co. for 12 years, Rudy was a practical designer and tended to use "off the shelf" parts in most of his designs and the model 113/114 are no different. The breech bolt, valve, and internal hammer design are very close to the earlier 105 - 110 designs. One major, and very practical, addition to the 111- 118 designs, was the adjustable power knob on the rear. This effectively controls the hammer force that hits the internal valve. The cross bolt safety is also new and shows up on other designs such as the model 140 and model 400. The CO2 charging method using the model 197 charging bottle was pretty successful considering that these guns are so common to collectors. Still, the separate filling tank was seen as a major problem affecting public acceptance of CO2 for airguns and the 1955-56 replacement design model 160/167 rifle using self contained "powerlets", were seen as a major advance. Even so, Crosman was kind enough to develop the model 196 refill head that allowed the model 150/160 guns to be filled from the 197 bottle. In the right hands the model 113/114 is a practical, extremely rugged design capable of extraordinary service in the most severe conditions at very low cost per shot.
I probably get more inquires about the Crosman 111, 112, 115, 116 CO2 pistols than any other vintage Crosman model. Invariably, the first question is, "how the heck do I fill this thing? Powerlets don't seem to fit!?" The problem is, Crosman didn't introduce the Powerlet until 1953 with the models150/157 pistols. These guns are filled from a bulk CO2 tank. Originally, Crosman sold the model 97 Super Charger. I advise that these old tanks not be used, they certainly need to be hydro-tested if to be put into service. A much better way-to-go is with a paint-ball tank adapted to fit these guns. With the popularity of Paintballing, every Paintball shop worthy of the name has the facility to recharge bulk CO2 tanks. Or, a fire-extinguisher tank adapted with a wheel valve. I use a 20 pound tank and it is good for many thousands of shots. And that is where the beauty of these guns starts to show through. Without the nagging problem of expensive Powerlets, the true pleasure of CO2 shooting becomes a practical economic reality. In other words; CHEAP CO2 SHOOTING IS A GAS!
Crosman models 117/118
The listing here of the model 117 is certain to raise a few eyebrows from those collectors who haven't purchased my book on the Crosman Rifle 1923 - 1950. It details the discovery of this rarest of all Crosmans. Big hint, the model 117 is .21 caliber.
The model 118 .22 caliber, bulk fill, consumer version makes its appearance around 1952. A lever on the right side of the receiver is pulled up. This cocks the hammer and feeds a pellet from the tube clip into a transverse bar. pushing the lever down brings the pellet into alignment with the barrel and the bolt then drives the pellet into the barrel past the CO2 exhaust port. The pellet feed mechanism is very similar to the earlier 102/104 repeaters with the addition of an effective anti-double feed feature.
The model 120 replaced the Town and Country Junior models 109/110 in 1952. The 120 was never made available in .177 caliber. The reason for the model 120 is likely manufacturing convenience. It uses the same receiver parts as the 114 CO2 rifle and can be thought of as the pneumatic version of the model 114. The model 120 is the last Crosman gun to be made of brass. Even so, most 120's are steel, but brass examples are found. One of the most unique features is the white bead on the front sight. The bead is very rarely found in place.
The mention of airlock under the power specification is notable. Airlock is the phenomenon where a pneumatic airgun is over-pumped such that the action of the hammer cannot displace the exhaust valve, rendering the gun unusable. The internal hammer design requires almost complete disassembly of the gun to release the airlock. Apparently, enough guns were returned for this repair that the prevention-of-airlock became a major part of the design specifications. However, it's not clear why the 120 would not be subject to airlock, since the internal design is all but identical to the earlier 109/110 guns. The truly effective elimination of airlock would have to wait for the model130.
I'll persist a bit more.
Just the mention of airlock in the specification of the model 120 says something rather interesting things. For one, it's pretty clear that airlock was a major consideration for the company. Otherwise, why mention airlock in the specifications of the model 120? In any case, who, other than Crosman insiders, are going to understand what the heck airlock is anyway!? I believe, at least part of the answer for this is because airlock can be classified as a design failure. Guns (109 & 110) were coming back in from the field and the only fix needed was to disassemble it. Since nothing, i.e. no parts, had failed, the service technician would mark the reason-for-failure as being the design. And in this case, that would have been the hero of our story, Rudy Merz.
From personal experience, it is extremely unusual to be able to directly relate any field failure directly to the design. It's almost always the user, or manufacturing, or materials, or some combination, that are the failure cause. However, when no parts are replaced, by definition, the design failed. And, also from personal experience, field returns directly attributed to design failures cause tremendous consternation inside any engineering department. Also, this is 1952, it would be 4 more years before Crosman Arms started the Authorized-Service-Stations program. These airlocked design-failure guns were coming back to Rochester and Rudy Merz was hearing it.
Also, this was a new problem. The good ol' model 101 design had an external hammer and, if airlocked, a whack on the hammer was all that was needed. With the Rudy-Merz-designed Town and Country Junior (109, 110) the hammer was now completely internal. If it didn't have the oomph to knock open the valve, there was no other answer but to take the gun apart. Or, let the gun sit long enough to leak out some pressure. Ouch!
Thus, it would appear that the airlock problem was the driving force behind the next generation of Crosman pneumatic airguns, the models130/140.
Certain to be included in the design specification for the model 130 was the elimination of "lockup". Lockup is when a multi-stroke pneumatic gun has been so severely over pumped such that the hammer action is insufficient to open the exhaust valve thus rendering the gun inoperable. The earlier Crosman rifle model 101 series didn't have this problem because with its exposed hammer it was pretty easy to put a little extra on the hammer and release the valve. However, with the internal hammer design, starting with the models 105/106, lockup becomes more than minor nuisance. Any repair department will put pressure on design if they have to continually repair guns with nothing broken! The incorporation of a blow off valve in the model 130 fundamentally eliminates the possibility of lockup. The design is certainly innovative, but not entirely unique and in fact follows fast on the heels of the Schimel CO2pistol with its recoil producing blow off valve. The extremely rare O'Connell Gas Rifle also used a blow off valve. It is interesting to note that both of these other modern examples of the blow off valve are CO2guns that inherited the requirement of having to re-cock the exhaust valve prior to re-charging for the next shot. Although the O'Connell takes the interesting route of making the best of this by incorporating the suggestion that the gun can be used a fire extinguisher by opening the charging lever with the exhaust valve uncocked!
The single shot pneumatic model 130 of course lacks the fire extinguisher potential of the O'Connell. But, Rudy Merz was not done. The first model 130's with "finger tip" recocking and wooden grips and wooden pump handle would soon be replaced with plastic grips, metal pump handle and an improved automatic recocking valve. The second model 130 valve design might best be described as a rebounding blow off valve is unique in that the gun is normally cocked. This is accomplished by putting a soft spring behind the sear block. The compressed air forces the sear block back against the spring and when the air pressure then drops the sear block is pushed back into the cocked position by the spring. Neat!
The Crosman model 150 pistol was the first pistol design by Crosman that used the large CO2 powerlets instead of bulk CO2 like the earlier model 111/112/115/116 guns. first introduced in 1954, it saw continued production until August 1967 when it was replaced in the Crosman line up by the Mark I and II models. Two basic types of 150 were produced. The type 1 (pictured) has a 2-piece barrel where as the type 2 has a one piece "bull" barrel. The type 1 was produced until about 1959 and the 1-piece from then on except for the Sears JC Higgins version which remained a type 1 variation for several years after the introduction of the 1-piece barrel. Some 150's have variable power some don't. Only the very earliest type 1 guns have adjustable power by means of rotating the cocking knob. Some later type 2 guns have variable power by means of an adjusting hex screw accessed, using an allen wrench, via a hole in the cocking knob. Most of the other guns have 2 or, rarely, a 3 power adjustment steps in the cocking system. It is highly recommended that a chronograph be used to establish the correct power setting for those guns with adjustable power. It is very easy to make the mistake of adjust ing the power of the gun so that excessive CO2 blast results. This makes for a much louder report, but fails to produce added power since the pellet has long left the barrel while the extra CO2 is being expelled. With a chronograph the most efficient setting can be easily established and many extra shots per powerlet can be obtained. It is not uncommon for a model 150 to obtain 75 or more shots at the correct power setting. These are great target pistols and the .22 caliber version is suitable for small game hunting. These guns were produced in great quantity and are not very expensive on the collectors market. An average gun will bring between $50 - $75. They can be occasionally found at gun shows for much less, but will almost invariable need a valve and O-ring replacement from sitting unused for a long period of time. These guns are no longer being supported by Crosman, but there are several good airgunsmiths who can fix them with no problem. The valve stem is about to be remanufactured which will insure that these wonderful and, I believe, under appreciated guns will be used for many years.
There are many variations of the 150 which include:
type 1 -150/157
type 2 -150/157
JC Higgins model 292
Ted Williams model 126.1909
Montgomery Wards Hawthorne model M-150, which was only available as a PK kit.
150PK Portable Shooting Kit
150K Home Shooting Set
Crosman Medalist model 150C (chrome plated in wood presentation case)
Specifications as published by Crosman Arms:
Model 150 .22 cal Model 157 .177 cal.
No pumping; powered by one giant Crosman CO2 Gas Powerlet. Approximately 50 shots at 400 f/p/s average muzzle velocity.
Deluxe, rugged target sights ... precision-made and mounted.
Heavy-duty all-steel barrel with new precision "button Rifling"
Blued steel, tenite grip ... shaped for left or right hand shooters.
Every pistol factory-tested to group shots under 3/4" at 25'/
Easy fingertip cocking
Positive push-type cross-lock safety ... shows red on "off" position
Exclusive solid breech cover gives smooth , easy loading action.
Carrying distance averages only 200' ... ideal for limited area shooting.
weight, 1lb., 10 oz.; length, 10"
The Crosman model 160 /167, last manufactured in 1969, is still one of the finest airguns ever made. It's popularity has not diminished since it's introduction in 1956. The model 160 was the first CO2 rifle to utilize the large "Powerlets," that are so common today. The model 160 utilizes two Powerlets, for more shots without refilling. The Crosman #196 adapter was also available, to allow the use of the bulk CO2 tank #197 for inexpensive shooting.
Three very distinct variations of the 160 were manufactured by Crosman. The type 1 gun (pictured) is distinguished by the floating barrel. The type 2 introduced the barrel retaining band at the front of the gas tube. The type 3 has an adjustable-trigger assembly and a lever safety, instead of the type 1, and type 2, automatic safety. There is also a Sears version which was endorsed by baseball star and well known outdoorsman Ted Williams. The Ted Williams version (model 126.1910) has several unique features including a modern-looking squared-off stock and a nifty Powerlet storage compartment in the stock.
Specifications as published by Crosman Arms:
Model "160" .22 cal. Model "167" .177 cal.
Rifled Barrel, all blued steel, 10 1/2" long, 9/16" diameter.
Weight 5 lbs. 10 oz.; overall length 39 1/4"
Blade Front Sight on matted ramp
Step-adjustable sporting type, open rear sight (Peep sight available at additional cost)
Smooth, husky bolt action
Automatic safety, thumb operated
Hardwood stock, satin finish
Single shot with approximate muzzle velocity of 700 f/p/s
The 180 model has been often relegated to second-class citizenship by those enamored with the high-style of the model 160. But, the power potential of the model 180 is on a par with the 160 and the accuracy, especially with the adjustable-trigger model, is second-to-none. For those in the know, the model 180 is nearly perfect for those back-woods excursions where every once counts.
I have fond memories of the model 600. Back in 1962, our family had just moved into a new-home development in San Diego. It was beautiful and our family's first and only new house. Situated on a steep hill with a wild-canyon area in the back, a problem developed when rabbits (lots of 'em) came out of the canyon and started to munch down on all the tasty new landscaping. My mother was particularly peeved with the situation and she turned to me (all of ten years old) for a solution to the rabbit problem. First up was a sling shot. I remember trying several variations. I also remember having a hard-time finding sling-shot ammo and rocks just didn't shoot straight. Then came a bow and arrow. Never came close to hitting a single rabbit with any of 'em. Obviously frustrated with the lack of dead rabbits, mom took me to Sears one day. Having no idea why we where there, it came as a big surprise when we went straight to the firearms counter. While I had my nose pressed up against the glass, mother explained the situation to the salesman and soon I was gazing at one of the most wonderful sights I had ever seen. A brand-new Crosman Arms model 600 (Sears version) mint in the box. The 600 was a killer. It made all my other attempts appear feeble in comparison. Soon, the rabbits were taking hits and I was feeling an extreme sense of accomplishment with each rabbit carcass dumped in the trash. Later, I tried other airguns but nothing came close to the 600 for maximum-rabbit-killing power.
Interestingly, this situation has little changed today. The 600 is still the best thing going for serious pest control. The only real advances that have been made are by folks making hot-rod modifications to the Crosman 600. My pal Dave Gunter ( St. Helens, OR.) is one of the best in this field. See the Oct/Nov/Dec issue of US Airgun for a great report on one of Dave's super 600s.
The model 622 is significant for it's being the first (commercial) Crosman to utilize a removable clip.
Manufactured 1965 - 1970
Another in the series of replica guns, the Crosman Arms model 99 is a full-sized CO2-powered copy of the Savage model 99.
Crosman Arms Model M-1
1966 - 1976
I probably get more questions about the Crosman Arms Model M-1 than any other vintage Crosman. I certainly get more inquires about obtaining an example of the Crosman M-1 than all others combined. Clearly, the reason for this interest is the remarkable job Crosman did in taking an otherwise drab-looking BB-gun, the V-350, look like the famous military M-1.
The M-1 is cocked by pulling the barrel in and then out again. This motion compresses a spring-piston assembly. Although unique in modern BB guns, this cocking design was directly taken from an old Quackenbush BB gun that resided in the famous Crosman morgue. That Crosman airgun designers had to resort to a turn-of-the-century design came about because, in 1960, Crosman Arms had absolutely no experience in designing spring-piston BB guns. The first ever Crosman BB guns, the Hahn 45 and Hahn Super Repeater, had only just been introduced in 1958 and they were both CO2 guns that would have little in common with the new V-350.
Although the Crosman designers took their start from the old Quackenbush they didn't stop there. Instead, they added one of the more interesting features to ever grace a mere BB gun; the POP valve. Truly innovative, as far as I know; the POP valve is designed to hold back the rising air pressure, in front of the forward-moving spring-piston assembly, until it reaches the optimum level and then it 'pops open' and forces out the BB. With spring-piston pellet guns, the pellet itself works as the 'pop valve.' However, since steel BB's don't work the same way, this normally limits the power. Realizing this, the Crosman engineers designed the pellet-pop-valve function into the BB-gun itself. Pretty slick.
Model V-350 Slide-Action BB Air Rifle
In 1961, the V-350 has the distinction of being the first spring-powered BB rifle to be produced by Crosman Arms. It is introduced as a Revolutionary Crosman invention! And, as the World's First Rugged Trouble-Free BB Air Rifle. Retail price is $12.95. By 1961, Crosman Arms is sitting on top of the pellet-gun world. What was left was the BB-gun market and Phil Hahn decided he wanted that too. But, to really compete, they would need a new design that would more directly compete with the classic Daisy lever-action spring BB gun.
Problem is, Crosman Arms had absolutely no experience with a spring-powered air rifle. So, the Crosman airgun designers took a liking to the turn-of-the-century design of an old Quackenbush Air Rifle that had taken up residence in the famous Crosman Arms morgue. So, just like the ancient Quackenbush Air Rifles, the V-350 is cocked by pulling the barrel in and then out again. This motion compresses a spring-piston assembly. Although the Crosman designers took their start from the old Quackenbush they didn't stop there. Instead, they added one of the more interesting and innovative features to ever grace a BB gun; the POP valve. The V-350 POP valve is designed to hold back the rising air pressure, in front of the forward-moving spring-piston assembly, until it reaches the optimum level, it 'pops open' and forces out the BB. With spring-piston pellet guns, the pellet itself works as the 'pop valve.' However, since steel BB's don't work the same way, this normally limits the power. Realizing this, the Crosman engineers designed the pellet-pop-valve function into the BB-gun itself.