Benjamin 87 and Sheridan C9PB.
Benjamin 87 and Sheridan C9PB (made by Crosman)
With thanks to Marty for these pics. He said on the AVA: "I purchased a Sheridan C9PB a few weeks ago & read in some of the discussions here that it wasn’t quite up to par with the model 87. Now that I've had a chance to examine one up close, they are in fact night & day. Trying to explain the differences here would be like singing to the choir so pardon me if it's old news for some.
IIRC Crosman attempted a new plating technique on the barrel & air tube by which nickel was applied over brass, brass over nickel, & a protective coat, whereas Sheridan simply polished the brass barrel & tube. Sheridan used lacquer to preserve the brass finish of the C9PB but I’m not sure what Crosman used. If anyone knows please fill me in.
Where Crosman knocked it out of the park was with their decision to leave portions of the trim (for a lack of better terms) in the nickel stage or use parts that already had the nickel finish. Items such as the tang safety, trigger, trigger guard & fasteners, hammer fasteners, stock fastener, cam plate & fasteners, both tube end caps, pump lever, & the use of a Sheridan bolt. Even the roll pins appear to be nickel. This combination of brass & nickel is absolutely stunning.
Another feature that stood out in my search was Crosman’s deliberate use of a single block of walnut to fashion both the stock & forearm. The 87’s I have seen online all match & are nicely figured. Crosman also numbered both stock & forearm blocks to keep track. This one’s stock & forearm grip are numbered ‘T23’. A far cry from other vintage AG’s where finding a match is more the exception than the rule. Felt was also applied to the underside of the stock & forearm for cushioning & dampening. I have never noticed this on any vintage AG. Sheridan’s model C9PB not only has what I think is a strange looking forearm but the hardwood isn’t even close to a match.
The Centennial badge on the stock was executed with precision, again, a far cry from the C9PB where it seems they drilled a hole & hoped for the best. The Supreme recoil pad & black spacer is certainly not required but adds a nice touch, & the factory William’s definitely completes the package. I think someone summed it up best with respect to the model 87 vs the C9PB in that the 87 was built in Racine & the C9PB in East Bloomfield.
Last, there were discussions here on AVA as to how many Model 87’s were manufactured. Numbers anywhere from 500 to 1500 were mentioned. I also read that there were several ‘backdoor’ sales so the actual numbers will probably remain a mystery. FWIW, the gentlemen I purchased the 87 from kept meticulous notes, one of which is attached. The doc is dated Jan. 30, 1991. Contact person at Crosman was ‘Stacey’. The production numbers given to him is 500 for both the .177 & the .22. This gun is #486. I would be interested in hearing if anyone has seen a number greater than 500. In fact, I would be curious to know the serial numbers on those that left via the factory’s backdoor."