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Crosman Custom Shop 2300 CO2 Pistol

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Michigan changed their laws regarding air pistols recently, no longer classifying air pistols as firearms.  Crosman updated their policies regarding this effective July 1st (they had previously banned shipments to Michigan), which meant that I could now order a custom Crosman 2300, something I’ve long wanted to do. I’ve had (and customized) a few 2400s, but buying the whole package direct from Crosman is a bit cheaper, as you don’t end up with extra parts after you install custom ones, you get better finished standard parts (like the cylinder) and it gets you options and parts you can’t normally buy, like the adjustable trigger stop.
My pistol spec was as follows:
  • 10″ Lothar Walther 0.177″ barrel
  • Black muzzle brake
  • Black trigger shoe
  • No sights
  • Plastic grips
I skipped the sights as I meant to use my Swift pistol scope, or perhaps a red dot sight. I went with the plastic grips as wood grips would have added $45-60, and the gun was already over $170. I skipped the custom printing as I figured I would help speed up delivery. As it was, the gun arrived exactly four weeks after I ordered it.
First impression: This is a nice looking gun- much nicer than the stock $45 model.
Second impression: This is the worst trigger of any gun I own, including my Russian Nagant revolver.
Okay, maybe not THAT bad. But it’s long, scratchy, and heavy.  There’s an adjustable trigger stop, but even with the stop set for minimal travel, the pull is long. Luckily there’s a fix for most of that, but curiously, it’s not mentioned in the manual.
If you take off one of the grip panels, you’ll find a knurled adjustment wheel:

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Spin the wheel a few times and you can get the trigger pull down under two pounds. It’s still long and scratchy, but it’s manageable, although it means using a different technique than most of us have been taught. Just about everyone learns that you should take up the slack in a trigger and then slooowwwly squeeze until the gun fires. The idea is that the actual discharge should almost be a surprise, and will help prevent flinching. The technique has its origins in military shooting, with its heavy triggers and heavy recoiling cartridges.

It turns out that bullseye shooters often use a very different technique: They don’t put any pressure on a trigger until they’re ready to fire, and then they pull straight through. With low powered target ammunition, flinching is not an issue, and with light match triggers, squeezing is not practical. I’ve been practicing this technique with my Daisy 747 and with some of my my .22 target pistols, and I’ve found that it’s a much better way to shoot with high accuracy than the old slow squeeze. When you’re shooting offhand, your point of aim is wobbling all over the place, and it’s only settling on the target for brief instants, you want the gun to fire when it’s on target, not at some random moment.

While I ordered this gun thinking I’d use an optical sight to accommodate my aging eyes, lately I’ve been finding that with practice, and with techniques learned from Bullseye shooters, I can shoot as well, or better, with iron sights. And so I’ve decided to add iron sights to the gun, which gave me two straightforward choices, both from Crosman. One is a custom sight from Williams, here in Michigan, that clamps to the 11mm scope grooves. I’ve owned the peep version of that sight, and had it on my R7 for many years; it’s an excellent sight, but in many ways it’s overkill for this pistol. Crosman’ stoner option is a simpler, smaller sight from LPA that fits in the dovetail slot. LPA has made a good name for themselves in recent years with their sights, and the LPA costs about half of what the Williams costs, so I ordered one last night. I’ll add my comments when it arrives.

Reloading Gamo Shotshells

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Good old news for those who bought the now-discontinued Gamo spring air shotgun. Ray-vin offers new, reloadable, Shotshells as well as the tools need to made wads, measure shot, and load the shells. You can contact them at http://www.ray-vin.com.

The Daisy Avanti 747

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I decided to celebrate Michigan’s airgun law reform by buying a new Daisy Avanti 747 pellet pistol for basement winter and rainy day practice. I’d owned two of the simpler 717s, one of which I wrote about here a few months ago, and one back in the late 1980s. The 747 adds two improvements to the 717: An adjustable trigger, and a Lothar Walther barrel. While Don Nygord won a  California state air gun championship with a modified 717 having the stock Daisy barrel, and while the stock barrel no doubt shoots better than I can, it’s still nice knowing you have that little extra edge. 
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It even comes with its own special tool for adjusting the trigger and the piston:

 

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Thanks to the light trigger, I can shoot this gun much more accurately than I could ever shoot my 717s. I have it at minimum let off, which brings it to around 2-1/2 lbs, close to the trigger weight of my Rugers and my High Standard Supermatic. Trigger adjustment is easy- there’s a little screw head recessed in the front of the grip frame, just below the trigger guard:

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At $200 to $235, depending on where you buy it, the 747 remains the single outstanding bargain in competition air pistols. The next step up would be to an FAS ($385-500, depending on grips) and I’m not sure the novice would do any better with that gun. While there it much about  the way that that Daisy is made that looks kind of crude, nothing has been compromised as far as accuracy is concerned. The bolt is a rough looking piece of plastic that is a bit rough in operation, but smooths out with use. The piston is a zinc casting that again works just fine. The rear sight is plastic (!) but it’s adjustable, and anyway I’ll probably be mainly using the mini dot sight on mine  I do have some plans for eventually mounting a better sight, as Nygord did with his 717.)

First tests were very promising, with the gun grouping tightly off a rest in my basement range. After a few days of practice my groups were noticeably smaller, and that carried over to my  .22 Bullseye guns. Practice does make a difference!

I do have two minor complaints. One, the gun is very nose heavy, even more so than my High Standard. The mass does contribute to steadying the gun, though. Two, the grips just don’t fit my large hands very well. No one currently makes replacement grips, and Daisy quite making the wooden-gripped 777 version a long time ago, so they don’t have any spares. Sometime this year I’m going to try and carve myself a set that’ll fit me, but it may not be until Fall or Winter, when I’m looking for indoor projects. As for the balance- BME make a mount for the 747 that allows you to place the scope farther back- I might just get one. Adding an $83 mount and a $75-150 dot sight to a $200 gun does sound a bit excessive, but this gun is worth it.

PS: You can buy it at Amazon with free shipping here.  They also have the scope mount (it’s designed for the IZH 46 but works perfectly on the Daisy), and of course a great many reasonably priced dot sights, of which my favorite is the Millett SP-1. It costs less than a third of what I paid for the Ultradot 25 that’s on my High Standard, and on a non-recoiling air gun it should give many years of trouble-free service.

As for the mini dot sight shown on the Daisy: It’s unmarked, and I’m not sure of the brand; I think it was an eBay purchase. I might just mount a spare Millett SP-1 there next.

Update: Lately I’ve been shooting the gun without a dot sight, using only the built in “iron” sights, and doing better than info with the dot sight. I’m thinking I should make an adapter a la Don Nygord in order to be able to use a better sight. I have some old adjustable sights here taken from various air guns as well as some Ruger rear sights. We’ll have to see what I can come up with.

[About that barrel: A lot of people think Lothar Walther is part of the same Walther that makes guns- it’s not.  Lothar Walther was the youngest son of Carl Walther, the founder of the company that bears the Walther name. The Walther company was taken over by Carl’s eldest sone, Fritz, after Carl’s death in 1915. Ten years later, Lothar left to start his own firm.]

Good News for Michigan Airgunners

A few days ago- May 13th, 2015- Governor Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that removes airguns form being classified as firearms. That means that no longer will airliners have to go through the complex pistol buying process, they won’t run the risk of accidentally committing a felony while transporting an air pistol, and they’ll be able to buy mail order more easily. It might even make prices a bit more competitive.

I’ve been tempted to order one of Crosman’s customized 2240 variants but their policy has been not to ship to Michigan, even if you shipped them a properly filled out purchase permit or RI-061 form. I sent the an email yesterday, advising them of the change, and received this nice reply:

Yes, our legal department is aware of the recent changes regarding airguns in Michigan. However, our shipping policy will probably not change until the beginning of next month or possibly not until the beginning of the next fiscal year which starts July 1st.

So a custom 2240 may yet be in my future.