Crosman 1701p PCP Silhouette pistol part II

In my previous post, I described my initial impression of the Crosman 1701p. It’s a potentially very accurate pistol, but I thought it was held back from achieving its potential by a so-so trigger and simple grips. There wasn’t much I could do about the trigger, but there are a lot of aftermarket grips available. I ordered a set of Steve Corcoran’s adjustable match grips from Woods and Waters.

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Steve’s grips are a classic adjustable Bullseye design, with an adjustable palm rest, thumb rest, and carefully checkered surfaces to improve grip. It’s ergonomically shaped and fit my hand fairly well. I suppose I could  improve the grip even more with some shaping.

The grip produced an immediate improvement in accuracy. I could hold the pistol more more securely, and my groups shrank noticeably. That inspired me to try shooting it with the adjustable Williams leaf sight that Crosman sells as a match sight:

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Scores went up with this combination, too. That leaves only the trigger and the firing mechanism. Like most PCP guns, the 1701p uses a firing system in which a spring loaded bolt is used to open a valve and dump a measured amount of high pressure air into the chamber. Unlike most match pistols, the bolt and spring in the 1701p produce a significant amount of recoil that tends to throw the gun off target. This isn’t a significant problem in Silhouette competition, where pistols are held with two hand, or braced against a leg, but in Bullseye style shooting it’s a significant factor.

I think the 1701p does have potential as a budget match pistol, but it will require some more adjustment to the firing mechanism- and maybe even a lighter bolt.

postscript:

Despite an excellent barrel and good potential accuracy, the 1701p is undone by a trigger that’s not much better than the one found on the Daisy 717. I sold the gun, grips, and sight separately and went looking for another project.

Customizing the Crosman 2240

One of the best inexpensive air pistols for the shooter and the tinkerer is the Crosman 2240. The basic 2240 is a .22 caliber, CO2 powered, bolt action pistol with adjustable sights, suitable for plinking, target, or pest control at short range against  small birds, but the same basic gun comes in a wide range of variants, and a lot of customization parts are available from Crosman and aftermarket suppliers. Crosman offers a steel breech assembly with grooves for scope mounting for only $29.95, hand grips, shoulder stocks, different barrels, etc.

One of the more complete suppliers of custom parts is SD Custom Design, who have stocks, grips, muzzle weights and adapters, moderaators, bulk CO2 adapters, trigger springs, breech assemblies… and more. They’re in the UK, but will ship internationally. In the US, Mac 1 airguns have been customizing Crosmans for years (I used to have a Mac modified Mark-II). Mac supplies bulk CO2 kits, an accuracy prep kit (for only $25), a steel breech kit, and longer barrels.

Airgunsmith has custom triggers, sears, power adjusters, springs and folding stocks. RB Grips has grips and stocks for the Crosman and many other guns. No doubt there are a probably a lot more suppliers I have yet to find.

The Crosman 1077

The Crosman 1077 is, as the name suggests, a pellet gun designed to resemble the very popular Ruger 10/22 rifle. The resemblance is more than just skin deep, as the Crosman rifle also has an easily changed rotary magazine, although the Crosman’s holds 12 pellets to the Ruger’s 10 cartridges. It’s inexpensive, usually selling for under $70, and available in a lot of big box stores.

Performance is fairly modest. Muzzle velocity is listed at 675fps, which implies a muzzle energy of around 7 foot-pounds with lightweight 7gr pellets of the sorts manufacturers usually use for velocity figures. Accuracy is on a par with similar inexpensive repeating guns, with shooters reporting groups ranging from 1/2″ to 1″ at 15 yards. Some have reported groups as large as 1.5″. This translates into accuracy of 3.5 to 10 minutes of angle- not very good. It’s okay for plinking at basement ranges, but no where near good enough for outdoor shooting. The single shot Crosman 2026 offers better accuracy and more power for around the same price.

A big part of the problem is that the barrel of the 1077 is a thin tube that’s not supported very solidly. Shimming with tape or other material can drastically improve accuracy. And unlike more expensive guns, the 1077 is assembled from inexpensive stamped and molded pieces that don’t always fit and move against each other as smoothly as the designed intended. Careful fitting can fix this. And power can be improved with valve modifications and stronger springs.

Luckily, there is a lot of information out there on how to tune your 1077 for better accuracy and higher energy. Most of the tunes require no additional parts, beyond a roll of electrical tape for shimming the barrel, and no specialized tools. The most useful tool is a sheet of sandpaper.

One of the most comprehensive guides I’ve found can be seen here:

http://www.airgunhome.com/agforum/viewtopic.php?t=176

It includes a complete disassembly and assembly guide as well- very useful.

Here’s an even better disassembly/assembly guide, complete with photographs:

http://www.airgunhome.com/pages/1077disassembly.html

There are also a number of makers of custom parts for the 1077:

http://www.gmaccustomparts.com/CROSMAN-1077-PARTS

All and all, it’s a gun with a lot of potential, and can be a good choice for the enthusiastic tinkerer without a lot of cash, as well as a good intermediate training gun for young shooters. As noted, it’s also readily available, and if you can’t find it locally you can find it at Amazon, too..

Fitting a custom stock – part I

There are various reasons for fitting a custom stock to an airgun (or firearm, for that matter). The oringinal stock might have become damaged- I have a Beeman C-1 caught in a flood here at home. You might want something more attractive than the plain beechwood used on many European guns, or the white mystery wood used on some Chinese guns. Or you may want a specialized sort of stock for field target, or just a stock that fits you perfectly. You could, in each of the instances, buy a slab of wood and carefully shape and inlet it to fit your gun- if you had the skills and tools- or you could buy a pre-shaped and inletted gun from a supplier.

After my first few Field Target matches, I thought I could shoot my HW77 better if I fitted it to a proper FT stock, and so I called Jim Maccari, whose web site (http://www.airguns.citymax.com) is a reagular treasure trove of airgun parts for tuning and customizing. I selected a pre-inletted walnut blank- not top grade, but a good grade- and an adjustible butt plate. The fit to the HW77 action was so good that little if any inletting was required; most of my effort was put into external shaping and finishing.

hw77 custom stockThis photo of my old HW77 comp gun doesn’t really do justice to the stock, but it does give a good idea of the overall appearance. (The splotchy appearance is due in part to the wax applied to keep it from being too slippery)

Note the flattened area under the forearm, and the high cheekpiece- both good features in an FT gun. I spent a lot of time shaping the pistol grip to fit my hand, and getting the pull- the length from the trigger to the butt- just right. Having a gun fitted to your body means a more relaxed shooting position, and that means higher scores.

To shape and inlet the stock, I used a combination of coarse sandpaper, small chisels, scrapers, and a really good Nicholson #49 hand-cut rasp. Having a $40 rasp whose teeth are hand cut, rather than machine made, may seem an excessive luxury, but these rasps cut much smoother and faster than the run-of-the-mill cheap rasp. Today I’d probably also use a Microplane rasp, which cuts even faster, and leaves a very smooth surface.

A small bottle of Inletting Black- available from Brownells- is a useful tool in doing the intial fitting. You paint it on all the surface of the gun that come into contact with the stock, to see where wood needs to be removed. Wood should be removed a tiny bit at a time- you want a fit that’s very close, without binding or applying any pressure.

Once the action slips into the stock snugly and the stock is shaped to your liking, it’s time to move on to finishing- which will be in my next post.