Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Crosman Custom Shop 2300 CO2 Pistol: Part I

Michigan changed their laws regarding air pistols recently, no longer classifying air pistols as firearms. Crosman updated their policies to reflect that effective July 1st (previously they wouldn't ship direct to Michigan residents),  which meant that I could finally order a custom Crosman 2300, something I've long wanted to do. I've had (and customized) a few 2400s, but going straight to Crosman is a bit cheaper, and gets you options and parts you can't normally buy.

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: 

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's other 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. 

The sight arrived and I mounted it on the pistol. It's a very high quality sight, but it points out that the Crosman front sight is really too narrow.

Postscript: I ordered a replacement sear to see if I could get the trigger pull a bit smoother and crisper, but in the meantime I removed the stock sear lever, smoothed out the rough edges (it's a pretty crude stamping) and polished the surfaces. The result is much smoother. The replacement sear uses hardened steel engagement surfaces and has a screw to adjust the amount of engagement, so it should be an improvement over that. I'll write it up when it arrives in a week.