Monday, June 27, 2022

Crosman 2200 Model 1 .22 Pellet Gun Revival

Crosman 2200 Model 1 .22 Pellet Gun Revival

According to the rolled ancient scroll I found stuffed into the buttstock, discovered as I started the rebuild, I purchased this Crosman 2200 Model 1 on June 21, 1983 from an Ace Hardware store with a tin of Benjamin Match dome head .22 Caliber pellets… Ahh the good old days. This revival all started when my wife nudged the Crosman during a garage cleanup last week and asked what I was doing with that piece of rusted junk. The observation unfortunately was correct with a paint finish and stock that looked like hell, huge amounts of surface rust covering the compression tube & barrel shroud all with no ability to develop any compression.

Its condition was 100% from neglect. After I left home for college, the proven and trusted .22 caliber Crosman 2200 Model 1 sat in my father’s barn where it gathered rust for decades and shot the occasional raccoon, rodent or bird. Though surrounded by various cans of oil in the barn, I doubt it saw any oil other than the times I came home and soaked it with WD-40 while lecturing my father on gun care. Contained in the last load of my Dad’s junk storage clean-out was the old Crosman. I again soaked it in WD40 and set it aside as a future project. Back in the present day, my wife had that “get this freaking junk outta here look” and noted that if it was not working, why not junk it… after all how much was it really worth.

I sighed, reflected on my hoarder tendencies and looked at my beloved Crosman Model 1 and said, this was my first gun, how about I tear it apart while we watch TV and see if I can get it working first? Taking notice of the look of fond reflection on my face, she relented with a singular word that only decades of marriage can comprehend the deep meaning - “[Sigh]...Whatever”. The Crosman Model 1 Revival began. Finding the note to myself to memorialize my first gun purchase stuffed into the stock made me laugh - that was a very very long time ago. A quick ebay search before starting on the project noted there was a world of replacement parts available.

I am pretty sure the number of dead animals because of this gun has to be far more than the number of “extra votes” counted in the last election. As I shared the revival project with my Dad, he chuckled and estimated the number of pellets I shot was likely measured in tons - “you loved your first gun, and nearly bankrupted me buying pellets.”

As a kid, the deal between my Dad and I centered around exterminating the aptly named “Scourge or Affliction'' of Starlings. Our home was surrounded by giant 70-80 ft tall red mulberry trees which combined with Scourges of Starlings, which could count in the hundreds, delivered a constant rain of purple bird shit that rained down permanently staining everything from desks, siding and cars to sidewalks. My Dad paid a 1-tin of pellets bounty for every dead starling produced and I always chose Benjamin Dome Match pellets… he greatly underestimated my near perfect eyesight and rapidly increasing abilities. Our farm cats quickly became wise to the food airdrops and would gather under the trees when I walked out with anything resembling a gun. Some days I would shoot dozens and would discount back the rebate back to just two tins plus get a dinner out or even the privilege of using the shotgun. What a fantastic childhood.

It had been many years since I disassembled, cleaned, checked seals, and re-lubed the gun and I had forgotten how it all came apart. The internet rescued me with the Crosman Model 2200 parts diagram which was the previous version of the Model 1 without the walnut stock and upgraded fully adjustable Williams match sights. All the parts came apart just as expected. The rubber seals were a little dry however they were still in good condition. After a short oil rehydration massage, I crossed my fingers that it would all work when re-assembled. The case paint finish was really scraped up, needed sanding and repaint, but the rusted barrel shroud and assembly needed a lot more work. After an initial hand sanding, I gave up and moved over to the bench grinder with a nylon wheel to clean up the rather aggressive rust. The abrasive nylon made quick work of removing the rust, however after some testing with PermaBlue paste, the deep pitting would still make the finish look pretty bad, so it would definitely need a paint finish.

When not selecting the awesomeness of cerakote, Krylon Fusion has been my choice. It seems to bond very aggressively like an epoxy and has proven to be highly durable. In this situation, Fusion is the perfect paint. I chose Gloss Vintage Grey and sprayed everything to start with as a base coat. Then I started thinking that a bit of a battle-worn sci-fi theme would be cool and a different update for a thirty-nine year old pellet gun. The buttstock cap, compression tube cap, trigger and a few highlights were hit with Matte Wild Honey Yellow, and screws and a few other parts painted with Gloss Red Pepper. A very old Bushnell Firststrike reflex sight and .22 rail adapter was added to the build and a few color highlights were added to make it look a bit more sci-fi. After all the various colors and coats were dry and the build was reassembled, I added a few yellow and Gloss Patriotic blue sci-fi stripes and gave them an aged look by dragging a brush through them. The entire build was battle worn with chrome and matt black spray paint sprayed into a rag and wiped carefully over the build with a modified dry brush technique.

In addition to the Bushnell Firststrike reflex sight a few DIY foam pellet holders were VHB taped behind the reflex sight. Over the years I have found that these DIY foam pellet holders work fantastically well, are secure, and offer very fast fumble-free pellet access. After a good bore scrubbing I headed to the back yard and sighted in. The reflex sight proved to be extremely useful as I saw better than expected groups downrange appear which could be due to the current era Predator Polymag Pellets. The old Model 1 could always deliver good 1-inch 20-yard groups with match grade pellets, and with the polymer tipped Predator pellets it seemed to still deliver that consistency or better. Though the Model 1 and other similar Crosman 2200 series pellet guns noted a maximum of 10-pumps, I always found that my accuracy was best in the 5-8 pump range and the report was a bit softer as well.

I guess I am doing my part for the environment, preventing items from hitting the landfill and reducing my carbon footprint while reducing the overall need for production of yet another pellet gun… yeah well, my wife did not buy it either. The reality is a pump pellet gun like this Crossman Model 1 is a harder hitting .22 caliber pellet chambering that can take on larger rodents humanely and wow, this thing has shot thousands.

Today there is an all new crop of pellets that are higher precision and deeper penetrating and harder hitting and this .22 pellet gun can shoot them all. The Benjamin Dome pellets were around 14gr back then, but they thumped compared to my friends .177 pellet guns. On the top and of compression, the old Crossman was delivering just over 20 ft/lbs of energy and in the 5-8 pump range about 12 ft/lbs with the old Benjamin pellets - which was 2-4 times more than the .177 pellet guns of that time. In fact a lot of the farm kids upgraded to .22 pellet guns after seeing the Model 1’s power after several corn crib rat shoots (it's a farm kid thing). I wish I would have had the red dot and the very deadly and accurate 15.89gr Predator Polymag or 17gr Predator Metalmag pellet back then. If you have ever had to double tap a charging wounded rat then you will understand that a deep penetrating hollow point pellet is a must.

Though I love the convenience, ease and accuracy of my Airforce PCP with Lothar Walther barrels, having a pellet gun that will last an easy 40-years with the only requirement being more oil, pellets and pumping, that is certainly worth saving.