Top value break-barrel gun test: Crosman Fire

Tim Finley shooting the test gun - the Crosman Fire - with a red brick wall backdrop

Tim likes a break-barrel sporter - and he likes this one a lot. - Credit: Archant

Tim Finley tests a great-value, break-barrel gas-ram rifle from US giants, Crosman - the Crosman Fire is light, accurate, smooth, and costs less than £180!

Close up of "nitro piston" logo on the Crosman Fire air rifle

It's a gas-ram - and all the better for it. - Credit: Archant


I’m a sucker for a break-barrelled air rifle. I’m also a sucker for Crosman airguns and I’ve been shooting them since I was 16 years old – that’s quite a long time – so I was very happy to get my hands on a gun that is a break-barrel Crosman. The new Crosman Fire is an ultra-modern break-barrel, from its synthetic stock design to its nitrogen power plant. It also comes as a kit form, complete with a scope and mounts. The name ‘Fire’ is a nod to the gas-ram power plant, and there’s no fire, of course, but the speed of a gas-ram is well known.  

Close up of auto safety lever on trigger of the Crosman Fire air rifle

The auto-safety lever will be felt as soon as your finger goes inside the trigger guard ...

Crosman Fire features
The Fire has other attributes; there is no spring noise upon cocking or firing and it can remain cocked without degrading the power, and when fired, there is no torque imparted into the action during the firing cycle. Overall, the Nitro piston is a major selling point on the Fire. 

It has other selling points besides the gas-ram technology. There is a manual safety catch that needs operating before you cock the Fire, and on cocking the rifle it has a massive 140 degree swing to the barrel, more than most. The safety catch is a curved steel blade that swings back to align perfectly to the curved, cast-steel trigger blade. Make a habit of putting it on before cocking the Fire. 

There are letters under the integral trigger guard with a double-ended arrow telling the operator that it’s forward position for Fire ‘F’, and rearward for Safe ‘S’.  The safety is ambidextrous because of where it is placed, of course. It has an anti-bear trap device upon cocking, so the action cannot be tripped unless the barrel is closed and locked into the firing position.  

Over the chronograph, the Crosman was amazing. I’ll give you the actual figures of a ten-shot string – 606, 607, 608, 608, 605, 606, 603, 606, 607, 608 feet per second! That’s very good indeed, and the sign of a gas-ram powered, break-barrel air rifle. Power-wise with 14.2 grain, .22 pellets that’s 11.7 ft.lbs.

Close up of the thumbhole stock on the Crosman Fire air rifle

The undeniably top-value Crosman Fire combo. It's a lot of kit for the money. - Credit: Archant

Tactical stock on the Crosman Fire
The stock is synthetic and the design quite angular, but comfortable. It’s a thumb-hole stock – well, I say ‘thumb-hole’, but you can get your whole arm through the aperture. The stock’s pistol grip has  stippled panels on each side and there are grip panels on the fore end. The entire stock design is very tactical firearm based, even to the three vent holes above the fore end grip panels, not forgetting that the stock is rugged and weatherproof. 

The front stock screws are set at 45 degrees to the axis of the barrel, and as we know, this helps to prevent them from loosening on recoiling  rifles. The end of the pistol grip has an extended tip on which to rest the little finger and the base of the grip has the Crosman circular logo embossed into it.  Oh, and it’s totally ambidextrous. 

Close up of scope and mounts on the Crosman Fire air rifle

A Centre Point 4 x 32 scope and mounts come as standard. Great touch. - Credit: Archant

Fitting the scope onto the Crosman Fire
I fitted the supplied Center Point 4 x 32 scope, due to the Fire having no option for open sights – it’s sold in the USA with a scope, so that owners can get shooting straight away. As it happens, it’s a cool little scope. They give you mounts, too, which is good.

I was confused at first because the two-piece mounts were different. One had two clamping screws, the other only one, but when I turned them over, the reason was clear; the one with two screws also had an arrestor screw in the middle of the mount, between the two clamping screws. The arrestor screw is vital for recoiling air rifles – it’s clear that Crosman is a competent airgun manufacturer.

The scope rail is 11mm wide and 176mm long, so it’s a long rail, and the 4mm arrestor hole can take other scope mount arrestor pins should you which to upgrade. Crosman also provides an extremely good instruction sheet, and a soft lens cloth. 

Close up of the trigger on the Crosman Fire air rifle

LOU -PLACE AFTER PIC 13 ... but when the safety is disengaged, it aligns with the trigger blade.

What's the Crosman Fire like to shoot?
The Fire punched one-inch groups at 25m with .22 calibre, 14.2 grain Crosman Premier pellets. That was from the classic FT sitting position – the snappy recoil was easy to manage. The trigger has a long first stage, but is predictable and light enough at 1.8kg. The instruction sheet details the trigger adjusting screw behind the trigger blade and how to adjust it correctly, but I left it as factory set because I was getting good enough groups as it was. 

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I liked the stock more and more as I shot the Fire – for kneeling shots, the wider-shaped fore end was superb. It has a very distinctive sound when fired; the full barrel shroud takes the majority of the forward firing noise away from the Fire, and the action is the loudest noise you hear when shooting. I liked shooting the Fire – a lot. The action is quick and smooth, the rifle light and accurate and as a gas-ram  package for under £180, it really is a top value airgun.

Thanks to Gill at Range Right Ltd for help in the production of this article. 

Close up of angled stock screws on the Crosman Fire air rifle

Angled stock screws - another top touch. - Credit: Archant

Specification
Manufacturer:        Crosman
Country of origin:        USA
Distributor:        Range Right Ltd
Model:        Fire
Type:         Break-barrel
Power source:        Gas-piston
Calibre:        .22 (5.5mm)
Sights:        4x20 Center Point scope 
Sight base:        N/A 
Safety:        Manual
Overall length:        1165mm
Pull length:        355mm
Barrel length:        400mm with mod/shroud 525mm
Weight:        3.5kg (with scope fitted)
Trigger weight:        1.8kg
Price:                £179 RRP 

Close up of supplied mounts - held in a man's hand - on the Crosman Fire air rifle

The supplied mounts come complete with an arrestor pin - which is nice. - Credit: Archant