Gun tests: Crosman TR77/TR77NPS

Two great options for black rifle fans

Two great options for black rifle fans - Credit: Archant

Tim Finley tests a couple of Crosman rifles that are the same… but different

Which does Tim think is better - the springer or gas-ram?

Which does Tim think is better - the springer or gas-ram? - Credit: Archant

A real treat now for black rifle fans – a head-to-head, Crosman TR77-style.

The spring-powered TR77 and the gas-ram TR77 each come as a package, with a scope from Crosman to add to the spice. Crosman have been clever and both the guns share the same chassis, but of course, have differing power plants and barrel lengths. They are break-barrels, and the moulded synthetic body is modelled on an M16/M4/AR-type of rifle.

The spring version is just called the ‘TR77’, and the gas-ram or ‘Nitro’, as Crosman call it, has the NPS suffix; NP stands for ‘nitro power’ and the S for ‘short’ due to the shorter barrel length compared to the basic TR77 model.

The safety catch in the forward 'fire' position

The safety catch in the forward 'fire' position - Credit: Archant


The rear stock looks like the normal, sliding, adjustable type you find on such guns, and it is fixed with a pull length of 340mm (13½ inches), ideal for younger shooters.

It does have a trick up its sleeve, though - the rubber butt pad comes off to reveal two neat storage compartments, a big one at the top and small thin one at the bottom. Neither gun has open sights; a 175mm-long, 11mm scope rail is machined into the steel cylinder.

The Nitro logo on the barrel of the NPS tells you this is a gas-ram

The Nitro logo on the barrel of the NPS tells you this is a gas-ram - Credit: Archant

There is a manual safety catch, which is a small curved lever, situated right in front of the trigger. It is not automatic, but both guns have an anti-bear trap device on cocking. The trigger blade itself is of curved alloy, with a ribbed front face enabling better ‘feel’ of the trigger operation. The trigger is not bad at all on the NPS, with a let-off weight of 0.75kg, and it went up to a kilo on the spring-powered version. I found both fairly predictable, the NPS being different due to the gas-ram power plant. The NPS has a long second stage, and I much preferred the trigger on the springer.

Barrel basics

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The barrel on the gas-ram gun is shorter and chunkier (21mm diameter) than that on the springer, and the steel barrel has a synthetic, ribbed shroud, which opens out into a muzzle brake-looking affair. It’s not an actual muzzle brake at all, however, which is a real shame. They have stuck with a non-working one, not to fall foul of any of the strange laws in certain states in the US prohibiting muzzle brakes or moderators.

The inside of the rear scope mount has a recoil arrestor Allen screw

The inside of the rear scope mount has a recoil arrestor Allen screw - Credit: Archant

The barrel on the springer TR77 is all steel, 15mm diameter into a 158mm-long, synthetic moderator, for the reasons mentioned above. I really like the aesthetics of the NPS better than the plain TR77, and I would have kept the barrels the same length at least, although the springer barrel may have been longer purely on a power capability issue for the 1000 f.p.s. USA version of the TR77.

Both the spring and Nitro versions of the TR77 are sold doing 1000 f.p.s. over there, which of course makes them FAC over here in the UK, so we get the sub 12 ft.lbs version. The barrel lock-up on both versions is positive, but it did seem harder to break the springer lock with the palm of my hand.

Scoped up

The rubber butt pad has a secret

The rubber butt pad has a secret - Credit: Archant

Both guns come with a Center Point 4 x 32 scope, and a set of two-piece scope mounts. They are unusual in that the front one has a single set of screws on the top ring, and the rear mount has two sets of screws – making four in total. The back mount is wider because it has a recoil stud built into the base, and this has an Allen key, top and pointed end, to fit into a hole at the rear of the scope rail.

I applaud Crosman for doing this as it makes scope mounting more intuitive, and the recoil of the guns cannot then affect the scope. Both guns are made in China, keeping the cost down for their high volume United States market, and the build quality is perfectly acceptable for rifles at this price point.

Chrono testing

The NPS breech

The NPS breech - Credit: Archant

Over the chronograph, the NPS gave me 11.6 ft.lbs. with 7.9 grain Crosman Premiers, and the spring-powered TR77 came in at 10.7ft. lbs., also with Premiers.

Shot-to-shot variation was within single figures with both - if anything, the springer just edged the competition.

When shooting at the range, the guns were capable of 40mm groups at 20 yards. The ergonomics are good. The pistol grip puts the trigger finger in perfect placement and the front supporting hand falls nicely on the deep fore end. The Center Point 30/30 reticle scope is not the best, optics-wise. For those on a budget it’s fine, but I would replace it with a red dot for plinking, or a 1-5 magnification smaller scope.

The muzzle brake (top) is a fake

The muzzle brake (top) is a fake - Credit: Archant

Which gun won?

The quid short of £200 NPS feels and looks better, with its more diminutive barrel. Yet the springer is £35 cheaper, making for a tough, old choice for a Yorkshireman!

I am a black rifle fan so would have to go for the NPS due to the modern air rifle, gas-ram power plant, and its better handling, I would even fit a quality 10x scope and hunt with it.

Crosman have hit it over the boundary again with the TR77!



Model: TR77

Type: Break-barrel

Power source: Spring

Calibre: .177 (4.5mm)

Sights: 4x32 Center Point scope

Safety: Manual

Overall length: 1,094mm

Pull length: 340mm

Barrel length: 475mm

Weight: 3.25kg (with scope fitted)

Trigger weight: 1.98kg

Price: £165 RRP


Model: TR77 NPS

Type: Break-barrel

Power source: Nitro gas-piston

Calibre: .177 (4.5mm)

Sights: 4x32 Center Point scope

Safety: Manual

Overall length: 1,018mm

Pull length: 340mm

Barrel length: 396mm

Weight: 3.1kg (with scope fitted)

Trigger weight: 0.750kg

Price: £199 RRP


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