How does the Crosman MTR77 NP compare to the M16? PART 2
- Credit: Archant
John Milewski concludes his test of the Crosman MTR77 NP
In the first part of my review, we had a close look at Crosman’s MTR77 NP, a full-power, break-barrel air rifle, which resembles the M16A2 service rifle incredibly well. I’ll now see if the rifle shoots as well as it looks.
In the 1990s, versions of the M16 were machined with a flat top to the receiver so the traditional carrying handle, which incorporates an aperture sight, may be replaced with optical sights. The Crosman’s barrel shroud is a moulding that has a Picatinny/Weaver rail fitted as standard. This means a removable sight can be fitted, which is of the type used on the M4 rather than the M16A2, but this is a minor point.
The foresight can be adjusted for elevation by screwing it in or out. When a suitable height is found, I would add a spot of Loctite to keep it secure. The spring-loaded sight may be folded down when not in use and the feature comes in handy when you want to fit the rifle into a standard-sized gun bag.
The rearsight is an aperture and has alternative small and large ‘peep’ holes. I found the large hole too wide and could not focus well on the foresight, but after switching to the narrower aperture, the foresight sharpened up perfectly. There is a limited amount of elevation adjustment and far more lateral adjustment to ensure a suitable zero.
One shortcoming of the in-line stock and barrel concept is the raised sight line. While I no longer had to compress my cheek into the stock, as I had to with a red dot, I found the open sights were fitted some 2 1/2 inches above the bore and required the same amount of holdover/under as a scope. However, the rifle shot flat between 10 and 25 yards.
The trigger was described as ‘awful’ by a fellow club member, but I found it ‘different’. The pull consists of a long draw more akin to a smooth, double-action revolver than a rifle. Yes, it’s creepy, but the pull is consistent and as long as you maintain a steady sight picture, the rifle will place pellets accurately at the intended point of aim. Due to the length of pull - which I adjusted to its minimum - the base of the trigger can dig into your trigger finger after prolonged use, causing some discomfort, but this did not prevent me from using the rifle during extended shooting sessions.
One-hole groups at 6 yards from the standing position were the norm and I could hit 40 mm kills consistently on field targets up to 25 yards away from the same position, using the red dot.
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I could still connect with the open sights, but only when the light was good – as soon as it started to fade, accuracy dropped off, but this is true of most aperture-sight shooting. I also had to coat the rear of the aperture sight with matte black paint to prevent its glossy finish causing too much glare.
During my initial session with the Crosman I probably fired 100 pellets, and by the end I noticed that the skin on my shooting hand had broken in the area where the web of the hand meets the stock. Some fine wire wool soon smoothed out the high spot on the moulding and I have encountered no such problems since then.
The cylindrical handguard (fore end) was first introduced with the M16A2 in 1984 and provided a comfortable and solid area for my supporting hand to grasp. Notice I have not referred to left- or right-hand – this rifle is fully ambidextrous and comfortable to hold and use.
To comply with US regulations, a safety catch must be fitted to all airguns and the Crosman has a catch in front of the trigger. Move it to the rear for ‘safe’, and forward to ‘fire’. It is a shame the ‘fire’ selector was not used as a safety for extra realism because the latter is just behind the trigger and simply a moulding on the air rifle.
The Crosman’s barrel breaks down in the conventional manner and when new, it required a substantial tap to release the wedge-type barrel lock. After a tin of pellets and a liberal coating of moly grease, barrel release became a lot smoother. Cocking effort was not as hard as some reviews I’ve read, but this rifle was de-rated for the UK market and might be a lot easier to cock than its American cousin.
I found the Crosman accurate and a great deal of fun to use. Yes, there are some minor shortcomings and you would not buy one to practise for the Olympics. However, the rifle is more than capable of providing a thorough grounding in the principles of safe and accurate shooting, while resembling a modern assault rifle in an almost uncanny way.
As a military-style rifle, it scores top marks. As an air rifle, it is capable of commendable accuracy, thereby earning a place in my collection.
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