Top Value Guns: Crosman 1088 kit

Perfect starter kit for CO2 plinking

Perfect starter kit for CO2 plinking - Credit: Archant

Tim Finley has a recommendation for all those new to the plinking game

The CO2 capsule is in the grip

The CO2 capsule is in the grip - Credit: Archant

Listen up people! If you’ve recently started plinking, or want to, then check out the Crosman 1088 kit, a pistol running off a 12-gramme CO2 bulb. I have made no secret of being a Crosman fan, always have been – they do BB guns like no one else.

I still own a Crosman 1008, the predecessor to the 1088, and the new gun shares a lot of features. Both have a flip-up barrel section, which pops up from the top of the action, and an eight-shot rotary magazine.

The 1088 kit comes in a blister pack, complete with a pair of wrap-around safety glasses and a tin of 100 lead flat-head pellets and 100 Crosman copper-coated steel BBs. The glasses have clear lenses and comply with the EN166 safety standard. Apart from a 12-gramme CO2 bulb, it’s all you need to start plinking.

Crosman 1088

Crosman 1088 - Credit: Archant

The pistol houses the 12-gramme bulb in the grip. There is a thumbnail groove on the base of the left-hand grip, so you need to prise off both grips in order to insert the bulb and tighten the piercing screw. The piecing screw toggle needs to be folded up into one of the grips in order for them to fit.

The grip is ambidextrous, good for a family pistol and very tactile. There are two finger grooves on the face and finger/thumb channels on top of both side panels, as well as raised pimples all over the base of each grip. Overall, it’s a comfortable, well-proportioned pistol.

Steel exposed hammer

Steel exposed hammer - Credit: Archant

The 1088 has an accessory rail for a light or laser under the barrel, and my favourite light fitted straight on, so it’s a firearms’ industry spec. rail. The sights on the 1088 are a fixed post at the front and an adjustable for windage rear sight – this has T5 screws on each side of the rear notch, you undo these to move the rear sight left or right. With a sight base of 144mm, they are a cut above the normal CO2 entry-level pistol due to the rear sight being adjustable.

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The safety catch is a non-automatic one, with the square button right above the trigger blade. It has a raised guard on the right-hand side, to prevent an accidental application to set the gun into ‘fire’ mode, and a raised section the same size as the safety protrudes from the body of the gun.

You push it into to the left to put in ‘fire’ mode, a red line becomes visible on the left-hand side of the action around the safety. The gun can be de-cocked via the exposed steel hammer at the rear. Hold that, and manipulate the trigger at the same time.

Front fixed post sight

Front fixed post sight - Credit: Archant

The steel barrel sits in a pop-up section at the front of the pistol, and there is a small latch, mid-gun, which when pushed forward allows the section to rise out of the gun under spring pressure. The rotary magazine fits onto a peg directly under the barrel.

The real change with this pistol, as you may have gathered from the split tin, is the fact that it can fire lead pellets or 4.5mm steel BB. It’s another reason for me to point new shooters to the 1088 kit, as they get to learn how BBs shoot and be able to compare them with pellets using the same gun.

The adjustable for windage rear sight

The adjustable for windage rear sight - Credit: Archant

The magazine can take steel BBs because the centre section has a magnet housed in it, and this holds the BBs in place. Lead pellets are held in the magazine’s eight sections, by raised grooves. I would not try to use lead BBs in place of steel ones.

Over the chronograph, the 1088 gave me approximately 50 useable shots ranging from 330 to 350 fps with 5.1 grain Crosman Copperhead 4.5mm (.177) BBs - that’s 1.2 to 1.4 ft.lbs. of power. With the 7.4 grain flat-headed Crosman wadcutters it went up to 1.5 5o 1.6 ft.lbs.

It shot consistent groups under 25mm at six yards, the best being centre to centre for five shots. The trigger is single- or double-action, and it feels very smooth and comfortable in operation.

The section holding the barrel flips up out of the action, under spring tension

The section holding the barrel flips up out of the action, under spring tension - Credit: Archant

The trigger weight for the double-action was 4.2kg, and manually cocking the hammer for single-action was 1.7kg. Single-action is the way to go for accuracy so, again, a novice would learn this with the 1088.

I really rate the Crosman 1088 kit for anyone wanting to take up a bit of recreational plinking. It’s good value for money and fun to shoot.

Price: £84


Manufacturer: Crosman

Model: 1088 pistol kit

Country of origin: USA

Distributor: ASI

Type: Multi-shot pistol

Power source: 12-gramme Co2 bulb

Calibre: .177 (4.5mm)

Action: Double-action

Type: 8-shot rotary magazine

Sights: Fixed front post, adjustable for windage rear notch

Sight base: 144mm

Safety: Manual

Overall length: 190mm

Barrel length: 94mm

Weight: 0.5kg

Trigger weight: Single-action 1.7kg: Double-action 4.3kg


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