Top Value Guns
Tim Finley gets behind a modern classic plinking rifle – Crosman’s 760 Pumpmaster
Tim Finley gets plinking with the Pumpmaster from Crosman
Plinking is cool and plinking is fun, and you can do it with a huge variety of guns. You can use any type at all, but that’s not to say some guns aren’t better than others for plinking. Crosman of America are the undisputed kings of the plinker. The 760 Pumpmaster is made from ultra-modern materials, but its design harks back to when I was born. In 1966 they came up with the Powermaster 760, a lightweight, variable, pump air rifle designed from the start as a starter rifle and plinker. The latest model is the tenth iteration and the name has now changed to the ‘Pumpmaster’. The Crosman 760 model has sold over 16 million units since its launch, and it’s incredibly popular in America, where it’s sold in supermarkets.
The 760 Pumpmaster is a variable pump-up air rifle with a swing-down fore end, and it has a compression chamber that can be charged via a pump. The more pumps you put in, the greater the pressure in the
chamber and the more power to push the projectile down the barrel, which is smoothbore.
The 760 can fire both .177 steel BBs and .177 lead pellets, and that’s where the current 760 gets really clever. It has an internal BB reservoir that can take 200 BBs, and these can then be fed into a magazine that holds 18 BBs. All of this is accomplished via one sliding panel. It has a square button in the middle. Slide it all the way forward and it opens a hole into which you can pour BBs. Slide it all the way back and it covers the reservoir charging hole, and opens up the back of the linear magazine on the top of the action. Upturning the 760 and raising the butt allows 18 BBs slide into the magazine, and then you move the sliding panel back to the middle position to shut off the magazine and prevent the BBs from sliding back into the reservoir.
The BBs are picked up on the magnetic end of the rifle’s bolt probe. The curved cocking handle on the right-hand side pulls back to cock the action, and the BB is entered into the barrel when the bolt is closed.
It has a manual safety catch in front of the trigger guard, easily reached by the trigger finger. Push in from the left for ‘safe’ and in from the right to set on ‘fire’ – a red ring is uncovered around the bigger diameter button on the left when it’s ready to rock. You can put from 3 to 15 pumps into the 760, and charge the gun before cocking the action. Just pump,
“the great thing about a pump-up plinker, you can set the power levels
cock and fire when you are in BB mode. With 200 BBs to go at you have serious plinking and an inexhaustible supply of power – as long as you can pump it up you can shoot.
The 760 has another side to it – pellet-firing. Magazines feature again, but it’s a five-shot sliding affair. Pellets can be better for punching holes in paper targets because the holes using flat-headed wadcutter pellets are easy to see, even if you are using open sights. The plastic magazine can only go into the action one way, as long as you put the pellets in the right way around, and it’s a manual affair, but it has solid indents to index the pellet to line up the with the barrel bore. The magazine is the only way you can use pellets with the 760.
SET THE POWER LEVEL
As it’s a pump-up power plant, the amount of pumps you put in is very interesting. Over the chronograph, three pumps gave me 310 fps or 0.9 ft.lbs., five pumps gave 1.75 ft.lbs., seven pumps 2.4 ft.lbs., and ten pumps 3ft. lbs. I went up to 12 pumps to get 3.5 ft.lbs. Crosman state a maximum of ten pumps and a minimum of three to ensure that a pellet does not get jammed in the barrel. All of these were with 4.6 grain BBs. Pellets were slightly different; five pumps gave 3.35 ft.lbs. with 7.9 grain lead pellets. Seven pumps offered 4.5 ft.lbs and ten pumps 6.5ft.lbs. Personally, I think going above 15 is a waste of time and energy, and not what Crosman recommend.
As an adult, you can shoot the 760 at ten pumps all day long. For a junior, I would stick with five. The power levels are fine for short-range plinking out to ten yards or so. If you want to go out to 20 yards then 10 pumps and lead pellets would be the way to go.
That’s the great thing about a pump-up plinker, you can set the power levels to what you are shooting at, and the air is free! No 12 gramme CO2 bulbs to buy.
The sight base is 335mm long and with a 2.2kg trigger weight it’s an easy rifle to shoot. George tried it out and likes the open sights. In fact, he didn’t want to put a red dot on the 760, which you can do via an 11mm scope rail. He also liked the lightness of the 760. It’s no secret why the 760 has sold 16 million units. It’s a classic, and long may it continue.
Thanks to all at ASI for help in the production of this article.
It’s a great little rifle for young beginners.
You have to swing the arm fully forward to allow proper air intake for the pumping system.
The pellet magazine holds five shots.
George liked the Crosman 760B.
When it’s set to fire, the button sticks out on the left-hand side and a red band is visible.
You can see the BB magazine is charged via the slots in the top.
The curve on the rear sights aids the sight picture.
The rear sight is a ramp system for height.