Top Value Guns

Tim Fin­ley gets be­hind a mod­ern clas­sic plink­ing ri­fle – Crosman’s 760 Pump­mas­ter

Airgun World - - Contents -

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.


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.

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