By: Pete Wadeson
Pete Wadeson tests the Crosman Nitro Venom, the latest addition to their NPSS (gas ram) family of air rifl es
We’ve now seen quite a few models of Crosman’s new gas strut – or as they term it the Nitro Piston power plant. UK importers A.S.I have brought in some very interesting rifles both spring-powered and more recently spring-less sporters. Granted this is nothing new to UK airgunners as Theoben built their name on gas ram technology, but I still feel there’s something that little bit special about this system.
Such was the success of Crosman’s first gas-ram rifl es that they soon brought in the next batch, this time in two wood options and a synthetic stock version named the Benjamin Trail. It came bundled with scope, mounts and even a sling. Priced right and advertised correctly, they sold like hot cakes -such can be the appeal of a ‘ready to go’ combo. Now I’m testing the full length sporter version of the Crosman Nitro Venom which comes in a well-designed hardwood stock and complete with a Centerpoint 3 X 9 – 32 scope with 1” Weaver Fast Lok base mounts.
A substantial yet medium height, fully ambidextrous cheek piece with sculpted full rubber butt pad changes as it moves towards the trigger, as it’s pared and flared down to form a medium to slim neck, where your shooting hand is met with a chunky pistol grip. The forend extends forward soon morphing into a beavertail design. This gives a good long forward hand hold. Many feel shooting either a recoiling spring gun or gas-ram will benefi t from using this hold, getting the optimum performance from the rifle. For some it works, personally I feel it goes to show how many are now spoiled because they get a PCP right from the start of their shooting career giving a false sense of how to hold a rifle, particularly a recoiling airgun.
The beaver-tail style forend of the Nitro Venom may have the flat profiled underside of more target oriented air rifles, but treat it like any full power gas ram or springer and you’ll achieve what the rifl e is inherently capable of - delivering a killer punch with a smooth fi ring cycle and surprisingly low recoil.
Wood or synthetic
The Nitro Venom is available in .22 calibre (as per the test rifl e) or.177, and also in two stock options; hardwood or a similarly styled synthetic stock. I say similar as rather than having chequering to aid grip – the synthetic has quite clever raised ribs where you’d naturally hold the rifl e. This variant is named the Nitro Venom Dusk.
Both rifles are still quite traditional looking yet with a modern twist and certainly great features for a sporter style rifl e from the US. As mentioned earlier, the cylinder shows a 6” length of raised Weaver rail for scope mounting and you get a Centerpoint 3 X 9 – 32 scope with 1” Weaver, Fast Lok base mounts bundled in the package. So you’re getting a ready to go combo that’ll hold its own admirably as a medium range hunter.
From here on, I can only say the rifl e mechanically feels no different to any other NPSS-powered Crosman. That in itself means internal noise and muzzle report is reduced by 70%. Now this is some claim because consider that percentage reduction compared to an average spring-powered design of the same size and design, that would be giving out almost three-quarters more than the sound you hear on firing a Nitro Venom.
Without a decibel meter, I can’t give you a defi nite yes or no to those percentages but I will say, to my Mk 1 ear it’s reduced almost by half. Now that’s some going. The 2-stage trigger releases shots cleanly, report is ably muted by the fl ared and fl uted muzzle weight, making this a desirably accurate and well balanced hunting package.
So will we see more models coming to our shores? Spanish manufacturers Gamo seem to have their IGT (Inert Gas System) fi nally sorted and yes, the Americans are taking to this new concept (to them) of power plant. Then again, Theoben gas-rams have been popular in the States for many years prior to this.
However as with all new things - caveat emptor! Though mine was fi ne, check on the websites, as some American webzine reviews report quite a few teething troubles. Then again, that was when it was fi rst launched in the US before they’d fettled, modifi ed and sorted it for UK consumption. GM
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates