The Nitro arrived double boxed-- outer box with a "retail box inside. The box was out in the rain for a day but protected the contents well, except for the end of the box the coyotes peed on..
Styrofoam held the gun in place, and the contents survived the journey to Montana.
The mount was packed in a small box, the scope wrapped in a foam sheet, and that in a plastic bag. Also included are instructions for operating the gun, mounting the scope, using the trigger lock and the key for it, lens cleaning cloth, and 2 hex wrenches.
Fit and Finish
The stock mounts to action with 3 screws, similar to the Phantom. Receiver tube and barrel are evenly blued. Action was solidly mounted in stock. Barrel "shroud" is metal and has a sprayed on finish; kinda didnt like that at first, then the more I thought of it, the more I liked it cuz I can quickly touch up scratches. The receiver tube "end cap" is plastic, as is the trigger guard. No oil or lubricant was present except at the barrel pivot. No grittiness during the cocking process. Barrel lockup is good and tight.
I didnt have "The Stones" to take the action out of the stock to see what was under the hood (and besides, that would have made me wait longer to shoot it)
The scope mount was massive (at least to me). 3 Hex bolts clamp it to the dovetail on the receiver. The receiver tube itself and the rear ring have holes for a scope stop pin. The smaller of the supplied hex wrenches moves the pin down into the pin hole. The rings themselves have a textured coating on the inside of them, probably to assist in gripping the scope and to help shock absorbation. Mounting the whole contraption was straight-forward.
Trigger is solid steel (looks like steel anyway), has a slight radius to the face and not textured. I dont think itll need a shoe like the 22xx/13xx trigger does. Trigger has obvious stage definitions, 1st stage is stiff but not that heavy (havent played with that yet another post), breaking the sear from there is just a deliberate pull of the finger tip. The safety tang is is in easy reach of the trigger finger and is easy to flip on or off, with a reassuring click.
The one thing Ive already complained to Crosman about was getting the trigger lock off the trigger. Even with the supplied key it was a pain and I wound up breaking it trying to get it off (conversely, the one on the Phantom practically unlocked itself.. luck of the draw I guess).
Judging from pics on the web and considering the gun's "Genesis", I had some concern that I would not like the angle the grip was set at. Turns out its at the angle that almost matches the naturally relaxed angle of my wrist.
The web of my thumb is a little snug up under the thumbhole. In my case though, the slight snugness helped with my grip, and until reviewing my notes to type this, had forgot about it jotting it down.
The fore grip fills my hand well. The grip on the rifle is enhanced by the nubbies molded into the stock ala the Phantom (and I suppose the Genesis). The nubs cover a good deal of the forestock, allowing for a variety of places to hold it.
The entires tock is coated with a rubbery kind of stuff, not spongie at all, but has definite give. Reminds me of a Hogue overmolded stock. This is very evident in the foregrip area; that and nubbies give a very positive hold.
The cheek piece and the buttpad appear to made of the same material. The cheek piece has some mold marks and a piece or two of flashing. The material in the cheek piece is reasonably soft, and I think that reduces some of the action vibration normally transmitted to/through your cheek bones. The cheek piece is not obviously adjustable.
The digital camo pattern is applied by dipping it. (FWIW camo is one of my two favorite colors.)
The scope, a 3x9x40AO mildot is not illuminated. It is clear, and bright, even in the night time lighting of my shop. Mounting it was easy. ( I did think of one thing though while taking notes and setting up the rifle: is there an industry accepted torque setting for scopes and mounts?) Mounting was quick and easy, and nothing out of the norm.
(so how many of you skipped all the above and came straight to this spot?)
Cocking, loading and shooting the Nitro
Best for last, eh? Cocking effort is reasonable. If you ve cocked a decent power spring gun, you'll be right at home here. There is no grittiness in the cocking cycle. The action is smooth. After locking the barrel at the end of the cocking stroke, I held it tight then lifted the muzzle to the lamp and checked down the bore. Bright, shiny and the rifling is obvious. I ran one dry patch down the barrel and it came out dirty. Only ran one and probably dont need to do that one.
Loading is like any other break barrel. Lockup is positive.
Pulling the trigger.. was a big surprise. The gun was loud and recoiled in ways I wasnt expecting. The loudness settled down in a few shots, and was never louder than my Phantom when I first got that one. It did have the pleasant perfume of dieseling and now that I think about it the dieseling and the noise seemed to diminish along a similar shot count.
Five shots or so into it, I started paying attention to the recoil (after my surprise wore off). The recoil pulse is short. Very unlike my springers. It comes straight back at you, doenst rotate at all. The nearest comparison I can come up with is shooting a Marlin or Ruger 10/22 rimfire .22 LR. I didnt fully understand what to expect from this gun, given its power plant. There is no spring noise, and given how short the pulse is combined with the cheek piece material, not much is transmitted to your cheekbones.
That makes it very pleasant to shoot.
Trigger? No grittiness, clearly defined stages. First stage out of the box is alittle heavy (at least to me) and firing the thing is just a pull of the finger tip.
I have a small sampling of .22 pels. I started with the Benji Sher .22 Diablos. After 15 or so shots it occurred to me to shoot a group. First group for record measured 1.336 inches (ok, probably a tighter cuz I was running the camera with one hand and the micrometer with the other). But I was shooting from 6 yards, off hand, using a rifle I had in my possession less than an hour (and that rifle has had less than 20 shots thru it when I shot the first group). Notice though that while the 10 shot spread is big, several are touching and cloverleafed. The only other gun Ive had OOB accuracy like that is the Diana 75. A well-techniqued springer shooter --which Im not--will be right at home on the Nitro very quickly.
Next I used Daisy .22 Pointed Field Pels, 5 shot goup was .93 inches. The decrease in size, I believe, is more due to my getting used to the gun, than the pellets. I had to go do other stuff at that point. But I am convinced if I spend time with this gun, it will make ME more accurate. I think I am the weak link in that shooting system.
<< This is the 1.336 group with BenjiSher Diablos. Notice the clover leafs >>
This gun has PLENTY of Power. Plenty. Make sure of your backstop, where that pellet goes if you miss or get a thru and thru. My backstop, which up to this point has stopped everthing Ive thrown at it, was violated severly with the few shots I put down range. 4 inches of Polystyrene insulation backed with ¾ inch plywood stops everything I have in inventory. Except the Nitro, which chaninsawed its way right thru the all three layers of the backstop, thru a piece of 5/8 drywall behind it and into the insulation in the wall.
I'll post 10 yard groups soon, and FPS numbers when my buddy brings his chrony over.
My Phantom is my go to gun right now. Im starting to think it may have some competition
dr_subsonic's pneumatic research lab
the Lunatic Fringe of American Airgunning