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Tim Finley reveals the Crosman Phantom .22 break-barrel rifle
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The Phantom is billed by Crosman as the first of a new generation of break-barrel designs from them, all featuring sleek, clean and defined lines and all-weather, synthetic stocks. Well, they really do mean sleek! The Phantom’s looks are very striking. It’s extremely black, but it’s the design of the stock that catches the eye, and it certainly caught mine.
First, the controls; there’s a manual safety catch in front of the curved trigger blade, and this type of safety catch is relatively common now, but the one on the Phantom just works better than the vast majority of the others I’ve tested because it has a positive, spring-loaded operation when moving it backward and forward – the others all feel wishy washy, but this one doesn’t. Safety-wise it also has an anti-bear trap system, which we all know prevents the compressed spring from uncoiling unless the barrel is in the locked, firing position.
Crosman has given the Phantom open sights, they’re first-class and the rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation, with handy L, R , U and D arrows to help the user zero in. It has red fibre-optic rods forming dots on each side of the rear aiming notch and the front post has a massive, 21mm long, 1.5mm diameter green rod. This means the front post really does stand out, and with a sight base of 387mm that’s ideal for accurate aiming and shooting. It comes with an 11mm scope/optic sight rail machined into the top of the metal cylinder, which is 175mm long, with a 4.5mm recoil mount arrestor hole situated at the rear of it. Upon cocking, the rifle has a 120-degree swing to the barrel, and a very positive lock-up on the barrel detent, with no trace of barrel wobble.
The safety catch is a curved steel plate that swings back to align perfectly with the curved cast-steel trigger blade; please make a habit of putting it on before cocking the Crosman, the safety on the Phantom is not automatic.
There are letters under the integral trigger guard with a double-ended arrow telling the operator it’s forward position for F (Fire) and rearward for S (Safe). The trigger-positioned safety being where it is means it’s ambidextrous, of course.
Over the chronograph the Crosman Phantom was simply amazing! The actual figures of a ten-shot string were: 580, 581, 579, 580, 578, 581, 580, 579, 580 and finally 579 feet per second – amazing indeed! Power-wise, with .22 14.2 grain Crosman pellets, that’s around 10.6 ft.lbs.
The synthetic stock design has an angled rake on the pistol grip, so it forces the pad of the trigger finger into the perfect position on the trigger. For grip, the stock has an unusual pattern of small raised dots on both sides of the pistol grip, and they extend up to the sides of the stock. There are two more dotted panels on the mid-section and fore end of the stock, and they are extremely grippy. The stock designs flows beautifully, and the trigger guard falls into a scoop on the understock, making it the thinnest cross-section, and it’s ambidextrous, with a thick rubber butt pad. The Crosman logo – a C inside a scope reticle – is moulded into the right-hand side of the rear stock. I’d say this pistol is more suited to an adult due to the dimensions of the stock.
SCOPE AND MOUNTS INCLUDED
Crosman also supply a 4 x 32 scope and mounts; it has a 30/30 reticle, see-through lens caps and ¼-inch at 100 yards windage and elevation adjustments. The mounts are two-piece, the rear one having two clamping screws and a recoil stop pin underneath and with the recoil hole in the scope rail, it’s a perfect combination. The low height of the rear sight is very useful if you want to fit a larger objective lens scope because it doesn’t interfere with the sight picture.
I shot it with the open sights at first, and outdoors, the front green dot is very easy to see and to align the sights – it shot well for open sights. I then I fitted the kit included, the 4 x 32 scope and the Phantom came in with 20mm groups at 25m, with 14.2 grain Crosman Premier .22 pellets, from the classic field-target sitting position. I think the very good accuracy of the Phantom has a lot to do with its brilliant consistency over the chronograph – those figures do mean something downrange.
The trigger on the Phantom is way above average for a spring-powered air rifle. On my electronic trigger gauge, it came in at 1.5kg, and this also contributes to the performance of any airgun downrange. There is an adjustment screw for trigger weight behind the trigger blade, by the way, but I left it as factory set.
The Phantom is another well-designed, well-built, break-barrelled airgun from Crosman and for the money, it certainly qualifies as a Top Value Gun.
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