We are continuing our journey looking for budget airguns that deliver on accuracy and performance. Hopefully they deliver performance well above their price point. Today’s example started out as the Remington Vantage. It’s had a few changes and is now the Crosman Vantage. Let’s take a look.
Not much to look at… but is that really important?
The original Reminton Vantage was really a nice looking rifle. The stock was well finished with a deep wood tone that actually got a lot of complements when I would show it off. When the Remington brand went away and it was re-branded as the Crosman Vantage, some of that spit and polish went away too. The stock was replaced with a dull facsimile of the original. The shape and the finish were just not up to the same quality and definition. With that said, the price also went down about $50 so is it really all that big of a deal. These photos were pulled off the product page and represent what the rifle used to look like, it may not be what you’ll actually get in the box.
Ok, so that’s a pretty discouraging start to an article about a potential diamond in the rough, but that’s sort of what a diamond in the rough actually is. Not much to look at right off the bat, you have to put some elbow grease into her to see her shine.
Let’s start knocking off some of the rough edges…
The Crosman Vantage, this version, is a spring gun based on a 1000 fps powerplant. Our test gun got pretty close to that 1000 fps, but had a ton of vibration and twang from the spring so I immediately gave it a “slot tune.” Now, what is a “slot tune?” If you have an airgun that’s shooting to speck but could use a little toning down, you can add a little dampening grease to the mechanics through the slot. I have my own system called “tune-in-a-tube” that utilizes a syringe filled with a special industrial goo that I work in between the coils through the slot. It’s important to not over lube your gun or you just make a mess.
The results are pretty dramatic. Our test rifle was shooting the 7.0 grain Hobby pellets an average of 985 FPS with an extreme spread of 26.9 FPS. After the “slot tune” that dropped to 952 FPS average with an extreme spread of only 11 FPS. It also completely eliminated all the buzz and vibration, and made the gun much smoother to cock and shoot. It’s by no means meant to replace a proper airgun tune or fix mechanical problems, but if the rifle’s mechanically sound, it’s a quick way to get a smoother, easier shooting airgun.
While I had the stock off the rifle I took a look at the trigger. Now the Crosman triggers are not known for their smoothness. Rather they are known for their long, rough pulls. The main reason for this type of trigger is that it’s impossible to over adjust with the factory settings, which means that it’s very, very safe. The down side is that it’s not all that great for bench use. There are a couple of things you can do here. The easiest is to look up “GRT III” trigger and buy a replacement blade (this will void your warranty and carries with it risk of injury and mechanical failure, do so at your own risk). There are some pluses and minuses with going that route and it may be a good topic for a later article. The other option, and one that I highly DISCOURAGE anyone to attempt that’s not an accomplished machinist or gunsmith, is to smooth out the rough edges on all the touching parts of the trigger. When done correctly, you maintain the safety, and gain a smoother, lighter pull. It’s still long, but it’s smooth and predictable. I do this on most of the Crosman guns that I intended to keep.
Lastly, as with most inexpensive import airguns, the barrel was totally filthy. It took a solid 30 minutes to finally start seeing some clean patches come out the other end. I used bronze and nylon brushes along with JB Non-Embedding bore paste to really get in there and clean and polish the bore. The work paid off in spades yielding much tighter groups.
The Crosman Vantage ships with a center point 4×32 scope. It is your typical starter scope and you’ll be able to get some use out of it if you don’t have the cash to drop immediately into some better glass. Fortunately the rifle also ships with open sights so you’re not tied to having to use that bundled optic if you don’t want to. I’m a fan of this type of setup. I don’t mind putting up with a starter scope as long as you give us a functional gun with open sights.
Does it hit the mark?
Once all the prep work was done, it was time to get things sighted in and do some pellet testing. The Vantage preferred pellets that were a bit heavier. Something from the 7.9 grain up to just under 10 grain. Here are 4 shot groups from 10 yards showing the progression of accuracy from the 7.9 Grain Crosman Hollow Points, to the 8.4 grain JSBs, to the 9.32 grain H&N Baracuda Hunter Extremes, up to the 10.5 Grain Discovery Hollow Points.
Is our little diamond in the rough worth a look?
All in all, for a gun at this price point, there’s not much to complain about. Had I never handled the Remington Vantage, I would have never known that a better looking option previously existed. With a little TLC applied, this little breakbarrel’s accuracy rivals that of airguns costing 3 times as much. It’s a real testimony to what a little time and elbow grease can bring to the surface.
If you want to know more about the Vantage, be sure to let us know in the comments. As time permits, I’ll make it a point to come back and fill in the blanks!