Real world Airgun Reviews – "Facts not Fluff"

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Crosman NightStalker Tactical with Red / Green Dot Scope, Tactical Flashlight, and Bi-Pod

The Crosman NightStalker Tactical is an awesome rifle. While I may spoil the “suspense” in the article by opening with such a statement, I’m hoping that it will leave you wanting more!

While at the Virginia Airgun Expo Tom Gaylord mentioned to me that I needed to try out the NightStalker as he was very impressed with it. Well, if Tom Gaylord was impressed with it, I‘ve just got to have one. So when I got home I shot off an email to my contact at Crosman and requested one for review. I had one on my door step a few days later and I’ve had a hard time putting it down since.

Crosman NightStalker Tactical

Crosman NightStalker Tactical

What makes the NightStalker so special? Well, there are a lot of things. First of all, it is a 12 shot semi-auto air rifle that uses the 88 gram AirSource CO2 cartridge. Using the larger CO2 system gives it an immediate advantage over rifles that use the smaller 12 gram variety. Where the smaller cartridge will freeze, adversely affecting the velocity with only about 5 or 6 rapid fire shots (see my article on the Corsman 1077), the 88 gram AirSource cartridge will sustain velocity throughout all almost all 12 shots with minimal drop. And the best part, it will put 12 shots on target EVERY TIME!

So let’s take a look at the rifle top to bottom. When you get the rifle it comes as the basic NightStalker with the tactical accessories that need to be installed on the rifle. The rails mount to the side and top of rifle the and allow you to mount the Red/Green dot scope and tactical flashlight. I do wish Crosman had spent a little more on the molding and had metal retention nuts built into the plastic stock. It would be VERY easy to over-tighten the screws and then you would be basically… well… screwed. The rail for the flashlight can be mounted on either side of the stock depending on your preference. It also comes with a pressure switch rather than the standard on/off screw cap. Just a quick note about this light, it is very bright. I have a target 27 yards from the back door of my porch and I could easily see and accurately shoot the target in the middle of the night with this flashlight. It is not a gimmicky toy. It is the real deal.

Crosman NightStalker Tactical, with all accessories mounted.

The Red/Green Dot scope on the other hand could be a little nicer. For example, the oversized eye piece and objective are simply for show. I would have rather they made the whole sight with a larger objective. With that said, it sighted in with minimal effort, is very easy to use even in broad daylight, and has not shifted since day one. You can be confident that the pellet will go EXACTLY where the dot is resting, as long as you do your part with trigger control.

Crosman NightStalker Tactical with Red / Greed Dot Scope and Tactical Flashlight.

The final piece of the “tactical” puzzle is the bi-pod. Installation is simple and easy. The bi-pod provides all the stability you need to really put lead to target. The legs are somewhat adjustable for height, but I just use them all the way up, and all the way fully extended, depending on my needs at the time. This bi-pod looks a lot like the dragon claw bi-pod I’ve used so many times.

Loading and firing the NightStalker is pretty straight forward. You remove the rear of the stock and install the AirSource 88 Gram CO2 cartridge. I use a drop of Crosman’s Pellgunoil on the tip each time I use a new cartridge to keep the gun well lubricated. The pellets load into a 12 shot rotary clip that slips into the side of the rifle. The lever beneath the loading area is the “blow back” lever on the rifle. I’m not sure what function it performs other than it looks cool and gives you the feeling that you are shooting a real firearm and it is useful when you have a jam. I actually like the Crosman 1077’s system better as I did experience some jams, but we’ll get to that later.

The 88 gram CO2 AirSource Cartridge loads in the rear of the rifle.  The weight of the cartridge offsets the weight of the accessories in the front of the NightStalker giving it great balance overall.

Just put the loaded clip into the rifle and close the loading door.

All loaded and ready to shoot!

With the CO2 installed and the pellets loaded its off to shoot. It only took a few shots to get the scope lined up and from then on, it was just fun, fun, fun! The NightStalker Tactical will obliterate anything that you put the dot on. The paperwork rates this at 580 FPS and it does it with ease. With lighter pellets you can easily get over 600 FPS and even higher using some of the new lead free pellets. I found the Crosman Lead-Free Hollow Points to be a good option producing 630 FPS while maintaining reasonable accuracy. The best accuracy came from heavier pellets like the Crosman Hollow Point Premier (quickly becoming a favorite in .177 and .22), and the Crosman Premier Wadcutters. Really any quality wadcutter pellet is going to work well in this rifle.

Crosman Lead-Free Hollow Points
High – 634, Low – 597, Average – 621, Difference 37 FPS

Crosman Premier Wadcutters
High – 481, Low – 453, Average – 464, Difference 28 FPS

Crosman Premier Hollow Points
High – 481, Low – 456, Average – 464, Difference 28 FPS

RWS Hobby
High – 494, Low – 474, Average – 484, Difference 20 FPS

As you can see from these shot groups, this rifle puts it right where it matters every time. Remember the 27 yard shooting session I had off my back porch? I shot the NightStalker from a standing position at a tin can on a stick and hit it every time in the middle of the night. This little rifle performs!

12 shots with Crosman Premier Hollow points fired rapid fire.

12 shots with Crosman Premier Watcutters

I only had a couple of problems when shooting this rifle and it deals with trigger control. You need to remember that this is not a competition target rifle. It is not designed for a carefully controlled, slow trigger squeeze. If you do, it will jam on you and you will spend the next few minutes trying to get the mechanism to work again. I don’t know why, that is for Crosman’s engineers to figure out. But if you just fire away and squeeze the trigger with authority, the gun will fire jam free almost every time.

So let me wrap this review up. In the past I’ve been a little critical of Crosman, and I even have some little issues with this product, but all in all, the NightStalker Tactical is a really nice airgun worthy of anyone’s collection. I wish Crosman paid a little more attention to the little details like having metal parts for the rails to mount on, but for what it is worth, that is the only thing I have to complain about. I usually send products back when I’m done with them, but I’ve already told Crosman that I’m just sending them a check. This one’s mine… go get your own!

The Crosman NightStalker Tactical… One mean looking air rifle!

Next up, we take a look at anther CO2 repeater by Walther. This airgun impressed me as much and maybe even more than the NightStalker! Check back soon for the full article.

Written By,
Rick Eutsler
Editor / Owner
Copyright 2007, Dog River Design, LLC – All Rights Reserved.
For reprint information, please contact Rick Eutsler, Jr.

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