In 1958, Crosman were so nervous about releasing their first replica air gun that they created a new company so that the Crosman brand wouldn’t be negatively affected if it all went wrong. They needn’t have worried because over the next twenty-five years the company went on to sell hundreds of thousands of these revolver replicas. But, were they any good?
Following the success of their Wild West revolvers, Crosman next looked at a revolver replica based on a S&W revolver. Initially, these replicas weren’t designed to be sold to the public, they were designed purely as training tools for military and law enforcement personnel. Fortunately for the rest of us, they also decided to release the range of 38 revolvers to the public.
By the mid 1960s, Crosman had reached what in retrospect was their highest point in terms of CO2 powered air pistols and were producing a range of innovative, carefully designed and well engineered air pistols which appealed to both collectors and shooters. The only thing their range lacked was a replica that was accurate at long range. Then, in 1966 they introduced the Mark 1 and Mark 2…
Many Crosman replica air pistols from the 1950s and 1960s proved to be hugely popular and sold in very large numbers. Many still provide reliable shooting fun today. Sadly, neither of those things is true of the flawed, quirky Model 451. This was a bold attempt to produce a multi-shot semi auto replica, but one that proved to be a commercial disaster for Crosman and may even have hastened to company’s decline.
The Crosman Model 600 and its BB shooting little brother, the Model 677, are not replicas, but some people claim that these classics are amongst the best air pistols ever made. That’s a big claim, but does it hold up to examination?
However you look at it, the Marksman repeater isn’t a great replica. It lacks power and accuracy and it isn’t even a particularly good replica of the Colt 1911. So, can someone explain to me why this quirky replica is still in production almost sixty years after it was first introduced and long after other, much better replicas have gone out of production?
Outdoor goods company Healthways produced a range of replica air guns based on a similar design for almost twenty years. These are pretty decent shooters but there are a bewildering number of different models and you need to be very sure which one you want to add to your collection as some use ammunition that is now almost impossible to find.
This is a 1970s Polish copy of the exceptional Walther LP53 target pistol. It simply doesn’t have the quality of the Walther, but then it’s also much cheaper. So perhaps it’s something you might want in your classic collection?
You could probably argue that the Schimel, a CO2 powered Luger replica introduced in 1948, was the first modern replica. That’s a good reason for wanting to add one to your classic collection. However, the Schimel was a commercial failure due to a number of technical issues and these are even more liable to affect these pistols now that they’re more than 60 years old.
Not so much replicas as Smith & Wesson handguns which happen to use CO2 and pellets rather than cartridges, the 78G and 79G are powerful, accurate and very, very well made and finished. If you have any interest in classic replica air pistols, you need to have one of these in your collection.
Astute readers will notice that the Austin Magic Pistol isn’t a classic, or a replica or even an air pistol. But this 1950 kid’s toy is so endearingly insane that it just has to be worth covering here.It should probably have its own category called “Kids toys that can kill you and burn your house down“, but for the moment, I’ll put it in here.