So I have a family of 4-5 squirrels that have been attacking the house I’ve lived in for the past couple years… but NOW I’m buying the house so naturally that means; those squirrels have to die! The traps don’t work. The gates and grates aren’t working to keep them out the house’ orifices. The Fox/Coyote piss stinks and I don’t know if I want it in my attic. So now we go the man/beast/gun route. But… you can’t be firing rifles, not even a .22 caliber, around your neighborhood unless you want to get arrested after having unintentionally shot some kid 3 streets over (…and also, it’s illegal to boot). But you know what? A Pellet gun just might work instead.
I find it necessary to remind you that the modern air rifle/pistol is not a toy for children. It is a serious tool (just like gunpowder rifles/pistols are). If you get shot with one, you will get hurt or maimed — pure and simple. So treat them with the respect they deserve.
The Crosman 1322
After searching Amazon, I came up with the company who was the maker of the first BB guns I used to shoot as a kid, Crosman. I was intent on their Crosman model 1377 since its long, pistol-like profile has been indelibly burned into my memory after making an impression on me in my youth as a pellet gun that is longer than a pistol, but shorter than a rifle. I expected to buy a .177 caliber pellet because I only knew of a single caliber being available in the “Pellet World”. But, the .177 caliber, has given way to technology. The .22 caliber pellet! I discovered this .22 pellet while looking for the standard model 1377 that has been around since the 1970’s. I found the exact same pistol, in .22 caliber. Decision made! I ordered up, what Crosman has dubbed the 1322 (get it? since it’s in .22). Now, with a larger caliber projectile, comes a little bit more energy upon impact, even if at a slightly slower speed. Crosman says the .22 will fly at up to 460 feet per second. That is more than enough to do some serious damage to most organic targets that take a hit (so be extremely careful).
It arrived at my home for about $5o. As expected, I was impressed at the quality. It seems as tough as a Ford truck. It looks good and focused as though it was designed for one purpose. Crosman calls the 1322 a “variable pump” air pistol because you can pump it anywhere from 3-10 times based on your needs. When the time comes, those evil squirrels will no doubt meet their maker… But just like my other gun project (Mosin Nagant), I just couldn’t leave well-enough alone.
Steel Bolt Handle
First things first, I noticed the bolt-handle was a bit short and stubby. It felt like I was grabbing for a tiny little toy nubbin (I don’t know what a “nubbin” is but it sounds right) that was an afterthought to the rest of the 1322. Also, the handle gave off a plastic feeling. To add to that “cheap” plastic-ky feel, the bolt was also inexplicably colored in gold, which… I just don’t get! So I needed a replacement and I ordered up a more substantial steel handle that is a bit longer, bulkier, and is a bit easier to manhandle.
After a quick installation that lasted about 4 minutes, the new bolt was on. And no longer does the tiny bolt handle look out-of-place or give off that 1970’s disco, bathroom decor, extremely cheap and tacky, vibe.
Painted Pump Arm and Grips
I don’t particularly like the look of guns colored black all over. It’s not that it is too menacing looking, but it just seems to be a bit lazy. Outside of business (military, police, revolutionary, whatever) firearms, why not apply some creativity and add a splash of color or pattern. So I went out to the garage and grabbed the leftover Camouflage Tan spray-paint I used on the Mosin project. I taped up the everything I didn’t want tan paint over-spray on and I went to town. I let it dry a bit and covered it with a second coat and then a coat of clear protectant.
It looked 10 times better. If I was going to paint it all over again, I’d probably go out and buy some bright-ass green or orange color to give neighbors or cops pause against confusing it with a real gun when I’m stalking those squirrels.
Since I don’t really care for open sights any longer with my old-ish, computer damaged, eyes, I decided I should add an optical sight to it to make picking up small moving creatures a bit easier. But, I DID NOT want to spend a bunch of money on this project, even though, it is apparent I’ll be keeping it for a long time. Once you make the decision to go the optics route, you’ll find that there is no way to mount a scope on the Crosman as you pull it out of its packaging because the highest point on the (stock) 1322 is the barrel. The Crosman 459MT kit provides two mounting points that you can buy separately of the pistol to create a dovetail platform that will allow you to mount a cheap BB gun scope (from the early 1980’s) on. So I spent the $8.00 bucks to make that happen.
Upon arrival of the scope mounts, I decided, hey, why don’t I use a red-dot or reflex scope instead of a standard size rifle scope that requires short eye relief (TRANSLATION: Short relief scopes require your eye to be 3-4 inches away from the scope). So I went to Amazon and searched for a cheap reflex scopes that have an long eye relief and do not require your face to be up close to the pistol. After reviewing the comments, I settled on a “Ultimate Arms Gear Tactical” reflex (holographic) scope. I got it because it was CHEAP (at $30 smackeroos) but… turns out that I actually like it. It is actually the same generic sight used by multiple companies and made in the same factory, by the same people. Some of the smaller companies will sell it for $30, while larger companies companies charge up to $75 for the same product, BUT with their brands on them. I’ll go with the generic brand. Obviously, I wouldn’t trust it on my Rifle that I was going to battle with in Afghanistan [or Detroit], but on an Air Pistol being deployed against defenseless, rabid, freak animals that dig up my lawn and crawl under my ceilings, it’ll suffice.
But this scope does not mount directly to the dovetail mounts just installed because the scope (as most modern scopes do) uses a Weaver or Picatinny type mount. So, the dovetail mounts that I purchased and Weaver/Picatinny mounts on the scope do not mix. In comes UTG to the rescue. UTG has actually shown itself to be an innovative company that has been coming through for me with some great products as of late, particularly for the replacement scope I used on the Mosin Project. And they make a solution for my dovetail needs as well. Their “UTG Dovetail to Picatinny Low Profile Rail Adapters” are little spring loaded clips that fit right inside of the weaver mount, and as you tighten your scope, you in-turn, tighten the UTG clips onto the dovetail. Brilliant Idea for sure.
And that is it. Everything is mounted. If looks could kill!?
How does it shoot??
So fun! After getting it all sighted in, I can hit every target I aim at. The ergonomics are great. 1377’s and 1322’s always seem to fit comfortably in one’s hand. Even though the barrel is a bit long-ish, it always seems to feel as though you can hit a target you’re pointing at. Moving and tracking objects works out great thanks to the large hologram window on the reflex sight. The brightness of the dot is always visible and to make it even better, you have your choice of 4 differing reticle types including dot, circle, circle w/crosshairs, and finally just crosshairs.
Now, I know it’s only an air pistol (which is usually considered a step above a toy), but you must know that it is pretty-damned loud. My hopes of silently and stealthily assassinating varmints as they chew their way into my roof, insulation, and electrical wires, is probably not going to happen. The dogs in the neighborhood start barking after even the minimum 3 pumps of power.
The original 1377 was/is a classic piece of kit, and the 1322 is currently in the process of supplanting the 1377 in popularity. It is more powerful, with the same form factor (size), and at generally, the same price. Additionally, it shares most of its parts with its predecessor and there are even conversion kits to turn your 1377 into a 1322. I’m no longer sure why anyone would go with the smaller caliber when given the choice? Perhaps cheaper pellets, but pellets are cheap either way and as .22 becomes more popular, there is little doubt that it will supplant the .177 in the pellet market, further driving .22 pellets even cheaper. Parts are plenty for the 1322 because there is so much that can be done to customize all Crosman products. You could spend hundreds of dollars on ‘modifications and upgrades if you were so inclined. So how much did I spend in total? –$52/Crosman 1322, –$8/Scope Mounts, –$30?/Scope, $25/Extended Bolt Handle, and — $0/Spray Paint (from the Home Depot).
For around $115 bucks, you’ll have a Air Pistol that’ll likely outlast you. It’ll be something that you can pass down to your kids and something they can learn to shoot with. It’ll be an effective way control pests, or for shooting holes in paper targets. The 1377 has been a cult classic for years and there is no doubt the 1322 will become one as well.
NOW maybe I’ll actually go out and get those squirrels… but, even if I don’t, the neighborhood soda cans better beware!
NOTE: Use Lead-Free pellets, especially If you’re going to be eating anything you shoot. Lead is toxic to humans and other animals. Lead will slowly poison your blood as well as any animals, like your dog, that find and eat the pellets. Lead pellets WILL also contaminate your property if you leave them around. Wash your hands after handling lead pellets if you choose to use them. (You’re Welcome: Don’t say I never did anything for you!).