In Sept. a friend asked me to write an overview of the Crosman 101 that he inherited from his father and recently had rebuilt. He wanted to pass it on to his adult son but didn't want to say "here", hand over the rifle and let the 'rest of the story' slide.
So what you'll see below is what I wrote. Hopefully it made him want to honor and properly maintain his Grandfathers rifle. Tom
In 1923 the first Crosman airgun appeared on the screen of the sporting world. It had the then common bicycle pump style front pump rod and the inefficient charging that pump yielded. Ah---but in 1924 the new model Crosman 101 rifle sprouted an underlever, scissors type pump that minimized pumping effort and multiplied results. That pump design made all others non-starters in the power category and liberated the Crosman from the kid's toy category of the competition making it worthy of consideration by serious adult sportsmen as a small game harvester. And it would sustain the company thru the depression all the way to 1950 before it was supplanted by newer designs in the Crosman line-up. 26 years of profitable production with only minor design refinements! Along the way it earned a deserved reputation for power, toughness, accuracy and just good clean fun shooting during an era that the cost of a box of rimfires was a sheer luxury in the meager to non-existent budget of far too many families. And it could put animal protein on their table. That latter fact undoubtedly sustained more than a few thru the 1930s who might have otherwise not survived those years. And if our world and society disintegrates into anarchy and savagery as it bids fair to do it can still serve to harvest protein.
Maintenance is "so simple that even a caveman can do it" if he has the one required tool and a few new seals. The entire 'innards' come out thru the rear of the receiver casting underneath the bolt. Unscrew and remove the hammer weight that is used as a grip to cock the gun, insert your Crosman tool (or an old socket ground to fit) and remove the nut releasing the hammer housing and spring. Set them aside and re-insert the tool and unscrew the next nut retaining the exhaust valve body. Invert the rifle and all the innards should fall into your ready hand. If they don't give the pump handle a sharp stroke. Just have something ready to catch the parts as they leave the gun. Clean out the valve body with an alcohol or paint thinner wetted paper towel or rag rubber-banded to a dowel and blow it out with compressed air if you have it. The two-piece inlet and exhaust valve stems come apart so you can replace the seals. (often they can be made to function for a few more years just by inverting the seal) In a real pinch new seals can be fabricated from various semi-rigid plastics or even leather----after all that was the material of choice for seals in airguns for hundreds of years prior to Crosman and they even used it for the pump cup of the original 101 as did many competitors. Reassemble it using a new seal on the exhaust valve body that holds the valve together and if you left no trash in it and used viable seals then it should be good for another number of decades. Once the gun is working as designed it can be kept that way by a few simple practices. Every box of pellets or a couple of times a year if it sees little use add a drop of Crosman oil (or a suitable substitute such as NONDETERGENT 30w. motor oil, air-tool oil or ATF) to each pivot point in the pump linkage and the oiling felt on the piston behind the pump cup. Always store the rifle with a pump or two of air in it to prevent entry of dust into the valve. If the reseal went well it should hold that pump or two of storage charge for years. If it doesn't then it's evidence that it's time to address the seals. Those two simple practices will keep any quality built multi-stroke pneumatic alive for decades if done religiously.
Some things just work. And they become instant classics. The Winchester Model 94 and the Colt .45 'Frontier' are two in the firearm category. The Crosman 101 and the Sheridan Model C well represent airguns in that respect. Tom @ Buzzard Bluff