All Springer/NP/PCP Air Gun Discussion General > Air Gun Review Gate

Crosman Diamondback .22 (Nitro Piston Elite gas ram)

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This first post will just be my first impressions.

Crosman's page on the gun:

Crosman's pic of the gun:

BACKGROUND: I picked it up in Crosman's 40% off Early Bird sale before Thanksgiving. $90, free shipping. Normal price was $150 (no scope) I had shot previous Crosman springers and gas rammers, but the triggers were so bad that they were not really shootable without modifications, and that's unacceptable. I was hoping Crosman turned over a new leaf and put some engineering effort into the trigger.


PISTOL GRIP: The styling looks a bit like it's trying to be an AR-15. What drew me to this particular model is the pistol grip. I do prefer the styling of a traditional forward-canted rifle grip, but it just doesn't work well for shooting from a bench or for extended shooting sessions. The human wrist is just not designed to be canted forward at that angle. That leaves AR-style pistol grips and thumbhole designs. Crosman's thumbhole designs are just trying to be elegant and functional at the same time and fail at the elegance. Bottom line is that the grip is always comfortable.

SLING MOUNTING PROVISIONS: It has a sling swivel at the barrel pivot with a polyurethane rubber boot to keep it from abrading the nylon. Near the butt of the stock on each side are slots for a sling to be threaded through. I'm not sure what kind of sling would work well with this; maybe just a simple nylon strap with a buckle, like you'd find on a cheap camera bag at the thrift shop. I'll try it and post an update when I do.

COCKING SLOT: With break-barrel rifles, this is something we want to pay attention to. How long is the cocking slot? Is it obtrusive? On this gun, it's a long cocking slot that extends almost all the way back to the fake magazine well. It has sharp edges, which I'll knock down with a file eventually. It's not really a comfortable place to support the rifle. I'd like to see Crosman break these edges in the future.

In the old days, when air rifles were slimmer, more elegant and less powerful, break-barrels didn't try to hide the mechanics in the forestock; the pivot was out in the open. With this gun, it is not the case. The mechanics are all hidden. Crosman wanted it to look like a powderburner, so the forestock extends much further forward than needed for function. The bottom line is that it is comfortable in the hands from any shooting position.

There is a fake magazine well in front of the trigger guard. Styling-wise, I find it ridiculous, but it works well as a place from which to support the rifle.

MODERATOR: It's big, but effective. The report is noticeably quieter than those of my Hatsan AirTact .22 and Stoeger S8000 E-TAC .22, despite the fact that this gun shoots a lot harder. I'm not sure why the current style in mass market break-barrels is to cover the barrel in plastic all the way back to the pivot. Is this structural, so the barrel itself doesn't have to also act as a lever? I'm not sure how I feel about it from a functional standpoint.

REAR SIGHT: Standard open, square shape; flat black. The slot is wide, for the front. It's fully adjustable with two thumb screws

FRONT SIGHT: Narrow black post. Should be good for precision shooting, when the lighting isn't dim.

SHOT CYCLE: It has a gas ram power plant, so it's a quick shot cycle with no rebound, twist or buzz. The fact that it has a long stroke doesn't carry as much of a penalty in terms of being hold-sensitive as it would with a steel spring piston. Cocking is smooth, too. I really like it.

CHRONO STRING: After a barrel cleaning and an initial break-in of about 50 shots, I shot a 10 shot string, and here is the summary of it:

Pellet: Crosman Premier round nose
High: 828 FPS
Low: 817 FPS
Average: 825 FPS
Extreme Spread: 11
Standard Deviation: 3 (!)
Energy: 21.6 foot-pounds

This is unbelievable consistency from such an affordable gun. This qualifies for a "magnum" rating, in my book. This will be enough juice to punch through both lungs of a large raccoon. I bet it would be enough for coyotes too. What I like about a rifle of this power level is that the pellet will still be carrying around 15 FPE at 25 yards and 12 FPE at 50 yards. It's enough to really hammer those pest animals. I hope the nitro piston holds up over time. Go to a .25 and pellets get expensive and must be bought online only. The trajectory at this power level would start to be loopy with a .25. .177 would give us another 200 fps out of the barrel, but I've found that with .177s, the entry wound from a domed pellet tends to close and the animals bleed a lot slower. .22 is much better, in this regard.

NO SCOPE: On behalf of all experienced airgunners, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Crosman for having an option for NOT including a junky scope and rings. We would rather keep the $20 to put it toward a proper scope.

Next update, I will have some targets to share. With that impressive chrono string and its Clean Break Trigger, I have high hopes for accuracy. This might just be the end of my search for a magnum gas ram break-barrel.

Congratulations on the new gun! I hope it's a good shooter for you. Looking forward to the accuracy test.

I forgot to mention that I did a video review of this gun's uncle (.22 Summit NP2) several years ago. You  can watch those videos here, if you want:

I shot a sheet of groups with this gun and open sights today. 10 m, seated, shooting off my knees. My vision isnít great, so Iím happy with these.

Strangely, I shot better with this magnum and open sights than with another gun Iím testing with a proper scope. Itíll shoot well enough to deserve a scope.

Nice write up on the Diamondback. The NP2/Elite guns are great if you can find a deal on them. Not high end, but I think you get a lot of value for the money.

Also good review of the Benjamin Summit. Had one in .177 when they came out. There was also a Crosman Summit Ranger, basically the same as the Benjamin, but had a dovetail rail in the reciever (not weaver), a longer barrel and metal open sights. Was a great rifle, but didn't have a long run.

Anyways, great write up. Thanks for doing a review.


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