Tim Smith, Publisher and Editor of Airgun Hobbyist, “America’s Airgun Magazine” visited Crosman Corporation earlier this year with his son Ben. Below is the recap of his visit as it appeared in the October 2012 issue. If you would like to subscribe to Airgun Hobbyist, click here to get the special Crosman rate.
An Airgunner’s Dream
My son Ben and I were able to experience some thing that many dream about. We enjoyed a personal tour of the Crosman facility in Bloomfield New York. Crosman Marketing Coordinator, Laura Evans invited us to visit the plant while we were in the northeast.
After entering the building and signing in, we quickly noticed that there were approximately twenty display boxes on the walls in the lobby that displayed many of the past Crosman airgun models made over the years.
David Dandino the Occupational Health & Safety Manager showed us the assembly line where the airguns are built. On the day of our visit, the Crosman 760, 1077, and 357 were being manufactured. On the 760 line, we were introduced to Dave Houseknect who is an airgun enthusiast and a subscriber to Airgun Hobbyist.
On another assembly line, I spotted something a little different. It was called the Torrent and according to the employees, they started manufacturing a week before our visit.
Ben was given the opportunity of a lifetime after getting some instructions by Adelada Sepulvada. He tested Crosman 357s on the assembly line. As part of Crosman’s quality assurance, every airgun is tested before it leaves the factory.
As we walked in the assembly area, we stopped where the Benjamin 397 and 392 models are built, and where the spring and Nitro Piston powered air rifles are quality tested for velocity. As a newly assembled springer was being tested I noticed something interesting, the airgun was very loud and extremly fast according to the machine measuring the velocity. I call this a machine because it was not the normal chronograph that we are used to. During the test, we learned that behavior is normal for the first few shots from a break barrel. After a time, the airgun will settle down to it’s normal decibal level and velocity.
We also had a chance to talk to the people building the Crosman Custom Shop airguns. It was very interesting to see where many of our Custom Shop airguns came from. Some of the customized airguns I brought to show at Crosman started life as Custom Shop airguns, complete with the air tube laser engraved with such things as Rat SWAT’er.
Our next stop was one of my favorites – the wood shop. It’s where wood blanks are turned into rifle stocks and pistol grips. Before entering the area, Mr. Dandino made sure Ben and I were wearing eye and hearing protection. Once inside, we saw a copy router make several Benjamin 397 stocks at one time. The inletting machine was also in action inletting stocks to allow for the trigger group and air tube to fit in the stock.
From there, we went on to a room where the stocks are stained and finished. The hardwood stocks are dipped in stain and then allowed to dry. After the stain has dried, they are moved to another area where the stocks are then sprayed with a clear coat that protects the wood. The paint shop is where all the non-blued metal parts are finished.
This area was by far the warmest part of the factory. Each part hangs from a rack and passes through an automated painter which paints one side of the part, then passes through a second time to paint the other side. After painting, the parts move into a heated area to dry. During our visit, the side plate of a Crosman 357 (part # 357B002) was being painted.
After the painting area, we were off to see the bluing room. In this area, there were several large tanks for bluing steel parts, such as barrel and air tubes. We also learned that Crosman does some of the bluing for a firearms manufacture as well.
In addition to airguns, Crosman manufactures airsoft products at their Bloomfield plant. We saw the new line of Undead Apocalypse Zombie airsoft guns and followed their assembly through the complete process of assembling the parts, product testing, and finally, the point where a serial number is engraved.
Next we were shown the range where the Benjamin Discovery and Marauder models are tested for accuracy. After the airguns are fired, a template is used to verify that the airguns group is an acceptable size. The size of the template varies between caliber and models being tested. I noticed the sizes of the template holes were not very large. This step ensures each air rifle that leaves the factory is accurate.
Then it was on to the area where the Benjamin Rogue .357 is assembled. I was able to take a look at the electronic module and internal components of this revolutionary production air rifle.
Our last stop in the factory was the laser room. There we met Earl Maltman who laser engraves the Crosman parts including the air tubes on the Custom Shop airguns. We had the opportunity to see the engraving machine in action as he put the markings on the compression tube of a Nitro Piston powered Benjamin air rifle.
My shop pictures only show the visual part of this story. To stand there and hear machines running, to feel the changing temperatures, and to smell the different odors as we traveled through the facility, is something I can’t quite put into words. Everything changed in each area of the plant we visited.
After the plant tour, I was able to show off some of my own custom airguns. I brought some of our custom Crosman airguns to show the staff at Crosman so they could see firsthand what their airguns are turned into by people like me – who like to modify airguns. The airguns we shared were my Benjamin Discovery, two Crosman 2240’s, one Crosman 1377, a Benjamin EB-22, and a Benjamin HB- 22. We put the customs in a conference room with a wall facing the hall made of glass.
On the other walls I noticed images that were used in past Crosman airgun ads over the years. This picture of a father teaching his son to shoot a Crosman with a beagle by their side is by far one of my favorite classics.
Quite an audience came to view our custom creations. They included Russell Page, Product Design Engineer, Thomas Clark, Domestic Product Manager, Edward Schultz, Director of Engineering, and Roy Stefanko, Vice President of Marketing. They all had very kind words about my custom airguns, and I think they enjoyed handling the modified airguns to get an idea of how people customize them.
My favorite part of the visit was when Director of Engineering, Ed Schultz invited us into what they call “the morgue”. This mysterious room was filled with Crosman prototype airguns. Many well-known production models have been made from these prototypes. The others are one- of-a-kind versions that never made it into production.
On our way into the morgue I snuck a peek at some prototypes in the design stage. Sorry, I can’t tell you anything about those airguns!
I was lucky enough to handle a few of the prototypes in the morgue. One, was a reincarnation of the classic Crosman MK1. The prototype was lighter in weight than the old MK1, but it sure had the looks and feel of the classic airgun.
To my delight, the walls were filled with prototypes. I think I found the Benjamin Discovery prototype.
Our next stop was to enjoy some trigger time at the Crosman indoor range. A few of my new friends were able to shoot my custom airguns. In addition, we shot several Crosman models. My favorite was the Challenger 2009, while Ben enjoyed shooting a fully automatic airsoft gun along with his favorite, the Crosman 357.
When we finished our trigger time, we had the pleasure of meeting Sue Peidmont, the Director of Customer Service. Sue showed us around the office area and I was able to put a face to each person that I’ve talked with when ordering parts and supplies.
Everyone we met at Crosman headquarters was wonderful. It was nice to find out that my dream job of Airgun Designer actually does exist. Laura sure had a full agenda for us on that day. I would like to thank her and everyone at Crosman who gave us VIP access to the Crosman facility.