Crosman Nitro Piston Air Rifles

Crossman have licensed a gas piston technology and will be incorporating it into a range of air rifles. The word “gas piston” probably has you thinking of gas operated autoloader rifles. In the context of air guns, “gas piston” refers to the piston system of break barrel air guns. Instead of compressing a spring when cocked, they compress gas. When the trigger is pulled the piston is released, the piston is pushed forward by the expanding gas. The piston in turn compresses air which pushes the pellet out of the rifle.

From the press release:

The heart of gas piston technology is its use of nitrogen as the power, instead of a coiled steel spring.

Unlike steel and CO2, nitrogen isn’t adversely affected by temperature. In addition, the technology allows for much easier cocking. The nitro piston starts engaging the moment the shooter starts cocking the gun. Gas pistons can also be left cocked for long periods of time without degrading and losing velocity, the way steel springs do. Also, when a steel spring uncoils, the vibration is not only annoying, it compromises precision. “Nitro Piston technology solves both by creating a smoother cocking force and releasing the gun’s power more quickly,” said D’Arcy.

 Images Zoomed Nitro Els122 Zm
 Images Zoomed Nitro Piston Camo Zm

The new rifles will not be available until June, but Pyramyd Air have them available for pre-order. They claim the piston system produces a lot less noise (most of the noise from a break barrel airgun is the piston), less recoil, easier cocking and long lasting.

They are available for pre order for $324.99. They comes in .22 and .177 versions (1000 fp/s and 1200 fp/s respectively) and either either a black synthetic or digital camo thumbhole stock. They all feature a bull barrel and two stage trigger.

Air gun expert and blogger Tom Gaylord was involved in the development of the system. If he was involved it must be good! I don’t think he would risk his reputation on an inferior product.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • AB

    I’m hoping this won’t just piss off the armadillos that chew the crap out of my lawn. Shooting those critters with a regular .177 pellet just annoys them, and I can’t justify using my golf clubs on them.

  • Typo alert: “They comes in…”

  • Vlad

    I would like to read a field test comparison of the
    Crosman nitro piston rifle to my excellent RWS
    model 48 spring piston .177 rifle.

  • War Wolf

    This looks interesting. I have been looking at a Gamo Extreme Hunter with 1600 fps but it is very heavy and the cocking action requires quite a bit of muscle. A few shots are fine but if I decided to shoot 100 shots I would be exhausted. BTW: The 1600 fps is only attainable by using the Gamo PBA ammo, otherwise it is somewhere around 1300 fps with standard pellets.

  • Al in TO

    1600 FPS… I call B.S.

    Gamo is known to advertise false velocity readings. It’s sad to see they’re still luring in people to believing their ridiculous claims.

  • AJ

    From what I read, the crosman numbers some from non lead pellets.

    Realistically, 1000 and 800 will most likely be the true fps.


  • Jerry

    I have the new PCP air rifles that Benjamin has made, the Discovery in 177 cal and the Marauder in the 22 caliber. I also have break barrel air rifles such as the stoeger and the daisy, and I also have a cross man multi pump.
    To be honest, shooting from 10 out to 25 yards, i can’t tell any difference in the power or speed of the pellet.

    Now with that said I also Bought a gamo big cat to make my setup up complete and I loved the light weight and speed of the Gamo. But it has one problem, The light weight is because it has light weight parts in it. The rear bushing was made out of a substance that resembled Plastic, but it might have been soft Aluminum. Any way the spring warped right off the bat, and the power ring blown through when the gun dieseled so that pretty much put my light weight Gamo out of business.
    The daisy is about 15 years old, I bought it new and it has performed flawlessly since new, But the draw back is that is is a slow shooter, I’ll guess about 450 to 500 FPS using Corpsman Hollow points. The multi pump is the same age as the Daisy and it has been an on the mark 77 caliber since new, The only draw back is that you have to pump it up every shot.
    So I use them all to keep them smooth and accurate.
    They are my toys.
    I can’t shoot my High powered rifles around the house because they are real loud and I don’t want to cause a disturbance, but my pellet guns do just fine on anything I want to run out of the Yard.
    Any way ,, they are all good and Ive never accept the Gamo have had a problem with them. So i recon it’s just a preference when you go into the woods or sit on the porch and shoot flies off of the barn, which you can do quiet easily with a little practice and a good scope, which I have,,.
    Have fun pick one, if it isn’t what you want it will still do the job that most will do. Hope this helps.. I have number 123 in the Marauder that benjamin came out with I got it from Airgun Depot, and it has shot virtually one hole groups at 20 yards, with a few pull offs that was my fault, the gun will shoot as good as the shooter..
    Good day and Happy airgunning,,

  • Jeff Baker

    This looks like it has to potential to be a really great gun, but here’s what I don’t understand. Why is this not available in .20 caliber? Crosman seems to be really trying hard lately (look at the Benjamin Marauder, another perfect candidate for .20 caliber). Its not like they are a stranger to .20 cal, Crosman also produces the Benjamin/Sheridan rifle which started the .20 caliber category. I can only hope someone on their engineering staff will read this and recognize the opportunity.

  • Al

    The problem with .20 caliber, is you are somewhat limited to choices of ammo. I believe Crosman has made a wise decision to go with the .177 and .22.

  • 20 years behind THEOBEN,never mind eh lads

  • JMB

    From the Crosman Blog

    Two aspects of the performance of the Nitro Piston were evaluated. First, it was necessary to determine pellet velocity, but here a problem was encountered. My wife and I travel in the western mountain states during the summer. This year, one of my special traveling companions was the Nitro Piston so the testing was conducted at high altitude, and the range where the Nitro Piston was tested is at an elevation of 5,500 ft. At this altitude, cocking any break action rifle draws less air into the compression chamber in front of the piston so when the gun is fired the velocity is lower. Previous testing has shown that at 5,500 ft the velocity is approximately 94% of what it is at an elevation of a few hundred feet. The .177 Nitro Piston gives velocities up to 1000 ft/sec and the .22 caliber gives up to 800 ft/sec. These velocities would be obtained at low elevation with pellets of light weight. However, these velocities will not be realized at high elevation with pellets of normal weight. With the chronograph in place, I fired a string of Crosman Premiers across it and got an average velocity of 631 ft/sec. When this value is corrected for the elevation factor, the velocity would be 675 ft/sec with a pellet weighing 14.3 grains. With pellets weighing about 11 grains, the velocity would be approximately 770 ft/sec which is close to the advertised value. Keep in mind that this was with a new gun and that performance generally improves after a break in period.

    With Crosman Pointed pellets the average velocity was 625 ft/sec, with the Crosman wadcutter it was 623 ft/sec, and with Crosman domed it was 637 ft/sec. Keep in mind that at low elevation these velocities would be 40-50 ft/sec higher. As a result, the Nitro Piston would generate about 14.5 ft lbs of kinetic energy which means that it is a “magnum” airgun that is entirely suitable for hunting small game and pests.

    Because accuracy is of paramount importance with an airgun, the Nitro Piston was tested with several types of pellets by firing three or four 5-shot groups at a distance of 25 yards. The average group sizes obtained are as follows: Crosman Premier, 0.91 inch; Crosman pointed, 0.77 inch; Crosman wadcutter, 0.89 inch; and Crosman domed, 0.80 inch. Keep in mind that these groups were fired outdoors at a range where there is always a prevailing breeze from a rifle that did not have an extensive break in period. Under better conditions, these groups would shrink to perhaps 0.5-0.7 inch. Therefore, it is clear that the Nitro Piston has plenty of accuracy to be an effective game and pest rifle.

    • Todd

      I tested my Benjamin Titan GP at maybe 500′ above sea level and even broke in it’s best is 710fps and barely 16ftlbs. VERY disappointing and not even close to the 21ftlbs they advertize.
      The gun is great in every way but that. It’s silky smooth and very quiet, but I’m going to have to buy the Trail 1100 now just so I can get what I wanted in the first place because I bet the 1100 will really end up being 21ftlbs.
      I just bought a Rem Vantage which is the standard 1200fps shooter which advertizes 1200 pba and 1000 lead. It gets that and a bit more, once dialed in it spits out pba @ 1222, light lead @ 1053. That’s faster than advertized so why can’t the Benjamin do this? Now I’m starting to wonder because mine is 15fps faster than the “Low Power” version they sell, so I’m wondering if they got them mixed up?

  • I can honestly say,,,,spring piston is not efficient,,,it is really quite un-efficient,,destructive to say the least,,,,That is why the ones that do work,,,,are massive,and heavy,,like the RWS 48s,52s,,and 54s,,,the 54 does utilize the Feinwerkbau rail system,, but all these spring piston guns that do work are to big to carry around..
    Way back when I got intrested in air rifles,,,Theoben was selling a gas piston system,,,and it cost a small fortune..The fact that an American company Crossman,,is putting out such an advanced technical air gun
    Cant wait to see how the gas-piston system stands up to time,,and wear

    • Denice

      As much as I want to buy American – Crosman boxes of Nitro, Benjamin (line of Crosman)Trail, all say Made in China.

      • I agree with Denise and have been very upset with the misleading American names on the guns. i got caught buying china product when i thought it was American made. inspection upon dissecting the “croseman” product i found inferior tolerances and twisted or offset placement of power piston seal spring guides at slight angles to parallel to the proposed travel of the spring. also the sharp rough edges of stamped out metal from the power pistons housing the second purchase of the same cut up the power piston seal upon its removal for spring lubrication refinement. China products are inferior to American made crosemans.

  • Yves

    I owe a RWS model 48 .22cal and a Gamo hunter sport .177cal. I just ordered the nitro-piston from PyramidAir and i will post a resume on comparison, once the nitro-piston will be place in the Gamo hunter sport.

    Sow far i here nothing but positive feedback about the Crosman Nitro-Piston. That’s good, that mean a new revolution in the Air gun industry.

  • Bob

    Hi can other air rifles convert to nitro piston?

    • Chevota

      Yes, Pyramid Air will do it for $110. Imo you’re really better off buying another gun with it installed, but it’s up to you.

  • Shelby

    I recently purchased a crossman 177 nitro venom. It was supposed to be 72% quieter than other models. However, after the first 10 shots or so it is still very loud. Will it get quieter?

  • Steven

    I have the Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper .177 with nitro technology. Shooting regular lead ammo is about the same as my Remington multi-pump. It is a bit heavy, but delivers a stronger and more accurate hit at 50 yards. Using the PBA Platinum ammo reported at 1300 fps sounds like I shot a .22 rifle with a bullet! Too loud to use in my residential back yard, but in the woods no problem. I like the rifle so far, especially only needing to pump one time.

  • There is such a large variety of models and pricing available in the air arms and air rifle industry today that you can find whatever you need or want. If one model does not suit your needs, keep looking, there are very sophisticated models now available.

  • Doug

    I have just bought the crosman nitro venom and really like the power the gun has. The problem that I have found even after over 500 rounds of crosman premier pellets (break in suggests about 100 rounds) is that I can get 3 shots @ 25 yards then the next two aren’t even on the target. That seems to be a big stray away at such a close distance. I guess my next step is to try some jsb exacts or beeman kodiaks. Any suggestions on any better ammo? Also a note on the price of the gun which was $150. This seems to be the best price for a nitro piston rifle.

    • Kevin

      Crosman nitro venom dusk

      10 meter indoor range 5 to 8 shoots dime size then drops 7 or 8 inches off target no pattern, time between shoots dose not affect how it shoots. around 250 to 300 shoots threw it thought it might be not broke in. but fill it should be at this point type or brand of pellet dose not change it

    • RLS

      It’s the piston seal inside

  • alan

    thought everyone should know about my problems with the nitro piston. I purchased a nitro dusk from walmart showed up fired 50 pellets using crosman pointed. gun would not fire the pellets any more. got a refund from walmart. bought a nitro dusk from shot fine for 200 pellets not even a full can. same problem showed up. 1 month and 2 weeks after i purchased it. well they only have a 30 day warrenty. so now im sending it to crosman. for a exchange going to try a benjamin hope it works longer. when the guns fail my experiece was the piston caulks easy like no pressure. then when a pellet is put in the gun takes 3 pumps to send it flying. but no fps at all. or it chugs like it is hickuping. So i am quickly becoming not a fan.

    • RLS

      I experienced the exact same. So glad to hear it’s not me and someone else has been having it happen

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  • RLS

    A Must READ for all of us who own these guns

  • The new rifles will not be available until June, but Pyramyd Air have them available for pre-order.