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Review – Crosman 2289G ‘Backpacker’ Air rifle

Posted by aonomus on April 6, 2010

So I finally got my hands on the Crosman 2289G ‘Backpacker’ air rifle and decided that I would write up a review for anyone interested. Its a multi-stroke pump, breech loading, removable stock pistol/rifle hybrid air rifle that is low weight, compact, and still capable at the end of the day.

Note: treat and handle any air rifle as you would a loaded firearm – apply proper firearm safety practices.*

Note 2: This air rifle model is no longer commonly available for sale in most areas, few retailers still carry it (Canadian Tire used to be the major retailer) – I purchased mine from http://www.scopesandammo.com

Specifications:
Multi-stroke pump
Removable stock with pistol grip plates
14″ barrel, 30″ total length, 1.1kg
Bolt action, no magazine, breech loader
Canadian version – limited to 495fps

Philosophy of use:
Backpacking usage for small game hunting, pest control, compact light weight target shooting.

Features (From back to front):
Removable stock with pistol grip plates – slight wobble, not an issue when aiming, more of an issue when in the prone supported position.
Trigger group – sensitive, but not a hair-trigger, trigger pull is in the range of 5-8lb, fairly heavy
Plastic safety – solid feel
Plastic breech – well built, but no scope mounting options. Steel breech available
Brass bolt – solid feel, upgrade kit features steel bolt with larger grip
Rear sight – adjustable elevation and windage by setscrews, potentially fragile
Pump handle – plastic, solid feel, reports of pin loosening
Forward sight – Fiber optic sight, quite visible, might become unglued

Modifications and Upgrades
The Crosman 22xx and 13xx series air pistols and rifles are extremely popular within the air rifle/pistol community with upgrade parts and modifications galore. The 2289g is a multi-stroke pump gun, while most of the 13xx and 22xx series are CO2 powered pistols, putting a majority of the modifications and some of the upgrades into the CO2 bulking category (CO2 powered from a paintball tank instead of 12g cartridges). Thanks to Crosman’s engineers, the trigger-seer-hammer-valve and bolt assemblies are all identical for the most part, giving lots of incentive for machinists to develop upgrade parts for an entire series of air guns.

Some of the upgrades are:

  • Steel breech and upgraded bolt
  • Trigger upgrades
  • Single and 2-stage sears
  • Extended bolt probes
  • Hammer debouncers
  • Muzzle brakes
  • CO2 bulking components and accessories
  • Upgraded piston for pump type models
  • Wooden stocks and pistol grips (these can be quite spendy and are custom for competition shooters ergonomics)

Another advantage to the 2289g and any 22xx or 13xx series air gun are the various communities and support forums online.

Video


Initial out-of-box review of the Crosman 2289G Backpacker


Unscripted/unprepared/impromptu steel breech installation video


Followup Testing

In my video and initial assessment I stated the the trigger ‘felt good’, however as I fired the gun more and more to break it in, I noticed that the trigger was actually causing a lot of problems for accuracy (more below).

Testing

Brand new the pump requires quite a bit of force, but after shooting ~ 100 rounds, I noticed that the pumping became somewhat easier – either due to my muscles having warmed up for the day, or the piston breaking in, however the pumping force is still very high but more manageable.

Out of the box, I noticed that the barrel needed *significant* cleaning, I used probably somewhere on the order of 30 cleaning patches to get it to a reasonable state; this may have been one of the causes for inconsistent groupings. I started to double up the cleaning patches to get an even tighter-fit in the barrel and they finally stopped coming out dark-black.

From what I’ve read, in general air guns take many shots (500-1000) to really break in, so expect a 1-2 month followup after having broken in this gun. Once all the metal mechanical parts fully mesh, you have made any tweaks and adjustments, and fully broken in the barrel, it should begin shooting more predictably. You can begin to anticipate the trigger take-up, especially with a 2 stage sear, and learn the ins and outs of your particular air gun.

So firing the first shots, I noticed that groupings were terrible in general, but I continued to fire shots and after about 200 shots I finally settled on a group approximately the size of a Canadian dime from 10M. One possible explanation for this is the barrel manufacturing process left a large amount of residue and required cleaning; after I had finished a major cleaning, groupings finally began to improve. Another potential explanation would be that some of the pellets I had been using (tested with Gamo 0.22 Hunter and Gamo 0.22 Magnum) had been slightly deformed out-of-round, causing uneven drag. When I tested the 2289 after the cleaning with Magnums and Predator Polymag pellets, groupings became much tighter, and after moving to the prone supported position, groupings tightened up to an acceptable 1.5cm from 10M.

Other than the pump stiffness and the initially poor groupings, I noticed the trigger pull had a fair bit of take-up and slack, as well as wobble; not to mention a high pull force. I opened up the trigger group and inspected the parts and noticed that the trigger is too ‘thin’ to properly fit into the thickness of the trigger block. There should have been maybe a 2mm of extra material cast into the cover plate to lock the trigger down, instead of a insufficient spring washer to try to do the job. Regardless I noticed the trigger group has some significant problems (probably why so many trigger upgrades exist):

  1. Trigger to sear has a noticeable gap at the contacting surfaces even when the gun is cocked – this causes some of the initial slack.
  2. Sear to hammer has noticeable take-up, possibly due to rounded off parts. I inspected the sear and noticed the contacting surface was a little bit rounded, but I didn’t polish it; I didn’t disassemble the hammer assembly to inspect it.
  3. I had also compressed the sear spring to reduce the trigger pull force, this helped too.

One feature I did appreciate with the 2289 was that dry firing is acceptable, because the power source is separate from the cocking and firing mechanism, one can practice their trigger pull without ruining the main spring. There may be wear and tear on the valve assembly, but non-significant if anything (one pump can be put in to provide a small amount of resistance anyway).

Final words
The good: moderate cost, lightweight hybrid between rifle and pistol
The bad: a finicky gun at times, it wants to leave you yearning for a bit more in terms of upgrades, not the tightest groupings even at moderate range until you learn to work around the trigger group shortcomings, or just fix/replace them.

Addendum on Firearm Safety*
I feel that because most people that read my blog are fairly conservative and unaccustomed to firearms, air rifles, or anything of the sort, this section is necessary. Handle any air rifle as if it was a loaded firearm and apply good gun safety practice. (Note below firearm/air rifle are interchangeable)

  1. When approaching any firearm or air rifle: treat any firearm as if it was loaded, control the muzzle direction, keep your finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger until ready to fire.
  2. See the firearm is unloaded, prove it safe (CFSC acronym for clearing firearms).
  3. Be sure of your target and backstop and any potential ricochets.
  4. Air rifles are not toys!

My own personal practice is to treat any air rifle as if it were a real firearm, and before/after practicing I will still go through my ACTS/PROVE to ensure the air rifle is safe, and store it with a trigger lock (the best I can do with an air rifle since no bore lock or cable lock would be usable).

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