Crosman Low Price PCP Airguns – A History

Many air gunners are excited by the new Crosman 3622, rightly seeing this $150 air rifle as a breakthrough in price/performance for low price PCP airguns.

But it’s interesting to note that the 3622 is not the company’s first attempt to produce a PCP air rifle at a market-leading price. In fact, there have been three attempts before it!

Let’s look back at the previous price-leading PCPs that have been developed by Crosman and Benjamin across the past 16 years. It’s an interesting journey…

For this history, we’re going to refer to four Hard Air Magazine test reviews, comparing these low price PCP airguns. Because HAM reviews have always been produced using a standardized test methodology, this makes it possible for us to compare these models on a like-to-like basis that’s impossible for any other airgun information source.

Here are the names of these price-leading PCPs, with three of them shown in the photo below:
– Benjamin Discovery (top)
– Benjamin Maximus (middle)
– Benjamin Wildfire (not shown)
– Crosman 3622 (lower)

Crosman Low Price PCP Airguns - A History


1. Starting Point. The Benjamin Discovery

Introduced in 2008, the Benjamin Discovery was the lowest-priced PCP air rifle in the market at that time. It was one of the first air rifles tested by the then-new Hard Air Magazine in 2014.

A single-shot, bolt action rifle, the Discovery was based on the earlier Crosman 2260 CO2-powered air rifle. From the 2260, it inherited the breech and trigger assemblies, as well as some other parts.

Let’s be clear. It made a HUGE impact in the airgun world! Many “Discos” are still being shot today. It was a strong Hard Air Magazine Silver Award winner.

Parts re-use has always been a strong suit at Crosman. Why design a new part if a perfectly-good version exists already? It’s also a wonderful way to keep Unit Manufacturing Cost down as tooling costs have (probably) already been amortized, among other things.

For example, let’s take the standard Crosman/Benjamin breech seal/transfer port sleeve that is used to this day on the Marauder and many other airguns. It’s part number 130-036. That “130” refers to its first use in the CO2-powered Crosman 130 air pistol of 1953.

130-036 was used in the Discovery and Maximus. And, yip, you’ll find it still in use in the new Crosman 3622 in 2024 – seventy years later. That’s world-class parts re-use!

Below we see three pieces of Part 130-036 sitting on a Discovery.

The Benjamin Discovery had a small, 7.69 cubic Inch, HPA capacity. It filled to a maximum of 2,000 PSI. That was unusual at the time, however the great advantage was that hand pumping was easy. That’s a benefit that still holds true today.

That 2,000 PSI fill pressure has been standard across Crosman and Benjamin low-priced PCPs ever since. It’s still the fill pressure for the 3622.

 


Crosman Low Price PCP Airguns – 1

So, let’s compare some basic information on these four low cost Crosman PCPs.

Benjamin DiscoveryBenjamin MaximusBenjamin WildfireCrosman 3622
Manufactured2008 - 20172016 - 20182017 - 20192024 - on
Based OnCrosman 2260Benjamin DiscoveryCrosman 1077Crosman 362
Calibers.177 and .22.177 and .22.177.22 cal .177 in future
ActionSingle-shotSingle-shotMagazineSingle-shot
Warranty1 Year1 Year1 Year5 Years
Price At Time Of HAM Test$260 (in 2014)$199 (in 2016)$150 (in 2017)$150 (in 2024)
Inflation-Corrected Price To 2024$338$256$189$150

As we can see, Crosman’s low price PCPs have steadily decreased in price – from $260 for the Discovery in 2014 to $150 for the 3622 in 2024.

But to see the real progress that has been made, we must take account of rising prices. If we factor-in the effects of inflation, that $260 Benjamin Discovery of 2014 actually cost the equivalent of $338 in 2024 purchasing power.

That’s the REAL comparison we need to make when comparing the company’s progress in producing a low cost PCP. Think about it. It shows the incredible achievement that the Crosman team has made over the years in producing low price PCP airguns.

 


2. Benjamin Maximus

Crosman Low Price PCP Airguns

The Maximus was an attempt to produce a reduced-price version of the Discovery. The wood stock made way for a synthetic version and there were some other internal changes. However this was an incremental upgrade to the Disco, not a new design approach.

It was the first PCP to break the $200 price barrier. That made the Maximus the then-reigning lowest price PCP in the market. But customer interest was turning to multi-shot PCPs, magazine-fed air rifles with silencers and – a then new technology in the mass market, regulators – for a more uniform Muzzle Velocity.

Crosman Low Price PCP Airguns

Although it did not make the big time in the way that its predecessor had, the Maximus was a HAM Gold Award winner. It faded from production after a couple of years, in spite of being a worthy design.

 


Crosman Low Price PCP Airguns – 2

Now let’s look at some technical and performance comparisons between these four low price PCP airguns.

Benjamin DiscoveryBenjamin MaximusBenjamin WildfireCrosman 3622
Fill Pressure2,000 PSI2,000 PSI2,000 PSI2,000 PSI
HPA Tube Capacity7.69 Cu. In.7.69 Cu. In.6.09 Cu. In.5.01 Cu. In.
"Useable Shots" (HAM Test Data)20252027
Usable Shots Per Tube Cu. In.2.603.253.285.39
Muzzle Energy (HAM Test Data)18 Ft/Lbs in .17722 Ft/Lbs in .227.9 Ft/Lbs in .17716.5 Ft/Lbs in .22
Trigger Pull Weight (HAM Test Data)3 Lb 15 Oz5 Lb 13 Oz11 Lb 11 Oz4 Lb 8 Oz

The impressive thing here is the number of usable shots per Cubic Inch of HPA tube capacity that’s achieved by the 3622. It’s more than twice as efficient as the Disco. That’s a “WOW-level” improvement!

As you can see, the Wildfire is the outlier in many respects. We’ll look at that model next.


3. Benjamin Wildfire

OK, so I suppose it was worth a try. But the Wildfire was not destined for success in the market.

Crosman Low Price PCP Airguns

By basing the Wildfire on the existing, CO2-powered 1077 platform – that’s still going strong today, of course – Crosman achieved a different low-cost PCP platform from the single-shot Discovery/Maximus.

However the “fast firing plinker” market segment was better filled by the outstanding DPMS SBR, Bushmaster MPW and similar replicas introduced around the same time. That CO2-powered selective-fire BB platform continues to achieve spectacular sales success for Crosman.

Accuracy was not in the same league as the Discovery and Maximus. Plus, power was much lower, too. It was .177 caliber only, of course, just like the 1077.

Given that a core attraction of PCP air rifles is power and accuracy, the Wildfire was something of a mis-match between the technology and intended use.

In addition, the Wildfire suffered from the traditional 1077 issue of air (or gas) leakage at the magazine/barrel interface. A relatively minor issue in CO2-powered form, that became a big deal for a PCP operating at twice the pressure.

Most of all, trigger pull weight definitely became waaaay too heavy in the Wildfire. No doubt the Wildfire required a heavier hammer spring than the 1077 original. In HAM testing we registered an average pull weight of no less than 11 Lbs 11 Oz. Ouch!

For all these reasons, the Wildfire just scraped-in with a HAM Bronze Award.

Plus, the cost of a hand pump was still higher than that of the gun. The Wildfire didn’t last long…


4. Crosman 3622

But Crosman has not survived as a successful company for over 100 years without determination and dedication. In my opinion, the 3622 is likely to be the most successful of the Crosman low price PCP airguns since the Discovery.

Crosman Low Price PCP Airguns

Why? In a word, price.

At a MSRP of just $150 in 2024, here we have a PCP that can match prices with almost any break barrel air rifle to be found in big box stores. Plus, the companion hand pump now sells for $100. This is less than the price of the gun and a manageable purchase for many people.

So how has the “Bloomfield brains trust” been able to achieve the 3622’s ground-breaking price/performance? (Yes, all the guns we cover in this story have been designed and built in the company’s headquarters in Bloomfield, New York).

Crosman 3622 PCP Air Rifle Test Review

It’s through a combination of two product development techniques. One: the extensive re-use of existing parts. Two: a ruthless determination to exclude unnecessary features.

We already know that intelligent re-use is an engineering core competency for Crosman. So, basing the 3622 on the multi-pump pneumatic 362 model was a logical, sensible move.

Unnecessary features? Well, there’s the 3622’s omission of the pressure gauge for a start. This bold move meant a reduction of five parts from the design. Less parts mean lower parts cost and shorter assembly time – saving more cost.

In detail, the parts saved by this decision were the gauge itself, the gauge port, plus three O rings. Then there’s no need to machine a hole in the gun’s pressure tube for the gauge to fit through, eliminating another potential air leak point: that’s yet another cost saving from that one decision to omit the gauge.

Similarly brave was the decision to make the 3622 an “open sights only” gun. This allowed the use of the 1377-type plastic breech and minimal cost rear sight. While the number of parts may not be significantly less than the parts in a steel breech, their cost definitely is.

Knowledgeable 3622 owners will know of the availability of the steel breech upgrade. It’s the sensible path to scope mounting on the gun.

ham-cros-12-1840119

It also likely will be the first step for many owners in customizing their first PCP.

A quick Internet search will rapidly give access to the whole world of third-party upgrades existing for 1377- and 2240-type airguns, many of which will be applicable to the 3622 also. And who does not want to customize their air rifle a little, to make it “their own”?


The Crosman Low Price PCP Story. Where Next?

In my opinion, Crosman deserves a lot of credit for their extended efforts to bring low price PCP airguns to the masses.

I also believe that the 3622 is likely to be followed by a .177 caliber version – 3677 would be the model name – and that this platform will be a long-running addition to the company’s range.

Many 3622/3677 customers will be inspired to upgrade to more expensive PCPs as their experience and interest grows. That has to be good for our hobby and for the whole airgun industry.

To me, the 3622 is the right product in the right place at the right price and the right time. I believe it will be a great success and will be watching its future with great interest…

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Crosman 3622 PCP Air Rifle 0.22