Fifty-Two Years Of The Iconic Crosman 760. How Do They Do It?
As you will have read in Hard Air Magazine, there’s a new version of the Crosman 760 – the 760 Pumpmaster Classic. “Big deal”, you may have thought.
But yes, it really is a BIG DEAL, just think about these amazing fun facts for a minute…
Above. This is the ONE MILLIONTH Crosman 760 air rifle ever manufactured. It’s now in the Crosman Museum at the Bloomfield, New York headquarters.
1. The original Crosman 760 sold for $27.95 in 1966. At the official US rate of inflation, that means it should cost $217.77 today. It actually sells for $29.99 in 2018!
2. The Crosman 760 has always been manufactured and assembled right here in the U.S., at Crosman’s up-state New York headquarters. It’s not – and never has been – manufactured in China or any other country!
3. Every 760 that’s ever been manufactured is test-fired before shipment to the customer. That’s a 100% inspection rate!
4. But wait, there’s more! The original Crosman 760 shot up to 575 FPS and held 180 BBs. The 760 Pumpmaster Classic shoots up to 700 FPS and fills with no less than 1,000 BBs!
WOW! That’s a simply amazing achievement. How DO they do it?
To find out, I met with some key people at Velocity Outdoor – the new name for Crosman Corporation. Phillip Guadalupe is the Product Manager. That’s him in our photograph above, holding the new 760 Pumpmaster Classic and an original 760.
I also talked to John Solpietro, the Product Design Engineer for the new 760 Pumpmaster Classic and Deb Shearer, Production Controller.
Deb has worked at Crosman since 1979, she started on the 760 production line at that time. So she has had personal experience of the Crosman 760 for no less than 39 years. That in itself is another amazing achievement!
Below. Original and current 760s, side-by-side.
Senior Management Direction.
When I interviewed Crosman – now Velocity Outdoor – CEO Bob Beckwith back in May, he revealed that there would be a new model of the 760 coming this year.
Product Manager Phillip Guadalupe has overall responsibility for the 760 Pumpmaster Classic. He explained that – with over 18 million 760s manufactured to date – the Crosman 760 remains a core product for the company. It’s the introduction to shooting for many people – both kids and adults – so it’s important that customers have a positive experience with their new 760.
Below, Even back at the 1991 SHOT Show, the Crosman 760 was celebrated for its longevity with a special 25 year edition, as we can see from this company publicity of the time.
Phillip also explained that Bob Beckwith had directed the new 760 as his highest priority airgun development project for 2018. Bob’s direction was to give the new 760 a more traditional look and also to improve the user experience with improvements to the bolt and trigger. That made it serious!
Of course, the selling price had to be held at that $29.99 level, too! In times of ever-increasing steel prices and labor rates, that was a huge challenge for Product Design Engineer John Solpietro.
John’s first-ever airgun was – yes you guessed it – a Crosman 760. The gun was manufactured in 1991 and he still uses it for plinking! Such a personal connection to the product made John an ideal choice to design the new 760 Pumpmaster Classic.
Below. John Solpietro proudly shows us his new design for the latest 760.
John’s enthusiasm the new 760 was obvious as he gave me details of this development project…
As part of improving the user experience, John lengthened the pump grip for the new model. This allows easier pumping at the same time as increasing the available maximum power.
Improvements were also made to the trigger and bolt action for better feel. Then the 2100-style BB loader was included as an improvement on the previous version.
The one-piece stock and receiver design of the previous Crosman 760 was discarded in favor of separate moldings. John explained that this actually gave improved structural rigidity, while also reverting to elements of the original 760 design. Hence the 760 Pumpmaster Classic name.
With clever engineering design, the multiple part receiver and stock – there’s now a separate buttplate also – ensured that the total number of parts was not increased. It also makes it possible to create different color models with a more sophisticated appearance than just a single overall color.
The regular 760 Pumpmaster Classic is in black and brown. But there are also black/blue and black/fuscia pink models – with obvious possibility for more in future. Phillip Guadalupe took direction on the fuscia pink color from his two young daughters. They insisted that it be more “cool” than the pink 760 color of the previous model!
Parts Count Is Important.
A huge element in the company’s ability to keep the selling price of the Crosman 760 the same over so many years has been reducing the number of parts in the gun. Clever engineering over many years – and many 760 variations – has dramatically reduced the number of parts in the gun.
It’s simple. Less parts means less cost…
Below. Current marketing emphasizes the variable power capability inherent in the 760 to appeal to multiple buyers.
To do this, the original cast zinc receiver and wood stock and pump handle were replaced with lower-cost plastic molded parts way back in the 1970s and ‘80s. But core parts like the barrel, pressure tube and valve body have always been metal. What’s more they have always been machined in-house by the company and still are!
Overall, the 76 individual parts that made-up the original Crosman 760 have been reduced to under 40 – a 50% reduction in parts count. That’s a very impressive achievement, as any product development engineer will tell you!
Below. You want 760s? Here’s a whole rack of them on the assembly floor.
Yet Deb Shearer confirmed that the current 760 is still recognizably the same overall design as the models she assembled in 1979. The basic sub-assemblies and assembly methods remain amazingly similar, she said, although there’s been much improvement in process due to the introduction of cutting-edge “LEAN” manufacturing techniques and more.
In fact, four parts from the original Crosman 760 have actually survived unchanged over the entire 52-year production of the gun! True, they’re not big parts, but the mere fact that they make up around 10% of the parts count of the new 760 Pumpmaster Classic is testimony to the sound initial engineering of the original gun.
In fact, the original deign of these four parts actually goes back to the 1950s, as connoisseurs of Crosman part numbers will know. Here they are. Give a round of applause for those heroic parts 101-033, 130-034, 130-035 and 760-016!
These four parts now make up no less than 10% of the parts count of the new 760 Pumpmaster Classic. How’s that for consistency over 52 years?
Below. This is an instant Crosman enthusiast collector’s item! John Solpietro shows us the 15th prototype Pumpmaster Classic. The stock color is darker and there’s some test markings on the gun, as you can see. Apparently, the rest were broken-up after testing, so this is a very rare gun…