Crosman Air Pistol Owners Forum

Crosman air pistol - General => Crosman air pistol - General discussion => Topic started by: George Schmermund on June 06, 2017, 08:55:51 PM

Title: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on June 06, 2017, 08:55:51 PM
 I've been working on upgrades for the Vigilante. The barrel is 10" in this photo. It's now in the process of becoming a carbine.
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: KevinP on June 06, 2017, 09:30:35 PM
George, now that's a big tease.
What is on the end of the barrel and how does it attach ?
More pic. please.
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on June 07, 2017, 02:02:58 AM
Thanks for your interest in the project. The photos show how the Vigilante barrel housing was modified to accommodate the new 10" barrel. The housing extension is made from 1" Delrin which slides over the threaded aluminum support. I used a 10" piece from a Crosman 1077 barrel and machined a new muzzle crown and forcing cone. The muzzle was then choked by knurling it. The housing plate has a .015" piece of nickel plated steel spot welded onto it to take up the slack in the latch.
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: KevinP on June 07, 2017, 02:52:34 AM
To cool  ...  how does it shoot ?
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: BigErn on June 07, 2017, 02:54:06 AM
Damn this is sooooo cool  8) 8) 8)  Can't wait to see this in carbine form  :-* :-\ :-X
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: BigErn on June 07, 2017, 02:54:51 AM
To cool  ...  how does it shoot ?

It doesn't matter  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: Monkeydad1969 on June 07, 2017, 05:40:37 AM

It looks like a hand held rocket launcher. :-*

Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on June 07, 2017, 02:22:40 PM
This project has been progressing for a few months now. When things got started I was giving a lot of thought to getting a 2240 and working on it, but I really wanted a repeater of some sort. It also had to be able to shoot pellets.  I hadn't been involved with airguns since I was a kid, so starting from scratch was my only option. The Vigilante was cheap and had very good reviews on Amazon. The first one that I got seemed to work well enough, but on close inspection it was obvious that the machining on the barrel was very rough at both the muzzle and breech.

It was easy enough to remove the straw barrel from the housing and get it into the lathe for a tune up. After reading about the importance of having a proper crown it seemed rational to start the testing, measuring, and general experimenting with a comparison between more than one of the same gun. This lead me to buying two more Vigilantes. The barrels in all three of the guns were pretty much identically horrible. I've kept one of the guns in the original factory state and have had my way with the other two.

After re-machining the first barrel and comparing the accuracy to the factory issued one it was clear that small improvements made big differences. It became quickly evident that I'm a lousy shot and any testing that required accuracy and repeatability wasn't going to happen if I was part of the equation. Therefore, a good ballistics bench need to be set up.

Things have moved along nicely with the new bench and many interesting experiments have evolved in the last 6 months. Most of the testing is done with the guns held firmly in a sturdy bench vise and the garage target range is set to 15 feet. I shoot at paper targets when accuracy tests are done, but a good deal of the shooting is done at very short range into a trap on the benchtop. I really enjoy using instrumentation to determine specific values and sometimes get carried away with measurements. Well, if you've got the equipment it should be use. One of my mantras is "numbers are perfect, there not opinions".

Anyway, after doing a lot of shooting at targets with the guns clamped in a vise and then shooting free hand it was woefully clear that I'm not a pistol shooter. The vise shooting demonstrated that the guns, after simple tuning, were quite accurate. With more practice and using a rest I got better at hitting close to where I was aiming. The problem was that a rest is inconvenient to use for most of my shooting in the backyard. Realizing this fact pushed the project quickly into the carbine phase.

Here are some photos of an early step in the process.
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: mudduck48 on June 07, 2017, 03:20:13 PM
That is just plane amazing. Great work.  :-*
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on June 07, 2017, 08:18:00 PM

One of the things that interferes with getting useful numbers when testing velocity and energy to evaluate CO2 guns is the need for setting and maintaining the temperature of the gas. This problem is overcome when bench testing because the gun is usually fixed in a ridge mount and the experiment can be instrumented close by. I've developed a multi-channel arrangement that gives me a settable temperature that can be read and controlled by using a regulated power supply and micro thermal detectors attached to the gun parts that I'm interested in tracking.

The use of plastic for the barrel housing and pellet clip on the Vigilante is fortuitous. It allows thermal isolation of the barrel from the gun's metal frame. The frame grips are also plastic and give good isolation to the powerlet from ambient temperature. Using only a few watts of adjustable power it is easy to set up experiments where the temperature can be set and remain stable.

The micro thermistors are not shown, but they can be placed anywhere on the powerlet and frame to get a temperature profile during the testing. When the testing is done and the gun is ready for field use the heaters can be powered buy a lithium battery. The energy storage in these batteries is substantial. By using shaped foam insulation in the grips and a small temperature controller the system will be quite efficient.

Here are some pix of the powerlet heaters.
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: KevinP on June 07, 2017, 09:17:35 PM
Awesome stuff  ...   :-*
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: BillK on June 08, 2017, 12:57:00 AM
Looking good & very interesting, George.  Can't wait for more...... :-*
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on June 08, 2017, 02:05:33 AM
The Vigilante carbine is making good progress. Right now I'm fitting a Crosman stock to the pistol by doing some milling and carving. It's crude in the present form, but it snaps into place nicely and with some more work I'll be able to bolt it into place solidly.

I've already put many clips through the new pistol arrangement and the overall improvement in feel and accuracy is remarkable. The black box that is shown in the photo is a lithium ion battery pack that will be used to power the heaters on the powerlet. It fits nicely into the stock cutout. I've got a thermistor temperature controller that will also fit into the stock next to the battery pack. The controller will allow setting and maintaining the powerlet temperature to within 1º F or better.

I'm finally able to hit what I'm aiming at without relying on a bench vise! The next step is to lengthen the barrel to somewhere between 16" and 20". This should make the gun quieter and produce higher muzzle energy.

Thank you for all of the positive comments.
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: mudduck48 on June 08, 2017, 11:54:47 PM
That is just amazing.  8)
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: CraigH on June 09, 2017, 12:57:42 AM
I like the powerlet heaters!    :-*
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on June 09, 2017, 07:58:34 PM
The stock for the Vigilante carbine is moving right along. I was wondering how to deal with the awkward installing and uninstalling of the stock to change the powerlet. I finally decided to do some more milling and carving to make an opening for the powerlet to just drop in through one of the grips. It's still a crude affair, but the scheme works well. The stock can now be installed somewhat permanently with some recessed machine screws. I'll make a cover for the powerlet slot and secure it with a couple of small NIB magnets that will stick to the powerlet cylinder.

Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on June 09, 2017, 08:10:43 PM
The photo shows the Lithium-ion battery pack and the temperature controller as they will be installed in the stock. I'll make a mounting plate for these devices and do the simple wiring needed to power the heaters. This has turned out to be much easier than what I thought it would be when the original heaters were installed into the pistol frame and powered using a bench power supply.
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: cobalt327 on June 09, 2017, 08:53:20 PM
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on June 10, 2017, 01:55:49 AM
If anyone is interested in the more technical aspects of airgun ballistics there is a thread discussing the Vigilante in much greater detail here:
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: Multigunner on June 11, 2017, 01:07:11 PM
I'm glad you've posted all this information.

I obtained two first variation 357 revolvers awhile back. These are the ancestors of the Vigilante revolver.

I've been planning on installing a replacement vigilante valve assembly on one of these pistols, along with the stronger mainspring to improve performance.
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on June 18, 2017, 05:34:50 AM
Thank you for your comments. I'm interested in your valve replacement/rebuild. You mention a new 'main' spring. I assume that you're talking about the spring inside the valve. I'm new to airgun mods, so please correct me if that's not what you mean.

Anyhow, if we're on the same page, I'd like to know what improvements you expect to get and how you would go about quantifying the improvement. I've done no spring mods yet on any of my Vigilantes, but look forward to any new paths that could be used to make easy improvements.
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: Multigunner on June 18, 2017, 08:19:22 AM
When I spoke of the Mainspring I should probably have said the Hammer Spring.

The older 357 valves are not quite the same as the more recent version but these like almost if not all internal parts should interchange as far as fitting into the frames.
Some have already tried the newer valve in the First variation revolvers, and posted that performance was not as good as it should be because they had used the hammer spring that came with the first variation. It was suggested that the spring of the vigilante is stronger or snappier giving a stronger strike to operate the valve properly.

It could simply be that the older 357 springs have gotten a little weak with age.
I have two of the older 357 and each has a hammer spring that is a bit different in appearance from the other, though I detected no noticeable difference in strength of the springs.

The Vigilante valve seems to be an improved construction and stated velocity seems higher than I've been getting with the 357 I successfully resealed and got to working properly.
Velocity is pretty good as is but I'm sure the Vigilante does a bit better in this department.

I much prefer the classic Python type styling of the older 357, which is why I obtained two of these that externally as in nearly new condition with only the most minor wear to the original finish.

I have three freshly resealed 38T pistols , two in .177 and one in .22, these are my favorites. The 357 revolvers are less refined , both less accurate at 20 + yards and lower in velocity, but are excellent backyard plinkers. They have an advantage in being able to use the much cheaper steel BBs.
I ordered some lead BBs to see if accuracy improves.
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: oldgearhead on July 04, 2017, 07:13:57 PM
All interesting, and useful mods. The one that I would concentrate on is the lock-up improvement with the spot welded spacer.
Many think the 6 inch barrel is long enough. Why not offer just the lock-up mod? Or the accuracy mods including the spacer and a better 6 inch barrel?
You will find many more buyers than the 10 inch assembly...
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: Multigunner on July 04, 2017, 09:21:22 PM
Optional 8 inch barrels with shroud are now offered with several of the higher priced CO2 revolvers and the 357 was once offered as an 8 inch barrel target pistol.

George is likely more interested in this being a short carbine rather than a long pistol, or more precisely a pistol carbine revolver along the lines of the S&W .320 which had interchangeable pistol or rifle length barrels and detachable shoulder stock.

I got a tin of GAMO lead BBs and while quality control seems non existent after weeding out the badly deformed BBs I got very good accuracy with these in my 357 and my 38T revolvers. tried them in my new Umarex Colt peacemaker with fair results but in a smooth bore they aren't accurate enough to warrant the extra expense compared to good quality steel BBs.
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on August 07, 2017, 09:15:11 PM
I've been giving some thought to the idea mentioned above of offering a stripped down version of the Vigilante mods. The idea of just selling an improved latch clip and a machined barrel may indeed have a good following, but I can't see people paying for the setup, machining, and welding work necessary to make the improvements.

Any thoughts?
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: oldgearhead on August 07, 2017, 11:00:37 PM
Basically, its a $50 gun that is pretty accurate as it comes from the factory. Finding the best pellet for my copy plus maybe a reflex sight is about as far as I intend to go. I fixed the lock-up by simply snugging down the hinge screw. It is supposed to be tight enough to keep the barrel assembly from 'dropping' when the gun is opened.
I'm afraid its more accurate than I am.
I agree, its probably not worth it to make a silk purse out of a hog's ear. But somebody probably said that about the 1377..
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: Rualert on August 12, 2017, 03:50:34 AM
     I would be interested in the additional details of the accuracy mods and especially the barrel machining as the 4-H club has 2 of these for training the kids to shoot modified Camp Perry style matches, and the accuracy even with good to very good pellets is less than stellar. Remember I'm also comparing the accuracy to a high end Air Arms competition pistol, and a nice Walther Competition pistol, so there is going to be a huge gap there. I may still end up with a couple of Twin Masters, which were the only high end repeaters for  this type of shooting, but I don't know when that may happen, so why not use my lathe and the skills I have picked up making my own bits and pieces to try improving these for the kids. They might not notice, but I will, and I'm the coach!


Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on August 23, 2017, 09:12:42 PM
I've been experimenting with various approaches to doing muzzle crowns. I've found that cutting and polishing compound facets seems to greatly reduce the number of fliers.  I'm using a Temo 4mm green rubber burr to both cut and polish the facets. The Dremel motor is held in the tool holder and rotates at ~ 20,000 RPM while the lathe chuck turns at 1000 RPM. This keeps the facets concentric with the bore. The Dremel can be adjusted to any chosen angle. The facets are cut deeper than is customary. At this point it appears that the increased depth helps the knurled choke to be more effective. There's plenty of room for speculation at this point. I'll just put out the information as it accumulates.

The results of various muzzle treatments will eventually be evaluated using schlieren photography when it gets its day on the test bench. The use of several short barrels with different muzzle treatments will be used for these tests. Details of the work can be found here: There's a lot of info compressed into 1 thread, so I'd recommend that you log onto the site and just skim the images on each page until you find something interesting about the machining methods and their results.

Here is a photo of a muzzle after machining. The barrel has been given the lathe and Dremel treatment.
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: mudduck48 on August 24, 2017, 02:09:37 AM
Looks great, now let's see some holes in the target. ;)
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: Multigunner on August 24, 2017, 03:09:21 AM
Before obtaining a pellet firing version of the Umarex Peacemaker I found a NOS 357 barrel still in the wrap at a reasonable price and ordered it thinking of using it to convert my BB version to use pellets. That's not a priority now since I'm considering converting that gun to .22 pellets instead. In any case my pellet peacemaker is all I need.

I'll be installing the NOS barrel on one of my 357 revolvers to see if its more accurate than with the well used and probably worn rifled barrels that are now on them.
I've found mine handle pellets best when using the supposedly BB only six round cylinders/clips. I think the six rounders index more securely.

A few people have converted the 357 to .22 with mixed results. The valve body of the 357 may be too small to deliver enough gas for a respectable velocity. I'm fairly sure it could be modified to deliver around 300 FPS with a bit of work.
The transfer bar lock work of the Vigilante/357/ and late model 38T has a somewhat lighter hammer and the bar absorbs some of the hammer strike as well. When I replaced a broken late model 38T hammer with the longer nosed old model, after removing the transfer bar of course, I found velocity greatly increased.
Perhaps a heavier hammer and no transfer bar would improve velocity of the Vigilante/357 type pistols, or allow good velocity with heavier pellets like the 10.5 GAMO which works fine in my Umarex Peacemaker, and even better in my modified 38T.

Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on August 24, 2017, 09:36:37 PM
I checked the parts list for the Vigilante and found nothing that references a "transfer bar". There is a "safety link" that is attached to the trigger that goes up to the valve stem. I'll assume that you are referring to it. If so, please be advised that the this link is there to make sure that the gun will not fire if it is dropped or the hammer is inadvertently struck.

If someone else is using the gun and isn't aware that it has safety issues there could be serious consequences. Just sayin' .........
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: Multigunner on August 25, 2017, 01:18:56 AM
I can see your concern.
The 38T relies on a quarter cock position, not a notch as in the colt hammer but a small stub pin that engages the sear. Don't remember if the 357 hammer has that pin or not.
I've had two 38T pistols with hammer spur broken from being dropped but the quarter cock pins remained intact.
The transfer bar is of course much safer but does appear to absorb hammer strike energy.
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on September 20, 2017, 08:40:42 PM
Pellet head diameter is a popular topic for discussion on the internet. I've decided to get into the fray and see how fussy a Vigilante might be after getting the longer barrels and muzzle treatment. The following is a post from a thread that I've started over at the GTA forum. Rather than link to it I thought I'd re-post it here. If this is inappropriate please let me know.

Measuring the head diameter on pellets can be tricky. Even if you use one of the commercially available sizers there can be questions about whether the head is really round or not. Putting the pellets into an assortment of precision holes won't necessarily give you good information on a distorted head. Before setting up the laser micrometer (a nontrivial project) I decided to cobble together a simple test method.

Since I can't seem to throw anything out I've accumulated a lot of stuff that can be repurposed for doing experiments. What came out of the junk pile this time is a platen from an old HP scanner. Any clean, flat, and smooth surface can be used, of course. The important part for making reliable measurements is a good smoothly operating digital caliper. It should read down to 0.0005" or 10 microns. It should have a thumb wheel for adjustment because the adjusting action needs to be very smooth with a minimum of stiction.

The caliper is placed onto the cleaned glass and a spacer is placed under it at the end of the scale. The spacer is used to keep the caliper parallel to the face of the glass without rocking. This arrangement works well because the measuring jaws are raised above the glass far enough for the jaws to touch only the top end of the pellet. Since I'm now using wadcutters exclusively the pellets can be inverted and measured without any wobble. With the Jaws slightly open and the pellet remaining against the fixed jaw it can be rotated by slowly moving the jaw for another measurement around the circumference.

It will take some practice to get the feel for making the measurements, but when you get there you'll find that it can be done quickly and with considerably less error inducing force than a micrometer requires. Also, there is no fumbling with trying to hold the pellet square to the jaws while rotating the spindle. Repeatable measurements on the same pellet is when you know you've arrived.

The photos illustrate the measuring arrangement.
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: Weiand on September 26, 2017, 01:08:41 AM
My Vigilante is VERY jealous and says that I am a bad owner for not making it look like your work of art.
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on September 27, 2017, 10:27:14 PM
The rail that was machined for a better and more stable scope mount on the carbine upgrade works very well, but I thought that a store bought rail would save a lot of machine time and look better. I found a Leapers weaver rail on eBay and gave it a try. This build would be a pistol instead of a carbine. The new weaver rail needed to be fit tested, so I put together another 10" barrel gun to see how it would look along with the new housing extension.  This housing is designed to protect the crown if the gun is dropped or bumped. I like it better than the exposed muzzle on the earlier builds.

I've also changed the knurled forestock to a Crosman part. It all adds to a different look. The collection of modded Vigilantes is growing and I don't know where the end is. I'm going to try to convert the next one to use a 90 gm powerlet. The parts are on order so it shouldn't take too long to see what happens.

The photos show the new build.


Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: soolio on October 04, 2017, 09:55:45 PM
Very cool mods! If you haven't seen my build, take a look here....,12621.0.html
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on October 08, 2017, 03:50:13 AM
Soolio - Yes, I've checked your mods out. Very nice, though the background you use makes me think that I've dropped a tab!
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: soolio on October 09, 2017, 07:37:38 PM
I somehow missed page 2!!! Great idea for the dropout Co2 change out slot;j
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on October 21, 2017, 11:28:16 PM
After spending some time with the previously described pellet head diameter setup it became obvious that most of the RWS pellets that were measured were not really round. That fact can have some interesting effects on POA vs POI.

To test some of these effects I've been using a bore sighter which in itself has introduced unexpected results. Well, unexpected to me.
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: Multigunner on October 22, 2017, 05:19:03 AM
Beeman Coated Wadcutters work best in all my .177 revolvers (two 357, three 38T, one Umarex Colt)  and rifles.
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on October 28, 2017, 08:47:52 PM
The Vigilante is finally morphing into the carbine I was hoping for. There are still some things that I want to experiment with on the barrel, but I'll do some shooting with this rendition for now. I think this one is going to be very good.

Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: George Schmermund on October 30, 2017, 08:02:48 PM
This .22 cal conversion of the Vigilante went beyond expectations. The machining of the 2240 barrel and the barrel housing was fairly routine. The most critical part of any of these barrel mods is the spacing of the breech end of the barrel and the clip. If the spacing is right the clip is suspended between the forcing cone and the detent cylinder. The detent cylinder is conical which allows it to be fairly self aligning.  This allows the clip to press itself flat against the breech. There should be no light that can be seen on either side of the clip where it's pinched. Leaving room to shim the barrel allows this pair of sealing points to be tight when the gun is fired. When everything is right there is a very distinct click from the detent cylinder when the clip is indexed.

There's still work to do, but the main part of getting the barrel into the housing worked out well. I took a couple of test shots to see how things were going and ....... well, you had to be there. At 85º F the power plant was not found wanting. It was a whole new experience firing a Vigilante!
Title: Re: Vigilante Mods
Post by: Multigunner on November 01, 2017, 02:53:29 AM
Excellent. I'd had the idea of converting one of my 357 pistols to .22 for quite some time. Have run across posts on various attempts with mixed results. I suspect the vigilante valve body is much better suited to a .22 conversion than the original 357 valve.

My .22 38T is my favorite repeater as far as satisfaction in power and accuracy goes, with my Umarex Colt coming in second in all but shear ingenuity of design.
Converting the Umarex to .22 would be fairly easy, just replace the barrel liner and ream out a few of the shells to the right ID and make new gasket tubes.

I've got a couple of parts 38Ts I can experiment with. I'd like to make a gas seal for the valve to cylinder gap to improve velocities.
I figure I could make a tube type rotary saw to cut a deep ring around the outlet of the valve and insert an O-ring to close the gap, with perhaps a matching indentation around the breech end of each chamber.
Others have made similar gas seals for the barrel to cylinder gap of the 357. Every little bit helps. If you can't entirely prevent gas escape at the gap just slowing it momentarily can still be beneficial.

I'm considering converting one of my late model .177 38T to .22. If so the plastic cylinder might be easier to work with than a steel .22 cylinder.