I’m not one for writing reviews per se. Normally, I only write articles about the airguns in Jimmie Dee’s collection, their designers, the history of the manufacturer and so on. I am unlikely to write a review of the kind you would find in magazines that are designed to plug the airgun at hand. However, I was recently asked by Sportsguns if I would be interested in writing one for them. I thought about it and asked what the airgun would be. The response was the Crosman Sheridan Cowboy. At least it wasn’t a replica of a modern semi-automatic. I’m a bit of a fan of authentic six shooter replicas. Especially those from an era filled with history and adventure. Go on then, I thought. Let’s take a look at it.
The last “new” pistol I purchased was a UMAREX Colt Single Action Army pellet revolver. I’m not a fan of BB shooters and I had waited a long time for the pellet version of the Colt SAA to become available. It took a lot of self-control to wait for UMAREX to produce one. I think prior to that the newest pistol I acquired must have been a Beretta PX4 Storm bought a good 6 years ago from a shop that has long since closed its doors. So you can see that I rarely buy new airguns as my interests lay primarily with airguns made in the last century or the century before that!
I didn’t really know what to expect as I don’t usually keep my ear to the ground with respect to new airguns. I spend most of my time with one eye on the classifieds and the other on auctions. However, I kept an open mind nonetheless and it wasn’t long before the Sheridan arrived.
The Sheridan, known as the Remington 1875 in the U.S., is Crosman’s first “modern” six shooter replica. Crosman is no stranger to Western six shooters. Probably before many of you, and me for that matter, were a twinkle in your father’s eye, Crosman had produced the Hahn and Crosman SA6 back in the late 1950s. Production of these pistols continued up until 1970 and they were a pretty good pistol too! Both the Hahn and the SA6 had full-sized cycling cylinders. The Hahn was a BB pistol whereas the SA6 used .22 pellets with a rifled barrel. Uniquely the CO2 capsule wasn’t fitted inside the handle. Instead it was hidden under the barrel. Of course both of these air pistols are somewhat hard to find these days.
For one reason or another, Crosman was a bit late to the party with modern six shooter air pistols. We all know that UMAREX produced a range of Colt Single Action Army revolvers quite a few years ago beginning with a BB version and then a pellet version. Nonetheless, Crosman have at last caught up!
I have to admit that when I first laid my eyes on the Sheridan I was a little disappointed. Crosman had decided to use a plastic blister packaging. If like me, you prefer your pistol in a box so that you can store and protect it when not in use, you too may be disappointed. Although if you don’t care for boxes then it won’t matter a hoot to you. As a collector, keeping the packaging in a reusable condition is quite important to me. I think UMAREX have the upper hand on this score.
The pistol is supplied with six pellet cartridges, six BB cartridges and a user manual. Unless you have a magnifying glass to hand I’m fairly sure most people are going to struggle to read the manual! I’m not really sure why the pistol is supplied with both BB and pellet cartridges. The only difference that I can tell is that one is stamped with .177 and a pellet symbol and the other is just stamped 4.5mm. Other than that, it appears you could use BBs in the pellet cartridge and pellets in the BB cartridge. If you already have a UMAREX Colt SAA and purchased a stock of cartridges, don’t assume that those cartridges will fit the Sheridan. Despite the two pistols being .45 calibre replicas, the cartridges from the UMAREX Colt will not fit the Sheridan! On the plus side, the Sheridan cartridges will fit the Colt.
Functionally the Sheridan is identical to the Colt. Both have faithfully replicated the “three click” cocking action of the hammer. Although the Sheridan has a slightly different sound as the locking latch “pings” against the cylinder. Loading of the two pistols is identical. The hammer must be pulled to the safety position (first click) which releases the cylinder lock. Then, with the loading gate open, the cartridges can be ejected and reloaded as you rotate the cylinder. Both pistols also have a functioning ejector rod. On the real pistol, the cartridges may expand when fired making them difficult to remove without the help of an ejector rod. On air pistol replicas, the ejector rod is not necessarily required. Having said that, one of the Sheridan cartridges was a little sticky and the ejector did actually serve a purpose to remove it.
Just like the UMAREX Colt, a second safety lever has been added just ahead of the trigger guard on the underside of the pistol. Both pistols also hold the CO2 cartridge within the plastic grip. Although the Crosman Sheridan has a removable allen key used to screw the CO2 cartridge into the piercing pin whereas the UMAREX Colt has an integral allen key. On this score I think the Sheridan wins as I always fear the integral allen key of the UMAREX Colt could eventually crack the plastic grip cover.
Loading the CO2 cartridge is a breeze. Simply place it in the grip and then tighten the adjuster. You may think that you haven’t tightened it enough as there is no hiss given off during the process. In fact it does not need to be tightened down hard at all and appears to seal very well.
Whilst the Sheridan has a smoothbore barrel, the Colt is available in both smoothbore and rifled barrels. I will discount this even though I would rather buy a rifled barrelled pistol any day of the week. However, to consider it a pellet pistol without a rifled barrel has to give it a black mark in my book. Other than that though, the two pistols are superficially identical except that the Sheridan is a good inch longer in the barrel. The place where these two significantly differ though is the cylinder. More to the point, the Sheridan’s cylinder can be removed!
Western movie aficionados amongst us will already be aware that the Remington had a removable cylinder. It was made famous perhaps by Clint Eastwood in the film Pale Rider where he, the preacher, reloaded his Remington by changing the cylinder for another that was already loaded. However, Eastwood’s pistol was an earlier Remington 1858 New Army percussion pistol which had been converted to use cartridges. The Remington 1875 pistol was based on the 1858 model with the addition of a specifically designed removable cartridge cylinder.
Crosman’s reason for a removable cylinder, other than making a realistic replica, appears to be to help to owner clear any jammed pellet or BB from the barrel. Removing the cylinder makes the job a lot easier. This is a unique selling point over the UMAREX Colt.
Speaking of jams, I experienced one on the 30th shot during the chrono test but no others over the next seventy shots. I was very surprised by this as the power didn’t begin to drop off until the 60th shot. Perhaps it was just a rogue pellet.
Removing the cylinder is straightforward. Pull the hammer back to the safety position where the cylinder becomes unlocked. Press the black button on the right-hand side ahead of the cylinder and pull the cylinder locking rod at the muzzle until it clicks. Release the button and withdraw the cylinder. It might also help to open the loading gate.
There is one other area in which the two pistols differ and that’s the trigger. The Sheridan appears to have quite a heavy trigger compared to the UMAREX Colt. I much prefer the UMAREX in this regard.
Over the chrono, I found the maximum velocity with a 7.9gr Webley Accupell pellet was 360 fps. That’s a lot lower than the 450 fps quoted by Crosman and it was only achieved on the first shot. The average power before it began to drop off was 304 fps or 1.6 fpe. I estimate that the pistol will deliver about sixty shots per 12g CO2 cartridge at this average power before it rapidly drops off.
To finish off, Crosman has clearly placed this pistol at a lower price point to compete with the UMAREX Colt by using blister pack packaging and a smoothbore barrel. Yes, they have added a removable cylinder but for me, the lack of a rifled barrel seems crazy. UMAREX appeared to learn that many shooters were waiting for a rifled Colt SAA. I can’t say if the rifled Colt is any better in accuracy over the smoothbore Colt as I haven’t tried both. Maybe it’s just a perception that I have. However, I can say for sure that my Colt is hitting cans from 5 to 25 yards with little or no adjustment in my aim. I wouldn’t expect to hit the same cans every time at 25 yards with a BB version, but then again, I haven’t tried.
Whilst testing the pistol a wave of nostalgia passed over me. As I loaded each cartridge I noticed the Crosman name stamped on the back of each one. I then realised that although I have been spoilt by the rifled UMAREX Colt, I was holding a Crosman six shooter. The last time one of these was available to purchase new was in 1983! That’s nearly 35 years ago! So despite the lack of a rifled barrel or cardboard box, the Sheridan should be a welcome addition to all avid Crosman six shooter collectors and any wild west fan.
Sportsguns currently list the Sheridan at £158.99 and can “hand deliver” direct to your door for £19.50 (England and Wales only).
Until next time, happy shooting!