Crosman Optimus .22 – Extreme Value Pick

VALUE PICK1There are many air rifles that provide great value for their respective price point, but what we wanted was a model that provides rare, unusual…no – truly extreme value relative to the field.

To clear this high bar, the rifle had to be exceptionally affordable, yet still provide good power, accuracy and a build that can hold up to routine use. Moreover, we wanted to ensure that model was capable of typical small game hunting and pest elimination, as well as target shooting and plinking.

The result?

The Crosman Optimus .22 Break Barrel Air Rifle.

Why is this our “extreme value” pick you ask? Let me explain.

The Optimus is a powerful break barrel rifle that can do it all. Extreme Power in the .22

There’s no getting around it, power does matter, particularly if you want to take down small game effectively and humanely. In addition, ample power also supports accuracy, especially if you are doing much shooting beyond 35 yards, since more power results in greater pellet velocity – and a faster pellet has a relatively flatter trajectory.

But as we’ve said many times before, don’t get bogged down with velocity figures in the abstract, however. Do the math and calculate FPE (foot pounds of energy).

Crosman reports a velocity of 950 feet per second using alloy pellets. Using this figure, and assuming a standard weight of 9.8 grains for such an alloy pellet, our FPE calculator indicates that the Optimus .22 generates a sizzling 20 FPE at the muzzle!

To put this into perspective, we typically recommend that any hunting air rifle produce a minimum of 12 FPE for basic small game hunting.  The Optimus (in the .22) absolutely blows this figure out of the water, meaning that you can hunt just about any game or pest that you might with a powerful “elite” springer.

Now, the Optimus in the .177 is no sissy either, but if air rifle hunting is what motivates you, we always recommend sticking with the much harder punch of the .22. If you don’t understand all the fuss about the difference, check out our article on air rifle hunting.

The Optimus .22 comes with a fairly decent scope, although the iron sights are excellent.Surprisingly Good Accuracy

What good is FPE without being able to hit your target consistently?

Fortunately, the Crosman Optimus also does very well on this score. Yes, the CenterPoint 4×32 mm scope that is included with the combo is nothing to get excited about, but it’s workable and can deliver some pretty tight groups if you’ve got some patience when sighting it in and give it half a chance. Besides, it’s essentially a throw-in and can keep you going until you decide on purchasing a better air rifle scope. If you do get a scope, keep in mind that you must get one that fits on a 3/8″ Dovetail rail.

Of course, if you’re like me, you may even take the scope off altogether if you are struggling with it. This model’s rear adjustable and fiber optic front sights are very good and might be all that you need, particularly for shooting at closer ranges.

The fit, finish and trigger of the Optimus is of a quality well above its price class!Fantastic Fit and Finish

Weighing in at a fairly modest 7 pounds and coming with a very nice hardwood (ambidextrous) stock and comfortable butt pad, the Optimus just feels right when shooting, and looks and handles as well as air rifles that are hundreds of dollars above its price class.

Decent Trigger

The two-stage adjustable trigger will not be winning any awards, but is crisp, functional and is actually better than many (including those in some much higher-priced rifles)!

Great Price

While there are some air rifles that are even more powerful, accurate and well made – we can think of none that also come close to its remarkably low price!

Indeed, at its current sales price (as of the date of this article), the Crosman Optimus .22 air rifle combo is in our opinion offers some of the best bang for your buck all around hunting/plinking pellet rifle you can buy.

In fact, if you can find a better value air rifle for this price, please let us know!

Impeccable User Ratings

Not surprisingly given all of this performance and extreme value, the Optimus .22 has received outstanding praise from users. This combo has earned high satisfaction ratings by the air-gunning community. Users rave about this rifle’s big time power and good accuracy. Many indicated successfully bagging various game with no problem. Others marveled at how easily it would penetrate inanimate objects, and make other air rifles look like “toys” by comparison.

In terms of negatives, the only two complaints that arose consistently were that the rifle is a bit difficult to cock, and that it can be a bit loud when fired. Both of these issues are common to most high-powered spring rifles. With respect to the cocking issue, while the gun will likely get easier to cock over time, we do suggest that prospective users be fairly strong/mature to use this model. For that reason, we think it may be a bit too much for more slightly-built and/or female users.

Concluding Thoughts

The Crosman Optimus .22 combo presents one of those rare cases where something that seems too good to be true actually is for real. This air rifle is unusually powerful, comes with a decent scope and great fixed sites, has a quality look and feel, and is available for a tad over a measly $100 bucks!

And with that $100 bucks, you can do just about anything with it. Whether you want something for plinking, or are serious about getting into small game hunting for sport or survival preparedness  – this rifle is perfect and will leave more money in your pocket to buy high quality ammo or an upgraded scope.

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