Comparison / Review: Crossman 2240 and CP1

These two pistols are similar in many ways and fall into the same price range so it seems reasonable to make a comparison test. The CP1 tested here is actually the multishot version (CP1M), which comes with a single-shot loading tray option. To keep the comparison fair, it is used here only in this single shot mode. The CP1 is available in either .177 or .22 whereas the 2240 is available only in .22. Both tested here are .22

Scores are:
1 = very poor
2 = poor
3 = reasonable
4 = good
5 = excellent

Both guns are bolt action and CO2 powered using a 12 gram bulb which is inserted into the chamber beneath the barrel and retained and charged by screwing down the chamber cap. In each case this gives 40 useful shots at a little over 5 foot pound energy (fpe). This style of gun is generally considered for more serious shooting as opposed to the many CO2 powered multi-shot ‘fun guns’ on the market, usually modelled on an established firearm, which are fairly inaccurate and rarely have more than about 2.5 fpe. The two guns tested here can still plink with the best of them (albeit one shot at a time) but should also be more suited to target shooting and even, where the law permits, rat control.

First Impressions
Out of the box the CP1 looks and feels better made than the 2240. The steel looks better quality and is certainly better finished, but the most obvious difference is the grip. The CP1 has a steeply raked but well shaped ambidextrous ‘stock’ made of beech. Though unchequered, it does look and feel like quality. The 2240, on the other hand, makes do with plastic side plates which have come in for a lot of criticism, which I think is quite justified. They feel very cheap and nasty. Nevertheless, they are functional and also ambidextrous.
The 2240 has a brass bolt to the CP1’s steel – both have brass triggers. Strangely, both bolts are mounted on the right which would seem more suited to left handed shooters.
Both have open sights as you would expect, but only the CP1 has a dovetail to take a red dot or pistol scope.
Feel and perceived quality: 2240 score 3
CP1 score 5

In Use
The grip angle on the 2240 has a more natural feel while the CP1, being more steeply raked, feels at first a little uncomfortable on the wrist, but this is typical of target pistols and you soon get used to it.
On the 2240 the sights seem unusually high giving a rather tall feeling in the sight picture. The rear is adjustable for elevation and windage, requiring a small screwdriver. The sight picture is very good in that the foresight width fits closely in the rearsight notch, but there is little contrast. Painting the rear of the foresight white fixes this.
The CP1 also offers elevation and windage adjustment on the rearsight, also requiring a small screwdriver, but additionally, the foresight can also be adjusted for windage as it is screwed through a lateral slot. The screw, however, is very small and easy to crossthread. The sight picture is not ideal as the foresight is much narrower than the rearsight notch leaving room for error in lateral aiming. I also noticed that there is insufficient height adjustment on the rearsight to zero at any more than about 9 metres. This could be fixed either by filing down the foresight or base of the rearsight as I did.
Sights: 2240 score 4
CP1 score 3

Despite having the bolt on the ‘wrong’ side for right-handed shooters, both guns operate smoothly and easily and in reality canting the gun to the left to open the bolt, straightening up to place the pellet in the loading slot then closing the bolt with crossed hands becomes a fluid movement.
The CP1 felt better and more secure in my hand due to the target-style moulded grip but both grips are reasonably comfortable and in both pistols I found the trigger position to be well placed. The trigger on the CP1 is not without creep, but is light enough, smooth and predictable. The 2240 trigger, however, is awful as standard. The let-off is quite ok, but the trigger is the wrong shape being far too tightly curved to fit an adult (or even most children’s) finger. The edges are also very sharp and shooting becomes quite painful after only a few shots, particularly as the pull weight is a tad too high. However, this is very easily fixed. The brass trigger can be straightened out a little by carefully bending it with a suitable tool and the edges are easily rounded with a small file or emery cloth. I also changed the trigger spring in mine for something a bit softer which is also very easy to do. These simple trigger mods transform the gun and if Crossman had built it this way it would have scored 3, but I must score as it is supplied, therefore:
Trigger: 2240 score 1
CP1 score 3

This is probably more important to potential buyers of this kind of pistol than, say, a multishot replica or certainly a BB pistol as the CP1 and 2240 are more orientated toward target shooting. It is unfortunate then for the CP1 which is a big let down in this area. Even after changing to a more accurate sighting system, the CP1 shot from a bench indoors cannot achieve better than about 2.5 inch groups at 10 yards, which is, frankly, a bit of a disaster. The 2240, on the other hand, is amazingly accurate, easily popping coke tins out to 25 yards. It may be a peculiarity of my pistols (in either case), but I can only report as I find.
Accuracy: 2240 score 5
CP1 score 1

So which would I recommend?
I suppose this depends on what you are looking for in an air pistol. The CP1 looks and feels nicer and would probably give more pride of ownership. It is also available, albeit at extra cost, in multishot, although the spring loaded rotary magazine is easily the fiddliest to load I have ever experienced. Despite it being called Target in some markets, it is simply not consistent enough for anything like a target pistol. This may be because it requires a particular pellet brand, but I did try several different types and weights without improvement. Personally, I think a reasonable level of accuracy is essential. A gun that won’t shoot straight is not likely to be much fun for long and certainly won’t improve your shooting. If the manufacturer could sort out the accuracy issue, the CP1 would easily be my choice. Until then, it would have to be the 2240.