Crosman Nitro Venom – Deal or Dud?

The Crosman Nitro Venom air rifle is a gas-piston breakbarrel that comes in an especially affordable combo that puts it in direct competition with other value-oriented gas rams, such as the Benjamin Titan. But how does the Nitro Venom perform? And what are the big tradeoffs lurking behind all of this apparent value, if any?

Please read on as we discuss both the good and the bad, as we see it, so you can decide for yourself whether the Nitro Venom is a good deal –  or an unfortunate dud.

Crosman Nitro Venom – The Good

The Benefits of Gas-Piston Technology

Rather than a coiled spring, the Nitro Venom is powered by a sealed volume of inert nitrogen gas, which compresses and expands during the cocking/firing cycle. The benefits of this gas-piston technology are numerous. The first thing you’ll notice (especially if you’ve shot springers before) is that the Nitro Venom cocks more easily than a spring-powered counterpart, and shoots more smoothly. Without all of the large spring mass uncoiling and then recoiling after the shot, there is much less vibration and considerably less “kick” with this gas ram too. In addition, after this rifle is broken in, you will also enjoy comparatively quiet shooting – again, largely a result of the fewer moving parts in the power plant.

But that’s not all, unlike a spring, which if left cocked for extended periods can ultimately loose some of its explosiveness and power, the gas piston can be left cocked pretty much indefinitely (although I wouldn’t advise this). Consequently, you can leave the rifle cocked and ready to shoot for a full day of hunting, if need be, without fear of spring fatigue. Finally, gas rams also have the edge over their spring-powered kin in terms of low-temperature operation. Cold weather can significantly affect spring power, whereas nitrogen gas is relatively temperature insensitive (unlike CO2) and gives the shooter more consistent power despite temperature variation.

Good Velocity & Power

The Nitro Venom is reportedly capable of sending lead pellets up to 1000 feet per second in the .177 and 800 feet per second in the .22 caliber, which translates (assuming typical grain weights) into a rifle that produces 17 foot-pounds of energy (“FPE”) in the .177 and about 20 FPE in the .22. Although we haven’t tested this ourselves, based on the information we’ve gathered, this could be overestimating the Nitro Venom’s power. Indeed, one source puts this rifle closer to 13 and 14 FPE in the .177 and .22 calibers, respectively. Sufficed to say, in either case, the Nitro Venom packs more than enough power for target shooting, plinking and comfortably clears our minimum 12 FPE bar for use as small game hunting air rifle.

Solid Fit & Finish

This is a very handsome air rifle, and feels and looks better than what you’d expect from a gun in its price range. It comes with an ambidextrous, hardwood stock that is nicely checkered along the grip and fore. The overall 44-inch length and 7.4 pound weight makes this a larger, yet only moderately heavy rifle that most users should feel comfortable shooting.

The Crosman Nitro Venom is an attractive rifle that comes with solid optics for the price.

Capable Scope and Included Weaver Rail

Most scopes on affordable air rifle combos get slammed mercilessly; however, the Centerpoint 3-9×32 model that is easily installed on the included weaver rail (nice touch) is surprisingly decent. Yes, many people will call this “trash” or “junk”, but the consensus from the vast majority of users is that it is considerably better than one would expect.

You will also hear that it’s essentially worthless because it is not an “AO” scope and therefore cannot be parallax-adjusted, but that’s not entirely true. This scope is factory-set with a parallax setting optimized for about 15-20 yards, which is the shooting distance that most casual users are likely to be comfortable with. However, you can re-set this for more distance shooting.

To adjust the parallax, take off the retaining cap that is on the objective bell (furthest from your eye) by unscrewing it (counter clockwise). You will now notice a ring seated within the rim of the inner scope tube – this is the parallax adjustment. You can turn the ring in a clockwise direction to set parallax further out, and turn it counterclockwise to come back. It’s recommended to set the scope to 9x while doing so and to use an image located at the desired distance and adjust until you’ve achieved visual clarity – for example, place an object at 35 yards and, while looking through the scope, turn the ring clockwise until it comes in clear, then simply put the cap back on and tighten. You shouldn’t need more than a complete turn of the ring to dial things in.

…And The Not So Good

The Nitro Venom's trigger is clumsy and stiff, but tolerable.

Stiff, Creeping Trigger

If there’s one obvious weak spot on the Crosman Nitro Venom, it would have to be the trigger. This is a two-stage adjustable  trigger with a stiff first stage and a regrettably long and rough pull for a second stage that does not get significantly better regardless of adjustment. In our opinion, this no doubt greatly contributes to reported problems with this rifle maintaining accuracy, but the good news is that with a bit of patience this trigger can be tolerated. I’ve used cheapo triggers for most of my life, and the Nitro Venom’s is not so bad really, especially considering this rifle’s price point. If you feel the need to upgrade, we don’t blame you, but it is definitely not necessary in our view.

Spotty Accuracy

Reports on the Nitro Venom’s accuracy are generally positive, but there are some reviews indicating that it can’t hold a group much beyond 10 yards. We don’t dispute that this could be an issue for many users, but we do recommend that these accuracy complaints be taken with a grain of salt. The vast majority of reviews confirm that the Nitro Venom can be very accurate, at least withing typical shooting ranges (up to 25 yards) if the rifle is working properly and the scope is zeroed in correctly. As with most combos though, there is just so much that can go wrong – bad pellet choice, improper/faulty scope mounting/zeroing, poor use of the “artillery hold,” etc. Consequently, we would caution a prospective buyer to be wary of any sweeping conclusion about this rifle’s reported accuracy limitations, because on average this rifle appears to perform very well.

Nitro Venom reviews and user ratings.Quality Control Problems?

Likely related to the issue of accuracy are reports of apparently malfunctioning/defective rifles. It’s difficult to say that cases where, for example, experienced users could not zero in the scope, or maintain groups despite trying to optimize pellets are a direct result of some “dud” piece of hardware or slip somewhere in the manufacturing process. However, you should be aware that some very divergent user experiences have been noted. Some may find this rifle to deliver outstanding accuracy right out of the box with the stock scope and despite the awkward trigger. On the other hand, some may find that, despite their best efforts, they just can’t get this rifle to shoot accurately, and repeatably.

For the most part though, and consistent with this rifle’s fantastic user satisfaction ratings, you are more likely to get a “good” gun, but you should be aware of possible defects in the event your rifle seems incurably “off.”

The Verdict

The Nitro Venom - a definite "good deal" in the world of gas rams!Barring the unlikely misfortune of receiving a “dud” rifle, we think the Nitro Venom is an outstanding, low-cost deal in the wonderful worlds of gas rams. This rifle brings good power for most users (including small game hunting if opting for the .22 caliber); looks and feels great; is equipped with a weaver rail and decent scope for the price; and can be a very accurate rifle – once you learn to live with the mushy trigger and take your time getting a feel for the scope.

Of course, nothing is perfect and the same applies to the Nitro Venom. We would simply caution you to put as many rounds through it as possible upon receipt so you can try and determine if there are accuracy issues that are not simply a result of user inexperience or improper scope installation. Fortunately, amazon.com (if buying through them) typically has a very generous return policy in the event defects are found.

>>Buy the Crosman Nitro Venom at The Lowest Price!<<

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3 Comments

  1. John Swenson says:

    I fully agree, this is my go to gun and when properly cared for. I out score others using rifles costing 2-3 times as much. lead or lead-free doesn’t matter, the Nitro Venom is a workhorse. I’ve taken many duds in trade and with a little love, turned them into champion shooters.

  2. Kevin c. says:

    The nitro venom in .22 cal has plenty of power. Accuracy was all over the target 5-6 inch groupings at 12yards to start with. I shot premier hollow points to start with and shot about 250 rounds and was still having accuracy problems so I called crossman and received very good tech support. First off they told me do not clean the barrel at all , using solvents,oil, etc… They had me tighten all mount screws on scope and stock and recommended using premier round point hunting pellets. Accuracy was much better with the round points and I was able to adjust scope to achieve1-2 inch groupings. I’ve read many reviews about this model air rifle and the owners cleaning before using and that is not recommended . Cleaning with clean cloth patches is ok but no solvents. Taking the time to break in the barrel properly results in an accurate and affordable air rifle!!!

  3. Rich R says:

    This gun takes quite a few rounds for it to break in and settle down. I put about 300 rounds through it and was still having accuracy issues. I determined the centerpoint score that it comes with is not great. What can you expect for the price? I replaced it with a BSA for about $70 and it instantly became a tack driver. It continued to tighten up groups a bit all the way through 500 rounds when it really settled down. It is now a very accurate and powerful gun especially when you consider the price. I have since replaced the BSA scope with a UTC which was only about $130. It isn’t any more accurate than the BSA but I shoot skunks at night and wanted an illuminated reticle.

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