Gun Review: Crosman MAR177 AR Upper

Remember the great ammo shortage of 2010? Thanks to a perfect storm of economic, political and psychological factors, prices shot through the roof (not literally). Millions of budget-conscious shooters discovered the economic joys of firing low-cost .22 caliber ammunition—especially when it flew out of the barrel of a gun that looked and worked like its bigger caliber cousin. Even mucho macho AR-15 lovers took to .22-caliber ARs and, better yet, rimfire-firing conversions for their existing weapon system. The trend is far from over. How’s this then: a .17 caliber PCP (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) air gun upper receiver for your AR-15. Enter the Crosman MAR177 AR Upper. It converts your AR-15 into a bolt-action—make that pull-action—air rifle . . .

Note: this ain’t your daddy’s Red Ryder. The MAR177′s 21-inch, rifled and choked, free floating Lothar Walther barrel weighs seven pounds, six ounces. The gun comes with a ten-round rotary clip [their words] that holds 120 shots per fill. The MAR177′s fitted with a standard Picatinny rail that will (of course) accomodate anything from red dots to serious scopes. As you’d expect at the price, it’s a serious piece of kit.

We’re talking about a PCP .177 caliber National Match Air Rifle competition grade rifle, straight out of the box. You can also use the MAR177 shooters as a full-on training rifle for National High Power Competition. Self-defense shooters looking to shoot-and-scoot can slap on a sling and do their thing in the comfort and privacy of their own backyard or, yes, house (observing appropriate safety protocol and neighbor notification).

And let’s not forget the MAR’s trigger and sight system are perfect for younger shooters who might not be comfortable with the standard AR-15’s recoil or muzzle blast. A young man eager to explore his militaristic fantasies might consider the MAR117 The Mother of All Air Rifles. What could possibly go wrong?

If you wanted to put an eye out with that thing, an MAR177-equipped AR shooting match grade pellets (yes there are such things) offers stunning accuracy at 20 yards. Unlike some of the plastic fantastic .22 AR’s frustrating owners with ammo sensitivity, the Crosman pellet gun is as reliable as a teenager’s fascination with thechive.com’s Hot Girls in the Middle of Nowhere feature.

With or without comely companionship, an MAR177 shooter can plink in the middle of nowhere without worrying about disturbing the horses. Dandelions, however, should be very, very nervous. It’s almost as easy to shoot the heads off the weeds at 15 yards as it is to cluster holes on scaled NRA targets at 20.

20 yards, offhand

A solid test of how well this rifle imparts good habits and solid fundamentals on an individual: shooting an Appleseed Army Qualification Target. The Appleseed AQT consists of one large bust silhouette designed to simulate 100 yard shooting for its first stage, two medium busts simulating 200 yards for its second, and three small busts simulating 400 yards respectively. The shooter engages the first stage while standing, the second while sitting, and the third while prone.

I’ve managed to shoot the mythical rifleman score and earn my patch about a year ago using a SIG SAUER 556 Patrol rifle with 50mm 9x Leupold glass. Truth be told, I felt like I’d cheated. This time around I used a BCM 20” upper on a Bushmaster lower with a fixed A2 stock using only iron sights. I modified the course of fire to consist of only 30 rounds. Here’s my control group(ing).

Score:145/200: Sharpshooter

I set the bar fairly high, having shot sharpshooter on my first attempt. I set up the exact same course of fire in my backyard at a distance of 25 yards (the AQT is scaled for that distance). I removed the existing BCM upper and replaced it with Crosman’s MAR177.

The MAR177 assembles like a standard upper with one exception: you use a 3/16” Allen key wrench to loosen a screw located under the carry handle sight to relieve pressure on the assembly pins. Once the upper is installed, simply tighten the small set screw and reinstall the carry handle. It’s easy but inconvenient; you have to check zero every time you convert the rifle back to original configuration.

After popping the MAR177 upper on my Bushmaster, I shot the same course of fire. After repeating this 20 times (a total of 600 rounds expended) with the MAR177 upper, I replaced the airgun upper with the BCM 20” 5.56 upper.

Score:174/200: Marksman(Rifleman)

The additional training with the air rifle upper improved my score by 14.5 percent. That sort of improvement could make or break a score in competition, and mean the difference between being in the winner’s circle or not. I’m an experienced shooter. A noob with proper instruction shooting the Crosman MAR177 could see a vast improvement in their marksmanship.

If you’re the kind of shooter who only visits the range to sight in your new deer rifle or blast off a 100 rounds once a month, the MAR177 Upper is not for you. A gun that goes ffft not bang won’t light your synapses. If you’re a competitor, aspiring marksman, self-defense shooter or someone who just likes to goof around with cool-looking guns (observing proper safety procedures), the MAR177 is a must-have accessory.

UPDATE: Crosman has informed me that the set screw located under the rear sight does not need to be adjusted in order to maintain zero.

Specifications: 

  • Model Number     MAR177
  • Velocity                  Up to 600 fps
  • Weight                    7 lb. 6 oz.
  • Length                    28.5
  • Mechanism            Repeater
  • Power Source        PCP
  • Caliber                    .177
  • Capacity                 10-Shot Rotary Clip
  • Barrel                     21 in
  • Front Sight            Removable post with adjustment
  • Rear Sight             Carry handle adjustable flip peep
  • Optics Rail            Picatinny
  • Safety                     Crossbolt
  • Material                 Synthetic
  • MSRP                     $650

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style  * * * *
I’m a big fan of the A3/A4 style AR-15′s and this looks awfully close. I didn’t like the odd hand guard but it gets bonus points for the weighted faux magazine.

Ergonomics  * * * * *
IMHO the AR-15 is the definition of ergonomic comfort. It will fit most users like a glove.

Reliability  * * * * *
The MAR177 has digested 700 rounds of Gamo match grade pellets so far without so much as a hiccup.

Customization  * * * * *
Unparalleled accessory support, there might not be enough room for a BUIS and an RDS, but on a pellet gun there is little to reason for a BUIS.

Overall Rating * * * * *
Even at $650 (MSRP), the MAR177 a bargain. It’s accurate, comfortable, and familiar; an ideal training platform.

 

17 Responses to Gun Review: Crosman MAR177 AR Upper

  1. avatarPaul M. says:

    This is basically a match grade air rifle adapted as an AR upper, hence the price. It was designed, and originally developed by Scott Pilkington at Pilkington Competition Equipment in Tennessee. He’s licensed the design to Crosman, and I’m glad to see that they’ve come out with a high quality AR, rather than trying to do it on the cheap.

  2. avatarJames says:

    Six hundred fifty bucks for half of a BB gun?

    Seems a bit like jerking off with a clothespin on the end – it’s not really going to get you anywhere.

  3. avatarM2vr1k says:

    TTAAirsoft hmm? Disappointing :/ Dont get me wrong, I’d buy it in a heartbeat as a training tool for a youngster. I just dont feel like its in the same neighborhood as a firearm. Then again, its not TTAF is it? My bad then I guess lol

  4. avatarAharon says:

    Doesn’t the price of this thing neutralize the cost-saving benefits of using pellets? A high quality complete pump air-rifle can be purchased for less money and you can put your own air into it with that pump thingy part that is healthy for your wrists.

  5. avatarMax says:

    Its not intended to replace a firearm, it’s for a new CMP Competition and intended as a HP trainer. It’s not a toy.

  6. avatarMichael Bluth says:

    What isn’t mentioned here, but is on websites where this is sold is that, depending on your local laws, by attaching this upper to a REAL FIREARM LOWER and firing projectiles, you may be liable for discharging a firearm with whatever legal consequences that may incur. So, if you do live in such an area where discharging a gun is prohibited, you’re much better off just sticking with a traditional air rifle.

    In the eyes of the law, this is a firearm, because, obviously, the lower is a serialized firearm.

  7. avatarAccur81 says:

    Had me right up until the point where I saw $650 for a pellet gun upper.

    It seems to me that the whole deal could be a dedicated AR-style pellet gun for half the price, without any of the firearms worries brought about by a real AR-15 lower receiver.

  8. avatardronning says:

    I own a MAR177 and love it. I can use the lower from my National Match service rifle to get practice time with the same trigger I use in matches at home with the 10 meter reduce targets. The big plus is I’m not burning up ammo, wearing out my match grade barrel and it saves me hours/week. I spent about 5-10 hours a week going to the range (with drive time) and when you add time spent reloading ammo I burned up the MAR177 is a bargin! Also I may end up shooting an NMAR (National Match Air Rifle) event too!

  9. avatarry_ry says:

    Great idea but expensive for what it is.

    How about one that shoots BBs semi-automatically and is CO2 powered for <$300?

  10. avatarMark N. says:

    Powered by PCP? I thought that was an animal tranquilizer…

  11. avatarbruce says:

    I think its a great idea, I have AirArms rifles, AirForce air rifles, these are top shelve products that takes pin point engineering and serious knowhow to make precision airguns. Firearms have a large amount of extra energy to…., cycle thru to both eject, then load a fresh new round. This is just one of the things an accurate , high energy, multi-round pellet rifle/pistol has to overcome in different ways vs powder based weapons. The actions and triggers on some of these hi end airguns are second to none, its easy for a guy who loves technology and machinery to admire these supremely accurate works of art (AirArms EV2 comes to mind). Like others have mentioned, we all already have an AR in some flavor or another, and a few like me who already relish the art of 10m match air competition, or already into the air hobby who will not only have this on a list, but like me, will make room for this upper. Having owned PCP rifles already, I can attest to the ease of use, reliability , added accuracy due to consistency, and the pre-charged pneumatic is worlds ahead compared to lesser systems, this is a perfect crossover piece, trainer, practice system and mostly for me, an awesome way to get range time, without leaving my backyard, its the upper, so if like me, you already went through the bs to have at in hand, this can be ordered by mail order in most areas, Illinois, which is hard on airguns (over .177 takes a permit, .177 over 700fps you need a permit FOID card) and even in most of that state, NONE in Chicago, period, this can go to door, here in TX forget about it, 3 days, and 5-12 its $600 flat.

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  14. avatarkurt konieczny says:

    650 dollars is money well spent. I have a Feinwerkbau PCP Junior, with more than 20,000 offhand rounds through it. Pellets are about 65 to 80 dollars for 5,ooo pellets. The mechanical accuracy is less than a millimeter at 10 yards. As a teaching tool the instrument must be experienced to be believed. Maintenance is zero; after 15 years the tool is out of the box accurate. Cleaning is two felt pellets shot down the barrel every 500 pellets. 20,000 22 rimfire rounds would be 1200 dollars or more, 223 centerfire rounds would be 4000 dollars if you could buy them at 25 cents per round, all lost money. If you find it not to your liking you could probably sell the PCP upper easily for 150 less than it cost you. Beside all that you could practice in your house, shooting into a 22 bullet trap, incredibly convenient, and if you cast bullets the lead from the pellets is retained. The only problem with my Feinwerkbau is that the trigger is way different (read better) than any AR 15 trigger you may have. Barrel dwell time is much longer with the pellet than the centerfire so quality follow through training is another plus. If you want to improve your offhand shooting the only comparable tool is an electronic trainer like RIKA.

    • avatarKevin Mccarthy says:

      If you’re a National Match competitor, this is a must buy to keep the edge sharp on your skills. As far as the MAR 177 performance that I can see will duplicate as if you’re firing a match grade AR, only at a shorter distance and a fraction of the cost. I have a Compass Lake Engineering dedicated .22 upper which I regarded as the best off season practice tool. Not anymore! The MAR 177 gives me more trigger time then the CLE has ever did. The only short comings of the MAR 177 is the rear sights. They can be inconsistent when changing zero’s. That is a easy fixable situation by upgrade some parts in the sight. On a 1to10, 1 give it a 9.

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