Located in rural Bloomfield, N.Y., Crosman Corp. is a manufacturer of air rifles and air pistols. From 1976 through 1983, the company manufactured two variants of the Model 73 "Saddle Pal." Both units were CO2 powered, 0.177-caliber, lever-action rifles designed primarily as youth guns for teaching marksmanship, target shooting and for varmint or rodent (rats) control. Crosman supplied a comprehensive owner's manual with both variants, which provided the specifications, loading instructions and safety precautions.
Both variants of the Model 73 Saddle Pal were designed to fire either BBs, or 0.177-caliber lead pellets. On the top of the receiver, immediately forward of the hammer, was the BB loading port. The port allowed 16 BBs to be loaded into an internal tube magazine. Pellets were loaded through the pellet-loading port located on the right side of the receiver. Only one pellet could be loaded at a time. Crosman warned that pellets and BBs were not be loaded in the gun at the same time.
When shooting BBs, the Model 73 had a maximum muzzle velocity of 511 feet per second and an average muzzle velocity of 432 feet per second. If shooting pellets, which weigh more, muzzle velocity was 440 feet per second. Both projectile types were powered by a single 12-gram CO2 cartridge, which was housed inside the hollow plastic forearm section located immediately in front of the receiver. Crosman recommended using Crosman Super BBs, Crosman Super Pells and Crosman Powerlet CO2 cartridges when shooting. The CO2 cartridge required replacement after 100 rounds of either ammunition type had been expended.
Sights and Barrel
Both Model 73 variants were equipped with open sights. The rear sight was fully adjustable for both elevation and windage. The front sight was a single fixed blade. The barrel was a solid steel smooth bore type, 19 inches in length.
Operation, Weights and Dimensions
Once loaded, firing the rifle was accomplished by cocking the cocking lever and pulling the trigger. The single-stage trigger had a factory-set pull force of 3 pounds. The trigger pull was not adjustable. The cocking lever force was factory set at 6 pounds. The overall length of the gun was 34 3/4 inches. The unloaded weight of the gun was 3 pounds, 3 ounces (1.5 kilograms). Both variants were equipped with a two-position safety lever located on the right side of the receiver immediately above the trigger.
From 1976 to 1977, the Model 73 Saddle Pal was equipped with a wooden stock. From 1977 until the end of the rifle's production run in 1983, the Model 73 was equipped with a brown plastic simulated wood-grained stock. This was the only difference between the two. Crosman described both variants as 16-shot repeating BB rifles or single-shot pellet rifles.