After much helpful input (hooray Internet!) I ended up buying one: a Crosman American Classic Pump Pistol (1377C).
After much hum-hawing it was pretty simple: I had a particular role to fill, and this should fill it and didn’t cost me a lot of money. Plus, it seems there’s quite a healthy aftermarket for this particular air gun.
I took it to KR Training one morning and before classes spent a little time zeroing it in and also running it over a chronograph. Zeroing was frustrating because I discovered the front sight is bent slightly to the right. Ugh. Not a deal breaker and I wasn’t in the mood to fix it, but so long as you’re focusing on the tops of the sights you’ll get there… it just throws you off a bit since the post and the “airspace” within the rear notch won’t line up correctly. But, what do you expect for $50. I’m not sure I’ll bother fixing it, it’s certainly a least priority.
Running it over the chronograph of course depends on how much you pump it. Crosman says minimum 3 pumps to maximum 10 pumps. When I ran 3 pumps I got about 350 FPS out of it. When I ran 10 pumps, I got about 500 (if I remember correctly, this was done a couple of weeks ago). I ran about 5 shots at each and those were the rough averages. It’s advertised with velocities up to 600 FPS, so I assume you need some particular ammo and their marketing department’s range conditions to get that speed. 🙂 I don’t remember exactly what ammo I used, but I think it was a Gamo hunter pellet.
Accuracy was good enough. I am to understand pellet guns can be ammo sensitive, so it’s usually best to try every one you can until you find the one your gun likes then stick with it. I don’t have time to do that right now, but what I shot turned out decent given the sight problems.
I was sighting this in on the “small range” at KRT, which has steel targets. I shoot a few steel targets with the pistol and got a chuckle out of the tiny “ping” they made… almost couldn’t hear it. 🙂
All in all that seems fair enough for my needs. Fun little thing to shoot, the kids can operate it (tho it’s a little bit of work to pump it). Should fit the bill nicely… just remember to keep your thumb out of the way when pumping so you don’t pinch the pad skin and bleed everywhere. 🙂