Skip to main content

Hunting Rifle Review: Traditions Firearms Crackshot

This break-action rifle is a simple, effective option for rimfire plinkers, youth shooters or serious small-game hunters.

Hunting Rifle Review: Traditions Firearms Crackshot

Traditions Firearms Crackshot

In the current world of sporting arms, a great deal of emphasis is given to the latest technological advancements—things that push our capabilities as hunters and shooters to the next level:

Newer, higher ballistic coefficient, low-drag bullets. Precision rifles that stretch the limits of ethical shooting distances. Rangefinders that pair (literally) with riflescopes to calculate holdover using ballistics and environmental factors in pursuit of the same goal. Tactically inspired semi-auto rifles and shotguns engineered to run and run and run without fail or interruption.

These are all important and worth knowing about, of course. But, in this unending pursuit of perfection, let’s not forget the past. Let’s not forget that hunters have been cleanly harvesting game, one shot at a time, with single-shot rifles for hundreds of years.

Let’s also not forget that most folks don’t break into the sporting lifestyle looking to paint sub-MOA groups on steel targets at a thousand yards (not that there’s anything wrong with that endeavor), but rather start off small (again, literally) by chasing small game through the woods with a rimfire rifle or shotgun.


TraditionsCrackshot
The Crackshot is equipped with a 16.5-inch blued barrel. The relatively short barrel makes it a pretty maneuverable rifle afield. Note also the forward sling swivel stud beneath the fore-end.

SMALL GAME, SIMPLY

For that purpose of harvesting small game, Traditions Firearms’ Crackshot rifle is quite well-suited. The rifle itself is a single-shot break-action design. And Traditions offers the Crackshot in several configurations: .22 LR or .17 HMR, with or without a fixed power 4x32 factory bore-sighted scope and a youth model with a reduced 13-inch length of pull for younger or smaller statured shooters. Each gun has a 16.5-inch blued barrel and either comes equipped with a one-piece base for mounting optics or with a pre-mounted scope. All versions weigh in at a little over 4 pounds sans optic.


The break action itself is a very simple, safe action for most shooters—and especially newer shooters—to grasp, and the Crackshot is no exception. The action release lies just forward of the trigger guard, a convenient location friendly to both lefties and righties. It is easily engaged, but not so easily that you’d ever accidentally press it and open the action. Then a single cartridge is inserted, and the shooter is ready to go. Well, in a sense.

TraditionsCrackshot
The Crackshot’s hinged break action proved reliable during the author’s limited testing. Sturdy, easy to actuate and firmly locked upon close.

To increase safety in what is already a relatively safe firearm action, Traditions Firearms has incorporated a Dual Safety System similar to those found on some of its muzzleloaders, for which the manufacturer is probably best-known, along with its black powder and single-action cartridge revolvers. In the case of the Crackshot, this means a cross-bolt trigger safety located at the rear of the trigger guard, behind the trigger, and an internal hammer block safety.

The shooter must manually cock the hammer back in order to fire a shot, and this can’t be done until the trigger block safety is disengaged. This can seem redundant to some experienced shooters, but it does help ensure that the shooter does not fire until they fully intend to do so. Again, this is particularly beneficial with new shooters or hunters who may lack experience afield or behind a rifle more generally.

TraditionsCrackshot
Checkering on the gun’s grip and fore-end proved comfortable and helped with secure purchase, even in rainy conditions.

Both, much like the action release, are relatively easily manipulated. The trigger block safety will likely be a bit easier for right-handed shooters, but southpaws can certainly still engage it. Meanwhile, the hammer itself should be ambidextrous. And while the hammer spur extension, which helps shooters cock the hammer when an optic is equipped on the rifle, comes set up for righties, it can be adjusted for left-side placement.


The rifle features a synthetic black stock with checkering on the grip and fore-end. Sling swivel studs found below the fore-end and near the butt of the gun serve as sling attachment points; the forward sling swivel stud is also involved in the disassembly process, which is quite straightforward and relatively quick.

PERFORMANCE

The Traditions Crackshot rifle performed well during some brief testing over the course of a day at the range and in the hills of north Georgia chasing squirrels in October. It rained, often hard, throughout the course of testing, which included over 100 rounds and no cleaning. No malfunctions occurred. The Crackshot’s break action opened each and every time, and it closed similarly. The gun’s extractor made spent cartridge cases easy to grab and remove, and overall function was flawless.

TraditionsCrackshot
Blued sling swivel studs are located forward and aft for use with a sling. It makes toting an already light gun that much easier.

The lightweight, 4-plus-pound rifle toted well afield, especially paired with a sling, but it certainly wasn’t a necessary addition to be comfortable. The rifle was well balanced and shouldered easily. The included fixed-power scope, while not exceptional, served just fine, especially considering it only adds about $50 to the price of the standard Crackshot without a scope.


Crackshot Testing Results

The Best Group and Average Group (both in inches) results of these .22 LR loads:

  • CCI Mini Mag HV 40 gr.   0.64   1.79
  • Winchester M22 40 gr.   0.44   1.64
  • Aguila Ammunition Rifle Match Competition 40 gr.   0.78   1.29
  • Aguila Ammunition .22 Interceptor 40-gr.   0.71   1.00

Note: Accuracy is the average of three, three-shot groups at 50 yards from a rest.

The Crackshot’s trigger was serviceable for a rifle in this category, but certainly not perfect. It takes quite a bit of gritty travel for the trigger to break—not the smooth travel and crisp break of a fine unit. The break was, however, fairly consistent, and once I got used to the pull a bit during the early stages of testing, accuracy improved in late testing. Again, not an excellent trigger, but plenty suitable for plinking and general small-game usage.

At the range, I shot three, 3-shot groups with the rifle at 50 yards from a rested position with four different loads: CCI’s Mini Mag HV 40-grain, Winchester’s M22 40-grain and Aguila’s Rifle Match Competition 40-grain and .22 Interceptor 40-grain. The two Aguila Ammunition loads produced the best average three-shot groups, but all loads yielded averages between 1 and 2 inches, accurate enough for most small-game and target-shooting needs. And most of this occurred during the middle of a downpour. Unfortunately, because of the weather, I did not deploy my chronograph to obtain velocity figures as I normally would during testing.

TraditionsCrackshot
All key controls are easily found and activated. The action release is just forward the trigger guard. The cross-bolt safety is just behind the trigger. And the hammer and hammer spur extension are up top.

Overall, I was satisfied with the testing results. Groups likely would’ve opened up a bit with five-shot groups as opposed to three, but I still believe they would’ve fallen within, or very near, that 1- to 2-inch range, which is, again, pretty acceptable for rimfires intended for small game and plinking purposes. No malfunctions were encountered, and the rifle’s operation was straightforward, comfortable and effective. Although a slightly better trigger would be a nice improvement, it’s by no means a deal breaker. In short, I’d have no qualms about taking this rifle afield on future small game hunts or in having others, particularly youth or new shooters, use it as an entry gun to get them started in hunting and shooting.

Specifications

  • Type: Single-shot break-action rimfire rifle
  • Caliber: .22 LR (as tested) or .17 HMR
  • Barrel: 16.5 in.
  • Finish: Blued (black)
  • Sights: None (factory-mounted base for optics; pre-mounted scope)
  • Safety: Dual Safety System; cross-bolt trigger and internal hammer block
  • Stock: Black synthetic
  • Weight: About 4 pounds, without optics
  • MSRP: $219 (without scope); $264 (with scope, as tested)
TraditionsCrackshot
The hammer spur extension is helpful when a scope is equipped on the Crackshot and covers up access to most of the hammer. It is reversible, meaning it can be placed on either the right or left side.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New for 2021: Hoyt RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum 30 and Ventum 33

New for 2021: Hoyt RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum 30 and Ventum 33

ATA 2021 NeDuring this video from the Archery Trade Association's New Product Premiere showcase, Bowhunter's TV Mike Carney visited with Evan Williams, pro staff manager for Hoyt Archery, to learn about the new RX-5, RX-5 Ultra, Ventum and Ventum 33 bows.w Product - Hoyt

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

Learn more about two new Elite Archery bows, the Enkore and Remedy, two new broadhead from Slick Trick and a new site from Custom Bow Equipment (CBE).

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021 are several hunter-defined products, such as the Excalibur TwinStrike Crossbow, BowTech Solution and Solution SS Bows, TightSpot Pivot 2.5 Quiver, Ripcord Cage and Code Red X arrowrests, and Black Gold Pro FX and Pro Hunter HD sights.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

More visible arrow flight to your intended target.New Archery Gear: Easton 6.5 Whiteout Carbon Arrows Bows

New Archery Gear: Easton 6.5 Whiteout Carbon Arrows

Game and Fish Staff - December 16, 2020

More visible arrow flight to your intended target.

Want to learn how to cook tasty walleye? This recipe includes three easy methods (on a grill, in a foil packet, and on a stovetop) that are sure to result in a delicious lunch or supper.Grilled Walleye Recipe Fish

Grilled Walleye Recipe

Raschell Rule - August 12, 2014

Want to learn how to cook tasty walleye? This recipe includes three easy methods (on a grill,...

Enjoy canned venison warmed or use it in stews, chili, and other hot dishes.Canned Venison Recipe Wild Game

Canned Venison Recipe

Raschell Rule - January 15, 2021

Enjoy canned venison warmed or use it in stews, chili, and other hot dishes.

HHA Sports releases new Tetra LR and LRZ for 2021 — ATA Show.New Bow Stabilzers, Accessories for Hardcore Archers ATA Show

New Bow Stabilzers, Accessories for Hardcore Archers

Game and Fish Staff - January 15, 2021

HHA Sports releases new Tetra LR and LRZ for 2021 — ATA Show.

See More Trending Articles

More Guns

Let a bullet's time of flight determine how to sight in a big-game rifle.Shooting Tips: The 1/3-Second Zero Hunting How-To

Shooting Tips: The 1/3-Second Zero

Richard Mann - June 04, 2020

Let a bullet's time of flight determine how to sight in a big-game rifle.

The popular firearms trade show in Las Vegas has been shuttered due to COVID-19.2021 SHOT Show Falls Victim to Ongoing Pandemic SHOT Show

2021 SHOT Show Falls Victim to Ongoing Pandemic

Lynn Burkhead - October 30, 2020

The popular firearms trade show in Las Vegas has been shuttered due to COVID-19.

The renown shotgun maker introduces its first bolt-action at SHOT Show 2020.First Look: Benelli Lupo Bolt-Action Rifle SHOT Show

First Look: Benelli Lupo Bolt-Action Rifle

Drew Warden - January 21, 2020

The renown shotgun maker introduces its first bolt-action at SHOT Show 2020.

TaurusTX 22 Competition is next step for ground-breaking sporting pistol.Optic-Ready Competition .22 Pistol from Taurus SHOT Show

Optic-Ready Competition .22 Pistol from Taurus

Game and Fish Staff - January 25, 2021

TaurusTX 22 Competition is next step for ground-breaking sporting pistol.

See More Guns

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now