Benjamin 392/397 that's easy to pump
by Tom Gaylord
Before we start, there are two announcements. The first is the inclusion of customer reviews for products carried by Pyramyd Air. You'll find the review section on each page of a rifle or pistol. The second announcement is that a new podcast is up.
B.B. turned the blog over to me today because I have something very different for you. There is a new invention that hasn't yet seen the light of day and Pyramyd Air wants to know what YOU think about it.
Benjamin 392/397 is a classic multi-pump air rifle.
Imagine a Benjamin 392 or 397 multi pump pneumatic that has a maximum pump stroke effort of not more than 12 pounds! Sound impossible? Well it's not. I have tried it and so has my wife. This gun really exists.
The inventor brought his idea to Pyramyd Air owner Joshua Ungier to see what he thought. Josh was amazed. We set up a time in June when Edith and I would be at Pyramyd Air to test the gun. I can tell you that it really works as I have said. As you pump the lever, the effort builds to the low maximum that it never exceeds. A young person can pump this gun with this modification installed.
The invention is an articulated pump linkage that multiplies the force of the pump handle through a variable pump linkage. He calls it a pump assist. We've seen a similar linkage on the IZH-46M single stroke pneumatic pistol, so the concept has already been proven, but this was the first time it had been applied to a Benjamin 392. The 392 allows up to 8 pump strokes, and each pump is harder than the last. After stroke five, the effort required on an unmodified gun becomes significant. The final pump stroke will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 33 lbs. With this modification, all the pump strokes feel exactly the same - light and easy, at one-third the effort.
Let me put that into perspective. You can probably lift a 20-pound sack over your head 100 times, but can you lift a 200 pound sack over your head 10 times? The effort is the same, but it doesn't feel the same. Each pump stroke of the modified rifle is 12 lbs. The stock rifle pumps easy at first and gets hard toward the end. If you only want to put in three pumps, there's no reason to get this mod. If you hunt with your rifle, there's a very good reason to get it. Even the eighth pump stroke will only be 12 lbs.
I tested the new design against a box-stock 397 (the test rifle was also a .177), and the power was comparable between both rifles. So the question is this: Is anyone interested in an easy-to-pump Benjamin 392/397?
Since this modification has to be added to an already-built rifle, there is cost for both the parts and the labor. Would you be willing to pay around $270 for a new rifle with this modification? The gun's warranty is voided by the work, however the aftermarket will probably be able to keep a 397/397 working for at least the next 50 years. Pyramyd Air sells a new 392/397 for $139.95.
Can your old 392/397 be retrofitted?
Perhaps the more interesting question is whether an existing 392/397 can be retrofitted. If there is a demand for this modification, it might also be worthwhile to retrofit the existing guns. However, the cost to start this project is so high that no one wants to do it unless there is a proven demand.
I would get a new 392 modified this way, so I will be one customer. But I've already tested the gun, and know how it works. You haven't, so Pyramyd Air would like to hear what you think about the idea.
Please consider this proposal and tell us what you think. Your input will play a big part in making this decision. You have all weekend to weigh in.