Benjamin’s Rogue ePCP — a new way of making airguns: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


The first day at the range with the Rogue was like a first date.

I spent the day at the range last Friday with the Benjamin Rogue. It was like a first date, as I had no idea of what to expect. With other new airguns, there’s always information from the developers or at least there are the physical specifications to go by. With the Rogue, I was starting from scratch.

Oh, the Crosman engineers had been very forthcoming with their testing anecdotes, and as for experience, there was a bundle of it already in the bag from gun writers who both saw and shot the rifle at the SHOT Show on Media Day. Unfortunately, the anecdotes were told to me in Martian — a language without a universal translator. Crosman engineers understood very well what they were saying, but without a common frame of reference, I had no clue. The little field experience there was came from gun writers, as in, “Golly, Jimbo! It’s a three fifty-seven BB gun! Whad’ja think of that?”

What we need, to make sense of this new rifle, is someone who’s shot other big bore air rifles and can compare them. And, in this case, that’s me. So, there I was, on a first date.

Here we go. First, I filled the gun in a very conventional way. The Rogue has a male Foster quick-disconnect fitting, so my standard female Foster fitting on my carbon fiber tank fit without a hitch. I filled to 3,000 psi, because that’s the maximum pressure for which the electronic valve is set. With a Quackenbush Outlaw Long Action rifle with a purely mechanical action, you know the nominal fill limit is 3,000 psi, but every rifle will accept a little more than that. So, your first trip to the range consists of filling to progressively higher levels until the actual fill pressure for your individual rifle is discovered. My Quackenbush .458, for example, takes a max fill of 3,500 psi and gives two powerful shots in the 500+ foot-pound region. Then, it’s time to refill. If you attempt shot three, as my buddy Mac did a couple weeks ago with his .458, you can stick a bullet in the barrel — like he did.

But the Rogue is completely different. The onboard computer controls the firing valve to release exactly the right amount of air, depending on how much air was in the reservoir, the weight of the bullet fired and what you want the gun to do. You control all this through commands that you input into the onboard controller. When they say the max fill is 3,000 psi, it really is!

Ammo
Crosman sent me bags of several different lead bullets to try, plus Nosler shipped me a sufficient quantity of their new Benjamin eXTREME Bullet with Ballistic Tip. It’s a 145-grain lead bullet designed expressly for the Rogue. One look at it and you know that someone who knows big bore airguns had a hand in its design.


This special lead bullet with its ballistic tip is made by Nosler for the Rogue. So far, this is the best overall bullet I’ve tested.


Nosler’s eXTREME bullet with ballistic tip for the Benjamin Rogue is designed to create minimum friction with the bore by touching the lands only at the driving bands. A hollow cavity in the base obturates when the rifle fires, sealing all the gas behind the bullet — just like a Minie ball — for maximum efficiency.

This is the round that shocked all the gun writers at the 2011 SHOT Show Media Day, when it outperformed a .223 AR-15 on a coyote silhouette at 75 yards. The fast-moving, lightweight centerfire bullets simply exploded on the steel target, while the big Nosler hammered down the silhouette every time. Of course, the smaller bullet was simply vaporizing too quickly to transfer its energy to the heavy steel target, even though it actually delivered many times the impact energy of the Rogue. But seeing the airgun flatten the steel silhouette was the mental impression the writers carried away.

This is the bullet I selected to begin testing. I know what you want right now is a chart of velocities with the bullet. Well, I can’t give that to you — yet. There’s more testing to be done, as you’ll see shortly.

What I can tell you is that, when the rifle was at 2,421 psi and the power was set to medium with a 145-grain bullet programmed, the Nosler bullets went 760 f.p.s. on the first shot and 700 f.p.s. on shot six. The pressure dropped from shot one (2,421 psi) to the end of shot six (1,773 psi). Each shot used just over 100 psi of air. Although I didn’t have to, I stopped after shot six and I’ll tell you why.

I’d chosen this pressure and power setting with the Nosler bullet to shoot a group at 50 yards. But like I said, this was a first date and you sometimes don’t find out what you need to know until you go too far, so I kept shooting at the target until shot six strayed way over to the right, opening the group from about 1.5 inches to 3.2 inches, effectively doubling the group size. This wasn’t the first group I had shot, and by this time I knew that when the bullets went to the right, they were not coming back.


The first three shots can almost be covered by a quarter or a Euro. Shots four and five moved to the left, while shot six moves way to the right. Had I continued to shoot the shots would probably have continued to the right or started dropping lower on the paper.

Let’s take a closer look at that target. Within the group listed and shown above, the first three shots clustered in 0.736 inches between centers. In fact, two of those three shots took out the exact center of the target. In this group, which began at 2,421 psi on medium power using the 145-grain Nosler, I got a superb three-shot group, a good five-shot group and indications that shot six and all that followed were going to open the group much larger. For the record, the first shot produced 186.02 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle, while shot six produced 157.8 foot-pounds. Shot five, which was where I would stop in the future with these settings and bullet, went 724 f.p.s. and produced 168.81 foot-pounds. All of that was on medium power with a starting pressure of 2,421 psi.

Is this a bit confusing? It was to me at the beginning of the test. When you think about all the possibilities this system offers, you’ll see that you could spend the rest of your life exploring the possibilities and never test them all. After shooting over 50 rounds, it began to sink in what I was doing and how this gun really works.

You could spend the rest of your life exploring the possibilities and never test them all.

How the Rogue works
You tell the gun what weight bullet you’re using, from a choice (with the current software) of 100 grains, 145 grains or 170 grains. Set the number as close as you can to the actual weight bullet used. Then, you tell the gun to shoot on low, medium or high power. The rifle knows how much air is in the reservoir, so it factors that into the equation to determine how long to leave open the firing valve to give as consistent a velocity as possible for as many shots as possible — all things considered.

However, you don’t just set these controls without thinking. For example, if it’s power you want, use the heaviest bullet available, set the gun for 170 grains and high power. If you want lots of shots, select a lighter bullet, a lighter grain setting, and a medium or even low power.

Remember accuracy
Let’s set the numbers and settings aside for a moment. There’s also the target to consider. If you can generate big numbers but have an open group downrange, it doesn’t help you very much. What you’re looking for is the right bullet at the right power, given the right pressure in the gun for the best results downrange, and that takes some time to figure out. What I’ve shown you to this point is one of about ten such test targets that I shot and tracked last Friday. When I can make more sense out of the rifle’s performance curves, I will report it.

Yeah, but how many shots does it get?
Some folks don’t want to see behind the curtain. They just want results. Right now! For them, I offer the following. Here are the first 13 shots I fired with 145-grain Noslers on medium power before the rifle was sighted-in. I started from a 3,000 psi fill and just kept shooting shot after shot. I think the picture will explain itself.


Here are 13 shots in rapid succession at 50 yards. All are the 145-grain Nosler bullets. Note the tight central group, then the two shots above that group and the two below. The four outlying holes were the last four shots fired, with the bottom two being shots 12 and 13. As the reservoir pressure declines below a certain point for each bullet, the group starts to open up. Although I was chronographing these shots, the chrono was misbehaving, so I didn’t get any of the velocities until shot six, which was 705 f.p.s.

Other bullets
On this same day, I also tried bullets weighing 90 grains, 127 grains, 167 grains and 178 grains. I’ll report on their performance in the future, but as you can see, there’s a lot of detail to the testing I’m doing. I don’t want to report anything until I can make sense of it for you.


I tested several others, including these 167-grain round nosed bullets. The first shot (771 f.p.s.) on a fresh fill and “high” power netted 220.49 foot-pounds.

The longest string
The longest string I shot all day without topping off was 16 rounds. But I changed bullets and power settings in that string, so it can’t be taken as a whole. It’s really three tests rolled into a single fill. But 16 shots on a fill is more than I’ve ever gotten on a big bore of any kind, even from those older lower-powered guns — like the Farco — that use CO2.

Lesson learned
The range session ended when I attempted to shoot a hard-cast .357 bullet in the rifle. It would not enter the bore, stopping at the beginning of the rifling. Hard-cast bullets are used by those who wish to handload .357 Magnum pistol rounds to higher velocities because they don’t melt and deform at the base like softer bullets do. But they also take far more energy to engrave the rifling into the bullet, and that was why I couldn’t load this one. It got stuck in the bore. Since I didn’t have a steel rod to push it out, that ended the session for the day. Note to self — always carry a GI sectional cleaning rod in case this happens again, and DON’T use hard-cast bullets in the Rogue!

62 thoughts on “Benjamin’s Rogue ePCP — a new way of making airguns: Part 3


  1. Hi guys!
    It would be just wrong not to visit my old friends .I do still read the blog- so J-F and all -i am still around …so is my ballistic jelly (yes the same on talked about before )it is in the fridge :)
    And B.B. keep up with good work ;) great blog


  2. These are tantalizing results!This report is alot like looking over an artist’s shoulder…..who’s only begun the picture,but you already know you like it.I think you really need to know bigbores to really apreciate this information.I have a .458 DAQ ,which is using more than 1000 psi per shot too.16 shots
    on a fill is really a huge number,and a testament to the efficiency.I think if you add the energy derived from all the shots in a consecutive string together…..the results will be much higher than the total from the .458′s mechanical valve.Anxious for more….



  3. My most humble and gracious thanks to Crosman for the seemingly small detail of using the Foster quick disconnect. Please, the rest of you AG engineers and makers – Foster! Remember the word Foster the next time you put your fingers on the CAD-CAM keyboard! Can’t we all just standardize?
    -Chuck


  4. B.B.,

    I know many of the daystate electronic guns can be filled beyond their engineers stated ideal. The airwolf mct recommended fill is 230 bar. Mine likes being filled to 245 bar (no vavle lock). Of course this doesn’t affect velocity but does add around 30 shots to the shot count.

    You may not be able to reveal this secret but what is different about the Rogue’s electronics that limits the fill in every Rogue to 3,000psi?

    kevin


    • Kevin,

      I don’t know why the Rogue is different in this way, but I do know that it is.

      The Rogue’s electronics are faster and more precise than Daystate’s, and that may have something to do with it.

      B.B.



  5. Call me old-fashioned, but this gun seems to be an answer to a question nobody asked. Unless of course that answer is “Because we can.” Granted, I’m a fairly dedicated .177 vintage springer guy, but when airguns get so close to powder-burners in performance, at 2-3X the price, I start to wonder what the point is, other than the aforementioned “Because we can.”

    Would I like to spend an afternoon shooting one of these? You bet! As long as somebody else ponied up the green for the gun, specialized ammo, and fill apparatus.

    But to me, imitating firearm performance sort of defeats the niche-specific advantages that more traditional air guns provide. Beyond the gee-whiz factor, I just don’t see the appeal.

    But that’s just me. As always, my opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it. :) :) :)


    • Jim,

      Big-bore airguns have been in existence for over 500 years. The Austrian army had 1,500 .46-caliber 22-shot repeaters, starting in 1780. So the Rogue concept is not new. It is, in fact, one of the oldest types of airguns there are.

      What the Rogue does is apply modern technology to big bore airguns, so they can be more efficient. Now that many states have or are considering game laws that permit the taking of deer with an airgun, the Rogue is a step in the right direction, though it is not recommended for deer in its current configuration.

      Airguns are much safer than firearms in built-up areas when the distance guns shoot really matters. That’s why some places only allow the use of shotguns for hunting deer. Well, airguns are even safer than shotguns for the same purpose.

      Virginia just legalized their laws for deer hunting to include airguns that can generate over 350 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. The foot-pound limit wasn’t just for airguns. It applies to all bullet-shooting game guns.

      I don’t advocate replacing firearms with airguns, but sometimes the airgun is the better tool. You may not have seen it yet, but Crosman is putting on a full-court press to get the hunting community aware of the Rogue as well as the Benjamin Trail series rifles, for this very reason.

      So both the time and the timing are right for the Rogue.

      B.B.


    • Jim,
      You know I like to old stuff like you do but the Rogue really interest me. I don’t want a big bore to hunt with, I would just like to have a big bore that is fun to plink with, something that I can cast round ball for. Since I would be plinking with it having the maximum number of shots is more important than the power. Having a shrouded barrel makes it usable in places I couldn’t shoot a big bore without the shroud. The only downside to me is the weight of the rifle. Having shot the Rogue, I will tell you I really enjoyed shooting it. It put a smile on my face, and still does.

      I am also interested in the technology involved with the Rogue. This technology may be the biggest leap forward that has happened in the last 20 years in airguns. I think that when this technology is applied to small bore airguns the shot counts will double or even triple and give performance similar to other regulated guns. Imagine the Marauder pistol getting 50 or 60 shots at its current power level.

      BB, I can see you it will take some thought on how to systematically test this gun. I think I would just start by finding an accurate bullet or round ball and testing the three power levels through a 20 shot string.

      Thanks for all the work. I wish I had time to take off work and help you.

      David Enoch


  6. BB, looking good my man! That rogue looks good too!
    This rifle is interesting to say the least. I’d love one in my safe, just not done spending in other directions.

    ka


  7. Todays article on the Rogue reminded me of the series that B.B. did on his DAQ Outlaw .457 Long Action. I remembered that B.B. took a short cut in finding the right weight and caliber by slugging the bore and still had to start over when he got his longer barrel from Dennis Quackenbush.

    I went back to re-read that series since I’m fascinated by the potential parallels between a big bore by arguably the best custom maker and the Rogue big bore by Crosman with great help from Lloyd. As usual I found something in this series on the DAQ Outlaw .457 that I had forgotten. Since recently learning that Lloyd was pestbgone in the old days guess who it was that was curious about big bores to get B.B. to write about the .457? Yep, pestbgone. It’s also interesting to read the pestbgone comments since I sense the birth of the Rogue in his questions. Very interesting. Thanks Lloyd.

    kevin


  8. So interesting, but nothing I’d likely purchase.
    But I’m very glad to see things like this. As in high-powered, expensive sports cars…or high end electronics/cameras…a lot of this technology will filter down to less expensive, smaller airguns in the next 5 years.
    Noticed something yesterday that I may try and pursue a bit in the future, just for interests sake.
    Has to do with how much the wind affects b.b. (the round ball…not our illustrious leader ;-) )
    We’ve had 6 days of very high winds. By noon everyday we’ve had winds of 30mph with gust to 60 that last till after midnight.
    So yesterday we headed to the range at 7AM to beat the worst of the wind, though still 25mph or so.
    The wind was nearly 90 degrees to the range. At 30 yards I was having to hold about 6″ or so to get the pellets near the bull (because of gusts I wasn’t hoping for really tight groups).
    What surprised me was the boys Storms. They shoot on the 15 yd lane. Where they aimed was pretty much exactly where the b.b.’s were hitting. The wind seemed to affect them much less than the pellets.
    I kinda figured that the shorter range would negate the lesser velocity and that I would end up with the same abount of drift as with the pellets.
    So my question is…are round projectiles affected less than pellets?


    • CSD,

      I guess I should have mentioned that there were wind gusts to 15 m.p.h. on the day I shot the Rogue. But at just 50 yards and with these heavy bullets it doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference. Would at 100 yards, though.

      B.B.


    • CSD,

      I missed answering your question about round balls.

      Mass is one thing that keeps a bullet on track and time of flight is another. Round balls are inferior to conical bullets in both respects, so wind affects them more. But when diabolo pellets are compared, things turn around and the round ball is both heavier (usually) and more aerodynamic. So it is affected less.


  9. Wow, Tom! You look fantastic! I like the smile. I’d guess that there is no such thing as a bad day at the range.

    I enjoy the blogs even though I won’t buy a Rogue. I can only hope that the technology finds it way do to a 0.25 or 0.22 someday.

    Thanks for all the wonderful blog articles!
    Herb


  10. I don’t know alot about big bores, but I DO know 16 shots is unheard of! I think I’m drifting into the camp that wants this tech to trickle down to the small bores.
    And MAYBE 16 shots on a fill is enough to sway the luddites who balk at electronics on an airgun…


    • Jonnie,

      I was surprised when I read the data and saw I had 16 shots, too. I’ve never seen anything like it.

      B.B.


  11. Tom,

    You look great with that little howitzer in your hands. I hope you feel great and had a great day testing this Gunzilla.

    duskwight


    • duskwight,

      I’ve had a lot of comments on that picture. I don’t like pictures of myself, but my health has improved so much that I felt it was good to put this one in the blog.

      The Rogue was a lot of fun to shoot because it is so simple, after you figure it out. I just shot and shot and shot. Until I stuck that bullet I had no plans for stopping.

      I hope to get out to the range this week to shoot it again. :)

      B.B.


      • B.B.

        How does it feel when the bullet leaves the barrel? It must have some kick.
        I also wonder a what-if scenario of using some saboted smaller-caliber bullets, I guess it can send them enough above supersonic for long-range shots.

        duskwight


        • duskwight,

          I should have included the recoil sensation in this report. It’s light, like an AR-15 or an AK 74, but it’s also more of a push than a thump.

          When you put it on Discharge, though, it increases to the kick of a .410 shotgun.

          B.B.



  12. B.B.,
    In your article, you sort of hinted at the idea that a more powerful shot might be less accurate than a less powerful one. I wonder which the wind affects more? In other words, I wonder if there is a compromise such as going to a more powerful shot on a windy day for better performance than a otherwise more accurate lower powered shot?

    You see, part of the beauty of the Rogue is that you have options.
    Victor


  13. BB

    You sure are a wily rascal.

    “Crosman? Yes, this is Tom Gaylord. Look, testing this Rogue is going to take a lot longer than I thought so…. don’t call me, I’ll call you.” click.
    I would do the same thing. ;-)

    Looking good too. And like a furry varmit’s worst nightmare! Thanks for the photo.


    • SL,

      If only it was that easy. Crosman has already hired a hit-man to take me out if the Rogue isn’t back with them at the beginning of June.

      B.B.


      • Do unto others… before they do to you?

        That is… take out the hit man first (and if you use the Rogue to do it, we’d have the first review of how effective it is as a self-defense gun)


  14. B.B.

    Do you plan to go more in depth at some point about how the electronics differ in the Rogue compared to others out there like Daystate?

    Love the blogs keep up the great work!

    JasonB


    • Jasonb,

      Unfortunately I have to avoid describing how the Rogue’s electronics work, because that is what makes the rifle so special. It is protected by patents, of course, but I swore I would not disclose the design.

      All I can tell you is it is different than the Daystate design.

      Sorry,

      B.B.


      • B.B.

        Thanks for the reply, I understand you can’t and shouldn’t let anything out of the bag that could be used by a competitor. However you mentioned that the Rogue’s electronics are faster and more precise than Daystate’s in one of your posts here, this is more of the type of info I’m looking for if that can be talked about that is.

        JasonB


        • Jasonb,

          That is exactly what I can’t discuss. It is faster and mote precise, but that’s as far as I can go.

          B.B.


  15. B.B., you’re a shadow of your former self. :-) That rifle must have gotten a lot of comments at the range. Hm, first dates can go a lot of different ways… With all the electronics, I sort of thought that the Rogue allowed you to enter the data and get the optimum performance right away, but maybe that’s unrealistic. How did it feel to shoot? That big bullet must have generated some recoil even in a pcp.

    Odd that .223 bullets cannot even knock over a silhouette at 75 yards. By the way, I read about some new .223 ammunition that is supposed to solve all the problems and outperform a 7.62. And it’s environmentally friendly too. :-)

    On the subject of Harley motorcycles, if a Mosin Nagant rifle is a like a Harley, what is the mystique of the Harley? It’s surely not the highest performing machine; the appeal must like in the tradition and mystique.

    rikib, your latest quote reminds me of an anonymous one that I saw which goes approximately: “Thoughts become words; words become actions; actions determine character; character determines destiny.”

    Matt61


  16. I think it looks cool, and I love the technology. But the fps is too slow/potentially inhumane for hunting.

    My first and present thought is it’s something cool to target shoot with, but not much more. Airguns are great for pests, but anything bigger than a gopher and you should just get a firearm and a box of bullets.


    • Pat,

      This is .357 and can deliver 250 ft-lbs of energy. This is definitely not a gun for target shooting. There’s ample energy to humanely take game larger than gophers.

      Edith


      • Pat and Edith,

        Crosman is recommending it for coyotes, javalina, foxes and similar animals. Yes, at just 250 foot-pounds it is a bit light for deer. At least for sportsmen.

        B.B.


        • 250ft-lbs… That puts it right into the same category as a .17HMR soft-nose (250ft-lbs for 20gr Gamepoint; 245ft-lbs for 17gr hollow point or ballistic tip)… Looks like the choice comes down to whether one wants to preserve the fur with minimal hole size. heh…


    • Pat,
      Let me just say this one thing: No FOID required in states that require one for firearms (ye…no I won’t even go there).
      -Chuck



  17. Matt,

    It recoils about as much as an AR 15, though slower.

    However, when you set the amplifier dial to number 11, watch out!

    That’s in the next report.

    B.B.


  18. Evening B.B.,

    What a wonderful rifle this is looking like to me. Crosman is showing it for $1500 on its web sight as I’m typing this. Out of range of my budget for now, but….! (Calling and killing predators without alerting all of them within hearing or deer hunting in most of Cayuga County in up state New York.) I sure would enjoy one.

    Would you consider filling this rifle using a hand pump as your sole source of HPA a deal breaker, not a problem, or simply good exercise?

    Bruce


    • Bruce,

      A hand pump would be a deal-breaker with this or any other big bore air rifle, in my opinion. Even though you get a lot more shots, it still goes through air very fast.

      B.B.



  19. Well, I guess I’d better stick to my off the wall quotes instead of trying my hand at political satire song links so I’ll leave with this simple quote (read carefully) :)

    Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
    George Carlin

    rikib :)


  20. Hmmmmm . . . a great improvement in big bore noise level, but still too much for the backyard. I may have to consider delaying purchase until the aftermarket boys make it quieter.

    I realize it’s not a backyard plinker, but I’d still like to do plenty of backyard practice with it. I have 2 acres with a nice shooting range, but…neighbors wouldn’t like the Rogue.

    Oh well . . .



    • Robert P.,

      I don’t know how to answer you because I’m not sure what you asked. What is a Dual-Tank? Are you referring to the Dragon Claw, the Recluse, or some of the 20 or so other Korean PCPs that have had dual tanks since 1996? Or, is there something else that I’m missing?

      And what do you means by “… more options on electrical systems.”? The Conquest I’m currently reviewing has an electrical system. Is that what you mean?

      B.B.


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