Best products tested in 2011

by B.B. Pelletier

Happy New year! I thought I’d review the best products I got to test last year. Some will be new, but others have been around a long time — I just got around to testing them.

Benjamin Marauder pistol
Back in January, when I was pouting about missing the SHOT Show, I had the opportunity to test the Benjamin Marauder PCP pistol. Actually, the test began in 2010 and extended into 2011, but it was such a good test that the pistol has to make it into this report.


Benjamin’s Marauder pistol, known as the “M-rod,” is a winner!

I even did an extra accuracy test because for the first one I mounted an old Leapers 6×32 scope that didn’t seem to give the pistol a chance to perform up to its capability. When I substituted a CenterPoint 3-12x44AO compact scope in the last test, the pistol showed what it can do.

The Marauder pistol is a .22 caliber with all the accuracy you could hope for. The power is great for this size airgun, and I strongly recommend attaching the standard shoulder stock extension that comes with the gun.

Beretta 92FS
The next great product of 2011 was the Beretta model 92FS air pistol with wood grips. I completed the test on this one in March. I was so impressed that I thought for a long time that Edith and I needed to get the firearm to go with it. In the end, we returned it because you just can’t keep them all; but while I had it, I thought it was a wonderful air pistol.

Hawke Sport Optics 4.5-14x42AO Tactical Sidewinder rifle scope
This one is not an airgun, but I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about the finest rifle scope I’ve ever tested — the Hawke Sport Optics 4.5-14x42AO Tactical Sidewinder rifle scope. I’ve owned several Leupolds and looked through other premium scopes, but this Hawke has them all beat.

What’s so good about this scope? The clarity. It’s even clearer than my Unertl 6x that used to be a standard for target shooters. At 14x, it’s clearer than other scopes are at 32x. You have to see it to understand how that could be possible, but it is.

It’s very costly, though with the clarity it surpasses others of greater price. It’s the best I’ve ever seen.

Crosman Silhouette pistol
The Crosman Silhouette PCP air pistol is another pistol that made my list. I’d tested it the year before, but this one had some improvements, the most notable of which was the trigger.

The power is great, in the high 400s with medium-weight .177 pellets, but the number of shots on a fill reached 75, which is even more phenomenal. Crosman really did their homework on this pistol — refusing to let it alone after the initial offering. The result is that they launched an even better model in 2011 that will have airgunners talking for a long time.


Looking very Western, the Walther Lever Action rifle was one of the best airguns from 2011.

Walther Lever Action rifle
Walther already had a good lever-action air rifle, but last year they modernized it to accept the 88-gram CO2 cartridges, and the new Walther Lever Action Rifle is even better than before! I liked it so much that I did a special 4-part review on the gun and showed you accuracy you didn’t expect to see from this kind of airgun.

This rifle is pricy, but you get what you pay for. It’s slick, accurate and reliable. If you want a good lever-action pellet rifle it’s the only game in town. (My test featured the nickel version, but Pyramyd Air no longer sells it…but the blued version is still available.)


Crosman’s new M4-177 multi-pump rocks!

Crosman M4-177 air rifle
I would be remiss if I didn’t rave about the new Crosman M4-177 multi-pump air rifle. I liked mine so much I bought it! Does that tell you anything?

The gun is realistic, accurate and well-made. I bought one of the early guns that were mismarked, but Crosman begins shipping guns with the correct marking this month. I don’t know if Pyramyd Air has any of the mismarked ones left. However, don’t let that stop you — this is an airgun we can all enjoy.

MTM Predator Shooting table and Predator shooting rest
I use both the MTM Predator shooting table and the Predator shooting rest for almost all of my tests, if that tells you anything. But they’ve just been added to the Pyramyd Air product list and are now available to all of you. So, I included them in the 2011 list, even though I’ve had mine for several years. Both products let you make a firing line wherever you are, and that’s a necessity for someone who shoots a lot. I take mine to the rifle range and use the table in preference to the concrete tables on the range.

Dan Wesson BB revolver
We ended the year on a high note with the Dan Wesson BB revolver. When I reported on this novel new revolver, I said I was impressed by the realism they packed into the design. Twenty years ago, you just couldn’t get this level of realism in an airgun.

The one thing I failed to note in my report is the quirky way the safety works. Of course, a safety on a revolver is about as common as a unicorn horn; but if you have one, it ought to work right. This one doesn’t. You can put it on when the hammer is down and the action will be locked; but if the hammer is cocked, the safety does nothing at all. That’s dangerous, because there are new shooters who haven’t been properly trained and will test every safety in an unsafe way. This one will fire if they do.

Still, the gun is powerful, gets lots of shots and is quite accurate for a BB pistol. It’s also all metal. I don’t know what more you could ask for.

Summary
I reviewed many other airguns in 2011, including a host of vintage models that I won’t report in this list. These are the ones that stood out and caught my interest. You may have others, and now it’s your turn to comment.

20 Responses to “Best products tested in 2011”

  • JohnG10 Says:

    Hey BB – on the 4.5-14×42 Hawke Tactical Scope. Have you looked through several, or just yours ? Also, do the other Hawke Tactical scopes like the 6×24 share the clarity ?
    Thanks.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      JohnG10,

      The scope I have is the only Hawke I have looked through. They aren’t that common in the U.S. Sorry, but I can’t comment on your questions.

      B.B.

  • DaveUK Says:

    Happy new year BB and all.
    I think if there was an airgun which really wet my whistle and made me damn my luck most that I live in a country whose laws prevent me from buying one.It will have to be,
    The Airforce TalonP in .25cal.
    Compact,powerful and accurate,shooting a real knock down load.
    With your TalonP’s and our silencers what a game shooting combination that would be.
    DaveUK

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      DaveUK,

      I thought about putting the TalonP on the list. It certainly is a wonderful gun, once you get it all sorted out. I think the .22 model will be another one to watch.

      B.B.

  • J-F Says:

    Happy new year to all! Hope this new year will be better in every way possible.
    I agree with everything, as I already told I would buy that Marauder pistol in heartbeat if I could.
    I will probably be buying the Crosman Silhouette pistol as my next PCP and will be getting at least one Dan Wesson pistol when my parents go to Florida in the coming months (so I can order from PA) and i got the Predator shooting bench for my birthday.

    The only things I think I could add are the 3 airsoft conversions offered by Cybergun, the Tanfoglio Witness 1911, SIG Sauer P226 and GSG 92. I think that besides owning the real (which is really complicated and very expensive here in Canada) it’s the next best thing. I haven’t any of my other Action BB guns since getting those 3, the real single action trigger, all metal construction and blowback are the strong points for me. The fact that they can be disassembled and can accept a lot of custom parts from the firearm it copies is a bonus.

    But for me the biggest airgun highlight of 2011 is getting my first PCP, I now wish I had made the jump earlier, these things are awesome. Aiming at something with the scope, controlling your breathing, taking the shot and seeing the pellet go exactly where you were aiming almost like it was slowmoshioned (is that a word?) was an awesome feeling, I don’t think I had ever felt that while shooting. Before I was plinking now I can target shoot, I learned thru it what follow thru really is and I think I’m now a better shot because of it.

    TwoTalon if you still haven’t found a game you like on your Wii you can try Wii resort, you can fly an airplane and archery games, there’s no gore or blood (nintendo isn’t big on gore and blood, you need a PS3 or Xbox for that), with the plane you have to explore the island to find interest points and blow balloons up (flying in tunnels and under bridges is tricky and fun at the same time), the remote is the airplane so it’s quite instinctive to play but I tried but haven’t found a game that comes with a gun that’s fun to play, I have no idea who made these but YOU CAN’T SHOOT WITH YOUR TRIGGER FINGER !!!! How lame is that !?! So they’ve been gatering dust on my shelf what’s the point of a shooting game that comes with a gun to put the remotes in if you can’t use your trigger finger to actually shoot? I tried but wasn’t able to learn how to do it and kept trying to use my right index.

    J-F

    • twotalon Says:

      Not looking for any games. Don’t expect to.

      twotalon

    • DaveUK Says:

      J-F,
      I really liked the archery games on the Wii.Very good indeed.
      Still ended up buying a PS3 though.
      The Blueray player facility swung it for me plus the ability to browse the web using it on my TV.
      There is plenty of Gore but at least it’s not called Al.
      He would give me nightmares :(
      DaveUK

      • J-F Says:

        We own both the PS3 and Wii, the PS3 is for GTA and Driver while the Wii is for playing pingpong with family and friends, the kids can play games on the Wii easily without many buttons to push.

        Did you know the Wii console is the best selling gaming console EVER with 67.46 million unit sold with the original NES coming a close second with 67.45 million sold. The Xbox and PS3 are far behind with respectively 39 and 33.5 million unit sold.

        The consoles keep me shooting during the cold winter months.

        J-F

        • Edith Gaylord Says:

          J-F,

          My brother got a Wii for Xmas. I bought him Wii Sports Resort because that’s what he played up here when he visited.

          He’s head-over-heels crazy about it. He invited his neighbor to play Wii golf, and now he’s gotten him addicted. When I told my brother about the fun of 100-pin bowling, he and the neighbor played it. Both are now hooked on it. In fact, the neighbor went out & bought his own Wii remote & nunchuk to play on my brother’s console.

          My sister-in-law probably never envisioned how much my brother would love the Wii. He’s even linked it to his wifi, because he found out from the 12-year-old daughter of a friend that the old Wii & Nintendo games no longer made (which are easier) can be downloaded for free off the internet.

          I don’t think I’ve seen my brother this happy in years. He’s played golf for 30+ years, and apparently was pretty bad at it. He does much better on the Wii golf courses, so that’s a real plus :-)

          Edith

  • Edith Gaylord Says:

    I’d like to give a heads up to everyone that we’re going to install a new spam filter.

    There are hundreds of spam comments flooding us every day, and about 1/3 to 1/2 are able to evade the spam filter (which seems to have taken a vacation this past week).

    I monitor the comments every 2-5 minutes during the hours I’m awake…even if I’m in a meeting, eating breakfast, getting dressed, out to eat with Tom or when we had company at Xmas.

    To make it easier to remove the spam at night (at least half of it occurs while I’m sleeping), I’ve moved my laptop into the bathroom so I can delete comments if I wake up at night (I’m a light sleeper…plus the cats sometimes walk on my head :-)) I was using my iPhone, but there were so many spams that it took too long to find/delete them.

    I told you the foregoing so you don’t begrudge us the installation of the new filter, which will require commenters to enter a word upon log-in. We had the same process set up on the old blog when spammers hit us there.

    I can’t continue to go thru this process & remain sane & rested :-) …especially when something as simple as typing a word will likely prevent most of the spam.

    This is just a preliminary announcement. We’ll announce it in the blog (for those who don’t usually read comments) before we do it. We’ll also announce it in the blog the day it’s installed.

    Thanks for your understanding,
    Edith

    • Herb Says:

      Edith,

      We’re not fans of the numb numbs of the world either. Do what you have to do to keep your sanity. We’ll keep up…

      Regards,
      Herb

    • J-F Says:

      THANK YOU!!! I was starting to go insane too and all I have to do is sending the ones that go thru the filter to the trash bin. No wonder you’re losing your sanity.
      I think it was long overdue. Spammers should be forced to read the crap they send to everyone clockwork orange style (when the guy has his eyes held open with horrible devices).

      Thank you again Edith. I can’t wait for the introduction of this system.

      J-F

    • /Dave Says:

      Who knows, Edith? Maybe this one will work better! At any rate, youve got to try something so you don’t get burned out. No grudges here! I wouldn’t even mind if there was log in box at the bottom of every comment if it would help you and Tom out! :-)

      /Dave

    • Slinging Lead Says:

      Edith

      I also have a cat that walks on my head while I am trying to sleep. Some nerve on that cat.

  • Victor Says:

    There are some very nice picks here, some of which definitely made my short list, especially the following:

    1. The Marauder pistol.
    2. The Crosman Silhouette pistol,
    3. The Walther Lever Action rifle.

    Victor

  • Victor Says:

    Off topic question here.

    In, say, a hunting rifle, why would choose a short-action versus a long-action?
    When would one want to choose a short-action (i.e., when might it actually be a better choice)?
    When would one want to choose a long-action (i.e., … a better choice)?

    Thanks,
    Victor

    • Robert from Arcade Says:

      At one time the Model 70 Winchester was made in .22 Hornet in the same length action that was used for the .30-06. Way to big and impractical for such a small round. So one reason is that the rifle will be sized to the cartridge, and is more aesthetically pleasing as to size. But a long action can be an advantage in a caliber that can be loaded with longer heavier bullets that are seated further out. It’s magazine will take and feed such rounds . Now we have short actioned rifles chambered in cartridges that provide the ballistics of older rounds that are to long to function in a short action. A lot of it is marketing hype though, as the newer cartridges often are not much better than the older ones and cannot handle heavier , longer bullets. You can not put 5 1/2 gals of water in a five gallon jug.

    • Mike Says:

      Either will work fine. Which you chose is really a function of the caliber that you select. For a “Deer Rifle” lots and lots of rounds will work. Some suggested ones are as follows. Short action: .243 Win.
      .308 Win. 7mm08 Rem. Long Action: .30-06 Springfield, .270 Win, .25-06 Rem., .280 Rem., 7mm Remington Magnum. These rounds will all work given the right bullet. Me, I’m using a .25-06 in a Sako Rifle. I don’t see any advantage to the newer short magnum rounds. They just cost a lot more.

      Mike

    • Victor Says:

      Good answers! I understand. Thanks!

  • Johng10 Says:

    My understanding is that a short stroke action will be a little easier to make 1 hole groups with for target shooting, but a bigger swept volume is needed for hunting level power. Since the air tube cylinder is only 1.25” , I think you need a long stroke action for hunting.

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