Benjamin Titan GP air rifle with Nitro Piston: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Benjamin Titan with Nitro Piston has people talking.

Lots of interest in this air rifle — even from those who normally wouldn’t look twice at a gun of this kind. I guess it’s the low price that has folks talking.

Today is velocity day and a chance to become better acquainted with the test rifle. If you just found this blog, read Part 1 linked above. A short introduction is that Nitro Piston is the Crosman-trademarked name for a gas spring. Performance of a gas spring is a bit different than for a conventional coiled steel mainspring, though in the end both are spring-piston airguns. A gas spring uses compressed gas instead of a coiled steel spring to push the piston that compresses the air for each shot. Gas doesn’t suffer from being compressed for long periods, so you can leave a gun like this cocked for months and the power should not be affected. That isn’t recommended for reasons of safety, but it does allow hunters to carry their rifle cocked and loaded all day. Gas is also less sensitive to temperature changes, so gas springs retain their power better in extreme cold, where the lubricants in steel spring guns thicken and slow down the piston.

This particular rifle has lower power than most gas spring guns, and as a result, is easier to cock. The test rifle requires 33 lbs. of force to cock, where a conventional gas spring gun is often closer to 50 lbs. Still, 33 lbs. is not light. It takes an adult hand to cock this rifle.

Crosman built this rifle for the Illinois airgun market that used to mandate a muzzle velocity of less than 700 f.p.s. That law was changed, so the guns that remain are being sold directly by Crosman. I bought one because I’m a fan of lower-powered gas spring airguns.

Velocity test
The first pellet tested was the one that was included in the package with the rifle — a 250-count tin of Crosman Destroyers. The Destroyer is a hollowpoint pellet with a pointed tip inserted in the center of the hollow point. They’re made of hardened lead and weigh 7.9 grains, nominally. This is a pellet I don’t believe I’ve ever tested, so I’ll be doing so within this test. I see the customer reviews of the pellet are all over the place, so they aren’t that helpful. I’ll test them for accuracy in this rifle; and if the accuracy seems to warrant it, perhaps also test it in my R8, which we all know to be a very accurate breakbarrel.

Crosman Destroyer pellets
Crosman Destroyer pellets are hollowpoints that also have a pointed tip.

Destroyers averaged 699 f.p.s. in the test rifle. They ranged from a low of 672 to a high of 722 f.p.s., so the spread was 50 f.p.s. That’s too high, but I think the rifle may need to break in a little to get rid of some excess oil in the compression chamber. Once it’s broken in, I think the average will be down around 685 because that was the direction the pellet seemed to be heading as I shot it. At the average velocity, this pellet produced 8.57 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

This pellet loaded tight in the breech. I’ll have more to say about that in a bit.

RWS Hobby
The RWS Hobby pellet is one of the lightest pure-lead pellets on the market. It’s always the one I use to test the top velocity of an airgun because it’s often very accurate as well as fast. That makes it a real-world pellet and not just a bragging-rights trick pellet that will only be used for velocity numbers. The Hobby is a wadcutter, so it’s also good for pest elimination at ranges below 25 yards.

Hobbys averaged 708 f.p.s. in this rifle. The range went from 696 to 722 f.p.s., so a spread of 26 f.p.s. With the Hobby, there was no trend toward lower velocities in the string of 10 shots, so I think the average is representative of what this gun will always do. At the average velocity, Hobbys produced 7.79 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Hobbys loaded even tighter than Destroyers. The back of the skirt stuck out no matter how hard I pushed it into the breech. However, closing the barrel did push the pellets flush without damaging the skirt.

Crosman Premier
The 7.9-grain Crosman Premier averaged 665 f.p.s in the test rifle. The range went from 655 to 680 f.p.s., so a 25-foot-per-second spread. These pellets fit the breech very well and seated flush with the end of the barrel using finger pressure alone. At the average velocity, Premier lites produced 7.76 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

A pellet-seating experiment
I’ve mentioned that two of the three pellets tried were hard to seat because they were tight in the breech. I thought it would be instructive, therefore, to conduct a little experiment to see how deep-seating them affected things. I guessed it would lower the average velocity, but it might also make the velocity spread a little tighter.

I chose RWS Hobby pellets for this test because they were the tightest in the breech. Using the adjustable pellet seating tool that comes with the Pellet Pen and PellSet, I seated each Hobby pellet about 1/16 inch into the breech. The average when seated this way was 686 f.p.s., compared to the 708 f.p.s. when seated by finger pressure alone. The range went from 678 to 691 f.p.s. — a spread of 13 f.p.s., compared to the 26 f.p.s. spread for the finger-seated pellets. I think this result is interesting enough to warrant a special test during the big accuracy test that comes next.

Trigger-pull
Although the trigger still has a long pull and buckets of creep, it releases at a pretty nice 4 lbs. on the money. If I can shoot with discipline, it may not influence the accuracy as much as I originally feared.

Observations thus far
Well, the rifle is harder to cock than I originally thought. I thought it was just me getting weaker, but apparently I’m still able to cock a springer — this one just takes more than I think it should for the power it delivers. Ed Schultz of Crosman told me when I tested the Benjamin Legacy with Nitro Piston in .22 caliber that they were never able to get a .177 to shoot and behave as well as the .22. That must have something to do with the smaller bore diameter, but what it might be I have no idea. If true, it suggests that a .25-caliber low-velocity breakbarrel with Nitro Piston might be the nicest airgun of all, though I doubt we’ll ever see one.

The firing behavior of this rifle is very nice. It fires with just a small forward jolt and no vibration to speak of, though I did need to tighten all the stock screws once during the test.

The velocity is bang-on the advertised speed. It didn’t take any trick pellets to achieve it, either. The velocity is in a very nice place for accuracy, and the smooth behavior of the rifle can’t do anything but help it achieve its absolute best. So, I’m expecting good things on accuracy day.

49 thoughts on “Benjamin Titan GP air rifle with Nitro Piston: Part 2

  1. Gas is also less sensitive to temperature changes, so gas springs retain their power better in extreme cold, where the lubricants in steel spring guns thicken and slow down the piston.

    Tell that to the lift-gate struts of my Jeep Cherokee…

    I had to replace those about two years ago; they’d leaked down enough that at temps around 55degF and below they wouldn’t hold the hatch open. At the threshold I could “warm” them up by pumping the hatch four or five times, but just out of the cold they didn’t have the strength.

    (And replacing them isn’t easy — if two won’t hold the hatch up, think of what it is like when you’ve removed one of them… Think I had to wedge a broom handle between the bumper and the hatch lip)


    • Yes, I was surprised to at the insensitivity of gas to temperature since the gaseous state is determined by temperature. But maybe once it is a gas, the behavior is the same until it liquifies and I suppose it won’t get cold enough for that to happen.

      Matt61


  2. B.B.,

    I don’t have extensive experience with Crosman Destroyer pellets, but they group better than Premiers with my Gamo Silent Cat. They aren’t the best grouping pellet, but they do group reasonably well with no flyers. Overall, because they are decent, and pretty cheap in local stores. I’ll be buying a lot more of these instead of Premiers. I can’t say how well they perform on other air-rifles though, yet. Also, they cut nice clean round holes.

    Victor


    • I also like the Destroyers. They shoot well from my HW57 and leave nice clean holes even in the ratty printer paper that I print my targets on. I always buy a couple of tins when wally-world has them.

      /Dave


      • I like the Destroyers, too.

        They are as accurate at 25 yards (the distance I usually shoot at) as any pellet I normally use. The also do a very good job of tearing themselves apart inside a target object ( target box or buffalo gourd), which tells me they would make a good hunting pellet. There has to be a tremendous transfer of energy going on here.

        I have carefully taken apart target objects to investigate deformity and disintegration of pellets. No other pellet design displays such a propensity to come apart. Strangely, PBA-type pellets show the least amount of deformation. Maybe it is because the PBA pellets lack kinetic energy.

        I have also found the accuracy of the Destroyers fall off at longer ranges. I suppose this is because they present a frontal aspect similar to a wadcutter.

        Les


  3. B.B.,

    Regarding the fact that pellet velocities were as advertised, could it be that it took extra design effort to get a nitro-piston to shoot at such a slow velocity? This is the only nitro-piston that I’ve seen that wasn’t somewhere near an advertised 1200 fps.

    Victor


    • Victor,

      All it takes is to lower the gas pressure in the sealed gas spring unit. I have done it, as have thousands of other owners of the older Theoben rifles.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        Sure, that makes sense. But it makes me wonder where these air-gun manufacturers get their numbers too. Because it’s fairly rare that an airgun matches it’s advertised velocity, I’m guessing that a lot of assumptions are made, AND that at the same time they compute a theoretical number based on component specs. I mean, it seems obvious that they don’t actually test these guns.

        They could do that (compute theoretical values) with both gas-piston and spring-piston guns. The mathematical physics for both technologies should be well known, and thus it should be just as easy to manipulate/massage a spring as it is to manipulate a gas-piston.

        Of course, it’s very likely the case that they don’t get into high powered mathematical analysis, so everything that they do to compute their numbers are crude estimates based on simplified equations and assumptions about the specs. of the components.

        Imagine a world where all air-gun manufacturers agreed to test with one specific lead pellet to produce a true expected velocity. Even better, imagine an industry standard, where the specific pellet was, say, 8.0 grains. That would satisfy more people, because: A) It would normalize all products. B) It would satisfy a lot of the more critical air-gun enthusiast, because the numbers would very likely be where we want them, namely, under 900 fps. Just thinking out loud here, of course. :)

        Victor


  4. I’m really tempted because of the low price, but I already have a Slavia 634 that I’m just getting to where I like. Easy to cock plinker! But this one calls to me because of the nitro piston and it’s a Crosman. Alwayshad a soft spot for most things Crosman…

    Nitro springs do lose some power in cold as Wulfraed says. My Steath’s hood doesn’t stay up in the cold either…. However, it may have done so when new, but it sure is noticeable ast around 15F. This car is 22 yrs old too…

    /Dave


  5. B.B.

    Never had any luck with the Destroyers. They tend to shoot pretty loose and have very noticeable fliers even at around 10 yds in the rifles that I have tried them in. I would rather shoot CPHP than these. And I don’t care that much for CPHP in the first place.

    twotalon


    • I like those CPHP’s, although I barely have one tin’s worth of experience with them. Mine are quite uniform and seem to shoot well out of the D34, but it is just break in. The next tin might be full of pee-wees, though; I think they run the dies about two years past end of life on the mass market products. That is what I’ve found with the Field Points as well; one batch will be nice and the next one full of peewees. I bought the CPHP’s because many level-headed folks seemed to have good luck with them in D34′s. They work great breaking down buggy tomatoes for chicken food! Unnecessary Work and play at the same time :).


      • BG_F

        I have gotten tins of both .22 and .177 that are fairly consistent, and other tins that are so inconsistent that there is no way to guess how many dies they came from.
        I have always found something that shoots better. If they do an adequate job for you, then go ahead and shoot them. They are cheap.

        twotalon


        • For break-in and shooting tomatoes, they are fine :). The quality control issues with pellets are infuriating, even to me, but even the Euro-pellets have some bad batches/variations. In a way, they can be worse, as in a whole tin of something that shot like a laser every time will be consistently horrid when you buy more :)!


  6. BB,
    I’m a glutton for punishment, but 33lbs. cocking effort for 700fps strains my credulity :). If it were a springer, I’d say it was oversprung and needed some coils clipped, but as a non-adjustable gas ram, I guess it is exactly what it is. Interesting concept, though — amazing what gets research time and money and then makes it to market in lieu of the obvious (low- or moderate-power/easy cocking springer with nice trigger)!


    • BG_Farmer,

      They’re not going to reduce the cocking effort for a few potential buyers in one state since all the other states have customers who want & buy high-velocity guns. I believe that people who buy guns that are hard to cock have an illusion of power. I’ve seen a good number of product reviews of lower-powered gun where the customer states “I know this is powerful because it’s really hard to cock.” So, the psychology of cocking effort comes into play, too.

      Edith



        • LOL,I think Edith is amazing.I believe her intuition and unique perspective (which comes from her MONUMENTAL work load) hit the nail squarely on the head! If it sizzles,it’s GOT to be a good steak.


          • Frank B,

            Isn’t that the reason mediocre restaurants are still in business? They show you wonderful food in pictures, ads & TV commercials, but it rarely looks that good when it’s on your plate.

            Edith


            • Hi there Edith! I must confess,I ONLY frequent one restaurant…..for breakfast.It is my daily social outlet,aside from this blog.It is an analog version of Facebook,I suppose.Typically I only have coffee.
              Occasionally I order wheat toast & oatmeal.They even manage to screw that up nearly 50% of the time.Having trained under 2 five star chefs in public school in upstate NY……I am basically ruined when it comes to restaurants I can afford to attend.The MAJOR upside to that is that I eat awesome food,bought the ingredients at very sane prices……and each dish is prepared with my health as part of the equasion! Being Cicilian,food is way too important to comprimise on…..it is an expression of love.Happy holidays to you & Tom–Frank B



    • I know what you mean. Compressing gas (whether it be a gas spring or a pneumatic of some sort) seems to be a much less efficient way of propelling a pellet. I’ve got an older Gamo (440 Hunter) that takes roughly the same cocking effort to achieve the same velocity – in .22 caliber.

      Looks to me like the Titan is built on a Quest platform, which suggests that the linkage geometry might be comparable to the Gamo.

      This DOES tempt me to try a gas spring conversion on one of my rifles and compare the results back-to-back. Since Pyramyd won’t sell me the parts, though, I’d have to try to go through Crosman directly.

      Maybe I’ll look into it.


      • Vince,
        That sounds like an interesting experiment, when you have the time :). I think it might also also lend itself neatly to analysis by your “efficiency model”, which I think is a straightforward and meaningful method of characterizing springers in terms of cocking effort vs. output.


        • I ordered the parts I think I need from Crosman earlier today. The CS rep at Crosman was also very interested in what I was attempting and wants an email about it when I’m done. I’m hoping the email will only be a link to the guest blog.





      • Tom,
        Perhaps a description of what’s inside a gas piston would answer Tommy’s question. Is there indeed a spring in there providing power or is the power all compressed gas?
        -chuckj


    • Tommy,
      I am genuinely interested in you answer to Tom’s (BB) question and your thoughts on “gas springs”. I was hoping you’d reply. If you’ve been reading this blog for very long you know no question or comment is ignored or unappreciated – as long as it’s civil :-) Do let us hear from you.
      -Chuckj


    • Tommy,

      Hugh F. Taylor and David R. Theobald hold a patent for what you say doesn’t exist.
      Not only is this “evolution”, it is the very essence of your GTA tag line. ~Ken


  7. 33 lbs of cocking effort is more than I had expected or wanted when I ordered mine. I have no analog bath scale to measure the effort of mine but 33 lbs seems to be about what mine is.

    I cannot explain why my .22 lower power Titan is so easy to cock but it is a joke in comparison. After breaking open the barrel I can literally cock it with my pinkie. Still gets 670 fps with 14.3′s so the power is there. Can’t explain it.

    Also can’t explain why seating the pellets had such a large effect on velocity with mine. I will check again but can’t today.

    I hope yours is accurate. I am having trouble with that with mine. Baracuda Match 10.65′s showed promise but I only had a few to try and now have some on order.

    I am a little curious about the barrel tension on yours. Mine is a little loose. I like to have the barrel stay put if you let go of it after it’s been cocked. As you indicated in Pt. 1 the pin is a screw that can be tightened. After tightening it I still have a loose barrel. No side-to-side play at all, just seems to swing too freely.

    Looking forward to your next test.


    • The barrel tension is correct on my rifle. If it weren’t, I would adjust it.

      I have heard so many reports. One person brags that his gun is a tackdriver, then talks about 2-inch five-shot groups at 25 yards. That’s a pretty big tack, if you ask me!

      Another person says his isn’t that accurate and complains that he can barely keep all ten shots on a quarter at 30 yards. I would be happy with that.

      So I’m as anxious as you to see how this rifle can shoot.

      B.B.


  8. BB, and All
    On the subject of these Destroyer pellets, I have a few tins that I got at Wal-Mart at least a year ago. The tins look the same EXCEPT where your’s says “DESTROYER” my tins have “DESTROYER EX”. What say you? JR 49.


    • JR 49, you may compare your pellets to the ones in this picture.
      i729.photobucket.com/albums/ww292/MilliFlytrap/Pellet%20gun/DestroyerEXvsDestroyer.jpg

      I also found a brief review (without pictures) that reported the shape of the EX was slightly different and that some were too large to load into a Crosman airgun.

      No other details offered. I found these by typing “destroyer ex pellets” into the search engine. ~Ken


  9. All right sportsfans, I’ve entered a new phase with the Enfield. Read my feed lips. B.B. got me going with his remarks about the magazine. I’ve never removed it before, but I got to thinking “Magazine, magazine.” Since the rounds are seated too low, I thought maybe the magazine was not seated in properly and was hanging down. A push of the button dropped out the magazine easily enough. Then holding it, I noticed the feed lips and remembered the gunsmith’s note about fixing the feed lip. The right front one did look kind of flat and pressed down. I think this might be it! I spoke to the gunsmith and that was his best guess. He was using the Mk7 traditional British army round, and maybe that’s critically different from my Sellier and Bellot. Looking around online, it appears that feed lips are the Achilles heel of the Enfield design, sort of like the op rod is for the M1 Garand. It will work fine with military issue ammo but stray a little outside of that and you get problems. Some even claim that the lips need to be adjusted for different kinds of ammo.

    I fly out tomorrow for a trip on which I’d hoped to take the Enfield, so I might still do it. I’m going in tonight with my pliers with great caution. Hopeful of success though, perhaps I’ll name the source of optimism for this one that Victor predicted. What seemed to be a setback may have actually turned me into a gunsmith sort of like a mini-Vince–one-eighth the actual size. :-) Or probably much less than that!

    Matt61


  10. The reduced power titan is taking its time to break in, getting smoother to cock (or maybe I’m getting used to it) and a bit more velocity (or at least I hope this is why it has been shooting higher than initial sight in) after about 200 shots. It is certainly no Bronco, but I am giving it time.


  11. This is only slightly related, but I have a question regarding a Benjamin/Sheridan CB9. I have always stored it with one or two pumps when it is being stored. When I tried to use it two days ago, I could hear the air going out with every stroke; the pump handle never became hard to close. Something has happened to the seals.

    So my questions are: Is there something I can do without disassembling the gun to try getting working again? Failing that, does anyone know of a good airgun repair shop in Northern VA? I have not been able to find any listings online.

    Thanks,
    –Witt



      • Vince,

        That is my recommendation, as well. Oil the felt ring on the pump head with 10 drops of Pellgunoil and pump the gun again. You may need to pump and shoot it a couple dozen times before the oil works through the action and seals the gun again.

        B.B.


  12. Is it possible that they are modifying the piston like they have done in other models (Phantom among others) to slow them down? They drill a small hole in the front of the piston and it bleeds off some pressure to reduce the FPS. With this, they could leave the original gas spring in place and still have a reduced velocity airgun. This would also explain the high cocking force.

    Silver Eagle


    • Silver Eagle,

      Yes it would, and if they are doing that, then there is some hope for this gun’s cocking effort, after all.

      Welcome to the blog!

      B.B.




  13. Well I figured for the price point the gun couldn’t be too bad, and would be a good inexpensive gun to have around…WRONG! I have never been so disappointed in a gun or frankly any other product I have purchased. The finish of the metal and wood are splotchy, the cocking is gritty, the gun is quite a bit louder than some of my other springers of a similar power level, and above all the trigger is bad to the point of being dangerous. My particular gun has a four-stage trigger! The first stage is about a 1/4″ long and fairly light, but then the trigger just stops and requires about 9 pounds to move any further…at which point there is a LONG and jerky pull at the end of which the trigger stops again. At this point, you are in the home stretch. With another 6 or 7 pounds worth of effort and a lot of creep, the gun finally fires. After I had fired about 10 pellets I noticed that if I go through the first two stages and let off the trigger, the subsequent trigger pull only had the last two stages, which left me wondering about the safety of the entire trigger system. Once the gun has fired and is recocked, the four stages return. On a positive note, the firing cycle appears to be very smooth, but the effort involved in getting there leaves little satisfaction in sending a pellet down range.

    This will be going back to Crosman, and will make me think four time before purchasing another Crosman. The gun was bad Crosman…just plain bad.


    • Disappointed,

      Wow! That’s a lot of strikes against a gun.

      Your trigger sounds faulty to me. The trigger on my rifle isn’t as bad as that. I will measure it and report the results in the next test.

      B.B.


    • I suspect that “first stage” is just the trigger return spring, before the trigger actually begins to engage the sear. On my T01 m54 I adjusted the first stage screw to just remove that spring-only motion, but not enough to remove any actual (working) first stage travel.

      As for the partial squeeze/release, subsequent squeeze…

      I would have expected that you’d have the trigger spring pressure apply all the way up to where you had stopped the first time. That’s the behavior both my T01 m54 and Gamo NRA 1000 have — the tension on the sear from the piston is high enough that releasing the trigger will not reset the sear engagement. The recommendation for these is that if you’ve pressed the trigger at all but then decide not to fire, you must recock the action to fully engage the sear again. Otherwise, if you have a second stage that is basically “on-edge” (the glass trigger break — no real trigger motion, just an increase in pressure before the sear releases) your sear will be hanging by that edge and a good bump could fire the gun.


  14. Gentlemen I got my Benjamin Titan GP in today. I will say that I was impressed, however that doesn’t take much to do. The weight felt good, trigger pull was solid after 1/8 inch of play,cocking was easy for me ( I also have the TF99 with nitro conversion) , and the scope worked well in the 32 foot garage I use for my shooting. Now I will admit that accuracy to me is hitting what I aim at. If a can, just anywhere on the can, a target about anywhere near where I aim. I did find that my Titan on the whole was shooting on average a quarter size group with any of the 6 different pellets I used. It even seemed to like the TF hollow points I have. I feel this one will help rebuilt up the strength I lost this last year from surgeries on both hands. I find that I shake more than in the past, so I need the shooting to help me retrain my arms and hands. The only thing is I wish it had open sights so I don’t see the shaking so bad. At least when the missus is shooting with me she can use the scope. She cannot see what she is shooting without one. Only thing I can say is the recoil on this is more than my TF99. I may be due to the lighter weight, but I can live with that knowing I won’t shoot thru the 1/4″ siding on my garage walls. I feel the pain for y’all who didn’t get a nice Titan like mine. I work as a regional factory service manager for a German appliance company, so I hear when products don’t work as designed. In our case the factory engineers hear about it as well since Misery Loves Company. I have been enjoying the blogs, I learn a lot from everyone here. So have a Fun Day. Jeff


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