Benjamin Trail NP pistol: Part 4b

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4a

Benjamin Trail NP pistol
Benjamin’s new Trail NP breakbarrel pellet pistol, with cocking aid removed.

Before I begin today’s report, I have sad news. Our friend Earl “Mac” McDonald passed away on Sunday, May 5, at 4:30 a.m. He was surrounded by his family.

Mac was diagnosed with a prion disease in April of this year. I don’t want to discuss it here, but if you want to know more, here is a link. This disease affects one person in a million. It is not only very rare, but the cause wasn’t even discovered until the 1980s. Scientists are still unsure of all the details.

I was aware of the probable diagnosis when I went to visit Mac last month but was asked not to disclose the details. Fortunately, when I arrived, he was able to recognize me. I sat with him and talked about old times whenever he was awake. My wife, Edith, and our friend Otho Skyped with Mac. Via the computer, Edith showed Mac the SHOT Show report in Shotgun News, which was the last thing he photographed for me.

Like everyone who knew him, I’m saddened by his passing — but that is more than offset by the pleasure of knowing him as long as I did. The fact that he was able to attend this year’s SHOT Show was especially rewarding.

As this blog moves forward, I will occasionally refer to Mac and some of the things he did. The best memorial I can give him is to never forget the time he was here.

Today’s report
I left you with a cliffhanger last Friday — more than I imagined, as it turned out, because I thought I was writing Thursday’s report and would publish the second part on Friday, rather than today. I know you all want to know what happened when I seated the H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets deep in the bore with the cocking aid attached and rested the pistol directly on the sandbag.

If you were expecting a Cinderella story, it didn’t quite happen. The group got measurably better — in fact, it was the second-best group of the test to this point. Ten shots made a group measuring 1.105 inches between centers. Compared to the previous group, which was larger than 2 inches, it seemed clear that this was the best way to shoot this pellet — deep-seated, gun rested on the bag and the cocking adapter attached.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol H&N Finale Match Pistol group gun rested-deep seated cocking aid on
Ten shots with H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets seated deep with the cocking aid attached and the gun rested directly on the bag made this 1.105-inch group. So, deep-seating these pellets reduced the group size by half.

Did you possibly think that it put all 10 into the same dime-sized hole that the 5 good ones went into on the previous test? I hoped that would happen, too, but it didn’t.

Not H.P.White Labs
Before you start looking back at all the testing done on this pistol to-date to recommend different things for me to test, let me say I am not H.P. White Laboratory, and the goal of this test is not to see how accurate the Benjamin Trail NP pistol can possibly be. My purpose is to evaluate the pistol as it comes from the box, so those thinking of making a purchase will have something to go on. I think I’ve done that already, and the gun is definitely worth the money. But the test is far from finished.

Air Venturi Pellet Seater
Blog reader Nomobux asked me how deep I seated the pellets with the Air Venturi Pellet Pen and Pellet Seater. Well, that varies, based on how thin the pellet skirts are. But I measured the seater with the pin protruding by 0.163 inches, which seated the pellets about 0.125 inches deep.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol H&N Finale Match Pistol Air Venturi Pellet Pen and Seater
I set the pellet seater to this depth months ago and have been using it this way ever since.

Crosman Destroyers
A blog reader asked me to test Crosman Destroyers — a new hollowpoint that has a large open cavity in the nose. Since I was playing, I decided to shoot 5 shots and see if it was worth finishing the group. With the pellets seated deep, the cocking aid attached and the gun rested directly on the bag, 5 shots made a group measuring 2.546 inches, so I stopped there. Since that was already very large and 5 more shots would not make it any smaller I decided to save my time and effort.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol Crosman Destroyer group gun rested deep seated cocking aid on
Five shots with Crosman Destroyer pellets seated deep with the cocking aid attached and the gun rested directly on the bag made this 2.546-inch group. I stopped after 5 shots because the group was already too large.

But I also figured some of you wouldn’t let me rest if I didn’t test at least one more variable with this pellet, so I shot it seated flush, as well. Surprise! It turned out better. Ten shots went into 2.086 inches. That’s not a world-beater group, I know, but it is better than the 5 shots with deep-seated pellets. It points out that deep seating has to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol Crosman Destroyer group gun rested flush seated cocking aid on
Ten shots with Crosman Destroyer pellets seated flush with the cocking aid attached and the gun rested directly on the bag made this 2.086-inch group. Though it’s not a great group, it is better than the 5-shot group with deep-seated pellets.

Michael, Michael, Michael!
Blog reader Michael saw that I hadn’t yet tested the best-shooting RWS Hobby pellets from the rested position with the cocking aid attached, but he was standing on my shoulder as I played with the pistol. I knew you would want me to go back and test it this way, so I did. This time, the magic didn’t work, however, and the 10-shot group size was 1.536 inches, so no improvement.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol RWS Hobby group gun rested deep seated cocking aid on
Ten RWS Hobbys seated deep with the gun rested on the bag and the cocking aid attached measured 1.536 inches at 10 meters. It’s not bad, but no cigar. The gun shot better when not rested on the bag.

Isn’t it interesting how changing one variable will change the entire performance of the gun? I think so.

The bottom line is that the Benjamin Trail NP is still a whole lot of value for the price tag. And I’m not finished, yet. There’s still another accuracy test to go with those lead-free pellets; and then I want to recheck the velocity of the gun, now that several hundred shots have been fired. There’s more to come, so sit back and enjoy.

55 thoughts on “Benjamin Trail NP pistol: Part 4b




  1. B.B.,

    I’m very sorry to hear of the passing of your good friend Mac. I’m sure that Mac knows that the love that, his family, you, and others who knew him, have for him will allow him to continue to live on this plane of existence through memories and appreciation of the blessings that he brought. He’s now in a better place where everything is known to him, but from a much better light. God bless Mac.

    Victor


  2. I’m really sorry about Mac, from the little I knew about him thru this blog I onow for sure he will be greatly missed and thank you for keeping us informed about his health situation.

    I can’t believe such a thing (deeply seating the pellets) can make such a difference and at the same time not really make one!
    I’d really like to see some super slow motion vids of this pistol being fired with the different configurations (seated/unseated, coocking aid/no cocking aid) to see the difference in harmonics or the lack of a difference. Can we ask PA to get you one for your reports or would that be too much work and slow things down too much?
    I’m really not understanding how it can have such a dramatic on some pellets and have almost no effect on some other one…

    This report seems to be bringing as many questions as it did answers but I’m really glad I stayed up for it even tought I’m also really sad to read that Mac passed away a few hours ago.
    Loosing someone is never easy but when it’s a great friend like you and Mac seemed to be, when it’s someone you had a connection with it seems to leave an emptiness that just never seems to leave.
    That small difference between other people you know and that special friend seems to be getting so much greater when you lose that person.

    J-F


  3. I’m sorry to hear about Mac. It is always hard to watch person close to us passed away, but you cherish your memory with them so that they always in our heart.


  4. I am sad to see Mac pass. He enriched the AG world with his dedication and enthusiasm. Moreover he was a close friend to BB. My thoughts are with his family and friends.



  5. Please accept my condolences and prayers, Tom and Edith, and convey them along with everyone else’s to Mac’s family. I never got the chance to meet him anywhere except in this blog, but he will be missed.

    /Dave


  6. I’d like to add my condolences to everyone who personally knew Mac. He was a great contributor to our hobby. The passing of a good friend is sad; but he led a good life, and apparently had many good friends even in the last days of his life. Rest in peace dear sir.




  7. Sorry to hear about Mac, please accept my condolences. People live as long as we remember them, so I think Mac will have a long life among readers of this blog.

    duskwight


  8. I offer my sincerest condolences to Macs family. I have never really commented on the blog, but I read all of your posts. I am deeply saddened by the loss, and give his family my prayers and best wishes through this difficult time. He lived a good, long, and fulfilling life, with great friends, and I will remember him by that. He will be missed, but his memory still lives in us, and will continue to live in us for as long as God gives us life. As a Muslim I am obligated to say Inna lillaahi wa inna ilayhi Raaji’oon. Which means “To God we belong, and to him we return.” May he rest in peace.


  9. It was a priviledge meeting Mac at the Roanoke Airgun Show the last several years and even buying and trading air rifles with him. Most precious of all my experiences there was having dinner with you and Mac. Since he had been doing better than you, BB, at selling his products, he bought us both dinner. I was looking forward to seeing him and you this year and hopefully returning the favor. As SL said earlier on the replies, God Speed, Mac. You will be missed but remembered by many

    Fred DPRoNJ



  10. I’m sorry to hear about your friend. But if it helps, Know that he does not suffer any longer.

    This pistol doesn’t seem to be very accurate. Looks like the shots are all over the target. I’m not entirely sure this gun is worth the money. But then again I’m not really a pistol guy. I’ve always been a rifle guy no matter how much I’ve tried to like pistols. They just never fel right in my hand no matter if it’s one I like that I spent hundreds of dollars for or the cheap plastic $25 junk. As it is, if I ever wanted one of these I’d have to take a trip out of state or buy one used. Pellet pistols are just too hard to get here.


    • John,

      your response reminds me of the old joke: a sheriff was attending a political banquet and showed up in uniform with his sidearm on. One of the ladies there noticed he was armed and asked, “Sheriff, are you expecting trouble?” To which the Sheriff responded, “No Mam. If I was expecting trouble, I would have showed up with my rifle.”

      Fred DPRoNJ


      • And that reminds me (as a stream of conscience item, probably a totally non sequitur) of the lawman who tied down the grip safety of his 1911. When asked if it wasn’t dangerous that way, he said that of course it was and if the thing wasn’t dangerous he would have no reason to carry it!




  11. I just checked the blog today, first time in a while, to see the news of your friend. My condolences to you and to Macs family. A good friend he was and forever will be. God bless

    ka



  12. Tom and Edith,

    I am so terribly sorry to hear of Mac’s death. Please accept my heartfelt condolences.

    Michael


  13. B.B.,

    I for one am not at all surprised at the surprising result. Your blog has taught me that when it comes to airguns, the type and brand of pellet always makes a difference, as does the hold, the wind, every little thing. In fact, it seems that there is no such thing as a little thing. Airgun accuracy is the result of all of these details coming together. Like the old 1980s pop-synth song goes, “Everything counts in large amounts.”

    Some people might find that frustrating, but not me. I find it all a sort of puzzle that is fun and stimulating to solve. That is why I am an airgunner! If every pellet shot out of every airgun using any technique created one-hole groups 100 percent of the time, well, that would be the very definition of boring, to me at least.

    Consider, too, the variables among different Benjamin Trail NP pistols. You generally had better results with the cocking aid left on, but many online user reviews claim a lessening of accuracy with it on. Still, the deep-seating cure for the low POA is a revelation. I imagine many potential buyers of the NP pistol will now, ahem, pull the trigger, whereas before they might have decided not to purchase one.

    Michael


  14. Tom, I’m so sorry for your loss of Mac. As you know, a lot of us are thinking about you and his family at this time.

    Dave




  15. Sad news to hear about Mac’s passing and the loss of B.B.’s good friend. But the sorrow itself is a sign of a life well-lived, especially in view of all the people who mess up their lives and whose departure, in some cases, is a cause for relief. If you have a good long run and the friends and achievements to show for it, who can ask for more? It is left to us to slog forward, but wherever Mac is, no doubt he is hearing: Welcome home, my good and faithful servant.

    With the erratic results of pellet seating, I wonder if it’s really worth it.

    Victor, how could the two shooting sages both have been shooting out of their leagues unless they were active at completely different times? It’s like an irresistible force and an immovable object. Having a mental breakdown while still getting an Olympic silver medal must be a matter of perspective.

    /Dave, there was method to their madness with the flame-spouting tractors. How could anyone looking at that NOT conclude that he was dealing with the salt of the earth and sincere rock-solid Midwesterners at their best. Therein lies the rub. Some of those who invited me turned out to be some of the most wretched backstabbers you could ever hope to meet. The movie “Fargo” lives, at least in some cases.

    I thought I would report on a little learning experience I’ve had. I’m back in the classroom after some decades taking a course on Geographic Information Systems (GIS). It has to do with overlaying various kinds of data onto maps and is the intellectual basis of GPS. I thought I would see how my mature self compared with earlier years. But my case seems to be similar to that of all-time great heavyweight Jack Dempsey. Told by his grade school teacher in Colorado that he was too big and too dumb to amount to anything, he became one of the most intelligent fighters of all-time (as described by his great rival Gene Tunney) and writer of the finest boxing manual ever, a tome of over 200 pages that leaves you in no doubt that boxing, at least in earlier times, was a very sophisticated martial art. During WWII, long after his fight career, Jack joined up with the Coast Guard for which he had to take classes. He said his performance was about the same as in earlier years “which is to say not much.”

    I’m bottoming out in the class. The young whippersnappers are racing ahead with assignments while I am in a state of total confusion. One might suppose that technology and the world is passing me by. Or one might suppose that there are some serious communication problems in this field. For instance, I was asked to look at the metadata file of a map, figure out what coordinate system it used, and then apply this coordinate system to another map. “How hard can it be,” says Indiana Jones. The metadata gave some story about going fishing which told me nothing. So, I just used a coordinate system from another map that was used earlier, and nothing worked. For some reason my map shrank down to a 1:.011 scale and showed nothing. When I asked for help, the teacher said that by reading the story of fishing, I was supposed to figure out that people were using GPS even though that wasn’t mentioned explicitly. GPS most commonly uses the WGS 84 10N coordinate system didn’t you know? Then I was supposed to drill my way down through a bunch of subdirectories. And given the choice between folders labeled “Geographic Coordinate Systems” and “Projected Coordinate Systems,” although I was tasked with applying a “Geographic Coordinate System,” I was supposed to pick the other one, drill down a few more layers until I found the right choice on the menu. Nothing to it. There is a serious communication problem here that confirms my belief that the vast bureaucracy which surrounds us is a shimmering illusion and that nobody really knows what’s going on.

    So, how do my classmates do it? It turns out that most of them have already taken the subject, and are reviewing it. Now I can see why. They also all work in groups, so what we may have here in the very interstices of high technology is the oral tradition where people are transmitting information from trial and error. Or maybe it’s even like Quest for Fire with the cavemen stumbling around in continuous confusion and blowing with might and main when the lamp holding their fire supply drops into a swamp.

    But I am not without resources. I have found my radio control plane when it crashed in a wheat field hundreds of yards on a side with the wheat chest-high. (I did this through a crude grid search and bottomless rage.) I have successfully lengthened the buttstock on my IZH 61. I’ve even managed to reload with B.B.’s detailed help. They don’t know what kind of a man they’re dealing with! On the strength of these technical achievements, I expect the classwork to give way like anything else and am right now engaged in a Great Leap Forward by making after hours visits to the lab.

    Matt61


    • Matt, I do not envy in the least the current crop of students.
      In my own area of expertise (photography) I see far too many students of the local colleges that know everything there is to know about sensor technology, the physics of noise reduction and dynamic range, the smallest details of why Photoshop CC is better than it’s predecessor…
      But they don’t know what makes a good image. They’re too busy learning all of the ‘science’ that is now part of photography to realize that at its core it is still just a means to convey a visual concept or idea.
      When we go camping, even though I own a GPS I still find myself picking up a topo map of the region we are bound for and relying mostly on my compass and said map.
      The GPS in my car has lead me astray enough times that I’m in no way going to depend on my handheld when I’m a day away from civilization and a ‘wrong turn’ can have life threatening consequences.
      I may be a luddite…but at least when that big solar storm hits I won’t be screwed.


    • Hello Matt61. First, I would like to add my condolences to the family and friends of Mac. I too knew him from the guest blogs he wrote, and the many times B.B. would mention his involvement concerning the test of a certain airgun. Prion disease is particularly insidious in that it robs it’s victims of their identity, before death occurs. You are a true friend B.B., and were there to the end. A sad loss to our sport of airguns.
      I read with interest, concerning the boxer Jack Dempsey. He came to boxing at a time when two men would stand in the middle of a ring, and slug it out. Both winner and loser would be bloodied and bruised. Dempsey would bob and weave. Always moving and throwing vicious left jabs to set up his powerful right hand. Also known as the Manassa mauler, it was said he fought with a smoldering rage.
      It is believed the rule of a boxer retreating to a neutral corner came about as Dempsey would hover over his downed opponent, and as soon as his knees left the canvas, he would begin punching a dazed and defeated man all over again. Some of his fights boasted crowds of 100,000 people in the venue, and many more on live radio broadcast. I haven’t read his treatise on boxing, but it seems to have influenced a number of well know pugilists of the 50′s to the present. As far as boxing being a martial art, I think that combined with wrestling, and jujitsu, both of which Dempsey was a keen proponent of, it would make a formidable offence and defence.
      As for the Benjamin Trail NP, I think we should look at it as a work in progress. If Crosman does indeed read B.B.’s and other reviewers tests, then they can take the results and come back with a better gun. I think the front sight will be lowered, to allow 10 meter shooters to hit the bulls eye without having to aim high. This is the first pistol to offer a gas piston. At a price of under $100.00, it is still a bargain, and would make a great plinking gun. At the price, can we in reality, expect it to be a tack driver?
      Caio Titus


    • Matt,

      Give half of those students a topo and stick them out somewhere without a compass and I’m betting that they stay lost….

      Tractor pulls are great fun, but people are still people with all of their inherent weaknesses no matter where they are from.

      /Dave



  16. BB,
    Sorry to hear about Mac. Just about anything I could think to say seems inadequate at this time for the loss of such a friend. We will happily join you in remembering the good he did and the joy he brought to loved ones.



  17. I’ve been in meetings all day and just now had a chance to read this. You have my condolences on the passing of Mac. Kept him in my prayers up till today.

    Les


  18. I’m starting to think we have reached the very end of what is possible with airguns. Looks like the average high end of what they can do is 1000-1200 fps. I’m seeing most guns look the same, function the same, even fire practically identical to every other gun there is. In fact I haven’t seen very many new offerings in the airgun market. So, I’m wondering, is this it? Have they reached the edge of the envelope of what can be done now? About the only guns that have cone out that really got a rise out of me are the new Condor SS, the MK-177 and the MSR77. Other than that I have not seen one gun that wouldn’t get lost in my armory.



      • Always glad to help. I would like to know why it seems that there are very few innovative products out. I have only seen maybe 3-4 this year that I just said “I really have to have that. It is totally awesome!” Everything else all seems to be more of the same. Maybe a different muzzle break or a tweak to the stock like a bit differebt decoration, but over all it seems like gun A is very much like gun B from the other manufacturer.



  19. B.B.,

    Terrible news about Mac; our prayers are with his family. The upside is that he is now in a much better place. My wife and I have enjoyed visiting with Mac the last three Roanoke airgun shows. A measure of his friendship with you was his willingness to drive from Maryland to Texas, haul you to Virginia for the show, and take you back to TX afterwards (three years ago when you had your own issues). Friends like that are hard to find. He will be truly missed.

    Paul in Liberty County


  20. B.B.,

    So sorry to hear about Mac’s death. It’s never easy rto say goodby to a dear friend. Please accept my heartfelt condolences. duskwight is correct in what he said.

    Bruce


  21. My condolences to Macs friends and family, I know he will be missed.
    Sorry to be a little late with that but I have visitors from Quebec that arrived Sunday.


    • Visitors from Quebec, they must be nice people! You’re lucky to have such visitors ;-)
      in case you haven’t guessed I’m from Quebec too :-P

      J-F



  22. J-F,
    Sorry it took so long to get back to you, my internet has been out for 3 days.
    My daughter lives in Gatineau she and her friend were here, on the way back now.


    • No problem. Your daugther lives here? Did she bring you anything special from here that you can’t find in the US?
      When we go to the US we always get the good Dr. Pepper to bring back. Here it’s made by someone else so I’m betting they’re not getting the whole recipe so it ends-up not tasting the same.
      Is your daugther studying there or is she working for the gov. on the other side of the bridge AKA Ottawa? I think 75% of the people living in that area do, it’s our Washington D.C.

      J-F


      • Heh… Just a problem with Dr. Pepper?

        I should check into Vernor’s… I do feel that the stuff in Michigan (back in the late 70s) was much better than the version in California (early 80s)…

        Unfortunately, since the diagnosis of diabetes, I’m forced into the “diet” versions — and don’t have a baseline for comparison. (the CA version on non-diet was much too syrupy — it was Pepsi vs Coca-cola).


        • I don’t know what Vernor’s is, I don’t think we have some here. The ginger ale market is pretty much only Canada Dry and Schweppes here. Canada Dry is my favorite, made with real ginger and not much sugar, it’s almost healthy!
          Ewww diet, do you know what they put in diet drinks? Aspartame isn’t good for you at all! It made holes in the brain of laboratory rats.

          J-F


  23. B.B.
    Will you tell me why there is a difference in the shot group, when the cocking aid is attached or removed?
    malitape


    • malitape,

      The difference is caused by harmonics, which is a fancy way of saying vibration. The barrel vibrates in all directions when the gun fires, and adding or taking away weight from the barrel changes those vibrations. When you get the barrel vibrating so it is always in the same place when the pellet leaves the muzzle, the pellet goes to the same place, or pretty close. The cocking aid is enough weight to influence the barrel this way.

      Welcome to the blog.

      B.B.



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