Benjamin Marauder .177 caliber 50-yard test: Special part

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

Benjamin Marauder .177-caliber air rifle: Part 1
Part 2
Secrets of loading the Benjamin Marauder magazine
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Fixing a Marauder magazine
Part 7
Benjamin Marauder .25 caliber: Part 1
Benjamin Marauder .25 caliber: Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Benjamin Marauder .22 repeater with synthetic stock: Part 1
Benjamin Marauder .22 repeater with synthetic stock: Part 2
Benjamin Marauder .22 repeater with synthetic stock: Part 3

Benjamin Marauder

Benjamin Marauder .177.

Today, I’m doing an accuracy test of the .177-caliber Benjamin Marauder at 50 yards because I forgot to do it when we were looking at that rifle back in the summer of 2013. I’m inserting it in between the tests of the .22-caliber Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock and will go back and make a notation in the original Part 6 of the .177 rifle test that alerts readers to this omission and links to this test. The next report after this will be the first accuracy test of the synthetic-stocked Marauder. I apologize for any confusion this has caused, but I didn’t want to overlook this test.

First, let’s focus on what we’re doing today — the 50-yard accuracy test of the .177-caliber Benjamin Marauder. This test was conducted outdoors last week at my rifle range.

The day was cold with a light but swirling breeze that had to be waited out for every shot. I selected the two pellets that I knew to be the most accurate at 25 yards (see Part 6). That simplified things a lot since I already knew these were both good pellets. I could afford the extra time to wait for the wind to calm down before taking the shots.

The rifle was sighted for 25 yards from before; so unless the scope had been moved since August, I expected the pellets to be low and centered on the target. That’s exactly where they landed, so the gun was ready to go.

Crosman Premier lites
The first group was shot with Crosman Premier lites — the most accurate pellet at 25 yards. The first group was very horizontal, indicating that I didn’t do a good job of waiting out the wind. The problem was the variability of the wind. If there was wind where I was seated, there would be none at the target, or vice-versa. The wind was swirling on the range this day, which is the hardest kind of wind to predict.

The first 10 shots landed in a group measuring 2.051 inches between centers. You will note a lone hole on the left and the other 9 are closer to each other. Those 9 measure 1.218 inches between centers. I do feel the wind is the cause of this spread because this rifle has not shown any tendency to string horizontally before now.

Marauder Premier group 1
Ten Crosman Premier lites made this very horizontal group at 50 yards. The group measures 2.051 inches between centers, but 9 of the shots measure 1.218 inches between centers.

I felt I could certainly do better than that if I waited out the wind better. So, a second group was shot without adjusting the scope. This group measures 0.957 inches between centers, and is more like what I’d expected. You can see that it’s still somewhat horizontal, however. I think the rifle is capable of even better groups under better conditions, but putting 10 shots into less than one inch at 50 yards is never to be sneezed at!

Marauder Premier group 2
That’s more like it! These 10 Premier lites made a much better group that measured 0.957 inches between centers. But the wind is still an influence because this group is also horizontal.

What about heavy pellets?
Okay, if the wind is a problem, won’t heavier pellets solve it? It was worth a try. The most accurate heavy pellets in this rifle are the JSB Exact Monsters. They weigh 13.4 grains, which is edging into the middleweight sector for .22-caliber pellets.

Because of their weight, I expected these pellets to strike the target a lot lower than the Premier lites, and I wasn’t disappointed. They landed 3 inches below the aim point, where the Premier lites were hitting about .75 inches low. Despite their weight, I still waited for the wind to die down between shots. Ten pellets went into a group measuring 1.434 inches between centers. Compare that to what the Premiers did. You can see that, even though they’re much lighter, the Premiers are still better. But this group isn’t as horizontal, so they do seem to buck the wind.

Marauder JSB Monster group
Ten JSB Exact Monsters made a 1.434-inch group at 50 yards. While it’s not a terrible group, it isn’t a great one, either. But it’s less horizontal than either of the two Premier lite groups.

It seems that Premier lites are still the fairest in the land — at least of the pellets used in this test. Remember, these were selected from all the pellets tested at closer distances, so they’re among the most accurate in this rifle.

Overall evaluation
The day was far from ideal for long-range shooting. But, still, it does represent what can be done with a .177 Benjamin Marauder under these conditions. This is the last time I’ll review this .177 Marauder, but I believe you’ve seen enough to make a choice.

The Benjamin Marauder is a landmark air rifle that has forced the rest of the airgun world to sit up and take notice. It offers more solid features than the best European PCPs, but at a fraction of the cost.

28 thoughts on “Benjamin Marauder .177 caliber 50-yard test: Special part

  1. That’s respectable groups with the wind conditions.

    I was shooting my Talon SS with the new 18″ .25 cal. barrel with the 31 grn. Barracudas. And the 1720T with its favorite pellet the .177 cal. 8.3 Superdomes. Yes that really is its favorite pellet.

    I was shooting right in the middle of the Midwest blizzard that was going on. From inside my heated breeze way that attaches the house to the garage out of the window. That is how I shoot most of the time.
    I sit in a chair and rest the gun on top of a old folded towel that is sitting on the window seal. But it was crazy windy with snow, then as calm as could be with snow in a blink of a eye. And only 8 degrees outside.

    And man o man I’m already waiting for spring time.

    But what is crazy is the 1720 still held a better group than the TSS. But it also does in good conditions.
    I know it is different calibers and different guns but that’s a significant weight difference between the 2 pellets. But the groups were definitely spread out more than normal with both guns with the conditions of the weather.

    I just wonder if maybe too heavy is wrong also when looking at one gun.

    My .177 Marauder likes the JSB 10.3′s and remember I got the barrel cut down and re-crowned and extra baffles added. And it also has the 10# spring. And its adjusted like my .25 cal. Marauder is. So the fps is a little higher than a stock 177 Marauder.

    It groups way better with the 10.3′s in all conditions compared to the the other pellets. And that maybe because of the tune on my gun compared to the tune on your gun. Your gun probably shoots at a lower fps than mine does. So the 8 grn. pellet my equal out to be the equivalent of my 10 grn. pellet at the higher fps.

    So maybe too much weight can cause problems too depending on the fps of the gun.

    I tryed the lighter pellets and the heavier ones also like you tryed. And the 10.3′s were the magic pellet for my gun.

    And ain’t these air guns fun. :)


  2. The Marauder does indeed make it very difficult for me to buy those European rifles, especially when I can buy one, have it tuned up good and drop it in nice custom stock and still come under what they cost. Sorry guys, my budget doesn’t allow me to throw away that kind of money on overpriced toys.

    Now if we can just talk Crosman into making an Independence version of the Marauder.




        • I might be prepared to pay $600-700 for one-the price of a Marauder + a hand pump. For me, $1000 is still too much.

          Pete


      • FX is nice stuff, but the USA distributor has the prices jacked up too high, and that’s sad. Fortunately, PyramydAir sells plenty of great stuff that is in my airgun safe.



      • I don’t care how much money I make, I will never be able to afford one. Why encourage them to be high priced by paying their high prices?


    • I would like to see Crosman design a PCP gun with a on board pump.

      Maybe at a reduced cost with a pistol grip assembly from a 1377 and sell it with the 1399 custom stock installed. The pump hand could be from a Marauder pistol. No stock in other words just the air chamber tube and the shrouded barrel from a Marauder rifle.

      Or even lower cost start out with a Discovery and add what I just talked about doing to a Marauder.
      If they would sell it for 3 or 400 dollars I bet they would sell the heck out of them. I would have one.


  3. We have two .177 cal Marauders our club members use for field target, decked out in custom alum stocks. They are tuned to 17fpe and like the 7.9 gr JSB (the older blue label from 2010), and the newer 8.4 Air Arms. The 8.4 AA seem to shoot to the same point of aim even at 50 yards, (must have a better BC)… one would think the 8.4 would group a little lower. Both of these pellets will consistently group 1/2″ to 3/4″ in 10 shot groups at 50 yards… even in light winds. Some dies and dates in the JSB 7.9 and 8.4 (especially the newer ones), are just not shooting as well.

    I wish PA would import the new 7.9 gr. that Air Arms has now… especially since they seem to be the exclusive importer now. We paid huge shipping costs to buy some and test them from a retailer in England… they are really good and different than the JSB version. Air Arms has their own dies made, even though JSB makes them for them in their factory.

    Bob Pont, one of our club members really knows these air guns, and gets them shooting incredibly well, he usually has to re-crown the barrel and clean up the transfer port. Bob also added a regulator, and O ring to cushion the hammer. He is now getting 70 shots on a fill with less than 10fps spread on those 70 shots!!

    On the idea of an Independent Marauder… folks that I’ve talked to that own the FX version, end up wanting more air tank… not enjoying the pumping of the “independence” at all. Do the tank thing or stick with a springer/or hand pump for your PCP.

    Wayne Burns,
    Match Director,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range


    • I agree that if you are target shooting, the low shot count can be a real bummer. Now if you are spending a day in the woods chasing after tree rats, being able to top off between victims is kind of nice.


      • Personally, I’d rather carry a mini carbon fiber tank in a pack or on my hip and refill a lighter weight PCP like maybe a Disco, for hunting in the woods.. a long way from the truck.

        Attaching a pump to the air gun makes for a real bulky air rifle.. on paper it sounds good, but in reality.. not as good as one might think… IMHO:-)

        Wayne


    • Wayne Burns,I often seem to pick up on the small points but .177 m-rods with aluminum stocks? Really? Now it was 35 below zero with the wind chill factor here this week and Sat.morning it was 20 below zero actual without figuring the wind.If I were to step out to shoot one of those m-rods that would give me a whole new meaning to the term cheek weld now wouldn’t it? I’d have to hope I could get back through the door and get that thing thawed off my face.:) Of coarse if I got it right the first shot then I would be perfectly set to shoot the whole 3 or 4 magazines wouldn’t I?:) :)
      Sorry
      More seriously in regard to the PCP with pump on board (fx Independance,not Indy as that’s different)I started out 18 years ago with a daisy 10 pump and the pumping is fine with me.What I see in this type of gun is that after I find the sweet spot for a pellet I can shoot all day at that same power and hopefully exact same velocity lending greatly to my precision and accuracy.And it would be worth it to me to be able to stay out and shoot and not have to run in and pump.Tanks aren’t an option for me.In this I don’t oppose you with your good points but I’m trying to illuminate a different perspective.
      Keep up the good posts-Tin Can Man-


      • Tin Can Man,

        Bob has a nice elk hide over his adjustable plastic covered cheek rest…. and Mark hasn’t covered his yet.. but the weather hasn’t been that bad here yet either:-). Their knee stands and pistol grips are wood… You are correct to be concerned with such matters:-)

        The alum is good for stability around the action and attaching lots of field target adjustable goodies:-) .. but the attached goodies are usually covered in “non stick to face or fingers” type materials:-)

        I respect your point of view is very valid… and for the largest crowd I’d bet. I personally have access to 3 large 4,500lb tanks to fill our scuba tanks from.

        I like the the small tank and particularly the Disco with it’s low fill capacity of about 1,900 with about 20 good shots down to 1,200 or so… so whether or not you carry a pump or small carbon tank you’ll spend less time and effort pumping and or get WAY more shots from your small carbon tank…

        Wayne


        • If you build a pump into a PCP gun, it wouldn’t be a PCP anymore. It would be an MPP capable of more than one shot per fill.

          Maybe that is what is needed.

          Les


  4. BB,
    Of the 1″ accuracy at 50 yards, how much is actually caused by the shooter / environment vs. the rifle accuracy itself? If you locked the rifle down tight in a perfect environment, what would you expect the baseline to be at 50 yards? 1/2″?


    • TC,

      No, I would expect it to be about the same as you see here. Locking a gun down generally doesn’t improve accuracy. It might improve consistency, but FWB tests all their target guns hand-held, from what Robert Beerman told me.

      B.B.


      • TC,

        Let me add something to that. When the AirForce Edge target rifle was under development, the company locked it down to be able to shoot it faster. But I shot an Edge just as well hand-held at the same time. So I can vouch that locking as gun down doesn’t improve the accuracy.

        With a handgun it does make a small difference, but not with a long gun.

        B.B.



  5. BB,
    I saw that the AA S200 in on the most popular list for 2013. I don’t remember you ever reviewing one. They are sweet PCPs, the R-7 of the PCP world. I would recommend them to anyone who does not need a lot of power. They can be adjusted from about 6-18 foot pounds by playing with the adjustments and maybe changing out a spring. They are tack drivers as well.

    David Enoch


    • David,

      B.B. did a multi part series on the S200 back in 2009. You even commented on December 17, 2009 that your S200 was a little more powerful than the one being tested.

      Neat little guns that I consider the R7 of the pcp world. I had one in .22 cal with a magazine.

      kevin


      • Kevin

        BB never finished that report. He got as far as the velocity testing and that was it. There was never a look at the power adjustments, or the all-important accuracy test.

        He had to send the gun back for some reason if I recall correctly.

        Besides, 2009 is ancient history. BB has seen fit to have several guns re-reviewed since the new format has started, including the aforementioned R7 and even the TX200 (twice!)

        David is not alone in wanting to see this gun retested. Especially with the optional magazine. I am a big fan.


  6. Well I must say the M-rod is by far sweeter than I expected. I tuned mine up a bit (close to 1000 fps) and found the heavy Crossman field target 10.5 gr high dome shoots best in mine. Bench rest 50 yards with a spread 0f .66 inch is the best I can do. Love the truly rifled barrel. I have made some of my friends want the M-rod after shooting mine. I don’t mind packing my pump around on my wheeler to refresh the air when shooting half the day. Going to get the M-rod .22 next an try out some larger game.

    Have fun and safe shooting.


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