by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today’s report is a second installment from our blog reader RifledDNA, a.k.a. Stephen Larson. He’s modified his new Benjamin NP Limited Edition and wants to tell us how it’s going.
If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.
Over to you, RifledDNA.
Today is part 2 of my new NP Limited Edition, and we’ll look at what’s changed on the .22-caliber rifle since I took it out of the box, what pellets it likes so far and the accuracy I’ve been able to achieve. I wrote an earlier part 2; but the day after it was finished, Crosman alerted me they had a new stock for me. A few days after that, my order of pellets would arrive. It made sense to wait until these things were available for inclusion in this report. Both packages arrived, the stock was installed, the pellets have been tested and I can now tell you everything that has happened in one big mess of journalistic chop suey.
First, let’s see what I’ve changed on the gun. In the first report, I told you how uncomfortable and misconfigured the grip and trigger assembly seemed to me. I’m used to pistol grips, and the Benjamin NPS was designed for one. I knew that a stock with a pistol grip that fit properly must be found.
I approached Crosman and asked for a Benjamin Legacy Jim Shockey stock based on the fact that rifle is similar to my rifle and both have the highly angled forearm screws. While these things are true, the receiver tube of my NP Limited Edition is 1/8th of an inch wider than the tube of the Legacy NP, and the forearm screws are not located in the same place.
The screw holes needed to move an inch back to line up with the screw holes in my rifle; and the stock above the trigger, where the end of the spring tube rests, had to be notched, allowing the stock to open wide enough to receive the larger diameter receiver — say that 5 times fast!
Anyway, the action has now been fitted into the new stock, and it makes me very happy. Although it’s Mickey-Moused in, it’s solid. While someone might notice the screws are now in a different spot, shooting yields no problems. Quite the contrary. It fits my hand wonderfully, and the trigger is easily accessed and is in a location that feels natural to me. Thank you, Crosman!
I told you about thinning the trigger in the first report. I also told you the barrel is shorter, down to 10.75 inches. [Editor’s note: You did? I can’t find any reference in Part 1 where you told us how long the barrel is.] I originally had plans to shorten and rethread the barrel to put the shroud back in place. I wasn’t able to get the barrel threaded; and different configurations, though effective for the noise level, were not making me happy. I found that the unmodified level of noise is not offensive, anyhow and have abandoned the attachments. The short barrel is simple and manageable. For my style of shooting, ease of movement means making the shot.
I also removed the anti-beartrap safety and can now decock the rifle. I think the ability to dencock is very important and have done so countless times already, so I’m glad I did this. [Editor’s note: Removing a safety device like the anti-beartrap device cancels your warranty protection and places the liability for any accidents with the gun squarely on you.]
The trigger modifications improve performance; the shortened barrel improves performance (I believe); the stock that now fits me better improves both performance and appearance. Removing the anti-beartrap device gives me the option of decocking the gun.
Two more performance mods were applied. First, the breech seal was replaced with a nice, thick leather one. I noticed a change in the discharge sound when I did this, and it seems the gun loses no pressure at the breech with the new seal. It may have been losing air with the thin factory o-ring. The difference in contact area of the seal is about 10-fold, so I would hope it seals better!
Second, while the barrel and breech were off the gun, I opened the transfer port by just a hair, maybe one-sixty-fourth of an inch. Without a chronograph, I can only tell you these things haven’t hurt the performance. I believe they’ve probably helped velocity and have definitely helped accuracy. The short barrel and powerful Nitro Piston have the pellets hitting their marks as soon as the trigger breaks.
That brings me to the pellets. I had very little pocket change to scrape together an order of pellets, but I did manage to buy three and get the fourth tin free! I ordered two tins of Beeman Round Nose. I had good luck with Beeman Pointed pellets in a .177 Crosman TR77. At ~3 bucks a tin, these .22 domes work surprisingly well. They’re also very soft, which helps with energy transfer. They were the second most accurate pellet.
The two other tins I bought were JSB Exact Monsters and RWS Superdomes. The Monsters were bought to test the powerplant’s limits with pellet weights. My Ruger Blackhawk Elite spring rifle rebounded when a too-heavy pellet was used, and I wondered if the Nitro Piston powerplant might act the same. It doesn’t. It shoots them smoothly but not very accurately.
The most accurate pellets were the Superdomes. They also seem to run very fast. Again, no chrony, but on a super moist rainy day they were creating supersonic cracks. Shooting in dry weather they did not, so either the moisture lubricated everything to send them supersonic or wet air cracks more easily. Interesting.
The RWS Superdomes shoot like laser beams. Since I bought the NP for small game hunting, I shot a 10-shot, 20-yard group with one extra shot, a first-shot-counts test right out of the bag at a small liquor bottle (not mine, found it on the ground on the way to the shooting spot). That shot went dead-center on the 1.25″x2.5″ body of the bottle. That’s good plinkin’ in my book.
I set up a 5.5″ Caldwell Orange Peel target on the side of an old 4-slot toaster, settled in on the canvas folding sports chair rest and put ten Superdomes in a group that’s covered by a nickel. The hole in the paper target looks quarter-sized, but the holes in the toaster metal show 5/8 inch center-to-center. Two shots opened up the group, but 7 or 8 went into a little under a half-inch group.
All in all, I’m very happy with the NP. With the new stock and short barrel, I can achieve hunting accuracy out to about 35-40 yards using the pellets I’ve tested so far. If another pellet shows up that shoots better, and I keep shooting the gun well, I can see this NP easily shooting an inch consistently at 50 yards.
That’s about it. Besides a little more trigger time and work (it’s still a little creepy), the gun is in top form with no more changes to be made. I’m now just heading out to enjoy the fruits of my labor as often as possible. When I get a chrony, I’ll let everyone know to be on the lookout for part 3. Until then, thanks for reading!