Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2: Part 5

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

• Here we go, again
• Out of the box
• Cocking
• Barrel bushings
• Scope base welds
• Pillar bedding!
• Good to go
• Crosman Premiers
• Beeman Kodiaks
• Crosman SSP
• Trigger
• Evaluation thus far
• Reminder from PyramydAir.com

Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2
Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2

Here we go, again
Today, I’m starting our look at the second Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2. This rifle was sent from Crosman to Pyramyd Air especially for me to test, so we know that it’s the absolute best that they can do with the NP2 design. I’m not being sarcastic when I say that. I’m telling all the Crosman ankle-biters that I do acknowledge that this rifle has been thoroughly examined by Crosman before sending it to me — just to stop them from saying it. This is the same thing I recently did with the Daisy 880.

The first NP2 I tested came straight from the factory and was completely random. And you saw how well it turned out. You also saw that it needed a little time to break in before the cocking effort dropped to where we thought it should be. You also saw how I had to learn to hold the rifle for best accuracy. That shouldn’t happen with this one because I know how to hold it now.

I do plan on installing the scope that comes packed with the rifle for my test. We had one negative reader comment about me switching the scope on the other rifle, and doing it this way should end that complaint.

Out of the box
Several of you asked me to go over the second rifle thoroughly to see how it differs from the first rifle I tested. This rifle is also a .22-caliber model in a wood stock; so from the outside, it appears very much the same. But one curious thing I noted is that this rifle does have a wood screw holding the front of the triggerguard to the stock. You may remember I showed you the other rifle didn’t have the screw, even though the triggerguard has a hole for it.

Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 triggerguard
This photo shows both screws in the triggerguard.

I went over the entire rifle, looking for differences, but none came to light. I shined a tactical flashlight down the muzzle and noted that the baffles are not obstructing the muzzle. So, the rifle seems good to go.

Cocking
I cocked it, just to see how that felt, and I was transported back to the SHOT Show! This rifle cocks with between 25-27 lbs. of effort. I found the barrel pivot joint was too loose for the barrel to remain in place after the rifle has been cocked. You normally want it to stay in one place, but I say that advisedly, because this NP2 might teach us a thing of two. Crosman designed this rifle with a pivot bolt instead of just a plain pin, so the pivot joint can be tightened whenever necessary. I took the action out of the stock to do this, and that’s when I noticed a number of things.

Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 pivot bolt
The NP2 barrel pivot bolt is slotted so it can be tightened. That wasn’t necessary on the rifle I’m testing.

Barrel bushings
First, the barrel does indeed have a screw, but it was already tight on this gun. Then, I shined a flashlight through the action forks and the breech joint and noticed that there are probably bearings (what some would call shims) at the pivot joint. So, the barrel can be tight and yet still flop up and down after it’s cocked. We need to learn from this; because if this rifle is accurate, Crosman has done something new. Their barrel may be looser than other breakbarrels of the past and yet still be accurate.

Scope base welds
The welds on the scope base are much more visible on this second test rifle. I know that Crosman did take action on this issue right away after the first guns were launched.

Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 scope base welds
The scope base welds are much more visible on this new rifle. They’re the bright lines under each foot on the base.

Pillar bedding!
Second, I found a u-shaped piece of steel on the floor after removing the stock. When I examined the stock, I found out what it is — pillar bedding! We’ve recently discussed this on this blog, and Crosman has apparently gone and done it. The interesting thing is that they didn’t mention it in their advertising! How could they have missed announcing an important feature like this? Shooters are paying hundreds of dollars to have their rifles pillar bedded, and Crosman has gone and done it for free and kept it a secret!

Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 steel bushing
This u-shaped bushing or spacer serves as a pillar to separate the triggerguard screw from the action. This is pillar bedding on an airgun!

Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 steel bushing in stock
When the steel bushing is in the stock, it’s impossible to over-tighten the rear stock screw. This is how pillar bedding works. It keeps the wood from being crushed.

The 2 forward stock screw heads bear directly against the wood of the stock, so they’ll need washers to spread their load; but the NP2 is bedded better than 80 percent of the top-end spring rifles on the market.

Good to go
I assembled the rifle and found the barrel does not wobble side to side, yet it still flops after it’s cocked. This means the barrel pivot joint is adding very little resistance to the cocking effort. Now, it was time to start the velocity test.

Crosman Premiers
The first pellet up was the 14.3-grain Crosman Premier that I believe will be one of the most accurate pellets for this rifle. Ten of them averaged 823 f.p.s. — a whopping 78 f.p.s. gain over the broken-in velocity of the first test rifle. And the cocking effort is still 5-7 lbs. lighter!

Best of all, Premiers varied by only 5 f.p.s. over the 10-shot spread — from 821 to 826 f.p.s. That’s phenomenal! It’s in PCP territory, and I’m talking about a regulated gun. At the average velocity, this pellet generates 21.51 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Beeman Kodiaks
Next, I tried 21.1-grain Beeman Kodiaks. As powerful as this rifle is, it should handle them okay. They averaged 646 f.p.s., which means a muzzle energy of 19.46 foot-pounds. The spread for this heavyweight pellet was 12 f.p.s., ranging from 639 to 651 f.p.s.

You might wonder why I didn’t test the JSB Exact RS dome in this rifle since I did test it in the first rifle. The reason was the poor performance we saw in that first velocity test. I decided to switch to the Kodiaks rather than test a pellet that might not be suited to this powerplant.

Crosman SSP
The last pellet I tested was the 9.5-grain lead-free Crosman SSP pointed pellet. They averaged 1023 f.p.s. from the NP2, with a 55 f.p.s. spread that ranged from 992 f.p.s. to 1047 f.p.s. This is getting up close to the 1100 f.p.s. velocity that’s printed on the outside of the NP2 box. At the average velocity, this pellet generates 22.08 foot-pounds of energy.

Trigger
The trigger on this new test rifle feels very similar to the one I tested on the first rifle. The first stage is long and heavy, measuring 3 lbs., 6 oz. to stage 2. Stage 2 was breaking at over 6 lbs. out of the box, but I adjusted it to 4 lbs., 4 oz., which is exactly the same as the first trigger. This is a very good trigger for a sporting airgun — especially considering the price!

Evaluation thus far
This is more like the rifle I shot back in January. I think anyone would be happy with this one; and if they aren’t, then they should reconsider getting a gas-spring air rifle altogether. I sure hope this rifle is at least as accurate as the first one turned out to be.

Reminder from PyramydAir.com
Pyramyd Air’s marketing department wants to remind our blog readers that today (Mon. 6/30/14) is the last day you can enter their Son of a Gun Giveaway for the June prize, which is the Benjamin NP Limited rifle!

They’ve now started their 4th of July countdown of deals! There’s a special coupon that lets you combine a discount with their free shipping promotion and you’ll get double Bullseye Bucks. Plus, more deals are going to coming via email. If you’re not signed up to receive their email promos, go to Pyramyd Air’s home page and enter your email address in the space to the left of the word SUBSCRIBE.

50 thoughts on “Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2: Part 5

  1. BB
    I hate to say but I don’t think you mentioned if they still use plastic at the shroud. You know the piece that was cracked before. Is it good on this gun? Is it still plastic?


    • It really doesn’t make sense to use this material as a base for their moderation system which stands the likelihood of being twisted during cocking. Maybe I would understand it better in person.I’m still pullin’ for this gun, make your own luck!


      • Reb, The shroud on my Stoeger X20s is also plastic, it is pretty solid and actually feels good when you cock the barrel. As long as its designed well, the polymers do work well.
        Jim


        • Jim
          Whats funny about my x20s is you have to tap the muzzle of the barrel to get it to break open. They got it locking up hard. The HW50s breaks open by just grabbing the end of the barrel and starting your cocking motion and it cocks easier than the x20s.

          The x20 s seems to be a pretty sturdy design though.


    • GF1,

      I said in the report that I covered the DIFFERENCES between the two rifles. That means everything I didn’t mention is the same.

      Yes, the part is still plastic. And it is in perfect shape — just as the same part was on the first rifle.

      B.B.


      • BB
        Well that’s good to know.

        How is the gun to cock as far as breaking the detent when you first cock the gun. Do you have to give it a tap to open it. Or can you grab the muzzle and start applying pressure and it starts to move.

        You mentioned how they loosened up the side play but didn’t mention anything about how it breaks open.

        I guess I will have to get me one whenever they get back in stock. I’m still interested to see how it feels when they shoot.



          • BB
            That’s good then.

            And the last I looked I believe the PA site said they wont have any in until August. I really need to get my hands on one so I can see for myself. And I know BB that you are reporting what you see. But it just ain’t the same until I hold one in my own hands. Kind of hard to judge something without ever touching it. I hope maybe they will get them in sooner than they say.


    • Gunfun
      I got an e-mail from the company in Bulgaria this morning that I had ordered parts from, and it was not so good news. I can order from them if the order total is 2500.00 plus 400.00 for customs in either Miami or Chicago. So that order was cancelled, bummer. I asked if they had a distributor here or could give me a source for the parts here, but have not heard back yet. So much for that deal. just thought I would let you know.

      Buldawg


      • buldawg
        I was wondering how that worked out. I have always been kind of skeptical about ordering outside of the US. I’m sure there are good places over there to order from but you just never know.


        • Gunfun
          I have ordered from England before and from China, Hong Kong and Slovenia before thru e-bay with no troubles. But this was a first for Bulgaria, I thought it was to good of a deal for it to be possible. I had to try and still no word back about a source here. I will let you know’

          Buldawg


          • buldawg
            I have ordered my lipoly batteries for my RC planes from a warehouse over seas and they didn’t have very good tracking. Like a mystery the whole time I was waiting for it to arrive.

            But yep let me know.


            • Gunfun
              I have had the same issue with my overseas orders as far as tracking goes. I don’t like not knowing where it is, but I have always got my packages. Just don’t like being kept in the dark either.

              Buldawg



  2. Crosman states the NP2 has “all-new, enhanced Clean Break Trigger”, “Enhanced 2-stage trigger adjustable for take-up”, ”factory preset at five pounds”.

    Having studied the photos and descriptions, the CBT looks the same as the trigger assembly that has been around about 10 years as used in the Benjamin NPS, NPS Limited Edition, Remington/Crosman NPSS, Benjamin Legacy 1000 and Remington Genesis. The NP2 parts list and diagrams are not available yet and I don’t have a NP2 to inspect so I can’t be sure.

    From an old review, B.B. wrote “In rereading my report on the NPSS, I see that I praised the trigger for being so crisp. I actually guessed its pull weight to be a pound less than it really was, which was 3 lbs., 12 oz. And I also tried to adjust it…I turned the one and only adjustment screw three and one-half turns counter-clockwise… it now breaks with the exact same force–3 lbs., 12 oz. And yet I feel it is so much better…After it has been pulled through stage one, stage two only requires a few ounces of effort before it breaks. Or at least that’s what it feels like…this trigger is glass-crisp! If you want to feel what a glass rod feels like when it breaks, set the NPSS trigger up this way and try it.”

    From the NP2 review, “I said in Part 1 that the trigger-pull was creepy. So, I adjusted the single screw located behind the trigger. I unscrewed it about 2 full turns and the trigger became exactly like the one I tested at the SHOT Show. It now has a long first-stage pull that measures 3 lbs., 4 oz., then a crisp second stage that releases at 4 lbs., 4 oz. You can take up the first stage and just wait at stage 2 until you’re ready to fire. Then, just one pound more fires the gun. I really like this trigger!”

    Are these two reviews similar because it Is the same trigger or is the CBT “all-new”?


    • I had noticed the access hole in the trigger guard for what looks like an adjustable trigger, I didn’t know it had one. If this is the case, it sounds like Crosman is trying to shake their bad trigger reputation, which is a good thing.I sure do hope the trigger feels as good as that sounded!

      Reb



    • If it is the NPSS trigger, it may not be Rekord or T06 quality but it’s still a huge improvement over that Crosman/Gamo piece of junk that comes in the Crosman Chinese rifles. That trigger was unusable unless you were willing to break down the entire trigger assembly and sand and buff all the parts, then you had to add a longer adjustment screw.


  3. If they give it a better trigger and give it a more “classic” stock, preferably made of walnut, I might think about it. I would even be willing to pay more for that.

    I am sure for what Crosman puts out it is nice and it does sound like they are trying, but I sure wish they would introduce a premium line. Have their engineers sit down and design a trigger that is on the level of the Rekord or Air Arms. Find some nice wood and don’t waste it on these pistol grippy thingys.



      • I would not put a walnut stock on this air rifle. It has not shown me that it is worth the investment of such. This air rifle would need to have a better finish. This air rifle would need to have a better trigger.

        Also, I am not yet convinced that a gas spring is really worth it. If it was like the old Theoben gas springs that you could tune, I would like to have it, or at least the gas spring itself. Everybody is so hung up on numbers. My personal philosophy is “What good is 500+FPE if you can’t hit what you are shooting at?”

        Don’t get me wrong, Crosman has taken a step forward with the NP2. Who knows, one day they may even decide they want to sell airguns to the kind of people who buy HW or Diana or Air Arms or etc.


    • Crosman does have a premium line. It’s called Benjamin. ; – )

      Agree on the triggers completely…They put a great one in the $30 P17, you’d think a company that has been around as long as Crosman would have nailed it by now.


      • If Benjamin is their premium line, they are in really sad shape. They can do better than this if they apply themselves. The main problem is that they do not think they can sell an air rifle with a price tag of +600. The reality is there are quite a few guys out here that have air rifles that cost well over $1000. Their marketeers are hung up on catering to Wally World type companies. I don’t buy my airgun stuff from Wally World.


      • Dangerdongle,

        I have to disagree about Benjamin being Crosman’s premier line. By a big margin the best guns I have ever shot (and owned) by Crosman are the Crosman Silhouette and 1720T. None of their rifles(I have owned 5 of them) under either name can hold a candle to these pistols. Perhaps with the exception of the Challenger but I have never shot one of those.

        G&G


  4. BB,

    Interesting that the barrel moves freely after the gun has been cocked. Some people say that the pivot bolt should be tight enough that the barrel will not move by just its own weight but I prefer the barrel being able to move freely. It does not seem to hurt the accuracy in my R1; it will place five shots at 25 yards under .3″ c-t-c if I do my part.

    Since this second NP2 is producing much higher velocities than the first, I wonder if the first rifle has a bad piston seal or a weak gas spring. 21 ft lbs muzzle energy with a cocking effort under 30 pounds is quite an achievement. The accuracy test will be most interesting since the velocity difference alone can change the grouping of some pellets.

    Paul in Liberty County


    • Paul,
      I agree with your comment. I’ve replace stock plastic bushings with brass washers on several B19s, including a Crosman Quest. The best precision in shot groups was achieved by tighten up the barrel just to the point it will hold position, and then loosen it up slightly. Yes, opposite to what hear or see in videos. Therefore, 100% barrel tension is not required nor desired on the B19 platforms with brass washers. Never had luck at all with those stock plastic washers. Not sure if any of this applies to the NP2.

      BB,
      Good to see that you are having better results with the second NP2. It must be tough to try out a solid working demo model only to discover the production models are not up to task. Hopefully, Crosman will work this all out during their peak selling season. If it was me running the show, you would be one of the first to receive a pre-production model for testing. Consumers can be unforgiving.


      • TC,

        Crosman has had a huge change of personnel in their senior management positions. Those there now didn’t know who I am, other than I was involved with the Rogue. So they had to try something different.

        It’s a shame the launch hurt the rifle so much, but things like that do happen to every mass-produced product from time to time. What Crosman needs to do now is keep right on making them the right way and to hold steady. Eventually this will blow over.

        B.B.


        • BB
          From what I have seen at the machine shop that I have worked at for the last 30 something years. Management change usually ended up causing problems.

          At one point in time they had like 15 engineers and a secretary for a secretary. About the last 9 years finally has started moving more smoothly. We have the owner who is involved with engineering, and two other engineers. One person that over sees everything on the plant floor for both shifts. There is no lead person. Everybody is responsible for what they are supposed to do. If some thing needs fixed they get ahold of the Maintenance/techs on that shift and get it done.

          It does seem to work out better with less people involved now.

          But it is funny how when the new management came and tryed doing things without talking to the key players first that things just didn’t work out right.




  5. BB.
    This NP2 is turning out to be a hunter’s dream. Hope it does well in the accuracy test.
    Another gun pulled at random from the next batch that PA receives should tell us if the manufacturer made all the necessary corrections. Hint! Hint! I am setting you up for a third look at the NP2. LOL!

    Pete


    • Pete,

      I really don’t want to do that. I didn’t even want to do this second test, but people were insistent on all sides.

      I am reviewing airguns for average people. I’m not H.P. White Labs.

      The poor launch will no doubt continue to hurt the NP2, and nothing I ever say will change that. What Crosman needs now is several months of success with the gun, so they can gain some grassroots support for it.

      I will finish this test and then move on.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        I think that is the right thing to do. Unless Crosman makes some significant change to the rifle it is what it is after this test. The market will tell us anything else we need to know.

        G&G


  6. I think it’s great that Crosman sent you a perfect rifle for testing. It sets a bar. Every rifle sold will have to meet that bar or folks will feel a legitimate reason for trading their “lemon” for “good” one. They can keep doing this until someone makes sure they get the right rifle.

    B.B., Crosman ankle biters…turn of phrase made me laugh.

    Thanks for sticking with this airgun. I’m rooting for it.
    Rob


  7. B.B.,

    I don’t believe that the pillar bedding is new for Crosman. I’ve had three Titan GP’s and they aarll had that part in the stock. Just fyi…

    Mark N


    • Mark N.,

      Thanks for updating me. I don’t usually take these rifles out of their stocks, so this was the first one I saw.

      Why Crosman has overlooked such an important feature for so long remains a mystery.

      B.B.


    • I was going to say the same thing, the np limited I recently purchased had that same bedding apparatus. The trigger is very robust and simple, but couldn’t get the creep out. At least not with the normal goings over. I am waiting for an opportunity to buy a new one, and really think I might go with my initial instincts for the hatsan 135, whatevers next will be the first air rifle I plan to NOT modify, lol. Maybe next spring when all the kinks are out I’ll be up for the np2, right now the piston fail after all the work into the np limited has me cold to gas sprongers and room temp for crosman.


      • RDNA,

        You’ve been around here a long time so I am probably wasting my time but if triggers are an issue for your with springers I highly recommend the Rekord on HW/Beeman and the new T06 on Dianas. I have not shot anything close in less expensive airguns.

        There are aftermarket triggers that make a huge difference on some of these guns.

        Of the three Titan GP’s I have had the first was by far the best and it is VERY nice. Had to get a trigger for it ( Steve in NC type) but the shot cycle and accuracy are incredible. I bought the next two Titans thinking that if they were even CLOSE to what my first one was I would be so happy. But, alas, the next two were duds no matter what I tried. I sold one and will sell the other. I will always keep that first one though.

        I guess my point is if you get a good Crosman they can be REALLY good but it’s a crap shoot.

        My 1701P and Marauder are very nice too so maybe it’s a springer thing.

        Mark N


        • Sorry I wasn’t able to reply sooner, but yes I’ve noticed the same thing, sometimes they are easily smoothed out and while might still be heavy they can be very smooth, other times the creep just won’t let loose. The best trigger I’ve had was on the ruger blackhawk elite, 100$. All I did was put a hair shorter spring and smoothed the adjustment screw and its a match trigger. As far as i can imagine a match trigger should be, 2.5-3 lbs and not a hiccup. That was one reason I thought about the umarex octane, pretty similar but 22. I can’t get up over 200 or so $ right now, but German high end triggers are in my future somewhere!


  8. Thanks for reviewing another NP2 and showing the potential of the rifle. I don’t mind a little tweaking and DIY but did not want to consider the NP2 as a partially assembled kit. Has Crosman ever said anything more about the cracked cone/shroud? All they said to me was that they have not seen any cracked cones in the rifles that have been returned.

    I’ll probably get another one in a few months — after the smoke has cleared, some inventory used up and a few other purchasers have reviewed it.

    Any recommendations for a custom stock?


  9. It looks like the NP2 has a set screw to lock the Pivot Bolt. If so, loosen the set screw before attempting adjustment or the bolt’s head will be damaged. I learned this the hard way, D’oh!


  10. Wobbly barrel, apparently your first one was missing parts, had issues. That is the kind of quality I avoid. I want my guns to be built good and solid with a minimum of injection molded plastic especially around the barrel. I’m not quite sure how this could be called a quality airgun. I’d definitely list it as high price low quality. I need convincing that this gun is worth the money.



    • Well, it’s a different airgun. The NP2 is more powerful and the triggers are about the same with a slight edge going to the 34. Accuracy remains to be seen on this new rifle, but the 34 has the edge on the first one.

      The NP2 is lighter and easier to cock than the 34.

      That’s about it.

      B.B.


  11. (1)Pillar Bed:

    Metal screw head contacts
    Metal pillar contacts
    Metal action

    Pattern: Metal/Metal/Metal.

    This spacer-thingy has been around for decades on all manner of GAMO/Crosman guns, and the bottom of it presses on the wood stock.

    The compressable interface means it is NOT pillared.

    Yer welcome!

    (2) Not clear on why valid and abundantly deserved criticism of Crosman would cause you to denigrate the offerers of same as “Crosman ankle biters”. Is that really needed? Maybe they need their ankles bit. Maybe we all do, time to time.


  12. I ordered the camo model NP2 after reviewing the Umarex Octane,I also
    have the NP Trail and I’m happy with it even though it was compleatly made
    in China.My first Benjamin was the 150 Rocket Pistol shooting an 8gram co2 cyl.
    that was sent to me in New Jersey before they considered all air guns fire arms.
    I’m glad the NP2′S are made here and look forward to shooting it.
    I tried the PCP’S and I have three of them but I still don’t like the filling them with
    the foot pump and a compressor is to expensive.


    • Mike,

      The NP2 guns are not made in America. They’re built (or assembled) in America. There’s a distinct difference: made = they made the parts in the US; built/assembled = parts made in other countries & they put them together in the US (this is a very simplistic explanation for something that’s actually a bit more complex). In fact, I’d mistakenly written that they were made in America in the descriptions for the NP2 guns on Pyramyd Air’s site, but I was asked to change it to assembled in America.

      Edith


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