Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2: Part 6

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

This report covers:

• Rifle was set up
• The hold
• Accuracy
• A hunter’s rifle
• Comparison with the first rifle

Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2
Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2

This is accuracy day with the second Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 rifle — the one Crosman sent especially for this test. We’ve already seen how this second rifle exceeds the power of the first one, so today we’ll see what impact that has on accuracy. As with the first rifle, I’ll shoot 14.3-grain Crosman Premier pellets exclusively in this test.

Rifle was set up
When I unboxed the scope, I found the rings already installed in the correct location, meaning I could install them directly on the rifle. That proves this rifle has been tested and set up before I received it. The scope went on quickly, and I found it was very close to being sighted-in; but the inability to focus the target as close as 25 yards was a hinderance to aiming. I estimate my groups were a quarter-inch larger than they needed to be because I couldn’t see well enough to put the crosshairs on an exact spot. The scope arrived set at 4X, which indicates the rifle was tested at 10 meters or yards before it was sent. At 25 yards, I wanted to see the bull more clearly, so I adjusted it to 9X. But as I said, the focus was off because the scope is parallax-adjusted for a longer distance.

The hold
I refined the sight setting and proceeded to test the hold I thought would do best — based on results from the first rifle’s test. I also tried several other holds and hand placements, establishing one thing for certain. The NP2 wants to be held firmly. Do not use the artillery hold. Instead, I found it best to slide my off hand out to almost the end of the stock and grip the forearm firmly. I can feel the forearm screw holds on the tips of my thumb and fingers, so I know my hand is in the same place every time. Any hold that wasn’t firm allowed pellets to rise vertically. I fired probably 30 shots testing just the different holds and pressures.

Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 Artillery hold group
When I used the classic artillery hold, this is what I got at 25 yards — every time! They’re all in line but off vertically. The NP2 wants to be held firmly.

Accuracy
I then shot three 10-shot groups using the factory scope. The best of them measures 1.104 inches between centers, and the worst measures 1.168 inches. I really tried to do well, but the blurriness of the target did cause my aim to be off.

Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 best factory scope group
The best 25-yard group using the factory scope and the best hold measures 1.104 inches between centers. No, I didn’t get the images mixed up. This group is slightly smaller than the one below.

Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 worst factory scope group
The worst group with the factory scope isn’t much different than the best. Ten Premiers went into 1.168 inches at 25 yards.

I felt the factory scope was hindering my best efforts, so I swapped it for an older CenterPoint 3-9X40 with an adjustable objective. This scope is one CenterPoint no longer carries. It’s a simple scope without an illuminated reticle; and other than the larger objective lens and the AO, it’s close to the scope that came with the rifle.

I allowed a day to pass between the first shooting session and the second because too much concentration makes me lose my edge. The next day, I shot another four 10-shot groups, plus some more sighters to get the scope shooting where I wanted. On this second day, my groups ranged from 0.895 inches between centers to 1.483 inches. I learned as I went, refining the hold that seems to be critical with the NP2. The worst group, for example, came when I experimented with the firmness of the offhand grip.

By the end of the session, I knew what this rifle wants — a firm hold of the off hand as far out on the forearm as you can comfortably hold and a firm hold of the pistol grip. Pull the butt into your shoulder firmly. This is not a death grip — just a firm hold, and it seems to be what the NP2 wants.

Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 best new scope group
The best group with the second scope measures 0.895 inches between centers at 25 yards. The second-best group was almost the same size as this.

Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 worst new scope group
The worst group with the second scope measures 1.483 inches between centers at 25 yards. I was experimenting with the firmness of my grasp during this group.

I’m not through with this rifle, yet. Each one of my second-session groups contains a large cluster of shots that are very close, then some strays that wander off — usually down, but not always. I think I’m close to understanding what this rifle wants, but I’m not there yet. I think it needs a very repeatable offhand grasping pressure. I’ll give it one more session and also shoot some different pellets next time — to see if I have been missing anything by shooting Crosman Premiers exclusively.

A hunter’s rifle
I have seen rifles like the NP2 before. They take some getting used to, but they reward the shooter with incredible accuracy once their secrets are learned. They’re rifles for hunters who use only a single rifle for all their needs. For the price this air rifle costs, I don’t think you can get one that’s any better.

Comparison with the first rifle
The first NP2 also took getting used to; but when I did, it gave me a best 25-yard group of 0.704 inches at 25 yards. So far, this rifle has given a best of 0.895 inches. Both rifles seem to want to do better, but I haven’t discovered quite how, just yet.

55 thoughts on “Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2: Part 6

  1. I have five PCP guns and I don’t use
    them as much as I should because of the
    hand pumping I am thinking of now getting
    an air tank so I’ll get more use out of them.
    I did it again”I am on the wait list for the
    Benjamin NP2 which I’ll try for small game this year
    since air hunting is now legal in Florida.
    PS” Is Benjamin still going to introduce the
    scissor pump at any time soon.



    • Mike,
      You harvested any snakes yet? Is there a bounty on them too or just Snakeheads? Any game may be taken with an appropriate airgun? Just curious.

      Reb


      • Hi Reb” Not yet,So far only Rabbits and Squirrels to date.
        are allowed to be hunted,No power was mentioned.
        Last year 1,800 hunters only took 20 Pythons in the
        Glades.No bounty and now we have the Nile Python
        if they meet it is said a super snake will develop
        They are destroying the native game even Gators.
        It’s too hot now for anything.



      • NNJM,

        Forgive me, but I can’t resist: I believe the Butterfly Pump has quietly fluttered away for good!

        Michael


        • Actually, I have some solid information on the MAV77 and the Benjamin Turbo Aire Hand Pump. I just now found the announcements “hidden” in published Crosman marketing materials. I don’t know when the MAV77 was first announced, but the pump was announced in both January and February of 2012.

          Both appear in Crosman’s official 2013 product catalogue:

          http://www.scribd.com/doc/137948004/Crosman-Corporation-s-2013-Product-Catalog

          Both are described as “Discontinued” in Crosman’s official August 2013 price list:

          http://www.a-s-i.co.uk/Documents/2013%20August%20Retail%20Prices/2013%20Crosman%20Retail.pdf

          So Crosman publicly, albeit quietly, pulled the plug on both products by August of last year.

          I’m going to run detailed photos and diagrams that I’ve collected onlione by the machinists I teach with. Maybe one of their students can make me one as a class project, with my contributing the price of materials. As long as it is for my personal use and was not sold to anyone, it should not be a Patent infringement.

          Michael


          • Oh, I should add that duplication of the device would almost certainly be Patent infringement. It would absolutely HAVE to be a one-off thing.

            The more I look at the photographs, however, the more difficult and expensive the whole thing looks.

            Oh well.

            Michael


          • I just checked the Crosman website, and the Turbo Aire Hand Pump is no longer there, “Coming Soon!” or otherwise.

            No joy in Mudville.

            Michael


  2. With my ability diminished to the point it is right now, I’d be very proud of being able to put 10 rounds outta any of my guns unto one of those little clusters, let alone a new one. I turned the holiday weekend into a 3 day shootoff. Been down 2 now, exhausted. I already suspect this gun to be a bit big for me, If I do get one it will be a while, the challenges too great for now.
    I think I got the nephew to the point that he remembers he has a BB gun again. I wanna get him one of those Cubes that stops BB’s.I’m pretty sure B.B. is testing one right now for indoor shooting but can’t recall what it is(think that started when I was in the hospital),too many BB’s bounced back way too hard off the stump I’ve grown accustomed to using as a backstop for pellets. I devised a clamshell of Chinet plates that worked fairly well in a pinch but he wants to get “closer to the middle” of the target so this means closer to the target(I don’t guess 6 year olds rest BB guns)I’ll go see if I can find it now.

    Reb


  3. Hi Tom
    Looking at that vertical string grouping it reminded me of exactly the same phenomenon which happened to me with a refurbished FWB 124. Someone on another forum suggests the lockup was not consistent. I fixed that by working on the new breech seal which was a bit on the thick side. After the fix I got 15mm groups at 30m.(with brand new internals) Is it maybe possible that the Benjamin can have the same problem. That stronger hold on a springer just do not make sense, but there happens sometimes funny things in this game.

    Regards
    Deon


  4. Oh by the way, the new season of American Airgunner started last Friday. How many others missed the season premier. Not much fanfare, eh?



    • I like the American Airgunner show. But, they should get rid of the airgunner challenge. It seems kind of boring compared to the other segments.

      Mike


      • I think they did, but I still don’t think BB is impressed with how the show is going. He hasn’t mentioned it hardly at all. I knew the season had started because I was channel surfing Friday night and happened to turn it on right at the end of the show. The marketeers are doing a pretty poor job of advertising.



          • Edith,that’s too bad because B.B. is one of the best attributes of the show. His enthusiasm shines through, and he is by far the best part of the round table discussions.


    • RR
      I got it recorded on my Hopper, pretty cool about the AAFTA out shooting at target in the field just like if you were hunting. Man did they have some unique and fancy setups for air guns. If yall missed it you can see it by signing into YOU TUBE thru the PA site.

      Buldawg


  5. I wonder if this rifle would be more consistent if shot offhand with a sling.
    Also, I’ve always wondered if there is a right and wrong place to situate rings on a scope.


  6. My Trail NP1 is a permanent fixture in my arsenal, even with its spongy trigger. I’ve had other springers come and go. I was enticed by the release of the NP2 but I guess I’ll stick with “Ol spongy”.



      • No, I just got used to it. I was going to get a charliedatuna setup, but then I played with some other springers, and eventually started building my crosman custom PCP. After polishing that trigger group and using moly lube, I realize that I’ll never get ‘ol spongy to that level. After a few shots, I remember how to shoot the NP1 trigger, so no big deal.


  7. BB, the centerpoint 3-9×40 is the scope that I have . My home ranges are 10 m . I have the same problem that you described when trying to use the higher powers. REB, what are chinet plates? Ed


  8. B.B.
    Looking at the vertical string grouping, I would have to agree with another reader that this looks like a typical Crosman lockup issue. I had this same problem with my Nitro Venom. If you get time I would like to you to try a quick 2 shot test with this rifle. First shot, close the barrel up with some extra force ( a little more than normal )… 2nd shot close the barrel with as little amount of force as possible. I bet you will see almost or more than a 1″ vertical distance. This is exactly why I hate the crossbar and chisel lockup on Crosmans. They need to go back to the old 2 chisel design and use stronger springs with better tolerances on the locking wedge. I bet you can also wiggle that wedge side to side while the barrel is broke open. Makes me wonder how it can ever lock up to the same spot twice.


  9. Hi B.B
    Where is the part that you wrote about the piston damper for the np2? I read it and thought why o why not in a coil spring gun… but cant find it again in this entire series… and I cant find the show report. Please point me in the right direction


  10. BB
    What do you think the gun should group at?

    I guess I should look also before I ask this question but I’m running out of time. What kind of groups were you able to get with the original Np1 guns?

    I know that Np XL .25 cal. gun I had was a hand full to try to get to shoot consistent. And I was thinking maybe that was because of the caliber. I had to hold it firm also to get it to shoot half way decent. Maybe that’s just the nature of a Np gun though.

    And one more question for you BB. Will you be coming back to the part 2 of the 2240 conversion soon? I’m just going to say one word about mine because I don’t want to spoil your results when you report about yours. Excellent.


    • GF1,

      I think the NP2 should put 10 pellets into a half-inch at 25 yards, or something thereabouts. The others I tested were not as accurate as this one, I don’t believe. Except for the Benjamin Legacy and the Crosman Titan GP Nitro Piston (Lower Velocity).

      I never wrote about the Legacy (gas spring version) because I went to the hospital suddenly in 2010 and when I came out several months later the gun was out of production. It was replaced by the Crosman Titan GP Nitro Piston (Lower Velocity) that I did blog. It looks like that rifle got about the same accuracy as the NP2 I am testing now.

      http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2010/11/crosman-titangp-nitro-piston-lower-velocity-part-3/

      B.B.


      • BB
        So maybe this higher powered Np2 actually feels like your shooting a lowered powered Np gun then. Would that be a way to describe the recoil?



          • BB
            So that maybe means you would see less side to side variation without the vibration being there. And more up and down variation because of the jolt when you shoot.

            I think its going to be all about the hold. When you get it dailed in I think the gun will perform.


  11. B.B.

    By the way it coincided the way that I may be able to test different holds on D-470 tomorrow and see if the new rule works for every “new thumbhole magnum”. If lucky, I’ll report on that.

    Bought today SFWA SS 16×42 scope. If I didn’t knew it’s Japanese, I’d say it’s Soviet. Clicks like AK bolt (force and sound), looks like a child of a lead pipe and small tank. Magnification adjustment is for weaklings, so there’s none, weight is for strong ones. I love this approach. Hope it will live log and work well on my shillelagh.

    duskwight


    • duskwight,

      Yep! If my hold works on your rifle, I would say we are onto something.

      I shot a 91/30 Mosin Nagant today. I was getting a baseline with open sights so when I mount the Leapers scout scope on it we will have a basis for comparison.

      B.B.


  12. BB,

    You might try a barrel weight or muzzle brake to dampen out or change the barrel harmonics and see if that settles down the vertical stringing and hold pickiness of this NP2. I had to put a muzzle break on the .22 barrel of my HW90 to settle it out. A barrel weight (redneck) also helped with my .22 634.

    /Dave


  13. BB, maybe your pulling down to much, expecting the muzzle to jump up when you fire, giving you that very nice vertical line. Or maybe the barrel lockup like others have said. Or maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about. I have been through that with my gas piston when trying to find a hold, I hold far out the stock as well and a sturdy grip with my trigger hand with some shoulder pressure. It definetly takes some getting use to but it’s my daily shooter and doesn’t take long to get back into the habits I need for that rifle. I still think this rifle will be worth the money if Crosman works everything out. By the way since someone mentioned it, what is the real story with the Mav77?, didn’t someone say it here that it was never i n production because the prototypes were so bad? Thanks again, Ricka



    • Sal,

      Why? I don’t know. I just know that it does. Has to do with harmonics in some way.

      Remember — a TX 200 can be rested directly on a sandbag, so there are exceptions to the general rule.

      B.B.




  14. BB,

    First, thank you so much for all of the testing and reporting that you do. Your reviews have been very helpful with a number of airgun/ammo purchases. I’m just getting [back] into airguns after about a 30 year hiatus. Unfortunately, I’ve quickly become addicted.

    My latest craving is for a gas spring break barrel. I’m looking at either the NP2 in this test or the Octane, in .22 cal. I would mostly be shooting paper targets between 25 – 100yds, hopefully using non-lead ammo if the velocities don’t break the sound barrel. I care more about accuracy than velocity. [My ideal setup would be a .22 Marauder, but funds won't allow this at this point] Which of these 2 guns would you recommend based on your experience?

    Thanks!


  15. Hmmm… that report/info changes my mind on these gas springers . I may end up waiting and saving up for the Marauder.

    Thanks for your help, BB.


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