Posts Tagged ‘Benjamin Marauder’

Benjamin Marauder .22 repeater with synthetic stock: Part 5

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

Benjamin Marauder .177 caliber: 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 .177 caliber 50-yard test: Special part
Benjamin Marauder .22 repeater with synthetic stock: Part 4

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock
New Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock has all the features of the classic Marauder in a lighter, trimmer package.

Today, we’ll look at the Marauder’s accuracy at 50 yards. I had to wait a long time for a calm day at the range for this.

Clearing the air
Before I begin the report, though, I want to address something. The new Marauder — both the one with the synthetic stock and the one with the wood stock — are the same rifle in different stocks. The actions are identical. Crosman waited to bring out the wood-stocked model, but both rifles have the new set-back trigger and also the new valve and hammer depinger. Which brings me to my second comment.

Owners who have used the new Marauder seem to like it a lot. They praise it in their comments on the product page. But those who don’t own one are making comments such as, “Tom Gaylord said the new .22-caliber Marauder only gets 860 f.p.s. Where is the 1,000 feet per second that Crosman claims? And where are those extra shots?”

Let me make this very clear — Tom Gaylord DID NOT say that the new Marauder only gets 860 f.p.s. What Tom Gaylord did was test the new Marauder exactly as it came from the box. He discovered that his test rifle seems to like a 2,900 psi fill, instead of the 2,500 psi fill suggested in the owner’s manual.

Tom Gaylord shot his test rifle at 25 yards and showed you the accuracy the rifle got when filled to that pressure. Today, he is going to show you how well it does at 50 yards, and it will also be filled to 2,900 psi.

Don’t extrapolate!
This is a pet peeve of mine. When people read all the performance specs of an airgun, they lump them together as though the gun does all of them simultaneously. The new Marauder may very well get 12 percent more shots per fill because of the new valve. And it may very well shoot a .22-caliber pellet at 1,000 f.p.s. And it may also be very accurate. And very quiet. But don’t expect it to do all of that at the same time — just as you don’t expect a new Corvette to go 0-60 in 4 seconds and also get 21 miles per gallon. You get one or the other — not both at the same time.

I haven’t even adjusted the gun to see how fast it will shoot. And I haven’t played with the fill pressure, either. All I’ve done to this point is take the rifle out of the box, put a scope on it and test it for accuracy. During that testing, I’ve accomplished several things:

1. I know the best fill pressure of the test rifle as it stands right now — 2,900 psi
2. I know the most accurate pellets — 14.3-grain Crosman Premiers and Beeman Kodiaks.
3. I know that for top accuracy, I can count on getting 2 full magazine’s worth of shots on a fill — 20 shots.

Now, don’t go running around claiming that I just said the new Marauder only gets 20 accurate shots. What I said was for top accuracy I can count on getting 2 full magazine’s worth of shots. There are a lot more than 20 accurate shots in this rifle!

If you’ve been following this report, you know that I’ve eliminated several pellets during earlier testing. They didn’t hold up to the 2 I chose for this test. That’s not to say there aren’t other pellets that might outshoot these 2 — just that, of the pellets I’ve tested, these are the best.

Testing at 50 yards
The day was completely calm — perfect for this kind of test outdoors. I shot the rifle off a sandbag rest. The first group was with Crosman Premiers, the pellet that proved to be the most accurate at 25 yards.

Since I didn’t know when the wind might kick up, I went fast in this test. There were 2 other air rifles to test on this day, and one of them was the Double Disco that shoots the same velocity as the Marauder. I wanted to complete this test so I would have time for that one afterward. I also had an AirForce Escape to test; but given how powerful that rifle is and also given the heavy weight of the .25-caliber pellets I’d be shooting, I thought that one could endure a little breeze.

At 50 yards, 10 Premiers went into a group that measures 1.112 inches between centers. It’s a reasonably round group that has 7 of the 10 shots in 0.558 inches. There’s nothing wrong with that!

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock Premier group 50 yards
Ten Crosman Premier pellets went into a nice tight 1.112-inch group. Seven of the pellets are in 0.558 inches.

Beeman Kodiaks
Next, I shot a group of 10 Beeman Kodiaks. This was on the same fill as the Premiers. Again, I was going fast to finish before the wind kicked up, so I didn’t stop to adjust the scope. Ten Beeman Kodiak pellets went into 1.516 inches at 50 yards, with 9 of them making just 0.888 inches. As with the Premiers, this group was also reasonably round.

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock Beeman Kodiak group 50 yards
Ten Beeman Kodiaks made this 1.516-inch group group. Nine of them are in 0.888 inches.

Here comes the wind
When I finished the Kodiak group, the breeze was just starting to blow. I refilled the Marauder and tried one other test pellet that I’m evaluating for Pyramyd Air, but it didn’t do very well. So, I ended the test for the Marauder.

The new Marauder is very accurate. This test shows that clearly. As far as the absolute top velocity it can get or anything else, I still have to test that.

In my opinion, the new Marauder shoots as well as the old Marauder did. I do like the new synthetic stock for its slim profile and lighter weight; but as far as accuracy and quietness goes, I don’t see any difference between the new rifle and the old Marauder.

Benjamin Marauder .22 repeater with synthetic stock: Part 4

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

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

Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock
New Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock has all the features of the classic Marauder in a lighter, trimmer package.

Well, it’s certainly been a long time between reports on this rifle, hasn’t it? Today, we’ll begin looking at the accuracy of the .22-caliber Benjamin Marauder with the synthetic stock. Some of you have already asked me if I plan to also test the new wood-stocked Marauder that has the same new action as this one. I have no plans to test it because I feel this test encompasses everything on the rifle, except for the stock material.

I was particularly keen on testing this rifle because we had a couple new readers who had purchased this gun and were having accuracy problems with it. I wanted to pay closer attention to accuracy than normal. After all, this is a new action, even if the changes have been relatively minor. Also, this is the first .22-caliber Marauder I’ve tested. Since Crosman makes both the .177- and .22-caliber barrels and buys the .25-caliber barrels from Green Mountain, I feel it’s worthwhile to examine this rifle more closely.

Sight-in
I filled the rifle to 3,000 psi because we learned in Part 3 that it’s on the power curve with a 3,000 psi fill. Then, I fired a single shot from 12 feet to see if I was on paper. Following that, I backed up to 25 yards and refined my sight picture. Only the 14.3-grain Crosman Premiers went everywhere! I got them on target, but sometimes a pellet landed an inch away from the aim point.

What was happening?
This is what a couple readers had described, so I did what I advised them to do. I removed all the baffles (see Part 2 of the Synthetic Stock review for this) to see if the pellets were touching any of them. Since they’re just plastic, it would be obvious if a pellet nicked one; but there was no sign of this on close inspection. So, I assembled the baffles and closed the shroud again.

And the next 10 shots with Premiers were remarkable! They went into a group that measures 0.246 inches between centers. Right away I guessed what might be happening is that the rifle was smoothing out as the air pressure dropped. So, even though the power curve seems to support a 3,000 psi fill, the targets do not show the same thing.

Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock Premier Group 1
Ten Crosman Premiers in 0.246 inches is pretty conclusive! The new synthetic-stocked Marauder can shoot!

You can’t tell everything from just a single group — even a tight one like this. More testing was needed, but now I would be careful about the pressure level at which the groups were shot.

I tried many more pellets, but I’m not going to show all the groups. In all, I fired a total of ten 10-shot groups, making this test more exhaustive than my usual 25-yard accuracy test. I wanted to pin down this pressure-versus-accuracy correlation to see if it was real or imagined.

JSB Exact Jumbo
The 15.89-grain JSB Exact Jumbo pellet gave a very clear example of how the pressure affects the groups. The first group was fired from a fresh 3,000 psi fill and 10 pellets went into 1.131 inches. You can tell at a glance that the pellets are scattered around.

Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock JSB Exact Jumbo Group 1
On a fresh 3,000 psi fill, 10 JSB Exact Jumbos are scattered around in a 1.131-inch group.

The second group of the same JSB pellets was fired after the first group. By this point, the rifle’s internal pressure has dropped to the mid-2,000 psi point (2500 to 2600 psi). This group still isn’t a good one, but you can see that it’s tightening up. It measures 0.872 inches between centers.

Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock JSB Exact Jumbo Group 2
The second 10 JSB Exact Jumbos on the fill tightened up to 0.872 inches. Still not a good group, but better than the first.

On the third group of 10 shots (still on the same fill), the group really tightened up. These 10 went into 0.592 inches. That’s a good group, but maybe I don’t want to use this pellet in this rifle because it seems too fussy.

Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock JSB Exact Jumbo Group 3
The third 10 JSB Exact Jumbos on the fill tightened up to 0.592 inches. This is an acceptable 10-shot group for 25 yards.

No Predators, no Newboys!
I tried both Predator Polymag and Skenco Newboy Seniors, but both were too long to fit in the Marauder’s rotary magazine. If you want to use these pellets, you’ll need to use a single-shot tray; and since Crosman no longer makes them in .22, good luck finding one. Of course, you can load pellets without the tray, but it’s more difficult to align them with the breech.

I wondered how Premiers might do on the third batch of 10 shots after the fill. Ten pellets went into 0.496 inches. Not as tight as the second 10 after the fill, but still very good!

Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock Crosman Premier Group 2
The third batch of 10 Premiers after the fill went into 0.496 inches. This is a good 10-shot group for 25 yards.

JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy
The 18.1-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy pellets behaved much the same as the regular Jumbos, except the groups were tighter. The first 10 went into 0.653 inches; the second 10 went into 0.657 inches, and the third batch went into 0.591. All 3 groups are pretty close to one another; but in light of the Premiers and the Kodiaks we have yet to see, I don’t think they’re the best in this particular rifle.

Beeman Kodiaks
I was burned out when I got to the Beeman Kodiak pellets — 100+ shots is too much for a single session when every shot requires concentration. I didn’t mention shooting RWS Superdomes yet. I did shoot 1 group with them, and it was a bust at 0.83 inches. When I got to the Kodiaks, I wasn’t concentrating as well as I would have liked. And I shot this single group on a fresh 3,000 psi fill. I felt I could get away with that because of the weight of the 21-grain Kodiak pellet.

And I was right. Even though I was fading, 10 pellets still went into a tight round hole that measurtes 0.378 inches between centers! It’s the second-best group of the test and earns the Kodiak a spot in the 50-yard test, for sure!

Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock Beeman Kodiak Jumbo Group 1
Ten Beeman Kodiaks made this very round 0.378-inch group at 25 yards. What a nice finish to today’s shooting!

What I’ve learned
The first thing I learned from today’s test is that this particular rifle doesn’t seem to shoot as well on a fresh fill as it does on the second and third magazine of pellets. So, if you stop filling at 2,600 psi, you’ll get 20 good shots from the rifle and not waste any air. I also learned that Crosman Premiers are the miracle pellet in this rifle, just like they’ve always been.

That last group of Beeman Kodiaks has me thinking that Premiers and Kodiaks will battle it out at 50 yards for the overall accuracy championship. I know Premiers are aerodynamically excellent, but the Kodiaks look like a real challenger in this air rifle.

I need to comment on the noise, or lack of noise. This .22 caliber Marauder is extremely quiet. It’s more like a .177 than it is like a .25 in that respect.

I expected to have problems with accuracy when I encountered those wild shots during sight-in. But by hanging in there and shooting both the second 10 and the third 10, I learned that this rifle likes to push its pellet slower than most. I would have to live with the gun for a long time to learn all of its secrets, but the test rifle is a very accurate PCP that’s worthy of the Benjamin Marauder reputation.

I like the synthetic-stocked rifle, but in my opinion it is no better than the older model in the wood stock. I never minded the thickness of the old wood stock, so I’m just going on the performance of the gun at this point.

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.

Benjamin Marauder .22 repeater with synthetic stock: Part 3

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

Benjamin Marauder .177 caliber 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 with synthetic stock

New Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock has all the features of the classic Marauder in a lighter, trimmer package.

Today, we’re looking at the .22 Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock and establishing how it’s shooting over the chronograph. I said last time that I would test it at 2,500 psi; and if I got reasonable accuracy and shot count, I would go with that. But if any changes needed to be made, today is when they would be made.

I had no idea of what lay ahead of me! I began by loading 10 Crosman Premier pellets, which would be the standard pellet for the rifle. I knew going into this test that I wanted to shoot .22 Premiers at around 820-860 f.p.s. At 840, they produce 22.41 foot-pounds, which is a reasonable number for a middleweight .22 pellet in the Marauder.

Here are the first 20 shots, after which I will discuss my thoughts.

Shot–Vel.
1        899
2        903
3        900
4        899
5        895
6        893
7        885
8        887
9        885
10     886
11      879
12      875
13      867
14      866
15      859
16      858
17      851
18      851
19      842
20      839

My thoughts
Okay, a couple things jump out right away. At 900 f.p.s., this rifle is shooting way too fast for its power potential. And notice that after the first few shots, the velocity decreases steadily. That’s more like a Korean rifle that’s been set up for screaming power and no shot count! I’m proven correct when the velocity declines starting with the fifth shot. By shot 20, the rifle has lost about 60 f.p.s.

The rifle jammed twice during this run of shots. They were the first and second jams I’ve experienced with a Marauder in all the years I’ve been shooting them. I’ll keep an eye on this.

The rifle was shooting too fast to be of any practical use to me. So I took the action out of the stock and adjusted the power screw. Read Part 4 of this report or the owner’s manual to learn how this is done. The power screw was out 2.5 turns, so I adjusted it in a half turn, to 2 full turns. Then, I shot the next 20 shots.

Shot–Vel.
1       814
2       819
3       817
4       817
5       816
6       814
7       819
8       818
9       818
10     816
11     819
12     819
13     817
14     812
15     814
16     812
17     813
18     813
19     812
20    809

My thoughts
Now, the rifle is shooting a little slower than I’d like, but it’s very close. Note that there are a full 20 shots in this string. The maximum variation is only 10 f.p.s. I thought I could live with that, so I reinstalled the locking screw and turned it in. And that’s where a problem happened. When the locking screw touched the power adjustment screw, it also turned it in — all the way to the bottom. I removed the locking screw to confirm this.

So, I backed out the locking screw and then backed out the power screw 2 turns. The next 3 shots were faster than the previous string of shots.

Shot–Vel.
1 832
2 827
3 826

Also, there was a jam during the firing of this string. Time to stop and assess where things are.

My thoughts
The rifle was not performing like a Marauder. It jammed and wasn’t adjusting the way I expected it to. Could there be even more things that I needed to check? What would happen if I filled the rifle to 3,000 psi, instead of the 2,500 psi recommended in the manual?

3,000 psi fill
With the adjustment screw left exactly where it was, I installed the locking screw but didn’t tighten it once it connected with the adjustment screw. Now, I was ready to test the rifle on a 3,000 psi fill.

Shot–Vel.
1       861
2       863
3       863
4       865
5       862
6       863
7       861
8       858
9       859
10     859
11     863
12     857
13     863
14     859
15     860
16     861
17     861
18     860
19     858
20     856
21     858
22     852*
23     826
24     847
25     842

*Last useful shot

Okay, this rifle was not set up for 2,500 psi at all! It was set up for 3,000 psi. And the way it now shoots is exactly what I want. There are 2 full magazines per 3,000 psi fill, and they will average around 860 f.p.s. I’m going to forget about the 2,500 psi fill because the rifle is giving me what I want at 3,000.

There was another jam when I ran this string, making 4 jams in all during this test. Clearly, this magazine may have to be adjusted or replaced.

Trigger
I like the way the trigger is adjusted. I can feel some movement in stage two, but it’s light and repeatable.

Discharge sound
This .22-caliber Marauder is more like a .177 than a .25. It’s very quiet. Maybe that’s the new silencer design at work. I don’t know. Whatever it is, I like it.

Summary
This test was a surprise to me. I was so certain that this Marauder would be just like the others I’ve tested; but as you can see, it isn’t. That leads me to wonder if there are other surprises in store for me down the road.

The jamming magazine is the first encounter I’ve had with a bad Marauder magazine. That’s actually good because it forces me to go through the same steps that a new buyer might have to go through for a similar problem.

I probably cut through some of the tuning problems quicker than a first-time buyer would because I’ve tested so many other new airguns. When the results you’re getting aren’t what you expect, It’s time to do some experimenting. I’m referring to my filling the gun to 3,000 psi after the second shot string.

What’s next?
I’ll try to fix the magazine, which seems to need more spring tension. I’m also going to order a spare, just in case. Next time, I’ll begin testing the accuracy at 25 yards. Testing with other types of pellets will occur at a later date, but we’ve waited long enough to see how this new Marauder shoots…so that’s next.

Benjamin Marauder .22 repeater with synthetic stock: Part 2

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

Benjamin Marauder .177 caliber 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 synthetic stock

New Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock has all the features of the classic Marauder in a lighter, trimmer package.

Today is our second look at the .22-caliber Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock. We have a new log reader who goes by the handle AirrifleRatHunter, and he just bought a synthetic Marauder and it’s his first PCP, so I want to help him with his rifle.

Baffled?
ARH said his rifle wasn’t as accurate as he thought it should be. We found that he was using substandard pellets and corrected that, but I also mentioned to him that the baffles inside the shroud could be involved. He asked me what baffles are, so I’m now showing them to everyone. The test Marauder has 7 Delrin washers (the baffles) that are shaped to strip away the compressed air behind the pellet once it leaves the rifle’s muzzle, which is buried deep within the shroud. I’ve laid out these parts for you to see how they work. If the pellet were to touch one of these baffles as it passes through, it would destroy accuracy.

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock baffles
Here you see all the baffles that are held inside the shroud under spring tension, so they don’t rattle around.

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock baffle detail
Looking at a single baffle shows that the compressed air that’s behind the pellet gets stripped to the sides by the shape of the baffle (on the left) as the pellet passes through its center. This happens 7 times in succession before the pellet leaves the gun. The end cap that pushes the baffles against the coiled spring at the back has an o-ring to keep the air from escaping around its threads.

One other accuracy tip is to ensure that the shroud is not touching the forward barrel band on any side. Mine was touching on one side when I got the rifle, so I loosened the 2 set screws on the bottom of the band and repositioned it.

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock front barrel band
I have repositioned the front barrel band so it clears the barrel shroud around its entire circumference.

Today is setup day, where I will adjust the rifle to suit myself. The first thing I did was select a scope and mounts. Marauders have a low receiver, which means you need to select a higher scope mount if the objective bell of your scope is a large one. I chose a Leapers UTG 4-16X50 scope with illuminated reticle, but mine is an older model than the one I linked to. Nevertheless, it’s a big scope with a large objective bell that needs height to clear the barrel shroud.

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock with scope mounted
See how close the objective lens comes to the barrel shroud — despite my using high mounts? Also note that the magazine needs clearance, so the scope mount must be 2-piece.

You have to either use a 2-piece mount or a cantilever 1-piece mount that will clear the magazine sticking up above the receiver, so keep that in mind when looking at mounts. I chose BKL one-inch mounts with double straps that are high enough for the gun and scope combination. The double straps mean that you don’t need to worry about the torque sequence when you tighten the screws in the scope caps because each strap is independent.

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock scope cap detail
These clever BKL scope caps relieve you of the need to follow a torque procedure when tightening the cap screws.

Adjust the cheekpiece
Usually, I have to just adapt to whatever gun I’m testing because most of them don’t have any ergonomic features. But the new Marauder synthetic stock does have an adjustable cheekpiece. I was able to raise it up so my eye in in line with the scope’s exit pupil when I shoulder the rifle normally. What a convenience that is!

The new trigger
The Marauder’s trigger has been moved back in the receiver by about one-half inch, which brings the blade closer to the pistol grip. The result is a nicer feeling when you hold the rifle because your hand doesn’t have to stretch to reach the trigger. I never noticed it until I shouldered the new rifle the first time, but it certainly feels much better now.

Moving the trigger back meant that several internal trigger parts had to be redesigned. In essence, this trigger is the same one that’s always been on the Marauder, but there are small differences inside. So, the next thing I did was adjust the trigger.

To properly adjust the trigger, you remove the action from the stock. It’s only necessary to remove one stock screw for this, and the action comes right out.

As the rifle came from the box it had a heavy first stage pull of 2 lbs., 6 oz. This can be reduced by adjusting a screw counterclockwise to take tension off the trigger return spring. When I backed the screw out entirely so no spring tension remained, the first-stage pull dropped to just under 11 oz., so there’s another spring inside the trigger group that also helps return the trigger blade.

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock trigger adjustment screws
The large round screw at the left adjusts the trigger-pull weight. Behind the trigger blade the two small screws adjust the first- and second-stage pull length. And the screw behind those 2 allows for slight repositioning of the trigger blade.

I put the adjustment screw back in the hole and tightened it just enough to keep it from falling out. That raised the first-stage pull to just over 14 oz., which is fine for a sporting rifle; but I must note that it’s heavier than the triggers in the other 2 Marauders I’ve tested. They both break at 11 oz., and this one has a first-stage pull greater than that.

Next, I adjusted the first-stage pull a little shorter, and the second-stage pull to start sooner. Those were 2 separate adjustments; but each affects the other, so the manual tells you to do them together. The owner’s manual also warns you that these screws adjust the amount of sear contact, so go slow and be careful to not get the trigger to the point that it won’t hold the sear or will only hold it dangerously close to firing. After making these adjustments, I assembled the action in the stock once more and cocked the rifle. Then, I bumped it hard from several directions, and the sear did not slip off and fire.

Before the adjustment, the rifle fired at 3 lbs., 4 oz. That’s pretty good for an air rifle trigger, given the lawyerly influences in companies these days; but a Marauder is not an average air rifle. After adjustment, it fired at 1 lb., 7 oz. but still had a bit of creep in stage 2, so I adjusted the stage-2 screw one last time. This time, I didn’t take the action out of the stock. The small Allen wrench used on these 2 screws (a .050-inch wrench is used for both stage-1 and stage-2 screws) is small enough to reach through the triggerguard and fit into the socket of the screw.

The final adjustment took another half-ounce off the pull and eliminated most of the creep. I wouldn’t call this trigger glass-crisp…but the way it’s adjusted now, it’s quite good!

Now the rifle is set up for me. Next, I’ll shoot it for velocity and decide whether to leave the fill limit at the factory-set 2,500 psi or increase it for more shots. And I may adjust the velocity, depending on what I find.

Benjamin Marauder .22 repeater with synthetic stock: Part 1

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

Benjamin Marauder .177 caliber 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 synthetic stock
New Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock has all the features of the classic Marauder in a lighter, trimmer package.

Sometimes, I get a rifle that I’ve waited a long time to test, and today begins a report on one of them. The Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock has been on my mind since I first saw it at the SHOT Show back in January. In the intervening 11 months, I had forgotten a few things that struck me about this rifle when I first saw it. The first was how light and trim it feels. Compared to a wood-stocked Marauder this rifle is a pound lighter, at just over 7 lbs. But with the lightness comes a much slimmer stock profile, so it fits the hands better, too. It’s the kind of air rifle that makes me smile just to pick it up! The rifle I am testing is serial number 013121147.

You’ve noticed there are a lot of links at the beginning of this report. I’ve linked to all the other reports made on the Benjamin Marauder in this recent series. I did those other reports on the .177- and .25-caliber Marauders specifically so I could look at this new rifle in .22 caliber. Not only are we going to look at what’s new with the Marauder, we’re also going to have a complete set of reviews for all calibers in one place.

What’s new?
Those who’ve been following the Marauder reports are no doubt familiar with the general characteristics and features of the Marauder. Most of these have not changed. The rifle is a 10-shot bolt-action repeater (8 shots in .25 caliber). There used to be an optional single-shot tray for all 3 calibers, so you could remove the magazine and load each pellet separately, but Crosman has dropped that option for the .22 and .25 calibers. They retain it for the .177 caliber because that’s the only one suitable for field target and field target shooters like to load each shot separately.

The rifle is adjustable for both power and for the maximum fill pressure (from 2,000 psi to 3,000 psi) and a hang tag that comes attached to the trigger guard tells you the factory has set the fill pressure of your rifle to 2,500 psi. The owner’s manual tells you how to adjust both the fill pressure level and the rifle’s power, plus I did a very detailed report on both things a while back. Part 4 of the .177 report deals with adjusting the rifle’s power and Part 7 of the .177 report deals with adjusting the maximum fill pressure of the rifle. The new rifle I’m looking at operates in exactly the same way, and nothing has changed as far as those adjustments are concerned.

Another noteworthy feature the Marauder has is the adjustable trigger. It’s a dream trigger that can be adjusted very finely to almost whatever a shooter wants. The new Marauder also offers an adjustable trigger, but it’s slightly changed from the older one. I’ve examined the isometric illustration of the new trigger in the manual and can see very little difference in the internal parts, so I doubt the feel and function has changed that much; but I do plan on doing a trigger adjustment on the test rifle, so we’ll all know. Until that report, then, let’s assume the trigger is just as good as it’s always been, which — on the Marauder — is very good, indeed!

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock trigger
The trigger on the new rifle is very similar to the old trigger, but some internal parts have changed. The biggest noticeable change, though, is the squared-off triggerguard.

The trigger blade has moved backward in the stock, so your fingers reach it more readily. I think that gives the stock a more welcoming feel when you shoulder the rifle, though it doesn’t pop out at you. That movement was the reason some of the internal trigger parts had to be modified.

The safety is manual — just like the safety on the old Marauder. Pull it back to put it on — push forward to take it off. It’s light and smooth and can be operated by the trigger finger, alone.

One thing that’s obviously changed is the stock. The rifle I’m testing has a black synthetic stock with an adjustable cheekpiece. The sculpting of this stock is perfect for the shooter, in my opinion. The pistol grip fits my hand very well without being too fat; and the forearm just in front of the triggerguard is very thin, making a perfect place for the off hand to rest. The forearm then swells out a little further forward; so, if you hold your rifle like a deer hunter, there’s more meat to grab on to. But even that part is sculpted to fit the fingers and thumb of your hand, making a rifle stock that grips you as much as you grip it.

I intend adjusting that cheekpiece to suit whatever scope I mount on the rifle. How enjoyable to have a rifle that doesn’t need any adaptation or compromise when held — one that just fits me the moment I pick it up. I think Part 2 of this report will be devoted to setting up the rifle — the stock, the scope and the trigger adjustment.

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock adjustable cheekpiece
The cheekpiece adjusts up and down, and can be set to match whatever scope you mount on the rifle.

The bolt is now ambidextrous! Lefties can now have the bolt handle on their side of the action. Making this switch requires some disassembly of the action, and Crosman recommends sending the rifle to an approved service station like Pyramyd Air for the switch. So, if this is something you want, think about it when you order the rifle and get the work done before the gun is shipped.

Crosman touts some changes to the rifle’s valve that offer a 12 percent increase in available power and a 30 percent increase in the shot count. I guess I’m going to have to make those adjustments to find out how effective they are. I doubt that we’ll see both a power increase and a shot count increase at the same time, though. That’s just the way compressed air works.

Crosman also says there’s a factory installed de-pinger that quiets the striker fall. You don’t notice that noise on most guns, but the Marauder is so quiet that secondary noises start to be heard. My ears are pretty well worn, but I’ll see if I can detect anything for you.

.22 caliber
The test rifle is .22 caliber. Of all the Marauders I’ve shot, I’ve never tested a .22, so this will be a big thrill for me. I always thought that .22 was an ideal caliber for this rifle, given the power potential. I intend on testing it at 25 and 50 yards, just like I did the other 2 calibers. The choked barrel is 20 inches long and encased in a baffled shroud that quiets the gun’s report to almost noting. I did note that the .25-caliber Marauder was just slightly louder than the .177, so I’ll report on this one when the shooting starts.

Next time
That’s it for our first look. Next time, I’ll adjust the rifle to fit me, adjust the trigger and mount a scope. After that, I’ll check the velocity and then we’ll get to the accuracy testing, which I’m really looking forward to. Stay tuned!

What’s for Christmas? Part 1

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

I know the Christmas holiday is a long way off, but this year it comes upon us faster than usual. Thanksgiving will be very late this year (November 28), and since that day traditionally kicks off the Christmas shopping season, many people will be jammed because of too little time left. So, I’m starting my Christmas shopping blog a couple weeks early.

Stocking stuffers/small, neat gifts

Things in this category are gifts that don’t cost a lot but will have great meaning to airgunners. Some of them are things that shooters won’t buy for themselves.

Leapers UTG pellet & BB trapLeapers UTG pellet & BB trap
The Leapers UTG pellet & BB trap is the best trap for BBs, and it also works for lower-velocity pellet guns. I used to tout Crosman’s model 850 pellet/BB trap. Well, they removed it from the market and replaced it with a model 852 trap that they say is only good for pellets. There doesn’t seem to be much difference between the Leapers and Crosman traps, except the Leapers trap is a few dollars more. How’s that for a switch?

But Leapers does recommend their trap for BBs, plus they sell replacement ballistic curtains for just a few dollars for the inevitable time when you shoot through them.

I’ve been using a Leapers trap for the past 4 months, and I do plan on reporting on it; but if you want the absolute best BB/pellet trap you can get, this is it!

Winchester Airgun Target Cube for BBs and pellets
For about half the money the Leapers trap costs, the Winchester Airgun Target Cube for BBs and pellets is a good BB trap that also works for pellets. I’ve reported on this trap in many reports on BB guns and even for some pellet guns. My trap now has several thousand shots in it, and the styrofoam is starting to flake off when hit, but it’s still useable.

The beauty of this trap is that it’s completely quiet. So, you get the same response as though you are shooting at an Air Venturi Quiet Pellet Trap, but at a greatly reduced price. The trap can take hits up to higher velocities because it has a steel plate embedded inside, but I recommend using it for lower-velocity BB guns and pellet guns.

Gamo squirrel field target
As long as we’re looking at things to shoot at, don’t forget the Gamo squirrel field target. This is a fine field target for low-powered airguns that prodiuce less than 12 foot-pounds of energy. It gives you something to shoot at in the yard, and the kill-zone reducers allow you to change the target as your shooting improves.

I don’t recommend this target for a club or for match use, but for informal field target practice it is perfect. It costs half of what a stronger field target costs.

Gifts under $50

This category is for those gifts that cost a little more but still represent a wonderful value to most airgunners.

Beeman P17 air pistolBeeman P17
My first pick is the Beeman P17 pistol. This single-stroke pneumatic air pistol is accurate, has a wonderful trigger and is quiet enough for shooting inside the home. Some find pumping it a little hard, so consider that; and there are reports that some guns have pump problems that allow the compressed air to leak out. I haven’t run into one that had a problem yet, but there’s a simple fix all over the internet, so don’t let that dissuade you.

S&W M&P 45 BB and pellet pistol
The S&W M&P pistol is a great buy for under $50. It’s a BB pistol I’ve reviewed and found to be an exceptional value. It’s accurate for a BB pistol, and it looks and feels like the firearm it copies. And it also shoots pellets! What a great buy for so little money! [Note from B.B.: This pistol was below $50 when this report was written and edited, but the price increased before it was published. I left it here because it's such a nice gun, but it now costs over $50.]

Colt Defender BB pistol
I found the Colt Defender BB pistol to be a wonderful BB pistol when I reviewed it.

Gifts under $100

Let’s look at some gifts for under $100. These are things airgunners probably want but may not remember to ask for — so you need to ask them.

Champion Heavy Duty trap
The Champion Heavy-Duty trap should be an essential part of every airgunner’s equipment. They will only need one of these, and it’ll last for the rest of their lives. My own trap is close to 20 years old and must have half a million shots on it, but it still works like new! It can take rounds from a .22 long rifle and still not dent or blemish, so you know no smallbore air rifle can possibly hurt it.

Crosman 1077
The Crosman 1077 CO2 rifle is Crosman’s homage to the Ruger 1022. And, like that famous rimfire, the 1077 has become a classic in its own right. It’s a fun plinker, and the stiff double-action trigger (this rifle is really a revolver) lightens and smooths with use. It’s also surprisingly accurate — way beyond what the price indicates.

Umarex Morph 3XUmarex Morph 3X CO2 gun
The Umarex Morph 3X CO2 gun isn’t for everyone; but if your shooter likes gadgets, it might be for him. It gets its name from the way it changes from a BB pistol to a BB carbine. It also has adjustable power that compliments the barrel length options. Just seeing what it can be made to do will occupy a lot of time.

Umarex Steel Storm
If your shooter likes full-auto, consider giving him the Umarex Steel Storm. Although it’s a pistol and doesn’t have a shoulder stock, the Steel Storm is quite accurate with BBs in the semiautomatic mode. It’s a very affordable BB automatic, although it’s limited to 6-round bursts in full-auto.

Gifts a little over $100

Instead of giving you a list with price breaks from zero to infinity, I’m doing this in a more rational way. This is the way people shop — or at least they should shop. There are a couple items for a little over $100 that make wonderful gifts, but they don’t belong in an under $300 category. You’ll see what I mean when you look at them.

Dan Wesson BB revolverDan Wesson BB revolver
I really enjoyed testing the Dan Wesson BB revolver. It’s a CO2 revolver that functions just like the firearm it copies. They come in barrel lengths of 2-1/2 inches, 4 inches, 6 inches and the one I like the best — the 8-inch barrel. Loading is very realistic, and the accuracy is quite good. Read about it here.

Air Venturi Bronco
You knew I had to put the Air Venturi Bronco on the list. For $130, it’s the best value you can find in a spring-piston airgun. The stocks are now stained a darker brown color, so those who didn’t like the blonde stock will now get their wish. It’s great for older youth as well as adults. A wonderful all-day plinker!

EBOS CO2 BB gun
If your shooter wants a full-auto BB gun, I think the Electronic Burst of Steel (EBOS) from Umarex has no equal. It’s accurate, powerful, reliable and everything works as it should. Yes, it’s over $100, but it’s worth it! You can read about it here.

Gifts under $300

This category is much harder to pick for because so much personal taste is involved. But this is my blog, so I get to pick ‘em!

Diana RWS 34P
I really like the Diana 34P imported by RWS USA. I don’t care for the 34P Compact because the shorter barrel makes it harder to cock. I like the standard 34P. I also dislike its fiberoptic sights, but most people will scope their rifle, so that doesn’t really matter.

Diana has made vast improvements in the model 34 over the years, and I think it has evolved into the best value for the money. If you want power and accuracy at a bargain price, the Diana 34P is for you. If you want a wood stock, get the regular Diana 34. It’s still under $300.

Benjamin Discovery + hand pumpBenjamin Discovery
The best deal around in a precharged rifle has got to be the Benjamin Discovery. It also requires a way to put pressurized air into the gun, and that can be either a hand pump or a scuba tank, so this gift may also entail additional items for your shooter. It’s a big decision, but the Discovery is really the easiest way to get into precharged airguns. And if you do decide to get a Discovery, know that there is a package deal that includes both the rifle and hand pump at a significant savings. Of course it takes you out of the under $300 category.

Gifts without limit

I’m not going to list the most expensive things here. I’m just going to list the few things that I would recommend that are more than $300.

Beeman P1 pistolBeeman P1 pistol
For your handgunner, I recommend the Beeman P1 pistol. This spring-piston pistol is a wonderful target gun for everything short of full-blown 10-meter competition. It features 2 power levels and a wonderfully adjustable trigger. At the time of publication, this pistol is selling for $460.

Benjamin Marauder
Then we come to the Benjamin Marauder precharged air rifle. It comes in .177, .22 and .25 calibers. It’s very quiet, has a wonderfully adjustable trigger, is quite accurate and has more adjustability than many European air rifles costing over a thousand dollars. As this is published, the Marauder sells for $470, which has to be the best PCP value around.

AirForce Talon SS
The Talon SS from AirForce Airguns is a stunningly accurate PCP that allows the user to change calibers as well as barrel lengths in minutes. It isn’t one rifle — it’s a whole shooting system! It was the first PCP to use a shroud to reduce the muzzle report, and it was one of the first to offer adjustable power. This is the kind of airgun a shooter joins with in a serious way because it can be so many different things. At the time of publication, the Talon SS retailed for $575.

Air Arms TX200 Mark III
The last gift I will put on today’s list is the always-popular Air Arms TX200 Mark III. It would be difficult to think of a finer gift for an airgunner. Even the inveterate PCP owner needs one of these, just to know how high the spring-piston bar can be raised. Beazer — feel free to chime in, being a new TX200 owner and all.

Now that I’ve given you my list, I expect to hear from you on those things I failed to mention. I’ll come back and do a second list in a week or so, and I’ll consider all that you say. There are gifts I intentionally left off this report, but I also want to hear what you guys think.

Remember, the 2013 Christmas season will be brief because of how late Thanksgiving is this year. No matter if you’re a gift-giver or a hopeful gift recipient, the time to act is right now. And if you thought of buying one of the last Sheridan Blue Streaks (because Crosman has stopped making them), the opportunity is quickly disappearing. Pyramyd Air is sold out at present but will get a final shipment of this venerable multi-pump around Dec. 6. If you want one, pre-order it. Cause once they’re in stock, they’ll vaporize pretty quickly.

NEW: Dan Wesson pellet revolvers!
Dan Wesson pellet revolvers

You wanted Dan Wesson revolvers that could shoot pellets, so we ordered them. Six-shot pellet shooters that so closely copy the firearm, you'll be stunned by the realism. An excellent way to hone trigger control and maintain accuracy with your firearm -- without range fees, expensive ammo or leaving your house. Pre-order yours now. Get it. Shoot it. Love it!

Ka-BOOM!
Airburst MegaBoom reactive targets

Airburst MegaBoom bases transform ordinary plastic soda & water bottles into booming targets that deliver up to 150 decibels when punctured. Get the base and charge your own plastic bottles or get the MegaBoom bottles filled with BoomDust that mists like smoke when the bottle is punctured. Low-pressure air pump and blast guard accessories also available. A real blast!

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