Posts Tagged ‘JSB Exact Monster pellets’

TX200 Mark III: Part 13

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

TX 200 Mark III new rifle
Brand new TX200 Mark III. It’s very similar to my TX; but the checkering is different, and the line of the forearm is more scalloped.

I didn’t plan on this test, but a big goof made during the last test of the red dot sight on the Air Arms TX200 Mark III forced me to rerun the test. The dot sight I used wasn’t anchored and was loose on the rifle at the end of the test. As long as I’m doing this again, I decided to make some lemonade. So, I’m going to show you a quick tip I use to anchor a scope or other optical sight when the mounts I choose have no stop pin built in. I may have covered this in the past, but bear with me as this is important to today’s test.

I want to get this test completed to clear the TX200 Mark III for the next test of the See All Open Sight. It turns out that the See All folks knew all about the problems their sight has with straight-line rifles like the M4, and they cover it in their FAQ section on their website. I didn’t read the FAQs before testing the sight; I just read the owner’s manual, so I missed that. But I thought you should know that they’re aware of the problem.

A quick fix to the scope stop situation
I often have to improvise things, and scope stops can give me problems. Since I have 25+ scopes on as many rifles, with a few extras sitting in the cabinet waiting to be mounted, I often run into a situation where the mounts that fit the scope I want to use (as well as the airgun I’m testing) don’t have the right stops. If the rifle has vertical scope stop holes like those on the TX200, the problem is solved by this quick tip.

The pictures show everything, but here’s what’s happening. A recoil pin is selected to fit in one of the rifle’s vertical scope stop holes. It doesn’t need to be attached to the scope mount — just dropped into the hole. Once it’s in the hole, slide the mount against it and tighten down the mount. As the rifle recoils, the mount tries to slide back, but that only jams it harder against the stop pin.

TX 200 Mark III quick scope stop pin
I used a real scope stop pin, but anything this size will work.

TX 200 Mark III quick scope stop pin in hole
Drop the pin into the vertical scope stop hole on top of the rifle. Yes, this is upside down on purpose. It fits the hole better that way.

TX 200 Mark III mount butted against scope stop pin

Slide the scope mount against the pin and tighten down the mounts. As the rifle recoils, it will just try to slide back and wedge against the pin tighter, so there will be no movement. The UTG Weaver-to-11mm adapter can be seen at the bottom of the mount. It’s the dark thing jammed against the pin.

Now that the fix is in place, we can begin the test. Since the red dot sight was off the rifle, I need to sight-in again. Hopefully, the sight will be pretty close this time! All shooting was from 25 yards with the rifle rested directly on a sandbag.

It took 3 shots to get on target this time. The sight was farther off than I expected.

Baracuda Match
The first pellet I tried was the H&N Baracuda Match. They did well in the last test when the sight wasn’t well anchored, so I figured they would continue to do well today. And they did. Ten shots went into 0.753 inches, and 9 of those went into 0.477 inches. That group is very round and uniform.

TX 200 Mark III Baracuda Match group
Ten in 0.753 inches and 9 in 0.477 inches. The H&N Baracuda Match pellets shot well using a dot sight.

JSB Exact RS
Next up were JSB Exact RS domes. At just 7.33 grains, they’re very light for a rifle having this much power. But they sometimes give surprising accuracy. Not in the TX200, however. The group was open and was the largest of the 4 pellets I tested. Ten RS pellets went into 1.071 inches at 25 yards.

TX 200 Mark III JSB Exact RS group
Ten in 1.071 inches at 25 yards. The JSB Exact RS dome is obviously not the right pellet for the TX200 Mark III.

Crosman Premier 7.9 grains
Then, I tried a group with the Crosman Premier lite. Ten went into 0.641 inches, with 9 making a 0.397-inch group. So, this light pellet that I didn’t know could shoot in the big TX turned in the second best group of the day — besting the Baracuda Match pellets!

TX 200 Mark III Premier lite group
Ten in 0.641 inches at 25 yards, and 9 in 0.397 inches. This is a great group!

Crosman Premier heavy
The last pellet I tried was the 10.5-grain Crosman Premier heavy. I expected them to beat the Premier lites, and that’s how it turned out. Though the group appears larger than the Premier lite group, it isn’t. Ten heavys went into 0.583 inches at 25 yards and this time there were no fliers. The group is elongated but has no one pellet apart from the group.

TX 200 Mark III Premier heavy group
Ten Premier heavys went into 0.583-inches at 25 yards, with no stragglers. This was the best group of the day!

This test was conducted correctly, with the red dot sight anchored firmly to the rifle. I inspected the mounts after the shooting was finished, and the scope stop pin is still holding the rear scope mount firmly. These groups are representative of what I can do with a dot sight on a TX200. But how do they compare with the same rifle when it’s scoped?

With Baracuda Match pellets, the scoped rifle put 10 into 0.417 inches at 25 yards, while the same rifle and pellet made a 10-shot group measuring 0.753 inches with a dot sight. With Premier heavy pellets, the scoped rifle put 10 into 0.333 inches, while the same rifle and pellet made a 0.583-inch 10-shot group using a red dot sight. Clearly, the scoped rifle is more accurate than the same rifle with the red dot, although it’s still very accurate with the dot sight.

The question now is what will happen when I mount the See All Open Sight on this airgun? Can the groups be as small as those made by the red dot sight? Can they be smaller? We’ll find out next week.

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.

TX200 Mark III: Part 12

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11

TX 200 Mark III new rifle
Brand new TX200 Mark III. It’s very similar to my older TX, but the checkering is different and the line of the forearm is more scalloped.

Today, I’ll use the new Air Arms TX200 Mark III to test how a red dot sight works on a precision air rifle. This test was requested more than a year ago by blog reader Mannish in Mumbai.

Going into the test, I thought about the recent test of how high and low scope magnifications affect accuracy on the same air rifle. That test was suggested by blog reader duskwight from Moscow; and not only did I test the premise (in Part 11), he also tested it with a special guest blog. Both of us discovered that the magnification has no bearing on accuracy, and duskwight’s test was skewed toward favoring the lower-powered magnification!

I’m shooting the new TX200 Mark III with a Tasco Pro Point 30 red dot sight. The sight does not magnify the target at all; so, in essence, I’m shooting with open sights. I chose 25 yards indoors for the test, feeling that was enough range to show the trend. From the past testing of this rifle, I selected the H&N Baracuda Match pellet because I thought that it had demonstrated the best grouping at 25 yards. It was only after the test was completed that I discovered I’d selected the results of the other TX200 that’s my personal rifle. Oh, well! I do make mistakes from time to time.

Baracudas are still very accurate pellets in a TX200, and today’s test was not invalidated by their use. When you see the results I got, you’ll agree that this test is valid.

Dot sights in general
A dot sight is one that projects a red light in the center of the lens on the inside of the sight. No light leaves the sight, so this is not the same as a laser. Only the shooter sees the dot.

The dot is adjusted to shoot the pellet to the place you want it to go. The adjustments are the same as for a scope, but there’s no erector tube involved. Think of the dot as the intersection of the crosshairs. Canting the rifle is still possible and has the same affect. And, on a quality sight like this one, the brightness of the dot can be varied. That’s important because, as the dot grows brighter, it also appears to grow larger — covering more of the target. You want to cover as little of the target as possible, while still being able to clearly see the dot in the light you have. The Tasco Pro Point has a rheostat with 11 different brightness settings.

I adjusted the setting to No. 8, which gave me a dot I could see, yet was smaller than the black bull on the 10-meter pistol target I was using. I found that using the dot was the reverse of using a precision target aperture sight with an aperture front insert. There, you encircle the bull with the front aperture — with the dot you place the red dot inside the black bull, so the black encircles the red. Once I figured this out, I was satisfied that I could aim with precision.

The first shot was fired from 12 feet and landed at 6 o’clock, just below the bull. I was on paper, so it was safe to move back to 25 yards, where I fired a second shot. This one landed at about the same height as the first, but 2 inches to the right. I adjusted the sight up and to the left (the adjustments work just like the ones on a scope) and shot again. The third shot landed more to the left but was too high. The sight was adjusted again and the next shot nicked the 10-ring of the bull, so sight-in was completed.

I fired 9 more shots with this sight setting and never once looked through the spotting scope. The rifle was rested on a sandbag because we’ve learned the TX200 does very well that way. With each shot, I paid particular attention to centering the red dot inside the black bull. That was easy to do because I had the dot sized perfectly against the bull. But on shot 7, I noticed that the sandbag had moved forward by several inches, so the rifle wasn’t always resting at the same spot. I would correct that when I shot the second group.

When the group was finished I walked down to the trap to change targets. The first time I saw the group was when I entered my garage and saw one ragged hole! Holy cow! I did it! The dot sight is incredibly accurate!

TX 200 Mark III new rifle sight-in target and group
Here’s the first target. You can see how the pellets landed during the sight-in, plus you can see that first 10-shot group!

TX 200 Mark III new rifle first group
Ten H&N Baracuda Match pellets made this 0.619-inch group at 25 yards using a red dot sight.

While this group looks very good, it’s almost double the size of the 0.336-inch group I shot from my own rifle at 25 yards with this same pellet while using a scope. So, it does appear that using no magnification has opened the group just a little. The next group would tell for sure.

Back I went to 25 yards to fire a second group. This time, I paid attention to the exact spot that the rifle was rested on the bag, and I was also careful to center the dot every time. I really thought this group would be smaller than the first. When I walked down to see it, however, it was not only clearly larger — at 1.177 inches between centers — but it was also very horizontal. The first group had been vertical, if anything. I wondered what had happened.

TX 200 Mark III new rifle second group
Ten H&N Baracuda Match pellets made this very horizontal 1.177-inch group at 25 yards. This is clearly not as good as the first group, plus what’s with that flier on the right? There were no pulled shots in this string!

The first group had satisfied me that the dot sight was accurate. Perhaps I was losing concentration by the second group, which really wasn’t that many shots. Only 24 shots in all had been fired. And why had the rifle thrown a shot wide to the right like that? It was almost as if the sight was loose or something.

Oh, no!

That was when I remembered that I had done nothing about installing a vertical scope stop with this dot sight! I preach about scope mount slippage all the time to you readers, but apparently I can’t be bothered to do it right myself.

Sure enough, an examination of the mounts revealed they had slipped backwards on the rifle by 2 full inches! The Tasco mounts are 11mm; but being made for firearms, they have no provisions for a vertical scope stop, and so the inevitable had occurred. Naturally, I didn’t discover this until the range was completely knocked down and put away.

TX 200 Mark III new rifle mount slippage
All that work for nothing because I didn’t use a scope stop. The rear mount is only on the rifle by about a quarter inch! No amount of clamping pressure, alone, can hold a scope mount or this dot sight mount from moving, unless you’re using BKL mounts.

TX 200 Mark III new rifle mount slippage detail
This enlargement makes the rear mount easier to see. It’s almost off the rifle!

I don’t think this is so bad. After all, the rifle and sight turned in a good performance, even when the mount was not locked down. Imagine what it might do if it was solid.

What do I do?
There’s only one thing to do — rerun this test. I will install a vertical scope stop next time, and I’ll show you how easy that is to do. Then, I’ll shoot the same pellets at the same distance, and we’ll see exactly what a red dot sight can do. Since this was supposed to be the final test of the new TX200 Mark III, it seems I have a reprieve. I can’t argue with that!

TX200 Mark III: Part 11

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10

TX 200 Mark III new rifleBrand new TX200 Mark III. It’s very similar to my TX; but the checkering is different, and the line of the forearm is more scalloped.

Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the Air Arms TX200 Mark III at 50 yards. I can tell you that I learned a lot from this test. But that will all be summarized as we go. Let’s get started!

I shot the new TX directly off the same sandbag that was used at 25 yards. As you remember, I showed (after much coaxing from you readers!) that the TX shoots as well or better when rested directly on sandbags as it does with an artillery hold. The bag was crossways to the rifle, so the contact with the stock was minimized.

The day was perfect for the test. Not a breath of wind the entire time I was on the line!

The rifle is mounted with the AirForce 4-16X50 scope, which was selected so I could conduct another test for reader Duskwight after the regular test was completed. This scope is clear and sharp; and at 50 yards, I was able to bisect the small bullseyes with the reticle.

The rifle was still zeroed for 25 yards, so it had to be adjusted for 50 yards before anything else could happen. The first shot landed 3-1/4 inches low and 1-1/2 inches to the left. It then took another 2 shots before I was reasonable on the target. Then, I fired the first group with H&N Baracuda Match pellets. Ten landed in a group measuring 1.562 inches. It’s a fairly round group, but not as small as I would like from this rifle. So, I switched pellets.

TX 200 Mark III new rifle 50-yard target HN Baracuda Match
Ten H&N Baracuda Match pellets made this 1.562-inch group. It’s a bit large for a TX200.

JSB Exact Monsters
Next I tried some JSB Exact Monsters, which weigh 13.4 grains in .177 caliber. They went all over the place. When I went dowrange to retrieve the target, I saw that they were tumbling or yawing. They must be too heavy for the velocity the TX is able to generate.

Crosman Premier heavy
The third pellet I tried was the Crosman Premier heavy. I meant to bring Crosman Premier lites, but I grabbed the wrong box when loading up for the range. Fortunately, the heavy pellet was wonderful! Ten of them gave me a group that measured 0.658 inches between centers — or about as good as a top-flight PCP can do at the same distance! This is phenomenal accuracy for any air rifle at 50 yards!

TX 200 Mark III new rifle 50-yard target Crosman Premier heavy
Ten Crosman Premier heavies went into a tight 0.658-inch group at 50 yards. This one is a screamer!

First lesson learned
The new TX200 Mark III is every bit as accurate as my TX that’s well broken-in. No accuracy has been lost over the years, and the rifle can shoot this well right out of the box!

With lesson one under my belt, I adjusted the scope to lower the point of impact and moved to the next bull. The first shot landed where the last group was, then the pellets moved to the new sight adjustment.

Second lesson learned
Some scopes have stiction. After adjusting them, it’s best to shoot a couple shots to vibrate the reticle to its new location. I knew that, but made the mistake anyway. So, I’ve included the first shot, along with the group, to show you what it looks like. If this group had been as small as the one before, that first shot would really stand out. But I lost my concentration on this one and wasn’t holding the rifle as softly as I might have. This group of 10 measures 1.435 inches between centers, which isn’t that far from the first group of H&N Baracudas!

TX-200 Mark III new rifle 50 yard target Crosman Premier heavy group 2
The second group of Premier heavies opened to 1.435 inches. That’s more than double the size of the first group! Top hole to the left of the pellet was the first shot, which I disregarded, after the scope was adjusted.

Third lesson learned
While a rifle may be capable of shooting 10-shot 50-yard groups smaller than one inch, it may not do it every time! That small group may represent what the rifle is capable of, but not what it will always do.

Special test
Duskwight, our blog reader from Moscow, asked me to test the difference between a rifle shot with a low-power scope and the same rifle shot with a high-power scope. In other words, does magnification improve a rifle’s ability to group?

Well, common sense tells us that it does. Right? I mean, surely, if you’re able to parse the target to a finer degree, you must be able to group your shots closer together. Right? That’s what this test will determine.

That’s why I used a 4-16x scope on this rifle. I’d been shooting with 16x to this point, so now I dialed the power back to 4x and shot another group.

Wow! At 4x, the intersection of the crosshairs almost completely covers the small bullseye at 50 yards. As I shoot, I’m almost certain how this test is going to turn out. And it does. Ten shots on 4x with the same Premier heavy pellets landed in 2.208 inches. Looks like I was right about what low magnification would do.

TX-200 Mark III new rifle 50 yard target Crosman Premier heavy group 3
The third group of Premier heavies — shot with the scope set to 4x — was 2.208 inches between centers at 50 yards. That’s quite a difference from the previous group, even though that group was already admittedly large.

But something nagged me about this group. I knew in my heart that I’d not given the rifle my best. I knew this group was going to be bigger than the last one while I was shooting it, so I was even sloppier with my hold.

It probably sounds like I need medication to suppress my dual personalities while at the range, but I assure you I’m not talking to myself — at least not loud enough for others to hear. What I’m doing is a little soul searching while I’m still out at the range and have the time to do something about it.

I adjusted the scope back to 16x and shot another 50-yard group. This time, I did everything the way I should have. The hold was completely relaxed. I fully expected to be rewarded with another of those sub-inch groups, but that didn’t happen. This time, I shot a 10-shot group measuring 1.935 inches between centers. Oh, well! I was probably tiring out from all the concentration.

TX-200 Mark III new rifle 50 yard target Crosman Premier heavy group 4
Ten shots at 50 yards with the scope set to 16x netted this 1.935-inch group.

Fourth lesson learned
Sometimes, you just can’t will the results to happen the way you would like. I put my whole heart into this group, and this is what I got. Maybe that’s what it feels like to be 66, dried-out and ready for the old-folks home!

Fifth lesson learned
I called that first great group of Premiers a screamer. Now you see why that is.

Nevertheless, I owed it to Duskwight to try the rifle on low scope magnification one more time, and this time to do my very best. So I did. This time, 10 pellets went into a group that measures 1.481 inches between centers. That’s right, it’s SMALLER than the group shot on 16 power! I noticed that the bull was just visible behind the crosshairs; and if I really tried, I could hold on the target in exactly the same way every time. Apparently, I did, because this group fired on 4x is smaller than the previous group that was fired on 16x.

TX-200 Mark III new rifle 50 yard target Crosman Premier heavy group 5
Ten shots at 50 yards with the scope set to 4x made this 1.481-inch group.

Sixth lesson learned
Although it isn’t conclusive, it looks like you can shoot just as accurately on low scope magnification as you can on high magnification if you take the time to do things right.

Seventh lesson learned
Looking at both groups fired on 16x and both groups fired on 4x, it sure looks like the point of impact never changed! Some of you have asked about that in the past. The design of the scope determines whether the impact point will move when the scope’s power is changed, but these days a lot of variable scopes stay right where they were when the power’s adjusted.

Eighth lesson learned
Of the five groups fired with Premier heavy pellets on this day, only one is smaller than one inch. And it’s significantly smaller! When you see those great groups in the future, you must ask yourselves what the rest of the groups look like.

Ninth lesson learned
I may be old and dried-out, but I can still shoot — a little. I get tired as the shot count increases, so that needs to be factored in to my tests from now on.

I’m very pleased with what this new TX200 Mark III has done so far. I think the rumors that the TX quality may have slipped are just that — rumors! Individual guns may have problems; but overall, the TX200 is one fine air rifle. Next, I plan on mounting a red dot sight and testing it for accuracy, again, to see what the differences are.

Benjamin Marauder PCP .177-caliber air rifle: Part 3

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

Part 1
Part 2
Secrets of loading the Benjamin Marauder magazine

Benjamin Marauder
Benjamin Marauder

Today, I’ll begin a look at accuracy for the Benjamin Marauder precharged pneumatic air rifle. If the Marauder was a normal PCP, this would be one quick report, but it isn’t. The owner has the ability to change not only the rifle’s power, but also the fill pressure the reservoir will accept. That makes testing a Marauder potentially complex if you want to try everything, and we certainly do want to do that here. So, today will just be a first look at potential accuracy, after which I’ll determine the shot count the rifle now gets with the best pellet, and then tune it to a preselected optimum range and test it again to see if the shot count increases. Neat, huh?

I know I’m going to shoot this rifle a lot, so I selected one of the best scopes I have — a CenterPoint 8-32x with parallax adjustment. The scope I chose is an old one from the time when Centerpoint was having Leapers make all their scopes. It’s no longer available, but a close equivalent would be this UTG scope.

Where to begin the test
Oh, boy, where do I start? I thought it would be good to test a number of premium pellets and try to find 1 or 2 that stand out for accuracy. Then, I’ll concentrate on those pellets, which will help me focus on what has to be done.

I shot at 25 yards indoors because that’s the distance at which things start to happen. If a pellet is going to be accurate, 25 yards is usually far enough for it to stand out.

This is one time where 5-shot groups come in handy. I decided to shoot all the pellets I’d selected in 5-shot groups and see if 1 or more of them stood out as exceptionally accurate. Five-shot groups save time, pellets and air; and when you’re faced with testing 8 different pellets, as I was, it makes a big difference.

If there was no favorite pellet, I would just have to pick a couple pellets and proceed to work with them. But as it turned out, this rifle does have a favorite. When I show you how much better it is than the others, you will probably say what my wife, Edith said when she saw the groups. She couldn’t believe that 1 pellet was so much better than all the rest, and exclaimed, “Woohoo,” involuntarily.

Marauder’s noise level
But before I get to that, when I walked into her office to show her the groups, Edith asked me what airgun I was testing because she couldn’t hear it. She thought it was some low-powered air pistol. And our female cat, who normally runs around the house complaining whenever I shoot, slept through the whole session. As it stands right now, the Marauder I’m testing is about as loud as a politician volunteering to do something proactive in a non-election year.

Pellets tested
I selected the following pellets to test:

Crosman Premier 10.5-grain
Crosman Premier 7.9-grain
JSB Exact Heavy (10.34 grain)
JSB Exact RS
RWS Superdome
Beeman Kodiak
JSB Exact Monster
JSB Exact Express

I did sight-in the rifle, but not so it would hit the center of the target because that would destroy the aim point. Nevertheless, a couple pellets did do just that. Fortunately, it was at the end of the 5 shots and no harm was done.

Average groups
The Marauder is accurate no matter what pellets it shoots. It’s better with some pellets than others. Take a look at some of the 5-shot groups.

Benjamin Marauder 5 shots 25 tards Superdomes
Five RWS Superdomes made this 0.528-inch group at 25 yards.

Benjamin Marauder 5 shots 25 tards JSB Exact Heavy
Five 10.3-grain JSB Exact Heavys made this 0.376-inch group at 25 yards. It’s better than the Superdomes, but still not great.

Benjamin Marauder 5 shots 25 tards JSB Exact Monster
Five JSB Exact Monsters made this 0.316-inch group at 25 yards. It’s the second-best 5-shot group of the test.

Okay, I could live with the JSB Monster group, and there were a couple other pellets worthy of further examination if that was the best the Marauder was going to do. But it wasn’t. When I shot 5 Crosman Premier lites, the whole test changed.

Benjamin Marauder 5 shots 25 tards Crosman Premier lite
Five Crosman Premier lites made this 0.139-inch group at 25 yards. It is hands-down the best 5-shot group of the test.

It should be obvious that Crosman Premier lites are the best pellet of those tested. On the basis of the 5-shot group, they’re twice as accurate as the next best pellet. Now, it was time to shoot a 10-shot group with them and see where that took us.

Benjamin Marauder 10 shots 25 tards Crosman Premier lite
Ten Crosman Premier lites made this 0.285-inch group at 25 yards. This is exactly what I was looking for.

Obviously the 5-shot group was no fluke. This rifle really likes this pellet.

What’s next?
Where do we go from here? First, I’m going to fill the rifle again to 3,000 psi and shoot nothing but Premier lites to determine the total shot count with the gun as it’s currently tuned. You may remember that we found this rifle was tuned to the max when we did the velocity test in Part 2. While that high speed obviously doesn’t hurt the accuracy of the Premier lite pellet, wouldn’t it be nice to get several extra shots from a fill and keep the same accuracy? The rifle currently shoots Premier lites at an average 1,015 f.p.s., and I think an average 900 f.p.s. will be just as good. That’s where I’ll be adjusting the rifle. Several of you have asked how the power is adjusted on the Marauder, so this will give me the opportunity to show how it’s done.

Then, I’ll count the total number of shots at that new velocity, and we’ll see what reducing the velocity gains, if anything. I’ll also test the accuracy at the new lower velocity to see if the rifle is still just as accurate.

After that, I plan to adjust the maximum fill pressure of the rifle. I’ll experiment with the rifle operating at a lower fill pressure while still getting the same velocity. This will be at the new velocity of around 900 f.p.s. We’ll see what benefits there are to having a lower fill pressure.

I do plan on shooting the Marauder at 50 yards, too, but that will come after all the adjustments have been made and evaluated. By then, we should know the test rifle very well and be able to tune it for the best performance. There’s a lot more in store for this rifle!

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