Posts Tagged ‘pellet’

Benjamin Marauder, .25 caliber – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


It’s powerful. It’s accurate. It’s quiet, and it performs just like a PCP costing twice the price. The Benjamin Marauder in .25 caliber is an American-made marvel!

You know that dream where you remember at the end of the semester that you signed up for a course that you forgot to attend, and the final exam is today? And you just walked out the front door without your keys and the door locked behind you? And you’re in your underwear? And you live on Main Street? Well, something similar really happened to me!

Two years ago, I spent some time in the hospital, and the best-laid plans….Actually, my buddy, Mac, drove out from Maryland and spent a week testing airguns and taking pictures to help Edith and me keep the blog going. When he left, Mac left me with a pile of targets and photos that I continued to use to write blogs for two weeks after I was finally discharged but still not back on my feet.

Mac did test the .25-caliber Benjamin Marauder for accuracy and left me with the test targets, but in the post-hospital confusion I threw them out! Then, when I recovered enough to finish the report and discovered I’d disposed of the targets, I looked for the .25-caliber Marauder so I could finish the test. But couldn’t find it. I figured Edith might have returned it while I was out of action.

However, last week I was packaging some guns to return and found the .25-caliber Marauder standing just where Mac had left it. So, today, I am doing the accuracy test of the gun that was last reported nearly two years ago.

Actually, the rifle and you readers do benefit from my mistake, because there are now two great .25-caliber pellets available. When Mac tested it, there was only one — the .25-caliber Benjamin dome that I’m so tempted to call a Premier. It weighs 27.8 grains, and Mac got an average velocity of 797 f.p.s. with a tight spread from 791 to 802 f.p.s. That’s an average muzzle energy of 38.94 foot pounds.

The other pellet wasn’t available when Mac tested the rifle. But I discovered during the test of the TalonP pistol that the .25-caliber JSB Exact King is another superior .25-caliber pellet. Weighing 25.4 grains, it should be a trifle faster than the Benjamin dome but produce slightly less energy.

Long time, no shoot!
When I set about to test the Marauder for today’s report, I was reminded how long it’s been since I shot one. There was a guy at the recent LASSO shoot who was shooting a .177 Marauder, and I remember being surprised by how quiet it was. But his rifle was the only one keeping up with my Talon SS on the smallbore range! And he was shooting out to 75 yards! So I admit there was a lot of anticipation at getting to shoot a Benjamin Marauder once again.

So, here’s a quick impression of the rifle before we get to the accuracy report. The Marauder is a big gun. I’d forgotten how large the stock feels. It isn’t heavy, but it fills your hands. The trigger is one of the best on the market, but the trigger in the rifle I tested has not been adjusted. It’s exactly as the factory sent it. The first stage was surprisingly heavy, but stage two was light and very crisp. Once I figured out where stage two was, I found the trigger very crisp and responsive; and of course, it would be no trouble to dial off some of the first-stage pull weight.

The rifle was set to operate on a 3.000 psi fill from the factory. I say that because the Marauder will function with any fill pressure from 2,000 to 3,000 psi — it’s adjustable by the owner. But the .25 screams to be set up for the full 3,000 psi. That’s because this big .25 is a real thumper that uses a lot of air for each shot. I got three good 8-shot magazines from each fill, but after that the pellets started falling lower on the target. So, 24 shots to a fill.

Scope
I mounted two-piece medium-height rings on the rifle, and that was when I discovered that the receiver of the Marauder is not very high. Usually, the receiver on a precharged rifle is much higher than the barrel, but the Marauder is different. The barrel is shrouded for quiet shooting, which makes it fatter, and the low receiver means mounting a scope takes some thought. You can’t just slap on a scope with a 50mm objective lens, because it will hit the shroud. So, I used an old Bushnell 6-18x44AO Trophy that I used to use in field target competition. It provided plenty of magnification and a very clear image.

If I wanted to use a scope with a larger objective, I could have used high mounts, of course. But the medium mounts were much better for natural eye placement.

Accuracy
Okay. What will she do? Quite a lot, actually. This big quarter-inch bore is accurate! At 25 yards, it managed an 8-shot group that measures just 0.287 inches between the centers that are farthest apart. That was with the Benjamin domes. Why 8 shots and not 10? Because that’s the magazine’s capacity in this caliber. I actually shot a couple such groups, and they were all pretty much the same, much to my surprise. This big Marauder wants to lay them into the same hole, shot after shot.


Eight Benjamin domed pellets made this nice 0.287-inch group at 25 yards.

Next, I tried the JSB Exact King pellet. It’s a little lighter than the Benjamin dome, but also has a wider skirt — and I could feel the pellet entering the breech every time the bolt was pushed home. This time, I went to the trouble of loading a partial magazine to get the full 10 rounds in the target.


Ten JSB Exact Kings made this 0.751-inch group at 25 yards. It’s both larger and also not round, so this pellet may not be right for this rifle.

From just this evidence, I would have to say the JSB pellet isn’t right for the Marauder; but because I took such a long break in the report, I’m not going to let it end here. I want to mount a better scope on the rifle and try it again. And I want to adjust the trigger next time. I think the Marauder has more to show us.

One more thing
The pellets for this big .25 cost as much or more than .22 long rifle ammo. That’s correct — they run $20 to 25 for 500. So why shoot an air rifle? First, because it’s more accurate than the average .22 rimfire shooting budget ammo. Second, because this rifle has a better trigger than all but the more expensive target rimfires. Third, although this air rifle produces pretty close to 40 foot-pounds at the muzzle, it’s still shooting diabolo pellets that are safer at distance than a .22 bullet. Fourth, because unless you spend $400 and more, you aren’t going to get a .22 rimfire that’s this quiet.

Scale is why you shoot a Marauder. You can drop woodchucks at 50 yards and not bother the cattle in the next pasture. Make no mistake, the .177 and to a lesser extent the .22 Marauder are both well-suited to plinking and general shooting. The .25 is not, unless you don’t mind the additional cost of the pellets. The .25 is a hunting airgun, plain and simple. But it’s a hunting airgun that can hit the target without weighing 12 lbs. or requiring 50 lbs. of effort to cock.

Benjamin Marauder, .25 caliber – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

The last time I looked at the Marauder was when I was out of the hospital for 4 days in April. Today, thanks to the help of Mac, I’ll look at velocity. Mac tested several pellets you’re likely to use in the rifle. Because pellets have been coming up with odd weights lately, Mac weighed them to see what they really weigh. He tested Sam Yang, H&N Baracudas, Benjamin domes and Eun Jins.

The H&N Baracudas ranged from 29.8 grains to 30.3 grains. That’s a very tight spread, but not as heavy as advertised (which is 31.02). The average weight for Baracudas was 30.0 grains. We’ve weighed the Benjamin domes before, but Mac did it again. This group ranged from 27.3 to 27.9 grains. An EXTREMELY tight spread. The average was 27.6 grains. Beeman Crow Magnums ranged from 26.2 to 26.4 grains. Again, an extremely tight spread. The average was 26.3 grains. Eun Jins ranged from 35.1 to 36.0 grains. Also, not bad for such a heavyweight pellet. The average was 35.4 grains. Sam Yang was the heaviest pellet of all, ranging from 42.1 to 42.4 grains. That was also the tightest spread. The average weight was 42.3 grains. The longest pellet Mac tested in the Marauder magazine was the Sam Yang, which measured 0.456 inches long. That indicates you can use very beefy pellets in this gun, if you want.

Velocities
Sam Yang: Velocity ranged from a low of 663 to a high of 676. Average was 671 fps. That equates to an average muzzle energy of 30 ft-lbs.

Eun Jin Domes: Velocity ranged from a low of 712 fps to a high of 732 fps. Average was 724 fps. Which equates to an average muzzle energy of 41.21 ft-lbs.

Benjamin domes: Ranged from a low of 791 fps to a high of 802 fps. The average was 797 fps. The average muzzle energy was 38.94 ft-lbs.

H&N Baracudas: Ranged from a low of 774 fps to a high of 782 fps. The average for this pellet was 779 fps. Average muzzle energy was 40.43 ft-lbs.

The Beeman Crow Magnums: Ranged from a low of 814 fps to a high of 825 fps. The average was 819 fps. Average muzzle energy was 39.18 ft-lbs.

While Mac was testing the gun, all strings were fired starting at 3000 psi. In other words, he topped off the gun between each string. In doing so, he noted that the initial shots were lower in velocity, meaning that this particular rifle needs a fill of somewhat less than 3000 for optimal performance.

Shroud straightened
Mac noticed that the barrel shroud seemed to be pulling to one side when he examined it. Since accuracy testing was next, he decided to straighten it. He loosened the Allen screws that hold the shroud to its bracket, and immediately the shroud centered itself. Perhaps, when it was assembled, it got bumped during assembly. This is something you’ll want to look at when you get your own rifle.


Does your Marauder shroud touch the bracket, as shown above?


If the shroud on your Marauder is touching the bracket on one side, loosen the two Allen screws shown above to center the shroud.


Loosening the Allen screws will send your shroud straight toward the center of the bracket.

That’s it for velocity and power. Next, we’ll look at accuracy.

How far will a pellet travel?

by B.B. Pelletier

Update on Tom/B.B.: Tom is improving quite nicely. His belly is as flat as a pancake. He’s still getting antibiotics and has been busy doing blogs for this week.

Today’s blog was written by B.B.

Since the 1970s, airgun retailers in the U.S. have stated the maximum distance pellet rifles and pistols will fire. No doubt, this was brought on by the need for safety specifications.

How far will a pellet travel?
The truth is…nobody knows. I have read references to pellets traveling a max of 400 to 500 yards. The newer references have the further distance. Dr. Robert Beeman wrote in his catalogs in the 1980s that “Most airguns have a maximum range of about 400 yards (366m) and are generally not capable of serious damage over 150 yards (137m).” Without question, 400-500 yards would be with the muzzle firing at an angle of 30 degrees to the horizon, which would give the greatest possible travel. Today’s guns show pretty much the same thing despite vastly improved pellets and power.

A true story
I’ve told this one before, but please allow me some redundancy. Back in the early 1990s, several forensic scientists argued how far black powder bullets from various cartridges could possibly travel. It was the Billy Dixon shot that killed an American Indian at seven-eighths of a mile that started this discussion. Dixon shot a 50/90 Sharpes with a 675-grain bullet and at a muzzle velocity of 1216 fps. The scientists believed it was, therefore, impossible for that bullet to reach out to seven-eighths of a mile. So, they conducted a test.

Using microwave missile-tracking radar, they were shocked to find that the 50/90 cartridge threw its bullet 3600 yards. And the 45/70 that everyone dismisses as obsolete was throwing its 405-grain lead bullets out beyond 2400 yards!

So, we really don’t know how far pellets travel, and that’s my assignment to you. Come up with a pragmatic and accurate way of testing the maximum range of a pellet rifle. Forget the microwave radar; you’re not gonna get it. I’m not interested in what you THINK; I only want to know what you can PROVE.

Give us a simple test we can really use to answer this question.

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