Things I liked:Price was excellent. This is the most powerful .177 air rifle I've owned to date. Crosman has lived up to the Benjamin name.
Accuracy was very good, but not jaw dropping. I was surprised at how good the trigger was. It could be better, but is already better than the trigger on some of my rimfire cartridge guns.
Pumping can be tedious, but at 2k psi, it's not difficult to recharge from 1200 or so.
The stock is no-nonsense, but attractive in a utilitarian sort of way. I didn't try shooting with the iron sights, but they appear to be well executed, and again, better than the sights on some of my cartridge firearms. Things I would have changed:All of the changes I'd suggest would bring the gun into the Marauder price range, and the Discovery is meant to be an entry into PCP guns.
That said, I'd like to see a barrel shroud, a tighter bolt (mine can fall open if the gun is inverted) a dedicated breech block and bolt for the .177 gun (there's too much room in the breech for .177 pellets to easily tip over when loading), and a weaver type scope mount instead of the 3/8" dovetail.
The dovetail mounts are simply not robust enough in my opinion. Even if they simply drilled and tapped the breech block for existing aftermarket weaver bases, it would be a huge improvement.
I'd also like to see a "book" type manual rather than the big "map" type fold-out single page manual. They're a lot easier to read. I'd also like to see some O rings and seals included in the event the rifle needs to be serviced, or at the very least, a list of the size and durometer of the seals used so they can be sourced.
Another thing I'd change is the location of the fill nipple. Rather than place it on the front end of the gun, I'd prefer to see it installed in the bottom of the reservoir close to the gauge. This way a person could easily connect a remote line from a regulated air source (or CO2) at the gun's optimum working pressure and shoot all day without having to stop to fill. A paintball CO2 remote would work fine for this purpose.
Finally, it would be nice to include a small bottle of lubricant with the gun. What others should know:It's LOUD. It might be my imagination but the first time I fired it I thought the pellet went supersonic. It was really that loud. If I had it to do all over again, I'd get the .22 version. the only reason I bought the .177 is because I already have three .177 airguns and wanted ammo commonality. My next air rifle will be a .22 caliber. I really like the Marauder's specs and reviews, but I'm put off by the 3/8" dovetail scope mount.
If the gun isn't going to have iron sights and is intended to have a scope, it had better be a substantial mount like a weaver or picatinny rail.
Quality pellets make a huge difference. I went to sight my scope in and was shooting 3" groups at 25 yards with regular Crosman pellets. I tried the premier hollowpoints and the groups shrank to an inch or so. I ordered some of the 10.5 grain Premier dome pellets and haven't grouped them yet, but I expect they will be even better. Don't skimp on pellets. They're cheap enough, and make the difference between a hit and a miss when it counts. Why buy a nice rifle and feed it substandard ammo?
This was my first PCP airgun, and I'm convinced it's a great system. Best part is a lot of accessories from my paintball days carry over. PCP is a good powerplant for aging paintball players.
Things I liked:It lives up to it's reputation for being quiet. The fit and finish are better than some real firearms in the same price range. Accuracy with 14.3 grain .22 Premiers is impressive. My first true 5 shot group after sighting it in at 20 yards can be covered with a dime. The gun looks beautiful. The stock is comfortable and looks great, but there is a slight issue I'll mention in a bit. The sling swivel studs are a nice addition. The little magazines work fine as well. Things I would have changed:The stock itself appears to be made of some really nice wood, and it looks great, but there is one problem with it. I attached a bipod to the gun and got behind the rifle. When I looked into the scope, the reticle was about 10 degrees out of level. I had just used a 2 vial scope leveling kit to mount the scope so the reticle would be aligned with the breech block, so this was puzzling. I then put the gun in a bench rest and again, the crosshairs were not level. Upon closer examination, it appears the bottom of the stock forearm was improperly shaped during production so it slopes from left to right. This doesn't allow the bipod to mount level, and explains why the gun wouldn't sit level in the rest. It shouldn't affect offhand shooting, or shooting from sandbags, though. Also, the bipod legs can be adjusted to compensate for it.
I would also have included a thin O ring on the fill nipple to give some friction to prevent the cap from unscrewing and getting lost. What others should know:The air reservoir is bigger than the Discovery's, so you will be doing slightly more pumping to fill it. If you use a scope with a 40mm objective lens, medium Accushot rings will work, but the high rings will be needed for enough clearance to use flip up lens covers. You'll definitely need high rings for a 50mm scope.
There are no less than 3 user adjustable controls that allow you to adjust the velocity (flow restrictor), hammer spring tension, and hammer travel. This lets you adjust the force with which the valve opens to allow for higher fill pressure, and the dwell time the valve stays open. However, it's impossible to really know what affect these adjustments are having on the gun's performance without being able to measure the velocity.
I strongly recommend buying a chronograph so that you can tune your rifle for optimum performance with a given pellet choice. From the factory, my rifle seems to be optimized for the 14.3 grain Premiers. If you don't want a chronograph right away, I'd recommend buying Premiers until you get one.
You'll also want to invest in some hex wrenches if you plan on making adjustments to the rifle.
If it wasn't for the asymmetrical forearm on the stock, I would have given this gun a five star rating overall. It's easily the nicest air rifle I've ever had the pleasure of shooting.
Things I liked:This rifle is very accurate. I get sub 1/2" groups at 20 yards consistently with Crosman Premier pellets, and the factory settings. I think with some experimentation with the settings, it might be capable of even better accuracy. The rifle is attractively finished, better than some real firearms in the same price range. It surpassed my expectations for how quiet it is. The magazines are easy to use once you figure them out, and it's a lot nicer than hand loading individual pellets one at a time.
It was nice of Crosman to include a degassing tool with the rifle. Things I would have changed:The stock that came on mine is very nice looking, but asymmetrical. The fore end of the stock is not square to the action, so the sights are not level when using a stock-mounted bipod. (I used a scope leveling kit to ensure my reticle is parallel to the top of the breech.)
I don't want to ship the stock off and have to wait for a replacement, so I'll just deal with it, perhaps I'll get a pivot bipod to compensate.
Also, I'd prefer to have a weaver type mounting rail as opposed to the typical rimfire dovetail found on most airguns. While it is a well executed example of a typical dovetail, and adequate for the purpose, there really is no advantage to choosing it over a weaver rail, and there are a lot more scope rings and mounts available for the Weaver system.
The fill nipple cap is a nice, threaded metal cap, but there appears to be no retention device. It would be nice if an O ring were included to give a little friction to prevent the fill cap from coming unscrewed inadvertently.
I would also like to have seen one of the single shot breech adapters included in the package.
Finally, with the relative simplicity of the "de-pinger" modifications people have been performing on these rifles, I think it would be nice to have included as standard equipment. The rifle is already very quiet, but this would be a nice touch. What others should know:If you plan on adjusting the factory fill pressure, velocity, and hammer stroke/force settings, you will benefit greatly from having a Shooting Chrony. Without knowing how your adjustments affect velocity, it is almost impossible to correctly tune the rifle to a particular pellet. This isn't a shortcoming of the rifle, but it is best to just leave the factory settings alone and use Crosman Premier pellets until you get a chronograph.
Things I liked:Solid mount. I bought this mount for use on my Benjamin Discovery, and it works well for that application. There is ample room for your fingers to place pellets in the breech, and it's convenient to have a one piece mount rather than dealing with separate rings. I was impressed with the thoughtfulness that went into engineering this product. There are threaded holes in the side that allow you to use the rail mount screws to spread the jaws of the mount to help it fit wider rails. Also, the package included a hex wrench for the screws. Things I would have changed:I would have made the rings sit a little bit higher. The scope I used has pretty typical dimensions, but there was very little (but enough) clearance between the scope turret "saddle" and the base. About one millimeter of clearance or less. Still, there was enough room, and the mount is great. What others should know:I bought a scope mounting tool kit, and it has proved valuable for mounting scopes (and other purposes). It includes a set of scope ring alignment rods, a scope ring lapping bar and lapping compound, two bubble level vials to make sure the scope is level with the receiver or breech block, some thread locking compound and a torque driver to allow you to precisely torque the rings and mounts to get them as tight as possible without damaging your delicate and expensive optics. The torque driver is also useful for re-attaching your stock to the tame torque each time, to ensure repeatable accuracy. I highly recommend getting one of these kits if you're going to be mounting more than one or two scopes. It has allowed me to get professional results without the wait and expense of hiring a gunsmith.
As for the mount, you can't go wrong. It does not have a stop pin for heavy recoiling spring guns, but for PCPs and multi pumps it's ideal. (And how many spring guns have a bolt action anyway?)
Things I liked:What I liked most about this chrony is the shot string data that it displays, such as high, low, and average velocity for the string. This is invaluable information for tuning a PCP airgun to work correctly with a specific pellet. (And it's also nice to know how your other airguns perform vs. the manufacturer's specs.)
It is easy to set up, the display is easy to read from several feet away (which is necessary), and it folds up into a compact package. Things I would have changed:The sky screens are needed to provide a blank background to contrast agaisnt the dark projectile as it passes over the sensors. But they seem as though repeatedly setting them up and taking them down will eventually cause them to break. I'd like to see a redesign of the screens that is more durable, and folds down into a smaller package. Ideally, they should be made of a material that can be rolled up and stored inside the folded chrony.
Also, the manual's description of how to cycle through the menus takes a bit of study to comprehend. When there are only 3 buttons and a simple LCD display available to cycle through all of the menus, it can be difficult to operate the unit's more advanced features. I'd like to see a more advanced LCD display, and more buttons so that more features can be accessed more easily. What others should know:You will need to purchase a camera tripod to mount this device if you don't already own one. (These tripods are also useful for spotting scopes, so you'll get more use out of it that way too.)
I'd also recommend playing with the menus a bit at home before you head out to the range. Once you understand the basics, you should make a "cheat sheet" of directions for the basic features to take with you.