The Pump-Assist Benjamin 392 – Part 1
by B.B. Pelletier
Before I begin, there are a couple of announcements. First, the Pyramyd Air Holiday Gift Guide is now up on the website. The Gift Guide is for those of you who are either seeking an airgun gift to buy for someone or perhaps looking for ideas for someone to buy for you. It’s arranged by price category and the items in each category are selected on the basis of popularity and being stocked in quantities that they believe can meet the demand. A Daisy Red Ryder, for example, is a timeless holiday classic gift, so Pyramyd has built up their stocks of that gun to very high levels. Don’t expect the pricier guns like the Air Arms S400 MPR to be stocked in the same quantities!
Last year many airgunners emailed the links to gift guide gifts to those who needed gift ideas. Of course, you can do the same thing for any product on the Pyramyd website, but it is so large that the gift guide makes a wonderful starting point. Be sure to visit it today. One last thing to remember. As products sell out, they will be replaced with other items of a similar price. But the first product may return to the guide in a short time. Pyramyd gets shipments every day, so don’t give up if a product disappears from the guide.
The second thing I want to clear up is a misconception that’s started a big rumor. The rumor on several of the forums is that Crosman has brought out a multi-pump pneumatic rifle capable of 1,200 f.p.s. That is simply not true. The new gun is a Benjamin breakbarrel called the Super Streak. The choice of names has lead airgunners to assume that it’s going to be a multi-pump, because the Sheridan Blue and Silver Streaks are multi-pumps. Plus, Mac-1’s Steroid Streak is an upgraded Blue or Silver Streak, so that name has a very definite connotation among airgunners. But that’s not what the new gun is.
The new rifle is a breakbarrel spring-piston rifle. Despite the Streak name, this gun is from Benjamin. I have examined an early sample, and it looks very promising, but only if you don’t have any preconceived ideas about what it is supposed to be. If you look at it as a powerful breakbarrel, then everything will be fine. As soon as I get the green light, I will report on it.
Today’s report is also on a Benjamin airgun, but one that’s been modified. It’s a Benjamin 392. I reported on this modification back on August 10. Several of you said you were interested in a multi-pump that takes only 12 lbs. of effort for all pump strokes, rather than one that builds to a max effort of 33 lbs. at the end.
Inventor Bob Moss had the first 10 production rifles for sale at the Roanoke airgun show and I bought one. He had made a final change from the prototype I saw back in June, but it doesn’t affect the pumping effort. So sit back and enjoy my report.
What is it?
This modification reduces the effort required to pump a multi-pump pneumatic air rifle. That type of rifle accepts a variable number of pumps for each shot – 3 to 8 in the case of the Benjamin 392/397. The first 3 pumps are easy, but resistance starts to build with the fourth pump stroke. After that, each pump stroke is progressively harder until, at 8 pumps, the resistance is 33 lbs. Imagine that you had to cock your breakbarrel three or four times per shot, and you’ll get an idea of what is involved.
This modification reduces the effort of all pump strokes to an identical 12 lbs. Resistance on the first stroke begins when the pump handle is nearly closed, and it starts progressively farther out with every stroke. The effort is always 12 lbs., but the length of time you are applying it becomes longer and longer. That’s how the modification works.
Starting with a classic!
Bob started with the .22 caliber Benjamin 392 and the .177 caliber 397 (same gun, different calibers) multi-pump pneumatic rifle because of its status as an American classic. So many airgunners own one of these rifles that he knew it was the right place to begin.
How does he do it?
He does it with adjustable leverage. The modification is an adjustable leverage mechanism attached under the forearm. When you pump, the fulcrum changes position as the force increases. When it does, the effort required to move the lever decreases as the lever gets closer to the stored or fully closed position. In fact, there is so much mechanical advantage that the pump lever springs open of its own accord when you start to pump! On a factory Benjamin, that can be caused by the pump head being out of adjustment, but on this gun it’s normal.
It feels strangely different
I’m searching for a way to describe the feeling of this modification in use. At first, it feels very strange – almost as though there is more work, rather than less. Then you realize that the effort isn’t increasing as the pump strokes advance. It also dawns on you that this would be an easy rifle to over-pump if you’re not careful. By the time you’ve fired 20 shots, you’re accustomed to the gun and it seems normal. After that, it’s the standard gun that will feel wrong to you.
In the next report, I’ll chronograph the rifle for you.