by B.B. Pelletier,
Two things about today’s report. It will be our first look at a Benjamin Trail-series rifle, and it sets the stage for the test of the new Benjamin Trail NP in .25 caliber. We want to be ready for that, later this year, and this should get us there.
We first saw the Benjamin Trail series rifles at the 2010 SHOT Show. We heard about them before then; and, of course, we’ve regarded the older Crosman Nitro Piston rifles for the past year, so this marked a good transition point for switching the Nitro Piston from the Crosman brand to Benjamin. When you look at the Crosman breakbarrels online, you’ll note that the Nitro Piston Short Strokes are all gone–at least at Pyramyd AIR.
Today, we’ll start looking at the Benjamin Trail NP XL1100, which is .22 caliber. My first impression was, “Wow!” That came from the outside of the sealed box. I know that writers never say bad things about the products they review, but again I say, “Wow!”
Here’s what made me say that. First, the box says it includes a Centerpoint 3-9×40 scope, so no thought need be given to scoping. It’s all inside the box. Next, my eye was caught by the claim of 1,100 f.p.s. from a .22-caliber pellet rifle. Now, that velocity has been achieved before in .22 caliber, but not by a springer, I don’t think. And, this time the box also says 30 foot-pounds. There’s no mistaking what they’re claiming. The springer that Pyramyd AIR will sell you for a penny under $300 will offer the same power that the old Beeman Crow Magnum did a decade ago (in .25 caliber) for $1,175–without the scope. Folks, if that isn’t progress then I don’t know what is.
Still scanning the outside of the box, I saw a round sticker that tells me they tossed in a $20 sling, as well. I shouldn’t tell you that because you’ll all expect one; but whenever I see a sticker, I know the offer will last for only a limited time. But the deal is that the Trail guns have sling swivels built right into them, and this is a way to get lethargic writers like me to notice them…and maybe even install a sling and take a picture.
Note that I did not say sling swivel studs. Oh, no! That’s so–yesterday! I said swivels, which include a front swivel that we haven’t seen since the FWB 124D went away in the 1990s, I think. Boy does that swivel relieve me of answering a lot of questions because with a .22-caliber pellet rifle this powerful you just know that the primary users are going to be hunters.
The only hangup I have with this beautiful box (Crosman wins packaging awards in industry, you know) is the wording that explains that the gun is powered by a nitrogen piston instead of a spring. I have become so used to the industry standard terminology of gas spring that I would prefer they call it a nitrogen-filled gas spring. I will be explaining how it works for many years to all the newcomers who are not yet familiar with the gas springs in their minivans and SUVs. But, you know, it wasn’t mine to name, and Crosman, as a corporation, seems to know the airgun market as least as well as any dedicated airgunner. Besides, at the age of 62, I’m entitled to be somewhat crotchety. It’s part of my old-guy persona.
The last impression the box gives is that the metal finish is deep and polished. Of course, that can be done in Photoshop; but if the owner discovers something else inside, it may not work out so well. Since the intent is to open the box, I hoped they weren’t exaggerating.
The box is opened
Okay, so the gun inside doesn’t look like the picture on the outside. It looks even better. (Ha, ha. I bet you could have guessed I was going to say that.) But in this case it really does. The metalwork is about as shiny as the picture, but the wood stock is quite a bit more graceful than pictured. It’s tastefully checkered on the forearm and pistol grip, and the Benjamin name is carved into the bottom of the forearm. Crosman told me they never want anyone to have to hunt for a Benjamin in a rifle rack and I like that attitude. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
Oh, and that exciting new Weaver rail is there, awaiting the time when I mount the scope. What a wonderful idea.
So, I picked it up. Oh, oh. BIG GUN! Oh, my gosh. They are trying to get 30 foot pounds out of a .22-caliber springer. It’s sore arms ahead!
No, it’s not!
I will not reveal the cocking effort in today’s report (because I haven’t tested it yet), but my left arm tells me that if you can cock a Beeman R1, you’ll be able to cock this gun. Oh, and guess what, kids? The safety is manual! Yes, they’re trusting the owner with the main operational safety responsibility. Airports can’t even trust the public to flush a toilet, but Crosman trusts us to shoot safely.
In defense of the airports, I think they made the right decision, too. I’m just glad that none of those disgusting people ever fly on any of my flights!
You know that free sling? They could have just thrown in a cheapie $6 Uncle Mikes web sling and called it a $20 value, but they didn’t. They included a PADDED carry sling with the Benjamin name embroidered on the outside. When I see fine touches like that, I wonder how I can buy some Crosman stock. This is real “Santa’s elves” thinking, in my book.
It’s too early to talk about the sound signature, except to say that it’s REALLY quiet! With my steel bullet trap being just five feet away, I can’t hear anything other than the impact of the pellet. I need to get this gun outside. And, no, I’m not stupid enough to shoot this rifle point blank into my freshly-filled silent pellet trap. Maybe after 10K shots are in there I will, but right now I use the serious trap for for airguns this powerful at close range.
The trigger looks like the regular NPSS trigger I played with last year, so I’ll be tweaking it and reporting on it then.
Bottom line (for whoever asked me to hurry this report along) is that I like very much what I see thus far. If this rifle is accurate and if it comes even close to 30 foot-pounds (which I will now define as anything above 26 foot-pounds with the right pellets), then they aren’t going to be able to keep these in stock. When I saw this at the SHOT Show, I envisioned a 24-26 foot-pound gun. That would have been wonderful. Can it be that they’ve exceeded my expectations?