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Education / Training Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Hardwood – Part 1

Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Hardwood – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Testing and photos by Earl (Mac) McDonald

Before I begin, there’s an airgun show coming up this month in New York. The Baldwinsville Airgun Show and Shoot will be held at American Legion Post 113 in Baldwinsville on July 16 and 17. Email Larry Behling or call 315-695-7133 for info.

Benjamin’s Trail Nitro Piston rifle is new and different.

Mac has tested the .22 caliber Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston for you, and this is the beginning of his report. The rifle is the new-style Benjamin Trail series that features a thumbhole stock and a Weaver base attached to the spring tube. So, everyone who has been waiting for a Weaver base that isn’t an add-on — this is the rifle for you.

Gas springs
The Nitro Piston is a gas spring filled with nitrogen instead of air. That makes it easier to cock. A gas spring works like a coiled steel mainspring, except it does it with compressed gas. No gas is lost as the spring works, so it remains pressurized for the next shot. Also, since gas under pressure never “takes a set” (i.e., it never gets tired), you can leave a gas spring gun cocked for hours or even days without any loss of power. The gas springs in your car are under maximum compression 99.9 percent of the time, and they last for years. They’re also made more cheaply than the gas spring in an air rifle.

Gas springs are less affected by cold temperatures than steel springs because they don’t have heavy lubrication to stiffen up. They also cycle faster than coiled steel springs, which speeds up the shot cycle. And they reduce vibration, as long as you don’t hold the stock with a firm grip.

The downside of gas springs is that they come under full tension the moment they start working, so the guns that have them feel harder to cock. But that’s a low price to pay for all the advantages. They won’t make the gun more accurate, but they might make it easier to shoot accurately. We shall see as Mac tests this rifle. Mac says this rifle cocks with 38 lbs. of effort, which is manageable.

There are no open sights. This rifle comes with a CenterPoint 3-9x40AO scope, and Mac reports an error in the scope manual. The manual says to adjust the fast focus eyepiece until both the reticle and the target are in focus. That is impossible and incorrect. You point the scope at a blank wall and adjust the focus ring until the reticle comes into sharp focus. The target is focused with the AO ring.

The rifle is 43-3/4″ long and has a 14″ pull. The barrel with shroud measures 18-3/4″, but the real barrel is recessed 1-3/8″ inside the end of the shroud. The rifle weighs 6.65 lbs. without the scope.

Mac liked the lazer checkering on the stock and the Benjamin name carved into the bottom of the forearm. He also liked the sling swivel stud attached to the butt that compliments the permanently attached sling loop attached to the barrel.

This sling loop is permanently attached to the gun. A sling swivel stud on the butt compliments it.

The two-stage trigger breaks at 4.2 lbs., but Mac reports that the let-off point is not very consistent. He tried to adjust it, following the instructions from the Crosman Nitro Piston test I did last year, but it never became crisp. The manual safety pulls back to engage and moves forward to fire.

Mac noted that the fit and finish of the hardwood stock is very good and even, and that the comb height is just right for a scope. The triggerguard and end cap are plastic.

Overall, Mac likes the look of this rifle. He likes the scope very much and will report on it separately. Next, he’ll look at velocity of this .22 caliber rifle.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

62 thoughts on “Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Hardwood – Part 1”

  1. BB,

    I love this gun! The laminated stock variation especially. It’s a lot of gun frame wise, but on my wish list none the less. There’s soooo many cool choices these days!!! You know, stay married or buy half of whats on the wish list!

    Thanks to Mac too.

    KidAgain (there, I signed longhand!)

  2. BB:
    Another stunning rifle.Even stationary it looks like it goes fast.
    When I did that little field shoot the other week neither of our rifles had a sling.
    Not a problem 99% of the time but in the field was a different matter.
    I was surprised how few places there were to prop or lay down my rifle.
    City boy you see,except with the added twist.’No gear and no idea’ 🙂

    • J-F;
      I know it’s been years but to answer, but for you and anyone else interested; yes the lower 495 and 695fps guns are easier to cock. The standard powered Trail is about 30lbs, the 695fps .22 version is about 22 yet you only lose about 50fps. I imagine the 495fps version is again that much easier to cock but I can’t say for sure or it’s true velocity because I’ve never seen one.
      The plastic used on the synthetic stocks is much heavier than wood, so even tho the plastic stock is partially hollow it weighs more. Mine weighs 3lb 8oz, my other wood Crosman and Benj stocks weigh 2lb 6oz to 2lb 8. The syn stock used on the Crosman Phantom, G1, and Fury is about the same as a typical Crosman wood stock because they are much more hollow than the Trail version. The Picatinny rail adds weight too so my syn Trail weighs about 1lb 12oz more than typical guns like the Vantage, Titan etc. I imagine this is why they don’t offer the Trail XL with a syn stock, it would probably be 10lbs.

      • Man that thing is OLD 😉 I have since bought one of these. What a sweet shooting rifle. It IS heavy but manageable. The firing cycle is so smooth, just a solid THUMP, no twist, no double recoil.

        But I don’t think the 495fps is easier to cock. Shorter to cock yes, easier probably not since gas rams require the same force from start to finish to cock.
        There has been talk just last week about this very topic on the Canadian Airgun Forum (where the 495fps is sold due to our dumb airgun laws).
        And there are apparently 2 gas rams available from Crosman, one that shoots in the 1000/1200fps and one that shoots around 600/700fps. The Canadian 495fps use the 600/700fps gas ram with a longer piston so that when you cock the rifle it won’t go all the way in (kinda like the power levels in the Beeman P1/HW45 I guess) so you get a shorter stroke and a weaker shot and if you want to get the full power version you have to change both the gas ram AND the piston.

        Here is what one member who changed his had to say about it:
        One way to tell if you have a under 500 fps piston is when you cock the rifle, the barrel would rotate only 45 degrees from the break point to the cocked position. If you have the shorter piston, which can produce over 500 fps, the barrel should rotate about 75 degrees from the latched to the cocked position.

        So there you go.


        • Thanks for that info JF! I was curious how they did it since I can’t find a parts diagram for the 495fps models. I suspected they might do it that way, but I figured it would be cheaper to simply drop the nitro pressure like the 695 version. Interesting that they chose to make a whole new piston instead.
          Btw, the nitro guns do still have double recoil and it’s worse than the coil version. Of course yours will have very little but the full powered versions are breaking scopes more than coils ever did. Gas rams are also harder to compress the further you compress them, it just isn’t nearly as much of a rate increase as coil springs. It’s all about the internal volume of the body vs how much the shaft displaces as it goes in. I’ve never measured one with a scale but using my body weight to compress a standard powered nitro against the floor I’d estimate they start out at about 160lbs, then about 200 or so to compress them all the way (the lower version should be ~25% less). That pressure change is a factor when cocking, but a bigger factor is the leverage which changes thru the stroke. When you start the leverage is high so it only takes ~8lbs, then it climbs to about 28lbs where the leverage is lowest, then it drops to ~16lbs as the leverage increases near the end. Compared to a coil spring they do “feel” more even since a coil starts out so much lighter and the higher spring rate almost overcomes the leverage advantage at the end. And of course with yours having a short stroke it probably doesn’t reach the point where it lets off.
          I really wish they sold little pumps so you could change the pressure of your nitro up or down as needed, or to find your sweet spot, like the HW90 has… These Crosman nitros have the fill port/valve at the bottom so it seems a waste not to use it. It would probably save a lot of scopes too, with the exception of those who over fill… Plus it would be nice to be able to top them off when they leak down as I’ve seen many do. You would also have the option to change the spring rate by adding hydraulic fluid to it, and said fluid should reduce leakage. I could probably make a pump, it’s the teeny adapter needed to fit the nitro that’s stumping me. Maybe that will be my next project 🙂
          I’m curious about something else too: If 500fps is the line in the sand, then what about a bigger/heavier pellet? This Trail with full power in .22 but with a super heavy 28gr pellet would fall below 500, or a Trail XL in .25 with a 40gr. Or is there an energy cap as well? I’m guessing there’s something or everyone would be doing it.

          • There is an energy cap as well as the 500fps limit but you actually have to exceed BOTH limits to be deemed a firearm with all the permits, registration and obligations that come with it.
            So you could have a sub 500fps .50 caliber air gun and you’d be fine or shoot a grain of sand almost as fast as you want as long as you don’t go over the speed limit.


            • Wow, that’s quite a loophole in the law. So shooting 20lb lead brick at 495fps is ok, but a little 4.5gr BB at 501 and you get free room and board at your local prison? So is there a reason you can’t have a regular Trail and just shoot the heavies? Sorry you have to deal with all that BS, but our stuff will be banned sooner or later with all the shootings. They’ll ban firearms little by little until all of them are basically illegal, then start working on the airguns.

  3. Too many open reviews for me to keep up with. Start to loose track of the ones I was reading, then have to go back and read them again to remember where we were in the discussion/review.

  4. I have good news and bad news.

    Good news is that my 20 yard groups have now shrunk to half of their original size. It’s amazing how aware I’ve become of all my bad habits. Trying to control them is the current hurdle, but at least I’m making progress!

    Bad news is that my new 34 is doing something strange. I’m also trying it at 20 yards and when I look at the holes in the paper, they are more like long tapering tears than circular holes. I’m not sure what is going on, but it seems like the pellet is tumbling for some reason, right? Anyone have any suggestions? Two observations I have made so far:
    1) I pushed a pellet through the barrel and it seems like the first 3 inches are rough, then it smoothes out and then the last 1/2 inch is really hard to push through. The last 1/2″ may be the choke that B.B. noted on his 34P review, but I don’t think the first 3″ of roughness should be there.
    2) the opening in the barrel at the breach is not exactly round. It looks kind of oval and not in a perfect kind of way. I didn’t pay much attention to it at first, but now that I’m having these issues, I wonder…

    • Fused,

      Two suggestions. First, clean that bore with JB paste. Do you remember how? If not, look here:


      Second, Put cellophane tape on the back of your target to affirm the keyholing. You could just be seeing paper tearing. The tape will stop that.


    • What kind of pellets are you shooting? Some kinds are badly prone to keyholing.
      If you are shooting Crow magnums or the pot metal rat turds, then stop and give some domed lead pellets a chance.


    • Also, note if the tear outs seem to be in the same general direction, or if they are random (if it really is keyholing).
      Try shooting at a couple different distances also to see if your groups change in the vertical plane only.


  5. TT – Crosman Premier Domed, I have others ordered on the way and will test soon.

    BB – I do remember that post and re-read it just now. Unfortunately, I don’t already have JB Paste and just made my PA order of pellets. I may have to wait a little while for my next order – budget 🙁 I have noted on other forums that people talk about cleaning barrels with GooGone. What do you think about that? I’m guessing that it would take out Goo (grease, oil, etc.) but not do much for metal polishing or tooling marks like you note in your link. In the mean time, can I try to shoot it out?

    • Fused,

      Of course you can keep shooting. And JB paste is available at gun stores, too.

      I have never tried GooGone, so I can’t comment. But you are right about the rough metal. That’s what JB paste is good for, while being gentle enough to not harm the rifling.


    • Fused,

      Here’s my two cents.

      Since your groups are shrinking I wouldn’t treat this as a crisis. Putting heavy tape on the backside of your targets will tell you whether or not your pellets are keyholing/tumbling as B.B. suggested.

      Since you’re shooting crosman premiers (good pellet) I would plan on scrubbing the bore with jb bore paste as soon as you can locate some jb bore paste. Use a bronze or brass brush like the link describes. I’ve never tried a substitute since most of our sporting goods and gun shops carry jb bore paste. The jb bore paste has helped accuracy in several of my guns. Especially those that I shot crosman premiers and superdomes in a lot.

      I had a b26 in .177 that needed cleaning after each tin of superdomes. I had a rws 54 in .22 that needed cleaning after every two boxes of crosman premiers.


      • I guess I should have clarified, the groups are shrinking with my 94. The new 34 is the one giving me problems. I will look out for JB Paste locally in the mean time.

  6. C-S – I have looked down the barrel at a bright light and it looks good as far as I can tell. I’m not sure I can see it well enough to see a scratch, it’s very small and my eyes are not what they used to be. To me it looks like the intro to a James Bond movie.

  7. That s good ,i have 34 and i ll try to figure it up ,dont worry we are here for that 😉 try to shoot 10 meters in soft wood by the way is that 22 or 17 cal !?

  8. Fused….
    I clean mine up with Bore Brite which is a polish. If I did not have it, I would probably use Softscrub, Brasso, or Mag and aluminum wheel polish.

    The Bore Brite does slick things up quite a bit, with the exception of VERY rough places. They don’t polish out very well.

    I use A brush first with polish, then some tight patches with the polish rubbed into them. I scrub the heck out of it for a few minutes, then clean out the residue with clean patches.

    Certainly has not hurt these LW barrels that I have. On occasion I run a patch with Breakfree through the bore, then a few dry patches.


  9. Has anyone tried out the Crosman Titan for sale at wallyworld? A friend told me that it seems to have less power than the Benjamin Trail. Is it tuned for sale in Canada and the U.S. He has not chrono’d it, but he told me that it seems to be slower than my Benjamin Trail.

    • I get a little better than 700 fps out of my Titan. It’s rated 800fps with lead, but they don’t say what weight. I shoot 14.3 gr.
      Not disappointed in velocity, but the trigger sucks.


    • Fyi for anyone curious; the Trail and Titan have the exact same power plant. The only difference in velocity would be from the difference in barrel length, the Trail barrel is about 1.25″ shorter. In .22 it shouldn’t make a difference, in .177 you might lose 10fps or so. Velocity varies drastically from gun to gun, far more than that barrel difference so you can’t compare two random guns. With 14.3gr .22 pellets they average about 700fps but 625 to 740 is typical. Your friends Titan could easily be 100fps slower than his Trail, but if the flaws are fixed it will be up to or exceed the Trail. Fix both and they should both be around 750. Usually the main seal leaks but it could other things like breech seal leakage, loose pellet fit, or other misc problems. Leakage also causes excessive piston slam which is what breaks scopes. If anyone has a scope that won’t stay put or breaks I’d check the seals first thing. Better yet, check them before you mount the scope so you don’t stress it.
      As for the trigger, there is the aftermarket GRT for about $35, but that’s a awful lot of money for so little. You can fix the trigger yourself with several methods, the easiest is simply replacing the 3x6mm adj screw with one 10-12mm long. Then there’s the washer mod but it can be sketchy. The best is a full trigger job which involves taking the whole trigger assy out but it’s well worth it. You can make the trigger as light and short as you want, and smooth as glass.

  10. I have a 1077 that I want to clean the barrel on. I think I can only clean it from the front since I can’t figure out another way. All suggestions welcome.

    My question is: I have a Dewey rod that I’ve used on break barrels ok but I’m wondering how vulnerable the crown is on from-the-front cleaning when I use the it.


    • CJr,

      There may be a better way but here’s what I do:

      Although there are Bore Guides, I use a drinking straw cut in half. You can find the correct size straw (.177 or .22) at fast food restaurants or the grocery store. I insert the straw in the barrel then insert the dewey rod with brass brush loaded with jb bore paste. I put a cloth in the breech to catch the debris and keep it from fouling the action and internals. If you’re careful you may be able to use the rod by itself as long as it’s not metal. I assume you have one of the dewey graphite? rods.


  11. Hi everyone, I’m having a problem with my Umarex PPK/s bb pistol. Before today everything worked fine, but today when I put in a new c02 cartridge, I didn’t hear the normal hiss after the cartridge was punctured. I didn’t think much of it, but when I went to shoot the gun, the slide would not cycle properly (wouldn’t re-cock the hammer or move more than a few millimeters0, if I fired more than one shot in rapid succession (the second or third shot would act as if the gun had cooled down a lot or was almost out of co2, however the first shot acted perfectly normal). If I waited a few seconds between shots the slide would cycle properly, but the shot still had less power than it should for a new c02 cartridge. If I waited 10-20 seconds the gun would shoot like it should (for the first shot). I suspect that some sort of debris has become lodged somewhere in the system that delivers the c02 to the gun and is hindering gas flow, but I have no idea how to fix something like that. I inspected the cartridge after I removed it from the gun and it was pierced the same as it would normally would be.

    I use crosman c02 cartridges and use pellgunoil on every cartridge. The gun is only a month or so old and I have put a couple thousand bbs through it.


    • PPK/S,

      Your CO2 cartridge is not pierced properly. The hole is too small for the CO2 to flow well, so it leaks out slowly. That’s why the gun functions normally after 20 seconds.

      The cartridge may be slightly too thick where it is pierced, or the piercing pin hasn’t gone in far enough. Try screwing the cartridge in a little farther next time. Or if that doesn’t work, the gun must be fixed.


      • Sadly, turning the knob farther didn’t help any. The gun is certainly still usable, but it’s a lot of fun to empty an entire mag as fast as possible. Unless there is a fix that I can perform myself, I don’t foresee getting it fixed. Thanks for the suggestions, though!

  12. Hi, Folks!
    Off-topic question again…..Thanks to Slinging Lead and all of the other folks for their inputs. I am going to stick with springers because I don’t want the extra expense of PCP’s, weight loss or not. Approximately how much heavier is a tuned Tech Force Contender with a 4X12X50 Center Point Scope than a 34 Panther with the same optic on it? Also, without any criticism of BB’s fine review of the Tech Force Contender 89, how does its .22 version stack up against the Diana Panther in the same caliber for hunting? Thanks.

  13. PPK/s…did you try another carthridge?
    I purchase my Crosman cartridges in the 40pak…every once in a while there’s a dud. Just as you describe, it’s like you’ve put in a dead cartridge. I recall that a year or so ago Crosman had a whole batch that was bad.

      • My PPK/s did the same thing, then an o-ring seal blew out the rear of the reciever. I thought maybe I had over-oiled it.

        BB’s advice on the JB Bore Paste really works! I have seen an improvement in both my springers after using it.


        I think “keyholing” refers to the shape hole a pellet makes in a paper target if it rotates in flight and strikes the target sideways. The previously mentioned odd impact holes could be caused by the target turning slightly in the wind to the path of the pellet, causing it to strike at an oblique angle.


  14. Gas springs are manufactured in different forms including mechanical and compressed. Compression springs are an ideal solution for movement of large and awkward sized objects. They work by lifting the object and then you are able to lower it and position it correctly. This is all done safely and this is a proven and tested method of lifting large objects.The springs are versatile as they can be used to control aspects of movement in other objects including lids, hoods, flaps and safety guards. The gas springs are attached and then it is able to control the lifting and lowering motions, just like with the large objects.They operate in such a way that the pressure tube, piston rod and associated fittings are filled with compressed nitrogen.

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