Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Hardwood – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Testing by Earl “Mac” McDonald

This will be my final reminder about the Baldwinsville Airgun Show and Shoot at American Legion Post 113 in Baldwinsville, New York, 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.

Today, we’ll look at the velocity for the Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston. Mac says the rifle feels very strong when shot, but the numbers he got don’t back that up. As you’ll recall, the cocking effort is a constant 38 lbs.

Crosman Premier
Remembering that the Trail is a .22-caliber rifle, Mac first tried Crosman Premier 14.3-grain domes. They fit the breech pretty good and were of a consistent size. They averaged 697 f.p.s. The spread went from 685 to 712. The average velocity gives a muzzle energy of 15.44 foot-pounds.

JSB Express
Next, he loaded some JSB Exact Express domes. This 14.3-grain pellet had a head that is too small for the bore on the rifle. They gave surprisingly low velocities. The average was 602 f.p.s. with a spread from 592 to 620. The muzzle energy worked out to 11.51 foot-pounds, which seems to be well off the pace for this gun.

JSB Exact heavy
The final pellet he tested was the JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy. It weighs 18.1 grains and provides a good fit in the breech. It averaged 594 f.p.s., with a low of 586 and a high of 602. That’s a total spread of only 14 f.p.s., which bodes well for this pellet. The muzzle energy is 14.18 foot-pounds. That’s a lot closer to the Premiers that were the most powerful pellets of this test.

We checked with Crosman on the velocity and learned that they established the highest velocity with an 11.3-grain alloy pellet.

More time on the trigger
Mac spent a lot more time adjusting the trigger for this test. Or I should say he was trying to adjust it. No matter which way he turned the adjustment screw, the results didn’t seem to change. I directed him to my Crosman NPSS test series, where I describe how to adjust the trigger in a special Part 4 addendum. He read it and tried to follow it, but the Trail trigger didn’t seem to respond.

I don’t know where the NPSS was made, but I thought it was made in New York. The Trail is made in China, and something may have been lost in the translation. Mac says it is impossible to adjust out the creep in stage one, and he cannot feel where stage two begins.

Strangely enough, I made the same observation about the trigger of the magnum-powered Trail NP XL1100 when I tested it. You can read about it here.

The rifle is very quiet when it fires, and Mac says that it sounds more powerful than it is. We’ll have a look at accuracy next.

61 thoughts on “Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Hardwood – Part 2

  1. Good Morning!

    Trail series rifles are indeed made in China. Discontinued Crosman NPSS which is now Remington NPSS is reportedly still made in NY and seems to be higher quality. Replacement aftermarket trigger blades for NPSS/Trail series are available from Charlie Da Tuna.

    Regards,
    preez


  2. The RWS Hobby at 11.9 Grains is a fairly large diameter pellet and would have probably gotten a higher velocity for close in shooting. BC is terrible of course.


  3. B.B.
    Sounds ond looks like the Titan, other than a few cosmetic changes.

    I don’t have all of the different pellets that Mac tried, but my results with CPs was similar with the Titan. Trigger ‘adjustment’ is a farce. It just don’t seem to do anything. If it only had the trigger from my Storm XT it would be sweet. It adjusts so low and short that it is dangerous. Even my RS2 has a pretty good trigger. The Chinese can get it right once in a while, but they don’t learn from it.

    twotalon


    • Twotalon makes a great point in his closing sentence; “The Chinese can get it right once in a while, but they don’t learn from it.”

      Culturally, the Chinese do not have an appreciation for finely made, mechanical devices on a personal level (home appliances, etc). So… the average worker over there has little if any gauge or personal incentive towards quality improvement. Likewise, the “task-masters” who run the factories there are driven towards fast, cheap mfg. and collecting their US $$$.

      I guess I’m spoiled from years of owning fine firearms and Weihrauch Air Guns. I’m always amazed to read the “QB” forums posts where guys buy $100 Chinese rifles and then put another $200 into them to get them “close” to the finer European airguns. Seems to me it’s similar to putting high end wheels, tires and suspension on a Chevy Cavalier to make it into a “sports car”.

      Crosman is trying to compete with the QB type buyers as one of their main market targets. Just know that sub-$300 air rifles are what they are and don’t be disappointed that the triggers and other finer points of quality will never measure up.


  4. On another note…Yesterday I watched some detective drama. In one scene, a person fires an airgun (pistol) at a passing car. The pellet obliterates the entire back windshield in a storm of flying, whirling glass and continues thru the front windshield, smashing a third of it at least…I’m somewhat of a noob, but I don’t think i’ve ever seen an airgun, especially a pistol, with that kind of destructive power…



      • twotalon,

        You’re absolutley right–hogwash for sure, even a powder burner won’t obliterate a car’s windshield cause it is made out of safety glass which prevents shattering.

        Too bad about the Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston’s trigger cause the gun looks good to me. Do the replacement trigger blades iimprove the pull or just the looks and feel of the trigger.

        Mr B.


        • Mr B

          Don’t know about replacement triggers helping much or not on this configuration. Have not tried it.
          The trigger on the Titan is all second stage, very long, very hard, and very dirty. Must be the world’s longest sear.
          Pulling the trigger part way then backing off will show some first stage and a shortened second stage when pulled again.

          The trigger is the only thing that I have a problem with on the Titan. Barrel, fit, and finish are unexpected quality. Scope and rings are another story.

          twotalon


    • Malcolm,

      Most air pistols don’t have the power to even crack the rear windshield. So you are right to be sceptical.

      There is one customized Quackenbush pistol that produces close to 600 foot pounds and could do what you saw, but it is a one of a kind thing.

      B.B.


      • And whats more, all the folks around me didn’t even question an airguns ability to smash a car, even after I attempted to enlighten them…

        ><Regarding the Nitro-Piston, is there a chance of Nitrogen escaping from gun? Gradually leaking out?


        • Tell them to watch ‘Mythbusters’ some time.
          It’s OK to take Hollywood BS as fact for the entertainment value, but when you walk away from the theater or the TV, it is better to file it in the BS bin and get back to reality.

          twotalon


  5. Wow! Those velocities are a long ways from the published specs. Seems that everyone complains about the trigger. An aftermarket trigger would be critical for me since I can’t shoot accurately without a decent trigger. Heavy pull is one thing but inconsistent breaking point is tough. It’ll be interesting to see how Mac managed.

    kevin


    • So would I.
      When the Titan’s trigger finally breaks, the shots string left and right. I can see the crosshairs jump sideways. Can’t seem to find a good way to pull it and keep it straight.

      twotalon


      • twotalon,

        I’ve read that the titan and the benjamin trail nitro piston both like to be held tight for best groups. Is that true for your titan?

        Did you order a grt III for your titan?

        kevin


        • Have not tried using a ‘death grip’. Next time out.

          Have not tried a replacement trigger. Mostly working with the D48. Got the Titan just to see how a gas ram feels.

          Will a replacement trigger do any good? There is a mile of second stage on the gun.

          twotalon


          • twotalon,

            I’ve had one experience with the grt trigger. One of my neighbors in the mountains has a gamo cfx. We replaced his trigger several years ago with a grt. Night and day difference. Very adjustable and ergonomic. Think I paid $30.00 for it? Well worth it. Oh, and easy to install. Even I could do it. LOL!

            kevin


  6. BB:
    I’m thinking, based on quite a bit of experience with the Quest series, which are the same gun without the nitro piston, that these are best suited as .177 cal guns. They are just like the Gamo they are cloned from, whose .22 cal guns always fall short of the advertised expectations. The balance just isn’t there. The after market trigger mentioned above is a must. I’ve also found these model guns are best suited to use with barrel mounted sights. The barrel latch and pivot bolt design doesn’t provide repeatable or consistant register with the action tube. The plastic spacers on either side of the barrel deform easily, and the pivot bushing is sometimes to long for the pivot bolt and won’t allow proper barrel tension. You either can’t tighten it properly and there is play, or if you can, the plastic washers wear and you end up with windage issues which change the POI. This was the case with the five I have worked on recently.
    On the RS2, I had one also, and agree with Two talon, the trigger isn’t bad. Also, the ball detent ensured better lock -up and register than the chisel type barrel latch of the Quests. Un-fortunately, the barrels on the RS2’s I had all lacked a decent crown. The last one would keyhole pellets at 15 yards, and all of them would exhibit some yaw at 25 yards. The RS2’s didn’t stay here long. Robert


    • The only good thing about my RS2 is the trigger.
      Loose cocking linkage, bent barrels (both calibers), bad muzzles, had to grind a lot of wood from the stock to get my eye in line with the sights.
      Cut and recrowned the .22 barrel. Fair accuracy with open sights. Low 700’s with CP.
      Useable, but a long way from something for daily use.

      twotalon


  7. Kevin,

    This review makes me feel much better. As you may recall I bit on the Benjamin Legacy SE.

    http://www.crosman.com/airguns/benjamin/BLNP22X

    Not available at PA, I had to order directly from Crosman, and my understanding was this particular rifle was US made at the time? Perhaps that has changed. The 70% less noise and no fear of leaving it cocked was also appealing. I pictured it as the perfect backdoor rifle. But the part of the copy that really hooked me was the 16 lbs of cocking force and 12 ft lbs of energy. Those are amazing numbers. It will be next in my queue.


  8. Kevin:
    I’m not Two Talon but I have the gold trigger in mine and it is like night and day, and it is a five minute job to install it. In my opinion it’s just another a tomato stake without it. All of the ones I’ve tuned like to be held loose, as in the artillery hold. Also, all of my .177 guns shot best with the heavier kodiak pellets, and the .22’s weren’t good with anything heavier than 15 grs or lighter than that. The .22’s also were not as accurate as the .177’s and I’m a .22 guy. They are all (both .177 &.22) 25 to 30 yard guns at best. If most of your use is within that range, they are good values for the money , but you have to add that $30 trigger into the mix. Crosman should really look hard at that trigger, although it might be a liability issue with them, as well as bumping the price point into a different and probably un-profitable area. Robert.



    • Robert,

      Thanks for that overview. Although I’m luke warm on a gas ram or springer purchase right now I have an insatiable appetite for first hand information. My next purchase is a newly introduced pcp.

      kevin



        • twotalon,

          royale. Good and bad reviews. Seems Frederik is still sorting out the barrels. I think he’s on the 4th barrel. Started out with LW now into the 3rd generation smooth twist. Amazing gun with the right barrel.

          kevin


          • Barrels are tricky. Each one is a different animal.
            I have 6 LW Talon barrels. All different animals. Two of them needed a recrown to stop corkscrewing. One had a bad bore (very rough). One shoots pretty good as is. Two of them are very good shooters, but one of these nearly got sent back because of how it looked.It’s purple now after a lot of exterior work, but has the nicest feeling bore of all of them.

            twotalon


      • Kevin:
        I’m also lusting after a PCP which would be my first ever. I’m considering the Maurauder in .25, as I want it for hunting and I already have enough proven .22 springers.
        One of the best things about that cheap Titan, is that it is a cheap source of nitro-pistons. Also spare parts for retro- fitting to the other b-18/ Gamo clones. I’ve tried to get a .22 barrel for a Quest from Crosman for months now. Robert


  9. BB,
    I’ve just got my HW30 (with Rekord trigger) and would like to try some lead-free pellets – like Skenco’s Blue Arrow, Crosman’s Silver Eagle – or even copper-coated pellets – like Beeman FTS Double Gold… Are these pellet safe for the rifled in the barrel? The manual kinda scares me by saying it only recommends lead (diablo/waisted) pellets, and any other kinds may damage the rifled in the barrel. Thanks.


    • tdung,

      None of the synthetic or lead-free pellets should hurt the rifling of a steel air rifle barrel. Zinc and copper are both softer than steel, so no harm done. Don’t expect much accuracy, though.

      There are pellets that might damage the powerplant of some spring rifles. There is a 3-grain plastic pellet from England that’s used to win bets about velocity. Shooting it might be like dry-firing a gun. But the brand-name lead-free pellets should be okay in your gun.

      The plastic pellets will coat the bore with residue that may have to be removed to restore accuracy. JB paste will take care of that.

      B.B.


  10. Hello all.

    It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted here, but I wanted to give a bit of an update.

    Some of you recommended I try the trigger job modifications to the Discovery.

    A few days ago, I disassembled the trigger group and went to work. First, I used a diamond knife sharpening stone to even out the surfaces on the parts. Being stamped steel, they have rough edges, and these needed to be flattened. I then used a Dremel tool and some polishing compound to make them mirror-smooth. I tapped the housing for a 6-32 screw to adjust over-travel. I didn’t use a screw for the first stage, because I like a long, lighter first stage anyway.

    After reassembly, a turned in the over-travel screw all the way and cocked the bolt. I then applied pressure to the trigger and backed out the adjustment screw until the sear tripped, then backed it out an additional 1/2 turn.

    My chrony had showed up a few days before, so I figured I’d try to familiarize myself with it, and shot a string over the chrony into a pellet trap in my backyard. To my dismay, I was only getting velocities in the 500 fps range!

    As it turns out, I had to back off the over travel screw a bit more. The sear was being released from the striker, but was still protruding enough for the striker to drag across the top of it, causing weak striker hits on the valve, and lower velocities. After backing off the screw a bit, I was getting velocities in the 800 fps range with .177 CP 10.5 gr pellets.

    The gun is advertised as a 1000 fps gun. I’m wondering if I am still getting a little striker drag, or if I need to try lighter pellets to achieve that velocity?


    • Forgot to mention, the trigger job modification worked very well, improving the feel dramatically. It’s still not as good as the Marauder trigger out of the box, but it is much improved.




        • Ronin

          I’m confused. Which screw did you not install? One of the ones in the back or the one in the front?

          I did the mod and dialed it in, and thought I had it adjusted just right. Then I read a comment on a blog that said to tinker with it. So I did. Man! It was sooooo much better after really messing with it for a while. I was a little weary of the tapped holes in the plastic getting worn larger, but it was worth it. You are right, sadly it will never be a Marauder trigger.

          It is definitely a great mod, that can be done by even the ham-fisted, with parts available from the hardware store. If anyone out there has a Discovery or a 2260 without the Mod, what’re you waitin’ on? Do it now! And definitely Dremel all the trigger parts while you are in there.

          Regarding the Marauder, the only thing worse than waiting for a new rifle, is receiving it only to have to send it back, with two chances of the apes at UPS to mess it up worse.


  11. Ok, I bought a Crossman Storm XT from Wal-Mart. They were changing the packaging from a boxed set to a bubble pack. They were selling the boxed sets for $54.95!!!

    At that price I just could not pass it up! Now mind you I have two other springers, a beeman R9 and a Tech Force 59. But for a mere $55 I figured it would be a nice project gun.

    Guess what? It is rapidly becoming my favorite of the three. By far and away the lightest of the three and the fastest of the three. The scoped R9 weighs in at 8 3/4 #, the scoped Tech Force 59 at 8 1/4 lbs and the scoped Storm XT at 7 1/4 lbs! Did I mention the XT came with a 3 X 9 X 32 scope which is real nice?

    The TF 59 chrono’s crosman chp’s at 770 fps, the beeman R9 at 825 fps and the Storm XT at 925 fps. Seven grain or less lead pellets will do the 1000 fps they advertise and the crosman lead free hps (aprox 4.X gr) will do >1200 fps so it meets their advertised specs with some to spare! Accuracy with the R9 and the Storm XT using CHP’S is an outstanding one hole at 10 M! And very close with the TF 59.

    But a ? for whom ever mentioned the really good trigger on the XT? I have it adjusted to single stage with no take up but I estimate a 5# or greater pull which breaks clean. How do I adjust it lighter? Just keep turning the adjustment clockwise till it gets as light as I want it?

    Thanks for your help!


    • Mine has a really good trigger, but we are dealing with Chinese quality control (or lack of).
      All I have done is turn the adjusting screw.

      You never know from one gun to the next what you will have.

      If you could take a truck load of them and piece together the best parts you could Frankenstein up something pretty good.

      twotalon


  12. Btw…

    I forgot to mention the 3 x 9 X 32 scope supplied with that Storm XT was a Centerpoint! Had a fixed 50 yd parallax and I figured it would be blurry at 10 m. Turns out it is every bit as clear at that range as my two AO scopes on the other guns! I was planning on replacing the scope with a “better” one and selling it for 30 – 40 bucks but looks like I may be keeping it. Came with a nice set of rings with a scope stop built in the receiver which actually permits adjustment of the scope to a point where you get full optimal eye relief!!

    I am totally impressed with this gun. At the bubble pack price of $109 it is a bargain imho! At $55 it simply is an amazing bargain!! Even if I have to replace the trigger with a CD Tuna one it is still an amazing buy!

    You may want to check your local Wal Mart as they were selling many guns including the Gamo Big Cat for less than half price in the boxed sets as all these are going to the bubble backs! They did not have any of the Gamo’s left but had several of the Storm XT’s after I bought mine.


    • $55 for a Crosman XT is a remarkable price! I have both the XT and an RS2. They both destroyed their original scopes. I replaced them with Tascos, a 40mm objective model for the XT, a 50mm objective for the RS2. That required a set of Leupold high-mount rings for clearance.

      These are inexpensive guns (but not as inexpensive as TwoTalon’s), but are good shooters.
      Cleaning them with JB Nonembedding bore paste helped accuracy a lot.

      The RS2 was almost too easy to clean: the barrel comes off with a set screw. This same screw was giving me trouble coming loose, but after cleaning both inside and outside threads with alcohol, and applying blue thread locker, the problem is solved.

      I generally dislike bubble packed anything, but it would have saved a problem with my XT. I bought it in a box from a store. Apparently, someone had taken it out of the box in the store and cocked it. They must have decided it took too much effort to cock, since they put it back in the box, still cocked!

      Fast forward to my living room in my camper. I am excitedly looking over my new purchase, not suspecting it was cocked to fire. I pressed the trigger and BAM! Scared hell out of me and the cat (at least it wasn’t loaded, or there would have been a nice hole in my living room wall).

      If I find one of those for $55, I’m buying it. I already passed on the $40 Winchesters at K-Mart a few months ago because I already had one I wasn’t impressed with. By the time I decided it would have been worth $40 anyway for another, they were gone.

      Les


      • Never used the included scope with the Storm. Barrel droop was so bad that there was no point in it.
        Thanks to Vince, I pulled the plastic breech seal and replaced it with an o-ring. Much better. Even did some work with a majic marker and a sharp file to work on the breech face. Not much droop now.
        Likes 8.4 exacts pretty good.

        twotalon


  13. One more ?

    I am thinking of buying the Crosman Titan Gp. Any one with one of them? What velocities are you getting? They are advertising I think 800 fps with lead.

    Also how is accuracy? I see reports on the internet all over the place? Are these chinese made and hence the variable qc two talon mentions? I thought ALL crosman guns were American made?

    Finally how is the trigger? I again see internet reports all over the place.

    Seems half the owners gush about them and half cuss them and take em back!


  14. Low 700’s with cp. Accuracy is hard to determine with the trigger, but looks like it wants to shoot.
    A lot of the Crosmans are Chinese.

    Someone else want to give their impression if you have one?

    twotalon


  15. On another note, I contacted Crosman today to see what options I have for getting a replacement stock for the Marauder. The stock looks great (to my eyes) but the forearm is not square to the action, so when you mount a bipod, the gun leans to the left a bit.

    They told me that their policy is to get the entire gun in to look it over. I told them I’d rather not be without the rifle for a few weeks, and asked if they could ship me a new stock, and then I’d ship them the defective one.

    I understand that they are wary of being scammed, so I suggested that I should send them an email with a picture of the defect in the stock, and the lady I talked to was agreeable to that. She told me the engineer would have to look at it, but didn’t promise anything. I’m waiting to hear back from them about it.

    If they require me to ship the rifle off, I might just ask if they will sell me a replacement stock outright instead. I’d really rather not have to wait on them to receive the gun, fix it, and ship it back.


  16. I did some research before buying my HW30 and have noticed some discussions about some “galling” issue with the rifle. Now, I’ve just got it and I am trying to look for where the “galling” issue is to prevent it early but I guess I am not sure where to look. Does anyone know about this issue? And should it be obvious or is it hidden somewhere? Thanks a lot.


    • It is supposed to happen on the breech block surfaces that slide against each other from what I understand. I have never seen it myself. I imagine it happens as a result of very tight tolerances and perhaps not enough and/or the right kind of lubrication.


  17. Hello all I have another question: Is it possible to use a compact scope such as the Leapers Accushot 3-12X44AO Mini Rifle Scope on the Remington NPSS? My main concern is eye relief, I know it fits and will not interfere with cocking but will I be able to look through it properly? I do mainly bench rest shooting. Thank you


  18. Been quite sometime since I posted a quote on here, I know how much you miss them πŸ˜‰ so I thought I might pop one in here for old times sake! πŸ™‚

    “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
    — Ralph Waldo Emerson~

    That’s about it.
    rikib


  19. Desertdweller,

    I can understand why the person in the store cocked the XT and put it back. Of my three springers the Storm XT is by far and away hardest to cock. But also the most powerful. Go figure.

    You really get a workout with the XT. As opposed to the TF 59 which is simply a joy to cock! But with 150 fps difference in pellet speed and a pound less weight on the XT I would use the TF 59 for long plinking sessions and the Storm XT for long hunting sessions.


  20. Got a Titan GP at Wally World last week. Really hard to cock… were big guys too. Trigger was pretty stiff with good creep. Were shooting an inch group at 20 yards after 20 rounds with scope. If we spent longer … could have done better. Scope lose after 10 rounds. Didn’t use lock-tite or anything else. Gun pretty quiet… not 70% as claimed. Recoil…. never shot a gas piston but it wasn’t bad compared to a springer. The Titan is made exclusively for Walmart in PRC…. I was told by Crossman some parts are slightly different on The Remington NPSS… probably less plastic. I’m thining about a 392 and a peep site… going classic and waiting for a non- break barrel nitro to hit he market. Or I may look ma at an RWS 48 and pay the dough for accuracy… but carrying 8 lbs around….don’t know…..
    c
    Tim


  21. I recently purchased a Benjamin Trail NP, and I am curious about how long should it take to “Break-in”

    I’ve shot around 150 rounds through it, and it is still very loud. It’s just as loud as my Benjamin 392. One of the main reasons I chose the Trail NP is because it’s supposed to be quieter than most other air rifles.

    Could it still be cooking-off oils from manufacturing? How many more rounds do have to put through this thing before it starts to settle in?

    Thanks in advance for any info.

    Curt


    • Curt,

      Your Trail NP probably isn’t as loud as you think it is. Try firing it from the hip one time. Once you get the stock away from the facial bones, you can accurately hear how loud the gun is.

      B.B.


  22. Wow, thanks for the quick response, B.B.

    Yes, I thought the same thing. So I used my iphone to take a video (well I was really only interested in the audio). I placed the phone about 10 feet downrange and off to the left a bit. I shot the Benjamin 392 with 6 pumps and then the Trail NP, and the sound is nearly identical.

    Also, when shooting indoors, it smells like something is burning.

    Could something be wrong, or is this just part of breaking it in?

    Thanks,

    Curt


    • Curt,

      Yes, if it smells like burning it is dieseling and that will make it louder. And if it is a .177 it may break the sound barrier, so that will make it louder, as well. Can’t do anything about the sound barrier except shoot heavier pellets that don’t go as fast.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        I shot another 50 rounds through it last night, and it seems to be getting better. It’s grouping well and the trigger is not as terrible as people say. Of course I am used to the 392’s trigger so the Trail NP is actually an improvement.

        Thank you for all of the great information.

        Curt


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