by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Benjamin Titan GP Nitro Piston breakbarrel air rifle

Benjamin Titan GP Nitro Piston breakbarrel puts .177 pellets out at up to 695 f.p.s.

This is a special report about an air rifle that can only be purchased directly from Crosman/Benjamin. It’s a Nitro Piston rifle, which is Crosman’s trademarked name for their gas spring, and this rifle has been limited to velocities under 695 f.p.s. The box says it’s a hunting air rifle, but I wouldn’t recommend it for that.

When one of our readers mentioned that this gun existed, I became excited because I liked the performance of the Crosman Titan GP (Lower Velocity). I did a complete report on the lower velocity Titan GP in .22 caliber. It was relatively easy to cock (for a gun with a gas spring) and had a wonderful firing behavior. It was also reasonably accurate. Those are all the things we look for in spring guns, so at the time I wondered if Crosman would ever release a .177 version of the rifle.

The gun I’m testing for you today is that airgun — a .177-caliber Titan GP with Nitro Piston that has been limited to no more than 695 f.p.s. for Illinois state law compliance. (That law has since been lifted, so these guns are being sold off by Crosman.) This is what I have been asking for, for a long time. Now I have the opportunity to test one and see what it can do.

The rifle
The Titan GP is a breakbarrel spring rifle that has a Nitro Piston gas spring in place of a conventional coiled steel mainspring. That does several things for the gun. First, it lightens it by close to a pound. This test rifle weighs 8 lbs., 2 oz. with the scope mounted. I weighed it that way because there are no other sights, and the scope is essential. That puts this right in the medium weight range for a springer.

Next, the Nitro Piston makes the gun cock differently, and this is why I’ve been wanting a lower-powered .177-caliber gas spring gun to test. Conventional gas spring rifles are all hard to cock because the full force of the gas is encountered at the start of the cocking stroke — when the cocking linkage provides the least amount of mechanical advantage. When a gas spring gun cocks with 35 lbs. of force, it feels like 50 because of how difficult it is in the beginning. But the test rifle is set to deliver much lower power, which means the Nitro Piston in this rifle doesn’t require as much effort to cock. That turns out to be a great advantage when you actually use the gun.

The Titan GP has an articulated cocking link, so the cocking slot in the stock is shorter than it would have to be if the link was one piece. That helps with vibration, as well, since there’s more solid wood in the stock. I also notice the pivot bolt is slotted. That means the owner can adjust the pivot tension as required. That’s a wonderful feature, especially on a gun for this price.

The rifle is housed in a hardwood stock that’s finished with a dull sheen. The wood is not too carefully shaped, and you can see evidence of power tools used to do the shaping here and there. The wood has a very tight grain that doesn’t stand out in any way. The stock is a stylized thumbhole that I don’t care for because you’re forced to keep the thumb of your shooting hand wrapped around the pistol grip instead of along the side of the stock. It’s a clumsy feeling for me; but if you aren’t used to the older way of holding a rifle stock, it may suit you fine. I know that thumbhole stocks do have a lot of proponents.

The stock isn’t too thick through either the wrist or the forearm. It feels about the same as a Beeman R9, which is a medium-sized spring rifle.

The metal parts are finished to a dull sheen, also. They’re uniform and give the rifle the look of a hunting gun.

This is a full-sized rifle, if not a heavy one. The barrel, including the muzzlebrake, measures 18-7/8 inches long, and the overall length is 43-7/8 inches. The pull is 13-7/8 inches long.

There are no sights, so this one is meant to be scoped. Indeed a basic Centerpoint 4×32 scope and mount comes packed with it. I mounted the scope immediately because it’s the only way to sight when shooting.

So the story is — here’s a lower-powered .177 breakbarrel air rifle with a gas spring. Oh, and Crosman is selling them directly for just $71! There — have I got your attention? That was what also attracted me when our reader pointed it out. This is not a magnum springer that doubles as a portable gym. It’s a tractable, lightweight .177 rifle that could be used for plinking if you like, and as far as I’m concerned there are not enough of those on the market today.

The trigger on this rifle is supposed to be adjustable for the length of the second-stage pull via a screw located behind the trigger blade. Well, I turned that screw in both directions a LOT and nothing happened. The second-stage pull is extremely long and creepy and will have an effect on accuracy, I’m sure.

There is a safety, and I’m glad to report that it is manual. Take it off and shoot the rifle without worrying about the safety every time the gun is cocked. That’s a huge plus, in my opinion.

I have questions
First, is this rifle a suitable first air rifle? If this test proves out then it will be strong support that the market needs more rifles like this.

Second, can this rifle be accurate with the trigger that’s on it? The pull is so long, heavy and creepy that I really don’t think it can, but that’s what this test will discover.

Observations so far
I was very curious about the firing behavior of this rifle; so, as soon as it arrived, I took it out of the box and shot it several times. So far, I can tell you that it does cock easily, though not as easily as a Bronco. But for a gas spring, this is about as easy as they get.

The firing behavior is very smooth, although the rifle does lunge forward quickly at the end of the shot. Of course that is the case with all gas-spring powerplants, but this one lacks the slide-hammer effect of too much power.

The scope appears to be pretty nice for what it is. I find myself comparing it to a vintage American-made Leupold M8 scope I have that is also 4X, and this one is coming out okay.

Every so often there are deals that pop up for a while. I have made you aware of some of them in this blog, and I think the test rifle might be another one. I will therefore put it on the fast track, so you can get in line if it proves to be good.