Benjamin Trail NP pistol: Part 4a

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Benjamin Trail NP pistol
Benjamin’s new Trail NP breakbarrel pellet pistol with cocking aid removed.

Today we’ll make blog history. This is the first half of a 2-part report on the Benjamin Trail NP pistol. I was shooting it yesterday and found myself going in so many directions that I collected too much data for a single report. So the second half of today’s report will come on Monday.

I told you in the last report that I decided to “play” with the pistol rather than subject it to a rigidly structured test. Well, that must be catching because I did it again today. Something about this air pistol seems to invite experimentation.

It doesn’t have to shoot low!
I said that it shot too low in the last report. It did, but I was using the sights in a way the manufacturer did not intend by using the tip of the front sight for a 6 o’clock hold. That caused the gun to shoot a little low by itself. But, today, I replaced the rear sight with a red dot sight and found that the gun can shoot to the point of aim with ease. In fact, I had to adjust the sights down, but I will talk about that later.

I mounted a Tasco Pro Point dot sight on the 11mm dovetails that are on the rear of the spring tube. You could use anything that has a decent amount of adjustability.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol with doit sight
This old Tasco Pro Point dot sight installed on the Trail NP pistol without a fuss. It brought the point of aim and point of impact together.

It’s so much easier using a dot sight because there’s just the dot and target to watch, instead of the sight alignment. Shooting the pistol was much easier.

The first pellet: RWS Hobby
In the last test, RWS Hobby pellets were the most accurate, so those were the first pellets I tested this time. That made it simpler to test the gun because I knew I was starting with a reasonably accurate pellet.

And because this will become important in a while, let me tell you that these first groups were shot without the cocking aid on the gun. It’s a little harder to cock without the aid, but installing and removing it for every shot takes too much time.

The first group surprised me, because it wasn’t as good as it was the last time I tested this pistol. The first shot was a low flier caused by my unfamiliarity with the dot sight; but after that, all the rest of the shots were the best I could do. I think the measurement for 9 shots is more representative in this case, and let’s exclude that one low shot.

Nine shots went into a group that measures 2.04 inches between centers. That’s still larger than the group I got with open sights, which is 10 in 1.155 inches. I wondered if some of the stock screws might have loosened in all the shooting. I checked, and they certainly had. I tightened all stock screws; but instead of running the same test again, I proceeded to the next test. How would the pistol respond to pellets seated deeply with the Air Venturi Pellet Pen and Pellet Seater?

Benjamin Trail NP pistol RWS Hobby group flush
The lower shot is a called flier resulting from an improper sight picture. Nine pellets went into 2.04 inches at 10 meters.

Deep-seated pellets
Not only did the group improve measurably, the point of impact rose by two inches when I seated the pellets deep into the breech with the pellet seater. This pellet seater is really proving to be a valuable piece of equipment when used on certain guns — like this one. And this rise in the point of impact is why I say there’s no problem with the Trail NP shooting low. You simply need to seat the pellets deeply.

This time, 10 RWS Hobbys went into 1.025 inches between centers. That’s remarkably close to what I did last time with open sights, but just a trifle better.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol RWS Hobby group deep-seated
Deep-seated pellets made the difference. Ten went into 1.025 inches at 10 meters, and the point of impact raised by over two inches. Deep-seating is the trick, then.

Since deep-seating seemed to produce such good results, I decided to seat all pellets from this point, on. For my next test, blog reader Victor suggested that I try some good competition pellets. He recommended some H&N pellets, so I selected H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets. I seated them deep and proceeded with the test. But, oh, my, they didn’t do well at all! At least not when taken as a whole.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol H&N Finale Match Pistol group deep-seated
Victor, Victor! Where did we go wrong? Ten H&N Finale Match Pistol pellets made a 2.008-inch group. But look at the 5 in the middle. Perhaps there’s hope.

Five of those pellets managed to make a very tight little group. They gave me hope that this pellet wasn’t as bad as the numbers said. Perhaps something more was required?

The dot showed that I was shaking a lot more than I was comfortable with, despite using a two-hand rested hold. My forearms were resting on a sandbag, and the pistol was held in my hands, just in front of the bag. It sounds like a solid rest, but the dot said otherwise.

Since I was playing with the gun anyway, I stopped shooting for score and started experimenting with different holds that were firmer. I tried using my off hand as a modified artillery hold, but that was just as shaky. Then, I laid the gun directly on the sandbag and had a go. That proved to be the best way to hold it, as all shaking stopped and the pellets landed together again.

Benjamin Trail NP pistol H&N Finale Match Pistol rested position
This shooting position with the pistol rested directly on the sandbag proved to be the best and stablest position of all.

I also thought that if I was going to rest the gun on the bag, I might as well use the cocking aid again, too. I had now fired the gun about 50 times in all and wanted to relieve some of the strain on my hands. So the cocking aid went back on the gun.

And that’s all I’m going to tell you today. Tune in Monday to see if this new position paid off.

74 thoughts on “Benjamin Trail NP pistol: Part 4a”

  1. Noooooo that’s not fair! I want to know NOW! Oh you got us good on this one, you can be sure I’ll be awake tommorow and clicking the refresh button on my browser starting at 11:58pm.
    Now please don’t tell us you made a mistake and didn’t realize tommorow was Saturday and we’ll have to wait until monday, pleeeeaaaase.

    This is turning to be a very interesting test and we may get more than what we first bargained for both figuratively and literaly speaking.

    Why/how can deep seating a pellet make such a difference in the POI?
    If only Crosman advertised what pellet weight they used to test this pistol I’d have one in the mail coming my way.
    Did you retest other deep seated? Can you give us a hint about is coming in part B?
    Ok, ok, I’m going to bed… So are we there yet?


    P.s. How about now? Are we Saturday?

  2. B.B.,

    I’ve not played with deep-seating, so I wonder if the H&N are not partial to deep-seating? With regards to hold, have you tried resting the base of the pistol grip on top of the bag? That’s closer to offhand, but with more stability (i.e., a smaller wobble-area). This isn’t rock solid, so trigger control and follow-through are more critical.

    I’ve always had problems allowing my forearms to touch the table when shooting rifles because of small muscle contractions that cause jumps. Also, I would imagine that resting this particular pistol (being a springer) directly on top of the bags is worse than doing so with a rifle because a rifle is more front heavy and thus more stable.

    In any case, thanks for trying the H&N’s!


      • Shaking? Shaking? Come with me on Wednesday nights and shoot 25 yard Bullseye with me. I’ll show you what shaking really is! 🙂

        Sorry to report, Victor, that this week’s results were a setback. I blew up in the rapid fire leg of the competition. Oh well, wait till next week! For the rest of the blog, this is with .22 rimfire, not airgun.

        Fred DPRoNJ

        • Fred,

          I hear you. Again, It’s better to make your shots count, even if you don’t complete the set, than to throw most of them away. Ramp up the number of good shots. You know what to do. Goals are reachable, if we stick to a plan. Good luck!


          • OK. I seemed to just not been able to line up the red dot on the black bull. I was all over the place but I will take your advice the next time I run into this fiasco. It was so bad, that 3 of my shots were off the target and didn’t count. Right there, I missed achieving my near term goal of breaking 200 points.

            Fred DPRoNJ

            • Fred,

              I know your frustrations, believe me I do. However, I learned early on the importance of plateaus, which is a long term, big picture, view of things. I was very fortunate to sit in a presentation by the Army Marksmanship Training Unit. For me, the most important information had nothing to do with the details of shooting. For me, it was about keeping things in perspective, prioritizing things, and breaking plateaus. Your NRA ranking is about averages, so the key is in achieving consistency.

              It all comes down to the fundamentals. The best anyone can do is achieve some level of mastery of the fundamentals. The mental game is the hardest part of competition, so don’t allow your progress to get hijacked by emotions. “Want” won’t do you any good during a match, and neither will fear, anger, or disappointment. The only thing that matters is deliberately getting the gun to go off such that you don’t lose your sight picture (in this case since you’re using a dot-sight). So all of your focus should be on faithfully executing the fundamentals.

              You’re already showing improvement, so the trajectory of your abilities is moving in the right direction. Trust me, within the year you’re going to surprise yourself by making leaps in your performance. Knowing what to do is one thing. Putting into practice is another. Knowledge plus experience and practice where you’ll find your shooting maturity. This maturity is very real.

              Thanks for sharing this with us! You’re getting there!


            • Fred,
              I had great difficulty superimposing the red dot on the black of the target bull when I was shooting bullseye. My brain didn’t like the sight picture and I struggled to keep the dot anywhere near the center of the target. Switched to a 6:00 hold using the red dot. Moved the dot so the shot grouping was about an inch and half high and this worked quite well. Scores improved dramatically.

              Being more aggressive on that first shot during the rapid fire string is also helpful. If you can break the shot sooner–at almost the moment the targets turn, it’s then only 4 shots in 10 seconds.

              • I really sucked shooting the 1911 with the Crimson Trace laser grip. It accentuated my bad habits. But with Victor’s killer shooting technique, I’m eager for another go.


      • B.B.,

        May I suggest that you switch the trigger with a GRT-III? I believe you have one of those. Looking at CharlieDaTuna’s website, the GRT-III is said to work on all Trail NP series guns.


          • B.B.,

            Understood. In any case, if the GRT-III trigger works on this gun, that it might be an important and worthwhile modification, being that it looks like it wants to shoot. A heavy trigger on a pistol is much more of a problem than on a rifle with the extra weight and longer sight radius.


  3. B.B.,

    A question. You state that with the factory sights you were “using the sights in a way the manufacturer did not intend by using the tip of the front sight for a 6 o’clock hold”. Could you explain what Crosman intended? I checked the manual on sight adjustment. Looked normal to me.

    Mark N

    • Mark,

      The intention of fiberoptic sights is to place the glowing red dot on what you want to hit. Crosman may have missed that in their manual and used an older copy, but that’s not how a fiberoptic sight is meant to be used. That’s all I’m saying.,


  4. B.B.,

    I find myself with an issue similar to Victor when it comes to shooting a pistol off of bags. Forearms resting on the table are a problem. I have been able to solve it somewhat by positioning the bags higher and closer and using my elbows on the table rather than my forearms.

    Of course the biggest revelation in Report 4a is that deep-seating the pellets raises the POI two inches! My question is if deep-seating the Hobbies, resting the pistol directly on the bag, and putting the rear sight back on might produce results as good as if you were using the red dot. A quality red dot with its mounting hardware will bring this gun close to 4 pounds, so if the low POI is solved by deep-seating . . .

    By the way, does the high front sight (a.k.a. Mt. Rainier) interfere at all with the red dot?


    • nomobux,

      According to my caliper, the depth gauge is set at 0.163″, and since it pushes the inside of the hollow tail of the pellet, I would say that they average about 0.125″ or so. Each pellet type will be different, of course.


  5. Beginner here: Why would deep-seating raise the impact? Is it getting the pellet out sooner before the barrel can recoil downwards, or is more velocity being preserved so there’s less drop, or…?

  6. BB

    Off topic… I know how much you love tractors, so I was wondering if you had seen a couple of shows I noticed for the first time the other night. One is called Classic Tractor and the other is Talkin’ Tractors. Both shows are about vintage tractors and restoration. They are on RFD-TV.

    • SL,

      I just Googled the shows. Looks like you can only watch them online at RFDTV.com, where they charge an annual membership fee of $60. Or are you saying the shows are also available via cable TV? I see they also have shows about trains, which I think would also be of interest. Thanks for the heads up!


      • Edith

        Comcast has the local cable monopoly in my area and I saw it on that. I have a somewhat basic package, so it is not like I have 500 channels or anything. The channel that carried RFD-TV was called ‘Family Net’ (abbreviation FMLY) I think. I had never noticed it before.

        This page http://www.rfdtv.com/findrfdtv/ might help you find what channel carries it in your area, but it didn’t work for me. I put in my ZIP code, and it indicated that it was not available on Comcast, which clearly it was.

          • Edith

            No problem. Don’t rule out looking for FMLY in your channel line-up and looking for the shows there, since the link I provided indicated that Comcast didn’t carry RFD-TV either. I was also able to use the search feature, keyword tractor, to find the show schedules. I hope you find it.

            • SL,

              Woohoo! I just went to Charter Cable’s site and looked for FMLY. While checking the listings, I found RFDTV as part of their digital offerings…but not part of the basic or expanded channels. I’ll have to find out from Charter what it’ll cost us to add the digital lineup to our channels.

              Thanks, again!


              • Edith,
                Check out Dish Network if you can get it where you live. It is much better and probably cheaper than any cable company I’ve ever dealt with (cable is not an option here , anyway), and actually fewer outages/problems.

                The classic tractors shows on RFD-TV are awesome, though I think I’ve seen most of them (or had at one point) and haven’t watched much lately. There was a one-hour long mostly Farmall special that we had on Tivo (pre-Dish HD/DVR) that my son would watch EVERY Night before bed if we let him; he also likes the old Hart-Parrs, Olivers, Cletrac, and of course Minneapolis-Molines. My favorite on RFD is Ag PHd., but it it could be a little esoteric for some at times.

    • I didn’t know B.B. likes tractors. Go to Minnesota for a visit where they have tractor pulling contests with tractors that spout flame from their exhausts. I was taken to this event as part of job interview to entice me I suppose.


  7. My Nitro Trail seats the pellets deeply as the bore is excessively large. Even RWS SuperMags go in without the necessity of sizing them for the breech.

    Mine shoots low. I had to add a longer 5mm machine screw and an extra spring between the sight body and the sight blade to tension the blade against the screw head.

    I think the inherent problem is the outrageously tall front sight.

    You can turn the cocking assist handler around and use the round end on the pistol to cock it without having to click it onto the pistol.

  8. Off subject, Am I the only one that was still using the old PA web site? I noticed that it was messing up the last few days and now it is gone. Sad for me. I just found it easier for me to use than the new, what was Beta, site. Ok I’m done crying now.

    • Bradly,

      The vast majority of people have used the new site for some time and for some very good reasons:

      1. Searches are lightyears better & more accurate.
      2. You earn Bullseye Bucks for each purchase, referral & link share.
      3. It’s faster.

      I also bemoaned the new site when it was first unveiled. It was too different. No one likes change, especially if it’s drastic. And this was a drastic change.

      However, there have been many, many significant changes to the new site that enhance the buying experience, such as better searching, sorting of items in a search result and better categorization of products.

      Pyramyd Air initially called the new site the Beta site. That’s because they weren’t done with it and wanted to see if customers had issues that weren’t apparaent during the initial testing phase, but mostly they were looking for platform- and browser-related issues.

      Eventually, the new site became the site you’d find when going to https://www.pyramydair.com/. If you wanted the old site, there was link at the top of the page to go to it.

      After months of tweaking, they moved the link to the old site to the bottom of the page on the new site. It’s been over a year since the new site was made available, and it’s now the only site you can use.

      I’ve been to other websites that have been completely redone without any option of phasing it in or using the old site til I got used to the new site. It made me angry that they didn’t let me get used to it before foisting it on me. And it was hard to find a link where I could voice my concerns & complaints.

      So, the fact that Pyramyd Air gave everyone more than a year to get used to the look & feel of the new site…and continue to listen to customer feedback on issues or suggested changes…indicates that they really care what the customer thinks.

      If you’re having fundamental issues that you can’t resolve or you have suggestions to improve the new site (and suggesting that we go back to the old site will not be viewed as an improvement :-)), then feel free to use Pyramyd Air’s customer feedback mechanism to make your voice heard (https://www.pyramydair.com/five-off). Believe me, they listen. Many of the improvements made to the new site were due to customers writing in with suggestions.


    • AJ

      That is horrible news. Tom Knapp was not only a spectacular shooter, but a wonderful showman. Whenever Extreme Marksman was on, I had to watch–no matter how many times I had seen it before.

  9. Dear B.B.

    In a recent post you mentioned speaking with someone at Crosman about turning the 2260 into a multi-pump .25 hunter. I have not been able to remove the possible handiness of such a rifle from my childish, persistent dreams. To whom must I send the petition.
    Also, if i wanted ballistically accurate dreams, what sort of energy would a m-p 2260 in .25 be able to generate?
    Thank you sir.

    • Pop,

      I don’t know who at Crosman would be interested in this idea, but Customer Service is the place to contact.

      I would think a rifle like that should make 25-30 foot-pounds without too much difficulty.


  10. B.B. Thanks for your excellent blog . Too many Cons vs Pro, so I think I’ll mess around with a Crosman 2240. Reading your past Blogs on this favorite plus being left handed it would be a naturally to use some of my Bucky Buck’s ( is that what they are called ? ).
    Best wishes to you and Edith !

  11. Thanks again Edith. Heck, I hate it I even complained now. I’ve played with it all morning long. I can find about everything now. Just took time for an old dog to learn the new tricks! I’ve bought from several airgun sites, but PA is my favorite by a long way. No one else even gets close. PA’s customer service and BB’s blog is enough to push it over the top for me!

  12. Did I miss B.B.’s conversion to the red dot sights? You would think that red blob would limit accuracy compared to match iron sights, but apparently not. The red dots are faster and generally more accurate than all but the very best iron sights. Is that right?

    Yes, Victor, what happened to the HN pellets?? My favorite for the pistol. I am just no end of delighted with them at the way they have saved my Walther Nighthawk. If there was a shortage of them like there is for firearms ammo, I don’t know what I would do. By the way, Victor, in flipping through the Champion’s Choice catalog, I came across the names of your friends Lenny Bassham and Lone Wiggers who seem to be quit the sages on a variety of subjects.

    As an aside, Jerry Miculek is doing videos for Cheaper Than Dirt. In one, he shoots an M1 Garand like a machine gun.

    All is over in Mozambique with the massacre of their last 15 rhinos. The reason for the final annihilation is that the rangers that were supposed to protect the rhinos led the poachers to them in exchange for $80. Some have suggested that there should be sympathy for the rangers since this amount was greater than the $65 they made per month, so it made economic sense. Even if one doesn’t give a hoot about rhinos this selfish and self-destructive behavior is just maddening. Someone said that evil is the ultimate absurdity. When the Day of Wrath comes, we can take comfort in the fact that most if not all is probably deserved.


    • Matt61,

      To refer to Lanny Bassham and Lone Wiggers as “sages” is very accurate. In 1972, Lanny Bassham had what he called a “mental breakdown” that cost him Gold, so he ended up with Silver. He knew that he was the best, and narrowed down his issues to be purely mental, so that is what he set out to solve. The same period that I was working towards the Olympic tryouts, Lanny Bassham was shattering world records, and really was shooting in a league all his own. Clearly no one could touch him, and he won Gold in 1976. His records would not be broken until the rules for shooting jackets were relaxed. To compare the 3-P shooters of the pre-early 80’s and now is like comparing apples and oranges.

      Lones Wigger is one of the very few shooters who won at the highest levels in both NRA and ISU (ISSF). You rarely saw NRA record holders shoot ISU matches, and most of the best ISU don’t bother with NRA, because the rules are so different. But Lones Wigger still blew away competitors from both, including being one of a very few to shoot a perfect 6400 out of 6400 over 4 days of competition.

      Of course, these days there’s hardly any difference between NRA and ISSF jackets, so it’s easier to cross lines of competition. You can’t hardly move in either jacket, so it’s much less about the shooter than it was back in the 70’s. Of course if you go back even further, to the early 60’s, triggers use to have to weight about 3.5 lbs. I’d like to see modern day shooters shoot by the old ISU rules with the heavier triggers.


  13. Pardon — Is it just me* or is the RSS feed dead?

    * I finally upgraded Firefox from 3.4.x or some such number (the last release/patch before they went to the 6-month major version number release cycle) and had to find new themes, etc. Things just don’t feel right… {And even more mysteriously — Forte Agent is now interpreting the scroll lock backwards!}

      • May have been some lingering glitch on my end then. I hadn’t rebooted all weekend as I had scheduled back-ups running at night (while the three incrementals could run in a night, the back-up software does some number of incrementals and then does a full backup and erase of the incrementals — the full backups take hours for each of the three).

        RSS working now, after a reboot.

  14. 03/04/17
    Enjoyed your posts! I just purchased the Benjamin Trail NP Model BBP77 and would like your current recommendation as to which dot site and pellets I should buy. This is starting out to be a pretty good pistol.

    Thanks in advance,
    John C aka Goooch

    • John the Goooch,

      Welcome to the blog.

      I would get the smallest, lightest dot sight that will fit on my airgun. You don’t want the sight to have a lot of weight because of the recoil.

      Try RWS Hobbys, and deep-seat them, as I did.


  15. 03/05/2017
    Mornin’ B.B.,

    Thanks for the welcome. I have looked at dozens of dot sights and really have no clue as to which one is the one that will work as you suggest for this pistol. Would you please share a specific recommendation so I can get it ordered from RWS and give it a whirl. Same for the pellets.

    I have no expertise in nuances of fitting out this pistol and just seeking to send squirrels in my yard to their ultimate demise. I was quite the marksman in my younger days with a rifle so giving the critters a decent chance using a pistol. Thus far, they spend a majority of their time in the woods huddled up and discussing the annoying pops they are hearing and disturbances near their destructive activities.

    This is the first gun I have owned in 40+ years so you can imagine how much I appreciate your advice.

    Kind regards,

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