by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Today, I’ll test the .25-caliber Benjamin Marauder for velocity and also get the shot count. From past tests done by my friend Mac, we know this rifle should be in the 38-40 foot-pound region, but today is the day the rifle gets documented by me. No tuning has been done to this rifle to the best of my knowledge; so, although it’s 3 years old, it’s also straight from the box.
The rifle was filled to 3,000 psi and the first pellet tried was the .25 caliber H&N Baracuda. This domed pellet weighs 31 grains; and in the test rifle, it averages 778 f.p.s. That’s good for an average 41.68 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. The total velocity variation in an 8-shot string was 774 to 782 f.p.s. That’s just 8 f.p.s.
The next pellet I tested was the 27.8-grain Benjamin dome. This pellet averaged 805 f.p.s. with a low of 802 and a high of 808 f.p.s. That’s just 6 f.p.s. for the total spread. The average muzzle energy for this pellet was 40.01 foot-pounds. The Benjamin dome has been one of the most accurate .25-caliber pellets around since it first came out, so it’ll be interesting to see what it can do in the test rifle. I always think of this pellet as the .25-caliber Crosman Premier, though the company doesn’t brand it that way.
JSB Exact King
Next, I tested the 25.4-grain JSB Exact King. This is another fine domed pellet that has been one of the most accurate .25-caliber pellets since it was introduced a few years ago. It’s also light enough to travel faster than most of them.
These pellets averaged 831 f.p.s. in the test rifle, for an average muzzle energy of 38.96 foot-pounds. The spread went from a low of 829 to a high of 835 f.p.s. That’s another one that’s just 6 f.p.s.!
The last pellet I tested was the 26-grain Predator Polymag — a high-tech hollowpoint pellet that has a cone-shaped plastic nose for improved aerodynamics. This pellet averaged 814 f.p.s. in the test rifle and delivered an average 38.26 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. We’ll see how accurate it is in the next test. I have no experience with the Predator in .25 caliber. The spread went from 808 f.0.s. to 820 f.p.s., for a total of 12 f.p.s.
I got just two 8-shot magazines from a charge before the velocity started dropping. By dropping, I mean the velocity was falling straight off with each shot. I could stretch the total to 3 mags, which is 24 shots, if I wasn’t trying to shoot groups at 50 yards. The velocity spread would triple with the final 8 shots, which would take 6 f.p.s to 18 f.p.s. and 12 f.p.s. to 36 f.p.s. As long as you keep your range to 35 yards or less, those final 8 shots should work fine.
Here’s the part of the report many of you have been waiting to read. The test .25-caliber rifle is noticeably louder than the .177 Marauder, but it’s still not loud. I tested them side by side. The .177 Marauder is just so quiet that everything else sounds louder in comparison. And now that I’ve dialed back its velocity to 965 f.p.s., it’s probably quieter than it was when it was pushing out pellets at over 1,000 f.p.s. The .25 has more of a crack to its discharge, but the sound it makes is still quieter than all magnum spring rifles I’ve tested. So, it’s quiet too — just not as quiet as the .177.
I said I wasn’t going to mention the trigger again; but when I compared the trigger on the .177 Marauder to the one on the .25, the difference was noticeable. The .25 has a first stage that’s too short and a stage 2 that’s too long. There’s some creep in the second stage, so I do need to address that. I may not mention it again, but I’m doing so now to let you know there’s a difference between a factory trigger, which the .25 has, and one that has been adjusted.
My personal feelings
I don’t often mention how I feel about airguns, but I think I have to here. I do not care for .25-caliber airguns. I’ve found them inaccurate; wasteful of air; requiring expensive pellets; and, in general, I find they’re not able to keep up with a good .22. The TalonP pistol was an exception to that except for the cost of the pellets, but it was the exception that proved the rule.
I’m rooting for this .25 Marauder, though, because I know many readers prefer .25 caliber for hunting. I have to note that during chronograph testing the pellet trap was rocking the table it sits on because the impact of the pellets was so great. So, if this Marauder turns out to be a tack-driver, it may change my opinion of the quarter-inch bore just a little.