Interesting gun designs — Benjamin Legacy: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Benjamin Legacy SE
Benjamin Legacy with a gas spring was a short-lived breakbarrel.

This report covers:

  • Something special from the back room!
  • Benefits of a lower-pressure gas spring
  • Trigger
  • Lower power
  • RWS Hobby pellets
  • Crosman Premier pellets
  • JSB Exact RS pellets
  • The point of this review

Something special from the back room!

I’m going slow with this report, because it concerns an airgun you cannot purchase. Read Part 2 to see where I found out about the .22-caliber Benjamin Legacy breakbarrel with a gas spring — not the Legacy with a steel spring that sold many years earlier. In the 3 months between the time I contracted pancreatitis in March of 2010 until I was discharged from the last hospital in June of that year, the Benjamin Legacy with gas spring was born, died and forgotten. I never had the chance to review it for you.

So why do it now? That’s a good question. I’m doing it because I believe Crosman may have thrown the baby out with the bathwater. I think the rifle was exactly what’s wanted by experienced airgunners today, and nobody is making it. Maybe, if we show how very good it is, someone will want to do it again.

The Legacy is a conventional breakbarrel gun with a gas spring. So far, nothing extraordinary. But when you learn that it takes just 16 lbs. of effort to cock, you start to listen. That would make this rifle the easiest-cocking gas-spring air rifle I’ve ever seen, tested or even heard of. The airgunning world swooned over the Theoben Fenman in the mid-1990s because it only took 40 lbs. of effort to cock. This rifle takes less than half the effort!

Benefits of a lower-pressure gas spring

Besides easy cocking, a lower-pressure gas spring is far easier to deaden. This rifle shoots without a hint of vibration. There’s just a pulse of movement when it fires, and then the loudest sound is the pellet hitting the trap. Talk about a perfect backyard gun for suburbia! And there’s more.

Trigger

When the Gamo-esq trigger doesn’t have a heavy mainspring to restrain, it works better. The Legacy’s safety is entirely manual, meaning that the shooter is in charge at all times — not some corporate lawyer. The 2-stage trigger releases crisply, as they all might if they weren’t holding back such massive mainsprings.

benjamin Legacy trigger
The one trigger adjustment screw controls the spring tension on the trigger blade.

I won’t lie and tell you the trigger is as good as a Rekord, because it isn’t. It’s made from stamped metal parts and the fit is only casual. There’s a very long first stage that’s characteristic of these triggers; but when stage 2 breaks, there’s no creep. That part feels quite good and very much under your control.

The single trigger-adjustment screw controls the weight of the return spring. All pull weights (both the first and second stages) are affected by it, though only stage 1 is noticeable. I have the trigger adjusted to break at 3 lbs., 3 oz., and all but about the final ounce of that is in stage one.

The results are a quiet breakbarrel that’s easy to cock, with a nice, crisp trigger that puts you in full control. And, the gun was made before some engineer thought to save a dollar by putting a pivot pin where a bolt belongs. The tension of the barrel is adjustable. That means this air rifle has every chance of being accurate.

Lower power

You buy this rifle knowing that it isn’t powerful. It’s all those nice things, instead. As I said in part 2, this could be considered the modern Diana 27. I’ll take that if it comes with accuracy. But enough talk — let’s find out how much power this gun does have.

RWS Hobby pellets

The first pellet I tested was the 11.9-grain RWS Hobby wadcutter. They averaged 536 f.p.s., with a spread from 531 to 542 f.p.s. That’s an 11 f.p.s. spread over 10 shots. At the average velocity, Hobbys deliver 7.64 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Remember my comment about this being a modern Diana 27? They’re about the same power.

Crosman Premier pellets

The next pellet tsted was the 14.3-grain Crosman Premier. They averaged 477 f.p.s., with a low of 464 and a high of 493 f.p.s. The spread was 29 f.p.s. At the average velocity, Hobbys generated 7.23 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

JSB Exact RS pellets

The last pellet I tested was the 13.43-grain JSB Exact RS pellet. They averaged 527 f.p.s. with a low of 516 and a high of 537 f.p.s. That’s a spread of 21 f.p.s. At the average velocity, RS pellets generated 8.28 foot-pounds at the muzzle. They also seemed to fit the breech the best of the 3 pellets I tested. They’ll get a chance when we test accuracy.

The bottom line is that the Legacy is about an 8 foot-pound rifle. It’s perfect for plinking all day, which is something shooters do a lot more than anything else.

The point of this review

You can’t buy this rifle, so what’s the point? The point is that if this breakbarrel works well and is accurate, why isn’t it being built? Maybe Crosman’s no longer interested, but they aren’t the only manufacturers of breakbarrel spring rifles.

Ed Schultz, the Crosman engineer who created the Legacy, told me he tried it in .177 caliber, and it just wasn’t as exciting. The velocity was very similar, even with the lighter pellets. Apparently, there’s something special about the .22 caliber in this power range.

Crosman went on to produce thousands of similar gas-spring air rifles they designated as lower-power. I tried to encourage people to try those airguns, but they stayed away in droves. The Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 eventually came out of this development. I had very high hopes for that rifle, even though it was harder to cock. But production problems during the launch made the public wary of the rifle. I think that’s turned around now.

I was hoping that if the Walther Terrus turns out to be accurate, it might be a good candidate for a power-pressure gas spring. It already has a nice trigger and a slim wood stock. Now, if it will just put pellets into tight groups!

64 thoughts on “Interesting gun designs — Benjamin Legacy: Part 3

  1. They’ll be better served by getting the marketing people out in the field taking notes and using the guns they make. Maybe then someone in that department can think up of a good spin as to why they should address this silent market of backyard plinkers. Shooting ranges are moving farther and farther away from City Centers. Range fees are on the rise. Traffic makes travel a hassle to the point that you can’t make any decent groupings once you get there. Can’t they see that they are missing the boat here?


    • The main problem is that here in the US only the inexperienced buy Crosman sproingers. Very quickly they either go back to their firearms or they discover what real quality air rifles are. As BB pointed out, they have cheapened them even further from when this thing was made.


      • Not all who buy Crosman springers are inexperienced shooters. I buy them , and still have a 1st generation Quest that had over 20,000 trouble free shots on it , and now is .22 cal after I rebarreled it. I have had at least five of that model and all have been adequate for purposes that MOST folks might use a airgun for. If you are a casual user, never shoot your airgun at ranges that exceed 20-25 yards , and keep your pesting at twenty yards or so you probably will not be better served by buying a more expensive airgun. That is the hard reality of it, and while I have and appreciate finer guns, I for one ,am grateful that Crosman is around. Don’t knock the cheap seats, there are a lot of airgunners who wouldn’t be if they only had higher end stuff to start with…


        • I have been duly chastised. Please forgive my expression of my rather biased opinion.

          I also request that all further floggings for this matter should cease.


  2. so did Crosman actually manufacture these rifles in house?, I’ve been wondering if any US manufacturer actually made a spring piston gun “lock, stock and barrel” for a while.


    • Once upon a time in a land far, far away… Sorry, wrong story.

      The answer to your query is yes, but not any more and not for quite some time unless Daisy still makes some of their BB guns in house.

      Crosman has Wang Po Industries make the parts for their sproingers and then ship them here for assembly. I am told that the Discovery and Marauder are made here in the USA, but I wonder where the parts are made?


      • Really?, are we certain it wasn’t made, at least the compression tube, barrel and piston, somewhere else
        I was of the impression that no spring piston pellet rifles were ever manufactured in the USA, in much the same way we’ve never made a multi pump pneumatic (or BB) gun here in the UK
        Been a few rebrands but no real manufacturing



          • You had the previous legacy (spring) down as Chinese made….which is why I asked….it also bears a very strong resemblance to the Trail
            It is murky, I’ve touched on it all before…I have a Mk3 Meteor and a Mk5 one…the group sizes are twice the size on the Mk5…says it all. To the best of my knowledge the Lightning barrel is still made in Birmingham and exported..though who really knows, too much subterfuge really.
            I reserve my greatest annoyance for when great names like Remington, Hammerli, Walther etc are dragged through the mud by careless marketing, Winchester swerved it by putting it’s name on the excellent 27, and I don’t mind that so much.


      • very few if any Daisy are made in the US anymore. The popular 880 and Red Ryder are both made in China now. They’ll do some special runs now and then (like the Red Ryder) that will say assembled in the USA…but looks like with China parts to me. Some of the CO2 pistols were made in Japan. Not sure if they still are or not.



      • Excellent!, it always struck me as odd that the US had passed over the relatively simple spring piston design, and there must be at least one, and this one does have that slight air of Chinese about it’s looks
        So it has a steel barrel too?…not a brass Crosman tube in a shroud?….that must have been a prohibitive manufacturing leap, though I’m assuming the Benjamin big bores now have steel bores?


      • BB
        I have a Remington Genesis that is a short stroke piston gun and if the gas spring for this Legacy is still available do you know if it could be fitted to the Genesis or would a NPSS gas spring be better suited to the Genesis as I am trying to build a spring gun that my 9 year old grandson can cock.

        The Genesis now is a coil spring and he can just get it cocked but it is very twangy and buzzy even after a good cleaning and lube job along with removing the big chunk of steel that was in it for a top hat as with it in the gun the recoil would make it very difficult to shoot accurately. I made a aluminum top hat to replace it and it is a completely different rifle and shoots CP 7.9s at 800 fps which is plenty and is accurate with them now out to 25 yards which is what we generally shot as a max distance.

        Your thoughts on a gas spring to alleviate the spring noise as I do not know of a tune kit that has a inner and outer guide to fix the spring noise as that would be acceptable as well.

        BD


        • BD,

          I am weak when it comes to knowledge of Chinese made spring guns and what they can do, but Mike Melick (MikeinIowa) is really tuned into what’s what.

          Mike, can you please help?

          I will say this. I think a 9 year-old could cock today’s rifle, if one could be built for his size.

          B.B.


          • BB
            I think the Genesis must be just a little shorter than the legacy or my grandson has long arms as he can hold the Genersis barely and we shoot from the porch railing so he does not have to support the weight.

            I have just bought a 1077 as well so it should be a good fit as well and was lucky enough to come across an air source adapter for the 1077 as well so the gun will be here this Saturday .

            Thanks for the info as I will get hold of Mike if he does not post a reply here.

            BD


  3. BB,

    That is an interesting remark you made about the .22 the better size in this power range. Does that also extend to other low powered rifles like the Diana 27?

    Personally I have a preference for this pellet size in my backyard plinkers (HW 35 & 80, Diana 27) as they shoot somewhat easier for me especially as I normally shoot them like my match rifles. At 10 mtr that’s an additional challenge and so much easier to do for 10 minutes as setting up a bench.

    This does not extend to the older match rifles I have. The Diana 60 and FWB 300S are perfect in .177 but then they have recoil compensation which makes them a joy to shoot in them self.

    The only thing I miss is a good wad cutter pellet as I use them quite a lot on the 10 mtr range. Domes are irritating to see exactly what I score.

    Maybe something for a blog,

    Regards,

    August


    • You sir are making me envious. I hope to own a HW35 or such in the near future to fill the spot of a .22 backyard plinker. At present that role is filled by my 1906 BSA. It is great out to almost 25 yards, but it is open sights and .177, quite challenging for “long ranges”.




  4. BB,

    I do bemoan not acquiring one of these when they made their brief appearance on the scene. As you pointed out it at least has a bolt instead of a pin. If I should happen upon one, I may have to snatch it up. Of course I will then have to throw that stock over the hill and have one made, but it might be worth doing that with this. While I have it out I could fix that trigger.


  5. After owning a Benjamin Trail NP and BSA GRT Supersport SE I doubt if I’ll ever buy another gas ram. I guess they are okay for a lower priced disposable airgun, but for an easy to maintain and repair heirloom quality gun I’ll stick to springs. I find that the idiosyncracies of springers is what makes them a challenge and so satisfying to master. My Weihrauch, Air Arms and Walther springers are fantastic devices, and I hope they will be enjoyed by others long after I am gone.


  6. The rifle as shown, is ugly-looks like Dennis Rudman in drag.
    To make a good dish(meal) it must:-
    look good
    smell good
    & taste good
    Similarly, to make a good air rifle it must:-
    look good
    feel good(in your hands)
    & shoot good.
    If I were Crosman I would put that power plant in a Winchester 1873 look alike.
    Build it as an underlever , the 1873 lends itself to an underlever style rifle, with a loading tap to satisfy mom that little Tommy won’t get his fingers chopped off. Go after the youth market and as B.B. said you will also get the experienced airgunners on board.
    Alas! no one wants to build an underlever with a gas spring.

    Pete



    • I agree, also .22 cal pellets are a lot easier for fat fingered folks to handle. I have a BSA supersport in .25 , and while it is not a power house , it is very satifing to plink with, It is even a effective pesting gun at ranges under 25 yards , and inside buildings, that doesn’t allow the pellet to exit the intended victim most of the time.



  7. It’s too bad that they didn’t make this is a 12 foot pound gun. I haven’t seen any gas ram that’s around the International standard. Speaking of which, Pyramid has a new gun called SMK th208. It’s a 177 break barrel that shoots about 810 fps. The reviews that I read of it from the UK have generally been good. Since you’ ve been testing break barrel guns lately, this looks like a good one to add to the mix.


    • Brent,

      No offense meant, but the low power of this prototype is what makes it so wonderful to shoot. Add more power, and the wonderfulness begins to go away. It gets harder to cock, the trigger gets heavier, the recoil increases, it gets louder, it starts to vibrate, Before you know it, It’s a Crosman Vantage NP. Not bad, but not wonderful to shoot, either.

      Most people DO want (or think they want) more power, and so Crosman dropped plans for this rifle and in the meantime introduced the Vantage NP.

      Michael


      • Youre right. A lot of people think they need that power, but they cant control that power. They end up having a 18+footpound rifle, witch they cannot shoot accurately. They blame the rifle.


    • Brent

      The SMK TH208 is a B25/Ruger Airhawk with a Thumbhole stock, no sights and slightly upgraded scope. B.B. did start the testing the Airhawk a while ago but put it on the back burner for some reason. Maybe he will get back to it soon.

      David



        • B.B.

          My Airhawk is a bit more accurate 3/4″ @ 25 yards but since I now have two guns that shoot sub1/2″ groups @ 25 yards it sits unused. I have a .22 cal wood stock Terrus on order that I hope can shoot, if not I’ll send it back. Waiting for part 4 of the Terrus test.

          David


  8. Well, ive assembled the hw85 with its new full power spring. I tried to get a 7.5 or a 12 joules spring. … but that meant I had to wait for a week. So Ive put a LOT of the grease that my german gunsmith gave me on the piston, the parachute seal, the spring and the compression tube….hoping it would tame the spring.
    The result is…..well Its hard to discribe. Its butter smooth! Its as silent as my fwb 300s, no vibration what so ever. Its a completely different gun to shoot. The ‘original’ hw85 was a gun for an experienced shooter. But not a gun you would let the neighbour shoot with…. he’d never hit the target with it. The transformed 85 is an easy shooter now. Strange thing is….. it hasnt lost much power. It shoots like a 7.5/10 joules rifle…. but at 20m a rws r10 wadcutter shoots trough an 8 mm (1/3 inch) piece of plywood.
    The grease I used was:
    Lupus professional ptfe hight tech teflon waffenfett (gungrease).
    First few shots the rifle smoked, after it didnt smoke anymore, I cleaned the barrel and put an Anschuetz diopter on it. After about 150 pellets the accuracy was back. Managed to shoot 116points in 12 shots standing at 10m.



    • The way I finally got my HIpac sealed was pushing the o-rings in place and apply a strip of Super Lube synthetic grease. This stuff feels like a very thin silicone jelly and is fortified with PTFE and I’ll be saving what’s left for other important projects.


      • The lupus professional grease does not feel like a very thin silicone jelly…hahah…the moment you apply it to your finger, you know its the real McCoy…. first thing I thought was: do I have some industrial handcleaner left in my garage?

        Maybe you just need to get more of that super lube. When you need it most…. you always seem to have shortage 🙂


  9. I was under the impression that the gas spring had more vibration than a mechanical spring. If it doesn’t, what is the bathwater part? This gun sounds perfect.

    Sam, thanks for your info. I’m not familiar with the 7.62X39 caliber and was just going with service loads. But it appears that ammo selection will be a factor as it is with just about every other kind of gun. I have a selection including the metal-cased Tulammo that seems to be the cheapest alternative and for which there is a range of feedback good and bad. I also have the Hornady SSTP which seems to be on the high-end although it is metal cased. And I have brass-cased Serbian ammo with boattail bullets. That would be interesting if the AK favors heavier bullets for accuracy like the AR. Maybe it is a more general truth that you will get the most accuracy with the heaviest bullets that your twist rate can handle.

    While there has been almost limitless discussion comparing the AR to the AK, I think what is at stake here is an issue that has only recently started to emerge which is build quality. The characterization of the AK as a mud gun is generally based on specimens that are of really poor quality or were designed to be mud guns. But what if that was a choice of manufacture and not so much of design. The 1911 was essentially a mud gun for most of its military service and its great accuracy was not appreciated until much later.

    Most AKs cost half of even budget ARs and only a fraction of high-end ARs. What if you compared equal build quality? The Saiga is still on the cheap side at $600, but with my BugBuster attached and my Blackhawk cheekrest, I’ll call it even. The immediate goal is to see if I can get 10 shots into 2.5MOA which is the upper limit of combat accuracy according to Delta Force veteran, Larry Vickers, and I am no Delta Force operative by a long shot.

    Matt61



    • Tula ammo it is reliable in 7.62X39 but in my experience not very accurate in AK’s or the SKS. Wolf is better and PMC better yet. PMC (Korean) is brass and reloadable too. Of course, the price goes up as you move up.

      Mike


    • I just googled the Serbian surplus 7.62×39. That stuff looks nice! I’ve never shot that stuff, but the PPU brass is supposed ro be some of the best – but I don’t handload.

      Of all the rounds in the 122-125 grain range I’ve tried the SST’s seem to do well 5 shot groups a tiny bit more than 2 inches.

      I put 3 barnes 123gr bullets into 1.6″ at 100 yards. I know 3 rounds isn’t a real group, but at 2 dollars a round, it is hard for my emotions to shoot to many of those.

      If you can help it, don’t let your state ban lead ammo for hunting.

      The 124 gr. HP tula is supposed to be similar to 8m3 and shoots pretty well in my rifle.

      Krebs has achieved AR15 DMR level of accuracy with Saigas. He does something with a sleeve in the gas block that gives the AK a floating barrel not bound to the gas tube.

      I don’t think AK’s are less mechanically accurate than AR’s. At least not appreciably for deer, pigs, or people pop up targets. AR15’s have better sights, less recoil, and a flatter shooting cartridge.

      I wasn’t combat arms, but I’ve still put a bunch of rounds out of m16s and m4s. Stoner was a genius, after shooting from vehicles and reflexive fire drills your hands quickly get muscle memory of exactly where to go to run the gun.



  10. This is all academic right now because I just ordered a XS 64u with a basic tune from Mike Melick. It will be my poor man’s HFT gun until I can afford a TX 200. I bent the barrel on the Benjamin Nitro Piston trying to adjust the trigger too light.


  11. I think this is a rifle that I would buy if it ever came available. The camouflage look is not attractive but all else is. Id love to test one. I would also buy it for a gift to young shooters. It is a real bummer that the us mass market thinks it wants smashing power in a springer, when the real plus is the superb accuracy and shooting skill enhancement good springers have to offer.



  12. For all of you interested in the xs46u, please take a look on the flying dragons air rifle page. Mike specializes in selling and tuning Chinese air rifles and has many satisfied customers.


  13. B.B., speaking of the NP2 that had a “troubled” opening, do you know if Crosman has the “bugs” worked out yet? I wanted (and still do) this gun to be all it was hyped up to be. I was very let down reading your review and reviews from others that bought them when they first came out. Thanks, Bradly


  14. I enjoyed reading about the Benjamin Legacy I wish there were more of these out there. Im blessed to own a Crossman Titan Gp low velocity model in 22cal that was made for the Illinois market before they changed the law.
    The cocking effort is 25lbs its accurate and almost recoil free. I did add a grt trigger. I doubt I will ever sell this one.
    after Illinois changed their law Crossman closed out their remaining 177’s for $80 I purchased one but later sold as it just wasn’t as smooth and recoil free

    P.S. been enjoying your blog for about 2yrs now. This is my first post. I purchased your El Gamo at Malvern I hope to see you again at the Texas show


  15. Do you think industry driven velocity hype is the reason Crossman discontinued the legacy ? If the major co’s
    spent as much on advertising the virtues of the lower velocity air rifles I would bet sales would increase. I was
    sad to here about the bronco. I gave mine to a friend whom I got into gallery shooting. It was a great gun. Far
    too many uninformed buyers end up being disappointed with the magnum springers


    • Ron,

      When you talk about companies like Crosman bear in mind that their “customers” are companies like Pyramyd Air and Wal-Mart, who buy guns by the hundreds and thousands. I think those companies didn’t place orders for the Legacy because of its low velocity. So, yes, it was poor sales that probably killed the gun, but not sales to individuals.

      B.B.


      • Ron & B.B.,

        The low-velocity Legacy was made for the Illinois airgun market — and then the state legislature changed the laws and you didn’t need to stay with a low-velocity gun. Production died before the gun could be shipped.

        Edith


  16. Hi BB,

    Just wanted to stop by and say hello. I still read your blog from time to time. Still have the ol’ cf-x too 🙂
    Hope you are doing well!

    Hernan


    • Hernan,

      Wow — a voice from the past!

      I remember you very well. You were here when Turtle and Kevin were reading the blog. Kevin still reads and comments. Turtle hasn’t checked back in in many years.

      And you still have your CF-X? Good for you. I bet you really know how to shoot it now, don’t you?

      B.B.


Leave a Reply