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!