Interesting gun designs — Benjamin Legacy: Part 4
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
Benjamin Legacy with a gas spring was a short-lived breakbarrel.
This report covers:
- Getting started
- The hold
- First group
- Second group
- After that
- Additional data
- What’s next?
Let’s look at the accuracy of the .22-caliber Benjamin Legacy gas-spring rifle. If you remember, this was a rifle that came out just before I went into the hospital in 2010. When I got out 3 months later, the gun had already been taken off the market. I never reviewed it for you because it was an airgun you couldn’t buy, but the fact that it only took 16 lbs. of force to cock it fascinated me. I wanted to see what it could do regardless of whether or not you could buy one; because, if this turned out to be a good idea, it’s worth doing again.
Sometimes, the magic doesn’t work, and today’s one of those times. I’ve actually shot it at 25 yards on 2 different occasions, and neither time did it do very well. But, I do see a glimmer of hope. Let’s see what happened.
I sighted in and began the test using the 13.43-grain JSB Exact RS pellet. From previous experience, I knew the rifle liked it.
The sight-in target turned out to have the tightest “group” of the entire test, despite the fact that I’d adjusted the scope 3 separate times! About 13 rounds went into 1.143 inches at 25 yards. I’m discounting the first shot from 12 feet that was only to confirm the zero. You can clearly see that I was adjusting the scope to the left, yet all these shots except 1 landed in what appears to be a good group. If the rifle had shot this well for the rest of the test, I would be singing its praises right now.
These shots were fired from 25 yards, except for the one low shot indicated on the target. That was the first shot from 12 feet to confirm zero. I adjusted the scope 3 times while creating this “group.”
I’m not expecting this rifle to have the same kind of accuracy you get from a TX200 Mark III. This one would sell for a fraction of the price of a TX today — maybe only one-third as much. But it cocks with just 16 lbs. of effort, which makes it ideal for shooting all day long. There’s no vibration and not a lot of discharge sound. And the 2-stage trigger is reasonably good — not perfect, but very tolerable. I’m always on the lookout for a good all-day shooter, and this one seemed promising. But, it first had to shoot, which is what this test is all about.
I sighted-in and began the test using the 13.43-grain JSB Exact RS pellet. From previous experience I knew the rifle liked it.
I tried every combination of holds I know, and the rifle shot best when rested directly on the sandbag. That’s another reason to like it.
The group I’m about to show you isn’t the first group in the test. It’s just the first group I fired on the second day of the test. On day 1, my results weren’t very good — though it took a second day of testing to confirm that it was the rifle and not me. The group began well, with 5 shots landing in just about a half-inch. Then, the trouble began. First, a shot dropped low. Then, the next shots went high. By the end of the group, there were 10 shots in 1.308 inches. You can see this is a very vertical group.
Ten JSB Exact RS pellets went into 1.308 inches at 25 yards off a sandbag rest. See how vertical this group is? Funny thing is that the first 5 shots landed in the much tighter group in the center of this group — along with 1 additional shot.
Note that this smaller group spreads out horizontally within the vertical main group. I’ll come back to that. I think it’s important.
The second group was shot with RWS Superdomes. It’s lower on the target, which is expected because the .22-caliber Superdome weighs 14.5 grains and travels slower than the lighter JSB RS. This group is also interesting for 2 other reasons. First, there’s both a horizontal and a vertical spread to this group.
Second, several of these pellet holes are torn on the right side. That’s an indication they didn’t hit the paper nose-first. They probably went through on an angle. The group measures 1.329 inches between the centers of the 2 holes farthest apart.
As you see, Superdomes spread out in both directions. But look at how the right sides of many holes are torn (arrows). These pellets were tipped when they went through the paper. Group measures 1.329 inches between centers.
After the second group, the test turned ugly fast. Each new pellet I tried would put one in one place and the second one in a different place — some were even 2-3 inches away. And, most of the holes were torn on the right. I finally gave up.
The stock screws are all tight, and the scope is mounted well and works okay. The barrel pivot isn’t loose. But I have a thought. When this rifle was created, Crosman was starting to pay a lot of attention to silencing their spring rifles. Sure enough, there’s a chamber in the shroud in front of the true barrel; and sure enough, the exit hole at the muzzle is very small. The muzzle cap is actually a large hex screw; and on the inside edge of this screw, there six shiny bits of lead, where pellet after pellet has clipped the muzzle cap. I believe I’ve discovered the problem.
Each of the 6 corners of the hexagonal muzzle has a bright piece of lead, where it was nicked by the passing pellets.
What I hadn’t told you until now is that I actually have two of these rifles. One is marked the Benjamin Legacy, and the other that I haven’t told you about is marked Crosman NPSS. It’s .22 caliber, as well, but it produces 100 f.p.s. greater velocity with the same pellets and the same 16 lbs. of cocking effort. And, it also produces very small groups.
Next, I’ll try to fix the Legacy’s accuracy problem by enlarging the hole at the muzzle. If that fixes the groups, then I’ll have a sweet shooter that’s easy to cock.