by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock
Second-generation Benjamin Marauder in a synthetic stock.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

This report covers:

  • Early start
  • UTG scope a plus!
  • Quiet rifle!
  • The test
  • Benjamin domes
  • JSB Exact Kings
  • Analysis
  • Where do I go from here?

It’s been a month since we last looked at the .25-caliber gen 2 Benjamin Marauder. I said at the end of Part 7 that I would try the rifle at 100 yards for you. Well, today is the day.

Early start

To shoot a pellet rifle at 100 yards the wind has to be absolutely still. In Texas where I shoot that almost certainly means in the early morning, because once the sun rises the wind starts blowing. So I arrived at the range while the stars are still out and I set everything up, waiting for the dawn. No breeze was blowing on this morning, making the conditions perfect.

UTG scope a plus!

I was glad to have the UTG 2-16X44AO Accushot scope mounted on the rifle, because I learned last time that the illuminated reticle gets me shooting about 20 minutes earlier. The black crosshairs disappear against a black bullseye at 100 yards, but I found that a low-powerted red illumination made the crosshairs stand out. People ask why I can’t just shoot with the black reticle. because only a couple inches of the lines are invisible against the bull. And they are right. If I’m shooting at pop cans, that does work. But if I want to see the reticle’s location to within a quarter-inch of where it really is, illumination is the only way this early in the morning. As the sky brightened I had to increase the illumination twice until the unlit black crosshair lines could be seen.

Quiet rifle!

In an earlier report I made the remark that the gen. 2 Marauder in .25 caliber was not entirely silent. Well, after I adjusted the powerplant to the current setting, it became much quieter. I was alone at the range on this day because it was so early, so I shot without hearing protection. This was the first time I have really listened to the rifle set this way outdoors and it is very quiet. I think it would not me too loud for a large suburban back yard.

The test

The rifle is still in the RAI Modular Stock, which means it’s still mounted on the UTG rubber armored folding metal bipod. I shot off a concrete shooting table, using the bopod legs to support the rifle. I knew from the last two tests that the rifle is now shooting accurately at 50 yards for 2 magazines-worth of shots. That’s two 8-shot groups. I filled the rifle to 2900 psi and started the test. In case you don’t remember, 2900 psi is the perfect fill pressure for the way the rifle is currently set up.

Benjamin domes

The first pellets tested were the .25-caliber Benjamin domes that have no brand name. Five of the 8 pellets went into a group measuring 1.883-inches between centers, which is pretty good. But 3 more shots opened that to 3.171-inches. When I recovered the group I noticed that all the pellets had torn the paper. That indicated they were yawing (traveling in a tipped position) as they flew downrange. Since I was shooting at 100 yards in the early dawn, I could not see the individual pellet holes as they appeared, so I don’t know the order in which the 3 stray shots were fired.

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock 100 yard Benjamin dome group
At 100 yards 8 Benjamin domed pellets went into a group that measures 3.171-inches between centers. Five pellets are in 1.883-inches.

JSB Exact Kings

Now it was time to try the JSB Exact Kings. These pellets were slightly more accurate at 50 yards than the Benjamin domes. The first 8 pellets, which was the second magazine on the fill made a group that measures 5.43-inches. It is a very vertical group, with 6 pellets landing in 2.367-inches and 5 in 1.573-inches.

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock 100 yard JSB King group q
Eight JSB Exact Kings landed in a vertical group measuring 5.43-inches at 100 yards. Five of them are in 1.573-inches.

Then I filled the rifle to 2900 psi and shot another group of 8. This time 6 pellets made a 1.428-inch group and 2 more opened it to 3.927-inches.

Benjamin Marauder synthetic stock 100 yard JSB King group 2
Eight JSB Exact Kings landed in a vertical group measuring 3.927-inches at 100 yards. Six of them are in 1.428-inches.

As with the Benjamin domes, the JSB Exact Kings also tore the paper, and always in the same direction. So they were flying in a yawed orientation, as well.

Analysis

It’s too easy to say the first pellets made the smaller group and the final ones opened it up. Since there wasn’t enough light, I couldn’t see what was happening, so I will assume the stray pellets could have been shot at any time in the string.

The fact that there is a small group and a couple strays every time tells me the rifle is on the edge of stability at 100 yards. Even though it’s dead-on at 50, the pellets destabilize as they fly farther. What that tells me is the rifle has to be tuned to shoot 100 yards with accuracy. The small sub-groups in 3 out of 3 attempts tells me the rifle does want to shoot.

Where do I go from here?

If I was interested in shooting my Marauder at 100 yards I would have to adjust the tune somewhat. I’m guessing the hammer stroke and the hammer spring tension have to be tweaked. I think the pellet needs to go a little faster to do what I want. And then I need to test the results of that adjustment at 100 yards.

After that would I need to re-test at 50 yards, to ensure I haven’t lost anything at that distance by making the adjustments. Or, I could just leave the rifle set where it is. I have other more powerful .25-caliber rifles that already give me better groups at 100 yards. It might be nice just to have a nice quiet medium-powered .25 for shots out to 50 yards. I can think of my Marauder as a “go-to” rifle if I leave it set up that way.