Generation 2 .25 caliber Benjamin Marauder: Part 9

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

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

UTG Bubble Leveler scope: Part 1
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

This report covers:

  • What this is
  • Bubble Leveler scope
  • Today
  • Some variables
  • JSB Exact Kings
  • The bottom line
  • Trigger blade broke
  • How do you contact him?

Today I start another look at the .25-caliber gen 2 Benjamin Marauder. When I attended the Pyramyd Air Cup in September, I met Tom Himes. He showed me a Benjamin Marauder he tuned and asked me to cock the bolt. Every Marauder owner knows their bolts are stiff and sticky. But this one wasn’t. It was light and smooth.

What this is

Tom tunes Marauders for their optimum shot count on a fill. He also adjusts and lubricates their triggers for optimum let-off. And he has a number of other tricks and tips that he passes on to his customers. When he told me that he could tune my .25 caliber rifle to get roughly 30 shots at 806 f.p.s. with JSB Exact Kings, I was intrigued. If you have followed this series you know that the best I’ve been able to do is 16 shots per fill.

We talked a long time and I decided to have him tune my rifle for optimum shot count. I already knew that 806 f.p.s. was where it liked to be with that pellet, and I also knew that that particular pellet was the best I have found for this rifle. Tom told me that his experience agreed with mine, which made me feel comfortable. I decided not to get the trigger adjusted, because I am satisfied with it the way it is now. So I sent the barreled action to Tom and he did his magic. Now we will all look at the results.

Bubble Leveler scope

This tune is not going to change the accuracy of the rifle. We already know it is very accurate, and Tom said when he tested it, it is the most accurate .25 Marauder he has seen. More smiles from me, of course! But the photographer never tells a parent their child is ugly, either!

Since the Marauder is so accurate I selected it as the first rifle to test the new UTG Bubble Leveler scope. That’s why the link to that scope’s blog report is in the list above. After the Marauder, I plan to mount the scope to my super-accurate AR-15 and give it another thorough test.

Today

Today I thought I’d test the velocity and shot count of my tuned Marauder for you. I’ll also give you my evaluation of how it feels to cock. Let’s go!

Before we get to the test, here is what Tom told me about tuning my rifle.

“We have your rifle completed and it turned out GREAT!  We achieved a full 30 shots from a 3,000 psig fill with no more than 3% velocity deviation. The minimum velocity is 790 ft/sec, the high is 815 ft/sec and with an average of 806 ft/sec.  All of this at a ambient temperature of 68°F to 70°F

I must also add, your rifle is exceptionally accurate – the most accurate .25 Marauder I have shot to date.  From the bench, shooting off the rear deck of my home, the rifle would nearly shoot hole for hole at 30 yards.

I was and still am very impressed with its accuracy.  This accuracy occurred after we cleaned the baffles as I noted before and also after we very lightly cleaned the bore with Balistol and dry patches.”

Some variables

I think it is helpful to see what the tuner had to say about the rifle as we examine it today. But before we begin, let me discuss some of the variables under which this test is being conducted. First is the fill pressure. Was Tom filling by the rifle’s built-in gauge or the gauge on his air tank? How closely does his tank gauge agree with mine?

And how closely does Tom’s chronograph agree with mine? These are not givens. There is some variation.

JSB Exact Kings

The most accurate pellet for this rifle is the .25 caliber JSB Exact King, and that was what Tom set it up to shoot. So this will be a velocity test with a single pellet. I will show you the entire shot string from one fill to 3000 psi. I filled the rifle to 3050 psi on my tank gauge, which pegged the rifle’s gauge at exactly 3000.

Shot………Velocity
1……………..808
2……………..812
3……………..801
4……………..806
5……………..810
6……………..809
7……………..808
8……………..817
9……………..813
10……………814
11……………805
12……………812
13……………813
14……………813
15……………811
16……………812
17……………810
18……………806
19……………802
20……………801
21……………796
22……………792
23……………796
24……………793
25……………786*below 790, the acceptable floor)

That’s 24 good shots from a rifle that only gave 16 before the tune. Am I satisfied? You bet! But this isn’t the final test.

See that first shot? It’s 808 f.p.s. — right in the middle of the acceptable velocity range. Are there other good shots before that one? What I’m asking is — did the disparity between our gauges cause me to clip shots off the beginning of the effective shot string? Only one way to find out. Fill the rifle to well above the start pressure of 3000 psi and shoot another string. While we don’t know if our two gauges agree, my results are close enough to Tom’s that we know they are close. The same goes for our chronographs.

I filled the rifle to 3,200 psi by my tank’s gauge and shot a second string. This time the rifle’s gauge needle was just inside the red sector.

Shot………Velocity
1……………..792
2……………..797
3……………..787 *below 790, the acceptable floor)
4……………..793
5……………..786 *below 790, the acceptable floor)
6……………..808
7……………..795
8……………..803
4……………..796
9……………..806
10……………810
11……………810
12……………817
13……………814
14……………810
15……………818
16……………816
17……………811
18……………817
19……………812
20……………811
22……………812
23……………803
24……………805
25……………805
26……………801
27……………794
28……………789*below 790, the acceptable floor)
29……………777*below 790, the acceptable floor)
30……………781*below 790, the acceptable floor)
31……………764*below 790, the acceptable floor)

This string gave me 22 shots in the acceptable range. Now consider this — the “acceptable” range is arbitrary! Until I get on a 50-yard range and see what kind of accuracy this rifle gives, I won’t know what is really acceptable. Past experience has shown that 808 f.p.s. is the ideal velocity, but how far I can deviate from that velocity was never tested. I just know that after 16 shots, my groups dropped lower on paper and opened up.

The bottom line

My rifle now appears to have at least 24 good shots per fill and maybe as many as 30. Since the 8-round magazine can be filled exactly three times for 24 shots, that’s what I’m going to use.

Trigger blade broke

What I haven’t told you is that the rifle arrived with the trigger blade broken. While that sounds like a bad thing, it’s really an opportunity to see what Tom Himes does about it. He sent me a new trigger blade by express mail so I could keep this test on track. It wasn’t his fault the blade broke, either. If you examine the blade you’ll see it broke at the weakest spot.

Benjamin Marauder trigger blade
My trigger blade broke during the return shipment. Tom Himes replaced it immediately for free.

How do you contact him?

In my opinion this tune was well worth the $50, plus shipping, I spent. The rifle now cocks so easily that I don’t have to take it from my shoulder. I also have one additional magazine per fill, and we will see what that looks like at 50 yards next. Remember that I have the UTG Bubble Leveler scope mounted on this rifle now, so we’re going to start that test next time, as well.

Tom Himes can be reached at batts@spcracing.com. His website is www.spcracing.com. Remember that he also tunes triggers, if you want that.

17 thoughts on “Generation 2 .25 caliber Benjamin Marauder: Part 9


  1. B.B.,

    Very nice! Well worth the 50$, plus shipping for anyone looking to get a ready shooter, max. count and easier cocking (though I do not mind mine). Looking forwards to the rest of the testing.

    Is the action still in the original stock,…. or is it in the R.A.I. stock?

    Chris



    • Siraniko,

      Yes, the trigger broke during shipping — we think. It was broken when I tried to fire the rifle the first time.

      The rifle was packaged very well and shouldn’t have had a problem. I think the trigger was just marginal and broke for no apparent reason.

      B.B.


  2. B.B.

    When I shoot my friends abused Marauder, I ALWAYS get the magazine to jam around shot 5 or 6. I am the only person who shoots this rifle that has this problem! Are side lever cocking PCP’s less likely to jam? What magic does Mr Himes do to the bolt action? If I send my buddies Marauder bolt to him can he do the same?
    Thanks,
    -Yogi


    • Yogi,

      Why that would only happen to you I don’t know. Obviously you are doing something differently. I do know that magazines can be fixed. I did a blog on that years ago.

      Can Tom Himes fix your buddies’ gun? Again, I don’t know. It may not be broken. I do know he can make it cock easier and smoother. Part of what he does is lubrication, but there is more to it than that.

      Contract him and see.

      B.B.


    • Yogi,

      My buddy and I both shoot .22 Synrods and we both had a jamming problems during the 1st couple of thousand rounds. It seemed that the guns were more prone to jam with some pellets than others. After we settled on using Premiers and Barracudas, the jamming all but disappeared. Also, the actions cycled more smoothly after the aforementioned break-in period, so some of the improvement may also be due to that. The guns seemed to jam the most with pellets weighing 22 grains or more.
      I also have a side-levered Hatsan, and it has yet to jam. But if it ever does, it’s going to be more work to free the stuck pellet…some disassembly may be required.
      Have a super day!

      Walt


      • I have found the Marauder has a tendency to jam if the rifle is tilted back during the cocking action. In other words, when I am in a sitting shooting position there is a natural tendency to angle the rifle back onto the butt somewhat during cocking. If the rifle is tilted back too far, a jam may occur. I see this in my .25 Marauder occasionally and frequently with my .22 Marauder. Try keeping the rifle more level during cocking to see if this reduces the amount of jams.


        • TEH,

          Your observation is very plausible. It may be that, as the actions became smoother, we naturally operated the rifles in a more level position. And we also seemed to notice that some types of pellets did jam at a higher rate. 25 grain monsters (.22) were the worst.
          I’ll keep your tip in mind when I shoot.
          Thanks,

          Walt


    • Yogi,

      I may be jinxing myself by saying so but I have two HW100S FAC side-cocking rifles (.177 & .22 caliber) and in thousands of pellets, I have not has a single issue with the 14-shot magazines or the reloading cycle. Both side-levers are smooth, fast and flawless.

      Needless to say, I am sold on side-levers and consider them to be a desirable feature.

      Hank


    • Yogi,

      We spoke once before on this. I have had 0 problem on my .25 M-rod with any pellet. It does take a rather firm and deliberate motion to cycle the bolt. Plus, it is not hard to get to the entire bolt action. Plenty of videos of people getting to that point. Once you are there,…. there is really very little to it. A good time to flip the bolt as well if it is a Gen. 2 if you want. (I know it is not yours). As for the magazine,… there is videos to up the spring pressure by rotating the spring tab position. Again, very easy.

      Wishing you the best and don’t let the jams keep you from ever getting one. My 2 cents,…. 😉


  3. It really would be nice to know what Tom Himes does to make the Marauder bolt smoother. I think all Marauder owners would be very grateful to Mr. Himes if he were to share his bolt ideas with us.


    • Jonah,

      I am thinking,… clean, de-burr if needed, re-lube and perhaps a lighter hammer spring,… which could be made to work with hammer and striker adjustments. Just a guess. I went with a heavier hammer spring,…. 12# I think. All that does is allows for a higher fill,… 3500,… but also requires hammer, striker and port adjustments for optimal performance.


  4. Well, there is another solution to having a low shot count per fill. Get replaceable air reservoirs for the Marauder. Benjamin, this is a smart money tip at no extra charge.

    How interesting to find that the standard Marauder bolt is sticky. That is not good at all. I love the Lee-Enfield bolt for its smooth operation. When I sent it to a gunsmith for a safety check and the bolt came back sticky, I freaked out. I went all the way to South Carolina to find someone who could fix it which seemed to involve additional lubrication. The test of a smooth bolt, I think, is to work it from the shoulder. Currently, I can do that for only two rifles. For both the Mauser and the Mosin, I have to pull the rifle off my shoulder and put it under my armpit to get enough leverage to cock it. The smooth bolt really enhances the shooting experience and is why I think everyone should fire a Lee-Enfield.

    Gunfun1, I can see how your ballistic tables are necessary to jump between guns and distances. The fact is that I’m not even sure how I would get on paper if I took my B30 out to 100 yards. I believe that I went 95 clicks down on the scope to go from 5 yards to 25. Somehow I was able to also get out to 50 yards. But I don’t know how I would go out to 100 yards, especially with no one to spot for me. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t even get on paper with the Winchester 94 when I switched ammo and went from 50 to 100 yards.

    ChrisUSA, thanks for your kind comments. You are my biggest fan. 🙂 I can imagine people being not nearly so understanding about my interests in throwing knives and axes and shooting guns.

    Kenholmz, I’ve never even heard of the CZ .45 caliber that you mention. Extrapolating from my 9mm, I believe that I would like the reduced recoil from the extremely low bore axis of the CZ 75 design. I had reviewers say that they were amazed at how recoil seemed cancelled for the design. That is not absolutely true, but I can see what they were talking about. In contrast, I was told that the barrel tilt mechanism of the 1911 can aggravate muzzle flip in a model that isn’t carefully tuned. One of Browning’s innovations for his later Hi Power design was a modification that allowed the barrel to stay level during recoil.

    On the other hand, the narrow 1911 design has a feel like no other. It reminds me of the way that tigers (one of my favorite animals) look narrow from the front while packing hundreds of pounds of muscles. While the CZ 75 grip has been praised for its comfort and “dimensionality” due to its heavily contoured surfaces, it makes me think of a sculpture that never quite reached the perfection of the 1911. Besides, though it’s taken awhile, I’ve finally managed to hit the paper reliably at 25 yards with the 1911 and muzzle flip is no longer a problem. The discussions of the .45 ACP center on cartridge performance and not the gun, so when I do use a .45, I will prefer the 1911.

    Matt61


    • Matt61
      Remember that conversation we had about two people shooting long distance out into a plowed feild at a dirt clod.

      Well that’s exactly how I spot and know what holdover to use. And notice I said holdover not clicks of the scope. I like sighting my gun at a shooting distance in closer. More like in at a average distance I shoot at. Then use holdover with the mildots and half mildots or even inbetween the half mildots. I don’t like to click the turrets. I want to leave the scope settled in with its spring pressure with the turret adjustments. I know the turrets are suppose to be accurate and repeat. But I just like mine to stay zeroed at one determined distance I choose.

      And see thats how us country boys use a scope to see our hits and adjust our holds. Who needs paper. 😉


    • Matt61,

      The replaceable air reservoirs come at a price though. More chances of something clogging the air valves between the air rifle and the tank. More parts mean more chances for things to go wrong. Airguns are not for rapid, sustained volley fire anyway. For somebody who wants more shots in the field a carbon fiber tank would be more practical from my point of view to provide a refill rather than another air reservoir.

      Siraniko


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