by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Benjamin Wildfire
Benjamin Wildfire.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • First test
  • Loading the clip
  • Air management
  • String two
  • Is this okay?
  • String three
  • Refilling the rifle after 36 shots
  • What’s the verdict?
  • RWS Hobby pellets
  • Lead-free lightweight pellets
  • Discharge sound
  • Trigger pull
  • Evaluation so far

Today we go right into shooting the Benjamin Wildfire for velocity. I’m excited, so let’s begin.

First test

I know there are many things people want to know about the Wildfire, so I am going to test it a little differently. You will still get the same results I always give, but I will add a few extra things I don’t usually do. The incredible interest in this gun justifies this special approach. We will begin with Crosman Premier lite pellets.

I filled the rifle to 2000 psi and began shooting. Since the clip holds 12 pellets I tested it with strings of 12 shots instead of 10. I will give you the standard data in a moment, but I first want to show you the velocity of each shot.

Shot………Velocity
1……………721
2……………710
3……………709
4……………699
5……………701
6……………700
7……………699
8……………700
9……………704
10………… 686
11………… 683
12………… 680

The average velocity for this string was 699 f.p.s. The spread is from a low of 680 f.p.s. to a high of 721 f.p.s. That’s a range of 41 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet generates 8.57 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle.

If you do the math for the average velocity and your answer doesn’t agree with mine, know that I always round off the numbers when I report them, but I usually allow the chronograph to calculate the average. Since my Shooting Chrony Alpha Master records in tenths of an f.p.s., its average can disagree slightly with the average for this list.

Loading the clip

I noticed with each different pellet that you have to forcibly push the pellets into the clip. Their skirts don’t want to go in without an extra push. You feel each of them pop into place. I remember that from my days with a 1077.

Air management

When the test started the gauge onboard the rifle indicated 2000 psi. It agrees with outside gauges very closely. At the end of shooting it registered 1,600 psi. That’s 400 psi for 12 shots. It also indicates there are more shots on the charge. So I reloaded the clip with Premier lites and went again. This time the string looked like this.

String two

Shot………Velocity
1……………678
2……………675
3……………666
4……………662
5……………649
6……………647
7……………643
8……………642
9……………652
10………… 651
11………… 641
12………… 628

The average velocity for this string was 653 f.p.s. The spread goes from 628 to 678 — a range of 50 f.p.s. At the average velocity, this pellet generated 7.48 foot pounds at the muzzle.

Is this okay?

Obviously the velocity is different for the second string. The average is 46 f.p.s. slower and the velocity spread is larger. Is this okay? Well, it is safe and causes no damage to the gun, so from the standpoint of operability — it works. But you wouldn’t want to shoot field target with a velocity variance this large. And now it’s time to remember exactly what the Wildfire is — a Crosman 1077 that runs on air. Free air.

It happens that I also tested a 1077 back in 2014 and the average on CO2 with the same Premier lite pellet was 611 f.p.s. So, even this second string from the Wildfire is shooting faster than the 1077 I tested. I think that is how we must look at this air rifle — not how it stacks up against a Benjamin Marauder. At issue here is how it performs against a 1077.

At the end of this string the onboard pressure gauge read 1400 psi. That means from start to finish the rifle used just 200 psi. I think there is probably some slop in the gauge, because there is no reason for the gun to suddenly use half the air it did before for the same 12 shots.

String three

Yes, I loaded the clip for a third string. Why not? The rifle is still shooting faster than it does on CO2. Let’s see what it can do. Same pellet as before.

Shot………Velocity
1……………630
2……………624
3……………624
4……………614
5……………613
6……………611
7……………598
8……………596
9……………602
10………… 597
11………… 585
12………… 595

The average velocity for this string was 607 f.p.s., which is only a little slower than the average on CO2. The spread ranges from a low of 585 to a high of 630. That’s a span of 45 f.p.s. across 12 shots. At the average velocity this pellet now generates 6.46 foot pounds at the muzzle.

The air pressure at the end of this string registers 1100 psi. That’s as low as I want to go.

Refilling the rifle after 36 shots

Now I attached the Air Venturi G6 hand pump and filled the Wildfire with air. It took 4 strokes to pressurize the line to 1100 psi and 60 strokes to bring the rifle back up to 2000 psi. That works out to 1.67 pump strokes per shot.

What’s the verdict?

So — are there 36 good shots on one fill? Well, that’s up to you. If you shoot the Wildfire like a 1077 — fast at action targets — then, yes, there are at least 36 good shots per fill, if not more. However, if you want to shoot half-inch groups at 50 yards then I don’t think a velocity spread of 136 f.p.s. will support that. But I don’t think that the Wildfire is a 50-yard airgun to begin with. What I am saying is, the Wildfire operates well on air. It will do everything a 1077 will, and you don’t have to buy CO2.

RWS Hobby pellets

Let’s look at a couple different pellets, starting with the RWS Hobby. I will show you every shot in the string again, because with the Hobby the performance curve was a little different.

Shot………Velocity
1……………728
2……………716
3……………714
4……………721
5……………729
6……………725
7……………702
8……………694
9……………700
10………… 695
11………… 698
12………… 699

The average for this string was 710 f.p.s. the velocity spread went from 694 to 729 — a span of 35 f.p.s. Notice how much flatter the velocity curve is with the Hobby. It isn’t that much faster than the Premier lite, but it retains velocity throughout the first 12 shots better.

At the average velocity, Hobbys generated 7.84 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. The pressure at the end of the string was 1500 psi, which is a 500 psi drop. I don’t think I would place a lot of trust on these pressure figures. I think they are more approximate than they appear.

Lead-free lightweight pellets

The final pellet I tried was the Crosman Silver Eagle wadcutter that is no longer made. I weighed several to get an average wright for you and noted that they were all over the place. They range from 4.7 grains to 5.0 grains, so some of the velocity numbers are probably affected by that.

Silver Eagles averaged 788 f.p.s. with a spread from 760 f.p.s. to 825 f.p.s. So there is the 800 f.p.s. velocity that Crosman claims.

Discharge sound

I note that the Wildfire is louder than a 1077 for the first two clips. By clip 3 the discharge sounds about the same as a 1077. In the beginning, though, it’s very close to a 4 on the Pyramyd Air sound scale.

Trigger pull

The trigger breaks right at 12 lbs. Sometimes it’s a little less, sometimes a little more. But it doesn’t feel that heavy when you are shooting. I guess that’s because 12 lbs is light for a double action revolver.

Evaluation so far

The Wildfire is turning out exactly like I expected. That’s because I was expecting to see a 1077 running on air, which is what this is. The trigger is still that long double action pull that we have talked about, and it will always remain so. But a 1077 has good accuracy that I hope we will see next.