Benjamin Wildfire PCP repeater: Part 3
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- The test
- Sight in
- Trigger control
- Falcon pellets
- Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets
- JSB Exact Heavy
- Something different
- More to come
Today we start looking at the accuracy of the new Benjamin Wildfire. Knowing what an important air rifle this is, I have made a addition to today’s test. I will tell you all about it when we get there.
I will shoot today from a rest at 10 meters. The targets are 10-meter rifle targets. Since the Wildfire is a PCP I will rest it directly on the sandbag. I will use the open sights that came on the gun. I will shoot 12-shot groups with each pellet, unless you read otherwise. Twelve pellets are what the magazine holds, so why complicate things?
I started sighting in with Crosman Premier lite pellets. Shot one hit below the bull, so I slid the rear sight elevator up two steps. Shot two landed just above the bull, so the rear sight went down one step. That left 10 pellets in the magazine, so the first target was 10 shots with Crosman Premier lites at 10 meters.
The group measures 0.573-inches between centers at 10 meters. The first shot hit above the black bull and the following 9 were inside the black. I could see that first pellet hole with my new eye, so we know that is working as it should. When I adjusted the rear sight elevator the second time, I don’t think it actually changed, because the first shot of the 10-shot gropup is in the exact same place as sighter number two.
No, that’s not the tightest 10-meter group I ever shot with a PCP and yes, it is darned good. I think the picture speaks for itself.
There has been a lot of talk about the Wildfire/Crosman 1077 trigger. This rifle is a double action only revolver whose trigger stacks (becomes noticeably harder to pull) at the end of its arc, just before the rifle fires. Some may think that is a bad thing, but if you want to shoot accurately, it’s really a good thing. You pull the trigger until it stops and then steady the sight picture and squeeze the shot off. I found the rifle was dead steady and predictable when I controlled the trigger this way. This trigger is an advantage, if you will learn to use it.
Unlike most other fiberoptic sights I’ve tested, the Crosman fiberoptics are very bright — at least the front one is. I saw it throughout the test. But I was also able to see the front post, so my aiming was quite precise.
I thought perhaps Air Arms Falcon pellets might be good in this rifle, so they were tested next. This time I shot all 12 pellets at the target. Falcons spread out sideways, giving me a 1.141-inch group at 12 meters. Given how well the Premier lites did, I don’t think this is a pellet for this rifle.
Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets
Next up were 12 Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets. These .177 lead-free pellets almost always do well, and I wondered how they would do in the Wildfire. They gave the second-best group, putting 12 into 0.714-inches at 10 meters.
JSB Exact Heavy
I wondered whether heavier pellets might work, so I tried JSB Exact Heavy pellets next. At 10.34-grains, they qualify as heavy for the Wildfire powerplant. Twelve of them went into an open group that measures 0.942-inches between centers. So this isn’t the one you want.
Okay, up to this point I have made no mention of filling the rifle. You probably wondered about that, didn’t you? Well, here is what I did. Sight-in and the first two groups (that’s the Premier lites and the Falcons) were fired on a single fill. That was 24 shots. Then I refilled the rifle to its maximum of 2000 psi, which, after the two groups, was hovering around 1200 psi.
The next two groups were also fired on a single fill. Those were the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy pellets and the JSB Exact Heavys. Another 24 shots. Time to refill, but then I did something different.
I filled the rifle to 2000 psi again and fired 12 Crosman Premier lites at the target. The group was larger than the first group of 10 Premiers, but by this time I was getting tired. However, I didn’t remove the target. I photographed it in place, instead.
Then I reloaded the magazine with 12 more Premier lites and shot the same target again. The rifle was not refilled with air. I did this to see where the second set of pellets would go. I think you will be surprised. I sure was!
These are the second 12 Premiers I fired at the same 10-meter target. They landed on top of the first 12 pellets. This was also photographed in place. Sorry this shot is blurry. It was hand-held in ambient light and I must have moved.
Notice that the group did not grow much larger. One stray pellet landed below the main group, but the rest of the pellets are in the main group. Compare this target with the first target and you’ll see what I’m talking about. There are 24 shots in this group!
Now, let me show you the same group as I normally present it.
I think today’s test shows the accuracy potential of the Benjamin Wildfire quite well. It was shot from a rest with open sights at 10 meters with 4 different pellets. In one instance, 24 pellets were shot at the same target. This is the kind of accuracy you can expect from a Wildfire.
The Wildfire is everything I told you it would be. It’s light, fast-handling and quite accurate for what it is. You have to use the right pellets, and I have shown you two that work very well. “Very well?” What does that mean? It means that they go where they are aimed.
The Wildfire is not a precision PCP, so don’t try to compare it to one. It also IS NOT semiautomatic!!! It has a double action only revolver mechanism in which the trigger both advances the circular clip to the next round and also cocks and releases the striker spring. That means it can not have a crisp and light trigger pull. It simply cannot, by design. If Crosman were to revive the Nightstalker and allow the sear to capture the striker every time, THAT would be a semiautomatic rifle. It would be the rifle equivalent of the model 600 pistol.
More to come
Okay — this was the test at 10 meters with open sights. Next I mount either a scope or a red dot and try it again. I’m thinking the 10-meter accuracy will improve a little with a scope, so that’s the way I’m leaning at the present.
After 10 meters, I will back up to 25 yards and try it again from there. That will definitely be with a scope. When I’m finished testing this rifle, you should know the Benjamin Wildfire quite well. Crosman didn’t put a time limit on this loan, so I plan to look at the Wildfire in great detail.