by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- The big news
- Benjamin Fortitude
- Marauder Field and Target
- Tight breech and no droop
- The trigger
- AirForce E-Pump
I will start the third day on the SHOT Show floor with Crosman. They always have loads of new products and this year was no exception. I actually had to visit the booth two separate times to get what I am about to tell you.
The big news
So — what’s the big news at Crosman? I guess that depends on what interests you, but since I am defining this year’s show as the battle of the price-point PCPs (precharged pneumatic rifles with upscale features selling for under $300), let’s start with the Fortitude.
Does it have the latest Crosman barrel-rifling technology? Yes! Does it have a Marauder trigger? No, but one can be fitted. I will have to test it to say any more, but with the features it has, and with Crosman’s manufacturing experience behind it, I would say the Fortitude belongs on your short list.
Marauder Field and Target
There wasn’t a new Marauder Field and Target rifle at the show, but I was told its features are the same as the Custom Shop Marauder that was there. This is the upgraded Marauder rifle that was announced last year but never made it to market.
According to Crosman, this one has the new barrel technology and of course it is regulated. The regulator works all the time, unlike the rifle they showed last year, and I think that is the way most shooters will want it. The top of the receiver is cut in a Picatinney rail, making scope mounting easier. All other features that come with the Marauder are there, too.
Another innovation is the new Benjamin Akura breakbarrel. It features the Precision Barrel Lock, or PBL, that tightens the breech at the shot. Air from the shot pushes a pin into a hole that locks the breech tight as the pellet is moving forward. Crosman says this improves accuracy. The Akura comes in .177 and .22.
Benjamin Akura breakbarrel with the Precision Barrel Lock (PBL) is new for 2018.
Air from the shot forces a pin back into the spring tube to lock the breech.
Another innovative product from Crosman this year is their new Traveler air compressor. It compresses air to 4,500 psi and operates on 110 volt household current or 12 volts from a car battery. It comes with an inverter to run on 110 volt AC. It includes a port for an inline oil and water separator
The Traveler from Crosman is a lightweight portable air compressor.
The Traveler is small and lightweight, so it’s convenient to carry with you. It’s meant for filling airguns — not bulk tanks, and I was told they recommend operating it for not longer than 45 minutes at a time, if you run it continuously. Some sample fill times are:
Maximus……..…0 to 2000…….3 min. 25 sec.
Marauder……..…0 to 3000…….8 min.
Marauder………2000 to 3000….3 min.
Marauder pistol…0 to 3000….…2.5 minutes
The planned MSRP is $650, which puts the Traveler in a good position. I have called 2018 the year of the price-point PCP, but it’s also the year of the compressor. We have now seen two and more are coming.
There is more to see at Crosman, but let’s move on now to Sig, where I got to see and handle their new breakbarrel. The ASP20 is a ground-up design. Sig now has Ed Schultz, who should be well-known to my readers as the creator of the Benjamin Discovery and the Marauder. He showed me the design details of this new springer (gas spring) and I was amazed!
Sig’s ASP20 is new from the ground up.
Tight breech and no droop!
These two features should get your springer geek juices flowing! Ed told me that the team of Sig engineers took an entirely new approach with this air rifle. Sig has completely redesigned the breech lockup to give bank-vault security. The top of the breech flares out as a wedge and the detent pulls the breech down when the barrel is closed. That makes this breech like a keystone in an arch.
When this keystone breech closes, the detent pulls the breech down and the two wedges pull it tight against the action forks.
Just by itself the keystone breech is a wonder, BUT — Sig found a way to eliminate barrel droop. They bore the holes for the pivot pin through both the breech and the action forks with them assembled. That ensures perfect barrel/spring tube alignment! If there were awards for airgun design, this breech would get one.
Then I cocked the rifle and discovered how easy it is! Sig rep. Dani Navickas told me she cocked the rifle for shooters at least 100 times at the Sig Range Day and had no pain afterwards.
Then I squeezed the trigger. It’s too soon to tell Rekord to move over, but there is a new kid in town!
I liked the trigger a lot!
Okay — last item. Remember I told you there are a lot of compressors this year? AirForce Airguns has a new one called the E-Pump. It’s also small and portable, though a little heavier than the Crosman Traveler. The AirForce model can run all the time and fill tanks as well as guns, but it runs slower and cooler than any other compressor on the market. As a result, when it fills a tank to 4,500 psi, there is no shrinkage from the heat buildup. You end up with 4500 psi, no less.
The E-Pump is extremely quiet. I can’t hear it operate when they run it at the show. It also operates slow and steady. Ton Jones tells me he hooks it up to his carbon fiber tank at night and just lets it run. It shuts off automatically when the set pressure is reached, and the line will hold air until you release it. Then he loads his truck to go to the range and in that time the pump fills his rifle tank.
This compressor runs on 12 volt, 110 and 220, so it is ready to go anywhere in the world. It’s priced at $850, retail..
That’s it for this week. Old BB is tired and wants to get back home to sleep in his own bed. Monday I’ll give you a break from the show and do something historical.