Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Mark II pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Benjamin Train NP II
Benjamin Trail NP Mark II air pistol.

This report covers:

  • The detent and how I open the gun
  • Velocity
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • Sig Match Ballistic Alloy
  • Discussion
  • Cocking effort
  • Discharge sound
  • Trigger pull
  • Summary

The detent and how I open the gun

I’ll start today’s report by answering reader Siraniko’s questions from the last post. He asked me to show the locking detent and how I manage to open the gun for cocking. Here’s the detent.

Benjamin Trail detent
The chisel detent is long and narrow. It’s not under that much spring tension, so it opens easily, but the shallow angle of the slope ensures that it locks the beech securely.

That detent chisel face is long and shallow but the spring is not that strong. I can push it in with my finger. So the long shallow slope of the chisel on the detent is what’s keeping the breech locked so tight.

How do I break open the breech? I tap the end of the cocking aid — what you might think of as the muzzle — lightly downward and the breech opens easily. It is not a problem. When I wrote Part one, I hadn’t learned this yet, so I made it sound like the breech was really hard to open. I can’t do it with just my hands breaking open the barrel, but a light tap on the muzzle is all it takes.

That picture also answers the question that was discussed by several readers about the cocking aid. Yes it remains on the pistol at all times and, yes, the two cocking aid “ears” do extend back farther than the end of the breech. They move freely and do not contact anything as they do — nor do they contact any part of the stock or spring tube when the barrel closes .

Velocity

The first pellet I tested was Crosman’s own 7.9-grain Premier lite dome. This pellet averaged 477 f.p.s. in the Trail, but the spread was large — from a low of 445 to a high of 504 f.p.s. Let me show you the string.
Shot………Velocity
1……………504
2……………487
3……………483
4……………477
5……………473
6……………486
7……………455
8……………480
9……………476
10…………..445

That’s a spread of 59 f.p.s. This gas piston may need a break-in period. I do think the average of 477 f.p.s. seems about right. At that velocity this pellet generates 3.99 foot-pounds. Let’s move on.

Air Arms Falcons

Next up was the Air Arms Falcon. This is another domed pellet, but it’s lighter than the Premier and it’s also made of soft pure lead. Because of that I expected higher velocity, and I got it. The average was 501 f.p.s., with a range that went from 476 to 512 f.p.s. That’s 36 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet develops 4.09 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Sig Match Ballistic Alloy

The next pellet I tested was the Sig Match Ballistic Alloy wadcutter. I chose it for three reasons. First, it’s lead-free, so it’s the lightest pellet in this test. It should therefore go the fastest.

Second, it’s a very accurate pellet in many other airguns. I wanted an accurate pellet for the accuracy test. Not that the first two aren’t accurate, because they both are. But this pellet is often exceptional.

The final reason I chose this pellet is because it is a wadcutter. I felt we had to have a wadcutter for the accuracy test, and I wanted to get this one baselined.

The average with this pellet was 607 f.p.s., and the high velocity was 636 f.p.s., so Crosman’s claim of 625 f.p.s. for the Trail NP II is upheld. But the velocity spread was huge. It ranged from 535 to 636 f.p.s., a span of 101 f.p.s.! At the average velocity this 5.25-grain pellet generates 4.30 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

Discussion

The Trail NPII pistol is interesting because the designers have achieved good power with a reasonable cocking effort. The cocking aid remains in place as you cock and fire the gun, so it’s almost imperceptable as a separate part. The pistol fires smoothly, which I will attribute to the Nitro Piston.

Cocking effort

When I tested the cocking effort I noticed something. If you cock the pistol very slowly you can get the effort all the way up to 29-30 lbs. But if you cock quickly and deliberately the effort never tops 21 lbs. So cock deliberately, and not as if the pistol was an exercise machine!

Discharge sound

The Trail NPII is quiet. I did all my velocity testing with a cat sleeping in the window five feet away from the gun. He was snoring, so I knew he was asleep. That is not usual in the Pelltier household! I will say that the faster Sig lead-free pellets did raise the discharge sound noticeably, but the cat snored on.


Punky was oblivious to the Trail NPII’s discharge noise — many times!

Trigger pull

The trigger pull is heavy — at 7 lbs. 15 oz. It’s a single-stage trigger. I did tell you in Part 1 that the trigger does adjust with one screw. But when I tried to adjust it — no way could I get on the screw head without damaging the triggerguard. The triggerguard is so thick that it holds any screwdriver shaft rigidly from moving even far enough to get into the screw head. There might be a special Phillips screwdriver with a long thin shaft that does work, but my collection of 50-60 screwdrivers doesn’t include one.

Benjamin Trail trigger
No way am I getting on that adjustment screw!

I even tried a Chapman ratcheting screwdriver that allows entry from the side, but the bit was too long for the room available. So — nice screw but no adjustment for me. The pull has to stay around 8 pounds.

Summary

This is a very nice air pistol. I see why Pyramyd Air wanted me to test it. I have shown you all the warts and still you are getting a lot for your money. But accuracy is next, and that tells the real story.

55 thoughts on “Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Mark II pistol: Part 2


    • Birdmove,

      Good to see you post. I think more than a few of us have been thinking of you and the volcanic action. Best wishes on staying safe and well.


  1. B.B.,

    Great pic of Punky!

    I have one screwdriver (that I will never part with) with a medium Philips head and a very long, maybe 16-18 inches or so, shaft that is at the most 1/8 of an inch in diameter, probably thinner. I forget which air gun it is, but I have one with the same problem as this pistol, and that screwdriver is the only tool of mine that will work.

    It is also a “keep for life tool” because I use it for discharging small electrolytics by grounding them to the chassis flange when I work on a vintage tube amp. (Yes, it has an insulated handle.) I have plenty of long shafted screwdrivers, but they are all big and heavy and the tips are borderline too large to get to the cap lead.

    I am starting to like this air pistol, but even if it ends up being accurate, that heavy trigger would be a deal-breaker for me.

    Do you have one of those silly little double-ended, right angle screwdrivers? If there is little resistance on the screw and you can put a bit of pressure on the tool with an index finger, those can sometimes be good for a turn or two.

    Michael



      • B.B.,

        They have little (flat) ratchets that accept screwdriver bits. Often sold as a kit. Good for tight spaces where you need a bit of swing. Another option. Even a cheap set will pull you out of a pinch. Needle nose pliers and a bit, or needle nose vise grips and a bit can work too. I am sure?,… Benjamin has read your article and hopefully will adjust accordingly. Or, they can include something that will work with the pistol?

        Chris



          • B.B.,

            Yup, it is in the article! Oooops! My work day mornings are a rushed read for the most part. That, along with any due overnight responses from previous posts, makes the short time go quick. Hopefully you will be able to work with it and make a fair assessment. I do believe that I read that you thought you would do fine. There is really no excuse for that design leaving the proto-type room. That simple adjustment alone could be the make or break of sales. 7# 15 oz. is a bit extreme to say the very least. Even down to 3# would be a mass improvement. If, that screw would even do it at all.

            Chris

            Chris



        • Chris
          I’m thinking Crosman won’t do anything about the hole. Most people would probably just drill it out a little bigger. And as BB said it’s not his to do it to.


          • GF1,

            Yup! My thoughts run to the old saying of,… “What’s wrong with this picture?” And, since B.B. posted an (actual) picture of the issue,…. that brings the old saying into a new and very focused light.


            • Chris
              Makes me think if that’s the only thing wrong with the gun is the trigger adjusting hole I think the gun is doing better than some other guns out there.

              And I can just hear them at Crosman when they go over some of the complaints about a gun. I bet they go “what” make the hole bigger. And then now we got to figure out how big to make the hole for all those people out there that have different size screwdrivers. Oh wait a minute I got it. Let’s just remove the trigger gaurd. That will save us some money in material.

              And I can think of a few more thoughts they could have too. 😉


              • GF1,

                Well, it would come down to changing a casting/mold issue. Second best is a post manufacture/hands on fix. $ either way. Either way,… an issue has been identified!,…. now fix it! To do anything less erodes at my faith and trust in the brand. Simple as that.



                  • GF1,

                    I will save B.B. the effort. Put someone in charge of development and improvement that actually cares two hoots and actually has a clue of air guns and shooting. Mmmm???? ,… where have we heard that before? B.B. himself. Fact is, he says it all the time in one way or the other. Sometimes rather blunt and sometimes rather subtle.

                    Myself,… I would be getting rather tired. None the less,.. he fights for us all and the betterment of air gunning everyday.

                    “They” like to make stellar air guns at the lowest cost and at the highest profit margin. OK. I would too. But,.. put the right folks up front in development and they could still do it and still get it right the (first) time around!

                    “Things” add up. See the same brand getting “hit” for this or that,.. and it adds up. You may not care about the particular gun at the time,.. but it still adds to the overall impression of the brand. Today,.. there is nowhere to hide. Impressions are near instant. Even more reason that you had better darn well be getting it right straight out of the gate! What do they say,… “perception is everything”?. Well, in my opinion, you can build on that or slowly erode it.

                    That is my golden insight???? tip for the day. Out’a here for now and back in the early AM,…. 😉


                    • Chris
                      Yep we know the answer to that already.

                      But seriously. I bet you or me or anyone else could find something wrong with a air gun if we wanted.

                      And what someone thinks is a perfect air gun to them might not be to another person.

                      And the cost of a gun would play a factor in that too. You have so and so company making high end and everything inbetween to low end guns. So that’s something to look at when you determine something to say about a gun. What range it falls in.

                      It would be nice for them to figure all the things out. But there will always be something someone doesn’t like about something.

                      Just the way it is.




  2. B.B.,

    Thank you for the picture. Before you showed and explained and showed it, I was was thinking in my head that you needed to hold the pistol with one hand on each end and use your knee to open the breech. Rather odd and blocky when seen from the side.

    The placement of the screw is one way of lawyering the gun. All you can do is look but you can’t touch the adjustment screw.

    Siraniko


  3. B.B.,

    I would take a drill bit the same size as the hole and run it through the hole and the move the bit to the angle needed to hit the head of the trigger adjustment screw while spinning the bit. It does not look like it would take much.

    I hope it is accurate, but the large velocity variation does not sound good.

    Don


  4. Not willing to grind down the shaft of an old screwdriver in the appropriate spot? Fair enough.

    The velocity spread is a worry. I hope your right about the possibility of a break in period.


  5. B.B.,

    Thanks for the close up of the lock up and “ears”. Nice shot of Punky. Bummer on the screw. Having a lighter pull might let it shine, if that is even possible. We shall see. Looking forwards to the accuracy phase of things.

    Good Day to you and to all,… Chris



  6. BB,

    You say the trigger pull is heavy, but how does it break? If it is a clean break you might be able to work with it.

    As Don suggested, personal ownership would allow a simple remedy to the alignment of the hole, but you would think Crosman would slow down enough to at least look at what they are manufacturing.


  7. BB,

    I do not understand the issue of the cocking aid. If you look at the pictures on the PA site you can clearly see how the cocking aid mounts on the barrel shroud. No, the cocking aid does not come back past the breech. That is the barrel shroud. The “wings” of the cocking aid only extend to just past the front sight. The joint is clearly visible in the picture above.

    Something I did notice is that not only does this pistol have a screw for a barrel pivot, it has a locking screw.


  8. BB
    Now that’s how sound measuring should be done. A way we all understand what it means. 🙂

    And Punky is a cool cat. Should I ask how he got named Punky.


    • GF1,

      Punky was named by someone else. He was living under the neighbor’s car because she wouldn’t allow him in her house with her other three cats. He once clawed her clothes.

      He came across the street to meet both Edith and I, and when I was in the hospital in 2010, Edith invited him in to stay.

      The neighbor is aware he lives with us (now just me) and she is fine with it.

      B.B.



  9. I would definitely have drilled out the trigger screw access hole slightly. Seriously, who is going to complain? You have only their best interests to serve by doing so and getting the trigger more manageable.
    The velocity spreads seem unusually large. I think the breech seal might be leaking. Try the tissue test and see if you can visually confirm if the breech seal is leaking.

    The variable Force you encountered during cocking by changing the speed suggest to me that the mechanism and or piston seal might benefit from a change of lubrication.


  10. I have to mention another airgun gift from Tom and Edie that has a similar break-barrel cocking mechanism. It is a knock-off of the Walther LP53 by a Polish manufacturer. The Walther example was used in the movie poster for one of the original James Bond films. When I cocked this handgun, the front sight would dig into the palm of my hand and after not too many .177 shots, it became too uncomfortable to continue to use it. I spoke with Tom, and he mentioned that ir originally came with a cocking “handle” that had been lost. The shooter would insert it into the barrel as about 2″ had a larger diameter and was not rifled. This added leverage that made cocking much easier. I purchased a 1/4″ rod at the hardware store and then cut it to size. I added a tape handle for comfort as well as built up a tape “stop” so that it would not be inserted too deep to hit the rifling. Really a cheap fix and now no more sore palm.

    I believe Tom also wrote a blog about this sweet little shooter.


  11. B.B.,
    I am a bit confused about: Discharge sound

    “I did all my velocity testing with a cat sleeping in the window five feet away from the gun. He was snoring, so I knew he was asleep. That is not usual in the Pelltier household! I will say that the faster Sig lead-free pellets did raise the discharge sound noticeably, but the cat snored on.”
    Has Punky been to the audiologist so he can be used as a CALIBRATED sound measuring device? If not then I will let that “sleeping cat lie”
    Further questions about the commonality of snoring in the Pelitier houseold…does that include the two legged member of the household! Lol!!!
    I’m looking forward to your accuracy testing on this airpistol.
    It might be a fun suplment to throwing darts, for those not able to get the hang of that game and a way to get the non-gun types to try out shooting right in the recreation room or back patio.

    Thank you B.B.,

    ootski


    • ootski,

      Yes, Punky was calibrated to a national standard just 6 months ago.

      As for me, I once cleared out a barracks of soldiers with my snoring and was told, when I awoke, that I snore like a 12-cylinder M88 recovery vehicle with a bad magneto!

      B.B.


  12. Im glad PunkyI has been to the CalLab!

    I intentionally left off the “sh” in my signature block! Just for Punky.
    The M88 was one of the louder land vehicles i have heard up close, but anything with more than 10 cylinders has a place in my heart. I really prefer my cylinders in 4 banks of 9 like on a F8F Bearcat but I’m also a sucker for powerful land crawlers and big Marine diesels. I like shaken not stirred!

    shootski


  13. Off Topic

    Nova Freedom .22 Pump PCP follow up.
    Called American Tactical yesterday about the loose travel adjustment screw on the trigger assembly and the possible cause of the air loss reading on the pressure gage.
    Now everyone was very attentive to what I was talking about and a gun technician came with a rifle in hand so as to follow me in the discussion and offer advise on what to do when I asked.

    Now here’s the problem. American Tactical is new to ‘Airguns’ and none of the techs have experience or perhaps limited experience with them and this Nova Freedom is new to everyone in the U.S. I being one of the first few to get one, have become part of the learning curve here.
    They told me a representative from the Nova Vista company in China was scheduled to show up by the end of the month and conduct training on it and probably the others they offer and asked me if I wanted to send it back for repair as part of the training perhaps? I declined. I would rather look for the leak myself and repair it if it’s something simple and also get familiar with it’s workings not getting too deep into it yet. We agreed to hold off on anything until after the training or I discover the cause of the leak. The technician suggested I not use locktight on an adjustable screw especially while under warrantee. Makes sense. I can always use small washers if I want but the setting is fine with me as is anyway, snugged down firm.

    Shortly after the phone call I had to rush a family member to the hospital and stayed there all night, it was pneumonia, cracked vertebrae, bad hips and cellulitis in her fight leg with a little pancreatic problems thrown in.
    If you avoid the pain of exercise throughout your life it will pile up and hit you all at once when your older. Resting today.
    The gage now reads 1,400 psi, down from 3,000 psi after a little over 24 hours. By the way I mentioned I was able to hit a beer can at 80 yards. That was with two of two shots. One on high power and surprisingly one at the low power setting? My reticle was adjusted for 40 yards, AO at 80yards. I also had the pressure close to the max. for both shots. Aimed at the top of the can and there was even a little breeze.
    Try some shots with my Crony later.

    After a lot of shooting the other day I am convinced that a good quality fixed sight, or perhaps a dot, is preferable to a fully adjustable one with all the bells and whistles if all you really use it for is pest control. Your lucky if the pest can even be found by the time you get your rifle and there’s no time to set it up. OK, a quick lever type magnification set up may help.
    Bob M



    • Bob
      At least it sounds like they want to try to make the Nova’s successful. Good for them on the training.

      And if you find the leak source let us know. Who knows. I may just end up with a Nova.

      Also it sounds like it wants to shoot. Nothing wrong with hitting a can at 80 yards. If the guns making enough power you should be able to hit a squirrel or rabbit.

      And I do like dot sights for pesting. Well and open sights as well. Just depends on the situation.


    • Bob M,

      Did they offer you or did you ask for the option of getting a replacement, since they were not currently properly trained to do repairs and you might be facing an overly long turnaround time? A replacement policy has come to be the standard we expect after dealing with PA and their excellent customer service.

      Just out of curiosity, have you ever left the gun to see if it will go down to 0 psi?

      Half


      • Half
        Missed this entry. Yes they offered but I declined in order to troubleshoot the problem first and as we know everything is fine now, problem found and solved. It was very close to zero after two full days.
        Bob M


  14. Chris , GF1

    I’d be lucky to be able to see a squirrel at 80 yards without a magnified scope. The beer can is just a white dot on the top of my T post fence.
    UTG has a somewhat new line of scopes TF2+. A 3-9×40 1/4 MOA mil dot reticle, 100 yds. parallax and it has a raised lever on the power adjuster at the midway 6x position. Easy to select as you shoulder the rifle. I’ve seen custom set ups as well.
    Just set your reticle up as you see fit and use the mil-dots for quick shots. Unfortunately I haven’t seen one with a 35 yd. parallax.
    A squirrel may be a little fuzzy, no pun intended, up close but he is now a bigger target. Like I said before, the FX Independence I use a lot has a simple 4X32 35 yd. parallax set scope and I just aim and shoot. A little higher for a more distant shot. Actually I think it’s called a Hunter scope.
    AO scopes are too sensitive to focus when you need a quick shot and there is little time to focus in. Especially on a runner.


  15. Guys
    You don’t go out of your way to put this stuff on a cheep rifle ….
    A side lever, with a custom rubber insert handle as well.
    And the topper …. A .22 cal pointed copper looking pellet safety lever.
    Throw in some oil , an allen wrench to adjust the trigger, spare ‘O’ rings, a brass filling adapter, nice removable adjustable sights, and, and a silica gel pack … In a nicely packaged molded foam insert box ! 🙂

    And a really nice English only well illustrated 14 page operation manual with an e mail address and phone number.
    Complements of American Tactical I assume, even though it was printed in China.

    Someone or a group has gone out of their way to come up with a well thought out reasonably priced desirable air rifle. Talk about listening to air gunners.
    Bob M


    • Bob,

      That is what I said the other day,… they seem like are a different breed of air gun company. Nothing thus far has indicated corners were cut. From the reviews, I got a true sense of pride and the points you just mentioned back that up. Hopefully all will be well and the leak down issue is an easily fixed glitch.


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