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Competition Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Mark II pistol: Part 3

Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Mark II pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

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

This report covers:

  • Adjustable trigger
  • The test
  • Sight-in
  • Aiming
  • RWS Hobby
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • Qiang Yuan Training pellets
  • Additional testing
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Mark II with the factory-mounted open sights. But before we get to that, there is some old business to clear up.

Adjustable trigger

There was quite a bit of interest in the adjustable trigger last time — mostly because I showed that I could not get a screwdriver on it to adjust. There was so much interest that I vowed to try to adjust it for this report.

I removed the barreled action from the stock. All it took was removing the 4 stock screws and lifting the action out of the grip/stock. The safety button fell out at the same time.

Benjamin Trail pistol trigger
The trigger adjustment screw (arrow) was already adjusted as far as it would go.

Then I set about trying to adjust the trigger, which is done via one screw behind the trigger blade. That screw can lengthen or shorten the length of pull of the single stage. Alas, it was already adjusted as far as it would go, so the whole drill was for naught. As long as the trigger pull is right now, I sure didn’t want to add any length to it!

The test

With the pistol assembled again I began the test. I shot from a sandbag rest at 10 meters. The Trail NP Mark II is so heavy that I rested the bottom of the grip on the bag to help support the weight. I fired 5 shots with each of four pellets. The cocking assist remained on the barrel for all shots.

Then I did some additional testing that I will describe when we get to it. Let’s go!


The pistol was hitting about 6 inches low when I first shot with 7.9-grain Premier lites. That’s with the cocking assist installed, which is the way I think they want you to shoot it.

The sights adjusted up well and I was able to get on target in 6 sight-in rounds. The first group measured 1.018-inches between centers at 10 meters. All the pellets landed on target, with 4 of them in the black.

Benjamin Trail pistol Premiers
Five Crosman Premier lites made this 1.018-inch group at 10 meters.

I was actually surprised by this first group. It was better than I had expected.


I wondered how well I would be able to shoot with the sights, when the front sight is wider than the rear notch. The answer is — not very well. I will say more about that at the end of the report.

RWS Hobby

Next I tried RWS Hobby wadcutters. They fit the breech snugly and that gave me confidence they might do well. Five went into 1.045-inches at 10 meters, with four of them in 0.588-inches. This showed promise!

Benjamin Trail pistol Hobby
Five RWS Hobbys are in 1.045-inches, with 4 nicely centered in 0.588-inches.

Air Arms Falcon

Next I tried Air Arms Falcon pellets. These gave me the best group of the test — 5 in 1.02-inches at 10 meters with 4 in 0.277-inches. I found that astounding! It was worthy of additional testing.

Benjamin Trail pistol Falcon 1
Five pellets in 1.02-inches at 10 meters. Four are in 0.277-inches. The hole at the upper right was made during sight-in and is not part of this group.

Qiang Yuan Training pellets

The last pellet I tested was the Qiang Yuan Training pellet. These wadcutters are heavier than Hobbys and often prove very accurate in guns. Not this time, though. Five went into 1.224-inches at 10 meters, which was the worst group of the test.

Benjamin Trail pistol Chinese training pellet
Five Qiang Yuan Training pellets went into 1.224-inches at 10 meters. The lower hole on the right has two pellets through it.

Additional testing

Someone wanted to know how the pistol groups with the cocking aid off, so that was next. I used the Falcon pellets that had proven most accurate and I shot at a top bull on the target. All my shots went many inches higher, missing the pellet trap and shooting a huge hole in the plastic leg of my storage shelf where the pellet trap sits. They then embedded in my garage drywall.

I was so ticked off that I didn’t adjust the sights and try again. I should have, but I was angry at the damage. I should have looked through the spotting scope before firing all 5 shots, and that omission made me even angrier!

So, that question hasn’t been answered yet. But I did replace the cocking aid and fire a final group of the Falcon pellets with the aid installed. This time 5 pellets went into a group that measures 0.868-inches between centers. It’s better overall than the first group, but lacks the tight cluster of 4.

Benjamin Trail pistol Falcon 2
This second group of Falcons was smaller, at 0.868-inches, but lacks the tight group of 4.


The groups of Hobbys and Falcons lead me to believe that if I were able to aim this pistol better the groups would be smaller. I think I need to test that. The front sight is so fat that its sides are wider than the rear notch. I know I am supposed to be using the fiberoptic dots, but they aren’t good for much more than tin-can plinking.

I originally thought of mounting a pistol scope on the gun, but a reader’s comment reminded me that I own several dot sights that might be perfect. I will try one of them. There will be at least one more report, and at that time I will test the pistol with the cocking aid removed for each shot.

Cocking the pistol is still easy and the firing cycle is smooth. The trigger does have some creep, but it’s not bad.


The Trail NP II pistol is doing better than I thought it would. I was surprised to see that I could keep most of the pellets in the black at 10 meters.

The trigger should not be considered adjustable. Just learn to live with it the way it comes from the box. After examining it for this report I don’t think there is an easy way to make it any better.

author avatar
B.B. Pelletier
Tom Gaylord is known as The Godfather of Airguns™ and has been an airgunner for over a half-century, but it was the Beeman company in the 1970s that awoke a serious interest in airguns. Until then, all he knew were the inexpensive American airguns. Through the pages of the Beeman catalog, he learned about adult airguns for the first time. In 1994, Tom started The Airgun Letter with his wife, Edith. This monthly newsletter was designed to bring serious reports about airguns to the American public. The newsletter and Airgun Revue, a sister magazine about collectible airguns, was published from 1994 until 2002, when Tom started Airgun Illustrated -- the first American newsstand magazine about airguns. Tom worked for three years as technical director at AirForce Airguns, the makers of the Talon, Condor, and Escape precharged air rifles. Today, he writes about airguns and firearms for various publications and websites. He also makes videos, and you'll find short clips embedded in some of his artices on Pyramyd AIR's website. Tom is a consultant to Pyramyd AIR and writes under the name of B.B. Pelletier.

45 thoughts on “Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston Mark II pistol: Part 3”

  1. BB is a horrible person for playing practical jokes on an innocent little bird 😉

    “All my shots went many inches higher, missing the pellet trap and shooting a huge hole in the plastic leg of my storage shelf where the pellet trap sits. They then embedded in my garage drywall.”

    My snort of amusement almost blew the budgie grooming my mustache off my finger.

  2. BB,

    On all the Gamo SAT and CAT triggers the adjusting screw for the second stage let off/ sear engagement is screwed in all the way, leaving no real adjustability for the shooter. Well, that’s not entirely true. You can adjust it out if you want to make the trigger worse, same as the one you’re working with. The exchanging of that screw for one that is 2 mm longer gives the trigger lots of adjustment in the RIGHT direction.

    I would not expect you to recommend it without an appropriate warning, but do you think a longer screw in the trigger would give some additional adjustment?


  3. B.B.,

    I am surprised. At least it is accurate. On the cocking aid affecting the shots,… I know from swapping out the muzzle cap on my Maximus with an air stripper and also a baffle insert (each screwed on, each done separate) really affected the point of impact. Not that bad, at that close, but still (very) noticeable. That I think is more a case of barrel harmonics where as this might be a case of muzzle jump.

    A longer trigger screw does sound like a good option if you happen to have something laying around. At least it would be reversible and you may be able to come up with a manufacturer’s part change. At least a customer use change. A “tune tip”, in other words. Looking forwards to what you can do with a dot sight. I have a laser sight mounted under my 92FS and it works super nice. Maybe a laser option? On top in this case as you said the next test will be without the cocking aid. Which,.. brings into question what the cocking effort would be without it? Unless you plan to use it,.. then remove it each time?

    Good Day to you and to all,…. Chris

    • Chris,

      This is a single stage trigger. You need to be VERY careful when you start adjusting the amount of engagement. A little polishing might make the pull less creepy, but adjusting out the engagement is asking for trouble.

      I finally had some shooting time yesterday with my HM1000X. It is really going to have to be something for me to get rid of it.

      • RR,

        As you know, polishing can make a big difference to the trigger. Wish that the manufacturers would spend a bit less on the package graphics and more on the quality of the trigger.

        Seen that a lot of the cheap triggers are stamped (with a poor fitting die) and don’t have a clean, square surface. Sometimes I could grind/polish/case harden the original parts, other times it was a make from scratch project.

        Bet you smile every time you pick up your HM1000X – good rifles do that to me. Think that my all time favorite is my .22 Weihrauch HW100, Its great for target, plinking, pesting and hunting. The FWB 300SU is a very close second.

        Took my 101 for a walk-about yesterday – talk about a 50 year step back in time! We had a great time blasting pine cones. Still thinking about putting a Maximus barrel on it.


        • Hank,

          Me and the Webley Mk II Service had some trigger time yesterday also. Let’s see, that’s almost 90 years back. You have to love these old air rifles.

          • 90 years back!!! Didn’t think you were THAT old 🙂

            Figure my father bought the 101 about 70 years ago and I have had it for 50-51 years. I stopped using it when I bought my FWB 124 36 years ago ’cause it started leaking air. Real glad that it’s working so well now.

            Yup, love the old air rifles!

            • Hank,

              That’s not old! That is one of my “newer” air rifles that I shoot. My favorite air rifle is my 1906 BSA. It shoots better than my 1930’s Webley and my early 1920’s FLZ Militia. My 101 is pretty new. It is post WWII. I hope to have it going soon. I am thinking I may have the time to tinker with it this summer.

        • Hank,

          It is the trigger that keeps me from buying Crosman sproingers. Why should I bother tuning their junk when for a few dollars more I can get a sproinger with a superb trigger. By the way, the trigger on that HM1000X is SOOOOO SWEET! I think and it shoots.

          • RR

            Know what you mean about those match triggers on the PCPs and the SSPs – they are just awesome!

            The guy I got my TX200 from had it setup for Field Target and did a number of upgrades to it. The trigger on that sproinger is almost on par with the one on my FWB 300 – it’s very nice to shoot!

      • RR,

        Glad you got some time behind the 1000X,… finally. Good points on triggers but I can say the Maximus turned out quite nice. GF1 would say the same. But yes, be careful and understand what you are doing. If not,… don’t!

        • Chris
          Yep on the Maximus/Discovery trigger.

          As it goes. It all depends on what you want to accomplish and how for your willing to go.

          And you know how much we like our modding. 🙂

  4. BB,

    Yesterday I broke out the Webley for a little range time. I zeroed the notch sight for 10 yards and the peep for 25 yards. The pack of feral soda cans around here now tremble at the sight of that Webley.

  5. Hi guys. I hope this isn’t too much for a blog comment, but two things this morning.

    A couple weeks ago I asked for advice on pellets for a friends Benjamin Regal 177. I assume that gun must really recoil badly, because it would loosen the stock screws in just a few shots. I loctited the screws, shimmed the scope, and after lots of fiddling, the Baracuda Match 10.65 turned out to be the best. I got it down to about 1-1/2″ at a paced (not measured) 20 yards. Compared with what it was when he gave it to me (about 8 inches at 10 yards), that was a huge improvement and he is very happy with it. I sent him a link to BB’s video on the artillery hold to help him shoot it better. Then he sent me a text over the weekend saying that they were shooting at a silhouette and had to move it back. It was too easy at 35 yards. Thanks to all, and especially BB. A great deal of what I know about the operation and shooting of airguns in general and break barrels in particular is because of this blog. So thanks again to all.

    Second, I have a UTG 4-16 x 44 (I think) with end bell focus on my gen 2 Marauder 22. I really want a side focus scope. I use this gun for hunting and target shooting (informal) and I would like low magnification and illuminated reticle for hunting. I like taking it with me deer hunting to dispatch squirrels quietly. I am looking at the UTG 4-16×56 Bubble Level. It is $225 at Pyrymid and you get the side wheel for free. Is there another scope in this price range that I should consider? Is there a reason that I should NOT get this one?

    Thanks for any advice guys.

    • Cpt B,

      This is a very nice scope. I have one on my HM1000X. There is something you may want to consider though, this is a BIG scope. Another one you may want to consider is this one.


      The optics will not be quite as nice and the reticle will be thicker, but this is much more compact.

      If you can live with the large scope, go for it. Like I said, it is real nice.

      • RR, that little bug buster with the side focus just fascinates me. Almost makes me want to buy a small gun to put it on. As big as the marauder is though, I think I will be OK with the bigger scope.

        My thoughts are that the reticle is fine enough for target shooting, but with the illumination I should still be able to see it in the woods. And with 56mm lens, it should be easier to find them in the scope.

        I guess I’ll find out, I already ordered it. 🙂

        • CB,

          You will be happy with it. As BB said it has clear optics and the reticle is glass etched, so they are fine. To get another scope as good you will have to pay almost twice as much. Good buy.

  6. Cpt. B,

    The Bubble Leveler scope has optics that are as clear and bright as scopes costing 10 times as much.

    Before I had cataract surgery, the bubble was hard to see. Now it is clear under all conditions short of dark.

    Get it.


      • Cpt. B-
        I have the bubble scope on my .25 Marauder and I think you will really like it! As BB said, the optics are way, way better than anything else at twice the price! The size is larger but when you put it on a Marauder it just seems right. Weight for scope and rifle is just over 9 lbs. Shooting sticks are a welcome addtion to the hunting kit!

          • Captain Bravo,

            Do you use a sling?
            I’m not talking about a basic carry sling. Although with training they can be used to atain stability in a pinch.
            I’m talking about a sling you use to build your shooting position with; standing (off hand) kneeling, or prone. Some folks even use them for sitting!


              • Captain Bravo,

                They go by any of a number of names; Competition sling, Hasty Sling, arm cuff sling, Ching Sling, M-1907, WW-II issue style, made from nylon webbing, leather, Biothane, etc.
                They all have different ideal uses but since each shooter is different in strength and body type a encyclopedic source is usually a way to get started:
                You certainly won’t go wrong buying his book but just reading his sales pitch will give you lots of information on the use of slings for more than lugging your rifle around.

                This is probably as much of a blog topic as Aperature Sights.

                Hopefully some of the other readers will chime in on how they use slings too!

                I have used slings to build my shooting position for at least 50+ years, lots has changed since my first service rifle leather sling but most is really still the same. In the end the stability gained by a properly used sling is amazing. Sticks certainly have a place in shooting; heck I use my ski poles (I use hiking poles in the non slippery season for the shooting as well as a great long distance Hill hiking aid!) as my shooting sticks when I hunt in the snow.

                One other sling system: Convertible-Carbine-Sling-With-QD-Swivels, I have recently aquired is from:

                Initial use on my AR has me smiling but I really won’t know until I have a full four seasons on it. After that I may also get their Precision Rifle Sling for my long DAQ rifles.


              • Captain Bravo
                When we was kids out on the farm. We would some times tie wrope from one branch of the tree to another branch of the tree and rest our guns on that. Very stable once you give it a try. We use to do our long range shooting like that. Well a hundred yards or so. And it’s actually pretty quick to set up. I seen once we’re a military sniper tied a wrope across a window opening for support also. It works pretty good.

                • GF1,

                  I still have a table top rig I made up. It worked good. Less stable than a fixed mount, but if you think about it,… it is also like the artillery hold in that it lets the gun recoil as it needs to.

                  • Chris
                    I thought about that and wondered if you still had it.

                    And yep I was going to mention that about the artillery hold. We would even later on when I started using a scope. Hang the front bell of the scope over the rope. That would hold the gun nice.

                    It’s a little bit different type of shooting. You got to trust just letting the gun move as it wants. Front loose and normal grip on the trigger hand and shouldering.

                    I may combine that with my long distance Condor SS peep sight shooting and see what happens. It’s been a while since I shot that way.

                    • Wow, you start looking into shooting slings and there is a lot out there to learn. I’ll be doing a lot of looking into these and trying some out. Thanks for the tips.

              • Captain Bravo
                Nowhere to reply by your last comment to slings and such.

                Yep slings do work. And I have used shooting sticks alot when I go out in the woods. They do help also and are usually pretty quick to open and get in place.

                As it goes you just got to use them often and get use to them.

    • Shootski
      I checked the video out. Once a person gives dot sights or peep sights a try I think they will like them more than open notch and post sights too.

      I’m more accurate with the peep sights now compared to open iron sights. But as far as fast acquisition goes I like a red or green dot sight. I definitely get on multiple targets faster with dot sights than peeps. And I have to say I’m just about more accurate with a dot sight than a open notch and post sight.

      And I do like those sights mentioned better than a scoped gun in certain instances. But the peep sights have definitely been fun. I can’t stop shooting my HW30s with the peep sight. Long distance with the Condor SS is next. Heck I may even take the rear peep off of my modded up Maximus. It shoots pretty good also right now out at a 100 yards scoped. Plus I think it would look good with a peep on it.

      Here’s my modded Maximus with a internal regulator and my Condor SS. Only picture I could find right now.

  7. Gunfun1,

    We all like to shoot and when we have a hand in building/modding a sweet shooting piece like your “MaxiGunfun1mus” it is all for the better: FUN!
    We are all lucky to be alive at the Watershed point in airgunning and welcome by the Godfather of Aiguns to play on his Blog!

    10XXXXXXXXXXs all the way!


    • Shootski
      I definitely enjoy shooting. And even more fun with my 20 and 17 year old daughters. Taught them when they was in their single digits years still. Kind of following family tradition like when my dad taught me and my brother. We was around 7 years old when we learned. Just what happens when you live in the country on a farm.

      And I forgot to mention after the video pointed it out also. I do like that with open sights and dot and peep sights that the hold over, hold under factor like whay you need with scopes disappears some what. Easier to stay in a given kill zone without compensating with holds with the dot, peep and open sights.

      And you mentioned your air guns you have. How do you have them set up for sights. If you got any pictures you should post them. I would like to see them. And how well do they shoot at different distances. Do you make you a cheat sheet with your holds written down. That’s what that piece of tape is on the Maximus scope. I have the holds written on the tape for some different distances. Got to many guns to remember each of their holds. 🙂

  8. B.B.,

    Shootski made a comment yesterday that has me broadly curious about something. Everyone who reads this blog eventually learns that Crosman pellets are pretty hard and have a lot of antimony mixed in the lead. RWS pellets tend to be quite soft and are perhaps even of pure lead.

    In addition to Crosman pellets, what other “lead” pellets are notably hard?


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