Benjamin Fortitude precharged rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Benjamin Fortitude
The Benjamin Fortitude precharged air rifle.

This report covers:

  • Point one
  • Crosman Premier lites
  • JSB Exact Heavy
  • Why such a large velocity spread?
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • RWS Superdomes
  • Shot count
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Inlet valve failed
  • Evaluation so far

Today we look at the velocity of the Benjamin Fortitude. As this is one of the new price point PCPs, this test should be interesting.

Point one

My test rifle leaked down from the initial fill in three hours. I had filled it to 3,000 psi, then set it aside to do other work. When I returned three hours later nearly all the air had leaked out. However when I refilled it, I couldn’t hear a leak. It was apparently slow enough to allow testing, so I proceeded.

Crosman Premier lites

The first pellet I tested was the Crosman Premier 7.9-grain dome. They averaged 885 f.p.s. over 10 shots. The low was 872 and the high was 900 f.p.s. That’s an 18 f.p.s. spread. At the average velocity this pellet produced 13.74 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle.

I began that string with the onboard gauge showing 3,000 psi in the reservoir. There was 2,500 psi remaining after the string.

JSB Exact Heavy

Next to be tested was the 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavy dome. These averaged 817 f.p.s. with a 30 f.p.s. spread from 810 to 840 f.p.s. At the average velocity this pellet generated 15.33 foot pounds at the muzzle. At the end of this string there was an indicated 2,200 psi of air remaining in the gun.

Why such a large velocity spread?

At this point I wondered why the velocity spread was so large. Thirty f.p.s. is a large spread for an unbalanced PCP valve, let alone a gun with a regulator. I continued to watch as the test progressed.

Air Arms Falcons

Next up were Falcon pellets from Air Arms. They only weigh 7.33-grains, so they averaged 898 f.p.s. The spread went from 889 to 926 f.p.s. That’s a difference of 37 f.p.s. — another large velocity spread. The Falcon generated 13.13 foot pounds at the muzzle. Falcons loaded hard into the magazine, due to large skirts. I had to seat several of them with a pen to get them in deep enough.

But I finally noticed something after this string. It was the first shot in the JSB and Falcon string that went the fastest. Throw out those first shots and the JSB spread was only 7 f.p.s. and the Falcon spread was 8 f.p.s. In fact, as the gun shot it was shooting slower on almost every shot in both strings. I have seen this in regulated PCPs before, but it isn’t common.

When the air passage between the reservoir and the firing chamber (that’s the space the regulator fills with pressurized air) is very small, air flows slower and the velocity will drop if you shoot too fast. There is not enough time for all the air to enter the firing chamber. It’s a lot like the cooling effect in a CO2 gun. So, on the next string I decided to experiment. I will show you each shot, with comments about the times I waited between them. And by the way, at the end of the Falcon string there was 1,800 psi remaining in the gun.

RWS Superdomes

The last pellet I tested was the RWS Superdome. They also loaded harder into the magazine because their skirts were on the large side.

Shot……Velocity
1………….882 then I waited about 10 seconds
2………….895 then waited only 2 seconds
3………….853 10 seconds
4………….854 10 seconds
5………….853 then waited 30 seconds
6………….863 then waited 60 seconds
7………….867 then waited 10 seconds
8………….850 10 seconds
9………….847 10 seconds
10…………853

The average for this string is 862 f.p.s. and the spread is 48 f.p.s. But do you see how I affected the velocity by the length of time I waited between shots? I think the same thing was happening in the earlier strings, because between each string I paused for about two minutes to load the magazine. That made those first shots faster. The first string is the only one I didn’t watch carefully. There was 1,400 psi remaining in the gun at this point.

I also believe the gun fell off the regulator at some point during this string. Maybe it was loosing air faster than I thought. I think shot number 6 should have been faster than it was.

Shot count

To get the shot count I reloaded the magazine with Crosman Premier lites. I will show you the entire string, because this time I know the gun fell off the reg. Given the claim of 70 shots on a fill I expected to see an average close to 885 f.p.s. on this string, which was shots 41-50, lets see how it went.

Shot……Velocity
1………….866 then about 10 seconds
2………….860 then about 2 seconds
3………….857 60 seconds
4………….856 60 seconds
5………….851 10 seconds
6………….850 10 seconds
7………….846 10 seconds
8………….841 10 seconds
9………….845 10 seconds
10…………841

It’s clear to me the rifle is now off the regulator, because pausing doesn’t increase velocity. But I did shoot one final string of Premier lites. All shots were about 10 seconds apart. The air is at 1400 psi at the start of this string and these are shots 51-60 since filling the rifle.

Shot……Velocity
1………….829
2………….833
3………….825
4………….817
5………….816
6………….801
7………….808
8………….799
9………….786
10…………789

We are clearly off the reg at this point. The shots are still powerful, but they have dropped more than 90 f.p.s. from the start of all the tests to the end of this string. So, yes you can still shoot, but don’t expect tight groups at long distance. For plinking tin cans at 20 yards it will be fine. At the end of this test the rifle’s gauge reads exactly 1000 psi remaining. That’s where the yellow area of the dial begins, so without question the Fortitude needs to be filled.

Cocking effort

I don’t find the Fortitude difficult to cock. It is on the hard side, but no more than a Marauder or a Discovery. However I did learn one thing. If you pull the bolt back slowly, it will hang up just before the sear catches and the effort will rise incredibly. On my bathroom scale the cocking effort measured 40 pounds when the bolt was cocked slowly and about 20 lbs. when it was pulled back with authority. If you own a Fortitude, Marauder or Discovery, try this technique and see if it works for you.

Trigger pull

The two-stage trigger (yes, it really does have two distinct stages) requires 2 lbs. to pull through stage one and 5 lbs. 7 oz. to break the sear at stage two. The release is fairly crisp and I think it is a fine trigger for a rifle in this price range.

Inlet valve failed

I wanted to test the velocity one more time and experiment with times between firing, but the inlet valve on the test rifle locked up and dumped all the air when I tried to bleed the line. It did this 4 times over a period of two days. So, this rifle will be sent back to Pyramyd Air and I will request another one to complete this test series.

Evaluation so far

Some readers will ask why I published this report, when things didn’t go so well. I did so because I learned some valuable things about the rifle (pause between shots and the way to cock the bolt) that I can use on the next one. I also did because there are still some people who think this blog is just a big sales pitch and I will only say good things about every airgun. Long-time readers know differently, but we are gaining new readers so fast that I have to qualify myself all the time.

I like the Fortitude, thus far. Yes, it is more like a Maximus than a Marauder, but it is a repeater and it does have a regulator. As far as the problems go, things happen to me just like they happen to everyone. I am requesting another .177 rifle to test, so we can pick up right here.

I find the Fortitude light, quiet, and I think it has an okay trigger. The cocking is on the hard side, but I have explained how to work around that. I can’t comment on the accuracy until I see it for myself. And the velocity and shot count will be tested again when I know the rifle I’m testing is sound. My plan is to run another velocity test as the first report with the next rifle.

65 thoughts on “Benjamin Fortitude precharged rifle: Part 2

  1. A question for you Tom.

    You have seen Crosman’s general assembly area.

    Does one person build each gun from beginning to end, or is it an assembly line?

    And do they assemble the custom shop guns the same way?

    Ian.


    • Ian,

      The inexpensive guns like the 760 are built by one person, on a fixture that makes assembly go fast. The expensive guns like the Marauder are built by a process, with several people involved. I never saw an assembly line at Crosman.

      I never saw the Custom Shop build a gun, but with all the choices it has to be a one-at-a-time build.

      B.B.


      • That’s kind of what I figured.

        (The Lean Manufacturing process and Six Sigma training kicked in.)

        I personally think when a gun is built by 1 person from start to finish, they should have a ticket in the box with something to the effect of “built with care by _________”.

        When you have to put your name on the line, most people might take a little extra care in the assembly.

        And if gives the consumer a personal connection to the builder.
        And like the test target. Shows going the extra step.

        And when too many returns com in you have a name to go to.


        • 45Bravo
          I agree with the part of putting your name on the product.

          I meantioned this before. When we dowork on something at work like rebiulding valves and so on we seal one Allen bolt with fingernail polish of a certain color that issued to our name.

          First it gives accountability. Second it let’s us know if someone took it apart if our so to speak seal is broken.

          But yes I would like to see that in the air gun world. And do still like that Crosman sent a target with the Fortitude.

          Now when BB gets he next Fortitude after returning this one. He will have to post that target because I really want to see if Crosman and BB’s groups are similar.



    • Seantheaussie,

      Relatively easy fix. They just have to sacrifice some air capacity by increasing the size of the air passage (plenum?) between the reservoir and the firing chamber.

      Siraniko


      • Siraniko,
        I am starting to think it was probably a manufacturing problem with this gun. Crosman are probably too good to have this as part of the design. If I am going, “What on earth?” at the extreme spread of the first shot string, they would have been saying words considerably stronger about their prototypes, finding the problem and fixing it.

        In the unlikely event that it is the design, it is easy to fix on paper. Whether or not it is unmistakably profitable to fix it on the production line is another matter.

        Sean.


      • Siraniko
        That’s if the regulator is a separate slip in like the Huma regulators that me and Chris did in our Maximus.

        If the regulator is built into the valve that means they would need to redesign the valve.


        • Gunfun1,

          So if they have a regulated Marauder in the market what type of regulator did they put? My bet is that it is a drop in type rather than building one into the valve. That way they simplify their inventory by dropping in the part when needed. As you often say time will tell. Hank is right though that some regulators need to settle in before they function properly.

          Siraniko


          • Siraniko
            Good question about the Marauder regulator. And that can go both ways. A one piece valve with the regulator built in allows a couple things to happen.

            First off is when they do their warrenty work it’s a remove and replace situation. So either way they have to be in the gun.

            Next it allows them to not have to relly on availability by out sourcing a drop in regulator. They make the valve and regulator to their specs and they know what inventory they have in stock.

            And another thing if the valve and regulator are together that means people modding a Maximus or Discovery that want the Crosman set up will buy the valve that has the regulator biult in. Well that’s if Crosman prices it cheaper than what drop in regulator sells for.

            Then thinking farther since the Fortitude uses a different breech means it’s probably got a different bolt pattern. So that means the Fortitude air tube has to be drilled different.

            Bet there’s some changes made to the Fortitude that will keep Maximus and Discovery owners from bolting on Fortitude parts to their guns.


          • Siraniko
            And forgot. Yep about the settling Hank mentioned.

            But what I can say is I have 4 guns using the bottled regulators. And from what I have seen no settling was needed. No fps jump or drop like what BB exsperianced with his Fortitude. My drop in regulators did exsperiance that though.

            So I guess you just have to chrony your regulated guns to see.


    • Sean,

      Don’t jump to conclusions too quick. The velocity spread that B.B. is seeing in this Fortitude is a good indicator that the regulator needs “lap” itself in.

      I have several regulated PCPs and it takes some shooting to get the regulator/rifle settled. Seen PCPs that start out with a ES of 30 – 40 fps drop down to under 10 after 2 tins of pellets.

      Hank


  2. Siraniko,
    You are a better person than me if you can forgive an engineer who accepts a regulated gun with a higher extreme spread than the unregulated guns he has worked on 😉

    My money says production problem on this specific gun, but we will never know.

    Sean.


  3. BB
    When you say inlet valve. Do you mean the Foster male fitting?

    If so try filling the gun again. When your done filling and you are ready to release the air in your fill line. Open the bleed valve rapidly. That will allow the seal to seat rapidly in the Foster fitting.

    I have found that to cause slow leaks also if the seal doesn’t seat fast in the fitting.



      • BB
        I figured you knew and tryed. But thought I would mention it just in case the new readers didn’t know that trick yet.

        And I sure would like to know what the person finds that takes the Foster fitting out.

        I’m wondering if it’s contaminants. Or a bad o-ring if its that type. Or a machining problem when they made it.


  4. B.B.,

    Without doing research on other reviews that are out there and looking for any similar (need to wait a bit) correlation,… I think you just got a slightly defective regulator (and) a somewhat defective Foster fitting. The slow leak down could be the Foster and would be my first suspect. I think that too many good reviews thus far show that we can’t throw up the red flags just yet,…. as you noted. Looking forwards to the new gun testing. I would imagine that P.A. will be fast tracking one to your doorstep.

    Just curious, but do you know if the gun is brand new or one that has been passed around a bit at P.A.?

    Good Day to you and to all,…… Chris



  5. Anyone,..

    Is this the Maximus trigger? or is it something else? If the Maximus, then it is single stage but very much feels like a two stage. Having been inside, you can see. GF1,… your input?


  6. BB,

    I had a slow leak down on my Edge a while back. I found that a couple of drops of silicone chamber oil in the female foster fitting of my hand pump was injected into the reservoir where it sealed the leak and provided lubrication. I now do that periodically with all of my PCPs. As this is not yours, I can see you not doing such.

    In the rush of production, especially such high demand models, things like this will slip by. With such a well publicized mistake being brought to their attention, perhaps they will review quality control.


  7. B.B.

    I’d hoped that you would test a .22 caliber Fortitude.

    I think that there would be a strong interest for the larger caliber. Being a light weight repeater with a good shot count and decent power it would be an ideal hunter. The cost of .22 pellets is low enough that it would be a great plinker as well.

    Do you know if the barrel on the Fortitude is the same one as used on the Maximus? Could you find out for us?

    Thanks,
    Hank


    • Hank,

      The Fortitude barrel is the same as the Maximus barrel. All Crosman did was ream the tubing before rifling, which they didn’t do with the Discovery barrels. They may have started doing that with Discovery barrels, too, because it is expensive to have two different procedures in place to do the same operation.

      B.B.


      • Thanks B.B.!!

        That is good news! It makes sense that proper preparation will yield a superior product. Think that the cost of reaming the tube would be small relative to customer satisfaction each time the rifle is used.

        I have some nice PCPs but with the exception of the my .177 Maximus they are all quite heavy. Can see a Fortitude with a 4×32 scope in the safe. Would be quite the walk-about gun me thinks 🙂

        Looking forward to the rest of your reports on the Fortitude.

        Hank


  8. And I’m sure people noticed that the Fortitude fills to 3000 psi where as the Maximus and Discovery fills to 2000 psi.

    I wonder if they added additional screws to secure the valve to the tube. Or if they still are using the Maximus and Discovery components and filling to the 3000 psi.


  9. Well, I guess it’s the luck of the draw…but I would have to say that the quality is not up to expectations, even for a price point PCP. Crosman has taken a lot of time bringing the Fortitude to market and the bugs should already have been worked out by now. This is a disappointing first test of the Fortitude with multiple defects. If this is what we can expect from a new Fortitude, no thanks. With the many commenters reading this blog, and the review of the Fortitude, it’s not going to bode well for Crosman’s sales of this new PCP. I know that defects happen in manufacturing. I was a quality technician for over 40 years in the hydraulics industry. Either B.B. is very unlucky, or Cosman’s AQL (acceptable quality level) is too high, meaning the acceptable percentage of defects is too high.

    My Gamo Urban out performs the Fortitude on all levels except shot count. It has held 3000 psi for several weeks since I pumped it up last. According to Halfstep’s documentation the ES is better on the Urban than it is on the regulated Fortude. After exchanging the trigger adjustment screw, the break on my Urban’s trigger is very light and crisp. It’s as good as the T06 trigger on my Diana 34 which B.B. measured to break at 1 lb 8 ozs. Yes, I don’t get as many shots on my Urban, but I do get 25 consistent shots with more power than the Fortitude. I think the stock on the Urban is nicer than the Fortitude’s also. But that’s personal preference. I purchased my Urban for $80 less than the Fortitude as well. So far from what I have read, the Urban is a better value, and a higher quality PCP.

    Geo


    • Geo,

      You nailed it! Although you don’t find a need for it, remember that the Urban also has a very adjustable hammer spring as well. And I bought one of mine for $81 less than the Fortitude. Oh and the cold hammer-forged barrel and the uninterrupted sight rail.

      Half


      • Yeah, there is nothing I would change on the Urban. After the trigger screw mod it shoots beautifully and is very accurate, though I still have not shot out to 50 yards. All my pesting as been inside of 35 yards and I rarely miss at that range with the Urban. So far it has been the perfect PCP for my needs. Your data was very informative regarding the Urban too.

        Geo



      • Ton,

        The stock trigger adjustment screw for the 2nd stage is 2.5mm x 8.0mm. The screw was turned in all the way as it came from the factory but the trigger still had a lot of creep before breaking. I ordered some 2.5mm x 10mm screws from ebay to replace the stock 2.5mm x 8mm screw. When I used the 2.5mm x 10mm screw and turned it in all the way, the trigger was dangerously light. I could have backed the screw out a turn or so but I wanted the screw to be turned in snug so it wouldn’t move. I filed the 10mm length down to 9mm and the trigger now has no creep and breaks clean and crisp. I would estimate the pull weight to be less than 2 lbs. It feels very nice now. Easy fix. Glad I had more than one screw because it took me about three screws to get the exact length I wanted.

        https://www.ebay.com/itm/M2-5-x-10mm-Qty-10-Stainless-Steel-Phillips-Pan-Head-Machine-Screws-DIN-7985-/111703084322?hash=item1a0205cd22


  10. I have been rooting for the Fortitude a long time. The next one better shine. I will likely get one eventually but I will not get on the cutting edge for a while. I may even get one in both .177 and .22 once they pan out. I held a Fortitude and they are a great pointing gun. I did have to hold it a little high on my sholder but there was no sights on the gun. It held solid and was well ballenced for me. I would go for a light small objectve scope.

    I pickrd up a IZH 46M yesterday. It looked like new. I shot about 50 pellets through it. After I realized the wedge pin on the vertical rear sight adjustment was not against the cam and fixed that it shot like a dream. This pistol looks like it will shoot all day with no flyers. It is way more accurate than I am with my poor eyes. I know B.B. used to shoot one and when I saw this one i had to have it. Even when I thought I made a bad shot /pulled it was still inside a very small round one hole group. It is going to be a long time before if ever I master this pistol. I have not even touched the trigger or the grip yet to fit my hand, that will only make it more of a pleasure to shoot.

    I figure the IZH 46M will keep me from gettig in a hurry on the Fotitude it is such a pleasure to shoot.

    Don


    • A target airgun IS a pleasure to shoot! As long as you only want to punch paper at short range pretty much any good quality match airgun from the past few decades is a great choice. The only way my FWB602 is leaving my possession is if I need to sell it to eat! I don’t have a match pistol yet but the plan is to get one in the future. An SSP or recoiless spring piston would be perfect. And I still want an FWB300 and Diana 75 just because they’re such gems!


      • Nowhere,

        I plan on testing the gun out to 25 yards for micro silhouette targets. I do that with a Red Ryder at cans so I think this pistole will be a good plinker once I get the hold over and the right long distance pellet figured out. I have seen where someone used the IZH 46M for pistol field target out to 40 yards with a special scope set up so 25 yards seems doable with this pistol. Kate is already getting a little jealous of the pistole, I better keep an eye on it.

        Don


  11. Check out Tyler’s review on a Pyramyd Insider. He got about 60 good shots using JSB 10.3 + AA 10.3. His best group at 45 yards was 5/8 of an inch with the AA 10.3. For my purposes; though, I don’t see the Fortitude out doing the Maximus Euro. I get 35 shots / fill using JSB 8.4 s on a 2000 PSI fill. That means I get about 45 fills from a 34 cubic foot tank at 3000 psi. The gun is a bit light for field Target but I can always add some weight as it’s easier to add weight than try to take it off. The only thing that needs work is the trigger. Another nice thing is that the trajectory is similar to my 12 FPE R1 so I can shoot with pretty much identical holdovers. It would be nice if they started importing the .177 version of the Urban.



    • Geo791,

      The reviews commig in are tending to a good pcp in the Fortitude for the money. The heavy push on the trigger sell is a bit over the top. Good review though. I think in general it wi be more accurate. I expexct 40 shots in the sweet fill zone to be within a few fps. B.B.’s next gun will go a long ways in my decision.

      The trigger is easy to make lighter with the stock parts. It can also be converted to a two stage adjustable trigger with crosman parts. The Crosman parts wil be a little more than the Baker trigger but will make a better trigger in my opinion.

      I think the Fortitude is showing some promise. I am glad B.B. is going to try another one.

      Don


  12. I just finished trying some different pellets in my IZH 46M pistol. So far the RWS Hobby are the best at .33 inches 5 shots at 10 meters. I am testing the gun so the shots are from a rest and using my left eye with a right hand hold.

    So far i have only one pulled shot and one that may be called a flyer out of about a hundred shots. I now know the gun had verry few shots before my purchase. There was no wear on the parts, now there is a shine on the steel wear surfaces after about 100 shots.

    I think this pistol will compete with many of my rifles at micro silhouettes and bottle caps up to 25 yards.

    On a side note I have been using lead free pellets on field target and spinners in the back yard they ricochet much more than lead. One cracked the glass in Kate’s studio that is the backstop on my range. It was a risk I have been taking for years and was never a problem with lead. I never shoot with any one back there or in the studio so safety is not the concern. Now I need to replace the glass. I will still be shooting lead free if not at a pellet trap but the cost has gone up a little.

    Don


    • Which lead-free pellets? I’ve been using the H&N green wadcutters. I have noticed they can ricochet more severely than a lead pellet on my home made spinners but haven’t yet had them carry enough energy to damage anything. The vast majority of my shooting is into a duct seal trap though so I don’t have a large sample range to judge by.


      • Nowhere,

        That is a good question I just assumed the non lead pellets were all similar in ricochet potential. They probably are not. Not sure how to test that.

        I have mostly been shooting the H&N lead free pellets in both .177 and .22 Field Target, Match, and Baracuda. The SIG SAUER MATCH BALISTIC ALLOY are the most accurate for me hands down. They are also the most expensive. I have tried the Crosman .22 SSP 9.5 gr they have not been very accurate in my guns.

        I have no idea which one hit the window, I heard one that sounded like it hit the glass but I did not find the crack at that time. It is a risk I have been taking. If it happens again i will get a sheet of the thinnest plywood I can find to put over the window when shooting.

        Don



      • Edw,

        Those matches sound like fun. I know I will need a thousand shots to even think about competition. I am not bad in upper body strength but my arm is not what it used to be, and I have a little shake that might go away with repitition and practice. I plan to get some 10 m pistol targets and work on it. Eyes and body are over the hill but I still have fun trying.

        Good luck at gta,

        Don



  13. You might be able to ignore that trigger sighting it in off a bench and show accuracy potential, but when you start hunting and shooting it off hand that heavy trigger is going to be a real liability. I seriously cant think of a $300 entry level PCP with a worse trigger can you?


    • FWIW, I picked up the Hatsan Flash after the umpteenth Fortutude delay.

      To me the biggest, most pleasant surprise on the Flash was its trigger and just how good it was out of the box. I did have a Hatsan springer before with a quatro trigger and strongly disliked it. I specifically disliked the odd angle that the springer version of this trigger had… The Flash’s trigger feels nothing like it fortunately.

      It sounds absurd to say this, but my honest first reaction to my first shots with the Flash were “Wow, this is a lot like the trigger on my FX Royale!”.

      Bringing my thoughts back to the Fortutude, I it does sound like this trigger can be easily lightened and improved at fairly low-cost. And I hope the second gun performs as it should. 🙂 I’m still waiting to see which “price-point” PCP becomes the Ruger 10/22 of the airgun world!





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