by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Second rifle
- Crosman Premier lites
- JSB Exact Heavy
- Air Arms Falcons
- Premier lites again
- Shot count
- Discharge sound
- Test target
Today we resume our look at the Benjamin Fortitude precharged air rifle. I will summarize where we have been, so folks reading this report for the first time will understand what is happening.
This is the second Fortitude I have tested. Parts 1 and 2 of this report belong to the first rifle. The first rifle’s inlet valve locked up at the end of the velocity test and remained open when I bled the air after the fill. The entire gun exhausted all its air. I tried to fill it several times, just to be sure. So I stopped the test at that point and requested a replacement rifle in the same .177 caliber. While this is Part 3, I will actually run another velocity test today, since this is a brand new airgun.
There have been no changes to the rifle. This is just a different airgun. So I will test it the same as I tested the last rifle, with one exception I will explain when we get there.
Crosman Premier lites
The first test string was with 10 Crosman Premier 7.9-grain domes. They averaged 896 f.p.s., which compares to 885 f.p.s. for the first rifle. The spread went from a low of 889 to a high of 907 f.p.s., which is a spread of 18 f.p.s. That’s the same as the first rifle. At the average velocity this pellet generated 14.09 foot-pounds at the muzzle.
Starting with a fill of 3,000 psi, at the end of this string of 10 the pressure gauge read 2600 psi.
JSB Exact Heavy
The second pellet I tested was the JSB Exact Heavy dome. In this rifle they averaged 826 f.p.s., while the previous rifle averaged 817 f.p.s. with the same pellet. The spread this time went from a low of 818 to a high of 845 f.p.s., so a spread of 27 f.p.s. HOWEVER — this time I was aware of the slow recovery time, so during the string I paused after the shot that went 818 f.p.s. I waited for about two full minutes and the very next shot went out at 831 f.p.s. The large velocity difference is caused by that slow transfer of air from the reservoir into the firing chamber I mentioned and even tested in the last velocity test with the first rifle. Apparently that is common to this model.
At the average velocity this pellet produced 15.67 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. The starting air pressure was 2600 psi and at the end the gauge showed 2300 psi.
I said in Part 2 that the previous rifle had a definite 2-stage trigger pull. I still have that rifle and it does indeed have a 2-stage pull. This rifle, on the other hand, has a single-stage pull like the description claims. It is not too heavy, despite what the reviews say. It is also not a refined trigger like you will find on more expensive rifles and even on some of the other PPP rifles. It breaks crisply at 5 lbs. 12 oz. The first rifle’s trigger broke at 5 lbs. 7 oz., so they are roughly equivalent.
Air Arms Falcons
Next to be tested were some Air Arms Falcon pellets. They averaged 898 f.p.s. in the Fortitude, with a spread from 875 to 919 f.p.s. That’s 44 f.p.s. between the low and the high. As before, the first shot was always the fastest in the string. The first rifle averaged the same 989 f.p.s. with this pellet with a 37 f.p.s. spread.
I’m going to show this string, because I will come back to it.
The Falcon pellet was harder to load than the first two, which is identical to what happened with the first rifle and its mag. I had to press each one into the mag or the skirt would have jammed the mag.
The air pressure at the start of this string was 2300 psi. After 10 shots the onboard gauge registered 2100 psi.
Premier lites again
The first rifle fell off the reg around 35 shots. At this point in this test the rifle has fired 30 shots, so instead of loading RWS Superdomes I loaded another 10 Premier lites. We can compare this string with the first one. This time I’ll show the entire string.
The average for this string is 851 f.p.s., so the rifle has fallen off the reg. Looking back at the third string that were shot with Falcons I am guessing it happened on shot 28, when the velocity dropped from 900 to 875 f.p.s. So, being a little hotter also took away a few of the shots. The first rifle fell off the reg at shot 33. And, if you wait about 120 seconds between shots the rifle will shoot its fastest. It seems to take that long for the reg to equalize.
I will also say that even with the rifle off the reg the valve seems to be well balanced. Notice that it doesn’t start shooting wildly, but decreases on a steady curve.
The Fortitude is relatively quiet. That’s due to the power level, as much as the shrouded barrel.
There was a test target in the box with this rifle, just like the first one. The group is larger than the group made by the first rifle but still very respectable. This one is 0.354-inches. The first rifle’s test group was 0.136-inches between centers.
This Fortitude is holding air fine and seems up to the task ahead. This brief interruption has just been a blip on the screen. The test results are close to those of the first gun, which is what we want to see. We can now proceed to test the accuracy.