Benjamin Fortitude precharged rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Benjamin Fortitude
The Benjamin Fortitude precharged air rifle.

This report covers:

  • Setup
  • Pellets selected
  • The test
  • JSB Exact Heavy
  • Cocking and trigger
  • Discharge sound
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • Crosman Premier light
  • Discussion
  • Summary

We start accuracy testing the Benjamin Fortitude today. Sometimes I begin this test at 10 meters and other times at 25 yards. I’m starting at 10 meters today because the Fortitude is a significant precharged air rifle that I want to test very thoroughly.

Setup

I mounted a vintage UTG 8-32X56 SWAT scope on the rifle. The scope was so old it only parallax adjusted down to 25 yards, so I ran it at 8 power for this test. The bull was a little blurry but easy enough to see. When I get back to 25 yards the image should be crystal clear.

You could say this 10 meter test is more of a thorough sight-in than an accuracy test, and that wouldn’t be inaccurate. I consider it both that and a familiarization with the rifle. Since this Fortitude test has been a patchwork quilt of starts and stops, I thought I needed to get to know this rifle a little better.

Pellets selected

I chose three pellets from the last velocity test. If they pan out at 10 meters I’ll try them at 25 yards. If not I will try others. When I do a 10-meter test it gives me some insight into what the airgun likes in general, and that serves the later tests well.

This method of selecting pellets works well for me because I try to always shoot premium pellets in these tests. I might switch in one bargain brand pellet, just for fun, but mostly they will be pellets we all know and trust.

The test

I shot off a bench with the rifle rested on a sandbag. It was dead still, so the test is about the rifle and not about how well I can shoot.

Most buyers are getting the .22 Fortitude. I looked and didn’t find a .177 report, so I had to make this one up as I went.

JSB Exact Heavy

The first pellet I tested was the 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavy dome. It was the pellet I also sighted in with. I set it to hit at the bottom of the bull to keep the aim point clear and visible — important since the image was a little fuzzy. Ten pellets went into a nice round group that measures 0.379-inches between centers. I thought that was good for a start.

Fortitude JSB Heavy 10 meters
At 10 meters the Fortitude put 10 JSB Exact Heavy pellets into a 0.379-inch group.

Cocking and trigger

There have been two complaints about the Fortitude from owners. They say it cocks too hard and the trigger is too heavy. I agree that the cocking is a bit hard, but it’s in line with what I see on PCPs in this price range. If you keep the butt against your shoulder as you pull back the bolt, it’s manageable.

The trigger is not too hard. The one I’m testing breaks at 5 lbs. 12 oz. and is very crisp. That’s in the same neighborhood as an M16/M4 firearm trigger. Maybe because the Fortitude is so lightweight shooters are noticing the trigger weight more.

Discharge sound

My female cat, Dale Evans, who always complains when I shoot indoors, had nothing to say when I tested the Fortitude. That is the feline stamp of approval. Backyard friendly for sure.

Air Arms Falcons

I tested the Falcon pellet next. This group was almost a screamer, I thought, until I saw the target close up. Nine of the 10 shots are in 0.343-inches at 10 meters, but the last shot opens the group to 0.599-inches. I can’t tell whether that wide shot was me or not. I didn’t call it. So, I think I will test Falcons again at 25 yards, just to find out.

Fortitude Falcon 10 meters
Ten Air Arms Falcon pellets went into 0.599-inches at 10 meters, with 9 in 0.343-inches.

I will say that the Falcons loaded tight in the magazine, with their skirts keeping them from falling into the holes all the way. That didn’t affect loading or the reliability of the magazine feeding but I could feel greater resistance when I pushed the bolt home.

Crosman Premier light

The final pellets I tested were Crosman Premier 7.9-grain domes. They loaded easily into the magazine and also into the breech. The group they gave was a bit horizontal, even without the one pellet that wasn’t in the main group. Ten of them are in 0.735-inches between centers at 10 meters.

Fortitude Premier Lights 10 meters
Ten Crosman Premier Light pellets made this horizontal 0.735-inch group at 10 meters.

Discussion

The Fortitude has a regulator. That gives you a few more shots per fill. I have found that the reg fills with air slowly, so at greater distances I’m going to wait longer between shots. Maybe I will test it both ways, so we will know for sure.

Summary

The Fortitude can shoot with the right pellet. Like I said before, it’s more of a repeating Maximus than a cheaper Marauder. It does have that regulator which should help accuracy at longer distances, but that’s something we’ll need to test.

37 thoughts on “Benjamin Fortitude precharged rifle: Part 4

  1. BB
    Definitely interested in the test at longer distances and waiting between shots and not waiting.

    That could make a difference when pesting where you have less control of time intervals between shots compared to target shooting where you can control time between shots.


  2. B.B.,

    If it’s anything like the Maximus, it will do great at 25 yards. Mine held 30 shots in 1″ at 50 yards. If I re-call from past comments,… not all are experiencing the having to wait issue,.. so that might be a bit of an anomaly. ? For me, the heavier pull and light weight factored in. The trigger mod. is easy for anyone thinking about getting one and would like something lighter.

    Looking forwards to further accuracy testing. Had they been around when I got the Maximus, I would have this or the Urban.

    Good Day to one and all,….. Chris


  3. BB,

    Do you think the “heavy” trigger pull is contributing to the horizontal stringing, most especially with this light rifle? My thoughts are that I would do the trigger mod if this was mine. Having it break with a couple of less pounds would certainly aid with keeping it on point.




      • B.B.,

        Maybe you do not know,.. or you do,…. but are the guns that are loaned to you sold as re-furbs?

        As for the trigger mod.,… that would be a good article. A V spring tweak, add 2 screws, a chopped ball point pen spring and you are in “happy trigger land”. Not even an M-rod trigger swap. Going in fresh,.. with some good info,….. 1 hour tops. You can turn the screws with the action out of the stock. 1 = a stop and the other is the “first stage” take up.

        Chris

        Chris





      • GF1,

        I am certain a Marauder trigger would be outstanding on something like this, but should I get one I would want to just work with the trigger mod. I have shot a Discovery with a trigger mod and was quite pleased.


        • RR
          Just making sure people know that’s a option.

          And Crosman still has the gen1 trigger assembly’s available. And they are 40 bucks. I haven’t checked lately but that is cheaper than some after market trigger assembly’s for different type of guns out there.

          And if you ever owned a Marauder rifle and adjusted the trigger. They can be adjusted many ways and almost equal match triggers. I could adjust my Marauder triggers down almost to what my FWB 300 trigger is like. Not that you would want to go that low. But just to point out the Marauder trigger is a very good and adjustable trigger. By far better than the trigger mods that can be done on the Maximus, Discovery and Fortitude factory triggers.

          Anyway, you get the point. If you want a better trigger it’s available.


  4. B.B.

    Are bolt action cocking mechanisms cheaper and easier to produce than side-lever cocking mechanisms?
    Bolt action should be left to power burners, IMHO. They are always a problem on PCP’s.

    -Y



    • Yogi,

      Agree with you that bolt-actions are for powder-burners but as B.B. points out they are cheaper to produce.

      I added a plastic washer and soft rubber sleeve to the stem of my Maximus bolt to create a cushioned wider grip for cocking. My granddaughter can cock it without problem now, she hooks two fingers over the bolt and braces her thumb against the back of the receiver and uses the leverage of her arm to cock the hammer-spring – she is pretty well imitating a side-lever system.

      IMHO, I have always thought that the manufactures should in addition to their “price point” model offer a “deluxe” version that included upgrades like a side-lever system, and maybe a wood stock or a regulator if the basic model didn’t have one.

      Hank


      • Hank,

        That is a very clever and inexpensive “fix” for your bolt.

        The complaint about the bolt on the Fortitude reminds me of other manufacturers higher end product lines that received lots of complaints. The bolt on the first generation of the Air Arms 400 was a nasty affair. Their future generations went to a sidelever that was slick as glass. The bolt on the first generation of Theoben Rapids was widely criticized and resulted in a cottage industry of aftermarket bolts for these guns with AZ’s being the most popular. The next generation of Rapids (MK 2’s) addressed the bolt issue.

        I’m sure a decent machinist could make an aftermarket/oversize bolt for the Fortitude especially if the existing bolt is a screw out/screw in design.


  5. Based on the pellet testing that I have done recently, these groups at this distance don’t necessarily point to really great accuracy at longer ranges. In testing over 50 pellets in a .177 Gauntlet I found 20 that grouped .375 (3/8″) or less at 12.5 yards and 9 of those were .250 or less, yet, on the 29 yard range that I used for further testing, those 20 only produced 8 that didn’t exceed .750″ (3/4″) the worst being nearly 1 1/2″. I might mention, too, that 6 of those 1/4″ groupers were in the + 3/4″ group later. In the end only JSB Heavy and H&N Sniper Medium gave 1″ or less at 50 yards.

    This testing included nearly the full lines of JSB,H&N and Air Arms and those were some of the best, as BB points out.

    When my collection of “novelty” pellets runs out I don’t plan to replace them, as they have never shown to be the best in any gun that I have shot them in.

    Half


    • Halfstep
      Yep been then there done that. The only way I’m probably going to try other pellets is if multiple people say they have gotten good results with given guns.

      But yep the heavier pellets always produce better results in guns that make generous power than lighter pellets in those same guns and at same distances.


    • Halfstep
      About 7-8 years ago I thought I got a great deal on a number of Beeman brand pellets as they were being discontinued, and the store I dealt with was trying to clear their shelf space for the newer H+N’s, etc. Names like Silver Ace, Ram Jet, Laser to name but a few still adorn my pellet shelves. They’re from the time when Beeman colour coded the tins…177-blue, .20-yellow, .22-green, and .25-red. Most are fair to midlm at best, but a few like the Double Gold line, and .177 Silver Ace I would buy again if given the opportunity. It’s going to take another couple of years to clear them from my shelves as the newer H+N’s, and JSB’s give me the smaller groups I desire. I also stay away from the gimmicky pellets like BB’s stuck on the tip of a hollow point, etc. However, they did provide me with a chance to confirm all pellets are not created equal. These days I shoot H+N Field Target Trophies, and Baracudas 80% of the time in all 4 calibers. I chalk it up to inexperience, and getting what I thought was a deal. Who said old dogs can’t learn new tricks?
      Ciao
      Titus


      • Titus,

        Interesting. While I have not shot the variety you have,… I have more than my fair share of non-performing, “quality” lead lying around. JSB’s have always won out in all of my guns after some pretty good testing.

        H+N seems to up the gamemanship,…but they have yet to deliver,.. for me. .25 is my main caliber,… so selection is somewhat limited on any brand.

        Chris


  6. Please excuse me for being off-topic here, but I value Tom’s opinion along with most of the other contributors here. Despite having years of experience with a number of firearms and air guns, I have no experience with sights outside of open, peep, and telescopic. There seem to be a myriad of different (holographic? Red dot?) sights available for $20 to $200. I’d like to sort thru all this and identify a brand and model that parallels UTG or similar scopes that are springer-proof and represent good value. Any thoughts here, all? Tom, would this be an appropriate future blog (or blog series)? Or have you already done this and I missed it? Thanks tor whatever assistance can be provided.

    Motorman
    St. Louis, MO



    • Motorman,

      Check out the VORTEX site as well as the SIG site! VORTEX has a very interesting lifetime total warrantee and if you are current or former LEO, First Responder or Military you need to look into their substantial (more than you can imagine) and REAL discount. You will find that under the MORE tab. SIG has a similar program called: Single Operator.

      shootski


  7. B.B. I would like to see the 10 meter test with your first Fortitude, the test target showed a much smaller pattern at 10 meters than the replacement you got.

    On the trigger, yes it is less than great, the Baker Airguns trigger is a good option but I found that when adjusted to my liking the safety becomes disabled, not a deal breaker just something to look for. Also you can mod the existing trigger with a lighter spring and adjustment screws but the brass trigger feels very nice.

    Cocking, at first it seemed rough but it has since settled down or I have just become accustomed to it. With a thumb on the back of the receiver and two fingers on the bolt it is easy.

    Accuracy, shooting a .22 here, very nice especially with the 18.13 and 21.14 pellets. Since I shot all 60 shots without a refill the Gamo and RWS may have been shortchanged in their possible accuracy.

    Interesting that the heaviest pellets shot best, I guess that is just a PCP thing? I noticed Gunfun1 made mention of it, any additional thoughts on that?

    Mike



      • Thanks,

        Reading here for the past 5+ years I think I have heard you and others say that, I guess that is just what it is.

        Since that target was shot on September 5 and really the only test I did at 10 meters I went out and shot the 4 not as good pellets and got the following result.

        Aside from the flyer on target 4 I think I shot well, the groups tightened up except for the Meisterkugeln’s which stayed the same.

        Mike


    • Mike,

      My experience on BIG Bore PCP is that their valves flow air differently than single/multi pump or springers.. The PCP needs the longer dwell time to get that air charge behind the round (pellet) in sufficient MASS which leads to a greater percentage of power transfer to the projectile. Internal Ballistics are a big area of interest of mine but so little information makes sense with PB let alone airguns since the literature is even thinner.

      shootski


      • Shootski,

        Interesting, it’s all about the volume of air not necessarily the pressure, I guess with my next pellet purchase some even heaver rounds may be added but I would guess there comes a point of diminishing returns, and distance fired also plays a role.

        For the most part I just want to have fun, picked up some paint balls they make a challenging target and I find that when hit dead center a loud report results, off center hit not so loud.

        Mike


  8. Mike In Atl,

    Have you shot those 6 pellets at 25 or 50 yards? You may be waiting for BB to post his results so I don’t need exact numbers, but in general, if you did shoot at longer range, did those tight groups carry through or did they open up on you, as has been my experience with other guns lately?

    Half


    • Half,

      They hold together well out to 25 yards, when I am not being a lousy shot. The 18.13, 21.14 and 14.35 holding together the best, not having much trigger time because of this and that happening I don’t yet have solid data but it does not look like they will be opening up more than .2 so I would say half inch at 25 yards. I am sure a better rifleman than me could shrink that a bit.

      Mike


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