2019 SHOT Show: Part 1
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Media Day — Velocity Outdoors and Sig
- American Airgunner
- New compressor
- Fortitude Gen II
- Crosman barrels?
- Crosman Night Stalker
- Benjamin Mag Fire
- Sig Day at the Range
- MPX PCP
- ASP Super Target
Media Day — Velocity Outdoors and Sig
I usually attend Media Day the day before the SHOT Show opens, but last year there were no airgun manufacturers there. So this year I decided not to go to Media Day, but to go to Sig Day at the Range instead. It’s held on the same day. That left me with some time on Sunday, the day before. And Velocity Outdoors, the corporation that owns Crosman and all of its various holdings, hosted a media presentation of its products at Machine Gun Vegas — an indoor gun range where you can shoot fully automatic weapons. On this evening the place was all ours.
When I arrived I saw nobody I recognized, for Velocity Outdoors has many other companies beside just Crosman. But then Rossi Morreale of American Airgunner came in with his film crew and we did an impromptu show segment while looking at the new offerings from Crosman and Benjamin.
Rossi Morreale (right) was at the Velocity Outdoors event. Yes, BB (second from left) now has a white beard — ho, ho ho!
Benjamin will bring out a new large air compressor in 2019. It’s called the Benjamin ReCharge. and it will fill large carbon fiber air tanks to 4,500 psi. Don’t hold me to this but I heard the suggested retail was going to be $1395.
Benjamin’s new ReCharge compressor will be another low-cost solution for airgunners.
Fortitude Gen II
Okay, you readers have been jazzed about this. I shot the new second generation Benjamin Fortitude! The short story is that a few of the original guns had leaking issues and many owners felt the rifle was too hard to cock. I tested the Fortitude for you and mine cocked easily enough, plus it held air fine, but Crosman took your comments seriously and took a second look at the gun.
As long as they were doing that they figured why not make other improvements. The new rifle is very easy to cock, has a nice light trigger that’s also crisp, gets 80 shots on a fill (with a 20 f.p.s. variation), and has a more accurate Crosman-made barrel. Rossi and I both shot it and the new rifle is quite nice. I may need to do a full retest — it’s that much different.
The rifle looks the same as the first Fortitude. But now you can adjust the striker spring from the high 500 f.p.s. (in .22) range to the mid 800s! And high power is where those 80 shots are. On low power they counted over 200 shots — on a gun so quiet you cannot hear it fire! Rossi and I both commented on how quiet the rifle is!
Here is a story within a story. Remember I told you that Crosman rifles some of their own barrels? Well Senior Product Design Engineer, John Solpietro, who showed me all the guns told me that Crosman has had an internal program going to create better barrels. As a result, they now rifle ALL their own barrels — .177, .22 and .25! They have found no significant difference between the new barrels they are rifling and the premium barrels they were buying from Green Mountain. John didn’t give me any details, but I did verify that reaming the seamless tubing before rifling is now a step used for Crosman barrels.
I think this internal program is laudable. I wonder why their marketing department hasn’t touted it more?
Crosman Night Stalker
Nightstalker was a semiautomatic pellet rifle years ago. Now they have broken the name in two and applied it to a BB pistol that has an integrated laser! Whaaaat?
This target was 7 yards away and John Solpietro “painted” it (arrow) with the built-in Night-Stalker laser!
The new Crosman Night Stalker BB pistol has a built-in adjustable laser!
This is a blowback BB pistol, so don’t expect inch groups, but at 7 yards (21 feet) I did put 20 BBs into about 4 inches. The laser is adjustable, so in theory you can get it right on. I need to test one!
Benjamin Mag Fire
The Gamo Swarm Maxxim repeating breakbarrel spring rifle has caused quite a stir in the marketplace. Everyone is talking about it! Well, Crosman is working on their own repeater they call the Benjamin Mag Fire. I had the chance to shoot it and can tell you it’s lightweight, reasonable easy to cock and very accurate (remember those Crosman barrels). The rifle we shot was a preproduction prototype, so they are still improving it.
The Benjamin Mag Fire will be a new entry into the world of repeating breakbarrels.
The evening with Velocity Outdoors — the company we all know as Crosman — was a big success. I learned a lot and made some new friends.
Sig Day at the Range
Sig Day at the Range is much like Media Day only Sig is the sole host. They have sponsors who help with the setup and costs, but it’s pretty much a one-gun-company show.
I went to see the airguns, of course, and they were there! Let’s start with the MPX PCP. This is a .22 caliber semiautomatic that has a 13 cubic inch (about 213 cc) air tank as the stock. The tank is filled to 3,000 psi and regulated down to 1,100 psi. That means there are lots of 10.5 foot-pounds shots — at least 150 per fill, if not more!
Sig’s MPX PCP is a 30 shot semiautomatic repeater that uses an assist (the trigger) to advance the belt.
I found the gun accurate and fun to shoot — especially with the Sig red dot sight that was on it. It does come with military M4-type sights that fold down when you want to use optics.
The day was very windy with winds gusting to over 50 mph, so I wasn’t able to stand very steady on the range, but when I did the MPX did it’s job. This will be one that gets a full test!
Terry Doe of the UK shoots the MPX PCP. It was a cold and very blustery day!
ASP Super Target
Most of you know that I have eagerly been awaiting the ASP Super Target single stroke pneumatic target pistol. Well, it was there at Sig Day and it will be in my hands in February for testing, if all goes as planned. And, it is everything we have hoped for.
The trigger is nice, the adjustable sights are clear and crisp, the ergonomic wooden grip is shaped exactly like a P210 grip and — best of all — this pistol is easy to cock! The last SSP that was easy to cock was the IZH46M that we can’t get anymore. So this one is sorely wanted and needed.
Sig Super Target is a single stroke we will all welcome.
The trigger will leave Sig set at 2 lbs. but Ed told me it can adjusted lighter. And, although the wind was blowing a bloody gale, I managed to hit what I shot at. I can’t wait to get it on my 10-meter range at home! I just hope I can resist the urge to buy the 9mm P210 target pistol to go with it, because that one is a major outlay! And I have long wanted one.
The last new airgun I saw at Sig was the P365 BB pistol that we saw at last years SHOT Show. That one was just a mockup; this one was made of production parts. It’s still being tweaked, but I expect to see it by the middle of this year. I already own the companion 9mm firearm that has become my main carry pistol.
The Sig P365 BB pistol is nearing development.
In all these two events were of major impact for me. They were a good beginning to what I hope will be the best SHOT Show ever!