by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Fortitude
The Generation II Benjamin Fortitude.

This report covers:

Through the receiver
Man plans…
Power adjust instructions
Testing the rifle  at its lowest power
High power
Adjusting the power down
Air Arms Falcon pellets
How is the air?
What I haven’t told you
Summary

Today we continue the velocity test of the Benjamin Fortitude Generation 2. We are doing this because Crosman has made the Fortitude velocity adjustable by the owner. 

Through the receiver

The Fortitude allows the user to both adjust the velocity as well as depressurizing the rifle in case of an overfill or a need for maintenance. The optional degassing tool fits through the hollow head of the Allen screw that adjusts the velocity, so you use an Allen wrench to adjust power. It’s a regular 3/16-inch Allen wrench, and the head of the bolt that must be turned is near enough to the end of the receiver that the short end of the wrench will work. Both the power adjustment wrench and the degassing tool fit through an opening in the rear of the receiver. The Allen bolt head has been drilled out so the degassing tool will fit through, so don’t be fooled by the looks.

Fortitude power adjust
You are looking through the drilled-out head of the Allen screw that’s used to adjust power. The degassing tool fits through this hole. It’s hard to see. Don’t miss it.

Man plans…

… and God laughs! That is a non-scriptural saying that I find to be very true. The Scottish poet, Robert Burnes, said it in a different way in the poem, To a Mouse. “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.”  When I started this report I was already writing it in my head and I wanted to say to you that today would be a short report because there wasn’t much to do. Boy — was that wrong!

Power adjust instructions

The instructions for adjusting the Fortitude’s power are not in the manual. They are on a separate sheet of paper in the plastic bag with the manual and magazine. And here they are if you lose yours.

Fortitude power adjust instructions
The power ajustment instructions.

Read the instructions and follow them to the letter. But because I knew better, I fooled around for some time, and had to back up and do it by the book. First, let all the tension off the hammer spring.

Testing the rifle  at its lowest power

In the last velocity test I ran out of Crosman Premier Heavy pellets, so I switched to JSB Exact Heavys that averaged around 790 f.p.s. at the end of the last test. On the lowest power I got the following results.

Shot……..Vel
1…………482
2…………493
3…………482
4…………489
5…………463
6…………459
7…………450
8…………448
9…………451
10………..463

What happened? Why did the velocity drop like that? I waited 15 seconds between each shot as I did at the end of the last report, but by shot seven I started waiting 30 seconds between shots. As you see, it didn’t change much.

So I loaded the magazine with another 10 of the same pellets and started a second string — this time with 30 seconds between shots. Let’s look.

Shot……..Vel
1…………477
2…………448
3…………454
4…………363
5…………457
6…………380
7…………396
8…………335
9…………327
10………..353

Now I was really puzzled. And then I remembered my time at AirForce. We could not get the TalonSS to be as consistent at it’s lowest power setting. It wasn’t this bad, but it did vary more than it should. That was what inspired the MicroMeter valve and tank.

I wondered whether one turn of the power adjustment up would stabilize things. So I put one turn on the adjustment and retested with the same pellet.

Shot……..Vel
1…………588
2…………591
3…………587
4…………565
5…………579
6…………578
7…………578
8…………557
9…………559
10………..585

The average for this string is 577 f.p.s. The spread is 34 f.p.s. which is a lot, but it’s less than either of the two previous strings. I think if I wanted to shoot this Fortitude at low power it would have to be with at least one full turn up from the lowest setting.

High power

The instructions say for the highest power to turn the power adjustment screw 6 turns up from the lowest setting. Well, I did that and then I added an extra half turn — just in case. That was my airgunner move. The result was a rifle that would not cock! Read the instructions and follow them TO THE LETTER! I had to turn the power all the way back to the lowest setting, which is where the adjustment screw stops turning, and then carefully turn it up SIX turns and no more!

Shot……..Vel
1…………825
2…………811
3…………814
4…………808
5…………816
6…………808
7…………806
8…………809
9…………794
10………..801

The average for this string is 809 f.p.s. at that speed this 10.34-grain pellet develops 15.03 foot pounds at the muzzle. The spread ranges from 794 to 825 — a difference of 31 f.p.s. So it’s about at stable on high power as it is on low power plus one turn up.

Adjusting the power down

Now I wanted to see what sort of power I got by turning the power adjuster one turn lower. The factory setting is 4 turns up, which is two turns down from the top and gives 790 f.p.s. with this pellet. What does one turn down give me?

Shot……..Vel
1…………800
2…………799
3…………812
4…………812
5…………813
6…………810
7…………802
8…………799
9…………811
10………..801

This string averaged 807 f.p.s. the spread went from a low of 799 to a high of 813— a difference of 14 f.p.s. This is the tightest spread we have seen with this pellet. I’m going to leave the power set here for now.

Air Arms Falcon pellets

Next I tried some 7.33-grain Air Arms Falcon domes at this same power setting. Here is what I got.

Shot……..Vel
1…………905
2…………899
3…………896
4…………898
5…………898
6…………897
7…………898
8…………889
9…………888
10………..891

The average for Falcons is 896 f.p.s. with a spread from 888 to 905. That’s a difference of 17 f.p.s. Given what we have seen with the first pellet I think that spread may be a tight one for this pellet.

How is the air?

The rifle was sitting at 2,800 psi when this test started. I have fired 60 shots and the gauge now reads 2,300 psi. Based on what was learned in the Part 2 testing, there are a lot more shots remaining.

What I haven’t told you

I put this little admission at the end of today’s report, though it happened in the very beginning. I knew I wanted to write about the Fortitude today and I knew I had already done the velocity test, so I thought it was time for the first accuracy test. I spent about 45 minutes trying out different scopes and mounts, only to settle on the Meopta Optika6. I had it mounted and ready to start shooting when I read Part 2 thoroughly and discovered there was still more velocity testing to be done. The good news is the scope is ready to go and it will be quick the next time.

Look at the 8th shot in each string. It’s usually the slowest shot in the string. I don’t know why it is, but that should be remembered.

Summary

The Fortitude Gen2 handles air extremely well, but it does not get tight shot strings. That may make very little difference when we get to accuracy, and I think the accuracy testing should be done at the current power setting.

We are talking about a PPP rifle here, and I believe the Fortitude is delivering. We all saw the test group that was sent with the rifle. And I established that I can handle the trigger in today’s test, so I know I am ready to move on.