Benjamin Fortitude PCP air rifle Gen2: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Fortitude
The Generation II Benjamin Fortitude.

This report covers:

  • Fortitude Gen II
  • Back to today
  • What is the Fortitude?
  • Accurate
  • Crosman barrel
  • Lightweight
  • Trigger
  • Cocking effort
  • Longer series
  • Summary

Some days are funner for me than others, and this is a fun day. I have waited a year and a half to do the test that begins today. For starters I will show you what I said about my first experience with the Benjamin Fortitude Gen 2 . The following is extracted from Part 1 of the 2019 SHOT Show report.

httTom and Rossi
Rossi Morreale (right) was at the Velocity Outdoors event. Yes, BB (second from left) now has a white beard — ho, ho ho! (photo from January, 2019.)

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!

Fortitude target
This Zombie target was shot by three different people at 20 yards offhand. The zombie’s eye is about quarter-sized. The new Fortitude Gen II is accurate!

Back to today

That was what I saw at the Velocity Outdoors (Crosman) presentation on Sunday, January 20, 2019. I was mightily impressed but it has taken this long for me to get a Fortitude Gen 2 in my hands. But this is not the first Fortitude I have tested. In late 2018 I tested the first generation Fortitude for you in a 4-part series. But there are differences in the second generation rifle and I plan to show them and test them for you.

What is the Fortitude?

The Benjamin Fortitude is a bolt-action precharged pneumatic repeater that’s priced just under $300. As such it meets my criteria for a price-point PCP (PPP). When these rifles first came out in 2017 I knew the world of PCPs had arrived. I wrote two separate reports on PPPs — The game-changing price-point PCP PPP and How the Price-Point PCP (PPP) has changed the face of the airgun world

Let’s now look at what the Fortitude brings to the table. It is a 10-shot  repeater that’s offered in both .177 and .22 calibers. It is regulated and the power is user-adjustable, which means you can dial it down (650 in .177 and 500 in .22) and get as many as 200 shots on a single fill to 3,000 psi or up (950 in .177 and 800 in .22) and still get as many as 60 shots. Guys — that is performance! And you get it for just $300! But wait — there’s more!

The Fortitude is fully shrouded, as in quiet. I mentioned that in my 2019 SHOT Show report. I also commented on it in the 4-part first-generation series I wrote in 2018. And I remembered specifically that quiet was one of the key features that impressed me so much about this air rifle. But it wasn’t the biggest one.

Accurate

The second-generation Fortitude is accurate. And when I say accurate I mean it can hold its own with most of the top world class PCPs that sell for upwards of a thousand dollars. Yes, there are some very expensive rifles that can beat it, but you are not going to get this much accuracy for anywhere near this price. That is why I ran that 2019 SHOT Show clip in the beginning.

The first-generation Fortitude I tested came with a test target. So did this one. It’s a 5-shot group of domes that I assume were Crosman Premiers. I can’t tell whether they are lights or heavies, but I will find out in this report. I measured it with my digital calipers and got a 10-yard spread of 0.114-inches between centers. Folks — that is a gold-dollar group!

Fortitude test group
The Fortitude came with a test group that shows 5 frots from 10 yards in 0.114-inches.

Crosman barrel

Let’s talk about that accuracy a moment. Crosman rifles their own barrels. Here is another clip from the 2019 report.

Crosman barrels?

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?

Now I am back to 2020. Yes, Crosman learned that reaming the seamless hydraulic tubing they use to make barrels (a very common practice in the airgun industry today) before rifling improves the consistency of the inside of the barrel. The firearms industry has known this for years and there is an ongoing discussion of whether hammer-forged barrels or reamed button-rifled barrels are better. That’s because hammer-forging does leave the barrel with slight differences in interior diameter that can sometimes be felt by pushing a wire brush through the bore. Both types of barrels are quite accurate and only when you get down to the gnat’s eyelash is there any difference to report, but airgunners, like centerfire benchrest shooters, are an anal group.

The bottom line? Crosman makes accurate airgun barrels. Naturally we will be delighted to test this one to see how accurate!

The barrel is free-floated inside the shroud. And, yes, there are baffles.

Lightweight

When I picked the rifle up out of the box I was reminded what a light rifle the Fortitude is! It’s full-sized in every way, with a 14.25-inch pull on the synthetic ambidextrous stock. And the overall length is 42.6-inches. Yet it weighs just 5.3 lbs.

The stock is hollow and a knock on the butt confirms this. There are ways to correct this, though it does not bother me, so I will just live with it.

There are no sights, so you will have to scope it, but that is a foregone conclusion these days. The scope you select will impact the weight of the riofle as well as the handling characteristics.

Trigger

The trigger pull was one of two things owners complained about with the first-generation Fortitude. I didn’t have a problem with it. That first trigger was two-stage. Stage one required 2 lbs. force and stage two  broke at 5 lbs. 7 oz. I found it crisp, which is far more important than light for me. I have already tried this trigger and will report on it in the next part. So far it feels good. It’s no Marauder trigger, but it’s very useable. If you shoot a PPP you don’t get to be a trigger snob!

Cocking effort

This was a big complaint with the first generation Fortitude and I even noticed it and made mention in my report. Suffice to say the problem has been fixed. I will be more specific in Part 2.

Longer series

Because of the possibility of owner velocity adjustment, this will be a longer report. Crosman does not include a  3/16″ Allen wrench to make this adjustment, but most airgunners should have at least one in their tool kit. I will report on how the rifle came set up, plus we will look at the high and low velocity that can be achieved — plus the shots count. That’s going to take some time — so more reports.

Summary

The Gen 2 Benjamin Fortitude is a worthy PPP. This will be a full test.

70 thoughts on “Benjamin Fortitude PCP air rifle Gen2: Part 1

  1. B.B.,

    Nice start, I am still holding a gen 1 Fortitude and it is still shooting well, you did not mention if you got a .177 or .22 so let us know.

    The caption on the test target “The Fortu-itude came with a test group that shows 5 frots from 10 yards in 0.114-inches.” perhaps should be edited, also in the Lightweight section nbo sights should be no sights I think.

    Mike


  2. BB
    I’m looking to get another .177 caliber pcp. I have almost got a Fortitude. I think I’m closer now after reading today’s report.

    Will be watching for the next reports for sure.


  3. B.B.,

    What other changes did Crosman do other than decrease the cocking effort? I know you’ll tell us on the next installment but this article has made me curious. How did they change the trigger?

    Siraniko

    PS: Section Accurate Figure “The Fortu-itude (Fortitude) came with a test group that shows 5 frots (shots) from 10 yards in 0.114-inches.”

    Section Lightweight Third paragraph First sentence: “There are nbo (no) sights, so you will have to scope it, but that is a foregone conclusion these days.”


  4. B.B.,

    It looks like this one has a factory test group that is even better than the first Fortitude that you were not able to complete your accuracy tests with. This should be a fun series of tests.

    Looking forward to the reports.

    Don



  5. BB,

    Phooey! I was thinking it was a .22. With such a glowing introduction, I was going to tell you to just ship it directly to me when you were done. Oh well. I guess I will just have to sit impatiently on my wallet until after this series is done.

    As for your comment concerning trigger snobs, I resemble that remark. I can learn to use most any trigger, but a nice crisp break is what makes me smile.

    Most of my airguns have single stage triggers. This will surprise many, but I much prefer these triggers over many so called two stage triggers I have pulled. For one thing, they are very well made. For another, they are smooth. That is likely from many years of being pulled, the surfaces slowly polishing each other. Most all these old gals have a wonderfully crisp break. If there is motion from the time I apply pressure till she releases, I usually cannot sense it with these ladies.

    Where I truly become the trigger snob is when you give me an adjustable two stage trigger and it has a mushy second stage that you are never truly sure when it is going to go off. There is no excuse for that. The whole idea of a two stage trigger is to give the shooter a crisp break to work with. Even if the break is seven pounds, I can live with that if the break is crisp.

    Are you manufacturers out there paying any attention to this?!


    • I too was hoping for a 22. But I should’ve known from the group size. A .114 from a PPP 22, even from only 10 yds.,would be hard to pass up.

      I’m looking real hard at an Avenger 22 but now BB starts this review and I might not have to wait until July or August for a new rifle.


      • The first 10-shot group from my Gamo Urban at 17 yds with JSB 18.13g pellets measured .156″. This rifle has a hammer forged barrel. Outside I was able to shoot 10-shot groups at 30 yds under 0.500″. PPP airguns can be very accurate.


      • Rk,

        I too have been looking at the Avenger. It is an updated Nova Liberty. It is an excellent air rifle according to all of the reviews I have seen of it.

        In my mind though it has one very serious drawback. It is made in China. I have been doing my best for many years not to buy products from China. Unfortunately that is almost impossible. However, in the world of airguns, it is easy. It has not been until this past year or two that you could buy any airgun worth having.

        Maximus and Fortitude win.



  6. B.B.,
    Hmmm…accuracy, power, light weight, and low cost…you just might push me to the dark side…
    …unless the Butterfly comes out…that is still the next gun on my really-really-want-it list. =>
    And what a great photo! I would not have known it was you had you not said so. The hat’s a nice touch, but perhaps you need one that says, “Godfather of Airguns”? Just sayin’! =)~
    Take care & God bless,
    dave


  7. Hello All! You MAY recall that I was having a TON of issues with my Hatsan-95 17 cal a while back. During replacement of the SHATTERED mainspring (after ~3500 shots), I DID resolve that the pre-load on her is 2.5″, not 3.5 inches. Now that I’ve got the spring in again (HARD to do: home-made spring compressor v3.0: VERY stout!), I measured the cocking force at 52 lbs! OEM it was 35 lbs. I SWEAR I’ve measured//inspected EVERYTHING, with no shims or interior debris found. I admit to being a little afraid to fire this beast at this power level. I AM going to call HatsanUSA to confirm that the new mainspring should be 13.0″ long, then, assuming they say yes, TRY to fire it, expecting warp-factor 5 velocity, assuming the stock can hold up to the huge cocking force (my ARM too!). (( It is well lubed too…)) I will use the heaviest pellets I have…
    ANY hints from all you pros? Thanks in advance. —Barrika



    • Barrica

      I’m no pro but strongly suggest you tear it down again and get a different steel spring. My Hatsun 95 gas spring failed so had Hatsun Repair convert it to a steel spring. Was worth doing because my barrel gives good accuracy. Cocking effort now is about 35 lbs but seems easier toward the end compared to the gas spring. If you are curious what would happen shooting it as is, put it in a safe position, tie a cord to trigger and get behind a tree before pulling it.

      Deck


      • SO far, no reply yet from HatsanUSA. I am waiting to talk to them before anything else on THIS beast. I am HOPING that they’ll say something like “Gee, that spring we sold you shouldn’t have been quite that long”… Side note: the Xfr port is 0.159” ID. I think that HAS to add to the thump this girl makes on firing: should have been a wee bit smaller, per Cardew & Cardew???


  8. The Fortitude has my interest – like Dave said: “accuracy, power, light weight, and low cost” and a repeater to boot.

    Wished that your test rifle was .22 caliber as I think that the Fortitude would be an ideal pester/hunter in that caliber – I would be curious what the sales ratio .177 vs .22 would be.

    Being shrouded with baffles it wouldn’t come into Canada as is – there would have to be a “Canadian” version. If it did I would definitely be picking one up.

    In the meantime, I am very happy with my Maximus (now that it is regulated). I keep it close by when ever I am working outside; you never know when a pest might show up or you might be attacked by a herd of feral pop-cans and need to defend yourself!

    I might check the Fortitude’s parts list to see about getting a hammer-spring adjuster.

    Hank


    • “Being shrouded with baffles it wouldn’t come into Canada as is”
      Hank,
      I recall back when sound-moderated air rifles were allowable in the UK (way back before they were allowed in the USA), but I didn’t realize that did not extend to Canada…or is that a recently-passed restriction?
      Good to hear from you again, cheers,
      dave


      • Dave,

        Any sort of moderator/silencer is illegal for honest people so a lot of the new airguns aren’t available in Canada. Between the (relatively) small market and ridiculous regulations a lot of manufacturers just don’t bother.

        Had my heart set on a Sig ASP20 but that won’t happen for the same reason.

        AFAIK, No problem with silencers in the UK.

        Take care!


        • Hank,

          This might sound stupid,…. but call or e-mail SIG and ask if they would do you a one of (minus moderator). They could send it to one of your shops and you can pick it up. It can’t hurt to ask.

          Chris


          • Chris,

            That might be a possibility. I wouldn’t mind another springer or two – the ASP20 in .22 and a HW30 in .177. Don’t really “need” another springer, have some nice ones already.

            I (severely) blew the airgun budget (for the foreseeable future LOL! ) in getting the Impact. No regrets though – it is an awesome machine!

            Hank


        • “ridiculous regulations”
          Hank, you are too kind; a less-polite person like me would use the full phrase:
          “ridiculous regulations due to too many bureaucrats with too much time on their hands”!
          We’ve sadly got too many of those down here as well. =)~




  9. I see Chris hasn’t logged in. I wanted to thank him for the tip to move the barrel band back 3 inches. It’s helped the accuracy on my Euro Maximus. As for the Fortitude, It’s a little too light to be as steady as I would like on cross-sticks. A Marauder will probably be better for my purposes.

    Brent



    • Brent,

      Glad you brought up cross-sticks I have not heard about them on this blog. They are easy to make and work very well. Just two sticks that make an X with long bottom legs. You rest the gun in the top of the X. They can be simple or more sophisticated. Mine are dowels with a small bolt for the pivot pin. I glued the tip of a nail in a hole on the bottom of each dowel for a better grip on the ground. They have a string that holds the legs at the same spread each time.

      Don



    • Brent,

      It’s the light weight of the Maximus that I like so much – I drag it around wherever I am working, Mind you I am just plinking and pesting with it at moderate ranges.

      If you want a heavier Fortitude why don’t you make a wood stock for one. It’s a fun project – you can get real creative or just make a wood copy of the synthetic stock.

      Hank


  10. Brent,

    B.B. said: “Yet it weighs just 5.3 lbs.

    The stock is hollow and a knock on the butt confirms this. There are ways to correct this, though it does not bother me, so I will just live with it.” It sounds like a way to increase weight and perhaps improve balance, if needed, would be to fill some or all of the empty portions of the stock with the various fillers (foamed in place) typically used.
    Maybe B.B. or other readers can comment on the possibilities.

    shootski


    • Shootski
      With the Maximus I had with the factory stock on it there was no need for the extra lower weight in the stock. The gun was balanced fine from the factory.

      The Fortitude may look top heavy with the shroud and such like a Marauder. But the Marauder isn’t for sure either. The shroud and everything on top is lighter than the stock under the barrel.

      I guess you could weight the stock if you wanted. But to me it isn’t necessary. I messed with that before. And if you know how to hold a gun its not really needed.


    • Shoot ski,

      Yeah, I filled the stock with cheap (Daisy) pellets and cut a GAMO paper target in half to use as a divider between the air tube and the pellets. It weighs about 8.5 lbs with a Leapers 6×24 scope. I’d like it about 10.5 lbs off a bipod for HFT.

      Brent


      • Brent,

        Okay, HFT on a bipod that makes sense.

        Did you crush the pellets to get the airspaces out? Depleted Uranium is the only thing heavier that you could use “safely” inside the stock!

        shootski


        • Shoot ski,

          Never thought of that. I’ll have to try it next time I have the guts out of the stock unless you’ve got some extra depleted uranium laying around

          Brent


          • Brent,

            Depleted uranium (“DU”) is considered “source material” under Title 10 CFR, the NRC’s administrative code. There are three ways to legally possess depleted uranium source material: 1. … If it is a dispersible form such as a powdered uranium compound or a liquid solution containing uranium, that limit is 1.5 kg.

            So just enough to get your weight. Oh, unless you live in California you wont have to worry sice DU is only as radioactive as a set of Tritium sights and yes it is a heavy metal so no chewing on it!

            shootski


  11. And why does everybody keep saying they wish it was a .22 caliber instead of .177 caliber. It would be great for hunting or pesting.

    I watched a real good episode of American Airguner last week. Rossi was hunting squirrel with a .177 Gauntlet and the other guy had a .22 Gauntlet. They was wacking the squirrels. Rossi had the .177 and he was cleaning up with it.

    I understand that the larger caliber retains energy at a longer distance and is a bigger diameter if your shot is off a bit. But .177 is flatter shooting and if the velocity is at the 900 fps range the shots are pretty accurate and make good energy. BB has brought that up before that the smaller .177 caliber can have good fpe when the velocity is right.

    I have said it before and I’ll keep saying it. A .177 caliber will pierce right through. But then again so will a .22 caliber. But also remember that then depends on distance.

    So then I’m listening. Why .22 caliber over .177 caliber. And don’t tell me the only reason is caus you can get ahold of a .22 caliber pellet better.

    Sorry but just dont buy this .22 caliber is better for pesting or hunting over .177. Heck the worse trajectory on .22 caliber should sell it on my opinion of which caliber I would choose.

    And heck what does it matter anyway. Go buy yourself a .22 caliber gen2 Fortitude and be happy. 😉


    • GF1,

      I bought the .177 Fortitude and have no trouble pesting with it. In general I like .22 better for pesting but a good .177 is better than a mediocre.22. To me a pesting gun needs to have a good constant first shot. Some guns take a shot or two to settle down after sitting for a while. Some in power and some in poi. I don’t use those for pesting. Some of my guns need the sights adjusted “fined tuned” after setting for long periods.

      My Marauder is one of my guns that seems to be very stable with little change even when sitting for weeks. I am guessing some of the poi can shift based on how the gun is stored, is it leaning against a wall. My Marauder was like that when new but now I am careful How I store it and don’t let the shroud lean against anything. There could probably be a whole blog on the subject.

      I want B.B. to test a .22 Fortitude because I am curious as to how it performs and I may get one or recommend one to someone else.

      Don


      • Don
        And what are you going to recommend them to use the .22 Fortitude for? And what are you going to tell them when they ask why not a .177 Forritude?



          • Don
            Or maybe BB could do a blog on a.22 caliber pcp verses a .177 caliber pcp as far as velocity and energy and difference between the two with aim points. And shot count too.

            Maybe BB has already. I’ll have to check.


    • Gunfun1,

      “And heck what does it matter anyway. Go buy yourself a .22 caliber gen2 Fortitude and be happy. ”

      Yup!

      My son pests with a 10M air rifle (Hämerlli AR50) and has no problems. He likes the stability of the first shot which is almost guaranteed with a 10M PCP. I use my only breakbarrel; a Marksman 1790 with peep and globe, all of 450 FPS but it gets the job done at short range which is all i need for Voles, mice, Starlings and occasionally a chipmunk. I think if i had a Crow problem i would go straight to a .25. for Groundhog and Coyote i use the DAQ .308 with about a 16.76″ of DonnyFL hush!

      shootski


      • Shootski
        My modded (by me) FWB 300s shoots a 10.34 JSB or AirArms pellet at about 700 fps. Its a killer bird pesting gun out to 50 yards and more. It’s very very accurate.

        And to tell you the truth my .25 caliber Condor SS is shooting a JSB 33.95 grain pellet at around 960 fps. Its a very flat shooter out to 65 yards or so. And only needs about a 1-1/2 mildot holdover out at a 100 yards. And at 50 yards and in to about 15 yards will stay in a 1 inch kill zone with no hold over or under.

        So I guess what it amounts to is how you have a gun set up in a given caliber. But like you just mentioned a .177 caliber will do the trick if you know how that gun performs.


  12. Gunfun1,

    Yup! :^)

    Haven’t asked for a while…how is your grandson doing? Do you get to be with him what with this Covid19 stuff?

    Keep having fun!

    shootski


    • Shootski
      No we don’t get together right now which really bumms me out.

      They have opened more businesses and city parks up in my area lately. So I’m hoping for tomorrow maybe.

      But they have been doing pretty good. All has been good here as well at my house. Hows things with you and your family? Your wife doing better now?


  13. Gunfun1,

    Glad you are all doing well. You will get to play with your grandson soon! I’m looking forward to getting out to see my two some time this Summer. Glad we got to ski a bit before all this started. Just missed the longer days of Spring skiing because of this stinking virus. My wife is doing well with the telemedicine routine; fortunately she got the heavy-duty physical therapy done before the travel restrictions hit.

    Be well!

    shootski


    • Shootski
      Hopefully this craziness will be over soon. And can you remember the days when you couldn’t go in a business with a mask on. Who would of thought all this.


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