by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Fortitude Gen II
- Back to today
- What is the Fortitude?
- Crosman barrel
- Cocking effort
- Longer series
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.
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!
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.
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!
Let’s talk about that accuracy a moment. Crosman rifles their own barrels. Here is another clip from the 2019 report.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The Gen 2 Benjamin Fortitude is a worthy PPP. This will be a full test.