by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Fortitude
The Generation II Benjamin Fortitude.

This report covers:

  • Scoped
  • Magazine fits tight
  • The test
  • Crosman Premier Light
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • Really trying!
  • Magazine
  • Final group
  • Discussion
  • Look inside
  • Summary

I tested the accuracy of the Benjamin Fortitude Gen2 today. This is an interesting test, so please follow along.

Scoped

As I told you in Part 3 I had already fitted the Meopta Optika6 to the Fortitude, so no time was lost there. And that scope is so powerful and clear that we are going to get a real great test of this rifle.

Magazine fits tight

I should have mentioned this in a past report. The magazine goes into the Fortitude receiver very tight and it’s even harder to get it out! In fact, it is so hard to remove it that I may have bent the bolt probe inadvertently taking it out initially. It now takes a lot of pressure for the bolt to seat the pellet. Gene Salvino told me the barrel may be set back a little too far, which explains the tight magazine. But the rifle still shoots, so let’s get to it.

The test

I fired the rifle from 25 yards off a sandbag rest. My sight-in consisted of a single shot from 12 feet to confirm I was on target, and then six more shots from 25 yards to refine the sight picture. I did not want the pellet to strike the center of the bull, because that was my aim point. The black dot of the scope covers the white 10-ring dot of the target almost perfectly.

Crosman Premier Light

I sighted-in with 7.9-grain Crosman Premier Light domed pellets. Initially I got a very small group of about 5 pellets, but then there were others shots that strayed. I figured the first group after sight-in would be the real test.

Unfortunately I got the same thing with the first group. The first 5 Premier Lights went into 0.297-inches at 25 yards, but the second five scattered around the target to form a 10-shot group that measures 0.579-inches between centers.

Fortitude Premier group
The first five Premier Lights went into the small (0.297-inch) group on the right โ€” where the rifle was sighted. Then five more scattered around the bull for a 10-shot group measuring 0.579-inches between centers.

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Air Arms Falcons

I was upset with that first group, so I switched to Air Arms Falcon domes for the next target. This time 8 pellets went into 0.327-inches, and the last two opened the group to 0.588-inches. Man, were those final two shots disappointing, because they were both visible through the scope!

Falcon group 1
The first 8 Falcons went into 0.327-inches at 25 yards. The last two shots opened the group to 0.588-inches between centers.

I had planned to shoot other pellets in this test, but these Falcons made me focus on the rifle and my hold all the more. I knew the two wild shots were not my fault, but maybe if I held better I could fix them?

Really trying!

The next target was just like the last, only both better and worse at the same time. The first 5 shots landed in a really tight group measuring 0.221-inches and then the final five shots opened it to 0.638-inches. Naturally I could see all of this through the Meopta scope as it happened! That was very discouraging, but it did give me an idea. Was the magazine at fault?

Falcon group 2
For the second group of Falcon pellets I really concentrated. The first 5 were tight (0.221-inches) but the next 5 opened the group to 0.638-inches center-to-center.

Magazine

I thought, because I got an initial good group of five that then opened with shots 6 though 10, that the magazine may have been doing this. So for the next group of 10 I decided to load only the first 5 pellets, then remove the mag and load another 5 again. Would that solve the problem?

Final group

This time the first five shots landed in a tight group exactly where they were supposed to, then I removed the magazine and loaded 5 more Falcons. The first two shots from second group of five opened the group a lot, but they did hit in the same place on the target. Then shots 8 and 9 went flying to the left for no reason I could determine. The final shot landed to the right of the main group to give me 10 shots in 1.037-inches. Eight of those shots are in 0.467-inches.

Falcon group 3
The final group of Falcon pellets measures 1.037-inches for 10 shots and 0.467-inches for 8 shots.

Discussion

I ended the test at this point because it made no sense to continue. But I wanted to get to the bottom of things. The magazine fits way too tight in the receiver and the bolt takes too much pressure to seat a pellet and go all the way into the breech. I felt the bolt was probably bent and perhaps that happened when I was forcing the magazine to come out of the receiver at some point early in the test. That would be my fault โ€” not the rifle’s.

I then removed the baffles to see if they were being touched by pellets, but close examination revealed they were not.

Fortitude baffles
The muzzle cap, baffle spring and three baffles. They sit in the shroud like the one on the right is oriented, and there was no hint of a pellet touching them.

Look inside

Then I used a powerful flashlight to look deep inside the shroud with the baffles removed. The muzzle of the barrel is fitted into a bushing to stabilize the barrel inside the shroud. That bushing looked okay, but the actual crown of the true barrel muzzle had lead chips gathered at one place. It looks like there is a burr at that spot.

Summary

I don’t think the magazine is at fault here. I think the barrel is mounted too far to the rear and also that there may be a problem with the barrel crown.

I will request a replacement Fortitude Gen2 to test for accuracy. The bent bolt was probably something I did when removing the tight magazine, but the magazine came that way from Crosman. And the muzzle could  probably use a good crown. 

I think the Fortitude Gen 2 is too important not to get a good test. Several readers own them and I have read nothing but praise for their performance, so this is a rifle that should get a full and complete test.