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Benjamin Fortitude PCP air rifle Gen2: Part 4

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 β€” 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 β€” 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.

54 thoughts on “Benjamin Fortitude PCP air rifle Gen2: Part 4”

  1. Crosman did so good with the first Maximus barrels, such a little more effort on the leade and crown would produce such an improvement in accuracy, too bad Crosman. I had to work on both the leade and crown on my fortitude to get descent accuracy.

    The factory test target on this gun was great. What happened? Maybe it was good enough. But it could be great.

    • Don,

      Unfortunately, issues like this will arise with mass production, most especially when trying to keep cost down. “Awh, that’ll be alright. Nobody will likely notice.” Also just five shots from ten yards, likely clamped down. You’d a thunk they woulda found the issue with the tight magazine though, unless they used a single shot tray. Of course it should have fit in there tight.

  2. BB,

    Looking forwards to more. Not bad groups at all,… for the most part.

    By the way,… the CAPTCHA has now transformed itself into “checking in with your browser” which takes a few seconds to scan,… but then goes right to the log in page. I changed nothing and downloaded nothing. So,…. if I.T. had anything to do with the improvement,…. tell them thanks from Chris. πŸ™‚

    Chris

  3. BB,

    Today’s test at least illustrates that your efforts to not receive “cherry-picked” airguns has been a success. On more than one occasion you have put your hands on an airgun that should have not made it past QC.

    As has been stated previously, many would likely be happy with this performance, most especially if they were coming from sproingers with this as their first PCP. However, some such as yourself and I would be sorely disappointed in this performance.

    These type of issues can make or break a company’s reputation for quality. I know that they are sacrificing the Maximus production to try and meet demands for the Fortitude, but if enough problem air rifles start popping up, it will draw unwanted attention. Perhaps they should slow down, catch their breathe and take a little closer look?

      • BB,

        I would certainly understand if you knew for a fact that you had bent it. However, you were not responsible for the magazine fit and the bunged barrel crown. Those issues arose in production and QC.

        The magazine fit should have been discovered in production when the barrel was inserted into the action. Do they not have a Go / No Go block to slide in to determine proper fit?

        As for the crown, that would be more difficult for QC to detect without at least a visual inspection of such. Do they?

      • MisterAP,

        About that, sometimes two. When they start getting piles of returns and sales plummet, they start investigating the cause. Sometimes though, they just disappear like the multi-shot sproinger.

  4. “The first 5 Premier Lights went into 0.297-inches at 25 yards…”
    B.B.,
    While my Field Target Shooting days are over (at least for this moment in time), I continue to be fascinated by the accuracy being delivered by some of the PCPs you test. That first group you got was so small that it had me thinking, “Wow, that’s better than most .22 rimfires!” So, I did a quick (pretty generic) google search for “what is the accuracy of a good .22LR rifle at 25 yards?” And what popped up on top was this: “Acceptable accuracy is quite relative. If you just want to plink some cans and have fun then 1″ at 25 yards may be just fine for you. If you want to hunt small game you will probably want something closer to 1″ at 50 yards or better,” which came from Range Junkie (the 6th entry down here: https://www.shootersforum.com/rimfire-rifles/73973-22lr-acceptiable-accuracy.html ). He goes on to elaborate, “If you like to get serious off the bench and shoot some little tiny bullseye targets or shoot in some competition you may want a rifle capable of shooting around a 1/4″ at 50 yards. My small game rifle is capable of shooting five rounds into one hole slightly larger than a 22 bullet at 25 yards, my competition rifle will do the same at 50 yards. I find both of them ‘acceptable’ for each of their intended purposes. So, it depends on what you want to do with the rifle.”
    Anyway, the point is, the rifle you are testing here is a price-point-PCP, not even a top-end one, yet it is shooting at a level of accuracy where it is hanging in there with some of the best .22LRs. From an engineering and technology standpoint, I just think that’s pretty cool. =>
    Have a blessed day,
    dave

    • Thedavemyster,

      I agree that PPP have come a long way; but my take on rimfire accuracy has more to do with ammo quality and consistency than basic rifle quality. It seems that the USA ammo makers have largely given the Brits and Continental European makers (a select few at that) the market for accurate rimfire ammo. The other issue is testing ammo batches and then ordering in bulk (5,000+) to get it all in the same lot# if you are lucky. That takes a great relationship with your ammo supplier and a system. My son and daughter-in-law get the ammo to test shipped express, hit the range the next day, select the best lot# out of the test batches and place an order for everything in stock that day; if allowed by the seller. The old saw is that, “Competition is not something you can sustain on a near empty wallet.” is very true in rimfire especially! They only buy ammo that groups inside 0.28 at 100 meters in their rifles…they have two brands of rifles so it doubles the cost invariably every purchase. I have told them they might do better $$,$$$.00 by selling one and getting the same brand even though it would cost $,$$$.00!

      shootski

      • “They only buy ammo that groups inside 0.28 at 100 meters in their rifles”
        Holy Toledo! That is like 1/4 MOA, Shootski. In what type of matches are they competing?

        • TheDavemyster,

          They test ammo and practice at 100 to compete at 50; just to make that clear.
          They seem to think that the doubled distance makes up for the typical conditions in Winter. Once it gets cold they shoot at 50 for practice and Lot testing if needed. They always shoot a minimum of 5Γ—5 to evaluate a Lot of ammo in a particular rifle.
          They use peep sights not scopes.

          shootski. Dang it! Did it again!

          Im going back to bed and try again tomorrow….

          • Shootski,

            While I am sure they are top end peeps,…. I would think that a scope would allow for better evaluation (see target better) and reduce/minimize human error.

            Are peeps used in their competitions? If yes,… I would still think that a scope would be better for ammo evaluation.

            Chris

            • Chris USA,

              They shoot with peeps because it is the perfect sighting system for Biathlon. Think of a black circle with no center point, no scoring rings, no nothing but a black disk surrounded by white. I guess someone could make a retical for a scope that was just a clear circular area surrounded by a black circle very slightly larger than the black target disk at 50 meters (to the shooters eye) but why bother? Most every highly proficient peep sight shooter (with good or better vision – properly corrected or not needed) will tell you that scopes at 50 or even out to say 300 meters don’t outshoot peeps. The other issues in Biathlon is that they shoot standing and prone which creates lots of issues with scope setup, as well as the environment the scope is exposed to during a race; you ski with your rifle slung on your back…think of the extra kilo/kilometers!

              shootski

              • Shootski,

                Thank you for the added background information. That is an amazing sport.

                Just to be clear,… I mentioned scopes as a way to (evaluate ammo only). Of course, the actual/same rifle would be used,… and since it has peeps already mounted,… that would require removing them. Maybe with those high end rifles, that is not even an possibility. And, I was thinking from a bench rest (only) while evaluating ammo. That would include using peeps.

                I can (not) see any benefit in shooting from different positions, actual skiing, testing one’s fitness, etc., etc.,….. if your only goal is to test ammo.

                Chris

                • Chris USA,

                  All i can tell you is they (and other World Class at anything) must needs be at a different level than the rest of us at their endeavour! They can tell the difference caused by the effect of a scope mounted on a rifle. They can discern the way just mounting it causes the gun to shoot different….most all the rest of us are just not that tuned in.

                  ” I can (not) see any benefit in shooting from different positions, actual skiing, testing one’s fitness, etc., etc.,….. if your only goal is to test ammo.”

                  But they can and do!

                  I was tuned to that level when i was flying; i recall being in a T-28B giving a fellow Flight Instructor his Cross Country Check Flight when the engine, a R-1820 9 cylinder radial felt/sounded off to me. I asked my Checkee if he felt or heard anything – he replied he could note no indications (meaning a check of the gauges) of anything wrong. I was not able to put it out of mind so since I had signed for the aircraft i diverted into Polk AFB. As we taxied to a stop on the transient ramp the Ground Crew raced up with big flat pans and slid them under our engine. We were sullying their pristine ramp with black engine oil. We had a cracked at the base number 5 cylinder and NO oil left in the sump when i checked it! That and other similar things is what causes me to totally respect why World Class is so real a phenomenon and how different they are than we Duffers.

                  shootski

                  • Shootski,

                    That is a level of excellence to respect for sure!

                    Nice call on the plane engine. I have done similar things with vehicles I have had. Very attuned to subtle differences in noise/performance/handling.

                    I will bet that fellow told that story for MANY years to come! πŸ™‚

                    Chris

      • shootski,

        Here I must disagree. I have fired tons of .22 LR ammo and found Eley match (the stuff that costs $50 per box of 50) to be wanting. The absolute most consistently accurate ammo I found was CCI standard speed, though it was not always the most accurate. The most accurate was the Mexican brand Aguila, but that really depends on the rifle as much as the ammo.

        A few years ago Remington standard speed was right up at the top for accuracy, but they now seem to have ignition problems more than most. Only Eley is close to them in this respect and Remington is worst.

        Wolf Match cartridges are very good, but they use too much soft wax on their bullets and any action other than a single shot or bolt action will eventually jam.

        That is my experience,

        B.B.

        • B.B.,

          I respect you experience!

          Most of my .22 shooting is done in the Winter with cold specific ammo. I can see where in the Texas heat other ammo may perform well. That said, i remember when Federal Gold Medal Match UM1B was considered among the best. I also recall that Remington’s ammo was co-produced with Eley at one point. Lapua, Wolf, Jaged, and SK produced ammo on the same line or at least production equipment.
          Aguila has certainly moved up to world class with a few of their lines since they started production over two decades or so ago. I shoot CCI or RWS in my .22 conversion for my 1911 from time to time when .22 is reasonably priced but that is a different animal of .22 rimfire..
          I will stand by my statement that you need to test by lot# and then buy as much of that Lot# as you can afford or can get your supplier to deliver if you want really consistent performance. Especially in the brutally cold conditions that Biathlon is typically shot. It seems to no longer matter the name on the box but rather the Lot# with the levels of quality in manufacture of the top labels for specific uses.

          shootski

            • Pelletpopper,,

              I could think of less noble reasons hoarding happens ;^)
              They buy it to shoot not squirrel away in some hole for some misunderstood risk.
              For that they actually buy .50 BMG! LOL!

              shootski

          • Ah ha! That Rem & Eley ammo produced together could explain the high rates of duds! Thank you! I did have good luck with Federal Golds Medal, but it wasn’t the best in the rifles I tested. That fell to Aguila.

            I was testing rifles, not getting ready for competition. Your scenario matches what I would do to find the best pellet for an air pistol. In fact, when I competed, that is exactly what I did.

            B.B.

            • Shootski and B.B.,

              This is one of the best threads I’ve seen on this blog for a long time.

              Rimfires are such a great analogy for airguns because you can’t create ammo easily for either. You have to buy off the shelf which immediately discerns a gun owner from either a plinker or an obsessed accuracy nut.

              If the latter, you obsess with current lot numbers and production runs.

              I can’t help but remember about Crosman Premiers in .177 caliber from certain die lots that I sold at ridiculous premiums to field target shooters back in the day. I also remember paying ridiculous prices to people that had wolf match ammo in 22 cal since it worked in many of my rimfires.

              Wish I could be content with plinking. πŸ™‚

              • Kevin,

                “Rimfires are such a great analogy for airguns…” Spot On!

                I feel your pain TOTALLY! I also remember the brown cardboard boxes of Crosman Premiers with the stamped Lot numbers.

                “Wish I could be content with plinking. ”

                Just think when you add to that the need to be halfway good, not a duffer, on skinny cross country skis at 71! https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/duffer

                But as long as I can i will…need to get out on my roller skis before it gets too HOT!

                Be well,

                shootski

      • Thedavemyster,

        They are both former World Class Biathletes. They are retired from Open Competition but as soon as the grandsons are old enough they will probably resume competition at the Master’s level. My son currently stays active officiating at World Cup competitions. My son has a really sweet totally worked Anschutz Fortner Action and his wife has a tricked out Izmash to include a custom stock. My son goes to the range and does push-ups and/or Burpies and then outshoots folks shooting from a benchrest or bipod at 100. They have both paid their dues with thousands of hours on skis and on the range.

        shootski is very proud of both of them :^)

  5. B.B. and Readership,

    I was busy yesterday and didn’t get to read yesterdays blog until today…my bad! I posted this ( MY theory based on observation and limited research to this point. My Go Fund Me page will be opened ONLY if you all think this is something that needs to be research at a more expensive level, Lol!) to yesterdays blog about REGULATORS for all of you to consider that are interested in regulated PCP.

    https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2020/06/air-venturi-avenger-repeating-air-rifle-part-2/#comment-457301

    shootski

  6. B.B.
    These defective PPP airguns seem to gravitate to you! Seems like whenever we get all excited about the testing of a new interesting PCP, it’s a dud and does not represent the model in a good light. I remember when you tested the Gamo Urban, it was the same issue. Maybe Pyramyd Air should, at the very least, verify that they are not sending a defective airgun for you for review. Yes, I know you want the same out of box experience as we would have, but dang, you sure seem to receive a lot of defective airguns to review. Personally, I would rather see a review of a typical model, not a defective one that has gotten past quality assurance. My feeling is that many of these price point PCPs are of dubious quality…and it’s the luck of the draw to get a good one to review. It sure makes a lot more work for you as well.
    Geo

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