Benjamin Marauder Semi-Auto (SAM) PCP Air Rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Benjamin Marauder Semiauto
Benjamin’s new Semiauto Marauder repeating PCP.

This report covers:

What IS a semiauto Marauder (SAM)?
Power
Regulator
Fast shots
Adjustable cheekpiece
The SAM stands apart
The magazine
Too heavy?
Some valid complaints
Summary

Oh, boy, has the Benjamin Semiautomatic PCP rifle been anticipated! Ever since Crosman showed it at the 2020 SHOT Show people have been clamoring for it.

What IS a semiauto Marauder (SAM)?

First, let’s understand what a semiauto Marauder ISN’T. It isn’t a Benjamin Marauder that has been converted to shoot semiautomatically. That would be next to impossible to do. The Marauder is a bolt action rifle and there is no way that action can easily be converted to semiautomatic operation, any more than an AirForce TalonSS can easily have a magazine added. So, stop thinking of this as a Marauder and think of it as a semiautomatic Benjamin PCP — a SAM. If you can do that you will stop comparing it to a Marauder in your mind and a lot of the heartache from the differences  will disappear.

What this is, is a 10-shot semiautomatic precharged pneumatic air rifle. It comes in .22 caliber only at present and in a wood stock. If the design catches on there will no doubt be upgrades yet to come.

Power

The SAM comes to you factory preset at around 22 foot-pounds. At that setting Crosman says you will get around 50-60 shots. You can adjust the hammer spring tension up to the point that about 28 foot-pounds are available. That will drop the shot count to about 30-40 shots, according to Crosman. You know that will be one of the things I will test.

The rifle is medium weight at 8 pounds without a scope. It’s not heavy, but the thickness of the stock conveys the impression that it’s heavier than that.

The stock appears very Chinese to me. It has a muddy reddish brown finish with slick flat impressed diamonds along the forearm and nothing at the grip. This is where some stippling would help a lot, because with the weight of the rifle the stock needs to be grippy.

Regulator

The SAM has a regulator, which means you should get more shots at consistent velocity than if it didn’t. Naturally we will see how that goes.

Fast shots

The semiautomatic capability means that follow-on shots come more quickly. I’m thinking of a way to test this. I might do it while testing accuracy.

Adjustable cheekpiece

The Monte Carlo cheek piece adjusts up and down to suit your needs. Since a scope has to be used, this feature allows the shooter to set up his rifle to suit himself. And the stock is ambidextrous. The cheekpiece is made of synthetic material instead of wood.

The SAM stands apart

Now let’s look at some things that set the SAM apart from the bolt-action Marauder.

The trigger is the first place we’ll start. The trigger on this air rifle is two-stage, with a very short first stage and a very long second stage pull. The second stage pull isn’t heavy, but it is long. Triggers don’t normally move in the second stage, but the one on the SAM does.

Shooters who have heard praise for the Marauder trigger for years will decide to buy one of these semiautomatics, never thinking that this isn’t the same rifle. They will be surprised when they feel this trigger. Some of them will have owned Marauders before and they bought this airgun just because it is semiautomatic. Others will never have experienced a Marauder trigger, but they have heard a lot about it. This one will be their first encounter. Both situations will not go well.

Let me enlighten you. The M1911 pistol and its derivatives were designed as semiautomatics from the get-go in 1911. Their triggers used to be (from 1911 to around 1970) pretty bad when compared to good target handgun triggers. They could always be improved by gunsmithing, but that work often cost nearly as much as the pistol cost. I did that work when I was first in the Army to make some extra money.

Here is the problem. When a semiautomatic fires, its bolt flies back to load another round into the chamber. The hammer spring is cocked when that happens and the sear has to catch the hammer while everything is moving and not let it fly forward, or the gun will go full-auto. To catch the hammer the sear has to have a broad ledge that mates with the hammer perfectly — and getting that is what costs money.

These days the century-old 1911 design has been around so long that a factory can put on a pretty good trigger by just assembling manufactured parts. If that isn’t good enough, expect to pay several hundred dollars to make it better. My CZ75 Shadow2 has a decent trigger, but a good trigger costs another $450, plus transportation both ways! So, just improving the trigger on a 1911 or a CZ75 costs as much as a bolt-action Marauder!

Most AR-15s come with a fairly horrible trigger. But that design is now a half-century old and makers have discovered how to make the trigger better, if not good. My Gisselle aftermarket trigger cost me $280 and took about 8 hours to fit and adjust. So a semiauto can have a good trigger, but there  ain’t no way you’re gonna get a Marauder-level trigger in a regulated semiautomatic pellet rifle for a few hundred dollars over the base Marauder price — even if the rifle’s name has the word Marauder in it.

The magazine

Here is “problem” number 2. The SAM mag. looks like a Marauder magazine but it doesn’t load in the same way. It loads like many other PCP magazines, though. It seems the people who have received their new Semiautomatic Marauder rifles are not used to a circular magazine that requires the first pellet to be loaded backwards from the bottom of the mag. Once that first pellet is loaded the rotary wheel inside is stopped and the rest of the pellets are loaded through the transparent top, just like a Marauder magazine.

SAM mag
The SAM magazine is on the left and a Marauder mag is on the right. See any difference?

Too heavy?

Nearly every new owner says that the Semiautomatic Marauder is too heavy. Well — it isn’t. It just has a wooden stock and is heavier than if it had a synthetic stock. If it had one of those, though, that would be the complaint. The SAM weighs 8 pounds, nominally.

Some valid complaints

One valid negative observation is that the charging handle that retracts the bolt probe and hammer doesn’t stay back on its own. If you release it to insert the magazine the bolt probe springs forward and gets in the way. Because of that it almost takes three hands to load a magazine into the receiver!

The safety is too close to the trigger. It doesn’t bother me but a shooter with sausage fingers will notice it. I’m not referring to when the safety is on (that’s the safety lever pulled back). Then it almost touches the trigger blade, which I believe is intentional. You can feel when the safety is on without looking. But when the safety is in the Fire position, there’s not very much room in front of the trigger.

Summary

The bottom line of the Semiautomatic Marauder seems to be to get your thinking oriented correctly. This is a different PCP altogether from the Benjamin Marauder. That doesn’t mean anything, good or bad. I will test it and tell you what I see.

63 thoughts on “Benjamin Marauder Semi-Auto (SAM) PCP Air Rifle: Part 1

  1. B.B.,

    You really have me on the fence on this one. You covered my concerns about the SAM. I will wait for the accuracy test. I would like a pcp semi-auto .22 pellet gun. I don’t like a long second stage trigger though. Maybe it will get better, breaking in, or can be better adjusted? The trigger on the Marauder was what made the gun.

    Looking forward to the review.

    Don


  2. BB
    Well I was waiting for this report in more than one way. First to see what you have to say about it. Second is I thought I would have mine before you did a report and guess what I did.

    Yes last week PA had a 15% off and free shipping sale. So I couldn’t pass it up. Plus I just sold a few guns.

    But mine arrived yesterday towards evening so I couldn’t open it up because I had to work tonight. So that’s on the agenda tomorrow morning after I get home.

    But yep love those semi auto’s. And its regulated on top of it all. They say like 70 shots as its set from Crosman. And yes I know. I was going to try to not have any .22 pellet guns but what can I say. I already got the Air Ordinance SMG. So what the heck. What’s another going to hurt. 🙂

    I hope we have good luck with the ones we got is all I can say.

    Oh and forgot it’s even got a Picatinny optics rail as PA puts it instead of a dovetail. I like that. And the magazine now loads like the spring loaded FX magazines.


  3. >The semiautomatic capability means that follow-on shots come more quickly. I’m thinking of a way to test this. I might do it while testing accuracy.

    I’ve always wanted a Liberty Training Rifle (LTR) air rifle for shooting Appleseed courses of fire, B.B.. These days, it’s getting REALLY expensive to do it with my M1 Garand and even feeding my 10/22s has become pricey for practice. Maybe the Marauder SAM is the first really good LTAR (LT Air Rifle).

    For anyone who’s interested in trying it, here are two styles of 25m Appleseed targets. The scoring and other details are printed on the target. The lower contrast gray silhouettes are used at Appleseed events.

    https://appleseedinfo.org/smf/index.php?PHPSESSID=3b60e187df248f98d97678b3725f4c5c&action=dlattach;topic=13731.0;attach=34510

    https://appleseedinfo.org/smf/index.php?PHPSESSID=3b60e187df248f98d97678b3725f4c5c&action=dlattach;topic=13731.0;attach=34511

    All four stages are timed but stages 2 and 3 feature a mag change and also the timer starts with the shooter standing. All stages are fired with a sling during an Appleseed shoot.

    I think I would enjoy seeing if I could better my best score (using a 10/22) with the SAM or even shoot my first perfect score!

    http://www.appleseedinfo.org

    -Cal

    P.S. I almost forgot. All holes in an AS target are scored as if they are 30 cal. holes.


  4. BB,

    I’d heard that the spring is stronger in the SAM magazine than in the original Marauder mag. How long can the mag be left loaded without weakening the spring? Also, any word on when a .177 SAM might become available?


    • Minute
      I leave my regular Marauder mag loaded all the time for many years now and I use it with my Gauntlet also. No problems at all with it advancing to the next pellet.

      And I’ll have to check tomorrow to see if the SAM spring is stronger than the other Marauder and Gauntlet mags I have.

      I will say this though from owning 2 FX Monsoons and the Marauders that there are some different holes in the mags for spring tension. And that did make a difference with the Monsoons pellet advancing. I’m kind of thinking that the SAM mag will be able to be adjusted also with those different hole locations.


      • Gunfun1,

        Thanks for letting me know, that is good to hear. I’ve had a Fortitude for less than a year, and have been hesitating to leave the mags loaded for long. So far the only real mag issue I’ve had has been the end of a spring coming out of one of the holes you mentioned. The spring was ok but just had to be reinserted in the hole. Will be interesting to hear about the SAM mag.



  5. I forgot to say I like the shape of the new SAM stock.

    Especially the Schnabel at the front of the stock.

    They did narrow the stock down a bit it looks like too. It looks better than the blocky looking stock on the regular Marauders. To me anyway.


  6. B.B.

    Thanks for letting us know what this Marauder isn’t. Why didn’t they call it something else?

    When is a Marauder not a Marauder? When it is a SAM.

    That will put a smile on my face forever.

    -Y

    PS Do you think that they will offer a better trigger as an upgrade? If you are going to spend $750 anyway, why not spend a couple hundred extra and have it be “perfect”. Not PP PCP anyway!


    • Yogi,

      They called it a Marauder so it would sell. Some of the parts are also used on the Marauder, but they did not call the Fortitude the MMS (Maixmus Mult-Shot). TCFKAC has always had a difficult time selling in the “high end” market. There are going to be many who buy this solely because of the name. These will be the “nay sayers” about it.

      This will never be a Marauder.


    • Yogi,

      I don’t think the original Marauder trigger would work with this mechanism without a lot of expensive modification. Semiautomatic air rifles are still in their infancy. That said, we still have to give this one a thorough test, so let’s wait and see.

      BB


      • Yogi,

        I misread your comment. You didn’t ask for a Marauder trigger on the SAM. You just asked for a better trigger.

        I still don’t think semiautomatic airgun mechanisms are advanced far enough for good triggers. They may be someday, though.

        BB


    • Yogi,

      RE: “Why didn’t they call it something else?”

      It’s been over 10 years ago but I asked B.B. the same question about Weihrauch’s older HW50 vs. the newer HW50 since they have the same name but are VERY different airguns.

      B.B. gave an answer that hit me right between the eyes. He basically said, “the Marauder is an established product name with proven sales, so let’s continue to harvest the energy that brand name has built up.”


      • Kevin,

        All the are going to do is cheapen the real Marauder by calling this by the same name.
        Marauders have a reputation for fine barrels and very nice triggers. Without those 2 items Marauders would suck.

        -Y

        PS think how much damage Coke did when they change the recipe and still called it Coke?


    • Yogi
      I did see it still used the air tube from the Marauder on mine. The tube still has the hole where the transfer port adjustment would be on a regular Marauder.

      And Yogi your just speculating. How do you know what the SAM trigger is like. Have you shot a SAM yet?


  7. BB,

    Well, you guys have just about convinced me to buy a Marauder. The bolt action one. I think I am still leaning towards a Maximus though.

    Like I was telling Yogi and you mentioned it also, there are going to be a lot of people who will be buying this because of the name. I think in the next few months you are going to see a lot of these show up in the classifieds.

    Ya’ll don’t need to be paying attention to me. I’d just as soon have a Sharps.


  8. Why is everyone saying this is so heavy when the specs for a regular wood Marauder say 8.2 pounds and the specs on this one are 8 pounds even? Did someone make a mistake, is it really 9 pounds? I wish somebody would slap the Air Venturi M1A sights on this because I think it’s the closest ever get we’ll ever get to a replica M1 Garand.

    Brent


    • Brent,

      The reason everyone is saying it is heavy is that to a bunch of old codgers like us, it is. We can only hobble along so fast with just so much. Then we can’t hit the side of a barn from inside because we are out of breath.

      Let one of them pick up an HM1000X. They will think this is light.

      Garand huh? This would probably make a good Garand replica, if they get rid of that stupid Mattelomatic charging handle.


      • RR,

        8 lbs is about what my Euro Maximus weights with the BSA 8×32 scope on it. My Diana 54 weighs 9.9 pounds without a scope on it and felt really well-balanced. It’s still feels well-balanced with the 6 x 24 Athlon scope on it but definitely heavier at 12 pounds right on the nose.

        I got to shoot a vintage Diana 54 and it definitely didn’t feel like it was 9.9 pounds. Diana did a very good job of balancing the weight out.

        Speaking of M1 Garand replicas, Crossman is an American company. They are the ones who should bring out a replica of the M1 Garand, not Diana. This looks like it could be a decent basis for one.

        Brent



  9. BB, A Garand is looking pretty good right now. I worry about Crosman, after all, the MAR project was a labor of love that didn’t pan out, hand made though it was. What ever happened to incremental improvement to an existing platform? This one may end up being very popular, the Garand certainly is. A pellet gun doesn’t have the luxury of hydrostatic shoc to make up for less than MOA accuracy. I will now return to my little armchair, with the dog nearby.
    Crosman, just copy the LCS full auto, but make it affordable, and accurate.
    Fingers crossed.
    Rob


  10. Ok everybody a lot of talk about what people think but haven’t experienced.

    Crosman got it right. And yes I had a few different Hatsan semi auto guns as well as a couple FX Monsoons. The SAM works because it has a regulator which I have always said that Hatsan and FX needed to get reliable cycling on their semi auto guns. Trust me I know. Gun fill pressure does make a difference on these type of guns..

    And I have already tried some of the popular pellets in my SAM and I like what I see.

    And I’ll comment on a few things BB has said already.

    I like the safety. It does block the trigger when it’s on. To me that’s fine. It’s very usable. And yes people use your safety on a semi auto gun. And the trigger is different but very usable. I’m not adjusting mine as of yet. I can shoot the gun well as it comes from the factory.

    Next the gun did cycle well and I don’t know why people say it needs 3 hands to load. I just pull the charging handle back and hold it and insert the mag. The handle has a very light spring. Then I just push the handle forward till it stops. That’s like closing the bolt on a regular Marauder. Then I push in the forward assist button which is a very light spring which it makes me feel like I don’t need to do that step. But the gun wont go semi auto if you don’t press it. I need more time to see more what that’s about though.

    And I’m with BB about the stock. It is very China like. Its a lighter colored wood under a darker (painted ???) wood. It reminds me of the wood on some of the QB guns I have had.

    And the gun is not heavy.

    And I did have to wind the mag spring tighter. And only and I’ll stress only because it wouldn’t keep up with my trigger finger. After that the SAM could keep up with ole Gunfun1 rapid firing. 🙂
    I’m happy so far.

    And BB I tried telling about the gun without getting in the way of your future reports the best I could. Definitely will be waiting to hear more about what you have to say about the Benjamin SAM.


  11. it is amazing how all are obsessed with triggers. they seem not to care if the barrel is bent ,rifling gouged, barrel changes interior dimensions as long as it has a good trigger. I see guys spending big money for triggers for self defense pistols. can you imagine being attacked shot at and being able to realize you have a good trigger? if the trigger was 15 lbs you would know it in a fight. Mr Tubbs one of the best rifleman said….you can get used to any trigger




      • BB
        Right about the SAM trigger.

        And nobody has even tried to adjust it yet.

        Who knows. It may be a really nice adjustable trigger.

        And anyone that has shot true gas or as we are having today with the SAM (air) semi auto actions they know those triggers differ from normal action triggers. So maybe the SAM semi auto trigger just might be the best of that type of trigger.

        I bet we will find out in the future.



    • Mildot52,

      It takes a Match Grade shooter to appreciate a Match Grade trigger. But a 4lb self defense trigger is about as light as I would ever choose to go!

      Repeat after me: I like my soup to be great but I am NOT a Trigger NAZI!

      Manyan airgunner also seem to think that a match grade trigger will make them one. Along with a recoilless 2lb; even with (15″ 10X100X65 34mm tube) scope rifle!

      shootski


  12. Trigger, Trigger.
    If you have ever fired off an ‘unintended double tap’ you can appreciate a stiffer trigger on a semi-full auto firearm. And I believe it is a good thing. Save the ultra light triggers for target shooting.

    I agree with Ridge Runner on that God awful ‘T’ handle 🙂
    They should have come out with an “Armada SAA” and it would have, and will be ? right on. Or they could have made a side sliding bolt heavy action M14 EBR !!
    A small section of slide would fit nice. But I really can’t criticize the designers. I’m sure they put in some overtime designing it to work efficiently.
    I’m sure they wanted to capitalize on the Marauder brand but I believe a semi or full auto operation is more appropriate on a military type Airgun. I will never understand why Evanix came out with a full-auto traditional looking hunting rifle, with the Speed.

    Look at it this way, how many Marauder owners are going to fork out all that money just for a semi auto version of what they have already. OK so I’m a hypocrite, I have six of them in various calibers and configurations now, including a SAM A new rifle, like select fire M14 EBR for example, would make it more worth while. And a good match for my airsoft version. 😉 An M60 would do in a pinch too !
    Bob M


  13. I have stayed quiet all day. It will be interesting to see how the SAM shakes out in the end in today’s air gun world. Looking pretty good so far. I am with RR on the stock. I had the Gen II (.25) in a syn. stock and it never got shot in that stock. I went straight to the RAI conversion. I do think that it has improved over the original though.

    Chris


  14. Good day everyone ,

    Just placed my order for the new edition of the Blue Book of Airguns. Ordered directly from the publisher and included free shipping. It is on sale in other places with a substantial mark up plus shipping (thieves). Also found a Beeman peep sight with target knobs at a great price (yeahhhh) for my Beeman R7.
    What will arrive first? Very nice Christmas present.


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