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Air Guns Benjamin 397 Variable Pump Air Rifle: Part 1

Benjamin 397 Variable Pump Air Rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Benjamin 397
The new Benjamin 397.

This report covers:

  • The obvious
  • Not so obvious
  • Hidden
  • One more thing
  • So — how fast does the .22 shoot?
  • What’s it like?
  • What the box tells us
  • But…
  • The rifle
  • However…
  • The cheekpiece is too high!
  • A scope?
  • Barrel overspray?
  • Brass barrel
  • Sights
  • Summary

The obvious

Today we begin looking at an air rifle that I thought had vanished from the airgun scene — the .177-caliber Benjamin 397. It’s different than the 397 we knew before in one obvious way. It now has a synthetic stock and forearm/pump lever. I guess Crosman realized that this rifle will never go away and it was time to invest in the dies for molding the stock parts, rather than keep chasing after wood that’s getting harder to find. The barrel and pump tube still seem to be soldered together by a huge soldering machine that must be older than many of you readers.

Not so obvious

But this 397 is different in another way that is not obvious at all. It has a maximum muzzle velocity of 1,100 f.p.s.! Yes, you read that right — 1100 f.p.s. from a Benjamin 397. There never has been a 397 that shot that fast — ever!


Know why I missed it? Because Pyramyd AIR doesn’t call it a 397 on their website. They call it a Benjamin Variable Pump Air Rifle — period! They probably do that because it is so different from all the previous 397s. It wasn’t until I pulled the box from the shipping carton that I saw the 397 model designation.

If you are a Benjamin multi-pump buff, all of this begs the obvious question. If there’s a 397 is there also a 392? Why — yes there is! In fact, Pyramyd AIR now has both rifles on the same web page with a PICK YOUR OPTION caliber choice button.

One more thing

If you look at the price you’ll see that a lot of money has come off. It’s considerably less expensive than it was before. That’s no small thing.

Hunting Guide

So — how fast does the .22 shoot?

According to the information on the web page, which is fed to Pyramyd AIR by Crosman, the 392 shoots up to 800 f.p.s. This has got to excite some of you diehard multi-pump guys who remember the previous days of 650 f.p.s. It sure excites me! By venturing into these stratospheric velocities Crosman has given us the American version of the Sharp pneumatic!

What’s it like?

Well, what  it’s like will be the subject of this report. I strongly suspect it might last past the usual three-and-done format. First off — how did they do it? How did they take a .177 multi-pump that was famous for getting into the high 700s (maybe 775 f.p.s.) and push it to 1100 f.p.s.? Okay, the box tells me a little.

Benjamin 397 box
If you know your Benjamin 397s, this graphic tells you a lot!

What the box tells us

Benjamins have limited their maximum pump strokes to eight for as long as they have listed how many pump strokes should be used. I think they picked up the number 8  when they bought the Sheridan company. This gun will accept up to ten pumps. Also, in the past, Benjamin guns never recommended shooting with less than three pumps. This one gets in the 600s on just two pumps! I wonder what it gets on just one?


So I read the manual. I know — that cancels my man card for the rest of the month. Well, the instructions there say to never put in less than THREE pumps. But they did get the 10 pumps right. So — which is it? Apparently the guy who wrote the manual never got to read the graphics that went on the box!

You know me. If Crosman went to all the trouble to put the expected velocity for a certain number of pump strokes on the outside of the box, you know full well that I’m going to test it.

The rifle

I wrote everything in this report up to this point before opening the box. Then I opened it and took out the rifle. Oh — it’s heavier!

No — it is not heavier. I weighed the test rifle on my kitchen/postal scale and it weighs 5 lbs. 10.4 oz. The specs. say 5.5 lbs. so they’re within 2 ounces. I think the dark synthetic stock makes it seem heavier. I have to grasp it harder because the synthetic seems slicker than the older wooden stock. But that could be just another error in my judgement like the weight.

The forearm is longer by several inches for increased leverage, and it makes a loud clacking sound when it slaps agains the pump tube. This is the perfect place for some thin rubber, and my old silicone kitchen cutting mat is probably the perfect thickness. If I were keeping the rifle I’d glue a sliver of the mat on the pump tube where they connect.

The butt has a thick, soft rubber pad that’s integral with the synthetic stock. It’s perfect for standing the rifle on its butt in the corner, because it won’t slip.

So what makes this 397 so much more powerful? Yes, it accepts two more pump strokes, but that can’t be all there is to it, can it? Surely it has a longer pump stroke?

No. It doesn’t seem to. And don’t call me Shirley.

Well then the bolt must be harder to cock because of an extra-strong hammer spring? Nope again. However…


As I pumped the rifle the compression felt very strong right from the start. I do have an older wood-stocked 392, but that one is a pump-assist model, so a comparison of pumping effort between the two airguns can’t be made. But I also own a conventional Sheridan Blue Streak. As I recall, multi-pumps start out easy and get harder as they go. This one starts out hard. So I pumped it 10 times to see how that felt. It wasn’t that much harder on the final stroke, but I will weigh it for you in Part 2 when I test the velocity.

I know the Sharp Ace (a vintage multi-pump pneumatic from Japan) gets a lot harder to pump as the strokes increase. But the Sharp has a different style valve and its trigger also becomes harder to pull the more the rifle is pumped. The 397 has a conventional slam-fire valve, so the trigger pull remains constant at all times.

The cheekpiece is too high!

Now here’s something I have never before experienced. When I hold this new 397 to my shoulder normally I can see the last 10 inches of the barrel and the front sight in the rear sight notch. No amount of adjusting brings it any lower. The raised cheekpiece is way too high for my fat face. Yes, I need to loose weight, but I don’t think that will fix this. There is not enough drop in the buttstock of this air rifle. The high comb should be eliminated or the line of the butt should drop more. Or both. Crosman, you should have let a rifleman try out the stock before committing to those expensive molds!

I can compensate for the too-high comb by holding my face behind the comb to see the sights, but what an unnatural hold that is! That’s how I will have to test the rifle, but I wouldn’t buy a 397 as it is now configured.

A scope?

Some people believe that the solution to the too-high comb is to mount a scope. This is NOT an air rifle to be scoped! A scope is next to useless on multi-pumps with underlevers because it gets in the way of placing your other hand over the breech when you pump the gun. I hope someone recognizes this fault and comes out with an aftermarket wood stock that has the right proportions. Yes, everybody’s face is different, but read the comments on the Pyramyd AIR description page and you’ll see that several others are talking about the same thing.

Synthetic stocks are only cheaper than wood after many thousands of airguns have been sold. The huge investment in the dies needed to mold the synthetic parts has to be amortized first.

Barrel overspray?

There are several complaints of paint overspray inside the muzzle of the barrel. So I looked at mine and, sure enough, there it is! I will clean the barrel before testing the rifle for accuracy, because something at the very exit of the barrel is not conducive to good accuracy. Sure, a few hundred shots will clean it out and everything will be hunky-dory, but I won’t be able to shoot that many in this report. I really doubt the slight amount of paint affects anything that much, but there were several complaints so I will respond.

Benjamin 397 muzzle
Some of the paint has gotten into the barrel at the muzzle. I will clean it out before testing accuracy.

Brass barrel

This rifle has a brass barrel. Benjamin multi-pump airguns have ALWAYS had brass barrels. Brass won’t rust in the presence of the moisture this airgun generates! I say that because one customer complained that this airgun barrel is made of brass and not steel! Come on, buddy — learn about airguns! Brass costs more than steel anyway!


This new rifle has the same push-me, pull-you rear sight from decades ago. To adjust it you loosen the screw on the side where you want to move the rear notch toward and tighten the other side. In my opinion Crosman could have made a synthetic copy of the existing wooden stock without the high comb and spent some real money here, because most shooters don’t like adjusting this sight.

Benjamin 397 rear sight
Loosen the screw on the side toward which you want the sight to move and tighten the screw on the other side (arrows).


So, we have a brand new Benjamin 397 (and 392). Is it a good one? I guess that’s for us to find out. Stay tuned.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

133 thoughts on “Benjamin 397 Variable Pump Air Rifle: Part 1”

  1. I got one of these last spring (in 22). Pleasantly surprised. I did put rubber buttons on the frame to quiet the pump slap. I also put a donnyfl on the end so it didn’t sound like a firecracker. All said it’s good. Needs a wood option though.

  2. B.B.,

    Maybe at least a family picture with the Benjamin Variable Pump Air Rifle at the bottom, the Sheridan Blue Streak on top with the Benjamin 397 in the middle to show the lineage? Looks like somebody in the marketing department is thinking everything is going to scoped eventually that’s why they made the decision to set the comb so high.


  3. BB
    I don’t see anywhere in any description that it has a dovetail to mount a scope. So why would they raise the comb?

    Either way I’m interested in the accuracy of the gun when you get there. If its accurate I wouldn’t mind having one. A 1/2 inch or so group at 35 yards would be fine with me.

    And BB don’t clean out the over spray in the barrel and shoot a couple10 shot groups.

    Then clean the over spray out and shoot 2 more 10 shot groups with the same pellets.

    I would like to see if it really does make a difference in group size with the over spray removed.

  4. BB-

    I second the before and after test on barrel paint. I checked some other images online. It appears that the receiver is drilled and tapped for the Williams 5D- 5 Dollar- Sheridan sight. I wonder if that can be used with that stock. PA does sell a combo with scope, 292 Intermount and picatinney rail for $270.

  5. BB,

    Do you know if they have fixed the pump problems on the Seneca Aspen? If they have, I’d rather spend the extra hundred dollars and get it. I think it has a lot more versatility for not much more money.


  6. BB and all. : – ) Nice rifle!

    I have made a new modification on my Gamo CF-S DIY target stock. Will get a pic up tomorrow in the sunlight.
    I was canting my head over to get my eye behind the Dioptre sight, decided that I didn’t like that and changed the stock around a bit and rasped out where my jaw would hit on the stock, hey presto I can now slide my head right behind the sight without canting my head. It’s super cool. Means a stock redesign but this is prototyping! It was so weird realizing that I was trying to contort myself to fit the rifle… now the rifle fits me. Essentially it means I can look almost most dead ahead with the sight up to my eye. No looking up and to the left etc. My nose it almost parallel with the rifle. I am picking this is how competition stocks work but never having actually ever seen one in the flesh…. I am sort of inventing stuff already invented. ha ha.
    Here is my best group so far. Flushed about 100 rnds through at 8metres to get into the groove. Still a bit mmm. not sure about the hand grip, hand gets a bit stiff, wrist gets crabby. May just have to start doing some wrist exercises. Fore grip is on my palm fingers loose and cupping the grip. Feels awesome to shoot. Really natural. Getting very acquainted with the Dioptre. It’s like an old friend now. Oh sorry, I am writing a book, but I am so excited. I think this rifle is going be a tack driver. ( fingers crossed ) . Robert. PS. Shooting off hand. ( I naturally wobble quite a lot, so I am working on wobble timing )

    • Robert,

      Do not worry about writing a book. This is stuff we want to know. If my Gamo CFX had a wood stock, I would probably still have it.

      There used to be a company that made an adapter for AirForce airguns that would cant the barrel down so you did not have to roll over on top of the tank and put the butt of the tank to your shoulder. You could also get it canted to the left or right to bring the ocular in line with your eye better.

      • Good morning! Lovely day here in New Zealand.
        RR. Yes the gamo plastic stock is utilitarian, small, and heavy. I only kept the maintube bed and sawed off the rest. One day I will get rid of that too. and the trigger group. If I had a workshop… That “roll over” thing is a pain in the neck. What would happen is I would saddle up to the sight and naturally be looking way off to the right of the bore. Then I had to shuffle my eyeball around to look to the left and along the bore. Imagine waking up early, grabbing your rifle and without thinking too much slap your eye to the sight. Where are you looking? If you are looking , like I was, way off somewhere else. then that is where your bore should be pointing. IMHO. So by making a large void behind the rifle I can park my head there and look straight ahead with no roll over. It’s the way forward. cough.
        Sir. The grip is pretty vertical… it is low though which take pressure off. I think maybe my elbow needs training. Great thing is I can swap out the grip in seconds. So yes, I will try your advice with a new grip profile. 1911 style? I was also experimenting with no thumb wrap. Imagine pointing with your trigger finger, and then your thumb pointing straight up. If I do this I don’t pull my palm heel in and kink my wrist. OR make a grip that angles out at say 30deg. That would be wild. : – ) If I had an electric trigger I could move it anywhere…. idea?
        BB. Thank you! I really like ergonomics. To me the rifle evolution has been about making things that don’t fit the bill ,work and things that don’t work, fit the bill. and no one design is good for everything. I guess I am solution looking for a problem! ha ha. But seriously it’s really interesting discovering the constraints of the rifle mechanics. I.e A barrel which lines up with your shoulder is much lower than your eye. So you add high sights, cue parallax error/offest. Or you bring the barrel up to eye level and the shoulder rest is low down, cue kick up from reaction forces. Or you have the classic: barrel, sights and should rest are very close together and you really have to hunch over. Not a stance you want to hold all day target shooting! You want a rifle you can slide into a long thin bag/back pack ? Can’t have bits sticking out…. The plethora of different criteria is amazing. ok I will shh now.
        R. : – )

  7. BB,

    That high cheek piece is not good. I am glad to know that because with the increased velocities I might be tempted, most especially since this will be recoiless and light.

    I am glad to see that the new AV Intermount for this air rifle attaches to the receiver instead of the barrel. So many break the solder joint when they mount the scope there.

    I personally do not know of doing that scope thing, but I would most definitely want one of these on there.


    The obvious
    Today’s (Today) we begin looking at an air rifle…

    • Ridgerunner,

      Since the plane of the peep sight is along the current iron sights I don’t give much hope for the Williams sight either. The owner will have to change our modify the stock somehow. Looks like a job for a bandsaw followed by filling the cavity with foam then shaping the cheek piece to the desired shape.

        • I think I would rather explore a modified/ heightened front sight to use in conjunction with the peep sight rear. BB- can you verify if the receiver is brass like the barrel?

            • I have had my Maximus for a couple of years now RR.

              Originally bought it in .177 for my granddaughter but she will only shoot my .177 HW 100 (can’t argue with good taste eh?) so I converted it to .22, dropped in a HuMa regulator and mounted a Ruger 4x 32mm scope on it.

              I have airguns for specific applications, I like the Maximus because it is accurate, light and durable – perfect for its assigned duty as a “convenient pester”, convenient because I drag it around where ever I am working and don’t worry about leaning it against a tree or getting some dirt on it.

              Been well pleased with its accuracy and am making a new stock for it to give is some more mass – IMHO it is on the light side as far as stability goes. I prefer a bit more heft for shooting off hand.

              Did you do the trigger mod? Makes a huge difference.

              Planning on doing some serious tuning (making a hammer-spring adjuster) and testing come the warmer weather.

              Have fun with yours!


              • Hank,

                Now that you talk about it, I recall your previous posts. I have done no mods as of yet, but the trigger is high on the list. It is my intention to take it real slow with this air rifle and talk about it along the way. There are so many missing out on some awesome airguns because they are hung up on the latest and greatest. I have personally seen what can be done with a Discovery. Those $2000+ air rifles have nothing on it. I will save my money and have fun along the way.

                To each his own.

            • RR
              Well yes peeps would be nice.

              But let’s do a little competition of some bottle caps laying out in the yard at 25 yards.

              And let’s say we are both good shooters. Then lets time it.

              Wonder which shooter would finish shooting the same bottle caps first with the same gun. And heck lets just let you shoot both sights then let the other shooter and lets see what happens.

              And remember this is all about hitting and how long it takes to hit them all.

              I know this answer.

                • RR
                  Done had several pumpers.

                  Definitely know what they are all about.

                  Choices would be open sights, dot sights, a scope and peep sights last.

                  What can I say. I know my shooting style.

                  • GF1,

                    There is nothing wrong with your preferences. To each their own. Being one who uses open sights most of the time, peeps are awesome! Scopes are great for longer ranges. I do not have much experience with dots. What I do have, I think they are great, but it is one more thing for Murphy to get involved with.

                    • RR
                      Open sights and dot sights are much easier to get on target fast compared to a peep sight.

                      That’s why I like them over a peep sight.

                    • Cal
                      Yes on a hw30.

                      Open or dot is still the easiest and quickest to get on target.

                      I have some of the big opening peep rear sights on my tactical guns and they are ok. But still not as easy as opens or dots.

                    • Ran out of reply “depth” so I’ll have to reply to myself, GunFun1. I too find red dots to be faster–mainly because of the reduced need to align the sights. I say reduced because my Mepro M21 reflex sights have terrible parallax in both windage and elevation. I don’t notice much speed difference between the large aperture Williams and an open sight. SeeAll Open sights (BB covered them here some years ago) work particularly well for me and have somewhat reduced alignment requirements so they are very fast for me too. Sometimes I put one of my SeeAll sights on my 392. It’s a good compromise between lowest possible sight height and night time visibility (with the right headlamp), which is what I need for high angle tree rat pest shots! I shoot both eyes open.

                    • Cal
                      I had no luck with the See All sight. Not doing precise shooting anyway. For plinking at cans it was ok.

                  • It’s interesting how sight performance varies so much by shooter. Visual systems are highly personal, for sure! I don’t like the SeeAll fine holdover tree but the triangle works great for me–just as well as my much more expensive Trijicon RMR and Mepro sights with triangle reticles.

                    • Cal
                      I would not mind a triangle reticle like in a foresight or scope.

                      What I didn’t like about the see all sight was it was hardto keep the triangle to repeat its position.

  8. BB,
    I have the same high cheekpiece issue on my 392 wooden stock. I had to put a scope on it, I couldn’t get my eye low enough to see the sights without putting my head behind the butt, or straining my head way forward into the pistol grip. And yes, it is difficult to pump that way. I usually hold the pistol grip to pump, and it is difficult. So, I really don’t shoot it that much.

    A couple years after this happened, my brother, on my recommendation, bought a 392 and had the same issue. He likes to carve though, and he just reshaped the stock to fit his face. That isn’t my forte, so mine still wears the scope.

    Captain Bravo.

    • Captain,

      It is really easy to shape a stock – a rasp and some sandpaper is all that is needed.

      Doesn’t take long, I adjusted the stock on my FX Royale in less than 15 minutes.


      • Hank, I am sure your right, and thanks for the encouragement.

        I am one of those guys that has a significant amount of mechanical and technical skill, but no artistic skill at all. However, it is just a 392. If you aren’t afraid to go to work on the stock of a FX Royale, how bad can I mess up a gun that cost about 10% of that?


        • CB,

          I’m like you – strong on the mechanical and technical side but weak on the artistic side. Modifying a stock is easy, the confidence to put the tool to the wood is another thing.

          I wrote a 6 – part blog ( /blog/?s=Diy+rifle+stock+&btnGo= ) on making, modifying and refinishing stocks to make people more comfortable with doing modifications, you might want to check it out before you start.

          Have fun!


  9. BB, would I be able to swap out the rear stock on my 392 to the new version? It would look stupid with a wood rear and a black front, but if I am only interested in performance, that might be an option.

      • Siraniko,

        To me the most ineteresting change with the plastic model is the extra inch or so of leverage from the longer pump handle. In the photos it doesn’t look like much, but the extra leverage provides a noticeable difference. On the other hand, B.B. has reported thast the pump effort seems to have increased from the earlier model, so perhaps there is a change in the mechanism.


  10. If you mount a scout or pistol scope forward of where you hold the gun to pump it works great. I have a Sheridan C set up like that and it works great. I use a Crosman Intermount and rings.


      • The Intermount is a bit loose on the Sheridan C. I needed to shim it with Milk Carton Plastic for a snug fit. So over tightening the mount isn’t a problem if you are at all careful. I have had it set up this way for 15 years. Shoots one ragged hole at 12 yards, which is the distance to the bird feeder. The Red Squirrels hate it.


      • The Lundy/Baker mount doesn’t pry/wedge btween the pump tube and barrel. The mount is entirely supported by the barrel. Of course you still have extra mass hanging on the barrel, but I think it’s the prying force between barrel and pump tube with the OEM rear sight or other mounts that causes the barrel separation rather than mass. As you know, I had Tim McMurray re-solder my Silver Streak barrel when it was in the shop for a Steroid conversion and he did a wonderful job on the solder job. He recommended and installed the Williams peep sight to preclude the separation recurring at the rear sight too.

  11. BB

    Should be a very popular report series. Accuracy you get at 25 yards is what I look forward to knowing. I’m bummed out on 392/397 rifles since my one rifle bought here a few years ago was about as accurate as an open bore shotgun. I likely didn’t shoot enough pellets to remove anything that may have been in barrel. PA took it back and I upgraded to a HW30S. But the looks of it do have an appeal that began for me back in the late 1940’s shooting pond cooters with my cousin’s Sheridan. If you meet Gunfun’s 1/2” goal at 35 yards (ha ha) I will rethink my prejudice. I also am curious about velocity with only one pump. One can pretend it’s a single stroke pneumatic. If I did buy one I would want either nice peeps or receiver mounted scope rails. I can manage an awkward two pumps if that delivers the velocity on box.


  12. My own opinion is that Crosman took some perfectly good 392 and 397 rifles and ruined them with plastic stocks. Was going to sell one of my 392s and the Benjamin Sheridan (really just a 392 but in .20 cal), but maybe I should hold on to them and let used gun prices go up. Besides, I like all five of my Racine Sheridans a lot better.

    It will be interesting to see how well the newer guns sell. As mentioned above, there has been a lot of complaining on the web concerning the new plastic stocks. Time will tell.

  13. B.B.,

    Interesting multi-pump! The velocity on the .22 sounds like ball park for a Mac1 Steroid; never had a 397.

    Which brings up a question about the the actual metal pump arm is it folded metal or cut from a solid steel billet?

    The Buttstock shape is interesting! I looked at a number of my wood stocked Crosman and Benjamin rifles: 2200W, Discovery, Standard 392 and they all have a very close shape (suited to peep/open sights) to the Original 397/392. I even pulled a limited run Model 392PA (107SP0342) XXX of 500 thus far never listed in the Blue Book of Airguns) it has a press checkered wood stock of the typical 392 even though it came with a Center Point 3-9×40 scope mounted on an oversized in length and diameter receiver (it is similar in size to the AS39XT and the same bolt action) braised to the pump/valve tube that was cut/formed standard 11mm dovetail.

    As far as comparisons of pump effort it would seem there is a difference (speculation here — much smaller) in the pump headspace and the valve increased in volume (length) to get that performance increase. It doesn’t sound like a Steroid approach since that was a valve modification that allowed many more pumps without lockup. Also the pump effort on the Mac1 STEROID was not linear but rather increased dramatically when over 12 pumps.

    Looking forward to the rest of the test!


    • shootski,

      The pump link is solid steel. The lever that attaches to it is folded metal.

      The model designation Model 392PA means it was a combo put together for Pyramyd AIR. It wasn’t a real model. That’s why it isn’t in the Blue Book.


      • B.B.,

        Thanks for the description of the lever fabrication.

        The Model 392PA was a special 500 run and it was directly from Crosman. I still have the paperwork, inner, and outer box from Crosman for it?


          • B.B.,

            I will trust the Godfather on this!
            It is a shame that only 500 of these modified 392 exist! It is the perfect answer to folks that want something with a scope or other optical sight system. The robust receiver and dovetail would be perfect with this new synthetic stock; especially since someone already did ALL the engineering!
            It is crazy accurate…i guess the rest are all still in the boxes of the collectors; I shoot mine.

            Maybe someone at PA should dig out the drawings and do some testing with the new stock. Alternately they could send me a/just the synthetic Buttstock and I will see about fit, usability and accuracy potential…PA’s option.


              • Chris USA,

                I did clean out the paint over spray from the bore with Acetone…EZ Peezy! It wasn’t just the muzzle; although as B.B. or someone else pointed out that is the spot that is going to have the greatest effect on accuracy.


                • Shootski,

                  I do believe that Yogi’s comment was in reference to it’s gawd awful looks and club-like profile. Each to their own, but I have always agreed with that view.


      • >The model designation Model 392PA means it was a combo put together for Pyramyd AIR. It wasn’t a real model. That’s why it isn’t in the Blue Book.

        I don’t know about that, BB. I have a 392 that I didn’t buy from PA and the pump tube is still marked “392PA”! I don’t doubt the special PA configuration, but “PA” was stamped on other gun pump tubes too.

  14. B B,
    If ever these Benjamin’s appear on this side of the pond, I would certainly give one a home. I note from the PA website, its rated at 11fpe despite those heady velocity figures. The lightest alloy pellets available must have been used. That power level means there may be a chance that it may appear in the UK.
    Although clearly an entry level model, I find it surprising that a US made rifle can be offered at $200.
    Hopefully its going to do the business for you.


  15. I’ve always admired the Benjamin 397/392. I wish they’d have left them with the wooden stocks, or st least still have that option available.
    Spent my day yesterday having s hernia repair surgery. Whoopedeedoo! Pretty sore today. It was a marathon day. I live on the big island of Hawaii, so had to fly to Honolulu for the procedure. Flew out of Hilo Airport at 7:00 am, and had the surgery, flew home from Honolulu about 7:20 pm. My wife had to come too, and she is no morning person! A rotten day for her. Then there was all the Covid related red tape. As sore as I am right now plus my 67 year old self, I bet I couldn’t get 10 pumps into a 397 to save my neck.
    As always, I am looking forward to Tom benching this gun for accuracy.

    • Birdmove,

      Glad you got yourself all fixed up. Sounds like quite the unpleasant day. Take it easy for a few. Much easier to blow an old gasket (or even a new one) the older you get.


    • I’ve seen scopes bend also. I’m sitting here looking at a vintage Thompson Center pistol scope. It is constructed with a 1” tube and a slotted rail attached directly to the bottom of the tube. No rings necessary, but a proprietary mount was required. Bushnell used the same construction for pistol scopes and a line of 18 mm or 20 mm rim fire specific scopes. These were strongly built and the nature of the mounts reduced the ‘bridge’ effect of a tube suspended between two scope rings. I wish we could revisit the concept with a modern scope in either dovetail or picatinney flavors.

    • BB
      You seen it bent if you hold the scope between the front and back ring. I don’t believe that.

      Now I can see. If you held the objective lens and tryed pumping you could bend the tube possibly or if you held the ocular lens and tryed pumping.

      But not from holding inbetween the rings. The tube area between the rings is probably the strongest area of the scope.

      I have done that for years with my 1377’s, 1322’s and 760’s and never bent a scope yet.

      • To clarify, most of the bent tubes I’ve seen were from impacts. Two piece tube scopes more susceptible it seems. I remember one that bent because the owner used the scope as carry handle. A lot of rough use and a base that some play in it.

        • paco
          Yep that’s some pretty rough use no doubt.

          It funny but I notice than some people are rough when they do things and other people are just the opposite.

          You know which person will have thier stuff last longer and be in better shape.

  16. Here are some pics of my Gamo CF-S target stock. I swapped the dropper plate to the other left side, moved it back. Then rasped out a jaw notch. Next will be the cheek piece. If this all works out, like it seems to be then I will move to designing a MKII version. Not exactly sure how that will work but the ergonomics will be the same. Fits well! Also this: I fabbed up a better charging leaver bearing. the original was TINY, so I ground out some lever connector bar material and then made a new bearing out of a plastic chopping board. It’s really good. Helps with charging a lot! Glued in with CA. Best modification ever! PS. the wood for the fame is a deck timber. some kind of rain forest hard wood. Really dry and crumbly… but it is cheap!

    • Robert,

      You are moving right along! Looks a lot different than from where you started. Keep up the good work and keep us posted. Thanks for the trouble/effort of the pics.


  17. Chris, you are welcome. It is no effort and I am an old hand at rabbiting on. I hope my adventures in this area keep people entertained/amused. I am very glad I ditched the original plastic Gamo stock, it was very uncomfortable. Now I can shoot 30 – 50 rnds end to end off hand and not feel strained. : – ) R. Here is the other right side.

    • RobertA,

      Before changing the grip, how about twisting it slightly counterclockwise if looking from above? That might give some relief to your wrist. Your elbow can jut out a little to the side.


  18. B.B.,

    I believe you wrote an article about which type of air rifle you would choose as a survival rifle, assuming you could have just one.
    I believe you chose a multipump, probably in .22.
    This makes sense. Survival, at its barest, requires thinking small. There is far more small game than large game.
    I love the look of wood, but I am willing to go with all weather stocks for sheer functionality.
    I am overwhelmed by the response you have gotten to this blog. It will take me more than one sitting to go through it all.


  19. BB, I don’t know what number of pumps is the most common for users of this style of airgun, after five pumps or so, I look for a PCP or a springer. Crosman/Benjamin, put a foster nipple on it and include a hand pump like the ugly one has. I’m not old enough to have bemoaned the change from a Thompson to an M3, but the loss of wood on products is not a new trend. This is a classic American airgun, bring the wood back, that’s a big part of its charm to me.
    This airgun is more elegant looking than the Crosman 101, mostly because of that wood stock, even though the Crosman is well made and robust too. I enjoyed my Grandads 101, it was the first gun I ever shot. I thought the Benjamin was easier to shoot, but the 101 had a peep on it as I recall.
    The Department of the Treasury sent me a gift card today which I am very grateful for, but both my parents have Covid-19 now, Mom’s not as strong as Dad, even though most people pull through, It’s a stressful time, I will not let my anger consume me, it can happen to anyone. They need to hurry up with those shots, please.
    Blessing to you all,

  20. As an old Benjy fan – the early “tootsie roll” 347 Santa brought in 1968 still works great – this is a very interesting gun to me! If the Sharp-like power claims are accurate (and the trigger isn’t awful?), this gun could have an interesting niche in the market.

    A good friend is currently looking for a “farm gun” to control birds, rats, etc., and this might be an ideal solution.

  21. B.B.
    I used to have a 392 years ago. I loved the Walnut but hated how hard it was to pump on those last three strokes. I always wanted a peep for it, but never got around to getting one. On the increased FPS, I know two pumps will help, but I also wonder if it’s due to all the Alloy Pellets now. Crosman’s site shows the 397 .177 cal getting 800 FPS with lead pellets and 1100 with alloy pellets. Also with the 397 22 cal it lists 800 fps with alloy pellets and 685 fps with lead pellets.


  22. Hi BB,
    This is a little of topic with the “new’ Benji rifle…but still a topic in the Blog:
    -what has become of your review and testing the AV-46M ? Have not heard anything from you since Part. 3 of Dec. 31, 2020.

  23. BB,
    thank you for the reply. Sorry, didn’t catch that when I last read the Part 3 report. Did notice that you had gotten tired cocking and repetitive shooting so your accuracy had gotten compromised. You seem to wished for some type of ‘rest’ to use when next testing with other pellets and that you’d come back. Wasn’t pressing..but mostly curious for the delay. Actually was wondering if by any chance you had been reading on the GTA Forum of some registered AV-46M owners getting a RECALL letter from Air Venturi ? Some owner’s were very dissatisfied with the poor performance of the pistol to the point of returning the pistol to PY-A. From the many posts a lot had to do with poor QC…pellets staying stuck in the breech (!!)…etc. These complaints seemed to be from early build date serial numbers such as: 000xx for example.
    Until you’ve completed your full review I have deferred purchasing the AV-46M even if they are now in stock from 2 reputable canadian airgun on-line retailers With the currency exchange rate from US to CAD $ this match target pistol with taxes and shipping costs well over the equivalent of 10X a Benjamin Franklin note. FYI.

  24. Just bought one second hand with woodstock and in great condition for 75euro.not a bad deal becaurse new they where sold here for 279 in the netherlands

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