Benjamin Marauder Semi-Auto (SAM) PCP Air Rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Setup
  • Sight-in
  • Trigger
  • JSB Exact Jumbo RS
  • Shooting the SAM is fun!
  • Air Arms 16-grain domes
  • Premiers again
  • Beeman Kodiaks
  • Discussion
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the new Benjamin Marauder Semi-Auto (SAM) PCP air rifle. I’m sure GunFun1 will have lots to say about his SAM, too.

Setup

The SAM needs a scope so I looked around and found one that’s pretty much ideal. It’s a UTG 4-16X44 SWAT. Because it has an illuminated glass-etched reticle I was able to illumine just the crosshairs in the center and, because it’s a UTG, I didn’t have to settle for just green or red. I picked blue, so I can see it.

The scope was already mounted in 2-piece rings and since they are Weaver on the bottom I didn’t have to move them at all. That is one of the beauties of air rifles like the SAM that use the Mil Std 1913 Picatinney rail system. The slots on all guns are the same width apart, so a scope can hop from gun to gun without loosening the ring caps. The rear ring was also shimmed under the scope, so I had no worries about a drooping rifle when it came time to sight in.

I also raised the adjustable cheekpiece so my sighting eye was aligned with the scope. That adjustment works quite easily with a 2.5mm Allen wrench.

Sight-in

What’s the first pellet I will try in a Benjamin rifle? Why, a Crosman Premier, of course

I sighted-in at 12 feet, like I always do when a scope is mounted. The pellet hit below the aim point, which it should at 12 feet. It should strike as far below the aim point as the center of the bore is below the center of the scope sight line. At 12 feet the pellet hasn’t had time to rise up to the line of sight.

I saved the sight-in target so I could show you what I’m talking about. The first pellet hit about 1.5 inches below the aim point. Then I backed up to 25 yards without adjusting the scope and the SAM put the remaining nine pellets into a 0.585-inch group at 25 yards.

SAM sight-in
The first pellet from 12 feet struck below the target paper. The other nine hit higher and to the left of center. Nine shots are in 0.585-inches at 25 yards.

Following this sight-in group I adjusted the windage to the right five clicks.

Trigger

I will admit that the rifle fired before I was ready the first few times. However, because I knew to expect it, I was careful to hold the crosshair on the target all the time while squeezing the trigger. Eventually I got used to where the trigger broke and it wasn’t a surprise any longer.

JSB Exact Jumbo RS

I will come back to the Premier pellet for a second try, but the next pellet I tested was the JSB Exact Jumbo RS. This group moved a little to the right of center and all 10 pellets are in 0.521-inches at 25 yards.

SAM RS group
Here is the first 10-shot group. The SAM put 10 JSB Exact RS pellets in 0.521-inches at 25 yards. The smaller group below the main one holds three shots.

Shooting the SAM is fun!

I have to tell you there is a real urge to just pull that trigger as fast as I can! The SAM shoots as reliably as a Ruger 10-22 firearm. I bet GunFun1 has a lot to say about that! I wonder how the SAM would do in a Pyramyd Air Gunslynger match? Gunslynger is even a better name for this rifle.

Air Arms 16-grain domes

Now for the real surprise. And, by surprise I mean the real shocker! The 16-grain dome from Air Arms is often the most accurate pellet in a PCP. Well, not in this SAM, it isn’t! Talk about a pattern instead of a group! Ten pellets went into 1.159-inches at 25 yards. Maybe they were hitting a baffle in the shroud? I looked but couldn’t see any place that had been hit. It was the biggest group in the test.

SAM Air Arms group
Wow! The SAM I’m testing does not like Air Arms 16-grain domes! Ten went into 1.159-inches at 25 yards.

Premiers again

I felt I had to test Crosman Premiers a second time, now that I was on target at 25 yards. This time 10 shots went into 0.454-inches at 25 yards. The Premier is definitely a pellet the SAM likes.

SAM Premier group
The SAM put 10 Crosman Premiers into a 0.454-inch group at 25 yards.

Beeman Kodiaks

The last pellet I tried was the Beeman Kodiak that is no longer available, but is identical to the H&N Baracuda. Beeman never gave the head size of their pellets, but H&N does, so you have a choice. This is a much heavier pellet, so they dropped lower than the others I have tested. That’s another reason I left the target taped to the cardboard backer for the pictures.

Ten Kodiaks went into a 0.95-inch group. This is where a choice of head sizes would make for a more thorough test. Because, whatever these pellets are, the SAM doesn’t care for them.

SAM Kodiak group
The Beeman Kodiak pellets made a 0.95-inch group at 25 yards.

Discussion

First of all, the SAM fed all the rounds perfectly and without any hitch. Knowing that it is a semiautomatic is one reason why all the pellets tested were domes.

Next, the trigger does take some getting used to. But once you do it works just fine.

Finally, the SAM does seem a bit selective about the pellets that it likes. I wonder whether GunFun1 has noticed it? Just remember to always include Crosman Premiers, though, and you’ll have at least one pellet that works.

The UTG scope was a very good choice for the SAM. The lighted reticle made it easy to see the fine crosshair on the etched glass reticle.

Summary

Well, that’s the Benjamin SAM at 25 yards. It is a winner in all respects. It’s thrifty with air, very stable in velocity and today we learned that it is also accurate when the right pellets are selected. I guess the only thing left is to test it at 50 yards.

86 thoughts on “Benjamin Marauder Semi-Auto (SAM) PCP Air Rifle: Part 4


  1. B.B.,

    Just for the sake of completeness, can you kindly run those pellets through the PelletGage? That would probably give an answer as to why the SAM did not perform well with the Air Arms 16-grain domes compared to the other pellets. The SAM can accommodate a wide range of weights but the barrel, I think, may have something to say regarding the diameter.

    Siraniko



    • Yogi,

      Yeah, a semi-auto just begs for a larger magazine but on this rifle it might interfere with the scope and force the need for higher rings. Suspect that is the reason it is limited to 10 shots.

      The 50 shot belt sounds like a good idea πŸ™‚

      Hank


      • Hank
        Should go right in like the mag does now.

        They just need to hang it out th right side and down and add a coil spring and a pusher. It could be made to fit tight to the stock also.

        I bet if I had a 3D printer I could print up the plastic parts of a extended mag for the SAM or regular Marauders for that fact.


        • GF1

          Yeah, a 3D printer could be very useful to have in the workshop. They are definitely interesting – been looking at them for a while but think that the technology still needs a couple of years to settle down.

          IMHO, the FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) printers that use plastic filaments are great for static artistic stuff but the SLA (Stereolithography) units that work with UV cure resin are better for functional items. The UV resins are available in a wide variety of formulations (any where from soft and flexible to hard as ceramic) which makes them more suitable for engineering applications.

          Both FDM and SLA have their pros and cons so I am sitting on the fence watching the developments and biding my time.

          I might consider an inexpensive (sub $400) FDM printer to play around with once they are less finicky and fussy to setup, calibrate and work with – right now you are looking at at least $700 – $1000 for a decent (low stress) unit. Eventually I think I will get a SLA printer, still doing research on them.

          Hank



  2. BB,

    This would be a good way to get rid of a bunch of pellets. I could see where this would be fun for a little bit, but it would not take too long for me to get bored with it. The Texan is more my style.

    Now they are going to have to dress it up like the Armada. It will really sell then.


    • RR
      If I win the lottery I’ll buy you a SAM and a Air Ordinance SMG.

      And just take them out and shoot the next time you get bored doing something else.

      I’d rather be bored shooting them then be bored doing something else. πŸ˜‰





            • RR
              Ok now I know what one your talking about.

              I do not like that gun.

              First the mag is right by your ear. It has to be loud when the bolt cycles. Next the pellet dust has to get blown back at you when the bolt cycles since it’s so close to your face. Last the clip does not come out of the gun. You have to load it in the gun. And you can’t have extras loaded to change out fast. Plus what happens when that clip gets messed up some way. And another thing how would you clear a misfired pellet jam.

              You don’t have to worry about any of that with the SAM.

              But if that’s what5you really want. Ok I’ll get it for you when I win the lottery. And no joke. I will get it for you if I win. πŸ™‚



  3. BB
    Well I’m a bit surprised about your groups. I have tryed JSB 15.89, Crosman premier and Crosman premier hollow points. Then the AirArms 16 grain pellet. My gun and here is the surprise likes the AirArms 16 grain pellets the best and the premier hollow points next. I’m getting around a .300″ group at 25 yards and I’ll wait to tell you what mine gets at 50 yards after you test yours.

    And yes the SAM would be great for gunslingers. I find myself shooting tin cans mostly. I start at about 35 yards and have rolled cans out to 75 yards with it so far with ease.

    And one more thing. I showed those mags I modded for the SAM on the last report. If somebody doesn’t want to use the regular Marauder mags PA now has the SAM mags in stock.
    https://www.pyramydair.com/s/a/Benjamin_Marauder_Semi_Auto_SAM_Rifle_Magazine_22_Cal_10rds/9689


    • GF1,

      Yogi,.. jokingly mentioned a 50 round belt. I would bet that you could take one of the belts on the market and do just that. You could maybe modify an existing mag.,… or machine something. Maybe even better,… that is where the modern 3D printing could be a big help with prototypes. I have faith that you could do it if you really wanted to.

      Chris




        • Yogi,

          The biggest thing to overcome would how to feed the belt under tension. The SAM and M-rod mags are essentially wound up. That wind is good for 8-10 pellets. Also, GF1 added some tension on his mags that still permitted tension even when empty.

          The Sam bolt retracts and then re-enters the magazine. The cycling/feed of the belt would somehow have to pick up its signal to advance from that. Getting a belt there could be done pretty easy,.. as long as the probe would pass through.Getting the belt to feed is a bit tougher.

          Something like a box mag.,.. that plugged in from the side,.. with the belt coiled up inside,… and wound up like an old clock, would be the only/another way I would see it happening. That type of device would also not require the cycling of bolt to advance it.

          Or,… just buy a bunch of mags. πŸ˜‰ It would be fun though to run through an entire fill without reloading.

          Chris


          • Chris USA,

            When I go to the range and see PCP guys reloading their mags I think how boring is that!
            Also, it requires a bit of manual dexterity. Yes shooting 8,9, 10 pellets is rapid secession seems fun. Getting to that point seems to be a labor similar to cleaning a toilet bowl. lol.
            Plus, I think it would be an excellent marketing tool to help sell these not inexpensive airguns.

            -Y


            • Yogi
              That’s what is so cool about the SAM and other semi auto guns.

              You take a little break from shooting between mags reloading them. And the whole time your thinking man can’t wait to blast these cans again.

              Its a nice pattern I could repeat all day with a semi or full auto gun. You think the SAM is fun. You should shoot my full auto Air Ordinance SMG. That gun will shred a aluminum can at 25 yards with the belt loaded with 50 pellets quicker than I can say “these full auto guns are just way to much fun to shoot”. πŸ™‚



                • Yogi
                  Don’t know if it would shoot out the red star but I could keep trying all day and love every minute of it. πŸ™‚

                  And as far as the toilets go I bet you clean a pretty mean toilet. No need for me to compete nor would I ever think of it. πŸ˜‰


              • It would be awesome if Air Ordnance or another quality manufacturer would design and sell PCP replicas of historical auto β€œpellet propelling devices” in .22, such as the Thompson, MP-40, Stg-44, PpSh-41, Sten, AR-15 etc. Not going to hold my breath, but one can always dream. πŸ™‚ Mrs. FM might even get into that!


                • Fawlty
                  I agree. The Air Ordinance SMG is pretty close looking to a Tommy gun. But yep I would like to see happen what you said. And my wife and daughters like shooting my auto and semi auto airguns. But heck they like shooting the Bug A Salt too whenever a bug decides to show up. I think my wife likes to shoot. She doesn’t say it. But she sure jumps in and wants here turn if we are all out there shooting. πŸ™‚



      • Chris
        Already been thinking about a belt or something through a modded mag.

        Heres the problem.

        The pellet has to index to the barrel and stop at that exact location. Then when the trigger is pulled and the bolt cycles back the pellet needs to advance and stop again.

        Nothing on the SAM will index the next pellet. The spring loaded mag is the only way the pellet indexes. And the bolt stops the next pellet so it won’t index. That’s how the pellet is lined up in the mag for the next shot.

        What would be needed is a stick mag like what alot of semi auto bb pistols and air soft pistols use. You would pull the pusher back and and latch it on a little notch. Then load up the pellets and insert the mag in the SAM’s breech. Then release the pusher from the notch. Then you would have spring pressure on the pellets.

        The stick could have a gradual 90 degree curve so the mag would be sticking out the right side of the gun and pointed down in a vertical position.

        And heck you could make the mag hold 90 pellets and you would be able to shoot a full fill from 3000 psi down to 1500 psi at one time.

        Crosman should do that. It would6be simple for them to make once they got it drawn up and dimensions and such in place. Heck I would have no problem spending 50 bucks for a mag like that. Matter of fact I would buy a couple 90 round mags if they or somebody made them for the SAM.



      • BB
        Check but I’m going to say I dont think that’s a problem.

        When I took the baffles out of my SAM the inside hole the pellet goes through is way bigger than the pellet. I didn’t measure but I should of.

        When I got my gun the groups were a little erratic and inconsistent. I would get good groups then I wouldn’t. I olied the barrel with about 5 to 6 drops of light oil directly in the barrel and shot. And a note watch out when you do that because when the bolt cycles and blows back you will get a mist of oil spray back at you. I draped a paper towel over the mag till it stopped misting when I shot which was about 15 or so shots.

        My gun got better after that. But when I started getting good accuracy was after my mag mods I showed on the last report. The gun fell in place after that. I believe with my mod to the mags helps the pellet transition in the mag and from the mag to the barrel smoother.

        Just say’n what I seen so far with mine.



          • BB
            I’ll ask this first. Do you have a extra regular Marauder .22 mag laying around from all the Marauders you have tested.

            If so you can do the mod I showed and let us know if it was a pain to do or fairly easy.

            Or I can send you the mag I just did the mods to on your last report and see what it does for your SAM.

            And maybe the oil trick in the barrel might just make you want to keep the SAM. πŸ˜‰





                  • BB
                    Try Kevin’s idea of loading it single shot.

                    And here I go again. I’m going to bet a nickle that the single shot tray from a .22 regular Marauder will work in the SAM. You will just have to hold the bolt back when you put the pellet in the tray.

                    That will keep you from messing the pellet up when you try to load by hand or with tweezers or something.

                    And if you want if it’s still not accurate I will send you my modded mag if you want to try it.


          • B.B.,

            According to GF1, after his magazine modification was done it cured the inability for the magazine to index the last 3-4 pellets. Since no modification was made on the exit hole in the magazine I’m struggling to understand how this helped accuracy. My initial thoughts were that maybe pellets were being shaved because of a failure of the magazine to index fully to the bore. Maybe this is happening???!!

            One thing that could be tried is loading pellets one at a time without the magazine (single shot style) to confirm if the unmodified magazine is to blame.



            • Kevin
              That’s what I believe happened. The pellet not getting in place fast enough for the bolt when it cycles forward to load the pellet in the barrel.

              That’s what that 30Β° chamfer helped with. As the bolt is pulling back it allows the pellet to index into position sooner. And with that chamfer being done the pellet sets all the way in the mag. Before that mod some pellets were not seated all the way to the bottom of the mag housing when I was loading a pellet.

              I think I should send BB the mag I modded then we will know for sure.


      • BB,

        It should be easy to remove the baffles and inspect them. It could be the barrel needs cleaning. My Maximus came with a coating that I cleaned off this morning. I still have to pull the barrel and clean it.


        • RR
          From what I seen on the recent .177 Maximus I got and the SAM. It’s almost like a wax coating inside the barrel.

          That’s why I used the light oil. With the oil being blasted down the barrel and the pellet contacting the rifling it cleans that out.

          It for sure helped my SAM and Maximus.


          • I just cleaned my barrel. Eeewwww! I pulled some patches through with some Ballistol and then a whole bunch of dry patches. They were filthy for a while. Now I’m ready.






                    • RR
                      Simple.

                      Grab the front sight and rotate it clockwise and counterclockwise back and forth while pulling it off.

                      Should only take 3 or 4 back and forth rotations.

                      And don’t be afraid to put it to it a little bit. You won’t hurt anything.

                      Oh and while we are here. Tighten all your screws on the gun including the barrel band set screws and such.

                      They are never as tight as I think they should be.

                      I done my SAM when I got it too.


        • RR,

          Over at GTA, there was a thread going on how Hector Medina (sp?) runs in his barrels. Basically,… shoot 1 pellet, pull a patch,.. repeat like 50 times. Then every 5 and then every 10. Something like that. No paste or cleaner or anything. The theory is that the dirt/lead residue polishes the barrel,… not something else like a compound. He is well known and big time. He might know a thing or two.

          Just thought I would run it by you since you have a new gun. He said that once set up,.. the actual process is about a half hour spent. I never heard of it before,.. but sounds pretty good to me.

          Chris



  4. Looks like a keeper. Wish more of these PCPs came with fixed sights, for those like me who just want to do occasional “pesting” and under-50-yard target shooting/plinking, and don’t want to deal with scoping issues and cost. I guess part of it has to do with the bean counters, part with design features which may be incompatible with fixed sights, such as the shape and bulkiness of a moderator. But, what do I know? “I know NOZINK!” -Feldwebel Schultz


  5. BB, Try some swagged ammo in the Texan instead of cast. Probably need a nice big press and die set.
    Nice groups with the Crosman pellets. If I sorted the premiers with a gauge from JerryC, I think they would be as consistant as the HN FTT in the Prod. Loading mags, sorting ammo, cleaning toilet bowls and dealing with an excrable President.( Right up there with the cleaning of toilet bowls).
    R


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