Benjamin Marauder Semi-Auto (SAM) PCP Air Rifle: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • Important announcement
  • Back with the Benjamin SAM
  • Pulled the baffles
  • Loading single shot
  • The test
  • Crosman Premiers
  • JSB Exact Jumbo RS
  • Air Arms 16-grain domes
  • Discussion
  • UTG scope was a huge benefit!
  • Summary

Important announcement

Pyramyd Air will be redoing the website and the blog design next week. The anticipated cutover date is Wednesday evening, 1/27/21. Therefore my last blog posting before the new site goes live next Thursday will be this Friday, 1/22/21. There is a possibility that the blog will also be dark on Thursday, 1/28/21.

Nobody likes missing the blog for several days, but I will use the time to get several things done that take a lot of time. Please bear with us as we make this transition. I will remind you of this tomorrow and Friday, too. Now on to today’s report.

Back with the Benjamin SAM

Okay, we’re back at it with the Benjamin Semiautomatic Marauder again today! Today will be a quicky but also an important-y. Brilliant reader, Kevin, reminded me of how I could bypass the SAM magazine by loading singly and see what the rifle was really doing. Reader GunFun1 said his SAM was shooting way better than what I showed you in Part 4. So — today is the day we find out for sure!

Pulled the baffles

Reader RidgeRunner advised me to pull all the baffles first, to verify that none of them was being hit by a pellet. I pulled all seven of them and the large holes through each one are clearly not being touched by pellets. We can rule out the baffles as a problem that causes inaccuracy. That leaves either the barrel or the magazine. Given that this is a semiauto, I suspect the magazine. Loading each pellet singly will make the determination.

Loading single shot

Because of the narrow SAM receiver slot that’s cut for the magazine, loading pellets single shot is not straightforward. At least it wasn’t for me. I tried needle-nosed pliers with a long thin nose, but what worked best was a hemostat — long thin clamping pliers used by surgeons. I didn’t clamp them. I only held onto each pellet loosely until the bolt pushed the pellet into the rifle’s chamber.

The test

I tried to repeat the first accuracy test from 25 yards exactly. The rifle was rested directly on a sandbag at 25 yards and the pellets were loaded singly. I positioned a light to shine on the breech so I could see to load the pellets. Care was taken not to damage them in any way. I did not adjust the scope for this test, but I will have more to say about the scope in a bit.

Crosman Premiers

In the first test that is covered in Part 4 I sighted-in with Crosman Premiers and also shot the smallest group of 10 with them. It measured 0.454-inches between centers.

Loading singly this time 10 Crosman Premiers went into 0.349-inches between centers at 25 yards. That’s enough better than the first test to be significant. The point of impact shifted over to the right but remained just as high as it was in the last test.

SAM single Premier group
When loaded singly the SAM put 10 Crosman Premier pellets into 0.349-inches at 25 yards.

JSB Exact Jumbo RS

Next up were ten JSB Exact Jumbo RS pellets. In the first test the SAM put ten of them into 0.521-inches at 25 yards.

In today’s test by loading singly the SAM put ten JSB RS pellets into 0.431-inches at 25 yards. That’s quite a bit better than the last test. As before, the point of impact also shifted to the right just a little.

SAM single RS group
Ten JSB Exact Jumbo RS pellets went into this “Mickey Mouse” group at 25 yards. It measures 0.431-inches between centers.

Air Arms 16-grain domes

The final pellet I tested is the one I was most interested in. In Part 4 the Air Arms 16-grain dome scattered all over the paper at 25 yards. The 10-shot group measured 1.159-inches. Would loading singly help this pellet?

Well, it did help! This time ten of the singly-loaded Air Arms domes went into 0.46-inches at 25 yards. It is the largest group of today’s test, but it’s almost the same size as the smallest group in Part 4 when the magazine was used! I find that fascinating!

SAM single Air Arms group
When loaded into the SAM one at a time, ten of the Air Arms 16-grain domes went into a group measuring 0.46-inches between centers at 25 yards.

Discussion

It should be clear to everyone that the SAM magazine is the reason the first accuracy test didn’t do so well. This is not my air rifle so I can’t modify the magazine the way reader GunFun1 told us about, but if I could I would. The SAM feeds reliably enough, though when I load it singly there is a slight problem. Longer, fatter pellets do not seat into the breech deeply enough to clear the air transfer port in the breech. That’s why I didn’t shoot a test group of Beeman Kodiaks. I shot four and had trouble getting them past the air transfer port unless I let the bolt slam on them. That seemed to open the group, so I stopped the test.

I will also point out that today the SAM is not very picky about the pellets it likes. That means we can rule out the barrel as a potential problem.

UTG scope was a huge benefit!

I told you that I mounted the UTG 4-14X44 SWAT scope on the SAM for Part 4. Well, that illuminated etched-glass reticle is worth the price of the scope! It made seeing the crosshairs so easy against the black bullseye!

Summary

This SAM is very accurate and today’s test proves it. The magazine may need a period of prolonged break-in. Or GunFun1’s modifications might do the trick.

I will shoot the SAM at 50 yards. Because of what we have seen today I will also load singly for that test. If I owned the rifle I would modify the magazine, but I will be sending it back and the mag has to remain as it came to me.

58 thoughts on “Benjamin Marauder Semi-Auto (SAM) PCP Air Rifle: Part 5


  1. BB
    I hope they get the website up and running fast.

    And did you see if a regular Marauder single shot tray would work. I don’t have one or I would try. I’m pretty sure it would. I have a .177 caliber single shot tray and it slips in but the bigger diameter .22 bolt won’t slide closed because of the smaller .177 cut out on the tray.

    The .22 single shot tray might make things easier next time you shoot the 50 yard groups plus then readers will know thats another option for the SAM if they want to shoot single shot for some reason. Of course I would not do that. The whole reason I got the SAM is because its semi auto. 🙂



      • Don
        That single shot tray I was just talking to BB about is from my Gauntlet. And I have a Marauder single shot tray also. But I tryed both trays on my Gauntlet with the same results.

        What difference did you see between the two different brand trays since you said the Gauntlet tray worked better.


        • GF1,

          Both of my Marauder single shot trays fit too loose and did not stay in place. It was actually easier to load a single pellet without the tray.. The Gauntlet trays fit snug, did not move and worked fine.


          • Don
            Ok. Both my Gauntlet and Marauder tray fit the Gauntlet pretty well just right. I don’t have a Marauder right now but I always used the single shot trays in my Marauders. From what I remember they all fit fine. Heck I had like four gen1 and four gen2 Marauders and the trays fit nice.

            You know how all that goes though. You know how tolerance stacking and so on can make a difference.


  2. B.B.,

    Don’t you have an extra .22 Marauder magazine lying around that you can modify?

    Regarding the temporary hiatus of the blog. Maybe we can continue the commenting on your Facebook page. Just provide a posting to the latest blog. That would exclude some (or a lot) of the other commenters though.

    Siraniko



      • BB,

        I was never on it, or Twitter for that matter. Good for you.

        It is amazing the # of business’s that rely on that type of social media as a huge part of their business model.

        I will be out a bit a today. Shopping and other errands,.. and oh,… something about getting reprogrammed. 😉

        Chris


      • B.B.,

        It was just a thought. I have limited myself to ten minutes at a time at the end of the day, of ever, just to see if there is any contact from friends. Not my source for news. They collect too much information and provide nothing much in return.

        Siraniko


      • B.B.,

        I’ve,never been on face book or twitter or any other social media, except for this blog. 20 years ago I posted comments on a guitar-themed blog/bulletin board, and even became good internet friends with very famous people, but that shut down many years ago).

        So this is it for me. I hope I can survive the brief hiatus! 🙂

        Michael



      • I also don’t have a Facebook account. I know that sharing meaningless and often private matters with the world means a lot to some people but I can’t fully understand it.
        Henry


      • B.B. and Readership,

        Social Media is a tool, nay weapon, of which the CANCEL CULTURE has made very effective use. It has even reared its head on a number of occasions right here on this blog about airguns and other humble things.

        shootski


        • Shootski and readership,

          Ok,…. (IF) elections can be controlled and any opposition voice can be silenced,.. what is the fix going forwards? Steamrolled is the only thing that comes to mind at the moment. I have seen the videos and 1000’s of hours of everyday citizen witness testimony,… to no avail.

          That is what I want,… a path forwards.

          Please impart your wisdom upon us.

          Chris


          • Chris USA,

            It will take a grassroots effort. The Left (Progressives and other elements) have used the rulebook of local civil organization. They have run for the School Boards, local and State office. They have done the election volunteering and worked their way into legislators, governors and other staff jobs. They have filled the jobs in K-12, Higher Education and the unions that come with those jobs. They have overrun the controlling positions of Hollywood, Broadway, the Mainstream Media and send great quantities of money to organizations that do their bidding.

            The only way is to take back the PEACEFUL CIVIC Leadership roll that had been effectively organized by Conservatives in their Clubs, Fraternal Organizations, Places of Worship.

            Conservatives have been asleep at the switch since at least the turmoil of the Vietnam Police Action. They accepted the title Silent Majority ’till they were no longer the apparent Majority.

            See if that fits!

            shootski


            • Shootski,

              Not a quick fix,… but a fix none the less. Well said. Very sad that it got to this point.

              (Thank you) for your perspective. It “fits” for me until someone comes up with something better.

              Chris


            • Shootski,

              Plan B (which should have been plan A),… start at the bottom and work your way (up) the ladder for anyone/entity that engaged in such fraudulent activity. No lack of places to start. Hang em’ out to dry for all to see. Nothing happens?,… to anyone/at any level,.. we are finished.

              Vietnam era? So it took 60 years to get here,.. and will take what to get back? I am not sure that there even is a “back” anymore.

              Just some more random,… futile thoughts.

              Still hanging in there,…. Chris

              I noted the double spacing in the 1st paragraph. An interesting way to write.



      • B.B.,

        Will pellets, softer than the CP, perform better than the CP when using an easily modified magazine?
        In part 1 of the Marauder SAM review, you had a picture of a SAM magazine along side a standard Marauder .22 cal magazine. Maybe you could modify that standard mag or get another SAM magazine to modify.
        Although single shot loading of the SAM is interesting, it seems more likely that a SAM shooter would use a magazine. – Don


        • Don,

          There may be pellets I haven’t tested that do better than Premiers, but I don’t think the magazine is going to improve any pellet’s chances. I ordered special tweezers just to load the rifle for the 50-yard test.

          I will try still other pellets at 50 yards.

          BB


  3. BB
    Just thought of this.

    I guess we won’t be able to order anything from the PA site while the change over takes place. Is that correct?

    And I have a bunch of links bookmarked like pellets and scopes and scope rings for when I want to order. So I wonder if the links will cross over to the new site or will I have to look through the site resave everything.

    I hope not. That’s like getting a new phone and having to transfer stuff to the new phone. I definitely don’t like doing that. I hope all this is easy after they are done.


  4. BB,

    Most interesting. I was wondering how much trouble the transfer port was going to be.

    As GF1 suggests, see if you have a single shot tray laying around somewhere or as Siraniko suggested, modify a regular Marauder magazine for it.

    A magazine can cause a lot of issues with a firearm. I am certain they do also with airguns, but you do not “hear” much about that. Most being plastic, they likely “wear” in after a bit, or in ignorance the shooter accepts the accuracy issues as normal until everything “settles in” or they become “more accustomed” to shooting it or the barrel becomes more “seasoned” or “polished”.

    I have often wondered about possible issues caused by the design and operation of the Marauder style magazine, most especially with thin skirted pellets possibly being deformed by the magazine. I personally like many of the magazines/clips in many of the European airguns. They are more expensive, but how many do you really need?


  5. BB,

    I am glad that it did better with the single loading. As for the forceps,.. there is hobby tweezers that clamp when you let go of them. The blades cross. They work great and would only put very light pressure on the pellet. Mine are the ones with about a 45 degree bend in the tips,.. starting at about 1/2″ back. 4 3/4″ long. I highly recommend them.

    I picked mine up at a hobby store that has since closed. Around $5 as I recall.

    Pellets (longer) not getting pushed fully past the transfer port is a bit disturbing. IN FACT,… I am not sure I understand that. Regardless of pellet length,… the (rear) of the pellet should land at the same spot every time,.. with any excess length being forwards. Can you clarify?

    Looking forwards to the 50 yard testing.

    Chris


    • I second Chris’s suggestion for tweezers. Saves so much fumbling. When searching online, you will find them under reverse or reverse action, cross lock or self closing tweezers. I like 4-1/2” to 6” lengths.


    • Chris,

      Okay, I just spent a LOT of time searching these tweezers out on the web. They are called “cross-action tweezers” or “X-action tweezers” for anyone who wants them. I just bought several for my toolkit.

      Thanks for the suggestion. I didn’t know they existed.

      BB


      • BB,

        Sorry that you had to spend a “LOT” of time searching. 😉 I forgot what the proper name(s) of them were.

        You will love them. With the exception of pulling something,.. like a splinter or something,… they are the only tweezers I use.

        Chris



          • Okay, I never had a BB gun or air rifle in my youth. On the farm I learned to shoot firearms. Used them most of my life. A few years back I picked up an air rifle and some pellets. Those little .177 pellets are tiny and I knew I’d just be fumbling them. I got in the tool box and pulled out the long tweezers I use for springs, tiny screws, etc. Worked great. I assumed every body used them. Evidently not. I now understand the online comments when people say they have trouble loading air guns. You have opened my eyes.


  6. Speaking of new websites, has anyone seen the new Crosman site? It’s full of catch phrases and marketing speak with no real content change. I realize marketing is part of business, but something tells me I better that custom shop 2400 I’ve been wanting before it doesn’t exist anymore.



      • BB,

        I sure hope we get to hear about new 2021 products soon.

        Seems like a banner year for the airgun and firearms industry. But with shows being cancelled (SHOT, Texas Airgun, etc) due to covid, I feel like we have less info than usual.

        Really hoping we can hear where Diana is with that M1 Garand…

        StarboardRower



  7. BB
    Not sure what you think is happening with long pellets. But if you haven’t noticed yet the bolt on the SAM is hollow and it has a pretty big hole in the bottom of it that allows air from the transfer port to pass through the bolt to the back of the pellet.

    So I’m not sure what you mean by a long pellet is not being seated deep enough to clear the transfer port. If that was the case that means the bolt wasn’t closed all the way.

    And here is what the bolt assist is all about I found out. The bolt assist will actually push the pellet in the barrel if it doesn’t load all the way. So you (don’t) need to let the bolt handle snap closed.

    Explain more of what you seen so I can understand what you believe is going on.

    And BB are you really sure the accuracy came 100% from single shot loading the pellets? You did mention the scope change helped you see the cross hair better on the target. I would say that some percent of the improvement was from seeing the target better with the different scope.


    • GF1,

      I was not aware that the air passed [through the probe],… (to the back of the pellet). Still,…that does not make sense that a longer pellet/slug would be affected. I can see the “bolt assist” not being forwards all of the way being an issue,… if it works the way you say it does.

      Chris


      • Chris
        With a longer pellet the head of the pellet will be deeper in the bore of the barrel and the skirt should still stop at the location that the face of the bolt stops at.

        So a shorter pellet will still stop at the same location but the head of the pellet won’t be as deep in the barrel bore. So not sure where BB is going with the longer pellet issue he’s talking about.


    • Gunfun1,

      Is there really nothing that is new in the Universe!
      Back in the final decade of the last Millennium those of us who Moded 22XX used hollow bolt probes (or extended and thinned and lengthened bolt probes to get pellets past the TP (Transfer Port) or to get the gas flow smoother behind the pellet. I know that Dennis Quackenbush was an adherent to the U shaped slot timed to not cover the TP when the bolt closed and also the hollow bolt face. It worked great unless the pellet had a very thin skirt or the pellet got cockeyed in the breech/bore.

      So my question to you is: For a magazine loaded repeater does the hollow bolt face enter the magazine pushing the pellet into the Leade/barrel bore? Once it does that pellet push does the bolt stay in that position (through the magazine) until the shot is taken?

      Wish there was a drawing of that whole loading mechanism or better still an engineering Cutaway of the dang thing! That sounds like a pasel of stuff going on in there… not to forget the action of the Forward Assist.

      shootski


      • Shootski
        I have a probe in my 1377 that I thinned years ago.

        No new trick but glad Crosman did the hollow bolt in the SAM.

        Yep the bolt stays in the bore until the gun is fired. Then the bolt backs up to allow the next pellet to index in place in the mag.


        • Gunfun1,

          Thanks for that information! Now I will be able to sleep tonight…LOL!
          Got to see the Inauguration fireworks display tonight a little before 2000 (1000pm EST) LOTS of Red White (a few Green) and Blue.
          Got to get up early and make the trip to Walter Reed to do some volunteer work so I’m glad I’ll be able to sleep soundly.

          Thanks again for the description of the bolt action,

          shootski


  8. BB

    One of these “Pellet Holders” might be of help, they only take a minute to make.

    I use a narrow rubber band and a small straw for diablos and a wide rubber band and larger straw for holding slugs.

    The fit of the rubber band to the straw and the length of the straw determines the friction and how well (tightly) the pellet is held.

    These also work well for holding small parts and items (I use them to hold the glass beads when making “spinner rigs” for fishing), looping the other end of the rubber band around some object will hold the item and free up both hands to work with it.

    Hank



      • BB,

        The one in the picture is just small diameter straw (cut in half) that you can get at the grocery store or $ store.

        Straws come in different sizes so to get a variety I make a habit of picking up a few extra straws when ever I get a beverage at a restaurant or ice cream parlor.

        Coffee stir sticks could work – any tube of the correct diameter (relative to the elastic and the item to be held) can be used. I have a piece of copper pipe and a 1/2″ wide “hockey elastic” in my tool box that I use to hold nuts in position while I am (struggling) to assemble things.

        Hank


    • Vana2,

      Hank I thought everyone knew about tools like yours!
      It might be a great blog topic on best improvised tools and Jigs! I remember when I got my first 500 Marauder and folks complained about bore cleaning because of the baffled tube. When I posted that the .22 fit a standard straw and small hobby Brass/Steel tubes that fit .177 could be had to guide patches/Jags past the baffles it was like I had revealed the most SECRET of secrets of secret societies. Now say that FAST three times, LOL!

      You have just done the same Hank! ;^)

      shootski



  9. Could it be that pellets with long skirts cover the air transfer port because they are not pushed further into the barrel than shorter ones? Yes and No.
    I had to let my bolt snap shut a dozen times before it would completely seat in the barrel, without a pellet!
    It is tight, and pushing a long ‘big head?’ pellet might have introduced enough friction to prevent the bolt from fully entering the barrel resulting in a partially blocked air transfer port in the bottom of the bolt.
    The pellet may not block the air transfer port but may prevent the bolt from aligning with it properly.
    That air port in the bottom of the hollow bolt is close to the end of the bolt and may let some air escape into the magazine if it is not fully into the barrel resulting in a loss of air pressure behind the pellet?

    I’m going to guess that the air entering the hollow bolt not only propels the pellet but also blows the bolt back to cock the trigger and reload the next pellet.
    I think a little brake in would smooth things out some and pellet head size may play a part in smoother operation.
    Not only that, it looks like the bolt actually pushes on the pellet skirt unlike pointed ones that push on the back of the head. So skirt shape may contribute to smoother feeding and operating.
    My opinion
    Bob M


    • Bob
      The bolt in my SAM is silky smooth now. I imagine I have close to 2000 pellets through it. But I will say I can still feel the drag when the bolt goes past the o-ring in the barrel when I don’t have a mag loaded.

      So yep there is a break in period with the SAM.

      And the transfer port hole in the breech lines up with the hole in the bolt when its closed all the way. So the only way the pellet wouldn’t get full air would for sure be if the pellet didn’t load all the way to the spot where the bolt hole is lined up with the transfer port hole.

      And yep the transfer port air hitting the back of the pellet is what blows the bolt back.

      And what I have seen with other pcp semi auto guns I have had is the weight of the pellet and fit of the pellet made a lot of difference. Also fill pressure in the gun.

      That is something I have not seen with my SAM. I think the big thing is the regulator in the SAM keeps the air flow to the barrel more consistent.

      But yep saying it again. Definitely a break in period with the SAM. Everything does smooth out nice after a bit of time.


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