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Benjamin 397 – Part 8

397 with new stock
Benjamin 397 with my new curly maple stock.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

This report covers:

  • Oh, Oh!
  • Missing a screw
  • Where’s my screw?
  • The mount
  • The Picatinny rail only fits one way
  • Now mount the scope
  • The whole package
  • Summary

Today I mount a scope on the Benjamin 397, preparing for another round of accuracy tests. Let’s get started.

Oh, Oh!

I don’t like it when a report begins with an oh, oh — do you? But today there was an oh, oh, and I decided to make some lemonade.  Let’s see what happened.

Missing a screw

It’s been said of me more than once that I was missing a screw, but this time it turned out to be the Air Venturi Intermount kit that I was using to mount a scope to my 397 — the one with the pretty wood. I purchased the 397 from Pyramyd Air because I spent some money having reader Vana2 (Hank from Canada) make me that drop-dead gorgeous curly maple buttstock and forearm for it. 

I hoped that a UTG scope ring screw would fit the intermount with the missing screw, but UTG screws are metric and slightly too small. But good old AirForce Airguns uses ‘Mercan-sized fasteners, and a cap screw from their adjustable mount fit this intermount well. It’s not a perfect fit, but the Picatinny rail base is tight and that’s all I care about for now.

Where’s my screw?

Except, since I paid full retail for the 397 I also paid full price for the Intermount. And I’m glad I did because now I had a chance to test Pyramyd Air’s customer support.

A person named Crissy helped me out on a chat line, and once we established what had happened she sent me a new intermount. They don’t stock spare screws for those sorts of things because that might enlarge their inventory ten times (to inventory every size, thread count and length for just all the scope mounts, plus all the other little bits and pieces). I understand, but it still irritates me that it costs them so much for one screw. If I discover the screw size I might order several and return the extra mount to them complete. But for now, I have several blogs to write. I’ll start with the screw from the AirForce mount and swap it out when the other intermount arrives.

By the way, until the very end Crissy didn’t know who I was and even then I don’t think she knew that I write this blog.

The bottom line is — I was very satisfied with Pyramyd Air’s customer support. It solved my problem. And I went about it in this way instead of just contacting some folks at PA that I normally deal with because:

1. The intermount is mine, and 
2. I wanted to see customer support for myself.

I can tell you this — if Harley Davidson had a customer support group as good as Pyramyd’s, they might sell a lot more motorcycles.

The mount

The intermount comes in two parts, comprised of five pieces. There are two bases that attach to the receiver of the Benjamin rifle, and a Picatinny rail that’s held on by two screws.

397 intermount bases
The bases clamp to the round receiver of the Benjamin 397. Note the distance these bases are apart. The screw holes mean they must always be this far apart.

The bases attach by clamping tight onto the receiver. Now, right there is a potential problem. The receiver is soldered to the lower tube just like the barrel. If the clamp legs extend too deep into the solder joint they will pry the receiver away from the lower tube. This is the same reason that you never, never attempt to remove the rear sight. It’s clamped tight to the barrel, and prying one of the legs open far enough to remove it has been known to break the solder joint more than once.

397 intermount base detail
On close examination the intermount base doesn’t seem to be pushing against the solder, but I guess only time will tell for certain. 

Build a Custom Airgun

The Picatinny rail only fits one way

The Picatinny rail has two screw holes for the screws that hold it in position. Both bases have to either mount to the rear of the 397’s receiver or one base mounts forward of the loading port. Though the rail is longer than where the screw holes are, the screw holes determine where the bases must be.

397 intermount rail
The two holes in the intermount rail determine that the rail must be attached like this.

Now mount the scope

After the intermount rail is tight it’s time to mount the scope. I have thought long and hard about this and only one scope seemed right for the 397 — the shortest, smallest scope I own. Fortunately for me, it now comes with variable power of 3-12. Of course I’m talking about the Bug Buster 3-12X32.

Now Bug Busters don’t give you much leeway where they can be mounted. Their short tubes dictate where they have to go, just like the intermount screw holes dictate where they must go within a few fractions of an inch. Fortunately it all works on my 397.

397 scoped right
The Bug Buster fits on the intermount right where I want it.

397 scoped left
Here’s a look at the other side.

The whole package

This little scope and rifle compliment each other perfectly. Although I don’t like scopes on multi-pumps, this new 397 pumps easy enough that I can hold it back by the pistol grip with my other hand while I’m pumping. I have pumped it five strokes with no problem.

397 scoped
A Bug Buster makes a nice little scope for the 397.

Summary

Of course the test is to shoot it for accuracy and that happens next time. I’ll skip 10 meters and go straight to 25 yards, now that I know the best pellet to shoot. After reading my earlier reports I see that seeing the sights was a problem for me. Perhaps a scope will clear things up.

38 thoughts on “Benjamin 397 – Part 8”

      • Hank,
        The stock is beautiful, My wife’s custom ($$$) Pennsylvania long rifle has a lovely curly maple stock and your’s looks just as nice. Maybe Boyd’s could make laminated drop in stocks of your design if they think there’s enough demand? Their discovery and marauder stocks are quite nice.

        • Thanks Piper!

          Curly maple is a beautiful wood and nice to work but I have to admit that buckthorn is my favorite.

          Though I did take some artistic license, 397 stock is based on the original synthetic stock with the comb line lowered. I can hardly claim that it is my design. 🙂

          I would guess that there is a market for 397/392 stocks as the one that comes with the rifle is (totally) unsuitable for use with iron sights.

          Hank

  1. B.B.,

    The height of the Bug Buster in the Air Venturi Intermount on the 397 suggests to me you may have swap out the wood stock back to the synthetic stock to get a proper cheekweld.

    Siraniko

  2. BB

    I too can echo your PA chat excellent customer service comments. In fact I said so awhile back (Ataman P16 “golden gun”). I can’t say that about the PA email barrage. Just me, maybe others like them.

    I’m anxiously waiting to see what this rifle can do at 25 yards.

    Deck

    • Deck,

      I could do without the email barrage myself. It actually discourages me from doing business with them. Someone needs to have a talk with their marketeers.

      Customer service? Six stars!

      Speaking of email, I still do not get notifications when someone responds to my meanderings.

  3. BB,

    “This little scope and rifle compliment each other perfectly.” I dunno, just look how high that Bug Buster is mounted. I imagine you’d be lucky to get a chinweld, nevermind a cheekweld.

    Also, can you obtain proper eye relief with that set-up? I bought a Bug Buster 3-9×32 some years ago to put on my Savage Mark ii FV-SR. The Picatinny rail on that rifle is so far forward on the receiver that it was impossible to get a proper eye relief distance with the Bug Buster. The FV-SR stock has a very low comb also, which means fitting a cheek riser is a must for a consistent cheekweld.

    I put the Bug Buster on my HW30s for a while, but it didn’t look right to me on a traditional springer. It looks great on the Baikal MP61 though, but makes that light springer very top heavy and prone to toppling over to the side when bench mounted. My kids much prefer to shoot the MP61 with a red dot sight anyway, so the Bug Buster 3-9×32 gets very little use in our household.

    How is the spacing of the reticule dots/stadia on the 3-12×32, by the way? They are spaced so far apart on the 3-9×32 as to be practically useless.

    • Bob,

      I have a fat face that fits well. I guess other folks might have a problem.

      The eye relief is perfect, though I do wish they would make a Bug Buster with twice the relief.

      BB

      • B.B.
        That brings up something I have wondered about for years but never remembered to look into it. How is the eye relief on a scope determined or established? Is the length of the scope part of the variable? Or, perhaps, is it the diameter of the lens (is lenses a word)?
        I don’t know if this would make a report or even where else to look,, so I thought I’d throw it at you and see if it stuck.
        Ed

        • Ed,

          It’s a formula of the lenses. When they magnify at their greatest width of light, that’s the close distance of eye relief. You can see the entire image in the scope. When the image starts to dissipate again, it’s the end of the eye relief.

          BB

          • Thank you Shootski. good article, but still, it is only telling me the results, which are field of view and eye relief are related. It still didn’t tell me why. B.B. mentioned a formula of the lenses, but basically, does that mean that the lenses are larger, smaller, ground differently, farther or nearer each other?

            Perhaps I am just dense, but maybe one of you could recommend a site that could give me the formulae and maybe then I could get it through the thicker parts of my skull.
            Ed

        • Ed,
          Ran out of Reply Tread…really hatet this improvement!
          You are not thick! This is a science. You asked, “…but basically, does that mean that the lenses are larger, smaller, ground differently, farther or nearer each other?”

          Yes, but unfortunately it is all or some of those things in combination which is why it is so hard to get our heads around. The curviture of the lens grind along with the distances between lens groups; Objective, focus tube, and Ocular are the big factors in how the rays of light get to your eye (yet another lens) and finally to the retina where the nerves take over and send it to your brain. The following links diagrams may help you a little

          https://www.longrangeshooting.org/articles/scope-internal-anatomy

          At what angle to each other those rays of light come out of the Ocular lens to you eves lense determines the distance (eye relief) to your retina. On a fixed magnification it is always the same distance. On a Variable power scope moving that focus tube (misnamed the erector zoom tube because it flips the image right side up) but the main job is to change magnification.

          Keep asking questions if this is still only as clear as a cheap scope.

          shootski

          • Shootski
            Another great article and I learned a few things, unfortunately, not anything about eye relief. Undoubtedly, there is some relationship between the lenses in a scope and the one in our eye that have to be taken into account in order to change the eye relief of a particular scope. I just haven’t been able to find out what it is, yet.
            Since it is possible to make that change between rifle, “scout” and pistol scopes, there must be a reasonable description of what is done to change it. We are all aware of the differences that result,, but I would really like to know how those differences come about.
            I wlll keep looking, and if I find anything, I will be sure to pass it along. I hope you will, as well.
            Ed

          • Shootski
            That first article was very enlightening. So much so that I saved it for future reference, The second would likely have led to a pretty good one, too, were it not for the $35 they wanted to read it.

            By making a great many inferences, many that may not be correct, I felt that the “secret” to increasing eye relief would come from increasing the diameter go the ocular lenses,, the “eyepiece”. I doubt it could be that simple, could it? I don’t know if pistol scopes and scout scopes have a larger lense in that position, nor even if they tell you that in their respective specifications. More homework, I suppose.

            I truly appreciate your efforts, in my behalf, toward finding this answer. They have already borne fruit by answering questions I hadn’t thought to ask.

            Ed

        • Ed,

          One final try for that formula:

          THE “EXIT PUPIL”
          Scopes concentrate the light gathered by the objective into a beam, the “exit pupil,” whose diameter is the objective diameter divided by the magnifying power. That is the way to determine the Exit Pupil diameter which is what (the picture) your eye sees coming out of the Ocular Lens. Look at the diagram in the ‘Exit Pupil’ section in this LINK: https://www.longrangeshooting.org/articles/understanding-the-scope
          It still doesn’t give the actual formula for the curviture of the lenses and the distances that determine how far from your eye it will be but the Optical guys are in full control when they dig our scopes…i’m certain they had cost limitations forced on them by weight (bigger lenses are a lot heavier) the bean counters because they cost more!

          I think I posted this before but if you shine a bright light in your scopes Objective lense you will see the exit pupil size like a pencil beam of light.

          shootski

          • Shootski
            The article you linked yesterday had most of the same info. The exit pupil is directly related to ocular lens diameter and does get smaller with higher magnifications. But, then, so it is with the pistol and scout scopes.

            It will likely take a diagram showing the interior of the eye to really get the picture, I guess. The previous article did mention that the range of eye relief ,, not the eye relief itself which is a given distance,, is a function of the “aberrations” in the lenses. Still, there must be some simple explanation of how one goes about extending the eye relief without going into the actual formula for doing so.

            I will continue to look for such an explanation, but with my ever aging mind being so easily distracted, these searches are likely to be few and far between.

            I thank you, again, Shootski, for your help and forbearance.
            Ed

  4. BB,
    If there was another hole in the scope base, it could also be mounted rearward and a diopter style sight would work too. Maybe Vana2 could do his magic on the 807? Not that there’s anything wrong with it in the like new condition it seems to be in. Auction that one off pretty quick too. Cock, load, shoot;)
    Rob

  5. BB,

    Could that Pic rail be turned around so the long part faces the butt of the gun? I could see it providing a better chance of getting the ocular closer to the eye, if one required it. I also see that some of the extra rail might need to be cut off to avoid interference with the bolt. Would it interfere if left uncut?

    You could have found out about PA’s customer service by asking anyone reading this blog. I don’t remember ever reading of a bad experience with them. I know they have always gone above and beyond what was required for me.

    Half

  6. Customer service…a lot of companies pay lip service to it, but what they really mean is “serving the best interests and the bottom line of the company at all costs.”

    Having said that, PA treated me well on purchases, and another airgun supplier in the Grand Canyon State served FM nicely on purchases and in replacing a lost front globe sight. Good service wins and keeps customers to ensure an enterprise stays in business.

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