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Education / Training Benjamin Marauder Semi-Auto (SAM) PCP Air Rifle: Part 6

Benjamin Marauder Semi-Auto (SAM) PCP Air Rifle: Part 6

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

This report covers:

  • The test
  • First group — JSB Exact RS
  • Air Arms 16-grain domes
  • H&N Baracuda 18
  • Crosman Premiers
  • Summary

Today I test the Benjamin Marauder Semi-Auto (SAM) air rifle at 50 yards. This test has been a long time coming, because Part 5 was written in January.

The test

I said in Part 5 that I was going to single-load the rifle. Well, that didn’t happen and it was intentional. Single-loading this rifle requires tweezers. I had a 10-15 mph headwind at the range with the gusts increasing as time passed and I had several tests to conduct, so time was of the essence. I used the 10-shot magazine for today’s test.

I knew the rifle wouldn’t be on target at 50 yards because it was sighted for 25 yards from the last time I shot it , so I shot the first group as a sighter, but I shot all 10 shots and it counts as a group. Remember how I praised the scope in Part 4? Well, at 50 yards that UTG Accushot SWAT 4-16X44 proved its worth. I was able to see the etched glass crosshair in the middle of the black 10-meter bullseyes I was shooting at. That reticle is thin but distinctive.

First group — JSB Exact RS

I started with the JSB Exact RS pellets because they did really well in past tests. I waited until the wind died down and fired shot one. The first pellet struck the paper 1.5 inches to the right and 2 inches below the aim point. But the wind was moving my shots around until I remembered something. Target shooters wait for a lull in the wind and then shoot several shots as fas as they can. Since this rifle is semiautomatic, I was able to do that easily. My last 6 shots went into one hole that measures  0.437-inches between centers. The whole group measures 1.275-inches between centers.

Marauder Semiauto JSB RS group 1
The first group of JSB Exact RS pellets went into 1.275-inches at 50 yards, with 6 of them shot during a lull in the wind going into 0.437-inches.

Marauder SemiautoBB shoots
I include this picture because a new reader asked me to show him how I shoot.

I adjusted the scope up and to the left after the first group.

Well, that was a pretty good start. Now that I knew what to do I figured I could just wait out the wind the second time and do better. But that didn’t happen. Though I did wait for lulls, the second group was larger and more open. Ten shots went into 1.928-inches at 50 yards. This time, even though I fired semiauto when there was no wind, I still got a lateral spread. I’m thinking there was wind down near the target that I wasn’t aware of.

Marauder Semiauto JSB RS group 2
Group two of the JSB Exact RS pellets wasn’t as good as the first group. Even though I waited out the wind, I got an open group with a lateral spread of 1.928-inches at 50 yards.

Air Arms 16-grain domes

Air Arms 16-grain domes had done poorly in the test when loaded into the magazine and very well when loaded singly — both at 25 yards. Unfortunately I looked at the single-shot group and therefore took them to the range to test. Wow — they were horrible! Ten shots landed in 3.864-inches at 50 yards!

Marauder Semiauto Air Arms group
Ten Air Arms 16-grain domes went into 3.864-inches at 50 yards — yuck!

Well, that was a waste of time. Next I tried that new pellet I’m starting to test.

H&N Baracuda 18

Ten H&N Baracuda 18 pellets made a 1.624-inch group at 50 yards. I was still waiting out the wind, but it was no longer dying out completely. Now this sounds like a larger group, but look at it, the Marauder Semi-Auto was trying to stack pellets. It was just fighting the wind. And the Baracuda 18 is turning out to be a very good pellet.

Marauder Semiauto Baracuda 18 group
Ten Baracuda 18s made a 1.624-inch group at 50 yards despite the growing wind.

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Crosman Premiers

The last pellet I tested was the Crosman Premier that did so well at 25 yards. But at 50 yards in the wind the SAM put 10 Premiers into a 4.849-inch group. It’s the largest of the test, though only because of a single pellet. The other nine are in 2.304-inches at 50 yards. That’s not a great group, but for this day its in the ballpark. That one pellet just didn’t want to stay with the others and I don’t know why.

Marauder Semiauto Premier group
The SAM put 10 Crosman Premiers in 4.849-inches at 50 yards, with 9 in 2.304-inches.

Well, that was the test. I also tested another rifle at 50 yards that you’ll be seeing later this week.

Summary

Was today’s test a good one? From the standpoint of the absolute best this SAM will do, then no — this wasn’t a good test. I already proved that the rifle does better when loaded singly in the 25-yard test in Part 5. However, this is a semiautomatic rifle, so single-loading defeats the whole purpose of the rifle.

Should I have tested in the wind? Again, no, but we have waited for 8 months to test this rifle at 50 yards and Texas is a windy state. I have gotten ready to go to the range many times only to be turned away by the wind. Arrrgh!

Am I going to test it again at 50 yards. No, once more. I think the group of JSB RS pellets at the start and the Baracuda 18s show that the SAM is an accurate rifle. In my opinion, though, a shooter trying to make small groups is better off with a single shot tray and shooting a standard bolt-action Marauder. The SAM is for hunters, which is where those extra shots come into play.

For the guy who wants to put a lot of pellets downrange in a hurry, the Benjamin Marauder Semi-Automatic is a good way to go.

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.

22 thoughts on “Benjamin Marauder Semi-Auto (SAM) PCP Air Rifle: Part 6”

  1. A guy at the range the other day was shooting his .25 FX at a 2 inch bell at 200 yards.
    Hit it 8 out of 10 tries. Long delay between the shoot fired and the bell ringing. The wind took a vacation that day.

    -Y

    • Yogi
      And I’m sure that wasn’t his first time out with that gun. I’m sure he has done alot of familiarizing his self with that gun.

      And in no way saying he isn’t getting those results. I know what one of my .25 Marauders would do. And definitely know what my.25 Condor SS will do.

  2. B.B.,

    I think the day of the all around rifle had passed. Each rifle now represents a certain niche it will fill and no matter what one does, unless it is done with great difficulty, no rifle will be able to perform well under all conditions. One can stretch the scope of what a rifle can do but some goals are just too far. Crosman seems to have winner here to satisfy the shooters that are transitioning from firearms to air rifles, as long as they can keep their manufacturing consistent.

    Siraniko

    • Siraniko,

      It has always been that way. I have killed a deer with a .22LR. I would not recommend that anyone should try that and I would definitely hesitate to do such again, but it has been done many, many times. My father killed a bear with a .22LR. I would very strongly recommend that no one ever, ever try that. I would not hunt squirrels with a .30-06.

      Firearms and air arms have always been designed to fill a certain niche. You can get a little crossover here and there, but only so much. Many of us Americans are spoiled rotten and get closets full of these things. Some of us even go so far as to argue that this one is for this niche and this one is for that niche. I have ended up with a whole lot more than I ever expected to.

      When someone goes to buy an airgun, a firearm or whatever, they should ask themselves “What am I going to do with this?” Maybe they already have something that fills that niche?

      • RidgeRunner and Siraniko, I tend to agree with you, in general. However, there is something to be said about starting out with a general purpose tool that can handle a variety of tasks well, especially for those with limited means. And then branching out in the specialty categories and niches as your interest dictate and funds permit. I would push back on Siraniko a bit to say that many airguns fit the bill as general purpose airguns: good for target practice, plinking, and hunting. A multi-pumper immediately comes to mind, and my Beeman R7 seems to fit in that category, as does a PCP that has adjustable power. Any of them could just as well punch holes in paper, kill feral soda cans, and ward of the starling, chipmunk, and squirrel hordes. In the powder-burner world, a 12 gauge pump shotgun with a set of choke tubes serves many useful purposes….

        Now, I have heard of the Inuits killing rather large game with the humble .22, but never anyone in the lower 48. Do tell us the story, if you like, of the deer and the bear. By the way, hunting deer or bear here in Penn’s Woods with a .22 would not be OK.

        • Roamin Greco,

          I do agree that the old airguns could do most if not all applications we used to do with airguns. These newfangled semi autos do make a new niche along with the plethora of other airguns that the new airgunners are now spoilt for choice as to what their new airgun is going to be for.

          Siraniko

        • Yes, the lowly .22LR is capable of taking large game, but unless you know what you are doing, I would not recommend it.

          When I was in my early teens, I took a doe at about 25 yards with a shot between her eye and the base of her ear. It had enough power to penetrate her skull and make a mess of her brain, killing her instantly. Shooting a deer anywhere else and at any greater range with a .22LR will likely only wound the poor animal. Despite what all of these Mattelomatic owners out there say, shot placement with these small calibers are still very important.

          As for the bear, my Dad was about twelve and out hunting with my Granddad when they came across a bear tearing a log apart for bugs. My Dad raised his semi .22LR, but my Granddad stopped him. He moved my Dad to beside a small Hemlock that was right beside a large hemlock and told him when he shot the bear to go up the small tree and over into the big tree. He also told him to wait until he was gone.

          My Dad waited a little bit and then took careful aim and shot. The bear shook his head and took a look around. As the bear started charging toward him, he climbed up the small hemlock and jumped into the large one. The bear came up and swatted the small tree out of his way and started to try to climb the large hemlock.

          My Dad repeatedly shot the bear between the eyes, but all that managed to do is knock him back for a moment and peel all of the hide off his skull. Finally he placed a shot into the bear’s eye and it entered the brain, killing the bear.

          Granddad had not gone far and he was not going to let the bear get to my Dad, but my Dad learned a very valuable lesson that day.

  3. When I was into firearms, if you wanted my attention you showed me a Martini-Henry, a Remington Rolling Block, a Sharps, a Trapdoor or even a Ruger Number One. I have owned semis, even a Mattelomatic for a short time. I have always thought semis were great for burning up ammo. I am not of the philosophy “Why do with one what you can do with thirty?”

    The SAM is not a Marauder. They should have called it something else, like the Rogue. Ah well, the marketeers convinced upper management that name recognition sells. The car companies have done it for years.

    Hey, “… for different folks”, right?

  4. RidgeRunner,

    I’m thinking that Crosman made a mistake and ran the Wildfire at a touch too high a pressure which caused its early demise. Learning from this they decided to make a proper semi auto PCP which resulted in today’s SAM. Yeah, the marketing group looks like it needs a kick either in the head or the seat of their pants too get their originality going. Anything but Marauder which gets some people’s hopes up. What’s wrong with using Predator?

    Siraniko

  5. Thanks for the report and the picture, B. B.!!! I learned a couple of things from it, as I was hoping!!! I just got to 550 shots on my SAM and it looks like a keeper— the first one was great but a leaker; the second one jammed open after a few shots—I’m looking forward to now using the semiauto function for faster shots. The attached picture is 20 regular shots and 10 faster fire shots from around 37 yards with Crosman Premier Hollow Points.

    • MisterAP
      That’s what I’m getting pretty much with my SAM at 50 yards with my modded mags. About 10 clips of assorted different brands now. I have one unmodified SAM clip. It’s the only one that is getting groups like BB got at 50 yards.

      Oh and absolutely no mis-fires or jams with my modded clips. But I do with the factory SAM clip. What does that have to say.

      My SAM is the most reliable semi-auto pcp that I have owned yet. And I even tried different things with other brand pcp semi-auto guns and with no luck.

      Oh and my SAM likes the Crosman Premiere hollow points the best out of many different pellets I tried. Even better than the regular Premiere round nose pellets.

      • Gunfun1,

        What other brands are you using?

        I have 3 SAM clips unmodified, and 1 Fortitude clip with the spring tightened. So far so good and hoping they’ll perform well with faster fire. I have 3 more SAM clips coming.

        I have 1 Fortitude clip I can’t get the spring tightened and 4 Gauntlet clips that I can’t easily insert so haven’t used in the SAM; those get used in my Fortitude.

        I have a few CPHP tins left and will then have to switch to the Daisy HP I just got from their recent sale. My Fortitude likes them fine so really hoping the SAM handles them well too for both accuracy and fast fire!

        AP

  6. BB, Why dont all muzzle loaders work like that little sharps from yesterday? ( It just looks like one)
    Maybe there is such a thing, but it seems like the loading lever used on a cap and ball style gun could seat the ball from the rear of the action, that breaks open like a Thompson center. Is it because gun makers all went to cartridge based gun systems, and the muzzle loader just stayed frozen in time since the civil war days? That is some very pretty termite food on it. I thought the’ days of the general purpose gun’ comment rang true, but I dont think Winchesters have stopped selling either. My .02 cents, (I cant find the cents sybol on the keyboard), A Winchester makes a better swiss army knife than an AR pattern rig does, and I think the same thing in general about revolvers and shotguns too, history has shown these designs to be be very popular for reasons besides sentiment, but it is nice to have choices here in good ol’ America.
    Nice shooting!
    Rob

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