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Education / Training Benjamin Gunnar Precharged Pneumatic pellet rifle: Part One

Benjamin Gunnar Precharged Pneumatic pellet rifle: Part One

Gunnar
Benjamin Gunnar.

This report covers:

  • Get started
  • Hunting
  • Repeater
  • Description
  • Large
  • The grip
  • Trigger
  • Different format
  • Trigger pull
  • Cocking
  • Regulated
  • Power levels
  • Shots per fill
  • Accepts external silencer
  • Is it worth it?

Today we begin looking at the Benjamin Gunnar precharged pneumatic (PCP) air rifle. It comes in .22 and .25 calibers, plus .45 caliber. It delivers up to 32 foot-pounds of energy in .22 caliber and up to 50 foot-pounds in .25. I don’t have an energy figure for the .45, just a velocity of 800 f.p.s. without any mention of the bullet.

Get started

I told you when I looked at the Crosman booth at the SHOT Show that this report would be coming, and I didn’t report on the Gunnar at all. Today we start.

Let’s start from the outside. The Gunnar comes in a custom hard case that has wheels on one end. The rifle isn’t that heavy, but the wheels do make it convenient to move around.

Gunnar case
The Gunnar comes with a nice wheeled hard case.

Hunting

I told you yesterday that Crosman is one of the four airgun manufacturers that promote hunting. Given the calibers and the power level, the Gunnar seems to me to be a hunting rifle. And, because it is a Benjamin that’s made by Crosman, it has an advantage over many other air rifles with similar features. The 500cc air reservoir fills to a top limit of 3000 psi. That makes it frendlier than other air rifles that fill to higher levels.

Gunnar receiver
Gunnar receiver right side. You can see the sidelever that cocks the rifle.

Repeater

The .22 caliber Gunnar magazine holds 12 pellets. The .25 caliber mag holds 10. Two magazines come with the rifle. And they don’t stick up above the scope rail. I don’t see a single shot tray.

Description

This will take some time, You can see from the picture at the top of this report that the Gunnar has a black tactical look. The buttstock accepts AR stocks. The one that comes on the rifle adjusts to 5 positions, giving a pull length of 12-3/4 to 15-7/8-inches. The manual says there are 5 positions, but pushing the stock all the way in where it isn’t locked is also a possibility. It’s not a formal stop but that is where I measured the shortest length of pull.

The butt pad is soft grippy rubber. It has deep grooves going sideways but does not adjust up or down.

The cheekrest, on the other hand, does adjust. There is a button on the right side that is pressed in and then the cheekrest slides up. It has four positions. It also slides back and forth a little. I find it great when it’s all the way down and all the way back.

There is a Picatinny scope rail on top of the receiver and, because this is a repeater, it is both behind and in front of the magazine slot. There are over 6-1/2-inches of rail to choose from in all, and 4-1/2-inches in the rear, alone. I’ll no doubt have more to say about it when I mount a scope.

There is also a rail under the air tank. I think that one is ideal for a bipod, and that’s what I will do when I test the rifle for accuracy.

And there is a third rail on the bottom of the buttstock. Something can be mounted there, as well, like a rear monopod. 

Stock up on Air Gun Ammo

Large

According to both the Crosman website the Gunnar weighs 9.8 pounds. I weighed the test rifle with no magazine and got 8 pounds 7 ounces on my electronic kitchen scale. Pyramyd AIR says 8.26 pounds. Either way you look at it, the Gunnar is a large air rifle. When you hold it to your shoulder your off hand holds it at the air tank which is very wide. In fact only the small rubberized pistol grip feels normal to me. But when I shoot it for accuracy is when I’ll really find out.

The grip

The pistol grip is sized about right for me. It’s an AR-style grip and is covered by a rubbery compound that makes it hold quite well. I was told by Crosman that it is compatible with other AR grips, and the manual confirms this.

Trigger

The trigger blade can be positioned for comfort. It swivels around and slides up and down on a trigger post. But there is no other adjustment.

Gunnar trigger
The Gunnar trigger blade rotates around a rod and can slide up and down.

Different format

I spoke to Pyramyd AIR at the SHOT Show and we agreed that my format for these blog reports could stand a few changes. Here comes the first one — a bit of testing in Part One.

Trigger pull

The trigger is two stage and you guys who like a short stage one are going to love this one. Stage one is minimal and takes 1 pound 4 ounces to pull to the start of stage two. Stage two is reasonably crisp and breaks at 2 pounds 5 ounces. This is a trigger about which there is little to complain.

Cocking

The Gunnar has a sidelever and cocking feels light and butter-smooth to me. I haven’t loaded a magazine yet. That will come tomorrow because the second format change I’m making is to run Parts One and Two back to back!

Regulated

The Gunnar has a regulator and the user can adjust the pressure if desired. To do this the rifle has to be degassed and the air tank removed. That gives access to the 4mm Allen screw that is the regulator adjustment. Turn the screw counter-clockwise to increase the regulated pressure level and clockwise to decrease it.

Power levels

The Gunnar has five different power levels that the shooter sets. Adjustments are made via a knob on the left side of the receiver. There are detents to receive a tiny spring-loaded ball, but I can’t feel them. However, they are obvious enough, that when I test I will be able to tell what’s what.

Gunnar power levels
The switch that controls the rifle’s power.

Shots per fill

According to the specs the .25 has enough air for 70 good shots and the .22 that I’m testing has enough air for 90- good shots. Naturally I will be testing that.

Accepts external silencer

The rifle comes with an adaptor that is threaded to attach to the front of the barrel shroud and on the other end to accept an external airgun silencer. That’s something that surprised me. Maybe my DonnyFL will fit.

Gunnar muzzle adaptor
The Gunnar’s muzzle adaptor is threaded to accept an airgun silencer.

Is it worth it?

I usually don’t ask questions like this, but for a cool grand I wonder if the Gunnar has enough going for it to make it that much more desirable than a Marauder that cosst just over half as much. I guess that is what we are about to discover.

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.

37 thoughts on “Benjamin Gunnar Precharged Pneumatic pellet rifle: Part One”

  1. BB,

    I think this is a first time I’ve heard of a nonadjustable trigger (for weight) that is not lawyer mandated. It’s a little odd though, why Crosman didn’t offer the other calibers between .25 and .45. Maybe lack of development time or is it the calibers between .25 and .45 are not that popular for hunting? The new format will minimize the readers being on tenterhooks.

    Siraniko

    • Siraniko,

      I myself would be hesitant to use .30 or .35 on large game such as deer except with a head shot. Who am I kidding? I would be hesitant to shoot a deer with anything but a head shot.

      The history of black powder has shown that these smaller calibers are fine for smaller game, but when you start hunting deer or larger game, you usually need larger calibers. There is no hydrostatic shock, it is a bleed out wound.

      • RidgeRunner,

        Not being a hunter and having no background I will agree with the arguments you and Ian have presented. Since they are going to be promoting this platform for hunting it now makes sense to develop it in an effective caliber which will minimize the chances of lost game being reported. Looking at the success of the .45-70 that Tom has previously reported this would probably be also another point as to why .45 caliber is being pushed.

        Siraniko

  2. Since I first got wind of the Gunnar in November I have been trying to dig up info on it.

    I think it will have an uphill battle in .22&.25 caliber, there just too many competitors with similar features and aesthetics in a similar price range, that have been on the market for longer..

    Why not the other calibers? Not sure other than the Bulldog already has the .357 spot in their line, and will soon have .45 in its name also.

    The .30 caliber would make just over the minimum requirements needed in most states to legally harvest white tail deer.

    On the .45 caliber velocity, just figuring a .45 caliber round nose, at 230grains and 800fps.
    That puts it squarely in the .45acp powder burner range.

    That gives the GUNNAR 326fpe at the muzzle with a 230gr round nose and about 257fpe at 100 yards.

    Most states are making minimum caliber for deer to be a Pre-charged pneumatic airgun that must fire a projectile of at least .30 caliber in diameter and at least 150 grains in weight with a minimum muzzle velocity of 800 feet per second or any combination of bullet weight and muzzle velocity that produces muzzle energy of at least 215 foot-pounds of energy…

    The Gunnar ticks all of those boxes…

    Is it worth it?
    That’s a tougher question at the moment.
    That depends on several things the biggest being;
    1, the accuracy,
    2. The shot count.
    And what owners tell us 12 months from now. (deer season in a lot of states doesn’t open until first weekend in November) so practical real world data will be a while.

    Unless they hunt exotic game on private property..

    Just my opinions.

    Ian

    • Ian,

      In Virginia, the minimum caliber is .35. Quite frankly, I would prefer if it was upped to .45. Most who shoot deer go for a heart/lung shot. I have seen quite a few wounded deer in my time. Airguns lack the massive hydrostatic shock of most powder burners and rely on punching a hole for bleed out. The bigger the hole, the better.

      If I had not given up hunting years ago, I am one of those who would not have this issue as I only go for head shots. With a head shot, they do not run off and maybe die somewhere.

      I could see where you could get accuracy out of the .30. It would be superb on groundhogs, etc., but I would be hesitant to gut shoot a deer with one.

      • RR

        Head shots are ideal,, but not many hunters are. When you consider that the majority of shots are taken at deer that are walking, the difference between a baseball and a dinner plate become important.

        Even when the deer is standing still,, they tend to move their heads,, as they are pretty wary during the rifle seasons.

        I am quite capable of hitting that baseball out to about 50 yds,, but beyond that a near miss is likely as not to cripple or blind than to kill. On the other hand,, I can hit the pie plate out to 300 or so and know that the deer will be dead in the near vicinity.

        So, as a hunter,, I recognize my limitations and forego head shots completely. As most hunters should, particularly when using an underpowered weapon. As much as I enjoy air guns,, I won’t be using them for game bigger than coyote or ground hog.

        Ed

        • Ed,

          That is the important thing, knowing your own limitations and not pushing them. Also, know your “weapon”. I have let many a deer, or other game for that matter, go because I could not get a good head shot.

          • RR

            I have passed on low percentage shots, myself. I just feel that, for me,, all head shots are low percentage.
            I consider myself a pretty good shot, and always get in some practice with the weapons I choose to hunt with. But I have been off on a few shots when practicing,, with a stationary target and what I thought to be a perfect hold. So I know that this could happen in the field at a moving target with time constraints on the shot.

            So,, I choose to make all my shots to the heart/lung area where an inch or two won’t make any difference. But it’s like they say,, “I’ll do me,, and you do you”. It’s what makes the world go round.

            Ed

      • I have seen plenty of deer that survived botched headshots.
        Ever find one that starved to death after having half it’s face blown off?

        If you can do it great, but most folks taking them can’t do it all day and twice on sunday. I am one of the most folks, so I stick to the heart/lung shot.

        Headshots unless you are very close and very good are a big risk. Very easy for it to move just a little and now you are just maiming the poor thing.

        • That’s absolutely right, Steven. I have never seen it myself, but my father tells of a deer that he found dead from dehydration after another hunter’s ill-placed shot took off its jaw.

          Whenever feasible, it is generally better to go for the heart/lungs, as you say.

          Daniel

        • OK fine. You guys are going to give me examples of botched head shots. Hang on then.

          I have found chunks of lead surrounded by a cyst in more than one deer’s front and even rear legs. For the past three years I have watched a doe hobble around here with one of its front legs held in the air useless. On more than one occasion I have helped to track a blood trail that we never found the end of. I can go on and on with more behind the shoulder horror stories.

          You talk of maiming the poor thing. When I shoot the creature in the brain, I am pretty certain they feel no pain. Can you say that when you shoot them behind the shoulder?

          • No one is saying you shouldn’t, but most folks sure should not.

            I am certain they feel pain either way. I have serious doubts you can destroy the brain stem on every shot. First you talk about a target smaller than a baseball, now your claim is something the size of the meat of a walnut, likely just half?

    • RidgeRunner,

      WOW! “I do like the “minimalist” look of it, …”
      It sure looks a lot like an updated/flat topped version of your favorite favorite “toy manufacturer’s” gun! Lol!

      shootski

  3. BB, I hope they kept the Marauder trigger and magazines. I like the modular chassis type guns myself. To me, a chassis needs to be made from good materials because they are just begging to be modded to every shooters fancy.
    David Enoch

  4. B.B.,

    Off-topic, but the brief comments about benchrest yesterday got me thinking. I remembered (but cannot now find) something online about an air gun competition in which one of the events was benchrest, springer class. There was one 1st person article from perhaps 2013 or so in which a fellow described being the only competitor. He used a TX200 and needed simply to strike the target at least once to win, which he accomplished. Another was much older, probably 1990s. The winner shot a Feinwerkbau 124, and the 2nd and 3rd place shooters used TX200s.

    The late Steve Vissage created the Steel Dreams springer rifle, but I can’t remember the name of the fellow who more recently was using the Hatsan 135 platform to develop springer air rifles that produced 40-45 foot-pounds, with his likely goal 50 fpe.

    Who was that, and to your knowledge, what came of it?

    Michael

  5. B.B.,

    “Is it worth it?
    I usually don’t ask questions like this, but for a cool grand I wonder if the Gunnar has enough going for it to make it that much more desirable than a Marauder that
    cosst. (get rid of the extra s)
    just over half as much. I guess that is what we are about to discover.”

    Interesting question that! In .22 probably not, in .25 almost there if it is accurate it could be a prairie dog/ground squirrel slayer with a silencer. But the one that Crosman is going to sell like hotcakes is the .45 caliber!
    But only IF Crosman gets a hunter(s) to take coyotes, deer, hogs on video and soon.

    Crosman needs to get B.B. the .45 caliber to shoot and review the GUNNAR out to 100 yards…ASAP!
    YESTERDAY! IF it shoots MOA or better out to 100 the AR15 look will sell this airgun beyond Crosman’s wildest dreams.

    How can shootski say that! Well every time I take my much modified Airrow Stealth (1990’s AR15 look alike) to the 100 range and shoot MOA in my .25 caliber I get mobbed by the long range shooters asking questions.

    The PA price right now is perfect with the discount it is IDEAL!

    shootski

  6. I’ll wait fot he Diana XR200, I wouldn’t carry the Gunnar past the bench. The Diana is a good looking airgun for one thing, and there are places to put your hands that dont have sharp pointy edges.
    The AR has never been a hunting platform for anything besides humans and ground hogs.
    Plus, ask yourself, will this thing survive 25 or 30 years of manufacturing. It’s a good question, we shall see. Whoa, no fancy trigger on a thousand dollar rifle!? hmm.
    Please get the Diana to compare it to, it cant be perfect after all either.
    Rob

    • Rob
      25 years of manufacturing. Or lasting that long. Maybe lasting that long. Darn thing about it is I’m pretty sure I won’t see if it survives that long.

      Maybe that is something in the manufacturer’s mind. Pretty soon us old dinosaurs won’t be around anymore for it to matter. Plus who knows what it will be in 25 years. The only thing you might have to hunt with is a pebble you throw. Especially after the things we see going on now days.

      • I wouldn’t be surprised if the only thing the Gunnar needs is an oring or two
        in twenty five years. It is a departure from the Marauder guns stylistically, but that is what sells it, it is similar looking to the battle rifle and it does have a lot of features, but no barrel band. The Prod with the bottle on it doesn’t have one either, so leaning it against the wall may affect its zero.
        I hope it shoots well. It is a very busy looking rifle. I think the Diana XR200 probably cost more, but it looks more comfortable to carry to me.
        Yea, it is a good idea to enjoy what you have now no matter what brand it is!
        Rob

      • Yes Gunfun1, in 25 years it may be cool to see what comes about, but like you say many of us will not be here to see it. And yes things are going in a bad direction.

        Mike

        • A bad direction?
          Murder rates are down to near historic levels and will be back there soon enough, airgun hunting of large game is finally becoming legal in more places, new technology is making it more approachable for more people, you can get full auto airguns suitable for hunting if you wanted shipped to your door.

          You guys got to get out more and spend less time watching TV and the internet. The media is warping your minds.

  7. Something to remember also with a skull shot is can a 100-200 fpe at 100 yards go through a deers skull or even a coyote skull?

    I’m aiming for the vital organ area.

    Which has more chance for the kill with a air gun? A hard skull or possibly a rib. If it’s a direct hit to the center of a rib then the pellet/projectile might not make it to the organs but if you glance off a rib the shot should be vital. More of a chance than the projectile going through the skull.

    There is so many variables to be calling out what way is better.

  8. B.B.,

    So as best I can see it the type and caliber of ammo is depicted on the left side above the magazine well area of the reciever of what would be called the lower on a standard two piece AR. Normally that type of information would be noted on the barrel along with twist ratio on a firearm. So…
    My question: Is each GUNNAR receiver actually caliber specific?

    shootski

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