This report covers:
- Not a .357 on steroids
- How many shots?
- Shots per fill
- The rifle
- The clip
- The clip is one-way
- Threaded muzzle
Today we begin looking at the Benjamin Bulldog .457. This is Benjamin’s big bore bullpup that plays with the big boys in the big bore world.
Not a .357 on steroids
The .457 Bulldog is a completely new air rifle. It’s not an enlargement of the .357 Bulldog. It’s larger, holds more air (440cc), gets fewer shots per loaded clip and it costs $140 more than the .357. We will look at that in this report. There is no possibility of converting a .357 into this .457.
How many shots?
The .357 rotary magazine holds 5 rounds. The .457 clip is gravity-fed and holds three rounds, which turns out to be convenient because three are all you’ll get on a fill of air. These ain’t pellets, folks, they are genuine lead bullets — the same that can be fired in a black powder muzzleloader.
Shots per fill
The Bulldog .457 gets 3 shots per fill — period! And that isn’t all. The Bulldog .357 was advertised as getting 10 shots per fill. Well, it never did! When I tested it, the .357 Bulldog got 8 or 9 shots per fill, but never 10 good ones. The last shot from a magazine was always lower on target, which was probably due to the magazine rather than the fill. Velocity testing showed 8 or 9 good shots, depending on the bullets fired and I did also test the one pellet that was available at the time (2015).
The Bulldog fills to 3,000 psi, which is good. You don’t need more pressure than that. The specs say to expect up to 450 foot-pounds at the muzzle. That would be with the heaviest bullets the rifle will handle.
Tyler Patner tested the .457 and found that three shots are all you get on a fill. Coincidentally the clip holds three bullets, so one clip per fill. That’s straightforward.
While the Bulldog .457 is a bullpup design it is not small. It weighs 8.75 pounds, compared to the .357’s 7.7 pounds and it’s 36.3 inches overall. The bullpup design allows for a 28.5-inch barrel, and barrel length is where big bore air rifles get their power.
The stock is ambidextrous and the side lever that cocks the action can be switched to either side of the rifle but you have to order the switch when buying the rifle because the swap isn’t done by the owner. Tyler said the hammer spring is stiffer on the .457, so the side lever has to be somewhat harder to cock. Given that, I tried it for you. Remember, it’s been 7 years since I tested the .357. The .457 side lever takes a little effort, but it’s certainly not that hard. At least not for this 74-year old man.
And you can pull the trigger while holding the side lever to uncock the rifle. Obviously a bullet would be loaded if there were one in the clip, so pay attention to what you’re doing.
There is a cleaning rod that comes with the rifle. If a bullet is loaded and you want it out, this rod is used for that.
The stock has sling swivel anchor points at the bottom of the butt and at the bottom forward end of the forearm. These are steel anchors and given the weight of the rifle when scoped, you’re going to want a sling for carrying.
One thing that I do find a little challenging, at least for the moment, is the 3-shot gravity-fed clip. I find that .457-caliber bullets are too small to be held rigidly by the clip. I seems that the top bullet is supposed to press down on the other two and hold them in place, but so far they are spilling out everywhere.
Obviously BB is going to need to learn how to load this Bulldog. The manual says to first insert the clip into the receiver then load in the bullets into the clip one at a time, nose first. They must lay flat in the clip, which means aligned with the bore. I guess BB will have more to say about it in Part 2 when he tests velocity. But for now the point is you aren’t going to carry spare loaded clips in your pockets, because that’s not how this rifle works.
I loaded the clip into the rifle and looked and obviously the receiver helps keep the bullets inside the clip. They are loose and are going to rattle but I don’t think they will fall out. BB needs to see.
The clip is one-way
The manual doesn’t tell you but the clip must be properly oriented to go into the receiver. A slot on one side of the clip aligns with the back of the breech that projects out just a little.
There aren’t any sights. But there is a 26-inch Picatinny rail on top of the rifle. That ought to be enough, don’t you think?
There is no rail under the rifle for a bipod, so if you want one it will have to mount to the overhead rail as some do. It would be nice if there were M-LOK slots along both sides of the forearm, but that can’t happen because the aluminum forearm is a trapezoidal barrel shroud.
The trigger is two stage. The manual says stage one is approximately two pounds and stage two is approximately three pounds. Of course I will test it for you.
The Bulldog’s muzzle is threaded, though the caliber dictates that a special silencer be used. The threads are M18, which means an 18mm diameter. That’s a big one!
What more can I say? Crosman has taken the Bulldog from the 200 foot-pound region up to the the 400+ foot-pound arena where the big boys play. When you get to this level, the rifle is a serious medium-game getter for sure.