This report covers:
- Bullet size
- Loading the magazine
- First test — 255-grain Hollowpoints
- Feel of the rifle
- Discharge sound
- Second fill
- Mr. Hollowpoint 305-grain
- Mr. Hollowpoint 300-grain .458
- Trigger pull
Today we look at the velocity of the new .457 Benjamin Bulldog. There are some surprises coming that may not be that surprising.
I took the Bulldog over to AirForce. They have a 100-yard range where I can shoot into the ground safely, and with a gun this powerful, I felt I had to do that. I watched Tyler Patner’s test and I sort of knew what to expect.
Let’s get something straight. This rifle has a 0.457-inch bore. Bullets for it have to be 0.457 to 0.459-inches in diameter or they won’t perform well. Those 0.452-inch bullets that are made for lower-powered big bores, or the oddly sized 0.454 bullets, will not work well in this rifle.
I had several different weights of Mr. Hollowpoint bullets on hand and they all measure 0.457 to 0.458. However, because they are hollowpoints and because the Bulldog has a length restriction due to the magazine, I could only shoot three of the different ones I had.
Loading the magazine
I didn’t care for this gravity-fed magazine when I first saw it. Now that I have used it I know several reasons why.
First, the manual tells you to open the bolt with the side lever and leave the lever back so the bolt is out of the way. Then insert the clip into the receiver as far down as it will go. Then load a bullet into the clip nose-first. That didn’t work for me. When I tried to load the bullet nose-first it flipped around as it was going into the clip and ended up standing on its base. I suppose with practice I could get better at this, but to have to practice how to load is something I don’t need in a hunting rifle.
I found that setting the bullet flat on top of the clip and pushing down on the back of the bullet worked best for me. But that was not the end of my feeding problems. When the bolt went forward on the last bullet it grabbed the base of the bullet and flipped it up. It looks a lot like the last picture only this time it happened when I was trying to feed the bullet into the breech with the sidelever.
And one time the bolt flipped the bullet completely around backwards. That’s a lot of feeding trouble for a repeater to have. Give me a single shot any day!
First test — 255-grain Hollowpoints
I filled the rifle to 3,000 psi and tested it first with a 255-grain hollowpoint from Mr. Hollowpoint.
That is a straight linear velocity drop — exactly what Tyler recorded. At the end of the three shots the pressure remaining in the tank read 2,300 psi on the onboard gauge.
So the big question at this point is, what happens on shot number four? I took it and this is what I saw.
That’s not a bad velocity, though I wouldn’t try it when shooting a group at 50 yards. But for a finishing shot to dispatch and animal, it works. The onboard pressure read 2,000 psi after shot four.
Feel of the rifle
Despite the weight of this Bulldog, the recoil is pretty brisk. And it’s only going to increase as the bullet weights increase.
The bullets do move around inside the clip, but they don’t rattle, as I feared. They will not alert animals when you are stalking.
I noticed that Tyler Patner recorded some shot sounds when he tested his Bulldog. He was shooting indoors when he recorded them and I was outdoors, so my sound should be a little quieter because there isn’t as much to reflect the sound. The microphone was about 4 feet to the right of the muzzle and even with its end.
I recorded that on the first shot after a fill. But as I shot I couldn’t tell that the rifle got any quieter as the shots piled up.
I made a mistake on my second fill because my carbon fiber tank’s gauge is hazy and difficult to read. I over-filled the Bulldog by 500 psi.
That overfill is going to have an impact on the next shot string. I wouldn’t do this intentionally, but since I did it, we might as well see the results.
Mr. Hollowpoint 305-grain
The next bullet was the 305-grain from Mr. Hollowpoint. Because of the overfill I expected this string to be different.
All three shots are close together. So I fired a fourth shot to see what I might get.
As expected this string was much tighter because of the extra air. But this is not what you should do. A deer dies just as fast from a hollowpoint hitting with 300 foot-pounds as it does from the same bullet hitting at 500 foot-pounds. Big bore airguns don’t kill with energy. They kill by the loss of blood.
Also, shot number 4 is still behind shots one through three. It is more powerful, but I think you can see that it’s separate from the first three.
Mr. Hollowpoint 300-grain .458
The last bullet I tested was a Mr. Hollowpoint 300 grain that was 0.458-inches in diameter. You will something interesting with this one.
It seems the larger diameter bullet slows the bullet, doesn’t it? I guess this shows the Bulldog barrel is a real tight .457.
The cover for the fill nipple is too hard to get off so I removed it (with the help of my Swiss Army knife) and left it off for the test. That was a tough spot on the .357 Bulldog too, as I recall.
The Bulldog trigger is two stage. On the test rifle stage one pulls with 9 ounces of effort and stage two with 3 pounds 10 ounces. Stage two is crisp.
That’s where we are so far. Reader Roman Greco want to see how it does against my cardboard mulch trap and so do I, so that will be in the first accuracy test that’s coming next.
The .457 Bulldog is a big bore airguns in all respects. It’s powerful, loud and kicks like a bear! I have no doubt it can do what it was designed to do. And looking into that will be what this series is all about.