Benjamin Fortitude PCP air rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

The Generation II Benjamin Fortitude.

This report covers:

  • Fill to 3,000
  • Crosman Premier Heavys
  • Discussion 1
  • RWS Hobby
  • JSB Exact Heavy
  • Where are we?
  • After lunch
  • Discussion 2
  • Noise
  • Trigger pull
  • More velocity testing to come
  • Summary

Watch out, spouses! The Great Enabler is about to strike!

Today’s report is so astonishing that if I hadn’t been there I probably would have my doubts. The velocity test took me two and one-half hours to complete! That’s because the .177 Benjamin Fortitude had so many shots on a single fill to 3,000 psi! Let’s get started.

Fill to 3,000

I filled the rifle to 3,000 psi as indicated on the gauge of my large carbon fiber tank. The gauge on the rifle also showed the pressure was 3,000 psi, and I know the gauge on my air tank is very accurate. I waited for 4 days after filling and the pressure still showed 3,000 psi on the rifle’s onboard gauge, so I know the rifle holds well. read more

How the Price-Point PCP (PPP) has changed the face of the airgun world

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Umarex’s Gauntlet was the first PPP to be announced, but several others beat it to the marketplace.

This report covers:

  • Gauntlet dropped!
  • For Hank
  • For the manufacturers
  • What is a PPP?
  • Cost
  • Required features
  • Nice features to have
  • Caliber
  • Compressors
  • Other PCPs
  • Sig
  • AirForce Airguns
  • On and on
  • Summary
  • read more

    Seneca Double Shot air shotgun: Part 1

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    Seneca Double Shot
    Air Venturi’s Seneca Double Shot air shotgun.

    This report covers:

    • Fast second shot
    • Let’s review
    • Sub-1 crossbow
    • Reality of bow hunting
    • Description
    • How many shots?
    • What it shoots
    • Is this for you?
    • Summary

    I usually just review the products and leave my personal opinions out — or I try to weave them in under the radar. Not today. I first saw today’s subject airgun, the Seneca Double Shot air shotgun at the 2018 SHOT Show. I looked at it and then showed it to Rossi Morreale on American Airgunner, all the while wondering — WHY? What possible use is there for a double-barreled air shotgun? Then Val Gamerman, the president of Pyramyd Air, told me. The extra barrel gives you a fast second shot.

    Fast second shot

    That second barrel gives you a quick second shot at a deer or other large game animal, when you are using Air Venturi Air Bolts. Nuff said! That is a real reason for owning a double-barreled air shotgun.

    Let’s review

    Before I describe this airgun let’s look at some past articles that have brought us to this point. First there was my review of the Seneca Wing Shot air shotgun. There are just two parts to that review because I treated the report of the Air Venturi Air Bolts as a separate subject. But, if you read that report you’ll see that the Wing Shot was at the heart of it.

    We learned that the Air Bolt is an arrow (or bolt, as they are called by crossbow shooters) that fires much faster than any crossbow can. And they are accurate. Rossi Morreale shot a Robin Hood at the 2016 Texas Airgun Show while sighting in his Wing Shot for an upcoming pig hunt. That’s where the point of an arrow hits an arrow in the target and splits it.

    Seneca Air Bolt Robin Hood
    While sighting in his Wing Shot for a pig hunt, Rossi Morreale shot this Robin Hood (arrow hitting the base of another arrow already in the target).

    Sub-1 crossbow

    And there is one more report that you should consider. I also tested and later bought the Sub-1 crossbow. I initially did it because my experience with the Air Bolts compelled me to learn what a true crossbow was like. And the Sub-1 isn’t just any crossbow. It is the most accurate crossbow on the market today, with the possibility of shooting three bolts into a group that’s smaller than one inch at 100 yards! Not that I ever did it, but it has been done.

    I found the Sub-1 extremely accurate, but at a cost of about double that of the Wing Shot. It isn’t as powerful, but with a crossbow, power isn’t everything. The bolts they fire are so heavy (400+ grains) that when they hit they keep on going — right into the boiler room of a large game animal, if they strike in the right place.

    Reality of bow hunting

    With an arrow, the animal has time to move after it hears the shot. This move is instinctive and triggered by sound. The Sub-1 puts arrows out at around 350 f.p.s. The Wing Shot is about 200+ f.p.s. faster. Even so, it isn’t so fast that the target doesn’t have time to move. Stealth and patience are still the name of the game when hunting with any kind of bow — even an airbow!


    Okay, enough background. Let’s get to it. What’s this Double Shot like?

    The Double Shot is a side by side double barreled precharged pneumatic shotgun that weighs 8.55 lbs. That’s heavy for a shotgun, so if you are a scattergunner there will be some getting-used-to time ahead. They claim a velocity of 450 f.p.s. with Air Bolts, so the gun has been tamed from the Wing Shot to get more shots per fill.

    Seneca Double Shot muzzles
    Seneca Double Shot muzzles.

    There is a single trigger, so the selector mechanism on top of the gun lets you switch between barrels. The action is cocked by a bolt on the right side of the action that is pulled straight to the rear each time you want to shoot. So, to fire both barrels you set the switch to either the left or right barrel, cock the gun and fire, then switch barrels with the selector, cock and fire again. With practice it takes seconds.

    Seneca Double Shot selectors
    The selector for which barrel fires is on top of the receiver. You can rotate either knurled knob to select to barrel and a line (arrow) tells you which barrel is going to fire. This photo also shows the knurled sliding breeches for loading balls or shotshells.

    The gun has a pretty wood buttstock and forearm that many people commented on at the SHOT Show. It looks like a fine English double with its straight buttstock that has no hint of a pistol grip. It also handles like one, though the weight does slow it down.

    There is a brass bead up front for rough sighting

    How many shots?

    The specs say you get up to 5 powerful shots per fill. That would agree with what I saw from the Wing Shot. However, since this is a double barreled gun, why not just go with 4 shots per fill? That will help you with air management, because its twice through both barrels. Naturally there is an air gauge in the forearm to tell you where the fill is. And this gun fills to 3,000 psi, so a survivalist can fill it with a hand pump. The rest of you may recoil in disbelief when I say that, but you have to remember — this gun isn’t for plinking.

    What it shoots

    The Double Shot is a smoothbore airgun, so it is ideally suited to shoot shot. Each barrel has a removable choke that’s taken off to load Air Bolts and shoot round balls, but put on for shotshells. You can also add the

    special longer and tighter 12.2mm chokes read more

    Piston seals: Part 1

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    This report covers:

    • Updates
    • Early leather seals
    • What’s next?
    • Now that you understand…
    • No magic
    • Don’t be depressed!
    • Leather piston seals
    • The better way
    • It’s all the same
    • Leather’s shortcoming
    • Summary


    Pyramyd Air has shipped me the replacement Fortitude, so I will be restarting that report soon. Leapers is sending me a micro dot sight that I showed you recently. I wanted that to test on the Beeman P1 pistol that I stopped testing months ago, but now I also want to put it on the Chaser pistol and perhaps on a rifle or two. And yes, GunFun1, I am going to test the Gauntlet at 50 yards with the tightened shroud/barrel.

    But today I want to talk about something different. As you are aware, this blog gets many new readers all the time. Often when they come in they have a question about a topic I have addressed in the past. If their question is easy to answer I will often just give them the links to the past report — if I can find it. But sometimes their question isn’t so easy to answer, and when that happens and I know that I have many other new readers who might perhaps benefit from it, I will write a special blog. Today is such a day.

    Reader Arvizu joined us two days ago. He had some questions about various things, including the following statement.

    “ I noticed, too, that the seal plays an important role to define performance (sometimes small variations in diameter makes the difference). I would like to clarify that this is only my appreciation and limited experience with airguns.

    I would really appreciate an article from you, with your vast experience in this regards talking about this topic.”

    I gave him several links to past articles, but I could not get his comment out of my mind. So today I would like to address the importance of piston seals.

    Let’s start with a look at a popular toy that many of us have played with — the toy popper gun!

    popper 1
    Pull the handle back and the cork is drawn into the muzzle by the string that’s attached. If the string is too long you can just stuff the cork in the muzzle yourself. Push the handle forward and the dowel it’s attached to pushes air in front of it to pop the cork out of the “gun.”

    popper 2
    You can see the length of the dowel at the bottom.

    The popper toy works exactly like a spring-piston airgun, except it has no piston seal. Just the close fit of the wood dowel inside the larger wood tube compresses enough air to pop the cork.

    Early leather seals

    If that is clear, the rest will be easy. You don’t need a wood dowel that’s as large as the compression chamber. A steel rod can be much smaller and it only has to “push” a small “head” that’s sized to the chamber.

    simple compression chamber
    This simple compression chamber and “piston” works exactly like the popper toy.

    My graphic is interesting until you realize that the air, once compressed, has nowhere to go. Let’s add an outlet that we’ll call the air transfer port.

    air transfer port
    Now that we know how the air is compressed, it’s easy to see that it exits through the air transfer port.

    What’s next?

    Next we put something in front of the escaping air, like the cork in the popper. The popper pops when the cork is overcome by air pressure and can’t remain inside the wood tube any longer. That’s similar to what happens when a pellet blocks the air from an airgun air transfer port.

    pellet blocks port
    Now we have put a barrel in front of the air transfer port and blocked the escaping air with a pellet. The pressure will built in the compression chamber until the pellet has to move. read more

    Beeman R9 with Vortek center-latching air piston: Part 3

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    Part 1
    Part 2

    This report covers:

    • Adjust the pressure
    • Filling
    • R9 disassembly and assembly
    • JSB Exact
    • Predator Polymag
    • H&N Field Target Trophy
    • H&N Baracuda
    • Crosman Premier
    • Benjamin Cylindrical
    • Discussion
    • Trigger
    • Cocking effort
    • Evaluation

    Today we look at adjusting the Vortek Center Latching Air Piston, which I refer to as the center-latching unit (CLU). It went faster and easier than I imagined.

    Adjust the pressure

    To adjust the air pressure in the unit I had to disassemble the Beeman R9, to get the unit out. That procedure is described in Part 1. Once the unit is out, the piston seal has to be removed to reveal the air port.

    Beeman R9 CLU port
    Looking down into the fill port of the CLU we can see the ball valve.

    To adjust the pressure in the CLU, first release all the air. That way you start from zero. The unit fills very fast from a hand pump and this is the best way to ensure accuracy.

    The air is released by pressing against the ball valve with something small — I used an Allen wrench about 1/16-inch in diameter. Tap it with a hammer a couple times and then you can just push to release the rest of the air. There isn’t much!

    Beeman R9 releasing pressure
    Pressing against the ball valve releases the air pressure.

    When the air is out, attach the fill adaptor and connect it to a high pressure hand pump. The o-rings on the adaptor Vortek sent me are not to seal air. They are there in place of knurling. That adaptor was made up fast and they didn’t want to change the tooling in their machine to cut knurling. The o-rings are just for grip.

    Beeman R9 adaptor
    Attach the adaptor to the CLU for filling. The o-rings are just for grip.


    I filled the CLU and made a mistake when I did. I want to cover that right now. We will get back to the main report in a moment.

    I filled the CLU to what I thought was 500 psi. Last time we looked at the performance on 675 psi, which Vortek says should generate about the same velocity as the factory mainspring.

    R9 disassembly and assembly read more

    Gamo’s Urban precharged air rifle: Part 2

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    Part 1

    Gamo Urban
    Gamo Urban.

    This report covers:

    • Fill probe
    • Pellets
    • Shot count
    • Air Arms Diabolo Field
    • H&N Baracuda Match with 5.51mm heads
    • Evaluation
    • Trigger pull
    • Summary

    Today we look at the velocity of the .22 caliber Gamo Urban. And the first string will be an interesting test, because I know the Urban is a BSA design. BSA PCPs do not use their air the same as other precharged air rifles. The Urban fills to 232 bar, which is 3365 psi. Normally that would present a challenge to anyone wanting to use a hand pump, because pumping to that pressure level is difficult for most adults. But testing done by Tyler Patner (watch his video on the Urban webpage) confirmed what I suspected from the start — the BSA-based powerplant in the Urban doesn’t use the pressure above 3000 psi efficiently. It only becomes smooth when the pressure drops below 3,000 psi — the same as the BSA Hornet I used to own. Tyler found the best string of shots was between 2900 psi and 1500 psi. If I find the test rifle performs similarly I will constrain all my tests to that lower maximum pressure. It won’t make much difference at 25 yards, but it will at 50.

    Fill probe

    The Urban fill probe is a proprietary size that’s smaller than many other probes. A a result, only the Urban probe will work, and I had to dismantle another hose to set it up. I would have liked to use the probe I use with Korean PCPs and Hatsans, but their probe did not enter the fill port. Better still, Gamo could start using the male Foster fitting that most PCPs use today and there would be no problem.


    One reader already said his Urban does best with soft lead pellets, So I will start the test with H&N Sniper Light pellets that weigh 14 grains. For this first test I filled the rifle to 232 bar/3365 psi.

    11.…………….DNR (did not register)
    15.…………….852 3000 psi on rifle’s gauge
    33.…………….842 2000 psi on rifle’s gauge
    40.…………….822 1500 psi on rifle’s gauge

    Here is how I interpret this string. First, the fill of 232 bar/3365 psi is too much for this particular rifle. However, this one will handle a little more than 3,000 psi. Maybe you are safe at 3100 psi. I will fill to 3,000 for the rest of this test and leave it at that.

    Shot count

    From 3,000 psi, which is shot 15, down to shot 39 ( just over 1500 psi), the rifle gives a spread of 32 f.p.s. (low of 836 on shot 23 and a high of 868 on shot 27). That’s 25 good shots, based on what I’m calling good. However, you can see there are at least another 5 good shots that exist before the string I’m choosing. So, when you take this rifle to the field, fill it to 3100 psi and shoot 3 full magazines.

    Gamo and Pyramyd Air both say the Urban gets 800 f.p.s., but the test rifle is clearly much hotter than that. They also say to expect about 30 shots per fill, which is exactly what I saw in this test. So far so good.

    If you accept my arbitrary string of 25 shots (shot 15 to shot 39), the average velocity for this pellet is 852 f.p.s. At that speed it generates 22.57 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Now let’s test something different.

    Air Arms Diabolo Field

    Next I tested Air Arms Diabolo Field pellets. These domes weigh 16 grains. I filled the rifle to 3000 psi for this string and the next one.

    This pellet averaged 807 f.p.s. in the Urban. The spread went from a low of 804 to a high of 810 f.p.s. That’s just 6 f.p.s., which is pretty good!

    At the average velocity they generated 23.14 foot-pounds at the muzzle. As you can see, a heavier pellet usually generates more power in a PCP.

    H&N Baracuda Match with 5.51mm heads

    The last pellet I tested was the H&N Baracuda Match with 5.51mm head. These heavyweights weigh 21.14 grains in .22 caliber, so they should produce the most energy of all. And they do.

    They averaged 707 f.p.s. in the Urban with a 12 f.p.s. spread from 703 to 715 f.p.s. At the average velocity they produced 23.47 foot-pounds at the muzzle. That’s ever-so-slightly more powerful than the lighter Air Arms pellets.


    The Urban is a 22-25 foot-pound air rifle that gets 30 good shots per fill. I wouldn’t fill above 3100 psi, because you gain very little.

    The magazine functioned well during this test, hanging up just once when a damaged pellet snagged the mechanism. I was able to remove the mag and clear the jam without a problem. I also enjoyed how easily the mag can be removed and inserted.

    The rifle does not stop shooting when the mag runs out of pellets. You need to watch for the white dot to appear.

    I must say that the Urban’s bolt cocks smoothly and it reasonably light. It’s a winner in the price point PCP world.

    Trigger pull

    The 2-stage trigger breaks at 2 lbs. 3 oz. The second stage has travel that can be felt, but there’s no real creep, which is a jerky start/stop in the movement.


    It looks like Gamo has given us a good PCP in the price-point category. It has different features, but it’s reasonably lightweight and handy to use. The trigger looks good, too.

    If the Urban tests well in the accuracy test, it will be a winner.

    Umarex Gauntlet: Part 3

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    Umarex Gauntlet.

    Part 1
    Part 2

    This report covers:

  • The Gauntlet
  • Test 1 — shot count and the power curve
  • Power
  • Impressions
  • Frequent pellet jams
  • Test 2 — different pellets
  • H&N Baracuda Match
  • JSB Exact Heavy
  • Air Arms Falcon
  • Discharge sound
  • Evaluation
  • read more