Benjamin Marauder .177 caliber 50-yard test: Special part

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Benjamin Marauder .177-caliber air rifle: Part 1
Part 2
Secrets of loading the Benjamin Marauder magazine
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Fixing a Marauder magazine
Part 7
Benjamin Marauder .25 caliber: Part 1
Benjamin Marauder .25 caliber: Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Benjamin Marauder .22 repeater with synthetic stock: Part 1
Benjamin Marauder .22 repeater with synthetic stock: Part 2
Benjamin Marauder .22 repeater with synthetic stock: Part 3

Benjamin Marauder

Benjamin Marauder .177.

Today, I’m doing an accuracy test of the .177-caliber Benjamin Marauder at 50 yards because I forgot to do it when we were looking at that rifle back in the summer of 2013. I’m inserting it in between the tests of the .22-caliber Benjamin Marauder with synthetic stock and will go back and make a notation in the original Part 6 of the .177 rifle test that alerts readers to this omission and links to this test. The next report after this will be the first accuracy test of the synthetic-stocked Marauder. I apologize for any confusion this has caused, but I didn’t want to overlook this test.

First, let’s focus on what we’re doing today — the 50-yard accuracy test of the .177-caliber Benjamin Marauder. This test was conducted outdoors last week at my rifle range.

The day was cold with a light but swirling breeze that had to be waited out for every shot. I selected the two pellets that I knew to be the most accurate at 25 yards (see Part 6). That simplified things a lot since I already knew these were both good pellets. I could afford the extra time to wait for the wind to calm down before taking the shots.

The rifle was sighted for 25 yards from before; so unless the scope had been moved since August, I expected the pellets to be low and centered on the target. That’s exactly where they landed, so the gun was ready to go.

Crosman Premier lites
The first group was shot with Crosman Premier lites — the most accurate pellet at 25 yards. The first group was very horizontal, indicating that I didn’t do a good job of waiting out the wind. The problem was the variability of the wind. If there was wind where I was seated, there would be none at the target, or vice-versa. The wind was swirling on the range this day, which is the hardest kind of wind to predict.

The first 10 shots landed in a group measuring 2.051 inches between centers. You will note a lone hole on the left and the other 9 are closer to each other. Those 9 measure 1.218 inches between centers. I do feel the wind is the cause of this spread because this rifle has not shown any tendency to string horizontally before now.

Marauder Premier group 1
Ten Crosman Premier lites made this very horizontal group at 50 yards. The group measures 2.051 inches between centers, but 9 of the shots measure 1.218 inches between centers.

I felt I could certainly do better than that if I waited out the wind better. So, a second group was shot without adjusting the scope. This group measures 0.957 inches between centers, and is more like what I’d expected. You can see that it’s still somewhat horizontal, however. I think the rifle is capable of even better groups under better conditions, but putting 10 shots into less than one inch at 50 yards is never to be sneezed at!

Marauder Premier group 2
That’s more like it! These 10 Premier lites made a much better group that measured 0.957 inches between centers. But the wind is still an influence because this group is also horizontal.

What about heavy pellets?
Okay, if the wind is a problem, won’t heavier pellets solve it? It was worth a try. The most accurate heavy pellets in this rifle are the JSB Exact Monsters. They weigh 13.4 grains, which is edging into the middleweight sector for .22-caliber pellets.

Because of their weight, I expected these pellets to strike the target a lot lower than the Premier lites, and I wasn’t disappointed. They landed 3 inches below the aim point, where the Premier lites were hitting about .75 inches low. Despite their weight, I still waited for the wind to die down between shots. Ten pellets went into a group measuring 1.434 inches between centers. Compare that to what the Premiers did. You can see that, even though they’re much lighter, the Premiers are still better. But this group isn’t as horizontal, so they do seem to buck the wind.

Marauder JSB Monster group
Ten JSB Exact Monsters made a 1.434-inch group at 50 yards. While it’s not a terrible group, it isn’t a great one, either. But it’s less horizontal than either of the two Premier lite groups.

It seems that Premier lites are still the fairest in the land — at least of the pellets used in this test. Remember, these were selected from all the pellets tested at closer distances, so they’re among the most accurate in this rifle.

Overall evaluation
The day was far from ideal for long-range shooting. But, still, it does represent what can be done with a .177 Benjamin Marauder under these conditions. This is the last time I’ll review this .177 Marauder, but I believe you’ve seen enough to make a choice.

The Benjamin Marauder is a landmark air rifle that has forced the rest of the airgun world to sit up and take notice. It offers more solid features than the best European PCPs, but at a fraction of the cost.

Benjamin Marauder .25 caliber: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Secrets of loading the Benjamin Marauder magazine
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Fixing a Marauder magazine
Part 7

Benjamin Marauder
Benjamin Marauder

This report is an emotional one for me. The last time I tried to report on the .25-caliber Benjamin Marauder, I became very ill and it took me two years to complete the test. In fact, I never did complete the test myself because I was in the hospital part of the time. My buddy, Mac, drove from his home in Maryland to Texas to test airguns for me so he could bank a lot of data and pictures that allowed me to write my blogs from a hospital bed. Mac is now gone, and I’m starting all over again with this rifle.

I’m revisiting the .25-caliber Marauder because I never really got to test it properly the first time. Also because having tested the .177 Marauder, I felt this big gun needed to be reported at the same time. You see, Marauders are good sellers at Pyramyd Air, and several blog readers asked for this specific report.

There’s one more reason for testing this particular Marauder. It’s an entirely different rifle than the .177 we’ve been testing. Yes, all the controls work the same on both rifles and the external dimensions are the same, but a .25-caliber pellet changes the very nature of the rifle in the same way that a one-ton pickup truck differs from a compact truck from the same manufacturer. The .25 Marauder is a BIG air rifle! Big in terms of the magazine and the hole at the end of the barrel. So, this isn’t the quiet little sniper rifle we’ve come to know. This is a hunting air rifle.

I linked to the recent tests of the .177 Marauder simply because I won’t be covering all of the same ground here that I already covered there. This report will cover new ground.

The lauan stock
We are fortunate to have a test rifle with the much-maligned lauan wood stock. It may be made from lauan…I don’t know, but I’ve read so many bad remarks about this stock that I was shocked to realize that this test rifle has one. Shocked because it isn’t bad at all! It has a nice plain grain. It feels lighter than the beech stock on the earlier .177-caliber Marauder we’ve been looking at, and it’s shaped just as nicely. The checkered areas have grown smaller on the new stock, but the cheekpiece still rolls to both sides of the butt, making this an almost fully ambidextrous rifle. Only the location of the bolt handle, which cannot be changed, favors right-handers over southpaws.

By the way, another name for lauan wood is Philippine mahogany. I’ve seen this wood used in furniture, and it doesn’t receive such a bad rap. It’s a hardwood, but it grows fast enough to be a renewable source of wood for many markets, including plywood products. I think the bad reputation comes from the fact that lauan is often used to skin low-quality hollow-core interior doors. People see that these doors can’t stand up to outside environments, and they think it’s because of the wood used in them. But lauan is not especially weak when used by itself.

I do find this wood to be thirstier than beech when I rubbed the stock down with Ballistol. So far, it’s soaking into the pores quite fast, leaving a dry, matte surface behind.

The test rifle has no scope mounted, so I’m taking the opportunity to install a new UTG 6-24X56 AO Accushot SWAT scope that Leapers sent for me to test. I’ll give you a separate report on the scope, so I’ll just mention it for now. The scope comes with 30mm rings that have Weaver bases, and the Marauder scope rail is for 11mm bases; fortunately, I also have a set of UTG Weaver-to-11mm or 3/8″ dovetail adapters that allow Weaver rings to fit on 11mm rails, so these rings will fit.

Power and setup
I can tell you right now that this Marauder rifle is shooting in the 38-40 foot-pound region, so it’s a proper thumper! I know that from the last set of tests Mac ran in 2010. But I plan to run the tests all over, just as if I never tested the gun at all. I probably won’t tune the rifle to shoot with less power or at a lower maximum fill pressure because we’ve already seen how that goes in the test of the .177 Marauder. I do plan to adjust the trigger to be as nice as the one on the .177 rifle, but I doubt I’ll say much about that because it’s ground we’ve already covered.

The rifle is set up to work with slightly less than 3,000 psi right now, and I don’t see changing that. I’ll confirm what the max pressure is, and only if it’s several hundred pounds below 3,000 will I make any adjustments.

The accuracy test is where I plan on spending most of my time. There are so few accurate .25-caliber pellets, so I’ll do some comparison testing with several pellets at 25 yards. The best pellets from that test will make it to the 50-yard test. I’ll modify my 25-yard test to include more pellets than I normally shoot because the world of .25-caliber pellets is so small that we really can’t afford to overlook a possible good one.

.22 caliber Marauder
While I test the .25-caliber rifle, I’m awaiting the arrival of the new Marauder with synthetic stock. I hope to get one of those in .22 caliber, which will give me my first chance to test this rifle in that caliber, as well as testing the new configuration stock and the altered trigger.

The rifle
The rifle I’m now testing is 3 years old and was made in .25 caliber from the beginning. The magazine is therefore much thicker than one made for a .22-caliber or .177-caliber rifle. Instead of holding 10 pellets like the 2 smaller calibers, the .25 caliber magazine holds 8.

The rifle’s remaining dimensions and specifications are the same as those of the smaller-caliber Marauders. The overall weight will vary with the density of the wood in the stock, but this new wood seems to be less dense than what was used in the past.

When I picked up the test rifle, I noticed that it’s still holding a charge of air. The last time it was shot was in April 2012, so how’s that for holding a charge?

So, sit back and relax. There’s a lot more Marauder coming your way!

Benjamin Marauder PCP .177-caliber air rifle: Part 7

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Secrets of loading the Benjamin Marauder magazine
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Fixing a Marauder magazine

Benjamin Marauder
Benjamin Marauder

Today, we’ll adjust the Benjamin Marauder PCP air rifle to accept a lower maximum fill pressure and still deliver about the same velocity as before. Before we get into the report, let’s consider for a moment what we’re about to do. As far as I know, the Marauder is the only PCP on the market that allows this kind of adjustment to be made. A great many PCPs have adjustable power, and indeed, the Marauder’s adjustment process for power has been sharply criticized on the internet…mostly by people who don’t appreciate how it works in conjunction with this other adjustment that’s unique to this rifle.

Most other PCPs adjust their power by changing the tension on the striker spring. The Marauder does it by reducing the airflow through the transfer port. What you get from that is far more control over the adjustment, plus it allows for the other adjustment — the one we’re about to do today. And the Marauder is the only PCP on the market with this facility. Criticizing how it works is akin to criticizing a thoroughbred horse because there’s dirt stuck to one of its hooves! At least that’s my opinion.

Why adjust the maximum fill pressure?
This is such a unique feature that a lot of readers who are not yet shooting precharged airguns must be asking why anyone would want to adjust the level of the fill pressure in a gun. Let me make a quick analogy, then I will explain it in detail. Imagine you own a sports car that operates on premium gasoline. There are a lot of cars like that, but your car is very special because it has a switch on the dashboard that allows you to adjust the engine to operate perfectly on low-octane gasoline. It won’t go as far on a gallon, but it will go just as fast. That’s the equivalent of what the Marauder gives you with this fill-pressure adjustment.

Anyone who uses a hand pump to fill their rifle will appreciate the ability to reduce the maximum fill pressure from 3,000 psi to something lower. Hand pumps become hard to operate somewhere above 2,000 psi. For me, it happens around 2,500 psi, but it’s different for every person. If I can reduce the maximum fill pressure from 3,000 psi to 2,500 psi and still get a reasonable number of shots, I’m golden. Sure, I won’t get quite as many good shots (remember that my definition of a good shot is one that stays within about a 30 f.p.s. band of velocity) at 2,500 psi as I would at 3,000 psi; but if I can still get a decent number, that’s all I want.

Reason No. 2 for wanting this feature is the person who lives 25 miles away from the closest dive shop and only owns one 3,000 psi scuba tank. They’ll get only one complete fill from a freshly filled scuba tank and then the rest of the fills will be less than full. But if they could lower their rifle’s max fill to just 2,500 psi, imagine how many more full fills they’ll get from the same scuba tank.

I’m conducting this test exclusively with Crosman Premier lite pellets, as I want a super-accurate pellet and this one has been proven in past testing. I also know that if this pellet goes around 955 f.p.s., it’ll be most accurate.

Let’s go!
I told you that I’d talked to Crosman and gotten some good advice about what I’m about to do. That advice follows. There are 2 separate adjustments we will be making today, and we may also have to adjust the airflow (power adjustment) like we did before. That’s a possible 3 adjustments in all. The manual reads like you can make just one adjustment or the other and get what you want, but Crosman told me not to do it that way. I’ll be adjusting both the striker spring tension and the length of the striker stroke. And, by the way, the Crosman manual uses the terms hammer and striker interchangeably, but I’ll use just the term striker today since that’s what it really is. A hammer is pivoted on an axle, while a striker travels in a straight line.

Both the striker spring tension adjustment and the striker stroke length adjustment are accessed through a hole at the back of the receiver. This 1/4-inch Allen wrench adjusts the striker spring tension (out, for less tension). This screw is hollow to allow a 1/8-inch Allen wrench to pass through to the striker stroke length adjustment screw (in, for a shorter striker stroke).

We know at the start of this procedure that the rifle accepts a fill pressure of 3,000 psi and gets about 32 good shots (within 30 f.p.s.) before needing a fresh fill. The average velocity is currently 955 f.p.s.

I want to adjust the gun to accept a maximum fill pressure of about 2,500 psi and keep roughly the same velocity. Then, I’ll count the number of good shots I get with that fill pressure and we’ll see if it’s worth changing the gun this way.

Adjustment first
I turned the striker spring tension 2.5 turns out (taking tension off the striker spring), filled the rifle to 2,500 psi and started shooting.


After these shots, I could tell the rifle wasn’t going to shoot any faster, so I decided to adjust the power screw. That’s the screw located on the right side of the receiver. I backed it out 1/3 turn, bringing the rifle back to the original power adjustment position, but that was back before I’d adjusted the striker spring tension. I knew the gun should get faster at this setting, but I hoped it wouldn’t go all the way back to the 1,020 f.p.s. average it was initially.

Then, I filled the rifle to 2,500 psi and started testing it again.


This was a bit too fast, so I wanted to dial back some of the power. Instead of the power screw, I was now adjusting the striker spring tension and the striker stroke length.

Striker stroke turned in 1/4 turn (lowers velocity).


Striker stroke turned in 1/4 turn (lowers velocity).


Striker stroke turned in 1/4 turn (lowers velocity).


Striker stroke turned in 1/2 turn (lowers velocity)


Striker stroke turned in 1/2 turn (lowers velocity).


Striker stroke turned in 1/2 turn (lowers velocity).


Striker stroke turned in 1/4 turn (lowers velocity).


Striker stroke turned in 1/2 turn (lowers velocity).


Striker stroke turned in 1/2 turn (lowers velocity).


I’ll stop here and discuss what happened. If you add up the adjustments to the striker stroke screw, you’ll see I’ve adjusted it in 3-1/2 turns at this time. That makes the length of the striker stroke shorter, which allows the valve to open and close in a shorter amount of time. Less air gets out.

I’m pretty confident that the maximum fill pressure is now considerably lower than 3,000 psi. To test that, I filled the reservoir to 2,800 psi and started shooting.


Okay, since the velocity is rising, it’s obvious that 2,800 psi was too high a fill pressure. The rifle is probably now near the max fill pressure range we wanted. That’s a guess that will have to be tested.

20—932 (2,000 psi end pressure)

At this time, I stopped and refilled the gun to 2,500 psi. It was at 2,000 psi after shot No. 20, so I’m pretty sure the power’s peaked at this point. I now adjust the striker spring tension in by 1/4 turn. That puts more tension on the spring, and the valve gets hit harder.

2 904

That’s not enough of a power increase. So I turned the striker spring tension in another 1/4 turn.


That’s still way less velocity than I wanted to see. I backed out the striker stroke length screw 1/2 turn, making the striker stroke longer.

7—949 (first shot on the power curve)

Now the velocity appears to be up where I’d hoped to get it. I’ll continue to shoot this string, not filling the gun since the last 2,500 psi fill.

33—946 (off the power curve)

There were 26 shots that ranged between 949 f.p.s. and 967 f.p.s. The total spread was 18 f.p.s. That’s a lot tighter than the 30 f.p.s. I talked about at the beginning of this report, but the power seems to be dropping off pretty fast. But the question is: Are we at the target fill pressure yet?

To learn that, I filled the gun to 2,500 psi and shot the following:


So 2,500 psi works fine. I then refilled the gun to 2,600 psi and shot the following:


I have narrowed it down to the point that 2,500 psi is okay and 2,600 psi is a little too much. That’s it for me. The rifle is where I wanted to get it.

I now have a rifle that gets an average velocity of 955-958 f.p.s. with Crosman Premier lites and gets 26 good shots on a 2,500 psi fill. If I fill to 2,500 psi and shoot just two full magazines, I know I’ll get all my shots at the most accurate velocity this rifle is capable of producing with this pellet.

By adjusting the maximum fill pressure back to 2,500 psi, we lose 6 good shots (compared to the 32 good shots it got with a 3,000 psi fill) but are able to remain at exactly the same power level as before. If a person wanted to fill to a lower pressure, this seems like an effective way of doing it.

This entire procedure took me about 3 hours to complete, and I would say I was somewhat lucky — though I did some things that helped my luck by adjusting both the striker stroke and the striker spring tension instead of trying to do it all with just one or the other. I also turned up the power screw at one point because I could see the rifle needed a little more air to get up to the velocity I was seeking.

Will you be this lucky? You may be if you follow the procedure I’ve explained here. I can’t guarantee that you’ll be, but I do know the way I did it is the way Crosman recommends.

The Air Arms Twice PCP Air Rifle: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Air Arms S400 MPR FT alert!
Before I start today’s report, I want to make an update to the Air Arms S400 MPR FT blog. Blog reader “coax” asked me to adjust the air transfer port screw to see if I could increase the power of the rifle. Following his instruction to locate that screw, I removed the action from the stock, but I cannot locate the screw he mentions. He says it is located below the loading trough, which I took to mean underneath the loading trough (the bottom of the action) at the rear of the reservoir. Well, there’s nothing to see on the reservoir itself, but on the action just behind the reservoir there is a threaded hole like he describes. The problem is that there is no screw inside that threaded hole. And that is the only threaded hole that I can see.

So there isn’t going to be any power adjustment report on this rifle. If coax wants to send me photos of exactly what he’s referencing, I will look again, but otherwise, the report is completed.

The Air Arms Twice precharged pneumatic air rifle is a dual-reservoir rifle with the air cylinders arranged side-by-side. The rifle has a rollover raised cheekpiece, so it is reasonably ambidextrous, though the bolt stays on the right side.

What is a Twice?
Now, on to today’s report. The Air Arms Twice PCP air rifle will certainly never win any awards for the name! Why they didn’t call it the Double-Up or something — anything — but Twice is beyond me. However, in the spirit of Shakespeare who said, “A rose, by any other name…” we will proceed. (I haven’t forgotten that Pyramyd Air took a survey about other names. Maybe they’ll christen it something else in the near future.)

This view shows the ends of the twin air reservoirs. There’s only a single fill port on the end of the right reservoir tube (the tube on the left in this photo).

The name Twice refers to the twin reservoir tubes under the barrel. Obviously, they increase the amount of compressed air the rifle can hold, yet by their design, the rifle is not made substantially taller. Wider, yes, but in the same sense that a double-barreled shotgun is wide. It’s width with elegance.

And, I’m testing serial number 098425, for those who are keeping score. The rifle came to me with a Bushnell Banner 6-18x50AO scope mounted on it. While that’s a good, useable scope, it doesn’t do justice to a premium PCP rifle like the Twice. Since I have the Hawke Sport Optics 4.5-14x42AO Tactical Sidewinder rifle scope on hand, I switched it for the Bushnell. Why not? After all, one doesn’t buy a Ferrari and then fill the tank with 87 octane fuel! A premium rifle deserves a premium scope.

It is a big air rifle!
Let me get this out of the way; because when these rifles start selling, you’re going to read about it on the forums. The Twice is a very large air rifle. Those twin reservoir tubes make it a real handful and that’s that. Also the barrel’s shrouded, which adds to the look of massiveness. The rifle isn’t heavy, at 7.50 lbs., but it is muzzle-heavy. I know there are those who think a muzzle-heavy rifle is a bad thing, but it isn’t if you want to hit things! The extra weight out toward the muzzle slows down the tendency all rifles have to wobble. The Twice hangs right in your hands if you put your off hand just forward of the trigger. My Ballard is very muzzle-heavy, and it doesn’t seem to suffer any.

Of course, this is also a repeater. It features a 10-round magazine that loads the next pellet every time the sidelever pulls the bolt to the rear and shoves it forward again. Having used Air Arms repeaters in the past, I believe this one will be butter-smooth to cock and shoot. I’ll let you know when I test it.

Adjustable power
There’s a power-adjustment control on the right side of the receiver, with an index scale on the left side. I will test that function and report my findings during the velocity test.

Here you see the sidelever that operates the bolt. Just in front of the lever handle is the silver power adjustment knob. A scale on the other side of the rifle tells you where the power has been set.

It’s hard to see in this photo, but the symbol at the right of the scale is a plus, meaning greater power. The symbol at the left is a minus.

The specs say the Twice is a 20 foot-pound rifle in .177 caliber. Because it’s a pneumatic, it’ll develop the most power with the heaviest pellets…and I’ll be testing it that way. That’s the only way it’ll be the most accurate at long range.

The Twice also will be available in .22 caliber, which I think would be the caliber of choice for a gun in this power range. They rate it at 30 foot-pounds in .22 caliber, and that’s about what I would have guessed. There are so many wonderful new heavyweight pellets in .22 caliber that I would think an owner would want to test them all.

The specs also say you get 180 shots on low power and 60 on high. Unfortunately, a .22 caliber pneumatic will always be more efficient with air than a .177. That number was probably gotten with the larger caliber, but I’ll purposely test this .177 gun at both ends of the power spectrum for you.

General impression
The woodwork is nice, but it’s different than the classic look of the TX 200. Only the grip is checkered and the diamonds are sharp, laser-cut and very crisp. The Air Arms logo is also cut into the grip. The butt is scalloped below the cheekpiece on both sides for weight reduction, I presume. That lightens the rifle but increases the muzzle-heaviness.

The stock is finished evenly in a medium brown stain. The reservoir tubes are finished matte, and the shroud is a matching matte finish. The overall look screams “Hunter,” so that’s what I believe the rifle was made to do. With all that air on board, we should see a good shot string at all power levels.

The rifle is an FAC type. FAC stands for Firearm Certificate, which owners will need to own this airgun in the United Kingdom. Once a rifle has been designated FAC, it can never be downgraded to a legal air rifle again, so this will always be an FAC rifle. Because getting an FAC can be quite difficult in the UK, that means the Twice was created for the U.S. market, primarily, because we don’t have the same power restrictions the UK has, except for a couple of states. The United States is also starting to embrace airgun hunting, so I think Air Arms is testing the waters to see if the market is there for them. Certainly, they’ve seen the success of all the AirForce, Beeman, Benjamin, Daystate, Evanix and Weihrauch precharged rifles over here and want to get in on the market. It’ll be interesting to see if the U.S. hunting market can sustain a $1,360 PCP in the face of all the other guns that currently exist. If the Twice can deliver on the promise of power, accuracy, power adjustment and a long shot string, it just might be the best new gun in town. We shall see.