Benjamin Fortitude precharged rifle: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Benjamin Fortitude
The Benjamin Fortitude precharged air rifle.

This report covers:

  • Second rifle
  • Crosman Premier lites
  • JSB Exact Heavy
  • Trigger
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • Premier lites again
  • Shot count
  • Discharge sound
  • Test target
  • Evaluation

Today we resume our look at the Benjamin Fortitude precharged air rifle. I will summarize where we have been, so folks reading this report for the first time will understand what is happening.

Second rifle

This is the second Fortitude I have tested. Parts 1 and 2 of this report belong to the first rifle. The first rifle’s inlet valve locked up at the end of the velocity test and remained open when I bled the air after the fill. The entire gun exhausted all its air. I tried to fill it several times, just to be sure. So I stopped the test at that point and requested a replacement rifle in the same .177 caliber. While this is Part 3, I will actually run another velocity test today, since this is a brand new airgun. read more


Umarex Gauntlet: Part 9

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Gauntlet
Umarex Gauntlet.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

This report covers:

  • Tightened shroud
  • The test
  • Pellets
  • Magazine tested
  • Sight in
  • Magazine again
  • Adjusted the scope
  • Quiet!
  • Trigger
  • JSB Exact Heavy
  • Magazine acting up
  • Premier Heavy single shot
  • Summary

Today I test the Umarex Gauntlet PCP rifle at 50 yards, to see whether tightening the barrel shroud makes a difference to accuracy. I had planned to finish the report with Part 8, which was already more testing than I normally give a modern air rifle, but this is the rifle that defined the price point PCPs and it deserved a close look.

Tightened shroud

Reader GunFun1 asked me to check to see whether the barrel shroud was tight after my last test. It wasn’t, so I agreed to this additional test. I tightened the barrel shroud before the test began, and it stayed tight for the whole test. I wasn’t going to get it wrong this time! read more


Diana Stormrider Generation II precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Diana Stormrider II
Diana Stormrider Generation II precharged pneumatic air rifle.

Part 4

This report covers:

  • Why this is important
  • This one is a PPP
  • General description
  • Stock
  • Metal
  • Sights
  • Accessories
  • Trigger
  • Power
  • Summary

This report is pretty special. I’m looking at the Diana Stormrider, a precharged pneumatic that I reviewed for you a year ago, only this time I’m looking at the second generation or Gen II version. Let me tell you why that matters.

Why this is important

It’s important first because when I recently wrote about the new price-point PCPs, I left the Stormrider off the list because the Gen I I tested isn’t silent. But this one supposedly is. It has a real moderator (silencer) instead of a fake one, and many people say it makes a big difference. Also this one has an adjustable trigger. Both features would be enough on their own, but there is one more special reason why I’m testing this rifle. I’m testing it because you readers are talking about it. Your comments last week caught my eye, and it just so happened that I had this .177-caliber Gen II rifle in the que for testing, so we’re starting today! read more


The game-changing price point PCPs

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • The Gauntlet
  • Desirable PPP features
  • Less desirable PPP features
  • The list
  • Growing!
  • Discovery opened the market
  • Marauder set the bar
  • The airgun market explodes
  • Tipping Point
  • Room for improvement
  • Summary

Sometimes I hit one out of the park and when I labeled the feature-laden precharged pneumatic rifles selling for under $300 as price point PCPs (PPP), I was right on the money. In fact they will do more to help our sport of airgunning than anything I can think of. Today’s report was requested by reader Vana2.

The Gauntlet

The first PPP I saw this year (actually, it was launched in 2017, but the launch had problems in the beginning) was the Gauntlet from Umarex. It was an air rifle many had dreamed about but never thought would happen.

Let’s now look at both the good and not-so-good features, because they pretty much sum up all that a PPP can offer. read more


Benjamin Fortitude precharged rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Benjamin Fortitude
The Benjamin Fortitude precharged air rifle.

This report covers:

  • Point one
  • Crosman Premier lites
  • JSB Exact Heavy
  • Why such a large velocity spread?
  • Air Arms Falcons
  • RWS Superdomes
  • Shot count
  • Cocking effort
  • Trigger pull
  • Inlet valve failed
  • Evaluation so far

Today we look at the velocity of the Benjamin Fortitude. As this is one of the new price point PCPs, this test should be interesting.

Point one

My test rifle leaked down from the initial fill in three hours. I had filled it to 3,000 psi, then set it aside to do other work. When I returned three hours later nearly all the air had leaked out. However when I refilled it, I couldn’t hear a leak. It was apparently slow enough to allow testing, so I proceeded.

Crosman Premier lites

The first pellet I tested was the Crosman Premier 7.9-grain dome. They averaged 885 f.p.s. over 10 shots. The low was 872 and the high was 900 f.p.s. That’s an 18 f.p.s. spread. At the average velocity this pellet produced 13.74 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. read more


Benjamin Fortitude precharged rifle: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Benjamin Fortitude
The Benjamin Fortitude precharged air rifle.

This report covers:

  • Price-point PCP
  • Not a Marauder!
  • Description
  • Stock
  • Shrouded barrel
  • Free-floated barrel
  • Regulator
  • Impressive!
  • Conclusions

Today we begin our look at yet another price-point PCP — the Benjamin Fortitude. Unlike the Umarex Gauntlet that was the first price-point PCP to be announced, and then suffered early launch jitters, the Fortitude stayed under wraps until the airgun company formerly known as Crosman decided it was ready.

Price-point PCP

What is a price-point PCP? An argument could be made that the Benjamin Discovery was the first one, though if you go down that path you will soon turn up a crowd of similarly low-priced PCPs. We have looked at several of them over the years. But they are not what I am calling price-point PCPs. Those airguns are fine, basic airguns. A price-point PCP is a precharged pneumatic that offers features formerly found only on guns costing many times the penny-under-$300 that the market has decided to make the line in the sand. In short, a price-point PCP (PPP) is one that gives a lot of value for the price. read more


The airgun market in 2018

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Serious airgunner
  • The market has exploded
  • No more cheap
  • The gun crisis
  • Where were airguns?
  • Firearm crossover
  • Airguns — cheap???
  • Is that all there is?
  • The future
  • The point?
  • Summary

When I started writing about airguns in 1994 there weren’t but about 5,000 to 15,000 serious airgunners in the U.S. No one knew for sure how many there were because there was very little data about this market. There may be disagreement on just how many there were but everyone agrees that the American airgun market was small.

Serious airgunner

Let me define what I mean by “serious airgunner,” because that has a bearing on what I’m saying. Airguns are very prevalent in the United States. I would estimate that millions of homes have at least one airgun, but that ranges from the family who just inherited their parents’ home and are unaware of the old Benjamin that’s stuck up in the rafters of the garage to homes like mine, where the number of airguns is greater than 50. There are a huge number of families with airguns, but most of those people cannot be considered serious shooters. My definition of a serious airgunner is someone who owns and shoots an airgun at least once each month. My experience is that if they do shoot an airgun that often, they shoot it a lot more than that! read more