With the introduction of the Benjamin Marauder this year, Crosman Corporation has defined a new sweet spot in the price/performance curve for PCP air rifles. As I stated in my last blog, it has everything I would want in a trip to Santa’s lap – it’s astonishingly quiet, wickedly accurate, has an excellent trigger, and it’s a repeater . . . all for about $500.
We’ll get to all the neat stuff pretty soon, but first let’s take a tour of the Marauder. The Marauder measures 43 inches end to end and weighs 7.5 lbs, according to the factory specs. Available in .177 and .22, it’s a precharged 10-shot bolt-action air rifle that can launch .177 pellets up to 1100 fps and .22 pellets as fast as 1000 fps.
At the extreme aft end of the Marauder is a ventilated tan rubber recoil pad, separated from the ambidextrous hardwood stock by a white plastic spacer. Just forward of that, underneath the buttstock is a stud for mounting a rifle sling. Moving forward again, there is a laser-checkered pistol grip with a palm swell on each side and a black plastic cap on the end.
Moving forward again, you’ll find a plastic trigger guard that houses a fully adjustable metal trigger and a metal safety lever. Just ahead of the trigger guard is a bolt that holds the action in the stock. Forward of that is the air pressure gauge. Moving toward the muzzle again, you’ll find the word “Benjamin” laser carved into the stock and, beyond that, another stud for mounting a rifle sling. Each side of the forestock is laser-checkered, and the end of the forestock slants backwards (somewhat similar to the RWS 54 spring-piston rifle).
Beyond the end of the forestock is the air reservoir. At the end of the reservoir are a barrel band (which connects the reservoir to the barrel shroud) and a cap which unscrews to reveal a male Foster fitting for charging the reservoir from a SCUBA tank or hand pump. Beyond the end of the reservoir is the barrel shroud inside which is a choked steel barrel.
Moving back along the barrel shroud, you’ll find the aluminum receiver which is dovetailed for fitting a scope and has a prominent slot for the ten-shot magazine. At the aft end of the receiver is a large steel bolt handle. To me, the fit and finish of the Marauder are entirely appropriate for an air rifle in this price range.
The only other significant part of the Marauder is the magazine, which holds 10 pellets and is self-indexing. That means it contains a small spring inside that rotates the next shot into position when the shooter works the bolt.
Loading the magazine is a little tricky the first time, and there is an excellent video that can be found at http://www.crosman.com/airguns/rifles/pcp. Nevertheless, here’s Uncle Jock’s quick tutorial on how to load the magazine.
First, look at the picture of the magazine below. Notice the white spot near the lower left corner of the clear plastic cover. That’s where a bump on the black plastic main body of the magazine engages a small recess on the clear cover.
Now push the clear plastic cover up slightly and forward so that it rotates clockwise and disengages from the bump on the body of the magazine. The picture below shows the cover rotated off the bump.
Next, rotate the cover clockwise as far as it will go, until the forward edge of the cover encounters the bump again like the picture below.
Now, push the cover clockwise a little more so that it rides up over the bump and a hole in the base of the magazine appears through the slot in the cover as the picture below shows. (In case you’re wondering, the clockwise rotation of the magazine ‘winds up’ the spring in the magazine so that it will self-index each time you work the bolt.)
Put your finger under the hole and drop a pellet in nose first. Now rotate the cover counterclockwise off the bump. The spring pressure of the magazine will now hold the pellet in place, and you can remove your finger.
Next, as you rotate the cover counterclockwise, additional pellet bays will appear under the hole in the plastic cover. Drop pellets in nose first until the cover is rotated back to its original position.
The magazine is now loaded. In Part II, we’ll see how the Marauder shoots!
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott