So what’s it like to shoot the Marauder? A whole lot of fun, that’s what.
You insert the magazine into the Marauder by pulling back the bolt then sliding the magazine into the slot in the breech from the right. About three-quarters of the way into the slot the magazine reaches a detent. Push a little harder and the magazine snaps into place. Push the bolt forward, and the bolt probe pushes the first pellet out of the magazine and into the barrel. (When you work the bolt after each shot, the magazine auto-indexes, and the number on the magazine “window” changes, so you always know what shot you are on.)
To disengage the safety, push it forward, toward the muzzle. (To activate the safety, pull it back, toward the trigger.) Ease the first stage out of the trigger. On the Marauder that was sent to me, only 1 lb 3 oz was necessary to take up the first stage. Squeeze a bit more, and the shot is triggered at 1 lb 10.9 oz. Even better, the Marauder trigger has adjustment screws for trigger weight, trigger position, and first and second stages. I loved the trigger just as it came out the box. It was crisp, predictable and light enough for me, so I made no attempt to adjust it. But it is my understanding that it is possible to adjust the Marauder trigger to as low as a 3-ounce single-stage trigger or a 6-ounce two-stage trigger.
When the shot is triggered, the Marauder seems very still with no noticeable muzzle flip or recoil. In addition, the barrel shroud works marvelously well. Shooting off a rest at a target 35 yards away, the two loudest things I heard behind the scope were the “ting” of the hammer spring and the “thwack” of the pellet hitting the target. I’m sure there must be some muzzle blast, but it is very, very muted – and this was from an air rifle that is launching Crosman Premier 10.5 grain pellets at over 900 fps.
The accuracy of the Marauder is top of the line. Shooting from a field target position at 13 yards, I was able to consistently blow the center out of a tiny circle that measures just a teensy bit over .177. From a casual rest, I put five shots into a group that measured half an inch from edge to edge. That’s about one-third of an inch center to center.
Now, at this point, the sharp-eyed reader will have noticed that I haven’t mentioned charging pressures, and that’s where the story of the Marauder gets really, really interesting. My Marauder is set up for a 3,000 psi fill, and it will deliver 40 shots at over 900 fps (high, 986; low, 913) with Crosman Premier Heavies or 30 shots (high, 1067; low, 1021) with Crosman Premier Lights.
But the Marauder is also a very “tunable” air rifle, with adjustments for velocity as well as hammer spring preload and hammer stroke, which determine what fill pressure should be used. Using these three adjustments, the Marauder can be tuned for various fill pressures and velocities. As the chart below shows, with a 2,000 psi fill, the Marauder can be set up to deliver 50 shots between 612 and 644 fps or 30 shots between 828 and 887 fps or 20 shots between 898 and 960 fps, all with 7.9 grain pellets. Further, with all three of these “tunes,” the Marauder uses no more than 500 psi of air, making it very easy for the shooter to pump back up to 2,000 psi. And at a 2,500 psi fill, the Marauder can be tuned to deliver 40 shots between 863 and 900 fps as an example of another tuning option.
To me, the Marauder combines everything I admire in an air rifle: excellent accuracy, excellent trigger, and extremely quiet report. It’s a gun that can be set up for hunting, field target competition, or virtually inaudible minisniping in the back yard. With all that going for it, I think a lot of airgunners will find it irresistible.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott