Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston .25 caliber

Monday, October 4, 2010

The potent Benjamin Trail NP .25 caliber.

Until this year, I had never shot a .25 caliber air rifle. To be honest, I felt .25 was at the fringes of the airgun world, a caliber that was enthusiastically embraced by a small group of shooters, but wasn’t really “mainstream.”

Perhaps I was wrong in that assessment, but when Crosman Corporation announced early in the year that they would be introducing two .25 caliber rifles as well as .25 ammunition, I decided I better start paying attention to “quarterbore.”

So I tested the .25 caliber Benjamin Marauder and found it to be an entirely worthy air rifle capable of dispatching game at long range and a potload of fun to shoot.

For me, that experience was a game-changer. Suddenly I was a .25 cal enthusiast! Naturally I decided I better have a look at the other .25 cal air rifle that Crosman was introducing, the Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston .25 caliber (it’s official product designation is the Benjamin Trail NP XL 725, but I’ll refer to it as the Trail .25).

What sets the Trail .25 apart from other break break barrels that Crosman is currently offering is that it is (a) .25 caliber and (b) powered by Crosman’s Nitro Piston powerplant. The powerplant operates on the same principle as the gas struts that lift the back hatch on an SUV. This powerplant type is sometimes referred to as a “gas ram” or “gas spring.”

Inside the powerplant, instead of a spring, there is a cylinder that holds gas. When the barrel is pulled down and back to cock the gun, a piston inside the cylinder is driven backwards, compressing the gas. The gas is held under compression until the shooter pulls the trigger. The gas drives the piston forward, which compresses air ahead of it, squirting a blast of air through the transfer port and causing the pellet to shoot down the barrel and down range. What’s neat about the Nitro Piston powerplant is that you can leave cocked for as long as you like, and there is no torque or vibration when the shot goes off.

The Trail .25 is one of the biggest air rifles I have ever tested – fully 48.15 inches long and 8.8 lbs. It comes with a CenterPoint 3-9 x40 scope and a sling, so the whole package weighs 10 lbs. 9 oz.

At the aft end of the Trail .25 is a soft rubber butt pad, attached to the ambidextrous hardwood thumbhole stock by a white spacer. The rear sling stud is located on the bottom of the butt stock between the pistol grip and the butt pad. The pistol grip has checkering on either side, with a black cap and white spacer on the bottom. Ahead of that is the plastic trigger guard which surrounds and metal trigger and push-pull style safety.

The forestock has checkering on either side and the word “Benjamin” incised underneath. Ahead of that is a long slot to accommodate the cocking mechanism, and the forward sling mount is attached to one of the cocking pivots. Ahead of that is the bull barrel.

At the aft end of the barrel is the breech block. Moving back again, you’ll find the main receiver which has a weaver rail mounting system for the scope. That’s all there is to the Trail .25.

To ready the Trail .25 for shooting, grab the muzzle end of the barrel and pull it down and back until it latches. (It eases the process if you break the breech open by slapping the end of the barrel down). Cocking requires about 40 lbs of effort and is incredibly smooth and quiet. Next, stuff a .25 pellet into the breech and return the barrel to its original position.

Take aim and squeeeeeze the trigger. Now, here’s where things get a little weird. The Trail .25 has basically the same trigger system as the Benjamin Trail NP All Weather which I reviewed previously. At 1 lb 5.6 oz, the first stage appears to come out of the Trail .25’s trigger. Then there is a long creepy pull and a kind of “bump.” When the trigger goes over the bump, the shot goes off quite consistently at around 3 lbs. 3.4 oz.

So while you have this somewhat strange trigger that feels like it has three stages, it doesn’t interfere at all with accurate shooting. The Trail .25 launches Benjamin 27.8 grain .25 dome pellets at 633 fps average, which works out to 24.74 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Further, the shot cycle is extremely smooth, almost supple. Currently I am testing three different breakbarrel .25 cal air rifles, and I can tell you without doubt that the Trail .25 is the smoothest and quietest of the bunch.

A wise man once said there’s no such thing as a free lunch. So it is with the Trail .25. All that power means that you really have to do everything right, to bring all of your spring-gun shooting skills to bear, in order to shoot with high accuracy with the Trail .25 (or any .25 cal springer, for that matter).  I found that, off a soft front rest, the Trail .25 would put 5 Benjamin pellets into a group that measured a half inch ctc at 20 yards. I’m pretty sure that better springers shooters could easily best that at longer ranges, but I couldn’t.

In the end, I think (for me, anyway), the Trail .25 makes a fine hunting and pest control air rifle for short to medium ranges. It’s the kind of gun you could keep behind the kitchen door to deal with that raccoon that been molesting your garbage cans out by the garage, and, with all that power, it’s highly likely you won’t have to worry about a second shot.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

- Jock Elliott

zv7qrnb

48 Comments

  1. Darrell vaughan says:

    Do you think the trail725 is a better gun tben the hunter exetrem .What other pellect shoot accuary in thetrail 725

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Darrell,

      The Hunter Extreme has a 58 lb cocking effort and is the most powerful of the three .25 cal breakbarrels I tested.

      The Trail725 is easier to cock and smoother shooting, but not as powerful. I didn’t find any other pellets that were as accurate as the Benjamin pellets in the trail725.

  2. Adrian Rdz. says:

    What is the other .25 you tested?, As you mentioned you already tested trail 725, Hunter Extreme .25 and which other?
    In speed how far is one from the other? at same bullet weight.?

    Thanks

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Adrian,

      I tested the Cometa Fenix Carbine in .25. Low cocking effort (about 25 lbs), very nice trigger, 18.7 foot-pounds with Milbro Rhino pellets.

  3. Kris Whiteleather says:

    Hey, Jock! Didn’t realize you were a .25 newbie. Any chance you tried the Beeman FTS pellets in that Trail .25? Just wonder about velocity. As I said before the HW80 powerplant produces 650fps with the FTS: too little power for squirrels at 30+ yards if hit in the shoulder.

    Kris in NY (Finger Lakes)

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Kris,

      Sorry, I didn’t try any FTS pellets with the Trail .25. I bet a .177 pellet at 650 fps would penetrate the squirrel at 30 yards.

  4. Darrell vaughan says:

    still try to get the xl 725broke in just get 100pellects throw it think about get the maruder dont no which cal to get might get the 22cal will the 25cal maruber shot a30gr pellect at 800fps an if it do will it be accury an another think what u think about the 22cal maurder wil it shoot a 16gr pellect 800fps

  5. Darrell vaughan says:

    Had to sent back my xl 725 it would shoot two pellets hole for hole then it would be all over the place shoot two tin of pellets so wait on the other one the xl 1500 shoot a bobcat at 40yards with a 10gr pellet do you think the barrel just might be mist up onthe xl725

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Darrell,

      There is no quick answer to your question.

      Among the questions that spring to mind are: did you test a number of different pellets? Did you check to make sure that the stock and scope mounting screws were tight? Also, were you shooting off a soft rest?

  6. B Brown says:

    Just wondering the effective kill range on an animal such as a crow with this gun. Is it a worthy rifle or is the .22 cal a better option? Thanks.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      B Brown,

      Certainly you would have the power to kill a crow at, say, 50 yards. My experience with shooting .25 caliber Nitro Piston or spring piston air rifles causes me to wonder whether I would have sufficient skill to hit a crow in a vital area at 50 yards, but I am a merely average spring gun shooter.

      1. Nathaniel says:

        I have shot a crow personally this last February at 45 yards and killed it dead on a garbage pile in the garden from my window. The 725 XL .25 is a beast of a gun.

  7. B Brown says:

    Got my XL 725 about a week ago, still trying to get decent accuracy out to 50 yards, can bust up bottles pretty much shot for shot from 50 yards but grouping on target tends to wander. Knocked down a crow from about 25 yards today, there is definetly no hesitation in the XL 725′s killing power, the crow dropped like a rock instantly using JSB exacts…….lots of power. So far I am impressed, looking forward to doing some more hunting and shooting with the rifle.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      B Brown,

      Thanks for your comments!

  8. Darrell vaughan says:

    i have another xl1500 an the pellects fits loose will that throw ur accury off my other ine was the sme way an so i sent it back an get another on an now this one the same way so what happen when pellect fit lose have u head any one say the breach hole is a little to big on the trail xl rifles

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Darrell,

      No, I have not heard anyone say that.

  9. Alex says:

    Is this Benjamin .25 made in the USA? If not, do you know where it’s made?

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Alex,

      Crosman tells me it is made in China.

  10. Crow control says:

    Hey, Jock, should I have opyed for the .25 instead of the .22 for killing crows ? I’m sure the .25 carries more kinetic energy ; mass time velocity and all ,but there must be some advantage to the .22 , range ? Is my math right ? Benjamin trail nitro, ps. Love your explanation of the gas piston and spring function comparison , discription, but soor or later that pistons gonna get tired just like the ones on a hatch back automobile ?

  11. Crow control says:

    Sorry bout the typing , errors couldnt find my cheaters last night , hard to see this tinny print on my smart phone.

  12. Crow control says:

    Thanks jock, dissregard my last blogs, upon further resarch I think the .22 is rigjt for my application, I’ve realy opend pandoras box on this one , too many varriables to solve this equation, the old muzzle energy guandry. Distance , velocity , mass, trajectory ,and projectile charactoristics and target density ; feathers or fur. I think the secret ingredent to kevlar is crow feathers. Lol . Have you the time would love to hear your thoghts on the subject. Keep on pickin’ and plinkin’

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Crow control,

      If you can lay your hands on a copy of Tom Holzel’s “The Air Rifle Hunter’s Guide,” he has some interesting things to say about the ballistics necessary to take down crows and on the relative “kevlar-ness” of crow feathers.

      And, yes, I will keep on pickin’ and plinkin’.

  13. Crow control says:

    Hey,jock, hows your trial nitro holdig up?.still waiting on mine , picked the wrong dealer to purchase from, they did throw in a tin of ammo for my trouble, now I have ammo but no riffle ,I’m sure it was out stock and they told a little white lie about thier other wearhouse, o.k . Done with sniffling on your shoulder, what do you recomend for oil ? I have concens about the degradtion, deterioration, of seals and dieseling in the chamber. I understand a little goes a long way , this is a considerable investment , I want to maintain it properly, hopefully get several years of trouble free shooting.

  14. Crow control says:

    Hey jock, I feel the need to mentoin, the dealer I purchased from was NOT air guns of arizona , (regretably,) the sponsor.of this blog. Not going to name which one it was either, everyone makes mistakes somethimes, they have appolgised, by phpne and by e-mail, and threw in a tin of ammo. Thats shows pretty good charactor in my book, but , it’s been a month or so now, that tin of ammo, sould have been somethong.a little more substantial, say a cleaning kitt maybe? Have a safe and happy 4th. Think I’ll run some tracers though that ole b.a.r when it gets gopd and dark , lol .

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Crow control,

      I don’t oil springers or gas rams. Maybe I should, but I’ve had enough experience from dieseling caused by over-lubricated springers that I just don’t do it. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, that’s my advice.

  15. Crow control says:

    Hi, jock, downloaded manual for x l 1100 , crosman recomends .. Crosman RMCoil one drop per hunder shots , silicone based lubricant, and do not use regular air gun oil, I’m guessing hydrocarbon based oils are the cause of dettination, not mention additives, detergents or solvents that may be present that could eat at the seals and gaskets.
    “Goodbye w d 40 , crc and 3 in 1 type lubricants” !!!!!

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Thanks!

  16. Crow control says:

    Detonation, sorry, lol

  17. Crow control says:

    Please forgive my spelling, and other lack of comunicaton skills …. I am product of the public education system, lol.

  18. andrew says:

    I have a benj 25 on its way for xmas hope it works out. Gonna shoot squirrells with her.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Andrew,

      Enjoy!

  19. Justin McNorton says:

    I got it at night time sadly and like a kid i couldnt wait so i had to shoot it a few times. The first shot felt amazing although the gun is slightly heavy its nothing you cant work with and the scope it comes with puts you targets right in your face very clearly. The cocking is very smooth and the barrel fits perfectly back into the stock. The gun has a little kick to it but the kick is comfortable as weird as that sounds. The only thing i could kinda see was a pallet full of card board boxes strap together andat probably 35 or 40 yards when the pellet hit you could hear the impact needless to say i never found the pellets inbeaded in the boxes. I was using hsb jumbo exact 25.4 grain pellets. Heavier pellets but good for longer distance accuracy. I truly dont see why you couldnt be within a 3/4 groupings at 50 yards if not closer with a little more of shooting the rifle. The action as you fire was remarcably smooth. The gun is quiet a small thud sound is all you hear but its a suddle thud noise. Cant wait to fire it during the day and zero her in it should be a wonderful rifle i will repost after a little more shooting but as for now i would recommend the rifle on the principles of smoothness, power, and scope capabilities!!!

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Justin,

      I’m glad your are enjoying your rifle.

      1. Justin McNorton says:

        Jack as i read over my comment post i noticed a section missing. It didnt hit me what part was gone until i re read it. I apologize for that portion of the comment and i was not in any way trying to infringe on what you have going on nor steer people in another direction. So my apologizes!! I do have a question on a air rifle. The Hammerli pre-charged pcneumatic rifle. What would be your take an over view of performance with that brand versus the benjamin discovery dual fuel?

      2. Jock Elliott says:

        Justin,

        No problem.

        As to those two guns, use the SEARCH function on THE BLOG — just above the calendar on the right — enter the name of each gun (one at a time) and do a search and I think you will find my write-ups on the guns you asked about. Try that and see if that helps.

  20. Mark Smith says:

    I think back in the 80′s, I bought a Crow Magnum .25 Cal. from Beemans. It was a tack driver at 25 yards and I killed a lot of squirrels with it. I remember some big old Fox Squirrels that the pellet went all the way through the body(I don’t always hit them in the head) I sold that rifle couple decades ago. I just recently ordered a Benjamin XL 725, is the Benjamin close to the power of that old Crow Magnum? I know it is not of the same quality. I have seen some bad reports as to acccuracy for the XL 725. My eyes are not good enough to worry about shooting over 25 yards and will use it for squirrel hunting only. Should I have ordered something else? Will it be accurate at 25 yards? Thanks, Mark

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Mark,

      I think the XL725 has enough power and accuracy for squirrels at 25 yards.

      1. Mark Smith says:

        Thanks, it is supppose to arrive today.

  21. DAN MOORE says:

    I had a Benjamin nitro .22 caliber.I am giving to my brother and I am getting the XL725..

  22. DAN MOORE says:

    Does the XL725 have enough power to kill a deer at 25 yds or closer

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Dan,

      I would not recommend the XL725 for hunting deer at any range. Be sure to check your local game regulations.

    2. willie says:

      Yes it does have that capability :)

  23. rob says:

    im a predator hunter i usally get fox racoon sometimes bobcat around 50 yards or less do you think the xl725 would work or would the .177 xl 1500 be better

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Rob,

      I think the .25 caliber would work for fox, racoon or bobcat. It would be up to you to figure out at what range you could maintain the necessary accuracy for humane hunting.

      1. rob says:

        so it would work better than the xl1500 .177

  24. stillhunter says:

    Inconsistent up and down groupings at 25 yards shoots six inch groupings from a jet sled. Shooting domed Benjamin pellets. shot 100+ rounds no constancy. I was so excited about this gun for small game hunting anyone figure out a better pellet or secret to getting more consistent groups?

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      stillhunter,

      Try following all the steps here — http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/blog/2013/09/getting-the-most-accuracy-out-of-your-springer-part-ii.html — and see if that helps.

  25. steve says:

    I was looking all over for the Gamo Hunter Extreme 25 cal and its discontinued. I bought the Benjamin and hope its great….anyone know where I can find a Gamo?
    I have a Diana 350 magnum 22 cal and it takes grouse out at 100 yards, goes through the tomato tin an INTO the wood stump at 80 yards easily.
    German tech is a winner for sure, I highly recommend the RWS, I just can’t miss with that thing.

Leave a Reply