To get the Benjamin Rogue ready for shooting, you first have to install batteries to power the electronics that control this air rifle. Lay the Rogue on its left side and remove the right side cover screws with a .0625 allen wrench. Install two AA batteries (the folks at Crosman recommend lithium batteries for long life) and replace the cover. Remove the cover on the foster fitting at the end of the air reservoir and charge the Rogue to 3,000 psi with a SCUBA tank or high pressure pump. The display on the left side of the receiver will tell you how much pressure is in the air tube.
Load the Rogue clip with six .357 bullets and slide it into the breech from the left-hand side until it clicks. Slide the bolt forward and down. This will push a bullet from the magazine into the barrel. Now, note this: the Rogue is designed with an extra position on the bolt. It has to be moved back about a quarter of an inch into the READY TO FIRE position before the electronic action can fire. To allow hunters to be able to walk around with the Rogue charged and loaded, there is a bolt activation lever just below the bolt that, when in the DISABLED position, prevents the bolt from inadvertently moving back into the READY TO FIRE position. The bolt activation lever enables and disables the bolt, and the push-button safety near the trigger enables and disables the trigger.
So, to fire the Rogue, flip the bolt activation lever to ACTIVE, pull the bolt back to READY TO FIRE, push the safety off, take the slack out of the first stage of the trigger, and squeeze the second stage.
What happens next is really quite astonishing – the Rogue kicks. Ed Schultz says it has roughly the recoil of a 28-gauge automatic shotgun. (I’ve never shot a 28-gauge shotgun, but I’ll take his word for it.) The recoil is not punishing by any means, it doesn’t slam into your shoulder, but the Rogue definitely pushes back against you, and the muzzle tries to lift. When I first shot the Rogue at Crosman, I was using cushions for a rest, and it didn’t work very well. In fact, given the weight of the Rogue, and its propensity to recoil and lift, I consider that a bipod, which can be readily attached to the Picatinny rail under the forearm, is an essential accessory for this air rifle. A bipod makes the Rogue much easier to shoot well.
The report of the Rogue is about as loud as a subsonic .22 rimfire, but – thanks to the shrouded barrel – not nearly as loud as it might be. (The loudest precharged air rifle I ever shot was a Sumatra .22, which I thought sounded like a 12-gauge shotgun. I hated it.) The Rogue, considering the power it generates, is very modest in the sound it makes, but still it is not the air rifle for shooting in a suburban backyard . . . unless, of course, you have an urgent need to kill a coyote (even then, BE SURE to check with local authorities to make sure that shooting an airgun is legal where you are.).
I put six 145-grain Nosler bullets through the chronograph. Here are the velocities in order (fps): 783.2, 754.6, 750.9, 749.0, 741.3, and 739.1. (After six shots — a magazine-load — the air pressure drops to about 2,000 psi and the reservoir needs to be refilled.) That works out to 752.18 fps average and – drumroll please – 182.2 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. That is one pot-load of power, roughly 50% more than a .22 rimfire. That’s about 10 times the power of most air rifles sold in the United States, power enough for hunting coyotes and hogs. That’s also enough power that you want to be extremely careful in choosing your backstop for target shooting with the Rogue.
Shooting the Rogue off its bipod at 50 yards, I put five Nosler bullets into a group that measured 1.4 inches from edge to edge. A number of bullets are available for the Rogue, including a 95 gr. hollow point, a 170 gr. flat nose, a 159 gr. round nose, and a 127 gr. flat nose.
The power with which it hits is impressive. I’m told that when Crosman brought out the Rogue at the Northeast Regional Field Target Championship in 2011, they put a target on a cinderblock at 50 yards, and the Rogue punched a hole in the cinderblock.
Bottom line: I think a lot of hunters and pest control professionals will find the Rogue an interesting and useful tool.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott