The Benjamin Pioneer Airbow is the airgun that made arrow-firing PCPs a big deal. Having no personal backround in archery – I’ve never even fired a bow! – it was interesting for me to try shooting an Airbow and, in particular, to discover how it performs downrange.
The Airbow is a very close relative of the Benjamin Bulldog .357 caliber air rifle that we mentioned in the previous post. Apart from the fact that it shoots arrows instead of slugs, the main differences are that the Airbow has a vertical cocking lever…
… and the pressure gauge is at the front of the HPA tube, being filled by a probe – very unusual for a Crosman/Benjamin product.
Over time, the Benjamin Pioneer Airbow has become legal for use in a number of states for a variety of game. The Crosman website gives an interactive map showing the species that it’s legal to harvest in each state. Here’s how it looks for Coyotes and predators, for example.
But how does the Airbow perform downrange? To answer this question, I recently shot a well-used airbow in a cold (35 degrees F), snowy upstate New York day. It was typical deer hunting weather, but I was shooting targets.
Using a Labradar doppler radar system, I measured not only the muzzle velocity, but also the velocity of the arrow downrange. The target was set at 40 Yards – representing typical deer hunting range – and Labradar measured the velocity every 10 Yards downrange.
Here’s the result…
This graph shows the average reading from nine shots. Crosman says to expect eight consistent shots from an Airbow, but this one gave nine! As we can see, the muzzle velocity averaged 446 FPS and dropped to 405 FPS out at 40 Yards downrange.
More important is what happened to the kinetic energy of the arrows. The average arrow weight in this test was 373.7 Grains (Crosman specs are for 375 Grains, so that’s pretty close).
As we can see, the muzzle energy of the test Airbow was 165.1 Ft/Lbs. It fell to a 152 Ft/Lbs at 20 yards but still gave a whopping 136.1 Ft/Lbs at our 40 yard target. That’s plenty powerful for a wide variety of large game.
Accuracy? Well, as mentioned, I’ve never shot anything like the Airbow before. But every shot I took – including the first – hit within a 6-inch radius of the aim point. That’s clearly good enough to bring home the venison!
Airguns of Arizona stocks the Benjamin Pioneer Airbow. If you’re interested, they’d love to tell you more about it!