Posts Tagged ‘Benjamin’

First Of All, Someone Threw Down A Gauntlet…

Around a year ago, the Umarex Gauntlet started shipping. That was a big deal because – for the first time – a regulated, magazine-fed, shrouded PCP air rifle was available at the ground-breaking price of $300. Well, actually $299.99.

Cue for some rapid developments in the low-price PCP airgun world!

Now we see one of the first responses to the Gauntlet thrown down by Umarex. It’s the Benjamin Fortitude air rifle.

It’s A Shootout At The $300 Corral!

As with the Gauntlet, we have a $300, regulated PCP which delivers 60+ shots per fill, uses a 10-shot magazine feed and offers backyard friendly sound levels. Both have similar muzzle velocity capabilities and reassuring multi-year warranties.

So which should you choose? That’s a great question!

Let’s Look At The Fortitude In More Detail…

The Fortitude looks something like a cross between a Benjamin Maximus and a Marauder air pistol, with a regulator built-in. You can see how it compares to the Maximus in the photograph below. (Both air rifles are the same length, perspective makes that look less obvious).

It’s A Shootout At The $300 Corral!

The breech looks very similar to that of the Marauder air pistol. However, there’s clearly some differences as the Fortitude uses the 10-shot Marauder rifle magazine, rather than the 8-shot mag from the Marauder pistol.

Crosman has always had a core competency in re-using existing parts to build new products. Why design something new when there’s a perfectly satisfactory part already in existence? That’s very sensible engineering, so it would be no surprise to find that the new Fortitude uses many parts that have been proven in previous models. Doing so reduces development time and risk, while keeping costs down.

It’s A Shootout At The $300 Corral!

Compared to the familiar Marauder air rifle, the Benjamin Fortitude is a much lighter, less bulky air rifle. It weighs about 2 Lbs less than the Marauder rifle and just 5 Ozs more than the single-shot, unregulated Maximus. This means that it feels light and handy to shoot.

As with all other Crosman and Benjamin PCPs, the Benjamin Fortitude is manufactured in the USA at the Velocity Outdoor headquarters in Bloomfield, New York.

Velocity Outdoor? That’s the new name for the company formerly known as Crosman Corporation. Don’t worry about it, the Crosman and Benjamin airguns you know and love are still the same…

It’s A Shootout At The $300 Corral!

The Benjamin Fortitude we tested shot at around 750 FPS with 14.35 Grain JSB Jumbo Exact 14.35 Grain pellets – in .22 caliber, of course. That’s just under 18 Ft/Lbs of Muzzle Energy. The gauntlet we tested gave 805 FPS, 20.75 Ft/Lbs with the same pellets.

These JSB pellets also gave the best accuracy of any we tried. Few will find that a surprising result!

And the Benjamin Fortitude was impressively consistent. In fact it gave the lowest average Standard Deviation FPS of any air rifle we’ve ever tested. At any price!

So does that make it better than the Gauntlet? Well, that depends…

First The Fortitude.

The Fortitude is a much smaller, lighter air rifle than the Gauntlet. It has much better natural pointing capability and is a breeze to carry on a hunt.

The Fortitude is manufactured in the USA. The Gauntlet is built in China. For some that will be a big deal, for others not so much.

The Benjamin also has a 5-year warranty, compared to the 3-year coverage of the Gauntlet.

The Gauntlet Strikes Back.

It’s A Shootout At The $300 Corral!

Unfortunately the Fortitude needs a stock with an adjustable cheek piece. I got a chin weld, not a cheek weld when shooting it! The Gauntlet has an adjustable comb to the stock which is much better.

And the Gauntlet’s trigger is also superior. True, it needs some adjustment but this is easily done with setscrew adjustment of pull weight, sear engagement and overtravel all available once you pop off the stock.

The Fortitude’s trigger is non-adjustable and the sample I tested had an average pull weight of five and a half Pounds. Ouch! Yes, there are some fixes for this to be found online, but it’s starting waaaay behind the Gauntlet.

It’s A Shootout At The $300 Corral!

And then – although both have heavy bolt actions – the Gauntlet’s is much easier to operate. The bolt handle is longer and larger, there’s more space to avoid skinning your knuckles on the scope and the pull effort is less.

The Gauntlet is slightly more powerful also.

So Where Does This Leave Us?

For $300, both the Fortitude and the Gauntlet are great choices. It’s almost too close to call. Your decision will depend on which features are most important to you.

It’s great to have choices!


Stephen Archer is the publisher of Hard Air Magazine.

When you do a career 180 and begin to spend your work week reviewing airguns, there’s a certain phenomena and awareness that quickly turns to clarity… when seeking the one, you’ve got to try all brands and offshoots of a manufacturer’s pellet and you’ve got to cull with 10 shot groups. Yesterday for example, I spent the day getting familiar with the new Benjamin Maximus Euro, the 12fpe variant that our brethren in the U.K. have access to (and us as well). As always before shooting video, I’ll spend 2-3 days familiarizing myself with the gun’s tendencies & preferences in order to streamline my time come video day. What did I learn this week? … the branding phenomena is reality and my above discovery is true.

Take the below for example:

These are 5 shot groups at 25 yards experimenting with 6 different brands of pellet. I came away from the session thinking the Maximus Euro was a shooter across 4 of the 6 pellet types and in my mind, I’m starting down the path of, “This rifle isn’t pellet fussy at all… but I need to run some more brands through it to confirm.”

But is it?…

I spat all of the above through the Euro and confirmed that I could scratch them off the list. 1-2” groups at 25 certainly wouldn’t work for YouTube land… I’d be leaving this rifle’s reputation permanently scared and forever lost in the airgun graveyard. Having used up the day working through several rounds of culling and cleaning, I finally came away with 9, most of which I felt shot well enough to be consistently dangerous.

Check it out:

Now if you take a moment and study the above, you’re probably feeling fairly confident in a few of these groups, right? Don’t feel bad if you do, I did… that was until this morning when I funneled the assortment one final time and discovered the below takeaways:

Lesson 1: This rifle (and maybe yours) can keep to dime-sized groups 5 maybe 6 times across a good variety of pellets, but when you change the rules of the game, the picture begins to tell a different story. If you truly want to know what pellets your gun will be most consistent with, begin experimenting repeatedly with 10 shot groups and with lots of barrel cleaning in between batches. It’s clear to me now that Maximus Euro .177 is a dagger with the 8.4 gr Air Arms Diabolo Fields… 9/10 landed within .35” of one another. It also performed pretty well with the Diana Magnum and JSB 10.34… all three of which will accompany me on video day tomorrow.

This brings me to lesson 2: Have a another look at the above. The 8.4 gr Diana Exact is supposedly the same pellet as the 8.4 gr Air Arms Diabolo Field. JSB manufactures both and the forums will tell you they’re the same thing just re-branded… but I beg to differ. To me, it’s clear that this rifle performs better with one than the other. If that’s not enough to convince ya, have a look at the Diana Magnum and H&N Baracuda. This is the same scenario… H&N manufactures both brands and to the eye, they look the same… however, they clearly don’t perform the same out of this rifle. In yours, the reverse may be true.

What this means to us airheads is that before you give up on your rifle and call it a lemon, try all the brands and offshoots of a pellet manufacturer. JSB and H&N make most of them, and while seemingly disguised as the same thing, they are not. You’ve got to try them all. Then, once you think you’ve got things narrowed down, make your final decisions with 10 shot groups.

You’ll have a better time shooting & your prey will appreciate it.

YouTuber & Columnist
Steve Scialli

This weeks article brings yet another treat! As one of the largest airgun stores in the world, we get a lot of local foot traffic and get to see many airguns of all varieties. As you may already have learned, Airguns of Arizona is owned and operated by mostly airgunners. Whenever particularly old or interesting airguns come along for sale or trade in, it is not uncommon for an AOA crew member to snag one up. Over time we have a combined collection that is fun to see and to share with others. From our office walls and display racks around the shop, to our showroom centerpiece, interesting models are around to see for all who enter. But what about you, our distant reader who may not get an opportunity to come by and see our store? Don’t feel too left out, we will continue to bring the collection to your monitors in creative and fun ways.

In previous blogs we showed photos and fun stories behind some classic treasures, like the Weihrauch HW35L from the AOA owner’s collection, or the vintage Crosman 600 that Jock reviewed a couple of years back!

But today is different again! Today we give you a video showcase of an interesting oldie! The Benjamin Sterling HR-83, a fixed-barrel, spring piston airgun produced in the USA with history dating back to an English design from 1982. Production (unfortunately) ceased on this model in 1994.  Our example in the AOA collection is a .20 caliber model, making it even more unique and rare.  We hope that you enjoy our video!

Just last night I had an encounter with a fellow who is an experienced hunter, firearms user, and sportsman, and he knows very little about airguns. His lack of knowledge of about airguns about airguns isn’t a rare thing. Most of the experienced sportsmen that I know have very little conception of the world of adult precision airguns. Their knowledge is pretty much limited to what can be found on the shelves of the big-box stores, and there the packaging screams: 1200 feet per second, 1300 feet per second, 1500 feet per second! This leaves the consumer to assume that more feet per second is somehow better, and it does the consumer a gross dis-service in making a buying decision.

So let’s suppose that you think maybe it would be neat to try airgunning, but you really don’t have a clue what to buy.


First on my list would be a Benjamin 392. This is a solidly made single-shot, bolt-action, .22 caliber, multi-stroke pneumatic air rifle. It is easy to shoot well, delivers enough power for small game hunting or pest control, and with care should last for decades. I would buy one with a Williams peep sight. Scoping the 392, or its .177 caliber brother the 397, is difficult.


Next up would be the highly respected RWS Model 34. This is a single-shot, break-barrel air rifle available in .177 or .22 with power enough for hunting or field targe. Like all spring-piston air rifles, it requires some care to shoot well. The build quality is excellent, and the trigger is far better than you will find in the typical big-box break-barrel springer. In addition, the Model 34 is easy to mount a scope on.


Third is the Weihrauch HW30S. This is a lower-power break-air rifle that is easy to cock, offers excellent accuracy, and is perhaps the easiest springer to shoot well. Many airgunners I know say it is the last air rifle they would sell. It can be readily scoped, the build quality is outstanding, and it will deliver decades of service with the occasional rebuild. It can be used for pest control and garden defense with careful shot placement at close range.


My favorite springer is the Walther LGV. These are break-barrel, single-shot spring-piston air rifles that are easy to cock and incredibly smooth to shoot. With a scope mounted, you could hunt, plink, shoot field target with a huge grin on your face. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend one to a friend.

When it comes to pre-charged pneumatic rifles, it’s hard to go wrong. Virtually all of them will deliver one-inch groups at fifty yards under good conditions with the right pellet.


Turning to air pistols, the Crosman 1377c is an excellent starter pistol that people love to customize. It’s a single-shot, bolt-action, .177 caliber pistol that is fun to shoot and can be used for small pest control at close range. The rear sight, however, requires a safecracker’s touch to adjust.


If you want pure, accurate, air pistol shooting fun, the Daisy Avanti Triumph 747 can’t be beat. It’s a single-stroke pneumatic pistol that’s wimpy in power and no good for pest control or hunting but highly accurate, and people use them all the time in air pistol silhouette matches.


If you want more power and a challenge, I suggest any of the Weihrauch HW45 pistols. These are spring-pistol air pistols that are tricky to shoot well but are fun to shoot and master. They also offer enough power for defending the birdfeeder at short range.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott




At top, the HB17; the EB22 in the middle, and the HB22 at bottom. Classic pistols that have been discontinued.

At top, the HB17; the EB22 in the middle, and the HB22 at bottom. Classic pistols that have been discontinued.

Well, it’s official: three Benjamin air pistols – the EB22, the HB22, and the HB17 – have been “obsoleted” according to a Crosman Corporation spokesperson and will be dropped from the line.

The EB22 is a .22 caliber, single-shot, bolt-action, CO2 powered pistol. Overall length is just nine inches, and the weight is 28 ounces. All the metal is black with the exception of the silver metal trigger and silver bolt at the back of the receiver. Under the receiver is the metal pistol grip frame, which is fitted with a couple of dark-colored hardwood grips. Ahead of the grips is a safety button. Push it full left to allow the EB22 to fire. Just forward of that is the silver metal trigger inside the black metal trigger guard.

Above the trigger guard is the tube that holds the 12-gram CO2 Powerlet that powers the EB22. At the end of the tube is a black knurled metal knob, the filler cap. Above that are the muzzle of the 6.38-inch brass barrel and the front sight. Moving back along the barrel, you’ll find the breech and the loading port. Behind them are the rear sight and the bolt.

To ready the EB22 for shooting, remove the filler cap and insert a CO2 Powerlet small-end-first into the tube under the barrel. To ease removal of spent Powerlets, it’s helpful if you smear a dab of Pellgunoil on the end and around the neck of the Powerlet. Replace the filler cap and make sure it is completely screwed into place. Cock the action by rotating the bolt knob ¼ turn counterclockwise and pull it full back until you hear two clicks and it stays back. Put the EB22 off “safe” and pull the trigger. This usually punctures the CO2 Powerlet, and you should hear a “pop.” If not, reactivate the safety, tighten the filler cap, and repeat the procedure.

Next, cock the action again, insert a pellet into the breech, close the bolt and rotate it clockwise until it locks. Now you’re good to go. Take aim at your target, click off the safety, and squeeze the trigger. At around 2.5 pounds pull, the shot goes down range at velocities up to 430 fps, depending upon the pellet weight. That’s enough power to punch through one side of a soup can at 10 yards. You can expect 25 to 35 shots per cartridge before the velocity really starts to die.

I like that the EB22 is solidly made of brass, metal, and hardwood, is its handy and compact, has enough power to defend the bird feeder or garden at short range, and is just plain fun to shoot..

The Benjamin HB17 and HB22 are multi-stroke pneumatic pistols that are outward identical. Both weigh two-and-a-half pounds, stretch 12.25 inches overall, are single-shot bolt action, and are made of metal (including a brass barrel) and American hardwood. The only difference between the two is that one is .177 caliber (the HB17), and the other is .22. With 8 pumps in them, the HB17 will launch pellets a little over 500 fps, and the HB22 will propel them a bit more than 400 fps. The HB17 will punch through both sides of a soup can at 10 yards, and the HB22 will punch through one side. Like the EB22, they are solidly built.

If you are fortunate enough to acquire either of these MSP pistols, there are a couple of tricks that make life easier. First, lubricate the gun before you shoot it the first time. The manual recommends Crosman Pellgunoil, but you could use some light machine oil or non-detergent 20 or 30 weight motor oil. Put a drop of oil at each spot recommended in the owner’s manual. This will ease the pumping effort a bit and extend longevity, since the guns are shipped nearly bone-dry in their factory packaging. Be sure to give your pistol a little lubrication before each shooting session.

Second, when pumping the HB17 or HB22, make sure that you don’t grip the forend so that the heel of your pumping hand is over the trigger guard. If you do, you’ll whack the heel of your hand on the trigger guard with every stroke, and this becomes annoying very quickly. Instead, grab the forend so that the heel of your hand rests on it just forward of the trigger guard. Wrap your other hand around the barrel and the trigger guard so the heel of your hand is resting on the breech. Open the forend all the way, then return it to its original position by driving your two hands together. When the pumping stroke nears completion, wrap the fingers of your forend hand around the barrel to help finish the stroke.

It saddens me to see these classic air pistols go out of production. I suspect that many airgunners will treasure the ones that they own. I know I will.

Til next time,

Aim true and shoot straight.

Jock Elliott

In the top half of the case, Agent X's rifle with the new scope mounted. The old scope is in the bottom half of the case.

In the top half of the case, Agent X’s rifle with the new scope mounted. The old scope is in the bottom half of the case.

I was on my way to a meeting when an acquaintance and colleague of some 20 years – who shall henceforth be known as Agent X – motioned me into his office.

“You know about airguns, right?” he said.

“Yes, a bit.”

“What would you recommend in .22 caliber for killing squirrels?” he asked.

“How far are you shooting?”

“Oh, maybe twenty yards,” Agent X said.

I recommended a pump-up Benjamin 392 or Webley Rebel, on the basis that they are very easy to shoot well, but as we chatted, it became apparent to me that Agent X had more on his mind. After further conversation, it developed that he had already purchased a Nitro Piston rifle from one of the big box stores, and he wasn’t having very good success with it.

Had he tested it with different pellets? Yes. Had he tested it for accuracy. Yes. What kind of results was he getting? “At twenty feet, I’m getting groups that you couldn’t cover with a quarter,” he said.

That’s terrible, I told him. At twenty feet, you ought to be able to stack one pellet on top of another, or very close to it.  I made him an offer: the next time you get a free day, give me a call. If the weather’s decent, and I’m free, we’ll get together at my place and see if we can sort out your rifle. Deal, he said.

On the appointed day, Agent X arrived with his gun case containing a Benjamin Titan GP. He pointed at the scope. “I changed the scope because the one that came with it wasn’t very good.” I looked at the new scope. It was a Leapers 4 power non-adjustable objective.

Using my usual test rig – a bum bag and some old boat cushions on top of a WorkMate – I banged off a few shots with Crosman Premier pellets at a target 13 yards away. Two shots grouped together pretty well, but the third jumped away by half an inch.

“Let’s change to a scope with an adjustable objective,” I said. “I want to eliminate parallax as a possible source of accuracy problems.” If you would like to know more about parallax as a source of shooting error, check out this blog:

So we switched to a Leapers 3-12 Mini Tactical sidewheel scope. I tried a few more shots with Crosman Premier pellets and got decent results but perhaps we could do better. So I tried JSB pellets. Nope, this rifle didn’t like them.

These are the pellets that worked best.

These are the pellets that worked best.

Then Agent X said, “Would you like to try the pellets I had hoped to shoot?” He waggled a tin of H&N Baracuda Green lead free pellets. I started feeding them to the Benjamin Titan GP, and it liked them! But as I was cocking the Benjamin Titan, I felt a subtle movement, as if something were loose. I check the scope rings and the scope mount, and all were snug. Then I check the two screws on either side of the forestock and, while they weren’t outright loose, I found I could snug them up a bit more. Finally, I checked the screw at the rear of the trigger guard. It was very loose, and I snugged it up.

After tightening the stock screws, we got dime-sized groups at 13 yards with the Baracuda Green pellets. “Looks like we have a winner,” I said.

We put a woodchuck paper target in the pellet trap and moved it out to 20 yards. After adjusting the elevation, I asked Agent X to shoot the chuck. He did just that, plugging him in the chest and in the head. It looked to me like he was ready to send some squirrels to that Big Acorn Patch in the Sky.

“But what if I want to shoot indoors at 20 feet? How do I adjust the scope?” he said.

“That’s the beauty of the mil-dot scope we mounted on your rifle. You can use the mil-dots as different aiming points for different ranges,” I said. Then I asked him what kind of pellet trap he was using. “A Boston phone book, backed by a piece of ply wood,” came the answer.

That’s not good enough, I said. “You start putting pellet after pellet in the same hole, you’re going to blow through the phone book and the plywood.”

To demonstrate, I drew a cross on a seasoned piece of 2 x 6 board and shot it at 13 yards. The pellet penetrated more than three-quarters of an inch. Agent X made immediate plans to build or obtain a more substantial pellet trap.

So what did we accomplish? By swapping scopes, tightening stock screws, and finding the right pellet, we were able to shrink Agent X’s groups from “larger than a quarter at 20 feet” to nickel-sized at 20 yards. He should be in good shape to take care of his squirrel problem, and I’m pretty sure that he was smiling as he drove away.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

The Benjamin Trail NP pistol with the cocking assist handle detached.

The Benjamin Trail NP pistol with the cocking assist handle detached.

I have a weakness for air pistols. They are both fun and challenging to shoot. (Heck, any pistol is challenging to shoot because they don’t have the additional support of a shoulder stock.) I particularly enjoy shooting spring-piston air pistols because they deliver a mild jolt to the hand when they go off, and managing the recoil is the key challenge.

Nearly 18 months ago, I became aware that Crosman Corporation had plans in the works to build a spring-piston break-barrel air pistol based on the Nitro Piston powerplant. I was particularly interested because, to the best of my knowledge, no other company is building a break-barrel pistol based on gas ram/gas spring/Nitro Piston technology. From time to time I would send an email to my contact at Crosman and inquire when the pistol would be available. For quite a while, the answer always came back: “Not yet.” A couple of months ago, though, I got an email telling me that Crosman would send me one soon.  And sure enough, not long afterward, a UPS truck arrived bearing a large box containing the Benjamin Trail NP Pistol.

I yanked it out of the box, grabbed some Crosman Premier Light (CPL) 7.9 grain pellets and began banging away at some soup cans at seven yards. I found almost immediately that the NP pistol would punch through one side of a soup can at seven yards, but not both.  I tried the very light non-lead Crosman SSP Pointed pellets that were in the package, but I still could not penetrate both sides of the soup can. The other thing that I found immediately was that this pistol was fun to shoot. My initial impression was: “I like it! Decent rear sight, manageable recoil, useful cocking assist handle, and enough power to defend the birdfeeder at close range, fun to shoot.”

The rear sight hangs slightly over the rear of the receiver.

The rear sight hangs slightly over the rear of the receiver.

Before I tell you about the rest of my experience, let’s take a guided tour of this pistol. The Benjamin Trail NP Pistol is a single-shot, break-barrel pistol in .177 caliber. It stretches 16 inches from end to end, 19 inches with the cocking assist sleeve attached, and weighs just shy of three-and-one-half pounds. A metal notch-type rear green fiber optic sight that is adjustable for windage and elevation hangs over the back end of the receiver. Below that, the powerplant is made of metal and the “stock” (including the pistol grip) is made of a matte black polymer.

The pistol grip is studded with small protrusions that aid in gripping the pistol, and the same black polymer forms a guard around a black polymer trigger. Above the trigger is a push-button safety that displays a red ring when the safety is off. Beyond the trigger guard is a slot underneath the pistol that provides clearance for the cocking linkage.

The Benjamin Tral NP pistol with the cocking assist sleeve attached.

The Benjamin Tral NP pistol with the cocking assist sleeve attached.

Beyond that is a black metal barrel with has a polymer fitting on the end that serves as a protection for the muzzle and a mount for a blade-type red fiber optic front sight. Moving rearward, you’ll find the breech block and the receiver, which has dovetails for mounting the rear sight or a pistol scope or red dot. That’s all there is to the Benjamin Trail NP Pistol.

To ready the pistol for shooting, you could grab the muzzle end of the barrel and pull it down and back until it latches. But the barrel is short and the front sight would dig into the palm of your hand, so Crosman has provided a cocking assist handle that clips over the muzzle fitting but provides a slot for the front sight to poke through. Unlike other pistols that have offered cocking assist devices, the cocking assist handle for the Trail NP is designed to clip to the barrel of the gun so that it stays on while you are shooting it. It extends the length of the pistol by three inches and provides a place to grip the pistol for cocking that won’t dig into your hand.

The sight picture showing the two green dots of the rear sight on either side of the out-of-focus fiber optic red front sight.

The sight picture showing the two green dots of the rear sight on either side of the out-of-focus fiber optic red front sight.

So you grab the cocking assist handle in one hand and the pistol grip in the other and pull the muzzle down and back until it latches. This takes, I estimate, around 30 pounds of effort, but is very smooth and free of any noise. Next, slide a .177 pellet into the breech and return the barrel to its original position. Take aim, push the safety off, and squeeze the trigger.

Now, here’s where things get a little weird. When I first shot the Trail NP pistol, I was banging away at cans using a two-handed weaver grip and pulling straight through the trigger. If you had asked me then, I would have estimated the trigger pull at about five pounds. Later, however, I checked the trigger pull with my Lyman digital trigger gauge and found that the first stage requires 3 lbs. 13 oz, and the second stage is 7 lbs. 13 oz. I was astonished because the trigger didn’t feel that heavy to me. But I rechecked the pull a couple of times and those really are the numbers.  The second stage also has a lot of creep. When I was shooting groups, I found I would pull halfway through the second stage, recheck the sight alignment, and then pull the rest of the way to trigger the shot.

The Benjamin Trail NP sends 7.9 grain Crosman Premier pellets down range at 506 fps average, which works out to 4.49 foot-pounds of energy. Crosman claims, on the package, 625 fps with lead-free pellets, but that turned out to be too low.  The Benjamin Trail NP pistol sent 4-grain Crosman SSP Pointed pellets through my chronograph at a sizzling 720 fps, generating 4.6 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The report was pretty subdued, not dead quiet but not loud enough, it seemed to me, to disturb the neighbors.

Shooting two-handed from a sitting position in my SteadyAim harness at ten yards, I found that the Trail NP would deliver 1.5-inch five-shot groups with just about any pellet I fed it. Generally I could put 3 shots into a group you could cover with a quarter but then I would get a couple of outliers that would expand the group.

In addition, as I was completing this review, I heard from the editor of Airgun Hobbyist magazine. He said that he had bought the Benjamin Trail NP pistol and could not get it to sight-in at 10 yards. There simply wasn’t enough elevation adjustment, he said. I did not have that problem with the sample that Crosman sent me, but I had to adjust the sight almost to the very limit of its travel. In addition, I have seen similar online comments from a couple of shooters. At this point, I do not know if the sight adjustment problem with this pistol is limited to a handful of units or is more widespread. Certainly this is something that Crosman should look into, in my opinion.

So where does that leave us with the Benjamin Trail NP pistol? Despite the heavy trigger, I found it a lot of fun to shoot. It is an excellent choice for an afternoon of plinking and is accurate enough and has sufficient power to defend the birdfeeder at close range. It would also be an appropriate pistol for controlling pigeons or rats in a barn. I believe a lot of airgunners will enjoy shooting this pistol as it stands so long as the sight can be properly adjusted, but with less trigger weight and creep, a pistol that I found enjoyable would be significantly improved.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

The Rogue pushes into your shoulder and wants to lift the muzzle when the shot is triggered. I recommend shooting off a bipod.

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.

The Rogue magazine holds six .357 caliber bullets.

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.

A 145 grain Nosler Benjamin eXTREME Bullet next to a 7.9 grain Crosman Premier Pellet.

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.

Five shots at 50 yards 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

The Benjamin Rogue is a big, powerful .357 caliber precharged pneumatic air rifle.

When I’m not writing this blog for, I occasionally have other writing assignments in the airgun field. For the past several years, for example, I have written the “airguns update” for the SHOT Show Daily newspaper that is handed out each day at the SHOT Show.

Now, there is too much going on at the SHOT Show to print each day’s edition of the newspaper fresh from scratch. That would be the road to madness. As a result, a considerable chunk of the SHOT Show Daily is pre-printed well ahead of the show. The article that I write about what’s new in the field of airguns is part of that preprinted material.

So here’s what happens: sometime in August (usually) my editor at the SHOT Show Daily will contact me and given me a deadline for my airgun article. The deadline is typically sometime in October. So I begin contacting all the airgun manufacturers and distributors who will be exhibiting at the SHOT Show and I tell them that I need the pertinent information about whatever new products they will be exhibiting at the SHOT Show by a date that is usually a week before the day I have to turn in my story to my editor.

As a result, I usually know about a lot – but not all – of the cool new airgun stuff that will be unveiled at the SHOT Show. I have to keep all of this information is strictest confidence until it is officially released at the show. I have also learned over the years that many of the new products that are announced at SHOT Show will not be commercially available until later – sometimes much later – in the year.

So I was talking with one of the nice marketing people at Crosman about some products that were announced at the SHOT Show 2012 when she asked, “Have you ever seen a Benjamin Rogue?” I had to admit that I had not and didn’t think anything more about it until three weeks later one arrived at my door.

Until the Rogue showed up, the largest bore airgun I had ever shot was a .25 caliber.  Quarterbore, as it is sometimes called, is a nice fat caliber that serves very well for hunting small game, varminting, and pest control, but the pellets might weigh, say, 19 to 25 grains. The Rogue, though, is a .357 caliber precharged pneumatic air rifles that launches “bullets” that might weigh as much as 170 grains.  You don’t have to be Einstein to figure out that if the Rogue could launch these pellets faster than I could throw them, it would be fairly easy to generate energy at the muzzle that would be in excess of a .22 rimfire cartridge. That’s a lot of power for an airgun. I didn’t think that the pellet trap I ordinarily use would be capable of stopping pellets from the Rogue.

Further, I figured any airgun capable of generating that kind of power was likely to be pretty loud. So immediately I had a problem: I needed to find a place where I could shoot the Rogue safely and where it wouldn’t disturb neighbors.  I mentioned this to the folks at Crosman, and one of them suggested I bring the Rogue with me when I covered the Northeast Regional Field Target Championship. I did, and the first time that I got to shoot the Rogue was in the company of Ed Schultz, who is the head honcho for engineering at Crosman.

This display and these three buttons serve as the control center for the Rogue.

The Benjamin Rogue is a big, hairy-chested, powerful precharged pneumatic air rifle. It weighs 9.5 pounds before you mount a scope or bipod, stretches four feet long, and is a six-shot repeater. At the extreme aft end of the Rogue is an AR15 style buttstock that can be expanded or collapsed after squeezing a release lever.  Forward of that is the receiver, which has a liquid crystal display on one side and three buttons for making various control selections. The Rogue is electronically controlled, including a digital pressure display and an electronic valve that precisely meters the amount of air that is used for each shot. The shooter can choose from two power settings and various bullet weights to custom-tailor the performance of the Rogue to their preference.

Crosman has recently simplified the software that controls the Rogue. “We realized the no one wants to shoot a big bore airgun on low power,” Schultz says, “so we eliminated that option.”

Below the left side of the receiver is an AR-style pistol grip and forward of that is the trigger and trigger guard, above which is a push-button safety. Ahead of the trigger guard, you’ll find the forestock, part of which is covered with a tan polymer guard that is textured for gripping. Beyond that, the rest of the forestock is black and has a Picatinny rail for attaching accessories.

Moving forward again, the air tube, finished in tan, has a screw-off cap at the end. Undo it, and there is a male foster fitting for filling the air reservoir. Above the air tube is the barrel, which is shrouded and has baffles to quiet the report. Moving rearward along the barrel, the receiver has a 3/8 inch dovetail for mounting a scope. In the middle of the receiver is the breech which has a slot large enough for accepting a 6-shot rotary magazine.

On the right side of the panel, you’ll find a removable panel, the bolt, and a small bolt activation lever. That’s it.

Next time, we’ll take a look at what’s it is like to shoot the Rogue.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

On July 6, 7, and 8, I spent three days in Bloomfield, NY, at the Crosman facilities attending the Northeast Regional Field Target Championship, and I thought I share some of my thoughts, photos, and impressions of the experience. (If you simply want to see the results, you can check them out here: )

The shooter’s meeting under the large tent.

To start, the match was incredibly well run and organized. It was as if Crosman were conducting a clinic on how to host a field target match. Red shirts, worn by Crosman folks, were in evidence everywhere, helping out, making sure things went well. And they did. The Regional Field Target Match was scheduled to start at 9 am Saturday morning, and by 8:50 am, everything was in place and ready to go.

By the time I arrived shortly after noon on Friday, a number of shooters were already on the sight-in range. It was very warm and humid, and the Crosman folks had large coolers filled with ice and bottled water available next to the sight-in range and also under a large tent where shooters could escape from the sun. By the end of the day on Friday, there was a 55-gallon drum filled with empty water bottles.

The two field target courses were about 1/3 of a mile apart. Many shooters drove from one to another, but Crosman also had an ATV and trailer for transportation between the two courses.

Almost every type of field target rig imaginable was in evidence, from Remington Nitro-Piston break barrel rifles being shot off shooting sticks to multi-kilobuck full race match rifles.

Hans Apelles’ rig featured a very tall scope mount.

Hans Apelles was shooting in Hunter Division with a very tall scope mount. When I asked about it, he pointed to his son, Ray. Ray explained, “Dad’s shooting in Hunter. Scopes are limited to 12x. That makes it hard to range-find beyond 35 yards. With this setup, everything from 33 to 55 yards is basically the same mil-dot.”

Here’s what Hans’ mil-dot chart looked like.

When I spoke to Kevin Yee, who had flown in from California to shoot in the Open Division, Piston Class, he complained that he wasn’t doing so well, but he posted a 50 out of a possible 60 on both days and beat the highest score in Open PCP.

Kevin Yee has, easily, the world’s funkiest sidewheel scope knob. It’s built that was so he can adjust it with his trigger hand while shooting offhand.


Larry Bowne shot the entire match offhand.

The match on Saturday was interrupted by a spectacular but short-lived storm.

Dan Finney shot prone most of the time in Hunter PCP.

Ray Apelles designed the championship courses with 1.5 inch killzones throughout, but no one cleaned the course.

In the middle of the WFTF shoot-off for first place, Greg Sauve grins for the camera while Ray Apelles focuses on a shot.

The pistol match featured almost every imaginable style of pistol shooter.

The B course (lanes 16-30) was cooler under the trees, but all shooters agreed that it was harder to dope the wind there.

Hector Medina (white hat with neck cloth) won Hunter Piston by nearly 20 points. That’s Art Deuel shooting an HW98 in the foreground.

Richard Bassett (tan hat) is congratulated by Hans Apelles for winning the Quigley Bucket Challenge. Over 40 shooters took a crack at the 1.75 inch bucket at 55 yards with non-glass sights.

Dan Brown not only took third in WFTF and won Hunter Pistol, but gets the “Nice Guy of the Year” award for providing much needed navigational help to Your Humble Blogger.

In all it was a wonderful match!

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott