Posts Tagged ‘Trail NP’

This week’s blog contains a couple of things.

The new black kink-free hose can be tied in a knot much tighter than this one without kinking.

The new black kink-free hose can be tied in a knot much tighter than this one without kinking.

First, now has kink-free hose for PCP filling assemblies. It’s available as a complete filling assembly or just the hose alone. Greg at Airguns of Arizona tells me you can tie an actual knot in the hose, pull it tight, and it will still work just fine. For prices and availability, contact the good folks at AoA.

Second, I have been up to no good, again, thinking about air pistols, survival situations, and such like.

First, some background: back in 2008 or 2009, I discovered an outfit called the United States Rescue & Special Operations Group, or USRSOG. You can find their website at On the introduction page, it says: “This site was created specifically for military personnel that could easily find themselves in a foreign country, without the vast assets of the United States military’s tactical or logistical support. In places where not only the people are a threat but maybe the weather and terrain conditions are as well.” USRSOG offers a nifty survival and evasion manual called “Six Ways In And Twelve Ways Out.” You can find out more about it if you click on the Field Manual section of the Training page.

For their survival firearm, USRSOG recommends a heavy barrel match grade .22 caliber pistol equipped with a red dot. An impressive list of game has been taken with these pistols, including Coon, deer, turtles, fish, quail, squirrel, turkey, rabbits, possum, frogs, snakes, ducks, geese, fox, muskrat, birds, beaver and that’s just in North America.

The 1377 with steel breech and red dot on top and the Trail NP pistol on bottom.

The 1377 with steel breech and red dot on top and the Trail NP pistol on bottom.

This inspired me to consider whether any of the current crop of self-contained air pistols might make a useful tool for, say, a hiker or canoeist who was thrust into a survival situation. I decided to experiment with three pistols: an RWS Model LP8 Magnum fitted with a red dot, a Crosman 1377 fitted with a metal breech and red dot, and a Benjamin Trail NP (NitroPiston) pistol with iron sights.

The LP8 pistol with red dot at left and the Kip Karbine at right.

The LP8 pistol with red dot at left and the Kip Karbine at right.

I printed out a groundhog target from my collection and set it at 20 yards. Then, using a fresh target each time, I fired five shots at the target from a sitting position. I hit the woodchuck image three out of five times with the LP8 pistol, three out of five times with the 1377, and only once out of five times with the Trail NP. From this I concluded that I might be able to hit small game at least some of the time with an air pistol at 20 yards, shooting from a steady position that I might assume in the woods.

The woodchuck target I used, printed on an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper, with a pellet tin for scale.

The woodchuck target I used, printed on an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper, with a pellet tin for scale.

Next I wanted to discover what kind of penetration these air pistols would deliver at 20 yards. I set out a “tin” can – a Dole pineapple can, to be exact – and shot at it with the three pistols. The 1377 penetrated one side of the can; the Trail NP penetrated one side of the can, and the LP8 penetrated one side of the can. (I had to make several tries with the LP8 before I hit the can.)

The much abused can.

The much abused can.

I tried the Kip Karbine (a 1377 built up in .22 to be a short carbine) and it penetrated one side of the can on one shot and dented it on another shot. I pulled out my tuned Beeman R7 (HW30 equivalent), and it penetrated only one side of the can. Finally I tried a Benjamin 392 multi-stroke pumper and a Sheridan MSP, and, at eight pumps, they both blew through both sides of the can.

I repeated the experiment at 13 yards with all three pistols, and still they penetrated only one side of the can.

So what was my takeaway as a result of all this fooling around? First, I think the air pistols I tested are powerful enough to take small game out to 20 yards with proper shot placement. Even though the LP8 and NP pistols are a lot of fun to shoot, it is more difficult to shoot accurately with their spring-piston/nitro-piston powerplants than with the multi-stroke pneumatic 1377. In addition, in stock form, 1377 is well over a pound lighter than the LP8 and NP pistols.

As a result, the 1377 with a steel breech and red dot would be my first choice, among these three pistols, for a potential game-getter on a backpacking or canoeing trip. I would, however, test the 1377 before each outing because I once had the seals fail on an MSP airgun while it was stored in a gun cabinet.

In addition, it seems abundantly clear that if you plan on using an air pistol as a possible survival tool, you (and me) would be well advised to practice with it sufficiently to be proficient. Finally, in general it is a lot easier to shoot accurately with an air rifle than it is with an air pistol.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

This fine air rifle could be yours if you win the Amazing Uncle Jock Reader Appreciation Free Gun Contest

I think ingratitude is close to a national disease in the United State. Many folks, it seems to me, hold the belief that they are possessed of a God-given right to have things go absolutely perfectly in their lives, and they get mightily hacked off if anything messes up a completely smooth and wonderful trip down the highway of life.

Me, I tend to take the opposite point of view. I think life is a messy, dangerous, unpredictable business, and we ought to be darned grateful when things go right.

One of the things that I am thankful for are the readers of this blog, and I am doubly thankful for the folks who are kind enough to submit their comments.

So, since this is Valentine’s Day and by way of showing my thanks, I hereby announce the Amazing Uncle Jock Reader Appreciation Free Gun Contest. The winner of the contest will be given an air rifle from my personal collection – a Benjamin Trail NP XL 725 (otherwise known as a Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston .25 caliber). This is an air rifle that I reviewed previously: The gun is lightly used, but not abused.

To enter the contest, you must submit your thoughts in writing on one of three topics:

  • What I like best about airguns


  • My favorite airgunning experience


  • Why I am thankful for airguns

Your entry must be at least 250 words long, but no more than 1,000 words. It must be your original work and not have been used anywhere else. Send your entry to my email address: DO NOT submit your entry to the comments section of the blog. Instead, email them directly to me. Be sure to include your UPS-able address and phone number in case I need to contact you.

All entries become my property and I may (or may not) use them in this blog.

I will be the sole judge of the entries and will pick the winner based on the entry I like best.

The winner is responsible for complying with all applicable laws pertaining to receiving, possessing and shooting this air rifle at his or her location.

The deadline for entries is midnight, Feb. 28, 2011.

So get busy and start writing. Somebody is going to win this rifle, and it might be you! Besides, you’ll probably have fun writing the entry.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott

The third most interesting aspect of the Benjamin Trail NP All Weather – and the one that is bound to be most controversial – is the trigger. Now, I need to preface the following by explaining that I shot the All weather for a while and got some pretty nice accuracy results (which I will reveal below) before I ever attempted to measure the weight of the trigger pull.

That’s when things got interesting. When I first measured the trigger pull with my Lyman digital trigger gauge, I saw the following: at 1 lb 11 oz, the first stage appears to come out of the trigger and there is a hard stop. Then there is a long creepy pull and another hard stop at about 4 lbs 13 oz. Finally, at around 5 lbs, 4 oz, the shot goes off.

I had never encountered anything like this before. Weird, I thought, this air rifle appears to have a three-stage trigger. So I called Crosman about it. No, they said, what you think is the first stage is simply pulling against the trigger return spring. The second section that ends at 4 lbs 13 oz is actually the first stage, and 5 lbs 4 oz is where the second stage releases, they explained. They added that if you comparatively test breakbarrel rifles produced by Crosman, you’ll find that the Quest, the Phantom, the Summit, the Vantage, and others all have very similar triggers.

Now, I’ll grant you that All Weather’s trigger feels unusual at first, but I’ve shot it for a while now, and I’ve found that it is quite consistent and doesn’t interfere with accurate shooting (and it’s not as heavy as some military triggers I’ve been told about). For those who don’t want to deal with the All Weather’s trigger, after market triggers are available, but take note: if you fit one to your All Weather, you will void the warranty. So my advice is shoot your All Weather until your one-year warranty is up, and then put in an after market trigger if you still want one.

To cock the All Weather, grab the end of the barrel and pull down and back toward the buttstock. This is where the All Weather begins to show the advantages of the Nitro Piston powerplant. You’ll hear a “snick” when the breech unlatches and another snick when the powerplant is fully cocked and . . . nothing in between. The cocking stroke is one smooth, noiseless glide. It’s like cocking a break barrel springer that has been fully romanced by one of the master spring gun tuners.

With the breech open, slip a .22 caliber pellet into the aft end of the barrel and return the bullbarrel to its original position. The safety is non-automatic. If it is pushed back toward the trigger, push it forward toward the muzzle to ready the rifle for firing, and pull the trigger.

The sample of All Weather that I tested launched Crosman Premier 14.3 gr. pellets at 687 fps average, which is just a teensy bit below 15 foot-pounds of energy. When the shot goes off, the weight of the All Weather becomes your friend, helping to gentle the shot cycle. The recoil is quick and surprisingly smooth, with no torque, twang or vibration. Further, the report is quite subdued, even for a breakbarrel air rifle. The accuracy is very, very satisfactory. At 35 yards, I was able to put three Crosman Premier pellets into a little tiny group where all the holes touched each other before my technique went to blazes. I think a really good spring gun shooter (which I am not) could achieve some impressive results with this rifle.

In the end, I liked the Benjamin Trail NT All Weather. As I have explained before, I am not a trigger Nazi – what I care most about is how the overall system performs. In my view, the All Weather delivers a lot of performance and accuracy in a reasonably-price package. As such, I think a lot of shooters will enjoy it.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott

Ever since I got caught in a light summer shower with an airgun, I’ve had an interest in all-weather airguns. It just seems to me that, in general, it’s a good idea to have airguns be as impervious as possible to bad weather.

So when Crosman offered me the opportunity to evaluate the new Benjamin Trail NP™ All Weather air rifle, I said “You bet!”

The All Weather, which is available only in .22 caliber, is a break barrel air rifle, and there are several interesting things about it. First, it has an all-weather synthetic stock. Not only that, but the all weather stock is fully ambidextrous, nicely styled, and downright swoopy looking.

The catalog says that All Weather weighs 8 lbs (and stretches 43 inches long), but it comes with a scope and mount, so the whole package weighs 9 lbs 12 oz when fully assembled. That might seem like a lot to tote around for a day afield. Fortunately, also included in the package (at least during an introductory period) is a sling. It easily attaches to the swivels that are provided and makes carrying the All Weather so much easier that it makes me scratch my head and wonder why I hadn’t tried a sling before now.

Let’s take a tour of the All Weather. Starting at the back, there is a soft black ventilated butt pad, separated from the synthetic stock by a gray spacer. The buttstock has a cheek piece on either side, which ought to make lefties happy and a stud near the end for mounting a sling. Forward of that is a large thumbhole and nearly vertical pistol grip that is checkered and has a pronounced flair at the end. Moving forward again, the trigger guard is molded into the synthetic stock. Inside the trigger guard is a metal trigger and forward-and-back lever safety.

The forestock stretches out in front of the trigger guard. There is checkering on either side near the end and a long slot underneath to provide clearance for cocking the break barrel action. The other attachment for the sling is fastened to the breakbarrel mechanism near the end of the slot. Beyond that is the bullbarrel/shroud.

The barrel attaches to the breech block. Moving rearward, you’ll find the receiver, on which is mounted a picatinny/weaver scope rail. That’s it. The result is an air rifle that looks and feels good in the hand and balances very well.

Included with the All Weather is a CenterPoint 3-9 x 40 scope and weaver rings. When I saw the beauty and simplicity of how the scope rail and rings worked together, it made me wonder why all airgun manufacturers don’t standardize on the slotted weaver rails. You don’t have to worry about whether your rings will hold, whether your anti-recoil pin is seated deeply enough in the socket or whether you have to really crank down your mounts. All you have to do is drop the bars on the weaver rings into the slots on the scope rail, snug the mounts down, and you’re done. Hats off to Crosman for doing this!

Another key aspect of the All Weather is that it is powered by the Nitro Piston powerplant. (That’s what the NP stands for.) Unlike a conventional breakbarrel springer, which uses a spring to drive a piston that compresses the air which in turn launches the pellet, the Nitro Piston technology uses a gas strut, much like the strut used to elevate the back window on many automobiles. As a result, there is no spring to wear out, no twang when the shot goes off, no vibration or torque on discharge. Further, you can leave a Nitro Piston powerplant cocked for as long as you want without worrying about damaging the spring.

Next time, we’ll take a look at how the Benjamin Trail NP All Weather performs.

Til then, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott