Sunday, May 31, 2009

Benjamin Marauder

Last fall, I entered and won Crosman's Summer House contest. The top prize was an as-yet-unnamed rifle still in development. As the Discovery PCP rifle had recently come to market, there was a hint that this would be a "new and improved" version. The wait was well worth it. A .22 cal Benjamin Marauder serial number #100 along with a Benjamin HP hand pump arrived a couple days ago. It's my first PCP rifle. Kinda ironic that the Crosman Summer House entry I wrote was about restoring my late grandfather's 1954 Crosman 118 rifle. The 118 is a 10-shot, bolt-action repeater with a bulk-filled gas reservoir under the barrel. Ironic, because Crosman sent me a 10-shot, bolt-action repeater with a bulk-filled reservoir under the barrel.
I should probably pause and mention that since Crosman owns Benjamin, I tend to use the two names interchangeably. And, please excuse the lack of comprehensive photos. I only had time for a few pics.

Some quick initial impressions: Filling the gun from almost zero to 2800 psi was a chore--to put it kindly. (The gun ships with just a few psi in the reservoir to hold the seals in place.) It was hotter than Hades and almost 100% humidity the night I got the rifle. I lost count of pump strokes, but there must have been a couple hundred. I took about 3 (Ok, maybe 5) breaks. I really wanted to lie on the basement's cool tile floor and wish for a scuba tank. Somewhere along the way, I rather quickly surmised that I'd made a tactical error: My initial plan to shoot the gun primarily on CO2 and occasionally on compressed air had a serious flaw.
The good news was that the pump force doesn't really increase much after about 1000 psi, it just took a while to get the gun filled. The Benjamin pump is a serious piece of hardware.
Note: You need only fill the gun once from zero. Top offs involve about 45 to 50 pump strokes and are not a problem. I've been topping the gun off every 40 shots. I should probably mention that I'm 39 and in OK shape...

This is 20 shots. The pellets kept going through the center. Just shy of 10 whopping meters. Hey, stop snickering. At least it was off-hand. I did mention the off-hand part, right? Anyway, the gun is absolutely motionless as it fires--like a 1o meter match rifle. Except, it's spitting .22 caliber pellets out over 900 feet per second. Once sighted, a hole just appears at the cross hair intersection. Then, rack the bolt and do it again 9 more times.

The gun is shrouded. It's pretty quiet. I've no basis for PCP noise comparison. The striker spring makes a weird "poiiiing" sound. That's about all you hear. The pellet impact is loud in comparison to the rifle's discharge noise.
Update: OK, I was at the Pyramyd Air moving sale. I DO have basis for comparison. Several unshrouded PCP rifles were fired (no pellets loaded) and they sounded like a .22 short. There is no way I'd shoot an unshrouded PCP without some hearing protection.

Pulled the closest scope (off another gun) that I could find. Happened to be a Leapers 6X "Bug Buster". Needed the offset mount because the compact scope has supremely short tube sections and the Marauder has a loading gate for the 10-shot magazine. Anyway, a "normal" looking scope will fit right on using a set of 2-piece rings. The gun has an integral 11mm dovetail. I think I want a 4-16X Centerpoint scope for the gun. I've got 2 now on other guns and it's a tough scope to beat for the money. A wide, useful power range allowing relatively quick snap shots in the woods as well as enough magnification to reach out on long sitting shots. Then, I think I want to keep it light with something like the 6X Bug Buster. If I was going to carry the rifle in the woods, scope weight would become the deciding factor.

Pressure gauge on the gun seems to agree exactly with the gauge on the hand pump.

Quick-fill Foster fitting.

I dropped the second stage of the trigger pull weight down to a couple ounces. The trigger in this gun makes me think Crosman fired their attorney. The trigger, to me, was the biggest revelation in this rifle. It's really impressive.

Wishes/changes/options would involve some seriously ridiculous nitpicking. This gun would be devastating in a .25 cal. There's enough power to make that a real contender of a caliber here. Of course it would be cool if the new adjustable Challenger stock fits, too. Oh, yeah, there is one thing. The gun should come standard with at least 3 magazines.


Mr B. said...

Good morning Derrick,

It's nice to hear from you again. I'll bet you've been going nuts at work now that the weather has changed.

You've about sold me on the Marauder. When you add to your blog about it would you please address the guns ability to have it's power regulated? Thanks.

And again congrats on winning #100!

Mr B.

Mr B. said...


After rereading my previous question and my use of the term power and regulated I was not refering to a regulated PCP in the normal sense, ie, it's HPA power supply, but was refering to the Marauder's capability of having it's power turned up or down like my Talon SS.

Mr B.

derrick38 said...

Mr. B.
I knew what you meant. So far, I've just been shooting it. I need to drag out the chronograph and run some numbers. I've got a couple days off at the end of this week. I'll get some data. I'm curious how many useful shots I'll get off a 3k fill.

You're right about work being insane. We're busier than ever!

You can see how far I've gotten on the A/S project. At least I've collected all the taps/dies and materials.

James said...

I wish my experience was as fun as yours. I got mine 4 June. Set up the scope, pressurized (whew!), cleaned and boresighted sans shroud.
Reinstalled shroud and went to my 30 yard spot.
Shotguns make those patterns.
Brought back inside and found that nylon bristles didn't fully out the fouling that came in the new barrel. (Confession: I was excited as Ralphie with his Red Rider BB gun and wasn't as interested in cleaning the first time as I should've been.)
I figure the factory pops X rounds through for velocity dial-in. The foul the barrel and don't bother to clean before shipping.
Bronze brush was used until squeaky clean.....
And that's where she rests, shroudless on the bench waiting for a retry. Too windy today for most anything 'cept radical kite flying...
Very quiet. All reviews noting virtual silence are not hype.
Also, I second the need for a full length scope. The rails are too far forward for a compact scope with ordinary ring placement.

Anonymous said...

Marauder - an excellent piece of machinery!!! :)
My question is: the prototype magazine was on the left, when your face is when shooting right-handed - in a perfect location.
Now, mass production had put it in the other side - and the view is not as clean...

Johnny said...

What is the proper maintenance routine for a Marauder? How often to clean? What method? Please advise.

Anonymous said...

Blown away! Have been hunting squirrels with a Gamo Hunter 220.
The Maurader is just fantastic by comparison. At 30 - 40 yards if he's in the crosshairs he's gone. Period! At 60 yards it's a little harder but the quick reload gives you a big edge as you are ready to correct immediately before the varmint is gone.