I haven’t owned a PCP airgun since I foolishly sold my custom-built Stalker Cheetah 17 years ago. But then about a week ago I gave in to temptation and bought the new (Gen 2) version of the Benjamin Marauder PCP gun:
I’d been thinking about buying a PCP since Crosman introduced the Discover a few years back. It received good reviews, and was downright cheap by PCP standards. Then they brought out the Marauder, a better gun in every respect that was still cheaper than anything else on the market.
It’s a good thing I waited, as between the time I first thought about buying one and when I actually got around to it, Crosman had introduced a number of really significant I provments, including better efficiency (more shots per charge), higher output, a new synthetic stock, and an adjustable cheek piece on both the synthetic and wood stocks. I opted for the synthetic as it’s lighter, more stable, and the wood version is just plain poplar or something similar. Not that the synthetic stock is all that attractive, unless you go for the “tacticool” look 😉 I went back and forth between .177 and .22 for some time. .22 is a better hunting caliber in a 20+ foot pound rifle, but .177 is still effective, especially with heavier pellets, and it would allow me to use it in Field Target if the mood struck.
I didn’t have a suitable scope for it when it arrived so I bolted on a beat up Marksman 3-9x that lived on my Beeman R7 for several decades until the reticle rotated. I’d just finished repairing it and figured it should be okay on the recoiless Benjamin until I found a more suitable scope. For charging I found a reconditioned Hill Mk4 hand pump, the Cadillac (or BMW, if you like) of PCP hand pumps. I could have gotten a Benjamin for a lot less, but the Hill has four stages to the Benjamin’s three, and that makes a difference in pumping a gun to 3,000psi. I’d had an original Axsor three-stage pump with my Stalker and it took a lot of work to fill it. The Hill still takes some work but it’s much more manageable. The gun arrived with under 1000psi in the reservoir and it took about 140’strokes to get it up over 2600psi, which many say is the sweet spot for the gun. (I may try pumping it to 3000, which is the specified max, for comparison.)
So far I’ve only shot it at short ranges, but at 15 yards, with 10.5gr Crosman Premiers and the beat up scope, it’s a one hole gun. It’s also the quietest air rifle I own, and the others are all spring guns. It’s quieter than my tuned Air Arms Pro Sport, which also has a barrel shroud type built in moderator. Very impressive. The 10 shot magazine is easy to load, works perfectly, and is a nice feature for hunters and competitors. I’ll be ordering one or two more. Cocking takes a bit of effort but it’s not unmanageable. The hammer spring, which controls how much air is dumped from the reservoir when you fire the gun, is adjustable, as is the size of the transfer port, but the gun is working so smoothly I’m not going to touch it.
One feature I really like on this gun is the safety. Unlike most airgun safeties it can be flipped on and off, and it’s extremely easy to engage and disengage. Engaged, it blocks access to the trigger and also locks the trigger and the striker:
To disengage, just push the safety forward:
What’s particularly impressive is that the safety is actually a milled or perhaps water jet cut piece. Even my Thoeben Sirocco, which cost twice as much as this gun, uses a stamping. You can immediately tell when it’s engaged or disengaged without looking- a nice feature.
Next at step is to find a suitable scope, of course, and to take it to the club range, as I’m anxious to see what it can do at 25 and 50 yards.