Sunday Plinking

Editor’s Comment: This article was originally drafted March 18, 2018. It may have originally been intended to be posted in the old Straight Shooters Forum; who knows? Lost and found; posted for shits and giggles.

After a 7-8 year hiatus (seriously – it’s a long story), I got out my some of my old friends 3 weeks ago and the rest today. A lot has changed in eight years – with SS, these forums and with me.

At any rate, my wife actually wanted to shoot today, so I decided that my R7 .177 was the best option for her, since it is my lightest air rifle. Unfortunately, it was really too heavy for her … but she was actually interested in plinking, so that was huge bonus / surprise. I’m going to have to get some sort of bench setup for her or maybe my first air pistol, which surprisingly, she was happy to support as long as she gets to use it! As I said; a lot has changed over the last few years.

I love the R7, but I have to admit that I still long for one in .20 caliber (or maybe a .20 HW30S). More stuff that has changed – I’m not sure that Beeman is still around. I also gather .20 is way out of favor, but I can still hold on to old dreams, right? At any rate, after my wife gave up, I quickly dispatched multiple cans and plastic bottles. Probably not instant ‘kill’ shots, but I was happy with my accuracy, considering I was a good 25 yards out from those pesky targets. If they were vermin, they would have been toast … just not nice and tidy.

I spent a good bit of time with my .22 Benjamin Marauder. I can’t believe what a pain it is to pump. Super happy that it doesn’t seem to leak (pumpped it all the way to 3000 psi yesterday); Hill pump still functions nicely. What a PITA those 10 shot cartridges are to load! At any rate, I went through 4 clips, and was seriously impressed with the accuracy. I didn’t remember how much fun it was to pull back the bolt, load a pellet … pfifft … ping … pfifft … such fun (hitting can after can, almost at the same time as each trigger pull). Wow; impressive!

The fact that my R7 and Marauder requires zero maint. before shooting, is a testament to their quality; not to mention the Hill pump functioned wonderfully. Three weeks ago, I had the same great experience with my R1s – my lovely .177 and my favorite.20 Carbine. Those are stories for another day.

I figured I would post because a) I haven’t in forever b) it is more or less theropudic c) I almost forgot how much I love my air guns.

Happy plinking!


Marauder Round Two

I got in some trigger time yesterday with my new .22 Marauder; the new replacement from Crosman. Did I mention what a stand-up company Crosman? Not only do they backup their warranty, they made things right for me by sending me a replacement. I have read on the forums (mostly yellow) that Crosman has sorted out a few issues (trigger, bolt, pellet consistency) with their September batch of Marauders, so I am pleased that my July Marauder has been replaced with a fresh off the press October issue.

Not that the Marauders with defective or faulty. It seems like most of the dissenting voices have been a very few vocal minority. Yes, I had issues with my July Marauder, and in the end it was beyond my limited skill and Crosman felt it had enough issues to warrant a replacement. I do not think that means that the Marauder is a hit-or-miss PCP. I think it means that it is a new product, and while there may be some issues with the initial manufacturing runs, Crosman has shown a willingness to correct any problems.

So back to my new Marauder – 009xxx248. I shot several clips with mixed results. It took me a few shots to get my Hawke 4-12×40 Air Max on a solid zero (at ~60 feet / 20 yards). As always the Crosman Premier pellets (14.3 gr.) shot extremely well and accurate. I loaded a clip of Beeman Crow-Magnum pellets s (18.20 gr.), and I was very pleased to see that these were extremely accurate without any spraying. My July Marauder would not shot these at all; in fact my new Marauder is my first airgun of any caliber to actually shoot these puppies accurately!

I tried a clip of Beeman Silver Ace pellets (15.74 gr), but these were all over the place; not at all consistent. Same story for a clip of RWS Superdome pellets (14.5 gr.), which surprised me because these seem to be a nice general all purpose pellet. Perhaps worst of all were the Napier Power Hunter pellets (15.6 gr.), not only were the first three shots inconsistent (think shotgun spray), but these pellets caused a clip jam, which was a bear to fix. I should have released that there were problems looming because the pellets were tight loading into the clip. These things are not going anywhere near my Marauder.

I do not have a Chrony, so I cannot report on all the facts and figures. I can just report what shoots well, and what does not (or is not accurate).

Today I will shoot another clip of Crow-Magnum pellets, just to make sure they were not a fluke. I am also going to give some RWS Meisterkugeln pellets (14.0 gr.) and RWS Superpoint Extra pellets (14.5 gr.) a go. While I do not generally like pointed pellets, the Superpoint Extra pellets work great in my .22 Beeman R1, so I have plenty on hand.

If I have time, I would also like to sort out some of the following pellets: Beeman FTS Double Gold (14.72 gr.), Beeman Kodiak Double Gold (21.12 gr.), and JSB Diabolo Exact (15.9 gr.).

Hopefully some of these others will work really well, giving me several different pellet options. If the results continue to hold for the Crow-Magnum pellets, it will indeed be a happy day. Not only will the October issue Marauder shoot a variety of pellets well, it will also give me multiple options for plinking, paper punching, and pest control. Good stuff indeed!

Happy shooting!


Marauder goes under the knife (update 3)

My new Marauder arrived fresh from the factory today. Actually it would have been here yesterday, but no one was home to accept the signature confirmation package from Mr. Brown.

This was a super quick resolution by the fine folks at Crosman. I sent my July Marauder (709xxx357) to Crosman on Oct 6 via UPS, it arrived Oct 9, and by Oct 21 I received my replacement, SN 009xxx248.

I have not had time to try the Marauder yet; I did notice that it arrived with 0 psi on the gauge. The first order of business will be to pump it up and see if it holds a charge. I hope to have time to shoot some over the weekend.

Hats off again to Crosman for their fine customer service. I am a very satisfied customer.


Marauder Single Shot Tray

Crosman is now offering a Single Shot Tray for the Marauder. I ordered one last night. At $14.99 the price is not bad at all, but shipping charges of $9.84 are a little over the top.

Hope this arrives a few days after my new Marauder. I love the repeater magazines; in fact I have four. I like the idea of the Single Shot Tray for quick pellet sampling. I will of course provide a report in the coming days.


Marauder goes under the knife (update 2)

The Crosman warranty department told me that my Marauder was beyond repair. Actually, the quote from the service rep was that was “a good amount wrong” with my Marauder.

Crosman is shipping me a brand new replacement; should be here next week. Hats off to Crosman for being such a standup company and making things right for me.


Marauder goes under the knife (update 1)

My Marauder completed its journey to Crosman earlier today courtesy of UPS. Unfortunately no one is available in the warranty department today; not sure if that is the case for Friday in general or just today.

So now the real waiting begins. Will be interesting to see how quickly my Marauder is repaired or a replacement is sent.

Stay tuned.


Marauder goes under the knife.

After failing to fix the leak in my .22 Marauder, I decided to send it to Crosman for repairs. For what it is worth, I would like to say that despite these problems, I am overall very pleased with the Marauder. This is my first experience with a PCP, and I think the Marauder provides good value for the money. The biggest plus is that the Marauder is very quiet, which makes for perfect backyard shooting.

In a perfect world I guess you could make a case that a brand new $500 airgun should not have any issues, but considering that I have been able to enjoy the Marauder, learn about basic PCP maintenance, and Crosman offered me free shipping, I cannot complain too much. Hopefully the repaired Marauder or a replacement with be back in my stable fairly soon.


Marauder Groups

I have not posted any .22 Marauder groups, so I decided that a post or two was in order. I got in a lot of trigger time yesterday (and am still getting more today) as I tried various things to fix my leaking Marauder. While I do have a problem with my Marauder, there are a couple of positives to point out. First, using the Hill hand pump has given me a ton of exercise! If I stay with the Marauder and PCP, I can see the light (almost) of going scuba. Second, I really like the Marauder. For backyard shooting it is a ton of fun; that repeater is just silly – load up four clips, and blow through 40 pellets in a manner of minutes!

.22 Marauder Groups

.22 Marauder punching paper

I know these results are not by any stretch great (probably average at best), but for my purposes I think they are pretty darn good. First, I was shooting in the 2200-1900 psi range, so I am not coming close to maximizing the potential of the gun. Second, I was shooting at about 65 feet from a sitting position. In other words I bet the results would have been better off a bench. The top view is a picture of ten shots. If you take the time to count the holes, you will notice that I landed five shots in the center hole around the crosshair. Not too shabby!

In the early days of the Marauder I was getting a load failure about 1 out of 20 shots. This eased to 1 out of 30, and now I cannot think of the last time this happened. The problem occurred when the bolt got stuck and did not load the pellet properly, or maybe even loaded two pellets! I am not sure if this was a breaking in period, or maybe just user error since this is my first repeater.

All in all, except for the problem with the leak, I am pretty pleased with the Marauder. It is a real treat to shoot in the backyard.


250 Pumps. Marauder springs a leak.

It looks like my new .22 Benjamin Marauder has a leak, which sucks considering this was my entry into the world of PCP. Plus I cannot seem to stop the bleeding.

It looks like any time I pump the gun over 2000 psi, the pressure slowly (or not so slowly depending on how these things are suppose to work) dwindles down to 1800-1900 psi. This is a very consistent pattern. I have pumped the crap out of the Hill hand pump the last 18 hours just to verify the problem.

Instead of sending the gun straight away to Crosman for repairs, I decided to take things into my own hands to see if I could actually get thing leak beat. First, I tried to tighten the nipple fill area, and while it could be tighten a little, that did not help things. Next I separated the action from the stock, and then got really brave and barrel band. I decided to degas the gun and remove the gauge (really just removed the gauge assemble). Everything looked in order; o-ring was there, so not sure what else needed to be inspected.

I then started pumping from 0. 25 pumps followed by a brief period of rest. It took 250 pumps to go from 0 psi to 2300-2400 psi. Good grief was that a lot of work!

  • 001-025
  • 026-050 (50 bar; 700 psi)
  • 051-075 (just under 1K psi)
  • 076-100 (just under 100 bar)
  • 101-125
  • 126-150 (~140 bar; just under 2K psi)
  • 151-175
  • 176-200
  • 201-225 (185 bar; 2400 psi)
  • 226-250 (180 bar; 2300 psi)

Notice that at the very end the psi started going down; leak city, which is more than enough to make me no I am not crazy – the gun does lose pressure rapidly. I left everything alone to take my middle boy to soccer, and then the family to lunch. So after about 3 hours of rest, the Marauder gauge now shows just a tad under 2K.

I am not sure where to go from here. I was hopeful that the degassing (it was very loud) would blow out debris that may be causing a problem, but it looks like that did not fix my issue. I do not think the fill nipple is causing the problem, so maybe that means I need to mess around a little more with the gauge and gauge adaptor.

I am too damn sore (seriously) to do any more pumping today; that Hill pump will put some hair on your chest! I hate degassing again just to play around with the gauge, but short of that I am not sure what else I can do other than sending this to Crosman and letting them sort out the problem.


Marauder First Look

I came across this informative “first look” Marauder article at airgunweb.

If you’re reading this review and you’re like me, you’ve already read every other review you could find on the internet, so let me attempt to describe just how quiet it really is. The “ping” of the hammer and spring releasing the valve is LOUDER than the discharge. Or to put it another way, you’ll be able to HEAR the vibration in the hammer spring as it makes a cute “ting” sound. I accidentally blank-fired a BSA Sportsman HV .22 in a sporting goods store in Phoenix, AZ the other day and the report’s echo slapping off a nearby wall made my ears ring. The BSA wasn’t fully charged. Popping off the Marauder the same way, at 2500 PSI, in the much closer confines of my garage won’t make enough noise to frighten my 4 year old daughter! The blast of air will effectively eliminate a black widow spider! Yes, you WILL wonder if the rifle isn’t working right… until you shoot through your pellet trap, as I did! Mind you, I’m using this just as it came from the box, with the recommended valve, spring tension, and hammer-length adjustments. I’m not firing it remotely close to its maximum velocity! My pellet trap is (was) rated for .22 rimfire rifles. I’m going to need a sheet of battleship armor plating very soon. That’s no exaggeration. If you’ve got a pigeon or squirrel problem, you’ll be dropping them so fast, and so quietly, the live ones will be walking around wondering what happened to their buddies.

I like the description on the “ting” sound, and the rest seems to be pretty spot on. I am still shooting my Marauder at around 1500-2000 psi, but hopefully I will be able to go higher once my replacement screws for the Hill pump mount arrive from Straight Shooters.

I look forward to the author following up with a full review and/or subsequent reports.


Sunday mini Marauder pellet report.

I shot a couple of clips – Beeman Crow-Magnum and RWS Meisterkugeln (wadcutters). The Crow-Magnum pellets sprayed a little; at 22 yards they probably covered a half-dollar size area with one really bad flyer.

The Meisterkugeln pellets did better, offering up a quarter sized area mostly in a semicircle pattern. One thing of note was that I noticed that the psi was very much below 2000, probably around 1600 before I started shooting.

Being new to PCP airguns, I need to check the pressure before shooting. If for no other reason, just to be sure I do not have a leak. I will probably have to throw out these results and do a re-test, but that will probably have to wait a week or so.


Mini Marauder Pellet Report

Going to ATL today for the first Falcons home game. Who cares if it is preseason? I am ready for some football!

I had an opportunity to run about 4 clips (40 pellets) through the Marauder. I am glad I got the extra clip because I below threw clips and a rapid pace! I am going to order two or three more just for the convenience of having the pellets loaded and ready to shoot. Three to five should be plenty between fills.

Speaking of fills, I am not about to go much beyond 2200 psi on the Marauder’s gauge, which shows up at close to 2500-2600 psi on the Hill pump. Once I get the screws for the base, I am sure that I will pump the snot out of the gun to see how it shoots at 2500-3000 psi.

Shooting from about 20 yards; sitting position; little to no wind.

I shot a clip of Napier Power Hunter pellets. These things spray too much with little consistency. If anything, most were high and too the right of the mark. The scope is still not zeroed, but I abandon the idea of using a cheaper pellet to break in the gun (not even sure if PCPs have to be broken in) and zero the scope. I switched to a clip of Crosman Premier pellets, and the CPs grouped like a charm. 1 flyer; 9 in a ragged hole about a dime (maybe penny). The group was slightly higher than my aim point and only slightly to the right. The CPs should be fine for zeroing the scope, but it kind sucks that I have to use some of my more expensive pellets that my Beeman R1 loves to shoot. Then again it may be nice to have my two .22 airguns favor the same pellet.

I next tried some Beeman Silver Ace pellets, but they were unpredictable. About have were too high and too the right of my aim point, while the others where low and to the left. Kind of a strange diagonal grouping. Maybe it was the change in psi or poor technique.

For my final clip I switched back to the CPs with the same good results from the previous CP clip. I may have found the perfect pellet for the Marauder without having to go through a whole lot of pellets.


PCP Follies or Initial Marauder Impressions

First Marauder impressions. Completely random; things I thought would be interesting to others interested in a PCP or Marauder. My .22 caliber Marauder is 709120357, which I think means that it is #357 of July 2009.

No screws
The Hill hand pump did not include the screws to connect the shaft to the base. Needless to say, this makes pumping extremely difficult. I tried to rig up a way to pump, holding the base tightly with my feet, and for the most part this worked. The Marauder gauge indicated that I was at a shade over 2100; the Hill pump actually registered lower. Not sure if this is a problem with either gauge or just the nature of PCP.

Straight Shooters to the rescue; they are going to send me a set of screws that should arrive in the next few days.

The sound of silence
One of the primary reasons for my Marauder purchase was to have a quiet backyard shooter. This PCP delivers in spades. It is truly remarkable how much softer the Marauder is compared to my other springers, even the little giant – the Beeman R7. I do not know any other way to describe it, but I now know what folks were talking about when they said the Marauder needs a depinger. The pinging does not really bother me, but it was pronounced, and it is probably louder than the actual act of firing a pellet (or rather the sound of firing a pellet).

Clip and Bolt
I have zero experience with a repeater, much less an airgun with a clip and bolt combination. To be honest, I struggled with both. It took me a little time to figure out how to get the clip loaded and then locked into the Marauder. Removing the clip was also an adventure. The loading is now second nature, but not so much with removing the clip. And the bolt? That has been an adventure and needs some work.

At some point in my first shooting session the gun did not fire. I pulled on the trigger, but nothing happened. Before I knew it, I had actually rotated the clip multiple times, and I guess loaded up multiple pellets. I am sure that is not good for the gun!

I also ended up with a couple of dry fires, which were loud (almost springer like), but at least the manual talks about dry firing as a way to remove air from the reservoir, so I assume this is acceptable usage of the gun.

When I was doing my Marauder research I read a lot of posts about sticky bolts; not sure if I have one of those or if I am running into user error. Something to watch.

My first impressions of the stock finish are not so … well … impressive. I read somewhere that it looks like Crosman brushed on a coat of brown paint and called it a day. I am not sure that is completely fair, but the finish on the stock is nowhere near as nice as my Beeman airguns, especially my R1 Carbine.

Somehow I already have several light scratches on the barrel and reservoir. Not really a big deal because I do not consider this a “show” gun; it has the potential to be my everyday backyard shooter. With that said, I was surprised at how quickly the gun scratched, and I have no idea how I scratched it already!

Will this dog hunt?
Time will tell on this one. My initial shots all grouped in the target area, and that was with a scope that was not setup and some Napier Power Hunter pellets. Sitting or standing, I was hitting around my intended area. I am encouraged. Next to zero the scope and get some much needed practice. The tree rats are going to be so hosed this fall!

Future reports to follow, God willing and if the creeks don’t rise.


Benjamin Marauder – Arrives Thursday

I have been contemplating my next airgun purchase for a while, and Crosman’s Benjamin Marauder has been in the mix. Every since Crosman released the Benjamin Discovery at an affordable price ($399 for the gun and hand pump) I have been considering going PCP, but to be honest, the dark side is daunting. After reading a ton of material on the Marauder from various sites and forums, I finally decided to take a leap of faith – my .22 Benjamin Marauder arrives tomorrow.

As always I used Straight Shooters for my airgun purchase – they are professional and give great advice. While I may have been able to find some of the non-airgun items in my order cheaper, why bother? I do not mind paying a little extra for quality service and peace of mind. In fact, after placing my order via the web, Craig from Straight Shooters gave me a call and politely explained to me that a one piece scope mount would not work on the Marauder because its magazine would get in the way. I was given several different options before finally deciding on the perfect choice for my shooting needs.

I ended with the Sun Optics (the old BSquare) two piece medium adjustable mounts. The mounts will hold a Hawke 4-12×40 Air Max scope. I have wanted to try a Hawke for a while, and the Air Max seems to be a good value for the price ($159). I am very interested to see how the Map-6 system works. At some point I will probably do some scope swapping, moving the Air Max to my R1 Carbine since it has a cheap CenterPoint scope. In this hobby, you always have to think about the next purchase!

The final decision I had to make was the hand pump selection – Hill or Benjamin branded pump? I needed to keep this purchase at a reasonable price, and going with a hand pump keeps me from going all in with scuba equipment. Once again Straight Shooter helped me out via email – I finally decided on the Hill hand pump because its shaft holds more air, which means less pumping and it contains an air filter that supposedly keeps out moisture among other things. The Hill pump ended up costing me an additional $89 because I had to add on a Quick Connect Foster Female Adapter to make the Hill compatible with the Marauder. In the end, I think (hope) the Hill pump will be the right decision since I will be pumping for the foreseeable future.

Just for the hell of it I also threw an extra magazine into my order. You can do the math, but I think this order set me up with a more than reasonable entry into the world of PCP.

So what to do while I wait for Brown Santa to arrive? I downloaded the Marauder manual from the Crosman site and have read it a couple of times just to make sure I am ready to enter the world of PCP when my Marauder arrives. If I had not read about bleeding the hand pump fill hose, I would have been a victim of hose whip. Never knew there was such a thing, but I bet I would have not given a second thought to just pulling the hose off the fill nipple.

I am excited about going PCP, but that does not mean that my R7, R1 Carbine, and .22 R1 will fall into disuse. To the contrary, I think they will get used more because I will have to compare the merits of traditional high quality springers vs. an American made PCP.