Benjamin Marauder Multi-Shot Pre-Charged Pneumatic
Mark Camoccio discovers the Benjamin Marauder, an all-American multi-shot pre-charged pneumatic
With the famous Benjamin name now part of the sizeable Crosman Corporation, this strong American brand is hopefully assured the future it deserves. As with many large companies, a marketing structure emerges, and Crosman tend to use the Benjamin label for their higher quality offerings.
Benjamin’s single-shot Discovery model set the market alight awhile back though, since it represented arguably the cheapest route to the delights of shooting a pre-charged pneumatic. Near recoilless shooting is certainly the way forward, and an increasing number of enthusiasts are waking up to the ease with which this type of rifle can be used when compared with traditional spring piston designs. The forgiving nature and characteristics of the PCP can only be ignored for so long, and having our own shooting abilities flattered in this way is proving irresistible to many. Unsurprisingly, most airgun manufacturers are now jumping on the bandwagon, in a bid to secure a piece of the action, and whilst Crosman are more famous for budget pump-up designs, their dedication to the PCP cause is now clearly beyond question.
This new multi-shot Marauder cements the company’s ethos towards no-nonsense, rugged performers, and first impressions are of a solidly built piece of kit with purposeful styling. It carries a higher RRP than its Discovery stable mate, and takes Crosman’s venture into the PCP market a stage further; pitching them head to head with some serious European rivals. OK; the design is hardly revolutionary, but it does offer distinctive looks, given the full length hardwood stock and barrel/shroud arrangement.
Crosman opt for a matt black finish to all the metal surfaces, and whilst this is undeniably practical, it is literally lack lustre! A ten shot rotary magazine system comes as standard, whilst an adjustable two-stage trigger sets off an impressive spec list.
Stylish and angular best describes the woodwork; which manages to be refreshingly positive in its configuration, whilst at the same time totally ambidextrous. A nicely prominent cheek piece all but guarantees correct scope alignment, set off by a smart and functional rubber butt pad. The semi target grip is nicely scalloped away to leave a graceful slender section that feels just right in the aim; with the rosewood style cap and subtle chequered logo an added bonus. Not so subtle is the Benjamin brand name screaming out from the underside of the fore-end, in super size lettering. Alongside this, sits the on-board pressure gauge or manometer, which, in a rifle of this type, offers reassurance with regards to residual power levels.
Whilst on the subject of power, this Marauder comes specified by the manufacturers as ‘dual fuel’; being able in theory at least, to utilize either compressed air or CO2. Realistically though, the CO2 option in this case, is fairly impractical, and best left to stateside customers.
Another nice touch and evidence of the attention to detail with this model, comes with the provision of sling swivel studs at each end of the stock. These enable the rifle to be shoulder mounted in the field if required. It also avoids any potentially stressful moments (if the owner is not particularly good at DIY) when drilling into the woodwork.
Charging the Marauder in the conventional manner is achieved by unscrewing the threaded valve cap at the muzzle end of the cylinder, and then connecting the air supply via the bayonet style adaptor supplied. Around 2900psi later, and the rifle is ready for action. The manufacturers make it quite clear within the comprehensive instruction booklet supplied, that tuning for various fill pressures is not an option on this model, which has been pre-set at the factory to comply with UK 12ft/lbs legal energy output. Again, US home market specified models will allow for fine tuning of the action, but this facility is rendered ‘tamper proof’ on export models by the factory before shipping.
The ten shot rotary magazine is very similar to the Theoben design in both looks and operation, and needs to be filled in the following manner; first, holding the magazine with the clear cover towards you, twist the front cover clockwise against gentle spring pressure until it locks into position - exposing one open chamber. Insert a pellet head first into the chamber and, whilst making sure the pellet doesn’t fall all the way through, gently turn the cover anticlockwise, dropping a pellet into each chamber as they are exposed. Once the mag is full, pull the bolt back on the rifle to cock the action, and then push the magazine home into its slot, coming in from the right hand side. It should be noted that a small amount of play was present on the test rifle with regards to the magazine lockup, and whilst it snapped nicely into position, the possible vertical movement was nevertheless disconcerting.
On the range
And so to the range report to see just how this Marauder shaped up.
Cocking the action using that chunky bolt, is a crisp affair, with the cycling of the magazine particularly smooth. Like many other PCP’s though, it is still possible to inadvertently load two pellets at once. This is achieved by cocking the bolt in a less than positive manner, indexing the next shot, yet not actually cocking the hammer. Cocking the bolt again will then load a second pellet into the barrel, which is obviously less than ideal. Rendering designs idiot proof isn’t always possible, but some manufacturers have now cracked the problem. Plenty haven’t, but adopting a methodical approach to cocking this Marauder, should all but eradicate mistakes.
Muzzle report is nicely muted thanks to the barrel venting into the full length shroud, although further noise suppression is available to those who wish to screw an external moderator into the threaded tip.
Get the ammo right
On the subject of shot count, it should be born in mind that the Marauder sports an unregulated action. From the stipulated 2900psi fill pressure, I clocked 60 usable shots within 33fps. Trim that to the first 40shots, and consistency tightened to a more impressive 24fps
Accuracy at 30yds was fair too, but my test model did seem fairly pellet fussy. Perfectly decent Air Arms (JSB) Diabolos just wouldn’t group, whilst Crosman Accupells tore clusters of around an inch. Logun Penetrators however, proved that the Marauder can give a good account of itself once compatible lead is sourced - with sub half inch patterns being the norm.
Trigger-wise, the Marauder comes very well appointed, with a two-stage unit adjustable for first stage, second stage, rest position and pull. I tweaked the pull weight, which proved easy to achieve, since the operation apparently doesn’t affect sear engagement. It’s no match unit, but it works well, and my only criticism concerns the first stage, which is a little over sprung for my taste.
All things considered then, the Marauder proved immensely enjoyable to use, but whether it has enough to succeed in an overcrowded market remains to be seen. If big, bold American style rifles appeal however, then this model has much to offer; being a worthy edition to the famous Benjamin stable
|Type:||Bolt action PCP|
|Calibre:||.22 on test, .177 an .25 available|
|Shot Count:||40 shots within 24fps and 60shots within 33fps using Accupell pellets|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates