Category Archives: Hunting

Benjamin Marauder .25 PCP

If you’re looking for an air rifle for either plinking or for hunting that is a very accurate air rifle then you need to take a look at the Benjamin Marauder. This air rifle is not a toy gun but a very hard hitting accurate gun that is both fun and cheap to shoot. The Benjamin comes in .177, .22 and .25 calibers. I personally own the .25 caliber. There is a ton of information on the gun as far as reviews on the internet. What I’ll be doing in this blog will be talking about my gun and the modifications I have made to the gun to improve its accuracy. The Marauder is an unregulated pcp but Benjamin now has a regulated model available at the time I bought mine they did not offer the regulated rifle.

The Benjamin I purchased was ordered from Pyramyd Air for the synthetic model for around $530 dollars. I also bought a Hawke Vantage 4x16x50 scope $209, a CVlife Bipod to start out with. Since I’ve had the gun I’ve made a few modifications to the gun and shot a lot of different pellet weights and brands to determine which pellet if likes the best. I also added some camouflage tape to the stock and barrel since I use it for squirrel hunting as well as target practice.

My current Marauder

I need to mention that this gun is a PCP or pre-charged pneumatic gun that means it shoots with high pressure air up to 3000 psi. There are a few ways you can charge or air up the gun, a hand pump which I purchased when I bought the gun. The hand pump is very labor intensive to pump 3000 psi into the gun! From a 0 psi up to 3000 psi took me 175 strokes which took me about 30 minutes to do! The other way is to buy a scuba tank or SCBA tank that can be filled at a paintball shop or from a compressor you can buy (but very expensive). There is also the option of using a nitrogen tank which can be rented from a welding supply shop.

$1200 Compressor
$250 to $500 Compressors
Nitrogen Tanks options

The next thing will be ammo in the form of pellets. There are a ton of options on pellets out there. Crossman, JSB, H&N and Air Arms are a few of the brands I use. Every air rifle will shoot a little different and accuracy is achieved by finding the right pellet for your barrel on your gun and the right air pressure you are trying to get to. My gun likes the JSB Exact Diabolo 25.39 grain and the Crossman Domed 27.8 grains the best. Since the barrels on the Marauder has a rifled barrel pellets the gun is very accurate with the right pellet. My gun current as of this writing will consistently shoot .750” five shot groups at 40 yards. This gun with the right pressure and pellet setting will shoot 2” or better groups out to 100 yards.

Pellet Selections are many brands and styles

Without any modifications the gun is still accurate but with modifications you can get better accuracy and more shots on a single air fill than without the modifications. Another thing I need to let you know up front is that air gunning is a very addictive and expensive hobby! But hey, aren’t all our hobbies expensive?

My modifications:

I added a HUMA regulator to the Marauder which cost me around $110 plus shipping. What the HUMA does for the gun is to regulate the amount of air the gun uses for each shot. This will allow you better accuracy and more shots per fill as the amount of air used to push the pellet through the barrel is the same or almost the same every shot. With out the regulator the gun use different amounts of air for each shot and the pressure will drop fast on each shot. The HUMA regulator can be adjusted to the amount of pressure you want, less for more shots and higher for harder hitting shots but with a loss of the number of shots you will get on a fill. I went from getting about 10 to 12 shots to now around 30 to 35 shots after I installed the regulator per fill.

The next modification I did was drilling out the transfer port on both the rifle barrel and the valve in the gun. The transfer port is a small tube that connects the valve (where the air is stored from the regulator or without the regulator) that the air goes through to push the pellet down the barrel on each shot. The factory transfer port hole size is a little over .125” but I drilled mine out to .187” which lets the air out of the valve much faster. Take a straw blow through it and then blow out air without the straw and you’ll see the air from your mouth comes out much faster. This is what drilling out the transfer port does.

The next modification I did was replacing the stock Hammer spring with a Jefferson State Air Rifles TSS or a double spring system. What this does is, when you pull the trigger there is spring behind the hammer. This hammer strikes the valve poppet that lets the air out the valve up the transfer port and pushes the pellet down the barrel. What happens is that the hammer strikes the poppet pin and the spring bounces back and forth on the poppet several times before it settles down. When this happens each time the hammer bounces on the poppet pin it releases a small amount of high pressure air out of the fill tube. This will greatly reduce the number of shots you will get from a fill. By replacing the hammer spring with the TSS, the hammer will not strike the hammer again after the first strike thus saving air in the tube resulting in more shots; the cost of the TSS was around $80 plus shipping. So as you see tweaking and modifying your gun can get expensive or you can leave it alone and just shoot it the was it comes from the factory. To me it’s like having a muscle car from the factory and not doing upgrades to make it better!

Jefferson State Air Rifles TSS
40 Yard 5 Shot Groups with my Marauder after Modifications.
Crows and Squirrels I’ve taken with my Marauder

Final thoughts, so as you can see there is a lot you can do with a PCP air rifle. Check out the many options of guns out there, they range in prices from $200 up to $2000 dollars! But at about $16 for a box of 500 pellets this is a very cheap way to practice compared to the cost of rim fire or center fire rifles. So have fun and I hope this opens your eyes to PCP air guns.

Thanks for checking out my blog articles.

Benjamin Maximus PCP

So what is a PCP? A PCP is a pre-charged pneumatic air rifle. This means is propels the pellet with high pressure compressed air. In this case with the Benjamin Maximus the maximum air pressure is 2000 pounds per square inch or psi.

There is a lot of information out there on this new PCP by Crossman if you want to read about the specifics on the gun. I’m writing this blog as a review about this little gun. I ordered the .177 caliber as I wanted a smaller caliber for the speed of a light weight pellet and I thought it would be a great gun for my 9 year old grandson. But as it turns out the gun was to long (stock length to trigger pull for him) and it is to heavy a gun for him to hold up and aim without some sort of support such as a bench rest or shooting sticks.

The gun itself runs about $199 without a scope or without the hand pump or some sort of air source. This gun comes with a front and rear sight but I highly recommend a scope of some source. Unlike regular type springer air rifles those that you have to cock to compress an internal spring to create the compressed air to propel the pellet from the gun. There is very little recoil so there is a wide range of scopes that you can use on this air rifle. The scope I have it a simple Leapers UTG 4x16x40 that costs about $125 and comes with rings but will not work on the gun as it has a 11 mm weaver rail so you will need a set of medium to high rings for the gun and scope. I sight in all my guns at 10x power and seldom move it to a higher magnification.

PCP air rifles are expensive as you will require an air source in the form of a hand pump which you can get for around $150 or so. I have both a Crossman hand pump and an SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) and also I have a high pressure pump to fill my tank. That will be in a future blog. Or you can purchase a scuba or SCBA air tank but those are very expensive and you will need a dive shop or somewhere to have them refilled. The gun for me shoots best at around 1800 psi instead of the full 2000 psi with a 8.5 gram pellet shooting about 950 feet per second (fps).

Putting it All Together

After I mounted the scope and rings on the gun I was ready to shoot a few pellets through the gun I found that the gun was a bit loud for what I wanted. It is about as loud a a .22 short cartridge. It is loud because the fps is approaching the speed of sound and that’s where the crack comes from. I ordered a TKO muzzle break for the gun to quiet the gun now it is very, very quiet. The TKO muzzle break was about $55 with the shipping.

Now that the gun has been quitened I’m ready to see how accurate the gun is. I set up my Digital Pro chronograph to determine the pellet speed. I need the average pellet speed of the spread of 15 shots to get the best accuracy out of the gun. I’ll do another blog on accuracy and software in a future blog. There are a few things that you can do to get the best accuracy out of you gun and the two most important ones are a clean rifle barrel and shooting a lot of different pellet brands and weights to see which are the most accurate for your rifle barrel. All barrels are not exact so you will need to find the best one for your gun barrel.

I started out at 20 yards to get on paper and so I’d know if I was shooting high or low. I use a shooting table and a bench rest for sighting in my guns. After sighting in at 20 yards I moved the target back to 30 yards as I wanted this to be the distance best for me for hunting squirrels.

After shooting a lot of different brand and weigh pellets through the gun I determined that the JSB Match Exact Express Diablo was the one this barrel liked the best. So now that I know that the gun likes I’ll fine tune the gun sighting in to see what are the best groups I can get with the gun.

As you can see from the target above the gun is very accurate! That is 15 shots at 30 yards with the Benjamin Maximus and the JSB Match Exact Express Diablo pellets.

Again you can see the accuracy of this pcp air rifle, this is 25 shots at 30 yards. Those pellets spread out are what we call flyers. Sometimes defective pellets bad pellet mold etc. By the way those are a different JSB pellets called Monster and are a heavier pellet.

Here you can see the Benjamin Maximus in .177 has enough power to down a squirrel. This Fox squirrel was taken with a head shot at 31 yards. This would be a great gun if you live in town and have a problem with pests IF you add the TKO muzzle break. Your neighbors will probably not even hear the gun when you shoot it.

So wrapping up this is a great starter PCP if you are considering getting into the pcp hobby. But if I had to reorder I’d probably order the .22 caliber if I were going to be hunting or pesting with the gun. But if I lived in town I’d stay with the .177 since it will be a little quieter. But a warning, PCP air rifles are a addictive hobby with some pcp’s costing thousands of dollars.

Brodie’s Big Buck

Danny Montgomery sent me this photo of his grandson Brodie with his first buck this season. That’s one nice deer Brodie and thanks Danny for sharing the photo.

Brodie's big buck

Brodie’s big buck

Updates to Alabama 2012-2013 Dove Hunting

I received this from the Alabama Dept of Conservation today and thought I’d pass it along to you guys.

August 19, 201

Dear Alabama Hunter,

Thank you for supporting hunting and wildlife management in Alabama by your purchase of a hunting license. We hope you plan to continue hunting this fall. There have been major changes concerning the upcoming hunting season we want to tell you about.

Dove Hunting Changes:

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has made changes concerning practices involving mourning dove management which should enhance your hunting experience.

1: There are no longer three planting zones for fall or winter plantings for wheat.

2: Fall and winter wheat may now be top sown statewide from August 1 to November 30. A well prepared seed bed is still required.

3: Approved agricultural planting practices have been expanded.

For a complete review of all of the changes, a copy of the new mourning dove management brochure is available from the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service at www.aces.edu or linked to from www.outdooralabama.com/hunting/. Federal information concerning dove hunting may be obtained at www.fws.gov/le/huntfish/whatislegal.htm. Dove hunting provides a great opportunity for family and friends to enjoy a positive outdoor experience. Dove hunting is an ideal activity for youth.

The new hunting and fishing licenses go on sale August 26th online at www.outdooralabama.com/licenses or any place license are sold.

Don’t forget to register (starting August 26th) for the Outdoor Alabama Sweepstakes. Go online for complete information on how you can win.

This email is the first of several you’ll be receiving concerning changes to the upcoming hunting season. If you think some of your hunting friends would like to receive these and future emails, ask them to go online to www.outdooralabama.com/hunting/ and sign up to be included. Again, thank you for your support and hunt safely.

Sincerely,

Chuck Sykes

Director