Benjamin Marauder .25 Review

Bullfrog 31581

Well-known member
I received a Benjamin Marauder in .25 caliber last Thursday along with a Benjamin hand pump. I've had the gun for almost a week now and have shot it extensively. Overall I am extremely pleased with the gun. However, I also had two major issues come up that a prospective buyer needs to know about.

Appearance and build:

The gun is a very sturdy gun. It gives the impression of being very well made upon innitial inspection. It is both a long and thick gun. It is somewhat heavy feeling, but not as heavy as it looks. It has no built in iron sights. It has a scope rail built in just above the breech that including the area above the breech is about 6 inches long. The gun has a bolt action that functions like any standard bolt-action rifle. The gun has an 8 round magazine although a pellet can also be loaded directly into the breech without the magazine, making the gun double as a single-shot. The barrel if free-floating and has a detachable shroud that encapsules the entire barrel. There are baffles at the end of the barrel under the shroud. The air chamber is almost as long as the barrel. It has a nipple at the end of the chamber below the end of the barrel for filling the tank. The air gauge that shows how many PSIs is in the tank is on the bottom of the stock. The fill range is up to 3000 PSIs.

I installed a generic x12, 56mm scope with parallax adjustment and a bipod to my gun. The taller rings for my scope gave the scope plenty of clearance from the barrel.

Performance:

I use the Benjamin Hand pump to fill my gun. It takes a long time to fill the gun from empty to 3000 PSIs. It does not take very long to fill it from 2000 to 3000. I would guess 5 minutes of slow pumping from 2000 to 3000. The pump is tiring. It is having the added benefit of getting me in shape. The pump did have a major problem that I will discuss later. My practice is to shoot the gun from 3000 to 2000 and then to refill.

A fill of 3000 PSI will give me about 16-20 shots at what seems to me to be full power (note that I did not chrony my shots so that's just me going by how hard and consistent the pellet seems to hit). After the 16-20 shots, the PSIs will be around 2000 and accuracy begins to suffer. Full powered shots will shoot pellets flat from 25 to 50 yards. At 60 yards most pellets lose 2-3 inches. At 75 yards most pellets lose 6-7 inches. In terms of accuracy, most pellets make quater-sized groupings at 50 yards. Beyond 50 yards the pellets I have shot will still touch holes even though they lose elevation rapidly. If you were shooting a small animal out at 100 yards on a still day, I would say that you could easily hit him but you would have to aim very high above the target. The most accurate pellets I have are Predator Polymags and EunJins (35 grains). The Benjamin Destroyers I have do poorly. They just do hit paper at 20 yards. Here is a picture of 6 consecutive shots, 2 Polymags and 4 Eunjins, at exactly 50 yards:

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Wind plays havoc on the pellets at 50 yards and beyond. I have seen little gusts push pellets several inches off to the left or right at 50 yards. I wouldn't try to head shoot an animal with a strong breeze if I was shooting at 50 yards or beyond.

The gun seems to have a lot of power. On a penetration test I shot 35 grain EunJin pellets (at a distance of 15 yards) through 3/4 inch, layered, plywood at clean through an orange on the other side. It blew the steel plating off my pellet trap on the second shot and puts 1/4 inch dents in the plating every shot. I'm pretty sure I could knock a hole in the stainless steel with a few hits to the same spot.

The extreme power of the gun is coupled oddly with its extreme quiteness. Out of the box the only noises it makes are a hard puff of air and a "ding." The ding is louder than the puff. The sound of impact is louder than both the ding and the puff. The ding comes from the firing pin hitting the air valve. The hit reverberates through the compressed air chamber causing it to act like a tuning fork. At 50 yards away the noise that carries is the zipping of the pellets and the sound of impact, not the ding or the puff. It is possible to quite the ding. I placed a 3 inch piece of vynl tubing in my air chamber. This broke up the resonance and now it only makes a strong "puff" sound when it shoots. It is satisfyingly quiet. You can find directions to "deping" the gun on Youtube.

Problems:

I had 2 major problems. The first is that an O-ring at the breech blew out when I had a jammed pellet (the pellet jammed because it got stuck in the o-ring) after having the gun only for a couple of hours. I cleared the jammed pellet and afterwards noticed that I was feeling air on my arm every time I shot. That particular O-ring kept the breech sealed. Without it the gun lost air out the back of the barrel every shot. Apparently, Crossman doesn't use the best o-rings in the gun and the breech o-ring is notorious for blowing out. I was able to fix this easily by going to Lowes and buying a pack of #5 o-rings. The o-ring installed easily in the breach without taking the gun apart. Since the fix, the gun has worked like a champ.

The second problem is with the Benjamin Hand Pump. As with the breech o-ring on the gun, the o-ring in the last stage of the pump cycle is prone to blow. Mine blew last night, making the pump hard to pump. I took the pump apart today and found that it was full of crud and moisture. Moisture is a very bad for a PCP air rifle. I cleaned it out and replaced the o-ring. It seems to be working well now. The o-ring goes bad due to over-heating and moisture. Overheating can be diminished by pumping slow, taking breaks every few pumps, and pumping in cool air. The moisure is a design flaw. The unit has no external, first-line moisture filter. It is easy to make one. I have the parts list that I can pick up for less that 35 dollars. That will be my next project.

The bottom lines are that on one hand, the o-rings are the weakest link in the gun and pump designs and if you get a Marauder, you will probably have to replace an o-ring at some point. On the other hand, the o-rings really aren't that hard to replace. I'm not that handy of a guy and I fixed both problems in just a few minutes with the help of my grandfather. We only needed the right parts and schematics (you can find parts lists and schematics on many airgun forums). It also helped me have confidence with the gun. If something goes wrong with the gun, it is built in such a way that 90% of the problems can be fixed at home.

Verdict:

I think the gun is awesome. It is quiet, accurate, and powerful. However, my fun would have been ruined by 2 bad o-rings had I not fixed them myself. I have not hunted with the gun yet. I am going to try to make it a point to go hunting with it before the holidays are over.
 
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Bullfrog 31581

Well-known member
Update:
I changed out scopes yesterday and discovered that the gun isn't actually shooting flat from 25 to 50 yards. Instead, my 56mm scope on high rings happens to sit just right so that the point of impact at 25 and 50 yards is the same when sighted in for 50 yards. On a 44mm scope with standard rings, sighting in for 50 yards will have the shot about 4 inches high at 25 yards.

I also had more problems with the hand pump today. It was full of black gunk and not pumping. I'm not liking it.
 

Bullfrog 31581

Well-known member
Today I tinckered with the gun's velocity. Inside the stock above the trigger there is a screw that controls how much air is released per shot. From the factory it came about 60-75% open. I opened it up all the way. The gun shoots noticably flatter. At 10 yards the gun hits zero, at 30 yards it shoots about 2 inches high, and hits zero again at 50 yards. I also noticed slightly louder "twang" in the shot but its still quiet. My shot count was decreased by about 1/4. Seems to hit the target quicker but I can't verify that with a chrony.
 

Bullfrog 31581

Well-known member
Update:

The gun is still performing well but the hand pump totally died on me. I sent it back and I'm getting a Hill brand pump. They have a good rep on the air gun forums. I would advise people to stear clear of the Benjamin pump based on my negative experience.

I have some 43 grain pellets on the way I am excited to try. I have yet to shoot any critters with it yet.
 

Bullfrog 31581

Well-known member
Update:

First, I sent the Benjamin pump back and got a Hill pump. The Hill pump looks and feels like a higher quality piece of equipment. It does not come with the proper attachment to fit the quick connect nipple on the gun. The hose on the pump uses British threadings, not American threadings. I had a local pneumatics shop make me a custom hose with British threadings on the end that threads into the pump and an output that connects to an American 1/8 in quick connect female. It seems to work well with the gun. The pump itself has not failed me yet. It pumps the gun a little faster than the Benjamin pump.

I have killed some animals with the gun. I have shot a grey squirrel, a possum, and a racoon. I shot the grey squirrel in the ear with a EunJin 35 grain pellet at 30 yards. He hit the ground and did a lot of flopping for about 10 seconds before he died. The possum I shot was at 38 yards with a EunJin 43 grain pellet. I was aiming for just behind his eye but I'm not sure where it caught him. It knocked him off balance and he stumbled into some thick bushes where I couldn't get to him. I presume he died. The coon I shot between the eyes at 50 yards with EunJin 43 grain pellet. He was blown backwards and kicked on his back for a few seconds before dying.

I've watched lots of .25 marauder hunts on youtube and generally head shots produce instant death without flopping on most targets. That doesn't seem to jive with what I'm seeing. I think my problem may be my pellet choice. I think I am going to start saving the Eunjins for body shots and use Predator Polymags for head shots.
 

Fugaloo

Well-known member
I got a used Air force pump for my Hammerli from Pyramid for just under $100 I think. Haven't had one problem with it and even after five minutes of pumping the heat sink wasn't hot to the touch. I would get a CF tank (4500lbs) but I've never ran out of air while shooting. I only pump it up every few times I take it out, but I am mostly hunting with it.
 

Bullfrog 31581

Well-known member
I'm going to close this review.

About four weeks ago I stripped the velocity screw while tuning the gun. I had to order a new valve body from Crossman. I was able to take the gun apart and replace it and get it back together in working order. I since tuned the gun and it is performing well above my expectations. Now that I have it set just right I'm not going to tinker with it for a long while.

I've had more fun with this gun than I have with any other gun or firearm I've ever owned. Not only is it fun to shoot its also fun to tinker with, although its probably better to leave it on the factory settings if you don't have the interest in working through some issues inherent with modifying the gun such as messing up a screw or not getting it back together just right. There are a lot of hidden expenses involved such as the cost of the pump so you need to get this gun with the understanding that you are probably going to sink twice the value of the gun itself into it before all is said and done. I'm glad I did though. I would recommend it to anyone what wants a high-powered air rifle.
 

Bullfrog 31581

Well-known member
That reminds me sancho I need to give another update.

I bought a second Marauder in .177 caliber. The reason I did this is threefold. First, I wanted a gun I can plink Eurpoean Sparrows with off my bird feeders. My .25 is overkill and I'm scared to shoot it in my backyard without a steel backdrop. Second, the .177 caliber is more efficient with air. I can get 120 shots between pump ups with it with the power set to roughly 12fpe. Third, .177 is cheaper to plink with than .25 pellets.

I like the .177 although if I had to only pick one gun I'd just stick with the .25. For its purpose, a plinker and a very small game killer, the .177 is great. The .25 is quiet, but the .177 is stupid quiet.

Concerning my .25, I've really hotrodded it out. Comparison between factory settings and jacked-up configeration:

Factory: 40 shots from 3000PSI to 1800PSI shooting 26 grain pellets at a max of 840fps with an extreme spread of 40fps for about 40 foot pounds of energy.

Upgraded: 14 shots from 3200psi to 2500psi shooting 31 grain pellets at a max of 950fps with an extreme spread of 20fps for about 62 foot pounds of energy.

My upgrades are an aftermarket valve, shroud extension, air reservoir extension, heavy hammer spring, oring hammer buffer, and drilled out air-stripper ports. With the upgraded power it will lay out coons with body shots. The gun doesn't need to be changed from factory to have a powerful gun. It can be made to be about a 45-50 foot pound gun with heavy pellets by only changing factory hammer spring and hammer settings with a couple of allen wrenches. I just tinker with it for fun. The best upgrade I made was the aftermarket valve. Its more efficient with air than the factory valve. I could probably turn the power down to factory 40fpe and get 60 or more shots on a fill.

My tally so far is 2 bobcats, somewhere around 15 coons, 3-4 possums, 1 cottonmouth, and 1 hog.

I'm still just as addicted to this air gun. I gave up my turkey season to chase one particular hog with the air gun and at NV scope. I haven't got him yet but its fun trying.
 

Bullfrog 31581

Well-known member
I still hand pump. That was a reason the better air usage of the .177 appealed to me for plinking. The .25 is an air hog. 14 full power shots for hunting is fine. When I'm in a mood to plink though its not practical to have to pump up the gun every dozen or so shots. I only shoot the .25 now when I'm hunting.

With the .177 I can go to 3200 to 2000 in about 120 shots and it only takes a few minutes to pump it back up again. I still wouldn't trade the .25 for anything. I just realized it can't be a jack of all trades on the same settings. It can either be a plinker at very low power and lots of shots, an all-day squirrel killer at factory power and a reasonable amount of shots, or a varmit and hog slayer at high power and few shots.

I forgot to say I have a drop-in bullpup stock on the way from a guy who custom builds them for Mrods. I'm excited about the possibility of making my .25 a lot more maneuverable when hunting. My .25 won't be as compact as it could be because I have the shroud and reservoir extensions on it but it should still shave about a foot off the length. It would make a find backpacking configeration for my .177 as well. At 120 shots I could bring it in a pack and not have to carry my pump with me. Just a tin of pellets and it should be good to go for a weekends worth of critter shooting.

As I continue to get sucked down this rabbit hole I could see myself getting a shoebox compressor and a guppy tank one day. That's going to be a ways away though. Probably when I jump to big-bores.
 
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Pro953

Well-known member
Bullfrog. You are getting me into a lot of trouble here. I sold/traded my crosman and Gamo break barrels away last year as I found them to be rather loud and inaccurate even for fun plinking it was just frustrating to feel like I spent all my time fiddling with the scope a very little time shooting. I think the I might be dropping some change for one of these PCP's pretty soon. The chance to have multiple shots and from what I read they are a fair amount quieter. Seems like they will fit the ticket. That said definitely a bit more spendy! The gun itself is just a start. Pump, scope, rings, mods and buckets of pellets I think I will be lucky walking out of the store for less than a grand. Suddenly a decent rim fire is looking cheap! Down the rabbit hole I go again.

Do you think the .177 would have enough power to kill rabbits and turkeys or would I need to step up to the .22 or .25?
 

Bullfrog 31581

Well-known member
PCPs are quiet if they are suppressed. The Marauders come suppressed from the factory with a baffled shroud. Without the shroud they are as loud or louder than .22lrs. If you get a PCP and you want quiet, you would either want one that comes shrouded or one you can add a suppressor to.

It took some money for me to get started. It was a about $700-$800 for the gun and a decent pump. I think I talked about my troubles with my cheap Crosman pump earlier in my review. Do note however my brother has a Crosman pump that his given him zero trouble for almost a year. I think the trick was that we added a moisture filter to it. I also think I overlubed mine.

Used pumps in good condition can be had for about $100 on some of the more popular air gun forums. I've been thinking about buying a second one just to have as a backup. You may want to check out the classifieds on the Yellow Forum for some pumps. Every few days one or two will be listed. You just have to grab it quick. I buy most of my gun accessories used through the Yellow Forum and so far I haven't had a bad experience.

The big advantage over rimfire is, hey, you can still find pellets for sale and air is free once you have a pump! And you can shoot to your heart's content without worrying about tapping into your doomsday stash of firearm ammo.

The .177 can definately kill rabbits. I haven't done it myself but I've watched scores of videos of people killing rabbits with .177 guns like the Marauder on even sub 12 foot pounds of energy settings. It could probably kill a turkey with a headshot but I believe California requires a .20 caliber or better for turkey hunting.

The .22 and .25 do definately kill larger game better. A few weekends ago I shot 2 coons in the head with my .177 set at 15fpe and it did not kill the coons cleanly. Many people who use .177s on coon-sized animals will tune their guns for 20fpe. The .177 Maruader is cabable of being tuned for that kind of energy but I don't see a reason to do that and lose shot count when I have the .25 to pop coons with at 62fpe.

I'm not a huge fan of the .22 in PCP (although I think its a great caliber for a springer or gas piston gun like you've had). I think the .25 can do everything a .22 can but better in a PCP except that you get better air usage with a .22. But not necessarily much better air usage in the Marauder platform. For example, a Marauder .22 tuned for max power might give you 24-30 shots at 30 foot pounds of energy. A Marauder in .25 on factory settings will give you 40 or so shots at 40 foot pounds of energy plus it makes a bigger hole. If power is your objective you will get more power out of your .25 out of the box than what you can get after tuning your .22 and you will get less shots with the tuned .22. The only advantage the .22 gives you for hunting is that if you shoot a .22 pellet and a .25 pellet at the same fpe level, the .22 will penetrate better because the energy is being forced into a smaller diameter pellet than on the .25. But that's more theoretical than anything.

Something else to note is Crosman puts better barrels on their .25 Marauders than on their .22 Marauders. Crosman subs their .25 barrels out to Green Mountain. .22 Crosman barrels are known to be finiky on their pellet selection. Although I recommend the .25 Marauder, IF I was going to get a .22 instead of a .25 I'd look at another brand. To take advange of the .22's penatrative ability I'd get a powerhouse .22 gun like a Korean Sumatra. They say Hatsan makes some powerful guns too at a good price.

I'm biased, but I really, really, like my .25 Marauder. You don't have to get all custom with it like I did. You can just enjoy it right out of the box and its a great gun that can kill just about anything you'd want to kill with an air gun and is quiet to boot. That the gun is easy to customize is just icing on the cake.
 

559hog

Well-known member
lol, funny that a search on google came back to this site :p. Anyway, I was thinking about picking a .25 marauder for turkey hunting in the Fall season.
 

sancho

Well-known member
lol, funny that a search on google came back to this site :p. Anyway, I was thinking about picking a .25 marauder for turkey hunting in the Fall season.
Do it! Look at the mac1 steroid blue streak as well. Pump it up and it will cave in a turkey head.
 

559hog

Well-known member
Do it! Look at the mac1 steroid blue streak as well. Pump it up and it will cave in a turkey head.
It shipped Friday and is getting here next monday. I've got a lot of critters to dispose of at my parents farm.
 

559hog

Well-known member
Did you end up with a .25 Mrod?

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
Yah, I ended up with the .25. It's going to cost a little more air but I'm not too worried about it if reviews are correct that I can get 10-15 shots in before the air pressure becomes a problem.
 

Bullfrog 31581

Well-known member
You will find that you will get far more than 10-15 shots. On factory settings you should get about 30-40 shots between fills. People measure shot count in different ways for PCP airguns. Most people measure their shot count by starting at a certain pressure, shooting into a chronograph at that pressure, and continuing to shoot as the velocity of each shot rises and then falls again back down to the velocity of the first shot. PCP airguns shoot their velocities on a bell curve when they are set up right. They rise and fall over several shots. If you start with a 3000 PSI or a 3200 PSI fill, you should get about 40 shots or over the course of that bell curve and you'll end somewhere around 1800 PSI give or take. The extreme spread of your velocities (the difference between your start/end velocities and the top of your curve) will be between 40-60 feet per second or more. You will find with most pellets that your point of impact won't change significantly over the course of that big curve.

However, hard core airgunners usually only count the top 2% of their bell curve as usuable shots. The top 2% of a factory .25 Marauder will be about 8-12 shots. That makes a difference for match shooters but you will find that a varmit isn't going to notice much difference if the pellet rips through his head at 820fps or 850fps and if the POI changes 1/4 of an inch between top and bottom of your velocities that won't make a practical difference in your accuracy.

I get 14 shots out of my .25 now in the top 2% which runs from 3200 PSI to 2000 PSI. However I've hot-rodded my gun with a lot of custom parts and it is a lot different than factory.

My recommendation is to leave your gun as is from the factory for a while if not permanently. You will probably find the gun does everything you want it to without tinkering with it. Although I've immensely enjoyed tinkering with mine its also given me lots of headaches as I've struggled with broken parts or poor configurations. Its been a lot of trial and error. Later tonight I'll post some pics of my .25 in bullpup.
 


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