SChead-smFrank “Medicine Wolf” Springer is an outdoor authority and journalist with thousands of features, articles and columns in international, regional and local publications. This article first appeared on BowHunting.net in July 2016.

When I picked up my first air gun… more than 60 years ago…just as everyone is told, I heard my mom say those fateful words that rang so similar to such a famous movie line…”Be careful or you’ll put your eye out”–  We all have heard that one—and despite many BB gun fights out in the orchard, shooting at the rump of the donkey’s who would chase us across the pasture, and the odd set of ‘bulls balls’ targeted; none of us got our eyes put out…chased by angered donkeys and bulls yes — but no eye injuries.  So, my love affair with rifles that pushed little pills of death so silently toward my target had began at an early age and I have now found it quite easy to fall back into that amorous relationship with a thoroughly modern form of the deadly flight.  And just yesterday I wanted to kiss the Marauder when I shot the biggest ground squirrel of my long battle with those little disease carrying vermin, as he made the mistake of lounging a second too long in my view at 60 yards—the porker half the size of a ground hog fell stone dead as if he had been struck down by Thor’s Hammer!  Number 31 in a list of unlucky varmints to be whacked out of my living room window—yes, I know I live a lucky existence here in the country.

Crossman Corporation had posted me their Benjamin Marauder .22 caliber PCP (Pre- Charged Pneumatic) Air rifle. Simply stated this is an air rifle that has a built in air cylinder that is filled from a small bottle of compressed air… really compressed air– to 3000 pounds per square inch!  When Crossman posted me their weapon- and trust me this is a very viable weapon- they also included the small air bottle that I filled at the local Scuba diving shop for $7.50.  Ambient air was pumped into the high pressure fiberglass tank, which is still quite full and readily available from this same tank a year later; as it takes very little volume to recharge the gun.

The Marauder has a hardwood stock with adjustable cheek piece for a solid ‘weld’ to the individual shooter’s style and dimensions.  There are standard sling swivels in the stock as well. The adjustable 2-stage match-grade trigger is supple and exact, which keys the flight of the .22 caliber pellet up to 1000 feet-per-second along with 31.7 pounds of terminal energy.  The shrouded barrel free-floats and I found the accuracy at 60/70 yards to be under the size of a U.S. quarter coin with most brands of pellets. And with some specific pellets this gun had a flavor for; it was easy to place a nickel coin over 5 shot groups time and time again.  The barrel is sight-free but the receiver has dove-tail mounting grooves for two piece scope rings.  This gun comes with a 10 shot magazine that is easy to reload with a bit of practice, and the bolt action is positive in loading pellet after pellet as it cocks for quick follow-up shots.  I found that for the first 10 shots the needle on the pressure gauge at the  bottom-center of the stock hardly moved off 3000 psi.  In the next magazine shot the needle dropped about 200 pounds, but I was still able to accurately shoot an additional 5 pellets of the third magazine into the same grouping as the first.  After this the groups began to string out and the terminal energy dropped off a bit as the fps went down accordingly.  It takes about 35 seconds to refill the gun’s pressure cylinder from the tank.  Attach, open valve, needle to 3000 psi, turn off valve, turn bleed knob and detach the quick attach/detach fitting- replace the magazine and shoot!

This Benjamin Marauder has a built in “de-pinger”, which tames the shot report down to a ‘bip’ that doesn’t even scare the fidgety ground squirrels as I have shot from the outside of the diminishing flock of diggers; and my body count has steadily risen as a result of this “silent death”.  With zero kick at the shot, and little sound…I feel like I’m riding the “pale horse”…just like death.  And the squirrels don’t know when I’m coming or have been there- until they turn around and mumble to themselves:  “Where’s Freddy?”

This is a truly accurate air rifle that shoots as accurately as the owner can be himself.  It has power enough to kill at range with fairly durable targets, and it is easily operated with deadly intent.