The Marauder PCP Pistol will go on sale this Friday, November 18th exclusively at Crosman.com.
This post has been edited for length.
After months of waiting the Marauder Pistol I’ve been talking about for over a year, and only got to shoot a couple of times, showed up on my doorstep. I’ve had about six weeks of intensive shooting time and have put in some meaningful range and field time with it.
There are many aspects of airgun hunting that are near and dear to my heart; I love hunting with all the new multi-shot pcps with excellent triggers and shrouded barrels and never tire of getting out to the woods with one of my work horse springers, but I’ve been jonesing for a new air powered handgun to hunt with.
Let me first say that I think there are some great (albeit few and far between) hunting air pistols out there; the Brocock Grand Prix, the Evanix Renegade six shooter, and the custom 2240 based PCP conversions are all guns I’ve used and think highly of. But what I really wanted to get is a hand gun that combined a few of the features of each of these with a couple not seen on any of them.
What I wanted in a pistol was pretty straight forward, although not available anywhere that I knew of; a compact design, multi-shot, high shot capacity, adjustable power, a serviceable trigger, and here is a big one, a shrouded barrel. I’ve had a good relationship with Crosman for a few years and have gotten to do some testing and give feedback to them on projects such as the Discovery and Marauder. A couple of years ago I’d sent them one of my PCP builds on the 2240 and we had some discussions on the pros and cons of the gun. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to imply any direct involvement in the design of the gun other than to list what I’d like to see in a hunting hand gun, chief Crosman engineer and visionary Ed Schultz is the guy that specifies and does the requirements engineering on these products, I just get to sound off and test early… the fun stuff!
Before the SHOT Show in 2010 Ed called to tell me they’d have a pistol based on the Marauder design along for Media day at the SHOW and that I could get my hands on it and shoot it there …. I was excited! Media day at the SHOT Show is an event where manufacturers of products set up booths at the shooting range outside of Las Vegas for outdoors writers, broadcast, and other media types to get some experience with the products we’ll write about and present through various media outlets after the show.
When I showed up, the Crosman guys had the Discoveries and Marauders out and shooting away, but I went straight to the table on which I saw a mutant 2240 sitting. On inspection it turned out to be the new Marauder pistol, and get this, it had an eight shot magazine, it was shrouded, it was long but light weight and ergonomic, and it had an onboard manometer. The trigger was an update to the 2240 and had been cleaned up a lot and turned out to be fairly smooth when I got down to shooting. I spent as much time as possible shooting the spinners out at 25 yards, and was positively impressed with the accuracy, the authority in which it impacted the spinners, and moreover just how quiet this pistol was.
A few quick remarks before we get down to it; what I present is based on my personal experience and opinions and comes replete with my biases, preferences, and my requirements for a hunting air pistol. My evaluation is based on the intended use of the gun as a hunting tool not a 10 meter target pistol, so should be taken in context. The gun I used is a prototype and not the final production gun, though it is anticipated to be very close to what rolls off the production line. And finally, I always suggest that you don’t take one person’s views as gospel: look around, do your homework, and make an informed decision. OK, house keeping done, let get going!
THE MARAUDER PISTOL
The Marauder Pistol I received is a .22 caliber that looks like its daddy was a Marauder and its mother was a 2240. The 11 inch barrel shroud and eight shot magazine are linked to the Mrod side of the family, and the grip assembly and trigger hearken back to the 2240…. with an air reservoir of a design that speaks to a bit of Discovery in the gene pool.
The air reservoir is the same dimensions as that used on the Discovery, and uses the same quick release valve and cover as the Disco. A barrel band securely affixes the reservoir and the barrel, with the forestock screwed into the band. The pressure gauge is housed in an opening in the forestock just in front of the trigger guard.
The rotary magazine cassette holds eight .22 pellets, and in every way looks like a scaled down Marauder magazine (to achieve a low profile). The design seems to hold up, I have shot several hundred pellets through this gun and not had one hang-up or glitch with any of the pellets I tested. Likewise, the bolt action and cycling of the pistol is analogous to that of the rifle. It could be a little smoother, but is not at all difficult to cock and bring into action. Pulling the cocking bolt back cocks the gun, pushing it forward indexes the magazine and loads the pellet for firing.
As a matter of fact the grip assembly of the gun has many similarities to the standard 2240. But actually the grip and trigger are improvements to the 2240 and are compatible with the accessories (i.e the carbine stock) that fit the current 2240. I have been told that this grip assembly (but not the trigger components) will be used in future 2240 guns.
The trigger on the Marauder pistol is a two stage with a reworked sear, which is much smoother than that of the 2240. There is an over travel adjustment screw incorporated into the trigger guard and the trigger blade has a better tactile feel (Note from Crosman: the trigger weight is adjustable, from 1.8 – 3 pounds). The safety is the same cross bolt affair used on the 2240. The gun’s receiver is a scaled down version of the one used on the Marauder rifle.
The shroud is very effective in quieting the sound signature, making this the quietist air pistol I’ve ever shot. My preference is for a quiet airgun, and this is especially true with a pistol which is ideal for slipping into areas where you don’t want to draw attention to yourself. Understand that I am not suggesting you hunt where not allowed, but there are a lot of hunting and pest control opportunities that will open up if the landowner or facility manager is assured you can get in and out without disturbing the non-shooting / hunting members of the public that might be in the area
I decided to zero the gun at 25 yards as this is the range I like to try to get into, but will stretch out further if everything is right.
After determining the sweet spot I went back and shot 16 shot strings. (The) long shot strings demonstrated to me that I could expect over 40 usable hunting shots if I was willing to fill to 3000 psi and deal with lower velocity shots at the high and low pressure states at the low ends of the velocity curve. Having said this, I reckoned that if I filled to 2400 PSI it would produce 3 – 4 clips (24-32) shots in the sweet spot for hunting, which is more than enough for a day of hunting squirrels.
In the context of hunting, this Marauder Pistol outshoots me. I feel very confident hunting small game with this gun inside of 30 yards.
I have had a great time shooting this gun, and think it’s a winner. It’s generating about 11-13 fpe in the configuration I received, which is fine for small game inside of thirty yards (though as stated 20-25 is typical for me). I have to leave this gun in stock trim for the testing and it will have to go back to Crosman at some point. It has done very well on the range and for hunting, but when the gun is released to market and I have an “out of the box” pistol of my very own the fun will begin! I am going to work on tweaking it up for maximum power and get some custom grips on it, even though it is just about perfect as it ships from the factory you can always put your personal stamp on it, right? We’ve been waiting a long time for this gun, but I think it has been worth waiting for!
The shroud on the pistol is easily removed; the muzzle cap can be unscrewed first, then the shroud unscrews from the threaded front of the receiver and is pulled off the barrel. The shroud itself is quite simple and yet very effective, there is not a baffle per se, but rather a single ventilated tube that fits over the muzzle of the barrel with a distal flange that keeps it centered in the shroud tube. There are three O rings, one at the base of the receiver where the shroud screws in, one in a ridge in the mid section of the ventilated tube, and one between the flange and the muzzle cap.
The grip and trigger assembly do bear a resemblance to that of the 2240, and as mentioned I’ve been told that this will be the grip used on the 224o in future as well. The carbine stock from the 2240 will still fit on the Marauder pistol. However when I looked to see if my beloved RB grips would fit, I found that I’d have to remove some material and do a little reshaping to get a perfect fit
The trigger is unquestionably better than the 2240, it is fairly light and crisp on break, it has an adjustable overtravel, and to my way of thinking a much more ergonomic trigger blade.
While the forestock and the grips are plastic, the whole gun has a solid feel and just comes across as a well engineered and solid piece of hardware. From a design point of view, I think everything from the action and mnagazine, to the shroud, to the trigger, to the onboard pressure gauge works well in the design. As is always the case when I get a pre-released gun to work with, I can’t wait for the production pieces to get out and in the hands of the intended group of shooters to see what they think, that’s the real acid test. But my thoughts on using this gun was that Crosman is continuing in the right direction…. again!