Lloyd Sikes (above, pictured with Jim Shockey) is the inventor of the eValve™ powering the new Benjamin® Rogue™ .357. Last week he had an opportunity to shoot the Rogue for the first time.
Well, she moved away and grew up. Most of you have known about the Rogue only since January, but I’ve been working on what goes into her for almost four years. A little over a year ago she went to Crosman……..and changed……..for the better. She’s got a job, and she knows what it is, and she does it well. No, she didn’t go to beauty school, I think she became a Marine. Tough and dependable and accurate.
I’ve had a Rogue at my house for a few days now, but I have to send her back in a few more. I’ve checked her out pretty well and compared her to my prototypes and have some first impressions to share. Am I biased? Of course — this is my kid we’re talking about. But only my opinions are subjective — facts and figures don’t lie. Let’s get into a few of each and you can judge for yourself.
The Rogue has a serious presence and stands out. She’s not going to get lost amongst your other airguns. The butt stock is a standard AR style and easily adjustable for length of pull to make the gun shoulder comfortably. She’s heavy, but well balanced and fairly easy to shoot offhand. I compared her side-by-side with my RWS 54. I’m not sure of the accuracy of my spring scale, but both guns weighed exactly the same at about 11 pounds with big scopes. Length of my 54 is 44”, the Rogue is 45-1/2”, but 4-1/2” of that is the end of the shroud..
Some of the controls are unconventional — and when they were explained to me, I was scratching my head. But seriously, after less than 6 shots, it all seemed very natural and I had no hesitation about what to do next. (Yes, I know that I designed the original electronics, but Crosman had to make some changes and enhancements for safety, reliability, and ease of use.)
There was noise on the many forums about the bolt and clip after the Shot Show videos came out. Seriously, the redesigning of that area was underway while the Crosman folks were still at the show. The clip now inserts from the side away from the bolt handle so that the interference is gone. I’d now have to say that the bolt is …smooth. Whether I was using the single shot tray or the clip, it fed flawlessly. When using the single shot tray with little short conical bullets, you have watch that they don’t flip over backwards when you drop them in the tray. But, if you load the bullet correctly into the tray, it will feed perfectly.
The electronics are nice but the software that runs everything is…in a way…a bit of a moving target. The capabilities are almost limitless, so how do you narrow that down to something that makes sense, is easy to use, and gives the versatility you want? Crosman has made some good choices and they may be fine, but after the guns are in the field, if all the owners think of some functionality that needs to changed or added, Crosman will listen.
Shot count and FPE. Some guys have been getting all spun up — demanding that Crosman tell them what the shot counts and energy levels are going to be. First, take a deep breath and relax. You will not be disappointed. But, know that this gun is not at all like a mechanical hammer type gun. You don’t just put a certain set of springs in there, preload them, and leave them alone with one specific performance level. This isn’t just adjusting a carburetor, it is mapping the onboard computer to get the best , and the desired, performance levels. Crosman probably isn’t going to settle on the performance specs until after the guns go out to various writers and testers and everybody’s impressions and desires are figured out. Then the software will be finalized and loaded into the guns.
Here’s what I will tell you, though. The gun can use all the air that is in the reservoir. You can actually get a 100 FPE shot with only 1,000 psi of air in the tank. In the shooting I’ve done, I’ve gotten between 1.5 and 2.0 fpe per psi of tank pressure that is used depending on bullet weight and velocity and pressure. Remember that more power and velocity is less efficient than slow, low power shots. So, for example, I shot the tank from 2,800 psi down to 950 psi and got 23 shots that averaged 141 fpe. Not too shabby. The top end is powerful. A handful of 250 fpe shots is possible, and that can be followed by a long string of 100 fpe shots to shoot the tank down.
Shroud. No, of course it’s not as quiet as a Marauder! Geez! You’re making 2 to 5 times as much power. Think about it…….. and listen to this: My wife wanted to shoot the Rogue when I had it set up in the garage at my house. She doesn’t know guns. She squeezed off a few shots, and her comment was, “That’s pretty quiet.” We live in the country where people shoot high powered rifles, and this is a hand-clap compared to them.
Trigger. Oh so sweet! It’s electronic, so Crosman concentrated on getting a nice, consistent, 2 pound feel. And they succeeded.
Accuracy. I am not a target shooter, but can get lucky every now and then. This afternoon I finally had a chance to take the Rogue outside. I eyeballed and paced off a good distance and set up a flimsy card table with lawn furniture cushions on top. Pretty poor platform for shooting. The first three targets were throw-aways for various reasons (excuses), but then I started to get into the groove and it clicked. After I shot the last 2 targets I had to measure the distance for verification, and it was 58 yards. Here’s what I got: 58 yards, 105 gn, .357, tank about 2400psi. Fourth target: 4 shot group, .774 C to C. Then on the last target, first 3 shots all touching each other, .293 C to C, but then the 4th shot opened it up to .634 C to C. With a decent, heavy bench, somebody (probably not me) could get 5 shot cloverleafs at 50 yards.
Optics. The accuracy highlights the optics. It has a Centerpoint 4-16×40 AO scope that worked very well with what I was doing. The separate rings spanned the magazine opening and nothing got in the way.
Shooting it. No doubt about it, this is a big bore. The bullets, the kick, the barrel rise, the range, the penetration…they are all for real. Short range, long range, targets, or hunting.
Crosman has done a great job with the Rogue. I am one happy parent.