First impressions are not always reliable. During a quick look at an object one feature may be noted and even that not in an objective way. Given an extended period of experience with the item, an entirely different perspective may be developed. With the Marauder and I, it was not necessarily love at first sight. But given the sterling qualities of the Marauder, we are now the best of friends. Let me tell you the basis for that friendship and how it developed.
My friend, the Benjamin Marauder, is a precharged pneumatic air rifle that is available in .177 and .22 calibers with velocities of up to 1,100 and 1,000 ft/sec, respectively. The reservoir can be pressurized up to 3,000 psi with air or the rifle can be used with carbon dioxide in the reservoir. In which case, pellet velocity is lower because the vapor pressure of carbon dioxide is not nearly as high as the permissible pressure with air. Not only is the Marauder a precharged pneumatic, it is a 10-shot repeater. The pellets are held in a rotary magazine that fits in a slot across the receiver, and a rotary section inside the magazine is spring loaded. When the bolt is pushed forward, it moves a pellet from the magazine into the chamber. After firing, drawing the bolt back to cock the rifle allows the spring loaded pellet holder to rotate to bring another pellet in line with the chamber. Closing the bolt the moves the pellet forward into the chamber.
Filling the reservoir of the Marauder to achieve a high pressure requires a special pump or a scuba tank. It is reasonable that one would be willing to expend some effort for a friend. However, when the reservoir is fully charged, it is possible to fire 25-30 shots at full power.
The Marauder is an imposing air rifle. Physically, it is 43 inches long and weighs 7.5 pounds. Because it is furnished with no open sights, it is necessary to mount a scope on the rifle which can raise the weight to as much as 8.5 or 9 pounds. Because the reservoir tube must be contained within the forearm, the stock is thick. The stock is equipped with a large rollover cheek piece so the rear section of the stock is quite thick also. Both the shrouded barrel and the reservoir tube are rather large, and they are mated to a massive metal receiver. So, my initial perception was that the Marauder was a large air rifle.
A complete description of all of the important features of the Marauder is a considerable task. As a result, I will stress only some of the major attributes that make this such a capable and versatile air rifle. One of these features is the choked barrel. By having the bore slightly smaller near the muzzle, the skirt section of the pellet is given a uniform size and shape just before it exits from the muzzle which increases accuracy. Trigger action of the Marauder is outstanding. There is a light take up motion then crisp let off with a pull of about two pounds on my rifle. Another outstand feature of the Marauder is that it can be tuned for optimal velocity with a particular pellet. For example, if it is found that Crosman Premiers give best accuracy when the velocity is 850 ft/sec, it is possible to tune the rifle to give that velocity.
Although the Marauder is a very powerful air rifle, it is exceptionally quiet as is illustrated by an event that occurred during testing. While I was shooting the Marauder, another shooter arrived at the range to practice for an event known as a plate shoot with his center fire pistol. As he came over to where I was shooting, he put on his hearing protectors. I told him that they were not needed, but he took one look at that boss airgun and would not believe me. He said that he had a $5,000 hearing aid and was not going to take any chance with a loud gun. I assured that with the hearing loss I had suffered over the years that I was not about to shoot a loud gun without hearing protectors. At that time, I fired a pellet at the target. The other shooter simply could not believe that such an imposing airgun could be that quiet! Yes, the Marauder is unbelievably quiet for such a high powered airgun.
In the testing that I did, I made sure that the pressure was in the range 2,200-2,800 psi. Because a PCP discharges only air, there is no noticeable recoil. Therefore, it was easy to control the rifle during firing. Although the Marauder is a large air rifle, rests on the sandbags very well when firing from a bench. I mounted a 3-9X AO scope on the rifle for testing.
I always test powerful air rifles at 25 yards in keeping with their being useful pest control tools. With Crosman Premier pellets, by first 5-shot group measured only 0.56 inch. Firing additional groups result in an average size of only 0.44 inch for five groups with the smallest being a ragged hole of 0.24 inch. For an outdoor range where there is always some breeze, this is outstanding accuracy.
The Crosman pointed pellet has always been a favorite of mine. With that pellet, the average of five 5-shot groups was 0.61 inch. Testing with other pellets gave similar results so there is no doubting the accuracy potential of the Marauder. During all the test firing, there was never any failure to feed and functioning was flawless. There is no doubting the reliability of the Marauder. Velocity measurements showed that the Marauder gave 900 ft/sec with both Premier and wadcutter pellets. This corresponds to a muzzle energy of about 26 ft lbs which means that the Marauder has plenty of power for taking pests and small game even out to 50 yards. I would not call it a sleek rifle, but it sure had the qualities that endear it to a serious shooter.
After getting past my first impressions, I found the Marauder to be a wonderful companion whether at the shooting bench or sitting in the woods. It has all the attributes of a true friend, and the Marauder and I are destined to spend a lot of quality time together.