A Benjamin Marauder topped with a Hawke Scope, you have a great urban hunting gun.
By Andy Lightbody
Grand Junction, Co. –-(Ammoland.com)- Go to the dictionary, and you are going to see that the definition of a “Marauder,” is one that roves, raids, and pillages for spoils and rewards.
Pick up a Benjamin Marauder Rifle or Pistol, and you might feel empowered to do just that. For some great target shooting, or even some “urbanish” hunting opportunities, you are likely to feel very empowered.
Benjamin Air Rifles have been around since 1902, and were acquired by the Crosman group in 1992.
Offering countless BB, Pellet, Rifle and Pistol offerings, there is no doubt that the Crosman/Benjamin group of air guns has an offering for anyone/everyone that wants to target shoot, and a whole lot more (www.crosman.com).
For all of us serious airgun shooters, the Benjamin brand represents high quality and precision products. They’re not inexpensive, but there is truth in the old saying…. You get what you pay for.
In the Benjamin/Crosman family of Marauders, you have a choice of either a high-powered rifle or pistol. Both are what called PCP or Pre-Charged Pneumatic airguns.
This means that the guns used compressed air as their power source, and have a built-in air tank that is refillable to 3,000 psi of pressure.
In practical terms, it means the rifle or pistol is capable of firing 20-30 high-powered shots before it needs to be recharged.
And to recharge it, you can buy a Benjamin manual pump, use an adapter and recharge it from a scuba tank, or take it to your local dive shop.
Benjamin also offers an auxiliary tank so that you can carry a recharge with you when you are out in the field.
The Marauder rifle series comes in a choice of calibers that include the .177, .22 and the .25.
The BP2563 we tested was the big, .25 caliber model that is designed for some serious small game/varmint hunting for everything from birds and prairie dogs to squirrels, and even bigger critters— rabbits and raccoons!
Sporting a solid wood stock, and tipping the scales at 7.12 pounds, this is no lightweight rifle or toy. The rifle features a rifled/choked barrel, which actually squeezes all the pellets down to the same size, before the pellet leaves the muzzle.
This consistent pellet-size feature adds to increased and consistent accuracy.
In addition, it even has an internal shroud system for ultra quiet operation, should you have to load and fire more than one shot.
The rifle features a pull bolt action system and an 8-shot auto indexing clip, a two stage adjustable match grade metal trigger. Advertised to deliver pellet velocity upwards of 900 fps with a charge of between 2,000 and 3,000 psi of air pressure, in our tests we fired off between 27 and 31 accurate shots before the tank pressure dropped below the recommended firing levels.
In the sight department, you’re going to find that the rifle does not have either a front or rear sight. The reason is, you are definitely going to want to mount a quality scope onto the raised aluminum breech of the rifle for best accuracy.
Again I reiterate, even without gunpowder, this is a serious short-range target and small game hunting rifle!
For our tests on both the rifle and the pistol we opted for the HK5172 Airmax EV 3-9x40AO scope with the MAP6 reticle from Hawke Sport Optics (www.HawkeOptics.com). The Hawke Airmax series are affordable high-quality optics, designed especially for use with quality airguns. Depending on your shooting needs, they are offered in either a 3-9 x variable or a 4-12 x magnification and either a 40mm or 50mm objective lenses
All Airmax scopes include an EV or Extreme View optical system that provides the shooter with a full FOV or Field Of View that is 20% wider than a traditional scope. With the Adjustable Objective (AO), we were able to clearly focus on targets as close as 15 yards, and then out to 50 yards, or beyond!
Once sighted in, and using the Caldwell Lead Sled for the best steady rest, we grouped our 3-shots at ½-inch on the 30-yard target, and just over ¾-inch at 50-yards. For the majority of small game, that’s well within the kill/take down zone!
Following the success of the Marauder rifle, comes the BP2220 PCP pistol, which incorporates most all of the features of its larger counterpart, but in a smaller, much lighter and more compact package.
Offered only in .22 caliber, the Marauder pistol still delivers up to 700 fps velocity with an 8-shot rotary-style clip, all in an 18-inch package that weighs in at only 2.7 pounds (without shoulder stock). Coming complete with a lightweight plastic rifle stock that converts it quickly to a shoulder-fired airgun, the pistol can be loaded up to 3000psi of air pressure and can fire from 25-30 pellets before needing a recharge.
Like its larger “rifle-cousin,” it has an adjustable trigger and a shrouded barrel for quiet firing. The 12-inch barrel on the pistol also is rifled and choked for max accuracy. Mated to the pistol, we again used the Hawke Optics Airmax scope with the Multi-Aim-Point (MAP) wire ballistic reticle that is easily calibrated to work with an airgun pellet trajectory. From the Lead Sled rifle rest, we fired 3-shot groups of ½-inch groups at 17 yards, and ¾-inch at 25 yards.
Even though are groups were approximately 1 inch at the 30 yard mark, the fired pellets still had no problem ripping through the ¼-inch plywood backstop and lodging solidly into the tree that was behind it!
Had our target been a rabbit or a raccoon, there would have been fresh eats for the table.
THE IDEAL–URBAN SMALL GAME GUNS:
What makes both the Marauders top performers is the versatility and ability to be used for hunting in the field, as well as urban environments. In many areas, the discharge of firearms in “the city,” is illegal, but airguns are not prohibited. Be sure and check with your local police about any rules in your area, as well as the game/fish department about hunting regs/seasons… but you are likely to discover that in many areas, shooting/hunting with either the .22 or 25 caliber Marauders is legal!
Editors Note: For Just about all of the USA, sorry NJ not you, you can order the Benjamin Marauder Air Gun variants and have them shipped right to your door, no FFL required.
Needless to say, gun safety is paramount, and make sure there are no buildings, vehicles, people or animals in range!
In many states, the Eurasian collared dove is considered an invasive species. Larger than a mourning dove or a white-wing, these birds are aggressive to other species of dove, as well as songbirds that live around here. Hence, many of the Game and Fish Departments have declared that the collared dove is a pest/varmint, and there is now– No closed season, and no bag or possession limits!
Unfortunately, and much like pigeons, they seem to favor living in the urban areas where they can find plenty of easy food, water and bird feeders. This makes hunting them with a firearm, virtually impossible.
“I’ve shot a lot of these collared doves right out of a friend’s garden, down in Arizona,” says Kathy Mattoon.
“They’re bigger than the native dove, so they’re easy to spot. They are also delicious and great for grilling. Recently, two of them were on the ground and lined up perfectly in front of each other. I took a shot at about 17 yards and knew I would get one of them, but much to my surprise, the neck shot went through the first bird, and head shot the dove behind that one! That’s the first time I ever got a double with a single shot! The power in the Marauder speaks for itself!”
Kathy not only retrieved both doves, but the .22 caliber pellet. The birds are in the freezer… and the pellet sits on the gun shelf as a ballistic trophy.
- Benjamin Marauder Pellet Rifle
- HK5172 Airmax EV 3-9x40AO scope
- Benjamin Marauder PCP Air Pistol
- Caldwell Lead Sled
Andy Lightbody is a TV/Video producer and host, as well as an outdoor writer/photographer. Lightbody is the former Managing Editor for Western Outdoors Magazine; Senior Editor at Petersen’s Hunting Magazine and Editor of the Guns & Ammo Book Division. He remains an avid shooter, hunter and angler, as well as a regular contributor to the Sportsman’s Warehouse publication—Sportsman’s News Magazine. Visit Rocky Mountain Television/Productions : www.rmtv.net