Thursday, February 23, 2017

Why mod a marauder?

Nothing attracts aftermarket parts like a successful product. The AR-15, Ruger 10-22 and the 1911 pistol are popular rguns with good designs and engineered for mass production they are naturals for add on parts. Add CANC machinery and an industry is borne. Zowee!

The Benjamin Marauder, Crossman’s flagship precharged air rifle, is the most popular precharged air rifle in America. The Marauder shoots well, has great features and is user adjustable to fill many airgining roles, but it has an Achilles heel. The .22 version suffers from indifferent accuracy. Some shoot well often grouping into one inch at fifty yards, and others couldn’t hit a two pound coffee can at that distance. The rest are somewhere in between, and is seems to be a function of the barrel. It is really unknown what the overall average accuracy of .22 Marauders is. I think that overall customer satisfaction wasn’t high, the Marauder would not be as popular as it is.

Twenty two caliber air rifles have been Crosman’ bread and butter since their first air rifle in 1923. The Armada I shoot is a winner if the “barrel lottery” with 50 yard groups seesawing between ¾ and 1 ¼ inch.

Owners of Marauders/Armadas are spoiled for choice by the aftermarket parts selection. We are always thinking, “What part would turn my air rifle into a super gun”?
I chose an aftermarket barrel because accuracy was my priority. Other parts can increase the power, or extend the shoot count. Most of my shots are taken at 50 yards and further. Every time I shot a ¾ inch groupe, I said,”Why can’t I do this every time”?

Next time, Well Ron, how does it shoot?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Marmot Militia Machineworks .22 barrel for the Benjamin Marauder

Marmot Militia Machineworks .22 barrel for the Benjamin Marauder

The aftermarket parts market for for the Benjamin Marauder/Armada is certainly the largest in North America. Owners and devotees on these Crosman built air rifles should be very happy about this. Not only is this a  function of how popular their rifles are, but it is also an opportunity to improve the rifle’s performance.

For convenience the generic name Marauder will apply to all variants of the Marauder and the Armada. If there are differences significant to the subject at hand, I’ll point them out.

The Marauder is ripe for improvement. Crossman mass produces them to a set of specifications and certainly price point is one of them. Budget air rifles may be looked on with suspicion,but it is not necessarily the case for the Marauder. The accuracy of these American latecomers to the precharged air rifle market generally is way better then many airgunners suspected it 2009 when Crossman announced them. Aftermarket parts allow the Marauder to overcome its budget priced heritage and shoot up with air rifles costing far more.

“Are these parts the cost of a NASA hammer,”? Not individually, but taken in aggregate they can easily double to triple the price or the rifle. There are good reasons for airgunners to do this like the pride of ownership and accomplishment when you take the Marauder to higher performance level, but a more cautious approach fits my thinking of what makes an airgun special.

Most aftermarket products increase the rifle’s power or raise the shot count. Both are useful, but I hunt those black paper circles and I want accuracy. Without a good barrel all that power and efficiency may come to no end.

The .22 Armada is a Marauder wrapt in a stock that resembled an AR-15. Marauder. Cossman .22 barrels have a reputation for inconsistency. Some won't hit a two pound coffee can at fifty yards. Mine will shoot groups from .75 to 1.25 inch at that distance. Averaging 1 inch (about 2 MOA) that is as good as one can expect from a budget priiced air rifle. But like the airgunner who wants more power, one could also want more accuracy.

I ordered a .22 hammer forged barrel from Jim Gaska’s Marmot Militia Machineworks. The barrel is a drop in for the Marauder and should deliver  “1 MOA out to 60 yards”. It is going on the Armada which has a good .22 barrel, two MOA at fifty, but a half inch a fifty yards would help a lot in the matches shoot with this rifle. The barrel is $210 shipped.

Thanks to Crosman for providing the Armada.