Okay, in another post a bagged on the Benjamin air rifle a little bit. In its defense, that was a 15 year old model. These days we are seeing a whole new class of air rifle technology, such as the Crosman Benjamin Trail NP .22 Caliber Nitro Piston Air Rifle. The older ones were not Nitro pistol based. Buckle up for another Air Rifle Gear review!
Before I get into more detail with this review about the Benjamin Trail NP XL Air Rifle, let me first say that it is available in .22, .177, and .25 caliber. I will be reviewing the .22 model, however I’m confident the other calibers perform just as well. It only depends on your pellet caliber preference.
So far I am loving this air rifle after about 1500 rounds on an indoor range. Haven’t done any outdoor, long-range shooting but looking forward to it.
I’ve never had a .22 nitro piston before this air rifle, although this isnt my first Nitro air rifle review, confusing I know, but lets move on. That was a pretty big step up for me in my air rifle collection. My previous favorite is a Sheridan C9 Silver Streak. Beautiful gun. With only iron sights it seems I can’t miss with that thing even after only shooting it once a year or so on visits with the family where it is stored. (And about 15 years old now!)
The NP XL can’t beat the C9 for good looks but it’s not far off, but in power the Benjamin Trail NP XL wins hands down. The NP XL coking isn’t quite so effortless, but then again only having to cock once instead of pumping 6 or 9 times easily makes up for it.
My only previous break barrel was the Benjamin Legacy 1000 springer. It has far better power than any .177 pump I’ve ever had, but the metallic crashing spring when it fires and crappy trigger really took away from the fun.
The Benjamin Trail NP XL trigger is very smooth, although a little lengthy through the pull. Aftermarket triggers are always an option if you’re picky, but I’m perfectly fine with how it is.
I should have mentioned this first, but this is a BIG air rifle, at 48″ and weighing in at 9 pounds. The instructions aren’t joking about “dieseling” on the early rounds; even after about a 100 rounds through the rifle I get a little smoke out the barrel, and the first 10 or 20 rounds looked like I was shooting a black powder rifle.
I have tested a number of different types of pellets with this air rifle. Starting with; Crossman Premier Hollow points, H&N Baracuda Match, and JSB Exact Jumbo Monster. At 50 rounds on a 20yd indoor range I had the scope dialed in almost dead on. Moving out to 50 yards, the accuracy didn’t decrease one bit! I didn’t have access to a longer range, but I imagine it would still perform great at even 75 yards. Sitting a .22 pellet next to a a .177 pellet is almost comical. The .22 is A LOT bigger, and especially the 25 grain pellets. That is why I love .22 pellets. Nothing beats the *WHACK* sound it makes on a piece of wood.
My “trap” so far has been a length of very dense hardwood. I know I know, all this air rifle gear and I’m shooting at scrap wood. My Crossman 66 .177 at 9 pumps would barely stick in the wood or even bounce pellets off it many shots. The Benjamin Legacy 1000 .177 would bury pellets into the wood about flush with the bottom of the pellet. The NP XL, however, imbeds those 14gr .22 pellets at more than a full pellet length into the wood. The 21 and 25 grain pellets sink at least flush into the wood, and often further. I’ve been firing the last few dozen or so rounds into the same quarter sized hole since I’ve gotten the scope dialed in and the dieseling has decreased, and it is digging pretty deep. Every 4 or 6 rounds a lump of fused lead will pop out. One or two have popped out almost to my feet, so I wear safety glasses even though they don’t have any force.
As far as noise goes, the NP XL is extremely quiet for its power, and gets less loud after cycling through 100 rounds.
I’m not sure that I wouldn’t have been happy with the 4″ shorter Remington NPSS rifle, but I think in the long run the 30 ftlbs of the NP XL (some reports say 28) vs the 23 ftlbs of the NPSS are probably worth the extra size. With most things in life you usually wish later that you’d bought the bigger, and very little that you had gotten the smaller. If you’re on the edge, I hope I helped you make a decision about this great little (big) air rifle.