Benjamin .25 caliber Marauder
pretty darn good I'd say. especially for the cash outlay involved.
the rifle is, indeed, a rather large one. in fact, one might mistake it for a shotgun of some sort at first...at least that's what i thought when i first got mine. it does not weight as much as it looks like it should. it feels and points very well and easily when shouldered or put on a rest for some serious range shooting and there are those who will champion the use of a bi-pod on it; that's OK, too, i haven't tried one yet but i see no reason why one should not work well on this serious PCP air rifle.
filling with the prescribed HPA/CO2 is easily accomplished via male foster fitting on the tip of the air tube that is well protected by a well made, screw on aluminum cap. it is rather awkward to hold the rifle and attach the fill whip to the nipple, though...especially with the short whips provided by manufacturers. i happen to be able to use the same pump that i use to fill my Airforce Talon with by way of adapters purchased as well as by way of a SCUBA yoke adapter...very easy and convenient. i have yet to use it on CO2 and haven't any plan to as I'm not a CO2 fan and I'm not set up for it. it is however, called a "Dual fuel" by the manufacturer and i suppose there are those who use it on CO2 but i think, by-and-large, that most will opt for HPA (that's just my opinion...NOT factual)it also sports an on-board pressure gauge to show the user how much pressure is available and is very clearly marked with red and yellow zones for High & Low pressures. the manufacturer states it will run on the pressures that are in the "white" on the gauge, though.
the single biggest pitfall of the rifle is in that pressure tanks size...it will provide only 24 shots at max power in that .25 caliber. however, there are after-market air tube extensions available if one wishes to get more shots per refill. from what I've read, the extension will enable two to three more shots per refill.
adjustments to the hammer spring and valve stem travel are very easily accomplished via Allen wrench at the very end of the receiver. the power adjuster is another matter though. as it comes from the factory, to gain access to the two stage recessed Allen screws, one must remove the action from the stock. i, like many others, I'm sure, drilled a hole in the stock for easy access to the screws. now, i don't have to disassemble the rifle for access to the adjustment screws. it's such an easy modification one wonders why the factory didn't do it during production. i also chose to install a button head screw with an o-ring to seal the exposed rear end of the receiver adjustment access. it does not seem to hamper the operation as some have voiced an opinion that it may interfere with venting of the valve in some way.
since it is normally magazine fed one must charge the magazine. that operation can be perplexing if one does not read and follow instructions; it's easy. you may also purchase a single shot tray if you want to go that route. in the case of the .25, the magazine has a capacity of 8. from what I've read, if you choose to use predator hunting pellets, you'll have to have the magazine modified as the points of the penetrators make the pellet too long to fit inside the magazine.
the rifle is not equipped for use with open sights so one must choose the optics most suited to his likes/needs. i have considered putting an adjustable sight of some sort on the barrel band and utilizing a Beeman style rear peep aperture. but that's to be another entirely different adventure should i ever actually undertake it. it would also require going entirely to the use of the single shot tray as the magazine would interfere with the rear sight if it were mounted in front of the magazine; you could not see the sight because of the magazine. if you mounted the rear sight to the rear of the magazine, you could not see the front sight because of the magazine.
you know that you're ready to launch a serious pill when you feel and see the heft of the .25 caliber pellets. i shot my first one at a steel, plate, trap i made at 31 yards and was stunned to hear the "SPLAT" of that .25 caliber Beeman Silver Ace pill as it smacked into that steel plate! this is without a doubt, a very serious tool NOT to be taken lightly.
after firing a number of the obligatory "see how it shoots" rounds, a preliminary sight in of the scope i decided on, a Tasco Varmint 6-24x40 AO mil-dot, was easy. i used one mil-dot above the crosshairs and proceeded to lay in 7 JSB's in the same ragged hole at a measured 31 yards. so...accuracy should not be an issue after one selects the correct pellet for his particular rifle. like many others, I've found that JSB exact match pellets are the most accurate from my particular rifle. that's another beauty of this rifle, it may be used with any scope of your choice as it has no recoil.
the shrouded barrel does indeed add to the desirability of this rifle. one does not have to worry about alerting the entire county when squeezing off a shot. the factory did a very good job in the engineering and design of the shroud. if one is so disposed to do so, removal of the shroud and baffles is very easily accomplished, and fool proof.
the factory trigger is a good, adjustable unit and will suffice for all needs...but can be made better by modification, if one so chooses, that can be found on the internet. however, before undertaking any modifications one should consider warranty as well as any mechanical or legal issues that may result from any such modifications that are undertaken. i did the modification and it is indeed, an excellent trigger made better.
operating the bolt for feeding the rifle it's selected fodder is easy and uncomplicated and can be done rather quickly for follow-up shots when needed.
overall finish and execution of detail is good with metal surfaces being well finished enough to be rugged enough not to worry about exposure to the elements.
in my humble estimation, the Benjamin Marauder is well worth being added to any air gunners battery...they should be around for a long time.