If I’m going to talk about the difficulties that I’ve had getting my AT44 QE up and ready for the showdown against my Benjamin Marauder, then it’s only fair to talk about what it’s taken to get my Marauder up to snuff as well.
Where’s the air…?
The Achilles heel of any PCP, or at least one of them, is how well it holds its air. When I first got my Marauder all seemed to be going ok, but then I left for SHOT and was gone for about a week. When I got back and decided to get in some trigger time with my new Synthetic M-Rod, it was empty.
After reaching out to Crosman and learning that this was NOT something I should be experiencing, I started going over the gun to find the leak. Fortunately it turned out to be a defective gauge. After a couple of miscues with Crosman’s spare parts department, the right part showed up and the leak was a think of the past. I have to say that they were very accommodating and worked hard to get the right part to me. It seems there are a couple of very similarly named parts with very similar part numbers. I can easily see how things could get mixed up.
Watch that sling stud…
Earlier this year we put on a little “Fun Shoot” for the local Home Schooler’s group here in Lake Havasu. I love getting out and showing off just what airguns can do, especially to folks that have never even seen a “real” high powered air rifle. The Marauder, all setup with its Hawke Scope at the time, was going to be a focal point of the event. It’s a great, easy to shoot, airgun that’s not completely out of range price wise for someone that wants to get in to PCP airgunning.
One of the nice features of the Marauders has always been the included sling studs. I like to use a traditional rifle bi-pod that connects right to this mounting point, which is exactly how I had my M-Rod configured for the shoot. As we were setting up, one of the volunteers opened the legs of the bi-pod and it just fell off the rifle. The sling stud had just pulled right out of the stock. Upon further inspection, there must have been something amiss with this particular stock as I did not have this issue with the .25. Another call to Crosman, followed by about a week of waiting, and my new stock was in and ready to go on my gun. They were kind enough to cross ship the replacement for me so I wasn’t out of commission for all that long.
Ready to roll! well almost…
Now that I had a good working Marauder, that was holding air and with a sling stud that I could rely on, I started testing shot count and velocity. I knew immediately that I was going to need to spend some more time tweaking my gun. As I was only getting about 15 shots with no power curve to speak of.
As we’ve discussed in previous articles, and I don’t want to sound like a broken record here (you old timers know what I’m talking about), but I feel that I need to go over it one last time, simply because the questions keep coming up so much. There are 3 basic user adjustments on your typical Marauder Rifle. There is the hammer tension which controls how hard the hammer hits the valve. There is the hammer travel, which adjusts how far the hammer moves before it hits the valve. And finally, there’s the flow port, which controls how much air is allowed to flow through the valve when it is struck. The first two, and all I generally mess with, are easily accessible via the rear of the gun. The last adjustment is located under the stock.
The manual will give you the basics as to how each affects the performance and function of the rifle. From there you need a chronograph and a lot of patience. I have people ask me all the time, “how many turns” this way or that way, and my answer is always the same. “It all depends on your particular gun.” I realize that’s NOT what folks want to hear, but it’s the truth and it’s important that folks know this going in, not after the fact. On the other side of it, once you’ve got a grasp of what setting does what, it’s pretty easy to move the performance around to suit your needs. I’ve got my Marauder pushing 14.3 grain premiers at an average of 840 FPS. I can get 30 to 40 shots pretty easily.
***A very important point of note***
AS with the AT44 QE that I’m testing, I want to make sure folks realize that what I’ve experienced may very well be the exception rather than the norm. Don’t immediately start taking your gun apart or making adjustments before you’ve even given it a chance to shoot right. I ALWAYS test a gun “AS IS” first, and then start making adjustments only if the need arises. So many times guns are sent back for service simply because the end user get’s the settings too far out of whack, causing the gun to malfunction. Give your new gun a chance to shoot, before you start changing things.
Time for a trip to the range…
Now that I’m back and settled in from my trip out East, it’s time to take my Synthetic M-Rod out to “the range” for a little testing out past what I can get here at my shop. That’s where we’ll be heading for our next look and Part 3 of the Benjamin Marauder .22 Cal.