It’s time to start seeing what the new NP2 synthetic can do from the bench. As always I setup my 10 yard indoor range to get a baseline of what this little rifle can do. It always takes some time to get going, so I started by putting about 100 pellets down range.
Getting in some bench time.
Let’s start with what it takes to shoot the NP2 Synthetic. As I mentioned previously, it’s about average on my “shootability” scale. The hollow synthetic stock definitely sheds weight, but does nothing to help dampen the harsh recoil from the NP2 powerplant. To get a comparison, I grabbed my old Trail NP .22 cal synthetic and shot a few pellets down range. The difference was night and day. The original NP has less recoil and less noise. The solid synthetic stock on the original Trail NP definitely makes a big difference, helping reduce the recoil and mechanical noise. If you don’t mind a little extra weight, consider the wood stock version of the NP2. (Review coming soon) If you need or want something lightweight and “all weather” ready, then go for the NP2 in synthetic. Just be ready for a little rocking and rolling during the shooting cycle.
I’m currently using a Caldwell shooting bag and the artillery hold. The bundled optic has a good mil-dot reticle and is very clear up to 7 power magnification even at this close range. I know that I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s important to give credit where credit is due. This scope is clear, bright, and works well in the rifle’s optimal range. I would see no need to swap this out unless I just “had” to have something with an adjustable parallax.
With a short break in period behind me, my trigger adjusted, and my scope setup and on target, I started shooting a variety of pellets down range. I started with the Crosman Premier Hollow points, RWS Meisterkugeln, Crosman Premiers, and the JSB 14.3s. After shooting several groups with each pellet, I noticed that I just wasn’t getting any consistent results. 3 or 4 shots would land right on target and then I’d get a flyer off to one direction or another. I’ve had this happen many times with one particular pellet over another, but it’s rare to have all the pellets have the same intermittent flyer problem. That tends to point to the rifle as having some sort of issue.
I spent the better part of the afternoon just trying different pellets to see if I might be missing something. No matter what I tried, I got the same results. The best group of the afternoon came from the RWS Meisterkugeln pellets which delivered a 5 shot group measuring .306″ CTC. If I got that every time, I’d say that I’d found my pellet for 10 yard target practice for sure. But unfortunately, I only got one really good group. All the other groups came in between .45″ and .78″ CTC.
The most consistent groups came from the Crosman Premiers in the cardboard box. Most of the groups were .5″ CTC or under. The group below measures just under .5″ at .493″ CTC.
Maybe it’s me?
Whenever I have an afternoon like this one, I always want to give the product the benefit of the doubt. I’m the biggest variable in the mix. To see if it was me or the rifle, I grabbed my original Trail NP. I’ve done a bit of work to this gun. I’ve cleaned and lubed it, worked the trigger to make it smoother. I have not modified it with a drop in trigger or bearing spacer as some folks have done, I just polished the sear and the strut so that all the contact points were as smooth as possible. It still has a very long 2nd stage, but it’s smooth and predictable, and I can work with that. After a couple of groups to zero the scope for 10 yards, I fired a 5 shot group with the Crosman Premiers in the cardboard box.
As you can see from the shot card here, it’s not me. That group measures a mere .06″ CTC. That’s 5 .22 cal pellets nearly going through the exact same hole.
If it’s not me, what could it be?
After taking a long look at the NP2 I found a problem. The barrel joint had worked loose and there was lateral play in the joint. This is why I wasn’t getting the kind of consistency I should be getting! I run into this problem from time to time. Fortunately, that’s exactly why products come with a manufacturer’s warranty. After a couple of emails, I’ve got another NP2 coming my way. Crosman wants to get their hands on this one to see what’s happening. I’m told that they have not had any reports of this issue other than me, so I guess that’s very good news for the NP2 as a whole.
The replacement is already on the way and should be here in the next day or two. This time I went with the wood stock so that I can know for sure if the wood stock makes a difference in the shootablity of the rifle. I bet it does. So, stay glued to the blog as the roller coaster continues.
One last important note…
This is a very important word of advice that I hope folks take to heart. I could simply write off the entire NP2 line of guns because I had a bad apple. That would be really short sighted. The NP2 is a new product line for Crosman. There are bound to be issues and having spoken to them, I know they are committed to getting it right. They have a wonderful customer service department that lives to make sure their customers are happy with their purchases. I’ve worked with Crosman Customer Service as a reviewer and as a guy off the street. The service has always been helpful and they’ve always treated me right. If you ever run into issues with your Crosman or Benjamin product while under warranty, just give them a call and give them a chance. They’ll work to make you happy.