My new Gen 2 Marauder .22 – startup and impressions

Forums PCP Airguns My new Gen 2 Marauder .22 – startup and impressions

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    Aimright
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    During my search for my first PCP the last few months, I was very appreciative of a common post here on ANG asking opinions of "what is a good airgun for my first PCP".   Since the Marauder is typically part of the discussion of a first PCP, I thought I would post my experiences about my recent Marauder purchase, getting it ready for the first shots, showing a few of my groups, and initial impressions.  Spoiler alert – so far I am liking most things about the gun.  I am hoping some of this info will be helpful to someone considering the Marauder, or even another PCP.

    Decision on the Marauder:  After much research I had narrowed my choices down to several guns, the Benjamin Marauder, the Gamo Urban, the Hatsan Flash, and the Umarex Gauntlet.  My final conclusion was that they were all pretty good airguns, but I felt the Marauder was slightly more backyard friendly, and had a ton of manufacturer and aftermarket support and service available.  I basically looked at it as the Chevy or Ford of the airgun world, meaning it does everything pretty good but not as refined as some of the more expensive guns, but if you want to increase performance there is a mountain of knowledge and parts floating around.  The fact that Crosman is an American company was not a major decision factor for me, but it did make me feel a little better about the purchase as all my firearms are American made.

    I was wavering between .22 and .25, but decided .22 was the way to go for reduced noise level, increased shot count, and pellet cost.  I plan to do some small game hunting for rabbit and quail,  and also someday teach some grandkids how to safely shoot, and it seems the .22 will fit the bill adequately.

    Once I decided on the Marauder I first thought I would try to save a few bucks by purchasing used.  Several used 22 Marauders popped up for sale here on ANG for around $300 plus shipping but I either was too late to the party to make an offer, or was short of discretionary funds at the time due to some home breakdowns that always seem to happen in groups of 3 at my house.   I ended up purchasing the gun new directly from Crosman using the AGN's 25% discount code and Friday ordering to get their free delivery deal.   So with this 25% code and free delivery the rifle came in at $404, which I believe ended up being only about $80 more than one of the delivered used guns, plus it has the 5 year new gun warranty that I hope never gets tested.

    The delivery from Crosman seemed to be painfully slow – I ordered it on a Friday morning, and it arrived 10 days later via UPS ground.  My eagerness to get the gun caused me to check the UPS tracking site way too often.  Crosman sent it double boxed and it arrived in good shape.  The serial number showed it was built February 2019, so yes it was a freshly minted specimen.  The gun came filled with about 650 psi.  The Crosman test fire target page looked promising – just basically one ragged hole, about a 1/4 inch.  

    Came from factory with ~650 psi

     

    Crosman provides their 5 shot factory test group from 10 yards.

    My first decision was whether to clean it before my first shooting. The general rule of thumb I kept reading is to clean the barrel squeaky clean before your first shots in case there is residue from the manufacturing process.  However, one individual who had recently purchased a Marauder posted that he did not clean his gun at all when he first got it since Crosman test fires the gun with 5 shots, and he opined that any manufacturing gunk would have already been shot out during this test.  He apparently did not have any related problems with his gun from not cleaning it.   I almost took his "just go shoot the gun" path, but later changed my vote in favor of cleaning it first due to the fact that I did not know how Crosman prepares the guns after firing, such as do they add some oil or other rust preventative down the barrel before sending it to the warehouse, or it seems there is always potential for something to get in the barrel from the packaging and boxing process. The gun did come with a red plastic protective cap over the muzzle to probably reduce chances of packaging contamination.

    To clean it I made myself a crown saver cleaning device out of nylon mason’s string,  1/8” shrink tubing, and a piece of ½ inch oak dowel for the handle.  Someone made a nice video on this at: https://www.airgunnation.com/topic/best-diy-cleaning-rod-ever/     The  only piece I did not have in my garage shop and had to go out and purchase was the three foot length of 1/8” shrink tubing, which was only about  $1.50 at a local Fry’s Electronics Store.  I ran about 8 patches through the barrel twice by rotating the patch to a clean spot. I used a light coating of Ballistol that I purchased from Amazon on several of the runs, just enough to have a little wetness, but not enough to cause fluid to get squeezed out and run into the valving in the breech ( I hope!).  I was sure to run some dry patches at the end to not leave any fluid remnant in the barrel.   I tried several size patch sizes until I came up with a size that ran through the bore with about the right amount of resistance.  You can see in some of the pics where I cut some round Otis patches in half.    I used the straw trick to ease the crown saver past the baffles.

    DIY crown saver rod made with mason string, 1/8"shrink tubing, and 1/2" dowel.

    Used a Starbucks plastic straw to ease past the baffles

    Grabbing the patch at the breech for pull through to the muzzle.

    Cleaning results, first patch on the right, last on the left.

    You can see I did not get it "squeaky clean" but removed at least some lead fouling, and possibly a little oil like gunk.  My final recommendation on new gun cleaning? Yah go ahead and get a few patches down the bore!

    I will stop for now, and come back later with my hand pump experience,  pellet testing,  and other thoughts.  Feel free to comment, I am eager to learn. 

     

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    Shinyknight
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    My first PCP was my Benjamin Marauder .22 cal gen 1 back in 2010. Ive always shoot multi pump airgun/bbgun and never heard of PCP or know what it was. I just wanted a quiet airgun for backyard shooting. My search came up with game whisper. Has built in suppressor. So order on but was out of stock. So I cancel the order and search for a quiet gun. Found the Benjamin Marauder and place an order with the hand pump. Used it and never went back to multi pump or break barrels anymore. PCP is the way to go imo. Fast follow up shots, quiet, a accurate. What I like about the Marauder is, it's really quiet. All you hear is the ping pf the hammer hitting the valve. Can barely hear the muzzle blast. Next is the mag. Get 9 extra quick follow up shots if need. No more pumping between shots. Have it for 9 years now and still working great.

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    Aimright
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    Shinyknight

    My first PCP was my Benjamin Marauder .22 cal gen 1 back in 2010. Ive always shoot multi pump airgun/bbgun and never heard of PCP or know what it was. I just wanted a quiet airgun for backyard shooting. My search came up with game whisper. Has built in suppressor. So order on but was out of stock. So I cancel the order and search for a quiet gun. Found the Benjamin Marauder and place an order with the hand pump. Used it and never went back to multi pump or break barrels anymore. PCP is the way to go imo. Fast follow up shots, quiet, a accurate. What I like about the Marauder is, it's really quiet. Thanks  All you hear is the ping pf the hammer hitting the valve. Can barely hear the muzzle blast. Next is the mag. Get 9 extra quick follow up shots if need. No more pumping between shots. Have it for 9 years now and still working great.

    That’s great to hear on your Marauder’s longevity Shinynight, hope mine duplicates it!  I have a pretty quiet neighborhood and smaller backyard and I actually thought it was pretty loud when I first shot it and was initially a little disappointed.  Later on I had my wife shoot it as I stood back about 25 feet and listened, and I was really amazed how quiet it really is.  My backyard target range set up is a picnic table right against a brick fence which I think bounces and exaggerates the sound while shooting next to it..

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    vdwb
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    An easier way to clean the barrel is to unscrew  the barrel shroud and remove. No need to try navigating through the baffles, spring or end cap. The barrel is shorter than the shroud and the crown is fully exposed. Just turn shroud ccw to loosen and slide off of shroud spacer and air stripper.

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    Aimright
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    vdwb

    An easier way to clean the barrel is to unscrew  the barrel shroud and remove. No need to try navigating through the baffles, spring or end cap. The barrel is shorter than the shroud and the crown is fully exposed. Just turn shroud ccw to loosen and slide off of shroud spacer and air stripper.

    Thanks, I may try that next time although the straw trick went smoothly.  Fortunately I now have experience with removing the shroud as I have had a few issues with double loading and I actually triple loaded it once, yep I need some practice operating the gun……😖

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    Garry_S
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    Good luck with the new air rifle!   I’m looking forward to hearing how your experience goes.  I’m looking to pickup my first PCP as well and the Maurada is in the running.

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    vdwb
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    I think all of us have double or triple loaded before. I just pull the baffles and shotgun a shot. Best groups ever,lol. Enjoy your new rifle. I bet it won’t be long before you add aftermarket parts. A person just can’t resist if you like tuning or tinkering to squeeze more power or higher shot counts.

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    PolishAssasin
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    Good luck with your new purchase. More importantly, get to know it inside and out and its capabilities. Have fun when you shoot and do not let it become an stressful adventure. You will not look back.

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    Aimright
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    Thanks guys for all the good words!  Well back to more of  "what I done did with my Marauder (said in my best redneck accent)", hope you guys have coffee or liquor handy if you plan to read on!  My next step was to mount my scope, an inexpensive UTG 3X9X40 AO Hunter model.  I got a good deal on it at Amazon over Thanksgiving for about $50, they are normally about $90.  I used high profile UTG airgun rings to mount it.  I have since measured my clearance, and believe there is room to get the scope closer to the barrel by getting the medium profile rings.  I am satisfied with the scope and it is probably fortunate I do not have experience with high dollar optics.

     

    UTG 3x9X40 Hunter Scope with UTG airgun rings (high profile)

    My next job was to fill it with air. To do that I purchased a Hatsan 3 stage hand pump for under $60 from Midway.  From what I can tell it is identical to the Ebay or Amazon chinese hand pumps, but the tube is painted black and it has a Hatsan decal.  It was working OK, I think I have only pumped my gun up maybe 5 times so far, but today I noticed a little air escaping somewhere near the handle when it is at its highest point of the upstroke. I will have to disassemble it and figure out the problem, hopefully it is just an o-ring.  Hatsan warranties it for a year, so that will be my backup plan if I can't fix it.  I have been using some silicon oil (37.5 weight RC shock oil) to lubricate the pump tubes, and I was actually relieved to find that the hand pumping was not as difficult as I had feared, especially since I am considered to be an old guy in certain circles, particularly the establishment circles that give senior discounts!

    In my research on Marauders there seemed to be a distrust for the accuracy of its pressure gauge.  In my case, the air gauge reading on my Marauder matches the gauge reading on the Hatsan hand pump, so I think it is likely accurate.   Either that or both the gun and hand pump are equally inaccurate!   Anyway, my Marauder is holding air fine, I have let it sit for several days with a full tank with zero perceptible change in pressure readings. I have been getting about 40 shots running it down to 2000 from 3000.  The last several shots are hitting the target lower.

     

    Filling the Marauder for the first time from 600 psi to 3000 psi, phew! 

    Marauder and Hatsan Hand Pump gauges agree with each other

    37.5 wt silicone oil I am using on hand pump, about $4.50 at local hobby shop.

     

    Well I have run out of steam tonight, and will try to get my shot grouping pics posted tomorrow. 

     

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    Aimright
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    Back at it this morning to finish up my Marauder spiel!  I have a 20 yard range set up in my backyard along a fence line where I am trying to become more familiar with the gun and find out what pellets work best. I  haven't kept very good track of the number of pellets I have shot, but guessing around 120 to 150.   So far it likes JSB Jumbo Heavy 18.1 and Jumbo RS 13.4 pretty well, and it seems to do pretty good with the cheapy Walmart Crosman 14.3 Premier Hollow Points.  I tried some Gamo "Rockets" with the red BB implanted into the pellet, but they were not great in my gun.   I have seen some recommendations where your barrel needs to have 200+ shots through it to reach its prime accuracy.     I would be interested to know what any of you other Marauder owners think about these groups at 20 yards – poor, average, good, excellent?  I plan to get out and try some longer ~50 yard shots here in the near future.

    Current pellet collection.  Have not tried the Benjamin's yet. Upper right is the Gamo Rockets.

     

    Homemade backstop using Costco plastic crate filled with rubber mulch.

     

    Found that Costco has the best price on rubber mulch

     

    20 yard, 5 shot group JSB Jumbo Heavy 18.1 

     

    20 yard,  5 shot group JSB Jumbo RS 13.4

     

    Left side is 10 shot group Gamo Rockets, Right side is 10 shot group Crosman Premier Hollow Points 14.3

     

    My conclusion on the Marauder is that it is a great air rifle for the money.  I was slightly worried about ordering the 22 caliber since there is still some discussions going around the forums that getting an accurate 22 Maruader is the luck of the draw.  But there are also many discussions that Crosman has upped their game on their new production barrels, so based on my gun I think I will vote for the latter.   Everything seems to work as designed on the gun, and the fit and finish seem fine.  Accuracy seems OK, certainly fine for my use, and  I think it will get better as I practice my shooting technique and hone in on the best pellets.  It is not a real svelte looking rifle, but it is starting to grow on me.  It is a pretty heavy airgun, but I knew that going in. What would I like to see changed on the Marauder?  Probably a less boxy looking wood stock with nicer looking wood grain, an anti double loading magazine mechanism, and an included factory single shot tray.

    Future plans for my Marauder – just shoot and have fun with it and eventually teach some grand kids to safely shoot.  I want to do  some small game hunting, would really like to try my luck airgunning quail this fall, and see how my bird hunting strategies will change over using a shotgun.  The only tweaks I want to try for the moment is to adjust the trigger's second stage to be a little lighter.

    Hope some of you find this useful.  Feel free to comment good or bad – I can take it! 

     

     

     

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    TheGoose
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    Excellent review. Thank you. Good luck with your new rifle.

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    tracker1955
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    Do a youtube search on removing the lawyer spring, I think you will find it helpful in improving trigger pull. You don't actually have to remove it, just bend the L out of it so it doesn't add pressure to the pull weight. Be careful using the screws to adjust the second stage, it's easy to make the rifle unsafe by leaving to little sear holding the hammer allowing it to fire if bumped hard. Enjoy your new Marauder, if you get tired of the weight look into a lightweight air tube from JSAR, it will shed a pound and a half off the weight of the rifle.

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    Aimright
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    TheGoose

    Excellent review. Thank you. Good luck with your new rifle.

     

    Thank you TheGoose

     

    tracker1955

    Do a youtube search on removing the lawyer spring, I think you will find it helpful in improving trigger pull. You don't actually have to remove it, just bend the L out of it so it doesn't add pressure to the pull weight. Be careful using the screws to adjust the second stage, it's easy to make the rifle unsafe by leaving to little sear holding the hammer allowing it to fire if bumped hard. Enjoy your new Marauder, if you get tired of the weight look into a lightweight air tube from JSAR, it will shed a pound and a half off the weight of the rifle.

    I appreciate the info Tracker1955, I did not know the safety concern about adjusting the second stage.  I also did not know about the aftermarket air tubes, I just looked at their site, and see they carry a titanium one too.  Ha, guess I need to start an early Christmas list as I think the Marauder already put me past my Father’s day list!  

    .

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    Neomorphy
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    I found I had to cock it with authority to reduce the odds of a misfire. When it happens anyways, pull the magazine, recock it then fire the pellet that you know is still there. Then reinsert the magazine.

    The premier hollow points might shoot well(in the Marauder) but be aware that they don't expand well and when hunting they are no better than domed pellets. The alloy they are made from is stronger than regular lead pellets. But they are great for target practice.

     

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    Matt50971
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    One thing goof about the marauder is that the after market possibilities are endless. If you do your research it can be very rewarding.  

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    Bigragu
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    Try the H&N Barracuda extreme hunter pellets, the ones with the Phillips head tip. Those things in both my 22 PRod and my 25 synthetic Marauder do really well as far as accuracy, and put to the ground dead on the critters. I just shared a pic to another member of a squirrel from last year, shot thru the jaw right below the eye. His head looked like he had the mumps, as the sides of his jaw area were bulged outward. Those same pellets shoot very well in my barrel cocking rifles, also. Here’s a group of 11 shots on my 25 cal Marauder that I recently re sighted in as I turned up the power. I’ve been having a raccoon problem lately, so I needed more umph to the shot. The first 8 were stacking one on top of another. I guess I got too excited with the last three.

     I generally sight in at 35 to 40 yards, as this is my kill distance on the average for my Marauder rifle and PRod.

    Just so happens Midway has a pretty good sized sale going on right now on all their H&N pellets. Great time to stock up. 

     

     

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    Aimright
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    Bigragu

    Try the H&N Barracuda extreme hunter pellets, the ones with the Phillips head tip. Those things in both my 22 PRod and my 25 synthetic Marauder do really well as far as accuracy, and put to the ground dead on the critters. I just shared a pic to another member of a squirrel from last year, shot thru the jaw right below the eye. His head looked like he had the mumps, as the sides of his jaw area were bulged outward. Those same pellets shoot very well in my barrel cocking rifles, also. Here’s a group of 11 shots on my 25 cal Marauder that I recently re sighted in as I turned up the power. I’ve been having a raccoon problem lately, so I needed more umph to the shot. The first 8 were stacking one on top of another. I guess I got too excited with the last three.

     I generally sight in at 35 to 40 yards, as this is my kill distance on the average for my Marauder rifle and PRod.

    Just so happens Midway has a pretty good sized sale going on right now on all their H&N pellets. Great time to stock up.

     

     

    Thanks Bigragu, looks like pretty good shooting you got going there and like your detailed record-keeping too.  I will have to try some of those Barracuda's.  My new Hatsan chinese hand pump just took a dump so it looks like I am out of the shooting business for awhile until I sort that out.  Tried replacing o-rings but that did not help. Maybe that's what I get for cheaping out on a hand pump.

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    MileHighAirGunner
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    If you’re after quail you might give JSBs new Hades pellets a try. Initial reports on their accuracy and expansion from guys that have gotten their hands on them sound promising. They’re less than half a penny more per pellet than those 18 grain JSBs you’re using. Which to me sounds rather reasonable for a hunting pellet. 

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    Bigragu
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    Oh you did it now! Someone made a comment on awesome aftermarket support for marauders. Please do yourself a favor, and stay away from great places like Jefferson State Air rifles and Hill Airguns, lol. Once you cruise thru all the aftermarket goods they carry, you’ll fall deeper into this rabbit hole of a hobby, grasping for air with nothing to grab onto! And worse yet, you’ll fall victim to becoming a PCP tweaker! 

     

    First things first though, get yourself a chronograph, so you know exactly what pellets are producing for power, along with gun tweaks.

    And  if you do mess with adjusting the factory settings on the gun, take note of the adjustments made, so you can always go back to stock form if need be.

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    Aimright
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    MileHighAirGunner

    If you’re after quail you might give JSBs new Hades pellets a try. Initial reports on their accuracy and expansion from guys that have gotten their hands on them sound promising. They’re less than half a penny more per pellet than those 18 grain JSBs you’re using. Which to me sounds rather reasonable for a hunting pellet. 

    Thanks for the info on the Hades, I hadn’t seen those yet. Just looked at a review and yes they look like a great hunting pellet.  I see Pyramid has them on their site as a pre order item, available next month.

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