It has been several years, at least, since I've done any hunting or shooting with my Benjamin Marauder Pistol. I originally bought it for a specific use on a ranch I used to hunt in California. There were many areas that were loaded with ground squirrels, but the terrain was steep, and very rugged. Humping a full sized PCP in that country got very old very fast. I found the Marauder Pistol to be the perfect solution. Light, easy to carry in steep rough terrain, accurate, and enough power to take ground squirrels cleanly out to around 60 yards. I hunted with it for several years, and was very happy with the results.
Then, we moved from California to Northern Arizona, and my interest turned to hunting the local prairie dogs. Most of the shots were from 60 to 115 yards, in the wind. I started off hunting them with .22 caliber PCP's like the FX 2000, Air Arms 410SL, and the Marauder rifle. It wasn't long though before I made the jump to .25 caliber PCP's. Now, I mostly hunt them with a Kalibrgun Cricket Carbine, or my .25 caliber Marauder rifle. The Marauder Pistol got stuck in the back of my gun safe and forgotten about.
Then last Fall, I was out in the forest hunting our local ground squirrels, and noticed that for every ground squirrel I saw, I would see 10+ chipmunks. I started thinking about how the Marauder Pistol would make a great rig for hunting the ever plentiful chipmunks. I didn't do anything at the time, but a few weeks ago, I decided to get her set up for some chipmunk safaris later this year, and in the meantime, I'll use it on our local ground squirrel population this Spring.
My scope of choice, this time around, would be the Hawke Panorama EV. It's a 4-12x40, with a glass etched, 1/2 MIL-DOT reticle. I love the glass etched reticles, because the manufacturers can make them extra fine. I like that in my varmint scopes.
At the time I was hunting with the Marauder Pistol in California, I was shooting non-lead tin pellets in it. It was required by the ranch that I was using it on at the time. The use of lead ammunition had been completely banned by ranch management. That was fine, because the pistol shot the tin stuff exceptionally well. I figured that I would just do that again this time, but then I fell into some Crosman Premiers a few weeks ago, and decided to try them.
I had stopped by my friendly neighborhood gunshop, to pick up some different ammo for my Glock 27 carry piece, when I noticed two tins of Crosman Premiers on the "Dump Table". Upon closer examination, both tins were missing some pellets, but were still at least 90% full. For $4 a tin, I took them both.
The first thing that I did with one tin of the pellets, was to run its contents over my Pelletgage, and sort them by head size. They sorted into four different groups starting with 5.51mm, and then 5.52, 5.53, and 5.54mm.
Last Friday, I had a chance to get out into the forest and do a bit of testing with the gun, to see how she would shoot the Premier lead pellets. I think these were the first lead pellets that I have ever shot in this gun. Up until now, it was always non-lead tin pellets.
The day was pretty windy, but I set up my usual test rig, complete with wind flags, target frame set at 30 yards, my zero distance, and gave it a go. I started off with the 5.51mm head size, not expecting much, and I didn't get much. As a matter of fact, I didn't even bother to send the fifth pellet down range. They didn't group well at all, and I knew that sending that fifth pellet down range wasn't going to magically pull the rest of the pellet holes together into a lovely half inch group. I just don't seem to have much luck with pellets that have head sizes under 5.53mm. I pulled the last 5.51mm pellet from the mag, and reloaded it with the 5.52mm pellets.
Below is the first group of the day, using the 5.51mm head size Premiers for starters. The outside diameter of the orange dot is one inch, and the inner circle is half inch. My aim point for all groups was the middle of the diamond in the center.
Watching the flags, and shooting during the lulls, I sent the 5.52mm head size pellets down range. They were a bit better than the 5.51's, but still not what I was hoping for.
The 5.53mm, and 5.54mm head size Premiers are definitely useable. I think I'll refine those two groups of pellets even more by weight sorting them. One of the things that sorting the pellets by head size has done, is, it has pretty much eliminated the "unexplained flyers." You can see that if I had been shooting pellets straight from the tin, the chances of shooting a small group would be slim and none. I could chase my tail all day, and end up concluding that the gun doesn't like Crosman Premier pellets, when in fact it does, it just doesn't like them with head sizes smaller that 5.53mm.
I'll have a lot of shot opportunities on chipmunks, that range from around 20 yards out to 40 to 45 yards, and this rig is ideally suited for that kind of shooting. My focus this summer will again be on the prairie dogs, but when next Fall rolls around, and we're overrun with chipmunks again, I'm set for some fast action rodent shooting with my Marauder Pistol.
Until next time, thanks for reading.