Benjamin Maximus Air Rifle Test Review .22 Cal
2 July 2016
Purchased anonymously at retail.
And did we mention the price???
Difficult pellet loading.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Of course, the Benjamin Maximus air rifle is all about the price. It’s the first PCP air rifle to break the sub $200 Street Price. The next nearest PCP is the Discovery – also from Benjamin – at $260. That alone makes it outstanding value for money!
The issue here is that, of course like any PCP, the Maximus also requires a supply of high pressure air.
The Benjamin hand pump is the lowest cost source of suitable pressure, but that pump alone has a Street Price around $180. So the price of the gun is close to the same as that of the pump! If you use a tank to fill your Maximus – a much preferable solution to any hand pump – the HPA filling device will cost MORE than the air rifle itself, possibly by a large amount.
What the Maxiumus shows is that the price of PCP air rifles is steadily falling, but the cost of the equipment to fill them is not. That’s a big opportunity for someone to fill (pun intended) if PCP air rifles are really to take off in a big way in future.
|HAM Test Rating||82%|
|Value For Money||The lowest cost PCP air rifle by far.|
|Best Pellet Tested||H&N Baracuda Match|
|Street Price at Time of Test||$199 + Scope|
Easy to Shoot
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BENJAMIN MAXIMUS AIR RIFLE
SPEED AND ACCURACY
In .22 caliber, the Benjamin Maximus air rifle tested by HAM attained a peak muzzle velocity of 943.77 FPS when firing Gamo Raptor Platinum alloy pellets. The highest muzzle velocity achieved with lead pellets was 875.52 FPS with – no surprise here – 11.9 Grain RWS Hobby pellets.
The muzzle velocities achieved by the Benjamin Maximus led to a surprisingly uniform muzzle energy with the range of standard HAM test pellets. As always with PCP air rifles, heavier pellets tended to give higher muzzle energies. But the Maximus kept muzzle energy between 19 and 22 Ft/Lbs with all our test pellets.
Accuracy was excellent.
As frequently happens, light pellets with a weight of less than 14 Grains shot less well in the Benjamin Maximus air rifle tested by HAM. However the groups recorded by these light pellets were better than we often see on test.
Once pellet weight reached 14.3 Grains and above, accuracy was outstanding. In fact it was difficult to pick a “most accurate” pellet when shot by the test gun. After much analysis, we settled on the heavy 21.14 Grain H&N Baracuda Match pellets as having the best test group. But it was very close!
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 9.7 Grain||943.77 FPS||19.19 Ft/Lbs||Fair.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 10.03 Grain||934.90 FPS||19.47 Ft/Lbs||Fair.|
|RWS Hobby 11.9 Grain||875.52 FPS||20.26 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|Crosman Premier HP 14.3 Grain||827.77 FPS||21.76 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|JSB Jumbo Exact 14.35 Grain||832.38 FPS||22.08 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 14.66 Grain||820.35 FPS||21.91 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 21.14 Grain||705.83 FPS||21.14 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best Tested.|
For our test results shooting the Benjamin Maximus at long range – to 50 yards and beyond, check out this post.
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H&N Barracuda Match pellets, .22 caliber
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H&N Baracuda match Pellets .22 Cal
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
The trigger of the Benjamin Maximus air rifle is the same as that fitted to the Benjamin Discovery.
Many people – including the HAM testers – dislike the plastic trigger blade. And it has to be said that the average trigger pull weight of the test gun was waaaay too heavy for comfort at an average of 5 Lb 13 Oz.
But the single stage trigger was predictable and consistent. And it has to be said that that heavy trigger pull did not seem to harm the accuracy at all!
The manual safety is conveniently located in the trigger guard, just aft of the trigger itself. It’s easy to apply and, being non-automatic, gives the shooter full control over his/her air rifle at all times.
Cocking the bolt action required a hard pull back against the hammer spring to set the trigger sear. The small size of the bolt handle seems to magnify the perceived effort, however.
Pushing the bolt handle forward to chamber a pellet was easy with most pellets. But for some reason not clear to us the Benjamin Maximus air rifle tested by HAM was very tight when loading the Baracuda heavies. That didn’t surprise us too much as these are long pellets.
But we were surprised to find that the Crosman Premier Hollow point pellets also required a very heavy forward push on the bolt handle for it to be locked down in battery.
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
Crosman claims a maximum muzzle velocity with lead pellets of 850 FPS for the Benjamin Maximus air rifle in .22 caliber. The gun tested by HAM handily exceeded that claim and – of course – shot significantly faster with alloy pellets.
Crosman also claims “up to 30 effective shots per fill” for the Maximus.
HAM’s “shot count test” of the Maximus both compared it to the Discovery in .22 caliber and gave an indication of muzzle velocity per shot. As the graph below shows, shot 30 for the Maximus (the green dots), corresponds to a muzzle velocity drop of almost exactly 100 FPS from that of the first shot.
Note that this shot curve was obtained with both air rifles shooting 14.35 Grain JSB Exact Jumbo Express Diabolo pellets.
It’s clear from the shot curve shown above that the .22 caliber Maximus has a significantly different performance to the Discovery. As you can see from the graph, the Benjamin Maximus has a lower maximum muzzle velocity, but a far more usable shot curve. The muzzle velocity does not fall as precipitously as the Benjamin Discovery and this will give much improved practical accuracy when shooting the Maximus over the Discovery.
So can the Maximus give “up to 30 effective shots per fill”? The answer is “yes”, if you accept 100 FPS as a drop in FPS from first to last “effective shot”. That’s a reduction in muzzle energy of 23%.
The HAM team can live with that definition of “effective shots”, although – to be clear – “effective shots” does not mean the same as “shots hitting the same point of impact”. Shot 30 may still be powerful enough at around 16 Ft/Lbs, but it will be hitting at a significantly power point on the target at 30 yards range or beyond.
As we’ve seen above, the Benjamin Maximus air rifle tested by HAM had a more consistent shot string than the Discovery. Of course, it’s not a regulated PCP, so the muzzle velocity still drops as the gun is fired, but that drop is less rapid, and therefore more manageable than that of the Discovery.
Trigger pull weight was very consistent, varying by only a few ounces around it’s – admittedly – heavy average of 5 Lb 13 Oz.
Accuracy was consistent, too. All the standard HAM test pellets of 14.3 Grains and higher shot with consistent, excellent, accuracy. Of course, these mid- and heavy-weight lead pellets will be the choice of most to shoot in the Maximus. But the Benjamin Maximus tested by HAM also shot lighter pellets with tolerable accuracy at short range. So, if you must shoot alloy pellets, the Maximus can do it with less accuracy penalty than with most other PCP air rifles.
The Benjamin Maximus air rifle is not fitted with any form of sound suppression system. And there’s no getting away from it. It’s loud by air rifle standards!
As the test gun was in .22 caliber, muzzle velocity did not exceed the speed of sound (approximately 1100 FPS). But it’s clear that this could possibly occur with the .177 caliber version and the lightest alloy pellets – in this case the Maximus would be as loud as a .22LR firearm.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
The Benjamin Maximus air rifle is fitted with very simple iron sights. These are adjustable and have fiber optic dots, but there’s no click-adjustment of windage or elevation on the rear sight, as you would expect. This is the same rear sight that has always been used on the Discovery, of course.
Obviously Crosman expects the Maximus to be shot with a scope and dovetail rails are machined into the breech to mount these. Indeed, given the demonstrated accuracy of the Benjamin Maximus air rifle tested by HAM, it would be very rash not to fit a scope. Only in this way will the accuracy potential of the rifle be matched by the shooter.
The Benjamin Maximus feels long and light to handle. The total weight of the gun/scope combination tested by HAM was just 6 Lb 5 Oz, which is very light for an air rifle of this power with a typical 3-9 x 40AO scope.
The low, 2,000 PSI fill pressure used by the Maximus makes it (and the Discovery) the easiest PCP out there to fill with a hand pump. This is a big benefit to many shooters who struggle to make a more usual fill of 3,000 PSI (or more) required by most other PCP air rifles.
And the provision of sling swivel studs on the stock allow the hunter to carry it easily using a sling in the field, if required.
The very low (good) RateAGun score of just 4.5 confirms that the Maximus is easy to shoot.
The main downside to shooting the Maximus is the very restricted breech design. Only a very small space is allowed for loading pellets into the breech. So, loading can be tricky, especially at first and using longer pellets. The small bolt handle also makes the cocking effort seem rather heavy. But many people have managed with the same breech design in the Benjamin Discovery and many more will probably manage with the Maximus in future!
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
Although only 2-inches longer than the Discovery, the Benjamin Maximus air rifle looks much longer and very thin.
In the HAM team’s opinion, the design of the black, synthetic stock is pleasing. The long forend provides plenty of options for a comfortable leading-hand grip and there are areas of molded stippling to help hand grip if the weather turns wet.
The stock is well finished, with minimal molding marks and the provision of sling swivel studs is very welcome.
A good cheek weld is easily made – and consistently – with a typical 3-9 X scope coming naturally to the shooters eye. But the unribbed plastic butt plate lets the side down a little. It’s very slippery – a grippy rubber butt pad would be far superior for consistent, accurate shooting.
Metal finish is generally adequate. Obviously this is not a $1,000+ gun, so it’s unrealistic to expect deep, black mirror finish and bluing.
But it has to be said that the Benjamin Maximus tested by HAM has a particularly poorly-finished breech. The surface was dull matt black and it didn’t even cover all the metal area. We’ve seen many other Crosman steel breeches of this type and most are far better finished than this – we would expect that to be the case with the general run of production.
BUYING AND OWNING
The Benjamin Maximus air rifle is already available online from the usual sources, so it’s easy to buy. And it’s to be expected that – at this ground-breaking price point – Crosman will be trying hard to ensure that it’s widely available in big box sporting goods stores also.
The Maximus carries a typical 12-month warranty. Of course, Crosman has an outstanding reputation for parts availability to support their products in the long term. Parts diagrams are available for almost all models, too. The parts diagram for the Maximus is not available for download yet, but it would be most unusual for Crosman not to make this available in some months time.
Crosman also has an easily-accessible, dedicated, knowledgeable Customer Support Team at the Bloomfield, NY headquarters.
And, of course, many owners will shoot their Maximus using the Crosman Premier Hollow Point pellets that are available just about everywhere at retail. As we can see from the test targets, these pellet give excellent accuracy in the Maximus.
In conjunction with the easy-to-pump, 2,000 PSI fill pressure and the standard “Foster” Q/D fill nozzle, all these things make the Benjamin Maximus air rifle a very easy PCP air rifle to buy and own.
As always, the HAM team is pleased to find the air pressure gauge in the underside of the stock and not in the end of the pressure tube. So, it’s not necessary to “look down the barrel” when checking the pressure. This is an excellent safety feature. It’s good to see Crosman did not compromise here in order to get down to the low price for the Maximus.
Downside are few. The open front fiber optic sight is unprotected and an obvious candidate for damage. But replacements are cheap and easy to install – and everyone will be using a scope anyhow…
The Maximus is accompanied by the usual style of Crosman broadsheet Owner’ Manual. This is actually a combined Discovery/Maximus manual and is available in six languages. It’s here that Crosman indicates that the Maximus, unlike the Discovery, has no degassing capability. So, if it’s desired to remove pressure from the air tube of the Maximus, it’s necessary to dry fire the gun until the pressure is gone.
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BENJAMIN MAXIMUS AIR RIFLE
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