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HAM Exclusive! Could This Be The New Benjamin Marauder?

At this weekend’s Finger Lakes Field Target Grand Prix, Velocity Outdoors Chief Designer John Salpietro was seen shooting an unusual air rifle. Could this be a prototype of the new Benjamin Marauder?

This regulated PCP air rifle was being used to compete in the FLFT competition. It can certainly shoot!

HAM Exclusive! Is This The New Benjamin Marauder?

Compared to the current Marauder, this mystery rifle had a side lever action. Judging from the cover plate on the other side of the breech (why did I not photograph that?), the side lever could be changeable to left-handed operation by the user, if required.

John did confirm that the gun was assembled from a combination of Marauder, Challenger and “other” (prototype?) parts.

At least in this gun, the barrel extends back out into the magazine well area. This is the same concept as in the classic Crosman 160 from 1955. It allows a pellet to be single-loaded by simply rolling into the barrel extension. That’s perfect for trouble-free loading!

HAM Exclusive! Is This The New Benjamin Marauder?

The trigger blade is of the post type – similar to that of the forthcoming Challenger 2021. It’s combined with a safety from a current Marauder – that looks as if it could be replaced with a new design for ease-of-use.

The attractive, Turkish Walnut stock is the same as has been fitted to recent production Marauders. In fact, several other Velocity Outdoors employees competing at the shoot had this stock on their Marauders. This is a great improvement compared to the wood stock used on Marauder air rifles until recently.

HAM Exclusive! Could This Be The New Benjamin Marauder?

That handwritten marking on the side of the breech looks like it says “11,000+ shots”, indicating that it’s certainly seen some test-firing.

So, could this be a prototype of the new Benjamin Marauder? It’s certainly possible. A sidelever action would be a great upgrade for the current bolt-action model, that’s been in production unchanged since 2013 yet still sells well.

Of course, the very similar “Generation One” Marauder dates back as far as 2010.

Given the rate of PCP airgun development in the past few years, that’s a lifetime!

HAM Exclusive! Could This Be The New Benjamin Marauder?

Added to that, another Velocity Outdoor employee – Shawn Pragel – was seen shooting his “bottle Marauder” at the same match (below). Although we’ve seen Shawn’s gun – or a previous version of it – back in 2019 and it’s bolt action, it does make you wonder…

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