Let’s Take A First Look At The Benjamin Gunnar PCP Air Rifle
The Benjamin Gunnar PCP air rifle is the latest introduction from Velocity Outdoors. It’s already in stock and shipping at major airgun dealers in .22 and .25 calibers.
A .22 caliber sample of the Gunner arrived at the HAM offices recently. It’s definitely an interesting product!
Selling for a Street Price of a Grand – well, actually $999.99 – it sound expensive compared to a regulated Marauder at $600. It’s true that Benjamin air rifles are successful selling at close to this price – the popular big bore Bulldog at $860 – for example. But, still, it places the brand into a higher market level, facing-off against quality products from some established high-end brands.
First impressions are definitely positive as the Gunnar is supplied packed in a heavy-duty synthetic carrying case. This case has side and end handles. It also has wheels, being suitable for dragging across solid surfaces like concrete.
That robust case will protect the Gunnar on its’ journey to you. And that’s a not insignificant benefit. It’s also large enough to hold the rifle with a substantial scope mounted on it. That’s not always the case with other cases (groan!) that are bundled with air rifles.
You’ll need to collapse the Gunnar’s multi-length AR-style stock to fit, but that’s no real hardship.
Claimed power levels are competitive. Muzzle Energies of up to 32 Ft/Lbs in .22 caliber and 50 Ft/Lbs in .25 cal are listed for the Gunnar.
The Gunnar has a large, alloy HPA tank that promises a good shot count. The regulator is built-in to the tank assembly, rather than being integral to the receiver. However, the gun has to be de-gassed and the tank assembly removed and disassembled to adjust the regulator setting.
One secret benefit of this is that the “V block” holding the pressure gauge and quick disconnect fill nipple can be re-assembled with the gauge facing the opposite side, should that be more convenient for the user.
There’s a solid, two-piece Aluminum receiver. This provides a substantial housing for the trigger, hammer, valve, safety, bolt and and cocking mechanism. There’s also a front, underside Picatinny rail. We mounted a Leapers TBNR bipod to this.
In front of the trigger, there’s a gauge showing the regulator output pressure. Surprisingly – perhaps – for 2022, the HPA tank fills to a moderate 3,000 PSI. The regulator is set to approximately 1,500 PSI when received from the factory.
That’s the de-gassing screw that you can see in our photograph above, next to the gauge.
Bolt operation is courtesy of a sidelever mechanism. Two magazines are supplied with each gun. The .22 cal mags hold 12 shots. In .25 caliber, it’s 10. They’re somewhat different to the traditional Marauder magazines – as you can see from the photograph below.
The Gunnar magazine is left, a (well-used) Marauder mag is on the right.
The obligatory power-adjustment control is located on the left side of the receiver. This works by varying the size of the transfer port. The power control lever is provided with 5 positions. There’s no hammer spring adjustment capability on the Gunnar.
We used the top Picatinny rail to mount a Hawke Sidewinder 30 SF 4-16 x 50 scope. There’s a clear design benefit here as the magazine does not project above the Picatinny rail. This allows a low scope height to be attained which many shooters will find to be a good thing.
Pistol grip and buttstock are AR-compatible units. The pistol grip is – well – “grippy”. Make that pleasantly grippy.
The buttstock is multi-length adjustable. The cheekpiece is also adjustable: not only for height, but also for position along the stock’s length. This is a pretty high-end buttstock!
Indeed, there’s also a third Picatinny rail on the underside of the stock. This can be used for mounting a monopod for benchrest shooting.
The barrel is fully-shrouded. However a replacement shroud end cap is also supplied with the gun. This can be screwed-into the end of the shroud to allow a moderator to be added, should extra quietness of report be desired. We installed a 0dB unit for our test.
So there’s a lot of positives to be seen in this first look at the Benjamin Gunnar. HAM will be testing it in future, so keep checking-back for our full, comprehensive review!