Benjamin Trail NP XL w/ Centerpoint 3-9×40 AO Scope
Review Product & Supplies
Provided by: www.pyramydair.com
Everyone likes to have the biggest stick on the block. Well Benjamin has certainly created a very big stick with their new Trail NP XL rifle. I’m impressed when a break barrel can push a .22 cal pellet over 800 FPS, but when it can push lead over 900 FPS, that is really something.
Not too long ago Crosman made a very smart, strategic move introducing rifles based on their new “Nitro Piston.” I even had the pleasure of reviewing one of the first NPSS rifles in .22 cal. They have “taken it up a notch” with the Benjamin Trail NP XL by adding a totally new scope mount, built in sling mounts, and a very powerful power plant.
I think the designers must have been sitting around one day and thought “Hey.. I wonder what it would look like if we crossed a Remington NPSS with a Benjamin Super Streak?” The stock of the gun is undeniably similar to the Super Streak. It is an all wood stock with raised cheek pieces on each side making it suitable for right and left handed shooters. It has some nice checkering details on the grip and under the forearm just like the Super Streak. I personally found the stock to be a little thick and a bit heavy for my comfort. The Trail NP XL is unique in that it includes a “from the factory” sling stud at the back and a front sling mount that hangs under the barrel. The rifle comes with a sling and is the only breakbarrel airgun I’ve ever seen that comes with this setup right out of the box.
Benjamin tackles a huge problem in a very practical fashion with their new Trail NP XL. If you have ever shot a magnum springer you know that keeping a scope mounted on the rifle can be a real challenge. I’ve had scope stops fail, stop pins sheer off, and mounts just fall apart. So rather than rely on old systems that are known to be unreliable, Benjamin replaced the standard 11mm dovetail with an integrated, military style, weaver rail. What a difference! Now my mounts attach securely and NEVER move because both are completely locked into place. Why no one else has done this escapes me. (Are you listening RWS?)
Unlike the Super Streak, the Trail NP XL includes a very PRACTICAL 3-9×40 AO, MD scope. This is a “no frills” scope that I’m very happy with. The 16x scope they used on the Super Streak was too much scope in my opinion, and I did not like the quality of the site picture at 16x. The 3-9×40 is a great all around “utility class” scope, and I’m pleased they used it on this rifle. The adjustment knobs are wide open, which may give you an issue if your gun bumps something in the field, but I like having them out there for quick adjustments.
The Benjamin Trail NP XL is not all rainbows and moonbeams however. It had its issues like everything else. Perhaps the most disappointing thing to learn about this rifle is that it was made in China. Now Crosman made the NPSS in the USA and I expected them to have their new flagship breakbarrel follow suit, but nope. This is yet another Chinese import. True to form, my first rifle that I received for testing had a problem and Crosman quickly replaced it. The next rifle did not have the same issue and seemed to work well out of the box.
Some of the issues I found were simply cosmetic. For example, the workmanship on the stock, especially in the thumbhole area looks as if a high school shop class was doing the finish work. This is not a big deal, but again. If this is your “top of the line” product, it should reflect “top of the line” quality. The next issue was not cosmetic, but functional. The trigger is the same old Crosman trigger that was so hard to work with on the Super Streak. Now they’ve changed out the blade, but it is essentially the same trigger. The 2nd stage takes FOREVER to get through making it a real challenge to shoot accurate groups from the bench. As a sporting trigger, i.e. for hunting in the field, I doubt you’d have an issue, but when shooting for maximum accuracy the shortcomings are extremely noticeable.
Where the Trail NP XL really shines however, is with the power it can produce. My first .22 cal airgun was a Beeman GH150. It was supposed to shoot 800 FPS but in reality it only shot 650 FPS. My RWS 34 in .22 also shoots in the 650 to 680 FPS range. To get up to 900 FPS in a regular weight .22 cal pellet is quite the feat, and the Trail NP XL does it with ease. Crosman Premier Hollow Points, a 14.3 grain pellet, averaged 901 FPS all day long out of my test gun which equates to 25.78 FTLBS at the muzzle.
Another high point with the Trail NP XL, is the ultra quite shooting characteristics of the rifle. Two things go into making this happen. First, the Nitro Piston power plant reduces the mechanical noise that accompanies many spring rifles. Secondly, the barrel is fully shrouded. Now what Benjamin has going on in there, I don’t know. What I can tell you is that their claims of being 70% quieter are completely VALID. Other than the sound of the shooting cycle itself, this thing is whisper quite. All of my standard .22 cal springers are much louder than the Trail NP XL and none produce the power it can. (The RWS 350 Mag would give the NP XL a run for its money. That would be a nice comparison)
With regards to the benefits of a Gas Ram over a standard spring, all you’ll need to do is shoot one and you’ll understand. The entire shooting cycle is different with a Gas Ram equipped rifle. It cocks smoother and the actual shooting cycle is completed faster with less recoil. When you put all of this together you should get a smoother shooting, more accurate rifle. This is basically the case with the Trail NP XL, if only Crosman would do something about that horrible trigger. With so much going right, it seems to me that they could spend a few bucks on R&D and solve that problem.
The trigger is what gave me the most headaches during my accuracy tests. In the end I was able to overcome most of the problems and eventually learned how to hold the rifle and deal with the 2nd stage of the trigger. There were a lot of pellets that shoot decently in this rifle. The group below is with 14.3 grain Crosman Hollow Point Premiers at 20 yards. Some more exotic pellets did a little better, but the difference was negligible. Here are the stats on the 14.3 grain CHPP pellets:
High: 904, Low: 897, Average: 901, Difference: 7 (only 7 FPS spread is incredible!)
All in all, the Benjamin Trail NP XL is a worthy rifle that reaches velocities normally reserved for PCP rifles. At $299.99 from PyramydAir.com, you get the whole package; powerful rifle, scope, and even a rifle sling. The rifle takes some time to break in, but once you’ve put about 500 to 1000 pellets through it, you should have a quiet, accurate, and very powerful rifle.