Crosman Corporation surprised the air gun world this year with the introduction of an American-made PCP air gun that is priced so competitively that any fence sitters who are even thinking of plunging into the PCP game are now without an excuse. Crosman has strategically priced the Benjamin Discovery at just under $400, a price that includes the hand pump needed to fill the Discovery with high-pressure air. It is this inclusion of the pump that really seals the deal for many shooters, because getting a tank and necessary adapters for your gun can cost as much if not more than the gun itself. That added cost just to get up and shooting has kept many shooters from entering the pre-charged pneumatic side of air gun shooting.
I was fortunate enough to be able to secure one of Crosman’s prototype Discoveries. My first impression upon picking it up was that is was much lighter than I would have thought at first, especially with a hardwood stock. I have another similar style gun, a QB-78 PCP conversion, and it is significantly heavier that the Discovery, which weighs just over 5 lbs. As a hunter, I appreciate air guns that are carry-friendly, ones that I can pick up and hunt with all day long without fatigue setting in. The light weight of the Discovery lends itself very well to this aspect of shooting, and its length of 39 inches makes for a handy little package.
The weather has been abysmal in my part of the country, and it took me a couple of weeks to get a nice enough day, coupled with an afternoon off, in which to shoot and enjoy this air gun. Since the Benjamin Discovery is a Crosman product, I elected to start out with 7.9 grain Crosman Premier pellet. From a recommended fill of 2000 psi, I shot a 20-shot string that began at 899 fps and peaked at 916 fps, with an ending velocity of 749 fps. Here is the shot string:
This comes out to about 842 fps as an average over the string of shots, factoring in the two error reading on shots 7 and 8. The average foot pound of energy was 12.4, and adequate number for smallgame hunting. In fact, I was able to get out with the Discovery for a brief squirrel hunt, and at 30 yards, had no problem taking these two squirrels you see here. One shot each and both of them were on the ground.
I was curious to see if I couldn’t get a better shot curve with a different fill pressure, so I upped the air reservoir to 2300 and shot another 20-shot string. The shot count started off at 870 this time, and peaked at 955, with a final low velocity of 838 fps. This brings the velocity spread down about 50 fps from the first string, and based on the previous shot string, there were approximately 10 more shots to be had from this higher fill pressure that would still match the ending pressure and velocity of the first shot string. So 30+ useful shots is a reality when 300 more psi is added to the gun. Since this is a prototype gun, I did not exceed 2300 psi for this test, though I’m sure the gun has a built-in safety factor in the strength of the reservoir.
After testing the Crosman Premier 7.9 pellets, I ran a string of RWS Superdomes that weigh 8.3 grains. Even with the .4 grain heavier weight, the thin skirt of the Superdomes, which I believe expand better than thicker-waisted pellets, allowed the velocity to increase 90 fps in comparison to the shot string that I gained from the Premiers. And the accuracy was on par with the Premiers as well. With that added velocity, the Superdomes upped the power to nearly 16 fpe. Both of these pellets are excellent choices for the avid hunter. I would have kept on testing the velocity figures, but my chrony up and decided it didn’t like me anymore in the waning daylight and started giving me too many errors, so I stopped the shot string.
The accuracy of the Crosman Premiers and the RWS Superdomes were on par with each other. I did a quick and dirty accuracy test, shooting from a table, but without a firm rest, at approximately 20 yards. Sub-1″ groups were the rule, and I took a quick pic of each one.
Now remember, this was quick and dirty shooting, not true accuracy testing. Before I went hunting, I picked out some left over walnuts hanging in the trees and sent them tumbling to earth. Confident in the gun’s ability to hit the killzone on a squirrel, I had no problem bagging the two squirrels you see.
As you can see from the accompanying pictures, the Discovery is a sleek gun, with trim lines that are pleasing to the eye.
The production model will have a different front and rear sight than the one I received on this prototype.
It is also easy to see the Crosman 2260 CO2 gun in its ancestry, and the trigger design comes from that setup. Though the trigger is plastic, it is quite suitable for a field gun. When hunting, I don’t want a trigger that is too light as I might accidentally fire the gun while pushing through the brush, or knocking it against a tree. And the two squirrels I bagged with it would not have died any more efficiently with a better trigger, either.
As mentioned before, this gun comes with its own pump included in the suggested retail price. After firing 30+ shots plinking, I hooked it up to the pump, and after 60 pumps was back up to the recommended fill pressure of 2000 psi. It didn’t take but a few moments, and the pumping effort was very manageable. The pump is easy to assemble and requires nothing more than a screwdriver. Everything else is in place and ready to go. It also has the added advantage of being capable of filling your higher pressure PCP’s that require 3000 psi or more, since this pump goes all the way up to 3500 psi.
One of the neater aspects of this new gun is that it has a duel-fuel capacity, running on air or CO2. With the correct coupling, CO2 can be used as the fuel, giving lower velocities, but an enormous amount of shots off the bulk fill. This ability will allow for very economical shooting inside for target practice, and for hunting purposes or cold-weather shooting, you can switch to air. There aren’t a lot of air guns out there today that have this ability, and Crosman has wisely made this a key feature of their new gun.
This is a gun that I am going to add to my personal collection and keep. It is worthy of being in your collection as well, and the cost is so economical that you almost can’t pass it up. Based on my impression of this prototype that I’ve had for a few weeks now, the factory production gun, due to ship any day now, is sure to please.