on February 13, 2011
Until now, every one of my reviews has been for items I've purchased at Amazon or an Amazon vendor but in this case I utilized a gift certificate [and cash outlay difference] to purchase this excellent rifle at another internet sporting goods vendor. That said, I purchased the Crosman Benjamin Trail NP [** Nitro Piston] XL 725 .25 caliber air rifle [with scope] for three very distinct reasons: First, the present .25 caliber is the highest caliber one can purchase for an adult airgun and the humane take-down power [the 'first' time around] of the .25 caliber pellet is, IMO and so stated, superior to the other common airgun calibers such as the .177, 20 caliber and in 'some' cases even the robust .22 caliber. Second, I wanted the newer technology "Nitro Piston" firing mechanism which has received very favorable reviews and is extremely quiet as compared to a spring-piston firing mechanism. Third, I wanted the thumb-through stock for greater stability of the weapon. And make no mistake, this rifle is a 'weapon' in every sense of the word where the .25 caliber pellet delivers a force that in 'reasonable' yardage will dispatch the target with one shot and humanely so. This, for me anyway, is an important consideration because I do not use the weapon for 'sport' but rather pest control of proliferating [** I live in a very rural area] property damaging squirrels and gophers. Hence, my primary interest is a close-range "one shot/one kill" where the targeted pest does not suffer and is dropped immediately and ceases to move after being hit.
You may wish to see my review of the Gamo 'Big Cat' .22 caliber rifle and some facts I put out from certain individuals who know little of ballistics and feel that only 'velocity' matters where there are many other factors to consider. Indeed, in some forums I've seen, some folks are wondering and indeed inquiring, "... where are the 1200 and 1500 FPS 'big caliber' air rifles ... " not realizing that the 'higher' you go in an air rifle caliber pellet, the 'lower' becomes the rated FPS [Feet Per Second] ratio of the pellet. On the other hand, while the .22 and the even larger .25 caliber air rifles in fact have lower FPS velocities than the .177 weapons, the knock-down [and 'stay' down] power of the heavier caliber pellet becomes a very important consideration.
This air rifle will decidedly do the job and I would urge readers who are unfamiliar with the Nitro Piston [NP] firing mechanism system to research it and read of its many benefits over 'springers' or spring-piston airgun mechansims. As for the .25 caliber pellet, and you do 'not' delight in seeing targets run away after being hit or dancing around the ground, the .25 pellet [** presently the largest commercial pellet caliber they make] will do the job quickly and humanely. As I say, I am 'not' interested in long yardage 'sport' shooting save for 'paper' or mechanical non-living targets but rather, and for pest control, short range [less than 20 yards] shooting that takes the pest target out with maximum force in terms of a one shot clean kill. The .25 caliber will accomplish this. I also strongly advise that ample time be taken to 'properly' sight-in the included scope.
on April 24, 2012
06/02/12 UPDATE: I'm back, again, with another update. I have finally taken this out into the actual field and I am less impressed than I once was. Outside of my 50' basement, this rifle loses accuracy tremendously. Now, please bear this in mind: I am within the 1000 shot break-in period. Yes, you read that correctly: 1000 shots. The manual says 100, but *everyone* else I've spoken to on airgun forums says it's more like 1000.
If you are willing to put up with a loud, inaccurate, hard-trigger-pull rifle for 1000 shots, then I don't think you will be disappointed. HOWEVER, if you think you'll die before you ever put 1000 pellets through this, then don't bother buying it. That being said, after 1000 shots, the rifle supposedly turns into a different weapon. The piston settles, accuracy greatly improves, it quiets down and the trigger eases up.
I don't plan on selling it (it is a GORGEOUS rifle), but 1000 shots? Really? This break-in cycle should be handled or half-handled at the factory.
Also, it's not a field rifle. It's too heavy and you risk scuffing the wood stock. IMHO, this is a functional showpiece.
Oh, yeah. I've run this through my chrony, finally. Box says 725fps. That must be with the lightest ammo in the world (which is not good for the piston). In actuality, I am getting anywhere from 550 fps to 650 fps with pellets of varying weight. However, when you do the math on each shot, I am getting a very consistent 19-21 ft/lb energy, no matter what I shoot.
5/14/12 UPDATE: I shoot this in my basement as that's my range since I live in the city. Imagine my surprise when I fired this in fairly low light and saw a beautiful flash of flame eject out the barrel. I knew "dieseling" exists, but had no idea how prominent it could be.
Anyhow, I wanted to test the weapon with some actual meat. As stated in the full review, I'm not a hunter, but I will gladly and hypocritically run to the store, buy some meat and shoot at it. Which is exactly what I did.
As the photos above show, this easily blew right through one piece of chicken b-word (Amazon won't allow the b-word and I don't mean female dog).
I then placed three pieces of chicken in a row. The .25 Nitro blew through all three (at once, not side by side). The exit wound on the third piece was pretty small and thought I would be recovering the pellet from the chicken, but I ended up pushing my finger straight through. Exit wounds on pieces 1 and 2 were paramount. Similar to what you see in ballistic gel, this was a cigar-shaped pattern. Anyhow, that was three pieces of chicken, totaling 3-4" thick. That's as thick as your arm or ankle or two hands pressed together. This rifle will easily take down large game with carefully placed shots. And will blow apart smaller game. Be careful with it.
After having the gun for a while, if I had to choose only one weapon to own, it would be this one (EDIT: This is no longer true. I have a couple CO2 rifles I would immediately choose over this).
I don't even know where to begin. This is, by far, the most "adult" adult air rifle I've ever encountered. And I own several. This is my first .25, but even the .177 and .22 variants of the Trail NP have to be this...mature.
First off, this rifle is massive. My Remington Summit .177 was the largest air rifle I owned until this came in the mail today. If you're after the beef, then this will deliver. I see no way, without careful supervision, anyone under 16 could handle this, let alone cock it.
The rifle is flat out beautiful and belongs mounted over the fireplace. It's intimidating and deadly...and that's just looking at it. The finish is nearly perfect and the sightless barrel is clean and striking. Mount that gigantic scope and you're ready for your NRA life-member photo.
Power! This thing has it. I have much more testing to do, but this is the most powerful air rifle I own, by far. I'm not a hunter, but I reckon this would blow a squirrel's mid-section apart, chunk out a rabbit, vaporize a bird and put down a ground hog with ease. I also honestly think it would kill a deer with a well-placed close-range head or heart shot.
The scope is beautiful and with the parallax adjustment, clearly made for air rifles.
Breaking the barrel open is slightly counter-intuitive. Per the manual, you apply a literal and moderate slap to the top of the barrel and it easily loosens from the breech. This is the first break barrel I've had like this and it took a second to figure it out. I really, really should have read the manual first. It actually works well, just not what you'd expect.
Cocking the rifle will accomplish two things. 1) It will quickly wear you out without proper form and 2) will build up some muscles and fast. If you try to use just your arms and are NOT a body-builder, you're going to pull something. You seriously need to put your torso into this. It is easily the hardest-cocking rifle I own (EDIT: Either the spring has settled down or I've mastered cocking it. It is nowhere near as hard as it used to be. As long as your hand is all the way to the muzzle, you'll gain enough leverage to easily cock it).
I'm your typical adult male and I find the grip to be a bit too long. The thumbhole-to-trigger distance is just a bit too long for my hand.
The front sling mount (that goofy T-shaped thing at the breech) is obtrusive, ugly and in the way. The only way it's coming out, as far as I can tell, is to either cut it off with a saw or drive out the pressed fitting, remove it and reinstall the pressed fitting. If you're going to use the sling, it's a non-issue, but I won't be using the sling, so it's in the way.
The manual states accuracy will improve and loudness will disperse after ~100 rounds. Good, because my shots are slightly off and it's pretty darn loud, at the moment. A .22LR rifle is quieter than this during the break-in period (EDIT: As stated, it's more like 1000).
It was either this or the .25 Marauder. The Marauder is 200-300 fps more powerful, but I went with this for two reasons: 1) It's about half the cost and 2) does not have any of the fiddling around that PCP demands. No extra pumps or tanks needed with this baby. Of course, like anything, it's a trade-off. I will own a Marauder some day, but am 110% happy with the Trail NP and regret nothing.
I highly recommend the Trail NP if you're seeking an air rifle in this price range. It is a quality product by a USA company and, I believe, all their Benjamin variants are actually Made In USA. Speaking of, their Benjamin line is of questionable quality sometimes (EB22 anyone...), but the Trail NP is good to go.
on September 26, 2011
Purchased the .177 caliber a month ago. Really like the CenterPoint scope. Here are some issues I overcame.
Issue 1: At first gun was very loud.
A. I researched issues on internet that folks were experiencing with the gun and discovered that majority of people found the gun quieted down after 100+ shots. I found this to be true as well.
B. Turns out the major problem with the loudness was that the alloy pellets are faster than the sound barrier. This causes the gun to sound almost as loud as a .22 caliber rifle. However, lead pellets are slower and do not break the sound barrier, thus very quiet.
C. Now I believe the advertised 70% quieter than other Nitro Piston rifles. I get a simple thump of the piston when I shoot. Sort of a "Chunka" sound. But not very loud.
Issue 2: Shots strayed all over the place.
A. Others on the internet also experienced shots straying but found that if they used heavier pellets shot placement dramatically improved.
B. The alloy pellets are incredibly fast...but stray too much.
C. I experimented with various pellet types and discovered to my great pleasure that lead pellets improved the accuracy.
D. Pellets with ticks on the tail portion improved accuracy the best. I believe this is probably due to the ticks catching the rifling in the barrel and improving accuracy.
E. I am now shooting dime sized groups at 50 feet.
Issue 3: Long trigger pull.
A. This gun has a 2-stage trigger with a really long pull.
B. However, the pull is very smooth and the 2-stage break is barely noticeable.
C. The trigger weight is not uncomfortable
D. The manufacturer says the triggeer can be adjusted but does not recommend it.
E. I just learned how to deal with the long trigger pull. It's not that big an issue now.
Issue 4: Gun is heavy, 9.15 lbs, affecting accuracy.
A. The weight of the gun makes it uncomfortable to shoot in a freestanding position.
B. I found that modifying my technique helped a lot. Pushed out my hold on the forearm rest. Pressed the gun into my shoulder a little harder.
Results: Overall I am very satisfied with the gun. Can't wait to hunt with it.
on December 31, 2011
I just ordered this rifle, I paid $251.00 shipped using a $25 couponcode that I found online. I got it from Midway and used the coupon. Oh, the couponcode I used was "SAVE25". I am moving up from a .22 cal Benjaman Titan GP, which can get the job done. But it doesn't take the game out like the .25 cal can from what I hear. More to come when it get's here.
Well I have the rifle and I have installed a bipod rail underneath, a nice after market scope and turret dial for ranging, and it's all housed in a Plano hard case.
THIS THING SHOOTS HARD AND ACCURATE!!!!!. I have been able to shot 4 JSB .25 cals in almost the same hole or about the size of a pinky finger tip sized hole at about 30 yards. It's harder to cock than my now sold Titan GP, but this thing will shot through a 1/2 board that I use to stop my pellets. The jury is still out on my live animal shooting skills, but I recently only wounding my latest animal, so I will continue practicing.
This thing with all my bells and whistles is heavy at almost 10lbs. This is not a child's gun, and i would not recommend it for anyone under 17, as it takes a good amount of effort to cock and hold it still to shoot. I believe that this rifle can, and will get the job done, but you will still need to hit the vitals to keep your prey from running off.
BTW. it shots well with other .25 cal pellets, but may need to be dialed in to be accurate.
GREAT RIFLE and I totally recommend!!!!
To be continued...
on April 10, 2012
What an awesome gun!! After 100 or so shots, finaly got the bifocals to pair with the scope! Now I'm able to hold a pattern at 50 yards less than 2 inch in diameter. Got the gun for cheap plunking with the option of pest removal. Seems the pests have heeded the warning shots.( which sound like 22 short rounds)
Couple things I found out;
1) This gun works best with heavier pellets. Was using cheap, lightweight pellets. Seemed to fly all over. Hit a 12 inch target at 50 yards but no consistancy. Bought the 7.4 grain and 10.5 grain pellets and improved dramatically. Sighted with the 7.4 hunting pellets at 50 yards. The 10.5 pellets are quieter (don't break sound barrier)and tend to drop slightly at same distance, but still stay on an 8 inch target.(Always setting crosshairs on the bullseye using a rest)
What really impressed me...at 60 yards, this will sink the 10.5 pellets over 1/2 inch into a 2x6 pine board!!!
Another thing I found out( and must admit, not proud of...)This gun takes some a$$ to cock. At 49, I over-did things a bit. Found long, lost muscles I never knew I had. Laid me up for a while. This gun commands respect!! Certainly NOT like the old Daisy dad had!!
on April 7, 2014
I'm not a big gun person, but my husband asked for an air rifle for his birthday and I told him to tell me exactly which one he wanted. He looked carefully for several weeks before settling on this one, which I ordered for him. He works on a firing range, and after putting together the scope, etc., took the rifle to the range and he and his buddies tried it out. He told me it shoots very accurately and is very high powered for an air rifle, the best one he or his friends have ever used. So based on his happiness I am rating this five stars! A happy husband = a happy wife, ha ha ha.
Even though I don't like having to do it, the only way to rid ourselves of the groundhogs that have invaded our property and dug underneath our home is to shoot them. They refuse to enter humane traps we've set, they aren't deterred by fox urine (this the first time I've ever used the word "urine" in a review). In other words, they're too smart for their own good.
I chose this particular rifle because it can propel a large pellet with enough energy to humanely kill vermin. I have a couple of Crosman and Benjamin pellet rifles and a RWS 45 in .177 as well as a variety of rimfire and centerfire rifles and whatnot, but it's illegal to discharge those within our part of the county. There is a specific exclusion for air rifles though. Even if firearms were allowed, I'd prefer to use an air rifle since I don't want to freak out the neighbors.
The Benjamin Trail NP XL 725 is a fairly well made rifle overall. It has a hardwood stock of unknown origin and rolled on checkering. It's attractive enough and is fairly comfortable to hold. Cocking the rifle requires a bit of strength and is a bit harder than the RWS, but isn't unreasonably hard to do and acts as an additional safety feature to keep kids from messing with it (yes, I keep ALL my guns in a safe).
The trigger isn't especially good, but it's also not 'bad' per se. It's not as smooth as my match or varmint rifles, but it's good enough to get the job done. Since I had read negative comments about the scope, I had concerns about its quality, but have seen nothing that bothers me. It's a very basic unit, but does the job and has held zero quite well over the 200 - 300 rounds I've put through the rifle.
The most impressive thing about the rifle is the amount of power it delivers downrange. I examined a couple of the pellets after they hit a hard target and they not only left a gouge in concrete, the pellets flattened out entirely and obviously had a lot of power left when they arrived at the target. Another impressive thing is how quiet this is in comparison to my RWS 45 which is spring powered. Since there's no spring and pellet is subsonic, it's perhaps 1/3 as loud but delivers significantly more power overall.
I won't go into details about my use of the rifle to solve the groundhog problem, but it worked very well and did the job accurately and humanely.
I recommend this for folks who want to hunt small game at short-ish ranges (less than 50 yards) and plink.
on February 24, 2015
Just got this. 25 delivered today. Sighting it in was a breeze. As to power it delivers a much stronger punch than my. 22 version of the gun. The rifle is fairly quiet. Before testing it out I made sure to give it a good cleaning. Trigger is crisp. Not sure about what others are griping about on second stage. Mine works great. The pellets i prefer to use in my rifles are Beeman crow magnum Hollow point. Nice clean trajectory and the rifle loves them.
on February 19, 2013
UPDATE: Jan 2016
I'm still using this rifle, and still very happy with it. Bumped my rating a star simply due to the fact the rifle still is very powerful, quite effective, and continuing to do its job of allowing me to truly benefit from the fruits of my labors (that is, now *I* am getting the no longer partially eaten fruit off my trees). Continue to highly recommend this rifle.
I've had some 0.177 rifles and a target pistol that I've been using for a while, but this is my first 0.25 caliber rifle, and all I can say is wow.
I'll admit to doing my best to eliminate my yard of 'vermin'. Squirrels may look pretty cute running around in my suburban neighborhood, but after watching them 'sample' each and every peach on 3 trees as well as stripping the bark off my apple tree (and ultimately leading to it getting a fungus that killed it), I've lost my joy at seeing them in my yard and have been 'plinking' at them with my 0.177s. When they get hit, they jump and run, but it doesn't seem to deter them, and the possums just flinched and snarled.
Oh, and for those who stress and are overly concerned about members of the rat family being unfairly abused...just assume I only shoot at targets, only paper is abused, and you can stop reading now.
for the rest of us....moving on
This rifle is a LOT harder to cock than my 0.177's, so keep that in mind when you use it. It does take some upper body strength, but nothing too excessive, I think. The first few times it is stiffer, of course, but it loosens up. Considering the sheer amount of power, I'm really surprised it's not louder. Yes, it's got some report, but nothing to make my neighbors on the other side of the fence poke their heads over to check what's going on.
For sheer power, I'm pretty impressed. Just for fun, I shot it into the sidewall of a loose/worn tire about 25' away, and the pellet embedded half way into the rubber. I'd need pliers to remove it. As for our fuzzy friends the squirrels...well, I can say that they never even knew what hit them. They didn't even have time to react, and my next year's peach crop looks like it'll be much safer.
For accuracy, power and lack of attention-drawing-noise, I highly recommend this rifle.
on July 17, 2013
took a 35lb yote with this rifle in .25 cal 33.9 grain jsbs