After some practice and some tinkering, the final results are in, and the word is good.
When I first reviewed this modern single-pump pellet rifle I liked it but did not love it, solely because I was not getting the accurate hits I think are necessary for hunting small game. (Read my first review here). Despite some comments in other reviews about this being a good gun for wild pigs, unless you just really want to bother a pig you should probably get something bigger than the Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston .22 Air Rifle. This should be a good rifle for small game like woodchucks, squirrels and rabbits. My question was, will I get the accuracy I need for hunting those things at a reasonable distance? because with the scope being the only aiming option it is not going to be a good rifle for a quick shot at a moving target.
The manual says that after about a hundred rounds the accuracy does improve, and certainly anyone’s expertise with a rifle will improve with practice. I found the scope to be so accurate that it was beyond my expectations and that took some acclimatization also. In the beginning I was missing a four foot square target at 75 feet, and when I did get results I could actually see it took a lot of experimentation to comprehend just how refined a click actually is on this rifle.
Here’s a look at my last practice run, in the beginning of which I actually thought I probably had this thing set dead on at 45 yards and might have to settle for what I got. I started out shooting at the center target and the cluster of hits was below and to the left, so I started once again with the seemingly endless process of a click to the right and a click up, then judging whether the result was due to my faults or a scope that still needed adjustment. I took a couple of shots at the upper right bullseye and the lower left bullseye to get the final opinion on this, took a last click and then shot five shots at the upper left bullseye, adjusted with another click, and at 45 yards with a slight tailwind, both elbows supported and the rifle in the V of an old chunk of concrete block, five shots hit the bull.
Five shots and five hits within the bullseye, three of them right on and two of them good enough. This is pretty impressive for a pellet gun. I think that speaks pretty well for the Benjamin NP Trail .22 caliber air rifle. If you shoot this at a pesky squirrel and it just laughs at you, you need practice. You missed, and it’s not the fault of the rifle.