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Crosman has long been in the air gun game. They are so influential in the field of air guns that other companies use one of their inventions to power some air guns, the CO2 powerlet.
But for a lot of people air guns are nothing but toys. Most Crosman branded air pistols and rifles you’ll find are good for plinking and target shooting, but not so good against animals.
That is why they have the Benjamin division. Benjamin started as their own company and produced serious air rifles for adults.
Crosman eventually took them over but they kept the idea behind Benjamin.
Today you can find a large variety of highly capable air rifles under the Benjamin name. One of the most popular is the Benjamin Trail NP2, and for good reason.
- Caliber: .22 or .177
- Capacity: Single-shot
- Velocity: Up to 1100 fps with alloy and 900 fps with lead pellets for the .22, 1400 fps with alloy, and 1150 fps with lead pellets for the .177
- Overall Length: 46.25″
- Barrel Length: 15.75″
- Weight: 8.3 lbs
- Powerplant: Break barrel spring-piston
The “NP2” in the Benjamin Trail’s name refers to the rifle’s powerplant, which they call nitro piston, generation 2.
Most air rifles use the energy from compressing a spring to apply force to the pellet. Crosman took that idea and made it much more technologically advanced.
A nitrogen-filled piston is used instead of a spring. Cocking compresses the nitrogen, and pulling the trigger lets the gas push the piston forward.
Such a piston is lighter, quieter, reverberates less so there is less recoil, and travels faster than a spring. Nitrogen also doesn’t care about being compressed for long periods of time, and handles temperature swings better than a metal spring.
An all around improvement over traditional gas spring air rifles!
The Benjamin Trail NP2 uses the second, even more advanced generation of nitro pistons.
To cock the gun you break the barrel. Load your pellet, close the barrel, and you are ready to shoot.
When you pull the trigger there will be less noise and less recoil compared with the average .22 air gun. Part of this is the nitro piston, the other half is the integrated suppressor.
Speaking of the trigger, it is a two stage clean break trigger. Some of the early NP2s produced had a poor trigger but that problem seems to have been cleaned up.
The safety is manual, so you don’t have to flip it off after cocking the gun if you want to shoot immediately.
Several different stocks are available, wooden, black synthetic, camouflage synthetic, and even snow camo synthetic. All are completely ambidextrous and have a thumbhole and rubber butt pad.
The Benjamin Trail NP2 also comes with a CenterPoint 3-9×32 scope, which is adequate yet replaceable.
If you are looking to use an air rifle for hunting, the Nitro Piston 2 will perform well against small game such as squirrels and rabbits.
This pellet gun is also a good choice to control pests such as raccoons and crows.
What I Liked
This gun is quiet, accurate, ambidextrous, and has a nice trigger.
It is powerful enough for small game.
The powerplant is easy to cock. Nitro pistons require less effort for the same amount of force as a gas spring so extended shooting sessions are easier on the arms than with a lot of other air rifles.
The reduced recoil from the nitrogen is also another big bonus. This is just a more pleasant pellet rifle to shoot than some.
What I Didn’t Like
The manual safety is something I do not like, but only just barely. I like the idea of not having to do anything after cocking to be able to shoot, but automatic safeties are common for a reason. They’re safer!
Somehow, despite having a lighter power plant than equivalent air rifles, the Benjamin Trail NP2 is on the heavier side. Smaller and younger shooters may have difficulties carrying and using this pellet gun.
The manufacturing standards for this air rifle seem to have been rather low for a while after the gun was released. Many early adopters reported shoddy workmanship, poor triggers, and so on.
So buying used may be even more of a gamble than normal.
Power: 4/5. This rifle pretty powerful for a .22 caliber air gun, but there are more powerful options available, such as the NP XL. But for its power level it is easy to cock and use.
Accuracy: 4/5. There are more accurate air rifles out there, and some early Benjamin Trail NP2s suffered from a poor trigger, but overall this is a great target gun. Some other pellet rifles, like the original Trail NP, have it beat.
Value: 5/5. Available between $200 and $300 with several different options, the Benjamin NP2 provides a lot of bang for your buck, is good against targets and small game, and even comes with an alright scope.
Reliability: 5/5. The original batch would have been rated 3/5 because of the reports of hit-or-miss workmanship, but Crosman cleaned up their act and have made a reliable air rifle. The nitro piston helps with the reliability too.
Overall: 4.5/5. The Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 is a pretty gosh darn good air rifle. It is a good blend of value, accuracy, power, and quietness.
The Benjamin Trail NP2 is overall a good choice for both small game hunting and target shooting.
If all you want to kill is paper then go with the .177 caliber version. Those pellets are cheaper and will fly with more velocity so you’ll deal with less of an arc when shooting at target ranges.
But if you want to take aim at pests or small game then you definitely want the .22 caliber air rifle. The extra power will help a lot.
You also have your choice between a wood or synthetic stock. The wood stock is more pleasing to hold and behold, but weighs more and can’t handle bad weather as well as the synthetic stock.
You can also find the synthetic stock in either black or camouflage, so if you’re serious about hunting with this air rifle, you can blend into the woods and stay protected against the elements.
Though in many ways an improvement over previous models, there are some reasons why you may bypass the Benjamin Trail NP2 and choose an older version.
The original Benjamin Trail NP does not have quite as refined powerplant and is often more rough around the edges, but with some work at breaking it in the original is more of a tack driver than is the NP2.
If you want a little more power then you can go for the Benjamin Trail NP XL. The NP XL is known for its power and hits hard enough to take down woodchucks and raccoons more reliably than the NP2.
You’ll have to be a bit more buff to use the NP XL though. It is a lot harder to cock than the NP2.
We also compared the Benjamin Trail NP2 with a large number of other hunting air rifles, which you can check out here!