Time for the main course.
October 2008. After delaying the unveiling for a couple of days I pull the Benjamin Discovery out of the shipping box. I am impressed by the retail quality of the packaging. The slick graphics and heavy cardboard are striking.
After removing the sarcophagus quality lid I go for the rifle and ignore the pump. The initial observation is of the fit and finish. The stock gave the feel of a Popsicle stick, lacking in both sanding and top coat. The fit is poor at best, gaps are clearly visible and most disturbing is it appears the top of the stock is cut to accommodate the gauge leaving the ability to see daylight around it. Next I clean the barrel and note that the bluing and metal polish is also in the poor category. Sigh. The towel I wipe the barrel with shows signs of rust, this particular rifle shipped directly from Crosman, so that is also a disappointment. The bolt is tiny and toy like and when I remove the plastic end cap the barrel flexes. Nothing evokes quality in the piece.
In contrast, the pump appears a well made heavy duty bit, and I have no negatives to report. More robust feeling than the 4 stage FX pump I have, I would guess it is outsourced?
It is at this point in the process I post my observations on the PA blog with the thoughts I will simply sell the rifle as LNIB. That report has mysteriously disappeared. I then decided the value would not change if I were to use it a little.
Before continuing, I want to justify my visual inspection. The current “rifle only” cost at PA is $250.00 with a suggested retail of $299.00 so I use affordable .22 rimfires or similar priced airguns as my bench mark for quality. My sample falls far short of the expectations in either category. Please understand, I am not comparing it to my Webley Raider that could put many centerfires to shame. We’re not talking Marlins but the affordable Glenfields that I was hoping it would rival. For perspective, my Crosman 1077W was twice as nice in fit and finish and it sold for less than $100.00.
Why is this important? Because this is a rifle for adults that could really influence our hobby. I'm not talking about the airgun enthusiasts that read blogs, with Crosman’s distribution the Discovery could end up in the hands of shooters that never considered airguns before. As is, if resellers leave them in the box it will stand a chance, if they put it in a rack with a price tag it will be hopeless. This was the best chance to convert firearm users in a long time…
Filling the rifle with the hand pump is uneventful. A quick trip to the Chrony shows a max of 26 ft-lbs with a heavy pellet, which is very acceptable. Discharge is loud and not neighbor-friendly. The trigger will need work, but is not totally unusable.
Once I put a scope on it, the Disco finally puts a small smile on my face. It is accurate.
So that’s the meat of it. The Disco is an okay chopped steak, but many will prefer to invest in a better cut, perhaps tender prime rib or juicy T-Bone. One accomplishment of the Discovery was to bring an affordable PCP to market that would cause the competition to lower prices on the sweet stuff. The other is it’s a PCP that Walmart could sell.
Take your pick....