Outdoor Empire pick for the best hunting air rifle.
Hunting with airguns is a rapidly growing sport. The guns themselves are now more accurate, more powerful, and more affordable than ever before. The type of game primarily hunted with airguns is small game such as rabbits, squirrels, and prairie dogs. These guns can even be invaluable pest removal devices for mice infested barns!
Today we are talking about an excellent small game killing, pest destroying airgun known as the Benjamin Trail NP XL Magnum.
The Benjamin Trail NP XL looks old school. Its wooden thumbhole stocks make it look dated when sitting across from polymer stocked, rail equipped airguns. However, looks can be deceiving. Benjamin packed a lot of tech into a simple little gun.
Hidden beneath the fine wood of the Trail NP XL Magnum is a thoroughly modern and powerful .22 caliber airgun.
Size and Weight
The Benjamin Trail NP XL Magnum is a full-sized gun that has a total length of 48.25 inches. It may be a little large for youth hunters, but perfect for adults and teenagers. The wood stock does make this gun a hefty 9.7 pounds.
Nonetheless, the thumbhole stock is nice and comfortable in the hand and allows the gun to offer a straight pistol grip. All without losing the classic wooden look and feel! This gives you a bit more leverage over the nearly 10 pounds of airgun.
The NP XL Magnum is a single shot air rifle that uses Benjamin’s Nitro Piston Technology. The manufacturer used this update to replace a steel spring as the source of power. The idea was to reduce the feel of recoil, and the Nitro Piston Technology does so by quite a bit. In fact, the feeling of the double hit and torque caused by the spring is reduced significantly.
To aid in your overall accuracy, the Nitro Piston also gives you a quick locker time. This thing can toss a pellet at 1100 feet per second! With the right .22 pellet, that’s fast enough to easily take small game animals.
Break Barrel Design
The action is a simple break barrel design, but it is quiet. The noise is reduced when breaking the barrel. If you miss, the quiet barrel may allow you to take a second shot before your prey notices you.
The trigger is a controllable, brisk 3.5 pounds. Although the weight is not adjustable, 3.5 pounds is light enough for straight shooters. The gun itself is even perfect for target practice despite being a great small game getter.
Every shot is carrying 30-foot-pounds of downrange muzzle energy. The Benjamin Trail NP XL Magnum a hard-hitting gun that’s not pulling any punches. We like this feature, because as hunters our goal is to be as humane as possible to our chosen game. We want to shoot them so hard they won’t know what hit them.
How it Stacks Up
To give you a better perspective, let’s pit the Benjamin Trail NP XL Magnum against some similarly priced competitors.
|Product|| || ||
|Velocity||1100 FPS||1000 FPS||1050 FPS|
|Weight||9.7 lbs||8 lbs||9 lbs|
|Overall Length||48.25 in||42. 13 in||44.8 in|
|Trigger Weight||3.5 lbs||3.3 lbs||3.3 lbs|
|Cost||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
RWS Pro 34P Compact
This model is almost the polar opposite of the Benjamin Trail. The RWS Pro is chambered for .117 pellets and utilizes a polymer stock instead of the wood stock of the Benjamin. This model is also shorter and lighter than the Benjamin.
In fact, it’s nearly 2 pounds lighter and 6 inches shorter!
The RWS Pro uses an adjustable 2 stage trigger with a pull weight of 3.3 pounds. The trigger itself is slick and extremely nice.
The Pro 34P Compact shoots straight, but doesn’t hit quite as hard as the Benjamin Trail. It fires a smaller pellet at only 1,000 feet per second. The Benjamin Trail is a .22 and hits at 1,100 feet per second.
Both are break barrel guns, but the longer barrel of the Benjamin does make it easier to cock. That being said, neither is difficult to cock or fire. The RWS Pro 34 can be used for hunting, but it’s really more of a target gun compared to the Benjamin Trail.
That makes the RWS Pro good pest control gun, but not for rabbits.
The Ruger Yukon
Yes. Ruger, the famous revolver company, also makes airguns. In reality, they are not the only popular gun manufacturer jumping on this train. Most are joining the airgun market due to growing popularity and profits.
Overall, the Ruger Yukon is similar to the Benjamin Trail. It rocks a wood stock, comes in .22, and features a break barrel design. The Ruger does sport a more traditional rifle stock, but that’s more of a preference issue.
Right off the bat, the Ruger comes in swinging with an adjustable 3.3 pound, 2 stage trigger. Therefore, this gun has the superior trigger.
However, the Yukon comes equipped with iron sights making an optic necessary. Since it is not included with the gun, the optic is just another expense. In terms of speed, the Ruger Yukon comes in at 50 FPS slower than the Benjamin Trail.
Which is better? That’s a hard one. The Ruger has the better trigger, but the Benjamin is the more powerful gun. If we were going hunting we would take the Benjamin Trail NP XL Magnum.
Benjamin Trail’s Overall Rating
This thing shoots a pellet faster than most. In fact, it edges out much of the competition in terms of FPS. It even beats models firing smaller and lighter pellets in its category! The Benjamin Trail NP XL Magnum is a heavy hitting .22 airgun, especially at this price point.
The gun shoots straight and hits hard. It’s difficult to find too much to complain about. The Benjamin Trail XL is a heckuva of an air rifle. However, when stacked against the competition, the trigger is a bit heavier than most.
Ease of Use
The easy cocking break barrel design is impressive, and we found that the entire gun is intuitive and very easy to use. Unfortunately, that beautiful wood stock has a downside.
It increases the weight of the Benjamin Trail by almost 10 pounds. It is certainly heavier than many other airguns out there.
There is not much you can do in the customization department. There are no iron sights to swap out, and no rails for attachments. You can add a sling and an optic, but that’s about it. Sometimes simplicity is perfectly fine just the way it is.
The Benjamin Trail NP XL Magnum is a good-looking, straight shooting, awesome .22 caliber airgun. If you want something for target practice, killing small game, or learning to shoot, this Benjamin is for you.
It is not a perfect rifle, but it is a stellar option. We recommend you take advantage of its hard-hitting power and use the Trail NP XL Magnum for hunting.