The Crosman
Benjamin Discovery
Pre-charged Pnuematic Air Rifle
Jim Chapman
I was on my way home from a morning deer hunt when my cell phone
rang, it was the project manager responsible for a new rifle being
manufactured by the American airgun giant Crosman. She told me
that my name had been brought up as a possible candidate to try out
an innovative new airgun design Crosman was working on.  She
stated that they anticipated this product would have a major impact
on airgun hunting in this country, and wondered if I might like to get a
pre-production gun for testing. Well of course I was interested in
learning more. about this pneumatic (PCP) design based on the
company’s long established 2260 CO2 rifle. I have a couple of
these rifles in my collection, and have done a fair amount of
customization modifying the valves and triggers for use as a platform
to build my own pcp’s. Therefore, the idea of Crosman basing
their new PCP on the venerable 2260 design resonated with me, as
the core technology is well proven. And while the gun leveraged the
established 2260 technology, optimizing it to run on high pressure air
was not just a matter of slapping a high pressure air reservoir on in
place of the CO2 reservoir. A redesign of the valve, the development
of the valve anchoring and installation, and a new filling port were
required as well.

Nor was the intent simply to build another PCP. While this type of
airgun is not widely known in North America, in much of the world it
is the airgun technology used by the greatest number of hunters. To
meet the demands of American hunters the rifle needed to be
positioned at the right price point, British airgunners routinely pay
more than $1000.00 for their pcps, and perhaps hundreds more on
filling gear. But unlike much of the world, American shooters have
access to low cost firearms, making the high price or European
airguns less attractive to many shooters here.

To gain acceptance in our market, Crosman also needed to deliver a
power source that could be independent of expensive filling gear,
such as compressors and high pressure air tanks. Hand pumps, which
resemble nothing more than a bicycle tire pump on steroids, have
been around for years and offer an attractive alternative. But if you
have a gun that needs to be charged up to 3000 psi, you may have to
apply a couple hundred pumping strokes to fill the onboard reservoir.
So if the gun could be designed to work at a lower pressure but still
deliver the power and shot capacity, a hand pump could be used with
much less effort and free the shooter from dependency on a

And from these requirements, the Benjamin Discovery was
developed. The first serious airgun for many of us was the Benjamin
multi-pump air rifle, and Benjamin has always been synonymous with
high production quality. When Crosman acquired this company many
years ago, they (wisely in my opinion) decided to retain the Benjamin
name as their premium brand. The Benjamin Discovery is a gun that
delivers on the requirements set forth; it is based on a known
technology, it is designed to yield high velocities at a relatively low fill
pressure, and the price point for a package consisting of the rifle and
the pump is well below what is typically paid for the gun alone. It has
also been designed to implement a feature called Dual Fuel TM
technology, which permits the gun to operate on compressed air for
field work or with CO2 for plinking and target practice when lower
velocities are desired.

To set up and get a feel for the rifle I started off on the bench. This is
my normal procedure to see what pellets perform best, as airguns can
be quite finicky about which projectiles yield the best all around
performance. After assessing how the gun grouped and what
velocities were achieved using a variety of different pellets, I headed
out squirrel, rabbit, and pest hunting. But before we get to the hunting,
let’s take a look at the gun and how it performed.

Overall Impression
The Discovery is a compact rifle that weighs 5 lb 2 oz, and is 40
inches overall with a 23.6 inch barrel. The first thing that struck me
when I unpacked the shipping crate was that while the gun bears a
strong resemblance to the standard 2260, there were also some
striking differences.

The stock on my test gun is a nicely figured hardwood that has a
more finely shaped pistol grip than the standard 2260. The depth and
width of the forestock is a bit more substantial as well, which is
needed to house the onboard pressure gauge that is situated a few
inches in front of the trigger guard. The stock is finished with a
buttplate made of high impact plastic, that work well enough as there
is really no recoil to speak of. When personalizing this gun to make it
my own, I replaced this component with a ventilated rubber buttpad
to suit my own taste.

The trigger has a fairly heavy pull and is not adjustable, with a blade
that is wide and has a good tactile feel.  The safety is a transfer bar
type that is situated in front of the trigger. The trigger guard is large
and easily accommodates a gloved finger, which is important when
this Californian native hunts winter squirrels in my current Midwestern
home.  This is the same trigger component found on the 2260, and
the whole assembly is one piece and fabricated in high impact plastic.
Admittedly this is not my favorite material on a gun, but the primary
factor is how well it works, and well look at this later in performance

Another major change with this gun is the high pressure air reservoir
for onboard storage of compressed air. The Discovery stores air in a
reservoir made of carbon steel DOM tubing, with a filling capacity of
135 cc (8.3 cubic inch). The reservoir tube is capped with a male
Foster quick release connector that permits easy filling of the gun, I
much prefer this set up over the filling probes used in many pcp
designs. Though the recommended fill pressure is 2000 psi, the tube
and valve assemblies have been hydrostatic tested to 11000 psi (the
tube alone to 15000 psi). Speaking of the valve, it is a new design
based on existing technology.  Additional sealing o-rings have been
implemented and spring rates changed to work with not only higher
air pressures but also work with CO2 pressures. The new valve is
anchored in place with three screws rather than the single anchor
point used with the 2260.
Five shot groups (left) usiing several
pellets styles and weights. the gun is very
tolerant and digest a number of pellets
with good results

In an upcoming series of articles I will
share the results from my bench test and
hunting trips.

12 shots at thirty five yards sitting (right
upper) braced with shooting sticks.,
Would have been a dead bunny

37 shots from a single fill (lower right).
That's a high shot count and good
consistency from a 2000 psi fill!
The Crosman Discovery with the QB 78 PCP conversion for comparison. Both nice guns, but the compact Discovery gets
my vote for an all around small game gun. Though it generates less power, it has a much higher shot capacity, less shot to
shot variance, and is much quieter..
Well made and well ballanced gun, this is the
lightest full sized PCP I've ever shot. The
gun is available in .177 and .22 calibers, and
can be purchased as a package with gun and
hand pump, or rifle alone.
The male foster fitting provides a simple filling
mechanism, that is covered by a cap
The bolt is directly from the 2260 platfor, not the
most elegeant but  very serviceable.
The trigger is also pure 2260, I think the modders are
going to like playing with this one
This is a very easy gun to cock and load. I like a
hunting rifle that requires very little motion or effort.
Last thing you want in deep cammo is flailing  hands
Based on a couple of months of intensive
use, I believe the Benji Discovery to be an
excellent option for small game such as
rabbit and squirrel. It is light and compact,
easy to cock and load, it is accurate and
powerful, and with the high shot capacity a
single charge will keep you in the field for a
full day of small game hunting. I took both
rabbits and squirrels out to fifty yards, and
consistently achieved one shot kills.

The other part of this hunting rig I really
liked was the Centerpoint scope with
illuminated reticle. I found that the excellent
light transmission combined with the glowing
crosshairs were an asset in the low ambient
light conditions encountered during early
dawn and evening hunts.
So if I turn a critical eye on the gun? As mentioned the plastic trigger is not my favorite aspect of the gun, but it is function
that matters. The trigger provides a good tactile feedback with minimal creep and the trigger breaks crisply. I personally am
happy with this trigger, it is not target quality but provides a good solid performance for a hunting rifle. I believe this will
probably be the opinion of most shooters, but there are those that will want to tweak and tune it. The trigger as specified is
non-adjustable, but there are a lot of online resources that will teach the aspiring gunsmith to smooth out the action, though
you’ll void the warranty doing so. I think that this is an area where we’ll see third party suppliers offering
aftermarket parts; perhaps even the Crosman Custom shop will pick up on it.

I’ve put several hundreds of pellets through the Discovery to date, and it is robust and reliable. The gun carries and
comes to the shoulder well, and will fit most shooters, though if you have long arms it wouldn’t hurt to replace the
buttpad. It has a very ergonomic cocking action that is really quite nice in a hunting rifle. Easy to cock and load without a lot
of motion. The Benjamin Discovery will be an important gun for the domestic market; offering very good performance in a
price effective package. Put this in perspective; you will get a gun capable of generating over 17 fpe and placing a .22 pellet
in a quarter inch group at 35 yards, with a quality hand pump, that also runs on bulk fill CO2 (optional adaptor required) for
under $400.00 …… alright, just under at $399.00! This will open the world of PCP airguns to a whole new audience,
which will only benefit the sport as a whole. I really think Crosman got it right with the Benjamin Discovery.
I’ll write up a more detailed article
on the ballistic testing later. I’ve shot
several different pellets in my basement
range. The pellet that produced the
highest average velocity was the Beeman
Laser. The upper right panel shows the
average velocities for several widely
available pellets as well as a couple
experimental ones. The lower right panel
shows a 45 shot string using JSB Exacts,
the gun hits a sweet spot after a few
shots and with the exception of a couple
random jumps in velocity is pretty
consistent. All of these shots would have
enough power to reliably take small
game. Each pellet had a sweet spot that
was reached when the optimal pressure
level was reached. I lifted 20 shot strings
from longer shot strings with four
different types of pellets to observe the
shot to shot variance in the optimal range
(left). I have a mountain of data to work
through, but this is representative of my
results and gives a preliminary look at the
gun’s performance.
Taking the Discovery Hunting
Note: These are consecutive shots, but lifted from the "sweet spot" for each
pellet type.
Not elegant, but it works! Had to futz around
to optimize lighting. The muzzle is 36" from
The Discovery is a light and compact rifle that I find a pleasure
backing around on a day in the woods or bunderbashing in the
desert. Light and unobrtusive, the gun can be brought quickly
into play. This handeling is further enhanced by the light
cocking effory.

I use two methods of charging my tanks, a carbon fiber 17 cu
ft 4500 psi nd the pump pakaged with the gun. Takes bout
120 pumps to get the gun fully charged
Mojave Rabbit Hunt
I flew into Las Vegas for the SHOT Show, arriving a few days early so I could get in a rabbit hunt. My plan was to hit the
open desert during the day to chase up some jackrabbits, then drive down to the thick brush along the washes bordering a
desert golf course in pursuit of cottontails at dusk. The Discovery was a pleasure to carry, it is light weight and compact and
after a single charge was ready for a full day of hunting. It turned out to be a hard hunt, the desert had received a lot of rain
during the season and the brush was heavier than I'd ever seen it. The rabbits were well covered and holding tight, so I
ended up walking long distances glassing the area looking for signs of rabbits tucked away under the brush.
The Discovery comes easily and quickly to shoulder,
and I found that I could shoot it well from any position.
I took a couple of big jackrabbits the first morning out,
at 35 and 50 yards respectively. Using a JSB Exact
pellets, the gun yielded up power and accuracy that
was capable of dropping these big desert hares
cleanly. The following morning I was able to bag a
couple more.
At dusk I walked along a dirt road where the cottontails would
cross to get to the golf course to feed. I hid behind the scattered
brush and ambushed them as they headed for the grass.
All in all I found this a great little rifle to travel with. The pump disassembled for easy packing and fit into my duffle bag. I
appreciated the fact that I didn't have to pump the gun over 2000 psi to get the performance required for hunting. And I got
two days of hunting in from that single charge, plus a bit of plinking to empty it before packing it away fro the trip home.
I have restocked my Discovery with a C1 style stock, which is characterized by a straight wrist typical of an English shotgun.
This gun is small and compact, lightweight, and it comes to the shoulder very quickly. I find it one of the most shootable guns
in my collection, and it is one that I feel comfortable shooting offhand from any position. On this trip I took it out on a cold,
snowy winters day in Indiana in pursuit of fox squirrel. Wearing snow camo I was able to hunker down by a den tree and wait
for the squirrels to come out and go un-noticed. The sequence below shows a squirrel dropping from a head shot, a .22 pellet
hitting at 55 yards.