Review: Crosman Benjamin Trail NP XL 1100 .22

By Major Pandemic published on in Firearms, Reviews

My love affair with Crosman started with a .22 caliber Pumpmaster pellet gun delivering near rimfire rifle power without the attached parental oversight.

I wielded that power unmercifully; harvesting junk birds for hours each night after school. This parental-encouraged endeavor was to assure the house and deck were free from the mulberry throughput dropped from the villainous birds.

Benjamin Trail XL 1100 air rifle-2305

The power was great, but the reload was painful. Pump, pump, pump… still pumping…. argh 10+ pumps later, load the pellet and take the next shot. Though rusted and abused, that Pumpmaster still works today—however, back then, I would have traded my bike for a precision Benjamin Trail NP XL 1100 that loaded in just one charging break-action stroke.

When break-action air rifles open, the barrel is used as a handle to compress the spring that powers the air piston. Once fully cocked, a pellet is loaded directly into the breach, and the barrel returns to position. At that time, the air rifle is ready to fire. Although the XL 1100 is based on the same technology as any spring-powered air rifle, the NP in the name stands for Nitro Piston, which means instead of a spring, a sealed nitrogen cartridge piston is compressed.

Press the trigger, the nitrogen cartridge decompresses and pushes the piston forward, which compresses air and powers the pellet on down the barrel. The advantages of the Nitro Piston are that it will maintain power maintenance-free exponentially longer than a mechanical spring, will not develop a memory or loose compression if left charged, and is unaffected by temperature or altitude changes. In theory, the Nitro-piston will last indefinitely.

Benjamin Nitro logo

Some may say pre-charged multi-shot pneumatics are the obvious choice, however what will you do if you cannot carry around an air tank or separate external pumping accessory. The top-break single-stroke air rifles deliver big power with just one stroke—reliably without the need for extra apparatus.

Caliber selection is another consideration for airgun hunting. The blistering velocities at the muzzle of .177 airguns theoretically come close to the foot pounds of muzzle energy of heavy .22 pellets. However, down range, .22 pellets pack more punch. The .22 pellets are also usually subsonic, which means a quieter air rifle without the loud supersonic crack. Add in the nice optic, and the NP XL 1100 combines all the best elements of a hunting air rifle in one beautiful platform while achieving up to a blistering 1100 fps with up to 28 ft/lbs of energy.

After the acquisition of Benjamin, Crosman maintained the Benjamin line as its premium lineup marketed to select retailers. Of course, there are air rifles and then there is the Trail NP XL 1100, which is Crosman’s top of the line air rifle. The fit and feel is excellent from the laser engraved logo, hardwood checkering, thumbhole Monte Carlo-style stock to the perfectly blued steel. The included CenterPoint 3-9x40mm scope is of high clear quality and plenty to deliver precision shots.

Benjamin Trail XL 1100 air rifle Picatinny rail

Everything on the Crosman Benjamin Trail NP XL 1100 (.22) seems to be a cut above other rifles in the premium break-barrel class. The XL 1100 cocks smoothly; the scope and parallax adjustment work well. The initial factory trigger setting is two-stage with a little adjustment for an improved feel. The little details are thought through—including a rubber O-ring around the chamber to maximize compression, and a real 1913 Picatinny rail for the scope mount, which will make things much easier should you want to select another optic.

The 8.8-pound Trail NP XL 1100 is not particularly light, but the weight does provide good off-hand stability, helps counteract the piston recoil, and contributes to the outstanding accuracy.
The Benjamin Trail NP XL 1100 is very accurate with a broad range of ammo. I set up a set of targets at 20 yards and found most quality flat head or doomed ammo delivered accuracy of under 1-inch groups.

Crosman has also paid a lot of attention by providing an expansive line of premium pellet offerings including the lead 14.3-grain Benjamin Discovery Hollow points. With the artillery hold and the Discovery pellets, I managed more than a few ⅝-inch groups, and at least one ½-inch group. With the Premier Doomed pellets and hollow points, there were plenty of ¾-inch groups. The net of my shooting experience is that this airgun is a tack driver.

Airgun pellets

As I live outside of the city limits, I have loads of nuisance critters and was provided with ample opportunities to test the power and accuracy of the NP XL 1100. The wallop of the Trail NP XL 1100 with .22 pellets delivers some serious impact downrange. With it, I was able to humanely remove critters—small ground squirrels to raccoon-sized varmints and pests with just one pellet.

In a survival situation, an airgun is handy for a variety of reasons. The .22 caliber packs a heck of a punch. Comparatively, the .22 airgun delivers around 25% of the knockdown power of the .22 LR, which at 28 ft/lbs, is more than enough to take game up to 10 pounds with accurate shot placement. From my experience, even a lower-power .22 caliber pellet rifle is a perfect squirrel and rabbit hunter. However, the Benjamin Trail NP XL 1100 will fill your hunting limits quickly and easily even on larger critter-sized game.

Crosman Benjamin Trail NP XL 1100 .22
Model Number BT1122WNP
Alloy Pellet Velocity Up to 1100 fps
Weight 8.8 lbs
Length 48.25 in
Mechanism Break Barrel
Power Source Nitro Piston
Caliber .22
Approx Energy 25-26 ft-lb
Capacity Single Shot
Barrel Rifled
Front Sight None
Rear Sight None
Optics Rail Weaver-style
Optics 3-9x40mm AO
Safety Lever
Material Hardwood

Another survival plus is that ammo/pellets are super cheap at around $10 for 500 premium pellets—about half the price of quality .22LR ammo. For a paltry $100, you can have 5000 rounds of premium pellets tucked away should the need arise. For preparedness, this means you can remove pests and hunt all manner of critter quietly—even out to 50-yard ranges without the noise of a .22 LR and without burning any higher power primer fired ammo.

Two stage airgun trigger

Airguns are a whole lot of fun, a great option to teach gun handling and safety, and to hone your skills during the off season. On an everyday basis, a fine-quality pellet gun can be a handy item with the proper hunting permits to remove the moronic woodpecker drilling away on your downspouts or the errant rabbit, squirrel, or raccoon which decides to overstay its welcome. The Benjamin Trail NP XL 1100 is a fine airgun that delivers big power—and can also pay for itself quickly from a practice perspective. All around this is a top-shelf airgun for any need.

Do you have an airgun for survival or fun? Which model and caliber? How many pellets? Share your answers in the comment section.

Gas maskMajor Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. www.MajorPandemic.com

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Comments (11)

  • TLO

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    I have an older Benjamin Trail NP. The included scope was junk from the factory so I dropped a BSA 3-9x on it which can handle the reverse recoil. One problem I had was not having enough elevation adjustment in the scope, when I realized the problem wasn’t the scope, but rather, the barrel when locked isn’t parallel with the rest of the gun, it aims down. A quick shim in the rear scope mount and the problem was solved I have probably put 3k-4k rounds through it and it still hits as hard as the day I bought it. As far as accuracy goes, I’m hitting bottle caps at 30 yds from a rest and chipmunks at the same range off hand. My longest shot was a pesky little red squirrel at just over 50 yds.

    Reply

  • DEL

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    I have an older benjamin Trail NP in .22 cal. I would zero the scope and next time out it was as if I never touched it. I got into some serious testing and found that the issue was that the barrel didn’t return to the EXACT same position every time. Rather than dumping the rifle which would go clean through a 1/2 plywood at 50m using Gamo 22g pelets, I had a gunsmith mount iron sights on both ends of the barrel and now it groups 1″ at 25m more than accurate enough for pest control. Still not seeing the value of a scope on a break barrel…over the long haul the accuracy drops off as the return point starts to vary. BTW mounted the scope on a ruger 10/22 and can make a jagged hole at 25m.. Conclusion on the Bejamin NP is it’s a good hunting rifle but not scopeable over the long haul

    Reply

  • Richard Lynch

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    When I was a kid, the last air rifle I had was a Red Rider BB gun. I am 73 now, recently moved out of the city and although I can shoot a .22 off my back porch, I have neighbors on both sides of my house. I didn’t want the noise to disturb them. My brother told me about the Benjamin Trail NP 1100 .22 pellet gun, so I bought one. Although the included scope was a nice feature, I mounted a red-dot sight on the rail. It works great and target acquisition is much faster! The author of the article is right on target, on all points! It is a fantastic, hard hitting pellet gun! But if you get one, also invest a few bucks, in a Pellet Pen. The one I bought holds 15 .22 pellets and it makes reloading the rifle quick and easy!

    Reply

    • Ben

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      Thanks for the tip on a Pellet Pen. Found it on eBay for about $13. I never knew such a thing was made. I am always fumbling around trying to find a pellet in my pocket, then have to be extra careful that I don’t load it backwards. This pen should be just the thing, especially in cold weather.

      Reply

  • Ben

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    I purchased one of these rifles about six years ago when 22 rim fire ammo could not be found. I have enjoyed shooting it but be advised it is very heavy to carry around even with a sling. Also, shoot it about 20 times and you will probably be done for a while as cocking takes some effort. I have not found mine to be as accurate and consistent in shot placement as the author. And I’m constantly tinkering with scope adjustment. However, downrange power is very impressive. At 25 yards it tears thru both sides of a Campbell’s tomato soup can like it isn’t even there. And that’s also a good indication of the off hand accuracy I achieve. It really can’t be compared to even a mediocre PCP but for the price you just can’t beat it. I’m glad I bought one. It’s tons of cheap fun and I’ve had no mechanical issues after thousands of rounds.

    Reply

  • Gary West

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    “Major Pandemic” may wish to reconsider his advice to use the Crosman on woodpeckers, some species of which are protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Act. Perhaps the birds are a nuisance, but you should check with your State Wildlife Officials for the laws in your state before shooting them.

    Reply

  • Popgun

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    I have a one-pump Ruger that will hit a golf ball, more times than not, at 50 yds. I’m not that good of a shot, either.

    Reply

  • Bob M

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    I have two of the old-style pump till-your-arm-breaks Benjamin .22 cal rifles.
    One is very, very old with a slim stock that has a crack in it, and a newer one with the thick stock. Both can take out squirrels at 50 ft. !

    Reply

    • Spencer

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      Not only that, but pumping air heats the air, so if you allow the air in the chamber to cool, the point of impact will change simply because the pressure is lower when the air cools in the chamber. If you shoot right after the chamber is filled it’s not a problem.

      Reply

  • bumper

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    One of the bugaboos or break action pellet rifles, at least the cheaper ones, is that zero, or POI = POA is predicated on the lock up being consistent and precise – something that’s sadly lacking in most . . . and one of the advantages of PCP rifles, along with no pistons and springs, much less mass, shifting position in the gun long before the pellet leaves the barrel.

    So how does the CROSMAN BENJAMIN TRAIL NP XL 1100 .22 do in this regard. Less than 1″ groups at 20 yards sounds reasonable, but off a rest and with reasonable optics, i’d be looking for less than 1/2″.

    Reply

  • Spencer

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    I purchased an FX Siuper Swift 22 caliber, about 8 years ago. It’s a PCP (Pre Charged Pneumatic) that has an 8-shot cylinder. Comes with 4 cylinders, 3 of which fit in a hole in the stock. It has 3 power ranges. It can be pumped up to 3300 PSI. Enough for about 45 shots on low power. That’s enough power to take out squirrels & rabbits. It has a match barrel & a 2-stage adjustable trigger. You can easily get off a shot every 5 seconds.
    I mounted a Leaper’s 6x Bug Buster scope (focuses down to 3 yards.
    It’s one of the finest rifles I own.
    I use it to eradicate pesky squirrels that eat my garden.
    I use a 3-stage hand pump to keep the tank filled. A little expensive, but well worth the cost.
    Check the manual at the webpage below.

    http://www.field-target.ee/img/manuals/fx/Cutlas.pdf

    1. Removable, 8-shot, automatic indexing, rotary magazine,
    reloadable on or off the rifle
    2. Adjustable 2-stage trigger
    3. Built-in pressure gauge
    4. Lothar-Walther match grade rifled barrel
    5. Standard quick-fill nozzle
    6. Removable air cylinder
    7. Standard dovetail groove for scope mounts
    8. 3-stage power wheel with settings at 14, 24, and 34 ft/lbs
    BARREL LENGTH 19.7 inches OVERALLLENGTH(inc.shroud) 40.5inches WEIGHT (without sight): 5.3 lbs
    MAXIMUM CYLINDER FILL PRESSURE: 200 BAR

    Reply

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