Gun test: Benjamin Summit NP2
PUBLISHED: 16:19 28 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:19 28 November 2018
The editor looks at an all-weather gas-ram from America
Benjamin has taken to gas-rams like a duck to water, after being one of the first mass manufacturers to take on the idea. They sold stacks of their earlier designs, such as the Trail, and following on from that we have the Summit you see on test. This employs the second generation of Benjamin gas-ram, the NP-2. As I first cocked the Summit, I immediately noticed just how smooth the stroke was and little force was needed. Of course, the low effort was in part due to the long barrel/shroud dimension, which at 21¾” is quite a lever, but even so, this full-sized adult rifle is easy to cock.
The full-length barrel shroud offers ‘integrated sound suppression’ or what we’d call ‘a silencer’, but it offers more than that. The added diameter offers that ‘bull barrel’ look, and the anodised aluminium outer is less prone to corrosion than the blued steel of the barrel. It’s a win-win situation in my eyes. It also helps with the rifle’s very muted sound signature. ‘A soft thud’ best describes the firing cycle and because there’s no steel main spring to vibrate, there’s no resonance after firing. A gas-ram, in essence, is a cylinder with compressed gas inside that can be further compressed. So instead of compressing a coiled steel spring, a gas-ram further compresses the gas to provide the propulsion to the piston. It’s simple, clean and free from vibration.
Outside, the rifle is quite conventional with a few modern tweaks. On top, the scope rail is a bolt-on Picatinny standard unit that has a very ‘tactical’ look. The scope supplied has Picatinny standard rings, so it all comes together easily. An often overlooked advantage of this system is that the scope rings cannot slip under the two-way recoil characteristics that piston-powered rifles generate, so is a great choice in this application.
The stock is also modern being an ambidextrous moulding that’s impervious to water, mud, blood and anything else that nature can throw at it. It comes into the shoulder in the way that good sporting rifles should, and the extra-long barrel/shroud arrangement helps to steady the aim, once there.
Oddly, for such a big rifle, the reach to the trigger feels rather short, even for my medium-sized hand, and I found the whole pistol grip area quite odd. The sharp, forward curve of the trigger blade added to the unusual feeling. Benjamin proudly added their ‘Clean Break’ trigger system to the Summit, so I was keen to see what it could offer. The first stage has a firm spring that makes finding the second stage challenging, but once found it’s quite long, yet smooth, breaking at 6lbs on my trigger gauge, which is on the safe side of things. Nobody will be letting this off by accident, which is vital for guns used by beginners.
Adding to the rifle’s ambidextrous credentials we find the safety in front of the trigger blade inside the guard. As much as they’re controversial in this location, I like them, because when engaged you feel them as you come on aim. Secondly, you can disengage them from the aim, meaning that it can stay engaged until the very last second. I was also very appreciative of the fact that the Summit is ready to take a sling. Every hunting scope needs a sling and Benjamin deserves praise for acknowledging that fact.
Included in this kit is a basic CenterPoint 4 x 32 scope and a set of mounts, so all you need to get shooting is a tin of pellets that your local gun shop might throw in when you buy the Summit kit. This scope is about as basic as you can get, but head and shoulders higher than open sights for precise aiming. I found it bright and clear, and being so small allowed it to be fitted low over the action, which helped mounting and handling.
Testing started with the chronograph, which told me that it could launch the Air Arms Field Diablo .22 at an average of 557 fps for a muzzle energy of 10.95 ft.lbs. This might well increase after the rifle has shot a tin of pellets or so, and I was glad to see it set sensibly. Accuracy tests showed that with correct recoiling gun discipline, I could get five shots into an inch at 25 yards.
Getting the whole kit at this price is clearly good but at over £300 it takes on some pretty serious competition, even some European-made guns with great reputations. With this in mind, it’s clear that Benjamin is prepared to take on the big boys in this class, and time will tell how they fare. However, I doubt you find many other gas-rams at this price point, so if that’s your bag, the Summit deserves a look.
Importer: ASI Guns
Tel: 01728 688555
Model: Summit NP2
Stock: Ambidextrous synthetic sporter
Trigger: Two-stage adjustable
Calibres: .177 and .22
Length: 46” (117cm)
Weight: 7lbs (3.2kg)
RRP: £327.00 (includes a 4 x 32 scope and mounts)