Benjamin Marauder vs. Marauding Squirrels

June 20, 2014

The age-old battle over the bird-feeder between homeowner and squirrel is the stuff of much humor, as well as the never-ending source of frustration for some people.  The quest to build a squirrel-proof bird feeder has lined the pockets of many an “inventor”, but when it comes to thwarting these agile, clever little thieves… well, success has been generally limited.

Personally, I say, “if life gives you squirrels, make fried squirrel for dinner!”

The Benjamin Marauder is just the thing for thinning the ranks of these little, grey bandits.

The Benjamin Marauder is just the thing for thinning the ranks of these little, grey bandits.  And once they’re dead, why waste them? Click to enlarge the image.

Until recently, I haven’t really had much of an issue with the squirrels.  Most of them stay up in the woods, happy to feed on acorns and such, with the occasional foray to the deer feeder.  They don’t eat that much, and I kind of like to watch them when I’m deer hunting.  Here at the house, I’ve also let them be.  Until this spring, there were only one or two who’d show up from time to time to gnaw on the big suet block, but they generally left the other feeder alone.  They provided great entertainment, particularly when Iggy would go charging off the porch and launch himself into the yard to chase them.

I guess a little spring magic happened, though, because suddenly there were not two, but five or six squirrels hopping around the oaks in the front yard.  A suet block would disappear in a day, and they even figured out how to shake the seed out of the “squirrel proof” finch feeder.  It was too much.

I keep the Benjamin Marauder by the front door anyway, because I’ve been working on thinning the jackrabbits who graze my barn pasture.  That’s another critter I wouldn’t ordinarily worry about, but it’s amazing how much grass those things can eat… and in the drought conditions, grass is a precious commodity.  I’ve been making rabbit chili, braised hare, and my own take on a dish I saw over on Hank Shaw’s Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook blog, chilinron.  There are still a few left in the freezer, and the “on-the-hoof” supply seems nearly limitless.

But anyway, the other afternoon the squirrels were particularly active.  Three of them had literally emptied the finch feeder in a few hours and were scampering around, collecting whatever seeds were left in the area.  Iggy would run out and chase them into the oak trees, and then they’d descend almost as soon as he set foot back up on the porch.  The time had come.  I grabbed the Benjamin.

A couple of notes about using the Marauder for this work.

First of all, it’s amazingly quiet… not dead silent, of course, but the noise level is way below that of the .17hmr or .22lr that would be my usual small-game guns.  At the first shot, the remaining squirrels took some notice and ran a short distance into the trees.  I’m fairly certain the crack of a .22 would have sent them off into the woods.  As it was, I was able to shoot all three squirrels in relatively short order.  (As an aside, no one out here much cares about a little gunfire in the ‘hood, but for use in a more suburban environment, the quiet-shooting Marauder is a very positive attribute.)

The second thing about the Marauder is its accuracy.  I’ve been shooting those jackrabbits out to 75 yards across the pasture.  I’ll admit to requiring a bit of Kentucky windage to make the longer shots, and there are a number of misses… but I only try for head shots.  Jackrabbit bones are brittle and tend to explode into little shards, so I avoid shooting them through the body.  It just wastes too much meat (and there’s not much there to begin with).  Squirrels are, skeletally speaking, similarly fragile.  Fortunately, these shots were all within 25 yards, and that Marauder is ridiculously sharp-shooting at that distance.  Quick, clean kills were the rule… one, two, three.

Finally, there’s the safety factor.  I have a neighbor about a quarter mile across the canyon from my house, so that precludes much use of the .22 or .17 for shooting out of the front yard… especially up in the trees.  Despite its power and accuracy, the Marauder is still an air rifle.  Barring a phenomenally perfect angle and tailwind, it’s highly unlikely an errant pellet would come anywhere near their house.  Even if it did, it would not be carrying enough velocity or energy to do any harm.  (I still avoid shooting directly toward their house, of course, but I’m not too worried about mishaps.)

At any rate… from the bird feeder to the frying pan.  Seems like a fair deal to me.




9 Responses to “Benjamin Marauder vs. Marauding Squirrels”

  1. David on June 20th, 2014 13:33

    Very, very nice.

  2. Joshua Stark on June 20th, 2014 14:06

    Great post. I should write a similar piece with a witty title, but mine would have to be something like, “a Daisy Powerline and squirrels on an actual power line”, or, “86’ing squirrels with an 880.”

  3. Phillip on June 23rd, 2014 20:09

    Go wild, Josh! I’d look forward to reading it!

  4. Benjamin Marauder vs. Marauding Squirrels | on June 20th, 2014 17:22

    […] Benjamin Marauder vs. Marauding Squirrels […]

  5. JAC on June 23rd, 2014 19:24

    Here’s a topic near to my heart. As I type there are 20 pigeons in my back yard digging up the sunflower seeds I planted and pushing my chickens off their feed. There needs to be some killing.

    I was thinking of buying the Benjamin Discovery. It’s a precharged pneumatic, I think down the scale from yours. But I’ve held off because I don’t know the first thing about scopes for air rifles. I don’t want to put a VX-3 on it, and even if I did, I don’t know that centerfire scopes work on air rifles. What’s on your Marauder?

    Also, since I live in a large metropolitan area, I need a very quiet air rifle. Like, quieter than a towel snap kind of quiet. Know anything about the, what’s the word…it isn’t a silencer, more of a quietener? Know anything about them?

    Let me know your thoughts, Pal. It’s like Alfred effing Hitchcock out there.

  6. Phillip on June 23rd, 2014 20:16

    Crosman has a line of scopes called Centerpoint, which is what I have on the Marauder. My eyes are still good enough for iron sights, though, and I bet yours are too… at least for pigeon popping range, so a scope isn’t necessarily a requirement.

    Most decent rifle scopes will work fine on a PCP rifle. I’ve heard (but don’t KNOW) that the springers (break-actions) have a weird recoil that plays hell on scopes, so something purpose-built would probably be the right tool for the job.

    As far as quiet, I’m afraid nothing with real power is going to be whisper quiet. That said, the Marauder is, for such a powerful rifle, insanely quiet. I shot it a good bit when I lived in the Bay Area, and as far as I know the SWAT team never showed up. My neighbors never noticed at all. The biggest worry I had was that the thing was capable of shooting right through my redwood fence (and yes, I verified this), and I always worried that I might accidentally send a stray pellet through the backyard neighbor’s window.

    Crosman/Benjamin also have the Nitro-Piston II, which is a break action. It id also amazingly quiet, and the .22 caliber I shot was wicked-accurate. I have to say, as much as I like the Marauder, the PCP guns have a major drawback when it comes to portability, since you always have to have an air source. I have been using my SCUBA tanks, but that makes for a challenge if you ever wanted to take the gun into the field. Shooting around the house, though, that’s not a problem.

  7. hodgeman on June 24th, 2014 22:19

    I really need to play with the air rifles. I have a plague of red squirrels which we termed The Red Menace.

    They are easy enough to zap with the CZ and a single loaded CB Cap makes about the noise of a hand clap. But I’m down to just a few and resupply is proving impossible in my location.

    A .22 Air gun would be just the ticket.

  8. Phillip on June 25th, 2014 06:13

    You’re absolutely right, Hodge… a .22 air rifle would definitely be the trick. I don’t know the regs up there, but I expect you could also use it for collecting camp meat with all the birds you have up there.

  9. Meat Guns And Hand Grenades : Hog Blog on June 27th, 2014 18:52

    […] out the front door and whack a couple for dinner with the Marauder (I love my Marauder too, but I already said that, earlier).  Unfortunately, I could only manage to bag one, which is, for me, a half a meal.  I needed […]