Has the editor found his perfect plinker in the Benjamin Wildfire?
Phill Price spreads pellets like WildFire, with this rapid fire rifle from Crosman
D espite being surrounded by some of the most high- tech kit you could imagine, I love a good, old-fashioned plinking session with a simple gun. Making tin cans dance their way down the lawn never fails to raise a smile, and I’ll often choose a multi- shot pistol for that, but it would be nice to have a rifle for the job, too. Benjamin must feel the same way because they offer a great little rifle – the WildFire – which uses some technology that might well be borrowed from a pistol – or a revolver, to be more precise.
From the outside, the WildFire looks a lot like a Ruger 10/22 rimfire rifle, a model that’s massively successful in America. The 10/22 is semi- automatic, meaning that every time you pull the single- action trigger it will fire, making it great fun to plink with, and to get the same effect the WildFire uses a rotary magazine, turned by the first stage of the trigger’s movement. Once a new pellet is in line with the barrel, the hammer drops and allows high pressure air to flow from the reservoir to drive it down the barrel.
REAL GUN APPEAL
In reality, it is a double- action revolver mated to a pre- charged pneumatic ( PCP) rifle, to create pure plinking fun. As fast as you can pull the trigger, another .177 calibre pellet is fired until all 12 are gone. The rotary magazine is held by a fake box magazine that locks into the action in the way firearm ones do, adding to the ‘real gun’ appeal.
The ambidextrous synthetic stock is a good choice for youngsters who are likely to scratch and ding it, because being so tough it will be able to take the abuse. At just 13½” the pull length – that’s the distance from the trigger to the butt pad – will suit youngsters, yet still be comfortable for most adults to enjoy, too.
“enough power to shoot right through both sides of a steel can with ease”
Open sights are fitted as standard and are a mixture of the old and the new. The front sight is a ramped job, with a bright green, fibre- optic insert to make it clear in your view. The rear is a simple bent metal job that can be adjusted for elevation with a notched wedge. Windage adjustments need a cross- head screwdriver to loosen two screws first. They might be simple, but they work perfectly well on a plinker. On top of the plastic action there are scope rails moulded in should you want to add a scope or a red dot later.
As mentioned, this is a PCP that carries its air reservoir below the barrel. It’s filled though a male Forster fitting at the muzzle, and I was impressed to see a particle filter fitted to keep dirt out. Because the reservoir is so small and the fill pressure just 138bar, filling slowly and carefully is vital. I was delighted to see a pressure gauge in the belly of the stock, too. Benjamin claims 60 shots per fill, but I think that might be a little optimistic. The chronograph told me that the WildFire can drive the Air Arms Field Diablo at over 600 feet per second for 7.5 ft.lbs. of muzzle energy, enough power to shoot right through both sides of a steel can with ease.
Just as I’d hoped, the WildFire is a truly excellent rapid- fire plinker and loads of fun to shoot. The lightweight build and simple sights allow everybody to have fun, so remember to have plenty of air and pellets on hand if you buy one because you’re going to need them!
BELOW: Fast fire fun is guaranteed
TOP RIGHT: The ‘box mag’ holds a 12-shot rotary pellet magazine
TOP LEFT: Every PCP needs a pressure gauge like this
BELOW LEFT: The Foster filling port has a particle filter
BELOW RIGHT: Loading .177 pellets is simple