Benmjamin Bulldog .357" Airgun


Big Bore Air Rifles

During the 18th century, the Austrian military issued the Girandoni air rifle which provided the average soldier much greater firepower than his contemporaries armed with concurrent firearms technology. The air rifle could hold and fire twenty .45 caliber shots without being reloaded or charged. It could fire as fast as one could cycle the action and pull the trigger.

However, soon after, firearms technology advanced to the point where firearms became clearly superior. Guns like the Giradoni became low in demand, and most common airguns were of low power and suitable only for recreation, training, and small game harvesting. However, a return to big bore airgun technology has recently been spurred by international legal restrictions on possession of firearms and the use of firearms for hunting.

The Benjamin bulldog is one of many modern big bore airguns, but it is remarkable for its significant power, ability to make repeat shots, and relatively short length of 36 inches long.

Bulldog Capabilities

The bulldog comes with special bullets that are heavier than most common pistol bullets, and these bullets are also relatively expensive. Because the bulldog is in a very common .357" caliber however, it should be capable of handling soft lead handgun bullets of the same size and make shooting more economical. In this article, 105 gr Truncated Cone bullets are tested. With a complete 3000 pounds per square inch charge, the bulldog was able to fire about 30 bullets with enough power to be lethal. However, the magazine only holds 5 rounds. I only obtained 4 magazines, expecting that I would not have significant performance after firing 4. The rifle surpassed my expectations.

The first 14 sjhots were very high performing, penetrating over 20 inches in clear ballistics gel with 1 bullet (not the first fired) penetrating a full 32 inches of gel and being trapped by the bullet arresitng box. (720-830 fps), the next 13 were of medium performance penetrating over 10 inches of gel (485-700 fps), and the last 3 were of low performance penetrating over 5 inches in gel (~330 fps). The gun fired twice more, with the 31st bullet only penetrating 1.25" in gel, and the 32nd bullet becoming lodged in the bore. A surprising number of the bullets rotated in the gel. 12 out of the 30 bullets captured in the gel were either backwards or had otherwise rotated in such a manner that the tip of the bullet was not aligned with the trajectory of the bullet.

For the ballistic testing, two clear ballistics 16" long FBI dimension gel blocks were placed back to back. Both were tested with a BB to ensure proper calibration. The first gel block was properly calibrated (75 mm bb penetration @ 590.9 fps), but unfortunately, the second gel block was stiffer than it was supposed to be (57 mm penetration @ 608.4 fps). Therefore, all results over 16 inches are underestimates of the true performance of this rifle. The too stiff block had been melted and reused about 3-4 times.

To view the raw data from the ballistics test, download here.


Noise Level

This airgun features a single chamber suppressor to help keep noise levels down.

Initial testing of this gun on the first day I fired it, I felt that it may have been hearing safe. However, when conducting ballstic testing and firing repeated shots, I noiced discomfort in my ears indicating that this airgun is likely not hearing safe although it is close. In any case, it is quieter than a .22 caliber rifle. It is also too loud to fire in your backyard without potentially causing your neigbhors to think you firing an actual firearm.

Air Containment

As a pre-charged neumatic airgun, (PCP) it can in theory be kept fully pressurized indefinitely and not lose pressure or performance. Variations in temperature can affect the pressure in the tank. Loaded to just over 3000 psi, it was noticed that the air pressure dropped to 2700 psi when checked a few days later. This may be due to a leak or it may be due to the colder temperatures in the house where it is stored since it is presently fall and winter is approaching. Gas levels will be monitored to determine if the gas leaks or if the pressure variation can be attributed to temperature change.

Purposes for this gun

The most common reason for purchasing this rifle is most likely for hunting, although that personally was not the reason I purchased this rifle. I purchased it mainly as a novelty, and also to be able to have a useful defense tool for states that would allow this to be loaded where regular firearms would need to be unloaded or cased. As such, I affixed post night sights to the gun instead of the common scopes, in order to make the rifle as manueverable and handy at close range as possible.

Want further tests of this rifle and posted results? I can do that, but I'll need additional funds to replace my clear ballistics gel blocks with properly calibrated ones. Want your ad on this page? Contact us.

Article Started on October 26, 2016, article last updated on same date.