Author Topic: Whoops! I did it again... Benjamin Legacy 1000  (Read 3938 times)

Offline vinceb

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Whoops! I did it again... Benjamin Legacy 1000
« on: June 21, 2008, 12:52:55 PM »
Maybe I'm just too sentimental. I dunno. In any event this Benjamin Legacy 1000 is sorta the same old story... the memory of relationships gone bad mellows over time and I start yearning to rekindle an old flame. Maybe I just didn't take the time to properly work things out before, and perhaps the old relationship offers me a little something that seems to be missing right now.

And thus was my mindset when I stumbled across a Benjamin-Legacy 1000 on I had one of these a couple of years ago when I purchased a refurb from Airgun Wharehouse for about $100. To make a long story short that one went sour from the very first shot.... a too-short cocking link wouldn't let the barrel close completely after cocking the gun!

I eventually sold it for $50 after putting a horrendous amount of time into the rifle (although I was learning a fair bit at the time), but my biggest regret was not sending it back to Crosman at the first sign of trouble. There were things I did like about it, actually... it had a genuine 2-stage trigger, it was easy to service, and in contrast to the thin, almost petite shapes of many rifles the stock had a 'meaty' feel to it. Oh - and one other thing. It was made in the USA, which (despite my free-trade inclinations) kinda tugs at my sympathies. So, $75+shipping later, the used-but-very-good-condition Benji shows up at my door.

The Legacy 1000 was pretty much as I remembered - a relatively light gun at a smidge under 6 1/2 lbs, and with a center-of-gravity located about 19.5" from the butt pad it balances well. The pull length of 14 inches is pretty normal for an adult-sized gun, as is the overall length of around 42 1/2". Cocking effort is around 30 lbs, and trigger effort is high at about 6 lbs (more on this later).

Also as I remembered the stock definitely feels thicker - the forearm and the rear grip both give you something to really hang on to. Which isn't always something you want to do with a springer, but it does feel nice when I shoulder it.

The gun looks pretty good as well. The graining in the wood is nicely pronounced, there is no muddling one frequently sees in cheaper rifle stocks. There is checkering on the rear grip, and it is cut into the wood as cleanly if not as deeply as on my 440 or my RWS94's. The wood finish is not as smooth as these other two rifles with a slight 'orange peel', but frankly that's not a bad thing. It's even and it makes it easier to grab. There are some visible sanding sworls along the bottom edges, but they aren't really obvious enough to detract from the appearance. The stock has a ventilated rubber butt pad that is fitted nicely and works well as a pellet holder.

The metalwork actually has me a little confused - the BL1000 always had a bit of a reputation for a roughly finished barrel, whether for anti-glare purposes or for cost reduction I don't know, but the one on this example doesn't look that bad. For comparison I dug up the original barrel from my first one and found that I was not mistaken... for whatever reason the metalwork on my recent acquisition is significantly better. It's still nothing to jump up and down about but not out of place in this gun's original price bracket.

The front sight on the rifle looks to be closely related to the one on the Quest variants, which is fine. Even though there's no hood over the front fiberoptic, the support posts are thick and strong and resistant to breakage. The rear sight is also obviously related to the Quest sight and suffers from the same issues of flimsiness, dim fiberoptics and poor detents as Crosman's Chinese rifles. I do remember that on the last Legacy I had the rear sight elevation adjustment would actually hop around to different settings as I shot the gun, so to prevent the same problem from occurring on this rifle I installed a stiffer spring. Since the elevation adjuster is very close to the pivot any change in its position is a lot more significant than it would be on other rear sight designs.

My first shooting session with the rifle (indoors, 10 yards) showed some promise, some frustration, and demonstrated that I really had to give the rifle a little attention before judging it properly. Open sight shooting (Crosman Premiers) was a mixed bag, but when I threw a scope on in I really thought I was onto something. But four shots almost into the same hole were immediately followed by a 5th about 1/2" away. I took a 6th shot, and that went where the 5th one went. It was all downhill from there as I started seeing all sorts of POI shifts. The stock screws were still fairly tight, but the breech pivot had loosened up considerably. Looks like it was time to do a lil' work.

Popping the action out requires one to unscrew some surprisingly long machine screws that have a lot of engagement. This is a good thing since it increases friction and tends to resist loosening. Plus, they were obviously thread-locked from the factory. As I mentioned earlier the pivot bolt had loosened quickly after I had snugged it down, and I did notice that the lockup didn't seem to be the strongest. With the barrel closed is was easy to get the breech to move a little in the 'open' direction with the slightest downward pressure on the muzzle.

So I disassembled the pivot and found that it's not quite like the Gamo or Quest pivot assembly. In the Gamo and Quest guns, the bushing that goes through the breech block (and incidentally holds the lockup wedge in place) is supposed to be stationary - when you tighten the pivot bolt it locks down this bushing and the barrel pivots around it. That arrangement has an advantage in that the pivot bolt doesn't have to be adjusted at all - it just has to be tightened (and a nicely tightened bolt is not as likely to come loose). Side play is controlled by the side washers. On the Benji, however, the bushing rotates with the breech and side play is controlled by tension on the bolt - which means that you don't necessarily just tighten the bolt as much as you can. This isn't a terribly unusual arrangement, but unfortunately there's no way to actually lock the bolt in place. Threadlockers can be difficult to use here because the inside of the bushing (where the bolt goes through) should be lubricated, and it can be difficult to keep lube out of the bolt threads. And greasy threads do not bond with threadlocker very well. In this case I took the easy way out and staked the bolt in place once I reassembled everything. The pivot lockup I was able to improve by placing a small diameter spring inside the existing spring and by shimming both springs a bit.

Convinced that I now have barrel lock-up consistency, I shot it again and had just as much trouble as I did the day before. The scope was especially erratic, and I noticed significant scope creep within less than 20 shots (the Legacy doesn't have a bolt-down stop or a hole for a stop pin). This in particular was a first for me... I don't shoot a lot with scopes, and when I do it is only for testing, for maybe 60 shots or so. But before this I never remember having my 4 screw mounts creep on me so easily even without a stop pin - even on my RWS350, my 48 or my Powerline 1000. I had replaced the original allen screws with hex-head bolts (with steel washers) that really let me tighten them, and I never had a problem 'til now. So what's the deal here?

The powerplant of the Legacy 1000 is equipped with an extremely large and heavy top-hat... in fact, it is probably more accurate to call it a piston weight than a hat. This will tend to slow down the acceleration of the piston and provide a noticeable initial rearward recoil. It would also tend to provide a very strong hammer hit when it finally does slam home... and this is the forward recoil that can make mounts creep. I can't get into why the powerplant is designed this way - because (frankly) I have no idea. It's all beside the point in any event - it's there, and I suspect that this is why the scope tends to creep so easily.

So I go back to shooting with open sights, again with mixed results at first, but things got much better once I started playing around with the hold. I do tend to (unconsciously) firm up my grip on the rear part of the gun the more I shoot - and when I made an extra effort to stay relaxed while firing the rifle I was rewarded with 5-shot groups of about 1/4". Granted, I have been able to do better with open sights on other guns (once in a great while) - but in my experience I can't reliably do better than about 3/10ths of an inch at this distance with open sights. No doubt the rifle could do better, but for now it is good enough to know that it gives me as much accuracy as I can use.

And it isn't terribly unpleasant to use the accuracy it has. The firing cycle is nothing to write home about - but the little bit of harshness and 'sproing' you get after letting one go is no worse than many other sub-$200 guns (and some even more expensive than that). How does it compare to the popular mid-range Gamo guns? Well, out-of-the-box it's better than virtually any Gamo I've tried. Some of those were so bad they made me wince, but the Legacy doesn't come close to that level of irritation.

After shooting for accuracy I put 10 shots across the chrony and came away with an average of 872fps with CPL's. 13.3ft-lbs was a bit less than I was hoping for, and shimming the breech seal didn't seem to help as it sometimes does on Diana breakbarrels. Since no in-depth review is really complete without some exploratory surgery, I decided to strip the powerplant down, see what I could see, and replace the main seal at a minimum.

Thte Legacy 1000 is simple enough to dismember. Upon taking it out of the stock one sees what appears to be a Gamo-style trigger, and for the most part that is a correct perception (although it is not identical). Unlike a Gamo, however, it is possible to completely remove the trigger without removing the rear spring retainer and guide. Just unscrew the rear stud, unhook the anti-beartrap, and it pops right out.

About that trigger - in an earlier part of this write-up I mentioned that this gun had a genuine two-stage trigger. Now, the normal Gamo trigger is not a true two-stage trigger... but the Legacy trigger blade uses a geometry very similar to the well-known CDT trigger or the Rich-in-Mich inserts. Where the stock Gamo (and Quest) triggers have a single pin that lifts the intermediate lever, the BL-1000 trigger has a multi-angle surface that provides two lift points - a slower one for the first stage and a faster one to trip the second.

So, if there's a design similarity to the delightfully light Gamo aftermarket trigger conversions, why is the trigger on this thing so stinkin' tough?

Well, anyone who is familiar with the Gamo trigger modifications are aware that there's one downfall of that arrangement - there is no trigger return in the 1st stage. If you pull through the first stage on one of those and stop - the trigger sear stays right where you left it, possibly on the 'knife's edge' of firing. This isn't a terribly safe situation, and the advice is always that once you start pulling the trigger, shoot the gun. If you HAVE to stop for some reason either recock the gun to reset the trigger or discharge it in a safe direction. To get around this issue (I won't even call it a problem) you either need a stronger return spring for the intermediate lever or you need a more complicated mechanism with additional levers to lessen the friction that keeps the sear trip lever from returning. Some manufacturers chose the latter approach (i. e. the AR1000 variants and the B26), Benji choses the former. It's cheaper, but then you wind up with a 6 lb trigger. On mine I replaced the spring with one that lowers the effort to about 3 lbs, but the trigger no longer returns through the first stage.

Once the trigger is out the rear spring retainer and guide can be removed in the normal fashion, and the piston slides out after removing the cocking lever. Once all the pieces were out and I was able to examine them up close, one thought kept popping into my mind.

This gun coulda been a contender!

Machining, stamping, sizing, and finishing were all quite good. The edges were a bit sharp, but they weren't rough. Far better than the last couple of Chinese guns I've had apart (Ruger AirHawk and Quest 800X), and probably on a par with the Spanish Gamo. This was an American-made gun that commonly sold for, I think, around $160, and it as as well or better made other guns in the same price range.

So why did it flop? I know that the action lives on in the Remington Genesis, but how come the Legacy 1000 flunked out of the market after 3-4 years of production? Granted it's not outstanding in power or accuracy, it is somewhat hold sensitive, and the trigger and rear sights are not exactly a joy to use. But the gun looks good, is well made and handles nicely. It twangs less than a typical Gamo, is no harder to cock, and shoots quite well once you get the hang of it. In other words, it should have been competetive.

Frankly, I'm guessing that the gun itself didn't really fail - but rather that Crosman got tempted by an offer from BAM to make upscale variants of the Quest rifle which could then be sold for the same or more money as the Legacy. I imagine the profit margin is simply higher on the Remington Summit and TAC-1 Extreme, and that is probably the end of it. It's a bit of a shame, really - as I said before, I am a free-trader at heart, but that doesn't mean that I can't root for the home team at the same time. And based on the sloppy manufacturing I've seen on recent Chinese models, the home team really did have something better to offer. It shouldn't have taken much to address the gun's shortcomings and gain a toehold in the lower-midrange market niche.

After reassembling the rifle with a new seal, I found that the velocity had dropped about 50 fps! After a few dozen shots, however, it seems to be creeping up again, and the last couple tripped the chrony at about 850fps. So I expect that once the seal beds in she'll be back to where she was.

Over the next day or so I used the gun for some backyard plinking, and found the gun well up to the task of wacking a 7" plywood blade at 60 yards (open sights) very consistently. Cocking remained smooth, and for some reason the rifle didn't seem to care so much about how it was held. Again, a very likeable rifle in its original price range.

But now that the gun is out of production it's a moot point... although you can still find them occasionally as NOS on some of the auction sites. If you buy one make sure you know what you are getting - and if it's supposed to be new, make sure that Crosman still honors the warranty. If they do, there's no reason to stay away from it. It's a good, solid rifle that might very well outlast some of the flashier but more poorly made Aisian imports selling in that price bracket.

Offline Big_Bill

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RE: Whoops! I did it again... Benjamin Legacy 1000
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2008, 08:54:08 AM »

A Great indepth review Vince,

The most complete review that I have read ! After reading your review, I almost feel that I have one, after going through each step with you.

Thanks for sharing you time and experience with us..


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