We all had one, right? The classic old wood and metal Benjamin pump gun? There really wasn’t too much difference between the old 31X, 34X, and 39X guns. I use the X to indicate that the last digit denotes caliber…such as the 340 being a smooth bore .177 intended for BBs, the 342 being a .22 caliber rifled version, and the 347 being the .177 caliber rifled version. Sure, the shape of the stock has changed, but they remained a good old classic wood and metal airgun. At least…until now. The video below accompanies this blog.
In comes the modern take on an old classic, the Benjamin 392S/397S. Sporting an all new, all-weather, synthetic stock…you simply must admit that the gun looks pretty good. I wouldn’t say that it looks better or worse than the older wooden version, but it does look different. I personally like the look of the new stock and the old stock. Both stock materials have their advantages, but I’m afraid you must say goodbye to the wooden versions of the gun. As of the release of the synthetic version, the wooden versions are no longer in production. We happen to have one wooden 397 remaining in our inventory, so if you were on the fence about grabbing up an old version…whoever places the order for it first gets it.
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So what about the rest of gun? Has anything changed besides the stock? The short answer is no. As far as we can tell, the stock is the only difference between the versions. I tested a wooden 397 and the new 397S side by side for velocity over a 10 shot string each. I used JSB 8.44gr pellets for the testing. The performance of the two guns was nearly identical. These are very consistent guns, with performance rivaling that of a regulated PCP. The slight difference in average velocity (seen below) is well within design parameters.
The trigger on these guns has not changed either. Testing the 397 and 397S side by side yielded nearly identical average pull weights of 4.2lbs for the 397S and 4.4lbs for the 397. These are pretty nice triggers right out of the box. They mimic a two stage trigger with a bit of free play before you hit the wall, then a nice crisp break of about 4 – 4.5lbs. Cocking effort is minimal, and the pumping effort is unchanged from previous versions. The overall length is also unchanged at 36.75″, as well as the weight. The gun is still about 5.5lbs.
Now…about the sights. The sights are unchanged from previous versions. You have a fully adjustable rear leaf sight and a solid front post. While this is adequate for plinking, these are not target sights. Nor does the new stock jive well with the new sights. You REALLY have to smash your face down into the stock to even see them both at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, I like the new stock and those sights have taken many a squirrel…but they just aren’t a match made in heaven. Shooting from a rest at 20yds, using JSB 8.44gr pellets and the stock iron sights, my average groups were a little over an inch.
Do not despair! You DO have a few options to upgrade the sighting system. If you like peep sights, you can mount a Williams 5-D peep sight to the pre-drilled and tapped holes in the breech. If, however, you want to wring out every last bit of accuracy the gun has to offer…you need to mount a scope. Lucky for you, Baker Airguns has your solution! For quite some time, we have offered a proprietary Baker Airguns Benjamin 392/397 scope mount for the 39X series of guns. The reason we invented this scope mount is to solve the breech separation issue, and it’s a BIG issue. The 39X series of guns are made primarily of brass, and soldered together. The barrel and breech are soldered to the main air tube. Most scope mounts put pressure on the joints between these pieces, thus causing them to separate. This is a fatal injury. The guns will not work properly if separation occurs. The only way to fix the gun is to solder it back together correctly. We fix countless guns with this issue every year. Our scope mount does not put any pressure on these solder joints. Since we were the ones fixing all of the separated guns, we decided to design a mount that would not cause this issue in the first place. In case you were wondering….yes…our mount does fit the new 392/397S! You can check out videos from Rick Rehm (Shooter1721) and Airgun Evolution who use our 392 scope mount, as well as our own brand new Benjamin 392/397 Scope Mount Installation Video.
The results of the initial accuracy testing with the open sights were…well…OK, but far from stellar. These are just not target sights, and the new stock shape makes it difficult to comfortably use them. It’s possible, but less than ideal. I used the JSB 8.44gr pellets on 10 pumps at 20 yards. My average group size was a bit over an inch. About 1.25″. You can see two measured groups in the pictures below.
The results of the accuracy testing after installing the scope mount and of course the scope are quite telling. You can see the results in the pictures below. If you remember, my average group size with the open sights was a little over an inch. After installing our mount, some high UTG rings, and an Aztec Emerald 5.5-25×50…those groups shrank more than in half! There is no question that to get the most from your 392 or 397, you absolutely need a scope. The new stock is molded perfectly to accommodate a scope, and our mount is the perfect solution to mount one.
That is some impressive accuracy! We absolutely LOVE the new synthetic version of the 39X air rifles, and have both calibers in stock. The guns are light, handy, and accurate. They’re decently powerful for a multi-pump airgun. You get the consistency of a regulated PCP, a great trigger, and in a self contained package. Just add pellets! We also have the scope mounts in stock, and be sure to look at our listing for the combo with the UTG rings. It’ll save you a few bucks in your scope mounting endeavor! We have much more to come….so stay tuned, stay safe, and happy shooting!
Donnie Reed is our Sales Manager and general airgun guru here at Baker Airguns. He was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, and qualified as both a Rifle Expert and Pistol Expert. Donnie is now a competitive airgun shooter, focusing primarily on field target and benchrest competitions. He has won both PCP and piston class field target matches, as well as local benchrest competitions. Donnie also runs the Youtube channel and Facebook group ALL THINGS AIRGUN. His first college degree is in Mathematics and Sciences, but he is still pursuing another in Physics and Astronomy.