The name is Air … Power

Unlimited ammo is all around us!
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The new crop of portable compressors, like this Air Venturi Nomad, are
designed for direct fill use. They’ll top off a rifle in just a couple of minutes.

Guess who isn’t having any trouble with the Great Ammo Shortage of 2020? Airgunners, that’s who. On the simple end of the air power spectrum, the shelves of my local Rotten Mart are chock full of BBs, pellets, and CO2 cylinders. And the prices are … the same as they’ve always been.

The same observations hold true at the high end of the market. If you’re into shooting those masterpieces of compressed air perfection — high-end PCP rifles — you generally have to supply your own compressed air. Sorry, but those garage air compressors from Lowes and Home Depot won’t cut it. You can “buy” 3,000 or 4,500 psi pre-compressed air and store it in SCUBA or carbon fiber tanks for later use. It works pretty well. With a tank or two, you can survive on a monthly trip to your local dive shop or paintball center to stock up. Note: they never run out of compressed air, no matter how much panic buying sets in.

Or, if you want to control your own destiny, you can invest in your own compressed air factory. A “proper” unit will last a couple of centuries and cost you a couple large. However, companies like Benjamin and Air Venturi have been busy turning the compressor market on its ear with new portable, and affordable, offerings.

Moisture trap — important for preventing wet air from getting into your expensive guns.

Benjamin Traveler

The Benjamin Traveler is a “direct fill” design. While the big, multi-thousand-dollar compressors are built to fill large containers, like carbon fiber tanks, with dozens of cubic feet of 4,500 psi air, the Traveler is built to fill a rifle or pistol’s air reservoir directly — a much simpler undertaking. The trickle-down benefit of the design is reduced cost — you can buy a Traveler for about $500.

The Benjamin Traveler system consists of two boxes (compressor and power supply), an AC power cord, a DC power cord with alligator clips, and a high-pressure air hose with integrated moisture filter. The pump itself measures 10″x10″x16″ and packs a convenient carry handle. The separate power unit handles the conversion of AC to DC power. If you’re running from a car or other vehicle battery then all you need is the compressor unit and the right battery cables. Yep — you can power this little wonder directly from a car, boat, or ATV.

After connecting the hose’s Foster fitting to your gun or probe adapter, just use the pressure gauge needles to the desired fill pressure and turn the unit on. The Traveler will shut itself off when pressure is reached or if the unit overheats. The process couldn’t be simpler. Do remember to release the pressure from the hose before disconnecting from your airgun. Can you say “angry airborne snake”? Trust me on this one.

The Traveler isn’t as quiet as the bigger and more expensive stationary units but you can take it just about anywhere, and therein lies the win. Bring it to the range or hunting fields and shoot as much as you like with an unlimited air supply.
I tested fill times for a variety of different guns, and in most cases, the process to “top off” an airgun with an extra 1,000 or 1,500 psi took between three and four minutes.

The Air Venturi Nomad packs both compressor and power supply into
a box about the size of a canned beverage 12-pack.

Air Venturi Nomad

Like the Traveler, the Nomad is a portable unit that runs just peachy on 12-volt or 120-volt systems so use it at home or take it on the road. I would describe the Nomad as slightly higher on the premium scale as it offers more features at its slightly higher $699.99 price point.

It comes with a canvas carrying case holding everything you need including the alligator clips for vehicle use. The Nomad II has a pressure gauge with an easy-to-set pressure dial. Just set the bugs at your desired pressure and the Nomad takes care of the rest. Do be sure to watch the filling process. You’re dealing with mega-pressures here so it’s always safer to make sure everything is working as expected. Unlike the Traveler, the Nomad divides power and “compressor on” functions between two buttons. When the unit is powered up, lights, cooling fans and status indicators operate. When ready to fill, press the second button.

There are a couple of additional features you won’t find on other portable models. A moisture drain allows discharge of water buildup. There’s also an oil fill port for silicone-based lubricant. The big difference is the internal power supply — everything you need for 120- or 12-volt operation is contained in the main unit.

Here’s the bottom line. These units are handy with a capital H. If you like shooting PCP small or big bore airguns, run, don’t walk to your nearest dealer and pick up your own infinite air supply.

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