Air Venturi Seneca Aspen Part 2

Air Venturi Seneca Aspen Part 2

The PCP air rifle that goes it alone

By Dennis Adler

The scope that comes with the Aspen is a fairly good optic but the gun can be outfitted with any number of sights to enhance its long range accuracy. The receiver is drilled and tapped and has a built-in 11mm rail for scope mounts.

The Air Venturi Seneca Aspen is offered in 4.5mm (.177), 5.5mm (.22), or 6.35mm (.25) caliber models. The .22 is an ideal gun to take on small game hunting trips or just as a plus one for your hunting gear. There are certain advantages to a very quiet, high velocity air rifle in the field.

The Aspen provides a number of options, the number of shots vs. number of pumps to maintain ideal psi for single or multiple rounds, as well as psi firing modes, there are two, High and Low, the latter providing more shots without pumping up the air pressure as often, but still with an average of 750 fps with .22 caliber pellets (within the set psi range). read more


Air Venturi Seneca Aspen Part 1

Air Venturi Seneca Aspen Part 1

The PCP air rifle that goes it alone

By Dennis Adler

The Air Venturi Seneca Aspen is a pretty large air rifle weighing 8 pounds but capable of 10 shots (in .177 and .22 caliber) at velocities over 900 fps. This self-contained precharged pneumatic is the first of its kind, at least in this century…

Dedicated air rifle hunters and competitive shooters know that PCP stands for Precharged Pneumatic. And that means superior velocity and accuracy for hunting small game or precision target shooting. A PCP is capable of much more than 12 gram CO2-powered air rifles or even those with larger 88 gram CO2 cylinders. A PCP also allows sustained firepower while traditional single shot break barrel spring piston, gas piston, or pump guns only allow one shot. This is a topic I have not spent any time writing about in Airgun Experience because this column is more focused on handguns than rifles, and always on guns that are self contained. Simply, precharged means you must have a source to put air (not CO2) in the rifle or pistol’s reservoir. This is traditionally done with either a compressor or a scuba tank. It can also be done, quite laboriously, with specially designed hand pumps, which is the only way to make a precharged pneumatic air rifle portable enough for use in the field away from any lightweight means of recharging the air supply. The hand pump is actually a very old solution because precharged pneumatic air rifles were developed in the late 18th century! read more


Model 1911 Variations Part 3

Model 1911 Variations Part 3

The shape of the past, present and future

By Dennis Adler

It comes down to four guns that embody four different styles of 1911. The Umarex Colt licensed Commander was the standard against which other CO2 models were judged for several years due to its superior fit, finish, and accuracy. This has been challenged by guns like the Swiss Arms TRS that has all the features most people wished were on the Commander (though not everyone wants a Rail Gun), the Air Venturi John Wayne is totally retro, which appeals to 1911 purists, while the Sig Sauer is the best possible combination of features, as taken directly from Sig’s own .45 ACP 1911 models. But with this version, you have to be into making a bold statement with the look of a handgun, caliber notwithstanding.

With all four guns using the same self-contained CO2 BB magazine design and similarly based blowback action firing systems, one might expect that all four will have approximately the same average velocity and accuracy with their respective 5-inch smoothbore barrels. Allowing a + or – 5 fps for average velocity between guns, they should all be around 300 to 310 fps. Where I expect to see some difference is in accuracy at 21 feet due to varying internal tolerances, sight and barrel regulation (which too few blowback action CO2 pistols have), and, of course, different triggers. They are all hammer-fired designs but even there, hammer design can have an influence. This will be a proof of the sum total of parts used for each gun. The price spread for all four guns is from a low of $99.95 for the Sig Sauer to $109.99 for the Colt Commander and Swiss Arms TRS, and a high of $119.99 for the John Wayne (the higher price is reflected in the John Wayne name, licensing rights and use of the trademark signature). read more


Model 1911 Variations Part 2

Model 1911 Variations Part 2

The shape of the past, present and future

By Dennis Adler

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, well you shouldn’t judge a 1911 (.45 ACP or CO2) by its very familiar profile, either. These four guns, the John Wayne WWII commemorative, Umarex Colt Commander, Swiss Arms TRS and Sig Sauer WE THE PEOPLE have little in common other than being based on the 1911. How many differences can you spot?

This is a familiar picture for me with four different 1911 models being compared, because I have done it several times in the past with .45 ACP models and the results are just as telling with centerfire guns as they are with CO2 pistols. Of course, consider that there is an entire industry out there that builds custom components for the centerfire Model 1911, virtually upgrading every part of the guns from the inside out, and for every conceivable purpose from military and law enforcement tactical use, to competition pistols that barely resemble a 1911, and everything in between, just to meet the demands of consumers devoted to the Model 1911. Within the handful of top end CO2 models you can actually get some of that, but it is almost entirely on the outside, with very little changed on the inside. read more


Model 1911 Variations Part 1

Model 1911 Variations Part 1

The shape of the past, present and future

By Dennis Adler

This is where it all began in 1911 when the Colt .45 ACP was adopted as the official sidearm of the U.S. military. The early John M. Browning design for Colt bore Browning’s Apr 20 1897, Sept 5 1902, December 19 1905, February 11 1911, and Aug 19 1913 patent dates. Guns built through 1924 had the flat mainspring housing and longer trigger. (Military magazines had lanyard loops as well as the base of the grip frame.)

Shared design does not mean shared performance, or shared accuracy. This is true in the world of centerfire pistols and true in the world of blowback action CO2 pistols.

If there is one gun that epitomizes this statement, one handgun that has seen more variations, mechanical upgrades (internally and externally) and a greater variety of uses than any other, from a military side arm to a world class competition pistol, it is the Colt Model 1911. I honestly can’t even say “Colt” Model 1911 anymore because there have been so many 1911 models that have nothing to do with the Colt’s Patent Fire-Arms Mfg. Co., other than a shared design. read more


First Test: Springfield XDM CO2 Part 4

First Test: Springfield XDM CO2 Part 4

Point of Aim

By Dennis Adler

Green means go and with the LaserMax Spartan green laser you can go for the tight groups at POA with the Springfield Armory XDM 4.5 CO2 model.

There is little more that I can say about the new Air Venturi Springfield Armory XDM 4.5 that will help better define it as the new benchmark in blowback action CO2 air pistols. Yes, there are blowback action CO2 models that have higher average velocity, but another 25 to 50 fps isn’t going to make a significant difference when the cost of that higher velocity is a loss in hands-on performance. While there are certainly other CO2 models that are as realistic in their overall design as the Springfield, they can only make that claim from the left side of the gun, the right side of the slide and frame have white lettering and manufacturing marks that instantly defines them as air pistols, even the very best of them (except the Umarex Glock 17). Only the Springfield has achieved near 100 percent authenticity in every category of comparison to its centerfire counterpart. Why not 100 percent? Because no matter how brilliantly disguised the manual safety is, the fact that it has a manual safety in the first place, is a departure from the centerfire pistol design. It is a strange point of contention but the requirements of CO2 semi-auto air pistol manufacturing require a manual safety be added if the design of the centerfire gun it is based upon does not incorporate one. The XDM CO2 model has managed to comply without any other compromises and close enough in my book compared to every other blowback action model currently offered today. read more


First Test: Springfield XDM CO2 Part 3

First Test: Springfield XDM CO2 Part 3

“Everything you want in a blowback action pistol”

By Dennis Adler

Rarely can you look at the right side of a blowback action CO2 pistol and not know that it is an airgun due to the white letter safety warnings and manufacturer’s marks. With the centerfire Springfield Armory XDM 4.5 models having a black polymer frame and flat black finish slide, correctly duplicating it for the Air Venturi .177 caliber models guaranteed an air pistol with totally authentic looking fit and finish. Even with the small details.

I have said those words so many times in the past, “everything you want…” and every time it was true within the context of when it was said. But even the best of the lot in .177 caliber blowback action pistols with self-contained CO2 BB magazines, have suffered minor imperfections, and in the overall scheme of things CO2, they were nothing more than minor irritants, almost entirely limited to mandatory warnings in white letters marring otherwise pristinely authentic frames and slides. The first gun to break the mold, the Umarex Glock 17, suffered instead from being a design that could not be field stripped (and Umarex may correct that with the forthcoming Glock 17 Gen4). read more