by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Seneca Dragonfly
Air Venturi Seneca Dragonfly multi-pump air rifle.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • The focus
  • Pumping
  • Pump effort
  • Velocity
  • Test 1. Crosman Premier lite
  • Test 2. Crosman Premier lite
  • Test 3. Two other pellets
  • JSB Exact Heavy
  • RWS Hobby
  • Seating pellets
  • Pump lever noise
  • Storing the rifle with air
  • Summary

Today we look at the velocity of the Seneca Dragonfly multi-pump rifle. There certainly is a lot of interest in this air rifle. Some have noted its similarity with the Diana Stormrider and wonder if the Dragonfly can be considered a precharged pneumatic with a built-in pump. Others are quick to point out this rifle is made in China by Snow Peak Airguns (SPA).

Several readers could not envision the pump arm of the rifle from the picture I posted, so here is a side view.

Seneca Dragonfly
Air Venturi Seneca Dragonfly side view.

The focus

While it’s nice to know the lineage of the rifle, my interest is how well the Dragonfly performs. Reader Benji-Don sent me his impressions of the rifle, which I will start sharing with you today. This is velocity day, so that’s where we will start.

These are Don’s general comments about the rifle.

“Out of the box it looks good, quality and fit of parts looks good. All wood and metal is good. Weight is a little heavier than expected but holds well in a compact rifle. Wood has a nice finish and bluing on barrel and tube is nice. I like it. Only the front sight and trigger guard are plastic. It feels solid.”

Pumping

The Dragonfly has to be cocked to accept a charge of air. In that respect it is like the Sheridan Supergrade I am testing, and I assume the maintenance procedures in the Sheridan manual will also apply to the Dragonfly — namely that pumping without the action being cocked will blow dirt out of the valve.

Pump effort

Here is what Don says about the pump effort.

“It is not as easy to pump as I would have hoped. Based on the pump dimensions it must have a small valve volume.”

Don is being kind. The first pump stroke is fairly easy, but starting with stroke 2, the effort builds fast. Here is what I recorded on the bathroom scale.

Stroke……..Effort lbs.
1…………….17
2…………….34
3…………….42
4…………….46
5…………….46
6…………….46
7…………….46
8…………….46

The pumping effort is hard, as Don says, but there is a “secret” to keeping it as low as possible. Back when Daystate made their multi-pump Sportsman Mark II, I had to learn this trick or not be able to pump the rifle all 5 times (with the Sportsman Mark II, 5 pumps was the max.). Pumps 4 and 5 for that rifle took 77 lbs. of effort, which was compounded by the fact that the rifle was a sidelever instead of an underlever.

The secret is to not force the lever too fast. If you keep continuous pressure on it instead of trying to pump fast it will peak and hold there. All multi-pumps I have tested do this.

Velocity

What do you get for all your effort? Let’s see.

Test 1. Crosman Premier lite

First up was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite pellet.

Pumps…………Velocity
3…………………647
4…………………663
5…………………717
6…………………740
7…………………770 no air remaining in gun
8…………………779 no air remaining in gun

Test 2. Crosman Premier lite

This is a quick check of the numbers obtained in the first test.
Pumps…………Velocity…….Energy
7…………………771…………10.43
3…………………644…………7.28
5…………………727…………9.27

Test 3. Two other pellets

 

JSB Exact Heavy

Next up was the 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavy.

Pumps…………Velocity…….Energy
3…………………573…………7.54
5…………………651…………9.73
8…………………707…………11.48

RWS Hobby

Now, lets see some speed! The 7-grain RWS Hobby pellet is one of the fastest lead pellets around.

Pumps…………Velocity…….Energy
3…………………665…………6.88
5…………………756…………8.89
8…………………831…………10.74

Seating pellets

The Dragonfly’s single-shot pellet trough makes loading easy. But there a step inside the breech. Round-nosed pellets fed well but wadcutter Hobbys got hung up. Here is what Don said.

“The leade is rough and it is hard to push the bolt and seat the pellet.”

Pump lever noise

The pump lever clacks loudly when it’s closed with every pump. To quiet it,  a thin pad of cushioning material between the lever and pump tube might do the trick. If you plan to stalk game, pump the gun before you begin.

Trigger pull

The Dragonfly trigger is single stage and very nice. The pull stacks at the end, giving a false two-stage feel, but it pulls through the heavy weight unpredictably. I will be able to use this trigger as it comes from the box. Read what Benji-Don said.

“The trigger is not bad but not good either. It is almost like a two stage trigger but the second stage is not predictable and has a long pull. I think the trigger has an adjustment screw. It looks like it from the parts diagram. The trigger tends to pull the gun to the left when it fires. It also has more kick than I would have expected. I think the hammer spring is stronger than is necessary. With one pump in the gun, If the hammer is let off holding the bolt it will release the valve. I may open it up and see if some moly and an adjustment will help the trigger.”

The safety is positive and crisp. It is easy to put on and take off. Here is what Don said.

“The safety is excellent. It is manual. It is firm and solid and it is outside of the trigger guard. That is just the way I like them.”

Storing the rifle with air

Don wrote a comment about storing his rifle with air. Here is what he said.

I need to put two pumps in the gun for storage. The hammer spiring opens the valve on one pump.”

I had not tried leaving air in the gun until this point. Now I filled it with one pump and uncocked the gun. Two hours later the air was still in the gun, so my Dragonfly performs differently than Don’s.

Summary

So far the Dragonfly is looking like a good multi-pump. We test accuracy next, and I plan to test it with the open sights that came on the gun.