Seneca Double Shot air shotgun: Part 1
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Fast second shot
- Let’s review
- Sub-1 crossbow
- Reality of bow hunting
- How many shots?
- What it shoots
- Is this for you?
I usually just review the products and leave my personal opinions out — or I try to weave them in under the radar. Not today. I first saw today’s subject airgun, the Seneca Double Shot air shotgun at the 2018 SHOT Show. I looked at it and then showed it to Rossi Morreale on American Airgunner, all the while wondering — WHY? What possible use is there for a double-barreled air shotgun? Then Val Gamerman, the president of Pyramyd Air, told me. The extra barrel gives you a fast second shot.
Fast second shot
That second barrel gives you a quick second shot at a deer or other large game animal, when you are using Air Venturi Air Bolts. Nuff said! That is a real reason for owning a double-barreled air shotgun.
Before I describe this airgun let’s look at some past articles that have brought us to this point. First there was my review of the Seneca Wing Shot air shotgun. There are just two parts to that review because I treated the report of the Air Venturi Air Bolts as a separate subject. But, if you read that report you’ll see that the Wing Shot was at the heart of it.
We learned that the Air Bolt is an arrow (or bolt, as they are called by crossbow shooters) that fires much faster than any crossbow can. And they are accurate. Rossi Morreale shot a Robin Hood at the 2016 Texas Airgun Show while sighting in his Wing Shot for an upcoming pig hunt. That’s where the point of an arrow hits an arrow in the target and splits it.
And there is one more report that you should consider. I also tested and later bought the Sub-1 crossbow. I initially did it because my experience with the Air Bolts compelled me to learn what a true crossbow was like. And the Sub-1 isn’t just any crossbow. It is the most accurate crossbow on the market today, with the possibility of shooting three bolts into a group that’s smaller than one inch at 100 yards! Not that I ever did it, but it has been done.
I found the Sub-1 extremely accurate, but at a cost of about double that of the Wing Shot. It isn’t as powerful, but with a crossbow, power isn’t everything. The bolts they fire are so heavy (400+ grains) that when they hit they keep on going — right into the boiler room of a large game animal, if they strike in the right place.
Reality of bow hunting
With an arrow, the animal has time to move after it hears the shot. This move is instinctive and triggered by sound. The Sub-1 puts arrows out at around 350 f.p.s. The Wing Shot is about 200+ f.p.s. faster. Even so, it isn’t so fast that the target doesn’t have time to move. Stealth and patience are still the name of the game when hunting with any kind of bow — even an airbow!
Okay, enough background. Let’s get to it. What’s this Double Shot like?
The Double Shot is a side by side double barreled precharged pneumatic shotgun that weighs 8.55 lbs. That’s heavy for a shotgun, so if you are a scattergunner there will be some getting-used-to time ahead. They claim a velocity of 450 f.p.s. with Air Bolts, so the gun has been tamed from the Wing Shot to get more shots per fill.
There is a single trigger, so the selector mechanism on top of the gun lets you switch between barrels. The action is cocked by a bolt on the right side of the action that is pulled straight to the rear each time you want to shoot. So, to fire both barrels you set the switch to either the left or right barrel, cock the gun and fire, then switch barrels with the selector, cock and fire again. With practice it takes seconds.
The selector for which barrel fires is on top of the receiver. You can rotate either knurled knob to select to barrel and a line (arrow) tells you which barrel is going to fire. This photo also shows the knurled sliding breeches for loading balls or shotshells.
The gun has a pretty wood buttstock and forearm that many people commented on at the SHOT Show. It looks like a fine English double with its straight buttstock that has no hint of a pistol grip. It also handles like one, though the weight does slow it down.
There is a brass bead up front for rough sighting
How many shots?
The specs say you get up to 5 powerful shots per fill. That would agree with what I saw from the Wing Shot. However, since this is a double barreled gun, why not just go with 4 shots per fill? That will help you with air management, because its twice through both barrels. Naturally there is an air gauge in the forearm to tell you where the fill is. And this gun fills to 3,000 psi, so a survivalist can fill it with a hand pump. The rest of you may recoil in disbelief when I say that, but you have to remember — this gun isn’t for plinking.
What it shoots
The Double Shot is a smoothbore airgun, so it is ideally suited to shoot shot. Each barrel has a removable choke that’s taken off to load Air Bolts and shoot round balls, but put on for shotshells. You can also add the special longer and tighter 12.2mm chokes that Pyramyd Air provides that are supposed to give 10 percent tighter groups. I may have to try them for you.
Shot is available in a variety of loads that include a long shotshell loaded with number 8 shot, a long shell loaded with number 6 shot and an empty shell you can load with whatever you prefer. The specs say to expect up to 1,130 f.p.s. with shot.
The Double Shot also shoots .50-caliber round balls up to a velocity of 600 f.p.s. Accuracy will be less than with an Air Bolt, but out to 30 yards it ought to do the job. I will test it for you.
And of course the Double Shot also fires Air Bolts at up to 450 f.p.s. I think that is it’s strong suit, but a hunter will probably want to use all three types of ammo in this most versatile hunting airgun.
Is this for you?
Some of you have patiently read today’s report, all the while saying to yourselves, “This is not for me.” I get that. Air shotguns are not for every airgunner and this double barreled one certainly isn’t. It’s not a bragging-rights airgun, though you will certainly surprise and maybe even shock your shooting friends when you bring it out.
No, this airgun is for hunters — hunters of larger game, mostly. I’m going to test all the features, except wingshooting that I’m horrible at.
We are looking at a big bore airgun that’s not for everybody. It’s also unique in the airgun world. This is a step outside everybody’s comfort zone, and I am looking forward to it.