by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
The Air Venturi Seneca Aspen precharged pneumatic air rifle.
This report covers:
- Trigger adjustment
- Scope mounting
- Accuracy test
- Air Arms domes on high power
- H&N Baracudas with 5.53mm heads on high power
- How is it going?
- JSB Jumbo Monsters on high power
- Low power
- Air Arms domes on low power
- JSB Monsters on low power
Today we begin testing the accuracy of the new Air Venturi Seneca Aspen PCP with a built-in pump. I am so glad I did the extensive velocity test in Part 3, because it set me up for today’s test. There are almost limitless combinations I can test with a multi-pump that is also a PCP and has two power levels. By the time you factor in different pellets and distances, the possibilities are staggering. I need to test the rifle for accuracy but eliminate most of the peripheral possibilities. I need to find an accurate pellet, which power level it works best on and the distances at which the rifle will perform.
I need to do all of that and then I need to write about it. So this accuracy test will be done in several sections. Today we are just getting started.
Before we get to that, though, there is the matter of adjusting the trigger. The rifle came to me set up with a single-stage trigger that breaks smooth and light. I did not want to change anything but the single-stage operation. I wanted to add a first stage, making the trigger two-stage. The manual told me to turn the first screw (located closest to the muzzle) counter-clockwise to increase the length of the first stage pull. It also told me this would move the location of the trigger blade forward. Well, I did it and nothing happened. Then I discovered there is no return spring in this part of the trigger mechanism. What happens when you turn the screw is the trigger flops around until contacting the release point. Without a spring to give a stage one this adjustment is useless, so I set it back the way it was and I will just work with a single-stage trigger
I also encountered a problem mounting the scope. None of my rings had bases small enough to grab the dovetail on top of the receiver. It’s very small, measuring just 0.458-inches across the rail at the top. Fortunately I have encountered this on some guns before and have developed a fix. I shim the jaws of the scope ring base with a thin shim that provides just enough bite to hold the rings securely. It works like a champ.
Remember — this rifle will come with a scope and rings. My test rifle didn’t have them because it has been used as a test gun by the Pyramyd Air staff for a long time. That’s why I am selecting a scope to mount.
I mounted a UTG Bug Buster 3-12X32 scope that doesn’t add much weight to the rifle. I mounted it in a set of one-inch UTG P.O.I. rings that Pyramyd Air doesn’t seem to carry. They have them in 30mm, but not the one-inch rings that a Bug Buster needs. The jaws on these rings are so precise that they grip tight with shims, which is why I used them.
With this small scope the rifle was easy to pump. I grabbed it at the pistol grip and the handle on the swinging forearm. Since today’s test was all done with pumping, this was important.
Now that the rifle is scoped, let’s begin the accuracy test. I read in Part 3 that high power is best (most powerful) at 2000 psi and low power is best at 2200 psi. The rifle was almost at 2000 psi, so I started the test on high power. I watched the onboard gauge and it was easy to keep the needle pointed at 2000 psi. It didn’t have to be exact, because the test I did in Part 3 showed that there is some room for error.
I shot off a rest with the rifle rested directly on a sandbag. Because this is a multi-pump and there were so many things to test, I shot 5-shot groups rather than 10.
I loaded single-shot for this entire test. I know that magazines often take away a little accuracy and I wanted to see the absolute best in this test.
Sight-in took 3 shots from 12 feet. Because I was using a Bug Buster I could run the scope at 12 power and still see crystal clear at that close distance.
Air Arms domes on high power
The first group was 5 .22-caliber Air Arms 16-grain domes that are very similar to JSB Exact Jumbo domes. They made a group that measures 0.10-inches between centers. It sounds great, but remember — this was shot at just 10 meters. At least we know the Aspen wants to shoot.
On high power the Aspen put 5 Air Arms 16-grain domes into one-tenth inch at 10 meters. A good start!
Following this group I adjusted the scope 7 clicks to the left. After that I didn’t adjust it again for the rest of the test.
H&N Baracudas with 5.53mm heads on high power
Next up were H&N Baracudas with 5.53mm heads. Five of them went into 0.087-inches at 10 meters. That was a very good result that I thought was worthy of the trime.
Okay, this is a good group — even for 10 meters. Five H&N Baracuda Match pellets went into 0.087-inches. I show trime with the dime, in case you forgot how small it is.
How is it going?
Well the Aspen is very easy to keep at an even pressure. so we are seeing all the accuracy it has to offer. Of course an owner can experiment with many other pellets to find the absolute best one, but I believe we are doing pretty good so far.
The rifle is a bear to pump — not because of the pump effort that is actually lower than many other multi-pumps, but because the pump arm swings out so far from the gun. It’s a real workout to operate!
The trigger is very nice. It’s so crisp that I forgive the lack of the first stage. But the bulk of the rifle is somewhat off-putting. It would be so much nicer if the stockwork wasn’t so bulky.
The Bug Buster is a great scope for the Aspen. It’s small enough to not add much weight, but powerful enough to really help with the accuracy.
I have been loading single-shot and it is a little difficult to get the pellet in the trough with the scope in the way. I will try the rifle with a magazine in the tests to come.
JSB Jumbo Monsters on high power
The last pellet I tested was the 25.39-grain JSB Jumbo Monster. Several readers wondered whether heavier pellets would be best in this rifle because it is pneumatic, so I thought I would give it a try. The first 5 pellets at high power made a group at 10 meters that measures 0.176-inches between centers. Now, that may sound small and, because this group is well centered, it may look good, but it’s the largest group of the three pellets tested on high power. We need to keep that in mind.
Five JSB Monster pellets made a 0.176-inch group at 10 meters.
Now it was time to try the Aspen at low power. From Part three I learned that the rifle likes to have 2,200 psi in the tank for each shot for low power shots, so that’s what I did. I shot the same pellets in the same order.
Air Arms domes on low power
On low power the Aspen put 5 Air Arms domes into 0.164-inches at 10 meters. This rifle just wants to shoot!
On low power the Aspen put 5 Air Arms domes into 0.164-inches 10 meters.
The next “group” is one I have been waiting for all my adult life. Five shots seem to have passed through a hole so close that I cannot measure any width between centers. What I am saying is that this group measures 0.0-inches across! There is no way to measure it, because all five pellets seem to have passed through the same hole. They probably didn’t. but with the tools I have I can’t measure any size. This is the group of 5 H&N Baracuda Match pellets shot on low power.
There probably is some size to this 5-shot group of Baracuda pellets, but I was unable to measure it. After the first shot I never saw the hole grow larger. I’m calling it a 0.0-inch 5-shot group. I think I have found the pellet this Aspen likes!
JSB Monsters on low power
The last group I shot was the largest of the test — 5 JSB Monsters shot on low power. It is somewhat vertical and measures 0.361-inches between centers. With most other air rifles that would be a good group, but not for the Aspen.
Five JSB Monsters went into 0.361-inches, when shot from the Aspen on low power. Not the pellet for the Aspen.
The Seneca Aspen is a very intriguing air rifle. I don’t think of it as a PCP, though it can be operated that way. And I will test it that way, I promise. But when you want the very best it can give, you control the pressure with pumping between shots because — you are the regulator.
I like the accuracy, the trigger, the quiet report and the fact that I can keep the gun right on the power curve where I want it. I don’t like the fat stock and the weight. The PCP operation I can do without, though I know it is the rifle’s greatest attraction.
As I hinted at the beginning, there are going to be a lot more tests of this rifle, because of all it can do. But I can tell you now that this is a very good air rifle. If it is something you want, I wouldn’t hesitate to put in my order.