Air Venturi Seneca Aspen precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Seneca Aspen PCP
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
  • Screamer!
  • JSB Monsters on low power
  • Impressions
  • Summary

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.

Trigger adjustment

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

Scope mounting

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.

Accuracy test

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.

Aspen AA high power group
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.

Aspen Baracuda high power group
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.

Aspen Monster high power group
Five JSB Monster pellets made a 0.176-inch group at 10 meters.

Low power

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!

Aspen AA low power group
On low power the Aspen put 5 Air Arms domes into 0.164-inches 10 meters.

Screamer!

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.

Aspen Baracuda low power group
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.

Aspen Monster low power group
Five JSB Monsters went into 0.361-inches, when shot from the Aspen on low power. Not the pellet for the Aspen.

Impressions

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.

Summary

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.

55 thoughts on “Air Venturi Seneca Aspen precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 4

  1. B.B.,

    Very promising accuracy at longer ranges. Looks like they ticked off every box in the armchair engineer’s checklist except for weight (there has to be a compromise somewhere!). Here’s to hoping that the accuracy is consistent at the longer ranges.

    Siraniko



  2. B.B.,

    I have already exceeded my pellet gun budget this year, if the accuracy of this gun holds up at 25 and 50 yards I will need to get a waiver. There are just too many new guns comming out lately to keep up with and some classics I still would like.

    Now that you know the fill pressures and the pump works fine, take a break and fill from a tank. Like you said there is way too many combinations to test by pumping. After the multitude of tests you can go back and check the top ones with pumping.

    It looks like the Aspen is going to be another top pick.

    Don


  3. B.B.,

    Very nice. Congratulations on the 1 hole group. Bummer on the dove tail width. Looking forwards to what this can do further out.

    Q: If this were a single stage pump, (with the on board tank),….. could this rifle perform the same? I think not. The 3 stage is required to build the higher pressures,.. to power the valve,… and get the higher velocities and power.

    What prompted the question? Dropping some weight and reducing the bulk,… while still having a top off pumper.

    Good Day to one and all,…… Chris


  4. B.B.

    Congratulations on the 0″ group! Hope version 2.0 of the Air Venturi Seneca Aspen will address the trigger return spring and find a way to make the gun easier to cock. Maybe a redesigned stock? Sounds worthy of a 2.0 version!

    -Y


  5. BB,

    Nice shooting!

    It is really a shame that I really do not have a room available for this poor ugly girl, because she sure can cook. The truth is I am looking at shrinking my collection of “modern” air rifles because I am not shooting them. I am hoping to pick up an old pistol or two.


  6. BB

    Very impressive accuracy so far.

    I am interested in the shim you used to mount the Bugbuster on the too narrow dovetail. A closeup picture would be helpful.

    Thanks for this attention grabbing report.

    Deck


    • Deck,

      I purposely didn’t publish a picture of the shim because the last time I did publish one there was a lot of criticism. That gun worked — but several folks didn’t like what I had to do to make it work.

      But next time I write about the Aspen I will try to sho the shim. It’s tight under the jaws of the mount, but I think it will show clearly.

      B.B.


  7. B.B.,

    Congratulations on that one-hole group! To allude to Humphrey Bogart/Sam Spade, “It’s the stuff dreams are made of.”

    This is one special air rifle, even more special if it is also accurate at 25 yards. I do think of it as a multipumper for all but extended shooting sessions. If I were a hunter, I would probably think differently about it, but for killing spinners and soda cans, I think of this as I would a sweet Benjamin or Sheridan with three pumps per plinking shot.

    I also have been envious of those with high-power, small caliber PCPs for their ability to “reach out.” This might fill that gap in my collection.

    Time to start saving up!

    Michael


  8. Congratulations on the one-pellet-hole group! This Seneca is an intriguing combination. An accurate, power adjustable, “regulated” self-contained rifle with a nice trigger. Something had to give, and that was weight and size. I could see one in my cabinet if I lived in a more rural area.
    Back to the size. I wonder if removing the PCP capability by using a much smaller air tank – enough for a two or three consistent shots – would shrink the unit enough. Nah! Diminishing returns.
    A question on the rail – you said 0.458” which is more than the nominal 11mm. What is the expected range for those rails?
    Henry




        • Henry,

          When Dan Bechtel, the founder of B-Square, drafted me to help measure dovetail width for his airguin mounts, there was no standard way of doing it. So he devised a way. We used 1mm wire (it may have been 1.5mm, it’s been so long that I have forgotten) inserted into each side of the dovetail and measured side-to-side, across the tops of the wires. That’s when we discovered that some dovetails were cut on a 45 degree angle and others were cut on a 60 degree angle. There may have been other angles beside those. We wound up with a chart that showed that no company cut “11 mm dovetails” like any other company. Some were as small as 9.5mm and others like BSA and CZ well larger than 14mm.

          B.B.



  9. Impressive, VERY impressive!!

    Curious – Does the Aspen have any PCP relatives? Think that an “Aspen”, minus the pump would make an excellent platform for a PCP. Change the stock, add a larger reservoir and a regulator (and a spring for the trigger).

    …Darn “armchair engineers” can’t leave anything alone eh! 🙂

    Nice shooting B.B.!! The Aspen and a can of pellets – smear some honey on the fence-post and spend a couple of hours shooting flies. Sounds like fun to me!

    Cheers,
    Hank


    • Hank,

      Yes, the company that makes the Aspen — Nova Vista, based in Macau, does make a straight PCP they call the Liberty. I’m testing one now for Firearms News. I can’t report on it here because the U.S. importer is a competitor of Pyramyd Air.

      That rifle gets filled to the same 3,350 psi. I haven’t shot it for accuracy yet and the test gun has a slow leak that I am managing to work around.

      B.B.


  10. Wow. This is very bad. I have planned to purchase the Sig ASP 20 when it finally arrives at PA but now I’m thinking I may have to put this on the short list of air rifles to purchase. By the way, one correction needed – under the Baracuda pellet test, you left out a zero in the group size – .87″ instead of .087″. You did give the correct group size for the photo caption. I base this on the narrative that you said was “worthy of the trime”.

    Happy weekend to all except to those of us who are retired. Every day is a weekend!

    Fred formerly of the DPRoNJ now in GA



  11. To All,

    Had a shipment of pellets from Pyramyd Air that were expected to be delivered Saturday and I was home all day but never saw or heard the UPS truck come thru. Checked the tracking and the data showed the package as delivered. Yikes.

    Wanted to thank Pyramyd Air for some excellent customer service in getting the matter fixed, another shipment is on the way. Best part, Pyramyd Air takes care of dealing with UPS over the loss of my original shipment.

    So if a shipment goes missing there is no need to go to UPS just contact Pyramyd Air and no worries.

    PS,
    My first mention of this issue is over here, it only took till now due to the holiday;
    https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2018/11/johnson-indoor-target-gun-part-1/#comment-429437

    Mike


    • Mike,

      Did you go to the UPS web site and enter the tracking number? The pellets still may have been delivered to your nearest UPS store. Look through each step in the tracking to see if they were in fact delivered to your address. Unless you live in the city I doubt anyone would have taken them from your home.


      • Geo,

        The tracking data shows delivered, left at front door.

        Pyramyd Air customer service also verified that UPS says it was delivered to my door. Bottom line Pyramyd Air has shipped a new order and my pellets should be here Thursday, this time with signature required.

        Where the original order is, is unknown, perhaps delivered to the wrong house.

        PA and UPS will have to sort that one out, as for me I am happy.

        Mike



  12. B.B.,
    Really nice group! Actually all of them are very respectable for the rifle price range.
    Please use a backer when you shoot the longer range accuracy groups.
    It will prove you got a 0.0 beyond a shadow…of readers doubts
    You need to frame that target!
    Great test looking forward to longer range accuracy demo!
    shootski




      • BB,
        My guess is that sweet fill spot will go up or down a bit depending on the hammer setting, and either give either more power, or more conservation of air. There is a guy reportedly getting 40fpe with one, but that has got to be very inefficient.


      • BB
        If you get the chance could you identify the factory hammer spring setting on the Seneca. I messed with mine a little turning it in and out but I thought it only had about two turns of adjustment. Turns out to be about five and I lost track of the factory set.

        They suggest that one full turn may be needed after 3,000 shots to make up for spring fatigue so I don’t want to waste it screwing it in too tight.

        Bob M



  13. Have you heard any rumors about this rifle coming out in .25? Don’t get me wrong .22 work just fine, but I’m looking for this to come out in .25 as my “truck” gun.


Leave a Reply