Air Venturi Seneca Aspen .25-caliber 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:

  • Interest
  • Oiling the pump head
  • Not changing the scope today
  • Shooting at 2700 psi
  • The test
  • Benjamin domes on low power
  • Benjamin domes on high power
  • Predator Polymag on high power
  • JSB Exact King on high power
  • JSB Exact King on low power
  • Discussion
  • Pumping is easier
  • Summary

Interest

Wow! We didn’t get many comments on Part 3, but those who did comment had a lot to say. Reader shootski wants me to try 5 shots at 2700 psi, maintained by the onboard pump. He said I could pick whether to shoot on high or low power. Tyler Patner told me to try JSB King pellets. Bob M wants me to change the scope. And August reminded me that the pump head may need to be oiled more frequently.

Today I am going to do everything you readers have suggested. This is still not the 25 yard accuracy test, though I will be shooting from that distance again.

Oiling the pump head

I started by oiling the pump head with silicone oil, like August recommended. It did look dry when I started. That made the rifle ready to go.

Not changing the scope today

Bob, I’m going to run today’s tests with the 4X32 AO scope that came with the rifle. I do this to maintain the consistency in testing from the last time. Otherwise, if we see way different results today, we won’t know whether they are due to the scope change or to some other factor in today’s test. I will say more about this later in this report.

Shooting at 2700 psi

Reader shootski’s idea of shooting at one pressure seemed good to me, mainly because of what we saw when testing the .22 caliber Aspen. I went with his suggestion of 2700 psi and tried to maintain it for every shot.

Shootski said I could either choose high power or low for this test, so I did both. Since the last test was shot with Benjamin domes, that’s what I used today, just for consistency.

The test

I shot indoors from 25 yards. The rifle was rested on a sandbag. All shooting was done single shot. I will give you all the other specifics with each target I shoot.

Benjamin domes on low power

The rifle was set on low power, so that’s what I shot on the first target. I discovered that it took 4 pump strokes to maintain pressure within 100 psi of 2700. My group is 5 shots in a very vertical 0.896-inches at 25 yards. I called shot number 3 a pull that went high, but another pellet went into the same hole and there were no other called pulls. I saw the shot that went high and it is the highest one seen here. But there is definitely a second pellet in that hole.

Aspen Benjamin group low power
The Seneca put 5 Benjamin domes into a 0.896-inch group at 25 yards when shot on low power.

Benjamin domes on high power

Next I switched to high power to try the Benjamin domes again. This time it took 5 pump strokes to maintain the pressure. I got another vertical group but this one was 0.649-inches between centers. As before, three shots are in a lower group with two landing above. This group isn’t so bad. I just wish it wasn’t so vertical. And the point of impact didn’t change very much from low power to high.

Aspen Benjamin group high power
On high power the Aspen put 5 Benjamin domes into a vertical 0.649-inch group at 25 yards.

I’m going to hold the discussion of the groups until the end of today’s testing, because there are too many things I don’t know yet. Now, let’s look at some different pellets.

Predator Polymag on high power

The next pellet I tested was the Predator Polymag pellets on high power. Five of them went into 0.510-inches at 25 yards. That’s a pretty good group for this .25 Aspen! Yes, I see the smaller group of three in this group, but I will hold off commenting on that today. I will explain in a bit.

Aspen Polymag group low power
On high power the Aspen put 5 Predator Polymags into a vertical 0.510-inch group at 25 yards. Now, that’s a group!

I didn’t shoot Polymags on low power, but after the entire test was over and I examined all the targets, I wish I had. This turned out to be the best group of the test. I was anxious to get to the JSB Exact Kings that Tyler recommended.

JSB Exact King on high power

The next group was 5 JSB Exact King pellets shot on high power. They went into 0.794-inches, with three very close together in 0.279-inches at 25 yards. This was a vertical group, too.

Aspen King group high power
Five JSB Exact Kings went into 0.794-inches at 25 yards, with three in just 0.279-inches.

Okay, that was tantalizing, without any definite resolution. What about low power?

JSB Exact King on low power

On low power 5 JSB Exact Kings went into 0.678-inches, with 4 in an incredible 0.221-inches. This time the group was horizontal for the first time in today’s testing.

Aspen King group low power
Five JSB Exact Kings went into 0.678-inches at 25 yards, with four in just 0.221-inches.

Discussion

Today’s test results are confusing and also tantalizing. It looks like this .25-caliber Aspen wants to shoot, but something always gets in the way. I still don’t know what it is, but there is something I want to do to try to find out.

I think Bob M might have been onto something when he suggested trying a different scope. I noticed this time that it was difficult for me to tell exactly where I was aiming. I could have been off the center of the bull by as much as half an inch at times. It may have just been my eyes today, but since the results downrange are so similar to those from Part 3, I want to mount a scope of sufficient power to prove this isn’t the problem.

I am not blaming the scope for these results — not yet, anyhow. I just can’t see the aim point clearly enough (due to the low magnification, not because of clarity) to know that it isn’t the scope.

My plan for the next test is to shoot the re-scoped rifle from 25 yards, using JSB King pellets and Predator Polymags. If I can get better groups, we will know it’s the scope. I also want to test Predator Polymags on low power. I have a hunch Polymags may just be the best pellets of all, but I need to test them when I’m sure I’m aiming correctly.

If I can get some really decent 5-shot groups next time I do plan on shooting 10 shots, as well. I just don’t want to waste the time and effort shooting 10 if I already know at 5 shots that the group is too large.

Pumping is easier

I must comment that the pumping the Aspen is becoming easier. Like I mentioned in an earlier report, I think the pump mechanism just needs to break in, and this one is starting to.

Summary

If the next test produces similar results to these we see today, I will end the test. I know the .22-caliber Aspen can shoot well and I have left the scope mounted, so maybe I will take it out to 50 yards, but I’m not taking this rifle out that far unless it can shoot smaller groups at 25 yards.

76 thoughts on “Air Venturi Seneca Aspen .25-caliber precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 4

  1. B.B.,

    In previous evaluations for accuracy, notably in springers, you have shown that when there is a tendency to have two impact points it is usually a problem of the shooter not being able to concentrate on the target and consistently hold the rifle. The 4x scope does not give a precise aiming point as a scope with higher magnification. For most end users the accuracy you have obtained might be good enough though. This is not a bench rifle yet since it is a PCP we are asking for accuracy. You might want to check if there are any loose nuts and screws too.

    Siraniko



  2. B.B.,

    Looking forwards to the re-scoped next test. The fine etched glass lines and the ability to adjust magnification are just too awesome, when compared to a thicker reticle line.

    Good Day to you and to all,………….. Chris


    • Chris
      I bet if you was shooting at a black circle you would be better off with the thicker reticle. That helps your eye and brain have more places to pick up on to help center the reticle to the black circle. Heck it might even help on a orange circle.

      Something tells me you focus looking at where the horizontal and vertical reticle lines intersect then on the target circle. I focus on the diameter of the circle and then center the reticle if that makes sense.


      • This is where the illuminated reticle shines, especially in low light situations like in the basement indoor range. I use a black bull but use the illumination on a low setting, either red or green. This works very well for me. Works well on a black bird also. I know you are not a fan of illuminated reticles but they do help sometimes.


        • Geo
          I have had scopes with illuminated reticles. I like them. But they go a little overboard with like 32 colors or whatever it is.

          And yes very much so reticle color can make a difference for getting the reticle on target.

          Matter of fact I use to do some night shooting with a colored reticle. Fun stuff.


          • Totally agree…32 colors is over the top. My UTG scope has the “reticle of many colors”. My Hawke also has the illuminated reticle, but only in red or green. I usually choose the red with low illumination. I’ve never even tried the UTG with other than the standard red or green. See no advantage to messing with other colors. It must be a simple matter to add all those extra colors, that way UTG can market something different…not necessarily better. Spring is coming!

            Oh, and the UTG scope has an automatic power down in case I forget to turn it off. I’ve forgotten my Hawke’s illumination and then found I had to replace the battery. 🙁


            • Geo
              I think I like shooting more without the colors than with.

              To me it’s more about what or how you get use to sighting.

              I can shoot good with a thick or thin reticle and even with a dot sight.

              Now you just made me think of something. Wonder what a black dot sight would be like rather than the conventional red or green dot.

              There’s one to think about.


      • what I do when using a scope I think works very well. I get a 12″ paper plate and just draw a cross on the center from top to bottom side to side using a fine tip magic marker and a straight edge. . All you do is throw the reticle on the cross and fire. if you have a steady rest you cant go off. it is like have a black dot on a white background with the right front aperture sight fitting around it with a sliver of light showing


        • Mildot
          Yep that would be a very easy way to pick up on the target.

          What I’m getting at is if you got a real thick reticle. Then the target is black too.

          Why because that’s the closest point of my sighting devise to that particular target.

          Then how or what do you look at to get that reticle centered on that black dot.

          Maybe that thick reticle is almost as big as the diameter of the target dot. So where do you look to get that reticle centered on the target dot.

          I would see a pie shaped wedge in 4 places in a sense. What I’m getting at is you need to divide the target and sight up. Not just look at the center of the lines of the (+).

          Like the plus symbol I just gave. You don’t just look at the center of the reticle. You also look at the ( ) and center the + to that. I would center by looking at the 4 corners of the lines of the +.


          • Why?
            Because those 4 ends of the line are closer to the ( ). Which is our target.

            Now look at this again. (+) You can get a better aim point that way.

            Like this. Even with a thin line reticle you can’t see the center of the reticle. Let’s say I even got the scope up at 24 magnification.


          • I did say to use a paper plate which is white. make a cross /plus sign NO DOT. lay the cross hairs on it. if you have a thick reticle (which are not good for precise work) thicken the cross /plus lines. I have a thin sharpie and a thick one. black bulls to me are useless for a scope and intended for iron sights



              • Mildot
                Yep I see what you are talking about.

                What I’m getting at is say you got a can sitting out at a 100 yards with a black label. What do you have to reference your reticle on the can. You can’t use the center of the reticle. You have to use the 4 lines that extend past the cans silhouette. In that case a thicker reticle would work better. Well for me anyway.

                And that’s just a example. With a air gun you would more than likely need holdover. Unless of course you have your gun zeroed at a 100 yards.


  3. BB
    I will go along with your reasoning for staying with the scope shipped with the rifle. I stated that in an earlier blog. Lets see what you are getting in the package deal.

    Although you may be receiving the scope for free or as a substitute for the fixed sights I think a customer should be aware of the scope quality so as not be disappointed with the rifles performance when used with it. It is an attractive package deal for the price, that’s for sure, but it may not be compatible with the rifle for accuracy.

    I bought 5 of the China made 4x scopes on a special sale for $3.00 a piece ( No AO adjustment) and I assume these are made to the same standards. They have a place on rifles that you would not want to spend much, if any, money on for a scope but they may be far better than the open sights that came with it.

    The one you have isn’t that bad but may be a hinderance to that rifles accuracy. Especially at longer distances.
    Easy enough to find out with a quality scope swap.

    I wonder if everything but the barrel and bolt parts are the same as the 22 cal. including the air valve.
    Just may be the rifle works better in 22.
    Bob M


  4. BB,

    Have you considered that with all of that pumping on multiple Aspens that you may have increased your upper body strength? 😉

    I have to go along with Bob M’s reasoning that the very likely optimum design performance for this air rifle is .22. There are a few manufacturers out there who will build their air rifles in .177, .20 and .22 using the same setup but do their homework when they step it up to .25, however that requires time and money which not many wish to “waste”, most especially when the market is screaming for the .25 version.

    Of course, there could be another issue. Who made the barrel? How well did they make the barrel? I can remember the B40. You could get one that shot as good as a TX200 or you could get one that shot around corners as long as you were not picky about which corner it shot around. TCFKAC had issues with accuracy in the different calibers of the Marauder. There is not much difference between a really great barrel and a really lousy barrel.


  5. I wouldn’t trust any cheap scope PCP or not and as a rule i just go with UTG or Leapers whatever you want to call them I have a few and the only one that ever went bad was abuse from a new Hatsan 125 throwing the piston seal and perhaps got a little over tightened by me and lastly a fall off my fieldpod with a landing about as bad as it could have and until that crash it continued to function.

    My experience with bad kit scopes Hatsan and one other had me struggling losing zero and thinking the guns were the issue right up until i switched to my UTG 4-16×56 [the one i killed] and my problems went away. I am not a rabid brand loyalty type person my 17 hmr has a Barska 6-24×60 on it however its HB and has almost no recoil and only needs adjustment because of constant use, but i would not put that one on a springer. I am sure Hawke, MTC, Nikko Stirling or Aztec heck plenty of other scope brands are as good or better than UTG i am just poor & cheap so my goto is UTG.

    My point i would not evaluate any gun with other than a proven scope and mount though i understand its a set and time is also an issue. I know i got lucky with my mod 125 .25 as the bore is very good though every time i think about a new purchase in .25 pellet selection is an issue and i know i would feel a lot more secure choosing .25 if H&N made Barracuda match range head size selection in .25.

    First i was very excited about the ASP20 .22 in synthetic and now the Aspen in .25 though i have to say pellet selection will keep me in the .22 camp if it is not getting tight groups at 50yds i couldnt justify the purchase and i have seen a lot of evidence it can do so in the .22, but getting on with evaluations of my choices while the ASP20 performs well i dont see that it outperforms for instance an HW80 with an arguably superior trigger. OK plenty of things make the ASP the better choice not the least of them $$.
    Well i cant wait for the TR5! If i had a point put a bad scope on any rifle and all you will ever get is an evaluation of the scope. It may just be my opinion, but it seems to me the point of a .25 is power & accuracy 50yds + and if it cant hit 3/4″ kill zone dependably at that range it is useless.



    • “it seems to me the point of a .25 is power & accuracy 50yds + and if it cant hit 3/4″ kill zone dependably at that range it is useless.”

      Mike,

      Being hunting orientated I also look at a rifle from the “pellet in the kill zone” accuracy perspective but I don’t judge the rifle as to what it can do at some arbitrary range (like 50 yards).

      Instead I test the rifle for its maximum effective range (how far it has adequate accuracy, e.g. a 3/4″ KZ, and power for the job) and limit my shots to that range or less.

      I find that (usually, unless they are shooting from a bench) the shooter is the weak part of the equation as they can’t consistently hit a 3/4″ kill zone much beyond 30 yards anyway.

      So, IMHO, the weapon is perfectly fine and useful within its effective range whatever that range might be. If the maximum effective range is not suitable for your needs then you will need to look for something that is.

      My “thinking” is based on the low power weapons I have used over the years. My favorite bow is a home-made 52 pound maple self-bow with a maximum effective range of about 25 yards. Took lots of deer with it, mostly at 10 to 15 yards, and never felt disadvantaged using it – light and quiet, I preferred it to my compound bow or crossbow.

      Cheers,
      Hank


      • “My favorite bow is a home-made 52 pound maple self-bow with a maximum effective range of about 25 yards.”

        Hank, way cool! How about sharing a pic of that bad boy? =>


        • Dave,

          I should have said “was my favorite” – sold that bow to a guy where I used to work. Sorry, no picture available. Figured that being retired would give me lots of time to make a couple more.

          I am busy with slingshots (picture attached) and fly tying at the moment (too cold to work in the garage workshop where I can make a big mess) but I have about 15 bow staves waiting to be turned into bows once the weather improves. Just got a new bandsaw thats big and powerful enough for re-sawing chunks of log into lumber so bows are definitely on the agenda this spring.

          Cheers!
          Hank


      • Vana2,

        Thanks for the preview!!! I’m onboard totally.

        I shoot a target at either every five or ten yards/meters out to some maximum range from a Sinclair Rest. I follow that up with hand held (sling- no sling) three position, shooting (ski poles) sticks/tripod, bipod if so equiped, and finally from practical in-the-field rests. The targets are all then compared to find maximum range for that weapon/round/rest (no rest) combination. It takes a bit of work but I love shooting and working up a skill set and deep knowledge of a weapon; the prey deserves as much!

        shootski



  6. B.B.

    Five pumps per shot sounds pretty good to me – especially since there are multiple shots available and you can defer pumping until you have time. Something that I always wished I could do with my Crosman 101.

    Suggestion: To show cleaner pellet holes stick a piece of 2″ aluminum “duct tape” to the back of the target.

    I use the tape whenever I am sighting in or checking pellets. Since the tape has a paper backing, it is convenient to cut a couple a dozen “squares” and keep them in a ZIP-LOC bag for use, no need to carry a bulky roll around.

    Hank



  7. Siraniko,

    That depends on if she routinely raids your wallet, Lol!
    My wife used to do that all the time while I was active duty Navy; after we returned to the USA and I retired she finally had the chance to activate her high paying career…my wallet never gets raided now!
    She pays for everything! Life is good!

    shootski


  8. B.B.,

    Thank you for testing to my request.
    I’m still perplexed! Was it the low powered scope?
    You got vertical stringing on the: pump after each shot test. Where you pumping for all of the various pellet groups you shot? To include the JSB Exact Kngs? (The Polymag group tends to look circular to me. I know 10 shots would prove more enlightening; as well as way more work for you!)

    I’d like to think it is the valve being undersized for .25 caliber; that could be relatively easy to rectify. The fact that it appears to shoot better groups on low power to almost the same point of aim says, to me, the valve/hammer(striker) spring rates are off for .25 caliber. Increasing the plenum might also be an avenue. That’s why I’m perplexed with today’s blog results as you appear to be as well!

    Thanks again!
    You and your testing of the Aspen (in all calibers) still have my full attention,

    shootski



  9. BB
    After a little head scratching it dawned on me. The reason the FPS drops as the caliber increases is because the valve is the same size for all. The FPS would all be the same if each had a system and valve designed for each cal.

    Had to laugh, ” Why use a hunter pellet for target practice? ” The discussion today made my earlier point very clear.
    Find the best performing pellet from ones designed to give the desired results at the impact point. The dome design being the best all round pellet ( And most requested for testing ) has lost out to the Polymag in target printing.

    Now being called a Predator leads one to believe it was designed for hunting. Perhaps it has outperformed the dome all around?
    Functioning well in all the assorted weights, magazines, calibers and rifles may be another thing to consider for a comparison. And yes I do realize a lot of people just want the most accurate pellet for use in their rifle regardless of the intended outcome. But just as there are acceptable degrees of impact performance accuracy of other pellets may have acceptable ranges to get the job done.

    Bob M


    • Just found out. (HAM)
      FX is designing the smooth twist barrels for a very specific pellet to deliver the best accuracy. The 22 Cal is designed for use with the 18.13 grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy. Takes a lot of guess work out of finding one.

      Bob M



  10. I would imagine having 32 color variations for a scope reticle was just a simple side benefit of the dual red green selection switch design.
    Practical? perhaps not, but what the heck… Why not? Choice is good. I wonder if there is any benefit for color blind people?



      • BB
        Now that is a very practical reason for having that option.
        Got to wonder why that fact has been ignored, or at least overlooked, by the scope manufactures for sales.
        Bob M


        • Bob,

          It’s because most people aren’t colorblind — including the folks at Leapers. Equipment designers make control panels warnings with glowing red letters on black backgrounds and everything is invisible to me.

          There is a brief sequence in the movie “The Abyss” where the star has to disarm a nuclear warhead at the bottom of the ocean. All his white lights have broken from the pressure, so he uses yellow cyalume sticks for light and cannot differentiate the yellow wire with with the brown stripe from the white wire with the red stripe. That sequence is my life in a nutshell.

          B.B.


          • BB
            Perhaps that’s why lefties are often ignored too when it comes to guns and options, not much profit in the option.

            I do remember that movie sequence. You have to wonder why no one has come up with a light that would ‘reverse’ the effects on color blind people and let them see things as they are.
            I know there are special glasses that help correct color blindness and perhaps that’s just good enough.

            Did I just let another million dollar idea escape? Who knows maybe there is one out there. Or it too may not be profitable.
            Bob M


          • B.B.,

            That reminds me of the fun we always had with Student Naval Aviators when they wrote their GOUGE in red ink on their knee pads. On night training flights the use of red lights effectively removed their notes to the Land of the INVISIBLE! I also watched in training Operators mark their maps in red and wind up with no night vision or no read map…tough choice on a NIGHT OP when people are shooting for real!

            JUST proves that the 7 Ps are still important!

            shootski


            • Shootski,

              Is there any “magic bullet” for night driving glasses that you know of? I use clear yellow ones, non-mirrored, safety glasses. I find that they reduce glare, but the biggest thing I find is that normal return to clear vision is near instant after being blasted. I do not need scrips to drive.

              Chris


              • Chris USA,

                NO “Magic Bullet” if you are meaning headlight blasted. The best for that is to not look at them, old school information is to try to momentarily look at the white line on the right side (USA) of the road. I have found that CURRENT GENERATION anti reflective coatings on the inside and outside of clear, yellow, and orangish HIGH QUALITY coated lenses work to some degree. The key is to avoid low transmission (dark) lenses since they open your pupils wide. Then after the white headlights are gone to get the pupil to open back up quickly. Wearing really dark sunglasses (there are some Good Coated Sunglasses and helmet visors that are the cat’s meow) during daylight (even if bright overcast) hours preserves rohdopsin (sp?) In the eye’s the rods (low light vision) for good night vision. Also not looking directly at something avoids the Retina’s central sense Cone (daylight vision) area
                Breathing 100% Oxygen for 1/2 hour before night ops or landing an aircraft does seem like a Magic Bullet for up to an hour or so!

                Not much help!

                shootski


    • Bob,

      I might be wrong, but I think that simply varying the voltage to an LED will change the color through the entire spectrum. Done with resistors or in the case of the UTG scopes,… a rheostat type device.

      Chris


  11. Chris
    One time I asked a very talented aviation electrician a highly technological question and his reply was, ” Bob I can’t exactly figure that out myself and an instructor I had once called it all FM. ”

    The ‘M’ stands for Magic ….

    Two buttons control it all.


  12. B.B.
    I just wanted to say “thank you” for all your posts about Colt replicas from Umarex.
    I also really like the weathered Webley.
    My wife got me a PA gift certificate; it was a coin toss between the weathered Webley or the Duke 5.5″ Colt.
    I read ALL the reviews on both guns, then happened upon the reviews of the NRA Colt.
    It is also weathered, but many reviewers added that the extra 2″ of barrel (it has the 7.5″ barrel)
    really added to the practical accuracy.
    The gun just arrived from PA tonight; it’s beautiful, it’s accurate, and it shoots to point-of-aim!
    I love it! Thanks again for all you do!
    Take care & God bless,
    dave


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