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.