This report covers:
- The point
- Two new multi-pumps
- Open sights
- Dot sights
- What am I saying?
- What about the Benjamin Variable Pump?
My first blog was published on March 2, 2005. The title was Hunt with the Sheridan Blue Streak air rifle. That was over 17 years and 4,600 blogs ago, and the Blue Streak has since passed into history. But we still have multi-pumps that are capable of the same energy and accuracy and even more. My question for today is — is anyone hunting with their multi-pump airgun?
I remember a shot I took with a Blue Streak back in 1979. A rabbit had invaded my garden and I shot him from about 35 yards away. From an offhand hold I got a perfect heart shot. The rabbit jumped straight up and collapsed where he had stood. If it hadn’t been the height of summer I would have eaten him, but the concern over parasites caused me not to. I have since learned that this fear may be unfounded when the meat is prepared correctly, but back then I didn’t have the internet to check things.
My point is, back in 1979 I owned two air rifles — an FWB 124 and a Sheridan Blue Streak. Though the 124 was my most accurate airgun and the one that was scoped I considered the Blue Streak to be my hunting airgun.
Two new multi-pumps
Today we have the Crosman 362 and the Seneca Dragonfly Mark 2. The 362 is only available in .22 caliber and the Dragonfly comes in both .177 and .22. Both rifles are powerful enough to hold their own with the Blue Streak. If easy pumping is what you’re after, go with the Dragonfly Mark 2. If cost is an issue, the 362 is your rifle. The point is, you have a choice and both rifles are very worthy.
I recommend using the installed open sights unless they are fiberoptic sights. If they are then you need to scale back the distance at which you hunt. In a moment I will contradict that with a report on a certain multi-pump, but my point is still, fiberoptics aren’t as precise as other open sights.
The 362 has conventional open sights that should be accurate out to at least 25 yards. So far the H&N Baracuda 15 has been okay, but I am hoping that another test at 25 yards will reveal at least one more accurate pellet.
The Seneca Dragonfly Mark 2 went even further — putting five H&N Baracudas with 5.51 mm heads into 0.585-inches at 25 yards. Cowabunga!
Right there BB negated what he said earlier about fiberoptic sights. On the Dragonfly Mark 2 they work just fine.
However, once I mounted a dot sight on the Dragonfly Mark 2 things went even better. And it certainly was much easier to shoot the rifle with the dot sight. In Part 8 of the Dragonfly test I put five Baracuda 18s into 0.549-inches at 25 yards.
A dot sight works on the Dragonfly because of how easy the rifle is to pump and also because the rifle allows you to hold it in the best place if the dot sight is small. The 362 requires the owner to exchange the plastic receiver for a steel one that has a dovetail cut into the top.
What am I saying?
I’m saying that these two new multi-pumps are good airguns to hunt with. And you don’t need no stinkin’ scopes, either! Not that scopes are bad, but on multi-pumps I feel they are out of place.
The 362 is good because of its price and because it delivers the power needed for hunting small game at reasonable distance. I will define reasonable as the distance at which you can hold 5 shot pretty close to one inch between centers, give or take. For me that seems to be around 25 yards so far.
On the other hand I don’t think we have seen the limit for the Seneca Dragonfly, As I said at the end of Part 10, the Dragonfly Mark 2 with its scissors pump linkage is probably the best new airgun in the 21st century.
What about the Benjamin Variable Pump?
Benjamin’s new Variable Pump that is the direct descendant of the 392/397 is also an accurate rifle, but the high-comb synthetic buttstock it comes with is too high to use the rifle’s open sights. That caused me to have reader Vana2 create a wood stock with a standard-level cheekpiece for my new multi-pump. This stock has a lower comb that allows the use of the open sights.
My assessment of this multi-pump is — it’s accurate and powerful, but it fails to even come close to the advertised velocity of 1100 f.p.s. In .177 caliber it’s an almost-800 f.p.s. rifle at best.
And the second shortcoming is that the open sights are useless unless you change the buttstock. Maybe someone who is cadaverously thin could sight with them as they come from the factory, but nobody with plump cheeks like me has a chance.
I’m sorry, Crosman, but that synthetic stock and the unfulfilled claim of high velocity put the new Variable Pump on the no-buy list for me. I spent a lot of time and money to get my new Variable Pump into the favorable category, but with the 362 and Dragonfly Mark 2 on the market, this one doesn’t make the grade.
Okay — a lot of you readers bellyache about missing this or that when it’s available. Well, the old-style Benjamin 392/397 rifles are still around and they haven’t hit the inflation escalator yet. The Sheridan Blue Streak and Silver Streak have gone up in price, but they are still somewhat affordable. I personally think the Dragonfly Mark 2 beats them all and is the Sheridan Supergrade of the 21st century, but what do I know?
There are other multi-pumps worth considering, like the Crosman 100/101 (.177/.22 caliber). But here is the deal. By the time you get one of those oldies up and running you will probably be into it deeper than a used 397/392 and certainly deeper than a Dragonfly Mark 2. Get one if you like, because they sure are cool, but be aware that the newer rifle has everything you could want.
My summary of this report will be different. Instead of reviewing the things I wrote about, I’m asking you again — do you hunt with a multi-pump pneumatic? If you do, tell us what airgun you use and what you hunt.