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Seneca Dragonfly Mark 2 .177: Part Three

Dragonfly 177
Seneca Dragonfly .177.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • The test
  • First test — not on target
  • First target
  • Target two
  • Discussion
  • Idea
  • Second test — 10 shots on 5 pump strokes
  • Test three
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the .177-caliber Seneca Dragonfly Mark 2 multi-pump air rifle at 10 meters. Remember that in Part Two I told you this is not the only accuracy test I will do at 10 meters with open sights. I hope you will see the reasons for that today, though the velocity variance of 85 f.p.s. that we saw on the 5-pump test in Part 2 was a good reason to start with.

The test

I shot the rifle from 10 meters with the rifle rested directly on a sandbag. I shot with the open sights that came with the rifle and for this test I wore my prescription glasses — not my reading glasses with +1.25 diopter correction. I would use those glasses to see the front sight more clearly, but since I also watched the Labradar chronograph, I wore the prescription glasses. This is another big reason I want to give the rifle a second chance at 10 meters.

All of today’s tests were shot with Crosman Premiers that weigh 10.5-grains. I shot different numbers of pellets in each group. I’ll tell you what they are as we go.

First test — not on target

Usually when I get a rifle with open sights it’s pretty close to sighted-in when it comes from the box. But not this time. The shots weren’t even on the paper at 10 meters until I cranked the rear sight up quite a bit.

First target

Once I was close to on target I fired five shots for a group. Each shot was with a different number of pump strokes, from 3 to 7. Those five shots make up this first group. The first two shots landed high and the final three grouped below and together. Yes, I took a picture of this “group” and it measures 0.613-inches between centers. But since each shot was with a different number of pump strokes it hardly qualifies as a group for accuracy. The velocities for each shot were:

Pumps……….Vel.
3……………….506
4……………….529
5……………….542
6……………….582
7……………….651

Dragonfly 177 10meters first group
The first group of five shots from the .177-caliber Dragonfly was shots with 3 through 7 pump strokes. The top two holes are from three and four pumps. The bottom three pellets are from pumps five through seven. The group measures 0.613-inches between centers.

Target two

The second target was with shots that had 8 through 15 pumps behind them. That’s a total of eight shots. Oddly enough this group isn’t that bad. It measures 0.451-inches between centers and looks fairly rounded.  The velocities for each shot were:

Pumps…………Vel.
8…………………669
9…………………687
10……………….676
11……………….680
12……………….663
13……………….635
14……………….663
15……………….689


This second group was shot with 8 through 15 pump strokes on the rifle. That’s a total of 8 shots. It measures 0.451-inches between centers and isn’t that bad for open sights at 10 meters.

I note, though, that there was a lot less variance in velocity in this shot string than in the first one, despite there being three more shots. The first string/group varied by 145 f.p.s. The second one varied by 54 f.p.s.

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Discussion

Okay, that wasn’t much of an accuracy test; I will give you that. But do you see how nice and round the second group is? I believe the Dragonfly is trying to talk to us.

The velocity variations between shots should start to settle down when we get some shots on the rifle. They are already starting to become more normal.

Idea

Perhaps what I should do now is test the .22-caliber Dragonfly velocity again, to see if it has changed since I retested it in Part 5 of that 15-part series. I can count the number of shots that were fired both before and since that test, which would give us a good idea of how many shots a Dragonfly break-in takes. We could then estimate how many shots it will take to break this .177 rifle in. It’s just a thought, but isn’t that the sort of thing we all want to know? This rifle is significant and deserves a closer look than some Chinese-made breakbarrel that might not be around two years from now.

Second test — 10 shots on 5 pump strokes

On this test I fired 10 shots with five pump strokes per shot. This was the test where the velocity of all the shots varied by 85 f.p.s. and I made such a fuss about it in Part 2.

Ten shots at 10 meters with five pump strokes per shot made a group that measures 0.682-inches between centers. If the one stray shot wasn’t there I would say that the group (of 9 shots) that measures 0.403-inches between centers isn’t bad, but the stray shot is there and there was no called pull. Once again this is a call for those reading glasses that allow me to focus sharply on the front sight.

Dragonfly 177 10meters  10 shots
Ten shots with 10.5-grain Premiers at 10 meters with 5 pumps per shot. The group measures 0.682-inches between centers, with nine shots in 0.403-inches.

Test three

This test is a 13-shot “group” of 10.5-grain Premiers shot with 3 to 15 pump strokes. It’s very vertical and measures 1.121-inches between centers.

Dragonfly 177 10meters 3-15 pumps
Not much to learn from this group except that, as the pumps increase, the pellets move either up or down on the target. This is 13 shots in 1.121-inches at 10 meters.

Summary

We have learned a lot about this .177-caliber Seneca Dragonfly Mark 2. In Part 2 we learned that, like the .22-caliber Dragonfly, this one needs a break-in period. In fact, because of testing both Dragonflys we may learn a lot more about the rifle than if we had only tested one.

I believe that today’s tests show an indication of the accuracy potential of this .177. If that holds true, then this series of airguns can be viewed as accurate. And that is something multi-pump fans long for — that and power, which the Dragonfly certainly seems to have. And, because it is the easiest pumping multi-pump on the market, it can be scoped. That can only help with accuracy.

42 thoughts on “Seneca Dragonfly Mark 2 .177: Part Three”

  1. B.B.

    Sounds like they came up with a better mouse trap. lol.
    -Y

    PS what take more effort, pumping this rifle 5 times per shot for 50 shots. Or using a hand pump and pumping a Marauder to 200 bar?

    • Too many pumps to pamper this pumper.
      I can’t remember such a treatment for many (any) other rifle/pistol. Maybe Air Arms, Diana and Wheirauch should study this series in order to get ideas for improvement?
      Since the Diana 35 Commemorative costs less than this Chinese marvel I don’t think I will ever get one. A leftover new Benjamin 392 is more tempting to me.
      By the way I prefer 60 pumps with the Hills for 10 to 60 shots (relevant power) with a PCP.

    • Yogi

      Pumping the Dragon is actually fun when the cocking links are working the way they are supposed to work. I know the difference since I’ve encountered both. The reason it’s fun is the minor effort required never changes. As for hand pumping a PCP up to 190-200 bar, I do it but it ain’t fun.

      Deck

    • For me it is not about the fastest speeds. I like pumpers so I taylor make the set up for the type of shooting I am doing. If I’m pesting rats at 10 yards in confined areas I am good to go with three to four pumps at most. If I’m dealing with trash pandas that takes a different set up. With a multi pump I can do that. I dont have use my multi pump as if it we’re a PCP with a pump on board,

  2. “Perhaps what I should do now is test the .22-caliber Dragonfly velocity again, to see if it has changed since I retested it in Part 5”
    B.B.,
    That would be a lot of work on your part; but I, for one, would be interested in such a report…and likely so would everyone else who (like me) bought a .22 Dragonfly Mark2 at the urging of “The Great Enabler”!
    All kidding aside, I am really HAPPY that you got me to buy this rifle! So, thank you, 🙂
    Take care & God bless,
    dave

  3. Tom,

    Looks like 8 pumps is the optimum for power while 10 pumps is the practical maximum. Velocity past 10 pumps is looking very variable, not conducive to accuracy.

    Siraniko

    • Siraniko,
      I concur with your assessment; with the .22 caliber version, I have sighted the rifle in at 10 pumps, which gives excellent accuracy and also quite decent power, 13.5 fpe. If I pump it 5 more times, I only get one more foot-pound of energy; hence, I’ll stick with 10 pumps, which still gives me more than the 11 fpe with which I was successfully able to handle pests for many years. The great thing about the Mark2 is that I get 23% more power with much less effort AND with a gun that is scoped. Overall, I think Tom picked a winner when he recommended this rifle. 🙂
      Take care & God bless,
      dave

  4. Tom,

    I believe the Dragonfly is trying to talk to us””! You, Sir, are the Airgun Whisperer. ;^)

    It makes sense that multipumpers in general benefit from breaking in. I spent much of the previous couple days trying to put my Dragonfly Mk2 through an accelerated breaking in process. I still haven’t fired a pellet through it because if I do exchange it, the time cleaning out the barrel would not have been well-spent. I did use the tip of a wood BBQ skewer to dig out one of the pieces that looked to me like chewing tobacco. It turned out to be a small piece of hardened black tar/grease. When I pressed a fingernail into it, it broke into two greasy pieces.

    Yesterday I pumped it 500 times. literally. That number has been mentioned a few times here as a good break-in number. Altogether I have probably pumped it 700 – 800 times. The pumping did get easier at the closing of the pump lever, although it is still above the 20 pound limit of my postal scale. The pumping is not much if at all smoother, however. It is still jerky and puts up irregular resistance through its arc. And the last part of the opening arc, beginning at 90 degrees, is still as difficult as ever. (And strange. Why would the lever be its most difficult at the last little bit of its opening stroke?)

    I very much want this air rifle to work properly and am giving it a chance. Nevertheless, I am beginning to lean towards exchanging it and giving another one a go.

    Michael.

  5. BB,

    A bit off topic but related through “technological improvements”.

    Fx just announced a new PCP (the Panthera) designed for long range slug shooting. Even as recent as a couple of years ago, who would have thought of an airgun with rimfire like performance. Seen a couple of videos on the preproduction rifles; accuracy looks impressive with minute of a pop-can at 300 yards. The 300 yard shooting doesn’t intrest me much but it does imply that sub-MOA at 100 yards is possible. Interesting times in the airgun world.

    Here is a link to the FX announcement…
    https://youtu.be/ZYoNUFuYcC8

    Hank

      • >>> vulgar display of power <<<

        Yeah Michael, that describes the Panthera pretty well. Can see a lot of people going for that alone 😉

        For me it's accuracy over power any day. As much as I prefer a traditional wood and steel rifle, having worked in high-tech my whole career I'm attracted to new technologies. Horses are beautiful but motorcycles have an appeal as well if you get my drift.

        As far as the new Panthera, I'm not an "early adopter" type preferring to wait until the bugs & glitches are resolved. That will give me a year or two (Lord willing) to save my pennies and maybe make a kayak or two to sell if I decide to go for one.

        Hank

        • Hank
          Wow; You make kayaks? I wish I had someone like you nearby (Greece) since I have seen your skills with stocks. Or maybe not since I am retired now, income regarding…
          Same thing for the new Panthera, 2000 euros is quite a large amount just for a novelty, for me that is.

          • Bill,

            Haven’t seen a price for the Panthera so I’ll call the local Canadian FX dealer and ask out of curiosity.

            Been making small watercraft (boats, canoes, kayaks and such) since I was a kid. Several of my airguns come from selling them.

            Ever thought about making your own kayak(s)? Easy to do and minimal tools required… it can be (another) addictive hobby though. If you’re curious, I can make some suggestions.

            Hank

        • Hank
          As RG said a sea kayak is what I have in mind. I don’t know if you can, or have the time for suggestions but I really appreciate your intention and I am thankful for it. Details of the Panthera can be seen on a Dutch retailer’s site…

          • Bill,

            The kayaks that I build are a fresh water fishing version of the “Chesapeake” from Chesapeake Light Craft. Kit and plans are available from them at: https://www.clcboats.com/shop/stitch-and-glue-kayaks/chesapeake-kayaks/

            The composite construction is what they call “stitch&glue” – plywood panels are stitched together with wire, the seams glued with thickened resin then covered with fiberglass. They are quick to build and don’t require any special fixturing.

            “Strip built” canoes and kayaks are absolutely beautiful craft. The construction lends itself to smooth flowing curves that just invites artistic expression. Not a difficult construction but is more labor intensive and requires the construction of a special bench and forms which adds to the cost if you are only making one boat.

            Either style of construction can be done with basic tools and wood working skill.

            Lots of info available on the web and there are some excellent books on the subject. I’d be glad to make suggestions and recommendations if you are looking for someone to help point you in the direction you want to go but we should take that conversation off-line.

            I have posted this picture before. Here is an 18 foot, 56 pound cedar/spruce/fiberglass canoe that I built a while ago. Sold it to buy my FWB 603 so I’m planning to make a replacement for it this spring 🙂

            Hank

            My kayaks are a lighter build

        • Hank
          Thank you so much for your response. I’m afraid that I am not inclined to such things. By the way that canoe in the picture is really gorgeous. I would take it over any airgun any day.

          • You’re welcome Bill.

            >>> I would take it over any airgun any day <<<

            Hear what you're saying but from my thinking, I don't have the facilities to make a 10 meter airgun making another canoe is easy and fun 🙂

            Cheers!
            Hank

    • Vana2,

      Hey Hank see my comments at end of yesterday’s blog.
      I may need to take a bunch of Pennies to the bank. I talked with my son on IF this could be made legal for use in BIATHLON competitions. A non firearm would make ownership and International Travel a bit easier for competitors.

      shootski

    • Brent,

      That is exactly what we hope to find out. I believe that it’s caused by a need for the rifle to break in. If you read the series on the .22 you’ll see that was what happened with it.

      Do you see that in the second test of 3-15 pumps the velocity did increase with the higher number of pumps?

      This blog attempts to look into things rather than to condemn them on the basis of a few slim facts. You are peeking behind the curtain to see the rifle as it develops.

      BB

  6. BB-
    Watching this with interest as I also acquired a .177 Dragonfly months ago and it has been on the back burner ever since. To make matters worse on the mult-pump front, a couple of ‘Streaks came to live here this past weekend. On Saturday, a Blue at an online only auction with one poor picture and the header was spelled Sherridan was won for $55. A quick trip to the local gun show Sunday morning found a Silver. Seller claimed it didn’t pump up but he had oiled it anyway- asking price $75. We talk a bit and I allow how I would need to get a tool and seals, etc. He had been quoted $60 to get it working. I offered $50 and he accepted.
    So, I figured I probably ended up with a couple of parts guns, right? Well, Sunday night I thought I’ll try putting a couple pumps in the gun show gun. Hmmmm, pumps right up and pops off right smart. Might be a shooter. And did I mention it has one of the prettiest crotch walnut butt stocks I’ve ever seen? Serial number puts it at 1975.
    Monday, I drive over to pick up the auction gun. A 1980 vintage (with a Japan made 4×15 scope) that grades an easy 95+%. 5 pumps and a loud crack! I need to chrony this thing!
    Tuesday dawns fair, not too cold- I’ll get out on the range. While taking my shower, I suddenly experienced a loss of altitude and was seeing my feet rising in altitude. I managed to experience close bodily contact with multiple parts of tub/shower, plumbing fixtures and control devices. I attempt to get up and realize that I and all surfaces are still quite soapy- the cause of the initial loss of altitude. Alright, I will wait a bit and let the shower do its thing. Shower is pointing in wrong direction. Okay, just lay there and feel better in a bit. Time passes. The ‘feeling better’ part is arriving very slowly. Mathematics rears its ugly head. I calculate the volume of hot water available divided by the flow rate of the shower. I am soon going to be taking a cold shower. Time to man up and call for help. Repeatedly. Dog shows up . Dog does not emulate Lassie. I resume calling for help. Dog joins in. Wife shows up. Thinks we should go to hospital. I think I should rinse off and get out of shower. Get dried off and inventory begins. Nothing broken and I’m not bleeding. Go to put on underwear and I have to sit down. Where did this old man come from? Take Tylenol and ice up the ribs and one shoulder. Fall asleep.
    Later, I manage to get 5 pumps into the 1980. And I’m through. Maybe shoot this weekend. Understand appeal of dark side PCPs. But Lordy, real American steel, brass and walnut… I’ll keep hunting for the relics from another era.

      • Yep. If life is a net sum deal, I think I paid for my good fortune on the ‘Streaks. What I don’t understand, since I now have a greater weight displacement versus years ago, my coefficient of friction should be greater. Why do I now fall more often with seemingly greater velocity towards the ground that is now at a further distance?

        • Pacoinohio,

          I’m so glad you didn’t have any long-term injuries. Bathtub and shower slip and falls are brutal!
          When I turned 65 or so I engaged a Personal Trainer to do a fitness assessment. I thought I was doing pretty good staying more active than most my age; but my balance was not as good as I wanted. The PT suggested a series of 6 to 10 sessions over a month and another assessment. I was shocked at the improvement and decided to invest in my future by doing two one hour sessions a week with the PT. I’ll be 74 in less than a month and the time and money was the best investment I have made in retirement. There are community programs that cost nothing or next to nothing and as long as the workout is with body and free weights (NOT MACHINES) you will be amazed at your improved balance and general well being.
          I learned how to fall during parachute training as well as in marshall arts training. I have seen a few community programs teaching how to fall better for seniors. I think that is great but learning how to fall well is best learned early in life in my opinion.
          I also find that it really helps with my shooting and all the skiing over the hills and through the woods to the range and NOT das Grossmutter Haus.

          Gute Besserung!

          shootski

  7. BB and tomek,
    What parts need to be broken in from new condition to get more consistent function, especially regarding pellet velocity? There are a few parts that I can think of, please tell me if this makes sense.

    If parts were made well and manufacturing debris is cleaned away before assembly…
    The oiled pump cup may need to have the running surface worn smooth-er for best seal;
    The poppet and the exhaust valve seats need to conform to the valve body for best seal under pressure;
    Oil gets to the orings on the outside of the valve and to the valve seats to keep them lubed and sealing well;
    Same with oil on the breech bolt oring;
    The valve hammer’s running surfaces get smoother and it slides better with use;
    New springs, especially the hammer spring, settle in and become more consistent after they’ve been exercised.

    Among the above, I think that allowing time for the valve seals to seat is the most important break in process of a multi stroke pumper. Do you think this may be the root cause of loss of power as the number of pumps go beyond a certain number?
    Regards,
    Will

    • Will S.,

      Moving parts and surfaces that have not been hand fitted by a competent Smith certainly need time to work together as best they ever will.
      Your specific question “… especially regarding pellet velocity?” has one answer that has the greatest influence and that is the condition of the bore of the barrel. A hand lapped barrel will typically show the greatest increase in velocity and stability shot to shot of any action that can be performed after fabrication. The tool marks in the Grooves and Lands will eventually wear smooth after hundreds of pellets but they will never be as uniform as a hand lapping done by a skillful and competent individual/Smith.

      shootski

  8. Short of hand lapping, I’ll hazard to add that B.B.’s prescription of 20 strokes with a bronze brush loaded with J.B. Nonembedding Bore Paste works wonders on new and fouled barrels. I would venture to say further that it drastically reduces the break in time for barrels. You can feel it by the 15th stroke.

  9. I can only wonder if this easy pumping design could be used on say the Seneca Aspen. Then we would have something kind of like the Benjamin ACP but with more power.

    Doc

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