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Education / Training Seneca Dragonfly Mark 2 .177: Part Eight

Seneca Dragonfly Mark 2 .177: Part Eight

Dragonfly 177
Seneca Dragonfly .177.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

This report covers:

  • The plan
  • The test
  • Seven pumps
  • Eight pumps
  • Nine pumps
  • Ten pumps
  • However
  • Nine pumps free-floated
  • 8 pumps free-floated
  • 7 pumps free-floated
  • What to do?
  • Ten shots on ten pumps per shot free-floated
  • What’s next?
  • For Dragonfly owners

Today we have an unusual test to examine. It was supposed to be one thing and turned out to be another.

In April I shot the .177-caliber Seneca Dragonfly Mark 2 for accuracy at 25 yards, testing how the number of pump strokes affected the 5-shot group size. The pellet I used was the 10.34-grain JSB Exact Heavy. I tested accuracy at 25 yards on 3, 4, 5, and 6 pump strokes with this pellet. Six pumps proved to most accurate, putting five JSB Heavies into 0.69-inches.

My plan for today was to shoot the Dragonfly from 25 yards with the same pellet on 7 through 15 pumps. But things happened to change my plan and therein lies our report.

What happened may get a little confusing, so please read everything as we go. The .177 Dragonfly Mark 2 that has a UTG 3-12X32 Bug Buster attached. That scope was zeroed when it was mounted in Part 6, so today I shot a single JSB Heavy pellet on 7 pumps of air, just to “wake up” the rifle before starting the test.

The test

I’m shooting from 25 yards with the rifle resting directly on a sandbag. I’m shooting 5-shot groups until the end of the test. There were no called pulls that resulted in flyers throughout today’s testing.

Seven pumps

On seven pumps the Dragonfly put five pellets into a 25-yard group that measured 1.36-inches between centers. I was surprised at this group’s size, since on 6 pumps the rifle put five of the same pellet into 0.69-inches. But this is why we test.

Dragonfly 7pumps
On 7 pumps the Dragonfly put 5 JSB Exact Heavys into a 1.36-inch vertical group.

Eight pumps

On eight pumps the Dragonfly put five JSB Heavys into a 25-yard group that measures 0.855-inches between centers. At the time I thought this could be a turning point.

Dragonfly 8 pumps
On 8 pumps the Dragonfly put 5 JSB Heavys into a 0.855-inch group.

Nine pumps

On nine pumps the rifle put five JSBs into 1.691-inches at 25 yards. This was the point where today’s report changed. Something was wrong and I wasn’t sure what it was.

Dragonfly 9pumps
On 9 pumps the rifle put five pellets into 1.691 inches at 25 yards. Something was probably wrong and I needed to investigate.

I stopped shooting and looked inside the muzzle cap of the rifle for lead streaks. There were none, nor did I expect any since the hole through the muzzle cap is much larger than the exit hole at the barrel’s muzzle.

Then I went to all the previous reports, looking to see whether I had removed the muzzle cap and the front sight of this rifle, making the barrel free-floating. I could not find mention of that anywhere for this rifle, so it looks like I didn’t do it, but I did it for the .22 version when I mounted the dot sight and I believe I left it off for the remainder of the testing of that rifle. You can see how I removed that sight in Part 6 of the test of the .22 Dragonfly.

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Ten pumps

For ten pumps I removed the muzzle cap and the front sight — free-floating the barrel. If the next 5-shot group on ten pumps was much better I would go back and rerun the 7, 8 and 9 pump-strokes tests. I did adjust the scope 2 clicks to the left for this group. And naturally there was a HOWEVER.

However

On ten pump strokes per shot the first three shots went quite a bit higher than the bullseye aim point (2.5-inches) but they landed close together. Had I discovered “the secret”? Then shot number four went a lot lower. Phooey! But shot number five hit next to it, so I decided to keep on shooting to see if all the shots would now land together. Sure enough, they did!

So, what I have to show you for ten pumps per shot are 8 pellets in 1.555-inches between centers, with the last five (shots 4 through 8) in 0.383-inches between centers. 

Dragonfly 10pumps
This group caused me to rethink today’s test. Eight shots are 1.555 inches apart (between centers) with the last five 0.383-inches apart.

I wasn’t certain of anything at this point, but it did seem that the rifle might have settled down to group well, now that the barrel was free-floated. It also seemed like I needed to rerun the first three tests instead of pressing on with the number of pumps as originally planned.

I decided to rerun the first three tests in reverse order. No special reason for doing it that way except it kept me from becoming confused. I also adjusted the scope 10 clicks down to get the shots back on the bullseye at which I was aiming.

Nine pumps free-floated

This time on nine pumps the Dragonfly put five pellets into a 1.096-inch group.

Dragonfly 9pumps 2nd time
With a free-floated barrel the Dragonfly on nine pumps put five JSB Exact Heavy pellets into a 1.096-inch group at 25 yards.

This group is smaller than the previous group that was shot with 9 pumps. It’s not a great group but it is enough smaller to be considered significant. Let’s see what else happens with the other two tests.

8 pumps free-floated

On 8 pumps per shot with the barrel free-floated the Dragonfly put five pellets into a 1.221-inch group at 25 yards. That was significantly larger than the group that was shot with 8 pumps while the front sight was mounted. That one measured 0.855-inches.

Dragonfly 8pumps 2nd time
On 8 pumps with the barrel free-floated the Dragonfly put five shots into 1.221-inches at 25 yards. There are two shots in the lower hole.

7 pumps free-floated

On 7 pumps per shot the Dragonfly put five shots into 0.882-inches at 25 yards. This group is significantly smaller than the group shot with 7 pumps while the front sight was on the rifle. That one was 1.36-inches.

Dragonfly 7pumps 2nd time
On 7 pumps the Dragonfly with the free-floated barrel put 5 pellets into 0.882-inches between centers at 25 yards.

What to do?

It’s difficult to tell from these results whether free-floating the barrel helped or not. It seems like it did, but there isn’t enough data to tell for sure. However, since the barrel is free-floated I decided to end today’s test with a 10-shot group fired with ten pumps per shot. That’s might show us whether the small group we saw previously was for real or was just a fluke.

Ten shots on ten pumps per shot free-floated

My final target was a group of 10 JSB Exact Heavys shot with ten pumps per shot. While that group isn’t small, all ten pellets did land in 1.112-inches.

Dragonfly 10shots 10pumps
The Dragonfly with a free-floated barrel and on 10 pumps per shot put 10 pellets into 1.112-inches.

What’s next?

I think what comes next is to test the rifle on 11 to 15 pumps per shot. However, before I do that I believe I should put the front sight back on the rifle, to see if there is a difference with a 10-shot group while the front sight is on the barrel. If there is, then the front sight comes off again and I shoot the remainder of the test with the barrel free-floated. If not then the front sight remains on through the finish.

For Dragonfly owners

Today’s report may be of interest for the owners of Dragonflys in either caliber. I would test it if I was curious about my rifle’s accuracy.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

19 thoughts on “Seneca Dragonfly Mark 2 .177: Part Eight”

  1. ***Deal Alert, Deal Alert***
    A few of these are now on Pyramyd’s “Refurbished” page!

    Tom,
    That gun seems to be shooting worse than before, which makes me think something is going wrong with the rifle. When I got my Gen 1 Dragonfly, it shot great at first, and then worse and worse until the warranty was about to expire, so I sent it back to Pyramyd. I don’t know what they did, but it was magic! Not only was the accuracy back, but it was quieter too, and easier to load. Maybe it was some nicked and failing seals that they replaced? I think the breech was cleaned up a bit because now I could load those Gamo PBA pellets, which are a little larger than the rest.
    FWIW,
    Mike

    • Thanks for the heads up! There are great deals to be found there.

      P.A., I noticed some typos on the refurb page…some of the regular prices are lower than the refurb prices. But when you click on the item, it shows that the normal price is higher.

        • Oh, I just went to the refurb page, scrolled down to the bottom, clicked on “show all,” and started browsing.
          /used-air-guns?pg=all
          I immediately noticed the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine new at $179 and refurb at $229.

          • Roamin,

            Thanks. I have seen this in the past. Usually it happens as the description pages are being updated and it doesn’t last. But the Pyramyd AIR team is checking it out now.

            BB

            • No problem, glad to be of service.

              I have to say there are some great deals to be had right now in addition to the Dragonfly Mark II, a Beeman R9 can be had for $399. Also there is an Avenger for $249, and an Avenger bullpup for $259. If I were on the path to the darkside, that would be a good place to start.

  2. Tom,

    If at 6 pumps the rifle put five of the same pellet into 0.69-inches previously could you not have repeated that for this test prior to introducing new variables?

    Siraniko

  3. Interesting results. Something strange seems to be going on.i would have expected one of these strings to give you a better group. Perhaps she wants a different pellet at higher pumps / velocities. But best not to introduce new variables yet.

  4. B.B.,
    I found this report most interesting. My Mark2 is in .22 caliber. With the pellet that gave the best accuracy, the JSB RS at 13.43 grains, the accuracy at 5, 10, and 15 pumps was pretty much consistent at just under an inch at 25 yards.
    Since, I wanted it for pesting, the choice was for a bit more than 12 fpe, so 5 pumps was out. Ten pumps give me 13.5 fpe, while 15 pumps only increases that by 1 fpe; that’s how I settled on 10 pumps as the best balance between power and pumping time.
    Some other pellets did shoot groups over 2 inches in diameter at 25 yards (with a Leapers 4X scope mounted).
    I just picked the best one at that range, then tried it at other ranges, and was happy with the result.
    At 25 yards, I can hit a pecan every time (from a rest, not offhand); hence, I’m certain this rifle can do that for which it was purchased (influenced by you =>).
    Meanwhile, due to lack of pests (thanks to the Reno dog), I shoot this rifle just for fun.
    I see no reason why the .177 version should be any less consistent than the .22 version.
    Here’s hoping you get to the bottom of this anomaly soon.
    Blessings to you,
    dave

  5. Different number of pumps equals different levels of power which is just like tuning a PCP (except that each pump represents a rather coarse adjustment).

    If I saw these results in a PCP I’d say that 6 pump power suits the airgun and 10.34 g weight of the pellet and more is destabilizing it. If I wanted more power I’d try a heavier pellet and test for the number of pumps it liked.

    From my experiences with several models, I’m thinking (generally) that a multi-pump pneumatic is best suited and more efficient in .22 caliber.

    Seen strange results and a loss of performance when I put a .177 barrel on my .22 Crosman 101.

  6. BB

    When I got my second Dragonfly MK in .22 (the first had pumping problems) the muzzle cap wanted to loosen when shooting. I even removed it (but not the front sight) and got tighter 10 shot groups all with the same favorite pellet, the AA 16 grain domes. Sometime later I screwed the cap back on resolving to check for tightness every day I shot it. Groups were still under an inch at 25 yards. However your report today makes me want to do some comparisons with that muzzle cap on vs off.

    All owners and others too are interested in how this turns out. That muzzle/front sight assembly reminds me of the Webley Rebel. It was the weak point for maintaining POI.

    Deck

    • BB

      For whatever it’s worth I did the military test 5 groups 5 shots each at 25 yards which I didn’t complete for reasons that are obvious. I pumped 6 times for each shot. The groups with the muzzle cap on were .35”, .53”, .62”, .34” and .40”. Averaged .45”. Best was .34”.
      Next I removed only the muzzle cap which is the way I shot the rifle when I first got it. The first group was .59” and then shots began to scatter badly. I stopped this test and replaced the muzzle cap. I shot a 10 shot group to confirm it likes the cap which measured .65”.

      Deck

  7. *** OFF TOPIC ***

    FX released the Panthera as a purpose built Precision Rifle Shooting (PRS) competition rifle at the beginning of the year with promise of different configurations being available soon.

    The Panthera is based on their new Dynamic Block modular receiver that features a new high-flow valve (for increased power for slugs) and an around the barrel plenum design.

    In spite of being designed and advertised as a PRS airgun there was a huge number of complaints (poor shot count and not compact) that it was not suitable for hunting… go figure, PRS is NOT hunting.

    Anyway, the Panthera Compact Hunter was shown at the European IWA airgun show a couple of months ago and has just been released for sale, it’s available in all the popular calibers. The modular design allows for a lot of customization including the foldable stock that a lot of people were asking for.

    https://youtu.be/4nRZ5HUf6ek

    Pyramyd AIR sells FX products, didn’t see the Compact Hunter offered yet but thought I’d mention it anyway.

    I got a .22/700mm Panthera as a long range slug-gun and have been very pleased with it.

    Cheers!

  8. B.B. and Mark 2 Owners,

    Could there be an issue with the valve inside the pump tube moving/expanding/moving the Transfer Port and barrel? The valve is the place that gets all the air from the pumping and if that pump tube isn’t tightly and/or solidly mated to the valve then any hope of accuracy is Out The Window!
    One other related thought: is the valve right under that front sight/scope base? If it is then is the valve expanding and contracting and changing the sightline to Bore Axis?
    Seems these things were learned by Crosman during their long history with multi-pump airguns.

    Still only a 4+ MOA airgun at best….

    shootski

  9. “B.B. is right…again” & “Why we need airguns”

    B.B. and Readership…especially if you are new to this blog…especially if you are a firearms person…
    …who thinks they may want an airgun…here’s a reason to get one.

    Today I dug out my chronograph, which, thanks to B.B., is a much-used piece of gear. I had a bunch of RWS ammo, 1000 rounds, that claims to be “subsonic.” The only way to ensure that was to test it.
    The chronograph shows it to average 968 fps from the 18″ barrel of my Henry (model H001, the basic model).
    So, yes, it is subsonic; and those little 40-grain bullets are good for 83 fpe, double the energy I get from those CCI .22 Quiet rounds that B.B. tested for us; thankfully, at 15 yards, they shoot dead on just as the Quiets do; hence, I have two different power levels I could use with this rifle…but I wouldn’t know that without a chronograph.
    (Thanks again, B.B.! =>)
    But that got me to thinking. I do live in a rural area; I can shoot anything…technically, and sometimes do.
    When I first moved here, my across-the-street neighbor, Bruce, asked if I had any guns, or shot a lot, as he is a 3rd-shift truck driver, who sleeps all day. I told him I had some .22s, but mostly shot airguns.
    That made him really happy, since, at the time, “9mm Guy,” who lives behind Bruce, was good for about 50 rounds every few days…mostly in the daytime.
    And just south of our tiny farm, “.223 Boy” was also good for at least 100 rounds a week.
    I’m fine with all that; gunfire is a melodious sound to me; on two of the houses we’ve bought, the deal was sealed when I heard gunfire, asked the realtors (who were quite apprehensive), and was told there was a range nearby; both were surprised when I asked, “How far away?,” then said, “Yes, I want this house.” 🙂
    Anyway, lately, the golf course with which we share a 1200-foot border has been sold, and the new owner has put in an RV park for campers. So, 100 yards to the north of our house, we have 20 families camping.
    Realizing that not everyone likes lots of gunfire is what got me to testing those subsonic rounds.
    I can shoot them on the new range I made below the retention wall of our pond, and I don’t think anyone around me will hear them.
    Then I realized I haven’t heard “9mm Guy” or “.223 Boy” fire a single round in…many, many months.
    About once a week, I’ll hear a single rifle shot at dusk…someone taking out a feral hog, or a coyote.
    Otherwise, the only shooting I hear is that on our own farm.
    Is it the ammo shortage? Or perhaps people don’t want to waste whatever centerfire ammo they have.
    All I know is this: I shoot everyday. But no one around here knows that, because 99.9% of the time, I’m shooting airguns…in the house, out back, behind the pond…I even shoot at floating twigs in the pond…something that’s not safe to do with firearms, but is no problem at all with an air rifle; I’ve never had a pellet ricochet off the water.
    Yes, if you’re a firearms shooter, go on and get something like the gun about which B.B. is speaking in this report.
    I’ve got one (except in .22 caliber); below is a pic of it above my Henry lever action; the Dragonfly Mark2 looks large next to the Henry; but the Henry is a small rifle. The Dragonfly is actually very nicely proportioned, and shoots nicely off a bench or offhand.
    To anyone who has yet to take the plunge and get an airgun, I say, “Come on in; the water’s fine!” 🙂

  10. I find the CZ 457 Lux to be very good looking – A future classic, perhaps. Among the brand new airguns, I feel as if Feinwerkbau Sport has the similar vibe. Both reek quality and appear to be good shooters as well.

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