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Definitive Guide to Seneca Dragon Claw

The Seneca Dragon Claw is one of the best-selling guns in the world today. With its simple design, precision targeting, and large-caliber it's the perfect big game hunting air rifle. When shooters hear .50 caliber, it garners certain respect. When airgunners hear .50 caliber, it garners not only respect but also amazement. It would be hard to negate the effect the Dragon Claw big bore air rifle has had on the market. In this definitive guide, we'll walk you through all the particulars that make this an iconic air rifle for the ages.
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Detailed Review

The Dragon Claw has been around for almost two decades. It has the same look and feel as it's had from the beginning. The receiver is cast metal, enclosing the internals. The stock is a two-part stock like you'd find on a modern shotgun. The wooden buttstock is beautifully finished with stippling on the grip. The forearm follows the same convention. The fit and finish are very good. The stock is set up for right-handed shooters. There is no dedicated left-handed variation. When you consider the price point, the look makes you think it would cost much more.

The Dragon Claw comes with basic open sights. The front sight is a simple blade, and the rear notch sight is adjustable for windage and elevation. There's a removable 11mm scope rail on top of the receiver. If you plan to run an optic, you'll probably need to remove the rear sight to have enough clearance for the objective. Or, you can opt for a small compact scope like the UTG bug buster.

The Seneca Dragon Claw has two cylinders boosting the air storage up to 500 CCs, which delivers more shots and a more consistent shot curve.

The threaded muzzle extends slightly from the front of the cylinders and is protected by a knurled endcap.

Where many modern big bore guns require over 3000 PSI to operate, the Dragon Claw has remained true to its roots, only requiring 3000 psi for maximum power and efficiency. There's a built-in pressure gauge that's visible through the bottom of the forearm. An HPA hand pump, scuba tank, or personal compressor is required to fill the cylinders. These would attach through the industry-standard foster quick disconnect fitting at the front of the rifle. Given the large volume, we recommend a personal compressor like the Air Venturi Nomad II or Hill EC-3000.

The rifle is loaded via a simple sleeve that slides forward to reveal the breach. Ammo choices range from 177 grain round ball to 336-grain cast slugs. If it fits, it shoots. Some ammo will certainly shoot better than others. You can also use the Air Venturi Air Bolts, which load from the muzzle, creating a very effective hunting platform capable of taking down nearly anything in North America.

On the right side of the receiver is the cocking lever. There are two settings, low and high. When shooting lighter ammo such as the .177 grain round ball, the lower power setting delivers good accuracy and power at 50 yards with an increased shot count. When shooting heavier ammo, or when you just want the most power on target, cock the hammer all the way back.

There's a simple cross-block safety located in the front of the trigger guard. The trigger is a single-stage trigger that's not adjustable. The trigger breaks reliably at around 2 pounds and 12 ounces.

You'll want to wear ear protection when shooting the Dragon Claw. At the bench, we registered 117.4DB. That's loud. At 50 yards, that dropped to 96.1 DB. Please note that our DB testing was done in the wide-open desert at 4600 feet. Your results may vary based on your location and surroundings. Regardless, the .50 cal Seneca Dragon Claw is not considered backyard friendly.

Shooting the Dragon Claw is quite enjoyable. It's loud, but it does not have the same recoil as some of the newer big bores. Even youngsters should be able to handle the mild recoil, even shooting the 336-grain slugs.

Performance and Accuracy

We put the 336-grain slugs, .177 grain round ball, and 430 grain Air Venturi Air Bolt over the chony and got the following results. The 336-grain slugs averaged 545 FPS across ten shots, generating an average of 221.66 foot-pounds. When shooting on low power, the .177 grain round balls averaged 621 FPS, generating an average of 151.60 foot-pounds. If you're looking for maximum killing power, then you'll want to run the 430 grain Air Venturi Airbolts, which topped out at around 495 FPS, generating over 234 foot-pounds. When matched with a broadhead, the Airbolts are exceptionally lethal on big game.

Looking at the shot count, the Seneca Dragon Claw .500 cc air rifle will deliver ten shots on target at 50 yards running on high power while shooting the 336-grain slugs. If you run .177 round ball on low power, you'll get up to 15 shots on target. You can expect to get about seven good shots with the Air Venturi Air Bolts. Where most big bore airguns only deliver a small handful of shots, the Dragon Claw gives hunters a lot of shots on tap.

We tested our lead ammo at 50 yards and our Air Bolts at 35 yards. We did not shoot groups with the Air Bolts, as it's easier than you think to drive one shot right up the tailpipe of your previous shot, and they are expensive to replace. There are plenty of videos and articles showing the accuracy with Air Bolts fired from the Seneca Dragon Claw, so we ask you to trust us on this one. They hit where you aim them.

At 50 yards, the 336 cast rounds will put five shots in 1", minus the one pulled shot.

When shooting round ball, we could put ten shots into the kill zone at 50 yards. They did wander a bit, but we were shooting round ball here, not conical bullets. All in all, that's pretty good accuracy for simple round balls averaging 150 foot-pounds.

If you are looking to hunt with the Dragon Claw, please be sure to review the following. The Dragon Claw tops out at about 230 foot-pounds with heavy cast slugs. Be sure that it falls within your state's regulations before you grab it and head out to take game animals. Also, consider the flight time of your projectile. Because the velocity is way below the speed of sound, your target may have ample time to jump the shot. The ideal range for lead slugs is going to be inside 50 yards. With Air Bolts, you'll want to be inside 35 yards. The general rule of thumb when hunting with big bore airguns is, closer is better.

Summing Up

A whole new generation of airgunners are finding out about the iconic Seneca Dragon Claw 500 cc. If learning about the Seneca Dragon Claw has you interested in big bore airguns, then you've come to the right place. If you have questions, just give us a call, and we'll be sure to help get you on the right path.