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Definitive Guide to Seneca Eagle Claw

The Seneca Eagle Claw is an extremely powerful lever-action PCP with a shrouded barrel, adjustable power, and a beautiful walnut stock. Load up your magazine and let the shots rip as fast as you can work the lever! John Wayne won't have nuthin' on you!
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Detailed Review
Available in both .22 and .25 calibers, the Eagle Claw rifle measures 45.5" long and weighs 8.7 lbs. The carbine version is 4 inches shorter and about a pound lighter. Belonging to the same family as the Seneca Sumatra, the Eagle Claw improves incorporates many changes that shooters have asked for, including a smoother lever action, a new magazine, and a shrouded barrel that brings the sound down to backyard friendly levels.

Starting at the rear, there is a rubber butt pad. While the gun doesn't have enough recoil to mention, the butt pad will help keep the gun in your shoulder and will prevent it from slipping while leaning in a corner. Pro tip: the large cutouts in the butt pad are just the right size to hold .25 caliber pellets and the small ones hold .22s so you can store a few on board to avoid getting caught empty-handed.



The gorgeous walnut stock has a raised comb for right-handed shooters but lefties won't have any problem because the stock is comfortable either way and of course the lever action is ambidextrous also. We should note, however, that the comb was a little low for our taste, but then again we tend to prefer higher combs than most. Very nicely cut checkering on the grip and foregrip add to the looks and provide a more secure hold, while the schnabel in the front adds a touch of elegance.

The lever action is the central feature of this airgun and what really makes it different from almost everything else on the market. With an improved contour over previous versions, it looks great and functions just as well. The throw is very smooth and relatively short, making follow-up shots quick and easy. In fact, since your hand naturally falls back into place on the trigger, a lever-action can be the quickest system after semi-auto.



The trigger has two stages but the first one is very short. It does, however, come up against a clear second stage wall. Out of the box, it breaks at about 2 lbs and 10 ounces, which is just fine for a gun designed for hunting. It is adjustable, though, with just the turn of a 2mm Allen-head screw which is set just behind the lever hinge and is accessible by lifting the lever. We were able to get it down below two pounds, but it was not safe at that weight and it kept failing the mallet test until we brought it back up to the factory settings.

The cross bolt-style safety is set just behind the trigger. It's manual, as it should be, and is easily switched on and off if you are right-handed - a little less easy for southpaws.

Moving up on the gun, the magazine is the auto-indexing sort with an inner carriage that holds 10 shots in .22 and 8 in .25. It is a bit idiosyncratic, in that you have to load all of the pellets skirt first, otherwise, they will fall out. This isn't terribly inconvenient, though, as they slip right in. Put in the first pellet, rotate the carriage one spot and put in the next pellet. Rinse and repeat till full.



We were glad to find that Seneca had kept the manometer or pressure gauge under the stock instead of putting at the muzzle end of the cylinder as so many manufacturers do. The Eagle Claw is filled to 200 bar, which is clearly indicated by the colors on the gauge.



Another thing we like about it is the foster fitting fill port which allows you to quickly connect and disconnect your hose without having to keep track of a fill probe. We did notice, however, that the check valve would stick a little bit and empty the cylinder when bleeding the air out of the hose. Holding the gun muzzle down while filling and bleeding, and bleeding as quickly as possible solved the issue.



The rail is milled into the block and accepts both Weaver and Picatinny mounts. The block is anodized aluminum, as is the barrel shroud. The cylinder is very nicely blued steel.



A definite improvement over earlier Senecas is the shrouded barrel. In our testing, with the gun on max, we registered a high of 94.5 dB, which puts this gun on the loud side of backyard friendly. However, turn the power wheel down a bit and the sound drops dramatically, so don't let that stop you from picking it up.

A feature that most shooters will really appreciate is the power wheel that lets you easily go from 1050 fps with 18.13 JSB Heavies to 275 fps with the same pellets. That is perhaps the largest range with a single means of adjustment that we have ever seen! The power wheel doesn't adjust the hammer spring or the transfer port, but instead, it affects how far the valve opens when struck by the hammer. We'll discuss how it affects shot count and performance in the section below.



Power and Performance
The Eagle Claw is built upon power and it delivers. In .22 it is billed as getting over 50 fpe and over 70 fpe in .25. The highest energy level we achieved in .22 was 45.75 fpe with NSA 28.5 grain slugs shooting at 850 feet per second. We imagine it would have reached the 50+ foot-pounds with heavier slugs.

Shooting the JSB 18.13 gr Heavies, we got 34 shots per fill with a standard deviation of 11.2 and an extreme spread of 44. At the average fps of 881.5, it was putting out 31.25 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The power wheel was turned down quite a bit for that shot string--at full power, it shot the Heavies at about 1045 fps!

With the power wheel turned completely down, it shot the Heavies at about 300 fps, and while that is too slow for just about any conceivable situation we were curious as to how many shots we would get on one fill. After we had shot over 260 times and it showed no inclination to give up, our curiosity gave up instead and we called it quits. There was less than a 50fps spread for all of those shots also! At least now you know that lowering the power wheel increases efficiency.

Accuracy
We shot the Eagle Claw at thirty-five yards with a few different projectiles. The accuracy was quite good with both the JSB 18.13gr Heavies and the JSB 25.39gr Redesigned Monsters, putting ten in about half an inch in both cases. We also shot the FX Hybrid Slugs, but it didn't like them at all. You can count on this gun being minute of squirrel out to at least 50 yards and probably more, depending on the shooter.



Accessories
Since this is a PCP, you will, of course, need some way to fill it up. You could use a hand pump, like the Hill MK4, but we think that you will get tired of pumping pretty quickly with this gas-guzzler of an airgun, so we recommend a carbon fiber tank such as the Air Venturi 74 cf tank or a compressor such as the Nomad II. A good scope to put on top would be the Hawke Vantage 4-12x50 AO.

Summing Up
The Seneca Eagle Claw has a ton of power, is a multi-shot repeater, has a shrouded barrel that gives it the capability to be very quiet, and it has a freaking lever action that lets you rip off ten shots in just seconds! If you are looking for a powerful hunting air rifle that is a lot of fun to shoot, then look no further, pick up your Eagle Claw today!
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