I’ve always enjoyed lever action guns, and when I was young just about shot out the barrels of my Marlin .22 and later Marlin .357 lever action powder burners. So it follows that the Seneca EagleClaw would resonate with me!
I’ve been using the lever action Seneca EagleClaw for almost a year now, having brought it to the mountains of Arizona after Aberts squirrel, then on a few more squirrel hunts around the Midwest before the end of season, and for prairie dog in South Dakota. From the squirrel hunts and range time I knew the rifle delivered a punch and had good accuracy, but it was on the prairie dog hunt I came to appreciate not only how intrinsically accurate the gun is, but also how stable and well designed the stock is for long range shooting in the field.
I didn’t have much time before I needed to get back on the road, but before going out shooting wanted to check the zero. It was printing cloverleaf groups at 50 yards, a bit high and to the right. I determined that the lean to the right was caused by the constant stiff breeze that was blowing so didn’t mess with it. The gun was zeroed at 80 yards which is why it was hitting high, and I left that as it was as well.
The action is cycled with a lever action that has a short and smooth travel, and I’ve found the reliability of the 8 shot (.25) magazine very good, having cycled 3 tins of JSB Exact .25 gr without a miss. It’s easy to load, though a little odd in that it is loaded skirt first, which is not a problem and just needs to be remembered.
The gun is on the heavier side, but I found this helped settle it securely in the sticks. With my back elbow resting on my pack, I had an incredibly stable portable shooting platform. The walnut stock fit me well, with a comfortable grip and easy access to the cocking lever and the cross-bolt safety. I had good results reaching out to 100 yards on this day and bagged several of the wary prairie rats.
I travel fairly light on these outings, my messenger style daypack with binos, pellets, range finder, and water, and shooting sticks are always with me. I didn’t have the sling swivels mounted so carried the rifle in my universal safari mount. This set up has worked so well for me on so many rifles I often never get around to mounting the swivels. I like not having a strap connected when shooting off sticks in this manner.
The terminal performance of this rifle long range was very good as well. It smacked the dogs with authority and I anchored many with both head and body shots. I think that if you are looking for a powerful .25 caliber (the only caliber I have personal experience with in the EagleClaw), and like the lever action design…… this is a gun you have to look at! With so many guns to shoot, when I keep revisiting a specific one it means I is a gun that has earned my trust.