Norica Dragon Carbine
- 8 Comments
- Last updated: 30/01/2017
The Norica Dragon Carbine derives from the now discontinued full length Norica Dragon sporter. The UK importer/distributors, Highland Outdoors, are now concentrating their efforts on this particular model from the Spanish gun manufacturers at present, and it is now offered in both .177 or .22 calibres and FAC variants.
This break-barrel carbine comes complete with a Nikko Stirling 3 - 9 X 40AO Mountmaster scope and mounts, and also includes the specially designed Hogan AG silencer already fitted - all in for an amazing £219.99.
This time around the Dragon Carbine synthetic stock seems much slimmer than I remember and has a well-defined, medium height fully ambidextrous cheekpiece and a unique looking black rubber butt pad. The ‘neck’ is surprisingly narrow and the width of the quite lengthy full face pistol grip equally so. However, it offers a very comfortable hold and has two very generous panels containing ‘Morse code’ raised dots and dashes on the pistol grip and two more panels positioned along the mid-section of the forend. The stock also has an integral trigger guard.
The 12.75” long rifled steel barrel of the Dragon takes less effort to cock than you’d first suppose thanks to the fitted silencer adding front end weight and of course also acting as a cocking aid.
In the cocked position you notice the rifle uses a large ball bearing for the lock when closed. These are becoming less commonly used, being replaced by many manufacturers in favour of the ‘wedge’ style lock. However, by the size, build and function of this ‘unit’, I’d say you’d not experience any trouble on this particular ruggedly built springer. A heavy-duty synthetic O-ring-seal at the breech gives the rifle that all-important airtight lock when returned back to the closed position after cocking.
Added Value Extras
Now to the dominating silencer that has the rifle push the tape to 43.6” in overall length, because it’s good to see this is a true silencer and not a muzzle weight as some presume. The can has been specially made for Norica by Hogan Firearms. It’s not the acclaimed DecimEater, but a close relative purposely made to suit the shortened action. It’s even called the DecimEater AG, the letters denoting ‘Airgun.’ In respect of reducing muzzle report the silencer has been well worth creating for this carbine and suits it in performance as it does cosmetically.
The Dragon comes with a general purpose Nikko Stirling Mountmaster 3 - 9 X 40AO scope, a unit I’ve used in gun tests many times; it’s a reliable field scope so in that respect they make a practical pairing. The Dragon is fitted with a removable recoil strap across the relatively short run of dovetails. I left it in place as it offered no problems as I scoped up, but I didn’t need it, as the Dragon has become quite a ‘smoothy’. So with everything rigged, a pellet in the breech and the solid detente lock ‘clunking’ shut, I began setting zero.
It has been a while since I last tried a Dragon, but the trigger unit has certainly been upgraded and even cosmetically you can see Norica are now using the very same 2-stage trigger unit and an automatic safety ‘button’ within the trigger guard as used on other Norica hunter models. Both trigger blade and safety catch are metal, the unique looking square shape button like safety automatically ‘clicks out’ from the top and in front of the trigger blade on cocking. A nice departure from the usual and it’s sensibly positioned to be easily disengaged with your forefinger when you are ready to take a shot. As for the 2-stage trigger unit, it released shots without a hint of creep.
When shooting the Norica Dragon Carbine the word ‘assured’ comes to mind. Settle the cross hairs on the target and you feel the rifle should do its duty once you slip the trigger - as long as you don’t forget follow through - as it feels solid in the hold and is very manageable.
As expected this transfers to handling and of course inherent accuracy. Set at my usual .22 calibre zero of 25-yds groups became quite impressive for a recoiling spring gun. Best achieved gave a c-c reading of 3/8” in .22 calibre. For a springer in this price bracket, that’s really good.
To sum up I’d rate this as having all the bases covered and cosmetically it ticks all the right boxes in respect of how a UK shooter expects a silenced springer carbine to look and perform. I found it accurate, fast handling and robust. The ace up its sleeve is certainly the DecimEater AG silencer. The majority of hunters these days want a can already on the rifle or the option to fit one. In this respect they’ve already got one of the best factory fitted units already onboard. Not only does the ‘AG’ do its muzzle noise quelling duty, but also internal spring noise on firing wasn’t an issue. It cocked smoothly and locked back for loading equally as solidly.
The Norica Dragon Carbine now really does have the look of a dedicated ‘hunter.’ It’s ‘bundled accessories’ go some way to enforcing that view as the scope suits it perfectly and quite frankly, in my opinion the chunky silencer is the icing on the cake.
PRICE: £219.99 incl. scope, mounts and silencer