Norica Dragon Camo
- 27 Comments
- Last updated: 27/01/2017
These days more manufacturers are offering air rifles in synthetic stocks and camo patterns. The Norica Dragon Camo ticks both boxes and also offers the option of a black/synthetic too (Dragon Black).
I decided to dress the rifle with a Richter Optic 3 – 9 X 50 E camo scope set in Hawke Match Two-Piece Medium Height APG mounts to give the overall combo a tad more concealment and complimentary look. Obviously air cylinder and barrel remain black but that could be sorted with suitable patterned tape.
Middle Class Values
The Dragon Camo sits firmly in the middle to upper end of Norica’s spring gun roster. The standard model obviously costs less, but both share the same well-defined, medium height ambidextrous cheekpiece and ventilated rubber butt pad. The pistol grip and forend are surprisingly narrow, yet offer a decent grip thanks to four panels of large raised oval dots.
The photo-realistic camo pattern is similar though not identical to the original Hardwoods with a foundation colour of light grey/green with darker colour branch and leaf effect overlay. Application is by dipping, which gives the furniture a non-slip and positive feel.
It’s worth noting that to accommodate the 50mm objective lens of the Richter Optic I had to set the medium height mounts onto Sportsmatch risers. I mention this as not only is this a solution to many mounting problems but in this case they back up neatly to sit flush against the removable arrestor strap that straddles the rear of the cylinder’s long dovetail grooves.
The rifle comes with the now almost obligatory Tru-Glo open sights with a raised red foresight protected by a vented hood to match up with the fully adjustable rear unit. This has a U-notch flanked by two green fibre optic dots for fast target acquisition. Windage and elevation are easily and precisely adjusted by two large numbered thumbwheels that audibly click around. Even though the sights are manufactured from a synthetic, I was surprised at how well they are built and perform.
It was while cocking the Dragon that I began to notice similarities between it and the more recently launched Norica Dream Rider, as they both share a very similar action and feel. Though the 18 ½” barrel might be a tad longer than the Rider’s it doesn’t use an articulated lever between itself and the head of the piston either. You might first suppose this would make cocking quite a chore, but nothing could be further from the truth. When you unlatch the barrel from the hold at the détente, thanks to its length the stroke and effort required isn’t strenuous and also very smooth in operation. After thumbing a pellet into the breech, the barrel swings easily back up to lock securely thanks to the large stainless steel ball bearing catch.
Though this rifle has been around a while it was good to see it’s been upgraded to feature the same 2-stage adjustable trigger unit and auto safety as fitted to the Dream Rider and Dream Hunter. However, while I like the in-guard safety ‘button’ and the trigger in general, on the Dragon I found myself reaching forward to not only operate the safety but to get a proper finger position on the blade. Just looking at the unit you can see how far forward it’s set in its ABS guard and how far back the pistol grip curves away in relation to the reach to pull. On checking I wasn’t surprised to find this measurement is a tad over 15”. This can and does make a lot of difference to how a rifle performs, particularly with the blade set so well forward. This had me bemused as the guard is very roomy so it could easily be remedied by moving the whole mechanism back or at least fitting a set back blade.
Having got over this initial gripe and unusual length of the trigger pull I did manage some tasty groupings with the .177 test rifle. So adjust your hold accordingly and the rifle is capable of kill zone accuracy out to 30-yards.
I’m not ‘dissing’ the Norica Dragon Camo as it’s a nice rifle and there’s no denying at 6.5lb un-scoped and 45.5” long it’s an easy handling, lightweight and accurate performer. For those with long forearms and fingers the Norica could be perfect, but for many shooters I feel having to adapt to gain optimum trigger control could well have them look to the newer models from Norica. It’s a pity, as the rifle in this livery is very appealing especially when dressed up with a suitable camo scope and mounts. However, I do feel that if they have camoed the stock, then why not finish off the effect on barrel and cylinder too?
For those it suits, this is a handy lightweight hunter, but for the majority I think the camo is going to be seen as mostly window dressing.
• Good general break-barrel
• Maybe a bit long
• Full camo finish would be better
£186.90p (£152.60p Black)