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Thread: Here be Dragons

  1. #1
    Sharp Shooter
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    Default Here be Dragons

    Another rifle that I was interested to acquire for my collection was a Parker Hale Dragon FT

    [IMG]

    This rifle released in the early 1990's offers a fully recoilless performance like a pcp but without needing an air bottle. It achieved this by being a single stroke pneumatic rifle. Charging is by opening the side lever on the right hand side of the rifle fully, then the button that lies ahead of the trigger blade is pushed fully upwards to set the valve mechanism. The lever is then returned to the closed position compressing the air for the shot - this requires a bit of effort but is vastly easier than the other full power single stroke rifle - the Air Logic Genesis - that preceded this one. Operating the lever is more about rhythm than strength.

    Once the rifle is cocked, the bolt is opened and a pellet inserted and you are ready to fire. The firing action is incredibly fast - there is only one moving part - the valve stem, the trigger acting directly on this to hold it closed, once the trigger is released the valve stem drops to open the transfer port. I would rate the discharge time as faster than any of the new breed of raceguns.

    Accuracy wise the rifle is quite capable as well, the trigger is extremely good. If I had to make a personal criticism of any part of the rifle it is the lack of an adjustable cheekpiece on an otherwise very well thought out FT stock. The cheek piece as designed is just too low to get a good cheek weld.

    So why did such a potentially good concept fade into obscurity?

    I personally think the reason is when it hit the market, the pcp was what people wanted, it was easy to use and didn't require much effort to operate. The perception was these were hard work to use.

    Truth of the matter is yes they do require more operator input to use, but it is a real pity these didn't catch on as they are extremely good rifles and are sought after now as collectors items. I think if these were introduced now they would have a bigger impact as there seems to be more interest in rifles with self contained power sources.
    Last edited by Dale; 05-06-08 at 15:14. Reason: more detail added
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  2. #2
    Inactive Member

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    This is exactly the kind of gun that in my mind is close to perfect. The concept is great and i see FX is also bringing out a similar gun. Maybe it faded because of problems with the valves? maybe the valves got tired and leaked after a couple hundred shots? That is sometimes the problem with pneumatics...also if the power doubles it takes much more air than double the amount. so pnuematics seem to work fine in 3-7fpe but higher power guns might have troubles
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  3. #3
    Sharp Shooter
    The Professor

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    I don't think so, the valving is extremely simple and reliable, I have fired a lot more than a couple of hundred shots since acquirng this one late last year and not a moment's trouble with it.

    The Dragon was specifically designed for 12ft.lbs use and it achieves that with ease.

    I think my own theory is closer to the mark as there are three other recoilless rifles from the late 80's early 90's that also fell by the wayside, first the Air Logic Genesis - although this one was bloody hard work to cock! The TX200SR a sledge system variant of the TX200 (function similar to that on the FWB300) and the Park RH91/93 twin piston spring rifle - I think all these rifles were good product just release at the wrong time.

    The Whiscombe survived the test of time because it was always a small volume high value product, handbuilt to order and had a kudos about it that people liked.
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  4. #4
    Marksman
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    there were also many successful 10m match pistols and air rifles which were single shot pneumatics...
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  5. #5
    Sharp Shooter
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    Guido, yes indeed there have been - however until the likes of the Dragon, single stroke technology had not really gotten above the power of about 6ft.lbs common to 10m rifles.
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  6. #6
    Rest in Peace Mike 05/12/2014

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    The only problem modifying the 10m single strokers such as the 300S to FT velocities is the volume of the cylinder.

    I personally think the time is now ripe for a single stroke 12fpe air rifle.
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  7. #7
    Marksman
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    really looking forward to this!!!!



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  8. #8
    Sharp Shooter
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    Hi Mike,
    The 300S (FWB) is a beautiful recoilless spring rifle, but as you point out is also restricted by the compressable air volume being too low, same as with the 10m single stroke pneumatics.

    I think if the Dragon was re-introduced now it would be much more likely to be a success.

    Guido - yes it looks interesting - I just hope the quality matches the concept.
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  9. #9
    Inactive Member

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    the bottom FX is pretty but the pnuematic one has one big ass mofo barrel sleeve...not nice
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  10. #10
    Sharp Shooter
    The Professor

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    Exploded diagram of the Dragon:
    [IMG]

    [IMG]
    This shows the Dragon valve mechanism - here the pump piston head has been withdrawn and the cocking button has not yet been pushed to close the firing valve stem.

    [IMG]
    In this view the cocking button has been pushed upward closing the valve stem, the cocking button will then spring back down to the at rest position and upon closing the side lever the air will be compressed. As the piston head closes to just touch the forward face of the valve block, the air is compressed into the small chamber around the firing valve stem. Upon releasing the trigger the stem is blown downwards opening the transfer port and accelarating the pellet down the barrel.
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