The 2015 Pyramyd Airgun Cup was held September 11-13 in Midvale, OH at the Tusco Gun Club. The facility is made up of numerous rifle and pistol ranges with covered pavilions, restrooms, a snack bar and a camping area. The staff of Pyramyd Air spent many hours planning and executing the hard work and effort that went into making this event a great success. All of their hard work was immediately evident the minute competitors began arriving at the gun club. The Pyramyd staff professionally greeted competitors at check in with a nice goodie bag, name tag and instructions pertaining to the weekend of competition.
I arrived on Friday and signed in with the staff at the sight in range. I met up with my buddies Greg Sauve, Tyler Patner and many others before getting down to the business of shooting. It was good to see old friends at the match and as always, it nice to meet new ones as well. Once I had gathered my goodies, I grabbed my rifle from the car and headed to find an empty space on the sight in range. There was a noticeable wind swirling a bit on the range, so sight in was more about getting comfortable with my rifle, the surroundings and making sure that my zero was basically where it was when I left home.
Although I signed up for the all of the shooting events including: the Payday Challenge, the Gunslinger and the Field Target match, my main focus, as always, was the Field Target event. I planned to shoot the WFTF Division with my Steyr LG110. It is set up with a Leupold Competition 35 and shoots JSB Express 7.9 grain pellets at about 810 fps or about 11.5 fpe. I have been shooting this rifle / combination since 2013 in it’s current configuration. It is a rig that I’ve found to be consistent and accurate. It also travels well with typically little to no change in point of impact from one location to the other. I have found this to be very important when traveling with a rifle. It can be a major headache to leave home with a rifle that shoots well, only to arrive at a match and find the point of impact nowhere near where it was a day or two before. Fortunately, when I began sending pellets downrange at Tusco, all was well and my pellets were right on the money! I felt good about my rifle and that is a good thing going into a big match like the Pyramyd Air Cup.
As I walked out of the hotel on Saturday morning, I noted that the sky was dark and the rain was peppering down on the already well-drenched parking area. Normally, this would not be a good sign for the first day of a major field target match, but at the Pyramyd Cup it wasn’t a problem. Each field target course was well set and the competitors were fully covered by the gun club pavilions. Granted, this does take away from the interesting scenery that we get to see on courses set into a wooded setting but it does have it’s advantages. Clearly, we were about to experience one of those advantages of being able to continue shooting in dry comfort when we might otherwise be cold, wet or even worse, having to call the match due to rain.
Each course was located in an open field on a firearms shooting range with large dirt berms surrounding the area for safety. This also created a large wind break that caused the wind to arrive in the fields with a very erratic and unpredictable flow. Over the weekend, I noted many times that the wind would blow right to left, then immediately switch to left to right and sometimes had a swirling action as well! The unpredictable wind changes caused some confusion and frustration as shooters one by one applied the wrong wind correction on the long open shots. Ultimately, with the challenging wind, the courses were approximately a 39T.
The two courses equaled one hundred shots total. I shot forty-eight shots on Saturday on the lower course and fifty two shots Sunday on the upper course. Tyler did a fantastic job of designing the courses with lots of long, open shots. This is typical of courses we see when shooting World Field Target abroad. I think it is a good way to set up courses and really does a good job of challenging shooters of all skill levels. Shooters were also required to concentrate on their environment to determine how to hold for each shot. Overall, I find these types of courses both challenging and interesting to shoot as the environment becomes my competition rather than other shooters in my division.
All of the WFTF and Open Division shooters were assigned shooting lanes on the lower course on day one. All of the Hunter and Piston shooters were assigned lanes on the upper course. This was a good effort to keep conditions similar within all respective divisions. Fortunately, I started strong on the first day. I missed one long shot early on, but didn’t miss any others until I was nearly half way done with the match. I tried to concentrate and focus on each shot, lane after lane. I identified a consistency in the wind conditions pretty early on and found that holding off about one to two mildots on the longer shots was working pretty well. I watched my wind flag and tried to catch the conditions as close as possible each time I took a long shot so as to utilize the consistency I had found. This worked well until I was three lanes from the end of the first match. I was shooting near the middle of the course, in an open field when I ran into some swirling winds late in the day. The wind was so unpredictable that I could see the target string moving one direction at 50 yards and my wind flag moving the opposite direction at my rifle barrel! This made things extremely difficult and I ended up dropping three shots on one lane near the end of the day. I held on and finished out day one with 41/48. I was disappointed to drop that many shots so far into the match, but as it turned out, I finished the lower course with the high score of the day.
I knew going into day two that I really had to concentrate and shoot the best I could to have a chance at winning the top prize of a brand new Air Arms FTP900. The day before, Bill Rabbit had finished strong with a 46/52 on the upper course shooting in the Hunter Division. So, I knew my work was cut out for me and I had to bring it on day two to stay in the running for the top prize. When the squadding was announced for day two, I was happy to hear that my lane partners would be my good friends Keith Knoblauch and Greg Sauve. Since both Greg and Knobs are WFTF shooters, shooting with them would give me a good indication throughout the match of how other shooters in my division were handling the conditions.
We got started and soon found that the wind was once again going to be a major factor in the outcome of the match. I felt good and shot better than I did on day one. Greg was also shooting well and missed very few shots as the match progressed. I didn’t miss but one shot during the first half of the match and was hoping to finish much stronger than I did on day one. However, the wind continued to pick up making it more and more difficult to knock over the long shots. Once we made it past the half way point, I began to miss one here and there, until the last lane. Fortunately, I cleaned my last lane and had only missed one offhand shot all weekend, so I did finish a little better than the day before with a 46/52 for a final aggregate score of 87/100. Not my best shooting of the year, but given the winds, a decent showing.
When all said and done, the scores were tallied. I had no clue how I did until Tyler gave me the good news, “You won it!” That was an awesome feeling since Pyramyd Air and Air Arms had graciously offered an Air Arms FTP900 as the top prize for the match winner!! What a great company to give competitors such awesome prizes. And I was not the only one to win a prize. The second place shooter also walked away with his choice of either a nice new rifle, scope or one of many other fine provided by Pyramid Air. One by one, the division winners and overall placements were read off. One by one, the competitors picked up great prizes and left with a big smile on their faces.
In summary, it was a great weekend! THANK YOU, Pyramyd Air, for hosting such an awesome event. The coordinators, employees and volunteers did a top notch job of pulling off one of the largest airgun shooting events in the USA this year. They also introduced our sport to new shooters that were competing for the first time and managed to challenge some of the old timers along the way. This is a challenge that was met with a great amount of planning, coordination and perfect execution on the part of the Pyramyd Team. I plan to attend the 2016 Pyramyd Air Cup. Make plans to attend and check the www.pyramydaircup.com website for details. This is one event that you don’t want to miss!