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Education / Training Reading targets – Part 2

Reading targets – Part 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1


6: Pinwheels
A pinwheel is the perfect removal of the exact center of the bull. It’s most dramatic on a 10-meter air rifle target shot with a .177 wadcutter because the hole is exactly framed by the 9-ring.


7: Flyers
A flyer is a hole that is clearly apart from the central group. There are many reasons for flyers, but they always represent a fly in the ointment of good target shooting–so they aren’t welcome.


8: Stringing
Stringing is when the group resembles a line, rather than a circular dispersion. It’s caused by many different things, but it’s always an indication of something going wrong.


9: One-hole groups
A “one-hole” group is just that–a group in which there is only a single hole. Some interpret this to mean that the hole is the same size as a single pellet, but that’s not always the case. Since caliber-sized groups are more theoretical than possible, they should be explained with additional terms. One hole means one hole–regardless of the size.


Calling your shots
We “call our shots” by referring to the target as if it were the face of a clock. This is a standard form of communication that all shooters use.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

40 thoughts on “Reading targets – Part 2”

  1. Good morning B.B. I saw a chart years ago that showed some of the causes of off center groups, i.e., verticle stringing caused by improper breath control, to the left or right of the bull caused by improper trigger control, high right, low left and their causes, etc. It was pretty neat and I sure wish I’d have saved it. Perhaps you, in your vast library, have a copy or maybe a reader has one that could be included in this article. Just a thought Mr B.

  2. BB

    Yes could you inform us on what causes vertical, horizontal, and diagonal stringing?

    Instead of posting a picture of one-hole groups it is the picture of groups stringing.


  3. MR. B,

    Gunloads.com also has free printable rifle targets like the one you are talking about teaching improper techniques !!

    B.B. ,
    Any word on the Leapers base for the Diana 34 that has NO barrel droop compensation built in ??? Do you know estimated in stock dates for Pyramyd ??

  4. David,

    On the Leapers no-droop Diana base, they haven’t told me any date, so I will ask them today. But with the SHOT Show coming up in January and them announcing all their new products there, I would bet that’s when they’ll announce it, and availability could be within a couple more months.

    That’s just a guess, so I will ask.


  5. B.B.

    I looked up the Diana 27 in the “Blue Book of Airguns” and the 27L, 27A, 27E, 27S and 27 and it says they are different rifles. But doesn’t say what is different about them… Which did you get for me.. And how does it compare with the Win 422 (Diana 22) and Win 25 (Diana 25) I bought on Gunbroker. I didn’t receive the 425 yet..

    It looks like the Diana 28 would be a great one…early ones between 1913-1940… then again 1985 to 1992 and they didn’t make that one for winchester or Hy-Score it looks like..

    Volvo, you were right, I do love my “Blue Book of Airguns”…

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  6. Wayne,

    I haven’t shot Field Target. However, I am wondering if it would be best to measure from the point of aim (center of bullseye) to the outside of the holes for FT? It seems like this would be best since the target hole is what you are trying to get through. If your group (measured outside to outside) is small enough to fit in the hole and it is too far from the center, some of the shots wouldn’t make it through.

    Am I thinking correctly?

    .22 multi-shot

  7. Backstop and bird feeder materials-

    (I accidentally posted this in yesterday’s comments.)

    My experiences don’t have to do with feeders, but with the safety of some of the materials mentioned today.
    When I was a kid I shot a tractor tire and the BB bounced back and hit me a half inch below my eye, just like Ralphie in Christmas Story. So be careful with hard rubber.

    Then recently I unwisely backed up a target with a piece of Trex deck material. My .177 Gamo 1000 imbeded the CPs nice and cleanly in the Trex, but when I tried my .22 B40, the pellet bounced right back at me. Another idea for the bad list.

    Just my 2 cents.

  8. .22 multi-shot,

    You are thinking too much. In field target the objective is to get through the hole. Group size is irrelevant. You need one perfect shot. So the gun that groups the smallest regardless of how the measurement is taken is the one you use.


  9. .22 multishot & B.B.

    Yes, groups don't matter if they are not in the center of the bull… The repeatability has to transfer to the next target, which may be closer or farther.. larger or smaller hole.. That's the fun of it… Getting set up and THEN, inside the hole with one shot at a time…

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  10. BB,

    I tend to do that :). I can see that for FT you would want the group sizes from outside to outside to fit in the hole.

    I was thinking of how to measure when you practice for FT. If the distance from the center of the aim point to the farthest side of the pellet isn't smaller than the FT hole, you didn't make it :(.

    Wayne & BB
    I think I get it now.

    .22 multi-shot

  11. BB,

    I’m a dissenter on the “one-hole” definition, although you are right about its common use and the misunderstandings it causes. I think “one-hole” ought to be reserved for groups that are within 1/2 pellet diameter CtC.

  12. Off topic:

    BB, looking for a target, plinking gun as a substitute/backup to a Gamo CFX I currently own. I have been having problems with the rotary breech locking mechanism breaking, sending it back for the second time in 1 year to be warrantee.

    I have read the reviews of the Discovery and really like the accuracy and power, but have also read the review of the 1077 and thought this might be good for backyard shooting. One of my intentions is getting into field target or silhouette shooting. I will also have my CFX to use if the 1077 is not powerful /accurate to use for field target/silhouette shooting. What are your thoughts on the Discovery and 1077 for these purposes?


  13. bb,
    My shadow express will shoot the first 20 rnds without diesling but then 1 in 8 will set off. I put 6 drops of RWS spring cylinder oil as close to the spring area as possible (the allen wrench insert is stripped so I can’t get the stock off). It still buzzes like a bee, maybe I have a canted spring or I should use different bullets (I use daisy wadcutters and premier wadcutters, its louder but less vibration with premiers).
    P.S. sorry I couldn’t come to the show.
    Shadow Express Dude

  14. 1077,

    The 1077 is a better plinker and backyard shooter, but it’s not suitable for field target. Even silhouette might be a stretch. Plastic guns juist are not well-suited to longer-range shooting.

    The Discovery has actually been used for field target, so I have to say it can do it. If you want a quieter gun, run it on CO2. A Disco will also shoot rings around a CF-X.


  15. Shadow Express Dude,

    It sounds like something is wrong with either the spring or the guide. If the gun quiets down with some pellets, it may have an oversized breech. You may want to shoot Kodiaks or JSBs instead of Crosman pellets, as they are often very small.

    The bottom line may be a tuneup, however.


  16. Kevin,

    I was amazed at the variety of the groups B.B. demonstrated. Personally my experience is limited to the one hole type. But then I’ve never shot much over 250 yards. : )

    I’m guessing your 124 will make it back in time for Christmas, so you may want to make it a gift to yourself. I’m planning on that for the Discovery. I ordered it in my wife’s name and will have her wrap it without me ever seeing it first.

    Something about the excitement of long box that you never out grow. My Dad would hide them behind the sofa – ala “The Christmas Story” style.

    Depending on how it measures up will decide if it sees 2009 at my home.


  17. Volvo,

    Been thinking about you and your discovery. I went to the site where I think you found the deal f****g.com ?? and entered the coupon number and just about fell out of my chair at the price. I came very, very close to pulling the trigger on that purchase. Guess I’m not ready for the darkside yet? I’m sure having fun with these springers. Sold the R9 (too heavy for me) and been looking for an old weihrauch or maybe an old diana. Don’t know why I’m attracted to such scarce guns.

    The fwb better get here before Christmas. Have a new mount and new scope just for that baby. Just as anxious to experience the Paul Watts magic first hand.

    You’re a bad influence. Did you see Frank’s (frakor’s) gun room on the vintage airgun site? Disneyland.


  18. Volvo,

    Let me know when you’re ready to stop plinking with handguns and start shooting rifle distances:). Of course, we’ll have to wait for a nice windy day, otherwise its just an act. Thanks for the helpful suggestions yesterday — I responded to thank you and Wayne, but misplaced my comment somewhere (maybe in CFX blog?). As I said, I don’t need a cannon to shoot 9″ one hole groups, just a good sidearm.


    That measuring tool would leave too much uncertainty about my groups. I wouldn’t know whether my groups were 8.9999 or 9.0001 or somewhere in between.

  19. B.B.
    off topic again…

    Thinking hard about the Discovery and choosing a calaber. From my limited experience .177 is better for traget due to price and i believe field target due to size. My understanding is .22 works better for little furry creatures due to the increased weight. How would .177 using a heavy weight pellet work for the occasional hunt in the Discovery.


  20. BG – farmer,

    Just wanted to keep the playing field level. My snub nose .38 against your Marlin comes to mind. : )


    You’re on the money with the Discovery. My understanding is it ships directly from Crosman. If I keep it I may still sell the pump to off set the total cost. If I sell it all, it should be 98% and if one of the regulars here wants it I would make them a sweet deal.


  21. Anonymous,

    I used a .177 R-1 for years and had no problem taking small game and pests. I think the .177 Discovery will offer similar power. Shot placement is still key. Crows would seldom go anywhere after a body shot and I would gives squirrels and the like something to think about only.


  22. Discovery in .22

    I have three of the Discovery in .22 cal. because I thought of them as a hunting rifle… But now that I see how good PCPs and the Discovery can be, I’m sorry I didn’t get at least one in .177 for field target.. I would think that although .177 cal is not quite as good for killing squirrels, it is alright… especially with 10.2 JSB Exact heavy, 10.6 Kodiak or even Eunjin 16gr all in .177, which should work well in the Discovery.. The Discovery .177 would be a good all around choice in an entry level rifle..

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  23. Kevin,

    Just noticed, R-9 too heavy? Have you looked at the HW50S? It is one of my current keepers. It is not like the old 50’s, more of a smaller R-9. Still nice though.

    I get 12-13 ft lbs out of mine in .22 cal after a tune. Without going all the way down to an R-7, it seems the perfect compromise in size and power.

    I had a peep sight on it until recently that really kept the weight down. I put a new Leapers scope on it as the peep was not working like it use to???


  24. B.B.
    OT, but a question for you..
    Any idea in the world why Airforce used such a short screw to attatch the forend on Talons? There are only somewhere between 2-3 threads holding it together.
    It would be terribly easy to strip out of the frame.
    I found a source for some that are 1/4″ longer and intend to replace mine before an acident happens.

  25. Volvo,

    You’re close to reading my mind. I’m leaning towards a relatively lightweight plinker that is accurate. Don’t need power. Got that covered. Something with a rekord or pre-rekord like a HW 55. Don’t need collector grade since it’ll be a shooter. I’m on the trail of one now. Maybe even a diana 60. Waiting to see pictures of a diana 60 that’s for sale. I’m dreaming but would love to find a HW 85. I have a long standing appreciation of some vintage guns. The quality is rarely equalled in current production springers. We’ll see. A lot of the fun is in the hunt.


  26. Kevin,

    The HW50S is 6.8 lbs, 40.5 inches and sells new for $359.00

    In .177 it is rated at 840 fps and in .22 600 fps.

    Don’t be mis-lead as these are real numbers. In my tuned rifle I can get 700 fps with .22 Hobby pellets.


  27. TwoTalon,

    Don’t install that other screw! It will bind the power adjustment wheel. There is very little clearance at that spot and even the AirForce screw can be made to bind up.

    That screw is very carefully fitted to be exactly the right length. If you tighten it but not too tight it can be removed and installed many times without a problem. If you over-tighten it a few times, you may have to get a new screw.


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