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Why do airgunners need high-magnification scopes ?

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Today’s report is for blog reader J-F, who asked this exact question: “Why do airgunners need high-magnification scopes?” And let’s define high magnification as anything over 12x. That’s arbitrary, of course. It’ll be arbitrary no matter where you set the limit. I set it there because that’s 3 times the power that the average deer hunter’s scope had in the 1950s.

But airgunners delight in 24x, 32x, 40x and even 60x scopes. I know because I’m one who does. But I also know why I want this level of magnification and what purpose it will serve.

Braggin’ rights
One reason for high-magnification scopes is pure bragging rights. Like the pilot who has to have the largest, most complicated watch, the biggest scope gets the most attention — at least in the minds of the guys who think that way. And I know for a fact that some people do think that way; I’ll tell you how I know in a moment.

Field target
One good reason for owning a scope with high magnification is so you can use it to determine the ranges to targets. No one needs to do that more than the field target competitor. Rangefinders are not permitted in field target matches, but the parallax adjustment on a scope provides something very close because it focuses the scope when the distance to the target is dialed in. This isn’t a true rangefinding function like you might find on a coincidence rangefinder built especially to do this, but it’s close enough to satisfy most people. And, it’s all you’re allowed to do.

Field target courses run from 10 yards to 55 yards, so the scope has to work in those boundaries. You want a scope that has most of its adjustment range between 10 and 50 yards. The best field target scopes are made that way — with 3/4 of the adjustment (the distance that the adjustment wheel or bell is turned) between those 2 distances.

To determine ranges accurately, you have to be able to see when something very small comes into sharp focus at your desired distance. To see things that small, you need as much magnification as you can get with the image still being clear.

field target
The kill zone of this field target is the small hole above the dime. Your pellet has to go through the hole without touching the sides to score a point. This is why field target competitors need to know how far away the targets are!

Let’s get something clear right now. Just because a scope adjusts to 40x does not mean that you can use it at that setting. I own a Tasco Custom Shop 8-40X56 scope that cost $650 back in the 1990s, and it’s unusable above 30x for anything other than a bright target in direct sunlight. Field targets are often shot in the deep woods, where the light is either low or dappled with bright sun and dark shadows. In that light, my Tasco isn’t useable above 30x.

There are cars whose speedometers go up to 120 m.p.h. It doesn’t mean the cars go that fast. Same is true of scope magnifications levels. If you want to see at 40x in a field target setting, you’re probably going to have to pay close to a thousand dollars for your scope.

Small field of view
Here’s how I know that some people buy big scopes just to be envied. On several occasions, I’ve seen a field target competitor start the match and then not be able to find the targets! They sit there burning everyone’s time, looking though their powerful scopes but are unable to see the targets because everything looks so big and dark through the lens. This got so bad, in fact, that AAFTA (the American Airgun Field Target Association) started enforcing the time rules that typically give a competitor 5 minutes per 2-target (4-shot) lane.

The reason this happened is because these guys had never looked through their scopes at anything besides paper sight-in targets until the day of the match. They assumed things would be as they always were; and, of course, they aren’t when you move from a well-lit range into the woods.

The other thing powerful scopes do is bring out the anal side of some shooters. They will sit and range and rerange to the target, acting like some clueless manager examining a spreadsheet. They can’t get off the dime and take the shot because — what if they were wrong?

On the other hand I suffer from the opposite affliction. I don’t take my time and just charge on through the course. Great instincts for a first-wave armor officer — not so good for longevity on the battlefield or to win a match.

Benchrest shooters
The other shooter who really needs a powerful scope is the benchrest shooter. “Aim small, miss small” is their motto. A few weeks back, I showed you my 100-yard box targets that help me sight my most accurate scoped rifles.

printed box target1

My best centerfire rifles are, in descending order — my Rock River AR-15, which I built from parts; my HW 52 in .22 Hornet; and my Savage 1920 bolt-action in .250-3000 Savage. The AR has the Tasco 8-40X56 scope on it; and even on sunny days, the power never goes above 30 or the scope gets foggy. The Weihrauch Hornet has a vintage Weaver K10-T that’s a fixed 10-power scope with an adjustable objective. The Savage is carrying a vintage Weaver V9-W 3-9X32 variable with a widefield view.

three rifles
My 3 most accurate centerfire rifles are (from the top), AR-15, .22 Hornet falling block and .250-3000 bolt action.

One of the main reasons two of these scopes are vintage is that they have fine reticles that are perfect for my box targets. I can see when they split the box, even at these relatively low magnifications. Would I like more power? You bet! But I need to get it in scopes that will fit in fairly exotic rings and clear the guns when they’re mounted. That’s a tall order because high magnification usually comes with a large objective bell.

Who doesn’t need high magnification ?
As a general rule, hunters don’t need high magnification; and they do need the wider fields of view and brightness that come with lower-powered scopes. Varmint hunters might disagree with me on this because they’re more like benchrest shooters, but squirrel and rabbit hunters will probably agree.

Exterminators can also get by with lower power, with a few exceptions. When they hunt quarry that’s extremely wary, such as rats can sometimes be, they may want more power to place their pellets precisely on the little part of the animal that does show. But we’re talking 12-16x here — not 40! But the guy who’s killing birds in a discount store or mall at 3 a.m. can get by with a good 6x scope most of the time.

So, J-F, the answer to your question is a combination of things. There are those airgunners who actually do need high magnification, then there are the wannabes who have it because it’s cool. And then there are the first-time buyers who may get it because they have no idea what they’re getting into, and high magnification sounds good.

193 thoughts on “Why do airgunners need high-magnification scopes ?”

  1. Thanks for the great blog. How far away would that minuscule target zone be placed? 55 yards? How do you think people get contracted to do mall bird removal? I am a sleep lab technologist and my hours are already switched. I can’t think of a better second job at the moment.

    • Pop,,

      That target wouldn’t be placed farther out that 12-13 yards, probably. I just showed it for emphasis. Draw a 3/8″ circle on target paper and try ro go through it without touching the sides sometime. You’ll see what a challenge it is.

      If you want to shoot birds in malls you need to start a pest extermination business, get ecognition for doing good work, then market the places that can use such services.


  2. You are going to make me get another .22 Hornet yet.
    I have forsaken it for the .223, just seems to make sense, but the hornet is the cartridge that brings back such fond memories from the 70’s. You know you have had a little too much trigger time in your life when you are sentimental over a varmint round…and old Weaver scopes.

    Good read as usual, but you might want to up your MPH analogy from 120. I know your not a car guy, but even my old 2004 Volvo S60R had a top speed of 150-155.

    • Hey bud…..ain’t seen your screen name in a while.Sure do miss your blog Volvo! I liked it as much as this one…..which as you know is high praise.I don’t even want to know how fast my ’66 New Yorker can go,it would require Mississippi as a stopping distance.

    • Volvo

      It is great to see you here. I may not always agree with your opinions, but I really like to read them and appreciate how they are written. You were once a staple of this blog and I wouldn’t mind seeing you returning to that role. I also wouldn’t mind seeing a new review or two on North American Airguns. You really had something there.

      • Slinging -our disagreeing was one of my favorite parts. How boring would the world be if we all drove Volvo’s and shot HW97k’s tuned by Paul Watts? But Old Bay Seasoning is another story. : )

        As far as the blog, I have a scant 3 air rifles now and 1 BB gun. Building back up my collection I have focused more on the powder end. But maybe one of these days… if I can figure out how to post on the new format.

        • Powder, eh? What are you working on? Might I suggest the WWII rifles, especially the Mauser 98k which I have grown to love, the Mosin-Nagant 91/30 rifle for its history, the Lee-Enfield No. 4, and the M1 Garand. In other words, the rifles that I have. They are each priceless and I couldn’t do without them. Everyone should have this same experience.


      • That is certainly true, I must have been thinking about the line from the Sonny and Cher song: “The cars keep going faster all the time”

        Seems any mention of the .22 Hornet always brings back thoughts of 35 years ago with a Winchester that was already 30+ years old at the time. The smell of fresh cut hay and the sun on my much leaner frame induces a smile every time. As soon as they invent a time machine, that will be my first stop.

        • Volvo,

          I am a real sucker for the .22 Hornet. It’s small, inexpensive, relatively quiet and doesn’t recoil much. If only I could add accurate to the list!

          I currently own 4 Hornets. Besides the Weihrauch I have a Savage 23D that wants .223 bullets to shoot, A Savage model 40 that is very accurate but has extraction problems and a Stevens model 322 (made by Savage) that has a horrible factory bedding situation. I only shoot the Weihrauch and work on the model 40.

          I never owned a Hornet until I was 62 years old. Now I guess I am making up for lost time.


          • It sounds like a rifle trying to be an airgun. πŸ™‚ Have you read that story about the guy who goes hunting with a .22 rifle and gets pursued by the psycho hunter with a much larger rifle?


          • It sounds like a firearm that wants to be an airgun. Have you read the story about the kid who goes hunting with a .22 Hornet and becomes the quarry of a psycho hunter with a much bigger rifle?


    • Welcome back, Volvo!

      Got to agree…. My 91 Stealth comes with a speedo that goes to 180mph. In stock form it’s supposed to do 170mph, but mine isn’t entirely stock and has more hp & torque than stock. I don’t know how fast it goes… πŸ˜€

      (yeah, that’s me…. Bigger scope too……! Heheh! πŸ™‚ )


      • Big scopes and fast cars – nothing wrong with that!
        I’ve got my heart set on one last V8 powered car with a manual before I am too old to really enjoy it, or hovercrafts and jet packs become standard fare.

        I might even settle for a test drive if I can find a dealership that doesn’t require the sales person to go along.

        • Tell us what it is! Mustang, Camaro, Corvette, CTS-V, Challenger?
          I’d go with a CTS-V wagon, I love wagons and no one ever suspects the wagon πŸ˜€ πŸ˜‰ plus I would have place for the kids AND the dogs (and a few airguns).


          • First, Surprise speed cars… and second the air rifle I am looking most closely to buy.
            In 1967 I ordered a new Ford Falcon 2 door coupe, burnt orange with a white top and hand painted accents. It came with a 289 four barrel, standard column shift, and I ordered a limited slip rear end to be installed at the factory. Ford would not cover the rear-end in their warranty. It would bang a little when making a right turn, but I never had any problems other than that with it. Plans were to drive it up the Al-Can. After I got it, I fitted it with a 40 gallon, wedge-shaped auxiliary fuel tank mounted in the very back of the trunk over the existing 16 gallon tank and inter-connected. I figured I could go about 900 miles without refueling. I fitted it with heavy duty, air shocks, 16″ wheels and tires, took the rear seat out and fitted a lacquer finished, knotty pine, hinged deck in place of the seat. Under that I could store two spares and my tool box, plus the wife and I could lay down side by side on an air-mattress on it. Although we would have to coordinate when we wanted to turn over. I’ve never known what the top speed may be… But I used to take 350 Vets at the drag strip with ease… They always challenged me on the limited slip rear-end, but as I had the papers showing it came with it from the factory I was OK. They never caught the over-sized wheels and tires… Maybe because they were white walls just like the originals. It could go through 2′ of snow with no problems, but it never made it to Alaska. It did make it to Washington State where I got an extravagant offer for it to include a beautiful 1963 Chrysler 300 2 door. We drove that to Alaska after I finished my plumbing apprenticeship and had, by then, one other passenger, our first daughter, now a Major in the Army, combat vet., soon to retire. We had four more with all but one knowing Alaska. Between just two of them they have chalked up one 4 years in the air force going in at 17 and then, now soon to retire, switched to the Army. The son served 4 years in the Marines and added 4 more years in the army. The youngest son was conceived on a ferry in the inter-coastal waters on our final way home after homesteading and building two homes there. Yes, we are very proud of them all as they all have given us a plethora of grandchildren, great memories, are good providers and all just ornery enough to be loads of fun around. Now, the air rifle…
            I am looking at buying a TX 200 MK III, .22 cal. I’ve seen where one testing showed the Barracuda pellets best. What would anyone else recommend? Also I am looking for the best scope and mounts for pl inking small game. Again, does anyone have some suggestions. This will be my second air rifle after, of course, the old Red Ryder lever action, and two hand-guns, one Nitro and one older Crossman pump .177 cal. I’ve have had and still have a few fire arms. My favorite of which I learned how to shot with and was given to me from my great Aunt is a Marlin hexagon barrel, late 1890s, lever action with pop-up peep sights. It was supposedly Anne Oakley’s at one time and has a very interesting story behind it from it’s days in Montana.

            • Mike
              My 1st car before I got my drivers license was a 64 Falcon Sprint with the 289 HiPo with a 4-spd. and a 3.90 posi. Car was a black 2 door car with a red interior.
              Sold it about 6 months after I got my license then got my 427 4-spd. Camarao.
              Man those were the good ole days.

              And I’m gonna get me a TX200 too.

        • I got this one in trade. Known as the Corvette killers when they came out in 91. Twin turbo, all wheel dive, all wheel steer (the back wheels only move a couple degrees, but it feels great in a hard corner). It’s been a love/hate relationship since I got it. Great fun to drive, but a freakin’ nightmare to work on….

        • I used to have a Volvo. It was my second car.

          A 1958 PV444. Red with a red and white vinyl interior.

          It looked like a 3/4 scale model of my first car, a 1948 Ford Tudor sedan. They looked neat parked together.

          I really liked the interior!

          Wish I still had both of these cars.


        • Volvo
          I need to take time and read the reply’s better.

          And yep those darn sales people they ruin all the fun.

          I’m kinda new to the blog and have had some interesting conversations. And learned some new things also (and who said a old dog cant learn new tricks).
          And met new people which is cool too.

          Alot of people know you from what I have read. And I figured this would be the time to say hey good to meet ya.

          All I know though is BB’s got a heck of a blog going this time.

      • It’s not really what the car can do with todays car as much as what the manufacturer feels is fast enough to not get in trouble.
        My first car was an ’81 MonteCarlo, the previous owner had swapped the weak 305 for a nice 350 and I did the rest of the powertrain upgrades. The Speedo stoped at 140km/h. I would run the car with the needle pass that speed to the point where it just couldn’t physicaly go farther, there were no GPS then so I never knew how fast I was actually going.
        All the other cars I’ve owned since then have a cut off, some only keep you from going any faster, others shut off everything, my Beretta was like that, it had the all digital dash so the first time I hit it I tought I had broke something, there was no display, then everything came back on PHEW!!! The car was still very stable and I was nowhere near the redline so it could have went faster without problem.


        • My old (’83) Plymouth Turismo 2.2 had a governor at 6000RPM… It also had an 80-85mph (legal mandate) speedometer.

          The governor was an annoyance — nothing like roaring up a freeway on-ramp, merge into the traffic, and then have the engine cut out because it went over 6000RPM during the no-load period (initial clutch depression) of the up-shift… glide to the shoulder while waiting for the engine to drop to idle speed and reactivate.

          I think I had that model up to around 95mph based on the tachometer reading and correlating to same gear at half the tach reading… Not too bad for a mere 94hp engine, on the uphill side of the Dumbarton bridge (before they restriped it for three lanes). Wind blast from the side combined with velocity lifted the hood some three inches on the corner.

          This thing also had a fuel cut-off solenoid (meant to keep from flooding the carb when the engine was off). Problem is, it was mounted horizontally, and a high-speed 90deg right turn, with the clutch down, would have centrifugal forces close the valve, and the engine would sputter coming out of the turn.

          OTOH: this was the same model where the engineers managed to get their way over the bean counters. The bean counters only wanted to fund a 3-speed manual (!) [the base vehicle was the Omni/Horizon — The Turismo was the sports coupe body they came up with later] but the engineers managed to get approval for a 4-speed. They designed it with a flat sheet metal cover plate on the left end. When the Turismo came out, they were able to make a 5-speed by replacing the cover plate with one that extended about four inches to the side, fitting gear shafts with a splined extension through the bearings, and fitting the fifth ratio gears over the splines, with a small actuator coming through some available space.

          • Wulfraed
            You could change the planetary gears on those trans axles also about the same way. If you removed the cover that looked like a small block Chevy timing chain cover on the Drivers side of the tranny.

            If you swapped out the 2 gears you could change your final drive ratio from like 3.23 to .3.73.
            It was fast and easy to do. Alot of the SCCA guys would do this depending on the track they were running.

            I use to SCCA Solo1 race a 90 RS Camaro 1LE car back in 90 when I bought the car brand new.

            I know about the planetary gear thing because I had a if I remember right a 89 Turbo Le baron (the square looking K cars). Alot of that Technology and Parts from the Mopar motor sports catalog paved the way for the SRT4’s.

            • Wrong it was a 86 Turbo Le Baron.
              The first ones were Turbo I cars and the second Turbo II cars. And you could get the Super 60 system from the Mopar Motor sports catalog which is kind of like the Stage III turbo for the SRT4’s.

              All I know is I’m glad Detroit kept the muscle car wars going through time and to this day.

  3. Edith,i believe the word “wary” or something similar is missing from the second sentence of the second to last paragraph after “Rats are extremely…..” Feel free to delete after you see this……and Hi Edith!!

  4. I like what I’m reading already.
    If I ever decided to compete in any kind of air gun match it would definitely be field target. I like everything about it. Especially the way a scope needs to be used. But I promised myself that I wont compete because air guns is my hobby. And I want to keep it that way. No stress and having fun.

    And that black crow is a cool target. Imagine if that target was placed about 2 feet behind a log laying on the ground about 40 yards out and all you could see was the crows head and neck. And maybe half of the target hole was visible. That’s when knowing the pellet trajectory and knowing your scope will really pay off when you make that shot.

    I can see this is going to be a heck of a Friday blog already.

    • You might enjoy Hunter class field target. If I am not mistaken, you are limited to 10X or less scopes and the air rifle or pistol has to be an off the shelf sporter type. I think there is also a weight limitation. They created that class to bring the fun back to field target competition after the rich kids with nothing better to do took over with their gazillion dollar custom made rigs with the Hubble scopes on top and let’s get all strapped in here so I can’t move if I wanted to.

      I would like to get me some of those field targets myself though. With twelve acres of woods, I could set up a nice walking range for me and my son-in-law and maybe even my grandson in a few more years.

    • GF1,

      You should be a match director! While the crow will never be placed that far away, the business of behind the log is a good call. Problem is, people of different sizes. Short folks may not be able to see the kill zone at all. So you put the crow inside a deep garbage can, so he is completely in the dark. He’s only 11 yards away, on an extremely sunny lane, but he is completely in deep shadow.

      Maybe a mound of fire ants on the firing point, just for fun!


      • BB
        I set targets up for me and my daughters to shoot at all the time. I don’t have any of the field targets like your black crow. But I usually cut out shapes of animals from card board box’s and try to make them life size. Then kind of place them in a natural place like you would find them in their surroundings.

        So yep I kind of got to keep in mind where I place the targets because my daughters are shorter than me. They will walk right past the target sometimes. But at least now they are starting to become more aware of whats around them. Its pretty fun.

        A match director. Wouldn’t even want to do that. I use to tech cars in at the drag strip when I was younger to make sure they had the right equipment and safety devices for the class they were running.
        Even with the rules spelled out right in front of their eyes somebody would have something to argue about (at times). I had the authority to send them home and get it fixed before they could run again (which I never had to do because usually people would help and get the car right before time to run).

        I have competed in drag racing, RC airplane racing. And motocross when I was a kid. And it just seems like there is always somebody that’s got something to say about what your doing.

        So air guns is a fun hobby and I’m making sure I keep it that way.

          • BB
            Your absolutely right about the arguing.

            One of the other Techs was checking a car and a big argument went down and the police came and that guy ended up getting band from that track forever.

            And afterwards alot of the racers came up and told the tech he was right and not to feel bad for what just happened. The guy was wrong and that was that.
            So at least that made things right for the day.

  5. I find that 8x is usually about right for my purposes . Clean glass and fairly fine crosshairs too. I want to be sure of species, and that there are no small twigs obstructing the kill zone. If there is a twig in the way, I will hit it.


  6. I tend to have to save quite a bit to buy my rifles and kit (unless I’ve sold a old air rifle I’ve repaired, so most my scopes are Nikko Stirling 3-9 or 4-12×40 or 50with AO. However these do me just fine as i mess around on my shooting permission which happens to have a lot of woodland on it.

    I set up a knockdown target next to a tree on which i have set up a large piece of card board with cross hair type targets drawn upon them, then i can work out my trajectories on the card by moving further and further away and use that info on the knockdown. I have hours of fun doing this as i usually take the dog with me for some exercise as an excuse, this way i get out daily ( but don’t worry about the dog as I’m always aware of where he is).

    Yesterday i had an old .177 SMK B54 multi pump and a 3-9×40 AO hitting the knockdown at every distance up to 50 yards, i was in air gunner heaven with that little workout. Most the time I’m hunting rabbit i usually have my scopes on x6 mag or use a 4×40, as 40 yards is my limit and 30 yards from free standing to guarantee a clean head shot.


    Best wishes, Wing Commander, Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe

  7. I’m honored to have a full blog to answer my question. It is a great blog article. I didn’t know field target aim point were so small.

    I like the “high” magnification scopes (my highest magnification scopes are 12X), but I don’t shoot much farther than +/- 50 feet so I don’t really need more. Eventually when I’m shooting a farther distances I might go with a higher magnification scope but then again my rifles don’t shoot at more than 500 fps so I might not have the power for the extra long distances…

    But I still don’t get why I don’t see more high magnification on AR rifles (like on yours), why hit a torso sized target at 100 yards when you can hit an apple sized one!

    Yesterday on TX200 report you said:
    “Cocking effort
    I measured the effort needed to cock my rifle. For most of the underlever’s stroke it took 32 lbs. of force, but there was one spike that rose to 34 lbs. near the first click of the sliding chamber catch”
    Could the rifle be shot on the click of the slidign chamber (or the second one) for a lesser powered shot like the P1/HW45?


    • J-F

      It won’t work. It’s an anti-beartrap that blocks compression chamber movement at various stages of the cocking stroke . The rifle must be fully cocked for the trigger mechanism to latch up with the piston.


    • J-F,

      I think the reason you don’t typically see higher magnification on rifles like the AR-15 is that they are usually set up as assault weapons and quick target acquisition that a larger field of view in a lower powered scope provides is a good fit.

      Their are exceptions since some gun nuts use an AR-15 platform and build an accurate bench rest gun and they need higher magnification.


    • J-F,

      Lots of questions today. The field target I show has the smallest kill zone that is allowed in a match. And many clubs don’t even have one target this small. It is extremely difficult to hit. I tell people that it is placed at 10-13 yards and they think, “I could hit that” but what they fail to realize is, at 10 yards they have a huge trajectory problem. The pellet is well below the sight-in aim point and has to be corrected A LOT (like an inch) Make a mistake of a yard in range to the target and you will hit the edge of the kill zone and possibly lock up the target.

      I can’t answer your second question (ARs at 100 yards) except that scope of higher magnification tend to cost more and AR types get cheap when it comes to anything other than their rifles. Many of them still shoot military ammo, which is like owning a Formula One racer and running it on 87 octane gas.

      The TX 200 Mark III has to be cocked all the way or the sear will not connect and the rifle will remain locked up. It’s a safety thing. So no, you can’t fire off the first click of the sliding chamber catch.


      • Too bad for the TX200, it seems like a cool idea, then again I never use the first power setting on my HW45 so I probably wouldn’t use it on the TX200 either.

        AR owners aren’t that cheap, they put 1500$ 1x-6X scopes on their rifles, some get super expensive 1X scopes??? Why not just get a holographic sight if you’re not using any magnification?
        Personnaly I think I would go with a nice big scope on top and use the 45 degrees sights for closer stuff.

        The kill zone on that crow would be quite challenging, must be fun to shoot at but maybe not during a competition πŸ˜‰


      • BB
        What happens to that target hole if your not straight in line with the target.

        Say your 20 degrees to the right and trying to make it through the same hole at 10 or even 30 yards out. All of a sudden the target hole becomes smaller if your trying to fit something through it.

        Shooting at a flat piece of paper is one thing. But try to do the above and see how hard it is not to hit the side of the hole.

          • BB
            I know what you mean about target placement for matches.
            I’m talking in general.

            Have you seen what happens to POI verses POA when your not perpendicular to your target.
            FT may try to keep the target perpendicular. But in the hunting world (especially squirrel hunting).
            I don’t think in all the years I have hunted that I got a perpendicular shot.

            Ok well maybe a few times.

            What I’m getting at is sighting is not the same through your scope if you are not looking 90 degrees to your target.

  8. Yeah, it sure can be hard to find a field target way out in the woods through a big scope. Especially when you’re as sophisticated as I am in selecting unique landmarks (“note to self: the target is right next to… a tree!”)

    One of my shooting buddies at DIFTA machined a set of iron sights to go on his Schmidt+Bender 12.5-50x scope! This is actually VERY handy. That thing is so crystal clear at 50x, and the irons make it easier to just leave it on 50x all day. I’ll bet B.B. can guess which of the many machine-shop MacGyvers came up with this. He has since upgraded to the March 8-80x scope, which I swear to goodness is absolutely crystal clear at 80x! Wow!

    My FT rifle is also my main daily driver: 12 fpe Marauder with Leapers 8-32×56. Love that scope for its quality v. value, but it is a compromise for both FT and most regular uses. On the FT course, I wouldn’t mind a bigger objective and more magnification. When there’s a rat in the backyard, I could use less than 8x magnification. Though the thing sure is bright and clear in low-light rat-hunting conditions!


      • Hi, GF1. Al’s, er, supplemental sighting device is a post and notch mounted on top of his big FT scope. You use it to get the rifle pointed at the target before peering through the 50x scope. It works great. Once you have the target sighted with the irons, the target WILL be in the 50x field of view. Saves potentially a bunch of time scanning around, noodling with lower magnification, etc. just finding the danged target in a tiny scope picture! For me, this is hard enough at 32x, let along 50x or 80x!

        PS, remember that the depth of field is insanely shallow in a big-objective, high-magnification scope. Sometimes, it’s not enough to simply have the thing pointed in the right direction. If you don’t also pre-dial the parallax to a reasonable eyeballed distance, the target might STILL be a near-invisible blur even if you’re looking right at it!


  9. “My best centerfire rifles are, in descending order β€” my Rock River AR-15, which I built from parts; my HW 52 in .22 Hornet; and my Savage 1920 bolt-action in .250-3000 Savage.”

    Swap scopes between the AR-15 and HW 52 and lets see a shoot off.


    • Kevin,

      The Hornet has a special pair of one-inch rings. The scope on the AR is 30 mm. The problem is that the Weihrauch has a very short scope base that is also quite narrow. The rings I’m using are the only set I could find that would hold.

      See how close the objective bell is to the barrel? I can’t really install a larger scope on this rifle with these rings.


      • B.B.,

        Don’t overlook the EAW rings for your HW 52. I think the main EAW dealer is still in Texas?

        I like the vintage K10-T on the HW 52. Wonderful match.

        The traditionalist in me still wants to believe that the HW 52 could outshoot the AR-15 all things being equal. I’d really rather you don’t swap scopes so I can remain comfortably in my dream world.


  10. Hey b.b., agree with everything you’ve said here.
    Like so many things you got to spend good money where many least expect it.
    My stereo speakers cost 2x my amp/receiver (thank god I haven’t given it all up for an i-Pod) and of course it is far more important to spend more money on your camera lenses than the body (unless you’re kicking the crap out of them).
    One of the more dramatic improvements with my shooting (both pellet and my .22WMR) came when I ditched my cheapo Bushnell scopes (I do realize their hi-end scopes are excellent) for my Hawkes and Tactical Leapers. How I wish I could afford Nightforce or Schmidt-Bender πŸ˜‰

    But now a request for some input from you or anyone else.
    I’ve decided to up the ante from my .22WMR and get into a small, accurate centerfire.
    I think I’ve narrowed the choice down to .223 (least expensive), .22 Hornet or .243.
    My main use will be…playing around at long range (say out to 500m).
    Killing power really doesn’t matter…most of the paper targets I shoot at die pretty easy πŸ˜‰
    I just want to start challenging myself at long distance and am wondering what you guys would suggest.
    Any suggestion other than I’ve mentioned are welcome.

    • CSD,

      I would stay away from the Hornet. Most of them aren’t that accurate and you have to reload like a chemist when you do find the right load.

      The .223 with the right barrel would be ideal out to 600 yards. A 1:7″ twist and a 77-grain bullet would be ideal. I have a 1:8″ twist barrel and it seems to like 69-grain bullets.

      Of course the .243 will always be better ballistically than the .223 unless you shoot super-light 75 grain bullets.

      But my recommendation would be the 6 mm PPC. It is the most accurate rifle cartridge to 600 yards — bar none!


    • .22 Hornet doesn’t sound heavy enough for long distance. The .243 is a barrel burner, more expensive, and I don’t recall that it has a big reputation for accuracy. It’s more of a hunting load.

      That leaves the .223. It’s a little light for long distance, but as B.B. has experienced, a lot of work has been done on heavy, accurate bullets to make up for that.

      As a caution, accurate handloading for the .223 may not be as easy as it appears. The 69 grain bullet works best for my Savage 10FP, but my reloading book says that you need to get into compressed loads for that bullet weight. I just get Black Hills ammo which is better than anything I can make. If only those Navy Seals would let us have some. πŸ™


  11. Cowboystar dad,

    I have used all the rounds you are considering, and each has it merits and shortcomings.

    My vote would be for the .223.

    As Tom mentioned, many Hornets are accurate, however some are not. My guess would be it has to do with varying specifications in the diameter of the barrels and ammo over the years. Also, it will be more expensive to shoot and harder to find ammo for the most part. Heck, I love the little .22 Hornet but can’t justify shooting it any more … at least not at this time. It does have a mild report and is very neighbor friendly.

    The .243 is just a bit much to punch holes in paper and you will need a really long shooting distances to challenge yourself. This was my least favorite rig to hunt whistle pigs with, just too darn easy.

    The .223 sits comfortably in the middle and offers a nice useful range, plenty of easy to find affordable ammo and endless platforms to shoot it in. You could get a bolt gun and complement it with a semi-auto down the road, which is another kind of shooting enjoyment.

    • Thanks guys…Gotta admit I’ve been kinda leaning towards the .223 on price alone. Factory .223 (Nosler is common here) is only about $4 more a box (50) than Remington Accutip .22WMR. And if I handload it’s cheaper.
      I’ll look at the 6mm, but it’s not common in my neck of the woods and I have a feeling pretty pricey.

      • I think Volvo and BB gave you good advice. Only thing in your case that would argue for .243 is the wind you have, and the fact that I imagine your location provides some truly long distance opportunities. Same could be said for 6mm (whatever), but I think the 6mm craze started as many attempts to squeeze just a little more accuracy from the .243, which is very good to start with; it would probably take years and thousands of dollars to get to the point where you can tell the difference from a good .243. .223 is good for all the reasons you’ve discovered already, and I wish I had one sometimes… A friend of mine competed locally with .308, also, but that is really old-school now :).

        One thing is to see if you can match yourself up with a decent BR shooter, so you can get an idea about what is to be expected when you get your rifle. Little issues become big issues at longer distances, but if they know their stuff, they can help guide you to respectable accuracy (depending on the rifle) more quickly and easily than willpower and wit alone, as I’m sure you know.

        • I’m really lucky in that respect.
          I am on very good standing through my work with our police force tactical team, specifically their snipers. Just this past week they let me shoot their brand new suppressed .308 DPMS sniper rifles.
          (ohhh, very nice).
          A couple of weeks ago at the range they (the tac team) spent about 1/2 an hour showing my two boys (10 & 12 yrs) how to get the most out of their Marlins. They then let the boys shoot their .308 Remington 700 with Nightforce scopes. My 10 years old (who I think really has potential) actually put 3 shots in a bit less than an inch at 100m. Their lead sniper joked that if he was still shooting like than in 10 years to send them their way.
          Who knows…maybe a career in the making.

  12. As everybody that knows me knows, I hunt more than I target shoot. I get along with a 3-9×32 scope but my best dream is to have a nice high magnification scope. Mostly because I hunt fairly small game most of the time like muskrat and groundhog. This means I have a fairly small kill zone and I’m usually fairly far away when I see my target. A high magnification scope would help to get you “closer” to the animal without actually getting closer. This means the critter is going to be at his ease not suspecting he’s about to have a very bad day. That’s what I want to happen. I don’t want it to see me lining up the shot. If he does I’ll likely not get him since he’s heading for a hole. When he gets in his hole I might have several hours to wait for him to come back out. That ruins my day. So the more magnification I get the farther I can be from my target and still get up close and personal.

  13. With regards to the car comments – I can’t remember who said it first (Leno says it a lot) but one of the truest things I’ve ever heard with regards to performance was “It’s more fun to go fast in a slow car than to go slow in a fast car” I’ve also always preferred cars that feel faster than they are to cars that are faster than they feel.

    One of the first things you learn if you get into amateur astronomy is that high magnification is not always better than lower magnification. The rule of thumb I’ve heard is 50X per inch of aperture as a maximum and that only really works well with high quality optics and clear air (good seeing).

    Much as I like my Leapers Bugbuster, when I got a higher quality, larger scope (Bushnell Legend 5-14X40, certainly not a high end scope) I was impressed by the greater clarity and eye relief. Some day I have to get myself a look through a top of the line scope.

    • “It’s more fun to go fast in a slow car than to go slow in a fast car”
      It is true. I don’t have the money to spend on hot cars anymore but I remember when I was younger, one of the most fun I had with my car was taking on newer cars with my old crappy looking car.
      Beating guys in souped up compacts with the wild graphics, big wheels and coffee can exhaust was a lot of fun but beating 50/60 something guys in bright yellow convertible mustangs was hilarious. That young punk in his black beater with steel rims certainly can’t beat my brand new mustang… guess again πŸ˜€

      My cousin sold his upgraded BMW M3 because altought it was very fast it didn’t feel like it, now he has a souped up Corvette, it’s not made to handle corners but on the highway with slick tires that thing is brutal, the car is a beast. He works at a dyno shop he open with a friend so the car is like their mule and has to be used so the word about the shop gets out so they pour a lot of money and time in it. Last time I rode in it, he was at 800hp but appart from the exhaust sound you wouldn’t know by looking at it that it’s not a regular car, then he mashes the loud pedal and you’re pushed back into your seat and you have a sensory overload, your hear and stomack seems to all be going up in your throat, your ears start ringing, the smell of burnt gases and burnt rubber fill the cabin (because the thing has a hard time hooking up) as the scenery goes by you at a rapidly increasing pace.
      Fast cars are a lot of fun.


        • That’s what I meant, it got lost in translation (english isn’t my main language) but I like both!
          Being the first to the 60feet is nice being the first at the end of the 1320 is more important.

          I was watching some gumball vid yesterday and this Jeep SRT8 was the quickest of the line with it’s 4wd but the Corvette in the next lane was faster and caught up to it in no time πŸ˜‰


          • J-F
            My brother has a 74 Vette with a 11 to 1 comp. small journal 327 with Brodex aluminum heads on it. It has a small positive driven B&M blower and a 100 horse nitrous kit on it. Its even a Borg Warner low gear T10 4 speed car. Works real nice with the 3.73 gears. Very fun car to drive.

            I live in the U.S. But one of my favorite cars I owned (even owned this car two different times).
            You Canada guys probably would like this car. A Canadian built 68 red 442 with the black stripe on the front fenders with the red inner fender wells. 455 4 speed car with a bench seat that had the factory cut out for the floor shifter. Rally sport rims with the original red line tires when I got the car.
            Oldsmobile was known for torque. Even when I put some Dot Drag tires on the car it was hard to make it hook. But yep it was a fun 1 to drive too.

            • We used to make nice cars here. I felt sad when they bulldozed the Camaro/Firebird plant here.

              Muscle cars are awesome, there’s nothing like that rumble and the soft suspension that lets the car shake and twist a little when you rev the engine in gear with your foot on the brake (and the occasional smoke show and power slide/drift).


              • J-F
                The Canadian cars was a well kept secret of the day with US car dealerships. It was a rare treat to get a Canadian built car.
                In I believe 68 and 69 GM banned anything over 400 cubic inches in a intermediate cars (Buick Gran Sports, GTO’s, 442’s and Chevelle’s) also the pony cars too. So when you got a intermediate car down here you couldn’t have above 400 cubic inches. There was COPO cars and Dicky, Yanko, and Motion doing transplants. But if you new the right people you could get your dream car with the big cubic inch engine From Canada.
                Then 1970 came and all h-ll broke loose. Big cubic inches in almost anything you wanted. And then the gas wars. I got my License to drive in the late 70’s and people didn’t want the muscle cars as much because of the gas prices. So us kids bought them up cheap with low miles.
                All I know is I thank the guy upstairs that I was born when I was. Fun times.

                • I knew about the Yenko, Motion and the COPO cars but didn’t know about the Canadian cars!
                  I’m way too young to have experienced these except in the backseat or on the front bench seat (man I love bench seats, you have to hold on when driving hard but driving siting on a couch is so much fun) because we didn’t have baby seats or didn’t always have to put your seatbelt on when riding in a car. I was born at the very end of ’76.
                  Those big cars were cool you could fit half a hockey team in those cars, no one needed stinking minivans back then (I don’t like minivans (sorry Edith)).


                  • J-F
                    I’m one of those guys that like (all) the different brand cars. I’m not a brand loyal car guy I even had AMC cars.
                    And yes that is sad about the Camaro plant. My 2nd car was a COPO Camaro. 1972 427, 4spd. car.
                    heater delete, radio delete. I even had the build sheet. Had that when I was 16 yrs. old.
                    Didn’t even know what it was until when I found the build sheet years later.

                    • I don’t have brand loyalty either, I drive a Suburban and I bought a turbo Passat for the wife, I like both cars, the Passat isn’t a race car by any means by that little turbo is great.


      • J-F,

        I still enjoy doing this to those coffee can car guys! Especially the ones who have the turbo’d wrx’s. I can’t see their faces because they’re behind me but they know they’re getting spanked by a middle aged man in a car that’s 20 years older than theirs and looks like a single mom’s car… I can only imagine their expressions! My ride is far from the fastest or quickest cars available today, but it’s respectable.


        • Have you guys heard of the Dodge SRT4’s.
          I had a 04 when they came out. I was in my mid 40’s when I had that car. It ran 12.8@113 in the 1/4 mile with the stock single track differential and the factory Pilot Sport tires.

          Traded it in for a 05 SRT4. Did alot of work to the car but still had the stock turbo. Ran slicks on it when I went to the drag strip. 11.65@124 was its best run in the 1/4 mile. It ran 104 mph in the 1/8th mile.
          I ran with Vipers on the street tires not at the drag strip if you know what I mean. 175 mph.

          Like I always said they all can be made to run you just got to know how to make them run.

          • I wouldn’t win any races against anyone that knows what they’re doing, but I love beating the pants off of those who think a nice paint job, wheels and a coffee can on the exhaust somehow makes their car faster…. Lol! The original Stealth/3000gt was made to run only 14 psi boost max, but even with the stock turbos I can get into the mid 20s psi range with the HKS controller, wastegate and pop-off. If like to do more, but you know…. Funds…. Plus, it’s a nightmare to work on without taking the whole front end apart.

            • /Dave
              I did the high boost stuff with my 04. The 05 was still running stock turbo and (stock boost) All I can say is I had the engine out of that car and it wasn’t the same when it went back in.
              That car was my daily driver for about 5yrs. And the car was getting 30 miles to the gallon on the highway.
              And I have always liked the Stealth’s and the Mitsu 3000 GT’s.

              • It’s a 1996 Coupe.

                I special ordered it for SCCA Autocross. One of 822 built.

                I’m going to have it restored.

                It is dark blue. I added twin stripes to it the day I got it. They were not available as a factory option then.

                The engine controller has no speed governor. It is drag limited at 130mph. Came with Z-rated tires.
                No ABS. Radio delete. It does have a rev limiter than comes on at about 7200rpm.

                I kept all the paperwork. Including the line-setting ticket. Built in Belvidere, IL.

                When these were new, they were the hot ticket in D/Stock Solo II, replacing the Honda CRX si. After a few years, the Subaru WRX replaced it as the car to run. That’s the problem with stock classes, you have to keep replacing cars because you are not allowed to modify them.


                • Never tried one, seems like a fun car. I tried a CRX si for a few days, these little car drove well but my butt hurt whenever I got out of it, you took a beating driving that small car.
                  One of my favorite handling cars was an early Mazda Miata, small, light, the shifter had short throw, you didn’t have to move your arm, you could just shift it with your fingers, handled like it was on rails, especially for a car with no top.
                  Some guys made some nice little racing cars with those.


                  • J-F
                    I almost bought a Miata.
                    But didn’t because of the seating problems for me. We had a regular cab truck at the time and no way to make it workout for the family thing.
                    But yep always thought they were cool cars too.

  14. TX 200 Mark III chronograph results.

    There were only about 200 shots through the gun before the test. Each test string is of ten shots. After a thousand or so shots I will rerun the test for the Baracuda Match 4.52, the most accurate pellet at 25 yards; and the CPL as it seems to be an almost universal standard.
    TX 200 After Tuneup Field Target Trophy Field Target Trophy Field Target Trophy
    9/12/2013 4.50 4.51 4.52
    8.64 gr 8.64 gr 8.64 gr
    A 811.1 822.8 833.4
    HI 826.9 834.6 841.5
    LO 802.7 809.0 819.8
    ES 24.2 25.6 21.7
    SD 9.3 10.2 7.1
    AD 8.2 8.9 5.7
    ME 12.6 13.0 13.3
    Baracuda Match Baracuda Match Baracuda Match
    4.50 4.51 4.52
    10.65 gr 10.65 gr 10.65 gr
    A 763.8 766.5 766.8
    HI 770.7 770.5 777.6
    LO 755.6 762.8 760.3
    ES 15.1 7.9 17.3
    SD 4.9 2.5 5.0
    AD 4.0 1.9 3.4
    ME 13.8 13.9 13.9
    Crosman Premier Light Crosman PremierHeavy

    7.90 gr 10.50 gr
    A 861.1 720.3
    HI 871.3 737.1
    LO 853.6 704.8
    ES 17.7 32.3
    SD 5.0 9.2
    AD 3.6 7.2
    ME 13.0 12.1
    JSB Exact JSB Exact JSB Exact Heavy

    7.33 gr 8.44 gr 10.30 gr
    A 838.7 820.9 734.6
    HI 849.5 834.3 742.8
    LO 825.2 803.1 722.4
    ES 24.3 31.2 20.4
    SD 7.4 10.5 6.7
    AD 5.9 8.9 5.4
    ME 11.5 12.6 12.3

    My email does a better job of keeping the CSV spacing than the blog does.

      • I purchased the gun used on a trip to Arizona last December. The short answer is I don’t know. When I first got it, it got 865 fps on 12/07/12. The gun had developed a major buzz which is why I had Scott Schneider in Sacramento tune it. His work is excellent! I am more interested in consistency than power. My goal is to 0.50 inch groups at 25 yds. If I can stop the operator error, I know the rifle can do it. One item from the test that surprised me was the increase in velocity for the H&N Field Target Trophy as the head size increased.
        Thank you for sharing your knowledge in this blog.

        • SP4449,

          As you surmise, the TX200 Mark III is capable of half0inch 10-sh0t groups at 25 yards. I hope to shoot a couple for you in this test.

          I’m with you on the issue of power. Accuracy is always more important, and if Scott’s tune is that nice, I think you have the rifle you want and need.

          Keep us apprised of your progress, please.


  15. Volvo,

    let me add my voice to the others and say how delighted I am to hear from you. Glad you’re still shooting air rifles and occasionally stop in on the blog. All this time I thought you were depressed because your beloved Volvo car company is owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group of China. Well, maybe you are depressed about this. Now if only Wacky Wayne shows up this weekend, it would really be great. And to BB, Bravo. Great blog!

    Fred DPRoNJ

    • Well I have to admit I was a little disappointed when the Volvo brand was sold, but they seem to be making the right decision on the direction they are moving the autos in.
      However my biggest motivation is that a car be large enough to fit a couple clients and still be fun while I am in it on my own. My brand loyalty is not as strong as my “handle” might suggest. Just don’t let anyone else know.

      • Volvo,

        Long time no see. Good to hear all is well.

        Just got back in town from my place outside of Leadville, Colorado.

        Since you’re a man that appreciates fine autos I wish you would have been by my side on Friday afternoon in Leadville.

        The Colorado Grand made their usual annual stop in Leadville.

        The Colorado Grand is a vintage automobile touring event started back in the 1980’s. The autos must be pre 1960 vintage, it’s invitation only, is a 1000 mile tour, always takes place at the end of September when our aspen trees are turning yellow/red/orange (beautiful sight) and begins and ends in Vail, Colorado. Very low key with minimal publicity about their itinerary. Cars and drivers come from around the world for this event. The Colorado Grand tries to limit entrants to 100 and it’s always oversubscribed.

        Among others we got to see a 1952 Allard J2K, a 1930 Bugatti type 51R, a 1947 Cisitalia 202 SMM Spider Nuvolari (according to the owner only 28 were made!), 6-7 Shelby Cobra’s, too many vintage Mercedes Gullwings to count, a 1931 Bentley Lemans!!!(never saw one before Friday!!), a 1953 Siata 2085, a 1958 Morgan, a 1953 Ferrari 342 America SP!! (Never saw one of those either and I have seen most of the Colorado Grands), lots of other vintage ferrari’s like spyders, lemans, etc.

        You should have been there. We would have had fun.


  16. B.B.,

    As counterpoint, if you have a “mature” set of eyes and open sights don’t quite work…

    Recently installed: Hawke’s Sport Optics 1×32 Rifle, CQB & Crossbow Scope, Illuminated XB1 SR Reticule, 1/2 MOA, 1″ Tube.

    No parallax at any distance, red, green, and black reticles, 9 aiming points. (If you count the open areas between the crosses and bottom post.

    It’s on a Huntsman XL and the same aiming point works for 10 and 50 yards.

  17. Speaking of knowing trajectory and knowing your scope. Hunting is very similar to field target except sometimes the object is in a tree or elevated. Or down in a valley or ravine. And usually pretty well camouflaged with the surroundings.

    Watch what happens to the flight path of the pellet when you shoot up into a tree or down into the valley. POA verses POI is different than straight and level shooting. And magnification is nice when hunting. When you find your object you can then turn the magnification up if time allows.

    A mil dot scope is a way to make a accurate shot. Rang finding gets a little more tricky when you combine a angle to the distance your shooting.
    And it makes it more interesting when one gun is different than another. You have to learn how that gun scopes at different ranges and angles.

    And then comes long range shooting. Without mil dots or some way to mark how you have to hold the cross hair at a precise place you would have to be pretty good with the (eyecrometer as we call it at work jokingly when some body says the part looks like it has a .007″ chamfer). To get it right you have to measure it and know.

    That’s what mil dots do also when you know how big your object is your shooting at. If I remember right I have got scopes with the mil dot charts.
    Hold over or under is one thing but if you know what one mil dot represents at a certain magnification you can tell how big or how far away your object is by how much of the mil dot the object takes up.

    Maybe somebody plinking ain’t that interested in this. But hunting, field target and long distance shooting it just gives you one more advantage for yourself. And after time it does start to become natural. Making things become a little easier.

    • GF1, if you’re interested in FT, check out the recent series of Team Wild youtube vids on the ’13 World FT championships in Germany. Seems that these high-level WFTF events include A LOT of elevation shots – way more than level shots! Some, but not all, of our domestic courses provide a lot of elevation. At my home DIFTA club, the most we typically have are ~5-foot-high tree targets, and mild downhills.

      PS, if you’re interested in FT but want to keep your shooting fun and relaxed, do try FT! For most FT shooters, “fun and relaxed” defines the game! Organized plinking.


      • Jan
        Thanks I will check that out. But I wont probably never compete. Both of my daughters activity’s keep me busy among all the other things going on.
        But if I did it would definitely be like what your talking about. It sounds like it would be fun and challenging at the same time.

  18. I’ve been looking at Scopes for my Marauder Pistol and settled of a 3-9×40 mil-dot with an Illuminated Reticule, primarily because my dad had a Remington Nylon .22LR with a 3-9 scope on it (I think it was a 25.4mm objective) and the Marauder Pistol has an optimum range of 11 meters according to the PA Description info. More Magnification would accentuate sight-jitters and such, I thick. unfortunately, that .22LR disappeared along with all the other guns that my Dad had when he died a decade ago and he had quite a collection of them.
    According to my Dad, he got quite a few rabbits with that .22LR when hunting with some friends. He’d be up on a nearby hilltop overlooking then valley they were hunting in as his friends moved along it, scaring the rabbits into the open.

    • Lynx
      I got a 22 Marauder pistol and I have shot squirrels and rabbits out to 50 yrds. with no problems. Almost needs to be a head shot though.

      And some people bird hunt the way you said about rabbit hunting also. Doesn’t work to good for squirrels though.

  19. Hello J-F
    Thanks for your words of support concerning the acquisition of the Canadian PAL certificate. Sometimes, you begin to feel like your the only one with this opinion, so it sure is great to know a fellow Canuck, and airgun addict feels the same.
    Concerning your ideas about owning an older model fast car, again we are united in our beliefs. In my late teens, I was the proud owner of a 1963 Mini Cooper S, with a 1071cc motor. My friend and I put in countless hours of work on this Mini, and were rewarded with a true 175 hp at the front wheels. That may not seem much by today’s standards, but then it was enough to keep up with most of the Detroit iron being produced. When the road became less then straight, the Mini easily blew them all away. One thing to remember, front wheel drive was virtually unknown back then. Luxury cars like the Olds Tornado, and a few years later, Cadillac’s Eldorado had fwd too. About the only drawback to owning a Mini, was carrying a complete tool kit around with you. English cars and bikes were notorious for breaking down. England had huge quality control issues up until the mid eighties. I recall the tale of a Dr. in Calgary who bought a sleek Jag XKE. He was troubled about a rattle in the passenger side door. When the mechanic finally took the door apart, low and behold, he found an empty beer can. There were a dearth of tales like this, and worse concerning English cars and motorcycles. It’s good to see they stepped up to the plate concerning quality control issues. Who wants to find beer cans in their $200,000.00 Aston Martin?
    Cheers Titus

    • I went as far as getting all the papers to get my stupid PAL, when I got the enveloppe with what seemed like a small phone book I felt discouraged and I never went thru with it.

      I love minis! I helped one of my friend fix his when I was younger. We didn’t have our drivers license yet so we couldn’t drive it. His dad won it at a poker game I think, it had slicks on it, very, very small slicks. When I fisrt saw the car he told me to pick up the rear of the and try and lift it, I couldn’t believe I was actually lifting a car up!

      English cars still have weird quality control, and people think the Chinese are bad… one of my friend has a RangeRover LandRover, the thing is worth over 150k but still has reliability issues!
      You have to watch the luxury SUV test TopGear did. They had the Cadillac Escalade ESV, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 and the Rover… it leaked by the dome light when it started to rain and when they went to do a drag race the suspension started acting up, the adjustable suspension jacked up the rear and lowered the front giving it a stink bug stance, he had to restart the truck like a bugged computer! How lame is that! For a 150k+ SUV!?!

      One of my teachers when I was in school told us he had a rattle when changing gear in a english car, when the mecanic took apart the transmission he found a wrench in it!


      • Many years ago I’d caught a Top Gear episode (from before its demise and rebirth — when it was a “serious” car show — like AutoWeek — not the rich man’s folly currently seen [not that I don’t enjoy the later incarnation]).

        The did a review of a Range Rover, a Land Rover Discovery , and a Jeep Cherokee… {Yes, folks, the Jeep Cherokee WAS sold in the UK with right-hand drive}

        As I recall, they complained that Rover with the diesel engine sounded like a bunch of blacksmiths hammering away under the hood. The other Rover (as I recall) required the MoD to set up fuel depots on the motorway… And the Jeep was full of Detroit plastic and faux wood…

        In the end, however, the host chose the Jeep — and then confessed that he really had chosen the Jeep… The one used in the test was his, not something bought by the show for reviewing.

        • Wulfraed

          The resurrected show has absolutely no journalistic integrity. They did a test of Sport Utility vehicles not too long ago, and they could not say enough good things about the Range Rover. It was like a free commercial. Except I get the impression it wasn’t free. The one redeeming feature of the show is its cinematography.

          I am somewhat of an auto enthusiast (albeit a poor one) and I used to do valet parking at a country club and at several ritzy restaurants. So I have driven a good bit of everything (and not always in the parking lot.) Every conversation I have had or heard about the Range Rover has included its legendary unreliability. Add to that its rocket speed depreciation rate, and well, there you have it.

          Another thing that ticks me off about the show is their inability to refrain from insulting America and Americans. They compulsively talk about how fat Americans are, yet THIS American weighs far less than any of their ‘fit and trim’ hosts, except maybe the dwarf with the teeny bopper haircut.

          America has had its revenge, much to their chagrin. The fastest time ever recorded by “A Star In A Reasonably Priced Car” was by, an American, Matt LeBlanc (from the TV show Friends.) Put that in your boiled beef and eat it, jerks.

          • I was talking about the american version of Top Gear, Tanner Foust drove the english car.
            It’s not a car show you can take very seriously, it’s for entertainment purposes and they happen to entertain you while driving cars. I only watch it on youtube so I only watch the parts I want about vehicule I’m interested in.

            I’m also a poor car enthusiast, I worked at a car wash so I also got to drive a lot of different cars, some were pretty nice… others not so much.


            • J-F

              My response was to Wulfread, who referenced the British version of the show. The show I was talking about was also the British version. The fact that the one you saw referenced a roof that leaked makes it obvious that us yanks produced it, as the limey version would have touted the leak as a freshwater spring, providing revitalizing refreshment and hydration.

              The American version of the show is pretty good. But I don’t think that the cinematography quite measures up to the British version yet. As an aside, Canadians make the very best mountainbike videos, so I wouldn’t mind seeing a Canadian version of Top Gear!

              • I just wanted to be clear about the fact that I wasn’t talking about the English show. I doubt we could have a Canadian Top Gear, we probably wouldn’t have the budget and don’t you know Canadians are supposed to be nice? Way to nice people to trash cars for a leaky roof or a pneumatic suspension acting up… literally LOL


    • TG
      Those Mini’s were cool. Look how small they were. How much did they weigh? All I know is they were light. And 175hp at the wheels probably made that car a little pocket rocket. πŸ™‚

      • I remember reading about a local racer who drove for Porche for a few years saying that early in his career he was ice racing when those minis came out, big american cars with studded tires were all over the place and the guys who first got laughed at with their minis where making laps around them during the race.


  20. B.B., I’m excited about some of the upcoming offerings from Air Arms. Assuming PA will carry the new models, would you consider adding the new S510 Ultimate Sporter and the FTP900 FT rifle to your dance card?

    I know it’s tough duty, but I’m hoping you’ll hurl yourself onto this grenade.


  21. That seems odd that the biggest scopes on the field target range were too dark. So big scopes let in the light and magnify the most but give the darkest images. I also have the impression that you lose a little resolution with higher magnification. Is that right? Or maybe it just looked shaky.

    B.B., interesting that your most accurate centerfire rifles are not dedicated target rifles. How about that for the AR-15 to top the list, ahead of the bolt-action and falling block. I would guess that this is a rifle that you are gravitating to more often. Thanks for the explanation of the double-stage trigger by the way. A complicated concept, but all clear now.

    Yes! Aim small is the way to go. I’m gratified to report progress on adapting the shooting principles to the tennis backboard. Having gotten a handle on the forehand, I’m now working on the backhand. Starting ridiculously close, I backed up as I gained control, and this came together much faster than the forehand. Now, I’m going to work on accuracy by aiming small. This means trying to hit one half of the backboard rather than the whole thing.


    • No surprise… The diameter of the objective isn’t going up as fast as the magnification

      And a really large diameter objective likely will need a long tube to focus the rays down to where they pass a 30mm main tube without vignetting (notice, not even binoculars constrict the light path until after most of the path to the eyepieces).

  22. Kevin. Yikes, better not ask your friend about his fine gun collection. I don’t believe burying your guns would have helped in this case. Even if the case was not disturbed and remained more or less in place, the topography about would have changed so much there would be no way to locate it. This sounds like a case of being grateful to survive and hoping the guns were insured.


  23. B.B.,

    The outdoor range has fixed target stands at 25, 50, 100, 200, and 300 yards.
    An aiming point was selected for 50 yards based upon some experimentation.
    When the rifle was later fired at 10 yards, the point of aim coincided with the 50 yard zero. (Total fluke but useful) Chronograph was reporting velocity as high 800s, pellet weight was 10.34 grains so 18.4 ft. lbs.
    This scope has a primary cross in the center of the reticle, a secondary cross below it, and a pointed vertical post below that. (See Hawke’s BRC2 software for a graphic) 10 and 50 yards fall in the gap between the two crosses. So yes, the pellet starts low, and continues upward to a point somewhere above the 10/50 yard zero. After reaching the highest point, it moves through the 50 yard zero again. The rifle will be checked at an indoor range that will allow checking P.O.I. at distances of 15 – 25 yards. I will report back once that data has been collected.

    Bottom line, if the goal is 1X magnification, zero parallax, tri-color, high clarity, don’t need to mess with the knobs, fast access, (very wide field) hunting scope, with multiple aiming points for elevation and windage, look into this scope.

    BTW, PA lists it at $119.99…


    But you knew that. Just putting it out there for those wondering.


  24. BB
    By the way did you ever get to do the 50 and 100 yard test on the .25 cal. Marauder.

    And don’t spoil the surprise if its going to be the Monday blog. Just don’t tell me and ignore this reply. πŸ˜‰

  25. B.B.

    Well, it seems my bragging rights got cancelled yesterday.
    And I was not to grouch on modern scopes this week.
    Trusted Leapers 4-16×56 that was installed on my shillelagh feels to have met it doom. Symptoms are quite simple – spraying wildly at 50 m. with me and pellets doing all right. However there’s a slight possibility that a flake of lead got caught near or on the crown, as spraying feels to be spiral in manner and I saw some pellets making a curved trajectory and hitting paper sideways. Cleaned thoroughly, waiting now for the next Saturday to test. Or that’ll be another call to the scope guy and goodbye money πŸ™


  26. I love to brag about my airgun equipment.

    Many years ago I was at a nightclub. I saw a woman at the other side of the bar whom I found very attractive. So I sauntered over and after some small talk I let it slip that I owned a Gamo Nuclear Bunker Buster Bull Rocket Big Cat Bone Collector Fusion Hunter Extreme Recon edition. She nearly fainted. After regaining her composure she asked breathlessly, “Wow, you have a Gamo NBBBRBCBCFHER? How fast does it shoot?”

    I played it cool and acted very nonchalant. “Oh, about 1600 fps or so, you know, depending on the pellet.” She swooned, a very big swoon, and fell into my arms. After coming to, she bought me drinks the rest of the night as I described how I could stack pellets at 75 yards, with open sights, at night, one handed, during a hurricane and an earthquake, from the bed of a truck with broken leaf springs driving 80mph while I was being attacked by rabid badgers and wolverines. That, dear readers, is what you call Game.

    It is unlikely, but possible, that someone out there believes anything I just said. A few folks will think that I am full of crap. Anyone on the blog who has read anything else I have written will know that Slinging Lead traffics in sarcasm.

    I just don’t understand braggarts. As hard as I try, I just can’t get into their heads. They obviously can’t live up to half of their endless blathering, so what is the point? I have a neighbor with whom I used to hang out with, out of geographical convenience, free beer, and pressure from Mrs Slinging Lead. He would brag endlessly about his shooting prowess and the celebrities he had hunted with, such as Hank Williams Jr. and L.L. Bean, who died in 1967. I was born in 1971 and my neighbor is younger than me.

    While we were shooting in his back yard, he would always brag about killing squirrels with his BB gun (Daisy 880) at X yards with open sights. Instead of engaging in a pointless argument, I proposed a challenge. Call your shot, and make it. If you miss, the other tries the shot. If the competitor makes the shot on the first try, the shot caller provides dinner. He agreed to the bet. Spoiler: braggarts not only lie about their abilities, but they also welch on bets. Big surprise.

    • I want, no, no I NEED one of those Gamo Nuclear Bunker Buster Bull Rocket Big Cat Bone Collector Fusion Hunter Extreme Recon edition! Does is come with the shrouded multi baffled super silencer attached?
      Man I’m gonna get myself all the hot chicks with one of those!

      That was one funny rant and I couldn’t agree with you more. I don’t get the reason behind that, why would someone lie to make himself better than he actually is, especially online where no one knows you?!? You give people fake facts about to get fake recognition from people you don’t actually know? What’s the point???


  27. I just found a local provider of paracord and my wife made me my first paracord bracelet, I searched and found the paracordist and TIAT does someone has any other good sources about these? I like having 10 feet of cord that can hold 550lbs on me at all time, seems like a good, useful idea.

    It’s cheap too at 100ft for 10$!


      • Thanks for the link, that’s the TIAT guy. Apparently he’s the knoting god but my wife who’s doing the tying doesn’t like his vids and she prefers the paracordist guy but I might buy his books, it seems quite easy (for my wife anyways).
        I only bought some black cord to give it a try but I’m going to get some colors and make some for and with the kids this afternoon.
        I’m gonna try to find the needle the paracodist guy uses, it would be easier for my hands.


          • I hadn’t noticed the forum part, I was mostly looking at his youtube channel, thanks!

            I went to get some other colors today, olive drab, hot pink (my daughter loves it) some flashy green and a few others. I stoped by the hardware store to get some stainless shackles.
            I’m gonna make an adjustable jig for my wife and another one for my daughter, this thing is fun, I’m getting better at it. I had seen it but I didn’t know how strong it actually was, when I saw that 550 paracord was actually made to hold 550lbs I suddenly gained a lot of respect for the thing and looked at it from another angle. I always have some bungee cords and some rope in the truck and my Gerber multi tool with me now I’ll always have a few feet of strong cord with me too and at the price it is, if you need it you don’t even have to retrieve it, you put the buckles in your pocket, use the needed cord and you can give it to the person needing it or throw it away if it’s dirty. I’ll use it on some of my tools as the bigger the grip is the easier it is for me to grab with my sick hands and it’ll also be less slipery.

            I’m going cuckoo for the thing.


  28. This is in response to Matt61 question towards the top on what powder burners I was currently shooting and \ or acquiring. I have added a few handguns back in, of note I picked up a Ruger Single Nine to replace the Single Six that went away with pretty much everything else by the end of 2009.

    The Single 9 is .22 WMR only and holds nine rounds as the name implies and I have to say it definitely gets two thumbs up. I no longer keep a rifle in .22 WMR, but in a revolver it bridges the gap between the lowly .22lr and expensive centerfires nicely. Also the “single” barrels have always been made to favor the larger .22 WMR round.

    Also replaced my Ruger Ranch rifle with another of the same but with only a factory 5 shot magazine. While the legislation did not pass, the standard stocked Ranch rifle was excluded from the possible ban and would have been fine to own – unlike those evil AR’s – an adjustable stock is clearly the work of the devil. Some say the late Mr Ruger sold out last time around with the whole 10 round quote, but I say he was crazy like a fox. Drew attention away from his company and products. The 5 round Ranch rifle is a lot like my Volvo “R” was – well under the radar but very capable.

    As far as the old military stuff you mentioned, it sounds interesting but I am trying to “keep it simple” now a days.

  29. BB
    Mil dots, scope ranging, size of the target.

    Have you done a blog on mil dot ranging. Not hold over or under. But identifying the size of the target with mil dots.

    It seems to me in the world of FT the objects are not actual size. And if you ain’t got a dime setting on the target you wouldn’t actually know how big that hole is your trying to make it through.

    It would seem to me that you could easily over run the target. (estimate the wrong distance because of size)

    Again Mil Dots at a given magnification can let you know the size of the target.

    Do the FT people do that?

  30. B.B.

    Would you please consider doing a blog on red dot/reflex/holographic sights.
    Especially their use on Springers ? Also at upto what range are they suitable for use.



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