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Education / Training 2014 Pyramyd Air Cup: Part 1

2014 Pyramyd Air Cup: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

• New toys!
• A job well done
• Many new developments
• Competition
• Field target

The Pyramyd AIR Cup was held in Ohio this past weekend, and more than 70 shooters showed up to compete. I met people who drove in from Georgia, New York, Wisconsin and other states, and many of them came just to learn about airguns. That worked out well because there were world champion field target shooters there, plus celebrities like airgun hunter and writer Jim Chapman and Airgun Reporter Paul Capello, and many of the staff from Pyramyd AIR and Crosman.

Chuck shoots
Chuck was brought by his buddies to try some airguns. He had a blast!

Day one was for getting acquainted with the range and sighting in. I  got to shoot wonderful airguns like Crickets, Hummingbirds, a highly-modified FX Independence and even some one-off custom guns many of us never get to see.

Ray Apelles of the A Team, who just placed second in the World Field Target matches in New Zealand, let me try his 22-lb. custom Diana 54 bullpup. It has an electronic trigger and a knee rest that’s highly articulated and looks like a transformer in action.

Pyramyd AIR Cup Apelles 54
Ray Apelles shows me the 22-lb. custom Diana 54 he shot to take second in the world in the spring gun class. It’s a bullpup with a 1.6-oz. electronic trigger, a bubble level and an inclinometer to measure the up-down angle of the shot. He’s unfurling the knee rest that drops down more than another foot!

The public was invited to come and shoot a variety of airguns provided for free by Pyramyd AIR. There were pellets galore and targets at all ranges. Also, the competitors where quite generous with their time and airguns. If you were at this event you could shoot just about anything you wanted!

Crosman came with their company shooting team, and they brought their new Benjamin Armada Magpul rifle that’s sold exclusively by Pyramyd Air. It features a popular Magpul stock and accessories. They were helpful with answers to questions about their guns and advice to anyone who asked. I’ll test this gun as soon as it becomes available.

Pyramyd AIR Cup Armada
The new Benjamin Armada was shown!

The neatest thing for me is when I get to meet the readers of this blog. For example, Ron and his wife from Georgia drove all the way to Ohio from Georgia just to see different airguns and talk to people. I spent some time with him on day one, talking about air tanks and compressors, and I’m sure I must have facilitated something!

Pyramyd AIR Cup Ron and his wife
Ron and his wife drove up from Georgia, just to sample all the airguns!

I met many more readers of the blog, and talking with them gave me a good perspective of what needs to be looked at. They were not shy about their ideas, and I coming home with a bundle of new things to think about, as well as several new products to test.

New toys!
You may think that I have a handle on the airgun community in the U.S. But events like this is where I learn about all those things that aren’t placed directly in my path. There are more small airgun developers out there today than at any time I can remember, and they’re advancing the technology at a rapid pace. I have to remain mum on several specific developments for now, but suffice to say there will be some exciting things to reveal in the world of spring guns and multi-pumps in the near future! I would have missed most of these if I hadn’t attended the Pyramyd AIR Cup.

A job well done
I would also like to say thanks right now to the folks at Pyramyd AIR for all the hard work they did to make this show a success. I was treated like royalty — and so was every other attendee What really blew me away was the large number of people who told me they were brand new to airguns and had come to this event just to learn more. I don’t think Pyramyd AIR could have done more than they did to answer all their questions and give them the opportunity to shoot any number of exotic airguns as much as they desired.

Many new developments
What the public did not necessarily get to see was the undercurrent of new product development that was happening at the show right in front of everybody. A lot of it was pointed out to me, and I got to hear the plans of some of the hopefuls. From what I heard, I can tell you that we’re living in the golden age of airgunning right now! Let me give you one example.

While preparing for the field target match on Saturday, I was surprised to see a man pumping a multi-pump rifle! Usually multi-pumps don’t compete in field target unless there’s a character like Ron Robinson behind the trigger. It’s not like they’re competitive. But when Steve, who runs the Yellow Forum, and I saw this gun, we asked the owner what he was shooting. It turned out to be a Benjamin 392 that he told us gets MOA accuracy at 50 yards. That’s half-inch groups at that distance! I never got that from a multi-pump in my life!

Pyramyd AIR Cup Benjamin 392
Greg Lundy from Ballistic Enterprises #1 made this fabulous Benjamin 392! He shoots field target with it!

The Pyramyd AIR Cup was held at the Tusco Rifle Club, a private gun range in Midvale, Ohio, that has beautiful facilities nestled against a steep wooded ridge. They hosted all activities and provided safety officers for the entire affair, plus they took care of catering. They even provided a campground that several shooters took advantage of. Attendees remarked on the beauty of this club and wished they had one as nice near them.

The Pyramyd AIR Cup is based on a suite of airgun competitions. The first was the Payday Challenge, where shooters shot three rifles that had been pre-sighted for them. Two shots at field targets were taken at 50 yards, three at 75 yards and five at 100 yards. The kill zones were only 1.50 inches! If the target dropped, you got a point. All shooting was done off the bench. The winner was a 17-year old young lady named Sidney who showed all the old fogies how it was done.

Next was an offhand silhouette match for all who wanted to try their hand at the sport. The ranges were unique to the match — chickens at 15 yards, pigs at 25 yards, turkeys at 40 yards and rams at 60 yards. What a challenge that is to shoot at those distances while standing!

Field target
The main event was the field target match that was spread over Saturday and Sunday. There were several classes of shooters, which works out well for duffers like me. Next year, I have to convince them to have an over-68 year-Texan class. But I did compete in this one — if only to hold down the combined average so the other shooters could feel good about their achievements.

Instead of flying to Ohio with an airgun of my own, Pyramyd AIR set up a beautiful Air Arms TX200 Mark III for me. It was set up for the Hunter Spring class; and even though I never shot it before Friday, I found it to be easy to shoot. I missed the targets as often as I did only to encourage the others shooters.

Pyramyd AIR Cup Tom shoots
B.B. shoots a TX 200 in the Hunter Class.

On Saturday, the attendance swelled beyond expectations, and the field target match was loaded with competitors of all skill levels. One brand-new shooter was doing very well shooting a new AirFroce Airguns Condor SS he dialed all the way down. One of the beauties of the AirForce brand of sporting rifles is their adaptability to almost anything, and shooting field target proves that very dramatically.

The neat thing about this match was that spectators could stand behind the lanes and watch everything. Many people took advantage of this. The turnout to compete was so large that two 12-lane ranges were used and competitors shot on one range on the first day and switched to the other one on the second.

Pyramyd AIR Cup line is cold
One of two field target ranges needed to handle the crowd that showed up for the competition.

Pyramyd AIR Cup backdrop
The field target match was shot against a wooded ridge that provided safety for everyone. Most clubs would kill for an arrangement like this!

I have so much more to tell you, and an entire day of the event to cover. But, it’s late now, and after shooting all day (poor me), I need my beauty rest. More later this week!

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.

77 thoughts on “2014 Pyramyd Air Cup: Part 1”

  1. You should have just boxed that TX up and sent it on to me.

    I am glad you had a great time! I certainly do hope this turns into an annual event. I could see me renting a small camper.

  2. I am very curious about Greg Lundy’s air rifle. Did he replace the barrel and if so, how did he manage that?

    I for one hope that one of the new things you are hinting about is that Crosman will be coming out with a new multi-pump based on the Discovery or the Marauder.

    • It may have sustained damage to the solder joint as many warn against not only mounting a scope but just leaving the rear sight on. I have noticed a few of these “parts guns” for sale before and started formulating a plan to not only repair one but upgrade it with a longer barrel. It would be a delicate procedure with all internals removed and plenty of heat. Brass gets soft quick with a torch held to it and finding a good place to hold onto without damaging the pump-tube or breech would be tricky but all those pieces are just soldered on. An extra long cleaning rod(properly shimmed at the breech) would help keep from bending things too badly for a parts gun.

  3. Im I right to observe the armada is a maruader in a fury blackout/ TR77 stock? In a fitted nutshell? It wouldn’t be a new trick, but also not a bad thing, the business idea is sound and people like a new style to a successful gun. Congrats Tom, at a great event and being a kind competitor, going easy and all.. ( 😉 I am very happy to hear a 17 girl won her event, that’s advancement of the sport at its finest! I hope more girls find the joy of shooting, its an empowering sport teaching patience, confidence, and rewarding as anything! That girls father must be the proudest man leaving this weekend. Hope everyone else had a time just as satisfying, can’t wait to see some competition groups.!..

  4. B.B.

    Saturday afternoon I drove over from Pittsburgh to check out the event. Right of the bat I was impressed with the number of vehicles parked on the property, many with out-of-state license plates as you previously mentioned. The field target competitions were well underway when I arrived and I happened to walk onto the range just about the time you were headed to the line. I watched the FT competition for a bit and then headed over to the sight-in range to try the wide assortment of demo airguns provided by Pyramyd AIR. And a wide assortment it was! All rifles/long guns, however. No air pistols. I shoot both and would have enjoyed the opportunity to try out some quality handguns from various manufacturers. That said, perhaps Pyramyd AIR will consider adding a pistol competition and/or air pistol demos at future events. As an NRA silhouette shooter, I would love to see air pistol silhouette included on the schedule of events.

    All in all, it was definitely worth the 2+ hour drive from the ‘burgh. I noticed lots of smiling faces, myself included.

  5. B.B.

    I saw that you posted a picture on Facebook of a field target competitor using a Crosman 160 CO2 powered rifle. I didn’t think CO2 powered rifles were powerful enough to shoot out to 50, 75, and 100 yards with any reasonable accuracy, especially when trying to hit a 1 1/2 inch target. Do you happen to know how well this competitor did? Did he actually hit the target at 100 yards?

    • From Bryan who shot the Crosman 160—- The Crosman 160 was never intended for this type of precision competition. I hit the targets out to 50 yards consistently, but lacked the precision needed to hit the 1 to 1 1/2 inch paddle that would knock them down. The biggest problem in being able to hit the paddles was my inability to accurately determine range and drop. My hold over, hold under were by the seat of the pants. I enjoyed using the 160 and met a bunch of very nice people!

      • Ruth,

        Thank you for the message from Bryan. Are the Ruth that B.B. coached through the field target competition? If so, how did you do? What rifle did you shoot? I asked my original question because I have often wondered how well CO2 rifles can perform in field target competition. I’ve even thought to try my .22 caliber Hammerli AirMagnum in a field target competition. As long as there are no targets farther away than 50 yards away it might work.

  6. Tom,

    That looks like it was a great time for all. Will this be an annual event?

    As for multipumpers and competitions, my Benjamin 392, Sheridan Blue Streak, and S&W 77A have always been among my most accurate air rifles. AND the Sheridan and S&W have excellent triggers and cock smoothly to boot. The Sheridan can’t safely (safe for the gun’s barrel – air tube joint) support optics, though, so I guess that’s out. My S&W, on the other hand, can be scoped easily . . .

    Is it Ron Robinson who has a chart detailing velocities for different pump numbers with different pellets for his Blue Streak?


  7. B.B,
    I know you have confidence in the TX200 but to break one in during competition in my opinion is strapping on too much of a handicap. I’m glad you enjoyed the meet! But what if we had money on you?

  8. B.B.,

    Expanding your horizons?

    Glad to hear you seized the opportunity to shoot a cricket. Hope you were able to shoot the hummingbird too. These are all the rage now.


  9. BB
    Good job taking 2nd place. Did it feel good to get out and shoot a field target match?

    And I can’t wait to here about the new stuff coming out.

    It looks like it was a fun event.

    • BB,

      there are all kind of comments or flames we can throw at you if you don’t want to feel good about your 2nd place finish (2nd is the first loser, 2nd out of 2, etc.) but I and probably everyone else on the blog was cheering you on. Considering all the marvelous advice you share with us with every blog, you deserve a high place finish and I’m very happy for you! Obviously, so is Kevin inspite of him trying to sow seeds of dissent between you and Edith (an impossible task) and Kevin, I appreciate that link to another source of airgun information. Thanks!

      Get home, safe, Tom.

      Fred DPRoNJ

    • Why not take your favorite gun instead of breaking in a new one and use pellets you already know are accurate in it? Don’t hold back! Show the competition they’ll have to work hard for it. Not many are proud of a trophy they know was given to them.I’m sure it would turn some heads if I showed up with my Airmaster but watch out for the wolf under the black wool!
      New name for it BlackSheep!

  10. I really wish I could have attended the event but living way up here in western Canada makes it hard. I am rather new to airgunning I started collecting action pistols first which I love for their realizm. Although once I shot my first adult pellit rifle and realized the accuracy that was possible wow.also all the wonderful info available on website such as yours it just makes it all that much easier and enjoyable to us newbys. Keep up the awesome work you are truly appreciated. Thank You from Canada.

  11. Wow, that’s great news about the event. Thanks for reporting. My natural jealousy at not being able to attend is evaporating in the reports of interesting equipment and the good time that was had by all. I’m glad that the Godfather of Airguns got his due. A long time ago wasn’t there an idea like this that didn’t get going? It was something about a shooting event to meet B.B. where all the blog readers could meet each other, but there wasn’t enough interest. It just goes to show the virtues of persistence, and this event sounds like a phenomenal success.

    The amazing airgun ingenuity was on display. It says a lot that a world championship field gun was built around the Diana 54. But surely it wasn’t competing against pcps. This and the Benjamin mod make me think that you can make a good shooting gun out of almost anything. One gets that idea from seeing the weird looking guns built by benchresters. And I didn’t see any sign of the USFT gun that used to be in a class by itself. Has that been surpassed?


  12. I forgot to say that the Pyramidair Cup must have sent good juju my way or something because far away in California in my 5 yard indoor range with the cardboard boxes, I have finally regained my form and am shooting well again. It’s all about the fundamentals. Focus on the technique. Forget the surroundings and the cardboard boxes and let it all fall away.

    Also, I showed my place recently to a woman who wanted to see the layout, but I barred the door of my shooting room. Quoting from Star Trek, I said something about how she was not at a stage of development where she could understand what was behind the door. The made her eyes bug out. He he. There’s all kinds of fun you can have with your range.


    • I used to have a refillable lighter named the Trigger that was a Piezo design, while I wouldn’t consider it electronic,there was plenty of juice there and it did feel kinda like a 2 stage trigger with a clean but sharp break.That should eliminate the need for batteries. Anything like that out there?

    • Sounds good, that would eliminate all the extra linkage and slop from each joint, but I don’t like to need batteries to shoot.I don’t even like my dot sight because every time I wanna shoot I need a new battery.

  13. B.B.

    I hope you enjoyed the event. From what I learned – it’s not the event itself, but the people that make any event great. Judging by photos it’s autumn in US and I envy you a bit. Now it’s 2 inches of snow in the countryside and soon – very soon- it’s going to be at least 20 🙂 So it’s “under roof” time – until April next year and we call it “tech time” – time to tune, test, experiment, fail and try again to win.


  14. Please excuse my newness but whats a Cricket, Hummingbird, and a Bullpup? I have seen these terms on a airgun forum also.
    I wanted to post this sometime, I wish Crosman would bring out the 2200 again and Daisy the 22SG.

  15. I believe the FX Independence Mr. Gaylord shot this past Friday was mine. Jim Chapman first asked me about the .22 Independence after seeing it shoot, yet barely hearing it. After shooting the rifle several times Mr. Chapman insisted that Mr. Gaylord give it a try. I sincerely appreciate the praise both of these gentlemen gave my rifle, however I must point out it is not “high-modified” in any way. Actually it is nearly completely stock. Just a little TLC during the 13,000+ rounds put through it this past summer.

    Thank you Pyramyd AIR for a great weekend!

    • 13,000 pellets is a LOT of shooting for a summer. I also have a .22 Independence and consider it the prize of my collection. It is amazingly quiet. Do you shoot it tethered or bottle fill it? I use the pump only and after less than 1000 shots in humid VA weather, the pump failed. AOA fixed it promptly, replacing the small inner piston which I think is now stainless. Have you had to repair your pump?
      I would love to trade stories with another Independence owner.

      • The 13,000 pellets shot through my Independence this summer here in northwest PA were just for the shooting of that rifle. Using the other 4 rifles I own, in total I have shot close to 30,000 rounds in the 12 months.

        For the Independence I would estimate at least half of the 13,000+ pellets were shot using the built-in hand pump. Approximately 3,000 shot after pressuring the gun with an FX pump and the remaining shot while the rifle was tethered to a tank. As for maintenance; once during the summer I had to remove a little water droplet near the valve/pump intake and I have replaced one breech seal. The barrel has been cleaned 3 times and the trigger assembly has been removed and cleaned/lubed 3 or 4 times. That is it for maintenance and the gun continues to shoot and amaze.

        • You sound like a full time shooter. I have been delighted with the trigger as factory set and unlike all my other guns, I haven’t bothered adjusting it. Do you apply any lube to your pump mechanism? I put some Moly paste on the first outer bushing to stop it from creaking in the housing.
          I use krytech wax on the pellets, which I hope will keep the breech seal lubed. Have only pulled patches through the barrel once but occasionally use felt cleaning pellets. Do you use those?

  16. B.B., from your report it sounds like it was an interesting and informative event. One that I wish I could have attended just as a spectator. Perhaps the one thing that does not sound quite right, or perhaps fair would be a better word, is that the grand prize winner was Ray Apelles. You stated that he placed second in the world in the springer class. Also that he was shooting an extremely modified gun. With competition like that, how could any of the typical attendees even hope to compete in getting the highest overall score? I’m sure I’m missing something, however just going from what I’ve read on this blog, the competition for the highest combined score for all the events seems a bit unbalanced.
    Please correct me, or fill in the blanks so I can understand the error of my ways.

    • Paul,

      Your comments confuse me. Competition is for the best to win. They do whatever it takes, as long as it is within the rules. What Ray did was entirely expected by everyone who knows him and who competes against him.

      He competes on his own dime, with little help from sponsors. He drives or flies to every match on his own. He spends his own money building the guns he shoots.

      He is the embodiment of competition. If the world champion spring gun shooter had attended this match, Ray would have been challenged.

      The Pyramyd AIR Cup was an open competition for all comers. They even allowed their employees to compete with the chance to win. So, what everyone has to do is put in the same effort and money Ray has and they will have the same opportunity.


      • B.B.,
        Thank you for clearing that up for me. I was under the impression from the PA web site that the competition was going to be on a level playing field as far as the Grand Prize was concerned. As you have explained it, I now see that was a misinterpretation on my part, and that all entrants were, or should have been aware of the fact they would be competing against World Class shooters for the Grand Prize and therefore as an average shooter would have no chance at winning.

        I did not mean my comment/question to sound critical, I was simply unaware of the specific rules of the competition.


    • Paul, I’ve had the pleasure of shooting Ray’s souped-up D-54, and competing against Ray in Field Target. His rifle happens to fit me great, and I love the heft of it, and the trigger is sublime. But for some reason, when I shoot it, my accuracy is… about the same as it always is, and nowhere near Ray’s.

      How can the typical attendees hope to compete? Practice as much as Ray 🙂


    • Paul,

      There were other shooters at the Pyramyd AIR Cup who had very expensive PCP guns. Those guns could easily have bested a springer. Why didn’t a PCP beat Ray’s Diana gun?

      What made Ray’s gun a winner wasn’t the gun or the mods. It was Ray. If Ray had been given another gun, he probably still would have won because he’s a top shooter no matter what’s in his hands.


  17. BB;
    Great event, not enough space for the words to describe it. One highlight of the event was getting to meet you, we chatted for a while, and I followed you for a while during Saturday’s FT competition. I drove in from Pittsburgh, 2 hours, piece of cake. The Pay Day Challenge was a blast, until we watched Sidney (17 year old female), and in front of me, hit 7 out of ten shots, including 4 out of 5 at 100 yards with wind. She almost had 9 out of 10, but had 2 splitters. Took the wind right out of our sails. Can’t wait until next year, I absolutely will compete in Springer HFT. Thank you Pyramid, Tom, Paul, and Jim for making this event memorable.


  18. Hi Guys. I just wanted to clarify the specifics of the equipment I used for each of the three events.

    1st event:

    For the Silhouette Off-Hand match I shot a 1972 built FWB300 shooting 8.7 ftlbs with a Storey Custom 36 power scope held on with BKL reach forward rings.

    2nd event:

    For the FT match/es I shot my Diana 54 Bullpup with electronic trigger at 10.98 ftlbs. It weighs 22 lbs.

    3rd event:

    For the Gunslinger match I shot the same FWB300 I shot for the Silhouette Off-Hand Match.

    Hope this clarifies some of the equipment questions.

    Tieing for high score in Silhouette and winning the Gunslinger event gave me the points to make it to the top. My Springer FT event score was 12 points behind the PCP FT score of Greg Suave whom I tied with on the silhouette score. So the Gunslinger event is what brought my score up to the top. And that was with a 42 year old 10 meter gun.

    HTHs clear things up

    Ray Apelles

  19. I had the pleasure of meeting you on Saturday of this event.
    This event was a huge success in my opinion.
    Pyramid really stepped up, and put on a great meet. I had never attended a FT match, and after seeing how it worked, I plan on competing next year.
    Now the question is, do I use a vintage rifle for fun, or prepare a HPA 22xx and see how It stands up to the highend rifles?
    Hope to see ya next year, I had a great time chatting.

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