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Accessories Back to the basics — Scope tips: Part 4

Back to the basics — Scope tips: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Use a bigger target
  • Don’t look through the sight when adjusting it!
  • Don’t go too far!
  • Don’t adjust on the basis of a single shot
  • Don’t change the reticle!
  • What have you learned?
  • Big bore match at the 2015 Texas airgun show
  • Coming tomorrow: Log-in to make a blog comment

I was at the range last week with my brother-in-law, Bob, who was visiting us for the Fourth of July. He brought his Colt AR-15 to get my help sighting-in, which I was glad to do. He has had a lot of problems sighting-in this rifle with optical sights, and I wanted to see what they were firsthand. Boy — am I glad I did! I think some of you will be, too, because this experience made today’s report.

Bob had already gone through several scopes on this rifle — never being satisfied with any of the results he got. This time, he had a dot sight mounted on the gun, and the mounts allowed him to also see the rifle’s standard peep sights. An AR-15 is hard to boresight (align the bore of the rifle with an optical sight) because you can’t see down the barrel. With a bolt rifle you can simply remove the bolt and look down the barrel while aligning the scope’s reticle. When the bullseye appears to be centered in the barrel at the same time the crosshairs are centered inside the bull, you’re boresighted. A shot at this point should strike pretty close to the bullseye.

We sighted-in at 50 yards, and Bob mentioned another problem he had encountered. What if the bullet fails to strike the paper target at all? What do you do then? People don’t think about this until they get to the range and actually begin shooting. If your bullets aren’t hitting anything you can see, there’s no way you will know if you’re high, low, left or right. Hence, you’re making sight adjustments with no reference and hoping on luck to see you though. This is where my first secret tip comes in.

Use a bigger target

Several years ago, I acquired about a thousand 2-foot by 4-foot silhouette targets — the kind used for defense training. I turn them around and staple the plain white target paper to the backer board at the range. Then, I position the sight-in target in the center of that.

sight-in target
With the target centered inside a larger piece of paper, the chances of seeing even a wild shot are good.

The first shot from his rifle at 50 yards missed the 10-1/2 by 12 inch paper target altogether but landed about a foot to the left of center (3-4 inches to the left of the target paper) and 6 inches high. Had he just shot at the target by itself, this shot would have been lost. The larger paper behind the target was the only thing that showed where he hit.

Don’t look through the sight when adjusting it!

I told him he needed to adjust the sight by a foot to the right and 6 inches down. He looked at the dot sight adjustment screws and then proceeded to look at the target through the sight while he turned the windage screw. Don’t do that. The dot in this case, or reticle if it’s a scope, has to move in the direction opposite where you want the bullet to move. Looking through the sight while adjusting it is a surefire way to confuse yourself. If you want the bullet to move up, the dot must come down against the target.

Bob adjusts sight
Don’t look through an optical sight while you adjust it.

I speak from experience, because just 2 years ago I was so fascinated that a Russian sniper scope reticle actually moved inside the scope as it was adjusted that I watched through the scope while I was adjusting it. And I adjusted it right off the backer paper before realizing what I’d done. I had forgotten this until I saw Bob doing the same thing. Then it was obvious. Have any of you done this?

Most optical sights are marked with directions that tell you which way the bullet will go when they are turned. Heck, my M1 Garand battle rifle has these marks on both knobs of the rear peep sight. Pay attention to the directions on the adjustment knobs and forget looking through the scope until the adjustments have been made. Most of the time, turning the elevation knob clockwise lowers the strike of the round — and counter-clockwise raises it. And most of the time turning the windage adjustment knob clockwise moves the round to the left — and counter-clockwise moves it to the right. Most times.

Some scopes have their adjustment knobs or screws located in odd places, or they have left-hand screw threads. These will more than likely adjust in the opposite direction from what I just said. So, pay attention to those directions and do what they tell you.

If there are no directions, make small adjustments and see which direction they move the strike of the round. And don’t forget that your scope may have stiction. Some scopes take one and even two shots to respond to any adjustments you make.

Don’t adjust too far!

After the first shot, I told Bob to crank a lot of right adjustment and some down adjustment into his sight. Bad choice of words on my part. He took me at my word and adjusted what he thought was a lot of right adjustment and fired two more rounds that didn’t seem to have hit the paper. Uh, oh! What happened, now? Did he adjust the sight too far to the right, or did he adjust it in the wrong direction and go off the paper backer to the left? When there’s no bullet hole to see, you have nothing to go on.

Then, I spotted a bullet hole way over on the right edge of the backer paper — about 18 inches from the first shot. One of the two rounds had hit the backer paper — fortunately. Bob and I needed to agree about our definitions of what a lot of adjustment means! It was my fault. He asked for my help, and I was assuming he would do things like I would. I then asked him to adjust the dot sight back to the left and slightly down because he was still shooting too high.

The next bullet landed closer to the bull and was, in fact, the first bullet to strike the target paper instead of the backer paper. Now we were getting somewhere. Another adjustment put a bullet too far to the left of the bull, and I remembered another important lesson.

Don’t adjust on the basis of a single shot

This is very important. Do not fire one shot and then adjust your sight from that bullet hole! Remember that your gun shoots groups. All the bullets will not go into a single hole. Shoot two or even better yet three rounds, and then adjust the scope or dot sight from the center of that group.

Bob did this. Within a few more shots, he was striking inside the black bull at 50 yards. As I predicted, his rounds weren’t all landing in the same hole, but they were close enough to let us know where the rifle was shooting.

Don’t change the reticle!

Then he did something to his sight and then said to me, “I wonder if this green reticle with the crosshairs is the one I should be using. I just switched over to the dot reticle.”

Oh no! “Bob, you just did the electronic equivalent of removing the sight and replacing it with a different one!”

Surely not! “Why would they give me these different reticles to choose from if they don’t all shoot to the same place?”

“Try it and see,” I suggested. The next round landed on the edge of the target paper, about 7 inches from where he’d been hitting. Lesson learned.

He switched back to the reticle he’d used before. Fortunately, the shot moved back to roughly the same place. We refined the sight setting and were done. His rifle was sighted-in, and several important lessons had been learned.

What have you learned?

Today’s report was about optical sights, but not the technical side. We weren’t looking at minutes of angle. We weren’t dealing with excessive droop or cant or any of the more common things shooters talk about when the subject of optical sights is discussed. We were simply learning how to adjust the sight. Yet, everything we’ve looked at today is just as important as any of those other things.

Big bore match at the 2015 Texas airgun show

The 2015 Texas airgun show is coming up fast. It will be held on August 29 at the Parker County Sportsman Club in Poolville, Texas. This year the show will feature the LASSO big bore match that has not been held since 2012.

I expect to see the usual big bores from Dennis Quackenbush, some Korean big bores like the Sam Yang Dragon Claw and of course the new AirForce Airguns Texan. Those are the big bores everyone is shooting, but nowadays we also have some new guns like the Benjamin BulldogHatsan Carnivore in both .30 and .35 calibers, and Evanix Max-ML. And, I’m hearing about many more new big bores from around the country — some with air cartridges and others with interchangeable barrels! I sure hope some of these new guns decide to compete this year!

The Crosman Corporation has generously donated one of their Bulldog big bores with a scope and ammunition as the grand prize for this match. Some-sharp shooting big bore competitor will leave the show with the very rifle I tested for this blog! And I will provide a letter of authentication that states this was the rifle I used for both the blog and for my feature article in the July 2015 color edition of Shotgun News, which hits your newsstands this month!

So, come to the show to see the guns. Come to sell your airguns. Come to see the big bore match and don’t forget to come to the reception we’re holding the night before, where you can watch the filming of a special segment of American Airgunner for next year!

Coming tomorrow: Log-in to make a blog comment

Tomorrow morning we’re making some changes to the blog that affects how comments are made. Please read:

  1. Because of the overwhelming amount of spam, we’re requiring all commenters to have a registered blog account.
  2. You can still read the blog and all the comments without an account.
  3. If you already have an account, you don’t have to change your procedure other than to log-in before making a comment.
  4. If you don’t have an account, you must create one.
  5. Then, your first comment will be held until it’s read and approved. After that, your comments will post automatically (unless they cross some other line…foul language, links to spam sites, etc.).
  6. To register, go to the upper right corner of the blog and click on the Register link.
  7. To log-in once you have an account, go to the Log in link. Below is a screenshot of that section. If you’re on a mobile device, your browser window may be so narrow that this section has been pushed to the bottom of your page:


author avatar
B.B. Pelletier
Tom Gaylord is known as The Godfather of Airguns™ and has been an airgunner for over a half-century, but it was the Beeman company in the 1970s that awoke a serious interest in airguns. Until then, all he knew were the inexpensive American airguns. Through the pages of the Beeman catalog, he learned about adult airguns for the first time. In 1994, Tom started The Airgun Letter with his wife, Edith. This monthly newsletter was designed to bring serious reports about airguns to the American public. The newsletter and Airgun Revue, a sister magazine about collectible airguns, was published from 1994 until 2002, when Tom started Airgun Illustrated -- the first American newsstand magazine about airguns. Tom worked for three years as technical director at AirForce Airguns, the makers of the Talon, Condor, and Escape precharged air rifles. Today, he writes about airguns and firearms for various publications and websites. He also makes videos, and you'll find short clips embedded in some of his artices on Pyramyd AIR's website. Tom is a consultant to Pyramyd AIR and writes under the name of B.B. Pelletier.

109 thoughts on “Back to the basics — Scope tips: Part 4”

  1. Can we have a login button on the main page, kinda like the “read more” one?..Please?
    It can take a lot of scrolling to find the only one I can on this phone. 🙂

    • Reb,

      I just answered your other comment with the same sentiment but less info. You’re on a phone, which is why your browser window is so narrow. Let me see if I can get a second log-in link. Maybe we even need a second link for registering.


    • Reb,

      Did you see the image that shows where the log-in button is located? That’s on every single page on the blog. It’s on the right side near the top of each page. If it’s not there in your browser window, then your window is too narrow, and it’s been pushed to the bottom of the page. Can you make your browser window wider so it comes back up to the right side?


      • I don’t think this phones that flexible but I may try using my new TV via it’s USB port. Someone said I should be able to Bluetooth it but that’s something I’ve never tried.

    • Reb, I have ordered a nitro piston from PyarmydAir. If all goes well I should have it before months end. It is targeted at the Trail, among others so I know it will fit the Titan. This time I will take measurements and be a bit more scientific about the whole thing. It should prove interesting. ~ken

      • I saw some that were also comparable with Hatsans and thought of you but I don’t stand a chance of sharing a link on this phone.
        Glad you got a plan and it’s coming together!
        you’ll be slinging lead again in no time⊙

  2. Sayonara. I won’t be commenting after tomorrow’s downgrade. I’ll probably still read the blog entries, but I doubt I even bother looking at the comments anymore.


    • J.,

      It takes two minutes to register, and most devices will remember your password if you allow it. Hope to see you still onboard.

      B.B., a more prominent login button or link, maybe at the top just under the green banner, would be helpful.

      • Hiveseeker, I understand that it may not take long to register. However I’ve lost track of the number of message boards, webforums, newsfeeds, e-mail services, etc… I’ve signed up for in the last 10-15 years. That’s why I said I don’t want to do another one.


      • Thanks for the suggestion!
        The first couple times I tried to say what you said were a bust, depending on the amount of commentary it can take a couple minutes to find the one at the bottom.

    • J,

      This blog is popular and others want to ruin it. It’s not even people who do it. It’s “bots” — an automated computer program.

      I don’t have a program that distinguishes between legit comments and spam and stops the spam before it’s posted. The WordPress spam filter works, to a point. But it doesn’t stop the spam from posting in the first place. And that’s what I’m trying to do.

      I’m sorry signing in every day is bothersome. It takes me only a couple seconds to sign in, as my laptop remembers my log-in. All I have to do is come here, click OK and I’m in. It should work that way for everyone. The only hitch is that first-time posters with new log-ins will have to wait to have their first post approved before it goes live. Then, it should be clear sailing.

      I thought that would be an easy and simple thing that anyone could do without creating a hardship.

      Tom and I are spent from the constant onslaught of spam and the duties of monitoring spammers. We wanted the blog to educate people, not be a place to babysit. We had mornings where we faced 900 spam comments! And that wasn’t all we got that day. Hundreds more are posted. Some get thru to the live site, others are caught by the filter.

      As far as I know, logging in to comment is the next best solution. I hope it works. If you or anyone else has another solution, I’d like to hear it.


      • Edith,

        How long for the first post to be visible? When I saw the notification about the new login requirement starting tomorrow morning, I took that literally and tried to post a comment without first creating an account. The result was a screen saying I was not allowed to post comments on the site. It appears that the new login requirement has taken effect today, July 6, rather than waiting till tomorrow, July 7. Now can you tell me also was my attempted post lost? Or is it in a memory buffer waiting to be approved?

          • I was a little surprised by that too. Another question I have: is there a login time limit? Apparently many blogs and forums have a login time limit that automatically logs out the user when the time is expired.

            • I’m unaware of a time limit. I come here several times an hour to check for spams that got thru the spam filter and are live. So, I’m always logged in. When I shut down my computer for the day or I quit my browser, I’m automatically logged out and have to log-in again.


              • I also want to add that when I monitor the blog on weekends and holidays, I will log-in once in the morning but may not visit the blog again for many hours. I even close the lid on my laptop computer. Yet, when I come back — which could be as many as 8 hours later — I’m still logged in.


            • Cstoehr
              I log in once per day and stay logged in most of the time into the next day and have never been automatically logged out so once your logged in you are there until you log out or shut down your computer.


      • I wasn’t going to post anything else, but I figure it would be rude not to respond to Edith, at least as long as I’m able to. For the sake of space I’m going to condense my quotations to make this easier to read, but I’m responding to the entirety of the referenced sections.

        “Tom and I are spent from the constant onslaught of spam and the duties of monitoring spammers… If you or anyone else has another solution, I’d like to hear it.”

        Edith, is there some reason that you haven’t asked some of the “regulars” who are on the blog all the time and who have been for years (and you who in theory you trust) to be moderators and help you go through posts? (Or simply asked Pyramyd AIR if they can help provide moderators.) That’s what most of the message boards I’ve been an administrator and/or moderator have done since it reduces the workload on the administrators.

        “I’m sorry signing in every day is bothersome… I thought that would be an easy and simple thing that anyone could do without creating a hardship.”

        There are two problems you’re overlooking. Some people like me simply are tired of having to sign-up with sites in order to post a comment. (I’ve lost track of the number of e-mail services, newsfeeds, webforums, etc… I’ve signed up for in the last 15 years. And that’s why I said I’m not going to sign up for another one.) The other is that by requiring a sign-up in order to post, you’re putting a hurdle in place for new people who come to the blog, read something, and just have a question. The net result is you’re going to push down participation in the comments section.

        I get that dealing with spam-bots is time-consuming and annoying. (I’ve done it myself at several message boards, and reading the days postings can take hours…) However just as banning all IP addresses from countries where most of the spam comes from isn’t the answer (that was tried on a message board where I was a moderator since 95% of the spam we got came from Russian IP addresses), neither is requiring registration. Especially since some of the more sophisticated spam-bots (and/or live spammers) may simply sign up for an account and go on a spree.

        This is Tom’s and your blog. I get that. You’re free to administer it however you want. I’m just pointing out a perceived downside to what you’ve said you’re going to do. Well, that and saying goodbye since I’m not going to be able to comment w/o signing up for yet another web-service once the changes take effect tomorrow.


        • J.,

          I am unaware of a way to allow outside moderator access for comments only (Pyramyd AIR does not have the staff to deal with this, either). If someone makes a mistake or clicks on something in an area other than comments, they could erase all the blog posts, formatting, etc. I’m unwilling to take that risk.


    • BB
      I second the question as to why the two different reticles would not line up as they are both in the same sight.

      If not then what is the purpose of having two reticles if you cannot switch from one to the other.


        • BB
          Actually until reading thru today entire blog no I did not know better as I have never had a multi reticle sight be it either a dot style or otherwise as I never have seen any advantage to such and unless it has magnification it is no good to me for anything past 15 feet.

          I do now understand as to why they will not align with each reticle since it is merely a reflection off of a mirror and you are right in that you get what you pay for.

          Learn something new every day and is what keeps me willing to log in as I have always done so it is no change on my part.


          • BD,

            I also didn’t know about the reticles changing the sight-in. So, I found all the multi-reticle dot sights on Pyramyd AIR and added text to each of them so people don’t think their guns have all of a sudden become inaccurate if they start shooting wild shots after changing a reticle. At this point, I wonder how many people have returned guns because they were inaccurate because of reticle changes on a dot sight?


            • Edith
              You may very well be right as if I had bought a gun with one of those style sights and it would not hit accurately with each reticle it may have been sent back but as I said those style sights are no good for my old eyes at ant distance past 15 feet.

              especially after my cataract surgery in 08 its hard enough to focus on the iron sights of a gun and then focus on the target as I can see one or the other clearly but not both so it is scope only for me or just plain old red dot for close ranges.


              • BD

                What do you shoot most, rifle or pistol? If you shoot much pistol in the 15 to 30 feet range, is it a pistol on which you can mount a pistol scope? Pyramyd AIR sells a BSA 2×20 pistol scope. I have one mounted on my Crosman 2240, and that scope helps me very much to see the target at 10 meters (33 feet) although at 2x it’s minimal magnification. I bought a Simmons 4×32 handgun scope from another retailer to put on that 2240. I’m going to mount it and see how well it works this week while I’m on vacation from work.

                • Cstoehr
                  I shoot only rifles in the air gun form and most at 20 and 35 yards as that it what I have in my backyard, but I also shot in a FT club that we shoot from 10 to 55 yards and I use a Mod 177 for that with a B40 or Diana 48 as backups.

                  I am fortunate to have one of the two CMP ranges right here in town 10 minutes from the house and they shoot 10 meters rifle and pistols with an electronic scoring system that my few peep sighted low power air guns I take up there to sight in to hit within a 10.5 to 10.9 score group which is roughly .200″ size group. That is provided I can hold the gun steady enough on a bag rest as my health issue make my breathing and heart rate affect me holding the gun steady and I am usually swaying back and forth across the targets.

                  The only pistol shooting I do is with powder burners for self defense practice at 15 feet or less so it more just point and shoot than aiming.

                  I have two 2240s and a 2289 but they are all carbines with barrels of 18″, 20″ and 24′ so no air pistols for me.


    • Rob,

      These are optics, where microns matter. If things aren’t aligned perfectly, they don’t work as planned. The Hubble Space telescope is the prime example of that.

      Why doesn’t a a scope return to the same place, every time it is mounted on the same gun? Same reason.

      Optics is a place where small differences have big impact.


      • B.B.

        I’ve always thought like Bob that in multi-reticle dot sights and scopes that the only movable object was the optics tube and that the reticle was just an electronic projection from a projection source that moved with the tube and always focused the reticle on the center of the optics. On that basis, I thought that no matter which reticle was selected, all reticles were sighted in the same. I only shoot 5 meters to 10 meters distance in my basement, and the last time I used one of my multi-reticle dot sights, I didn’t observe any significant deviation in point of impact when I changed the reticle. Apparently I too don’t have a correct understanding about the construction and operation of my multi-reticle dot sight, so please explain to me what’s wrong in my thinking.

        • Cstoehr,

          Welcome to the blog.

          The reticle in a dot sight IS a projection, but switching it will move it if the source isn’t fixed. In expensive dot sights the source of the reticle is fixed and you can switch. In cheap dot sights (those that sell for under $100) the projection is often not collimated and the reticle will move the group.


          • B.B.

            Thanks. Actually I been commenting sporadically for a while now under the name Charles Stoehr. I just didn’t want to use the full name as a user id. The dot sight I have is the CenterPoint Optics Multi-TAC Quick Aim Sight. Now do you know if the CenterPoint Optics Multi-TAC Quick Aim Sight has a fixed source for the reticle? Based on its price of about $50 and your comment about cheap dot sights, then I’m thinking probably not.

      • B.B.
        I have a Nikko Stirling Mount Master 3-9×40 fitted on my Hatsan Striker. I have removed it from the gun( still attached to the mounts) twice, once to tune & fit new piston seal, and again to check seal and re-size as it was tight. Both times I checked zero after fitting scope back & believe me it was & still is dead on at 25 met. My sight in distance. Is this a fluke case? I always thought the same, that it would shift impact point if removed. Please advise Sir. I also thought illuminated reticles would maintain zero whatever color was selected as the same wire only changed color. Is it not so then?

          • I see. But then its a super scope. So maybe the mounts are too. I have an identical scope on the 125 but I fitted a one piece SEBEN German mount to take the recoil. Will see how it does when I remove & fit it back after the tune which is due. Thanks!

          • HiveSeeker

            They are super scopes. What I have was ordered on eBay from a seller in UK. Goes by the name of Intershoot. He sells the genuine stuff. There are some super high end ones which I love to own but just can’t afford at the moment. E.g. higher magnification, AO, IR. But I’m keen on getting the same model I have with AO. I zeroed the one on the Striker only once months ago & haven’t had to adjust it since, and this gun has powerful recoil as I fitted a Wolf spring ( double spring).This has give a big power boost but also big recoil.

  3. Hey BB and others. Meant to tell you that I bought A Walther Terrus…based on the testing of this blog. I am very satisfied. It’s a solid rifle that entirely meets my accuracy needs. I haven’t fired at a distance yet, but have twice fired 10 shots and 11 shots into a hole much smaller than a dime at a range-measured distance of 50 feet. I know there are better airguns but I’m happy, and I recommend this rifle.

    • I should have included above, the shooting was done with the wooden stocked .22 Terrus.

      I guess I will add that the reason I have written these 2 paragraphs is because I have noticed few reviews of the rifles on the PA site–which I think means few people are buying them. Big mistake. The Terrus is a quality airgun. That’s my testimonial for the day.

  4. For air rifles in the backyard I cannot overemphasize the need for an effective backstop. Even if my target was only ten (10) meters away and I had a 14″ x 14″ target area, I was puzzled as to where my initial pellets were going until I looked at the area around the target and found my initial group 3 feet above my aim point. Fortunately I had a poured concrete wall as a backstop. Moving closer helped determine what direction my turning of the turrets did to the point of impact (how many actually believe that the number of clicks is equivalent to what is listed on the manual?) and eventually got the pellets on target.

    • Siraniko,

      They do match the manual. At close ranges, 1 click is (much) less correction = more clicks to get your pellet on target. Note movement with the # of clicks, then you will have your own “custom” manual ! 😉


    • All of the scopes I have sighted in at 10 meters all were rated at either 1″ per click at 100 yards or 1/4″ per click at 100 yards. When I see how many inches I need to move my point of impact, I remind myself to divide the calculated number of clicks by 10 since I’m shooting at only 10 meters (10 yards and change).

  5. Hi folks…

    The term “schuetzen rifle” was still bothering me so I finally asked the people at co2air.de if that was really what somebody in Germany would call these things. They came up with two good names that sound correct but weren’t even on my radar (so I couldn’t google them).

    1. “Scheibengewehr” / “Scheibenbüchse”.

    “Scheibe” in this context means “target”. So the translation would be… “target rifle”. “Büchse” is more precise and means it has a rifled barrel.

    When I google these terms, I find guns that look a *lot* like what BB described here.

    2. “Feuerstutzen”

    “Feuer” = “fire”. So this simply means they are the more powerful “real firearm” cousins of Zimmerstutzens which I guess makes sense…

    So, apparently, “schuetzen rifle” is mostly a term used in English-speaking countries and Germans/Austrians would call them one of the above.

    Did I mention I was a bit fixated on language? 🙂


    • Stephan,

      Thank you for chasing that down. You may be right. Schuetzen is a word that was used in the U.S. in the late 1800s until today. It was used by German-speaking people, but I guess no one ever claimed that is was a German word. The language of shuetzens is all German, where possible.


      • Well, “Schütze” as a word is very common as it means “shooter”. It just seems to mean a different thing when foreign gun collectors use it.

        Anyway… I guess now my curiosity is satisfied and as a side effect, maybe it helps you or other collectors find interesting stuff from Germany 🙂

      • Reminds me of the time I found myself chatting with some folk touring the U.S. From Sweden.
        “Land of my ancestors,” I said. “Great-Great Grandpa Sevente came over in 1875 or so,” said I.
        “Oh wonderful!” they said. “Do you speak Swedish?”
        I then ripped off my entire Swedish vocabulary, which took approximately 15 seconds.
        They looked at me like I’d just eaten a frog in front of them.
        Then in total unison, they burst into laughter. “What?” I thought, “I learned this in a Lutheran Church. It’s unlikely it’s the punchline to a ‘Farmer’s Daughter Limerick.”
        “Is it bad?,” said I. “Is it offensive? Is the U.S. About to go to war with Sweden over what I just said?”
        They laughed even harder.
        “No,” they said. “It’s perfect, but you sound like you’re in church and you’re a hundred years old.”

  6. B.B.,

    Interesting that the electronic sight reticle’s moved when switching from one to the other. They look cool, but not sure how well they would do for accuracy with an air rifle. Still, good to know.

    Question,….You may have read from the weekend blog that I put an HO Vortek kit in the TX. The question is….Would putting a heavier spring in also affect the trigger/sear pressure?

    It would make sense that it would. I had the release pressure adjusted very nice before, and now it seems stiffer. I am guessing that if I adjust the pressure screw for a lighter release, (with the heavier spring),… that if I ever went back to a lighter spring, the trigger release pressure could/would be too light at that point. ???


    • I’m also interested in the reticle. Presumably this scope comes with multiple reticles that are physically removed and replaced from the scope body when the colour was changed? At first I assumed what was being talked about was something like the Leapers scope with an illuminated reticle I own where twisting a knob changes the colour of the LED’s illuminating the reticle and didn’t understand how that would change the point of impact. So I guess changing the reticle in the scope mentioned in the article is more like changing the front sight insert on an iron sight and you’re supposed to choose the one you like best for the kind of shooting being done, install it, sight in the scope and stick with it unless circumstances change.

      • Nowhere,

        This is not a scope. It’s a dot sight. The reticle is not fixed as it is in a scope. It is projected onto a partial mirror.

        When a scope changes the color of its reticle, the reticle doesn’t change. When this dot sight changes reticles, one reticle stops projecting and a different one starts projecting. That’s different than just changing reticle colors.


        • Thanks – I get it now! Somehow, even though you clearly said he was using a dot sight I automatically started thinking of scopes instead. I’ve only used a dot sight once when borrowing my friends Ruger at the range. I didn’t even realize that the reticles on some dot sights could be changed.

    • Chris,

      Yes, I read all your comments. A heavier pellet (the .22 example) will give lowere power in a spring gun and higher power in a PCP, usually.

      And triggers may not change as mainsprings change, because the trigger doesn’t restrain the mainspring. The trigger holds other parts that, in turn restrain the mainspring. So the trigger is far away from the weight and power of the spring. Ay least that is true of as good trigger.


      • B.B.,

        Thank you,….I was aware that the trigger and actual release were separated a bit. Just trying to keep it simple. Still, I wanted your insight and perspective. Golden…..

        I’ll try another 1/4 or 1/2 on tension,…but,…WILL go back the other way if going back to a lighter spring.

        At least for me, it does seem stiffer with the HO kit. I need to get a trigger gauge,…I hate not doing “measured” adjustments. Data = solid direction in moving forward.


  7. With my powder burners I use a laser sighter at home to rough in my scopes or sights before I go to the range. With the scope optically centered I can see if I have an issue with the rings and mounting system, that if bad enough would dictate an adjustable mount such as Burris Signature rings. I have a Bushnell sighter that cost less than $50 and is well worth using just to save ammo and time. On my springers with open or aperture sights I simply shoot them to location in my garage without the laser since it’s easy, quick and cheap with pellets.

  8. (Yet) another good one. I’ve learned more from your scope tips than any other single topic. Had the exact same problem with a red dot sight, switching between red and green. Most of the time, you can’t have both!

  9. B.B.

    With an AR-15, can’t you bench the upper receiver and remove the bolt carrier to bore sight the rifle? And isn’t it easier now with flat top upper receivers vs. the older fixed carrying handle models?

  10. For those with a question concerning the reticle position changing.

    On the multi reticle sights, when you rotate the knob to a different reticle, you are changing the lenses through which the LED is shining. As was mentioned above, it is like changing the front sight insert. They may or they may not line up true with each other.

    As for changing the color of the LED. A multi color LED actually has multiple light emitting diodes contained in one package. If you have one that is red/green, the two elements will be side by side or above and below or even cati-cornered, depending on how they are mounted in the sight. When you switch from one to the other, the angle of the light projecting through the reticle lens will change. This will change where the reticle will be projected onto the screen lens.

    I hope my explanation was understandable.

  11. BB and others,

    I hope this does not confuse anyone. There is a method for adjusting your scope while looking through it. It requires a rest that will hold your rifle firmly while you adjust the scope. It also requires you to be hitting on paper so that you can see where you are adjusting to.

    Aiming at your target center, shoot three to five rounds. This should give you a decent idea of your grouping. Now with the rifle held firmly in your rest, look through the scope and carefully, so as not to move the rifle, adjust the reticule to the center of the group. This should bring your grouping to your point of aim.

    I would suggest shooting another group or two so that you can tweak and confirm your adjustments.

    • RidgeRunner:

      Your description matches the method taught to me by my father 40 odd years ago! I won a 30-06 off a guy who bet me $100 against the rifle that I could not sight the rifle in using your method. He kept saying that the gun or the scope were bad. Wrong. Just bad technique on his part.


  12. To bore sight I have always removed the upper On ar-15’s, then the bolt carrier group, then put the upper on a sandbag rest, and then bore sight as you would any bolt action rifle, it’s just that easy.
    Pull 2 pins, the BCG(bolt carrier group) and bore sight..

  13. Well it seems I’m back from the grave right before some major change…

    It wasn’t any close to B.B.’s experience, but I believe a month horizontally and a month of weakness and shaking hands is enough to start thinking phylosophical way for myself 🙂

    All right, I’m really back this time. With some good news – all major drawing and modelling on my Mk.II is now complete. So far, I can not make it simpler or lighter or cheaper to produce. And I can not make the design stiffer with less independently moving masses – that’s one thing I learned on my prototype Mk.0.

    Meanwhile I’m honing my skill at 10m offhand with FWB-300S. I love fresh air but not in a form of wind 🙂 However one good thing I got from that is learnung the speed of air wave moving – how much time do I have before the wind gust that started to move leaves on a tree 30 m from me will come across my pellet’s way and ruin my shot.


  14. B.B.

    Yes, that was not easy, but I made it. Docs still fighting over my final diagnosis 🙂

    Imagine, I could not raise a rifle not just hold it steady for a few secs!


  15. B.B.,

    I like the new login system (so far, but I think I’ll continue to like it).

    Because I’m not a powder burner and shoot only airguns (and the occasional bow and arrow) at 5-20 meters, I’ve always used the “start close to the target and slowly adjust as you increase distance” method. Just the same, it seems to me that it would be easier in my indoor range, which is adjustable from 3 meters to 14 meters, to adjust optics (hey, I have old eyes) using the above method.

    Indoors I usually shoot from a shooting table at 10 meters, and the only game I hunt are paper targets, light duty spinners, and aluminum cans. Sighting-in has involved a tedious process of shooting three or four times before I am back to the table. For those preliminary shots to assure myself that I’m on the paper, I steady my air gun on a homemade neoprene covered yoke screwed onto a recording studio mic stand that has a huge cast iron base and three casters, two of which are lockable. Even though the stand weighs probably 40 or more pounds (THAT’S a monopod!), it is easy to roll on my basement floor. But moving that plus the gun, plus my chair is more labor than you method would be.

    Incidentally, for pellet and BB guns I have a gigantic downward-angled plywood backstop with thick carpet stapled to it and which has a thick carpet acting as a ballistic curtain hanging from the top down to a shallow plywood “tray” on the floor. For the lead ammo, I have an additional backstop in front of that, a 2 foot x 2 foot plate of pig iron just slightly angled downward, and in front of that a bullet box. For BBs it’s the plywood backstop with carpeting and carpet curtain and a UTG trap with those ballistic curtains.

    If it were not for that overkill arrangement, I could probably shoehorn a 50 foot range in there if I were willing to have my derriere pressed against the wall!


  16. I have been adding to my airsonal recently and ended up playing a shell-game with the scopes, moving them from one rifle to another to optimise the setups.

    As a result I have been doing a lot of sighting in recently so I thought I would share the process that I am using…

    1) Optically center the scope

    2) Mount the scope and fire a test shot at 25 feet to confirm rough alignment, ideally POI be about 1” or so below the POA and centered. A POI within 3” of the ideal spot is good, if it is hitting too far off then I consider shimming the scope and/or adjusting the mounts.

    3) When all is good I move the target to 25 yards and fire a reference shot. With the gun mounted so it can’t move I adjust the crosshairs from POA to POI for a rough zero.

    4) Then I fire 3-shot groups and make adjustments as required using the group center for reference.

    I determine my 25 yard POI height using the actual pellet velocity and the ChairGun program (freeware from Hawke) to suit my preferred zone. I use plus/minus 3/8” for the zone that gives me a ¾” circle that I like to use. The program gives me my near-zero and far-zero range which is convenient to know.

    I’m very pleased with the BKL mounts and Hawke scopes. The mounts self-center when clamped to the dove-tail and none have required any tuning.


  17. Wow, this sounds like my experience over the weekend. I didn’t have a larger target handy, but when I wasn’t even on paper at 7 yards, I was close to despair. Mike, if you can’t see the hole, even your method will not work. But once you’re on paper, it’s not the end of the story as I found out. How much adjustment is too much? I was adjusting in increments of one-quarter to one-half a rotation, and it turned out to be way too much. I couldn’t find out the click adjustment rate of my red dot sight, but I suspect that it is fairly close to the standard for scopes which is 4 clicks per MOA, so I was way overadjusting.

    The Russian scopes which move the reticle really freaked me out too. The best method I found is to look through the scope and move your reticle from point of aim to bullet hole which is the opposite of what you would expect. But then how do you adjust for a 6 o’clock hold? I suspect that this reticle was not designed to be used with this hold. Anyway, I figured it out, and I also found that once you got the method, it was very rapid to adjust. A study was done comparing the scope adjustment for WWII Mauser rifles and the scope adjustments for the Russian Mosin and found the Russian method superior. Part of the problem was that the Mausers required an Allen wrench to adjust the sights (like an old Leapers scope that I have that has been discontinued). But even apart from tha,t looking at the reticle compared to adjusting dials is faster without giving up much in precision.

    Sam, I’ve heard good things about the Ultimak, but I have no complaints about my Leapers gear which performed flawlessly. That’s encouraging to hear what your rifle can do. I’m still in the hunt with mine. Those 25 yard offhand groups tell me that this rifle is capable of more.


    • This may help, I keep my adjustments under 10 clicks at close range.
      I have adjusted as much as 30 but not until I’m sure I’m going the right way. And almost always use 3 shot groups for confirmation.

  18. Probably the one sin (pun intended) I have not committed when adjusting an optical sight is to look through it while making the adjustment.

    Logging in is no problem, really. Edith, you may need to help some others who want to include a photo. I still have the instructions you sent me so long ago. Of course, I have to search for them.

    Alas, poor J., we knew him well and miss him still.


  19. Just as a reminder and a tip…
    Just because no hole appears in the target does not neccesarily mean the target was missed.
    I clearly recall a carefully lengthwise sectioned MAC-10 barrel displying no fewer than 12 bullets neatly stacked one behind the other, midway down the (somewhat distorted) tube. Had it been a locked-breech firearm, it likely would have exploded. (The [truly sorry excuse for a firearm] MAC-10 was a blowback non-locked breech design.)
    Point being, if the weapon behaves unusually, STOP! NOW! Find out why it made a “pop” instead of a “bang.” You may have launched a solely primer-only powered bullet to a point midway down the barrel. Easy enough to tap out, but firing a full powered projectile on top of that one is the absolute best way I know of of ruining a (previously) good barrel…or worse.
    Please do not ask me (the embarrassed reloader) how I know this is true.
    On the other hand, I have an amusing photo of a .25 cal bullet caught not-quite making an exit from the muzzle of Colt pocket pistol, plus a really nice 1911 barrel with a honkin’ big bulge in the middle. That one makes a high-quality headspace gauge for .45 auto. A bit expensive, though.

  20. This is an email not germane to the current discussion so likely shouldn’t be posted.

    BB (The godfather of airguns! Hope you got a raise with the title!),

    I went back to the 2012 series on tuning air rifles and found it immensely helpful. For “tar” (it was very helpful to learn that it was a term you created rather than a specific product I was seeking), I used good old Moly grease like we packed bearings with. Spread it on the outside of the spring after having coated the inside with white lithium grease. Cleaned and smoothed any manufacturing irregularities – there were few. Carefully lubed any wearing surface outside of the chamber and barrel, put the CFR back together and it is significantly quieter both in the twang and movement in the hands. I then put a 15-year old but almost unused Diana Mo 94 thru the same treatment with a nice improvement in performance. I believe the Diana is firing with more authority though I have no way to measure it.

    This leads me to a topic I’d be interested in discussing that I’ve don’t think you’ve addressed. I purchased the Gamo CFR (from another source as I had not found PA yet) mostly for its claimed power and the fact that I just shutter at the idea of “breaking” a rifle’s barrel. I paid $270 + t&s, tossed the scope and put on a decent Leapers (Hawke’s were out of stock) with a one piece mount ~$150, a CharlieDaTuna trigger at $36 (dramatic improvement over Gamo’s supposed SAT). By the time I was done with this “entry level” air rifle I’m into it for near $500.

    In reading your posts over time and looking at PA’s offerings it appears that $500 would have bought me a whole lot more rifle than what I’ve ended up with the Gamo. The experience of working on it was invaluable and truthfully it’s a nice shooting rifle, but I look at the inert pistons models and rifles like the TX-200, and I wonder if wouldn’t have been better off paying the money up front for more gun.

    I guess what I’m wondering is if you could address where (price point) one should enter this sport/use/obsession/tool. I knew I was going to need something that had one shot killing power and would for some time to keep the squirrel insurrections down. Dang things can climb the fences and get into the garden. So knowing this I really did need something more than a Red Ryder.

    Perhaps you could create categories such as dauber – not sure of interest; someone with a specific need such as pest control; someone who uses firearms and would benefit from practice that didn’t cost gun powder and require a range; someone who enjoys the challenges of punching increasingly smaller holes in paper, etc. At each category advice as to what price points and a suggestion of models that have proven themselves at the task could be suggested.

    You’ve got a wealth of experience I’ll never match and I’d have appreciated such a column (or maybe even a fixed piece at the PA home page) that would have discussed some of these ideas.

    Anyway, thanks again for your and Edith’s assistance.


    • Robert,

      What you are seeking,….you have already found. It’s right here.

      Edith and BB have done a wonderfull job at assembeling a wealth of information over the years and while we all have specific points of interest, it’s all here if you look for it.

      More often than not, $ will help insure you got a better quality product, but it is no gurrentee either.

      BB’s test’s, and reader’s comments,..will help you make decisions. The comment’s are a gold mine of info. But,..just like digging gold by hand,…a bit of work is involved.

      As for a 300$ turning into a 500$ one,…I can relate. A scope and rings are almost always a reqd. added cost. So,…with those,…THAT is your starting point. Then comes all the pellets, calipers and a scale, a chrony, diff. rings and maybe another scope. And it can go on and on.

      I guess the bottom line is that if you have a specific interest at a specific time, bring it up in a question on the comments section of a blog. The regulars here are always ready to help, offer advice….many from experience and even post links to past articles or even other sites. If you have read very many comment sections, you already know that it gets “off topic” more often than not. Always welcomed.

      So,…I guess with all that,….we expect to see more of ya’. 😉


    • Robert,

      I have addressed price in several reports in the past. The fact is, price is a poor way of finding what is good. That’s why I test so many guns. I’m always looking for a world beater, and when I find it, I keep on telling people about it.

      Today one such gun is the Diana 34P. Another is the Walther Terrus. The Walther LGV is so good I got the one I tested!

      Your CFR isn’t a bad airgun. It’s accurate and the newer ones have good triggers. The more you shoot it the more you will like it.


  21. I hadn’t intended my long piece on air rifle selection to end up on this page, but there it is. Several folks sent me interesting observations including BB noting that (1) he does do a “Christmas issue,” and (2) it’s such a complex topic it’d probably take a book. Thinking more about it – I can see that. Also there is the wild card of the great cheap gun and the lousy expensive one. Sure wish I could test as many as BB does 😉

    On the subject of sighting in mil spec scopes this youtube video offers a superbly simple approach https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLirsAFpsfE My problem is I have no way – yet – to keep the rifle completely still as I adjust the scope.

    On the subject of the sighting changing if you have different illumination, that did surprise me, though when I considered it made sense. As BB noted there has to be a projection and the same dot can’t be used. I obviously don’t understand the technology about differing colors in such a scope. I assumed that each point was a single LED site that switched color on command. (Actually I can’t figure out how else to do it.) I have a ~ $150 Leapers on my now sweet shooting Gamo CFR and haven’t noticed a significant difference in sight picture or accuracy, though I must admit I’m still struggling with NOT treating it like a fire arm. (I’m only shooting at 50′.) Clearly my flyers come when I grip down trying to force the intersection to line up.

    So the question for me is how do we deal with the shift in sighting if we need to change dot color as light changes?

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