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History Buckhorn sights and Kentucky windage

Buckhorn sights and Kentucky windage

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The buckhorn
  • It really works
  • How to use other open sights
  • Aim over
  • Kentucky windage?
  • Summary

Adjustable sights have been around for awhile, but they aren’t the only way to hit a target. Before sights were adjustable, shooters knew how to adjust their sight picture to accomplish the same thing. Today I will present the buckhorn rear sight and discuss how it can be used as a ranging sight. I will also show you how to use other open sights to hit targets at longer distances than they are designed for. Besides explaining how the new Modoc big bore airgun sight works, this will also explain how you can use different sight pictures to move the strike of your rounds with all sights.


MODOC rear sight

The Modoc rear sight is a buckhorn.

The buckhorn

We will start with the buckhorn rear sight. The shape of the sight is where the name comes from. Those long curved arms on either side that look like antelope horns are not for decoration. They are for ranging, using Kentucky windage. Kentucky windage means holding the sights in a pattern other than the conventional one, so the round will strike in a different place. Or, if the rifle isn’t hitting where it’s aimed, Kentucky windage is used to get it to strike where the shooter wants.

The conventional sight picture with a buckhorn sight is the same as with any other open sight. The tip of the front post is held level with the tops of the rear notch plate on either side, and that is where the round is expected to go.

Buckhorn sight rear

If the shooter wants to raise the strike of the round to hit a target at an intermediate distance, he elevates the tip of the front sight to the middle of the horns of the buckhorn rear sight. This is done by guessing, initially, but when a shooter learns his rifle the guess tends to be correct.

Buckhorn sight midrange

Obviously you don’t have to hold the front sight in the exact middle of the rear horns. So instead of just one rigid distance, this sight can be used for a wide range of different distances. This is where learning your rifle comes into play.

When the shooter wants to hit a target that’s far away, he elevates the front post until it is between the tips of the horns. Usually this means he will also see the base of the front sight, as well as the entire front sight post.

Buckhorn sight far

It really works

Shooters getting started today usually go straight to telescopic sights and miss all the nuances of open sights. So the things like I’m showing you today don’t necessarily ring true for them. But they do work. All you have to do is experiment to find out.

How to use other open sights


Buckhorn rear sights are not common today, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with Kentucky windage. Elmer Keith demonstrated the ability to hit man-sized targets at unbelievable distances with a handgun, and when I read his exploits in the 1960s,  I didn’t know such shots were impossible. So I tried them, and they worked! I remember ranging to a football-sized dirt clod in a plowed field in Germany with a snubnosed Colt Detective Special in 38 Special and hitting it repeatedly, once the distance was discovered. The range was 80 yards. All I did was hold the front sight high in the rear sight until I connected.

Kentucky windage elevation
This is what the sights look like on a Colt Detective Special. The front sight is elevated in the rear notch for additional range.

I had a witness that day in Germany. So, John Redfern, if you read this blog, please chime in and back me up. It may have taken me several shots to get on that clod, but once I was on, every shot pounded through it.

Aim over

I did another experiment several years earlier with a Colt 1860 Army black powder revolver. The distance was close to 300 yards and I didn’t hold the front sight up this time, because you can’t do that with the 1860 Army. The front sight is just a brass blade that’s too low to do what I’ve been explaining. The whole barrel would have to be seen in the rear notch (which is in the hammer, and can only be seen when the gun is cocked), so you have to find a different way. That way is something called aim over.

Colt Army front sight
The Colt 1860 Army front sight is too low to elevate in the rear notch.

All you do when you aim over is you aim at a target that is either beyond or higher than where you want to hit. It works the same as elevating the front blade, but it’s done differently. And it does work.

Randy Mitchell, if you are reading this blog, you were there the day I did this in the Steven’s Creek hills above San Jose with my Colt Army. Please back me up. Randy was the outlaw at Frontier Village, a western-themed amusement park where I worked when I was in college in the 1960s.

Kentucky windage?

This entire report has been about elevation and I have used the term Kentucky windage throughout. Shouldn’t that be Kentucky elevation? Not really. Kentucky windage is a slang term that refers to holding the sights in a pattern different than the conventional one. It can refer to either windage or elevation corrections, or even both at the same time. It’s just a term you need to learn.


Today’s report is for all readers who are not familiar with open sights. They may seem simple but there are subtleties to be learned, if you will just try them.

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.

153 thoughts on “Buckhorn sights and Kentucky windage”

    • I learned sight alignment by reading the owners manual to my RedRyder for a full week before my parents finally cut me loose at a dumpground.
      I also learned how to drive in a pickup with 3 on the tree. If you learn the more difficult method of doing something everything else is gravy.

  1. BB,
    I believe there’s only serious adults writing and attaining this daily blog, so there’s no need for backup regarding confirmation of the things that are written here.

    • I sincerely hope not! If I had found this stuff when I was younger id be in a whole other world right now, and I picture some 14-15year olds like me trying to figure this stuff out and make the most of what I was doing and what I had. If there are any younger readers please sound off and prove to us your whole generation isnt just staring at their phones…. oh no!, I just realized what im doing right now… 😉 but seriously. This blog is a godsend for newair gunners. BB, maybe you could do an article on safe shooting to refresh us all and maybe enlighten some that arent serious/safe when handling air guns?

      • Rifled,
        Well, I suppose youre right about that. I guess I meant “serious adults” as a way of saying: no unreal claims of their (rifles) shooting performances. Or the fact that things do not escalate.
        -reminds me:
        I was once attacked here on the blog. We were discussing german springers. Some guy jumped on me and said something like:
        “You dont like us blue collared gamo shooters”… and he went on with that. -I never responded back. Thats my way of conduct.
        I reckon you get my point

        • You are right though, most persons regardless of age arent going to go out of there and make the wordpress account if they arent serious. You have to be super serious to fight with gravatar and get yourself a profile pic, I can get it to even log in.

        • Not that there arent any good gamo air guns, but I cant help but have an aversion to a person that would dub themself a “gamo shooter”, shoot a gamo, but defining yourself by it has me picturing you in a blind 15′ from a watering hole with a 177 gamo break barrel and alloy pellets , waiting for baby pigs… where have I seen that before? I consider myself a hillbilly, but you got to draw a line somewhere.

          • RDNA
            And tell me what do you think the real problem is.

            It’s lack of true information. Wait a minute. Not lack of true information. It’s more like lack of correct information as to what really works in the gun.

            When the manufacturer starts talking high velocity and 4 grain alloy pellets that should be a red flag about the true performance of the gun.

            Pretty sure all that gun will do is alert everybody that your shooting, the gun won’t hit what your aiming at and if you do hit a pest or whatever you want to call it your shooting at it probably will not dispatch it because it is not making the power that they thought it was suppose to make.

            Then put a lead pellet of normal weight down the barrel and see what happens. Bet that person will get a surprise.

            Them types of guns produce possibly fair results. But see what happens if you have them sitting side by side to a German or Enlish made gun. Pretty much I asure you it will be a eye opener.

            • Thats it and unfortunately there are people that those numbers work on. I have personally known a guy that was hanging out over a friend of mines house while I was shooting a few times. He thought the different guns were cool and he wanted one. I did describe how fast they shot with different pellets and that lead were better and why. He only heard numbers. He wanted his to have bigger numbers. He got a bone collector 177 saying 1300fps and got pba platinums. He was very impressed and boastful that it sounded like a firearm. Luckily he lived far enough from any neighbors and had woods in the back. The woods also provided a 75 yd stretch and we did shoot at distances from 15/20 35 50 and 75. Neither of the guns were 75 or even 50 yd guns including my nitro piston but I could see his pbas fall apart past 20yds, and while my 2″ at 50 and 3-4″ at 75 werent incredible, at 50 and 75 the alloys were lucky to hit the tree the targets were on. No word a lie. Now, this guy IS inherently dumb ( hes a nice guy but puffs his chest, argues about anything, and never knows what he’s talking about ), maybe not such a nice guy, but I still felt bad for him that making loud noises was the extent of his airgunning accomplishments, and no doubt ever will. I know not everybody can get their head around certain things, though, but it sure was disappointing to watch it unfold exactly how it was engineered to.

                • Me either, little while longer. Theres only one hitch, im going to have to make very good use of those first 30 or so shots… I still have to get a pump! I have one in the cart and some more pellets, should be greenlighted in a couple weeks hopefully. I am curious though if the extra 30$ is worth it for the g6 over the Benjamin.

                  • RDNA
                    I had one Hill pump and a couple Benjamin pumps. Never had a AirVenturi G6.

                    Both of the pumps I had worked equally well. The hill pump has a air dryer attached to it which is a benefit. Moister is not good for your guns air resivoir.

                    But if f I remember right the G6 doesn’t have a air dryer. So then maybe the Benjamin or G6 would be ok for a basic pump without the extra bells and whistles.

                    What I have seen that kills the pumps is dirt and dust. Try to store it with the pump handle down and cover the fill fitting. And don’t pump your gun up in a condition that could blow duat in your pump.

                    And one last tip. Do not lube it. You will for sure mess seals up inside. And the lube tends to hang out in wrong places and keeps collecting. The pump will hydraulic lock if the lube gets to thick in the right places.

                    It’s your money but I will say this. I have a Benjamin hand pump as a back up if my Shoebox compressor needs service. So a basic pump is what uI relly on if my expensive stuff needs services.

                    Just remember no lube and keep it out of the dirt or dust.

                    And just for reminders do lube your Marauder. Use RWS silicone bases lube. No WD-40 or pell gun oil or petroleum based oil. They say that could blow up a pcp gun.

                    • Remember the glass beads in the base of the pump is intended to condense any moisture and blow it out while bleeding

                    • Reb
                      The Hill pump does that when it draws in the intake air.

                      The G6 and the Bengamin just has I guess the (stone) as we call them at work intake air filters.

                      But yes the pressure bleed does help blow out any moisture that has collected in the pump.

                  • The G6 was the pump I was wanting to get but it has more than is necessary for a first pump.
                    It really needs to be rebuilt in a “clean room” so ametuer rebuilds are hit and miss.

                  • I’d get the less expensive Benjamin and save the rest for it’s favorite pellet if I were you.
                    That’s one thing I liked about John,
                    I’m sure he told you what it likes.
                    What was it?

  2. BB
    Thanks for this explanation of how to aim with a buckhorn sight, and the proper use of the term Kentucky windage. I had always thought Kentucky windage had meant cheating left or right of the proper sight window to achieve the desired accuracy. I prefer your explanation of holding the sight in a pattern different from the conventional one. Sort of like using invisible mil dots. Those settlers wearing coonskin caps perfected this method out of necessity. You either got it right, or the family went hungry that day. Quite the motivator to getting it right every time.

  3. Hi BB and the group . Very good explanation of how the Buckhorn rear sight works. Since I never had one, was always curious when I would see them on vintage rifles. Awhile back I asked the group about what would be a good pellet for my Webley Tempest. I has several replies and have found the RWS Hobbys to work well. Now another question . What would be a good pellet for the Umarex Colt 1911A1 ? The RWS Hobbys do not want to group at all for me. I get better groups with the the Daisy pointed pellets, but still not near as good as I can get with the Umarex Colt Commander using BBs. This is a used 1911A, nice cosmetic condition, but I am having a heck of a time with the stiff spring in the grip safety. The size of my hand must be wrong as when I try to grip it hard enough to fire, seems to throw my shots off. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Have you tried using it as a hand exercisor for a day and dropping a little silicone oil between the grip and button? Break up that spring a bit with a good number of squeezes and make sure theres a little oil on it and the slide points. If that doesnt help enough id get in with a new/lighter? spring if your comfortable opening it up. On the pellets try gamo lethals, they are a gimmick but ive seen them be VERY accurate and pistol digestible. Just as a test, but regularly the rws match pistol or jsb 8.4 usually slide fast for their weight.

      • Hi RifledDNA22, Thank you for your thoughts. I just got the pistol two days ago, so I am still learning.
        One thing I did learn was if I cock it first for single action shooting, the grip safety depresses much easier. I just found that out this evening after my first post. The RWS Hobby pellets run about 380 fps at room temperatures. I will research the Gamo Lethals. Sounds interesting. I am 78 years old so perhaps kind of a weak hand, however no problem at all on the Umarex Colt Commander. Cool hobby when you can be a oldster and still learn and meet other people. Thanks

      • Thanks for your suggestions BB . Since I have only had the 1911A1 a short time, I am in a learning curve. I have been comparing it to the Umarex Colt Commander which is kind of like comparing apples to oranges. I was attempting to depress the grip safety and holding it in before pulling back the hammer to cock it. It took a tremendous amount of force to do that. I had so much tension on the grip, it was throwing my shots. Evidently one of the peculiarities of the Umarex Colt Government 1911A1. I have read of other folks complaining of the stiff grip safety they have. Follow up on the pellets. Now the RWS Hobbys are doing fine. I am stll learning how to shoot this pistol, but am improving. Thanks again.

        • BBs always right. You wont go wrong with any suggestion he has for you. The lethals are stupidly expensive and while I did have a good experience with them in a breakbarrel pistol, it was actually a horrible suggestion for a magazine fed co2 gun, they are long and might not fit and the chance they are accurate enough isnt really worth the price.Two totally different worlds. Pistol plinkin and targets is fast shootin and uses lots of ammo, I was close range rabbit poppin with them in a trailnp pistol.

          • Hello again RifledDNA22
            I read the reviews on the Gamo Lethals and if I would try them, it would be in a Crossman 1377 I just bought. It is the black American Classic and with 8 pumps I got a reading of 900 fps with the RWS Hobby. It may have been a hokey reading, but the the shot really seemed to be fast. The speciality ammo seems too expensive for my pocketbook. Kind of defeating the purpose of inexpensive shooting. Thanks again for your interest.

  4. Most interesting article on the buckhorn rear sights, I had never seen them before. I use diopter sights on my
    target air rifle and out to 20m even with poor eyesight get better results than my scoped air rifles but at greater ranges the scoped rifles are best.

  5. Thanks for another great article! I didn’t know most of it. I recently went back to an iron sight when the point of impact would suddenly change with whatever scope I put on a shoulder stocked 1377. I learned from another article on this blog that I wasn’t putting my eye in the same place each time. With the shoulder stock it’s hard to get a thumb spot weld. I put on an LPA sight and at least I know how well I can shoot the gun with no surprises.
    Unfortunately my eyes aren’t that great and I would like some magnification. Would a pistol scope or some kind of dot sight work better for me than a conventional scope? Thank you!

  6. The original mil dots! Does Kentucky refer to the rifle of similar name? and windage because if the sights were not straight in manufacture, and, without adjustability, had to be held “funny” for windage while elevation would still slide up and down regardless so the windage was really the only odd part?

  7. BB
    Ok first got to say this. What I’m going to say is what we as kids growing up and or dad’s out hunting or just getting together to shoot called Kentuky windage. I’m not saying this to say what your calling it is different or wrong because if there is a true term for Kentucky windage I really never looked it up to see or truly know what it is defined as.

    But we always determined Kentucky windage as the left or right hold that you need to put in the gun sight for the wind that was blowing. You would hold a little left if the wind was comming from the left. Or if the wind was comming from the right then you would hold to the right of the target.

    Then if you needed to add hold over which is elevation that was for the projectile drop and distance to target. So you could have two types of holds going on.

    And not just for open sights. Oh and yes back when I was a young kid and everything on my body still worked right I did strictly shoot open sight for the longest time. Scopes didn’t come till later on. But when I did get into scopes the same type of holds and sighting still applied.

    But here is something also. And here I’m going to talk shotgun and I’m meaning firearm shot guns. We use to call the hold you need ahead of the flying bird or a running rabbit left to right the (lead) on the target or in what I’m talking about (the game). And in fact growing up we did a lot of pest patrol I’ll call it with .22 rimfire rifles. Same applied. Aim ahead of the running target or ( lead) the target as I called it earlier.

    So is there really a technical term of what Kentucky windage or lead in is. I’m sure somebody probably named it. But its basically all about the hold you need to put in the gun when sighting to hit your target with a given condition.

    We all call similar things different names you know.

    And I did get a little long on my reply. But one more thing to add. It’s really cool to shoot at a target way out with the wind blowing and your projectile connects with the target. And you where holding the sight above and to the left or right of your target. And what’s cool is if the conditions stay the same and the target is at the same location how easy it is to hit over and over with the same holds applied.

    That’s fun shooting when the target gets hit using holds.

  8. RDNA
    Please let me know what the .177 Marauder does that you just got does with those furry little critters.

    I’m betting with the Marauder you will make a more precision shot. And with a good 10 grain .177 caliber pellet at around 950 fps that it could be making more or at least equal fpe as the .22 caliber gun your talking about.

    Remember your only talking from the experience you have. Not from what you haven’t seen yet. I think your .177 Marauder with a 10 grain pellet might surprise you. Even at distances greater than 20 yards. How about even 50 or 60 yards.

    Shoot your Marauder and tell us another story. I know what they will do. Matter of fact I know what a .177, .22 and .25 caliber Marauder will do. And for some reason they tend to break the rules in their performance. Maybe you forgot. I don’t just bench rest and shoot at paper. I use my guns for pesting whwr I got to make the shot count quickly. No time for all that flopping around stuff.

  9. RDNA,

    That description of shooting a squirrel was too graphic for this blog. This blog is read by parents and children together, so we try to keep the comments at the G level. That’s why you don’t read about graphic hunting stories or see graphic images here.

    Sorry, but I had to remove that comment.


    • No, no, thank you, sorry. Wasnt keeping in mind that not everybody hunts at all. Normal talk on shot placement to someone who regularly hunts is not normal for a person who wouldn’t dream of killing any animal.

  10. B.B.

    Are there ever calibrated front sights that help with the amount of the front post showing for different distances?
    I have just been using a “normal” sight picture and aiming the amount high that I think the pellet will drop.
    Do you recommend sighting in with open sights at the same 20 yards as a scoped rifle?
    Thanks again!

  11. Thanks B.B. I’ve heard of buckhorn sights, but never seen them before. I’ve also never learned this method of raising or lowering the front sight within the rear – I’ve always just aimed high/low, or left/right of the desired POI. Good information.

  12. Yes, Buckhorns work. I use them for Cowboy Action. I zero the sight for midrange but use the same sight picture for close range too. I just hold a bit low. Nothing is faster unless you don’t use the sights at all!


  13. Interesting blog on Kentucky Windage B.B.

    I have always considered the term to refer to the POA compensation needed for wind and range to adjust the POI. A “normal” shot – no Kentucky Windage – is where the POA and POI (at zero range) are the same.

    That being said, I am not consciously aware of making the adjustment when shooting – for me it is something that is done automatically/sub-consciously.

    Every one of my rifles has had the trajectory “plotted”. I start at point-blank range and move the targets back in 10 foot increments (bench) shooting several groups each target, out to the maximum effective range of the rifle. I will re-do this if I change the scope or re-zero the rifle at a different range or if I have not used that rifle recently.

    Prime example – yesterday I took the day off work because the weather was beautiful and Dad asked if I could get a few squirrels for a supper. I had just plotted the trajectory on my new Dominator 1250 out to 50 yards (JSB 10.34s); the wind had made the squirrels spooky so shots were at longer range 30-40 yards. Saw 10, got 3 for 4 shots (darn branch 🙂 ) and that is all I needed for a snack, fur and tails for my fly tying. My point, for no amount of money could I tell you what Kentucky Windage I used.

    I am surprised that most of the guys I see sighting in and practicing at the range only do so at one distance… as if they can get the deer to accommodate them by conveniently standing at that distance. Go figure. Sights are only “correct” at the near-zero and far-zero range, every other range needs compensation.

    • Vana2
      You don’t know how many times I mentioned to do the 10 yard increments and write down the holds for each distance. I usually go from 10-60 yards.

      All I can say is if your serious about hitting your target precisely at different distances that’s the way to have the one up on the shooting a person will do when its meant to count.

      • GF1,

        Yup, would do 10 yard increments for center-fire and 10 foot increments for bows and pellet rifles – you have to be intimate with the trajectory.

        I just changed my setup at home, went from 38 yards to 60 yards for the permanent shooting range and have a clear lane for up to 100 yards to the backstop.

        When I was still hunting deer with a rifle I would only use a neck-shot. Doesn’t damage much meat and they go straight down. Switched to home-made bow and arrow for a bit more of a challange. Don’t hunt them anymore, they all have names and will come to me when I call them… hardly sporting.

        • Vana2
          Yep works out great.

          And I already have a feeling where it will go on the blog when everybody starts talking shot placement and required fpe to humanly take a pest or game.

          The best thing I can say about all of that is exsperiance over years of shooting makes a difference. Knowing your gun and your skill and using common sense. That will take you a long way.

          I volunteer with the city and do pest control. They have some interesting situations that arise at times. And most of the time it’s in town. So I have to be aware of the surroundings, what kind of pest it is and if it is hurt stuck or even if there are multiple situations in one.

          They give me all that info on the phone before I come so I can make a choice of what gun or guns I should bring.

          Alot to think about. A book or a chart with what fpe it takes to take something is a good reference. But exsperience and talking to knowledgeable people that have been in similar situations sure makes it easier.

          • GF1,

            I know what you mean – it isn’t about charts and FPE – its all about knowing what your equipment is capable of and staying within your and the equipment’s effective range.

            I used to hunt and fish with some Indians when I lived in Quebec. Their rifle of choice was .22 rimfire with solid-point LR ammo. They used it (effectively) for hunting everything up to white-tail deer size. They weren’t showing off, this was a meat-on-the-table or be hungry situation. I wouldn’t suggest using a .22 for deer, they did – BUT – they would only take a close, guaranteed to be fatal shot at an unaware animal. They made one-shot kills and never had to go searching for the deer because they had the skill and experience to pull it off.

            … then there was the guy I meet in the bush deer hunting with a (beautiful) 300 Weatherby Magnum – 10 am opening morning and he was shooting at chick-a-dees!!! Scary! Switched to bow hunting that year!

            • Vana2
              Yes your absalutly right.

              It makes a difference if your out just having fun shooting or if your putting food on the table.

              Those people you are talking about had no choice but learn to be the best at what they do. One little mess up can be a set back that can make recovering a major ordeal.

              If a person has a chance to be with people like that. And they are willing to teach their skills it would be like discovering a gold mine.

              • It WAS a gold mine GF1 – still have many fond memories of those years – learned a lot!

                My favorite lessons were “the art of not being seen” and “talking to the animals”

                • Vana2
                  Yep the Indians kept the deer hides and coyote skins for more than one thing.

                  And what about bird feathers.

                  All natural ways of blending in with the surroundings. What’s the mordern name for that? Oh yes I remember. Ghillie suits.

  14. B.B.,

    I remember years ago on this blog a reader responded that he had a Crosman 650 that was incredibly fun to shoot (they are!), even if it did have low velocity, and the pellets had to be shot in an exaggerated arc. You responded, I’ll never forget, that “it doesn’t matter” if you have to shoot far above the target to get the pellet there, “if you know your rifle.”


  15. B.B.

    That could sound funny, but for me Kentucky windage is a feature I use most with with Mil-Dot scopes. E.g. I know that the rifle is zeroed in at 50, so to hit something at 40 I must aim between 0 and 1st bead down, to hit something at 75 it’s tad over 1st bead up, left or right wind for me always were measured in beads (if past 25 m) and so on. So in my head distance/wind conditions were like “+1x-1.5 bead” or “-0.5×0.5 bead” combos for different situations, not actual clicks and MOA measurements. I even thought about some sort of “square-dot” reticle, with lots of points of aim.
    I believe pro shooters will call me a barbarian 🙂


    • Barbarian – I like that 🙂

      A couple of thoughts…

      One of the difficulties of assigning a hold-over/under for a specific distance is the gross range estimation errors that most people make. Read that even trained military people are often off by up to 17% on their estimates.

      What works for me is to set-up the far-zero such that between the near-zero (the first time the pellet crosses the line of sight) and some distance past the far-zero that the arc of the pellet stays within the zone or window that I have decided on. I use plus/minus three-eights of an inch or three-quarters of an inch as my window.

      I don’t really care where the rifle is zeroed for because always shoot at random ranges – usually at three-quarter inch “spinner” targets – and either you hit or you don’t, close doesn’t count. 🙂

      I will zero the rifle at a specific range if I am pellet testing to get a more consistent sight picture on paper but the rifle will be reset when I am done.

      For my HW 100, the “no compensation required zone” is between 11 and 46 yards to hit something the size of a quarter (assuming I do my part and the pellets are consistent). If the target is “far” away I start adding a bit of elevation to bias the shot in my favour. Exact distance estimation (if “exact” was possible without a laser range finder) isn’t required for most of my shooting and I don’t even think about it. Most of the time there isn’t time anyway

      Just my 2 cents.

      • Thats called point blank, which I always heard it as right against or super close, but its actually the distance from when you get up into that window (designated target size ) and down out of it.

      • Vana2
        I tryed to explain that to somebody about if you zero and set up your scope height correctly you can keep your POI close to POA. In other words close to reticle center.

        Scope magnification makes a difference also. If you can get those things matched to the pellets trajectory you end up with a gun that can hit a target at multiple distances without worrying about hold over or under in a given kill zone or area that the pellet will strike the target.

        That is exactly how I set my guns up now. Pretty cool when you can aim center mass of a object and know you will contact theat object

        • Those colored 1″ circle stickers are perfect for that, I plan on trying them out. You either stay in the circle or dont from one distance to another and you know your good.

          • RDNA
            I was turned on to those stickers by Chris USA.

            I was just marking 9 dots on a white 11×7 piece of copy paper with a permanent marker.

            They don’t give a reference line like targets do for your scope reticle level. But a sqerrial doesn’t have a way to reference reticle level either nor does a feild target either.

            So it gives a good representation of what happens out in the woods. Like you said. You hit or you don’t.

      • Vana,

        Luckily, parallax adjustment helps a lot in estimating distance, giving quite precise and repeatable results. And all that being not one of those guys with half-meter parallax sidewheels, marked in 0.1 m 🙂


        • Duskwight,

          I plan on getting into FT next summer and I bought a Hammerli AR20 for that duty. It came with a Walther 8-32x56mm scope with one of those big parallax wheels on it but I have not shot it enough to know if I like it or not. Some of the guys just the parallax to range the target and then adjust the scope for each shot so that POA and POI coincide… I may try it but seems to be a lot of bother.

          I like parallax adjustment to dial-out head-position variation when I am testing pellets or punching paper but for most of my shooting I just roughly set it to a suitable distance and leave it.

          Like on Thursday when I was out hunting, the squirrels were spooky and you couldn’t get closer than 30-40 yards so I set the parallax to 35 yards and never touched it after that.


          • Hank,

            Ranging and scope adjustment per shot will seem like a lot of trouble until you realize that all the winners do it. Scope adjustment can add 5-10 points to your score over holdover.

            I was against it, too, until I tried it. Now I wouldn’t do it any other way.


            • Thanks B.B.!

              Adjusting the scope for POA/POI is not something that I would typically do but I am game to try it. My scope is setup for that style of shooting so I am good to go.

              I bought a couple of the FT steel targets to practice on – hopefully the weather will hold for a couple of more weeks before the snow flies!


          • Vana2
            Pretty much been leaving mine set at 50 yards. Works good for 15-60 yards or so. When I start shooting out farther then I up the magnification and set the parallax and adjust back down to my normal magnification I shoot at before I make the shot.

          • Thank you for trying the sport. I’VE shot FT for two years now and have just switched from Hunter class to WFTF(which your AR20 is great for). A tip for your gun will be to remove the shroud to avoid explainable poi shifts. As for the scope you will need to get ranges from 10-55 yards, marking each yard from 1-20 or so, then from about 30-55 on your side wheel with corresponding holdovers or clicks depending on which you choose to use. I have no experience with that scope and have not seen it used in WFTF class shooting so I do not know if the turret clicks are repeatable/reliable. My current setup is a AA S500 with a Aeon 6-24×50 scope with the Ft reticule sp?( the FT reticule is no longer offered, a mistake in my opinion). This allows me many points for holdover, much better than any mil-dot reticule can. Also be aware of scope ranging shift depending on temperature. I’ve noticed my Aeon will change not just vertically but also ranging wise depending on temperature, but only after a certain temperature is reached.

              • I absolutely love FT and can think of no better way to improve your rifle skills while having a good time. From the challenge of shooting 3/8″ kill zones at 10 yards to 1.5inch ones out at 55 yards as well as the friendships created with other shooters.

                not only does it remind of shooting in the woods, but the majority of courses in the north east are shot In the woods. A couple are shot in open fields, namely the Rochester Brooks Gun Club, sight of the Crosman All American Challenge, formerly the Northeast Regionals(and if I may pat myself on the back I placed second at the event in Hunter Div. this year), and Binghampton Sportmens Club(which I have yet to shoot but will make my way there next summer). The rest are either shooting from a path cut into the woods, or at the edge of the woods all with varied terrain and target placement including tree shots, downhill shots and a target or two inside of a culvert pipe or 55 gallon drum turned on its side.

                The lanes have either two or three targets set up from 10-55 yards with kills zones that vary from 1/4″(if you have a sadistic Match Director) up to a maximum of 2″. The distance to the targets are unknown, hence the need for a scope with clear glass and an AO that can range repeatedly.

                For more detailed information on course setup rules/guidelines ad the different requirements for each class you can go to the AAFTA website. http://www.aafta.org/

                • Theres the man! Cant thank you enough. And im glad your here too because you could be a real sounding board for FT interestees with all the experience you have. It was great to meet you and look forward to getting more involved in our areas activities. When the warm weather returns I should be ready to get into some competitive fun. For now, I got a lot of work to do! I got the rodder scoped with a decent enough for now and a quick zero. I took a one piece picatinney rail adapter and cut out one stop notch, two pieces and a nice slot for the mag or room for loading in the tray. The rail raises it up for good maneuverability in the breech. I have utg dove to picatinney adapters but they dont make any room. Looks sharp too. I told gunfun it sounds like a big pen clicking, absolutely amazing. After reading BB s report in the 177mrod I know there’s a lot that can be done with it too. Thanks again!

            • Thanks for the input John!

              I am interested in FT because I don’t hunt much any more and think it would be a good way to keep the shooting skills up.

              I am fortunate that there are three FT clubs within an hours drive and a couple more that are not too far for a day-trip.


  16. I read about it in Airgun Revue and once upon a time was obsessed with owning one especially in .22 caliber. My lust has waned but this is still tempting:


    On todays subject of buckhorn sights someone mentioned that they could be considered the first mil dot application. Reminded me of the horns on buckhorn sights that I’ve seen where previous owners placed marks to align the front sights so they could be more repeatable and minimize guess work. Probably could be considered the first mil dots.


  17. I responded to Vana2 above about taking pests or game. Said it would bring conversation about how much energy is needed. This is what I wrote to Vana2.

    “The best thing I can say about all of that is exsperiance over years of shooting makes a difference. Knowing your gun and your skill and using common sense. That will take you a long way.

    I volunteer with the city and do pest control. They have some interesting situations that arise at times. And most of the time it’s in town. So I have to be aware of the surroundings, what kind of pest it is and if it is hurt stuck or even if there are multiple situations in one.

    They give me all that info on the phone before I come so I can make a choice of what gun or guns I should bring.

    Alot to think about. A book or a chart with what fpe it takes to take something is a good reference. But exsperience and talking to knowledgeable people that have been in similar situations sure makes it easier.”

  18. All this talk of “leading” and “holdover” and such reminds me of some VERY personal life lessons, delivered early but not necessarily listened to ’till much later.
    The late Tom Clancy, in one or another of his books, “The Smith Chiefs Special is an ‘Elevator Gun,’ only accurate at that or less range.”
    “Oh, yeah?” says my Chiefs special armed partner. “Got a hundred-dollar bill you’re not fond of? Five shots at fifty feet, all in the black.”
    “Sure,” says I, stupidly. I’ll take that bet.” (Barnum rolls over in his grave. A sucker born any minute.)
    Five bangs later, I’m a believer. And a $100 poorer. As it turns out, money well spent.
    “As a consolation prize, ” says the partner, ” I will reveal the secret of pocket-change, lunch at other than Muck-Dees, and the cherished ‘After-work-Martini’. Sucker.”
    “That’s ‘Mr. Sucker’ to you, buddy. Fess up,” ‘sez I.”
    “That kind of shooting is entirely possible with a snub-.38.” All you got to know is that it can be done and it ain’t that hard.”
    So, lesson learned and quite a few years later, I still win money at the range with a 2″ Detective Special (I prefer a six-shooter) and, with snub-nose 3 inch Python, retain the ability to guarantee a hit on a 55 gal drum (read man-sized) at 100 yards and and at the very least, a “scare-the-poop-out” near miss at 100+++yards. At least enough to keep evil-doers heads down.
    Now I ain’t no Billy Dixon, (even Billy never claimed to be no Billy, Luck helps. Always capitalize ‘Luck,’ the one thing in life to never disrespect.) but the point is, it’s possible. Persistence and practice. (Taking notes helps. Good luck is desirable, too.)
    By the way, I just ran into my ex-partner at this past Halloween-party. He was dressed as himself.
    He was really scary looking.

    • “Got a hundred-dollar bill you’re not fond of? LOL!!! Will have to use that line!

      Wish I could get a hundred-dollar bill – best I can get is twenty or two and that is getting more difficult. The guys at the range are wising-up to the fact that some pellet rifles can shoot rings around their rimfires at twice the range they normally shoot at. 🙂

  19. Fascinating. I had thought that buckhorn sights were mostly decorative. The pointed front sight nested in the notch at the bottom of the rear sight is also very similar to the sights on my Mauser K98. The only shortcoming I see for the buckhorn is the vast empty space in the middle without a reference point. In contrast the Mauser has another shelf. So effectively, you have a rapid acquisition battle sight, and then a more precise sight in the bottom notch. But I suppose the extra space of the buckhorn allows more space for placement of the front sight if you know your gun.

    This raises a question of how to use the pointed front sight. I know for the bead front sight of the Winchester 94, one can either put the bead under the target like a 6 o’clock hold, or paste the bead right on top of it when you have to act fast. For the pointed front sight, do you place it under the target with space between? Or do you stick the point into the target? Perhaps both depending on circumstances.


  20. Just finished the first story in “BB Guns Remembered .” see if you can read it without memories leaking out your eyes! Just goes to show that fiction well written can reveal truth better than non-fiction stats and fine detail. Highly recommend!

  21. Once again, necessity was the mother of invention.

    Many moons ago as the white man moved West out of the dense forests of the Eastern mountain range and onto the Plains, it was quickly discovered that the sights on their long rifles were inadequate for the long open shots available to them. If you have ever looked at the sights of some of those old rifles, you know exactly what I am talking about.

    I don’t know who invented the Buckhorn, but he was a genius. The original Buckhorns were not adjustable for elevation like that one that BB had pictured the other day on the MODOC blog. By the way BB, I covet that sight. Unlike those sights, they were fixed on a dovetail.

    Picture yourself as a new pilgrim who has just came out of the general store with his brand new Hawken. The first thing you need to do is work up your proper load. Once you get that out of the way, you shoot a group and compare your POI with your POA. Now you start adjusting your sights.

    Typically the plains rifle came with a tall front blade and a rear sight with a tall base to allow room for adjustment. You would first drift the rear and/or front sight side to side until you had your groups centered with your POA.

    Now to adjust for elevation. If your POI was low, you would file a little off the front blade and try again, repeating this until your POI and POA matched. If your POI was high, you would first deepen the notch on the rear sight and then file a little off of the flats, once again repeating this procedure until your POI and POA matched.

    At what range was this done? It would depend on the shooter. If you did this for a fifty yard shot, you would probably not have to hold much higher for 100 yards. Using the horns, you could likely get some pretty accurate shots out to several hundred yards.

    Easily adjustable sights and then optics pretty much doomed the Buckhorn. They took the guesswork out of it. Personally, I would love to see a resurgence of such in the airgun world, most especially with the big bore. Maybe the MODOC will set a trend.

  22. Hello Chris USA!

    I finally got time to get to the indoor range yesterday. I took 4 tins of pellets and my .22 AA Pro Sport. I had sighted in approx. 1″ low at 10 m, and was surprised at how low the POI was at 25 yds with JSB Exact 15.89 grs — approx 1.75″ low. I got it dialed in with that pellet, and after some warm-up practice I shot one group for “the record” with each type of pellet I brought.

    The indoor range I go to has a belly-high counter (on me, I’m 6′ 5″). I put my “Monkey Bag” — /product/shooters-ridge-monkey-bag-gun-rest?a=2793#refId=32ee2a51033131c10c26fc61f0fff2fb — on the counter, unfolded to one bag height, and rested the rifle directly on that while seated in a folding chair. This was very stable, and I had shot off the bag at 10m, so believed it to not affect accuracy.

    JSB Exacts, 15.89gr — 12.0mm CtoC (.47″)
    JSB Exact RS 13.43gr. — 16.2mm CtoC (.64″)
    H & N FTT 14.66gr. — 15.8mm CtoC (.62″). These were 5.53mm and were VERY snug in the breech.
    RWS Superdome 14.5gr — No good. Group was about a 2.7″ spread, edge-to-edge, with one flyer way outside of the other nine. I was really surprised at this.

    Point of Impact: I sighted in dead on with the JSB 15.89s. I was surprised to see the POI shift upward so much. When I shot the JSB 13.43grs, and the H & N FTTs, the center of those groups was about 1″ higher than the heavier JSBs. The Superdomes were also high — but like I said, they don’t do well out of this rifle at all.

    Grouping: I was very pleased with the groups from the three good pellets. All were on big hole, and fairly symmetrical. I would say the heavier JSBs were the most so, with the lighter JSBs second. I would not reject the H & Ns at all, as it could well have been my shooting.

    Scope: I was using one of the newer Leapers’ models with etched reticle — /product/utg-2-16×44-ao-accushot-swat-rifle-scope-ez-tap-ill-mil-dot-reticle-1?a=5757#refId=32ee2a51033131c10c26fc61f0fff2fb

    Pellet sorting: Here’s the kicker — all of these were with un-sorted pellets. I wanted to establish a baseline with this rifle since I had not shot it at anything beyond 10m before. I am very pleased with the results, and am anxious to go back with sorted pellets to see what difference there may be. I believe the groups may well tighten with the “right” fit. As tight as the H & Ns were, I really think sorting will have an effect on those.

    Jim M.

    • Jim M.,

      Good to hear from you! Glad you made it out to 25 yds.! Nice shooting. 12~15mm. is my best at 25 and 30 if I am doing my part. I have had a few better, but those are more the rarity. The RWS Superdomes were good for me at shorter distances,…they just did not hold up further out.

      All H+N’s I have tried, all fit tight.

      Very cool that you did (not) use sorted pellets. Like you said, that established a baseline. I look forward to seeing head sorted (and/or) head and weight sorted test with the same rifle at the same distance under the same set up. Like you,…I think they (the groups) would have to get better.

      Just curious,.. what mag. level were you shooting at with the 25yds.? (2~16)

      Thanks for keeping us posted,…..Chris

      • Chris,

        The groups I measured were shot at 16x. I sighted in at 10x, as I was thinking that’s probably what I would use if out hunting. I had another target I shot groups on at 10x, but the range has an old hand crank target system and the target and cardboard backer fell off half way back to me. The range was too busy to get them to shut down so I could retrieve it. I think those groups were pretty decent too. I’ll have to try 10x again so I can measure.


        • Jim M.,

          16X,…..very nice! You are better than me. My goal is to keep up-ing my mag. level. I usually shoot at 7X and up to 12X at 50 yds. 12X is my max. currently. I am getting into “timing” the steady/shot as the cross hairs (approach) the sight picture,…as opposed to when it gets there. It comes down to gut and instinct. Something long time shooters probably already know,…but one I am just figuring out and getting down. Chris

          • Chris,

            I’m curious — are you focusing on the reticle, like you would the front sight on open sights, or are you generally focusing on the reticle and target all together, and waiting for the movement to minimize?

            Are you using the lower magnification so that the movement is not exaggerated like it can be at increased magnification?


            • Jim M.,

              Reticle (and) target. And yes,….the “movement” can be a distractor. I need to learn to control and work with it,…..still new and still learning. Get the steady under control and then finding that perfect time when you “know” that the reticle is going to cross the target and (not) when it is going in some other random direction. Chris

              • Chris,

                I’ve just recently — within the past few months — started thinking of the reticle as the front sight — just like when I shoot a pistol. That’s helped me improve consistency. I focus on the tiny dot where the vertical and horizontal lines intersect. I am now starting to realize when I forget and look at the target — that shot will be off.

                I like the higher magnification on the scope because it gets a smaller portion of the target embedded in my thoughts. I focus on the reticle, but am picking some small part of the target as my POA.


                • Jim M.,

                  Very cool way to think about it. Obviously, both must be focused on,…but perhaps one more than the other,…..Mmmmm?

                  My main point was that the shot must be made prior to the reticle crossing the target due to reaction time and gun cycle. Gut and instinct. Unless, you have the un-canny ability to aim dead still. Chris

        • Jim M.,

          I am 6’4″,…. so I can relate to any “height” issues. 😉

          Length of pull seems to figure in on me. Limbsaver recoil pads added 1″ and seems to work for me. Slip on/slip off. Great grip and pliability as well. Chris

      • Jim M.,

        On the RWS Superdomes 14.5’s,……They did shoot well at 25 yds. (14mm.) in the TX but that was with the 12fpe kit. After switching to the HO kit, they opened up to the 50mm’s range. 527 vs 627 fps.

        So my conclusion is that they do not like to be pushed much faster than 530’ish.

        Hope that helps some,….I had to look back through my notes. Chris

  23. I have a confession to make. I wanted to order a Bugbuster last night and couldn’t find it here so I ran a Google search expecting PA to come up but saw one through another retailer for a good price so I jumped on it while the opportunity was fresh but their website was new and I didn’t get a confirmation. I expected to get a email by morning and when it wasn’t there I called CS and they have no record of the transaction… Check your spam folder. Can’t do that until Monday when the office opens. Now I’m dead in the water til Monday.
    Can we please get this site more mobile friendly?

  24. A note on gun rest,…

    Last weekend, I replaced my flat top gun rest with a V – shaped one,..(homemade). The groups were double normal.

    Bottom rest -vs- outside corner rest (of forearm) ,….made a difference.

    I had high hopes for the V style,…..oh well…..

    Your “rest”,….something to think about. Chris

  25. You guys made me think of stuff that just comes natural anymore.

    Watch the target or watch the reticle. Wow how long has it been since I really payed attension to what happens as the reticle comes to the target.

    Here is something I brought up to Buldawg fairly recently. If they made a scope that had multiple close spaced aim points and it was a let’s say 16 magnification scope. And remember I’m not a high magnification shooter. But this the reason why.

    It’s all about having multiple aim points for different distances shot. If I could have 8 aim points above and 8 aim points below reticle center and that scope could focus at multiple distances I would be a high magnification shooter.

    There is a big difference punching holes at one given distance verses shooting at multiple distances. And the main thing have multiple aim points for precise shots.

    So now what to look at when you make that precise shot. The target. The reticle. Or both.

    I look at the target. And I’m talking the precise place I want to hit. Lets say a 1/8″ inch dot on a paper. Then I come from above or below the target with the the reticle depending on the target and location and type of target. When the reticle aim point intersects the target the trigger gets pulled.

    Now that I rembered all that I found something that makes a difference. How fast I pull the trigger. No not how hard or if I follow through on the trigger pull or the shot. But how quickly I pull the trigger when my POA intersects the target. The faster your reflex is and the quickness that your finger moves makes a big difference.

    It’s like a very fast pull that lightens up as the trigger breaks.

    There’s more to pulling a trigger than it seems. And I use to call it applying the trigger. Not pulling it. But that’s things you learn as you progress. And before you know it your not even aware of what you do.

  26. B.B.
    Thanks for the tutorial! I used to hold up more front sight for longer range with my Sheridan C-model; back in my teen years I shot it a lot; as you said, if you shoot a lot, you can get used to an alternate sight picture and learn to be accurate with it. I did not know about the proper use of buckhorn sights, though; that was pretty interesting; so thanks, and keep up the good work.
    take care & God bless,

  27. Thanks to this blog I now know what a true buckhorn sight looks like and will stop referring to the one on Crosman’s 760 as a buckhorn although I have heard it referred to as a semi- buckhorn it’s not nearly as easy-to-use as this one appears to be with it’s very wide V and itty bitty notch.

  28. B.B,
    I checked my balance and found my check had come earlier than expected so I found the Bugbuster and put a 2240 & steel breech kit all in my cart and changed my address from the original again but when it came time to put my CC# in I noticed it was still showing my old address.
    I tried Customer service but they won’t be open til 9:00 Monday. This order is over $180. And I’d like to get it coming ASAP but don’t want another fiasco.
    Any suggestions?

  29. On the subject of sights, I just but a reflex sight with four different reticles in red and green for $24! What will they come up with next.

    This weekend, I also finally opened up my surplus crate of Romanian 8mm rounds after a year or so. People have said that the two big spam cans inside are things of beauty, and they may be right. When I opened them, I heard the hiss of escaping air from Romania from the 1970s. Does anyone know why the Romanian army had surplus 8mm ammunition? The Combloc medium round I believe was the 7.62X54R. Was the 8mm for the old WWII Mausers for the Home Guard?

    Also, since we’re still in the weekend, does anyone have an opinion of the Buick Century 1955. The stories I’m hearing from my Dad about driving this car at 100 mph are really something. It was a different era with respect to seat belts and drinking. More generally, how does the power of the 50s icons like the Buick Century and the Chevy Bel Air compare to today’s performance cars. On paper they don’t compare at all, but I hear that the lack of a catalytic converter and maybe some other things in the old cars could be another factor. This could relate to my thesis on the superiority of primitive man although in this case it would be primitive cars.


    • Matt61
      I bet you never would of thought you would like the smell of Romania air when you were a kid.

      And I don’t know what to think about your comment about horsepower of cars then and now and catalytic converters. Does that mean you think the performance cars are making more horsepower now days or do you mean the older ones ran better because of lack of catalytic converters?

      I can say this I had many old cars that would be called performance cars as well as new ones.

      Here’s something that might surprise you. Had a 79 Camaro with a 70 LS 6 454 big block that had bunches of stuff done to it. Engine and suspension and so on. Even had a a 150 horse nitrous set up on it on top of what the engine was making. What was the engine making you might be thinking. How about right at 600 horsepower and 750 foot pounds of tourqe. Yep with street tires it could spin the tires at pretty much whatever speed you would brave. Put some slicks on it and it was all about how much G force you could stand.

      But if had that car at a time that was not good. The government put the emision tests in place and they were trying to eliminate those stinky gas burning faxtory race cars.

      So they mandated factory emission equipment for a car to pass and remain licensable and street legal. They started testing the cars and comparing result to what the cars were suppose to produce from the factory. If they didn’t equal those results the car failed.

      When that happened the car could only be used as a race car at the dragstrip. Not on the street as it was originally designed for when it was new. But keep in mind how many years this car was legal to drive on the road with no questions asked.

      So here’s what happened to the car I’m talking about. It still had headers on it but they where piped into dual free flowing catalitic converters and 3″ exhaust. Carburetor got leaner jets which means not as much fuel going through the engine. So 600 hp engine passed emissions then got set back to the way it was needed for going fast.

      Now here’s what’s interesting. That car was making 750 horse power when the Nitrous was being used. And I could drive it on the street. All the other cars where not passing, So they were good for nothing but the track. What was left on the street was the cars that were fast and could be driven just like they were originally designed.

      As they say only the smart survive. And think how much more my car was worth than the others that failed. And if you were one of the few that kept your race car if you will driving on the street legally what do you think that felt like when people saw you out crusing like that car was meant to do.

      It felt like this. Real good!

      And as I have said more times than I can remember. They all could be made to run if you knew what you were doing.

  30. B.B., I saved this one for a closer look when I have some time. I have read previous blogs and articles on open sights as well as some video, mostly from Pyramydair. It is sad that so many air rifles are coming with no open sights. I suppose there is a way to add open sights, with the front sight being the most difficult to mount and set.
    And now a segue to something only remotely related. Using the Beeman name there is yet another dual caliber air rifle. This one take the gas ram version and adds some baffling they call “Quiet Tek”. I have grown accustomed to my Titan (trigger tuned with a quality RC bearing, 5x8x2.5mm). So, why am I looking at this Beeman. The truth is I have almost no sense of delayed gratification. I was ok, but the gas ram and “Quiet Tek” dampening are going to be difficult to resist.
    I thought the set up looked like another BAM19, same as the Titan and several others, but apparently it is not. I do know it is manufactured in China and that rules out a Hatsan variant, I believe.
    Anyway, bet to all and good shooting, too. ~ken

    • Dubwa,

      Welcome to the blog.

      You are the first person to ask about a test of this rifle. I don’t care for the 125 with a steel spring, but I do know that Vortex gas springs change the nature of a lot of guns. I have a very special test of a new Vortex spring coming up soon, so we will at least get to see one of them. I will ponder the Hatsan 125 a bit.


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