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Education / Training 2016 Pyramyd Air Cup: Part 1

2016 Pyramyd Air Cup: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • You don’t have to compete
  • My eye
  • Bubble level!
  • New Bug Buster
  • Speaking of scopes…
  • Fun stuff
  • More to come!

I attended all three days of the 2016 Pyramyd AIR Cup last weekend and got to meet a number of blog readers from around the nation. Oddly, some of the readers who live only a few hours away from New Philadelphia, Ohio, did not make the trip. That surprised me. I don’t think they realized all the advantages of attending.

You don’t have to compete

You can attend the event without shooting in any of the events. In fact, a lot of people might like to do that even more, because while most of the crowd is on one of the courses, you get to monopolize the time of the vendors and look at everything they brought to display and sell. Just a for instance — Pyramyd AIR brought out some guns that were in their back room — guns like an older Beeman Webley Tempest pistol. The people not shooting in the Cup had the chance to buy these things, and many of them did.

My eye

I didn’t shoot in any of the events this year, because my right eye (I had a detached retina that was operated on in early May) keeps me from shooting well. Yes, I can shoot left-handed, but it’s slow and I didn’t want to go to all the effort. My right eye has been diagnosed as 20/100, which is extreme nearsightedness to the extent that my depth perception is affected. Fortunately it is correctable to 20/30 with glasses that I had already ordered but did not have when I flew to Ohio. Ironically, I got the call that my glasses were ready for pickup on the first day of the event, but I was standing on the range in Ohio, 1,200 miles away from the store. I will get them today and report on the success as soon as possible.

I guess I’ll start with the first pictures I took. I was walking the line on Friday and saw an outlandish sidewheel scope setup that I just had to show you. It was so odd, in fact, that it reminded me of Al Otter, who used to shoot at the DIFTA field target club I belonged to in Maryland. Then I looked at the shooter closer and thought he even looks like Al, if Al was 15 years older. OMG! It has been 15 years since Al and I shot together and that IS Al Otter! Only Al would invent toys like these!

Al Otter’s large sidewheel parallax adjustment wheel is very large and belt-driven. It’s mounted on an 8-80 power March X scope that sells for $3,400!

data sheet
These data sheets pull out to reveal the number of clicks needed to zero the reticle at different distances.

This inclinometer tells the shooter the exact angle of the bore to the target, allowing for sighting corrections. Otter designed and built it to work automatically.

wind gauge
The wind gage (center) tells you when the wind is blowing and gives an idea of how fast the breeze travels. It was spinning but the strobe of my flash stopped it cold. The rake on the left is Al’s pellet holder.

These are just a few of the unique things Al has done to his air rifle. I could write an entire blog on the man, if he just lived closer! But I was glad he was there, because I was able to show his equipment to David Ding, the owner of Leapers. David was astounded by the magnification (8 to 80X) and the cost ($3,400) of the base scope Al in using. Then he found out that many of the shooters are using that scope and a Sightron that apparently exceeds most other scopes, yet costs “only” $1,550! The level of comittment these shooters have was really impressive to David.

David Yi Val Tom
From the left, Tom Gaylord, David Ding, Mr Yi and Val Gamerman. Mr. Yi is Leapers lead optics engineer. Think of him as Mr. Bug Buster.

Bubble level!

Speaking of Leapers, they brought their new bubble level scope to the Cup for the public to see for the first time! They have gobne through many iterations with this scope over the past 5 years, but David Ding told me he wanted to get it right the first time. Several advanced field target shooters were amazed by the scope’s clarity, to say nothing of the internal bubble level that I predict will soon be required equipment for extreme benchrest competition.

bubble level
The UTG bubble level scope is ready to produce! Everyone who looked through it remarked on the clarity of the optics and the ease with which the bubble can be seen.

New Bug Buster

I said Mr. Yi is the UTG optics engineer. Leapers was showing a 3-13 Bug Buster scope at the Cup. I can remember when we felt glad to get a Bug Buster in 4 power. They are still the only riflescopes in the world that parallax adjust down to 3 yards!

Bug Buster
Leapers will soon have a 3-12 Bug Buster scope to sell.

Speaking of scopes…

I also looked at what’s new from Hawke Optics. Many of you are familiar with Hawke scopes. Well, I saw a very nice one on display at the Cup. It’s called the Sidewinder ED 10-50X60mm scope. It offers superior clarity for just about a thousand dollars. That sounds like a fortune until you compare it to the March scopes that sell for over $3,000 and the Sightron field target scopes that sell for $1,549. Then it starts sounding like a bargain. This one is dedicated to field target

Hawke scope
Hawke’s new 10-50X60mm sidewheel scope bears a review.

Fun stuff

My friend Rich Shar brought some new spring rifles to show me. One was the new Hatsan QE Vortex breakbarrel in .30 caliber that’s based on the 135 rifle. That rifle is a terror to cock and a real stinger when fired, but Rick has mounted a longer barrel and really tamed the buzz. He offered it for a test, of course, but I declined because I haven’t tested the factory rifle yet. I should do that, so if comparisons are to be made, I know what I’m talking about.

Rich Shar
Inventor Rich Shar holds the Hatsan QE Vortex .30 caliber breakbarrel he has modified for easier cocking and smoother shooting. I have to admit, I was surprised.

More to come!

I feel like I have barely scratched the surface with this first report. I saw odd vintage airguns, got to shoot another Crosman 600, saw neat new targets, filmed a couple Roundtables for American Airgunner — oh, and I also saw a little airgun competition! There is a lot more to come.

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.

75 thoughts on “2016 Pyramyd Air Cup: Part 1”

  1. B.B.,

    I’ve been scratching my head on how does that rake hold the pellets for Al Otter. It doesn’t seem to be a secure way to hold pellets. The only way I can think it could work would be for the pellets to be held at the waist between the tines of the rake. By all means if possible it would be nice to have a blog revealing some of the things he has done to the rifle he uses in competition, the modifications seem interesting to say the least.

    I sure hope your new pair of glasses work out to your satisfaction and allow you to shoot as you did before.


  2. BB,

    Glad you were able to go and have a great time and run into an old friend to top it off. That is quite a rig he has put together there.

    Rich Shar sounds like the kind of guy I would enjoy sitting down and chatting with for a bit. I would really like to see a comparison of the stock 135 and his version. It most definitely has my interest.

    I have some questions about the new Bug Buster. It obviously does not have AO, therefore am I correct in my assumption that it has side parallax adjustment? Does it have a lighted reticle? Does it have a glass etched reticle? When will I be able to get my grubby little paws on one of these?

  3. B.B.,

    Guilty as charged on the “no show”. It just was not in the budget this year. 🙁

    Outstanding!!!! job on the report. If you could peek inside my head and see my inclinations on modding things,…. Al Otter’s scope would be it! Scary huh? 😉 I loved it! Please,….. anything else you can show on this would be greatly appreciated. The “cheat sheets” look like they would roll up like a window blind. What’s going on underneath there (mount/rest)? Interesting.

    Thanks too on the scope reviews and giving some of the price points. I think that is important and helps to keep things in perspective. Nice seeing some of the people involved too.

    Chomping at the bit for the next report? (‘s)? 😉

    Again, fine job,……. Chris

    • Oooops on that 2nd to last “?”. What appears to be a second elevation turret is of interest as well. Oh, I think I got it,…….. it is a storage cylinder for what appears to be a continuous tape that is on the main Elevation turret. Got it?

        • That is some “gizmo” scope Mr. Otter has on his airgun. The question that has not been asked is, how did he do against the other competitors with more, shall we say traditional, scopes at the competition? Was he entered into an open class where anything goes or are there no actual rules on limiting equipment? Maybe he was just there for the fun and entertainment factor and only there to do demonstrations.

          As an aside, Tom recommended UTG scopes to me last year, and I have mounted a 4X16 model with lighted red/green reticle on both my 30-06 and 7.62X39 firearms. They have behaved flawlessly and are clear at the highest magnification. I did have to purchase adjustable rings because the mount on one rifle was not aligned properly, and I was at the far end of my windage adjustment. The problem was with the rifle, not the scope.

          Pearland, TX

  4. B.B.

    Good luck with the new goggles!
    Glad that Leaper’s recognises that there is a market for quality. Any idea when the bubble level scope and mini/max BugBuster will be available?
    Do you have any idea how Rich Shar reduced the cocking effort on the monster Hatsan? Smoothing out the shot cycle I understand but cocking effort?????
    Would it be possible to have a cam as part of the barrel pivot hinge to change the leverage during the cocking stroke?


  5. B.B.

    If you could help please with a couple of questions about scopes for target shooting out to 50 yards…

    What magnification do you use when you do your testing?

    Could you describe the features (magnification range; objective lens size, etc.) you would consider when selecting a target scope?

    On a limited budget, are there any of the sub $300 scopes that you would consider suitable?


    • Hank,

      For work at 50 yards with airguns I prefer 16 power or more, because I can see the pellet holes. If I have a 4-16 power scope I invariably leave it set at the highest power.

      I like a 30mm tube and a 56mm objective, for light transmission. With the best scopes, though, you can get by with a smaller objective. You anso want fine linest for target work.

      I recommend UTG scopes above all others because they have fewer problems in their price range.


      • Thanks for the input B.B!

        I have Hawke and Bushnell and being very familiar/comfortable with those brands I have been slow to try the UTG until now.

        I will be ordering a UTG 3-12×44 for my TX200 which is naked at the moment which will give me a look/see at the UTG products. Will check out their higher power/larger objective scopes for my target rifle as you suggest.

        Thanks again!


        • Hank,

          I have a UTG 3-12×44 SWAT and two UTG 3-12×44 SWAT Compact scopes. You will not be disappointed although I do not recommend the Compact unless you just have to have a shorter scope as the full length has better clarity.

          • Thanks for the comments RR!

            I find it a bit un-nerving to purchase a scope sight unseen by mail-order so your comments help a lot!

            I am going for the regular length UTG scope for the TX200. 🙂

            Looking forward to doing a side-by-each comparison between the UTG and the Hawke 3-12×44 Varmint I have on the FWB124.


  6. B.B.,

    As one who shares your appreciation of adult-sized youth air rifles, I am wondering if you are considering doing a report on the new/upcoming version of the Diana Model 240. It would be great for plinkers and paper-punchers if it were a poor man’s HW30s. Hint, hint. :^)


  7. B.B.

    Your comment about filming for American Airgunner caught my eye. This year’s new episodes stopped with the beginning of the Olympics, and I thought American Airgunner’s 2016 season was rather short. Will American Airgunner resume broadcasting new episodes soon?

  8. BB that scope that lunatic otter has on his rifle should be in its own class lol. these guys want every advantage and I bet a guy with 1/4 of the stuff that guy has could stay in there with him. BB I see that guy tuned the hatsan 30 cal but I remember a while ago some guy you met had a way to tune powerful springers to make them shoot very smooth and really upping the accuracy. he did not want to divulge how he does it wanted it secret until he was set up. what ever happened to that guy?

  9. I’m going to have to see if we have something similar our side of the pond, it looks like a lot of fun. Nice to mix with like-minded individuals.

    Got a load of vintage pellets online today, some marked west Germany so that dates them before 1990 or so. They seem a better fit in my older rifles. Will need sorting washing and lubing I suspect, some are pretty white in places. Can’t have too many pellets can you?

    • Rick,

      I do believe that it is (your) side “of the pond” that started all this air gun stuff. 😉 I would think that you should have no trouble finding “like-minded” folks.

      Your “washing and lubing” regime would be of interest. I have some pellets from a couple of years ago that are showing a bit of “gray” hair,…… kind of like me,……… 😉


      • Hello again Chris.

        I live in very rural north Wales, most exciting stuff happens in the South of England. Not complaining as I love the peace an quiet.

        I’ve done some reading, an preferred method is soap an hot water. Then dry with hairdryer an lubb carefully in a plastic bag. I definitely need to clean some of them, whereas some look absolutely brand-new an perfect. Seller reckoned the pellets at least 30 years old.

        Proud of my grey hairs, I’ve earnt them… 42 this year, an feel it somedays.

        Any suggestions for a substitute for gun oils, or a reliable not extortionate brand I can try? I’m sure engine oil is less than perfect…

        Cheers Rick.

        • Rick,

          42?????? you are just a “Young Pup!”. Pushing 55 here,….. I feel it “most” days,…. 🙁

          As for gun lubes,…. I am a big fan of full synthetics for general lube. DO NOT use petroleum based for anything in the compression chamber,…. or pellets for that matter. That will combust.

          RWS silicone oil is good for combustion chamber. I would lean towards a silicone based for pellet lube.

          Chris (yea,….. peace and quiet works for me too!)

          • Hi Chris.

            Don’t feel that young mate, not after 20 years of nursing! Everything aches…

            I’ll order silicone lube then, the two vintage rifles need some TLC. Thanks mate.

              • Hi Brent.

                I’m an English man by birth, but have lived in Wales twenty years so far and have no intention of moving. I live in the north, near Bangor. Stunning part of the country, I can see the beach from the house.

                Recently discovered this blog, lots to learn. Didn’t realise that there was so much to air rifles, they definitely evolved from you status.

                These big bore airguns an the ones that shoot arrows are fascinating.


            • Rick,

              Most any light oil will work for metal to metal and pivot points. The RWS silicone oil is for when doing re-builds as you can use that in the compression cylinder of springers and not have to worry about dieseling and smoke and such.

              GF1 uses a 3-4 drops down the barrel (put in the breech end) on many guns. He says it “cleans” the barrel,… with doing a traditional clean. Every 1000 shots or so, you can put 2-3 drops into the compression chamber (opposite of where the barrel lines up). This helps keeps the piston seal lubed, though most all are synthetics, it still can’t hurt.

              Then there is Moly, Moly-mix and Lithium (greases) that are used when doing re-builds. Moly is used when people get into their triggers. B.B. has done several articles on lubes/oils over the years. I am pretty sure that he did articles on pellet lubing as well. Cleaning the actual lead oxidation would be the toughest I would think.

              As for pellet lube, it could be that even a petroleum based oil would work,….. once the solvents have flashed off. I do bet that if you were to put a “wet” one in though,… a bit of dieseling would occur. Hope some of that helps.


            • Rick,

              One mistake in my comment,….. putting a few drops down the barrel is meant to clean the barrel (without) doing a traditional clean. Just put it and fire as normal.

              B.B. has covered cleaning as well and says that most air guns never need cleaned. If the are in the 800 fps range, he said it starts to get iffy. At 900 and above and I do believe that he said that you can bet on having to do it at some point. Opinions vary. Some people never do. Some only do it when the accuracy falls off. Of course first,…. ruling out any other issues.


  10. Bubble level? You bet! I even have one on my most accurate hunting rifle (a M70 243 WSSM), which happens to have a factory chromed-lined barrel, BTW (evidence that chrome lined barrels CAN be accurate). I’m looking forward to trying the internal UTG bubble level scope someday.

    Here’s my “TalonC” with my 3D printed stock design and a bubble level. You used a level when you shot your best 50 yard AG group with a TalonP, BB, and I’ve found this gun deserves a level too!

    The scope would not clear the rail without .020 Burris Pos-Align inserts on each end. Given the angled scope tube, my 50 yard zero is well under 3 turns from full POI down and there are 15 turns in the dial! Thus my erector spring should stay nice and tight, even when dialing for long range with this lil’ beastie!

    The scope’s holdover points are designed for 22LR but work great at 50, 65, 80, and 100 yards when zeroed at 30 yards and shooting B.B.’s most accurate TalonP “load” (JSBs at well less than 3000 psi fill).


    Mel is using my Zero-Point technique to test scopes at Sniper Central now. Mel tests many of the best (and most expensive) scopes on the market:


    “One of the more recent tests we have started doing on scopes is testing for reticle shift while adjusting the adjustable objective through the entire range as well as testing for reticle shift when adjusting through the entire zoom range. Both of these tests show surprising results on scopes that do not have internal mechanisms made to the highest standards. Even the highest quality scopes will experience some minor reticle shift, especially with the adjustable objective, and lower end scopes can be really bad. “

    • Calinb,

      That is a mighty fine set-up you have there.

      Read the review. Although I for regular use such a scope would be massive overkill it is very interesting that your test is finding its way as a method in determining the accuracy of a particular scope.


      • Siraniko, thanks for your comment! Yeah–I can’t afford many scopes in the class of the Kahles in the review (only have one ). I paid less than 100 for the scope on my Talon carbine and it works quite well. I did send the first one back due to too much reticle shift (under warranty) and Bushnell returned a much improved replacement to me. I’ve had similar excellent customer service experiences with UTG and even BSA and their offerings in the ~100 buck price points. The replacements at least got me close to Mel’s sub-half-MOA performance standard, which I think is reasonable.

  11. Hi BB I’m in upstate Penn and really wish I could have made the trip I told you a few days ago that I ordered a mod 48 and a m8 but they 10 for 10 the m8 instead of the 48 and the m8 has stopped working 🙁 when I cock it the trigger won’t fire. I put almost an entire rws variety pack of pellets through it then it crapped the bed. I’m trying to get help from PA but still nothing. I have been shooting the 48 alot and although it gets tiring it is amazing… it is my first high power rifle and I have a long way to go with technique, but when I get it right I can get about 3/4 inch at 35yds…wow! Jsb heavies are about perfect. One question I have is does anyone have success with shooting sticks like would be used for hunter field target and the rws mod 48?

  12. Tom
    I now live in Iowa and there is ZERO field target and no airgun activity at all. Seeing Al Otter’s rig made me very homesick for my DIFTA friends. I’m going to the pyramid cup next year for sure.

      • BB
        I have been spreading the word. I have been on all the forums and will continue to be a beacon in the night! But it is like searching for a diamond in the desert. I can’t even find anyone that has an old Red Ryder. Most people have not even seen a Christmas story!
        It’s amazing to me. They love the outdoors. Do all the activities like hunting and shooting. They like challenges. But I just have to find the right people. It will happen. Most people I talk to smile and just don’t show any interest. I think once it gets going they will love it. And you are my insperation .

        • RacerX,

          Here is a way to do it. Invite a friend to shoot with you at a field target. Set it far enough to be a challenge but close enough for success. Then let him shoot.

          I did this and got started buying field targets, then was asked to put on a public demonstration. The rest is history.

          You can do it.


          • That is what I want to do. I joined the range in Crdar Rapids hoping to find anyone that shot air guns. I take my TX200 every week and surprise people with the accuracy. I can hardly even get people to shoot it.

            My plan is tk find people interested then buy six or more targets and have at it at the range. Eventuall getting people interested.
            If six people each bought three targets we could have a 72 shot event. That is 18 targets with four passes. Even a 36 shot fi day would be worth it.
            It will happen it will just take time.

  13. Racer X,

    I lived in Iowa for 4 years but was not into air guns at the time. As windy as the Great Plains can be–probably a good reason for no field target. Of course, it you live near a population center, you could start the first club in Iowa. The Open class at 20 ft. lbs. would probably be better than the 12 fpe WFTF. Or if you’re near Minneapolis/St. Paul, there is a field target club there. Don’t know if it’s still active, though.


  14. So …. who is the best shooter and who is the best winner ?

    If I enter a shooting match and set up my $5,000, four legged, “Never Miss” shooting device with the rifle hanging from computer controlled aiming rods that position, and fire, the rifle to coincide with the target viewed through the information coordinator lenses and laser sensors that have been pre programed for my rifle and pellet to hit same spot every shot…. and win the contest after pulling up the Control App on my phone and tapping the “Fire” button a few times…. Am I the best shooter ?

    Are aiming ‘Enhancements’ a measure of ones ability to actually hit what someone aims at or really just a way of cheating ? or outspending the competition ?
    What is being judged ? The ability to coordinate ones eye and hand to hit a given target under equal circumstances or the ability to gather material to make it easier to do ?

    Now I am not a match shooter by any means, or really familiar with any match rules, just a balding old man who enjoys collecting air guns and shooting them for fun and pest control. But it seems to me that someone who uses every advantage he can, to win a shooting match, may not be the best shooter, just the most advantaged and should win something like the best gun assembler or innovator award. All should be equal to determine the best shooter.

    Then again I suppose an unlimited, no regulation, match may come into play here. Bring what you got and whoever hits the target the most wins. In which case that ‘Never miss’ computer controlled aiming device would be perfect. Perhaps a bit boring after a while and if everyone had one there would be ‘No’ Contest ! And I suppose the i phone would have to be tethered to the rifle to actually have some sort of contact with it …. 😉
    Have a fine Airgun Day !

    Bob M

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