Sharp Ace Pan Target: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sharp Ace Pan Target
Sharp Ace Pan Target is a sidelever multi-pump 10 meter target rifle.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Sharp Ace
  • Beyond the Ace?
  • Two versions
  • Description
  • Trigger
  • How the Ace works
  • Power
  • Never a serious contender
  • How I found this airgun

I’ve been hyping this report on my Facebook page for awhile. What you are about to see is an airgun that is very uncommon in the United States. It is rarer (here) than the Sheridan Model A Supergrade that every airgunner wants to own. It’s a Sharp Ace, but one that surpasses every Ace most people have hear of.

Sharp Ace

Most airgunners have never even heard of today’s special model. They know about the Sharp Innova and Ace multi-pumps that were made in Japan and later in Indonesia, and, if they are like me, their knowledge of Sharps ends with the Ace.

I have owned two Sharp Aces and two of the cheaper Innovas over the years. One Ace was a beautiful UK-spec .177 that had a relief valve to limit the power output to less than 12 foot-pounds. When it was filled to that level, a blowoff valve would open suddenly as you pumped, releasing all the extra air. That rifle had a gorgeous stock and forearm made of curly walnut that would fetch a lot of money today. It’s one of the airguns I never should have let go, but you’re only young and dumb once — though it can last an entire lifetime! I never even took a good photograph of it!

The other Ace I owned was a .22-caliber U.S.-spec gun that could take up to 12 pumps. That is the maximum number of pumps Sharp recommended for their full-power guns. The triggers got harder to pull with each pump, though, and after about 5 strokes they weren’t worth the effort. My rifle produced 25 foot-pounds of muzzle energy at the max with heavy pellets and was the gun people say they want Crosman to build — all steel and wood with stunning accuracy. I paid over $300 for it in the 1990s, so figure $500+ today. That price will stifle many buyers, but quality costs. If you want to read more about that rifle, look at this report.

Beyond the Ace?

But at the beginning  I said there is something that’s beyond the Ace, and here it is. The Sharp Ace Pan Target is a multi-pump 10-meter target rifle that pumps with a sidelever. A sidelever! It’s unlike any Ace that most American airgunners have ever seen or even heard of.

But it’s not just the U.S. Let’s go into the minds of airgunners living in other countries. Which are they going to buy — the Ace that looks like a sleek slim sporting air rifle, or the Ace Pan Target that’s larger, heavier and about 20-25 percent more expensive? Even throughout the rest of the world the Pan Target isn’t as common as the standard Ace. Remember, there is also an Innova that’s just as powerful as the Ace but costs less, so someone already had to make the decision to spend the extra money to move up to the Ace. Made in Japan from 1981 to 1987, it was a high-watermark of Sharp production — or so many of us thought.

Two versions

The Ace Pan Target is quite uncommon. But, get this — there are two different versions of this rare air rifle. The standard model that I have has a slimmer wood stock. It does come with the Sharp rear peep sight and the Sharp globe front sight that accepts interchangeable inserts.

Then there is the Pan Target 3P (or 3 position). This one has a more pronounced cheekpiece, a deeper forearm that could hold a rail for a handguard and a sling. In three-position competition, handguards and slings are legal.

Sharp Ace Pan Target pump extended
This picture doesn’t show it very well, but the pump arm actually comes up and away from the rifle at a 45-degree angle.

Both rifles carry the model number 700. Both have a parallel set of dovetail slots cut into the top of the receiver, and Sharp intended them to be mounted with optional scopes. And both sidelevers extended out from the rifles on a 45-degree angle.The Blue Book is in error when  it says the standard Pan Target lever extends out at 90 degrees (straight out to the right). There may be some rifles like that, but my standard sidelever goes out at 45 degrees.

Sharp Ace Pan Target rear sight
The rear peep sight is made by Sharp and is a good one!

Sharp Ace Pan Target front sight
The front sight is a globe that accepts inserts.

Description

This rifle is small but heavy. Overall length is 38.25-inches and the barrel is 23.5-inches of that. My rifle weighs 7 lbs. 10 oz. and the pull is 13.25-inches. A target rifle doesn’t need a long pull, so this one is full-sized for an adult.

The stock wood looks like beech to me, though it might be an Asian equivalent. If it is walnut, it’s pallet-grade — not the stuff of rifle stocks. It’s finished with a shiny finish that feels slick in the hand, but four panels of hand-checkering (two on the grip and two on the forearm) help you hold the rifle steady. My gun buddy, Otho, pointed out that the checkering was done with an electric checkering tool, but it was held and guided by hand, as evidenced by the overruns around the edges of each pattern.

The buttpad is made from hard rubber that is becoming plastic-y after all the years that followed manufacture. A screw in the center is loosened to allow the pad to slip up and down for establishing a better fit.

The rifle is mainly wood and metal. Both of my Ace sporters had plastic trigger blades, but the one on this Pan Target is steel. The sights have some non-ferrous cast metal in them, but they are metal. The only plastic parts seem to be the handgrip on the sidelever, the grip cap and the buttplate.

Trigger

Ah — the trigger! If you read the writeup on the Ace I used to own, you found the fly in the ointment. Sharp triggers get harder and stickier to work the more the guns are pumped. It’s bothersome for a sporter but the kiss of death for a target rifle. Well, I don’t know how they did it, and until I researched this one I didn’t even know it was possible, but the trigger on the Pan Target is a full-fledged two-stage target trigger. It’s even adjustable! Crosman finally did make the trigger on their 1400 multi-pump adjustable, too, but I have always been of the opinion that those adjustments are just placebos.

Sharp Ace Pan Target trigger adjustments
The trigger is adjustable, though it’s good as it came!

How the Ace works

Here’s the deal. The way the valve works on all Aces (and in the Crosman 1400 multi-pump), you don’t cock the gun. The act of pumping cocks the trigger and readies the gun for shooting. The bolt is simply there to load the pellet and lock the breech.

The trigger blocks the outlet valve of the reservoir. When it is pulled it unblocks the outlet valve suddenly, and the gun fires. There is no striker (internal hammer). As a result, the more internal force that’s against the exhaust valve, the harder the trigger has to bear down on it to keep it closed. It’s just a natural part of the design.

If there was a striker to restrain, the sear would always be working on the same tension, which is the strength of the striker spring. But with a blowoff valve (that’s what some people call this kind of valve), the tension on the sear varies with the internal air pressure — or at least I thought it did. Somehow, Sharp figured out how to make the trigger on the Pan Target break with super light effort, even when there was a reservoir full of compressed air waiting to escape. Like I said, I have owned two Sharp Aces, plus two Innovas prior to this and all their triggers got harder to pull as the guns were pumped. The trigger on the Pan Target model is special.

However, since I am a Doubting Thomas, I plan to measure the trigger pull at every number of pumps — from 1 to wherever I finally stop. The historical information gathered from catalogs says the trigger is always the same — but I have to see for myself. But from the casual shooting I have done so far, it looks to be that way.

Power

Will my new rifle have the smashing power I saw in my U.S.-spec Ace, or will it be lower? This one is a .177, so it won’t be quite as powerful as my old .22, but will it be above 12 foot-pounds? That kind of power is wasted on a 10-meter target rifle, but this is a Sharp Ace. I won’t know until I test it.

Never a serious contender

I never saw a Pan Target in a 10-meter match, though it is built for exactly that. Was it just wishful thinking on Sharp’s behalf to build this rifle, or were these rifles actually used in competition? We may never know. I have attended many 10-meter matches and have a hard time envisioning a competitor pumping a rifle more then once for each shot. You only get 90 seconds per shot in a match and it seems like pumping would use up a lot of that time.

How I found this airgun

Last story for today is how I came by this find. I found this air rifle with the search software I have set up on the Gun Broker auction website. I received an email telling me the gun was up for auction. In 7 years this is the first Sharp that’s come to my attention that way, so they don’t come up often.

The seller had a starting price that was higher than I wanted to pay, and I wondered where he came up with it. I looked in the Blue Book of Airguns and found that they list a Sharp Ace Pan Target in 95 percent condition for $1000. This one isn’t that good. It’s between 80 and 85 percent.

Speaking of the Blue Book, at the top of page 608 where the Pan Target Standard is shown at the bottom, there is a rifle labeled the Sharp Ace Target. That is mislabeled and is the Pan Target 3P.

The auction was ending soon and I have seen other guns listed like this with no response — sometimes for many years of continual re-listing — so I wrote the seller and offered him what I would be comfortable giving. We negotiated for several days and agreed to a price that was higher than where I started. He then listed the gun with a Buy it Now price and told me what he was doing. I bought it within minutes of it going live.

I have no clear idea of what this airgun is worth, except the extreme rarity in the U.S. does drive the price up, as does the quality of the rifle. Is it worth more than a Sheridan Supergrade? Probably not, even though it’s many times harder to find. But it’s certainly in that price range.

This will be an interesting report — both to do and to watch. You will find very little information about the Sharp Ace Pan Target on the internet, and I assume this report will soon be at the top of the search engines.

43 thoughts on “Sharp Ace Pan Target: Part 1

  1. Oh, seething jealousy and bitter envy.

    This is one of those times that I am grateful for this blog because without it, I most likely would never know about this rifle. But then again, if I never knew about it I wouldn’t be pining for it so danged bad! A blessing and a curse you are.

    I would give you my right arm for this rifle, but then how would I pump it?




      • Matt61

        This rifle is not desirable for its pedigree as a winning 10 meter rifle, it is desirable for what it is. And what it is is an example of an exceedingly rare rifle that is possibly the high water mark for production MSPs, bar none.

        Take for example my favorite airgun that I actually own: the Air Arms TX200. It is very beautiful. And it is very accurate. But when was the last time a TX200 or any other springer for that matter, won a field target championship against a PCP? (the TX200 was designed specifically for field target)

        I don’t know the answer to the question I just posed, but it might be never, and the real answer doesn’t even matter one iota, because the TX200 is just so darned appealing in every conceivable way that any reasonable person that owns one doesn’t begin to care that some ugly PCP FT rig can beat it every time. It is greatness exemplified.

        The difference between the TX200 and the Sharp Ace Pan Target is that you could go online right this very second and buy a brand new TX200 and it might be every bit as good as mine, or God forbid even better.

        If you want a Sharp Ace Pan Target you could go online right this very second and be prepared to wait for many years and maybe never find one and be lucky to pay through the nose if you do.

        For me the huge appeal of airguns is that they are self-contained marvels of engineering. Though I like my PCPs, without a separate air source they are completely useless. Truly self-contained means either a pump gun or a springer.

        There are a plethora of excellent, accurate high-end springers on the market. But they do recoil. Even pussycats like the TX200 recoil in two directions.

        The High end pumpers are very few and far between, to understate the situation. The “recoil” from this style of rifle is so negligible as to be nonexistent.

        There is much to long for in a multi-pump target rifle such as this one.


        • Slinging Lead,

          Having the TX and a PCP (M-rod),…. I can relate. Pneumatics definitely have their draw. A powerful high end single pump would be high on my list. I would not care if it took 50# of effort to pump. That smooth firing cycle would be all worth it!


        • A TX200 won both this year and last in the springer wftf class. No it didn’t beat the pcp’s but it’s still one of the Best springers you can own. Also it won Hunter Piston class in 2015, with a 3rd place showing this past year.


  2. B.B.,

    I believe description of the arm should say it swings out to 135-degrees not just 45-degrees.

    That is a beautiful alternative for the MSP we have been dreaming about these past few months. Will try doing research if someone in Indonesia still produces that particular model.

    Siraniko


    • Siraniko,

      The Indonesian made models looked good, but were never made as werll as the Japanese guns. Collectore will pay premiums for a gun from Japan, but not for one from Indonesia.

      I only knew that the Innova was being made there, but that may have been because no large dealer in the U.S. carried them. The Webley Rebel is one version of the Indonesian Sharp.

      https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2014/11/webley-rebel-multi-pump-pneumatic-part-3/

      B.B.


      • BB

        Reference your Webley Rebel part 3 post. Since I enjoy multi pumpers and even the Rebel it may interest Rebel owners to try 2 pumps only at 10 meters. The trigger is very good at 2 pumps as it is pressure bearing. Pay attention to that pin connection under the front sight that holds the barrel sleeve and pump tube. I removed this pin allowing things to free float and accuracy improved so much I mounted a scope. I shoot the Rebel at least twice every week. If you want to pump it more for the extra power, it is not hard even with a mounted scope. Just place an open hand along the top of barrel sleeve as a brace against the pumping hand.

        Decksniper



          • BB

            There was a recall by Webley. I did not have any safety issues with my trigger and have had thousands of shots. I do think that only two pumps gives minimal wear on all parts prone to wear. Here is another tip for Webley owners: Soften the pump clacking sound with black elastic pony tail bands. They are available in every drug store. Just slide them over the barrel and pump sleeves.

            Decksniper


      • B.B.,

        I realize that the Indonesian versions are not as good as the original Japanese. But as you said these are rare. Neighboring Indonesia has rather strict laws regarding export and we also have barriers to import but the chance to get one of the few MSP designs that nearly encompasses what have been commented about before beckons.

        Besides as you said the Webley Rebel has/had a flaw that may or may not have been resolved since they are also still being marketed here in the Philippines. Can you provide me clues as to what terms I should search for?

        Siraniko


  3. BB,

    The quality of this air rifle is quite evident in the close up photos of the sights and the trigger. I do hope that you intend to provide us with more detail shots of this one as the review progresses.

    I too am very curious as to how powerful this air rifle really is. As you say, this may be the multi-pump we have been looking for. Perhaps you could lease it to Crosman.


  4. B.B.,

    Congratulations on your fine acquisition. I corrected the top picture in the Blue Book with a note. Thanks. While your stock matches the bottom picture, the bottom picture does not mention an adjustable butt plate,…. though it may have one. Neither rifle in the book shows fore end checkering. I suppose that is just a variation made over the course of it’s production. ( ’81~’87 ) I do agree with Siraniko on noting the cocking lever degrees,…. but I suppose that is just the way the degrees are noted historically. All in all,… very nice and I will be looking forward to future reports.

    Chris


    • Correction,….. pump arm,… not “cocking lever”. Also,… forearm seems more appropriate as opposed to forend as the Blue Book shows a rifle with both noted,… with the forend being at the most forward point of the forearm. Though the Glossary says the forearm is (usually) a separate piece of wood and forend is (usually) a 1 piece stock. Of note also is that the words are listed as,.. forearm (forend) and,.. forend (forearm),… and would indicate that the two terms are interchangeable. I think I will just stick to forearm from now on.


  5. B.B.,

    Regarding the bellows on the rear sight,…. how are bellows in general intended to be used? Are they supposed to contact the eye socket fully (or) are you just supposed to get your eye close to it? The UTG I bought (for a scope) was too stiff in my opinion and if I tried to get my eye socket upon it, it would distort the tunnel enough that it became non-usable. I ended up doing a custom cut job on it and now I can fully put my eye socket onto it thus cutting out 95% of any ambient light. Eliminating ambient light from the eye to allow the pupil to fully expand would seem to me to be the end goal.


  6. B.B.,

    I had never heard of this model of Sharp before. A good-triggered Sharp! This is going to be an especially interesting report.

    The concept of a Sharp with a good trigger is kind of like a pipe dream or unobtainable ideal talked about by five buddies in the den at halftime. It’s kind of like. “Gee, what if you could marry a supermodel, and she was smart, and she had a sense of humor, and it didn’t matter to here that you weren’t rich, and she liked your friends!”

    Michael


  7. OT…gotta share my good news.
    As you may remember B.B. our families involvement with airgun/firearms started 10 years ago with Red Ryders under the Christmas tree after watching ‘A Christmas Story’.
    Well after a couple of years of gunless Christmas’s….this year there will be a firearm under the tree.
    Just pulled the trigger (so to speak) this weekend on a Pedersoli 1874 Sharps Carbine in 45-70.
    The saga continues.



    • No way. I had been fantasizing about that very gun. But in my fantasies the kick was very powerful. You’ll have to report on how it turns out. I am also envious because for various reasons, it appears that my days of awaiting new guns is over. Among other things, I have more guns than I know what to do with.

      Matt61


      • I was worried about that at first. I have a friend who has the same gun…he handloads subsonic rounds for ‘plinking’ and short range deer hunting in the brush and it’s not bad, no worse than our 12g.
        But I also tried a few full power loads he had made up.
        Two or three shots was enough of those for me.
        Partly we got it (and will likely at sometime get another) is that I want two guns (one for each son) that are the kind of guns that will be handed down from generation to generation.


  8. Hi BB,
    I have seen a few Pan Targets over the years but never paid that much attention to them. I agree that they are more rare than Sheridan Supergrades. My favorite Sharps are the C02 rifles. My favorite thing about the Sharps is the fit and finish which may be the best I have seen on any airgun. I would like to own one of those.
    I am looking forward to reading about the rifle. I am curious if this might be a 600 fps 10 meter velocity gun or if it has full power. I am also interested in the accuracy you get with a scope on it if it is more powerful.

    Merry Christmas everyone,

    David Enoch


  9. Slinging Lead, glad you’re here as I have another range adventure to report. I started out with archery, and this was my first real encounter with reading the wind. The firearms ranges are so short and so heavily protected with berms and that you can’t feel the wind in them. From reading, I knew the theory of shooting in the wind. My oncoming quartering wind should have had a half value. However, given that arrows move a lot slower than bullets, I figured that the retarding effect of the wind gave it more time to push the arrow sideways. So much for theory. But it became clear that you need a heck of a lot of experience to make this work. I was finally able to land a few arrows which sounded as if they were landing in plump deer, just like something out of Robin Hood. And I noticed that with the angle of the sun, my shadow cut a heroic figure with the bow and arrows bristling out.

    Next, I tried throwing my knife and axe. Notwithstanding the brand-new razor sharp double-headed axe to increase my chances of sticking, the whole undertaking was a complete disaster. The axe did not stick. And the knife, not only did not stick, but rebounded and came spinning back at me. I had my jacket zipped up to the throat but I will consider wearing a thick leather jacket in future. My shadow with axe and knife raised looked like Vikings getting annihilated.

    Then, it was off to the handgun range. The big star of the show was my CZ 75 SP-01. While my $300 trigger job had improved the break and overall quality of the trigger, I thought that the travel was a little on the long side. But another distinct feature of this gun is that the low bore axis cancels a lot of recoil and gets you on target faster. Lo and behold, I found that my front sight was dropping onto target at the very moment my finger was resetting. This created a kind of mania for shooting faster and more accurately. If I lived where they allow high capacity magazines, I feel like I could have ripped off a whole magazine like a mini-gun. It makes one wonder about the progression of the shooting sports. The age of mechanics, dealing with the workings of the gun, has given way to the age of the ergonomics, which is the interface of the shooter and gun. What next? Could it be the age of…PERCEPTIVITY or the inner workings of the mind. That would make sense as a kind of trajectory. The nut behind the trigger was always most important. So, this would constitute anything like reticles, target design or the subjective experience of working the gun to make it more efficient. For the CZ 75 SP-01 it would be the coordination of the low bore axis and trigger reset. I can’t believe this is a coincidence. However, the CZ still had to deal with the current heavyweight champ of the 1911. This too was performing well with every detail of its angular design moving the bullet towards the target. I also noticed the recoil of the gun in my hand which meant that I was not heeling the gun to compensate which has been my ongoing vice. The two guns finished in a dead heat.

    At the 50 yard line, I actually hit the target with the 1911 standing. The other of two shots completely missed the paper but that one is on record. It is a long way from an earlier episode when I tried shooting a 1911 at 50 yards from a rest. Not only did I not hit anything, but the experience fouled up my technique with that gun for a long time.

    Then, I was off to the 100 yard line for the main event. On this day, I brought out my Savage 10FP sniper rifle. While I can’t fully understand how one can get bored with any rifle, I can get the basic idea with this rifle which is extraordinarily accurate. It is like the special Marine Corps sniper rifles which can shoot into 5 inches at 1000 yards and are only used for special purposes. I only take the Savage rifle out every few years to verify that it is working properly. But today, I tried shooting offhand with it. One doesn’t think of sniping this way, but there actually is a precedent. The second highest ranking sniper of the Vietnam War, Chuck MaWhinney, was the ultimate hunter. His commanding officer said that he could run half a mile and then drop a target at 700 yards from a standing position. (It is worth noting that the number one sniper of the Vietnam War, a Robert Waldron, I believe, took out a sniper from a tree while sitting in a moving boat at 900 yards. That is just about superhuman.) Anyway, the Savage turned out to be as good standing as rested. For the first time ever, I was actually forming a group at that distance. It wasn’t much of a group and was barely measurable. It looked like a nebula coalescing out of cosmic dust, but there was definitely a tendency towards the center.

    The offhand also allowed me shoot faster. Gunfun1, I don’t know if rapid fire shooting is part of mini-sniping. But if it is not, it should be. It looks like the Savage 10FP has made its own inroads into the field of perceptivity. Between that oversize bolt handle, smooth action, and accutrigger, I was zinging those rounds downrange. The advantages to offhand shooting keep coming and so far, they look like this. 1. Your standards are lower so you can feel good about yourself more easily. 2. Recoil is not nearly as powerful. 3. It is easier to work the bolt fast. I am a magazine man for sure.

    I was also shooting the Lee-Enfield offhand at 100 yards. Initially, things did not look good. With the trees shading the berm and the light disappearing, I could barely make out the 100 yard NRA target. I thought I would at least practice my shot sequence. But then, one of the last rays of the sun slanted in and caught the tip of my front sight and made it glow. It was like one of the those Novak sights or even a kind of red dot sight. And at that point, I was getting a feel for the distance. The sight picture actually looked almost identical to my 5 yard airgun range, and I was able to hit the target here too. Slinging Lead, the days of my major disasters may be behind me.

    Matt61


  10. Off Topic, here is a question for one of the frequent posters:
    I seem to remember one of you, maybe Gunfun1 or Ridgerunner, , or Chris, writing about the Python revolver (the inexpensive one, not the one BB reviewed), and having an early seal failure or leak. Did you ever get parts for it, or get it repaired?
    I’m thinking about it for my next purchase, so I’m interested in your experience. As I recall, you liked the accuracy.


    • Flintrocker,

      Not I. If I were to go for a revolver it would be one of the Dan Wesson’s. While a fan of the cartridges,…. I prefer the circular clips. Gunfun1 I am pretty sure got a revolver but the Python name is not ringing a bell. Broadax is for some reason though. Chris



        • Flintrocker,

          I do not remember GF1 having a seal issue. Someone,… I think new,…. did post about getting a used pistol and having a seal issue. It was a semi-auto “style” and B.B. referred them to someone that could fix any issues. It is tuff to recall all of the info. that presents itself here. Getting old I reckon. 🙁


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