by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Why a sidewheel?
  • Does a Bug Buster need a sidewheel?
  • However…
  • P.O.I. scope rings
  • What to do?

Today I will tell you about an accessory for the BugBuster 3-12X32 scope — the new sidewheel add-on for all Bug Buster scopes. It will fit any of them, but it’s most useful on the most powerful scope, which is the new 3-12. That’s because the more magnification, the farther out you can determine range. I reported on this new accessory in my SHOT Show 2018 report — Part 5.

This item is so new that Pyramyd Air doesn’t even have it cataloged or in stock yet. But it’s coming soon. It attaches directly to the adjustment knob on any Bug Buster scope that has a SWAT (Side Wheel Adjustable Turret). The early Bug Busters adjusted parallax at the objective lens, so you do need the sidewheel adjustment knob on the left side of the scope for this to work.

Bug Buster sidewheel
The new sidewheel is the first one that’s been available for a Bug Buster.

The sidewheel slips over the existing parallax adjustment knob — there is nothing to disassemble. Two Allen screws, one on either side of the wheel hub, press in on the adjustment knob. Once it is attached correctly, it’s part of the scope.

Why a sidewheel?

Some of you may be wondering what a sidewhewel is all about. It comes from the sport of field target, where the rifles with their scopes often weigh over 12 pounds. And the scopes are typically very long. Since you adjust the parallax every time you encounter a new target (to get the distance, for trajectory adjustment), competitors found it difficult to hold their rifle with one hand and reach way out to the objective lens with the other. The sidewheel makes that easier.

Ironically, tactical firearm shooters like snipers have benefitted from this airgun invention, and now their scopes also have sidewheels. But airgunners had them first. Snipers don’t determine range with their scopes the way airgunners do. They use laser rangefinders for that. That way is far more accurate and their bullets have a much flatter trajectory than our pellets. Tactical snipers don’t normally shoot with the same precision as a field target competitor. I say normally, because those thousand-yard sniper shots are indeed just as precise, and the mile-plus shots are even moreso. However, most snipers are just shooting a few hundred yards and consider any solid connection with the target good enough.

Rangefinders aren’t permitted in field target, so we still range by focusing the parallax adjustment. It is a crude form of coincidence rangefinding where we determine distance by focusing one image. Military optical rangefinders have two lenses placed a known distance apart. When they bring the two images together a scale gives them the range. You can do the same thing with one scope, and a geometry exercise known as triangulation. Surveyors used to do it all the time.

The placement of the parallax adjustment at the side of the scope instead of at the end just makes it more convenient, and the large circumference of the wheel allows us to make visible distance distinctions, yard by yard.

Does a Bug Buster need a sidewheel?

Sidewheels are for long scopes mounted on heavy guns. The scopes are long because to use them for rangefinding you need to be able to focus on a very small object like a blade of grass or a leaf stem. At 55 yards (the maximum distance of a field target range is 50 meters) you can’t see a blade of grass with much less than 40 magnifications, and 50 are even better. Scopes with that kind of power are big and long.

The Bug Buster goes up to 12 magnifications, so how is it going to work at 55 yards? Well, it isn’t. And it isn’t intended to, because a Bug Buster is not a field target scope — at least not for serious competition. Maybe in the Hunter class or a fun shoot a Bug Buster will work, but rangfinding isn’t used then.

However…

Hunters will enjoy having such an easy way of focusing their scopes in the field. Who cares if they hit their targets a half-pellet off the mark? I will show you what I mean in an upcoming report.

P.O.I. scope rings

This is another new item that Pyramyd doesn’t have cataloged yet. We saw these with Weaver/Picatinny bases last year, but in 2018 Leapers is bringing them out with 11mm bases. The P.O.I. (Precision Optics Interface — did you guess wrong?) ring is made with extra care that the inner ring is exactly round. The movable clamping jaw is guided by two pins that keep it square to the base of the ring.

Bug Buster P.O.I. rings
P.O.I. rings are made with precision.

Bug Buster P.O.I. package
The package has the best information.

Each ring contains a vertical scope stop pin that screws down for locking the ring to a rifle. I’ve never seen a 2-piece set of rings that had a stop pin in both rings. This allows you to swap the rings fore and aft to make small left-right adjustments to the alignment of the scope. Scope rings are not perfectly align-bored. Sometimes exchanging the rear ring with the front ring will move the point of impact sideways just a little. It’s just luck if it works, but we do it. Having a stop pin in each ring means that either one can be used as the rear ring, since the scope stop hole is usually located at the rear of the spring tube.

What to do?

I had planned to mount the scope to my Disco Double for a test of both the sidewheel and rings, but then I had a better idea. Can you guess what it was?

I’ll give you a clue. It’s tomorrow’s report.