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Dressing up the Bug Buster

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.


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.

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.

67 thoughts on “Dressing up the Bug Buster”

  1. BB
    You forget a couple more important things about the big diameter side wheel.

    One it gives you a finer focus adjustment because you have to turn the wheel more to get the same movement as with out the wheel.

    The other is sometimes the yardage doesn’t match the focus distance on the scopes knob. So with the big side wheel you can but tape on the wheel and mark your own distances of focus on the tape. That is very important if you want to hit what you aim at. And I have even seen people write down their mildot hold over or hold under at a given distance focus.

    So yep the big side wheels are good to have if you want to get serious about your shooting.

  2. B.B.,

    How does tis new side wheel differ from the current 80mm and 100mm UTG side wheels?


    As for side wheels, I love them and any UTG scope I have ever owned, got it’s own side wheel.

    As GF1 noted, tape can be added for further precision. I have also seen homemade pointers attached to rings to further add precision. The needle point comes directly up to the wheel face/scale. I have not done that though. For now, I just use the dot on the turret base and also just focus until I have the best clarity.

    Since you are touting the benefits of side wheels, perhaps you can touch on the fact that your focus point/scale at a fixed distance (say 75 yards) will fluctuate with ambient temperature? I do believe that I have seen high end field target scopes set up with 3 distinct ranges on the wheel representing 2 or 4 degrees of difference from scale to scale.

    Good Day to you and to all,….. Chris

    • Chris
      You mentioned something about using a small piece of metal when mounting the side wheel. It must have something to do with the rubber lining ? Can you elaborate?

      • Carl,

        I would be happy to. The rather short allan screws seem to bear down directly on the rubber. Keep screwing them and the will go into the rubber and eventually come out. Try what you have first and see if you are happy. If not:

        The inner rubber comes right out on some and seems glued in a bit on others. Cut 2 very small pieces of soup can or something similar. Take a small screw driver and pry the rubber back to expose the metal ID. Place the small pieces of can between the rubber and the ring,.. under the screw areas. They will act as a bearing surface for the screw head,.. a barrier between screw and rubber and spread out the screw pressure. It made a big difference and made the wheel much more solid.

        Hope that helps some.

      • Halfstep,

        The ocular lens I set and forget. The parallax is set until the picture is as clear as a bell. I do not really care what the scale says, but do use it for general reference.

        Depending on temp.,… the scale will change with regards to focus/scale reading. Shoot in extreme temp. differences and you should see it clearly. If you want to get real serious, record the temp. while shooting and make notes,.. for the same range.

        I brought it up in my first comment today. I remember B.B. was shooting his M-rod on a Jan. 1st (very cold) a few years back and he said his parallax scale was way off from the actual yardage. Way under if I recall correctly. Like scale was 20 and he was shooting 100.

        I never adjust the scope for anything but total clarity. Not the ocular end. You set that by aiming a white wall (for instance) and the only thing your looking at is the crosshairs,… period. Get those clear, lock it down and the scope is then adjusted for you, for your eye, for your vision. Someone else may not find it ideal.

        Did that answer your question?

        • Chris USA,

          Not exactly. I’ll ask another way. After the ocular has been set and locked down and you have focused until the target image is crystal clear, does the reticle seem to move around as you move your head indicating a parallax that is out of adjustment. I find with some scopes that I can have a slight blur and no parallax or perfect focus and a little parallax to deal with.

          • Halfstep,

            I see. I will defer your question to GF1 and BB. My memory on the subject is a bit vague at the moment as it has been awhile since I have studied that topic.

            GF1 does not believe in that, I do believe. B.B., I am not sure. GF1 has used a camera on his scope (the eye is not even on the scope at all ) and shot fine groups. I do remember trying, where the scope was a bit out of focus,….. in an effort to remove any eye/head movement,… but in the end I did not see any improvement in groups. It DID work though. In all, I prefer to see what I am shooting at clearly.

            So yes, I do remember it, I did try it.

            I am sure there is some scientific explanation, but it ain’t coming from me, at least not this evening. I do hope some of that helps at least a wee bit though.

          • Halfstep,

            Come to think of now, I think that it had to do with eye relief,.. not parallax. I think that is what eliminated the target movement. I could be wrong. Sorry I am not of more help. 🙁

            • Chris USA,

              Thanks for the candor. ” I’m not sure ” really is more valuable that just making something up to avoid saying ” I don’t know “. I am still uncertain enough about my marksmanship that I just feel more comfortable knowing that when I look through the scope the reticle really is on the bullseye, so I generally go for parallax free over sharp focus. Sometimes I’ve been able to use the ocular adjustment to get the target to focus at closer to the parallax free point, but I always make sure I stop before the reticle is blurry. Maybe if I spent more on my scopes it would be less of an issue. 😉

              • Halfstep,

                I just cranked the wheel on the Maximus to 200 yards and looked across the kitchen. The reticle is still perfect. So I am not sure the reticle ever goes out of focus. Thinking more, I do believe it was the parallax adjustment that did what we are talking about.

                GF1 must have missed your comment. He would know exactly what you are asking. Hit him up direct and see what he says.

              • Halfstep
                I get the retical focused by looking at a white wall then adjust the ocular lens to get it sharp.

                And I usually will leave my scope on the infinity setting. I don’t range find anymore by focusing the side wheel. I will go through and check different hold over or under I need when I get a new gun and scope and note those.

                In my paticular case with the the scopes I had on guns I do t have that parallax problem that people talk about. Not saying that it don’t happen. I just have not had it happen.

                When this subject came up in the past. I actually took and put my head at the back of the butt of the gun and shot with my head moved at different locations. I could shoot just as good of groups that way as long as I held the gun steady as I did hold my head as normal on the comb.

                And I will have to say that in my paticular case. Even when I use to adjust focus at different distances which was mostly from 60 yards and in. I did not have that happens. And I was aware that it could happen.

                So that’s the best I can say from my experience.

                • GF1,

                  I bet that the reason, most of the time, you don’t have the parallax issue is because it mainly happens when your check goes to a different spot on the comb with every shot. Unlike me, you have shot enough to get a consistent cheek weld.

                  I don’t use the A.O. to range with, exactly, the marks on my scopes seldom agree with the actual range. I use it more for getting the parallax error out for whatever distance my target is at. If I had targets set up all over the place as you do I wouldn’t be able to do it because I take a lot of time adjusting the A.O. then moving my head around then adjusting some more if the reticle seems to move. That’s just what I have to do to feel confident that when I miss it wasn’t a sighting error. Not so practical in the field but works for me in the back yard and such.

                  With your scope on infinity you don’t have a blurry sight picture at say 25 yards?

                  • Halfstep
                    No blurry sight. But I shoot at 4 magnification.

                    And I have been aware of what parrellax shift is for years. It’s something I know to check for. And no my scopes have not done it.

  3. B.B.
    This would look cool on the stormrider but I got a refurbished 3×9 bug buster from PA but hey I saved 20 bucks. Regardless the bug buster is one awesome scope.

  4. B.B.,
    What about the bling value of the big wheel? Don’t some mfgrs sell bling? Could be everyone looks for a little bling. How boring to be practical all the time!

  5. B.B.,

    On the P.O.I. scope rings. I wonder if Leapers will make one with adjustable height capability? That would be perfect for the droopers.

    Not the Kral, maybe the Gauntlet. You got too many guns on your plate to choose from! 😎


  6. Well, BB threw the gauntlet to us and we must have the fortitude to accept the challenge on our road to discovery. Unless a marauder anxiety is a puncher of our hopes, we will learn tomorrow.

    Sorry, that is all I could do. How much longer until Friday?

  7. I know they are trying to keep the scope compact but I would have to wonder about 12x with a 32mm bell. seems like not enough exit pupil. Those rings look great except I cant see using torx screws on the clamps that lock it to the base. UTG had nice hand knobs that were great

        • I love torx screws for 2-3 inch wood screws. I use them for concrete forms with impact gun cant strip them use them over and over again. what I mean is I do not like having to take a tool with me if I want to take the scope off or put it on. The UTG rings with the big hand knobs are the best. square head screws the worst that man can come up with

  8. BB,
    Will the POI fit only on flat scope bases? I noticed on the packaging it mentiones “low profile locking side plate”. This may be a problem for the round compression tubes with groves cut in them?

    • Ton,

      That’s a good question. After looking at the P.O.I. ring bases I think they will probably work on wider and flatter spring tube like the bigger Weihrauch rifles, but probably not on the narrower smaller spring tubes like you see on a CZ 631. They should fit PCP receivers with flat bases quite well.


  9. B.B., ChrisUSA, GF1, Halfstep, & to all my fellow bloggers

    Update on my health issue. Yesterday I went to the urologist to get the catheter removed that I have had since my sinus surgery on 2/9/18. Good news is that the catheter was removed. Bad news is that I still have an issue with urine retention. So…they instructed me on self catheterization and sent me home with a sample kit. I now have to do this for two weeks at least until my return appointment 🙁 This self cath is very difficult and somewhat painful for me. I am supposed to measure the volume before, and then after doing the cath. They said every 4-6 hours but I’m stretching it out to about 8 hours.

    Okay, now for the announcement I promised. I pulled the trigger and ordered a new Gamo Urban PCP, a new UTG 3-12×44 30mm SWAT Compact scope w/etched glass reticle, UTG 60mm index wheel, UTG medium profile rings, JSB 18.1gr pellets, and a Taousa 4500 psi hand pump. I am now going on the journey PCP airgunning!

    I had wanted to wait until the new Fortitude and Flash PCPs were available but the ship dates have been pushed out to April or later. I wanted a PCP that had been tested and proven, available now so I can use it in mid March. That’s about when the bluebirds arrive to pick out their nesting boxes. I have to protect them from the attacking sparrows. So there, you have it. Now I am looking forward to everyone’s comments and suggestions to help me with learning to shoot a PCP rifle. BTW, the Gamo Urban was on sale for $220, a deal I could not pass on. I am into the whole package for $525. I wanted to keep my cost to about $500 or less and this deal made that possible.

    The Gamo Urban arrived today UPS. I have to comment that the packaging left something to be desired. I think it should have been double boxed for protection…it was not. Luckily there was no damage to the rifle and it came with 2900 psi in the reservoir. The rest of my order should all be here by Friday or early next week.

    First question right out of the box. Should the barrel be cleaned with a patchworm type system like Tyler Patner does on new airguns before shooting and testing them? Or should I just shoot several pellets through it to remove any rust preventative greases or oils from the manufacturer?

    • Geo,

      Well, well, well,…. welcome to the world of PCP’s! 🙂 I think you will find it most accommodating and suitable to your task at hand. I have never cleaned a new barrel,.. and very few any used ones.

      I say shoot it a bit and see what you get and if you are happy with it. Take a peek with a bore scope or good flashlight too. But,.. I say shoot it some and see what you think.

      As for the rest,… Bummer dude! 🙁 I am not even looking forwards to getting old(er). My parents are in their 80’s and I have heard of some of the things that being “knocked out” can do to the body afterwards. It can mess with your memory and mind sometimes too for a time. The very best of wishes on getting past all of that and back to normal,… sooner, rather than later.

      • Chris

        Thanks for the well wishes. I did use a tactical flashlight to look down the bore. The baffles kind of obstruct the view though. From what I could see, it doesn’t appear to be gunked up. I took it out back and shot a couple pellets through it just to make sure it shoots. I don’t have the hand pump yet. You guys are the experts and I am going to adhere to your suggestions and just shoot it and see how it does.

    • Geo
      Hope you get better. That’s a bummer.

      And glad your getting into pcp’s. Definitely interested to hear how you like it and how it shoots of course.

      And heck with cleaning the barrel. Shoot it and see what happens.

      • GF1

        Thanks for your concern and well wishes. Will do as you suggest and just shoot. I will definitely post my results when the weather breaks enough to go out back and shoot some groups.

    • George,

      Well, I’m sorry about the catheterization. I have the kit, too, and I know how awkward and painful it is.

      As far as cleaning the barrel, you can, but I wouldn’t worry about it. After a few hundred shots it will be as clean as it can get. I don’t think you’ll notice.


      • Thanks B.B. I guess misery loves company. Makes me feel better to know that I am not alone in having this issue. Was your problem a result of the anesthesia during surgery? Did it resolve itself after a period of time? As they say “getting older is not for the cowardly”.

        Will take your suggestion and just shoot the barrel clean.

          • B.B.

            Good to know. They checked my prostate and said it was only slightly enlarged so that is not the cause of my problem. They did prescribe Flomax for me to start taking though. How long did it take for your issue to resolve itself? I am hoping that you no longer have to self cath. That is a real pain to have to go through 3-4 times a day but so far I am coping with it.

            • George,

              I have never had to self-cath since they made me do it in the office.

              My prostate was enlarged to textbook proportions (129cc) and with a double shot of Flowmax every day it’s down to 85cc. Enlarged prostates are 65cc, so mine’s a biggie.


  10. Correction to my post above. It was not Tyler Patner that used the patchworm to clean the airguns before reviewing. It is Steve Scialli at AEACS who has the video demonstrating how and why he does this. Steve does great video reviews too.

    • Geo761,

      I guess I missed the news about getting the cath in the first place. I hope it resolves itself and you don’t have to self cath for very long.

      I cleaned my Urban barrels using mono fishing line threaded in from the breech. I got a lot of stuff out that I am sure was not graphite pellet lube. I believe shooting will give the same result but you will just have to wait a bit before you can shoot for accuracy, or maybe not. I bet your gonna’ really like the gun. Don’t waste time trying to adjust the trigger with the screw that is in the trigger if you find that the trigger is not to your liking. It has no real adjustment left because it is too short. I’ll link a video that will show what to replace it with if it turns out you even need it. I also saw recently that the cheek piece is adjustable by loosening a bolt in the butt plate. Haven’t checked out the accuracy of that yet myself.

      Since you are hand pumping and I can’t remember if you have a chronograph, I wanted to tell you that my gun gives me a 20 shot string with just 20 fps extreme spread at 2800 psi down to 1900 psi with Crosman 14.3 grain pellets.Thought it might save you some unwanted pumping.

      Get well and enjoy your new gun. Keep us posted.

      • Halfstep,

        That bit about the cheek piece being able to be adjusted is a huge deal! I can not believe that it is not touted in the advertising. Please check and let us know. Why else would the stock be 2 pieces?,… if it is in fact.

      • Halfstep

        I remembered that you had two Urbans and was hoping to hear some comments from you because you have some empirical knowledge on it. No I do not have a chronograph. I will have to accept what experienced users like you can tell me as to the best fill pressure and shot curve. Steve Scialli at Airgun Nation recommended 195-200 bar (2828-2900 psi) as a good starting fill pressure and if I remember correctly, down to 1500 psi. I appreciate your data on those pressures as well.

        I won’t try to mess with the trigger until I have shot the Urban a few hundred rounds. I may just get used to it, but if not, I’ll be back here requesting info on how to lessen the creep. I think I am going to just shoot the Urban without cleaning the barrel and see how it does. What FPS are you seeing with the 14.3g Crosmans? What about foot pounds of energy?

        Do you normally use Crosman pellets in your air guns? I have read that they have antimony in them which makes them harder than other pellets and they tend to foul the barrel. I recall getting recommendations from some of the guys that if I had used Crosman pellets in my RWS34, that I should use J-B non-embedding bore cleaning compound to clean the barrel. I ordered a tin of JSB 18.1g pellets to start with because those seemed to group the best in the reviews.

        Thanks for the well wishes and I will keep you posted on my results.

        • Geo,

          I’m going to repost a couple of charts that show my results with the best pellets out of one of my guns. I haven’t even unboxed the other one yet so I’ll report on that one later. It doesn’t really shoot the lead Crosmans very well, with the exception of the Piranhas, of all things, but I got good results with the slightly heavier Crosman Copper Domed pellets as you’ll see in the chart. I sorted some Crosman HPs by head size and weight and shot them mainly to see how consistently the gun would shoot since it is not regulated. In those tests I filled to 175 bar and got about 11 or 12 shots that were 850 fps + or – 3 fps. That equates to 23 fpe. Hope that helps and here is the charts for best pellets at 31 yards and 50 yards. Take a screen shot of these and save them so you will have the reference when you get your hand pump. You may even be able to just right click them and select save.

          • Halfstep

            Thank you for posting that information. I saved the chart to my desktop for future reference. I ordered some JSB 18.1g with the Urban as that was the pellet of choice by Steve Scialli at Airgun Nation. Your Urban didn’t seem to do as well with those though. Guess every might like a different pellet. Steve did say that at 25 yards the Urban shot good groups with several different pellets but at 50 yards it was picky.

            My hand pump arrived this afternoon. Tomorrow I will assemble it and check it out. The probe adapter did not come with pump though so I can’t try the pump till that arrives. I have not received the UTG scope yet either. Did you see that I was able to buy the Urban for $220? I couldn’t pass it up at that sale price. Thanks again for the data.


            • Geo,

              I can honestly say that I don’t understand anyone passing up an Urban for that price. I like it that much. To each his own, I guess. You’re in the “club” now though, so let’s have fun!

              • Halfstep

                Yeah, I noticed that a couple days after I ordered mine. It’s only $10 cheaper so I don’t feel too bad about getting it at $220. When I checked the prices over the past 12 months, the Urban had never been below $220 so I felt pretty safe making the purchase. The new entry level PCPs are probably driving the price point down…good for us 🙂


                • Geo791,

                  It does require me to modify my previous comment. I can honestly say that I don’t understand anyone passing up an Urban for that price and anyone who buys a stormrider because they save $10 is nuts. And all those who have said , ” If I could find a good one for around $200 I’d switch to PCP”, time to put up! IMO

    • Brent,

      For rangefinding you need magnification, as I described in the report. Therefore scopes of under 24 power really aren’t that good at it. That rules out the compact scopes. They would work if the magnification were there.


  11. B.B.
    I just want to say, and I hope to speak for many here as well, it can never be said enough about your Blog here at Pyramyd AIR and how much I appreciate your commitment, knowledge, candor and down right -tell it as I see it- hands on experience for decades. You have gotten me more motivated about air rifle history, data and their current place in society, and I thank you. It’s been very hard recently to understand YouTube’s stand on our sport as a whole, very hard. I do hope we all can prevail and stand strong.

  12. In a prior post you said a 32 mm objective can only handle up to 9x without being cloudy or too dark. Do you find this to be true with the 3-12x bugbuster?

    • I would be comparing this to an older 3-12 x 40 utg scope. (Hunter, I think). I will be using this during the daytime, possibly under cloudy skies for Target shooting.

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