2018 Pyramyd Air Cup: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Field Target meeting
A record 104 shooters receive their orientation briefing from Tyler Patner on the first day of the field target match.

This report covers:

  • The vendors – H&N
  • The vendors – Leapers
  • Public range
  • Gauntlet and Fortitude
  • Sig ASP20
  • More interesting airguns to come
  • Field target
  • Pistol match cancelled
  • World-class airguns
  • More to come

The Pyramyd Air Cup is a public event that combines airgun competitions, a public range, a chance to meet many of the vendors who make the airguns and accessories you read about and, most importantly, a chance to shoot airguns you have seen and heard about but could never try. A day at this event is worth a year of reading on the internet — this blog included.

The Cup was held at the Tusco Rifle Club in Midvale, Ohio, which is about midway between Cleveland and Columbus. It’s convenient to people living in a 500-mile radius, and this year I saw people from all over the U.S., including Florida, California and Hawaii. People had come from Canada and the UK, as well. The H&N general manager, Florian Schwartz, was there, and Tobias Schmidt represented Diana. Both men had come from Germany to be there.

The Cup is not a SHOT Show, where you are inundated with thousands of vendors representing hundreds of thousands of products. It is a rather the possibility of getting to see, hold and shoot airguns that you have only read about up to this point.

The vendors – H&N

Herr Schwartz was kind enough to give me samples of a brand new H&N Baracuda pellet the company has just started to make. It’s called the Baracuda FT, and as the name implies, it is made for field target. The pellets are hand selected for uniformity and no flashing. The weigh 9.57 grains, making them about a grain lighter than the regular Baracudas. The center of gravity has been moved forward in this pellet.

I was given samples of .177 pellets in two head sizes — 4.50 and 4.51mm. Each pellet came from one of five different production lots that relate to the specific dies they were formed in and other variables. This allows me to test them and feed the company very specific results. Naturally you will be watching over my shoulder! I wish more companies operated this way.

I would normally say more about this new pellet, but I will save that for the report that will start soon.

The vendors – Leapers

Leapers was also there and I got to see their UTG Reflex Micro Dot sight that I hope to try on the Beeman P1. I talked with Leapers engineer Nakagawa Kiyo about the sight and told him I will see if the UTG Weaver-to-11mm adaptor will work on the P1 that has a dovetail rail on top. If it does we are in business. This sight accepts bases of different configurations, but they haven’t made one for 11mm dovetails yet, so I will try to make their Weaver base work.

UTG Micro Dot
The UTG Micro Dot Reflex sight is small enough for air pistols.

Leapers shoots
Leapers came to both show AND shoot!

Public range

Competitors checked their zeroes on the public range before the matches started, and some even rechecked on the morning of the start. After traveling many miles in a car, sometimes the optics are not where you left them. You have to check!

check zero
Most competitors checked their zeroes on all their guns before the matches began.

The most interesting part of the public range is the “try-it-and-buy-it” portion. You can shoot any of dozens of airguns Pyramyd brings out and there is no cost nor any obligation to buy. They supply everything. If you want to buy something you have to go to their booth that’s set up indoors with all the other vendors and they will accommodate you with an online order at a 20 percent discount. They do have a few airguns to actually sell outright, but as large as their catalog is, there is no way they can bring it all — or even a reasonable portion.

Gauntlet and Fortitude

For example, there was an Umarex Gauntlet and a Benjamin Fortitude set up side-by-side on the same table at the public range. Shooters were able to shoot one after the other to decide which suited them best. The “hard” trigger complaint of the Fortitude melted away when shooters admitted they were comparing it to the triggers on thousand-dollar airguns. And the Gauntlet that was on the line was shooting very well from the magazine. Being at the show gave you a chance to shoot them rather than just reading about them.

Gauntlet youth
Umarex marketing manager, Justin Biddle, coaches a young man who wanted to shoot the Gauntlet. Maybe it’s a little large for him yet?

Sig ASP20

Sig was there and Dani Navickas had the ASP20 gas piston rifle in .22 caliber on the line. This one is one of the first rifles Sig made on the production line that I showed you back in July, and they had also run it through a 5,000-round endurance test. So it was well broken-in. And the results of all that use were fabulous!

This rifle now cocks with around 30-33 lbs. of effort. It is less effort than I remembered because it is so well broken in. They chronographed it after the endurance test and it was still pushing .22-caliber pellets out at 23 foot pounds.

I watched as person after person tried the rifle and all but one praised it. One man found it too difficult to cock, but he was also unable to cock the Benjamin Marauder. He was not an experienced airgunner, as far as I could tell, and this may have been his first time shooting airguns of this quality.

Ruth shoots
Ruth Kass, one of Pyramyd’s top salespersons, shoots the Sig ASP20 rifle. She has to know how all the airguns work and feel to talk to her customers.

0keystone breech
The flanges at the top of the breech (yellow arrow) contact the flanges at the top of the spring tube forks (red arrow) to make the Keystone breech tight. The barrel can be loose during cocking and still lock up like a bank vault because of this.

Dani told me Sig expects to start high rate production soon, so the wood guns aren’t far off — maybe November. They aren’t sure about the synthetic stocks yet, but hope to have them in this year.

She also told me that Sig hopes to have the new Sig Super Target pistol available  in November. I had hoped to see one at the Cup, but it’s not quite ready.

More interesting airguns to come

There are more interesting airguns to come in this report, but if I don’t at least start the field target report, we won’t get to it today. That means my report series on this show will stretch into extra innings!

Field target

Well, for starters, the Pyramyd Air Cup was over-subscribed for competitors this year. Because of the available resources, they had to limit the field target match to 104 competitors, which means that some people who tried to sign up got in too late. The facility at the Tusco Rifle Club is large, but it’s not unlimited, and time is also a constraint. Many more people came to the Cup than competed in the Field Target match, but in several key places the facilities were strained. Pyramyd Air is looking for a larger venue to hold the Cup, so more shooters can compete.

I suggested they hold a one-day airgun show concurrently, because that will really break the gates down! Maybe the Midwest airgun show can team up with them to host it?

Pistol match cancelled

The weatherman predicted violent thunderstorms for early Friday afternoon, so the field target pistol match was cancelled for that day. The weather held off longer than expected, but it did arrive at 6:30 p.m. that evening and doused the region with unwanted rain and hail. It was unwanted because that part of the country has had a very wet September.

The rifle match was held on Saturday and Sunday, with 104 shooters shooting on 13 lanes of 2 targets per lane. Since they shot 2 shots at each target each day there were a total of 52 shots per day (13 x 2 x 2), for a match total of 104. There were three classes — Hunter, Open and WFTF (World Field Target Federation). I didn’t compete, but if I had it would have been in the Hunter class. I shot Open class when I competed in the ’90s, but no longer have the flexibility to get into position and hold steady enough — especially with a 12 foot-pound rifle.

Hunter Class
In field target, Hunter Class allows the shooter to sit for most shots and to steady his rifle on shooting sticks. This broadens the sport’s appeal.

WFTF Class
When you get into the Open and WFTF Classes, the competition gets fierce! Many shooters wear custom-tailored shooting jackets to hold them steady.

World-class airguns

I listened to the public’s reaction to the fancy field target rifles and gear. Many were overwhelmed by the cost of the rifles — some exceeding $3,000, and their scopes — often above $2,000. Throw in the ancillary equipment and gear and a shooter can carry $8-10,000 on the range! Even the Tusco range safety officers who ran safety for the match were unaccustomed to guns priced so high, and certainly not airguns. Is it any wonder a shooter thinks nothing of driving 1,500 miles at compete at this level?

More to come

I’ll stop here, but there is much more to follow — more guns, more shooting and even some hints at things to come. Stay tuned!

55 thoughts on “2018 Pyramyd Air Cup: Part 1


  1. Ah, Ashland.

    Did you know that the Ashland FT organizer/founder is. Wayne Burns that was encouraged and mentored by B. B. aka Tom Gaylord on this blog many years ago to set up an FT competition venue?

    To my great friend Wayne’s credit, he took B.B.’s advice seriously and has created a great site that has escalated airgunning to another dimension in his part of the world.

    It’s humbling to me to observe the vast impact that B.B. has had on the Airgun world that he never takes credit for.



    • Kevin
      And you mean Wayne Burns. AKA Wacky Wayne. He was ending the blog around when I started reading.

      Ain’t it great when you find your passion in something.

      I know I can say one thing. Feild target has been one of the better things that has happened to air gunning. Thanks to BB.

      Now maybe one of us here could get the passion to start up a 3 gun air gun competition. I bet it would go somewhere. To get it started is next.





    • Mike,

      It got lighter! It was always crisp, but now it is also quite light. The first shot I fired surprised me. Of course the engineers at Sig also adjusted it on the light side, as well. Remember, this is the trigger in the safety box for adjustment.

      B.B.


  2. BB,

    Gauntlet and Fortitude paragraph. “Shooters were able to shoot one after the other to decided which suited them beast.”

    This is most definitely an awesome event. I like your suggestion of combining it with an airgun show.


  3. So…H&N gives B.B. free samples of their latest pellets so he can test them and thousands of us will see how good they are and wish to buy them…sounds like a smart company to me. =>



  4. Was great seeing you at the Cup Sir. Wish I’d of had more time to pick your brain 😉 My HFT pistol was all dressed up and nowhere to play, looking forward to next year.
    The Sig did shoot nice, and talking to Dani has me excited to see the wood stock version in the near future, I really want a gasram FT rifle for next season.
    The cooler temps threw me for a loop, my scope just did not like 20+° temp swings, my HFT scores were the lowest I’ve shot all year.
    Can you enlighten me and fellow readers to why temps effect scopes, and what scopes may fare better with large temp swings?
    Take care Sir, hope to see you in Ohio next year.



    • Erockrocket,

      As almost always B.B. hasccovered parts of the problem in the past:
      https://www.pyramydair.com/article/Scope_shift_and_barrel_droop_two_common_problems_March_2008/46
      He has provided a bit more information that he has picked up or remembered since 2008.

      I will add that in astronomy scopes temperature is no being automated with various amounts of success…
      Some scope (shooting) manufacturers care beginning to move into smarter scopes too!
      But, the shooters Dopebook/sheets are still the way to go.
      You could workup the scope in a fixture at various temperatures or if your shooting combination is going to stay together for some time you can work up the system all at once to get POA – POI shift with temperature change. I will hint that it is a close approximation to linear in my experience…makes it a tiny bit easier…but you will still need to sample to be assured your system results don’t differ from the rule,-of-thumb!

      shoot clean!
      shootski


      • I wish I could find a reason other than scope shift. I chose a higher end 8-32×50 Hawke Airmax, set in a Gen 1 Bullseye Dampa mount. I have also modified my stock for an adjustable cheek riser, and butt pad.
        Eye relief is consistent, I also shoot from a known “good” spot of the stock when set on my shooting sticks.
        Fri afternoon temps were 85+ °, checked my zero, all good.
        Sat morn, check zero and was low by over 1 mildot. I did not rezero, got bit badly doing that last PA Cup, I just rolled with it and compensated, added to my dope chart. Shot a dismal 30/52 score. After the match I checked my zero again, was still over 1 mildot low, it never rose with the temps. Since Sunday was forecast for near same temps, I DID rezero.
        Sun morning, checked zero, was good. Got on the FT course and couldn’t make many shots, seems the temps climbed, and so did my POI. I did get lucky and see a hit on a faceplate, over 1 mildot high from my zero.
        All summer long I shot in temps above 75°, I get to the Cup and temps were 52° morning, 65ish later on.
        Maybe my scope needs to gonin to Hawke to check it out?
        Do I lose the Bullseye mount?
        Do I try a higher end scope?
        I want to win, but thisnis the second year I’ve experienced scope shift
        I shot many matches this season, had some great outings, my best was a 43/60 on a difficult course setup by NOA/Tylers home club.
        I won’t give up, I like a challenge, but my path forward is unclear to me.


        • Erockrocket,

          Mmmm? Very frustrating I am sure. The mount would be my first choice to go. The $500 ~ $1000 VS the $4000 scopes must offer something different,…. but what?, I am not sure. Better everything, I would hope.

          Gear, rest, sticks, suits, gloves????,… where does it end?

          There is an interesting pic at HAM that shows a scope that looks like it could make coffee.

          Beyond solid mounts and shooting in all (expected conditions of temp.),… and taking lots of notes, I do not know what else I would do. Eliminate all of that,.. and you (still) get variability,… what then? Hopefully,… after going through all of that,… you WILL know.

          I am not you,… nor will I likely ever be,… but I do admire that you are putting yourself out there,.. very much! 😉

          I do go through the same thing myself,.. though on a much smaller, hobbyist scale. I admire your fight and look forwards very much on you finding a solution. While I do not compete,… I do find myself at the point of “splitting hairs” on the finer points of shooting.

          Chris 🙂 (Sorry,… I am sure that “rant” was of zero use to you,… but hey,… I feel your pain!) 😉


          • Chris USA,

            The big buck scopes start with much tighter specifications on each and every part. Then those better parts are assembled by the best assemblers, tested much more and rejected (substantial part of higher cost) more often. So when the high end scopes are effected by identical conditions they start with a tighter tolerance and diverge from specification less then the less costly scope.

            shootski


        • Before you send the scope back I would be certain to do a few boxes to show them and yourself the scope is/isn’t tracking as it should. With what information you just provided I would not think it is temperature induced POI shift.

          On my scopes that I hunt year round I typically find three distinct bands of scope POI linear shift :
          Sub 20°f., 20-60°f and 60°f and above. You shot the match in a much tighter temperature band.
          Obviously I don’t want to insult your shooter intelligence so everything was properly torqued and the ocular ring was not under or over tight if you touched at all. I don’t see you wearing eyeglasses; was there a change in shooters glasses and/or contacts (if) you wear them?

          Sometimes it is little things that shooters change thinking it won’t effect POI…but it does. If you changed things inventory your changes and undo them one at a time.

          Good luck with finding the one thing that bit you!

          shootski


        • Erockrocket,

          A large, matte black aluminum tube is a heat sponge on a sunny day and can get much warmer than the ambient air temperature when exposed to full sunlight for a period of time, maybe 20 degrees F or higher. I would suggest that you purchase an infrared thermometer to check the actual temperature of the scope itself. Shoot a group from a shaded firing point then set the rifle in full sun for awhile and repeat. Note the scope temperature each time and see if there is any POI shift from cool/warm to hot.

          The Bullseye mount could also be the problem simply because in order for it to function as designed, it has to have a minimal amount clearance to enable it to slide. Could that have increased over time due to wear?

          A simple and I believe interesting experiment would be to cut a piece of aluminum tubing approximately the same diameter (main tube 30mm?), wall thickness and length (measured from ocular to the objective lens) as your scope. This would have to be done on a lathe to insure that the ends are true and square. (1) Take an accurate measurement of the over all length at 70-72 degrees F, vernier calipers should work for this. (2) Paint the OD of the tube flat black, seal the ends (to retain heat for step 3) and put it in your refrigerator (fresh food compartment 36-40 degrees F) overnight and remeasure. (3) Set out in full sunlight on a hot day for a couple of hours and measure again. I would not be surprised to see at least a .005″ increase or even more in length when hot.

          Good luck, I hope you get it figured out!

          Bugbuster


  5. Erockrocket,

    Why do scopes change zero with temperature shifts? Scopes are based on optics, and optics are dealing with light that we see. Any change in a lens size by as little as a millionth of an inch will change the way that lens “sees” things. Temp changes affect the size of the glass, which changes how they focus.

    Scopes that fare best with small tempo changes would be those with the best optical glass. And they cost more because of it. No scope can do well with large temp changes.

    B.B.


  6. B.B.,

    I love the picture with an Air Arms TX200 and Weihrauch HW97K going head-to-head! (Well, OK, it’s the shooters, not the air rifles, but I am a gear head to the core.)

    Michael


  7. Thanks for the report B.B.!

    Would love to attend one of these events but there are none within reasonable distance so I really appreciate being able to “see” the show through your reports.

    I always smile at the “equipment competitions” – all the stuff that removes the shooter from the equation – not a competition of skill but one of $$,$$$.

    As kids we had competitions to see who was the most skilled shooter. To be fair (no equipment advantages), one rifle was shared and pellets were from the one tin. The 10 targets were bottle caps, 2 minutes allowed for the 10 shots. Shooting was all done off-hand, scoring was simple, either you hit or you didn’t. In the case of a tie there was another round of targets setup. We had a lot of fun with these competitions and would hold them frequently.

    Hank


  8. Gunfun 1, Chris USA,

    If you enjoy spicy sauces which actually have flavor, I would highly recommend Marie Sharp’s which I buy online from Dr. Chili Pepper. They are manufactured in Belize and are all Habanero based. The heat range goes from mild to XXXX. I have tried them all over the years and they are all good, but I do prefer some more than the others. I would recommend buying the 5 oz bottle sample pack as opposed to the 1.69 oz sample pack though since 1.69 ounces doesn’t go very far if you really like the flavor.

    Red Lion Spicy Foods Company is another business I deal with for seasonings, plus they have all sorts of spicy recipes on their website.

    Bugbuster



    • Bugbuster,

      Thank you. Will check out this weekend. Notes made. Yucatan Sunshine is a good Habanero sauce that uses carrots, celery, lime, onions and maybe garlic,… all of which helps to temper the heat. Very good and packs the heat, but real good flavor. I copied the recipe and it turned out quite well.

      I like making hot sauce. (’bout 20 years) This was my first go with the Ghost and I was seeing how far I could push it. ( I found IT!!!!) For reference, one 3-4″ long Ghost in 24 oz. of bought salsa is (quite) do-able. Like chip full,.. do-able. Mince fine, cook, re-jar. Start there. I do salsa’s and mustards as well.

      Thank you again,….. Chris


      • Chris USA,

        The Marie Sharp’s sauces use many of the same ingredients as Yucatan Sunshine. There are two with a citrus flavor, orange and grapefruit also. Siracha, the original, is one of my favorites also, goes well on chicken, pork, hot dogs and lasagna.

        Silver Spring mustard’s are very good also, along with Colman’s English mustard which is also available in powder form. Another spice you would really appreciate is Garlic Siracha seasoning which is only available now under the Weber brand. It is great on vegetables, eggs, soups and some meats.

        I, like GF 1 can no longer tolerate hot hot, and have never tried a Ghost pepper or a Carolina Reaper which is even hotter than the Ghost! No thank you. Habanero’s are about my limit at my age, pushing seventy-two and even those I use sparingly.

        Yesterdays weather was truly crappy, rain on, rain off, rain on, etc.,etc so i cooked up three gallons of venison chili. The sad part is that several months ago after donating blood, I became very ill and according to the doctor had somehow contracted a virus which all but destroyed my sense of taste and smell. According to the doc, the chances of them returning is slim to none.

        Chris, go to the Bug-a-salt website and click on comments and then click on the block on the right side of the screen which I think are reviews. There are many reviews (opinions) covering the original 1.0, 2.0 and the new 3.0 Black Fly edition which apparently is not in full production yet. The reviews are mixed but you know what is said about opinions.

        Bugbuster


        • Bugbuster,

          Thanks on the Weber tip and the 3.0. An acquittance gave me some Lama meat. Did chili with it. Good flavor but a bit chewy, even after slow cooking, but very do-able. There is one hotter the Carolina Reaper,…. the Grim Reaper! I would like to avoid that one as long as possible, if you know what I mean. 😉

          Chris


  9. Gunfun 1

    Any of these will probably not be as hot as Chris’s concoction but they can be pretty warm on the high end, just use it sparingly. You will not be disappointed.

    Bugbuster


    • Bugbuster
      I can do hot. But I’m thinking the Ghost peppers will be pushing my limits.

      And what I like theost is the flavor of the different peppers.

      Sometimes the heat of the peppers or sauce kills it for me. To hot is no good. Just right hot with flavor is what I like.

      Sounds like our air guns again to me. We all got our different likes


      • My wife and I ate at a Vietnamese restaurant Saturday and put some ghost pepper sauce in our pho. Even though I do not believe ghost peppers are SE Asian, they had three kinds of sauce on the table, the ghost pepper one, a mild one, and a medium, sweet one that was also quite tasty on our spring rolls.

        If it doesn’t make your brow sweat and your lips turn dark purple, it’s not hot enough. ;^)

        Michael


        • Michael,

          Siracha (with the Rooster on the bottle) is a good go to on about anything. Asian section. Because I was trying not to waste the Ghost (32 of them), I cooked, blended, strained and ended up with 8 oz. of pure sauce. 8 Ghost peppers per 2 oz. bottle. At the extreme, I think that anything commercial may use one,.. or less than one, in 2 oz..

          Chris


          • Chris,

            This was homemade by the restauarant, as was the medium and sweet one. The mild one actually was a variety of Siracha. Don’t know about the rooster, but it was red.

            Their ghost pepper sauce was in a large, thick-walled glass jar with no label, a hinged lid, and a long stemmed, small, shallow, thick glass spoon. Everything about the jar’s look was foreboding, and it was indeed blisteringly hot. A very small amount stirred into a huge bowl of pho (probably about 1 1/2 quarts of broth, not even counting the noodles) turned it from bland beef stock to a smoldering cauldron of wonderfulness.

            Michael



              • Gunfun1
                I’m in the same boat when it comes to what I can tolerate these days.
                A while back I went into a small Mom & Pop Mexican grocery store to buy an assortment of dried peppers and came across the El Yucateco brand of hot sauce. I picked up a bottle each of their red, green and XXX habanero sauces and they have been my favorites ever since. Just like most other sauces, the hotness can be somewhat regulated by the amount you use and you really pick up on the taste.
                This brand is a Mexican import and has been around for 50 years now, so they’ve had time to get it right.
                If you are interested in the Scoville units the Red is lowest and the XXX is just shy of 12,000. On their website they have additional flavors but these three seem to be the ones they export to the U.S. – they show a list of stores you can find these so you don’t have order by mail.
                Larry from Algona


            • Michael,

              I have done the extreme ratio with Habaneros too. At Wally World, in the Mexican section, there is a brand that has several offerings. One is a Habanero and appears to be black as pitch. Why black? All of my homemade Habanero sauce comes out a nice orange and stays that way. I have enjoyed the pepper discussion.

              Chris


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