How to mount a scope: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • What optically centering DOES NOT mean
  • What optically centering really is
  • How to optically center a scope
  • Why do we do it?
  • Field target
  • Counting clicks — mechanical centering
  • Erector tube return spring
  • A better way
  • What about left and right?
  • Why so anal?
  • Pragmatic approach
  • Summary

Today we are going to discuss optically centering a scope. It’s going to be a difficult report for me to write, because the subject does not have much merit for airgunners. So I will compensate by adding some things that do have merit. Let’s go!

What optically centering DOES NOT mean

Let’s start with what optical centering DOESN’T mean. The optical center of the scope is not the place at which there are an equal number of clicks up and down and side to side. I say that and some of you already know it and yet the website “RifleOpticsWorld” has an online article written by “Rifle Optics Team” that says that setting a scope to the optical center is simply returning it to the factory setting. Excuse me?????  read more


How to mount a scope: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • The olden days
  • What needs to be done
  • Eliminate cant
  • The tale
  • More information
  • The scope must be angled down
  • Adjusting the scope too far right is also bad
  • Not experts
  • Position the eyepiece
  • Adjustable scope mounts
  • Is it enough?
  • Points to remember
  • Summary

The olden days

When I started shooting in the 1950s, scopes were not that common, especially on airguns. I was as intrigued by them as anyone, believing that they increased the accuracy of whatever they were mounted on. 

Well, they don’t. What they do is make it easier to shoot accurately with a given airgun or firearm. But they can only do it if they are mounted on the gun correctly and then sighted in properly. This series is dedicated to addressing all that is inherent in both mounting a scope correctly and then sighting it in properly.

What needs to be done

To properly mount a scope there are several things to consider. Here is a list. read more


John Wayne Lil’ Duke BB gun with scope: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Lil Duke and scope
John Wayne Lil’ Duke BB gun with scope.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • What happened?
  • I thought I knew better
  • HOWEVER
  • Is it really tight?
  • The scope
  • The test
  • Air Venturi Steel BBs
  • Hornady Black Diamond BBs
  • Avanti Match Grade Precision Ground Shot
  • Smart Shot
  • Old Dust Devils
  • Dust Devil Mark 2
  • What have we learned?
  • Summary

I tested the John Wayne Lil’ Duke BB gun with scope in Part 4, but if you read that report you’ll see that the scope base was a little loose. Today’s report clears that up.

What happened?

Reader Chris USA asked me if I read the instructions that came with the scope base, Of course I read them. The better question to ask was when did I read them? I read them as I was editing my report and wondering why Pyramyd Air would let a scope base this flimsy go out. That was the reason for the Oh, fudge! title at the end.

I thought I knew better

You see, I tested a BB-gun scope base like this back in 2016. You may remember the Brice scope base for the Red Ryder BB gun. That was years before this base hit the market and I thought I knew everything there was to know about BB gun scope bases. read more


UTG 4-16X44 OP3 Compact scope : Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

UTG 4-16 OP3 Compact
UTG 4-16X44 OP3 Compact scope.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • Huh?
  • Pyramyd Air Cup
  • What makes this scope special?
  • The reticle
  • Reticle adjustments
  • True Strength scope tube
  • Sidewheel parallax adjustment
  • Bright optics
  • Compact
  • Rings included
  • The plan
  • Summary

Huh?

Okay, Lucy (from the TV series “I Love Lucy”) got some ‘splainin’ to do. Why is today Part One of a report on the UTG 4-16 AO Compact scope and yet there are links to Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4? Well, those links all go to the FX-Dreamlite that I last tested in July. At the end of Part 4 I said I had more to test, and this is the start of it.

As you know, the Dreamlight that I tested had problems delivering the accuracy we expect from an FX. It has the Smooth Twist II barrel, which we discovered is very pellet-specific, but I still have not tested it with a good range of pellets it likes — especially the heavier ones. I told you way back in July that there was more to test and today is the start of it.

I Part 3 I had mounted a UTG 8-32X56 SWAT scope on the rifle and went through the horrendous problem of sighting it in. Because the Dreamlite that I am testing is a super drooper I had a hard time getting it to zero. But I did zero the rifle and also shot some groups. Now I want to continue testing this rifle with today’s new UTG scope.

Pyramyd Air Cup

While I was at the 2019 Pyramyd Air Cup this year, the guys from Leapers showed me a brand-new second focal plane UTG scope — the one I am reporting on today. I was stunned by its clarity. That remark deserves some explanation, because it’s the same thing I said about the new Meopta Optika6 scope I just finished testing on the S510. While I don’t compare products, one to another, I will tell you that the Optika6 is a clear winner for clarity. But, by how much? And, are you willing to pay $650 for that edge, when this beautiful new scope costs $230? I bought the Meopta to have at least one scope that compared to a $3,000+ scope. But this UTG is hands-down the clearest scope you will see at this price or even perhaps a hundred dollars more.

What makes this scope special?

This isn’t the first 4-16 power scope you have seen. That range of powers is a wonderful blend for a lot of different shooting including plinking, hunting and some target shooting. There are many other scopes with a similar power range on the market, so what makes this one stand out? Here we go.

Etched reticle
MOA reticle
Illuminated reticle
True Strength scope tube
30mm scope tube with 44mm objective lens
Sidewheel parallax adjustment from 10 yards to infinity
Zero-lockable turret knobs
Low target turrets that adjust in MOA
Compact scope body

The reticle

Like I said, this reticle is etched on glass, so it stays clear and sharp. The illumination only lights up the central cross, which is perfect for hunting in low light because there is no flareup reflection on the inside walls of the scope tube. Plus, the EZ-Tap reticle has 36 potential colors and brilliances, so there will always be a color and intensity to suit the situation. And the illumination stays on until you turn it off so you aren’t fiddling with it all the time. Press either button for two seconds to turn it off.

The reticle is a sort of duplex with a marked MOA cross in the center to help with rangefinding and shot adjustment. The reticle has hash marks that are two MOA apart on both lines. These help a shooter get on target without adjusting the scope. You just move the hash mark where the pellet is striking over to your target. Field target shooters do it all the time on windy days.


This is the OP3 reticle. Both the elevation and windage are marked in MOA. Only the small cross in the center is illuminated. This image courtesy of Leapers.

Reticle adjustments

The reticle adjusts via lower knobs that are also marked in MOA. The clicks are very muted. I can’t hear them but I can just feel them. Fortunately for me they correspond to the markings on the scale, so a visual inspection of that scale is the most accurate way to keep track for me. The locking rings are smooth and positive. And you can loosen the adjustment knobs and turn them to zero on each scale after the scope is sighted-in. An Allen screw on the edge of each knob is loosened for this.

UTG OP3 reticle adjustment
Here you see how the reticle adjustment knobs are marked. You can also see the screws that are loosened to slip the adjustment knobs to zero. read more


Daisy model 105 Buck BB gun: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Daisy Buck
Daisy Buck BB gun.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Little Buck Rail
  • Mounting the rail
  • MIL STD 1913 Picatinney rail
  • Weaver rings
  • Won’t the ring move around?
  • What scope?
  • Discussion
  • Summary

We have now looked at the Daisy model 105 Buck BB gun. We’ve seen its velocity and we have seen its level of accuracy with the factory open sights. Today we begin to look at the reason for the report. Today we look at mounting a scope on the gun, using the Little Buck Rail from Buck Rail.

Buck Rail
The Buck Rail is a synthetic adaptor that fits a Daisy Buck BB gun to provide a MIL STD 1913 Picatinney rail for mounting an optical sight.

Little Buck Rail

The Little Buck Rail is an adaptor that fits over the rear sight on the BB gun. It has a hole at the rear for the wood screw that fits the top of the pistol grip on the BB gun.

Reader Terry Harman asked if I would be interested in reviewing the scope base his company makes. I had already tested a scope base for the Daisy Red Ryder back in 2016, and there was enough interest that I thought I would see what Terry’s company makes. I’m glad I did because it is very different from the previous mount I tested.

When I first saw the rail I wondered how it had been made. It wasn’t machined yet the angles and cuts were precise. Then I read the website and discovered that it was printed on a 3-D printer. I think this is the first time I have seen a 3-D printed part sold for retail. I’ve seen plenty of them used for testing, but never as the finished product. Let’s take a look at the design.

One end fits over the Buck’s rear sight. But it isn’t a simple slip fit. There is engineering involved so the fit is solid, once the part is in place. Let’s look at it.

Buck Rail end 1
The Buck’s rear sight slides up into that slot you see here, but it isn’t just a simple slip fit. There is a ledge at the base that presses against the rear sight once it’s in the slot, so the fit is very tight!

Buck Rail end 2
You’re looking at the rail from the other side in this view. The rear sight fits into the slot (arrow) and here you can see the ledge (the arrow passes through it) that presses against the sight.

Mounting the rail

To mount the rail on the Buck you first need to unscrew the Phillips wood screw located at the top of the pistol grip. Remove the screw from the gun.

Next, the rail is positioned over the rear sight like a lever or a shoehorn and the rear of the rail is pressed down. That fits the rear sight into the slot at the front of the rail.

Buck Rail install 1
This is how the Little Buck Rail fits on the gun, but not how the rail is installed. read more


Smith & Wesson model 77A multi-pump pneumatic air rifle: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

S&W 77A
My S&W model 77A rifle. The black paint is flaking off the aluminum receiver, but the steel and wood parts are both in good condition.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Number of pumps?
  • Scope
  • Bug Buster?
  • Rings
  • Sight-in
  • The test
  • First Hobby group
  • Second Hobby group
  • Discussion
  • Eley Wasps
  • “Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright…”
  • Summary

I have what will be a quick report today, but it will also be one of great interest, I think. This will be my last look at the Smith & Wesson 77A multi-pump pneumatic unless I refinish it.

Number of pumps?

Reader Pgray said he had found a manual for this rifle online that said not to exceed 20 pumps. We were already hearing from several sources that 20 was the maximum, but this came from a manual, so I felt I had to test it for you.

Remember, the RWS Hobby pellet had gone 631 f.p.s. with 14 pumps. So today I tested the same pellet with 20 pump strokes. I only shot three shots, because I still think 20 pumps is a lot for a rifle as old as this. Here is what I got.

Shot……Velocity
1………….684
2………….690
3………….700

I checked the gun after each shot and no air remained in the reservoir. Looking at that short string, it seems to me the pump seals are warming up. I bet if I was to shoot 10 shots the average would be in the low 700s. But I’m not going to do that. Now we know, and that’s enough.

Scope

Several of you felt the rifle deserved a scope, so I mounted one and that’s what I will shoot today. The scope I mounted is one you cannot buy today. I have found it to be a superior scope for many special applications, including scoping this 77A. It’s a UTG 1.5-4X28 scope with a 100-yard fixed parallax. But with just 4-power who cares where the parallax is set?

The closest you can get to the scope I used is the

UTG 1.5-6X44 scope read more


Aligning a scope with the axis of the rifle bore

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Texas Airgun Show
  • The question
  • The bad news
  • Details
  • The barrel
  • Is the scope base parallel to the axis of the bore?
  • What about side-to-side?
  • Scope mounts
  • The answer
  • Greater precision?
  • However…
  • Close enough
  • What is meant by tweaking?
  • Never perfect
  • Summary
  • read more