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
  • 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


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.


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.


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

    Hatsan Vectis .25-caliber lever action PCP repeater: Part 4

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3

    Hatsan Vectis
    Hatsan Vectis lever action PCP repeater.

    This report covers:

    • Mounting a scope
    • Scope solution
    • Which pellets?
    • The test
    • JSB Exact King first group
    • How many shots per fill? 2nd JSB group
    • Predator Polymag
    • Benjamin domes
    • Predator Polymag
    • Summary

    Today I mount a scope on the Hatsan Vectis lever-action rifle and we see how accurate it really is. As you learned in Part 3, when I used the iron sights that came on the gun and I aimed at the center of the bullseye, the rifle didn’t do very well. A couple of you reminded me that the best way to used sights like these with a bead front sight  is to stack the bullseye on top of the front bead, rather than to try to center it. I knew that of course — I’ve been doing it for decades. I don’t know why I aimed for the center of the target, other than to convince myself that it isn’t the right way to aim with a post and bead front sight.

    Actually, I am not very impressed with these sights. The rear sight mounts way too far forward, so the peephole has to be much larger as a result. And then they put two green fiberoptic dots on it to help me center the red dot up front. The whole thing smacks of a shooting gallery gun to me. And several more readers pointed out that Backup Iron Sights (BUIS — also called Mechanical Backup Sights or MBUS) are widely available and will easily fit this rifle. My reaction to that is why would I ever mount iron sights on a potentially accurate precharged pneumatic rifle?

    Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I appreciate iron sights in the right circumstances. On an M1 Garand or M1 Carbine iron sights are ideal and a scope is ridiculous — in my opinion. What 3-5 MOA rifle needs a scope for any reason? Even a Springfield rifle (a bolt-action repeater that was used by the military from 1903 to the end of WWII) is fine with iron sights. And, in all three instances, the rifles I have cited not only have iron sights, they all have a rear peep — just like the Vectis. But I wouldn’t put them on a rifle that’s capable of 1 MOA, unless it was a target rifle and I was competing in a match where optics were prohibited. I own a Remington model 37 Rangemaster .22 that has gorgeous original peep sights, but I have a period-correct 20X target scope mounted on it that I use all the time.

    Mounting a scope

    I ran into a problem selecting a scope for the Vectis. The circular magazine sticks up so high above the receiver that I had to find scope mounts that would clear it. It sounds like a simple task, but I worked for over an hour, first looking at mounts and then discovering that most scopes have a swelling right where the Vectis mag sticks up, so I had to be careful there, as well. Let’s look at my solution and perhaps you will understand better.

    Hatsan Vectis scoped
    The scope has to be raised high to clear the circular magazine.

    Scope solution

    I used 2-piece BKL 30MM high rings that have thin caps with just 2 screws. They solved the clearance problem and, since the Vectis doesn’t recoil, they were perfect. The scope I chose looked like a 4-12 at first but turned out to be the

    Aeon 8-32X50 AO scope with trajectory reticle read more

    Air Venturi Seneca Aspen .25-caliber precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 3

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    Part 1
    Part 2

    Seneca Aspen PCP
    The Air Venturi Seneca Aspen precharged pneumatic air rifle.

    This report covers:

    • Not the accuracy test
    • Man plans…
    • Testing as a PCP
    • Filling
    • Mounting the scope
    • Sight-in
    • Back to 10 meters
    • Back to 25 yards
    • Scope adjustments
    • My test plan
    • First group of five
    • Shots 6 through 10
    • Second group
    • Third group
    • Discussion
    • Summary

    Get ready to learn something, kids, because school is in session!

    Not the accuracy test

    Today would normally be the start of the accuracy test for a normal PCP air rifle, but the Air Venturi Seneca Aspen PCP is anything but normal! I did shoot a lot of targets today, but there aren’t going to be any dimes in the pictures. I was just trying to figure this rifle out!

    Man plans…

    I figured I would mount the 4X32 AO scope that comes bundled with the rifle and at least start to shoot for accuracy. Well, there is a saying about thoughts like that. Man plans and God laughs! If you don’t believe it, read the book of Ecclesiastes. It was written by King Solomon, who was the wisest man ever to have lived. Near the end of his life he figured out the meaning of life and boiled it down to just that. Oh, he didn’t say it that way — he was more reverent and polite about it, but in chapter 12, verses 12 through 14, he pretty much sums it up that way.

    Testing as a PCP

    Although the Aspen is a PCP, I have never tested it that way. It also has a built-in air pump and when I tested the .22 I always pumped it, because I learned it liked much lower air pressures than the reservoir was built to contain. So, I thought, why not just pump it and I can be the regulator? It worked like a charm, if you can recall those tests.

    But we learned in Part 2 while testing the velocity of this .25 that it likes much higher pressures. So, this was the perfect time, I thought, to fill the rifle from a tank and use it as a PCP. My plan was to sight in and then shoot some groups at 25 yards to discover the best pellets and also whether high or low power was best. And, that was when the laughter started!


    I connected the fill probe to the rifle and filled to 3600 psi/250 bar. Let me warn you — the reservoir fills very fast. Go easy on the air tank knob until you learn the rifle or you will have to bleed it down. It may be capable of shooting at higher pressures, but it may not want to. In fact — it doesn’t.

    Mounting the scope

    The next step after filling was to mount the scope. As long as the rifle comes with a scope, I at least need to try it. The two-piece rings have two-screw caps so there is no trick to tightening them. I did shim under the rear of the scope with one thickness of credit card simply because 75 percent of the air rifles and firearms I have ever scoped need some kind of downward slant. If you put a shim in and they don’t need it you do no harm — you just get a little more elevation adjustment. If you need it and don’t have it you have to remount the scope.

    Seneca Aspen PCP scoped
    I mounted the 4X32 AO scope that comes with the Aspen in the rings that are also bundled.


    I decided to use the single shot tray today. That allows me to switch pellets at will, although the need for that never arose because this is where things got strange. All testing today was done with the Benjamin dome. I always start by sighting in at 10-12 feet from the target. That eliminates any surprises later on.

    I began shooting on low power. The thought was I would then switch to high power when all the pellets had been tested on low, but the laughter started to increase. You’ll see why in a bit.

    The first shot (shot 1) hit below the target paper, but at 12 feet you expect it to be low. In fact, it would be at least as far below the aimpoint as the center of the bore is below the sight plane (the center of the objective lens). My first shot was just a little below that and a little to the right. Thank goodness for the shim!

    Back to 10 meters

    A second shot (shot 2) hit very close by, so I raised the scope several clicks and also dialed in some left adjustment. The third shot (shot 3) hit a little higher and over to the left. It wasn’t quite centered but was close. Close enough that I backed up to 10 meters and fired again. This shot (shot 4) was higher but still not high enough. It was also over to the right again, so I increased the elevation and dialed in a lot of left adjustment. The final shot at 10 meters (shot 5) was at the bottom of the target, but too far to the left. I then adjusted the scope way up and way back to the right. At this point I felt comfortable to move back to 25 yards.

    Back to 25 yards

    When you move from 10 meters to 25 yards your impact point will rise without adjusting the scope 95 percent of the time. At least mine does. It rises by an inch, so I factor for that when sighting-in.

    The first shot from 25 yards (shot 6) hit just outside the black at 1:30 position. Now I was at 25 yards, so the adjustment clicks move the impact more. Each click is 1/4-inch at 100 yards, so 4 clicks are 1/4-inch at 25 yards. I dropped 4 clicks and went left 4 clicks, which should have put the impact into the upper right quadrant of the black, but instead, shots 7 and 8 were very close to the center of the bull. In retrospect I should have fired another shot, but these two were stacked so I felt I could begin shooting a group. Ha!

    Aspen sight-in
    Here is the sight-in target described in the text above.

    Scope adjustments

    I will mention here than the scope adjustments seemed to move the impact point of the pellet exactly as they should. There was no stiction of the reticle remaining in any place after it was adjusted.

    My test plan

    I thought I would shoot pellets until the rifle started dropping them below the aimpoint, which opens the group. Of course I will do this on both power settings with all pellets, so there is a lot of shooting to be done. I will take a picture of the group after every 5 shots.

    Let’s see, I’m shooting on low power and I have already shot 8 shots on the fill. The tank still reads about 2900 psi, which should be good enough for some more shooting, so I continued, hoping I was right about the pressure.

    Aspen pressure
    After sight-in that was 8 shots the Aspen’s pressure gauge looked like this. I read it as 2900 psi.

    First group of five

    And I watched the first shot curve through the scope and land almost two inches to the left and above the center of the bullseye! Okay, I’m here to learn about the rifle. Let’s keep shooting.

    Shot number two hits to the left of the first shot. See? I was right! The shots are walking to the left and towards what I thought was the aimpoint. Shot three hits a little to the left of shot two and now there is a line of three holes that is walking down and to the left — towards the center of the bull. Oh, what a smart boy am I!

    Aspen first group 5
    I marked shots 1 through 3 in this group of 5, so you could see how they walked toward what I thought was the established impact point. Shots 4 and 5 didn’t bear that out.

    Okay, so maybe I wasn’t right about where the point of impact was after all. Or maybe the rifle wants the pressure to go even lower? So back to the bench I went and continued shooting at this same target. Surely this time the shots will walk into the center of the bull.

    Shots 6 through 10

    This time I just shot and didn’t pay any attention to where the pellets were hitting. Unfortunately I could see all of them through the 4-power scope, which is my way of telling you that, besides the adjustments working well, this little scope is also pretty clear. But, darn it, the shots just weren’t going where they were supposed to!

    Aspen first group 10
    There are the five new holes and I don’t know what to tell you about them, except they aren’t where they are supposed to be! I saw none of them in flight. read more