Sig Sauer P365 air pistol: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Sig P365
Sig Sauer P365 BB pistol.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • The test
  • The first shot
  • Sig BBs
  • Discussion
  • New CO2 cartridge
  • Crosman Black Widow BBs
  • What I’m up against
  • The trigger
  • Dust Devil BBs
  • Summary

Today we look at the accuracy of the Sig P365 BB pistol. So far this gun has been performing as it should. I just hope it will stay on the paper at 5 meters. There are two reasons I say that. First, with guns that have a short barrel, ANY movement of the gun/barrel causes large movements of the shots downrange. Short-barreled handguns are just as accurate as handguns with long barrels — they are just harder to shoot accurately. And second, with a sight radius (distance between the font and rear sight) of just a few inches, ANY amount the sights are off will be exaggerated downrange. read more


IZH MP532 target rifle: Part 7

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

IZH MP532
IZH MP532 single stroke target rifle.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • UTG Micro Reflex doesn’t fit
  • Millett dot sight
  • Dot sights
  • Sight in
  • The test
  • Group 1
  • H&N Match Green
  • H&N Finale Match Heavy
  • Best group
  • GunFun1 — this one’s for you!
  • 25 yards
  • Summary

Today is an unplanned report on the older IZH MP532 target rifler. Reader GunFun1 asked if I could shoot it with a dot sight. So I’m doing that today and this is definitely the last report I’m doing on these two air rifles.

UTG Micro Reflex doesn’t fit

I wanted to test it with the new UTG Micro Reflex dot sight, but with the 11mm dovetail adaptor installed in its clamping jaws the base is too flat to fit down around the rounded top of the MP532 barrel shroud. That prevents both jaws from entering the dovetails at the same time and of course that means you can’t mount that sight on this rifle. No problem, though, because I have other dot sights that do work.

Millett dot sight

I recently tested the Beeman P3 with a Millett dot sight that came with the used pistol I purchased for the test. It was a $200+ sight in its day, so it has plenty of quality. And, best of all, the underside of its clamping base is rounded for rifle dovetails like these.

IZH MP532 Millett
The Millett dot sight went right on the 532 barrel.

Dot sights

Dot sights bring a couple things to the table that we need to appreciate. First, because they typically do not magnify the target, you can wear your everyday glasses. That means you can see both the illuminated dot and the target as good as possible. Dot sights also don’t typically have the erector tube problem that plagues scopes, so they don’t droop. I didn’t sight in at 12 feet like I normally do with a scope. I sat down at 10 meters and fired the first shot, just like I would if I were using open sights. It hit the target backer board 4 inches below and two inches to the right of the aim point, which was the center of the bull.

The next dot sight advantage is they have large adjustment intervals. Instead of 1/4-inch movements per click at 100 yards, they typically move the dot a full inch or so per click at that distance. I’m shooting at 10 meters so I have to adjust about 10 times as many clicks, but it still is a lot less than I would have to do with a scope.

Sight in

The first adjustment brought the next pellet up a little too high and a little to far the left of the aim point. One more adjustment and shot number three scored a solid nine in the center of the bull. So I made it the first shot of the first 5-shot group.

The test

I’m shooting 5-shot groups off a bench at 10 meters with the rifle rested on a sandbag. I’m shooting the same three pellets that were tested in Part 6 last time. The first pellet up and also the one I sighted in with is the RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle, an 8.2-grain wadcutter.

I pumped the pump handle partially 10 times to flex and warm up the pump cup and then once before pumping for each shot. I’m getting used to that with these rifles.

Group 1

Five Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets went into 0.264-inches at 10 yards when I sighted with the dot sight. Compare that to the 0.253-inch group I got from this rifle when using a scope in Part 6.

IZH MP532 Meisterkugeln Rifle
Five RWS Meisterkugeln Rifle pellets went into 0.264-inches at 10 meters when the MP532 was sighted with the Millett dot sight. That hole in the white at the upper left is sighter shot number 2. I left it in the picture to show how quick this dot sight gets on target. The next shot is in the 9 at the top left of the group.

That was a good start to the test. I felt this was going to be a great day.

H&N Match Green

The next pellet I tested was the H&N Match Green wadcutter. In the last test with the scope five of these went into 0.224-inches at 10 meters. This time five went into 0.582-inches. It’s the largest group of the test and I have no explanation of why it is so large. I didn’t pull any of the shots.

IZH MP532 H&N Match Green
Five H&N Match Green pellets went into 0.582-inches at 10 meters. I have no idea why. The four that are in the same hole measure 0.294-inches between centers, but that is still no excuse for this group.

H&N Finale Match Heavy

The last pellet I tested was the H&N Finale Match Heavy wadcutter. In the last test five went into 0.147-inches at 10 meters when the scope was used. This is also the pellet that made a 0.072-inch group when shot at 10 meters with the peep sight in Part 5, after I figured out how the sight worked on the newer 532. Based on that I hoped the dot sight could also do well.

Best group

I didn’t look through the spotting scope for any of these shots, and even when I finished all five of them I didn’t look. I just went downrange to retrieve the target. There, to my utter surprise, was a single hole in the bull through which five of the same target pellets had passed. It measured 0.260-inches across the widest outside measurement and, when I subtracted 0.177 inches to remove half the pellet’s width from each hole, I was stunned to see a 0.083-inch group! I thought “No Way,” so I did the math again. I even measured the hole again to be sure. Then I photographed my phone to share with you what I saw.

IZH MP532 H&N Finale Match Heavy calculation
This is what I saw when I calculated the group size. read more


The basics of shooting: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Accuracy from gross to fine
  • Rough airguns
  • Smooth airguns
  • Trigger
  • Cleaning the barrel
  • Sight picture training
  • The triangulation system
  • Making a triangulation sighting bar
  • Conduct of the exercise
  • A simpler, faster way to begin
  • Style of the sights doesn’t matter
  • The results you want
  • Summary
  • read more


    The basics of shooting: Part 2

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    Part 1

    This report covers:

    • Accuracy
    • Kentucky rifle and the importance of the hold
    • Follow through
    • Percussion locks revealed more!
    • Other influences on hold
    • Breathing control
    • Trigger control
    • Combine things
    • Dry-firing
    • Review
    • Summary

    I was asked to write this series by just one reader, but from the responses we got to Part One, I’d say that a lot of you wanted it. Let’s dive in.

    Accuracy

    I’ll start where I let off — with accuracy. It started with sights that gave shooters a way of knowing where their barrels were pointing. Then came the rifled barrel. Rifling was a huge step toward accurate shooting. It took the strike of the ball from being within feet down to within inches. Sights got the shooter into the correct compass quadrant; rifling got them somewhere on the target.

    Rifling was so revolutionary that it was prohibited from early shooting contests because it was seen as too much of an advantage. Can you imagine that? And dueling pistols were not supposed to be rifled, but many sets of pistols have been found with at least one pistol containing a secretly rifled barrel.

    So with rifling we are down to accuracy within inches. What’s next? Well — distance comes next. Instead of being accurate at 60 feet why not accurate at 100 yards or 300 feet? Early rifles were muzzleloaders, so the patched ball that came into existence just after 1700 allowed this to happen. Of course a breechloader would have solved the problem of loading the ball even better, but with black powder the breechloader wasn’t popular during the flintlock era that lasted until just after 1810.

    Kentucky rifle and the importance of the hold

    Around 1720 or so the “Kentucky” rifle came into existence. It’s an American design made popular on the western frontier of the United States at that time. That would be western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

    The Kentucky rifle had a longer barrel that needed less gunpowder and a smaller ball that was patched (loaded with a material surrounding the ball that “took” the rifling so the ball was left unmarked). The patch spun the ball for accuracy and fell away in the first few feet of flight.

    When the Kentucky rifle came into existence it became possible to see an even greater potential for accuracy (down to fractions of an inch), and shooters started noticing that how they held the rifle was important. Of course the hold had always been important, but the errors of a smooth bore and no sights had masked it. With the Kentucky rifle, accuracy rose to such a level that the hold became noticeable.

    Follow through

    The early shooters called it “letting the rifle hang,” but what that meant was holding it so their bodies didn’t disturb it when the rifle recoiled. In other words they were doing the very first use of what I call the artillery hold. But for over a century shooters have called it follow-through. They mean that after the shot is fired you don’t move, which accomplishes the same thing.

    Percussion locks revealed more!

    Those early shooters were shooting flintlocks that blew up in their faces when they fired. Staying calm though that took a lot of guts, because the burning gunpowder in your flash pan could easily blind you! If you don’t understand, watch this video all the way through.

    When the percussion cap replaced the flint lock, shooters were safe from the secondary explosion that set off the main charge of gunpowder. Also, the percussion cap exploded the main charge of gunpowder faster than the flint lock had. The LOCK TIME (time it takes the lock to act) was reduced, which meant there was less time for the shooter’s hold to influence the shot. Now the hold became super-critical, as it affected differences of just hundredths of an inch!

    Just before 1900, barrelmaker and world champion rifleman Harry Pope put 10 bullets into two-tenths of one inch between centers at 200 yards! To do that he didn’t hold the rifle at all! it rested in a double rest — one cradled the barrel out by the muzzle and the other rest held the stock near the butt. Benchrest shooters still hold their rifles this way more than a century later.

    Other influences on hold

    We have identified the major drivers of accuracy — sights, rifling and hold. But it doesn’t end there. Now we have to look at a lot of little things.

    Breathing control

    Both your heartbeat and breathing affect the hold of your rifle. To get the heartbeat under control champion shooters exercise so their resting heartbeat is under 60 beats a minute. Then they learn how to shoot between the heartbeats. But your heart has to beat, so you have to tolerate that movement to some degree. Your breathing, however, is under your control.

    The best approach is to breath deeply, exhale half the air and then shoot. You have 3 to 5 seconds before your heart starts beating harder and faster to circulate more air to your body. With training you can learn to sight and squeeze off a shot in this interval. I will address how you learn that in a moment, but know that it is essential that you learn this lesson if you want to be a good shot.

    Trigger control

    When the trigger breaks (releases the sear so the gun will fire), it should not impart any movement to the rifle. This is why we teach shooters to squeeze the trigger blade until the gun fires and it’s also why a crisp trigger is preferred over one that’s stiff and jerky.

    Combine things

    Now I will combine some things. I will combine the hold, and breathing and trigger control. These things play together to help or hinder accuracy down in the region of small fractions of an inch. And the way we train to get all of them under control and working together is by dry-firing.

    Dry-firing

    I am a pistol shooter, so I will now switch from using rifles as examples and move over to air pistols. The sport of 10-meter air pistol (paper target shooting at 10 meters) is a very precise one where hundredths of an inch separate winners from those who don’t even place in the top three. The three things we are talking about — hold, breathing and trigger control all play an important role in accuracy, as does the sight picture the shooter takes before releasing the shot.

    The stance is so precise that it is difficult for the shooter to hit more than three inches on either side of dead center, left and right. The hold goes along with that and makes it impossible to hit more than three inches above or below the center of the bullseye. Sounds nice but I have just described a square that’s six inches on a side. Hitting somewhere inside that isn’t going to win anything.

    Here is where your breathing and trigger control come into play. The shooter takes a deep breath and lets half of it out. While doing this he relaxes and also raises the muzzle of the pistol above the target, then lets it slowly settle back down. As the front and rear sight come into perfect alignment with the bull, he is squeezing the 500-gram trigger so it will break in a second. All of this, from start to finish, takes less than 5 seconds. It is a robotic movement the shooter has practiced tens of thousands of times though dry-firing.

    Every day, seven days a week, the shooter raises the pistol, sights on a bull and fires the gun that doesn’t actually fire because it has a dry-fire training system built in that allows the trigger to break without anything else happening. The shooter will dry-fire this way perhaps 400 times each day, followed by shooting 60 live shots at a target.

    As the days, weeks and months pass the shooter’s movements are programmed into his body until he can “see” where every pellet goes during dry-fire. He can see the difference between a pellet that would have scored 10 and one that would have scored 9 on every shot.

    I’ll tell you how exact this is. Once, during a match I shot a 6 when I thought it was a 10. The pellet was perfectly in line with the center of the bull but landed 1.125-inches directly below the 10. I was shooting a CO2 target pistol that had just run out of gas in the middle of a match. The loss of those 4 points kept me from scoring expert for the first time in competition. I refilled the pistol, but was so flustered that I also threw a couple 9s afterward.

    I couldn’t afford a better target pistol at the time and that was the last national match I competed in. To put the cherry on top my automatic transmission failed on the drive home, leaving me stranded on a freeway in Maryland, just outside Washington D.C.

    Sorry to end on a negative note, but that’s the whole story. The important thing here is to note that I was so “trained up” at this point that I knew the bad shot should have been a 10. I could see it because of all my dry-firing.

    Review

    Let’s look at what has been discussed today.

    Accuracy — the givens
    Sights — better sights can help you.
    Rifling — the right projectile is matched to the right rifling.
    Lock time — the artillery hold accounts for the time until the pellet leaves the muzzle.

    Accuracy — the things you control
    Hold — use a hold that doesn’t affect the rifle in a negative way.
    Breathing — learn to control your breathing to not influence the rifle negatively.
    Trigger control — let the trigger break without moving the rifle.
    Sight alignment — that what you are shooting at is actually your target (parallax).

    Summary

    Wow! I’m, still not finished! I have sight training (triangulation drills) and the closeness of airgunners to their target to discuss. And maybe you readers will suggest more topics.

    As I was writing this several other basic and important topics occurred to me. They are hold, breathing control, ammo and cleaning the barrel. I’ll also talk about training shooters to use the sights correctly (triangulation drills) and the accuracy differences that airguns bring to the table. Airgunners shoot so close to the sights that misalignment stands out in a major way, where with a firearm that gets masked by distance. I bet you readers will remind me of some others.


    Umarex Synergis repeating underlever combo: Part 4

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    Synergis
    Umarex Synergis underlever repeating gas piston rifle.

    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3

    This report covers:

    • Scope
    • The test
    • Best pellet
    • Artillery hold
    • Smooth!
    • Rested directly on the sandbag
    • A different pellet?
    • Summary

    Today I shoot the new Umarex Synergis at 25 yards and finish the series. I’ll tell you up front, the Synergis is a fine air rifle and worth your consideration.

    Scope

    As you remember from Part 3, I said the scope was not clear at 10 meters. Since it doesn’t have parallax adjustments I had hoped it would clear up at 25 yards. Well, that didn’t happen. It was still blurry at 25 yards on the full 9 power. It was clear enough to see a pellet hole in the white target paper but not inside the black bull. If I was going to shoot this rifle a lot I would plan on getting a different scope, though I think you will see that the one that comes with the gun is very useable.

    The test

    I shot from a sandbag rest at 25 yards indoors. I started with the artillery hold that I will describe and then switched to resting the rifle directly on the bag. Since I made changes as I went, I will tell you how many pellets were fired at each target as we go.

    Best pellet

    Umarex sent me a tin of JSB Exact 8.44-grain domed pellets that I thought might be the best ones to shoot. So far they have been, so they are the pellets I started this test with. After Part 3 the rifle was sighted for 10 meters, so at 25 yards I expected the pellet to rise, and indeed it did. The center of the first group is about 1.25-inches above the aim point, which is the center of the bull. It’s also hitting about an inch to the left.

    Artillery hold

    As you know, I found in the last test that the artillery hold worked best when my off hand was back touching the triggerguard. So that was the way I shot the first group. The first shot landed above the bull and to the right and the second pellet nailed the bull at 12 o’clock. Those two shots are the two that are farthest apart in the 9 that I shot. I meant to shoot 10, but when I removed the magazine there were three pellets still in it and the Synergis mag holds 12, so I must have miscounted the shots. I can see 9 pellet holes, too.

    Nine pellets went into 1.426-inches at 25 yards. Before you start criticizing that, remember what I just said. The first and second pellet landed the farthest apart, which means the other seven pellets are in a group measuring 0.598-inches between centers. Now, that is a lot more like it!

    Synergis JSB group 1
    The shot at the top right was the first pellet and the shot at the top of the black bull on the lower left is the second. Between these two shots the remaining 7 pellets went into a group measuring 0.598-inches between centers. As I shot I was settling down and shooting better. And through the scope I could see the small group in the center of the two wide shots, which encouraged me to concentrate.

    Smooth!

    It was this first group that alerted me to the fact that maybe my artillery hold isn’t best for the Synergis. Actually, it was those first two shots, because when I settled down the shots stayed together. I have commented several times on how smooth this underlever feels when it shoots. That means smooth for a gas piston — not for a coiled steel spring. A gas spring cycles so much faster than a coiled steel mainspring that it always feels a bit harsher. But the Synergis is one of the smoothest ones I’ve shot. Perhaps only the ASP20 is smoother. That lead me to wonder if the rifle could be rested directly on the sandbag instead of my hands! That would help settle the rifle down.

    Rested directly on the sandbag

    Yes — it can! This time 10 pellets went into 0.697-inches at 25 yards. This is real accuracy for a repeating spring rifle! For the remainder of the test I rested the rifle directly on the bag.

    Synergis JSB group 2
    The Synergis put 10 JSB 8.44-grain domes into 0.697-inches at 25 yards.

    The group is still high and slightly left of the aim point so I adjusted the scope down by 9 clicks and right two clicks. At this point in the test I wondered if perhaps I relaxed more it might tighten the next group, so instead of 10 shots on ther next target I shot just 5, because relaxing takes a lot more concentration and preparation. But it didn’t help. Five of the same JSB pellets went into 0.676-inches at 25 yards. Yes, that is slightly smaller than the last group, but it’s also half the number of shots. I don’t see any advantage there.

    Synergis JSB group 3
    Five JSB domes went into 0.676-inches at 25 yards.

    I then shot another 5-shot group that was larger, at 0.751-inches, and followed that with a 10-shot group that was 0.994-inches between centers. Clearly I was getting tired and losing concentration. I’m not showing those larger groups because they were my fault and not the rifle’s. But there was one more thing I wanted to try — even if I was tired.

    A different pellet?

    I wondered if the JSB Exact RS pellet that’s lighter than the pellet I have been testing might work in the Synergis. I only shot 5 shots, but look at the group I got. Five went into 0.862-inches with four in just 0.386-inches. The Synergis can shoot — even when I can’t!

    Synergis JSB group 4
    This group of JSB Exact RS pellets was good until, on the 4th shot, I dropped one. Five in 0.862-inches with 4 in just 0.386-inches at 25 yards. read more


    The basics of shooting: Part 1

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    This report covers:

    • Accuracy
    • First development — sights
    • Scopes
    • Rifling
    • Accuracy with the smoothbore versus the rifled barrel
    • Trigger
    • More to come

    Today I’m writing a special report for a reader named Bill who requested it. I will let you read what he said.

    “Trying to make a point in a few words for a big subject doesn’t help me at all. I obviously had also in mind your report on the other side of the spectrum, see Stoeger, and I didn’t make my thoughts clear. I wish you’d make one more series about the basics of shooting. Where terms like relaxing before the shot, sniping, pulling a shot, use of different types of sights etc, every basic information that is, would be brought up AGAIN. General Rules, all together… It just came out when you took the Rolls Royce for test drive. I know, many years now, that you deal with the lowest and the highest gear as well. By the way I for one have enormous respect for the simple feeling of joy for testing such great items like these three. Bill”

    Bill told me in an earlier comment that he is new to shooting and needs to find as many of the basics as he can. He is trying to use this blog as a large tutorial, which is one of the reasons it exists.

    I’m calling this Part 1 even though I don’t know what the future subjects are right now. I have faith that you readers will tell me the things I need to cover as we go. So today I will just give it a start. What are the basics of shooting?

    Accuracy

    We believe that firearms were first created in either the late 1200s or the early 1300s. At that time they were more like science experiments than firearms, because everything was new. Airguns came along around the middle 1500s, and they were just as novel and new when they came into existence.

    The Bogenschuetzen-Gesellschaft (Society of Bowmen or Archers) of Dresden dates from 1286, though there must have been activity prior to that time or else why would that group form? These were persons of royal lineage (about 400) who gathered annually at a festival to see who was to be the King of the Crossbowmen. The town granted them land, money and special honors, because when trouble came, they were the town’s first and best defense.

    bird target
    An engraving of the 1612 crossbow match in Dresden. From The Crossbow, by Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey.

    So accuracy was already well-known by the 1200s. The longbow had existed for many centuries by then, and the spear-thrower was even older. The desire to hit what you intended grew out of the need to hunt for food. And, from that, men developed games to see who was best at hitting their target.

    I don’t want to depart from the central theme of this report, but you should know that even today spear-throwing is popular. The thrower is called an atlatl. Throwing contests are held around the world. And the point is — people like to shoot and to see how good they can become. So when the first firearms came about it was natural that the same things would happen to them.

    First development — sights read more


    2019 Pyramyd Air Cup: Part 2

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    Part 1

    This report covers:

    • Cardinal Shooting Center and Campground
    • Matches
    • Banquet
    • Gunslynger
    • Field target
    • What about me?
    • Enter Ruth
    • Fixin’ in the field
    • Interesting stuff
    • Summary
    • One last thing
    • Website

    Today I will finish my report of the 2019 Pyramyd Air Cup. My report differs from everything else you have seen on the web, because I don’t want to cover the things that have been well reported by many other sources. Instead I am trying to give you the view of the event that you might have had if you had attended.

    Cardinal Shooting Center and Campground

    I mentioned at the start of Part 1 that the vendor’s row where registration took place looked like a carnival with its brightly colored pop-up tents. This was Pyramyd Air’s first event at Ohio’s Cardinal Shooting Center and Campground, so there were lots of things for them to learn. Though the previous venue was large, the Cup had outgrown the areas they could use, so it was nice to have a place where there was room to expand. And, boy was there room! Maybe too much room, as the Cup was spread over an area that extended over two miles in length!

    Also, the Cardinal Center is expanding, and it looks like next year there will be buildings that take the place of the pop-ups. I’m sure the Pyramyd team will look at this year’s Cup and rearrange some things to close up the expansive distances, so people don’t have to walk so far. For instance the public ranges, where there were examples of guns the public could shoot for free, was a quarter mile from the registration tent. You could drive down there and many people did, but it was a little overwhelming upon first arrival. The field target match, camping and banquet hall were two miles in the other direction.

    Matches

    The 100-yard benchrest match was the first event to take place. As I mentioned in Part 1, there was a strong breeze from the right that befuddled many shooters. Even .30 caliber pellets drifted far in that kind of wind. This is very similar to what happened in 1920 — when firearms shooters were trying to shoot 100 yards with centerfire cartridges. Shooters on the leading edge of benchrest in those days were trying to push the .22 Winchester Center Fire (WCF) cartridge to 3,000 f.p.s. and able to put 10 shots in one inch at 100 yards. They never made it to the desired velocity but they did get the accuracy when a wildcat version called the .22 Hornet was perfected in the 1920s. Then modified Hornets shooting lighter bullets pushed past 3,000 f.p.s. in the ’30s.

    Today the big push is shooting airguns accurately at 100 yards. Like in 1920 the wind plays a big part in this, and long-range benchrest airgun competitions have become popular. The 100-yard competitions are now the hottest thing going, so the Pyramyd Air Cup inaugural 100-yard match this year was at the sharp end of the stick.

    Shooters shot .25 caliber and .30 caliber rifles (up to .357 caliber is permitted) purpose-built to compete in this competition. But they all shot diabolo (wasp-waist, hollow tail) pellets that are extremely sensitive to the wind. The rules require mass-produced diabolo pellets. This puts the shooter at a disadvantage, but the rules apply to everyone so the field is level. And the range at the Cup favored no one shooter. There are 30 minutes to shoot 25 rounds, so you have 72 seconds per round. That may sound like a lot, but remember you are fighting the wind, so there is a limit to waiting until the wind dies to shoot.

    benchrest
    The benchrest competition was new at the Cup this year and was the hottest competition there.

    The winner, Justin Welsh, shot a .30 cal. FX Impact Mark II, as did 2nd through 4th places. Fifth place was the highest .25 cal., an Air Arms S510 shot by Ed Lenarduzzi. The lone woman to place in the top 10 was Abby Casey, shooting a .25 caliber RAW HM1000X. She placed 7th overall and as she left the stage with her trophy she proudly announced to the room that she was the only girl in the top ten! The awards were given out at the banquet Saturday evening.

    award
    Pyramyd Air’s Tyler Patner (right) passed out the awards at the banquet.

    Banquet

    The banquet was held Saturday evening and even though some shooters had just finished their final competition, the place was packed! In fact, they will need to expand the space for next year, because some people had to be turned away.

    Besides the many awards, there was also a raffle of many great prizes. Even cheap old BB dropped a few tickets into the jars! The grand prize was a $4,000 Air Arms Air Arms RSN70 PCP. Only 10 were sent to the United States, and boy are they beautiful! Speaking of things that are beautiful, the rifle was donated by and also given away at the banquet by Claire West, the managing director of Air Arms.

    Unfortunately Claire is quite shy and reserved in public, having recently graduated from the Madonna school of self-deportment, so she was barely noticed up on stage (like heck!). But she held it together and managed to give the rifle away.

    Claire
    Claire West (right) draws the final raffle ticket from the jar Kristen is holding.

    Gunslynger

    The Gunslynger is Pyramyd Air’s own version of metallic silhouettes with a twist — speed. The first shooter to knock down five chickens, five pigs, five turkeys and five rams wins! When it started several years ago there were misses among those who placed high, but this year it was a pure speed race. A miss set you back far!

    Matt Dubber of South Africa won, shooting a .22 caliber FX Impact Mark II. Val Simmons came in second, also shooting a .22 caliber FX Impact Mark II. Third place went to Greg Suave who shot a .22 caliber Daystate Red Wolf. How about that, Chris U.S.A.?

    Field target

    Someone said that high-level field target matches today are decided by the forced offhand lanes. That’s different from when I competed. We had lanes where the target placement forced shooters to stand or kneel, but mandatory offhand lanes weren’t as common back then. We used smaller kill zones to weed out the duffers. I haven’t seen a quarter-inch kill zone in quite a while, though I still own a couple targets with them. At this year’s Cup the smallest kill zone was 3/8-inch and they were as large as two inches.

    field target
    In field target not all shots are from the sitting position.

    Top shooter in the World Field Target Federation class was Jack Harris from Wales with 117 of 120 possible points. In Hunter PCP class Bill Rabbitt placed first with 113 of 120 points. Gary Palinkas won the PCP Open class with a 105/120. John Fairbrother of the Air Arms team took first in the piston class with a 108/120. And first in the Hunter Piston class was Dan Putz with a 93/120.

    What about me?

    Since I don’t compete anymore, I get to walk around and just listen to what people are saying. This comment last Friday from reader William Schooley sums up what I hear. He asked me for airgunsmiths to modify his rifle. This is what he said.

    Specifically. I’d like to find an airgunsmith with the knowledge and tools to have my .22 Gauntlet tuned, modified and accurize to the point that I can at least be competitive in the 2020 AirCup benchrest competition.

    All I saw, or at least it seemed to me, on the line this year were expensive rifles like Air Arms, Daystates and RAWs. And these with expensive optics and bipods.

    Being retired, these are all too rich for me. I want a price point air rifle modified into something like my modified 10/22 that I use for shooting at Camp Perry.

    In the alternative, I’d like to see the AirCup expanded to have “stock events” more geared for shooting with price point air rifles.rifles. Barring that, I’ll see about modifing what I’ve got to be competitive.

    P.S. And I like the work to be done in time so I can practice practice and practice some more.

    Thanks,
    William Schooley”

    Well, that stumped me. Because, after what I saw at the Cup, I don’t think there is any way an Umarex Gauntlet can be modified affordably to compete in a 100-yard match in the wind that we saw at the Cup. But I understand his frustration. He wants to compete, but not in a sport that’s an equipment race and not against semi-professionals, which some of these shooters have become.

    Enter Ruth

    So, while I was speaking with Ruth Kass, one of the salespeople at the Cup (where, by the way, everything in the catalog was a flat 20 percent off), it hit me. Ruth and I blue-skyed a new competition that has never existed before. It will use factory airguns! Now, whatever airgun we select for this event will turn out to be the wrong one for 90 precent of the competitors (the loosers), but they won’t know that until the match is over. Maybe I’ll let them burn me in effigy, although I’ll first look at an Ohio map to make sure Effigy isn’t the name of some nearby town!

    I’m not-a-gonna tell you what the event will be, what the rules are or nothin’ else. Mostly because we are making it up as we go. But I will tell you that there may be a competition for average people at the next Cup.

    Fixin’ in the field

    Down at the public ranges, I was talking with Gene Salvino when somebody brought over a Seneca lever action PCP that wouldn’t fire. I watched as Gene eliminated the usual suspects and discovered that the problem was deep down inside the action. There, on a folding table with minimum tools, Gene stripped that action and found that an alloy pellet had slipped out of the chamber and fallen deep into the action, blocking the hammer. Once the smashed-up pellet was shaken free, the rifle was back in service with a total of 10-15 minutes spent.

    While he was working Gene was surrounded by kibitzers like me who kept him busy talking all the time! My point is — don’t assume it’s broken when it doesn’t work.  Also, you can always talk to an Italian because they multitask like a switchboard as they work!

    Often the simple solution saves the day. Also, it doesn’t take a shop full of tools and a white lab coat to work on these things. What it takes is knowledge and some common sense that my late aunt said isn’t that common.

    Gene fix
    Gene had to dig deep to find the jammed pellet.

    Interesting stuff

    One attraction I usually see at the Cup is Rich Shar. Rich drives over from Indiana to show me what he has done with his bevy of large-caliber breakbarrel springers. I have reported on this before, but every year Rich raise the power bar a little higher and increases the smoothness at the same time. The first rifle I fired was his custom .30 cal. Hatsan 135.

    Tom shoot
    I’m shooting a custom .30 cal. Hatsan 135 that Rich built a couple years ago. He has continued to use it as his testbed and I must tell you — this .30 caliber powerhouse shoots as smooth as an ASP20!

    Hatsan and Sig — you had both better pay attention. Rich has used his son’s knowledge of materials to continually improve the performance of this powerhouse. How far has he gone? Would you believe a breakbarrel spring-piston air rifle can generate 44.91 foot-pounds and still not slap your face?

    pellet
    The rifle I am shooting shot this 51.15-grain pellet… read more