2014 Pyramyd Air Cup: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

This report covers:

• More new toys!
• More on field target
• Shooting opportunities galore!
• And the winner is…
• Same time next year!

Today, we’ll return to the Pyramyd Air Cup for a last look at the event. Some of you have also visited my social network pages and may have seen some of these pictures already, but they’ll be new to everyone else.

More new toys!
People bring their new ideas to me at these events, and the Pyramyd Air Cup was no exception. This is how I learn about many of the new things that are happening.

Someone mentioned in the comments wanting to see what a KalibrGun airgun looks like (the Cricket and the Hummingbird), so I’ll show them here. Both guns are bullpups (guns whose actions extend back to the butt of the gun to reduce overall length). The Hummingbird is longer, but it’s still quite compact.

I shot the Hummingbird. While it’s unquestionably accurate and has a fine trigger, the hold feels odd to me because my cheek rests on top of the metal action. The full-sized rifle felt more conventional to me and was a nice-shooting gun.

KalibrGun Cricket (top) and Hummingbird.

I’ve already mentioned meeting Greg Lundy of Ballistic Enterprises, and he was shooting his exotic-looking Benjamin 392. Greg’s invention is a scope base called the INTEGRABASE, which attaches to the top of a Benjamin 397/392 to give the rifle a more stable scope base that accepts both 11mm and Weaver rings. Greg gave me a base to test for you, and I plan to mount it on my custom 392 with the Pump-Assist modification.

Greg Lundy’s INTEGRABASE for Benjamin multi-pumps.

Rich Shear also approached me with a new tuning application he’s created for spring rifles that have excessive recoil and vibration. He asked me if I’d ever tested the Hatsan 135 and I told him I decided not to after measuring the cocking effort at 75 lbs!. I feel the gun is too violent and extreme for most shooters to use. So, he asked me if I would like to see one he had tuned. I was eager to see what he had, so he fetched 2 Gamo Hunter Extremes (obsolete model names, but the powerplants are still being made for Gamo guns with other names) and a Hatsan135.

His 135 is smoother than the factory gun, but the cocking effort is still too high in my opinion. But one of the two Hunter Extremes he had was interesting. It’s a .22 that I found to be very smooth — not at all like the way it comes from the factory. To make a long story short, Rich is shipping that Gamo to me for testing, and I plan to report my findings to you. It’s a more powerful spring gun than I enjoy shooting, but Rich has tamed the firing cycle quite a lot. I think it’ll be a treat to test for you.

More on field target
Many of those who attended the event had never seen field target before. The course was set up on two rifle ranges, so the lanes were parallel and close to each other. I lost at least 2 points by shooting at (and hitting) the wrong target — in the lane next to me.

I wasn’t trying to win anything. I just wanted to compete in something at the event, and field target seemed logical. Pyramyd Air loaned me a beautiful walnut-stocked TX200 Mark III and a box of Crosman Premier 7.9-grain pellets at my request, and Tyler Patner had sighted-in the 4-12x UTG scope for me. The sight-in was perfect! I never had to touch the adjustments — just confirm the zero at several distances and record the sight picture holdover information.

I requested the rifle be sighted-in for 20 yards, which gave me a flat trajectory from 20 to 40 yards. At all other distances I used the mil-dots to gauge the holdover. I did all my checking on Friday before competition started and recorded the results on the inside of the cardboard pellet box lid.

holdover info
The holdover info for my TX200’s scope was written on the inside of the Crosman Premier box lid.

We had a little drama in the match. On Saturday, when was the first half of the match was shot, my blood sugar dropped very low and I started shaking and feeling faint. Fortunately, a young lady who was on the range has a father who is also a diabetic, and she gave me a candy bar that revived me in about 10 minutes. But, I lost about 8 points during the episode. I shot a 16 on Saturday and 29 on Sunday, which shows how much I was affected.

sight-in range
The sight-in range was open all 3 days and allowed everyone to get accurate sight-in data at key distances.

field target range
The field target course lanes were close to each other, and care had to be taken to avoid shooting at the wrong targets. The targets in this picture range from 20 yards to 50 yards away (arrow).

Then, on Sunday my squad partner, Ruth Kass, wasn’t hitting anything on the sight-in range in the morning warm-up before the match. It turned out that one of her scope mounts had jumped out of the dovetail grooves on the rifle some time after she started the match on Saturday!

She switched from her Beeman R9 to my TX200 and used my sight data after confirming it with a few shots at different distances. Ruth more than tripled her Saturday score on Sunday, demonstrating that having the right equipment makes all the difference! Although the TX and scope weighed over 2 lbs. more than the R9 she’d trained with, she found it quite manageable.

We both shot off monopods in the Sportsman Springer class. I’ll be showing you the UTG monopod I used as soon as it’s released as a product. I can tell you that my monopod was just as stable as half the bipods I saw in the competition!

This bipod is actually a monopod from the shooter’s perspective.

Shooting opportunities galore!
Besides the competition, this event was about general airguns and shooting. Pyramyd Air supplied airguns, pellets, air and technical advice to the general public for all 3 days of this event. The public range was set up with reactive targets and paper targets from 10 meters to over 50 meters. There was no charge to shoot, and shooters took advantage of being able to test many guns they’d previously only read about.

public range
The public range was open throughout the entire event. There were expensive PCPs and spring guns on the line, along with pellets and air for the pneumatics.

And the winner is
The end of the Pyramyd Air Cup came with the awards ceremony. There were cups for the first three finishers in each of the 4 classes — Pro PCP, Sportsman PCP, Pro Springer and Sportsman Springer. The scores of the 2-day field target match, the offhand silhouette competition and the Gunslinger, which is a timed benchrest silhouette competition were combined to determine the standings. Besides trophy cups, the winners got to choose donated prizes from a selection that related to where they placed in the competition.

And the overall champion of the event was awarded a special cup, plus a check for $1,000. So, this was an event worth attending. Ironically, Ray Apelles won the overall championship with a modified spring rifle, despite competing against a former world champion and several nationally ranked shooters who shot PCPs.

Ray Apelles (left) won the overall championship. He is presented the cup by Tyler Patner of Pyramyd Air.

Same time next year!
The Pyramyd Air Cup combined a lot of things airgunners say they want. It was a chance to shoot airguns you have only read about, a chance to see competitions that are so popular today, a chance to meet some of the other airgunners you have come to know through the internet and a chance to immerse yourself in all things airgun for 3 whole days. There’s more to see and do than you have time to experience. If airguns have become important in your life, this is an event to attend.

2014 Pyramyd Air Cup: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

• New toys!
• A job well done
• Many new developments
• Competition
• Field target

The Pyramyd Air Cup was held in Ohio this past weekend, and more than 70 shooters showed up to compete. I met people who drove in from Georgia, New York, Wisconsin and other states, and many of them came just to learn about airguns. That worked out well because there were world champion field target shooters there, plus celebrities like airgun hunter and writer Jim Chapman and Airgun Reporter Paul Capello, and many of the staff from Pyramyd Air and Crosman.

Chuck shoots
Chuck was brought by his buddies to try some airguns. He had a blast!

Day one was for getting acquainted with the range and sighting in. I  got to shoot wonderful airguns like Crickets, Hummingbirds, a highly-modified FX Independence and even some one-off custom guns many of us never get to see.

Ray Apelles of the A Team, who just placed second in the World Field Target matches in New Zealand, let me try his 22-lb. custom Diana 54 bullpup. It has an electronic trigger and a knee rest that’s highly articulated and looks like a transformer in action.

Pyramyd Air Cup Apelles 54
Ray Apelles shows me the 22-lb. custom Diana 54 he shot to take second in the world in the spring gun class. It’s a bullpup with a 1.6-oz. electronic trigger, a bubble level and an inclinometer to measure the up-down angle of the shot. He’s unfurling the knee rest that drops down more than another foot!

The public was invited to come and shoot a variety of airguns provided for free by Pyramyd Air. There were pellets galore and targets at all ranges. Also, the competitors where quite generous with their time and airguns. If you were at this event you could shoot just about anything you wanted!

Crosman came with their company shooting team, and they brought their new Benjamin Armada Magpul rifle that’s sold exclusively by Pyramyd Air. It features a popular Magpul stock and accessories. They were helpful with answers to questions about their guns and advice to anyone who asked. I’ll test this gun as soon as it becomes available.

Pyramyd Air Cup Armada
The new Benjamin Armada was shown!

The neatest thing for me is when I get to meet the readers of this blog. For example, Ron and his wife from Georgia drove all the way to Ohio from Georgia just to see different airguns and talk to people. I spent some time with him on day one, talking about air tanks and compressors, and I’m sure I must have facilitated something!

Pyramyd Air Cup Ron and his wife
Ron and his wife drove up from Georgia, just to sample all the airguns!

I met many more readers of the blog, and talking with them gave me a good perspective of what needs to be looked at. They were not shy about their ideas, and I coming home with a bundle of new things to think about, as well as several new products to test.

New toys!
You may think that I have a handle on the airgun community in the U.S. But events like this is where I learn about all those things that aren’t placed directly in my path. There are more small airgun developers out there today than at any time I can remember, and they’re advancing the technology at a rapid pace. I have to remain mum on several specific developments for now, but suffice to say there will be some exciting things to reveal in the world of spring guns and multi-pumps in the near future! I would have missed most of these if I hadn’t attended the Pyramyd Air Cup.

A job well done
I would also like to say thanks right now to the folks at Pyramyd Air for all the hard work they did to make this show a success. I was treated like royalty — and so was every other attendee What really blew me away was the large number of people who told me they were brand new to airguns and had come to this event just to learn more. I don’t think Pyramyd Air could have done more than they did to answer all their questions and give them the opportunity to shoot any number of exotic airguns as much as they desired.

Many new developments
What the public did not necessarily get to see was the undercurrent of new product development that was happening at the show right in front of everybody. A lot of it was pointed out to me, and I got to hear the plans of some of the hopefuls. From what I heard, I can tell you that we’re living in the golden age of airgunning right now! Let me give you one example.

While preparing for the field target match on Saturday, I was surprised to see a man pumping a multi-pump rifle! Usually multi-pumps don’t compete in field target unless there’s a character like Ron Robinson behind the trigger. It’s not like they’re competitive. But when Steve, who runs the Yellow Forum, and I saw this gun, we asked the owner what he was shooting. It turned out to be a Benjamin 392 that he told us gets MOA accuracy at 50 yards. That’s half-inch groups at that distance! I never got that from a multi-pump in my life!

Pyramyd Air Cup Benjamin 392
Greg Lundy from Ballistic Enterprises #1 made this fabulous Benjamin 392! He shoots field target with it!

The Pyramyd Air Cup was held at the Tusco Rifle Club, a private gun range in Midvale, Ohio, that has beautiful facilities nestled against a steep wooded ridge. They hosted all activities and provided safety officers for the entire affair, plus they took care of catering. They even provided a campground that several shooters took advantage of. Attendees remarked on the beauty of this club and wished they had one as nice near them.

The Pyramyd Air Cup is based on a suite of airgun competitions. The first was the Payday Challenge, where shooters shot three rifles that had been pre-sighted for them. Two shots at field targets were taken at 50 yards, three at 75 yards and five at 100 yards. The kill zones were only 1.50 inches! If the target dropped, you got a point. All shooting was done off the bench. The winner was a 17-year old young lady named Sidney who showed all the old fogies how it was done.

Next was an offhand silhouette match for all who wanted to try their hand at the sport. The ranges were unique to the match — chickens at 15 yards, pigs at 25 yards, turkeys at 40 yards and rams at 60 yards. What a challenge that is to shoot at those distances while standing!

Field target
The main event was the field target match that was spread over Saturday and Sunday. There were several classes of shooters, which works out well for duffers like me. Next year, I have to convince them to have an over-68 year-Texan class. But I did compete in this one — if only to hold down the combined average so the other shooters could feel good about their achievements.

Instead of flying to Ohio with an airgun of my own, Pyramyd Air set up a beautiful Air Arms TX200 Mark III for me. It was set up for the Hunter Spring class; and even though I never shot it before Friday, I found it to be easy to shoot. I missed the targets as often as I did only to encourage the others shooters.

Pyramyd Air Cup Tom shoots
B.B. shoots a TX 200 in the Hunter Class.

On Saturday, the attendance swelled beyond expectations, and the field target match was loaded with competitors of all skill levels. One brand-new shooter was doing very well shooting a new AirFroce Airguns Condor SS he dialed all the way down. One of the beauties of the AirForce brand of sporting rifles is their adaptability to almost anything, and shooting field target proves that very dramatically.

The neat thing about this match was that spectators could stand behind the lanes and watch everything. Many people took advantage of this. The turnout to compete was so large that two 12-lane ranges were used and competitors shot on one range on the first day and switched to the other one on the second.

Pyramyd Air Cup line is cold
One of two field target ranges needed to handle the crowd that showed up for the competition.

Pyramyd Air Cup backdrop
The field target match was shot against a wooded ridge that provided safety for everyone. Most clubs would kill for an arrangement like this!

I have so much more to tell you, and an entire day of the event to cover. But, it’s late now, and after shooting all day (poor me), I need my beauty rest. More later this week!

LASSO 2012

by B.B. Pelletier

The Longrange Airgun Silhouette Shooters Organization (LASSO) 2012 meet last Saturday was a lot like the blind men examining the elephant. What it looked like depended on where you were. It was a renaissance fair of airgun gatherings, and I don’t say that lightly. I have been to all but one of the five events they’ve held, and this one was the best by far. Promoter Eric Henderson has delegated many of the organizational functions to the right people, and each took their responsibilities seriously.

The shoot was held on Terry Tate’s ranch, several miles south of Sulphur Springs, Texas. The land is flat, open and perfect for this kind of event; and Terry and his wife went out of their way to be gracious hosts. Weather is the one variable you cannot control, but this day was nearly perfect. It was a little breezy, but that just sharpens the competition. And it also keeps the bugs at a minimum and the hot Texas sun at bay.

The event exists to give big bore enthusiasts the opportunity to shoot their rifles (and a couple pistols) against one anotherand to see what’s happening in the world of big bore airguns. So, it’s not surprising that shooters drove in from Chicago, Kentucky and other regions equally far away. Driving over a thousand miles for a one-day event like this separates the serious from the tire-kickers, and these boys and girls were serious.

This telephoto shot of the big bore range shows targets out to 300 yards. The pond begins about 40-50 yards from the firing point. The first ram is at 100 yards.

The shooters were ready for a big day!

Chase, Clint and Chris are big bore shooters who drove all the way from Chicago to the LASSO shoot. The guy in the black hat is also a big bore!

Girls? Yes, this year we had our first female shooter on the line. Regina Williams asked for no special consideration and was just as competitive as the rest of the shooters.

Regina Williams was the first woman to compete in the LASSO match. She placed astonishingly high!

The big deal of the day
As Rosanne Roseannadanna said, “It’s always something!” This year, it was our most fundamental rule. What is a big bore airgun, you ask? Well, there are four smallbore calibers — .177, .20, .22 and .25. Anything larger than .25 caliber is considered a big bore. But this year, someone showed up with a .257 rifle made by Jack Haley that launches 75-grain bullets at 1,100 f.p.s. They develop over 200 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

For those who are unfamiliar with caliber designations, .25 caliber measures .257 inches in diameter. So, here was a gun in a caliber we have always called a smallbore but shooting much heavier bullets and developing big-bore energies. What to do? There was much hand-wringing the evening before the match, but in the end promoter Eric left the decision up to the shooters, who agreed to allow the rifle to compete to win. If they hadn’t, it might have been like ignoring the guns of another Roy Weatherby.

John Bowman shook everyone up with his Haley .257 rifle. We’ll see his picture again. I’ll bet he’s going to have the same impact as Weatherby when everything settles down.

I talked with John Bowman, owner of this scandalous rifle, and was informed that he lapped the bore himself after talking to Dan Lilja, no less. He claims the rifle will group inside two inches at 300 yards. We will hear more about this rifle in a bit.

Ed Schultz, Crosman’s head engineer, competed with his Rogue.

Chase used a shooting stick for his Quackenbush.

Not everyone used a support for their rifles. This is the classic military seated position.

The rifles that competed were by Quackenbush, Benjamin, Haley and AirForce. There might have been one or two other makes that I missed. The AirForce gun was a Condor converted to .308.

The smallbore range
Not everyone owns a big bore airgun, so blog reader David Enoch organized a smallbore component at this event for many years. This time, he had a beautiful 100-yard range set up with metal reactive targets from 20 yards all the way out to 100. And Jerry, who’s a new reader of ours, brought his faithful CZ 634 out to the range so everyone could see why he loves it so much. I had a chance to shoot it, and I see that this tuned Slavia springer is much better-behaved than my untuned 631. Jerry also brought out his new TX200 and started what I think will become a lifelong love affair with the rifle. The trigger was not adjusted and did have some creep, but the action and accuracy were pure TX200 — which is to say the best there can be.

David set out some quadrant sight-in targets at 35 yards, so people didn’t have to shoot at paper to get sighted in. They were a one-inch bull, a three-quarter-inch bull and a half-inch bull. You started on the one inch and worked your way over to the half-inch bull. By the time you were spinning the half-inch bull, your rifle was a good as it was going to be at that distance. David bought his targets online from Steelplinkers.

The giddy guy
I noticed a young man at the AirForce booth asking questions about the Condor, so as usual I butted in. Greg is from just north of Austin, Texas, and he drove out because he was hoping to see and handle some smallbore PCPs. I glommed onto him and took him over to the smallbore range, where he proceeded to have the time of his life! I started him with my Talon SS and learned that he had never looked through a scope sight before this day.

He was startled to see the crosshairs move, despite all he did to control the rifle. But after all of us assured him that it happens to everyone, he settled down and started shooting well. Reader new2this complained about a Talon SS in yesterday’s blog comments. Well this new guy, Greg, was hitting half-inch spinners at 35 yards in a strong breeze. Not just now and then — every time. He almost got bored from his success, once he figured out the gun. He was torn between a Condor and a BSA Hornet, which another shooter happened to have on the line, so he got to try that one, as well.

I know he shot a lot because I was refilling his air cyinders all day long. Greg was so caught up in the day that he reminded the rest of us what it was like, and we intentionally made certain that he got to try everything. He even hit a 75-yard spinner in the wind with a .177 Marauder! Now, that’s some real shooting!

Greg came to LASSO just to see a couple airguns he had read about. He wound up shooting his two top picks — this BSA and an AirForce Condor (as well as my Talon SS) and was completely satisfied. After an hour of shooting on the smallbore range, he was hitting half-inch spinners at 35 yards and full-sized spinners at 75 yards in the wind!

I mentioned Greg was a young man. Well, to me he is. But as youthful as he appears, he’s 50 years old. He’s a boxing instructor and boxes 72 two-minute rounds each week.

The smallbore range was just as active as the big bore range. David Enoch, left, ran it.

Lunch was a bar-b-qued pig shot on Terry’s ranch the day before. Everyone loved the spread and it was part of the $10 entry fee for the match. For the same money, you also got a door prize ticket for valuable drawings. Among the prizes donated were a Sam Yang Dragon Claw big bore rifle from Pyramyd Air, a scoped Condor from AirForce Airguns, a Benjamin Marauder from Crosman and a Shoebox air compressor from Shoebox.

Jim Lowder was the lucky winner of the Sam Yang Dragon Claw big bore rifle.

Ron Robinson won the Benjamin Marauder .25 caliber. He almost dropped it in this victory dance! His brother Kim won the shoebox compressor!

Wes Fry won the AirForce Condor.

Someone had to win this match, and I told you we would be seeing John Bowman, again. That little Haley .257 of his won the day. So now all us silverbacks have to give up room on the branch to this upstart who dared to buck the system. But I’m warning you, folks, this will be the absolute last time we bend the rules for anyone! 😉

Eric Henderson, LASSO’s promoter is on the right. Next to him from right to left are John Bowman — 1st Place, Joey Tidwell — 3rd place and John Crumpley — 2nd place. The .257 Haley big bore took first and third place. A Quackenbush .308 took second.

This was a wonderful event for all who came and participated. It was a drive of over one-thousand miles for some, but they were glad to be there and will be returning next year.