In this case we'll start from the beginning.
Tyler Patner, a good FT shooter, friend, and main engine behind the drive to help Field Target Team USA in their World efforts announced at 1:34 PM of August 20th that the First Ever Pyramyd Air Cup was going to be held in New Philadelphia, Ohio, USA on the weekend of Ocotober 24-26.
By late August we were finalizing our arrangements for our trip to New Zealand and Australia that would take us away from home for more than 5 weeks. If we waited until our return to book a hotel it would too late by then. At first I thought it could be a nice drive to Ohio, but a quick call to the Love of my Life, returned an interesting fact: She would be presenting a paper at a Conference in New Orleans that week; but she could get away Friday and meet me in Ohio. That meant flights.
Looking through the Internet, between those airlines that use booking websites and those that do not, I came up with a quite economical way to get there and then get the two of us back home. A critical aspect would be the luggage, since she could not take her rifle and shooting gear I would have to fly with two full bags.
Looking into the airlines that offer a decent baggage allowance, I located a good price for my ticket on the way out and our tickets on the way back.
By 3:01 PM, of the day of the announcement, we had secured hotel, flights and car.
Seldom do things simply go the way you want them to, but this time it seemed they were.
By August 24th we were boarding our plane to New Zealand, the World's Matches and Australia; what a trip!
If you look down in this same blog, you will find my note on that.
Time waits for no one, and when we returned there were tons of things to be done, and some pending matters, like Diana's new ZR Mounts, that had to be received, delivered, tested; and a bunch of other stuff. Between all the pending matters, when the time came to shoot the Pyramyd Air Cup, I was not really ready.
On one hand I thought that my WFTF rifle would be a good idea. But this Cup, being a non-AAFTA event, offered the opportunity to use a full power rig (TRUE 20 ft-lbs.) and test the ZR Mounts at the same time. Nothing risked, nothing gained, I thought to myself and off I went with my old 0.20" cal. D-54 in the Tyrolean stock and a Bushnell 6-24X40 AO MilDot 1" scope on the ZR Mounts.
Initial tests at the home range had proven that the mounts did repeat POI, and groups of ½" at 38 yards were not uncommon, almost typical.
Going back to our two duffles technique of traveliing, I packed Veronika's and my rifles, and when the time came, I drove to LGA to board the flight to Ohio.
When we travel it is usually Veronika the one that reminds me of everything I have to take, but this time she was in New Orleans. So I rescued the checklist we had written up some time ago and proceeded to check the important stuff. Thanks to that list, I did not forget the pellets this time! LOL!
The flight was uneventful, landed on time, I proceeded to take delivery of the rental car, hooked my GPS and I arrived to the hotel Thursday afternoon, went for lunch at the Bistro next door, checked in, put the guns together and headed to the range.
Halfway to the range the GPS went dead. Ooooppppsss!
Luckily I remembered more or less the route and proceeded.
After only one bad turn, I got to the range and this is what greeted me:
Took a stroll around the ranges and could not help but envy a little those that can call Tusco Rifle Range "home", absolutely great ranges!
Early Friday I was at the range and spent a little while just saying hello to everyone. It was great to meet old and new friends there, from the Crosman crew, to the local Range officers, everyone was friendly and welcoming, and interested in a little chat.
I was most impressed by the most recent iteration of the Marauder:
On further discussions, I was told that a Bull-Pup version could be soon on the works, so that is something to look forward to.
In these cases, I like to record for posterity not only the development itself, but those persons that have had the opportunity to put forward a "grain of sand":
On display also was the not yet released Hawke AirMax 30. A scope that has been available in Europe for the better part of this year. Pity that Hawke sees fit to treat the American market in this way, but I suppose they know better.
One of the fun parts of going to these events is to watch people in action. Ray was shooting and talking (as is his usual self) when someone approached him for help.
Without hesitation, he got up, asked for tools and proceeded to disassemble the problematic gun and to diagnose the ORing that was faulty.
I am sure that, under normal circumstances, he would have had the spare! LOL!. but this year he has been shooting a springer and he does not carry all his spares anymore. He did take the time to explain and help the shooter in question about exactly what he needed to do.
Next on the agenda was the PayDay Challenge. Three guns, sighted in to fixed distances of 50, 75 and 100 yards and FT's of full size KZ set at those distances.
No shooter could adjust anything in the rig. Not the ocular focus, not the settings, nothing. An interesting challenge for those of us that see well at a distance, but whose near vision has been spoiled by seeing too much airgun eye candy on the internet!
After working out some glitches in the Cricket at 50 yards (the suppressor was not really working well), we started hitting the target. Interesting gun. Not my cup of tea, but interesting, and accurate.
The Marauder at 75 proved to be the most challenging, as the focus of the reticle was over the next county as far as my eyes were concerned (all were a way off, but this one was WAAAAYYYYYY off), young eyes had no trouble, but older eyes could see three fuzzy reticles (you guessed where the center one was and aimed with that one).
The AA ExtraFAC was a superbly set gun. The reticle still provided some challenge, but not as bad as the Marauder.
By the time I finished with 6 hits overall, I was very satisfied. And as time dragged on and my score still was the highest I even dared to hope.
And then came Sidney! LOL!
Way to go, Sidney, congrats!
It was a ton of fun!
I left the range to go pick Veronika up from the Airport and to change cars, as we could not have a non-functioning GPS. No gas station sells maps anymore!
Next day, Veronika made her social rounds
After the sighting-in, we adjourned to the Silhouette Match.
I started well, but when moving from the Chickens to the Turkeys, something went wrong. I should have suspected something then and there, but I did not.
Ray requested to shoot the black silhouettes, since he could not resolve the orange ones, permission was given and in the heat of the competition, Veronika forgot which silhouette she was shooting at. Believing she had shot out of order, she skipped one silhouette and shot only three of one of the ranges.
Even with that, she tied with Ray for the top spot in Silhouette.
Then came lunch and then we faced the FT competition.
I was squadded with Matt Zimmermann, and for the first leg, we had the pleasure of the company of his parents, Lance and Mary. By the end of the shoot, Lance was the official score keeper.
As the day drew to a close, we all got ready for the banquet. As I always ask: ¿What goes hand in hand with good FT shooting? Good food, of course! LOL!
The banquet was extraordinary. From the salads to the desserts, everything was real good. Too good, AAMoF, because we all felt heavy next morning!
Josh treated us to one of his "speeches", refraining as much as he could on his "longshoreman speak"
Veronika had a good time with her squad:
After a number of unexplainable misses, I started sacrificing the first shot and aiming at the eye of the squirrel or any other point I knew the target would not be rattled down, but would still give me an indication of where the system was shooting. And indeed I started seeing that the Bushnell was not holding zero at all.
Let me remind everyone here that when a 20 ft-lbs D54 lets go, it applies around 30,000 g's of inverse recoil to the scope. I had hoped that with the ZR Mounts, this would be negated, but in reality it is not. It is spread over more time, normally the Bushnell would have given up the ghost at around shot number 30 to 50. That it lasted well into the 500th shows that the base does some mitigation. But not enough.
After ending with a dismal 27 (and that was with 6 free points), I went to the Sighting in range and tested the scope.¿How do I do this?, well, you take a shot, then click 10 clicks up, then click 10 down, and take the next shot. Then repeat for every shot. If the group you get is smaller than the group without the up and down clicking, then the scope is toast. It is not holding zero. This will be the fourth Bushnell that gets chewed by the 0.20" cal. Speaking of the scope, the scope will not hold zero at 12 ft-lbs either without the ZR mounts. Perhaps it will hold zero at 12 ft-lbs with the ZR Mounts, but that was not what was expected. And, quite frankly, given the excellent track record of the AEON scopes, the much better reticle, and the repeatability of the ZR mounts, I think that the next thing I need to test is an AEON on the ZR Mounts on a 12 ft-lbs CCA WFTF D54 rifle. This should give peace of mind about scope performance. But, Back to PA's Cup:
Over the two FT events, and as part of the process of getting the range officers of Tusco Rifle Club acquainted with airguns, Veronika was admonished to not cock and load her rifle with the muzzle up.
Strange because in EVERY country we have gone to, UP and DOWN are considered safe directions. Either because they are worried about their tin roofs, or because they DO come from a background where semi-auto and even full-auto matches are fired, the range officers were a little "overzealous". I am sure this is one of the things that will be taken care of for next year. Range officers need to understand that ALL spring-piston airguns are single shots. That you can have a cocked rifle that is STILL "SAFE".
Veronika developed a stretched tendon trying to keep the muzzle pointed downrange while at the same time cocking the D54. And this aggravated itself over the course of the second day of shooting.
When she asked over the lunch break for a cold pack we had a nice, agreeable conversation with one of the range officers and once explained; he agreed with us that a cocked spring-piston air rifle can STILL be SAFE. Tusco Rifle Range crew did everything they could and provided the needed cold packs, and so she could continue to shoot.
And then came the Gunslinger.
Prior to the "Pro's" (not completely comfortable with that, ROFL!) the Sportsmen had shot and over the course of the two days and the three competitions, our friend Eric Brewer had come out on top of the Springer Class.
But Veronika insisted I borrow her gun. So I did and I was faced up with Ray. I opted to shoot sitting and he opted for the benchrest. He had removed the hamster of his FWB 300 and he was confident he could get up, cock the gun, sit down, aim, and shoot, at the needed speed.
At first we cleared the chickens at the same time, then I went for the turkeys, but I just could not find them with the POI's that Veronika had given me and the blurry reticle set for her eyes. After 7 misses I skipped the turkeys cleared the pigs and was on my last ram when Ray finished. This is going to be one INTERESTING event next year! ;-)
It was then the turn of Veronika to shoot off against Matt Z., and Matt was faster.
Which left the MD (Stormie) with a quandary: Veronika had to face me and we were sharing the rifle.
I tried to concede, but Veronika would not let me do so. Luckily Eric came to my rescue and I borrowed his D54. I just could not get the feel for his reticle and Veronika ended much faster than I did.
I am very proud of the way Veronika is shooting offhand. All the microsilhouettes over last winter's "Zimmer-Silhouetten" paid off big time!
In the end, the Pro-Springer class ended with Ray as the first place, Veronika as the second place and your humble writer in the third.
Once all was said and done, even Stormie (Pyramyd Air) took a shot at the Silhouettes:
When a 0.20" cal. 20 ft-lbs pellet hits a chicken, off it goes! We found some of them around the rams line, almost 20 yards from where they had stood at the time of the impact.
It is somewhat unfair for people that claim not to know their Muzzle energy to shoot with 30+ ft-lbs guns at targets that when they fail, create problems for everyone else. From cold lines to actually bent targets and paddles.
Tyler started off by thanking everyone for the attendance, and then proceeded to give away the "Top Shot" trophy to Ray Apelles:
It is interesting to note how Pyramyd Air took into account the difference in power plant between spring-piston and PCP shooters, and how the "tennis type" awards of points proved to be a good way of getting everyone "graded" for awards purposes.
Then came the rest of the awards:
My sincere thanks and appreciation to Pyramyd Air collectively and, individually, to everyone that participated in the setting, MD'ing, scoring, catering, RO'ing, tear down, managing, tallying and ALL the almost infinite number of things that need to come through smoothly. SPECIAL congratulations to Tyler, who was able to manage AND shoot the event and place first in his class.
Thanks also to Brian "Boomer" for allowing me to use his excellent pictures.
And thanks to Veronika, for showing the way and being such an integral part of my life.