Tyler triumphs at Northeast Regionals with unusual tools

Monday, August 25, 2014

Recently, as research for a story in ShootingSports USA, I had the opportunity to interview several of the shooters who won their classes at the Northeast Regional Field Target Championship held at Crosman Corporation, July 10, 11 and 12.

There were several unusual stories, and one that certainly caught my attention was that of John Tyler of Yardley, PA. He won the Hunter PCP class, which the most hotly contested with some 44 registered shooters.

A couple of things really struck me about John’s effort. The first is that he was shooting a somewhat unusual air rifle. He was shooting a Benjamin Marauder in .177 equipped with a hammer de-bounce device and with a forestock that has been shortened by several inches. The underside of the buttstock has been removed which took off about a pound of wood. Because he is shooting in the hunter class, which allows the use of shooting sticks, the stock has a notch at the end of the forestock to fit the shooting sticks.

In the photo below are two of John’s Marauders. He won with the one on the bottom.


What really sets John’s Marauder apart is that, having been tuned by Chris Helm, it shoots hot, sending 8.44 grain Air Arms pellets downrange at 1,010 feet per second, for around 19.8 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Now, if you have been reading this blog for a while or paying attention to various on-line forums, you know that conventional wisdom has it that you really don’t want your air rifle launching pellets at more than 930-950 fps, because higher than that will likely produce inaccuracy. Tyler’s Marauder apparently has not gotten the news. It shoots very accurately at that power level and delivers about 50 shots at that power level per fill.

John tells me that his M-rod shoots flat from 22-45 yards and that additional power really helped him to punch through high winds and torrential rain on the second day of the Northeast Regional Field Target Championship. While most shooters shot significantly worse on the second day, John shot the same score both days, although he feels he should have done better on the first day.


The second unusual aspect of Tyler’s effort was his use of a radio-controlled truck to help him confirm his “scope dope” on the sight-in day. Walking a target holder out yard-by-yard to make sure that his scope is set up properly could be very interruptive to other shooters, since the rangemaster would have to call a cold line each time John wanted to move his target. So he mounted a sign holder on the back of his radio control truck and uses that the move the target as needed without interrupting the other shooters. At the Northeast Regional, he positioned himself at the far end of the sight in range and inched the truck out yard by yard as he sighted in and made sure that all was well with his scope.

John tells me that there is a very small printed sign on the back of the radio controlled truck that says, “If you shoot me, you’ll have to deal with my owner.”

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

— Jock Elliott


  1. Chris Legate says:

    That great stuck Jock. One of these days, I am going to try and make it there. The only problem is Sunday. OH well. Very good story. Keep them coming!

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Thanks for the kind words.

  2. Scott Arnold says:

    I have a new mrod .25 and would like to have it professionally tuned. I’ve seen several write-ups on Chris Helm. Does he do this for the general public? If not, any suggestions?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Unfortunately, I don’t know if Chris Helm does professional tuning, and I don’t know how to contact him.

  3. John Tyler says:

    Scott, I am sure Chris would be flattered to be in demand for his tuning skills, but his work is only for himself and a couple close friends I am lucky enough to be one of. The tune consists of: Trigger tune, remove the “lawyer spring” and drop the weight down to under a pound. My MROD is set at about 10oz, and two stages. Chris uses a 4oz pull and removed the safety on his. Next is the BSTALEY ORING buffer, which prevents the hammer from wasting air by preventing subsequent valve stem contact after the shot. Even humping at 1000+ FPS I can still get 50 shots with no change in POI.

    1. bstaley says:


  4. Joel says:

    So, My BIG question here is how do I become friends with Chris Helm? I would make it well worth his while to be contacted!!

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