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Gear Updates: New Compressor (for me), my perfect shooting styx,and updating my cameras

Posted by on April 24, 2017

The Omega Compressor was the first bit of new gear I’ve been using….. and to be honest I don’t know how I’ve survived without it! Well yes I do, with 6 carbon fiber tanks I’d have to drive 40 minutes to have filled, and I never seemed to be able to get to the paintball store when their tanks were charged to 4500 psi, so I was always lower than need for my high pressure guns from the start. I’d often end up using my hand pump to top the guns off.

When the 70 some pound box arrived on my doorstep, I looked for a place to stow it away. I settled on a garden cart I bought at Costco that allows me to wheel it wherever I want for use. The compressor was well pack and very secure in its packing. The directions were concise and clear, the fluids and lubricants I needed to get started were included, and it took me less than 15 minutes to fill it, attach the filling hose and power cable, and hit the on switch. The fan kicked in and the water started pumping …. all over the floor! I took off the side panels (very easy BTW) and found that one of the hoses had slipped off the pump, and after reattaching it I hit the on and it started running without a problem.

I hooked up my large capacity, medium capacity, and low capacity tanks which all filled up to 4500 psi and then shut off when reaching this magic number, which I had set….. great to know the automatic shutoff works so well. Then I started filling guns directly from the compressor, and was impressed at how quickly rifles that charged to a high fill pressure such as the Bush Buck, or with a large capacity tank like the Texan, was charged.

So there is no doubt that even though the costs of the Omega is great as far as compressors go, it’s still a chunk of change. But I have to say, if you shoot a lot, or shoot guns that fill to a high pressure, it an investment that is well worth it. In retrospect, if I’d realized how hassle free these compressors were from a usage and maintenance stand point, I would have cracked the wallet a lot sooner!

Very compact, fairly quiet, clean, wife friendly compressor that fits unassumingly in a corner of the garage… this is one of the coolest and most useful items I’ve added to my airgunning gear in a long time! It is a gear changer for me, and I’ll be bringing it on our prairie dog shoot next month in South Dakota.

The Omega compressor has an intuitive user interface and the control board is uncluttered with only a few controls required. The large gauge is where you both monitor your pressure and set the cut off pressure. One the bottom row is the on/off switch which puts the compressor on standby, the start button which initiates filling and the off which cuts filling. There is a meter for monitoring run time so you know when to service, and the adjustments for setting up venting cycles.

On the top is the filling/monitoring port for water and anti-freeze, the bleed valve, and the fill hose connection. There is a knob that allows you to lubricate every 6 hours of operation as needed (there is an alert to indicate if lubrication required sooner)..

After getting the Omega set up, I went to town topping off my two 80 CF tanks, two 17CF tanks and two pony bottles to 4500 psi (which took a few hours), then I started filling guns directly, which only took a few minutes! After one week with this device, I don’t know how I’ve survived without it!

A lot of people that have followed me over the years know I prefer to use shooting sticks in the field, and lately I’ve been using the Primos Shooting Styx. The reason is simple: they are the most compact, easy and fast to deploy, and flexible to use shooting rest, I’ve ever used. They are also incredibly stable: I’ve been testing guns in the field of these sticks rather than using a bench rest, and the results I am getting are outstanding.

What I really like about these sticks is they are so compact, yet exceedingly fast to deploy…. and once deployed they are surprisingly stable!

Once opened it’s easy to adjust the height by opening or closing the legs, and grabbing them just under the notch allows you to lock them in place with a small amount of grip pressure.

These sticks are so simple I am amazed they work so well…., but they do! I have two versions: the Pole Cat Shooting Styx and Pole Cat Magnum Shooting Styx. These sticks are three pieces on each of the two legs, which are a narrow gauge hollow pole with an elastic cord running through the lumen…. much like the poles used in a camping tent. There is a clever retainer that holds all the pieces together when not in use, loosen this and shake the sticks and viola, they are deployed! I can keep these sticks in any of my daypacks or messenger bags, even the smallest, and they are great for shooting from a sitting or kneeling position.

In a couple weeks when we hit the prairie dog towns in South Dakota I will have these sticks with me, so if you are there take a look. Or better yet, give them a try!

Between my magazine articles, YouTube Videos, and other online projects, I am constantly challenging my existing photography and videography gear and have been Supplementing and Enhancing my Camera Equipment. My primary video cam has been the Canon Vixia HF G20 for a couple of years now, though I also use a Canon T-6i SLR for both video and still photography. I’ve supported this set up with three GoPro Hero 3’s. While I like the image quality of the GoPros there are two shortcomings in my books. the sound is not so great and they have no zoom function.

To get around this I started looking at other “action Cam” types of cameras and came across the Fujifilm XP 90 waterproof camera. It is the size and configuration of a point and shoot, but the image quality is very close to the GoPro, it has a 5x optical zoom, and a large LED monitor that actually allows me to see what I’m filming. And while a lot larger than the GoPro, I can still easily mount it on my scope, and with the 5x zoom can get much better action shoots of…. shooting!

The other thing I wanted was smaller camera than my Canon t-6i for still photography. But it still needed to produce images of publication quality to illustrate my magazine articles. And for this I selected the Nikon CoolPix A900 camera, which has a 35x digital zoom and produces great stills (20 megapixels) that are sharp. clear, and can be blown up without destroying the resolution. The LED display is on an articulated arm, which is especially useful if I want to use it as a backup videocam, and it captures a true 4k video.

This is all backed up with a number of adjunct gear, a Tascam DR5 audio recorder, a collection of wired and wireless lavalier mics, several tripods of various heights and weights, an array of mounts for scopes, babckpacks, chest or head mounts, and a mountain of back up rechargeable batteries for all of these devices.

I’ve mentioned the South Dakota Prairie Dog Hunt a few times, and we still have a few openings if you want to join, it’s going to be a blast! My buddy Brett Waibel has a great lodge with a lot of prairie dog shooting, and this is an excellent time of year to be out shooting them. I’m going to bring a lot of cool guns, we’ll have a compressor on site (see above), and whether you’ve shot prairie dogs before or not, you’ll enjoy this outing. Brett has given us a great price and it’s all inclusive… you just need to get yourself to the lodge!

This is going to be a fun shoot, you should join if you can! That’s it for me this week, got a lot of work to do this week for my day job, but am planning to get out turkey hunting next weekend. Hope your all off to a good spring/summer, and catch up next week!





2 Responses to Gear Updates: New Compressor (for me), my perfect shooting styx,and updating my cameras

  1. Wyeth Hecht

    Hi Jim Wyeth here. With all that stuff you need to haul you need a semi? Can’t wait to go. I might call this weehend with a couple question?

  2. RidgeRunner


    Thanks for sharing your gear choices with us and I am looking forward to more.

    I have the new Air Venturi compressor mounted on a garden cart with an extra Daiblo filter and a section of 8 inch PVC to hold my tank when filling. Having the unit mobile is great and allows me to bring it out when needed.

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