Posts by Tom Adams

Extreme Benchrest is coming! The 8th annual Extreme Benchrest Competition will be held from Oct 11th-14th at Rio Salado Sprtsman’s Club in sea, AZ. This is the premier airgun competition of the year drawing in top shooters, manufacturers, and airgun celebrities from around the world. All will be competing for over $19,000 worth of cash and prizes as well as the coveted title of Extreme Benchrest Champion!

 
This years Extreme Benchrest has a few exciting changes from previous years. The new “One Gun” competition is being introduced. This award will be given to the competitor that has the highest combined scores over 4 different events using the same gun/scope/caliber. A shooter will really have to be “one” with their rifle to win this! Also, the 25m competition has ben replaced with a 50yd competition. Some other rule changes relate to the speed silhouette competition which should keep it very exciting for everyone!


Are you going this year? If so, I’d like to share a few tips that I’ve learned over the years. Whether you’re a spectator or a competitor, bring sunscreen, a good hat, and a good pair of sunglasses. Eye protection is required at all times around the shooting range and you will get asked to leave if you don’t have some type of eye protection.
There will be places to sit in the shade and Airguns of Arizona rents a great big outdoor air conditioner to help keep everyone cool.
Bring some extra pocket money. There will be cold drinks and lunch for sale during the competition. And, don’t forget about the raffle! You don’t have to be a competitor in order to enter into the raffle. And, you could win something really great!
If you want to take a sneak peak at how the competitors are doing during the match, you’ll want to have a good pair of binoculars or spotting scope.


Past years have always been pretty hot with 90º to 100º temperatures. Be prepared to be out in those temperatures all day.
As a competitor, I have found a few things that have made competing a little easier and more convenient. First on my list would be a fold up cart that I bought from Walmart for about $50. It really helps to have something to tote your shooting bags, rests, and rifles from the parking area to the benches all at once.
Next on my list would be a butt pad. The stools provided by the range for us to use are sometimes not tall enough and they’re certainly not padded for comfort! Having something soft to sit on can make your competition time a lot nicer.
Pellets! Bring plenty of pellets. The Airguns of Arizona store is closed during the competition. So, if you run out of ammo to shoot, it could put you in a pretty bad situation. Most shooters will be happy to lend a helping hand to a fellow competitor but, it’s best to avoid running into a situation like that.
Bring a towel. The benches we shoot off of are made from trex decking and it can be nice to have something soft to lay your elbow on or to lay your rifle on during casing and un-casing. Also, if you didn’t bring a butt pad, you can fold it up and use it for a seat cushion.


If you’re using a mechanical magazine, I’d suggest bringing at least one spare. You would be surprised at how often unexpected breakdowns happen at competition! The Airguns of Arizona van will be there with an assortment of tools and some parts. They are there to help everyone to keep shooting and having a great time!


There will be plenty of air at the competition. So, you don’t have to bring your own bottle unless you want to. Personally, I have always brought my own bottle so that I can practice all I want at the practice range, and so that I don’t have to wait for one of the community bottles to become available. Airguns of Arizona will have a few compressors at the range. If you decide to bring your own bottle, they’ll be happy to refill you. Thanks AoA!
A small cardboard box can come in handy as a makeshift practice target. Sometimes, you just want to set up your own target at a certain distance and having a cardboard box to shoot at can make it quick and easy.
I also try to save up a decent amount of “unexpected spending money.” You might see something at Airguns of Arizona, before or after the event, that you just can’t live without. 😉 I can tell you from personal experience that exact thing happens to me every year! lol
I hope to see you all there having a great time!
Happy Shooting!
Tom

As a competitive shooter, I wash and sort my pellets. But, is there a reason to wash them if you’re not a competition shooter? I say, YES!

Air rifles can be picky about which pellets they like. Whether you’re a competitive shooter, hunter, plinker, or just out to hone your skills with an air rifle, you want to feed your rifle what it likes in order to get the best accuracy downrange. JSB’s, RWS, Crosman’s, Diana, H&N, Daystate, Benjamin…. The list goes on and on. Then, there’s the different weights to consider, which almost always comes with a slightly different shape. There’s no telling what a rifle will like without trying different brands. Research has shown that two rifles of the same brand and type can even like different pellets. Although, that scenario is getting a little more rare these days with the advancements in manufacturing.

As a beginner shooter, where should you start in your pellet selection process? If I were to give you advise, I’d say to start with JSB’s. They’ve consistency given me two things…
1) The best accuracy
2) A consistent starting point to measure other brands against.

Next is to consider what weight to try. I think that depends on what your expected shooting distance is, or what your purpose is. Hunting pellets would be an obvious choice for hunting. When it comes to target shooting there’s more to consider. A lighter pellet will have a flatter flight path and a heavier pellet will buck the wind better. I’d say that if your shooting short range, a lighter pellet will serve you well. For longer range or more knock down power, a heavier pellet would do well.

Personally, I buy JSB’s almost exclusively. I have found them to be very consistent in performance and accuracy. I prefer to buy my pellets through Airguns of Arizona because AoA gets them with head size and lot numbers’s on each tin. Matching head sizes and lot numbers means that the pellets are more consistent from tin to tin and should shoot with greater consistency overall. It also means you can try different head sizes to see if your rifle likes them a little thinner or a little thicker.

Washing pellets is the first step in sorting pellets. Sorting pellets can be as simple as washing alone or as complex as you want to make it. A FULL sorting process for me includes washing, drying, inspecting, weighing, head measuring, rolling, a personal top secret step, and possibly lubing (hyperlinks are for my how-to videos!). The full sorting process is a very long one that I only use for competition pellets. But for the rest of my pellets, I wash! Through all of this sorting, and inspecting, and weighing, and rolling, etc… I have found that washing alone makes the biggest difference in accuracy, even with premium pellets.

What does washing do? Through the process of manufacturing, little microscopic bits of lead are left over and stick to the pellets. Those little bits can cause the tiniest variation in the way a pellet travels down a barrel and cause a shot to be missed. Imagine if one of those little bits gets stuck in your rifling or turns into a lead fouling down the inside of your barrel. Not only will it affect one shot, but it could affect every shot until you clean it out.

Washing is easy! I like to use Dawn dish soap because it works very well at getting the leftover manufacturing lubrication off and, as a bonus, it’s safe to use on animals (remember the BP oil spill?). In a dedicated NON-FOOD container, mix a few drops of soap with some warm water. Then gently pour your pellets in and start swishing them around with your fingers. Not too fast, just enough to get them moving through the soapy water and to knock the little bits of lead off without damaging the pellets. Next is rinsing. I like to use a plastic dedicated NON-FOOD mesh strainer and warm water. Gently pour them into the strainer and move them around under the running water to get all of the soap off. For drying, I lay them out in a single layer on a towel. I leave them overnight with a fan running to keep the air moving around them. In the morning, I look inside a few skirts to see if there’s any leftover droplets. If not, then I’m all done and ready to shoot!

If you’re unsure whether or not this will help with your own accuracy, try it out with just a handful. I’d love to hear about your results! Thanks for reading, and Happy Shooting!
Tom

The airgunning community can feel tiny speck when compared to the firearms community. The firearms community has money, power, political groups, etc. We don’t. It would be nice if we did but, our community is so small that I don’t know if we could effectively sustain it. We simply don’t have the numbers… yet.
But, if you look at it from another perspective, we’re actually pretty lucky. We have a community of shooters where many of us know one another and call each other “brother” or “sister”. It’s very easy to reach out to each other for advise and friendship through the online forum or blogs like this. I think we are very lucky to be part of such a tight knit group of people. Sometimes we disagree and get on each others nerves. But, overall, we know that we are all in this adventure together and we all do what we can to watch out for one another and come together when we need to. This became very apparent to me when youtube had it’s banning spree. Everyone from industry leaders and manufacturers, down to the newest faces in our sport was ready to stand together. It was really great to see that collective reaction.
While we may not have all the power of the firearms industry, we also don’t have all the political attention like the firearms industry, which is really nice! Youtube did eventually realize that they made a mistake and most of our airgun channels have been reinstated. Firearms channels are still in the radar though.
It was unfortunate to see one of the old forums get torn apart. As a “community” we stuck with each other and turned a bad situation into something great. I think this tight knit community is something we should really cherish and appreciate. Because we are so small and so tight with one another, I think we could almost use the word “Family” of airgunners.
I recently attended the 1st ever “Daystate owners fun shoot” hosted by Airguns of Arizona. It was a heck of a good time shooting all the newest Daystate rifles, meeting new people, and seeing old faces again. While I was down there, I noticed something interesting. On the back of the new Daystate T-shirts, it says, “Welcome to the family!” It put a smile on my face since I had been brainstorming on this topic before heading down there.
How hard do you think it would be to get in touch with the owner of one of the major firearms dealers? I think it would probably be a bit of a chore. I have personally spoke with many retail owners and manufacturers in the airgun industry over the past few years. Some of them are so approachable and talkative that I end up wondering how they could possibly have the time to run a business if they’re that chatty with everyone they talk to!
As an airgun family, we know one another. We know what rifles each other has. We borrow from one another. We know each others families. We celebrate additions to the family and mourn losses together. 6 degrees of separation? In our community, it’s more like 1-2 degrees. Do you know Steve, Giles, Ted, or Matt? I’ve met them. I consider them distant friends and know that they recognize me, who I am, and what I stand for. Since you’re reading this that means you’re 1 degree of separation away from knowing them as well!
I look back at a time when I was shooting firearms and before I found airguns. While shooting firearms is an enjoyable sport, I had an overall feeling of isolation. Even at the range, shooters rarely spoke to one another. These days, when I shoot with other airgunners, we’re always talking and laughing and having a great time together. I feel tremendously fortunate to have found this sport and all the great people involved in it! I hope all of you enjoy this feeling of family like I do.
Tom Adams

I’ve been seeing some pretty cool optics come out recently that are integrating technology into their functions.

Most recently, I picked up the MTC Rapier Rangefinder. I first noticed this little rangefinder at Shot Show 2018 and was immediately impressed at how much more it did than just tell me the range alone. This little gadget uses your smart phone or watch to calculate the ballistics of your rifle and then shows you and tells you exactly where to place your shot. Yup, it actually talks to you through either through your device or via an included bluetooth earpiece! It gave me a laugh the first time I heard it because it’s been programmed to talk to you with a British accent! It does require some initial setup information from you in order to provide you with the most accurate feedback. But, that little time spent in the beginning will take away any guess work out in the field.

Calculating ballistics is one thing but, this little rangefinder does even more. It also takes into consideration the angle your shooting at. That alone can mean the difference between a hit and a miss. “But wait, there’s more!” If you’re in an area with internet connection, you can download the local weather in your area and it will compute that into your ballistics as well. “But wait, there’s more!” There’s also a place for the shooter to enter the local wind data so that it can compute that into the ballistics of your shot as well!

The Rapier Rangefinder provides 4 pre-sets that are set up by the shooter a “custom tailored” fit to each of their rifle/scope combinations. I say custom tailored because ballistic coefficient, zero distance, velocity, scope height, twist rate, bullet weight, caliber, and length are all taken into consideration.
So, you might be wondering if it works with any scope. Yes! It asks you a couple of questions during setup in order to work with whatever scope your using. Is it First or Second focal plane and at what magnification is the scope at “true mil-dot.” Once this is entered, the main screen will then allow you to set and change your scope magnification very easily.

You can also choose what it tells you after you hit the “FIRE” button. It will tell you Range, plus any combination of the following – Angle, Drop, and Drift. Are you an MOA user? Or, maybe you prefer to “click in” to take your shot? No problem! Just set it to what you like… mil, MOA, 0.1-0.2 mil clicks, 1/8,1/4,1/2 MOA clicks, or bullet drop in inches or centimeters, and it will tell you what you want to know and how you want to hear it.
You do need a smart phone or watch in order to utilize all this information. But, even without one of these, the rangefinder will still work as a standard rangefinder. Through the eyepiece, you’ll see the changeable reticle, distance in yards or meters, angle with up or down indication, battery level, and whether vibration mode is on or off.

I searched around to see if there was anything else like this available. There is, but there’s only about 2 others to choose from (that I found) and you’d have to spend double or even triple the price in order to get one of them. Another product you might compare this to is the ATN X-sight scope. It has a lot of the same features built directly into the scope itself. Here’s why I like the rangefinder platform better. I own multiple rifles and I can easily use it with them without having to go through the process of un-mounting or mounting anything at all. That means I also don’t have to re-sight in. Being a rangefinder that will work with any scope, I can use whatever scope I want to look through and not be forced to use something that I might not like as much. Then, there’s the weight. The Rapier is 6.2oz in your pocket whereas the ATN scope is 2.5LBS on top of your rifle. Cost is always a concern as well. The MTC Rapier is the lowest priced of anything I found that compares to it making this little “piece of kit” (as the brits say) hard to beat!

I put together a youtube video about this little gem! If you’d like to see and hear it working, follow the link and check it out!

Happy Shooting!

Tom Adams

Owning your own high pressure air compressor can be a big step for an air gunner but, it’s a step towards independence and makes shooting an air rifle much more convenient by taking away the drive time, fuel costs, filling charges, and waiting around for the shop to open… or rushing to get there before they close!

High quality, high pressure air compressors can cost $1000, $2000, and up so, it’s no small feat to get your hands on the money for one. Even when you do get your hands on enough money to buy one, the temptation is there to use that money to buy another rifle, or supply bottle, instead of a compressor.
There are basically two different styles. One is called a “booster compressor” which takes the pressurized air from your home shop compressor and “boosts it” to the higher pressure you need for either your rifle or your supply bottle. The other style is the “stand alone” type, which do the whole process by themselves.
Many of the booster compressors do not come with filters for drying the air they are providing to your rifle. So, you might have to pick up an additional desiccant filter in order to give your rifle high quality, filtered, dry air. Accessories such as this not only bring additional costs but, they can also make the whole process a bit more cluttered by adding more hoses and equipment to your set up. But, for someone on a lower budget, one of these might fit the bill. Also, if you decide on a booster style, you’ll have the added benefit of owning a home shop compressor.
High quality, stand alone compressors such as the Omega Turbo Charger will run a higher price tag. But, they come with some very nice advantages. Oddly, the saying “Less is more” applies to these advantages. You’ll get less equipment, less machines running, less fittings and hoses, less noise, less power being used, and less things that can go wrong over all. They’re usually very compact, about the size of a suitcase, which makes it easier to find a place for them for operating and/or storage. Being stand alone, there’s nothing else to worry about hooking up, maintaining, or storing. Then there’s the noise factor. With a stand alone unit, you only have one machine running that’s about as loud as a washing machine. As I write this, my Omega Turbo is happily humming along, filling my supply bottle in another room. On the other hand, a booster compressor will have two machines running, the booster itself and a home shop compressor. I can tell you that any home shop compressor I’ve ever owned has been VERY loud and is certainly not something you want to be around when it’s running! Another big benefit to the Omega compressors is the moisture purge system which periodically purges moisture out the back of the machine before it gets to your rifle or storage bottle, without the use of a separate desiccant system.

Regardless of what style of compressor you’re looking at, they should all have some kind of safety feature built in. Either in the form of a pressure based automatic shutoff system, an over-pressure burst disc, or a redundant system that has both. Having the peace of mind in knowing that your bottle will not be overfilled is a MUST!
Personally, I like the stand alone units. I’ve had a booster compressor in the past and the one that I had made my shop compressor run very hard. In fact, it ended up breaking the shop compressor and I had to go out and buy a new one with a higher output. With a stand alone unit, I only have to worry about one machine. With proper maintenance, I should be able to fill my bottles “trouble free” for a very long time. Even if something does go wrong, it’s only one machine to worry about, diagnose, and fix.

Here’s a timely tip!!!

As I mentioned above, the cost of a stand alone unit can be significant and can leave quite a dent in a shooters budget. As of writing this article, it’s late-February and that means “tax season” is upon us! If you’re one of the lucky people that is expecting a tax return, and doesn’t have it ear-marked for anything yet, this might be a great opportunity to achieve “high pressure air INDEPENDENCE!”

Tom Adams

Is it a way to relax or, maybe a way to get excited? Do you shoot for pest control? Is it an avenue for experimentation in the quest for the “perfect shot” or the “perfect card” in competition? Do you shoot for the pure joy of plinking? For some, it’s a way for families to come together and enjoy their time with each other. A way for parents and children to connect.
For a lot of us, the draw to air gunning is the fact that they can be so quiet and so accurate, while not being as loud or deadly as a firearm.
For this writer, airguns started out as a way to continue shooting and learn about how to shoot without shooting firearms. When the ammo crunch started to hit, it was very nice to have already been established in airguns and be able to go and fulfill that desire to shoot a rifle and not struggle to find ammunition or struggle to pay for that ammunition. Since then, it has quickly turned into my primary shooting passion. It is no longer necessary for me to go down to a public range and hope there’s a bench available in order to shoot. Or, sit down next to someone testing out their new “hand cannon,” that’s loud enough to hear a mile away, while blasting me with concussion wave after concussion wave. Today, my firearms are neglected because I enjoy shooting airguns so much.
The lower power of airguns, compared to firearms, allows them to be shot in many backyards safely, using a proper backstop. Some shooters can actually shoot an air rifle inside their own home or garage, which is especially nice this time of year because you don’t have to battle the elements or wait until the weather is nice to shoot. Even with a very short range, a shooter can perfect their shooting skills such as trigger control, breathing, head positioning and more from the comfort of their own home.
Perhaps one of the biggest draws to air gunning is that they can legally have a moderator (LDC) added on to the barrel to make them quiet. Extremely quiet! In fact, an airgun can be so quiet that you can quite literally shoot all day and not disturb any of your neighbors. At my home range, there have been numerous times when deer actually walk up to my targets to see why their making noise!
I can recall one summer day, a few years ago, when I was shooting off my back deck out to 100 or 125 yards in the open field behind my house. It was just me, my rifle, my supply bottle, and a tin of pellets. The wind was calm, it was warm out, and the sun was shining. I sat there for what seemed like a long time and shot at my target over and over. During the course of my shooting session, the world around me seemed to quietly fade away. I was comfortable, calm, and very focused on my target. I began to push my limits. Instead of aiming at the target, I started aiming at the “T” post it was mounted on. Sometimes I’d hit… sometimes I’d miss. I moved my shots out even further. At that point, it wasn’t so much about hitting the target or creating small groups. For me, it was more about the calming effect of sitting there shooting in peace and quiet, and the tranquil state of mind it had put me in. When I finally got up to put things away, I had a feeling like I had just got back from a great relaxing vacation. The extremely low noise level of my airgun played a big part in allowing me to reach that point of contentment.
For me, air gunning is all those things I mentioned above. Relaxing, exciting, competitive, useful, safe, and most of all… great fun! How about you?

Happy Shooting,
Tom Adams

What an exciting time to be an air gunner! I have watched, throughout the past 10 years or so, an explosion of products and popularity. We are seeing companies do amazing things. Accuracy has gone up, and they are bringing us new and exciting concepts that they have not been able to do effectively in the past. I’m not necessarily talking about any one specific thing here or one specific brand.

Regulators are performing better, triggers are getting better, and we are seeing adjustable triggers on more models. The consumers are demanding a higher standard of quality, the manufacturers are listening, and we are getting it! They’re bringing us products that are doing the job that we, as shooters, want them to do. We are also asking these companies to provide products that are going to perform at a higher level than days past and maintain a low price tag. Affordable accuracy. Affordable hunting rifle. Affordable joy of shooting!

Air rifles are not under the microscope like firearms are. They are generally not held in the same regard either. It’s difficult for the uneducated general public to look at a pellet gun and see anything but a Red Ryder bb gun. Therefore, how can it be accurate? How can it have the power to take game animals? Each year, around Christmas time, there’s a reminder of how ineffective air guns are when “The Christmas Story” comes on… “Don’t shoot your eye out kid!” The modern day air rifle enthusiast knows that even an entry level air rifle is capable of incredible accuracy and power compared to that iconic lever action rifle.

What’s the next step in air gunning? I couldn’t tell you. It’s spreading out in so many areas. Affordability and accuracy is one area that is being advanced. And, its benefiting the people that may have a lower budget. The “professional” airguns are being pushed forward too. You know, the “big rigs”, the “dream guns”, the ones you see at competitions. They are getting more accurate, more user friendly, more adjustability, more fine tuning, more end user customization. The creativity coming from manufacturers is pretty neat too. They are coming out with different power sources, creating rifles that can do different things, different styles and looks to the rifles, adding features that were previously unexplored. They’re going out on a limb and are constantly trying out new concepts. Then, there’s the big bores! This is another forefront of the industry. These are the rifles that are defeating the perception that air rifles are not powerful enough, or accurate enough, to take large game responsibly. There’s a lot of similarities between big bores and black powder rifles, which are more widely accepted as “true hunting weapons”. But, the big bore guys are breaking new ground every year and showing that they are perfectly capable of keeping up with those traditional black powder guns. And, I think this is an exciting area of air gunning to watch grow from year to year.

It’s truly an exciting time to be in the air gunning world and have so many choices that are out now and coming out in the future that really have these amazing capabilities. The past few years, especially, have been full of new and exciting designs coming out to the consumer that shooters are having a lot of fun with and enjoying. It seems to only be getting better and better and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2018!

I hope you all have a safe and happy 2018.

Happy New Year!

Tom Adams