Tuesday, December 15, 2015

American Shooting Journal ran my article about African American Marines in the battle of Iwo Jima in their December issue. This is the first time they have taken a non airgun article from me.

From 1922 to 1949 the U.S. Marine Corps trained 20,00 African American Marines, but in those years the USMC was a segregated force. White, and a few black, officers commanded units made up only of black Marines. They trained at a base segregated from the rest of the Marine Corps at Camp Montford Point, North Carolina. Three quarters of the Montford Point Marines went to the Pacific. On Saipan and Iwo Jima many saw fierce combat.

Today those Marines and their boot camp are symbols of courage and determination. A serving Sergeant in the Corps wrote to me, “ I would not have been who I am without their clearing the way for me. I am so grateful for their service”.

Montford Point Marine Association  http://www.montfordpointmarines.com/

American Shooting Journal  americanshooitngjournal.com


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Balin Update Sunday Dec 6

Balin had an ACL operation on Monday. he came home the next day and was a hapy to be home but very uncomfortable. Now he is stumping around the house like Long John Silver. He wants to play with the cats and go to feed the horses, but when we do get outside he poops out quick. I think he gets cold thru his shaved leg, Later after we get back in he sleeps, but looks toward the door each time I stand up.

He stays inside and gets full time supervision.

He'd do the same for Steph and I.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Balin Update

Balin came through of the operation OK and we can pick him up tomorrow.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Balin my Labrador retriever has  torn his cranial cruciate ligament, or CCL – similar to the  ACL in humans, and is scheduled for surgery next  monday. This started as a sudden and severe limp on his left rear leg three weeks ago, but is likely a long term thing. Labs have this a lot. When he went lame I thought I would have to carry him back to the house that was only 200 feet away. Now, after limiting his exercise to walking on a leash, he shows no sign of lameness. He has a chance (30 to 50 %) of the same injury on the right knee. So the left knee is going to be repaired. Two blown out knees would be a disaster.

Steph says, “You have to be brave for your dog,” and that is what I am going to do.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Gallery of Rifles at Extreme Benchrest

Theoben Rapid
FX Royale
RAW TM1000
MAC I Hunter (.30 cal)

Daystate Air Wolf

What is it that these superguns bring to the table? What caliber and pellet is best for competition at 75 yards and beyond? Watch this blog for further post on these questions.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A custom magazene for the Extreme Benchrest Speed Shoot

Up till now it has been said that to do well at the speed shoot you had to single load. Not any more! Several magazine loaders were in the finals including this innovative gravity fed design. 

Blueflax covert operatives proved that their 2014 photo of the .30 Daystate Wolverine bench  rest rifle was not a solitary intelligence triumph. In 2015 video was added to their black bag of tricks. Needles to say, this video was obtained at great personal risk. The area behind this shooter was crowded with rubberneckers. 

The shooter in this sequence started the match standing to the left of his rifle. At the start command he held louse pellets in his left hand and loaded the angled magazine with his right. Then taking his seat he operated his rifle with a special lever that allowed the sue of the left hand. He fired right handed and levered the next pellet into the breach with his right.

I had planed to shoot the speed shoot with an Armada, but switched to my Air Ranger because the loading port for the .22 magazines proved to be too narrow for my blunt fingers. Could this be a solution?


Thursday, October 15, 2015

John Reimers wins 2015 Extreme Benchrest

John on the firing line during the 25 meter match

John Reimers shot a 190-1X at 100 yards to win the 2015 Extreme Benchrest in Mesa, Arizona on October 4th.

To reach the finals John shot two third place scores (226-5X and 227-4X) at 75 yards on the 2nd and 3rd to qualify. On both days, he came in third, but on the final day when the targets were moved to 100 yards he shot three points ahead of Noah Sever’s 187-1X second place score. Irwin Segerman shot a 183-0X for third place.

The same 5 ⅛ inch targets with ½ inch ten rings were used at 75 and 100 yards. The X count reflects hits on a 3/16 inch circle within the ten ring. Hits on the X ring are used to break ties.  


Monday, October 5, 2015

Extreme Benchrest, Were Home!

Extreme Benchrest, Were Home!
Pocatello, Idaho 10-5-15 9:14 PM

We made it back to Pocatello just before sunset, Tired but glad the trip is behind us. I am going to go over my notes and start to put together some longer format pieces about Extreme Benchrest like the different matches, the Cast bullet guns and what it meant to double the attendance, there were 200 entries this year. Aldo we will highlight some of the  folks we met this year. So watch this blog.

A big thanks to Arimo Dave for driving and to his Ford car that got 40 MPG. We drove 1800 miles and I am swaying for side to side as I am typing this.

We will close out with a photo of Dave and I at the range in Arizona. Dave is the one with the iron sighted rifle.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Extreme Benchrest some final scores

Flagstaff, Arizona
10-4-15 11:05 PM

We are in Flagstaff after driving up  from Phoenix after the banquet. Lightning from over the Navajo Nation light up the night cloudscape. We will stay here for the night.

A view from the Rio Salado range

As you know, the final for the Extreme benchrest was shot off at 100 yards. the top three Pro scores were 190, 187 and 183. Sportsman scores were 174, 168-2X and 168-0X. They were shot of the same targets as 75 yards in some pretty stiff winds from 6:00. The  top gun in Pro class was a FX Boss .30 caliber.

In the 200 yard cast bullet match the top scores were 169-3X, 168-1X and 165. The Helium powered .30s from Virginia took first and second and the .25 custom Condor shot third.

More tomorrow.


Extreme Benchrest 10-4-15 morning

Today at Extreme Benchrest
Oct 4, Mesa Arizona

Last night the shooters for the 75 yard and speed shoot finals were announced. There will be 40 in each group 20 Sportsman and 20 Professionals. I will be a spectator, but that’s OK. after a disappointing day on Friday, no time on the speed shoot and a 191 at 75, I shot a personal best of 214 at 75.

Shooting two relays on the 75 yard event has improved the match for me. It does give you a chance to come back from a bad day, but more importantly, you get to shoot more. Shooting more is always more fun.

Last night we had the speakers evening at the Las Sendas Golf Club. Beer was $5.00 a glass so I knew I was in an upscale venue. Speakers were Michael Vent, Airgun Nation, Tony Belas, historical airguns, and Rossi Morreale, what is a real airgunner?, it was a good time.

Rossi gave an over the top and very funny presentation that called into question a lot of the idiosyncrasies the airgunners share. We can get pretty anal about o-rings, but we do need to work on our communications skills in order to share our  passion for the sport.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Extreme Benchrest 10-3-15

Extreme Benchrest 10-3-15
Mest, Arizona

On the Edge of Airgunning

Today Dave and I shot 25 and 75 yard benchrest and Dave shot 10 M pistol. Between relays we had a chance to go to the range whee the cast bullet shooters were practicing. We saw some things that take airgunning to another step.

Compressor guru Todd stands next to two extra large American field targets.

First was a target. Folks in Arizona are looking to adapt field target to the more powerful guns that have come along in the last few years. To do this they are building targets that are way more robust. Targets that are capable of standing up to 150 FPE guns. These targets would be placed between 30 and 100 yards. This would open the sport up to .22 long rifles, which we think is a  good idea to attract new shooters. Obviously, there would be some safety considerations. there are now a lot of rifles that shoot harder than the 20 foot pounds limit for FT and this could be their game.

I talked to Doug Noble who shoots a .25 cast bullet rifle. His rifle is a modified Airforce Condor that shoots a 60 gr bullet at just over 900 fps. This bullet has been the go to cast bullet for the 25-20 for over a century. Doug says that with a well regulated air source he can shoot 4 inch groups at 200 yards.

Lastly there were two airgunners from Virginia that brought .30 caliber rifles that ran of helium and shot 200 gr bullets at over 900 fps. The bullets were a special spitzer with two widely spaced driving bands. These rifles cracked like a centerfire. A lot of development work has gone into these rifles, but a silencer would be nice.

Sunday will be the finals in the speed shoot and the 75 yard BR, as well as the cast bullet match.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Extreme Benchrest October 2, 2015

Extreme Benchrest
October 2, 2015, Mesa, Arizona

Today we shot the Speed Shoot, and the first day of the 75 yard benchrest. They couldn’t bee any more different. Sixteen steel silhouette spaced out from 25 to 55 yards shoot’m down as fast as you can. Twenty Five bullseye targets with a ten ring smaller than a dime. In thirty minutes, hit em all and you will be legend.

Crews set up the 75 yard targets.

I took my sight correction for the speed shoot and couldn't’ hit a thing. Maybe The gun was overfilled, but it just kept shooting higher so that each run, you get three, was different. My score was disappointing.

How far can things go? My gun started to leak. All I had left to do was shoot the 75 yard benchrest.

The gauge on my gun showed that I had lost 100 bar since I filled it after the speed shoot. Low enough that I had to refill the gun half way thru my sighting shots.

My first sighter after the fill was a 10. I went to the record target and shot 2 10s and went on to shoot what I think was a personal best at 75 yards, and did it on one fill. We will have the scores by Sunday morning.

One match went wrong one match went right. That’s why shooting is a sport.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Extreme Benchrest Oct 1, Thursday Field Target

Extreme Benchrest
Oct 1, Thursday
Field Target

Today was the sight in day, and on the range for 25 and 75 yard benchrest there were no new guns to see, but there were a lot of familiar faces, This part of Extreme Benchrest was like you would hope your local club shoot would be. Old friends catching up on what had happened since the last match. A full day for sighting in sounds like a lot, but these guns have come a long way with plenty of opportunities to have their zeros knocked, vibrated or just plane pummeled out of alignment. I was happy to find that the Armada was needed only one MOA of left windage at 25 yards, and my Air Ranger was off by less than one mil at 75.

There was a Field Target match on the new FT range and it is a credit to the folks that built it. The surrounding is a stand of desert plants that would be the centerpiece of any native cactus garden. I counted seven separate species of cactus as well as Jojoba and Palo verde.

But what about the shooting, Ron? It was hard. Small kill zones and ranges that put the target in the worst part of the trajectory. there were only ten stations, but this range is going to become a touchstone for a shooting challenge with air rifles as well as being scenic.

American Field Target

We are learning about a new twist on the traditional field target match. American Field Target will have bigger targets, longer ranges and more powerful guns. There will be a presentation by the match developers before we go home. So stay in touch with this blog for more information.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Extreme Benchrest, Mesa, AZ. 104 degrees!!

Extreme Benchrest, Mesa, AZ. 104 degrees!!

Sep. 30th, 10:30 AM

We signed in for the match at Airguns of Arizona after a pleasant drive from Flagstaff. The retail sales part of the building is small, but has a rack of airguns to die for, or at least drain the unused portion of your credit card balance to zero. If you thought they  only sold Daystate and FX, be advised that those two brands only occupied about half of the gun rack.

More interesting was to listen to the sales staff talk to the customers who came in while we were signing in. This is not a scene that would be replicated in Pocatello, Idaho.


Yesterday I wrote that the first two relays of the 75 yard benchrest would be shot one in the morning and one in the afternoon. After reviewing the schedule we picked up this morning, we saw that they will be shot on friday and Saturday, but both will be shot in the afternoon.
I don’t think this is a big deal. Likely it has to do with the number of shooters and matches to be held. Over four days there will be five separate events some of which have up to five relays.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Extreme Benchrest, Flagstaff, Arizona

Flagstaff, Arizona

Arimo Dave and I arrived in Flagstaff just as the sun was setting over the mountains to the north west. We had driven 672 miles, 1075 KM, from Pocatello crossing over several 7000 feet, 2100 meters, mountain pases.

We talked about all kinds on airguns, mostly the ones we couldn't afford, but the major question was how will the larger venue at Rio Salado, and the bigger crowd, 200 vs 100 last year, affect the  the shooting regimens we had gotten use to  over the last two years?

Bigger is more. More shooters, a full size FT course http://phoenixairgun.net/Phoenix_Benchrest/Field_Target.html An indoor pistol range and a 200 yard match for air rifles shooting cast bullets.

Most important is the expanded format for the signature 75 yard benchrest match. In past years, competitors were assigned, by a random process, one 20 min really, and you shot the conditions present during your relay. The winds were usually benign in the morning and became stronger as the day went on.  So the luck of the draw could be more important that marksmanship to determine the winner.

This year, constants will be assigned one morning relay and one in the afternoon. Then the top shooters from each relay will shoot one more relay at the same time to determine the winner. We are all waiting to see how this works out.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

IZH air pistol

IZH air pistol

Next week Dave and I will be in Arizona for the 2015 Extreme Benchrest. Dave will be shooting in the 10 meter pistol match where two handed holds are going to be permitted. Dave built a new rear sight and shot in our monthly 10 meter match. His score was club record 261-1X for our 30 shot match, but due to the two handed hold it, like some baseball records, is posted with a footnote.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pheonix Airgun Benchrest & Silhouette Club

Pheonix Airgun Benchrest & Silhouette Club
Ron Gill

Author’s Note: Pocatello, Idaho Mid-September, 2015. The Pheonix Airgun Benchrest & Silhouette Club is major presence at Extreme Benchrest. This year the club will be conducting both the benchrest events and the pistol shoot. In 2013, they worked with a software company from the east coast to introduce computer scoring to the 25 meter event. I am looking forward to shooting with them next month. This story is about Garrett, but it is also about the Pheonix Airgun Benchrest & Silhouette Club.

Garrett is the main sparkplug of the Pheonix Airgun Benchrest & Silhouette Club. I interviewed him while he and some other club members were enjoying the shade at the 2014 Extreme Benchrest in Green Valley, Arizona. When I asked him, “Tell me your story of the club”. .He lit up and the others shared knowing smiles as he started into his, familiar story.

Garrett at a pre-match briefing

Like a lot of airgunners, Garrett, he likes to be called Garrett, shot pellet guns when he was growing up. In adult life something happens and brings that bygone young shooter back into the present.

He told me that he had a pigeon problem long after the air gun of his youth had disappeared. He borrowed a spring gun. “The first shot transported me back to my youth.”  He may have told this story a thousand times, but his enthusiasm was as high as it happened that morning.

Now he had to have an airgun, and he went to an airgun specific store to look for a budget priced springer. The guy behind the counter read Garrett right and suggested that he might be more interested in something a little better. Equating better with more expensive Garrett said “You are not going to make a sale today”. He was, however, talked into taking a few test shots.

“I bit the apple,” he said about that first shot.The price of that upscale rifle was more money than he had, but when he shot it he knew he had to have it. That day he went home without an air rifle, saved his money, and returned to buy an up scale air rifle. The return to airgunning happens to a lot of folks in about the same way.

Where Garrett’s story takes a unique turn was when he went to an airgun match and fell in love with it. It wasn’t just the guns. “People love to be around other people.” The Phoenix club’s matches grew from five  to seven shooters to hosting the 2014 airgun benchrest nationals. “The Nationals were the accumulation of a lot of work,” he swept his hand to the other club members. Garrett is a people person. The whole club seems that way.

The benchrest matches in Phoenix started at 33 feet but grew to 25 yards, they to 50 and 75, and finally to 100 yards.  Along the way, they worked to offer a suite of airgun matches to offer more shooting opportunities to potential air gunners. They included matches that were shot from the bench, but used reactive targets like down sized metallic silhouettes. “They are a fine alternative to shooting paper.” This year, they built a Field Target range to round out their program.

You can go website www.phoenixairgun.net to read the  details and see photos of their matches. Newly posted is a photo of new Multi Purpose Airgun Centers, under construction, and a airborne video turn of there new field target range. How cool is that!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

5 shots from a Daystate Air Ranger

Five head shots in a row at 50 yards. I suppose that irs not exactly Extreme, but that is where this gun is going.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Benjamin Armada Tactical Accessories 9-3-15

Sling attachment is just aft of the bipod.

The Armada has attachment points to hang all sorts tactic cool-goodies and make the gun exclusively yours. This is especially easy if you already have a black rifle, the muscle memory to go with it, and know what accessories you want.
I didn’t have a black rifle when the Armada dropped anchor, so the rifle came with a steep learning curve. Along with the gun was a scope, short picatinny rails, quick release sling mounts. The bottom and sides of the handrails were covered by long plastic pads. All good stuff but rifle seemed busy and crowded as I added them to the rifle.

The first thing I wanted was sights, I added a set of MAGPUL backup (MBUS) sights. They are plastic and after using them in several matches I found them adequate. For a 6:00 o'clock hold at 50 yards I used all the elevation they had. For a small sling attachment point that would not come loose I bought a MAGPUL QD sling mount. This is a socket that accepts a stud that is held in place with four spring loaded steel balls.
QD swivle plugs into the attachment.

The pads came off. The bottom one to allow for the sling mount and moving the bipot back. I felt the side pads detracted from the long lines of the hand rail.

I found that simplifying the accessories made the Armada more useful for me.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Armada air rifle trigger

I shot this trigger the other night and it is very comfortable.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tuxedo Charlie and the Benjamin Armada

Charles told me the photo needed his presence.

This is what happens when you try to take photos in the presence of a cat who knows that the whole thing is put on for his benefit. His name is Charles and he is named for his Charlie Chaplin mustache.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Competition Machine, Inc. Space gun Butt stock

Dave's new butt stock form Competition Machine, Inc.

When we last saw Arimo Dave’s .25 Armada space gun, he had the front and rear sight attached, but was shooting with the stock butt stock. http://blueflaxairguns.blogspot.com/2015/07/benjamin-armada-project-rifle.html I found this “globally sourced” butt stock to be more useful than I thought it would be, but Dave wanted to duplicate his .223 space gun. Here it is.

The butt stock is from Competition Machine, Inc. www.gotxring.com The folks there brought our attention to their new logo. They have been known as Competition Shooting Stuff.

You can see that it is adjustable for length, drop and weight, but there is more. The cheekpiece is drilled off center and rotates around the buffer tube to 12 positions where it is held in place by a spring loaded detent. A very nice feature.

Dave reports that his spacey Armada (que the Imperial March from Star Wars) is about a pound lighter than his .223 but that the balance point is nearly the same.

Dave's rifle a few weeks ago

Neet air rifle, Dave.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Edith Gaylord

Edith Gaylord was a person you assumed would always be around. Her passing has left a great void.

I first spoke to her one morning twenty years ago. I had called to ask for a copy of “The Airgun Letter”. Edith made me feel like friend right from the start. That was twenty years ago.

A few years later she called to tell me that she and Tom would buy a story about shooting airguns with my daughter, Valerie, that I had submitted to “The Airgun Review”. Steph, my wife, had taken the photos and was delighted when she told me, “Ron, Edith Gaylord is calling”. Ever since then, they always graciously asked about Valerie.

Last January, I was at the Shot Show watching the taping of a segment for “American Airgunner”, when I noticed a woman standing next to me.

“Edith?” I asked.

“Ron Gill, how are you,” she said without a moment’s hesitation. She and Tom were as gracious as ever.

She said, “You should rewrite that story about Valerie, and get it published again”.

“But I sold that story to you years ago,” I said.

“Don’t worry, I give it back to you,” she said, and that was all there was to it.

I told this story to someone at the Pansal squirrel shoot in Idaho in May of this year. He thought it over, smiled and said, “The Gaylords have a lot of class”.

They sure do, and we will all miss Edith.

With Respect,

Ron Gill

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Daystate Air Ranger .25

The group on the ram's front shoulder was shot at 75 yards.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Benjamin Armada, the erector set

The Benjamin Armada is the erector set of air rifles. One can add an accessory here and take away another one there until you get the Armada of your choice. I think you could line up 100 personally owned Armadas and not more than 10 would be the same. Unless the new owner hasn’t had time to shop for accessories. I have moved the bipod 4 times, the front sling swivel 2 and added a front pictinall rail. For High Power Sporting Rifle matches I install a set of backup sights and moved the rear sight 3 times. Then there is the but stock. It has been taken off, put back on and adjusted to all its different lengths. To my surprise I found the adjustable buttstock the most useful. Since you can’t move the scope or rear sight backforward for the right eye relief, Changing the length of pull can serve the same function.

Some things run counter to habits from a lifetime of shooting firearms. I have always set up scope mount with the screw heads on the right side so if Some just have to be that way like Unertl external mounts, but with Weaver mounts or tipoff mounts that use thumb screws or allen wrenches, I put them on the right. On the mounts that come with the Armada package there is a nut that tightens the the scope rings onto the base.

Air guns have a way of being game changers. The Armada/Marauder rifles have a magazine that that fits flush on the left, but sticks out on the right. I thought that went away with the .30-40 Krag. Crosman magazines display a shot counter on the portion that protrudes from the right side of the breach.

I shoot three of the four stages of HPSR in sitting and if I want to check the shot count, I move my head to the right and look down the right side of the rife. I tried this in a sitting rapid fire stage, and all I saw was the nut!

Scope mount nut blocking shot counter.

Mount turned around, and nut no longer blocks counter.

All these moves seem pretty obvious once they are done. They are not obvious until you shoot the gun for a while and see what needs to be changed to fit your shooting style.