Idaho May 17 FT Match

May 20 2008 at 9:22 PM Ron Gill

It was a warm and bright Saturday morning. Filled with enthusiasm, we set up the match and headed for the sight-in range where there was a chronograph. We hadn’t had a chronograph at our matches before this year. Ash Covey chronographed his Daystate at just over 900 fps. Of course I had to tell him that my Air Arms S400 clocked in at 924. Ash allowed that with my 10.5 grain Crosman Premiers my gun might be over 20 foot pounds. Judgmental choruses went up and down the firing line. There was talk of willful and flagrant violation of the 20 foot pound rule. Within moments the rule was elevated to the cornerstone of Airgun Field Target in the United States. Why it is every time you get close fracturing a rule, it instantly becomes the cornerstone of your sport? I didn’t have a calculator to defend my rifle’s honor, but over the years its velocity hadn’t wavered even though there were many opportunities for the adjustment to be bumped or turned. I hadn’t checked it lately. Had something moved without my realizing it?

At a water break, George said that I had better bear down because he had only missed two targets in his first 18 shots. I was down 5 at that point, but George had some tough lanes coming up, and I did indeed bear down. By the end I had shot a 45/54 and George had shot a 44/54. But, that was not the end.

The first thing after the match George wanted to discuss was a broken retrieval chain on one of the targets, but he let the subject drop when I told him that it was broken by a low shot from Ray, my lane partner. Then Ash announced that he was certain that with CPHs my gun had to be well over 20, a number that quickly increased to 23 by the time we went to our after match lunch.

At the restaurant, accusing eyes roamed the lunch table. My pellets had unfairly bored holes in the wind, toppled fully grown sage brush and smashed hapless field targets. George went on that his Theoben was only 11.5 foot pounds. With his best Joan of Arc look of martyrdom, George concluded “And YOU are the club president!”

“Come on guys, this isn’t Watergate” I said. But, in the back of my mind there was doubt. I hadn’t checked the velocity in over a year, and 924 did seem a little higher than I remembered. Perhaps the adjuster had been disturbed. There was a chance that I was wrong and my airgun would be dishonored.

“When I get home I will look this up on the web and see just how far over Ron is,” announced Ash.

“Just E-mail me the results,” George said to Ash. I thought I heard a diabolical tone in his voice. Ash and George could have spent half the match cooking up their story. I was beginning to suspect a Daystate/Theoben conspiracy.

When I protested about being convicted in my absence, Ash flashed out his cell phone like it was Excalibur itself. “I can go on line from here!” he said. He punched in numbers, and said, “It’s working”. He was drawing out the last moments of drama.

“Oh, I stand corrected.” Ash’s voice dropped an octave. He passed the phone to George who read, “19. 9108”. My Air Arms S400 was vindicated.
The power adjuster in my Air Arms 400 is a brilliant piece of work. It was set just below 20 foot pounds in July 2005 and it is still holding its adjustment as well as keeping me out of hot water.

We had a new shooter, Ray Carter, who came as a spectator in March. This month he came to participate. In one month Ray, who is new to air rifles, bought a used RWS 52 from Pomona Air guns. He mounted a scope and showed up sighted-in and with trajectory information for FTS pellets. Ray’s score is not the whole story. A majority of his shots were face plate hits close enough to the KZ that, with practice, will soon be hits.


George Gardner, Theoben Evolution, Bushnell 6-18, JSB (L), 44/54.
Ray Carter, RWS 52, BSA 3-12X, FTS, 4/54

Ron Gill, AA S400ERB, Lepers 8-32X, CPH, 45/54
Ash Covey, Daystate X2, 44Mag 6-20, JSB (H), 33/54