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Tet FAQ
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Age/Test Level Requirements

Guns

Targets

Pellets

Safety

Travel

 

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Submit it to the Tetrathlon Committee.

Age/Test Level Requirement

At a rally, how do we handle the members who want to participate, but might not meet the age/test level requirement?

At the Regional level, the Organizer may include divisions that fit the needs of his / her competitors (see Page 4, section 1, article 6, #3 of the 2006 Tetrathlon Rulebook). Specialized Divisions, such as Sport, Non-Qualifying, etc., can be created for older kids or for those competitors not ready for the requirements of their age group ( i.e., jump heights, swim and run distances ).

If a competitor is trying to qualify for a National Championships, then they must compete to the standards outlined in the Rulebook. This includes the Novice, Intermediate, Junior, and Senior Divisions. Junior and Senior competitors, at a Regional Qualifying Rally, may "jump down" only one level and still qualify for a Championship, providing they meet the minimum Ride and Overall points requirements.

At non-Championship competitions, a competitor may jump down as many levels as they want with a 200 point penalty for each level downward. As an example, if a Senior wants to "jump down" to the Junior level, then they would incur a 200 point penalty. If that same competitor chose to "jump down" to the Novice level, then they would incur a 400 point penalty.

In summary, the Organizer may create divisions at the Regional level to include all competitors. Consideration must be taken to keep the age and ability similar when creating ad hoc Divisions. This can be done with pencil and paper, but we would encourage you to use the Competition Assistant software, which has been developed specifically to assist the organization and scoring of Tetrathlon competitions.


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Guns Information

What Gun is best for shooting?

Not all guns are best for all kids. It is best to class them by age, or size and strength and then by capability. While a bad gun will hurt a competitors chances of scoring, an expensive top quality gun will not help a beginner shoot better. For Tetrathlon there are several good guns under $300 that will take the competitor as far as they need to go. For younger competitors, weight is a more critical factor than overall precision.

Below are three good guns at a reasonable price and a couple next level options. When a competitor is shooting consistently above 850 points, it might be time to look at the next level up, however, in the new gun realm you jump into specialized European made target guns powered by SCUBA air that typically start above $1000.00. They are beautiful pieces of workmanship, but remember they will not improve a shooters performance until the shooter achieves consistency above 850 points. You can buy many fine examples of one generation back technology for $500-$600 in the used market.

Can you recommend a couple of air pistol models?

There are lots of competition air pistols on the market. Some more difficult to use than others, and often cause new shooters mechanical problems during competitions. My basic guidance is to avoid complexity unless you intend to shoot a lot. Remember the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) - It is a good one to keep in mind when looking for a gun. Here are several models to consider at for the entry level Pony Club member:

Beeman P-3 This is a great little gun and is the lightest of the under $300 guns. It has good sights and trigger and can be shot with either left of right hand. This gun can be purchased online and are sold by Cabela s among other dealers.

Gamo Compact: Same price range as the Beeman P-3. This is a better target gun but it has a big grip that can be a disadvantage to the younger kids and you must specify left or right hand. Also READ THE INSTRUCTION BOOK. The Gamo is not ready to use out of the box. One of the features of this gun is that the back sight slot can be adjusted from narrow to wide. It comes from the factory closed all the way down and needs to be opened or the shooter can t see the front site. This gun can be purchased online and is sold by numerous sources.

Baikal IZH-46M Competition Air Pistol: This is a more accurate pistol than the Gamo Compact BUT it is a lot heavier which can be a significant disadvantage to a younger/smaller competitor. I like this gun but would not recommend it to a Tetrathlete below senior or a bigger Junior. It is very "nose" heavy. This gun can be purchased online and I would recommend doing a Google search for the best price. A used IZH46 as opposed to the IZH46M is a better choice for smaller kids as it lighter in weight than the current production "M" model.

Tau7 Jr. This is the best overall pistol for beginning to intermediate skilled Pony Club member. It is the lightest weight, least tiring to cock, most accurate and has the ability to grow with the user. It comes standard with a small ambidexterous target grip, that can be exchanged for different sizes or left handed grips as needed. The Tau 7 has been around a long time, in both the full size and the junior version. It is CO2 operated gun, and can either use the readily available CO2 caplets, or you can bulk fill the cylinder inside the grip. The balance is better for younger users too since the weight is located in the palm of the hand, not further out. This gun is available to clubs through USA Shooting (the Olympic body for shooting) at special pricing or to individuals for $450 from Pilkguns a shop dedicated to selling target air pistols.

Used previous generation match pistols. For those tetrathletes that want to maximize their potential, there are relatively speaking some real bargains in this field but even so most of these airguns are going to be in the $400-$700 range. While their features and balance may be better than the entry level guns, grip sizes can be problematic since what you see on the gun is often going to be more adult sized, and a new grip the correct size can be half again or more the cost of the used gun. A good source for used air pistols is the Pilkguns Used Gun Page where they have a fairly large and constant turnover of match airpistols. Pilkguns, run by a former Olympic team member, also has some great coaching and shooter interviews for those wishing to improve their shooting skills.

I just got my gun and it doesn't have a safety. Is that a problem?

No. With the exception of the Beeman P-3 none of the guns recommended above have a safety. As a rule, Target guns do not have a safety - they are a distraction to the shooter.


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Target Information

What Targets do we use?

For all Tetrathlon Divisions except 8 and Under use the 10 Meter Air pistol target. For the 8 and Under division, you may use the NRA 50 ft timed and rapid fire pistol target, model B-3.

Quality is important and, believe it or not, not all targets are created equal. The key to quality is that the targets be ISSF approved. If they are not then they are usually hard to score and rip rather then punch a clean hole.

Cost is normally about $20.00 for 250.

Where do we get the targets?

Manufactures: There are probably lots of targets available, but the two seen most often in shooting competitions are EDELMANN and EGGERDRUCK. The NRA targets are NOT recommended because they rip and are hard to score, causing headaches for the shooting Steward.

Resources: 6-Stern-Meisterscheiben prints the EGGERDRUCK targets and will put a custom logo on the target for us. Stores that specialize in target shooting and have good targets are Pilk Guns  and  Champions Shooters Supply.


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 Pellet Information

What size pellet should I purchase?

Caliber should be .177 Cal ( European 4.50 mm ). You want to be sure that you get match pellet that is a flat-faced wadcutter style.

Is there a difference in pellets?

Yes! Quality pellets are essential to accurate shooting. A bad pellet in the best gun will miss the mark. Old pellets that have been sitting around for a year open should be thrown out. There are several good target pellet makers, RWS, H & N , and Vogel. H & N are often marketed under the Beeman name in the US. Each of these pellet makers makes a wadcutter match pellet in both a light weight and a heavy weight. The light weight pellets should be used in slower pistols like the P3 or IZH46, but for CO2 or compressed air pistols, the heavy match pellet is preferred. Further there is made by each of these manufacturers match pellets in different head sizes. The pellets are .177 caliber, which is equal to 4.50 millimeters. However, for extreme accuracy in air RIFLE shooting, they make head sizes above and below 4.50, such as 4.48, 4.49, and 4.51 and these are noted on little stickers on the pellet tins. The size of the 10 ring for air rifle is literally the size of the period at the end of this sentence. For air pistol shooting and the size of the 10 ring on the target which is so much bigger than the size of the even the pellet that these different sizes make no discernible difference as your group will be well below the size of the 10 ring unless something is wrong with your air pistol. This holds true for all but the very highest Olympic air pistol competitors. As long as you are shooting a qood quality .177 match pellet from the one of the makers listed above, size doesn't matter.

What pellet should I use?

As long as you are shooting a qood quality .177 match pellet from the one of the makers listed above, size does'nt matter. Match or Target pellets have a flat head , sometimes called wadcutters that punches a good clean hole in the Target. Brand names such as RWS R-10, RWS Meisterkugeln, H & N Finale Match, Vogel Match, Merlin Match are some of the more common marketing names from the Big Three makers, and any of these will shoot 10's all day long from your air pistol

Do not use rounded or pointed pellets they make a smaller hole are hard to score and are a disadvantage to the competitor.

Weight: Pellets come in different weights as noted above. It is recommended that you use the LIGHT weight in airpistols that require pumping the air in each time such as the P3 or the IZH46. The Heavy Pellets are typically used in airpistols that use CO2 or SCUBA air as a propellant.

Make: Vogel, Beeman, H & N. RWS, and others. Several pellet suppliers are Pyramyd Air, Vogel USA, and Champion Shooters Supply.  


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Safety Considerations

Where can I shoot?

Air Pistols make very little noise and the pellets will only travel about 200 yards if allowed to fly without a backstop. All you need is 40 ft or so to set up your 10 meter ( 32.8 ft ) range - in the basement, yard, or barn. Most gun stores, and also Wal-Mart, have pellets traps. These are great, especially for shooting indoors. Old telephone books also work great.

How dangerous is the pellet?

As with any gun, they should always be treated as if they were loaded at all times. These pellet guns will kill a small animal. They are powerful enough to shoot rats in the barn and they are very effective, so pets need to be protected. To a human the biggest risk is to the eyes and eye protection should always be worn by both the shooter and any observers. The pellet will go through a shirt and at a minimum leave a very nasty welt.

What type of glasses should I wear?

Just about any type of safety glasses will protect the eye. You can pick up shooting glasses at Wal-Mart or any hardware or sporting goods store.

Where can I get an air gun safety guide?

The NRA Air Gun Safety Guide is available for download from the NRA Web site.

Is there a health hazard when using lead pellets?

The NRA has published a two page whitepaper on this topic.


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Traveling Considerations

What should I consider when traveling with an air pistol?

Technically air pistols used for Tetrathlon competitions are not firearms, so in most of the 50 states you are allowed to have them in your car and to fly with them in your checked bag. Flying these days is a hassle with many things, and guns of any sort, even airguns can cause complications with officials who are not familar with the rules. Plan on arriving at the aiport several hours before your flight, just in case. Always declare your air gun just like you would a firearm, otherwise you are risking it being noticed in an x-ray and your luggage being pulled, causing you to miss a flight at a minimum or an accidental arrest at worst.

Always carry a copy of TSA Permitted and Prohibited Items on your person and in the case with your gun for reference when dealing with either airline or TSA personnel, also do the same with the more comprehensive Permitted and Prohibited Items PDF file.

These two papers quiet clearly show what the regulations are regarding traveling with airguns and can easily be confirmed by suspicious airline personnel by going to the TSA website. It is also recommended that included with your airpistol that you have a letter addressed to the TSA, stating who you are, what competition you attending, and a cel phone number that you can be reached at within the airport if they have any questions if they open your luggage after check-in. While not technically a firearm, it is recommended to follow the firearms rule which require firearms to be inside a locked case. Normally this is not a problem since often match air pistols come with a lockable case that keeps all your shooting gear in one place. If you don't have such a lockable case, they are easily found at Wal-mart and other sources.

One other possible airgun concern when flying applies only to those guns using CO2 or compressed air (SCUBA air) with detachable cylinders. Since most of these air pistols come from the factory with two cylinders, one attached to the gun and one separate in the case, it is assumed that you should take both cylinders with you when traveling. The second or spare cylinder will sometimes be questioned by TSA personnel. The TSA regs are contradictory regarding small cylinders, and some agents will not allow the second cylinder. The one attached to the gun is OK, since it is attached to the TSA permitted airgun, but the spare cylinder is not. TSA rules require that the cylinders be empty when traveling, so at a minimum they should be drained of propellant when packing. Since cylinder failure is extremely rare, most atheletes choose to leave the spare cylinder at home rather than face the hassle of trying to send back the second cylinder if it is denied by TSA at the gate.

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