Daisy model 177 Targeteer BB pistol

by B.B. Pelletier

Among the many models of airguns that might be called classics, there are a few quirky guns that have to be loved just because they exist. Daisy’s model 177 Targeteer is one of them.

The first Targeteer
All you armchair airgun designers – listen up, because the story of the 177 is a lesson in why scaling guns up or down doesn’t always work. Daisy’s debut in BB pistols came in 1937, when they brought out the first version of the Targeteer. I reported on this one in May 2005. Although this gun was touted as a BB gun, it didn’t shoot conventional steel BBs. Instead it shot a tiny .12 caliber steel ball that was called Targeteer Shot. Initially they came 500 to a small cylindrical tin.

Low power
The first Targeteer was purposely low-powered – or was it? In fact, Daisy got about as much power as they could from the gun, because the piston was so small and the stroke so short that the displacement was miniscule. Further compounding the problem was the need to keep the mainspring weak so the pistol could be cocked. Unlike a rifle that has a lot of leverage for cocking, an air pistol is smaller, and the Targeteer was cocked by pulling back on the slide – not a very convenient method! The net result was a very weak air pistol, best-suited to close-range target practice, only.

A BB gun doesn’t have an especially efficient powerplant to begin with, and the Targeteer’s was small in comparison with the long guns Daisy made. They were lucky to see as much as 200 f.p.s. with steel shot. After they stopped making .12 caliber steel shot, the world had to switch to No. 6 birdshot, which is pure lead and, of course, heavier. Velocity dropped off even more.

The original Targeteer resumed production after the war and held on until the early 1950s. But its low power became a liability when a new crop of very powerful CO2 pistols hit the scene. The Targeteer was laid to rest in 1952, but it wasn’t gone long. In 1957, Daisy brought it back, this time as a true BB pistol called the model 177. I reported on it in June 2005. This new gun shot the popular steel BBs that were easy to find, but not without a problem.

Can you guess the problem?
If the original Targeteer was underpowered, the new BB pistol was hopeless! The much heavier 0.173-sized steel BB went less than 125 f.p.s. in a well-maintained gun! It was a sharp-looking air pistol that, unfortunately, failed to deliver in real life. The instructions claim it’s made for indoor ranges of 9-12 feet, but I have had BBs bounce off the target at that range! In fact, I just tried my gun while writing this report, and it can’t penetrate one sheet of paper at two feet! If I oiled it a lot, it would go through a sheet of paper, but just barely.


The BB-shooting Targeteer looks like more of
a gun than the older .12-caliber pistol.

So how did this pistol ever sell? That’s easy; it looks great! Look at the picture. You’ll see deep dark paint that looks like bluing, and finely sculpted grips that resemble wood more than a little. It came packed in a box that looked like a fitted case, with styrofoam that was heat-shaped to accept the pistol perfectly. Sales began in 1957 and continued until 1978. The first guns were made in Plymouth, Michigan, before Daisy moved to Rogers, Arkansas, and they now command a premium. Mine is a late Rogers model and is in like-new condition. A lot of the BB-caliber Targeteers I see are nice, because I don’t think people used them very much.

So what?
The lesson here is that every airgun that looks cool doesn’t necessarily shoot the same way. Remember the recent test I did with the Marksman 1010? It looks like a semi-auto, but functions like a flintlock!

Scaling an airgun up in size and caliber sounds like a good thing, but it often doesn’t work out. However, as these guns get some age they become interesting in their own right as a study in airgun history.

48 thoughts on “Daisy model 177 Targeteer BB pistol


  1. I don’t use optics on handguns, so I’m the wrong guy to ask. I would think and dot sight that has a large sight window would work fine.

    B.B.



  2. The article on the model 177 brought back memories… that’s the pistol I wanted as a kid instead of the model 179 that I got for Christmas! The 179 was such a weak shooter, I thought for sure the 177 had to be better!

    Apparently not… it sounds like they were two peas in a pod. I remember the 179 bouncing BB’s off cardboard boxes… although it had no trouble poking paper at 15 feet. And because it wasn’t an “air” gun (it used a finger spring to propel the BB), there are no seals to dry out.

    Although it wasn’t a “spittin’ image” gun, as I recall they did tout it as a “GI” replica, and even sold a “GI holster” for it. Even in a holster, though – you’d have to squint pretty hard to see much resemblence to the 1911A1.


  3. Vince,

    I had a friend who had one of these when I was a kid. At the time, I had an even weaker Wamo Kruger BB gun that used toy caps to launch the BB. Talk about slow!

    I’ve blogged the Kruger a couple times. If you want to read it just type Kruger into the search box.

    I thought I had also reviewed the 179, but I can’t find that I have. So I’m adding it to the list.

    Thank you!

    B.B.


  4. i’ve never seen a bb shooting gun weaker than an airsoft ebb! a bit pathetic.

    i put an email thru to crosman, and they awnsered the next day. pretty good service! anyways, this is what the e-mail contained:
    [a name i made up]
    the weight is in pounds and the gear box is metal gears.
    Kim
    one has to be suspicious of that, huh? “the gearbox is metal gears”. hmm.i’ll take crosman’s word for this one. lets see their integrity! oh, and i didnt mean the gun could fire 20 continuous, hell i bet that would do damage to even a TM with all the dry firing. i was just curious as to the battery run time compared to a stock aeg, 8.4 volt with perhaps an eg700 and stock spring.





  5. When you get around to reviewing the 179, make sure you mention what happens when you try using the sights as per Daisy’s instructions!


  6. Brian,

    Try Beeman H&N Match and Gamo Match pellets. The Gamos are inexpensive, and the Beemans are more accurate.

    Also, are you pushing the pellets into the clip? That must be done or they will all fall out. The base of the skirt is sized when it enters the chamber deep enough, so you really need to do that.

    B.B.


  7. Vince,

    I just discovered it! I bought one of the 179s made from parts returned from South Africa and I don’t shoot it, so I hadn’t tried to aim before.

    A Colt SAA uses the groove on top of the frame as a rear sight. The Daisy has the groove, too, but the hammer goes back toward the frame after cocking, rising higher and obscuring the groove in the line of sight.

    Did I get that right?

    B.B.


  8. thanks for the advice, the pellets can “fall” in from the head first then the skirt, the head will stay if the gun is pointed down but it the gun was pointed up they fall out, Ill try some Gamo match.





  9. I have a Benjamin air handgun that I know very little about, but I’ve been reading your blog and think mine might be worth a little money. It is a Benjamin and it says CAL 22 Model 132 and also has the numbers B 50586. It’s in really excellent cosmetic condition and works great too. I have some pictures. Can you tell me about what it might be worth? You can e mail me at bfoshe@sbcglobal.net if you don’t mind letting me know. THANKS!!

    http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r254/bfoshe/Ebay014.jpg

    http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r254/bfoshe/Ebay013.jpg



  10. BB,

    For an unregulated PCP, how consistent does it have to be in order to be good enough for FT at 50 yard? (ie: what’s the maximum standard deviation in FPS allowable considering pellet weights are equal?) Thanks.




  11. IZH61 & Red Dots

    I would like to add a Red Dot to my IZH61 too. I have a used BSA I bought on an auction, and haven’t mounted. Its dovetail mount is almost too long for the short rail on the IZH61 abd the front may not clear the release for the pellet clip sufficiently. Also it came without batteries. Bill can you comment? What battery does it take? Thanks – Gazza


  12. BB,

    On mine that wasn’t a problem. What WAS a problem was the simple fact that the front sight blade was MUCH higher (relative to the barrel bore) than the rear. Even as an 11-year old kid, I could tell the first time I tried using the normal sight picture that the barrel was pointing DOWN at a considerable angle. Couple that with a short sight radius and the fact that Daisy instructed you to put the top of the sight at the bottom of the bullseye – and, as I recall, it shot 6-12″ low at 15′.

    BTW – in your opinion, what reasonably priced pistol might make the best firearms trainer? I’ve got a couple of all-metal blowback airsoft pistols, but even with blowback the recoil isn’t even enough to mimic a .22 revolver. I’m wondering if a springer pistol – with all those internal parts slamming around – would be the better pistol to practice with.


  13. Vince,

    You know, the original Colt had the same problem. It;s rare to find an SAA that doesn’t have something taken off the front sight.

    Best firearms trainer. I find that it’s the need for good follow-through that really helps my firearms shooting, rather than recoil simulation. I would suggest an S&W 586 or a Beeman P1.

    B.B.


  14. Brandy,

    Your gun is not in excellent cosmetic condition. It is in good condition because is has only 10 percent of the original finish. Good condition is one step up from fair and is the lowest condition a collector will accdept, but only on a rare gun, which yours is not. Yours was painted and is a later model. In this condition and working it would bring about $75.

    B.B.



  15. I made a back board (no pellet trap or anything) for my targets, it has a 1 inch thick (large) slab of wood I put on 2 cardbord pieces (help stop rebounds and pertect wood a little) and a old blanket (it does very good job at catching pellets when they are bouncing back)

    My most powerful air rifle at this time is a Remington AirMaster 77 (755 ft/sec) is this a good enough back board and can I use a more powerful air rifle? (.22)

    Also any suggestions on improving the back board?


  16. Brian,

    Your “trap” will be fine with the AirMaster 77 for a long time. A more powerful rifle like a Kodiak or a Talon will shoot through it with one shot.

    Don’t use it with more powerful airguns.

    To make it somewhat better, back it with a thin steel plate. An old cookie sheet works well. However a Condor or Golden Saver 7000 will still shoot through with a single shot.

    B.B.


  17. Thanks for the help, I have 2 more large sheets of 1 inch wood, wood that also help? Im thinking a .22 800 ft/sec with some wadcutters.



  18. BB,

    This is kind of off topic but I had to get a professional opinion on this. I bought a Crosman Sierra Pro (AKA Remington Sumnit) recently. After 500-700 shots it wasnt penetrating through 5 gallon metal paint cans anymore. At first it would put a 7.9 crosman premier hollowtip through both sides at 5-10 feet away then it settled to just putting it in through one side. With 10.5 Crosman domed it would initially only go in one then wouldn’t put it in at all. I got kind of irritated and was just about to return the gun and put down some dough for a higher quality brand rifle then I thought I would try something crazy. I sprayed a teflon lubricant inside the gun, A huge amount. Enough for it to spill from the seams everywhere. Not the barrel but down inside the stock and trigger so as to keep it from dieseling. Well I pump it up and what do you know not only was it firing through the cans with both 7.9 and 10.5 pellets but at about 70 feet this time. The 7.9 are going through the can and what looks like about a 1/2 inch into a solid core door. It also consistently makes a crack with the 7.9 pellets but not with the 10.5. It apparently is breaking the 1100 fps mark I suppose with the 7.9. I understand that this sounds like dieseling but it seems like I just “woke” the gun up. What I did was kind of extreme with the lube, the large amount, but I figured since I would return it it wouldn’t matter. Now the gun is firing like a .22 and is still reasonably accurate for a $150 gun(sub 1″ groups with 5 shots at 70 ft.) Am I doing damage to the gun or did I just lube that monster into perfection? Thanks BB for any input.



  19. Brian,

    The wood only works for a while. Eventually and gun that powerful with eat through all the wood you can put in front of it.

    B.B.


  20. Crosman Sierra Pro,

    Your gun is dieseling badly! People have been doing what you have done for years and this is what always happens. The gun shoots powerfully for awhile. Then it starts coming apart. By the time that happens the damage is already done and the gun is destroyed.

    The carrier in the lube you used is exploding and powering the pellet.

    Your gun has to be completely disassembled and cleaned before you use it again. And the warranty is voided by the over-lubrication.

    B.B.





  21. Gazza,

    IZH61 & Red Dots

    Yes, my BSA red dot just fits on the IZH-61 rail. About half of the back clamp extends past the scope rail to allow enough access to work the clip release, but it works fine.

    The battery is a Lithium 3V, CR2032.

    Cheers,
    Bill



  22. I have once agian another IZH61 question!

    How do I adjust the stock length? I know the large screw thing on the bottom, but its immpossiable to move (don’t want to ruin the screw by using a wrench) so is there a good way to loosen the screw to adjust the stock without ruining it?


  23. Hello BB,

    I have currently owned the Crosman Quest 1000x for a couple of months now. I have fiddled with a couple of things such as installing a nice and solid set of steel bushings.

    I recently bought a set of Uncle Mikes QD swivels and mounted them last night. I also recently acquired a Bushnell 4x32mm.

    Ok, enough of my boasting :D. now to my question: What brand and type of pellet would you prefer for small squirrel and game?

    I seem to get ok groupings with gamo pellets but they do not seem to suit the quest.

    Thanks BB!



  24. Brian,

    The adjustable palm shelf has two screws that work in elongated slots, unless there has been a change I’m not aware of. You just have to keep working on these screws to get them loose. Sometimes the screws have some oils that has hardened into varnish and they stick.

    If you can see the slots in the wood grip, apply some penetrating oil to the screw threades to help loosen them.

    B.B.




  25. Brian,

    I’m the one who was confused. I just told you how to adjust the grips on the IZH 46 target pistol,

    For the rifle, that large circular nut fastens the stock. You do need to loosen it. Use penetrating oil and a large pair of pliers or channel locks, but wrap an old belt around the nut before grabbing it. It loosens counter-clockwise.

    B.B.



  26. HaHa! I’ll bet that’s hilarious! I remember staking out my brother’s cat one day so he could stay outside a little longer than just a walk.By the time I got back in the house to see how he was doing, he was in full somersault mode…about 3 later I had to go collect him and wound up with blood everywhere from being shredded and bitten multiple times


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