by B.B. Pelletier
Today, we’ll look at the velocity of the Daisy Powerline model 35 multi-pump air rifle. You’ll remember from Part 1 that this is a smoothbore, and as such we’re going to be testing the accuracy with diabolo pellets. One reader asked me to test the velocity of the gun with round lead balls, so I did that, as well. There’s a lot to test, so let’s get to it.
Number of pumps
A multi-pump lets the shooter select the number of pumps for every shot — up to the maximum recommended number. In this case, that’s 10 pumps. I decided to test the model 35 on 5 and 10 pumps, just to simplify the test and to bound the amount of work to be done. Five pumps takes us to the place where the gun is shooting fast, but also where each successive pump provides diminishing returns. Ten pumps takes us all the way as high as the gun is recommended to go.
Crosman Premier lites
The 7.9-grain Crosman Premier pellet is a good choice for this gun if weight is the criteria. Because the model 35 is a pneumatic, this pellet won’t suffer like it would in a spring-piston gun of the same approximate power.
On five pumps, the velocity averaged 478 f.p.s. and ranged from 472 to 481 f.p.s. That gives us an average muzzle energy of 4.01 foot-pounds. This velocity should be okay for target shooting at 10 yards; but if I were shooting farther than 15 yards, I would probably pump it more.
The model 35 is rated to develop 605 f.p.s. with pellets, but of course that would be with the lightest ones. I expected to see 550 f.p.s. with these 7.9-grain Premiers. They actually averaged 565 f.p.s. and ranged from 559 to 570 f.p.s. That’s a muzzle energy of 5.6 foot-pounds. I would have to say the gun meets my expectations when it comes to power.
I mentioned this in Part 1, and I’ll reinforce that now. This gun is very tricky to load with pellets. You must watch the large hole at the back of the short loading trough that’s there for BBs, or you’ll get a pellet stuck in it. I find it best to point the muzzle straight down and let the pellet tip over the edge of the receiver, where the nose will fall into the breech if you’re fortunate.
Next to be tested were the 7-grain RWS Hobby pellets. You might think that these would be a lot faster because they’re almost a full grain lighter than the Premiers; but in a pneumatic gun, velocities don’t increase that fast.
Five pumps gave an average 495 f.p.s., or just 17 f.p.s. more than the Premier did at the same number of pumps. The range went from 492 to 503 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 3.81 foot-pounds.
On the full 10 pumps, I expected to see the Hobby pellet approach 600 f.p.s., but it did not go quite that far. The average was 577 f.p.s., and the velocity ranged from 567 to a high of 586 f.p.s. At the average velocity, the muzzle energy was 5.18 foot-pounds.
BBs were next
Next up were steel BBs. I had to shoot either BBs or pellets. If there’s even a single BB in the gun’s internal reservoir, the magnetic bolt tip would attract it. I counted the BBs as I loaded the gun, because I didn’t want to have excess BBs remaining after this part of the test. Of course, I used Daisy zinc-plated BBs because this is a Daisy gun.
On 5 pumps, the BBs averaged 517 f.p.s. They ranged from a low of 505 to a high of 529 f.p.s. The average muzzle energy was 3.03 foot-pounds.
Ten pumps bumped the average velocity to 616 f.p.s. — breaking the 600 f.p.s. level for the first time in the test. The velocity ranged from a low of 612 to a high of 619 f.p.s., so BBs were more stable than pellets in this gun. You don’t often see that. The muzzle energy was 4.3 foot-pounds.
The trigger-pull was noticeable throughout this test because it’s so heavy in relation to the overall weight of the gun. When a 9-lb. rifle has a 5-lb. trigger-pull, it seems right. On the other hand, when a 3-lb. gun, like this model 35, has a trigger that breaks at just over 6 lbs., it’s too much. It’s a single-stage and fairly free from creep, but the sheer weight of the pull is daunting. I think it’ll affect me during the accuracy test.
Round lead balls
I tried shooting some round lead balls in the gun because a reader asked me to. Since I will also shoot them for accuracy, I selected the largest lead balls in this caliber. Beeman Perfect Rounds, which were made by H&N and are identical to the H&N Rundkugel were the ones I chose. They measure 0.176-0.177 inches in diameter and weigh 8.3 grains.
On 5 pumps, these balls averaged 414 f.p.s. and ranged from a low of 396 to a high of 434 f.p.s. At that speed, they generate 3.16 foot-pounds.
On 10 pumps, they average 504 f.p.s. and range from 480 to 522 f.p.s. They produce an average of 4.68 foot-pounds. With such a large velocity spread, I don’t look for great accuracy — especially at longer distances.
Evaluation so far
To this point, the model 35 is proving to be an interesting little pneumatic. The upcoming accuracy test of a smoothbore airgun is what I’m really waiting to see. Feeding with BBs was 100 percent positive, but with pellets it was difficult to load the gun. The lead balls loaded easily enough because they have no sharp shoulders like the pellets to grab things and turn them around. After all — they are balls — so who knows where the front is?
The trigger is heavy, but the sights are crisp. I’m looking forward to seeing what this little gun can do.
I will say this. The model 35 is very quiet! It has a No. 2 noise rating on Pyramyd Air’s site, and it deserves one. Only a Red Ryder would be reliably quieter.