by B.B. Pelletier
We have one or possibly two readers who want to know about the Daisy 953 TargetPro, so I thought today was as good a time as any to look at it.
The 953 is a single-stroke pneumatic rifle that Daisy lists with their Powerline guns. It comes in .177 caliber only and shoots lead pellets. The maximum muzzle velocity is listed as 560 f.p.s., so the 953 is faster than the 853. Our reader wanted to know how the two rifles compare, as far as accuracy is concerned, so I did some research. Daisy says the 953 will put all its pellets into one hole at 10 yards if the shooter does his part, so you can consider this to be an accurate rifle. When I spoke to the Daisy folks at the SHOT Show last February, they told me that they thought the 953 would be an affordable alternative to the costlier 853 for shooters who just want to shoot informal target.
The rifle weighs 6.4 lbs., which is almost a full pound heavier than the 853. It has a rifled barrel with (I believe) 10 grooves. It's not the same Lothar Walther barrel that's found in an 853, which is where some of the savings comes from, I'm sure. But, that doesn't mean it's not accurate. Daisy has a lot of confidence in this gun as a target shooter, so I'm sure it's accurate. It comes with front and rear fiber optic sights, which are ideal for general shooting.
The 953 has a five-shot clip that indexes the next pellet when the bolt is cocked. A single-shot clip is also included, if you want to load and shoot one at a time. The pump handle is long enough to ease the pumping effort. Because this is a single-stroke, you pump it only once for each shot. The trigger is a two-stage with a lot of creep in stage two. This is no different than the 853. You can get used to it, because tens of thousands of kids compete with the 853 every year.
If you want to shoot targets, a nice wadcutter is the best choice. For my money, there is nothing better than the Gamo Match pellet. They are somewhat less expensive than other top brands, yet I find they shoot just as good. For hunting, I would go with the Daisy pointed pellet. They're also priced right, and I've used them enough to trust them in most airguns.
If you really want to shoot targets, consider the Daisy 5899 receiver sight. It's the same sight that comes on the 853, and you'll get fine click adjustments between sight settings. This sight has some slack in the gears, so be prepared to turn two or three clicks when changing the adjustment direction to remove the slack.
Of course, you can go a different direction and select the Daisy Electronic Point Sight. This is a red dot sight that doesn't magnify the target. It projects a red luminous dot on a glass screen, which superimposes itself on the target when you look through the glass. It's a quick way to acquire your target and about as accurate as open sights.
The 953 is also touted as a pest control airgun. It can do the job as long as you keep the range reasonable. Rats, pigeons and ground squirrels within 20 yards are okay with head shots, but I wouldn't go after anything much larger.
Daisy officials told me they created the 953 to be for general shooters. They knew a lot of folks were buying 853s for plinking, and the 953 takes over that job very nicely.