Posts Tagged ‘BB guns’

Daisy 880: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

 

Daisy 880
The Daisy 880 multi-pump is a classic.

This report addresses:

• Examining a new Daisy 880S sent from Daisy for this report.
• Examining the test data Daisy sent with the rifle for pellets and BBs.
• Running the same velocity test as I did for the first two 880s tested.
• Testing this new rifle with RWS Hobby pellets.
• Testing the new rifle with BBs.

This test is unprecedented. In Parts 1 and 2, I tested my own Daisy 880; and when it failed to achieve the velocities several readers felt it should, I ordered and tested a second brand-new 880 supplied by Pyramyd Air. That rifle also failed to live up to the velocity claims. When there was a question about whether all 880s are Freimarked (the letter “F” inside a pentagram is marked on the outside of a gun to indicate it develops no more than 7.5 joules of energy at the muzzle) for the German airgun market, I asked Joe Murfin, vice president of marketing at Daisy, to clarify this for us. He assured me that all 880s and their related variants are Freimarked, but that the mid-500 f.p.s. velocities I had gotten from both airguns was on the low side.

Joe had his Quality Assurance Manager inspect an 880 and send it to me for independent testing. This will be the third 880 I’ve tested in this series. Regardless of the outcome, it will be the last one. I tested both previous rifles with 7.9-grain Crosman Premier pellets, and I’ll also test this rifle in the same way. Naturally, Daisy didn’t test it with Crosman pellets, but they were kind enough to include a test sheet that unfortunately doesn’t specify which pellet they used. I will, therefore, test the rifle with Premiers, so we can compare it to the previous tests. Then, I’ll test with lightweight lead pellets. I’ll also test it with Daisy Premium Grade BBs, and we can compare my results with the velocities they got with what I must presume are also BBs.

Daosy 880 inspection sticker
The Daisy 880S I’m testing today came with this inspection sticker on the outside of the box.

The rifle they sent is actually an 880S model that comes with a 4X15 scope. After velocity testing and 10-meter accuracy testing with open sights, I’ll mount the scope and finish shooting at 25 yards. They sent test targets that I’ll show when we get to accuracy testing.

Test data submitted
Inside the box was a sheet with two velocity test strips. There is no indication of what pellets or BBs were used to create these test numbers, but I’ll assume the higher velocities were achieved with Daisy Premium Grade BBs, and the lower velocities were obtained with lightweight lead pellets. I have Daisy BBs, so I can test them in the rifle; but lacking knowledge of exactly which pellet was used, I used an RWS Hobby wadcutter. At 7 grains, it’s about as light as lead pellets get.

Daisy 880 velocity tapes
The two tapes Daisy sent with the rifle. On the left is what I presume to be the velocity with BBs and on the right I presume is the velocity with lead pellets.

To put numbers on this, Daisy got an average of 699 f.p.s. with steel BBs (with a 29 f.p.s. spread) and 681 f.p.s. with lead pellets (with a spread of 28 f.p.s.). We will keep that in mind as I test the rifle.

My velocity tests
I tested the 2 other rifles with 7.9-grain Crosman Premier domes, so it seems only reasonable to continue that test with this rifle.

Pumps   Velocity
2            381
3            457
4            510
5            547
6            576
7            603
8            609
9            622
10          656

If you compare this test to the two rifles that went before, you’ll see that this rifle is considerably more powerful. Also, there was no tapering off of the velocity as the pump strokes increased, the way there was with the last new rifle I tested. True, the amount of velocity increase wasn’t as great as the pump strokes increased, but it always went up.

Next, I tested the rifle with 10 shots on 10 pumps each. In other words — as fast as the rifle could go. Again, this was with Crosman Premier lite pellets. A few early shots went slower; but then the power ramped up, and the rifle gave me what seemed to be its best. The average velocity with the Premier lite pellet was 645 f.p.s. with a spread from 624 to 660 f.p.s. — a total of 36 f.p.s. That works out to 7.3 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

We can’t compare the velocity of this pellet against what Daisy has provided, because we don’t know the weight of the pellet they used. So, a second test was needed. This time, I used the RWS Hobby pellet that, at 7 grains, is about as light as .177-caliber lead pellets get. It should give numbers higher than the Premier.

Indeed it did! The average velocity with Hobbys was 680 f.p.s. The spread went from a low of 671 to a high of 686 f.p.s., so just 15 f.p.s. And notice how close my numbers are to the Daisy tape on the right. I’m getting essentially the same results Daisy got.

On to BBs
With what I presume were BBs, Daisy got an average velocity of 699 f.p.s. and a spread of 29 f.p.s. I assume this is also with 10 pumps per shot.

I got an average of 676 f.p.s. with a spread that went from a low of 669 f.p.s. to a high of 680 f.p.s., so the total variation was only 11 f.p.s. The average seemed a bit slow in light of the Daisy numbers, so I oiled the felt washer behind the pump head with Crosman Pellgunoil. After that, I got 3 shots at 712, 710 and 708 f.p.s., respectively. I didn’t bother rerunning the test, as it seemed the rifle was performing up to snuff with the oil. That’s another reminder of just how important oil is to a multi-pump’s operation.

Evaluation thus far
Here we are on Part 4, and it normally takes only 2 parts to finish the velocity test of a gun. This has been an interesting exercise, and I know I’ve learned from doing it.

Next up will be the accuracy test with both pellets and BBs. I’ll test BBs at 15 feet and pellets at 10 meters — both using open sights. Following that, I’ll mount the scope that came with this rifle and back up to 25 yards for a final pellet test.

My thanks to Daisy and to Joe Murfin for providing the test rifle for today’s report. The results indicate this rifle is representative of the gun many of you have received. And, it represents the rifle everyone can expect to receive when they order a Daisy 880.

The Colt Python BB revolver: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Colt Python
Colt Python from Umarex looks like the real deal!

Part 1

This report addresses:

• Loading BBs into the cartridges
• Loading CO2 into the gun
• Velocity in both single- and double-action
• Trigger-pull in single- and double-action
• Shot count per CO2 cylinder

Today, I’ll test the power of the Colt Python BB revolver from Umarex. Thanks to Umarex Director of Marketing Justin Biddle, I was able to begin testing this revolver for you before they hit the market here in the U.S. But they’re now in stock, and your dreams can finally be fulfilled.

Cartridges
As you know, this air pistol loads the BBs into individual cartridges — one BB per cartridge. Where a bullet would go in a regular firearm cartridge, there’s a rubber plug with a hole to accept 1 BB. You can’t put more than a single BB into each cartridge.

Colt Python BB revolver cartridges
Two loaded BB cartridges and a .357 Magnum round for comparison. The BB cartridges are slightly larger than the .357 Magnum cartridge; but as you can see, they’re very close.

The revolver comes with a spring-loaded speedloader that lets you load all 6 cartridges into the gun’s cylinder at the same time. It worked perfectly, but I found that loading each cartridge singly was just as convenient. Perhaps, if I had more than 6 cartridges, the speedloader would become handier. Of course, it’s possible to purchase additional cartridges for this revolver, though at the present time they must come in batches of 6 with a speedloader. Maybe when supplies catch up to demand, they’ll become available individually — we hope.

And, before anyone asks, no, you cannot use other BB-gun revolver cartridges in this revolver. They’ll function, but Pyramyd Air techs have determined that you’ll lose a lot of velocity.

Loading the CO2
As you learned in Part 1, the CO2 cartridge is loaded through a port in the bottom of the grip, rather than in the conventional way of one grip panel coming off. That allows the grip panels to remain tight on the gun — something many readers said they care about.

When I installed the first cartridge, I put a couple drops of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip to ensure positive sealing. The cartridge sealed instantly, with just a quick hiss as I used the large Allen wrench that came with the gun to tighten the CO2 plug in the bottom of the grip.

Loading
As we learned when testing the Dan Wesson BB revolver, there’s a fast way to load the BB cartridges. Spread an even layer of BBs in the top of an empty pellet tin and load all 6 empty cartridges into the speedloader. Then press the tips of the cartridges down into the layer of BBs like you’re cutting cookie dough.

Colt Python BBs
A layer of BBs in a pellet tin lid makes multiple loading easy!

Colt Python speedloadewr
Push the speedloader with cartridges into the BBs, and every cartridge will be loaded at the same time.

The rubber plugs in the end of the cartridges are tough, and it takes some pressure to pop a BB past the lip. You feel it when it pops into place. After loading, check all your cartridges to ensure all the BBs have been properly seated.

Velocity
The revolver operates in both the single-action and double-action mode, so naturally I tested both. In single-action, the revolver shot Umarex Precision steel BBs at an average 394 f.p.s. The low was 381 f.p.s., and the high was 421 f.p.s.; so the spread was 40 f.p.s. I allowed about 10 seconds between each shot to offset the cooling effect of the CO2 gas.

In the double-action mode, the revolver averaged 400 f.p.s., with a low of 380 f.p.s. and a high of 410 f.p.s. The spread was 10 f.p.s. less, and the average was 6 f.p.s. faster, indicating the gun is more effective in the double-action mode.

Trigger-pull
Unfortunately for Umarex, the Colt Python is legendary for the smoothness and lightness of its action. Each one was tuned by human hands before leaving the factory, and there’s no way this CO2 revolver can equal that. You may liken it to a paint-by-numbers copy of the Mona Lisa — you can’t get there from here.

For an air pistol, however, the trigger-pull in single-action (when the hammer is manually cocked before the trigger is pulled) is crisp. It breaks at 5 lbs., 4 oz. In the double-action mode (just pull the trigger to fire the gun each time), it breaks at 9 lbs., 4 oz. which is very light for a revolver. As I mentioned in Part 1, the trigger does not stack (increase in pull pressure sharply near the end of the pull) like a real Colt trigger.

Shot count
Shooting indoors in a climate-controlled environment at 70˚F, I got 70 good shots from one CO2 cartridge before the velocity began to drop off dangerously. The final shot registered 287 f.p.s. through the chronograph, which is a good place to stop before you jam any BBs in the barrel.

Evaluation
The Colt Python BB pistol is something several people have asked for over the years. It’s as nice as the S&W 586 pellet revolver, in many respects, but sells at less than half the price. The trigger is nice, and the way the cartridges load is realistic. The revolver hangs in the hand nicely. If there’s any benefit from not imitating the Python exactly, it has to be that the air pistol’s 38-oz. weight is lighter than the firearm’s 43.5 oz. in the same barrel length. That’s what you get when metals other than steel are used.

Accuracy testing comes next, and I see those adjustable sights give me the ability to really zero this handgun. Let’s hope they mean it!

Daisy 880: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Daisy 880
The Daisy 880 multi-pump is a classic.

I was going to shoot my old Daisy 880 at 10 meters with both pellets and BBs, and then again at 25 yards with just pellets, but I figured — what the heck? I have the brand new Daisy 880 on hand, and I’ve already stated that the accuracy might fall off at 25 yards with my old 880 because of the velocity variance — so why not switch over to the new rifle now?

So, I opened the box and took out the rifle. According to the box, this rifle is made in China, but I can’t tell any difference between it and my older rifle, except the lettering on the metal and plastic parts has a slightly different font. Even the front sight is the identical red fiberoptic sight that’s on my old 880.

Start the test
This time, I thought I would test the rifle exactly as it came from the box, so I didn’t oil it. But I did open the manual and read how Daisy recommends oiling it, when it needs it. Because some of our blog readers have insisted that Daisy only recommends oiling with 30-weight non-detergent oil, I photographed the section in the owner’s manual that comes with the new gun. It’s shown below.

Daisy 880 manual
This is straight out of the manual that came with the new gun. Clearly, Daisy recommends a range of motor oil viscosities.

So, I started shooting without doing anything to the gun. I tested exactly the same way I tested my old 880 before — starting with 7.9-grain Crosman Premier domes.

Pumps Velocity
2           396
3           481
4           538
5           530,   473,   438 —   oil!  –  450,   457,   449

The plan was to shoot the rifle with Premier lites up to 10 pumps. But on pump five, something strange happened. The rifle did not shoot faster — in fact it slowed down. Thinking I’d made a mistake while counting the pump strokes, I did it again, and that shot was even slower than the last. I did it one more time, and once more the gun shot even slower. In fact, it shot slower than it had on just three pumps!

At this point, I assumed the rifle was suffering from a lack of oil on the pump head; and since 20-weight Crosman Pellgunoil is exactly in the middle of Daisy’s recommended range of oil viscosities, I used it to oil the pump head. Then, I shot three more shots with five pump strokes each. As you can see, they did increase in velocity; but by the third shot, they were coming back down again.

I decided to start the test all over. The gun was not oiled, again.

Pumps Velocity
2          267
3          351
4          431
5          466
6          474
7          512
8          502,   474,   502
9          529
10        545

This time, the rifle’s velocity tapered off at 8 pump strokes. I shot two more shots on 8 pumps and then completed the test so you could see the results. The new rifle was clearly not performing up to snuff.

Next, I decided to try a string of shots on five pump strokes to see what would happen. I got this.

Pumps Velocity
5          428
5          432
5          425

Oiled gun with 30-weight non-detergent oil and retested with 5 pumps:

5          450
5          462
5          475
5          490
5          487

Okay — 30-weight non-detergent oil
When the velocity in the string above was lower than it had been before, I wondered if all the hype about 30-weight oil might have some merit. I stopped in the middle of the test and oiled the gun with 30-weight non-detergent oil. You can see what happened after that.

I decided to rerun the whole test, now that the rifle seemed to be performing better. This is the rifle oiled with 30-weight oil.

Pumps Velocity
2          354
3          427
4          491
5          496
6          488
7          485
8          490
9          512
10        513

Observation
The BRAND NEW Daisy 880 I’m testing is clearly not performing as well as several of our readers have reported. And, just as clearly, it has very little to do with the viscosity of the oil used to lube the pump head. The only slight advantage 30-weight oil seems to have over 20-weight oil (Pellgunoil) in this new test rifle is that it does hold up for a couple additional shots. I think it’s obvious that this brand new test gun doesn’t live up to the advertised level of performance.

I am returning this rifle to Pyramyd Air. I will think about what I want to do next. I could rebuild my old gun, but I would be doing it with Chinese-made parts that might not work as well as the parts that are in the rifle now. Or I could just continue testing with my old rifle, since it is the best 880 I have.

One thing I AM NOT going to do is to keep chasing after 880s until I get a good one. This evaluation is supposed to resemble what a customer would experience, and I think it may have done just that.

One last comment
I couldn’t have done any of this testing without a chronograph. I would have been flying blind if I had no way of timing each of the shots that were taken. And I probably would have enjoyed my new rifle exactly as it was. My point is this: If you can’t chronograph the shots, be happy with what you have but stay out of velocity discussions. I think most Daisy 880 owners probably don’t chronograph their guns, and they’re happier for it.

The Colt Python BB revolver: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Friends, I am so jammed up with work that it isn’t funny. I’ve never been so busy in my life. I’m trying to do everything for everybody, and it’s pulling me in all directions.

I’m not telling you this for sympathy. I’m telling you so you’ll understand the next set of notes.

There’s going to be an airgun show here in Texas on September 6. It will be about 20 miles outside Ft. Worth at a gun club that has asked me to put on an airgun show for them. Their members all own airguns and want a place to sell them. I believe both airguns and firearms will be permitted at this show, which will be a first for any airgun show.

This s a private club that runs 6 gun shows a year, but they have no concept of what an airgun show will be like. I do. They’ll pull in visitors and dealers from thousands of miles away, instead of a 50-mile radius. I already have several commitments.

Pyramyd Air will sponsor the show. Jim Chapman has said he’ll come and be on the big bore range along with Eric Henderson. That’s the two most prominent big bore airgun hunters in the world at the same place and time demonstrating big bores to all who want to learn. Big bore maker Dennis Quackenbush will also have a table at this show. And, no, I don’t know what he will have for sale.

AirForce Airguns said they will have a table, and the “American Airgunner” TV show has said they’ll film the show.

I’ll try to pull in as many major airgun dealers as possible from around the country. But here’s the deal. These guys (the people running the show) have no concept of how big this could get. They haven’t met with me yet to give me names of contacts, table fees, etc. Until I know that, nothing is decided. I’ll keep you informed. Please don’t ask until I tell you — right now, you now know as much as I do.

I’m traveling next week to attend the “Flag City Toys That Shoot” airgun show in Findlay, Ohio. I’ll also stop by Pyramyd Air to return some guns I’ve tested over the past year. I have one other stop to make on the East Coast. That will keep me on the road for over a week, and I need blog reports that I can write quickly without resorting to test results.

What I need are topics I can write while I’m on the road. I have such topics — the choking of a barrel, more on airsoft tuning, safety of CO2 guns, etc. I’m saving those reports for the road. I also have one guest blog from reader RifledDNA that I’m saving for that time.

That’s a quick update on my life and what’s happening. Now, let’s get on with today’s report.

Colt Python
The Colt Python from Umarex is a realistic-looking BB revolver.

Umarex is bringing a realistic Colt Python to market. It’s a BB gun (shoots steel BBs, not plastic 6mm airsoft BBs) that uses realistic-looking shells to hold each of the 6 BBs it fires. When you load it, it loads with cartridges, just like a normal .357 Magnum Python.

When I saw this revolver at the 2014 SHOT Show, I told Justin Biddle, the Umarex USA marketing director, they’re going to sell a boatload of these. I remember the wide acceptance of the Dan Wesson BB revolver when I tested it. This Python is the same thing. It looks real, feels real and customers are going to reward the effort by buying it. I just hope it turns out to be as accurate as the Dan Wesson!

When I opened the box, it revealed all that comes with the revolver, plus an undisclosed but entirely realistic bit of future information. As you can see in the picture below, the revolver comes with a speedloader and 6 (count ‘em) shells that hold one BB each. An astute observer will also note the styrofoam in the box is cut for 4-inch and 2.75-inch barrels, so I think that’s the plan. This revolver that I’m testing has a 6-inch tube.

Colt Python in box
This is what comes in the box. Note the cutouts for the front sights of shorter barrels.

Each cartridge holds a single BB, so this gun is a true 6-shot revolver. I say that because shooters familiar with airsoft revolvers, which this one appears to descend from, usually load 4 plastic BBs into each shell, for a total of 24 shots per loading.

The speedloader assists in loading the 6 cartridges into the revolver’s cylinder. But it can also help you load the cartridges with BBs I showed how to do that in a report on the Dan Wesson revolver. It should work the same for this Python.

Colt Python speedloader
The Python comes with a speedloader that helps load the 6 cartridges into the cylinder. It also helps load the BBs into each cartridge.

What’s so nice about this revolver, besides the great feel of the Python that it captures perfectly, is the way it operates the same as the firearm. The cylinder swings out to the left for loading, just like the .357 does. It’s both single- and double-action, and the trigger-pull is lighter than the firearm in double-action but much heavier in single-action. I’m thinking this one will probably go as high as 5 lbs. in single-action. I’ll weigh both pulls in the velocity test.

Colt Python cylinder out
The cylinder pops out to the left, just like a Python firearm cylinder.

The gun weighs 39 ounces, which is several ounces less than a firearm Python with a 6-inch barrel (44 oz.). But it’s definitely muzzle heavy, just like the firearm.

The one major departure from the firearm is the inclusion of a manual safety, located behind the hammer. Push it in to lock the action. Pull it out, and the gun operates normally. It’s very difficult to see, so it doesn’t hurt the look of the revolver one bit.

Colt Python manual safety
The manual safety (shown in the “on” position) is unobtrusive. Pull it back to take it off.

The sights are adjustable in both directions, as you can see in the photo above. I’ll report on how well they work in the accuracy test.

The CO2 cartridge is housed inside the grip, but you don’t access it in the normal way. The “normal” way would be to pop off one of the rubberized grip panels, exposing a place for the cartridge and some sort of mechanism to tighten it during piercing. Instead, this one uses a large, plastic threaded plug that screws in with a large Allen wrench supplied with the gun. It’s easier to operate, plus it keeps the grip panels from loosening during use…as they always do with the other arrangement.

Colt Python CO2 access
The CO2 cartridge drops into this hole and is tightened by this threaded plug.

All things considered, and with the revolver in hand, this BB gun is everything I’d hoped it would be. All that remains is to test it.

Daisy 880: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Daisy 880
The Daisy 880 multi-pump is a classic.

Today, we’ll look at the velocity of the Daisy 880 multi-pump pneumatic. The test didn’t go as I expected it to, so stick around and learn something new with me.

Oil the pump head
Before I started the test, I oiled the 880′s pump head with several drops of Crosman Pellgunoil. I do that whenever I want to get the maximum performance from a multi-pump pneumatic, because the oil seals the pump head, allowing it to build more pressure.

First test — velocity per pump stroke
This is a test I recommend to all multi-pump owners. You test the velocity of your gun with differing pump strokes — from the lowest number recommended in the manual, which is 2 in this case, to the highest number, which is 10. [Note: In part 1, I stated that the minimum number of pumps was 3. It's actually 2, and the Pyramyd Air website has been corrected to reflect that.] For this test, I also did 11 and 12 pump strokes to see if the gun had even more velocity.  The results were revealing. I’ll discuss them in a moment.

The pellet I used was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier dome. Any pellet will do, but it helps if you always pick the same one in case you ever want to compare one gun to another.

Stroke    Velocity
2                332
3                448
4                499
5                530
6                562
7                574
8                595
9                601
10*           616
11*            617
12*           607

* No air remaining in the gun after this shot.

For those who may be new to multi-pumps, notice that as the number of pump strokes increases, the amount of the velocity increase grows smaller. If you were pumping the gun, you would have noticed that after the fourth pump stroke (from 5 strokes on) the pump handle jumped out when I pulled it for the next stroke. Compressed air is remains in front of the pump head and does not enter the gun’s reservoir. As the pressure inside the reservoir builds, it holds the inlet valve closed a little harder each time; so, more compressed air fails to enter the reservoir. This phenomenon is common to all multi-pumps, and many of the more expensive ones have (or used to have) adjustable pump heads that minimize this; but the 880 doesn’t have any adjustment.

Note that there’s no air remaining in the gun after a shot was fired on 10 pumps. That means the gun is able to exhaust all the compressed air. From the velocity chart, we learn there’s no value in pumping the gun more than 10 times.

Consistency
This is where I learned a couple big lessons about the 880 — or at least about my 880. Normally, a multi-pump is very consistent. The same number of pump strokes will give nearly the same velocity every time, as long as the same pellets are used. I’m used to seeing a velocity variation of about 5-8 f.p.s. over a 10-shot string. But not this time!

The 880 gave an average of 469 f.p.s. for 10 shots with 5 pump strokes. If you look at the string before, however, you’ll see that this velocity is well below what I got with 5 pump strokes (530 f.p.s.) and the very same pellet. Even stranger is the fact that, on this test, the velocity spread went from a low of 441 f.p.s. to a high of 502 f.p.s. That’s a variation of 61 f.p.s. over 10 shots. And not one of those 10 shots went as fast as the same pellet did on 5 pump strokes in the previous test!

The Daisy 880 varies greatly in velocity from test to test. You may think this is because my 880 is an older one. I can’t argue that. If you want to run the same test with a more modern 880 and submit your results, I’d be glad to see them, but please back up any claims you make with chronograph results.

RWS Hobby pellets
Next, I tested the rifle with RWS Hobby pellets fired on 10 pumps. These pellets averaged 600 f.p.s.; but, once again, the spread was very large. The low was 559 f.p.s. while the high was 643 f.p.s. That’s a variation of 86 f.p.s.

How fast will it shoot?
I tried a string of Crosman Super Sonic pellets on 10 pumps. They averaged 690 f.p.s. Again, the spread was very large — from 648 to 722 f.p.s. That’s 74 f.p.s. I only did this to see how fast the gun could shoot. The owner’s manual online says the maximum is 715 f.p.s with pellets, and we saw just a little more. So, that claim is right on.

Daisy BBs
Finally, I tried the rifle with Daisy Premium Grade BBs. On 5 pumps, they averaged 578 f.p.s. with a low of 565 and a high of 586 f.p.s. On 10 pumps, they averaged 644 f.p.s., with a low of 632 and a high of 657 f.p.s. So the gun is much slower than advertised (750 f.p.s.) with BBs, but the velocity spread is a lot less than it is with pellets.

Impressions
I was surprised by the large velocity variation I saw with the 880. This is not just the largest variation I’ve ever seen with a multi-pump, it’s many times larger than the next largest variation. Multi-pumps are very consistent, in my experience.

Will this large variation have any affect on accuracy? Probably not at 10 meters, but it almost certainly will at 25 yards. I plan to shoot the rifle at both distances, so we shall see.

Daisy 880: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Daisy 880
The Daisy 880 multi-pump is a classic.

Blog reader Rob asked for this review. I have reviewed the Daisy 880 before, but that was back in the days when I wrote The Airgun Letter. I doubt many of you will have seen that report. I’ve reported on the Daisy 22X, as well, but that was long ago and those reports may be difficult to locate. The 22X and 177X are derivatives of the 880 powerplant.

The 880 is a multi-pump pneumatic that has a short pump stroke. As a result, it’s relatively easy to pump up to the maximum 10 pump strokes. The useful range of pumps lies between 3 and 10 strokes.

Daisy 880 pump
The 880 pump handle is short and also has good leverage to reduce the pump effort as much as possible.

The 880 shoots both steel BBs and lead pellets through its rifled steel barrel. At 10 pumps, Daisy rates the rifle at 715 f.p.s. with lead pellets and 750 f.p.s. with steel BBs. Naturally, I’ll test both for you.

The 880 is one of a very few airguns that comes up in conversation whenever airgunners are remembering their favorite guns. It’s lightweight, easy to operate and inexpensive, so there are a lot of them out there. But the attraction goes a lot farther than just a rare bargain. There’s something about the 880 that inspires fierce owner loyalty.

The rifle I’m testing for you is about 13-14 years old, but it probably has fewer than 500 shots on the clock. After testing it initially, I never really went back and used it much. That’s not a comment on the quality — I just never had the time to go back. But I do note that I kept it all these years, and that says something. Every year or so, I get a question about the 880 that makes me drag it out of the closet for a closer look. And this time, I plan to look at it intently, as Rob requested.

My rifle is old, but the specs haven’t changed much since it was built. I have the same red fiberoptic front sight that they still put on the gun and a non-fiberoptic rear one. The weight of 3.1 lbs. is still the same. And the basic functions of a single-shot pellet feed (loaded manually into the bolt trough) or a 50-shot BB magazine, with its feed to a magnetic bolt tip when the gun is cocked.

Speaking of cocking the rifle, you must do it to pump the gun. The design is such that if the gun isn’t cocked, the pump strokes will not pressurize the reservoir. This means the 880 and all associated models cannot be stored with a pump of air in the reservoir. Theoretically, this can be bad for the seals — exposing them to the dirt in the air — but neither my 880 nor my 22X have ever shown signs of a problem. So, this system works, too.

When you pull the pump handle all the way forward, the pump head is exposed in the slot beneath the forearm. This is where you periodically oil the head to maintain compression. The felt washer behind the pump head evenly spreads the oil around the compression chamber walls.

Daisy 880 pump head
This is where you oil the 880′s pump head. The felt washer to the left keeps the oil spread on the compression chamber walls.

Things people like about the 880
Accuracy is the No. 1 thing owners have to say in praise of the 880. They way most of them talk, I’m expecting something really impressive. The second thing they like is that it also shoots BBs. That’s a turn-off for me, but Daisy sells a lot of these rifles, so I’m not the normal customer.

Those who like the BB aspect also like the fact the rifle is a repeater with BBs. So, Daisy listened to their customers when the 880 was designed.

Things people dislike about the 880
A lot of owners criticize the plastic, saying they think that it might break with use. It might break, I suppose; but when you look at customer reviews for the 880, parts breakage isn’t one of the big things mentioned. I think this is more a question of perception rather than a real problem. One writer thought the 880 should be made in a higher-quality version for adults; but when Daisy did that (it was called the 22X), it didn’t sell well. It’s obsolete, while the 880 continues to sell very well. Perception and reality are not the same.

They also criticize the single-stage trigger. Yes, it’s heavy and creepy. But no more than the triggers on similar air rifles made with the same level of performance. If you want good triggers, you need to buy the kind of airguns that have them.

Pellets can be difficult to load in the 880. The reason seems to be the hole at the rear of the pellet trough that allows BBs to pass through. It can catch the skirt of a lead pellet and make it hang up.

Daisy 880 loading trough
The hole at the rear of the pellet loading trough is where the BBs pass through. It can catch pellet skirts, making them difficult to load.

In general
The rifle is mostly plastic on the outside. That carries through to the inside, as well. To stay in this price range, a lot of economies need to be addressed, and molded plastic parts are one of the solutions. That doesn’t mean the plastic is weak or inferior in any way. I’m pretty sure these guns last a long time.

On the other hand, the steel barrel is a very thin tube. It’s an insert that’s housed inside a plastic sheath that’s covered by a thin sheetmetal cover.

Daisy 880 muzzle
Here you can see the sheetmetal jacket over the plastic sheath that houses the actual barrel. The muzzle of the real barrel is the silver crown you see, deep inside the false muzzle shown here.

Overall
We have a real classic pellet rifle to test. There are millions of 880s in circulation, and I expect to hear from a lot of their owners as this report progresses.

Legends C96 CO2 BB pistol: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

C96 BB pistol
Umarex Legends C96 BB pistol.

Today is a special test of the C96, requested by blog reader RidgeRunner and seconded by several others. You want to see if the pistol will be more accurate with Daisy’s Avanti Precision Ground Shot, which is made expressly for the Avanti Champion 499 BB gun. More accurate than what? More accurate than the best BB tested in Part 3, which turned out to be the Daisy Premium Grade zinc-plated BBs that shot the tightest groups with this pistol?

Velocity first
We know that the Daisy Premium Grade BB averaged 395 f.p.s. with a total velocity spread of 18 f.p.s. (from 386 f.p.s. to 404 f.p.s.). RidgeRunner suspected the Precision Ground Shot would be faster in this pistol because it’s usually slightly larger and also more uniform. So, I first shot it over the chronograph.

Avanti Precision Ground Shot averaged 381 f.p.s. on a fresh CO2 cartridge. The velocity spread was 19 f.p.s., with a low of 371 f.p.s and a high of 390 f.p.s. The spread was 1 f.p.s. larger with this shot than with the Daisy Premium Grade BBs, and the average velocity was 14 f.p.s. slower. So, that part of the theory didn’t test out.

On to the accuracy test
I offered to do a blind test, but RidgeRunner trusted me to try my hardest with each BB: and that’s good because there’s a definite difference in appearance between the Premium Grade BBs and the Precision Ground Shot. The latter are not as shiny and appear more silver than steel in color than the Premium Grade BBs. I would have known which BB I was shooting.

The distance was the same 5 meters that was used for the first test, and I used the back of a chair to steady my hands as I held the pistol, just like I did before. This resulted in a very stable hold for every shot.

Daisy Premium Grade BBs
I shot 2 groups of 10 with each BB. The first group of Daisy Premium Grade BBs measured 1.115 inches between centers. Two BBs landed outside the black bull. The second group measured 0.644 inches between centers. That’s almost half the size of the first group, so you can see how much latittude there is with BBs — even at 5 meters.

C96 CO2 BB pistol Daisy Premium BB first group
Ten Daisy Premium Grade BBs went into this 1.115-inch group at 5 meters.

C96 CO2 BB pistol Daisy Premium BB second group
These 10 Daisy Premium Grade BBs went into a tight 0.644-inch group at 5 meters. This is the second-best group in this series.

Avanti Precision Ground Shot
Now, it’s time to test the Avanti Precision Ground Shot. This shot is ground to work best in the 499 BB gun, only. But you readers wondered if it would also be more accurate in the C96 BB pistol. To test that theory, I shot another 2 groups of 10 shots each at the same 5 meters. The first group measured 0.954 inches between centers. One BB was outside the black, and 2 more were right on the edge.

The second group I shot with this ammunition measured 0.556 inches between centers. It’s the smallest group of this session and would seem to lend credence to the Precision Ground Shot being more accurate than the Daisy Premium Grade BBs. However, the difference in group sizes of the 2 different BBs is not so great as to be overwhelming. Yes, both groups with Precision Ground Shot are tighter than the corresponding 2 groups made with the Daisy Premium Grade BBs, but the differences are not large. I don’t think they justify shooting the Precision Ground Shot in the pistol since they cost roughly 2.5 times more.

C96 CO2 BB pistol Avanti Precision Ground Shot first group
These 10 Daisy Avanti Precision Ground Shot went into a 0.954-inch group at 5 meters.

C96 CO2 BB pistol Avanti Precision Ground Shot second group
These 10 Avanti Precision Ground Shot went into an ultra-tight 0.556-inch group at 5 meters. This is the best group in this series.

Conclusions
The Avanti shot went slower than the Daisy Premium Grade BBs and also varied more. However, the difference wasn’t much in either category.

The Avanti shot also appears to be slightly more accurate than the Daisy Premium Grade BBs. Again, the difference is very small, but it is there.

I’m surprised by these results. I predicted the Avanti shot would be faster because of its slightly larger size, but that it wouldn’t be any more accurate. So, I was wrong on both counts. I don’t think the difference between the two types of ammunition weighs in favor of using the Avanti shot in this gun, but it’s really a call the owner of the gun needs to make.

My thanks to RidgeRunner and others who asked for this test.

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