Posts Tagged ‘Daisy zinc-plated BBs’

Daisy 880: Part 6

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

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

This report addresses:

• Mounting the scope.
• Sighting in.
• Accuracy testing.
• Loading problems.
• Summary.

Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the Daisy 880S at 25 yards. As you may recall, Daisy sent this rifle to me to test after I had problems with the velocity of my old Daisy 880, and also with a brand-new one that Pyramyd Air supplied. We tested the velocity of this rifle in Part 4, and it was right where it should be, so we moved on to accuracy 10 meters. That was in Part 5. I showed you the targets Daisy sent, and then targets I shot. I managed to do a little better than Daisy, but on the whole my best targets were comparable to what they sent.

The rifle they sent is an 880S that has a 4X15 scope and rings included. I thought it was identical to the 880, but a sharp reader pointed out the 880S rifle doesn’t have fiberoptic sights. If you want plain sights, this is the model to get. And the first step for today’s test was to mount the scope.

Mounting the scope
I’ve had other scopes that were difficult to mount, but this one ranks right there with the worst of them! The small, thin clamping jaws gave me fits when I tried to attach them to the scope rail. It took me 15 minutes of repeated tries to get the scope to clamp to the rifle, and even then the scope was pointed off to the right. I remounted it and had the same problem. Up to this point the scope, was still clamped tight in the rings, which may have been the problem.

I loosened the scope tube in the rings and found that it really helped with positioning. Finally, after about 25 minutes, I managed to get the scope mounted reasonably straight. Loosening the rings was the key. However, even at its best, the scope was still pointed to the right.

I looked back at the velocity data for this rifle from Part 4 and decided that 6 pumps per shot would be best. That’s a compromise between velocity and the time it takes to pump the rifle. When you shoot 10-shot groups, each group takes 60 pumps to complete. I was going to be shooting pellets that were mostly lighter than those used in the velocity test, so the rifle would probably be shooting just over 600 f.p.s.

Beeman H&N Match
I sighted-in with Beeman H&N Match pellets. No particular reason for this. From the 10-meter test, I knew that only RWS Hobbys were accurate enough (of those pellets that were used in the 10-meter test) for shooting at 25 yards, and they would be included — but I was almost out of them.

As most of you know, I sight in most airguns at close range, then back up to the target distance I want to shoot when I’m on paper. The first shot from 12 feet landed low and about 3 inches to the left. That’s how far to the right the scope was pointed. If it was off that far at 12 feet, it would be several feet off the target at 75 feet (25 yards). I cranked in a lot of right adjustment; and by the third shot, the pellet hit below the bull at 6 o’clock.

Then, I cranked in a bunch of up elevation. The scope that comes with the rifle doesn’t have click detents, so it was several turns of the adjustment screw. I knew I should now be on target, so I backed up to 25 yards before shooting again. Time to shoot the first target.

The first shot hit the target in the bull but very high up. That was okay, though, because in an accuracy test we don’t care about hitting the center of the target — only in how close the pellets group. When the second shot went to the same place, I stopped checking the target with the spotting scope and just finished the first 10-shot group.

The first 10 shots landed in a group that measures 1.958 inches between centers. That’s not what I was hoping for. I tried my hardest to shoot well; I shot off a rest and with a scope. This was the best I could do with this pellet.

Daisy 880 Beeman H&N Match target
Ten Beeman H&N Match pellets went into 1.958 inches between centers at 25 yards.

RWS Hobby
Next up were the RWS Hobbys. These were by far the most accurate pellets at 10 meters, so they earned a spot in this test. Nine of them went into 1.154 inches at 25 yards, but the tenth shot opened the group up to 2.216 inches. It certainly wasn’t a called flier; but given where the other 9 landed, I think Hobbys showed fair accuracy, overall.

Daisy 880 RWS Hobby target
Ten RWS Hobbys made this 2.216-inch group at 25 yards, but 9 of them went into 1.154 inches, which is fairly good.

So far, the groups were only average or worse. Since I was pumping 6 times for each shot, this test wasn’t going to continue much longer, but I felt the rifle deserved at least one more chance. This time it would be with a domed pellet of known quality — the Falcon from Air Arms.

Air Arms Falcons
The Falcon pellet has shown real promise in some airguns I’ve tested. I hoped that it would also shine in the 880. Since it was the only domed pellet I tried, and since 25 yards is about the maximum distance at which accuracy can be expected with wadcutter pellets, I hoped to see a real star.

Ten Falcons went into 1.482 inches at 25 yards. The group is reasonably round with no fliers, which tells me the Falcon is very stable in the 880. The group is actually the best of this test, though not as good as I’d hoped based on what people had said about their 880 rifles. But, I was shooting 10-shot groups, and they really point out the accuracy potential of an airgun in a way that 5-shot groups often can’t.

Daisy 880 Falcon target
The Falcon group was the smallest of the session at 1.482 inches between centers. Of course, the holes are harder to see because this is a domed pellet.

Loading problems
I had two loading accidents with the Falcons that didn’t occur with any other pellets. Two pellets fell back through the BB loading port and disappeared. They didn’t tie up the gun, but it was disconcerting. Daisy warns about this possibility in the manual, and it happened to me twice in a row. If it happened just once, I’d say, “Shame on me.” But two times in a row is the rifle’s fault.

Daisy 880 hole in breech
The BB feed hole at the back of the 880′s breech is so large that it swallowed 2 Falcon pellets.

No one can say this rifle didn’t get a fair test! It turns out to be an okay plinker that’s easy to pump and reasonably accurate at close range. I would not choose the scoped model, nor would I mount a scope on any 880 unless my eyes demanded it. A dot sight might be best for those who can’t use the open sights.

The loading of pellets is a real problem area. It isn’t easy under any circumstances, and it’s all too easy to lose a pellet in the action because of the large BB feeding hole. Perhaps the 880 is a better BB gun than a pellet rifle for this shortcoming.

Given all the problems I had, I would have to put the 880 lower on the list of inexpensive multi-pumps than some other brands and models. I think it’s a fine gun for those who appreciate it for what it is, but it’s not a diamond in the rough. Taken for what it is, the 880 will satisfy a purpose and will be a good plinker and informal target rifle.

Daisy 880: Part 5

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

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

This report addresses:

• Examining test targets sent from Daisy with this rifle.
• Accuracy with 3 different pellets.
• Accuracy with BBs.

Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the brand-new Daisy 880 that Daisy sent for this test. Before we begin, I’ll show the test targets Daisy sent with the rifle. Then, I’ll shoot the rifle at 10 meters with 3 different pellets. Finally, I’ll move up to 5 meters and shoot steel BBs.

Daisy targets
When Daisy sent me the rifle, they included the results of their testing. So, I have 2 targets for the rifle. They did not indicate which target was shot with BBs; but since they used a 10-meter target for the one test and a 5-meter target for the other, I’ll assume the first was shot with pellets and the second with BBs.

The target they shot with BBs was enlarged before they copied it, so it looks larger than its actual size. The black bull is supposed to measure 18.415mm across, but the target they sent measures 25.07mm from side to side. So, it’s approximately 137 percent the size it should be. I’m telling you that because I can’t put a dime next to that target and make any sense out of it.

They also shot just 5 shots per target, where I normally shoot 10. So, my groups should be 40 percent larger than theirs. They did give me the center-to-center measurements for each group, however, so we’ll be able to make some comparisons.

Daisy 880 Daisy BB target
Daisy shot 5 BBs into 0.65 inches at 5 meters with the test 880. Remember, this target appears larger than it really is.

They also sent a 10-meter target they shot with pellets. They didn’t indicate which pellets were used for this test, but I would think they would use Daisy Precision Max pellets — that only makes sense. This 5-shot group measures 0.60 inches between centers.

Daisy 880 Daisy BB target 2
Daisy shot 5 pellets into 0.60 inches at 10 meters with the test 880.

There was no indication of how many pumps were used for either target. I will therefore use my best judgement when I shoot my own groups.

Pellets first
I shot the 880 rested at 10 meters using 3 different pellets. The first was the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier dome that was used for the velocity test. I used 6 pumps for each shot with pellets. The rifle was rested in a sandbag rest.

Sight-in took 2 shots because the rifle was shooting low for a 6 o’clock hold. It was also shooting a little to the right, but I didn’t bother correcting that on the first group. Ten Premiers went into 1.037 inches. While not bad, I hope to find another pellet that does better.

Daisy 880 Premier target
Ten Crosman Premier lite pellets went into 1.037 inches at 10 meters. Not a very great group, but there’s the silver dime several of you obsessed over.

Daisy wadcutters
After the first group, I adjusted the rear sight down one notch and over to the left. Next, I tried some old Daisy Superior Match Grade wadcutter pellets. How close they are to the current pellets Daisy sells, I have no idea. Ten of them went into 0.713 inches, which is better than the Premiers and, accounting for my 5 additional shots, also better than what Daisy got.

Daisy 880 Daisy wadcutter target
Ten Daisy Superior Match Grade wadcutters made this 0.713-inch group at 10 meters.

RWS Hobby pellets
I felt the rifle had redeemed itself with the Daisy pellets, but I wanted to try just one additional pellet. This next one was an RWS Hobby. When you see what it did, I think you’ll agree with me this was a fortunate choice.

Daisy 880 RWS Hobby target
Ten Hobbys made this 0.458-inch group at 10 meters. Now THIS is a group!

So, the 880 I’m testing can definitely shoot. Both Daisy and I got good results from the rifle with pellets. Let’s see what it can do with steel BBs.

Daisy with BBs
I moved the shooting table up to 5 meters from the target and started shooting with Daisy Premium Grade BBs. At this distance I used 3 pumps for each shot. They were hitting the target right where the top of the front sight was, so I decided to hold for the center of the bull instead of at 6 o’clock. They did hit a little to the left, but it was nothing to be concerned about. Ten BBs went into 0.624 inches.

Daisy 880 Daisy BB target
Ten Daisy BBs went into this 0.624-inch group at 5 meters.

If you check my other BB-gun targets (other than those made by the 499), you’ll see that this gun really groups tight with BBs. I’m surprised it did so well.

This Daisy 880 can certainly shoot! Next, I’ll mount the scope and back up to 25 yards.

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.

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

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.

Building the $100 precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 5

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

$100 PCP
The PCP is built on a Crosman 2100B chassis.

I bet that when some people heard about this experiment, they laughed it off. Perhaps that will change now that we have looked at this novel idea 5 different times. I’m learning so much from this series that it’s going to affect my writing for years to come.

I was surprised — again!
Somebody — I don’t remember who — asked me to test the $100 PCP with round lead balls — I guess because the steel BB test turned out so well. So I did. I shot it at 10 meters with .177-caliber Gamo round lead balls. Since I shot with open sights, I didn’t get to see the group after confirming that the first shot hit the paper. Imagine my surprise to see all 10 shots clustered tightly in 0.561 inches!

$100 PCP 10 meters round ball
This tight group really surprised me! Ten .177 Gamo lead balls went into 0.561 inches at 10 meters.

That got me thinking — a lot! I’ve been doing this experiment so slow that I forget what I’ve done before.

What I thought I would do today was complete this report with a test of the rifle scoped at 25 yards. However, when I mounted the scope, it was very far off line, as in angled to the barrel. Either the grooves on the receiver are off or the scope mount I chose wasn’t grabbing the base correctly.

After missing the target twice at 25 yards, I pulled the scope off the rifle and decided to shoot another test with open sights. I used different pellets than I used in Part 4 so we get to see some different results.

Crosman Premier heavy
The first pellet I tried was the 10.5-grain Crosman Premier heavy. In .177, Premiers come in both lite and heavy, and this is the first time I’ve tested this rifle with the heavy. I would love to tell you these pellets went into a small group, but the truth is that they scattered in a 2.352-inch pattern.

$100 PCP 25 yards Crosman Premier heavy
Not particularly encouraging, 10 Premier heavies made this 2.352-inch group at 25 yards.

H&N Baracuda Match
Next, I tried 10 H&N Baracuda Match pellets. They made a better group than the Premier heavies, but it still wasn’t worth talking about. Ten pellets went into 2.051 inches at 25 yards.

$100 PCP 25 yards HN Baracuda Match
Ten H&N Baracuda Match pellets went into 2.051-inches at 25 yards. Still no cigar.

After looking at the second group, I noticed that it looked like the first group, only a little smaller. Because I always look through the spotting scope after the first shot of every group to make sure I’m on paper, I knew that the first shots of both groups were high and right. It seemed to me that the shots might be spreading out to the left as the pressure in the reservoir dropped; so on group 3, I took a photo after the first 5 shots had been fired.

RWS Superdome
Finally I tried RWS Superdomes. Including the lead balls I shot at 10 meters, this was the fourth projectile in this test and the seventh diabolo pellet tested at 25 yards in this rifle. The other 3 pellets were documented in part 4.

$100 PCP 25 yards 5 RWS Superdomes
Five RWS Superdomes made this 5-shot group at 25 yards. Would the next 5 shots spread to the left?

Ten Superdomes went into 1.528 inches at 25 yards. That was the best group in this test with pellets, but only the third best pellet of the seven that were tested at 25 yards.

As it turned out, the next 5 shots didn’t open the group that much more. So, another theory bit the dust.

$100 PCP 25 yards RWS Superdomes
Ten RWS Superdomes made this 1.528-inch group at 25 yards. It’s only a little larger than the first 5 shots, shown above.

The $100 PCP is very accurate at close range, but not as good as the distance increases. Of course, you must remember that the barrel is taped to the reservoir with Gorilla tape, so there’s a lack of precision in the build.

It would still be interesting to see how this rifle behaves when scoped, but I’ll have to find mounts that permit mounting a scope to the integral rail. At this point, I think the $100 PCP is a proven concept. I would really like to see this rifle in production.

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.

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.

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.

Building the $100 precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 4

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

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

$100 PCP
The $100 PCP is built on a Crosman 2100B chassis.

This test was very interesting! It began last week at my outdoor rifle range. Blog reader GunFun1 asked me to try shooting steel BBs in this gun because it was originally built to handle them (when it was in its Crosman 2100B form). I didn’t want to do it because this rifle launches the first couple shots at over 900 f.p.s., and steel BBs rebound like crazy (You’ll shoot your eye out), but I did relent. Last week, I took this rifle to my outdoor range and stuck a 12-inch Shoot-N-C target on the plywood target backer. I then paced off 10 meters and fired 10 BBs at this target.

I thought the BBs would probably miss the target altogether. I said as much to GunFun1 in my comments a few weeks ago. But they didn’t!

I was wrong about this. Shooting offhand with open sights, I put 10 Daisy Premium Grade steel BBs into 1.56 inches. It was actually 11 BBs. I must have miscounted during shooting. I was astounded! This isn’t just good — it’s great! You don’t shoot BB guns at 10 meters when you’re shooting groups!

Daisy Premium Grade steel BB group
There are actually 11 Daisy BBs in this 1.56-inch group. Shot offhand with open sights at 10 meters.

Incidentally, all 10 BBs apparently went through the plywood target backer. Of course, there are other bullet holes there, so the wood isn’t always present or at its thickest; still, it shows those BBs are moving!

That got me wondering just how accurate this rifle could be. I decided to shoot from 25 yards with open sights, only. I’ll come back and shoot with an optical sight of some kind, but this test is just open sights.

I filled the gun to 2,000 psi for every 10 shots, including for the BBs shown above. After 10 shots, the gun’s pressure has dropped to 1,000 psi.

Crosman Premier lite
The first group of 10 shots was shot with Crosman Premier lites. Based on the 10-meter results for the last test, and also from where the BBs went, I adjusted the rear sight to the right just a little. After the first shot, I looked through the spotting scope to affirm it hit the target. It did, was high above the bullseye and fairly well-centered left and right. So, I left the sights where they were and fired a second shot. When I looked through the spotting scope, I saw it had gone through the same hole as the first! Wow! That was starting out well!

The first 4 shots all went into the same hole. Then shot 5 went higher for some reason.

Crosman Premier lite 5-shot group
The first 4 shots are in 0.179 inches. Shot 5 opened it up to 0.838 inches.

After taking the picture of the first 5 shots, I shot the remaining 5 shots. That was informative because all the shots spread out to the left. Having the first 5 shots on record allowed me to see that the second 5 were the ones that actually spread out. The 10-shot group measures 1.358 inches between centers.

Crosman Premier lite 10-shot group
Ten Crosman Premier lites went into 1.358 inches at 25 yards. That’s rested and using open sights. See how the last 5 went to the left and opened up?

RWS Hobbys
Next up were RWS Hobby pellets. They did quite well at 10 meters, but 25 yards is about the maximum distance at which wadcutter pellets hold their accuracy.

I adjusted the rear sight down one notch before shooting this group. Once more, I photographed the target after 5 shots.

RWS Hobby lite 5-shot group
The first 5 RWS Hobbys looked pretty good. Shot 1 was a 10!

$100 PCP RWS Hobby 10-shot group
So Hobbys held together fairly well at 25 yards. Ten went into a group measuring 1.144 inches between centers.

Air Arms Falcons
The last pellet I tested was the Air Arms Falcon pellet. This time, the first 5 pellets didn’t seem to do that well. And when we see the final 10-shot group, it isn’t that much larger.

Air Arms Falcon 5-shot group
The first 5 Falcon pellets didn’t do so well.

$100 PCP Air Arms Falcon 10-shot-group
This is one of those rare instances where 10 shots are not much larger than 5. Ten Air Arms Falcons went into 1.912 inches.

Conclusions so far
This experiment is turning out much better than I had hoped. Not only have we demonstrated that it’s possible to make a precharged pneumatic rifle that can retail for under $100, we’re now showing that it can really perform! Of course, the production gun will get many more shots on a fill than the 10 I’m getting, but I do think the maximum fill pressure should be held to 2,000 psi. That will make it easier to build an affordable hand pump, which Dennis Quackenbush is thinking about right now.

The discharge noise of this rifle is quite loud. I was going to recommend not putting a shroud on the gun, but I’m going to change my mind on that point. The customers for this gun will be suburban shooters who need a quieter air rifle, so some sound dampening is necessary.

The trigger on the rifle is heavy, and I would leave it the way it is. I would also leave the bolt-action exactly the way it is on the 2100B. The same goes for the sights. These are refinements people can pay for on higher-priced PCPs. We want to hold the cost of this gun to less than $100 retail.

I do plan on returning to test this rifle at least one more time with an optical sight. That will show the maximum accuracy potential, although I believe we’ve already seen a good indication of it in this test.

The $100 PCP will never replace the higher-priced PCPs that are already selling. It isn’t supposed to. It’s supposed to provide that entry-level step for those who are curious about precharged airguns and don’t want to spend a fortune to find out. I think it’s a very feasible goal and, quite possibly, a profitable one, as well.

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