by B.B. Pelletier
I’ve always been a handgun shooter, and when I discovered 10-meter pistols in the mid-1970s, I didn’t hesitate buying a Diana model 10 target pistol. At the time, it was one of the most accurate target pistols in the world – fully the equivalent of the more expensive FWB 65. So, when Daisy came out with their model 717 single-stroke pneumatic target pistol in 1981, I thought, “Why not?” It was accurate, had a self-contained power source and retailed for less than $60. The price has doubled during the intervening 26 years, but let’s see why I think this neat target pistol is still a bargain today.
The 717 was my first single-stroke airgun, and it was a good introduction to the species. Single-stroke pneumatics are just what their name implies – pneumatic guns that operate on just one pump of air. There can be no second pump, because the pump piston head is also one end of the compression chamber. Pull the pump back to put a second stroke into the gun and you’ll release what’s already inside. And, this is one kind of pneumatic that doesn’t want a charge of air inside during storage. The pump head has to be flexible to do its job, and it cannot be under pressure for prolonged periods. Daisy recommends not leaving the gun pressurized longer than an hour.
The 717 comes in .177 caliber, only, but it wasn’t always so. From 1981 to 1996, the gun was also offered in .22, as the model 722. I have always wondered how weak that gun must have been, because even the 717 only achieves 360 f.p.s. with light target pellets. It doesn’t cut crisp holes in target paper; it tears them, so you can’t use the gun in a formal match. But for informal shooting around the house, there aren’t many that beat it.
Easy to pump
After getting used to the 35-lb. cocking effort of the Diana 10, I found the light 14 lbs. needed to close the pump lever of this gun delightfully easy. Not all single-strokes are easy, however. The Walther LP II and LP III pistols require about 35 lbs. of effort to close their short pump levers. But Daisy designed a good linkage for their sidelever pump. Let’s charge the gun and see how it works.
First, open the bolt and leave it open. If you just wanted to dry-fire the gun, you could now close the bolt and the trigger would be ready to go. But when it’s time to shoot for real, leave the bolt to the rear and pull the pump handle away from the frame and as far forward as it will go. Then, close it against the side of the pistol, load a pellet, close the bolt and the gun is ready to fire. The crossbolt safety is, thankfully, manual and does not get in the way. The trigger, however, is another matter.
The pump lever extends way to the front of the gun. Good linkage keeps the pumping effort low.
I just complained about a 6-lb. Benjamin HB22 trigger, so how do you think I feel about one on a target handgun? That’s right – SIX pounds! I certainly hope this one will lighten up as time passes. It lost a full pound of pull during the first 50 shots, so it probably will. The plastic trigger blade is wide and shaped well for the task, so it isn’t as hard to use as the Benjamin’s, but shaving 3 lbs. off the pull would be a blessing. The trigger is non-adjustable and two-stage with a very short first-stage pull.
This will be worth the price of the whole blog, because the 717 does need a couple of things done to it from time to time. First, let’s lubricate the pump head. Daisy recommends using a 10-, 20- or 30-weight non-detergent motor oil, but as I have none of that laying around, I will use Crosman Pellgunoil. Daisy certainly isn’t going to recommend it, but Pellgunoil is a lot like the oil they used to sell for this purpose. Don’t use household oils, nor any spray lubricant – especially WD-40.
Put several drops on the felt wiper of the pump head assembly. It will rub off on the walls on the compression chamber and be picked up by the o-ring. There, it serves its purpose of sealing the pump against air loss. Oil the gun anytime the o-ring is not shiny with a light coat of oil, or when the gun’s power drops off noticeably.
Several drops of Crosman Pellgunoil on the felt wiper and the gun will oil itself.
Tomorrow, I’ll show you how to adjust the pump lever stroke, and we’ll shoot the gun.
39 thoughts on “Daisy 717 – Part 1”
Sorry that this is totally off subject, but, at your recommendation, I just got my copy of the Cardew book, The Airgun From Trigger to Target. I was not expecting that level of research, detail, and experimentation, wow, excellent! Quite a fascinating reference volume that answers questions I didn’t even know existed. Thanks so much for the suggestion.
I found it through a used book dealer in the UK on amazon.com uk. Arrived in 5 days, and is basically new. Still trying to find Tom Gaylords book on the Beeman R1 Supermag.
This was my 1st pellet gun. Got my 717 from Farm&Fleet in 1983. I still have it today and I had repaired the rearsight a year or so ago as it had a chip out of the sight. Great gun and a delight to shoot. I am keeping this one for my kids.
I wish I still had mine! Good for you.
Hmmm, I live 3 hours from Roanoke. I think you’ve put the final twist in my arm!
Write Tom and pin him down on this, because I think he’s only got a few to sell. He can be reached through his website at airgunwriter.com
An off-topic question here. Do you have any experience with crosman’s new “destroyer” pellet, and gamo’s “tomahawk”? And how do these compare to the JSB predator?
I have the new Crosman Destroyers but haven’t tested them yet. I did test the original Devestator pellets they were copied from, but those were made in England by a company with poor quality control and they were not accurate.
What do you mean by performance? Penetration? Expansion? Accuracy?
B.B. Off topic. I am thinking of purchasing (from Pyramyd) either a Gamo Whisper or a Gamo CFX. I have researched the two rifles but still have not decided. Your commentary (as always) would be appreciated. Thanks, Don.
Thanks for the quick reply! I’m most interested in the accuracy. And could you also talk about the expansion, if possible?
Well, a breakbarrel is always harder to shoot accurately. That Whisper looks pretty cool, though. And the CF-X is hard to load.
Tell me what you decide to get.
Okay, accuracy and expansion. I have a neat way of testing expansion, so this should be fun.
BB, I’m overjoyed that you’re talking about one of my favorite airguns!
I got one new when they first came out. Mine has a wonderful trigger and I’ve hasn’t required any repair or replaced parts in the quarter century or so that I’ve owned it.
I’m a plinker, not a target shooter, and bought a Daisy 747, thinking it would be a more accurate gun. Not so, I still prefer the 717 and will choose it if I really want to score a hit on an errant pecan or beverage container in the back yard.
Now I know they’ll benefit from some Pelgun oil, I’ll treat ’em both and see if that makes any difference.
Please tell me whether the 747’s adjustable trigger is as nice as your 717’s trigger.
I have just acquired a Benjamin Model 3100 100 shot bb gun rifle. It is serial # F19774. Can you tell me when it was made, how rare and approximate value? The gun is about 85%. Thanks.
Whats the difference between the 747 and the 717? which would you choose and why?
I bought a used 717 a few months ago. I like it a lot, but as you say the trigger is a bit on the heavy side. If you google it though, there is a detailed reprint of a published article on re-working the trigger and replacing the rear sight with a higher quality item. – Gazza
Your BB gun (not rifled) was made in February of 1977. It’s worth about $100-125.
The date infor is on the Crosman site and the price is in the latest Blue Book.
The 747 has a Lothar Walther barrel and an adjustable trigger. I’m waiting for fflincher to tell me if the trigger is better, because he says the barrel isn’t.
This review reminded me of another single-stroke pneumatic you tested a while ago – the Marksman 2004. You mentioned getting .3″ groups at 25 feet – I’m itchin’ to see how this one does in comparison.
Is the 747 made of metal, is not what parts are plastic?
I just got my Webley and Scott Stingray in .25 caliber today. So far I’m quite happy with the fit and finish of this fine air rifle. I’m going to test it for velocity with several different pellets over the next several days. I already have the temptation to tune it to make it easier to open. You have to slap the barrel to open it and the short carbine barrel gives you less leverage to cock it. All and all I’m very pleased with it though. It’s a shame they had to send their manufacturing over seas but at least I have one of their last British made rifles.
Now where do you get large bottles of Pellgun oil? Did you just pour the little tubes into another bottle you had laying around? I do find the little tubes squirt out more oil than you need. That’s a nifty idea. I think I’ve wasted half a tube cleaning off the overflow. Thanks.
I could have done that, but I didn’t. Dennis Quackenbush sells an equivalent oil in the large bottle you see in the photo. The cost is $2.00 and I use a lot of it, as you know. If Crosman did the same thing, I’d buy theirs.
How about you answer Alex’s question about the 747. I don’t have one to examine.
While I haven’t gotten the Crosman Destroyers just yet, I DO have a tin of the Gamo Tomahawks.
The Tomahawk uses a hollow forward cavity that is capped with a tiny pointed steel point.
I have been surprised at how accurate they are, too.
Out of my CFX, they give me sub 1″ five shot groups at 25 yards.
They’re not in the same category as Exacts, Superdomes, or Ram Jets – all of which drop inside 1/2″ at that range – but they do much better than I had thought they would.
I haven’t done penetration or expansion tests with these, but I have every reason to believe that they will really go deep, particularly on groundhogs or raccoons.
Just a suggestion, if BB is up to it, would be to test the Tomahawk along with the Destroyer for penetration and expansion, as they are so similar.
Oh, you get 750 pellets to a tin with the Tomahawk, so there is quite a bang for the buck.
I tested 3 pellets so far in the Webley and Scott Stingray in .25 caliber. The Webley Mosquito, the Beeman Kodiak and Beeman Laser. The Mosquito produced about 14 foot pounds. The Kodiaks at 31.7 grains did the best producing 14.49 foot pounds traveling at 461 feet per second. The Laser tended to be too loose in the barrel and only produced 12.5 foot pounds. I haven’t found a rifle in any caliber where the Laser pellets travel faster due to their lighter weight. To be fair I haven’t tested them for accuracy so they might still be worthwhile.
This rifle has a bit of a kick to it. If you don’t watch where you put your cheek, you might get a bruise. It seems to behave like a toned down version of the Webley Patriot you described a while back. I wonder how well a scope will hold up on it?
im looking at the lothar walther website, and it gives options of outer barrel diameter. is the barrel from airforce small enough to fit in the hunter extreme? where could i find the maximum diameter of a barrel that can fit in the extreme?
have you ever used a quigley gun? the IV and when it comes out, the V seem to be like a benjamin on extreme steriods!! they are a lot of money, but im thinkin about it, since it seems like i would be able to use it for any type of shooting possible…very versitile. what are your thoughts? do you know of any bad things about the gun(besides cost, of course!)? it really seems like my dream gun, because i LOVE multi-pumps, and this seems to be as state of the art as it gets in that category.
A .25 caliber spring-piston rifle that’s not a Patriot is quite a curiosity. Let accuracy be your guide to pellet selection. Power means nothing unless you hit.
Please keep me informed.
The AirForce 24-inch barrel has a nominal outside diameter of 16mm. AirForce grinds off some of that to prep the barrel for bluing.
No, I haven’t shot the Quigley, but I did read the article about in in Airgun Illustrated. It apparently works well.
Thank you Scott!
Wow the Tomahawk has a steel tip…have you ever tried it on any pests?
BB, I’m gonna have to give a two part reply to you and Alex.
An examination of both 717 and 747 side-by-side shows the 747 has darker plastic grips. The bottom of the 747 cocking lever offers an instruction manual free for the asking. That offer missing from the 717.
The 747 has a curved shield of raised metal from 1 o’clock to 7 o’clock around the pushbutton safety. There is no shield around the 717 safety. I prefer the lack of shield on the 717, but not enough to remove it from the 747.
The front of the metal trigger blade of the 747 is flat and smooth, and appears to me to have less arc than the curved, serrated face of the plastic 717 trigger. The 747 trigger is wider than the 717.
The butt of the 717 is marked “LOT NO.” and K021484. The 747 has the number 100320 stamped on the butt.
The plastic rear sights appear to be identical, with directions for moving them up and left clearly marked.
On the fore strap under the trigger guard, there is a small screw on the 747. There is only the solid fore strap on the 717.
Alex, you asked about metal versus plastic parts. The two piece grips of both guns are plastic, held by one screw for each of the grip scales.
The rear sight assemblies are plastic, with steel adjustment screws.
The bolt handles and, I believe, the rest of the bolt except for the “O” rings, are plastic.
There are at least two kinds of metal used in these guns. The metal that attracts a magnet is used in all the screws, the barrels and the support plates on the bottom front of the compression chambers, under the front sights.
All other parts of the guns appear to be non-magnetic metal castings.
Both triggers have a bit of mush before they drop the sear, the 717 having almost a two-stage trigger to which I’ve become very accustomed, taking up the slack and then refining my sight picture before applying the last bit of pressure. The 717 trigger is slightly heavier than that of the 747 and difficult to stage. I don’t have any way to measure the pull weights, but both triggers are lighter than what I’ve found to be GREAT triggers on 1911 pistols, so I’d estimate them at 1.5 pounds for the 747 and 2 pounds for the 717.
My wife and I have adopted four stray dogs. Two of these are gun shy, so I’ve had to closet myself with the computer and the Daisys while getting this all together. It will be awhile before I can get to the back yard to compare what accuracy I can get out of these two, so I’ll report that later.
Thank you for the homework assignment!
I was trying for BB’s flowing style, and was unclear about the trigger on the 747.
What I really meant was that while the trigger of the 747 is curved, it is the surface of the 747 trigger which is smooth and flat.
I also meant that the 747 trigger is difficult to stage, while I am accustomed to staging the 717 trigger.
I apologize for not being more clear.
The 717 I have has the owner’s manual offer and the shield for the safety. Apparently Daisy is transitioning the two models to be more alike, to reduce manufacturing costs.
Thanks for the trigger report.
I was wondering if the Marksman 2004 needs any kind of regular lubrication. I’ve had mine for several years and haven’t done a thing to it. It still shoots as well as the day I got it.
Michael in Georgia
I lubed mine twice, just to prove it could be done. I put a drop of Pellgunoil on the air hole and let the piston suck it in.
Michael in Georgia
What parts of the daisy 717 are plastic?
Anonymous wondering about plastic on the Daisy 717,
Can’t directly answer your question but I’ll suggest three things that may answer your question. Here’s a link to part 2 that B.B. did on the Daisy 717 which includes some pictures of some plastic on the 717 and in the comments many people talk about further details on the 717:
Here’s link to the specs on the gun including pictures. Once you arrive at this link click on “specs’ and after that I would encourage you to read the “Reviews”:
My third suggestion is that you ask your question where the majority of airgunners, like you, are communicating right now. You will find most airgunners asking and answering each others questions under the most current topic that B.B. has written (B.B. writes a new article every day, Monday-Friday). Here’s the link, go to the bottom of the article and click on “comments” and you will be able to leave your question there:
You will need to copy and paste each of these links. Look forward to seeing you on the current blog!