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Education / Training Daisy Powerline 953 TargetPro – Part 1

Daisy Powerline 953 TargetPro – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Daisy’s 853 target rifle has been an icon in youth target programs for the better part of 30 years. As an inexpensive 10-meter rifle, it has long represented the ground floor, but for causal shooters it is a bit pricey. However, Daisy also offers essentially the same gun as the Powerline 953 TargetPro with none of the frills and without the Lothar Walther barrel for just a fraction of the cost of the vetted target rifle. For the casual target shooter and plinker, it’s a price that cannot be overlooked

General description
The 953 is a single-stroke pneumatic rifle that can function as a single-shot and as a five-shot repeater–it’s your choice. I will show you how to convert the rifle from repeater to single-shot in a future report. You must switch from the single-shot loading platform to the five-shot magazine, which is quick and simple to do. The magazine indexes automatically each time you pull the bolt back to cock the gun and, when the last pellet is fired, the bolt is blocked from going forward, signaling the need to reload.

The rifle is available in .177 caliber only and buyers should know there are no possibilities to increase the power. Be prepared to accept plinking velocities around 525-550 f.p.s.

The trigger is perhaps the weakest part of the gun, but it’s no worse than the trigger on the 853. It’s called a two-stage trigger, but in my opinion it’s really a single-stage with a long, creepy pull. It releases at just under 5 lbs. on the test rifle, but shows signs of breaking in to a lower-effort pull. Well-used rifles are often breaking below 4 lbs. and coaches all over American are able to adjust it to break at less 2 lbs. with less creep. The instructions are all over the internet. Any reader who has tuned their 953 trigger is welcome to chime in here.

This trigger is non-adjustable by design. Competition rules require a 1.5-lb. pull and rifles are tested at every competition, where a cocked trigger must lift a 1.5-lb. weight. There’s a manual safety located in the triggerguard, which is the best of all worlds.

The sights are fully adjustable fiberoptic open sights, which to my thinking are the most inappropriate sights this rifle could have. But if you view it as a pure plinker instead of a target rifle, I guess they’re okay. However, they come off easily and better sights can be installed in their place, which I plan on doing. A small scope is also possible, as is a red dot.

You have to love the stock! It’s shaped as an offhand stock with a vertical pistol grip and a very high butt and Monte Carlo comb. The forearm is flat on the bottom, but the pump handle precludes any accessory rail. It’s perfect for offhand work, which plinkers do as much as target shooters.

The stock is made from a dark synthetic. It is dense and adds some weight so the rifle doesn’t feel like a kid’s gun. It hefts like a lightweight adult rifle, and most adults will like the feel and balance.

The pump handle is metal and swings easier than the ones I remember on new 853s. Keep the felt washer and o-ring on the pump head lubricated with either Crosman Pellgunoil or the “clean motor oil” Daisy recommends for wiping down the outside of the gun (!) and the inside of the barrel. My only comment here comes from 20 years of having Pellgunoil (from Crosman) and 20-weight non-detergent motor oil (from Daisy) drilled into me. I guess modern synthetic seals can take almost anything, so just follow the instructions. Pennzoil will work, apparently.

The rifle is cocked by pulling straight back on the plastic cocking handle on the right side of the action. The location of the handle and loading tray favors right-handed shooters, but the rest of the stock and trigger are ambidextrous.

The barrel looks spindly, but bear in mind the powerplant has zero vibration. It’s plenty stiff to handle the load asked of it. And, from what some of our readers have said, it’s a good one.

As for ruggedness and longevity, this same action in the 853 has endured hundreds of thousands of shots and rough handling by hundreds of shooters. These are the club guns that everyone uses and no one but the coaches care for. The seals (o-rings) have to be replaced periodically, but that’s about it.

I’m going to test this rifle normally, then I will try a few sight options and maybe some other things. So, settle in for a long, thorough test.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

81 thoughts on “Daisy Powerline 953 TargetPro – Part 1”

  1. Whoohoo! 953 is a great rifle for it’s price. I tried putting a scope on mine just the other day and I was shooting all over the place. A far cry from just using the open sights. The scope is a cheapie Daisy Powerline(?) and I’m guessing that I wasn’t keeping my eye centered in the scope. Open sights and I do fine.

    I just wanted to mention that this is my 2nd 953. The first one I had started leaking and Daisy had me send it back to them. I believe that what they sent to me was a new rifle as the trigger pull was lighter than my original one. Daisy was very helpful and did the work under warranty even though I couldn’t find my receipt and it either right at, or just past the 1 year warranty.

    For what it is, it’s a sleeper.

  2. I guess I’m too inexperienced to know better, but I like the two-stage trigger on my 953.

    It seems to me to stop distinctly at the second stage after I take up the first-stage slack, and then what seems like only a tiny more pressure fires the gun.

    I’m surprised to learn it’s 4 lbs. Sure feels like less to me. It’s a lot less than my .22 and .22 magnum firearms–either my rifles or handguns.

    With the 953, I am usually able to do a final settle of the sights at the end of the first trigger stage, which improves my accuracy.

    I’ve never fired a true two-stage trigger, I guess, so I don’t know how to evaluate this one properly.

    For $71 this airgun seems like a huge bargain and something a lot of airgunners would enjoy, even if they have more powerful and more expensive guns in their arsenal.


  3. I was just thinking that when I was shooting the other day, there was a bit of wind, maybe 10mph. The range was about 25 yards. Can that light of a wind affect groups at that distance?

  4. My experiences with my 953 corresponds with BB’s. So far the best pellet for my gun has been the JSB Exact 8.4gr. It’ll shoot most anything in the 8gr range but I’ve settled on the JSB as being the most consistent.

    Two things I would warn against:
    1) The pump lever effort is difficult for small people. My two 11 yr old grandkids have to work hard to pump it. It is good exercise for them. I had my 64 yr old, 5′ 1″, 150lb aunt shoot it and she had to work hard to pump it. I’m single, 5’5″, 160lb, love long walks on the beach (oops wrong website) and pump with minimal effort. Have your kids try it out before buying else they may lose interest (or become strong enough to take you three out of four falls).

    2) The cocking/pumping/firing sequence can be problematic since it requires cocking by one lever and pumping by another. It is easy to forget to pump after cocking – especially if you switch between different types of guns where one only requires a single action to both cock and pump ie: Walther Lever Action, IZH-61 (or any springer for that matter). The recovery solution, if you cock but forget to pump, is to remove the clip, pump, shoot, refill clip, put back in, try to remember the next time.

    I scoped it when I bought it, installed a red-dot for a while, and now have it scoped again. I prefer scopes.

    It’s solid built, no cheap plastic feel even though plastic is there. Has a so much better quality feel than my 1077 and is so much more accurate. No perceptible recoil.

    I don’t like the trigger. It is creepy and unlike PurcHawk I can’t feel a second stage. There is just a long pull and I never know when it’ll fire just before I run out of breath. It takes too long to pull to keep a steady hold on target.


  5. I made the mistake of reading my own comment and my above 953 report turned out to be more negative than I intended so I need to quickly add, knowing what I know now:

    YES!! I WOULD buy another one. They’re very good and the low price is a bonus

  6. CJr,

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I checked the Blogger help forum but don’t see any mention of it. I posted this issue. Hopefully, Blogger’s working on it.

    Edith (Mrs. B.B.)

  7. Jane,

    If you filled a PCP with the various inert gases (He, Ne, Ar, Kr) could you deduce anything about how fast the gas molecules were traveling? (By extrapolating on a log scale to zero mass?)

    All in all the point seems to be that current top of the line PCPs are hampered by the speed of the gas molecules themselves. There are various reports that a helium charge, at same pressure as an air charge, shoots faster than the air charge. Thus the helium molecules are effectively moving faster than the air molecules. Since the difference between helium and air is observable, my assumption is that the absolute speed of the sir molecules must be a factor in current PCP design too.

    Make sense?


  8. I just put a 953 on order form PA a couple days back. Hope the part 2 and 3 shows up before the gun ships. That way I’ll get to read all the commments before I open the box.

    Right now is back orders… so you have a week or so.

  9. Color me a fan of the 953. Mine’s worked flawlessly through a lot of indoor shooting, and after my CFX broke (for the third damned time), I started shooting the 953 outdoors at longer ranges, and had a ball playing “sniper” with it at 50-80 yard distances.

    As my old fishing buddy used to say, “That’s pure fun on a stick.”

    It’s all the things people say you can’t get any more: cheap, durable, accurate, made in the USA – and requires about as much maintenance as your average doorstop.

    It’s not going to win any power competitions or field target matches (though I think a 953/853 only FT match would be a hoot), but it’s pure fun to shoot – indoors or out.

  10. >>Is the 963 really USA made?<<

    I have that impression – in fact I thought it said so right on the gun – but just looked again and it says "Daisy, Rogers Arkansas".

    Manual offers no clue, so I could easily be wrong about that. Too bad.

  11. Nice report B.B.,
    I always wanted a 953, but i just moved to bigger things.

    The 953 is made in america. All daisy’s are made in america.

    On my pC the blog is still showing zero comments. i dont know whats up. I also did see the actual post until like 3:00 or so.

  12. Brody,

    All Daisy guns are not made in America. There's an important distinction between "made" in America & "built" in America. If it's made in America,, all significant parts (trigger, barrel, etc.) & processing must be of U.S. origin. If it's built in America, the parts can be made anywhere but the parts are assembled in America.

    The Federal Trade Commission makes this distinction for all products sold in the U.S., and that’s where I got my info.

    Edith (Mrs. B.B.)

  13. The most pleasant gun I have, considering all aspects of shooting in my home, is the Talon SS which I currently have in .177 CO2.

    Comparing the 953 to it is probably not fair but:

    The 953 is obviously a whole lot cheaper (by about $400).

    The 953 is my second choice for the pleasantness of shooting due to no recoil, no boinging as in springers.

    The 953 is pretty accurate (but I’m not as accurate with it as I am with the Talon).

    The 953 is not as easy to shoot as the Talon because of the additional cocking (I am not happy with a multi-pump at all).

    NOTE: (I’m not the first to point out this little tip) Open the pump handle as far as it will go and listen for the short hiss to make sure you get the full benefit. If you don’t hear the hiss the piston might need oiled.

    Re: oil 5 shot clip

    I, too, experienced the feed problem with the clip and light oil and wipe it off worked for me. No more mis-feeds. The clips are a real soft rubber and I guess that causes too much friction. The oil fixes that.

    Don’t misunderstand – you don’t need the clips to be oily. You just wipe oil on them then wipe the oil off. Apparently it permeates the material and reduces the friction.


  14. My comment about my distaste for multi-pump in my 953 comment might cause confusion.

    The 953 is a single pump NOT a multi-pump, which is good! I didn’t mean to imply otherwise. I have a multi-pump which sparked my wrath.


  15. I thought that you already did a report on the 953.

    I do like hearing about this rifle, as I am interested in getting one to use as a very cheap target gun.

  16. BB
    Finally a thorough test of the 953.
    I’ve been waiting and hoping.
    Yes the trigger does lighten up with use,at least mine did with no mods.
    The second stage also becomes more noticeable with extended use.Don’t
    really know if it’s due to me or the gun since I have several thousand
    pellets through it.After I ordered
    a pack of extra clips it got too easy
    to burn through a tin of 500 pellets
    in just a few fun hours.

    YES a 10 or more mph.breeze will make a huge difference in POI
    I guess because the FPS. is so low on this one.I don’t have a chrony
    but according to vince the 490 I
    got from him was mid 500’s with ~
    8 gr. pellets,the 953 is noticeably slower when time to target and penetration are both less with the same pellet(CPHP in the tins).But aint it fun stackin lead at 30’and buckin wind and elevation on longer shots:)


    P.S. as a bug buster the bumble bees, wasps and cig. butts don’t have much of a chance under 30′ 🙂

  17. Chuck:

    I must be more sensitive than my wife thinks!

    After re-reading B.B.’s review and your comment, I went down to the basement and fired 9 clips though the 953, and I certainly THOUGHT I was feeling two trigger stages. Maybe I’m just pulling so far and then pausing on my own. It is a long pull if I make it one motion.

    No matter what, as I said, it’s a great airgun for $71.

    (I honestly think I’d score a lot a higher in informal club handgun bulls eye shooting if my Mark III had a trigger like the 953. I may have to break down and get a trigger job on the Ruger, since all this talk has focused my mind.)


  18. Jane et al,

    I should let thoughts roll around a bit before I post…

    What I was struggling with before was an ultimate velocity limit, not a velocity limit at a given pressure. And obviously, from features on Marauder, the design parameters of the gun are tweaked to make it preform best at a certain pressure range. A point of diminishing return for the pressure of a given design is far from an ultimate velocity limit.


  19. I’ve got a 953, with the extra clips.I love the gun, but I was surprised to see the blog mention a metal pump handle. Then I was surprised that no one questioned that in the comments. The handle that fills the air reservoir on my 953 is plastic. Pumping mine is easy enough that the plastic has never been a problem, but still.

    Is the pump handle something other than the lever that fills the air reservoir? Or there a new model out there?


  20. BB,

    I’m glad you got to testing this one, as it has always interested me.

    My model 60 and I had a mixed week: scope that failed and a box of ammo with almost 20% failure rate. These are not unusual problems, except I was trying to do range qualification for the gun club I joined recently (wanted a 300 yd. range without livestock and a bird-throwing machine that doesn’t make my arm tired:)). We had to go old-school, open sights (poor ones, hence the scope) and ignoring underpowered rounds. Right as I was about to give up, I got a tube with 5/7 good rounds and managed to pass, but it was certainly the worst shooting the old girl and I have ever done:). I’ve seen dubious pellets, but with the possible exception of the free green tin of Industry pellets, nothing to compare with .22LR these days. Maybe that Discovery is looking good again!

  21. CJr,

    If my brain is working today I am remembering that you said that you grew up not far from the Crosman factory in East Bloomfield. If you don’t mind me asking, where exactly are you from. I grew up in Auburn and am wondering if we ever crossed paths.

    Yes I too think that the Talon SS is a wonderful gun and truly enjoy shooting mine. If you haven’t seen it check out TalonAirgun.com-Index. Have you tried putting a system of baffles in your gun? If you haven’t, they can make a quiet gun even quieter.

    Mr B.

  22. Hi, if anyone has info on after market triggers for the 953, that would be great. By the way if you are not satisfied with the barrel you can replace it with the Lothar Walther barrel. Looking forward to your next edition and info on velocity consistensy and accuracy.

  23. Jim,
    I got my 953 last year right before before Christmas. I thought it had a plastic pump handle but after taking a closer (and scratching it with a knife..ooops) it is metal that is coated with a black plastic like paint. (A black permanent marker hid the evidence of my erring way).


  24. Mr. B,
    Twern’t me. I grew up and live in Illinois near Peoria. But I also remember someone saying they were from the Crosman factory area but don’t remember who it was.

    I have not tried to modify my Talon in any way, yet, except to get the bi-pod. I’ll check out that web site you mentioned, thanks.


  25. I have a 853c which uses the same 5 pellet magazine as the 953. I always have a misfeed on the 5th pellet. I have bought extra magazines and all have the same problem.

    I applied Crosman slicone (from a small white tube) but this did not help.

    I would appreciate any suggestions,

    BTW, I installed the new AirForce rear diopter sights !!! What a difference. It is worth the cost. I highly recommend it.


  26. Stingray
    try bending the clip slightly downward at
    the end where it hangs.doesn’t
    take much pressure and try not
    to deform the pellet hole.then spray
    lightly on the bottom of clip with
    W-D40 or similar.let it dry and see if it helped,worked great for me.

  27. When I first bought my 953, I didn’t use it much. I didn’t feel the indexing mechanism was all that great. So I leave mine as a single shot. The main reason is accuracy.

    It’s easy to install a target sight. I bought the crosman set, which was still made in Spain, but where it really shines is when I use my 4x32AO Leapers scope.

    A Lothar Walther barrel would be cool, but I’m not made of money so it is picky on pellets. Although, once you find the right pellet, the 953 can be very consistant. Mine loves JSB Exact extra heavies and for match pellets the RWS Meisterkugeln 8.2gr. I haven’t tried the R10 pellets.

    The trigger can be modded, but does get better on it’s own over time too, but never anywhere near match quality. For all the things I have done to an air rifle, the trigger really didn’t rank as high for improving accuracy in my shooting when compard to other things I have tried. But I do admit, when you shoot a lot, a light trigger does make the experience more enjoyable.

    Over all, it’s probably about the best performance for the money you can find.

  28. Herb:

    I’m quite sure that different gasses will give different performance levels in a PCP. The acceleration of any object varies inversely proportional to its mass, so Helium molecules should “get out of the gate” much faster than Nitrogen, and it’s the molecules that are pushing the pellet.

    How much of this difference we’d actually be able to measure is questionable, but it is so easy to try. I’ve read some crazy anectdotes but nothing I believe yet. I’m sure someone has access to helium, any party/balloon store has a tank.

    This cam up before – who can we entice into a trial..?


  29. Bg Farmer,

    20% failure in 22 LR? Since my eyes are always bigger than my firearm shooting time, I usually have a stock pile of most ammo. Right now my 22LR’s hail from 5-25 years ago, not including the collectable or specialty rounds. I seldom see a failure in any of these. Could your 60 have a problem with the firing pin or maybe built up unburned powder? I hate to think with the price of new ammo that the quality has gone out the door.

    My latest quest for .357/.38 ammo turned up just a few boxes of .38 P+ at $59.95 a box! I have been eyeing the Taurus Judge in .410. Seems you could feed one pretty cheap plus I have a Winchester 9410 so I can get dual use from the ammo. Have you heard anything about the Taurus?


  30. Jane,
    Glad to see you’re still listening in once in a while.

    I tried to find your previous post on the Law Enforcement rubber pads for shooting into and couldn’t.

    It sounded like you were using them successfully. If so, what were you shooting? I tried the pad with guns less than 500fps and they bounced off. Is there a fps and/or caliber I need to exceed to make the pad absorb the pellet? I’d experiment but it could be dangerous to my ceiling lights.

  31. Volvo,
    It was exceptionally bad ammo…failures to eject could happen if the rifle got extremely dirty, but they don’t cause the POI to be 6″ low at 50 yards. With a little research, I found exactly the same problem reported several times for certain lots of the ammo brand. I had tons of problem free ammo sitting at home, but glad I didn’t hoard any more.

    Those .38 prices are staggering. I was thinking about a .38/357 lever action…good thing I didn’t find one yet:).

    I haven’t heard much detail about the Taurus, but it should be fun and shotshells are still reasonable. Firing slugs, it should be good for self defence! All I know about Taurus in general, you probably know as well, but forewarned is forearmed:).

  32. Bg farmer,
    I have read reports on other Taurus’s that go both ways.

    Awhile back Wal-Mart had buckshot in .410 which kind of peaked my interest. Other than slugs (of which I have plenty) most of the .410 loads I see are small shot sizes. Since it also shoots .45 long Colt, I could wear those on a belt, but I was thinking I could do some mighty tricky looking shooting with a load of #6 shot. : )

  33. BG_Farmer,

    Is that a .22lr marlin 60 semi-auto..

    I've got two of them and never had a misfire yet.. they aren't very old though, I got them 2 years ago… They shoot the Remington "Golden" brass plated HP in the 525 value pack (two years old), and the Federal copper plated HP 550 value pack and the Winchester Xpert Hollow point 500 box value pack.. all purchased about 2 years ago..

    They both shoot them all about the same accuracy, and feed and fire just fine..

    The best for accuracy I've found so far has been the "Golden Eagle Target" "Eley Prime" made in Mexico!! They advertise "they are accurate" and they are!! the most consistent groups in every .22 cal. I've try them in. These are a recent purchase too.. so there is hope!! I got them at Midway I think..

    I found a box of 250 Remington .38 special recently for $99.. I wish I had bought all three on the shelf when I saw them last month..
    They're brass plated, real clean to handle, load easy, and very accurate in my .357 mag Dan Wesson.. I've saved the last 50 rounds, and gone back the Lelier & Bellot "Wad Cutter" from the Czech Republic, they are fine for target at a very short (25yards tops) distance clay popping, where as the Remington are accurate out to 50 yards easy..

    I setup the frames I used to pattern the shotguns, at 25 yards, so I could try the cowboy shooting from the hip.. I'm not drawing the pistol from the holster yet..(With the 8" barrel, it's not easy, and I'm not ready to shoot my foot quite yet)..

    so, I'm just tilting it up and learning how to hold it level to the target.. expensive learning with the price of ammo, but I can get 2' groups at 25 yards now, and once I got six shots in 16"!! (it's hard to believe the movies where they knock off the row of cans on the fence)..

    Must be the Jesse James genes coming out.. he's somewhere in my family tree, or so my grandma said (her maiden name was James, and first name Jesse!!)..

    I've also been shooting on double action from the hip, and notice that my Dan Wesson has a very light double action trigger (maybe three lbs)..

    The more I shoot her, the more I love her.. she is one fine weapon!! Six shots very quickly on double action and easy to hold steady through the whole six shots.. I doubt I'll ever sell this one!


  34. Volvo,
    I know nothing about Taurus quality but there are seven versions of the Taurus .45/410 revolver, the latest, 2008 light weight version, is the Judge. Interestingly the Judge is touted as the lightweight yet it is the heaviest by far of the seven according to their web site. I wonder if they have a mis-print:


    A friend of mine has a Judge and I have shot it with alternating 410/45. Strong recoil but manageable. If the 410 doesn’t penetrate an invader’s winter coat it will at least cause a jerk in his skedaddle while the .45 is on its way. I don’t remember a difference in the recoil between the 410 and .45 but that’s just poor memory.


  35. Volvo,
    I’d say go for it, especially if you can do your magical used gun hedge buy with it — little risk. I forgot about the .45 long/.410 connection.

    Its my original personal Marlin Glenfield 60, rec’d for Xmas in the early 80’s:), and before this I could literally count the number of FTE’s on one hand, and those were usually stovepipes on the last round in the tube due to not cleaning for too long (my signal to clean:)). I wanted to use it to qualify for sentimental reasons but was a little wary of the reaction it would get. Unfounded worry, it turned out, since the guys who were there had not seen any of that vintage (metal trigger guards, sights, a little tiger stripe on the beech stock, etc.) and really liked it. Its the 22″ barrel with 17 shot tube, banned in Jersey:).

    Thanks for the ammo. leads. I have a brick or two of Federal bulk hollow-points that I’ve never tried. I just got back from Walmart, where they _finally_ had CCI minimag RN, which is not match grade, but pretty close in this rifle. For fun it usually shoots Remington GB’s, which are reliable for me but not exactly tack drivers. I won’t name the ammo I had a problem with, because I’m convinced the problem is fixed in current lots, and the manufacturer was very cooperative.

    My scope is back for lifetime replacement, I hope, and I have a Daisy 4×15 and a Mendoza peep to put on there if I need to:). What I really need to look for is one of the older Weaver rimfire scopes (current scopes look too big on it), but they run more than the rifle:).

  36. Since we are talking about firearms today, I would like to ask a question. I am looking for a rimfire rifle to do target practice at a 100 yd mainly (so I can show the guys at the range that I am also a macho man, heh heh). I have seen all brands and models and all sorts of advice but I am still somewhat confused.

    At Cabelas, the clerk recommended either .177 or .22 mag. He also showed me a Marlin .22 mag that looked really nice for about $350 or so.

    I do not want to spend my salary in ammo but I also want accruacy at 100 yds. Was this good advice? Am I looking at spending $300+ in the rifle and $12 per 100 rounds?

    Thank you

  37. B.B.

    Ah, I have found a name for my pain, and it is the Daisy 953. This is the only conceivable competitor to the IZH 61 in the same price range, and the post brings back my agonized attempt to choose between the two. Needless to say, I’m very happy with the IZH 61, but that doesn’t make the 953 any less of a gun. My sense of the comparison is that the 953 is probably more accurate because of its lack of recoil, but the trigger and cocking process are inferior. I’ll be interested to see the rest of the report. The original 953 blog was tantalizingly brief.

    BG_Farmer, were you shooting at 300 yards with a .22LR? I thought the maximum effective range was 150 yards. A qualification requirement sounds pretty harsh–much less at 300 yards. At the place I shoot at, you have people resting pistols at the 7 yard range. Anyone know good brands of .22LR match ammo? Deadeye mentioned Eleys which I’ve heard good things about. My fantasies now are running towards an Anschutz 1907 with the Olympic match 54 action. Shouldn’t one have the opportunity to own and shoot the equipment of the very best? The question is how late in life to purchase one. Anyway, such a rifle would require the very best ammo.

    Chuck, Jane mentioned that she is a handgun enthusiast, and that is how she started using the LE panels. I believe that she said 9mm at close range was about the maximum they could handle, and for airguns, a velocity of 500 fps was the minimum for penetration.

    Jane, et tu Brute! You have crossed over to Herb’s team on the subject of propellant gases and projectile velocity. Yes, for a given amount of energy supplied by air pressure, molecules of lighter weight will accelerate faster, but their energy transfer to the pellet will be proportionately less because of their lighter weight, so that there should be no increase in pellet velocity based only on the type of gas. What is wrong with this picture?

    Joshua, thanks for your story the other day about the origins of Pyramidair. I can see why Pyramidair can have a B.B. working for them. Fascinating. The Eastern Front of WWII that I read about sounds like another planet. Having all of those firearms around sounds like a kind of paradise and reminds me of a trip to a Berlin museum where they showed a vintage Mauser 98 with newsreels of vast piles of these rifles. Who would even notice one lifting a few for their own personal use? And my understanding is that with the exception of the M1 Garand, the Russian and German infantry weapons from this period were the best. But I can see how a childhood in these circumstances would have other drawbacks…

    And that’s interesting that like B.B., in spite of being exposed to such powerful hardware that you were so fascinated with airguns. It makes me think that airguns are not just a reduction of the firearms experience as a type of modeling but also an extraction of the very best without all of the noise, expense, and danger.

    I’ll look forward to the rest of the story. In the meantime, thanks for your work and the opportunities you provide at PA, and I hope you can make available more of the fantastic Russian products. I read somewhere that a medium velocity IZH 61 was developed….


  38. tunnelengineer,

    I am always ready to advise without first-hand experience. The gun for you is the Savage BTVS in .22LR. This rifle is the winner of unique awards for best product of the year and most accurate rimfire rifle ever tested. It has shot .2 inch groups at 50 yards and Sub MOA at 100 yards. I believe that the cost is about $350. If you want to go a little cheaper, I believe that the Savage Mark II is basically the same rifle without the flat forend for benchresting and the nice wood of the stock, or the thumbhole design if that is a consideration.

    As for caliber, my understanding is that the .177 and .22 mag are flatter shooting which may make a difference for longer distances although not real long. But the .22LR, while slow, is supposed to be one of the most accurate rounds of all time and very capable at 100 yards. IF I were buying, I would go with the vast industry behind .22LR which should also be significantly cheaper than .22 magnum.

    The only other bolt-action target rifles that come to mind are the Kimber 82 available at a cut-rate through the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) and the Remington 547 just released which has had some good reviews.

    Autoloaders would decrease accuracy although they can be still be accurate and fun to shoot. To get a Ruger 10/22 to shoot really well, I believe you are looking at $500 including upgrades. The Thompson/Center classic goes for about that much and is well-reviewed except for problems related to the magazine. I hear split reviews about the Remington 597 and Marlin 60 which are substantially cheaper. I’m always eager to hear about rimfires.


  39. Matt,
    Alas, the qualification range was 50 yards for .22’s (it was scaled depending on what you chose to shoot). I’m good, but not that (300 yards) good, at least with a rimfire:)!

    I like the idea of qualifications (skills and safety), not so much for myself, but because I worry about some of our fellows in the shooting sports and don’t really want to be around unknown yahoos with guns — surely most of them feel the same about me:).

    Anshutz? You would need good ammo to win a high level match, but usually the better the rifle, the less picky it is. When it starts getting to and above $.10/rnd., the fun factor fizzles for me.

    Did you see my hint a while back about the Marlin M99A1? Should be a fun gun for you, if you run across one. You really NEED a .22:).

    Tunnel Engineer,
    .22LR drops a lot at 100 yards, thus the salesman’s recommendation (assuming he was being helpful and not just moving inventory). On the other hand, nothing wrong with 50 yards for serious paper punching (good enough for the Olympics:)) and 100 yards for fun (it’ll actually do OK). Assuming you are not hunting at 100 yards (with a rimfire!), .22 costs might be a credible factor of persuasion.

    Check Chuck Hawks site for possibly helpful discussions and comparisons of rimfire cartridges and rifles.

    Savage and CZ are two brands to consider, no matter what cartridge you pick. Marlins are good, but their bolt-action offerings seem to dwindle by the year. Try to get a decent rifle and shoot it for a while — it will be worth about the same when you’re done with it as when you buy it, unless you wear it out. Once you figure out what you really like, upgrade it or buy another.

  40. Matt and BG, thank you

    Yes, I forgot to say I do not want autoloaders, just bolt actions. I did read Chuck Hawks and it was very helpful. Thank you.

    I also saw a guy at the range with the Savage BTVS and he highly recommended it.

    I will follow BG’s advice and Matt’s and will just take the plunge with A rifle I think is suitable and then figure out what I really need

    Thank you

  41. Gamo Whisper,

    Two days ago, I installed the GRT III by Charlie da Tuna in the Whisper. Yes… it is a different rifle now. I have not improved my groups at 13 yd but I am sure the 50 yd groups will shrink. Even if groups do not get better, it is just so much more fun to shoot now

    GRT and Crosman Premiers lights or JSB exacts, those are eseential needs for the Gamo

  42. Chuck

    I use the LE rubber panels for my basement “range”. At 50ft, my RWS P5 Magnum (.177 CPs) will occasionally bounce unless I’m perfectly perpendicular. The P5 tests out at about 485fps, (it’s getting old), so I figure 500fps is about the minimum for 100% penetration.

    By the way, I do use it for 22LR pistols, but I have 2 panels, (4 inches total), backed by 1/4inch steel plate.

    Unlike pellets, 22LR ammo DOES GET THROUGH to the steel, as do 9MM rounds. The rubber prevents any ricochet, but it won’t stop the slug – the steel does that.

    My set-up has safely stopped 1000s of 22 LRs and countless pellets, but I don’t use it for anything larger. An occasional 9MM round doesn’t hurt it, (the mfg claims it will take 1000), but it is important to note that the panel itself can not stop the slug – it just prevents any ricochet.

    For pellets, however it’s perfect. I use a single panel on the bench for chrony testing, and not even the infinity gets through at near point-blank range. I move a single square to various points in the back yard to help zero the Infinity over several distances. It’s dead silent, catches all the lead, and the neighbors have no idea what I’m doing.



  43. As to Helium versus air for PCPs, I understand the momentum concept and the lighter mass of Helium compared to Nitrogen, and if this were “ideal” conditions, I’d be more inclined to acquiesce.

    But we’re far from ideal conditions, and we also need to think of other interferences that may favor one molecule over another. Particle size and steric hindrances come to mind, but there are other forces that may make one gas more “efficient” at transfering energy to the pellet than another.

    To Herb’s point about “ultimate velocity”, modern PCPs are barely 1/10th of the way to what has been achieved in modern “gas-propelled” projectile applications. We’ve got a ways to go.

    best regards,


  44. One final post for the evening – to all the handgun enthusiasts. I’m prepared to venture beyond my little world of 22LR, 9mm, and 45ACP, and try something different.

    Any comments on .357? I was at gun show recently and handled several Desert Eagles. A very interesting, and unique, approach – gas operated with a fixed barrel.

    I’d like to hear some thoughts – these are serious $$, (I’d have to sell off quite a bit to fund this).



  45. Thanks, Jane, for that answer on LE panels. You’ve given me the courage to try my Talon SS on it. Hopefully my new byline won’t be one-eyed Chuck (c;

  46. TE the Savage BTVS are pretty hot now. For targets .17 cal mach2 ammo runs that price range in regular ammo. For the same price 22lr match would be about the same, but the .17 may have the longer range advantage.

  47. Matt,

    RE: “…Yes, for a given amount of energy supplied by air pressure, molecules of lighter weight will accelerate faster, but their energy transfer to the pellet will be proportionately less because of their lighter weight, so that there should be no increase in pellet velocity based only on the type of gas. What is wrong with this picture?”

    Well there are a number of things going on here. Let me just use the basic equation for the work, W, that is done on the pellet.

    W = P*A*D


    P is pressure in pounds per square inch
    A is area of pellet in square inches
    D is distance pellet is pushed at pressure P

    Now this is an equation that depends on “macro” properties of the system. There is no notion of gas molecules, atomic weights, or a velocity distribution of the gas molecules.

    If you do consider the kinetic theory of gases (eg Maxwell-Boltzmann velocity distribution of a gas molecules), the average kinetic energy of a gas molecule depends on the temperature. Now since different molecules do have different molecular weights, this means that lighter molecules have to travel faster to have the same average kinetic energy. Lighter molecules also bump into each other more frequently. The net result is that the macro property of pressure does not depend on the molecular weight of the gas.

    As I stated before, the kinetic theory of gases is not needed to explain basic work. However there are other properties that do depend on the kinetic theory of gases. For example the speed of sound is faster in helium than it is in air. Not just because helium is lighter, but also because helium has one atom in a molecule, where as air effectively has two (both nitrogen and oxygen are diatomic). Diatomic molecules can “store” energy in vibrational and rotational modes which are not applicable to a mono-atomic molecule.

    Does this help you understand kinetic theory of gasses?


  48. Tunnel Eng., BG Farmer, at al., re rimfires:

    I received a wonderful 64th birthday present last year: a .22 magnum Marlin 982VS with synthetic black stock and a stainless steel bull barrel. It is the proverbial “tack driver” at 50 and 75 yards, and although I’m no champion shot, it does about 1-1/2 inch groups for me at 100 yards. I mounted a close-out BSA Sweet .22 3X9 scope, which is also great. The gun still goes for less than $300, I think. CCI 40 grain FMJ runs me right at $12 for 100 rounds at WalMart. I love this gun, and it is a childhood dream come true to take it to our 100 yard outdoor range on a nice spring day and shoot out the red bullseye from a rest.

    I also just bought (for a pittance) at nice Glenfield Marlin 60 of the same late 1970s-early 1980s vintage as BG Farmer’s. It has the 17-round tube mag that the company changed with the change in fed gun regs. I’ve done nothing to it but clean the parts I can reach without disassembly. The crown is chewed up, but everything else is in pretty good shape. This is a lot of fun to shoot, and it is “accurate” (what a debatable term!) out to 50 yards and maybe to 75 on a good day. You could hunt small varmints at 100 yards, but the groups are not great at that range for me. My gun also stovepipes on the final round, but otherwise feeds and ejects all 17 rounds with no trouble. I have an inexpensive 4X Busnell on it. It came with a cheap 4X Weaver (no click adjustments) that I took off at put on my Daisy 953. The Marlin 60 is a lot of nice gun for the money. The gun and original scope ran me $135 from my local friendly dealer.

    AS to .22lr ammo, I’ve had trouble getting anything except the more expensive CCI stuff, which is not that great for me for target shooting. I’m still looking for something reliable that my Ruger Mark III likes–the CCI is not as accurate as I want in it–that does not cost an arm and a leg.

    The only stuff I can reliably get these days is CCI Blazer in 500 round bricks, which gives me about one FTF for every 60 rounds (which is what it takes to shoot one course of NRA Bullseye 50 foot competition). I can also usually find Federal Champion for $17 for a 500-round brick. My guns–both the Ruger and the Glenfield Marlin–like it better than the Blazer for accuracy, but it also has a disappointing FTF rate. It’s really disgusting to be in a good rhythym on the rapid fire part of the Bullseye (two seconds a shot) and have a FTE.


  49. Hi BB,
    I have a 953 with a red stock. I am told that it was a promotional item for Snap-on Tools. They are nice rifles. I have had a couple others as well but I may hang on to the red one.

    David Enoch

  50. PurcHawk,

    From what you say about the 60 stovepipes, a partial disassembly and cleaning are probably enough. There are old style marlin 60 manuals online that show how to take it down to parts, but I usually just remove the bolt and clean the inside of the reciever and flush/clean out the fire control module with (horrors!) WD40, then lube everything sparingly with light oil, wiping off the excess. Too little oil is better than too much, as you’ve probably found out already — some people go crazy and use graphite. Everybody does it differently.

    Since you don’t know the history, you might clean the barrel gently (a few oily patches and a dry one) just to be sure, but be aware that it takes a few tens of rounds to settle in afterwards, particularly if you clean the chamber thoroughly (which you might want to do once).

    One thing about the crown is that some of these rifles have been shot so much that there is a mound of powder residue on the muzzle. Yours may not be in bad shape, if you carefully clean it. If it is messed up, you can lap it yourself or take it to a gunsmith — a good crown makes a big difference.

  51. BG:

    Thanks for the advice. I’ll try to take it apart and clean it up. I already cleaned the bore by running a Hoppe barrel snake through it with a touch of solvent on one end and a drop of oil on the other, so that’s as clean as it will get.

    I was surprised to read in the new Marlin manual that they do not recommend cleaning the bore regularly. My father would hide me if he knew I put away a firearm without cleaning the bore ’til it sparkled.

    I’ve read the theory that each kind of ammo leaves its own distinct residue, which builds up in a way that promotes accuracy. Cleaning is needed only if you change ammo, after which the gun needs many rounds to settle in to the new residue profile.

    I don’t see any powder buildup on the muzzle of my 60, but the crown is scratched and marred, so that must certainly cause accuracy problems. As I understand it, the crown gives the final twist to the bullet as it emerges, and if the crown is not even, the bullet is thrown off center. Is that right? I’ll talk to a gunsmith.


  52. I’m surprised to hear people are getting better results with 8+ grain ammo in their 953s; mine plays nicer with lighter weight stuff like Gamo Match and RWS Hobby, though the Crosman Premier Match also does nicely.

    Each one’s different, I guess.

    As for .22LR, I recently laid my hands on an Oregon-made Kimber M82 sporter (22LR), and I’ve been testing ammo.

    For “match” ammo, I found that SK Standard Plus ($50/500 rounds online) offered the best bang for the buck, though the CCI “Standard” Velocity Target was just about as good, and $15 cheaper.

    Unfortunately, affordable 22LR is almost impossible to find right now – the hoarders are making it impossible for the rest of us to shoot.

    To echo what everybody seems to be saying, if I was going to buy a .22 bolt, it’d probably be the Savage.

    Good luck.

  53. I just got my custom made air rifle from crosman’s gun shop that is based off of the 2250. It has been a real pleasure to shoot. I had it made with the 24″ .22 barrel. I seem to only be getting about 25-30 powerful shots from the 12 gram powerlet. I am looking to do a bulk fill conversion that cooper-t sells but both their email and phone number has not been working for me. They seem to be not operating anymore. I am wondering if you know if this is true and if so, do you know of another place where I can buy a similar bulk fill kit.

    Thank you and happy air gunning:D

  54. Hello guys, I’m still a newb at air gunning, and picking the right guns, particularly a .177. I had a crosman nightstalker, but the co2 mechanism just never functioned properly, and i oiled the co2 tip. now, i have interest in this daisy 953, and also the 901 powerline. the pumps: 901 is multi, while the 953 is single, but i don’t worry about that. I just have a question, which gun would be more accurate? does anyone have either gun and can compare the pros and cons? thanks very much. stan

  55. Hello Stan – 953/901,
    I don’t have a 901 nor have I seen one, but I do have a 953 and it is accurate. Mine loves JSB EXACT 10.5gr pellets and RWS R-10 8.2gr. However, the JSB EXACTS work the best for me. The 953 has a lot of plastic but it is a solid gun and at 33feet it is pretty accurate.

    I think you should go to the current day’s post with this question so more people can see your question. Some readers don’t go back to review older posts.

    I will move your question over there for you.

    Go to:


    to see it. This address will always take you to the current posting.

    I hope we can help you out.


  56. Stan,

    I think you will find the 953 more accurate than the 901. The 901 has a compromise barrel for both BBs and pellets, while the 953 is made strictly for pellets. That, by itself, should make the 953 more accurate.


  57. Why not just save yourself some time from pumping and get a break barrel? If you really do want a pump pneumatic, the benji 397 and the silver streak are both fine air rifles. I own the 397. Has great power in .177. It has been great for plinking and small pest control.

  58. I know its late to post a question here, but i have two questions about the 953:

    1) B.B. mentions that coaches are able to tune the trigger to break at less than 2 pounds with less creep. I've searched the internet, but not been able to find any instructions on how to do that. Could someone help me??

    2) Also,can round lead balls be used in the 953? I have tried looking that up as well, but have not been able to find an answer.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  59. I have a 953. Must say it`s a great gun. The first one developed an air leak but i sent it to Daisy and they fixed it. Mine seems acurate with gamo match pellets. The problem is, i`m not.

  60. All Daisy guns are not made in America. There's an important distinction between "made" in America & "built" in America. If it's made in America,, all significant parts (trigger, barrel, etc.) & processing must be of U.S. origin. If it's built in America, the parts can be made anywhere but the parts are assembled in America.

  61. Credit Score Estimator,

    very true and you point has been made in the past but on other blogs. the blog you just left your comment on was written in May of last year and as such, will receive very little notice. There are a core of volunteers, of which I am one, that monitor these old blogs and comments and ask people such as yourself to come to the present blog. They are written Monday to Friday and can be found at:


    If that doesn't open properly, just click on the link "blog" found at the top of the website that opens. Pyramyd AIR provides bandwith for this blog.

    We look forward to seeing your comments and questions on a regular basis on the current blogs.


    Fred PRoNJ

  62. A friend of mine has a Judge and I have shot it with alternating 410/45. Strong recoil but manageable. If the 410 doesn't penetrate an invader's winter coat it will at least cause a jerk in his skedaddle while the .45 is on its way. I don't remember a difference in the recoil between the 410 and .45 but that's just poor memory.

  63. The problem with the stock trigger on the 953 is that it is stamped out of plate metal and used "as is." The burrs from the stamping process is not cleaned up (at least on my 953). Deburring the trigger sear will give you a TREMENDOUS improvement in the feel of the trigger pull, smooth vs "gritty."

    This is the booklet you want to get for your 953, it is only $2, shipping is more than that.
    The 3 trigger mods are described in the booklet. You really only need to do one, deburr the trigger sear. And best of all, that is the easiest of the 3 mods to do.

    After I deburred the trigger sear, the 953 is now my favorite casual target and plinking rifle.

    There is a very big benefit to having the charging of the air (lower lever) and the cocking of the hammer separate. You can dry fire the rifle w/o charging it.

  64. Lots of great information! Thankyou so much B.B!
    This past week I was lucky to find a pre 1957 Benjamin 317 for $195 CDN in great working condition, and I got started cleaning it up with an oily rag for the outside, and lubricating the parts that required lubrication thanks to your blog and tips B.B…then on Friday I had a daisy powerline 953 Target-Pro fall in my lap for $40 🙂 and yet again your blog has all the info needed to maintain this air rifle.
    Thanks for sharing your airgun knowledge & obsession with us all!

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