by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
Daisy’s 1894 Western Carbine is a classic BB gun. This one is an NRA Centennial model.
This report covers:
• Preparation for firing
• Daisy Premium Grade BBs
• Crosman Copperhead BBs
• Hornady Black Diamond BBs
• How is the gun?
Let’s look at the velocity of my Daisy model 1894 BB gun. Several of you said you were glad to see this report, and I’m happy to do it for you. The 1894 is a BB gun I simply overlooked when it was available. All of you knew how nice it was, but until now I never had a clue.
Daisy advertised the 1894 as a 300 f.p.s. BB gun. That’s not too hot, but also not on the bottom. It’s a nice place to be if accuracy is all you’re concerned with, because 300 f.p.s. is enough to do everything you need.
I also mentioned this in Part 1, but it bears repeating. The 1894 lever is light enough to work while the gun remains on your shoulder. It cocks in both directions, which offsets the effort a little, I guess. Once cocked, though, the hammer has to be thumbed back manually to fire the gun.
The BB magazine is spring-loaded. You can cock the gun in almost any orientation, and it will still feed reliably. In fact, I have become entranced by watching the external follower lever pop back one BB every time the lever is returned home!
Preparation for firing
After the gun arrived, the first thing I did was oil it through the oil hole. I could see that there was fresh oil there already, so the seller must have done it, also. I haven’t oiled the gun since then, but there’s still a mist of oil with each shot. So, the plunger (piston head) is still well-oiled.
Before shooting this test, I shot the gun 3 times to “wake up” the piston head. That gives it a chance to start sealing as well as it can. I do that with other spring-piston pellet guns, too.
Daisy Premium Grade BBs
The first BB I tried was the Daisy Premium Grade BB. They averaged 292 f.p.s. with a velocity spread from 289 to 297 f.p.s. That’s very close to Daisy’s published velocity for the 1894.
Crosman Copperhead BBs
Next, I tried 10 Crosman Copperhead BBs. They averaged 298 f.p.s. with a spread from 295 to 301 f.p.s. Copperheads have always measured a little smaller than most premium BBs and therefore shoot just a little faster because they weigh a little less.
Hornady Black Diamond BBs
The final BB I tested was the new Hornady Black Diamond. These surprised me by averaging 304 f.p.s., with a low of 281 and a high of 306 f.p.s. There were 2 failures to feed with this BB, while the other 2 BBs fed fine.
How is the gun?
Based on these velocities, I think my 1894 is performing well. It may not be as fast as it was when new, but it is acceptibly close. I found a lot of talk on the internet about this model drying up and hardening over the years until it had to be rebuilt, but that is not what I found with this one.
I said this back in Part 1, and it bears repeating: I really like the feel of the 1894! I’m surprised it took me so long to finally get one of my own. For some reason, I feel this gun is going to be very accurate — and a number of readers agree. But one reader said it isn’t that accurate, so we’ll have to wait and see how this one does.
The pull of the buttstock is about 13-1/4 inches, which is nearly identical to the Winchester 1894 firearm. I guess that was the idea. Of course, the BB gun weighs much less than the firearm, but the size is just right. That helps with the feel of the gun when you shoot, and that, in turn, inspires confidence.
The single-stage trigger is not adjustable. It breaks at 3 lbs., 5 oz. pretty consistently. The act of cocking the hammer sets the trigger to fire, and you can see it move into position. For an inexpensive BB gun, this trigger is a lot nicer than you’d expect.
I can’t wait to shoot this gun for accuracy! I think it’s going to do very well. I certainly hope so.