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Education / Training Daisy 1894 Western Carbine: Part 3

Daisy 1894 Western Carbine: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Daisy 1894
Daisy’s 1894 Western Carbine is a classic BB gun. This one is an NRA Centennial model.

This report covers:

• Daisy Premium BBs
• Hornady Black Diamond BBs
• Avanti Precision Ground Shot
• Crosman Copperhead BBs
• Conclusions

Today, we’ll see if the Daisy 1894 can shoot. I know that a lot of you have been waiting for this report for a long time. I haven’t been waiting nearly as long as some of you, but I am just as excited. As I’ve said more than once while testing this BB gun, I like the way this 1894 feels when I hold it!

I shot the gun at 5 meters (16 feet, 4 inches) from a UTG Monopod rest. I loaded only one type of BB at a time, so the BBs didn’t mix. I shot at larger bulls this time, because the Daisy has open sights that aren’t too fine.

None of the targets below seem to have the correct number of holes. That’s because BBs tear ragged holes and sometimes they land together. Don’t make anything of it.

Daisy Premium BBs
First to be tested were Daisy Premium Grade BBs. Ten of them went into 1.334 inches at 5 meters. That’s not great, but at least they’re all in the same general area.

Daisy BBs
The Daisy 1894 put 10 Daisy BBs into a 1.334-inch group at 5 meters.

Hornady Black Diamond BBs
Next up were 10 Hornady Black Diamond BBs. Nine of ten went into 1.394 inches at 5 meters, which was just a little bigger than the Daisy group. Shot 10 missed the BB trap altogether and hit the backer board I had up to protect the wall behind. This one came straight back at me! So this group isn’t officially 10 shots. It’s just as close as we’re going to get with this BB, because I’m not shooting any more of them.

Hoirnady BBs
Nine Hornady Black Diamond BBs made this 1.3940-inch group at 5 meters. Shot 10 missed the trap and hit the backer board.

Avanti Precision Ground Shot
The next BB I loaded was the Avanti Precision Ground Shot, which is made specifically for the Avanti Champion 499 BB gun. Like everyone, I’d hoped this would be the BB that turns an 1894 into a 499. But it didn’t happen.

What did happen is the gun became stunningly inaccurate! The first 2 shots hit the target about five-eighths of an inch apart, then shots 3 and 4 missed the trap altogether and hit the backer board. They rebounded straight back at me! And that was it. I think the slightly larger size of the Precision Ground Shot is too much for the 1894’s barrel to contend with. And that’s also the reason I wear safety glasses whenever I test guns!

Crosman Copperhead BBs
The last round I tried was the Crosman Copperhead BB. After having 3 BBs rebound at me with force, I admit to being quite nervous, but I needn’t have worried. All 10 Copperheads hit the target where they were supposed to. In fact, they printed a group that measured 1.124 inches between centers. Not spectacular, perhaps, but a far cry from shooting back at me! In fact, this was the smallest group of the session!

Crosman Copperhead BB
Crosman Copperhead BBs turned in the best group of the day, with 10 going into 1.124 inches at 5 meters.

The 1894 turns out not to be a 499 in western clothing, like we’d hoped. In fact, the one I am testing is probably not as accurate as any new Daisy BB gun you can buy today.

Are there 1894s that are more accurate? I’m sure there are. But I wouldn’t set out on a quest to find one. Get an 1894 because you like how it looks and operates. Then the rest will be fun.

I’ve enjoyed looking at this classic for the first time. Testing it completes a small part of my airgunning experience. From now on when the subject comes up, I can join the discussion.

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.

50 thoughts on “Daisy 1894 Western Carbine: Part 3”

  1. Hello BB and Fellow Airgunners
    Thanks for this three part look at my very first airgun. I received the ordinary 1894 model for Christmas when I was 13 years old, way back in 1963. I still remember the rush of elation I felt as I ripped the Christmas wrapping off the Daisy box. My Mother liked to re-use wrapping paper back then, but I was too excited to worry about such trivial matters. If I can rely a little on my fading memory, I believe I was hitting those 1-2 inch toy plastic soldiers with acceptable regularity, at a distance of about 20ft. Our basement was 40ft long, and I was allowed to shoot in the 20ft storage area behind the laundry room. I put the soldiers against a cardboard box filled with news paper. There was no shooting journals or record keeping of any kind back then. I think the only BBs available to me were the copper coated Daisy brand sold in see-through plastic packaging with 100 BBs per package. The same kind you used to buy peanuts in. I have no idea how many of these packages I purchased over the years before the farer sex began claiming more, and more of my interest. My Daisy1894 Carbine was relegate to the closet. I believe I took it apart in a futile attempt to gain more velocity by stretching the main spring. I don’t think I ever got it back together, and the pieces were either lost, or thrown out. A sad ending to what I remember today as such a memorable time of my life. Thanks again for this look at an old friend.

  2. I spent 20 minutes politely prodding a gentleman at a big box store…”Sir, forgive me….please don’t hunt squirrel with that daisy BB gun”. I had overheard him tell his wife of the swift vengeance he was to visit upon the bushy tails for harvesting all their pecans while they were in Bermuda.

    He stuck that boxed red Ryder out like a prize bass and assured me of its capabilities with swagger (and what I knew to be hubris). The last 2 years of marksmanship and reading upon the subject prepared me to both share a prudent plan for ethically harvesting his pests, and for him not listening.

    “Sir, I know we don’t know each other….but you hold in your hand a squirrel irritant….not a harvester….you may annoy and maim a few…those you are lucky enough to hit, as this is a 10 yard can roller…but you will not be able to put them down with reliability.”

    To his credit he was very polite…but he assured me that a bb between the ear and eye at 15 yards would be more than enough. His mind was made.

    I stopped short of buying a crosman 2100b for him…I was almost that overwrought. I hope he figures things out and gets a better gun. I left that store and grabbed my 1720t when I hot home. With the little 3×9 weaver scope and a tin of JSB 7,9’s I stacked 15 pellets under a nickel at 30 yards…I wish I could have shared this with that gentleman in a few days time…when the squirrel on his bird feeders are barking at him with indignant rage rather than shuffling off the mortal coil on the thick bed of black oil sunflower seeds they have no doubt spilled from his feeders.


    • I understand your ire, I sent an email to “airgunhunter” referencing his online advice for a Red Ryder for smaller game like rats and squirrels
      And that’s the problem, erroneous advice.
      I’ve always found squirrels quite tenacious and try to limit range to where a 22 hollowpoint is accurate (pretty much the only time I use HP’s) to that end I use an old HW35…about 10.5 ft/lb finding my more powerful 177’s pass through without enough damage.
      A 2ft/lb BB gun with a 3″ group size….err..no

    • Hear hear!
      I experienced the frustration of knuckleball BB guns early on with my first one. Sure I was excited about it at first. My skill quickly outgrew the gun’s ability and the frustration of all too frequent misses ruined the pleasure of shooting. I discovered pellet guns with rifled barrels and have never looked back. I consider BB guns a waste of time.

        • B.B.,

          Really?,….you had to go “there” one more time?

          That does it!,….The 499 is definitly!, on the next P.A. order.

          It will be a nice “plinker” along with the 92FS.

          Of course, the Avanti shot is all I will use.

          On a side note, I would (REALLY) appreciate a test on the TX200III in .22. You “tout” the TX often, and since I own a .22, I would really like to see a test.

          After all, a “consumer” with quality and hunting in mind, I think would give the .22 a serious look as an option.

          Accuracy is of most interest, compared to the .177. With your review, it would give me something to “shoot for”.

          Short of begging,…please… try to fit a test into your busy schedule.

          Thanks, Chris

          • Chris,

            At 15 feet a 499 shooting Avante Shot makes a single ragged hole. At 20-25 feet, it is almost impossible to miss a soda can. At 15 feet with copperheads, the Avante is STILL pretty darn accurate, but at 20-25 feet, the soda can has a sporting chance at survival.


      • I think bb guns and fun go hand in hand here in the USA . Have a great time every time my son and his friends come over to shoot bb guns in my backyard put holes in soda cans. When I was young my friends and I would have some excitement getting rid of wasp nets with our Daisy’s and Crosman’s. lol.

    • Pop’s SLR,

      Hey,…you gave it a really good try….

      I liked the “prized Bass” and “swagger” references……I pictured it just as if I was standing there watching it all un-fold.

  3. When I was setting up my garage range, I also found that the lower velocity BBs would just bounce off the plywood wall protector I have leaning against the wall, which I too did not like. I experimented with some curtain materials hung a few inches in front of the plywood. Rather than try to stop the projectiles before they hit the plywood, I found even thin materials would stop the rebounds from returning after passing through the curtain. I tried woven nylon, polypropylene tarp, carpet remnant, and settled on a new but cheap moving blanket, the kind with cotton stuffing sewn between two layers of thin fabric. I made a frame of PVC tubing from which to hang the fabric. It is important to have an air gap between the curtain and plywood.

  4. B.B.,

    (Thank you very much) for taking a look at this “fine looker”, but alas,.. a not so good shooter.

    Quite the excitement while reading as your targets began “returning fire” at you. 🙂 Dom. A dedicated putty trap for bb testing might be a winner. But then, the bb’s have to hit the target.

    Pellets can rebound too, as I found out. Getting bored one day and tired of shooting the 92FS pellet pistol at my ( rubber swinging mat, plywood backer ) box backstop, I decided to set up a bit of a “gallery” with a new box. Same design, but cut out the front and put in a little shelf that I could sit my targets on. Surely, 4″ tall, 2×2 wood blocks would be perfect. Even put a little x on each one. All set!

    1st shot, the (pellet) hit the block, promptly went back 15′ to my right hitting a wall, continued back another 15′ to a wall behind me, and came to rest in the middle of the kitchen floor.

    The “gallery” was promtly retired for future outdoor use.

    Back to the 1894,… hopefully someone will bring out a new one. And hopefully be a LOT more accurate the the “old” version.

    Thanks again, Chris

  5. Just a little off subject. Right.

    I just found out that Crosman is bringing out the NP2 in a regular stock. The .22 will be the Benjamin Steel Eagle and the .177 will be the Benjamin Golden Eagle.

    Gamo is also bringing out a .22 PCP called the Coyote.

  6. Saw this at the Ntional Firearms Museum in VA in the NRA headquarters building this past week. Very cool and worth the visit. Over 2000 rifles and pistols displayed free for visitors. They are organized by manufacturer ( eg; Winchester ), collector/donator, era ( eg; WWII ), famous design ( eg; 1911 pistol ) and one case with airguns including this one.

  7. I remember the excitement of getting my new Daisy Golden 750 and also the disappointment of not being to eliminate the squirrels on my uncle’s farm right and left. The only thing I could really hit with it was myself. I remember drawing a bullseye on the side of the barn with chalk and shooting at it from about 20 feet away. The first BB I shot bounced back and hit me right in the center of my forehead. The first airgun that we got that would hit anything was a Diana 16 and by then I was wise enough not to aim at anything with a hard surface behind it. It’s a good thing I didn’t get a Red Ryder, I probably would have put my eye out with it.

  8. BB,

    In Germany, it is still possible to purchase Airgun darts with a small metal body and a tassle at the rear. What do you think – if a Daisy 499 would be loaded with these darts, what accuracy could it achieve at 10 yards? I believe we ‘d get very good results.

  9. The 1894 was the first air gun I ever owned, I was 10 at the time. I liked it and shot it to junk. It hangs in my garage to this day. My next was a Sheridan Blue Streak. That was like going from a biplane to a jet fighter! I still have it too but it is still going strong. It has even been used to get rid of a couple squirrels that got in the house over the years.


  10. I never had a problem hitting with either of my two 1894s because I shot them with my head off their left sides, so I could watch where the bbs went. After enough practice with my Red Ryder when I was a kid, I became quite a good shot with this technique. Of course this didn’t work so well when I moved on to a Daisy 25 because the bbs moved too fast to see. Same same with the Red Ryder I nostalgically bought from Walmart a few years now…they seem to have the same velocity now as my 25 did back then.

  11. B.B.,

    I am reminded of your report last week – “not all guns are accurate.” Too bad this one isn’t.

    My one year old .177 Benjamin Discovery has failed. At 2,000psi, velocities with 10.3 grain pellets vary wildly from 450 – 550 fps. As pressure decreases to 1,500fps, velocity increases to ~680fps. I changed the hammer spring with no effect. Do you think the valve failed?

    Look forward to another great week of your blogs.

    Best wishes,


  12. I owned one BB gun – briefly – it was a Daisy Model 25.

    I bought it with great anticipation of having a multi-shot, rapid-fire gun to replace my single-shot Slavia 618 pellet gun.

    Velocity was ok and accuracy was fair (at best) up to 20 feet or so. Beyond 25 feet, hitting a large apple-juice can was more fluke than anything else. I was much more accurate with a slingshot!

    Put two packages of BBs through it and gave up. Thoroughly disappointed, I returned it to the store and swore that (shotguns aside) if the gun didn’t have rifling I was just not interested.

    The positive part of that experience was that my Father seeing how disappointed I was decided to give me his Crosman 101 .22 caliber multi-pump – love that gun (still have it). It’s not a fast gun to load but it had way more power that the .177 caliber Slavia – real rabbit/squirrel gun! Taught me to make the first shot count.

    Glad that people enjoy BB guns… personally, I will stick to pellets.


  13. B.B., you actually read my comment #242 yesterday! Unbelievable. Yes, I knew that the M4 was getting outranged in Afghanistan with Lee-Enfield bolt-action rifles which is an indicator that something is wrong. But I didn’t know that the Army was willing to admit anything. What is odd is that the obvious solution which is to scale up the AR platform to .308 does not seem to have worked, even for the Designated Marksman role.

    That’s not great accuracy for the Daisy 1894 but who shoots this kind of gun rested anyway. The firearm is not that accurate either. It is a great-handling carbine type weapon. On the subject of accuracy, there is a guy on YouTube hitting a gong offhand at 300 yards with a WASR AK with iron sights.


    So, you don’t need super accuracy to have a good time.


  14. Hi everyone…

    I sort of learned the hard way that most airsoft and BB guns are not the way to go…

    I had been shooting my grandfather’s old Diana LP5 many years ago, but I was too young to appreciate its quality or think about technique, accuracy and such things.

    About two years ago, I got the chance to shoot 6mm airsoft guns and that sort of rekindled my interest in shooting.

    I bought a € 20,- Umarex airsoft gun, but I was quickly disappointed with its lack of accuracy and power (it didn’t even punch paper reliably).

    Then I bought a “B stock” Crosman Recruit at what seemed to be a good price around here. It turned out it was a “crippled” Canadian spec rifle that had a hole drilled into the compression chamber in order to reduce the power. All that pumping just so most of the air gets dumped… I managed to fix that but the lack of accuracy, good sights and build quality convinced me that this wasn’t the right gun either, no matter how much I tweaked it.
    (At that time I was still under the impression that pellets were “expensive” and BBs were better because I could potentially reuse them…yeah right…)

    I wasn’t ready to give up on the shooting thing, though and so I got the Hämmerli S26 CO² pellet pistol and the Diana 31. That was a revelation. I thought the S26 had a very good trigger (and it has IMO), but that was before I experienced the T06 (and later the Weihrauch Rekord and a FWB 300 trigger).

    We have a saying around here that goes like “He who buys cheap, buys twice” and this rang true again 🙂

    As for the cost of pellets… I can buy 5500 RWS Gecos for about € 30. That’s usually enough for at least two or three months, so it’s really not very expensive at all and the accuracy is fairly good in my guns.

    Actually, some of the repeating Umarex CO² BB pistols do look like they could be fun and they are not *too* expensive. But I’m still afraid that I might be put off by the lack of quality after being spoiled by the better guns 🙂

    Kind regards,

  15. Your accuracy is the same that mine produced, the 1894 is just a pretty face.
    I know we all ask for what we don’t have, but with the popularity of Cowboy action shooting I would think their would be a market for a reasonably accurate and authentic lever gun that is a repeater and not CO2.

    The bouncing BB’s do remind you how nice pellets behave however.

  16. BB

    In the middle to late 60;s my brother had a bb pistol.All the parts I could see were black painted metal.Even the trigger and guard.It’s lines were all squared off.We think it was a Crosman gun.It had a squared off U shaped piece of metal circling the breach.To cock and load,one pulled this piece backward till it clicked and loaded a bb directly into the ,then exposed,breach and pushed the metal forward till it clicked.A square notch in the top of this piece of metal was the rear sight,and the front sight was a rounded blade.There were no adjustments.The firing cycle was loud and abusive with spring vibration.The power was like a Red Ryder.By the time it was handed down to me I was underwhelmed with it’s whimpy power.Do you know of a gun like this,or what it may have been?

    Tin Can Man

  17. I have a Crosman Recute and like it a lot. Its rated in Pyramyds specs as a little more velocity than a 760 but I imagine their the same powerplant so I don’t get it.. Its accurate enough to hit a tin can reliably and powerful enough to send a can flying. Thats at 5 pumps, its easy to pump. I like the 5 shot clip Crosman has on several of their guns, its faster shooting once the clip is loaded and the pellets go in straight automatically.

  18. BB guns are fun! Red Ryder’s especially. A couple of friends and I like to sit in lawn chairs and shoot at a fully shakened carbonated beverage tied on a heavy piece of twine swinging from a tree. Naturally we are under the tree in its shade and shooting outward into a large pasture where their are no animals. (Straight up safety is priority one in my book). Far enough away to make it a challenge. You have to lead the shot and it has to hit the can square in order to puncture the can and the explode and spray.. Kind of a “quick skill” type of shooting challenge. Great fun!

    • Volvo,

      Thank You.That looks pretty much like it.Funny I remember the notch for the rear sight to be cut in the “U” shaped piece,but that could just be my bad memory.We never used it as a repeater.It was always a single load situation ,but maybe something wore out or broke.I’ll have to re quiz my brother when I see him again.

      Thankx again-Tin Can Man-

  19. Tom,

    I have a gold receiver Daisy 1894 heading my way. It’s a Sears model with no barrel bands but an octagon barrel and the forearm and buttstock have a gold metal caps (pretty fancy-shmancy).

    I expect it to do no better than yours, but I’ll let you know. Thanks to this report I now know to go with Copperheads to start. These must have pretty narrow barrels.


  20. I have an old 1894 that has been kicking around since I was a kid. Do you know if any replacement parts are available for this gun? Mine has a chunk missing from one of the cast plates on the receiver. Probably a better question for Daisy customer service I know but we got the conversation going here.

  21. Might try looking up ‘Bucky’s Daisy BB Gun Repair’ in a web search. Evidently he purchased Daisy’s parts stock a while back. My last contact was in ’09 and the web site seems to be gone? The business address and phone number may still be active. He may have sold out or retired?

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