by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
Daisy’s Targeteer 177 shot BBs.
This report covers:
- Air Venturi Steel BBs
- Hornady Black Diamond BBs
- H&N Smart Shot BBs
- Avanti Precision Ground Shot
- Summary of velocity
- Air Venturi
- No real rear notch
- Hornady Black Diamond
- H&N Smart Shot
- Avanti Precision Ground Shot
- Overall evaluation
Thursday, December 24, is Christmas Eve. On that day I’m running a special blog that allows you readers to do most of the writing. We will all tell which airgun we would like to receive for Christmas, and I will start it in the text. Be thinking about the one airgun you want the most this year.
I realize that not all readers celebrate the Christmas holiday. But don’t let that deter you. Whether you celebrate or not, this exercise is open to all readers.
Starting tomorrow I’m running some Best of B.B. reports to give myself some time at Christmas. I have family and guests coming this week, and I can’t get to the computer as often as I would like. Today’s report is new.
Today we look at both the velocity and the accuracy of the Daisy Targeteer 177 pistol we started examining a week ago. Remember this is a BB pistol that I have been bad-mouthing for many years. This is actually the first time I have tested it in the conventional way, so I’m finding out just as much as the rest of you.
We will start with velocity. I will test the gun with each of the BBs I intend shooting for accuracy, so this test should be thorough.
Air Venturi Steel BBs
I started with Air Venturi Steel BBs. They averaged 116 f.p.s. in the Targeteer, which answered my questions from nearly 60 years ago. The Targteeer is weak — very weak. In fact, weaker than I expected. The slowest shot went 113 f..s. while the fastest went 117 f.p.s., so the pistol is stable, if not powerful.
Hornady Black Diamond BBs
Next up were Hornady Black Diamond BBs. After seeing the first results I didn’t expect them to be much different. And they weren’t. They averaged 115 f.p.s., with a spread from 114 to 116 f.p.s. Again, this pistol is very stable.
H&N Smart Shot BBs
H&N Smart Shot BBs are made of lead and are much heavier than regular steel BBs. We expect them to shoot slower in a spring-piston gun, and they do. They travel at an average 100 f.p.s. with a low of 99 and a high of 101 f.p.s. While slower, they had the most stable velocity of all BBs tested. The spread was just 2 f.p.s.!
Avanti Precision Ground Shot
The final BB I tested was the Avanti Precision Ground Shot from Daisy. While hope springs eternal within the human breast, experience has shown that these BBs will not be any more accurate than the others. But we test to discover, so I shot them anyway.
Precision Ground Shot averaged 114 f.p.s. in the Targeteer. The low was 113 f.p.s and the high was 117 f.p.s.
Summary of velocity
If we look at just the 3 steel BBs I tested, the slowest shot went 113 f.p.s. and the fastest went 117 f.p.s. That’s a range of just 4 f.p.s. velocity in 3 different BBs. I think that is remarkable, by itself. Could the Targeteer be the 499 of BB pistols after all? Let’s see.
I tested the gun at 10 feet, shooting off the UTG Monopod while I was seated. This is a very stable platform and most of you readers know I can shoot a handgun when I have to. So the Targeteer got a good chance to do well.
I shot 10 of each type of BB at each target. Before we get to that, though, a word about my backstop.
This pistol is so weak that a normal backstop won’t work. I got ricochets off the stiff cardboard target backer I normally use on my silent pellet trap in the office for chronographing! I even tried using Styrofoam for a backstop, and still the BBs bounced back. Then I tried shooting into a mailing envelope with bubble wrap on the inside. Shooting from 3 feet, it worked about half the time.
When it came time to shoot at targets I hung them on a BB trap without a backer and used the thinnest paper targets I had to let the BBs try to penetrate. A couple of them did, but the majority bounced off the paper at 10 feet! These are some of the things you must think about when testing a weak BB gun like this. Fortunately the gun was well-oiled and the BBs left their marks on the paper.
First up were the Air Venturi BBs. I used a 6 o’clock hold with a fine front sight (tip of the front sight is held low in the rear notch) for all shots. Ten BBs went into 1.882-inches at 10 feet. All the shots landed to the left of center, so I adjusted the sights after shooting this group. That wasn’t easy because there is very little room to get a screwdriver into those screw slots.
No real rear notch
Until shooting the pistol for accuracy I hadn’t noticed that the rear sight is sitting so low on the pistol that the top of the gun obscures the sight’s notch. When sighting, it appears as a shallow Vee that resembles the rear sight on an early 18th century Kentucky rifle. Fortunately I have experience with such a sight. If I were to adjust the sight any higher to make the notch appear, the shots would hit hopelessly high at 10 feet.
Hornady Black Diamond
Next, I tried 10 Hornady Black Diamond BBs. They made a group that measures 1.825 inches between centers. This group was the best of the session but it was still hitting to the left of center. I decided to just leave the sights the way they were after this.
H&N Smart Shot
Now I tried the lead Smart Shot BBs. I had no idea what they might do, or even if they would hit the target in the same place. But they did. Ten BBs made a group measuring 2.068-inches at 10 feet. This was the largest group of the test.
Avanti Precision Ground Shot
And finally I shot 10 Avanti Precision Ground Shot at a target. They made a 1.911-inch group.
So, all the BBs did about the same on targets — roughly 2 inches at 10 feet. That means the Targeteer is not the pistol version of the 499.
Because someone asked me to, I went outdoors and shot at an aluminum soda can. At 10 feet the BBs did not penetrate even one side of the can, but they did pick it up and topple it over each time it was hit. The impact made a resounding thunk. However, this was as far as it gets from real plinking with a handgun, and I found it as boring as watching paint dry. So I didn’t do it very long.
The BBs dented the aluminum can but did not penetrate the metal. They did move the can, though.
The Targeteer has to be cocked manually for every shot, so it isn’t what you would call an action pistol. That takes away from the spontaneity.
I have had a low opinion of the Daisy Targeteer 177 BB pistol since first seeing one in the 1950s, and nothing in this test has changed that. This test has simply given me numbers for the pistol.
I am glad I finally tested it so there’s no longer any doubt. The Targeteer is a vintage BB gun that is best left in the box. That’s what I plan on doing.