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Education / Training The Daisy 853: Part 3

The Daisy 853: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Daisy 853


Daisy 853.

Part 1
Part 2

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • Help arrives
  • Overhaul parts
  • Pilkgun website instructions
  • Felt wiper disintegrated
  • The critical step
  • O-ring positions
  • Hobby pellets
  • Pump tube
  • What’s next?

Well, this report is turning into one of the most popular ones in recent times! It seems that a lot of you are interested in the Daisy 853. Many of you pestered me about my progress last week when I had to stop the overhaul because the instructions on the Pilkguns website were incomplete.

Help arrives

One of our newer readers named Paperweight sent me a link to a pdf tutorial from Daisy that cleared things up a lot. I followed those instructions and got the overhaul back on track.

Overhaul parts

First, let’s look at the parts Daisy sends for the 853 powerplant overhaul. They didn’t give me the price, but their marketing VP, Joe Murfin, told me he thoughty they cost around $3.00.

Daisy 853 parts
These are all the parts in Daisy part number 853-1, which is the rebuild kit for the powerplant. Felt wiper on the left, the piston o-ring and the valve body o-ring next, the inlet valve retainer, inlet valve and inlet valve spring.

Pilkgun website instructions

I disassembled the rifle following the instructions on the Pilkguns website. They work well for that. It’s the assembly where they are lacking. When I got to the piston head I examined it for cracks, because reader Buldawg76 thought he saw a crack in the photos I showed. Thankfully, that was just a speck of dirt. The piston head is intact and in good condition. It just needed a good wipedown.

Felt wiper disintegrated

But the felt wiper disintegrated in my fingers when I tried to remove it. From what I’ve read, that happens to this part over the years.

Daisy 853 old felt
The old felt wiper disintegrated when I tried to remove it. I think that’s fairly common. My UTG mat is a poor background for this picture.

I’m not going to give you a step-by-step description of the rebuild. Daisy has done a masterful job of that in their tutorial. The Pilkington tutorial is okay, but it lacks detail for the assembly, and a couple of the assembly steps are either overlooked or are just incorrect. Also, they used red letters for their instructions, which disappear against the black body of the gun.

The old o-rings were still flexible and looked pretty good, though they did have some flat spots. The inlet valve seal face was grooved from contact with the valve seat. That could be a problem or not.

Daisy 853 inlet valves
The old inlet valve (left) is grooved from contact with the valve seat. It may or may not have been leaking slightly.

The critical step

The most critical step in assembly is when you put the receiver together, and the Pilkington site put the red action verb right smack in the center of the black gun body, so a red-green colorblind person like me cannot tell whether he is to squeeze the parts together or strike them. Daisy tells you to hit the top of the receiver with a mallet, which I did. After an hour of no success following Pilkgun and guessing what to do, I had the receiver together in seconds with Daisy’s instructions.

O-ring positions

When Paperweight contacted me he mentioned that the light brown (he calls it orange, but I can’t see it) o-ring goes on the valve body instead of the punp piston head. For some reason I read they went the other way and now had to switch them. Fortunately, the gun was still apart when I found out, so I made the switch before assembly. The Daisy instructions make no mention of this, as they use two black o-rings that appear identical.

I will say that the action and its plastic spacers fit tightly into the stock. There is almost not enough room, because the inletting is so tight.

The rifle is now back together. It has a problem with the rear triggerguard screw, which seems to be a common fault with the older 853. Daisy changed the design of this part, simplifying it from 3 parts with 2 screws to 2 parts and 1 screw, but I have the older one. It was broken when I received the rifle, so it’s another thing to address, but the rifle can still be tested in all ways. Let’s now look at the velocity.

Hobby pellets

If you recall, I tried the RWS Hobby pellets first. Weighing only 7 grains, they should give us a good picture of the health of the powerplant. Before oiling the felt wiper last time this pellet gave an average of 384 f.p.s. with a 62 f.p.s. spread. After the first oiling the average increased to 417 f.p.s, with a spread of 25 f.p.s. A second oiling increased the average to 442 f.p.s. with a 20 f.p.s. spread. Now let’s see what Hobbys do after the rebuild.

Hobbys after the rebuild and some shots to settle down averaged 446 f.p.s. The spread for these 10 shots was from 442 to 453, so 11 f.p.s. The powerplant is now stable, but still not performing up to spec — not even close. If the average is supposed to be 510 f.p.s., according the Daisy’s specifications, I could accept an average around 485 f.p.s., and allow for the possibility that my rifle is on the slow side. But it’s more than that. Something else needs to be rebuilt.

From the standpoint of instant gratification, today’s results are bad news. But considering the amount of interest there is in the 853, it’s a blessing in disguise. Because I now need to go back inside and replace other parts — quite possibly the hammer spring.

I am also thinking of replacing the bolt that includes the probe that seats the pellet. There are no seals on the probe, and if air is leaking past it when the gun fires, it could cost some velocity. I will also examine the valve body in detail, to make certain there are no cracks or imperfections. I examined it on the outside this time, but I didn’t look inside, where problems could lie. When I replace all these parts the valve body will be completely apart, which allows for a good look inside.

Pump tube

I did examine the inside of the pump tube during this rebuild, but when I take the rifle apart next time I will also look at it again. I might have missed something.

What’s next?

I will order the parts I know this gun needs. That would be a new hammer spring and a bolt. I’ll also order the parts to fix the rear triggerguard screw. I’ll hold off on ordering a valve body and pump tube until I can examine the ones that are in the gun closely.

It will take me at least another week to get the parts, install them and test the gun. I will be using the Daisy files mentioned above for all repairs. I won’t test the rifle for accuracy until I’m satisfied it is shooting right.

Paperweight also gave me the Daisy part numbers for some other things, like an adjustable trigger and some front sight inserts. I will order those as well, so I’ll me ready when it’s time for the accuracy test. Stick around — there is lots more to come on this 853.

As a parting shot I’ll say that the 853 is not the easiest gun to work on. You have to be patient and follow the instructions closely. But if you get frustrated, just remember there is a 23-year-old girl at Daisy putting these guns together with her left hand while she texts her boyfriend with her right hand. It isn’t that difficult!

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.

46 thoughts on “The Daisy 853: Part 3”

  1. B.B.
    Is the Daisy a loud gun?
    When you fix/replace the faulty trigger guard screw, can you upgrade to the newer and simpler part?
    Something tells me this will be a 7 part-er,+.

  2. I have been reading everything I can find about these X53 series guns and haven’t found mention of one yet that gets close to the advertised speed without modding the rifles.Including yours here /blog/2009/05/daisy-powerline-953-targetpro-part-2/
    I really didn’t want to mod mine but did anyway by filling in the piston head.I didn’t really gain much for the effort and I found that it does very well out to @ 25 yds. as is.So I just shoot it and accept that it’s a low powered but very accurate little shooter. Mine is scoped with a 3-9×40 and makes it a neat little weed whacker for dandelions etc…
    Oh and Red Wasp hunting is a treat too 🙂

    • JTinAL,

      Thanks for that link. I didn’t think to check for it.

      But that 953 was still faster than this 853. So I’m still planning on rebuilding the action, which is mostly the hammer spring, I guess.

      I just want the gun to be its best when I test it for accuracy.


      • I purchased (I believe the 2013 Daisy Avanti catalog called it) the No. 5904 Air Rifle Repair Kit and CD-ROM. The CD ROM can be purchased by itself. It contained probably every screw, striker and its spring, o rings and an assortment of various parts. Your best bet is to call Daisy and order one from their sales department. They seem to do everything the old fashioned way. Calling is quicker then sending an email that may take 3-5 days to answer. Their prices are very reasonable.

        • Oh and I’ve been around for 10 or 11 years give or take either as Paperweight or Shawn. I don’t post often. I remember purchasing one of the last British made Webley Scott Stingrays in .25 caliber from Pyramid when you mentioned they were on a close out sale. Still one of my favorite air rifles. I now wish I had bought one in .22 for the wider availability of good pellets. I think you even mentioned all the reasons .25 was so-so but I didn’t listen and the novelty of an odd caliber was too much to resist lol.

  3. B.B.

    Off-topic, and my apologies if this has been brought up here before, but I saw elsewhere on the net that Beeman is about to market an over-under double barrelled, breakbarrel springer, available in either .177 or .22. From what I gather, the second barrel can be reserved for a coup de grace shot, or both both barrels can be fired at once. (No, I am not confusing this with their swap-out barrel rifles.)


    • Michael
      I have seen that gun reviewed somewhere as well but it was my understanding the both barrels fired together as a single shot and the shooter did not have the choice of firing on or two barrels but I may be mistaken as the review showed groups of two stacked holes on the target.

      Not sure what the whole idea behind this concept is but seems like it would not be very good since you are using the compressed air to have to propel two pellets instead of just one.


  4. BB
    To address some of the issues you have determined are wrong on this gun by replacing the hammer spring and bolt probe should indeed help hopefully and certainly will not hurt in increasing the velocity. One thing though as I mentioned before you cannot get the valve body as a stand alone part since the barrel is pressed into the valve body housing its sold as an assy of barrel, valve body and valve parts complete for 65.00 bucks or that’s what it was two years ago when I built the one for a friend.

    Glad to hear the piston was not cracked but only dirty in the photo so that’s good news and saved some time waiting for more parts not that it matters now.

    Mine does shoot 8.44s at 505 to 510 fps so it is possible for them to shoot at spec but I have done a couple mods to mine to get it to shoot that fast and one is totally reversible one is not. Some have said if the piston head surface has a slight depression in it that it needs filled in with epoxy so its flat and sanded to provide a zero clearance condition when the pump arm is closed but mine is flat with no depression so that would not help mine at all. I tested it with the pump arm pin out and fully closing the arm and there was no extra room for the piston to be pushed forward in the tube indicating that it was closing tight against the valve body surface and compressing as much air into the chamber area as possible.

    My solution to increase the pressure in the chamber was to decrease the volume of air space in the chamber when compressed by making up a plug that fits inside the valve spring to take up volume but not interfere with the valve operation when firing. I found a 1/4″-20 nylon bolt from a hardware store that I think was 2 inches long that I could cut the smooth portion of the shank of the bolt to about 1/4″ in length and it fits inside the valve spring perfectly and is just short enough to allow the valve to open fully on the hammer strike without interference yet it decreases the valve chamber volume by about a CC so the single pump stroke has an increased amount of pressure to fire the pellet. It is easily removed as well since it does not modify any part of the gun. It brought mine up from the velocities you are getting to the stated specs.

    There is also the little nub on the pump arm latching detent that protrudes into the hammer channel and serves to cushion the hammer strike against the valve since the hammer hits it and causes the spring for the pump arm detent to absorb some of the hammer strike that would other wise fully open the valve. I cut that nub off of my pump arm detent so the hammer can open the valve fully when it is released upon firing. So its those two mods that I did that got mine up to the stated spec that daisy says it should shoot.

    Just an FYI if you do not get it to spec with the spring and probe replacements.


    • BD,

      This report just gets interesting-er and interesting-er! I would have though that decreasing the air volume would have slowed the gun down, so this is an eye-opener.

      Like I said, if I can get to 485 with 7-grain pellets I will be happy. But it’s nice to have these things in the background, just in case.


      • BB
        I had the same thought but to my surprise it did not and it was only about a 20 fps gain but it was a gain.

        I guess its not decreasing the volume enough to cause a negative effect and it could also be the removal of the pump arm nub that made more difference as I did both at the same time. As you know these are not the easiest to work on so since I got the end goal I was after I am not concerned as to which had the most effect but just that it worked.


        • BD76,

          “My solution to increase the pressure in the chamber was to decrease the volume of air space in the chamber when compressed by making up a plug that fits inside the valve spring to take up volume but not interfere with the valve operation when firing.”

          My interpretation is that you are compressing the same external volume (mass) of air into a smaller space in the chamber. That would increase the PSI in chamber. The increased PSI results in the increase in pellet speed. Correct?



          • Jim
            Yes you are correct in your interpretation of what I accomplished with the addition of the plug as I call it inside the valve spring of the 853. You compress the same amount of air into a smaller space so it should be at a higher pressure and develop more speed in the pellet due to it expanding faster when released.

            I don’t know all the math or calculation for it but the practical application is the same as in working on fluid and hydraulic systems from cars and bikes as a mechanic for 45 years.


      • Chris,USA
        I only know this because I own a gun and therefore had to mod it since you know me I cannot leave anything alone or stock if it is not perfect.

        The only air gun I have not touched at all from the day I received it is my Hatsan AT44 S10 long but then it shoots 15.89s at 1010 fps and 18.13s at 975 and is a tack driver at 50 yards and will shoot at 100yards with the 18s and hit a 3″ spinner 7 out of 10 times and I believe those misses are my fault bot the guns.


        • BD76,

          Yea,…. I think I might be leaving that one alone myself!!! Nice! The SSG has me captivated. I will do the O-rings and the 12# spring and get a good look at the insides, before going there. I made notes of what you sent and studied the GTA site quite a bit. Once I understand what I got, first,… and study the SSG some more,…. I will have some questions. (For now though), I have more than enough to keep me busy and tinkering. Baffle and stripper mods. are in the “cook pot” as well….. Chris

          • Chris
            Yea the Hatsan is just that good that I have no need to alter it at this time.

            I would take it slow with the Mrod as well and learn as you go with it so you see what each improvement really gives you. the SSG is something I still need to build and test myself as I have the parts but just have a lot of other things going on in my life now that are taking my time and concentration.

            I will eventually test it and report on my results and by all means don’t hesitate to ask questions for whatever you need help with as I am more than willing to help.


  5. The price you were quoted for the 853’s parts is interesting to me. I asked Daisy about these same rebuild parts about two weeks ago, and was quoted a figure of $8 plus shipping.

    I’ve also found Champions Choice sells a kit that also includes eight screws and four springs (no description) for $12. Or, the same lot plus an instructional CD from Daisy for $28.50.

  6. Hello all … I’m new to the blog here. I’m not sure if I should always just post under the current day’s topic – even if my comment doesn’t relate to the current page. So I’m hoping you will enlighten me. I made my first post – it was about the Benjamin NP2 so I posted back under that review which was two years old – haha. Seemed to me that people searching for info about the NP2 would find that old post so that’s where I put it.

    So … Here’s what I have to post today – and it isn’t about a Daisy 853 so should I post it here? or is there some other place for general comments?

    My back lawn has a lot of dandelions and other weeds – I try to keep them down but they are trying to take over. I keep noticing little holes where something is digging. Yesterday I watched as a squirrel dug up (pulled out by the roots) some plant and pulled something out from underneath (about the size of an almond) and sat there eating it. I have no idea what it dug up. I didn’t see it chew off a piece of root – it looked like after it pulled up the plant it then found something buried underneath it. I’m wondering what in the world the squirrel is digging up? I have fig trees nearby and that is what I had always thought the squirrels were after – it never occurred to me that a squirrel might be digging in my lawn. If he wants to dig up the dandelions – that’s just fine with me – but I am still mystified what he is finding underneath them to eat.

    Not sure if I should be putting squirrel stew on the menu or if he’s doing my yard a service.

    • Welcome to the blog. I can’t speak to eating squirrel from personal experience but can only pass on what I’ve heard. An acquaintance told me that her siblings as children shot a squirrel for fun, and her father made them eat it as a punishment. Clearly it was not tasty. On the other hand, there is an American frontier dish, a kind of stew, called Burgoo that relied on squirrel meat and has been described in mouthwatering fashion. Maybe it’s all in the preparation.


  7. This series is a good reminder to oil the felt wiper of my Daisy 747. I did the other night and the wiper drank up the Pellgunoil greedily as if it was starved.

    ChrisUSA, right you are not to mess with firearms ricochets. Rambo purposely ricochets rounds from his M60 machine gun against any enemy. I believe that I will just use the resealable target at 75+ yards for rifles. Surely there is no danger of ricochets from that distance.

    Punchin Holes, thanks for the detailed explanation of bullet expansion. One thing that still mystifies me about the resealable target is the distinction between soft-nosed bullets and full metal jacket. The soft nose are safe to use but the full metal jacket might cause serious bodily injury. Why? I think we’ve established that the full metal jacket is more likely to penetrate, but I don’t see how that could endanger anyone. All I can think of is the danger of ricochet. There must be some angle at which a full metal jacket will not penetrate but will deflect off; the material is pretty solid. And then it would pose the same danger as bullets deflected from the surface of the water. So maybe the danger in this case is not to the shooter but everyone in the general vicinity. Still, I don’t see why the same couldn’t apply to soft nose bullets. Perhaps the critical range of deflecting angles is less for them since they are more likely to deform on contact.


    • Matt61,

      “Surely”,…..? Ok, I will trust you on that. You did mention Sniper practice,…. so right off,… I am thinking specialized rounds,… and long distances,… WIDE open ranges. I guess for me,… anything that has a “chance” of a ricochet,… is one chance too many.

      But,… as I said at the beginning,…. I will trust you on that.

      And, while done many “moons” ago,… I fired the 92FS pellet pistol at 2×2 block in a “whipped up” shooting gallery. The pellet hit the block and promptly retuned to the right,.. off a wall,… onward to the wall behind me,…. and then onward again to the middle of the kitchen floor,…. after bouncing around a bit,… first.

      That was my first,… and last,…. shot indoors at 24′,…. at that block.

    • Matt61,
      The soft-nosed bullets expand upon contact spreading the force upon a larger area of the target allowing the energy to be absorbed and dissipated. The Full metal jacket (FMJ) bullets hold together and penetrates through requiring you to have an adequate backstop. As BB once related of a company that thought they had an adequate backstop that to their chagrin turned out to be otherwise.

    • Matt 61

      The only scenario I can think of in my limited experience and knowledge is the transfer of energy. I’m not sure the exact target you have but on mine if you hit on the outer inch of the “2 dimensional” sight picture of the sperical target then there will be less material. I brought my ball to the annual Turkey shoot ( a name of the gathering we have Thanksgiving weekend.) Many rounds were fired but the big russians and/or the 243 Winchester magnums were tearing the outer part of the target. All I can think of the warning would be at which angle you are shooting. We were shooting in an area that naturally sloped downhill maybe 12-15*? The land then rises starting at another 80-100 yards out. Maybe the angle is the big concern. Like you say with water. 3-5* is way more dangerous than 20* but 20* still isn’t safe. Along with penetration comes greater energy retention and any ricochet condition is multiplied by remaining energy. Ricochet potential is still present at lower energy (soft point transfers more on impact you have it right) but less speed equalling less distance. I would think with the right angle all shots would be driven into the ground.There is always that small chance of deflection and change of trajectory whether done by the target or maybe even the ground. Its the objects on the back 160* (3 dimensional with the ground as one axis and the perpendicular position of the ball from which you are standing as the other)of the target that is the worry. (160* is avery generous amount probably much less especially as speed increases) We didn’t seem to have any problems but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t an unsafe condition.

      Although your chances are slim something serious could happen with carelessness. You are absolutely right to be cautious and I think 75yds is a wise idea. I know you said you have much more room now and room is your greatest ally! Good luck and let us know how you come out! What types of rifles and chamberings are you thinking? Boy I’m long winded on this subject 🙂

  8. On Daisy,…

    I called the # in the manual. A REAL person answered the phone. I was like,… uhhh?, duhhh?,…. Hello? Ordering was quick and parts were cheap. Delivery by mail in 2 days.

    5 stars and triple A+ all the way!!!


  9. It’s not just a “frontier” dish.

    In Louisiana where I grew up, squirrel season is more popular than deer season.
    Some business actually close early on the Friday before squirrel season so their employees can leave early.

    It’s either close early, or have the Cajuns call in sick and not show up at all.

    I now live in Wisconsin, the people here like squirrel dumplings.
    I had never heard of that before..

    In Louisiana, it’s always squirrel gumbo.

  10. I have read elsewhere that weak hammer springs are common on used 853s. Some youth organizations insist the guns be stored with the bolt open and a telltale inserted to prove they are empty. Both of my ex CMP guns shoot at spec. I find myself shooting these little beaters while my pricey guns sit in the safe. You do not need money to enjoy our hobby!

  11. I am not sure of the different types of squirrels (ground/grey vs tree/red etc.) but 50 years ago I used to shoot the red tree squirrels and fry them up in butter – delicious!

    • AP
      We have both gray and red tree squirrels around my area. Hunted them out on the farm as a kid growing up about 45 years ago and throughout time. The reds are alot bigger than the gray’s but taste the same.

      But fryed in butter sounds good too.

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