Daisy VL box
In 1969 the world welcomed the Daisy VL.

Part 1
Part 2

History of airguns

This report covers:

  • The day
  • The VL cartridge
  • The test
  • The result
  • Not very accurate
  • Not the wind
  • Shoot at 50 yards
  • Discussion
  • Slipped
  • Summary

Today I test the Daisy VL rifle at 50 yards. Stick around, kids. This is going to be fun!

The day

This is the same windy day on which I tested the Benjamin Marauder Semi Automatic rifle — the SAM — that was reported on Wednesday of this week. And by the time I got to this test the wind was picking up. When I tested the Daisy VL the headwind was steady at 10 m.p.h. with occasional gusts to 20 m.p.h.

The VL cartridge

You will remember that the VL cartridge is a caseless cartridge that ignites from the heat of compressed air generated by the spring-piston. In other words, the VL is an underlever spring-piston air rifle.

VL cartridge detail
The VL cartridge has its powder glued to the base of the 29-grain lead bullet.

When we tested these for velocity we discovered that they all fired and the velocity of the 29-grain lead bullet ranged between 1,173 and 1,233 f.p.s. The average was 1,194 f.p.s., which is moving right along for a .22 bullet. So I expected the bullets to “buck” the wind — to be as accurate as possible, despite the wind.

The test

I shot from a sandbag rest at 50 yards. I used the open sights that came on the rifle because it is next to impossible to scope a VL rifle. I shot with the rifle resting directly on the sandbag, as there is no recoil or vibration to speak of.

VL Tom Shoots
I shot with the rifle resting directly on the sandbag and yes, those eyeglasses are shatterproof.  I put up a sheet of four 10-meter pistol targets, hoping that all the bullets would hit somewhere on the sheet. I had no idea of how accurate these VL rifles are, and I still have not seen another accuracy test with one.

The result

Ten VL bullets went into about 8-1/2-inches at 50 yards. I say about because I measured the “group” with a ruler. You won’t see a dime in the picture because what’s the point? Maybe these ten shots should be called an accumulation or a gathering rather than a group.

VL target
At 50 yards, the Daisy VL put ten shots into about 8-1/2-inches. There are 10 holes in this target. The VL bullet at the top of the picture points at a shot that barely clipped the top edge of the paper. I was aiming at the upper right bull.

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Not very accurate

This is, hands down, the worst accuracy I have ever seen from a .22 rifle. I have always wondered if this would be the case, but since I’ve never seen a VL tested for accuracy before, I had no idea. That’s why I used a whole sheet with 4 bulls. If I hadn’t, I probably would have missed some of the shots.

Not the wind

In case you are getting ready to lecture me on the wind and what it can do to a bullet, let me tell you that I did one other thing on this day. I needed some fired .22 long rifle cases to continue my series on reloading rimfire cartridges and I decided to make a change in the test rifle. Instead of the old Remington model 33 single shot rifle I have been using, I decided to start using a new Hatsan Escort bolt action repeater that I recently traded for. It’s a 10-shot repeater than can also be loaded singly, which I plan to do.

VL Hatsan Escort
The Hatsan Escort bolt-action repeater, with my legal silencer attached.

I shot with my Pilot silencer attached. This rifle really hits the primer hard, and that was what I wanted for the reloading rimfire series. I needed to generate about 30 cartridge cases for the next round of tests, so that’s what I shot.

Shoot at 50 yards

I shot at a target someone had left up on the backer board. I aimed at the center of the bull through the 4-power Leupold scope and I just shot and shot. I didn’t even worry about where I aimed. I just needed those empty cases. But I did aim at the center of the bull, more or less.

And then I went downrange and was stunned to see that all 30 shots had gone into 1.713-inches at 50 yards! This was in the wind that was now blowing 15-20 mph, and me not caring if the crosshairs were exactly on target or not.

VL Escort group
The Hatsan Escort rifle sent 30 rounds through this 1.713-inch group at 50 yards.

I show that group as proof that that the day wasn’t too windy for an accurate rifle to perform.

Discussion

Daisy’s VL rifle and caseless cartridges are an interesting diversion from the mainstream of firearms, but in no way do they represent a viable option. That was probably realized at the moment of their introduction. They sold on the basis of the novelty of the concept — not as replacements for .22 cartridges. It’s a curiosity, which is why so many of them are still in like new condition. But not mine!

Slipped

The rifle was in an open Pelican hard case on the tailgate of my truck when the wind blew it off and the rifle crashed to the ground. Remember that plastic stock? Well, mine now has a dime-sized divot in the left forearm. Live and learn, I guess.

VL ding
The VL fell off the truck tailgate and hit a rock on the ground below. This is why BB can’t have nice toys.

Summary

I hope you have enjoyed this brief look at an oddball .22 firearm from the 1960s. I sure have enjoyed learning about it!