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The Daisy 880

By J. Kirsch

I have very mixed feelings about the Daisy 880. There are a number of things about it that I really like. There are also a number of things about itDaisy 880 that I really dislike. On the whole, I suppose its a pretty good gun that works reasonably well for most tasks like plinking, target shooting, and the occasional light hunting task. Especially given that its available for around $40 at Walmart.


Figuring out exactly how powerful the Daisy 880 actually is has turned out to be an exercise in frustration. The reason is that Daisy lists multiple velocity figures for the gun with pellets, but doesn't actually ever say what weight pellets they got those figures with. For example on the Daisy website, Daisy says that it delivers a muzzle velocity of 665 fps with pellets. At Pyramid Air the Daisy 880 is credited with a muzzle velocity of 715 fps. And I've seen other reviews that claim a muzzle velocity of around 640 fps. Finally in frustration I posted a request on Airgun Arena's forums and lucked out. Another member had a Daisy 880 and was willing to chronograph the gun with several pellets for me. With 7.6 grain Daisy wadcutter pellets, his gun delivered an average velocity of 636fps for a muzzle energy of 6.8ft-lbs. With 8 grain Crosman Hyper-velocity pellets the average velocity was 633 fps for a muzzle energy of 7.1 ft-lbs. So basically the Daisy 880 is going to deliver around 7 ft-lbs muzzle energy with commonly available pellets.(1)

As I mentioned when I reviewed the Crosman 664, another pump pneumatic with a very similar power level, that doesn't sound like much, especially when compared with pre-charged pneumatic guns like the Sumatra 2500 or Airforce Condor, but it is enough power to kill most small game species at close range. Dr. Beeman states that for clean kills mice and sparrows require 2 ft-lbs of impact energy (or an impact velocity of 350 fps  with 8 grain pellets); that starlings, pigeons, and squirrels require 3 ft-lbs of impact energy (or an impact velocity of 410 fps with 8 grain pellets); and that rabbits and rats require 5 ft-lbs of impact energy (or 530 fps of impact velocity with 8 grain pellets).(2) Provided you use hunting pellets and limit yourself to head-shots, the Daisy 880 is capable of delivering sufficient power to kill rabbits out to 20 yards and sufficient power to kill  squirrels (and less resilient species) out to beyond 25 yards. The Daisy 880 clearly is not a toy and should be treated with all the respect that any gun deserves.

The Daisy 880 is surprisingly accurate. With BBs, the Daisy 880 can keep all its shots on a soda can offhand at 50 feet. That's actually not that impressive. However with pellets (such as 7.6 grain Daisy wadcutters) that accuracy level improves. At 50 feet from a bench-rest, I've been able to shoot 3 shot groups that can be covered by a dime. And shooting offhand with the included 4x15 scope, I've been able to consistently keep all my shots on a soda can at 25-30 yards. So basically the Daisy 880 is capable of hunting level accuracy (1-1.5 inch groups) out to 20-25 yards. Like the Crosman 664, that dovetails very nicely with its power level. And given the gun's price, this level of accuracy is all that could be hoped for.

Reliability and Durability:
This is the one area where I've been a bit disappointed with the Daisy 880. I've actually owned two of these guns. I bought the first one back in the mid-1990s. I bought the second one in 2008. And both guns show an occasional tendency for the breech to blow back or open during firing. Fortunately this isn't dangerous, merely annoying. When this happens the gun fires at a reduced power level and fails to completely discharge all the air in the valves. This mainly seems to happen when I don't take excessive care to make sure the flat of the bolt is completely level with the receiver, which is something that happens when I'm shooting the gun fairly rapidly. I attribute the problem do insufficient locking surfaces to keep the bolt shut unless everything is perfectly lined up. I'm not sure why Daisy's engineers didn't design the gun to lock-up better, since adding additional locking surfaces shouldn't have been difficult, but they didn't.

Other than the previously mentioned complaint about the breech blowing open, the one time when the valves "froze" after being exposed to temperatures below freezing in my trunk all day, and a tendency of the pump arm to "flex" a bit during use, the gun has functioned reasonably well for me. And given that maintenance consists merely of a drop of 30-weight, non-detergent motor-oil every 500 shots (or so) I can live with the few complaints I have, especially since I just have to remember to jam my thumb forward against the bolt-handle prior to firing to make sure it won't blow open.

On the whole I'm reasonably happy with my Daisy 880. Its accurate, and powerful enough for plinking, target shooting, and the occasional pest/small game hunting at close range. Its reasonably durable, though I wish the gun locked-up tighter. For the money its a good deal. I'm not sure that I think its a better choice than theCrosman 664, but its head and shoulders above the Crosman 760. For a new shooter who's just beginning or an older shooter who simply wants an air-rifle as a way to stay in practice it is a good option.
(1) Airgun Arena Hunting Thread

(2) American Airguns: Field Use of an Airgun