Gun test: Daisy Powerline880

Many a youngster will learn a lot with this rifle whilst having a huge amount of fun in the process

Many a youngster will learn a lot with this rifle whilst having a huge amount of fun in the process - Credit: Archant

Phill Price has some fun with Daisy’s advanced plinker

I found that four pumps were all I needed.

I found that four pumps were all I needed. - Credit: Archant

In the huge American shooting market the name ‘Daisy’ is known by everybody because, for a great many people, this huge company supplied their first gun. On their side of the pond, they understand ‘BB gun’ to mean ‘airgun’ and they sometimes call our high-precision adult airguns ‘BB guns’, but that’s okay. I’ll confess that the appeal of steel BBs is lost on me when lead-pellet-firing guns are so much more accurate, and accuracy is my thing. However, I recently tested the Daisy Red Ryder BB gun and at 6 yards I couldn’t miss a tin can, so it clearly was accurate enough.

That ultra-popular rifle has a big brother in the form of the Powerline880, another American favourite because it has a pump-up action. This is where a lever drops down and swings forward before being pulled back and up. This allows you to adjust the power level and for plinking, that’s great. Knocking over a can or punching a hole in a paper target doesn’t need much power at all.

50 BBs can be loaded through this sliding port.

50 BBs can be loaded through this sliding port. - Credit: Archant

All American

The styling is pure Americana; white line spacers and chequering inserts add a look of the kind of deer rifles that the Yanks love. Although this is a larger rifle than the Red Ryder, it’s still very light at just over 3lbs, so kids will have no trouble holding it. The pull length, the distance between the trigger blade and the centre of the butt pad, is 13½”, a full inch shorter than a typical adult stock. I’m guessing that it will suit kids from around 13 years, and older.

The two-part stock offers many more features compared to the Red Ryder, including a raised cheek piece, a more hand-filling pistol grip, and moulded-in chequering at the contact points. The sights are a step up too. The rear one offers windage as well as elevation adjustment and the fore sight has fibre-optic enhancement.

The biggest improvement is the rifled barrel that can shoot lead pellets, meaning much better accuracy. It will shoot steel BBs and there is a small hopper on the front left of the action that accepts 50 of them. Some people have concerns that shooting steel BBs through a rifled barrel might damage it, but if the manufacturer tells us it will shoot both without problems, then I’m not going to worry.

The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation.

The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation. - Credit: Archant

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Before you can begin pumping, you need to withdraw the bolt on the right of the action because it you don’t, the chamber will not fill. Pumping is always best done smoothly and not too fast. Speed turns energy into heat, not velocity, so nice and steady is the way. I tried the Powerline at five and ten pumps with both steel BBs and the .177 Air Arms Field Diablo, a very high-quality lead pellet.

5 pumps Air Arms Field - 6ft.lbs

10 pumps Air Arms Field - 8½” ft.lbs

Pellets are loaded manually in this slot.

Pellets are loaded manually in this slot. - Credit: Archant

5 pumps BB - 4 ft.lbs.

10 pumps BB - 6 ft.lbs

8½” ft.lbs. is a lot of punch for a back garden plinker and I was quite happy with the 6 ft.lbs. that five pumps gave. At the lower power setting, the rifle is much less noisy, which is always a good thing in my book. Loud pops and clangs can become very irritating to your neighbours so I always try to avoid them. A quiet pellet catcher is wise for the same reason.

Great trigger

An area of weakness for many inexpensive airguns is the trigger, which all too often is much too heavy for young hands to control properly. Because of this, beginners tend to snatch at it as the sights wander past the aim point. This can teach bad habits that can take years to correct. The Proline’s trigger is a little long in its action, but is smooth, consistent and not unnecessarily heavy. Further, the reach is nice and short, allowing small hands to reach without over-stretching, which is a very good thing. I suspect this trigger can be made this way because it only controls a small spring, whereas the ones fitted to spring-piston rifle have to control much more stored energy. Somebody asked me what I thought this rifle was for, and the phrase ‘advanced plinker’ came to mind. With lead pellets it has good accuracy, and because it’s a pump-up it’s recoilless, just like a pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) – which makes shooting easier. You could even fit a simple scope later on if you wanted to because there are rails moulded into the action ready to accept one.

As with its stablemate, the price is unbelievably low and in my eyes, extraordinarily good value for money. Many a youngster will learn a lot with this rifle whilst having a huge amount of fun in the process.

Importer: BSA Guns

Model: Powerline 880

Type: Pump action

Length: 37.6”

Weight: 3.1lbs

Calibre: .177

Ammo: Led pellets and steel BBs

Sights: Fibre-optic enhanced open type

RRP: £49.00