Pros: inexpensive, accurate
Cons: build quality, safety issues
The Powerline 880 has been one of Daisy’s best selling rifles for a long time. First of all, its cheap price makes it an easy sell on a typical Walmart/ Kmart/ Sports Authority counter; and second, consumer reviews have consistently stated its deadly accurate and precise. Its true. The Powerline 880 is quality enough to make it a backyard sniper rifle.
And there lies the reason it was the target of a lawsuit filed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission against Daisy back in 2000. Apparently, Daisy took its Powerline 856 and changed some design flaws and relabeled it the Powerline 880. The lawsuit was filed based on the belief that a child playing with it could injure themselves not knowing it was loaded due to this model’s inherent feeding mechanism.
The lawsuit was swatted down because the court found that gravity feed mechanisms does not necessarily have to mean consumer safety was endangered and many of the other concerns of the CPSC were generic to air rifles. But, as a Daisy user, I can think of numerous flaws in some of their rifles and pistols that could potentially be a hazard. The Powerline 2000 I used to have which had a helical clip for example jammed like you wouldn’t believe.
THE POWERLINE 880 is a good gun if maintained and used properly. Its build quality however is about fair – not great and not terrible. It has a plastic stock and metal for the barrel and parts of the receiver, but there are parts of the gun that are a disappointment such as the loose BB reservoir cover.
The sights are decent. Some of the guns include a “tru glo” fiber optic sight which can tremendously help aiming for people who are near or far sighted line up with their target. The rear sight is a ramp blade that definitely is cheap, but does its job once you figure out the elevation you’ll tilt the rifle to.
The weight of this gun is definitely light – at just 3 pounds and 3 ounces, with an overall length of 38 inches, it’s a great rifle to hold, easy to aim and easy to carry without it feeling awkward. Its also very thin so you can take it around with you in your car with your camping gear. Trigger pull is about 7lbs and the movement is smooth. Very easy to aim, very easy to shoot.
The safety is a crossbolt located in front of the trigger. You can easily use a finger to deactivate or reactivate it.
AMMO and VELOCITY
The Powerline 880 takes either .177 ball bearings or .177 pellets. I have typically used it with Crosman’s standard Copper BB’s and with Crosman wadcutter pellets for both paper targets and small game hunting. The breech accepts one pellet at a time, but, if you choose to use bb’s, you can fill the gun’s interior reservoir with bb’s, and then tilt the rifle downwards, pull back the breech to load a single bb and then close the breech to load the round. You’ll need to pump the gun 10 times in order to get maximum muzzle velocity (~750 feet per second).
I used the regular sights just once to hunt with this rifle. I targeted one of the many birds that come routinely to steal dog food from my dog, which got annoying because they leave feces on the roof, and near my dog’s feeding dish. The bird was on the roof antennae waiting to get at the kibble, and I was able to put a single bb straight through him. Very nice shot at 100 feet.
Later I mounted a typical Tasco 4x15 scope ($16) which increased the rifle’s range and accuracy thrice. I was able to take down varmints at fantastic distances well over 50 meters.
Although my first kill with this gun was scored with a BB, the 880 actually sucks with BB’s. I used a paper target at 10 Meters and was disappointed by the gun’s precision. Its often inaccurate by a few inches.
Pellets however benefit from the rifled barrel more so than the BB’s. Pellets hit their marks often but, this is to be expected. You typically shouldn’t shoot BB’s from a rifled barrel – smooth barrels are best.
The first major problem I had with the Powerline 880 was the fact that there is no way to see when the gun is fully pumped or when it is ready to fire. There is no indication that the gun is pumped which means that during your 10 pump cycle, you may forget your count and overpump it. This can lead to damaged seals or possible explosions of the pressure chamber.
…and that’s if you’re lucky. An air rifle is a weapon that can cause serious injury or death to others, but in most of these air rifles, it is even more likely of that happening since their material feel can lead some to forget that they are not toys. These guns in particular have been used to play “one pump war” and many eyes have been put out by them. With a low price around $50 it becomes even more likely of them ending up in irresponsible hands.
Its not a good idea to market the Powerline 880 as a “youth rifle” – its simply too powerful. 5 pumps out of 10 is enough to kill most soft targets.
The second problem I had was the gravity feeding mechanism. You must tilt the rifle and then cock it to load a BB. Problem is, if you decide you want to use pellets, you need to hand feed pellets into the breech. Sometimes you’ll pull open the breech and find a bb waiting there that you’ll have to pull out before you can mount a pellet to fire. Needless to say, this is part of what led to the lawsuits about the gun claiming it was difficult to tell when it was loaded.
I also had a few pellets jam on me. When a pellet jams you either need a gun cleaning kit, or you’ll need to straighten a wire hangar to shove down the opposite end to dislodge it.
The rifled barrel inside the 880 is fantastic, but it has the tendency to jam pellets every now and then. What’s worse is that it is possible to accidentally (or intentionally) load more than one bb at a time which can damage the barrel rifling and make it less accurate. The 880’s initial reliability is pretty good, but it is likely to wear out in a couple years if not sooner.
The Powerline 880 is a good entry gun so long as proper firearm handling is observed when using it. Its low price makes it hard to beat, and its ubiquitous in American sporting good stores. There are better options out there with higher build quality, but, most of them cost a lot more than this rifle. You’ll need to take good care of it though because it will wear out over time.
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