This review is of the Daisy 856 powerline .177 caliber bb/pellet rifle purchased by my brother some seven years ago and given to me. It has a listed velocity of 675 fps, but I believe this number to only be valid for bb’s. I imagine that pellets would be somewhere in the high 500’s to low 600’s. This particular 856 is the Cobra that my brother purchased. It came with a red dot sight that has since been lost to time. I have seen the 856 listed in shooter kits on the internet for $49 to $65. These kits often include some nice goodies for airgunners on a budget like myself.
The gun is primarily constructed of plastic and stamped metal parts. It is a very light rifle. If you are used to handling Benjamin Sheridans and steel reciever Crosman’s, then the 856 is going to have a very “toy gun” feel. Note: there are some Daisy models that utilize a steel reciever.
Although very light, the 856 points well and seems to hold on target for me well.
The rifle is listed as using 10 pumps, I only use 8 pumps as per the advice of James House in his excellent book American Airguns. Pumping effort is low and easy. Easier than my Crosman 2100b and effortless compared to my Benjamin 392.
The trigger on this particular model has some slight take up , a tad of grit, and has a pretty crisp break. I have no device to measure pull wieght, but I would guess it’s around 4 pounds give or take.
Loading pellets is much easier than loading my Crosman 2100b, but not as easy as I would like it to be. Part of the problem is my large fingers, small fingers would have an easier time.
I have only used one brand of pellet in this rifle, so pellet performance testing is limited. The pellet I have used is the Crosman Copperhead Pointed pellets. A target grouping on a windy day at 20 yards from an indian style sitting position yeilded a five shot grouping of an inch. That is with the stock open sights. As an interesting aside, I scavenged the rear sight elevation bit for another rifle of mine and promptly lost it years ago. I recently stuffed a small wedge of cardboard beneath the rear sight in an approximation of the elevation I needed. It was spot on.
This is the same rifle that I mention using in my review of the Crosman 2100b. In that review I said how I took a squirrel at 30 yards using Crosman Copperhead Pointed pellets. Broadside shot took out both lungs, heart and exited far right. Squirrel moved maybe 10 feet before giving up the ghost. Altogether I have taken nearly ten squirrels (pest removal) with this air rifle. This was before I would only take head shots on squirrels and always went for “boiler room” shots. I have since learned that the best shot placement for these critters is the head if you are going to be using low power .177 airguns. Now I wouldn’t recommend people taking squirrel sized game at that distance, but if you do your part, this rifle is capable of doing its part.
I haven’t yet carried this rifle in the field for hunting but it has many attibutes that would make it an excellent choice. Light weight, excellent accuracy, decent power and great handling.
There are many people out there that make little money and enjoy small game hunting. I know because I am one of them. For the money spent, the economical minded small game hunter would be giving up next to nothing with this Daisy 856. Just keep your shots under 20 yards, 25 max, use head shots, and you’ll bring home food for the table.
I have written before that it’s the shooter, not velocity or caliber that get the game. I have read reviews on this air rifle that suggest that it is incapable of hunting. That is far from the truth. You wait for the right shot and hit the kill zone and you will get the game.
As always, practice, practice, practice! You owe it to the animal and to yourself.