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CMP Daisy 853: First Shots

Getting two Daisy Avanti 853 rifles from the CMP much earlier than I thought caught me by surprise. I had no pellets, and I have scrapped a pellet makeshift trap that I used a few times with a cheap Crossman air gun a long time ago.

Luckily, I have Amazon Prime membership, with its free 2-days shipping, so this will be rectified quickly, but meanwhile I still wanted to try the guns out.

A visit to a local Big 5 yielded a sample pack of Gamo pellets, among them was a box of 250 Match Diablo. While probably not exactly match quality, these would have to do for now.

I have a couple of truly atrocious Barska 8-32x50 scopes that I bought because they were cheap (and got what I paid for - probably less, actually), that I could not use on a real gun, so I mounted one here. The scope had about 1/2" parallax at 15 yards, which is the distance I have in my backyard, and could only be used at 8x magnification before the image completely washed out, but that was a start. A much better scope is in the mail, too.

(Parenthetically, if anyone wants these Barska scopes cheap - REALLY cheap - drop me an email at There are not entirely useless - you can throw them at the squirrels, or beat woodchucks over the head with them, or take it apart and learn how a scope works - it's just that they are not really made for shooting...)

Initially the scope would not zero, so I had to switch to Burris Signature rings with 20MOA inserts, and this fixed that problem. I always set the scope a bit off-center so the bullet (or, in this case, a pellet) impact does not destroy the aim.

After struggling with the scope, I put the rifle on the shooting rest in the basement, and pointed it to the backstop I had at the back end of my yard. The distance was exactly 15 meters, and I made a pellet trap out of a cardboard box stuffed with packing paper. After the first few shots seeing that the pellets punch through the box and hit the backstop I have added more packing paper, after which everything worked perfectly.

I used Caldwell Rock BR shooting rest with Protektor front and rear bags, a tried and true combination with which I do all my accuracy testing. I also quickly discovered that the stock was way too short for an adult, so I installed the extender pads that came with the rifle.

At first I have put a few Birchwood Casey high visibility 3/8" target dots on paper, but the results with diablo pellets were funny - they did not punch the plastic film from which the dot was made, but instead took the whole dot with it as it punched through the cardboard, making the dot disappear entirely into the box. While this type of shooting is quite amusing on its own, testing a rifle for groups does not work so well, so I switched to a regular 1" bulls eyes.

The result was not so bad. Gamo diablo pellets produced 1/2" or below 5-shot groups at 15 yards. I would attribute some of it to parallax, and some to the pellets. Gamo Master Point pellets produced tighter 4-shot groups - about 3/8" or less - but with fliers that widened the overall group significantly.

Check back for test results with more pellets and a better scope!