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Old 11-24-2011, 04:24 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: northern Chicago suburbs
Posts: 42
Default Review: Daisy 953 vs. Crosman Raven


The rifles in question here are the Daisy 953 and the Crosman Raven.

The Daisy 953 is a single pump pneumatic, and a ghetto version of the 853 and 753. OK, "ghetto version" is not exactly fair, as it is quite well-executed. It's rated at 575 fps by Daisy, which probably means 450 fps in reality. We'll see once I get outdoors with enough light to fire a few across the chrono.

The Crosman Raven is a break-barrel youth airgun with a synthetic thumbhole stock rated by Crosman at 675 fps. Lots of folks who have them say that 640 fps is attainable with realistic pellets.

Here are a couple of side-by-side shots, Daisy on the top:

(All ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being perfect and 1 being pitiful)
Fit & Finish:
Daisy: 4
Crosman: 3

The molding seams on the Daisy are smoother overall. The place where I go to rest my cheek on the Crosman is kind of sharp. Not dangerously so, or even what I would call annoying, but they definitely didn't consider shooter comfort much here. When I broke the Crosman open, there was a bit of brown stuff on the breech. Could have been a spot of rust or dried up packing oil. It's mostly gone now, after 30 shots or so.

To be fair, the first 953 I received didn't work at all, due to a finishing issue. Something in the breech of the barrel was preventing the chambering of a pellet. I had to send it back to Daisy. They were most cooperative though, and sent me a new one that had been tested first. I got it a week later. If not for this, the Daisy would be closer to a 5.

After several shots with each gun, they are starting to smooth out already. The Crosman's a little quieter than initially, and the trigger, pump, and bolt actions on the Daisy are smoother.

Daisy: 5
Crosman: 3

Predictable, I guess. The Crosman's a springer, which makes it louder to the shooter especially, and a bit louder to bystanders too. It's also a good bit more powerful, so it is a fair trade-off. With the Daisy, there's only the sound of the air being released. The assembly at the end of the barrel on the Daisy is a front sight, weight, and barrel shroud all rolled into one. It seems to be held on with a couple of set screws at the bottom of it. On the Crosman, that part is not deep enough to provide any sound dampening, but the crown of the muzzle is recessed enough to protect it from being damaged.

Power: (relative to the size and cocking/pumping effort of the guns)
Daisy: 4
Crosman: 5

Again, I haven't chrono'd them yet, from reading about others' results, I can expect the Crosman to have a solid 150 fps advantage over the Daisy. To be fair, the Daisy is an affordable version of their pro-grade single pump pneumatic 10m target rifles, while the Crosman is intended to be more of an all-around gun.

When I googled up the Daisy prior to purchase, I found that a couple of blokes on an airgun forum from either New Zealand or Australia found that the Daisy is adequate for taking smaller birds at short distances. Around here, that may be frowned upon by some, but a clean kill is a clean kill, and this rifle certainly seems to have the accuracy to put the pellets where desired.

With the Crosman, there's no doubt that it is strong enough to take any bird up to probably seagull or crow size out to probably 30 yards. Probably squirrels and rabbits too.

The power thing of course relates to trajectory. I'd give the Daisy the nod for accuracy inside of 25 yards, and the Crosman the nod out to probably 50 yards, due to its flatter trajectory.

Daisy: 4
Crosman: 3

The Daisy's trigger is about par for the course for a pneumatic airgun. It has a slightly better pull than that of my old Crosman 66 PowerMaster, and my new Crosman 1377. It is quite notably better than that of the Crosman Raven. The trigger of the Raven is not bad. It does break cleanly, instead of pulling through a huge amount of overtravel, with no idea of where it is going to break, like a lot of the (other) Chinese made guns. However, the pull is kind of heavy. On this scale, I'd rate the GRTIII trigger in my Stoeger X20 a 5. I'm sure real target triggers are better, but those would have to be off *this scale. For another point of reference, the stock trigger on my X20 would have been a 2. Daisy has textured the face of the trigger on this gun, and I wish they'd have refrained from doing so, and just made it either flat with radiused edges, or with a gentle curve. No one really has problems with his finger slipping off the trigger, do they?

The reach to the Crosman's trigger is very short. I have small hands for an adult man, and it was quiet clumsy to try to squeeze the Crosman's trigger with the pad of my trigger finger. I found it was better for me to use the pad inside the first joint. This didn't seem to hurt accuracy, but I'll have to shoot it more to be sure.

The trigger reach on the Daisy is fine for adults and larger kids.

Daisy: 4
Crosman: 3

As mentioned earlier, the Daisy's is either molded more precisely, or finished better. Both of them have a shortish length of pull. On the Crosman, I get the impression it was to make the gun child-friendly. On the Daisy, I got the impression is is because it is a target gun. (but probably also to make it kid-friendly)

Ironically, the Crosman was easier to hold offhand standing, because the shape of the stock lets me really keep my forward arm close to my body. The fore-end can be gripped right in front of the trigger; no pumping handle's in the way. My trigger arm was out like a bird's wing on both rifles, but this didn't seem to affect accuracy. Maybe I'm just not a good enough shot?

Daisy: 5/5
Crosman: 4/5

Again, let me temper this by saying I only got to shoot one 10 yard group with the Daisy, and several 5 yard groups with each gun. Either the Daisy is slightly more inherently accurate, or just easier to shoot accurately. Also, let's remember that as the range increases beyond 25-35 yards, the Crosman will probably become the more accurate gun. But at 10 yards, the Daisy has a clear advantage. The Daisy also has a fixed barrel, which means it never changes alignment. When using sights, this wouldn't be a problem with the Crosman, since they both move with the barrel. But when going to a scope, droop or play can theoretically come into play. (although this sample had a nice, tight lock-up)

Daisy: 5/5
Crosman: 5/5

These are both going for about $70. They're both quite nice for that price, and I won't be surprised if I find that I can shoot tighter groups with either of these guns than I can with my X20 with the GRTIII trigger. The power of the Crosman, compared to its compact size and ease of cocking are where it stands out. It can double as a close range small game hunter or pester. For the Daisy, it is the accuracy and level of finish. The Daisy can probably double as a pester at close range and with good shot placement.

Daisy: 2/5
Crosman: 4/5

Both of these guns have fiber optic sights. On the Daisy, the square edges of the sights are mostly invisible. The shooter has to go solely based on the position of the three dots to one another. Also, the Daisy's sights are mounted on that barrel weight, which can rotate.

On the Crosman, the sights are brighter and bigger, and they don't preclude a proper sight picture either. This gun will be quite shootable with the stock open sights. On the Daisy, one should plan on adding a scope or diopter sights right away for any kind of precision shooting. The stockers are OK for plinking.

The Crosman has standard 11mm grooves milled into the steel receiver. The Daisy has them molded into the solid plastic receiver. (I think it is plastic, it may be cast metal?) Either of them will probably work fine. It is worth noting that the Daisy can use any old piece of &^^& scope, since it generates zero recoil, while the Crosman will need an airgun rated scope.
"Well begun is half done." - Aristotle
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Old 11-24-2011, 04:40 PM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: northern Chicago suburbs
Posts: 42
Default Part II


I took a LOT of pictures of these two guns, so rather than clog up this thread, I'll just post a link to the appropriate Photobucket album and let you browse through them there:

The barrel of the Crosman is coated in plastic, so for most of the exterior, at least, corrosion will not be an issue. Just keep an eye on the base of the barrel at the hinge.

The Daisy includes a single loading insert and a 5-shot clip. 5-packs of 5-shot clips are available for about $6. The clip works great, and it equalizes the shot-to-shot times on these guns: The Crosman only needs to be broken open, a pellet loaded, and closed again, and it is ready. The Daisy needs to have its bolt pulled back, the rifle pumped once, and the bolt moved forward. I really like these clips. They're cheap, yet they work well. Insert the pellet and push it just below flush with the tip of a finger. (not a fingernail; this will put a kink in the pellet's skirt and hurt accuracy) I also tried the included single shot tray, and it doesn't work as well as the clips. When the bolt is pushed forward, the head of the pellet tends to aim upwards and catch up. It is really not worth using unless you're shooting single shots of many different types of pellets.

Daisy: 3
Crosman: 4

As mentioned earlier, the Crosman can shoot targets, plink, AND be used on small game and pests at short ranges. The Daisy... less so on that last point.

Daisy: 5
Crosman: 4

Looking just at the pure numbers above, the Daisy would be the clear winner. But if we weighted the numbers, they'd be a tie, because the Crosman is more versatile on account of its extra power. If I were to compare the Daisy 953 to the Ruger Explorer/Xisico B-16 or even the IZH-61, I think the Daisy would be the one I'd pick. Without the power advantage, there's really no point in choosing a springer in this velocity class of gun. Just remove gun movement and barrel alignment from the equation, and one is better off. When choosing, think of your use. If you can hit the live target with the Raven, it has more power, and is therefore more versatile. But if the extra accuracy of the Daisy somes in to play... Look at it this way. Would you rather take a head shot on a starling with the Daisy at 450 fps, or a body shot with the Crosman at 550 fps? That's what it boils down to, because the Daisy is twice as accurate as the Crosman.

Chrono Results:
I haven't tested every pellet, but I've tested everything from medium to heavy. I haven't tried anything in the 4-6.9 window, or anything above 10.7 gr. It is enough, I hope, to give you a good idea of where these guns will shoot with your favorite pellets.

Gun * * * * * * * * * *Pellet * * * * * * * * * * Velocity (fps)

Raven * * * * * * * * *CPL * * * * * * * * * * * *578
Raven * * * * * * * * *CPHP * * * * * * * * * * *567
Raven * * * * * * * * *Hobby * * * * * * * * * *606
Raven * * * * * * * * *Kodiak (10.65) * * * * 468
Raven * * * * * * * * *H&N FTTP * * * * * * * 536
Raven * * * * * * * * *JSB Exact * * * * * * * *586
Raven * * * * * * * * *JSB Exact RS * * * * * 634
Raven * * * * * * * * *Beeman Laser * * * * *641
Raven * * * * * * * * *Beeman Pointed * * * 548

953 * * * * * * * * * * CPL * * * * * * * * * * * *419
953 * * * * * * * * * * CPHP * * * * * * * * * * *411
953 * * * * * * * * * * Hobby * * * * * * * * * *436
953 * * * * * * * * * * Kodiak (10.65) * * * * 356
953 * * * * * * * * * * H&N FTTP * * * * * * * 394
953 * * * * * * * * * * JSB Exact * * * * * * * *421
953 * * * * * * * * * * JSB Exact RS * * * * * 459
953 * * * * * * * * * * Beeman Laser * * * * *477
953 * * * * * * * * * * Beeman Pointed * * * 406
953 * * * * * * * * * * Skenco Poly Match * *doesn't fit, too long
953 * * * * * * * * * * Crosman SSP (4 gr.) 565
953 * * * * * * * * * * Daisy Precision Max * 435
* * * * * * * * * * * * *pointed (7.1 gr.) * * *

I can heartily recommend either of these guns... so far!

At 5 yards, I had my best rest for the guns. At this range, with Beeman Lasers and RWS Hobbys, the Daisy 953 averaged 0.36", center-to-center, 5-shot groups.

Same rest (loose) with the same pellets for the Raven yielded an average of 0.54"

Ease of accuracy:
Daisy: 10/10
Crosman: 6/10

It took me a while to figure it out, but the Crosman is hold sensitive, while the Daisy is not. It is a lot easier to shoot tight groups with the Daisy as a result.
"Well begun is half done." - Aristotle
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Old 11-24-2011, 04:43 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: northern Chicago suburbs
Posts: 42

This is a quick video clip of my friend Leila (whom I've since sold the Raven to) shooting it at a gong at 85 yards. Click on the still frame to open a new tab in Photobucket, which will play the video.

"Well begun is half done." - Aristotle
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Old 12-26-2011, 04:30 PM   #4
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Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 431

Great video and pics. How about posting some more.
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:28 PM   #5
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Northern NY
Posts: 20

Thanks for the great review! we don't see enough on these low priced guns!
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