B.B.'s Treasure Chest - The Daisy Avanti Champion Model 499
By B.B. Pelletier
Today is the longest day and shortest night of the year - in the Northern Hemisphere, at least.
Moms and dads - if you have children to train, this one's for you!
Daisy leads the world in BB gun training
In 1959, Daisy introduced their first specialized BB gun to support the shooter education program. The model 99 was a gravity-feed gun in the first year and held 850 shots. Then, the design was changed to a 50-shot forced-feed magazine similar to that found in a model 25 pump gun. Those gravity-feed variations command a small collector's premium today because of their scarcity.
The model 99 has an inexpensive peep sight that stays put by friction when adjusted. Some versions also had a cloth sling that was nearly worthless for any use.
Over the years, there were several configurations of the model 99, but they were all basically the same gun. Though it looked the part of a target rifle, it really wasn't, and coaches all around America clamored to Daisy for something better. In 1980, they got it - the 499. Known as "The world's most accurate BB gun," the 499 soon lived up to its name by revolutionizing BB gun accuracy.
It's a muzzleloading single-shot
The Daisy 499 is not a general purpose BB gun, despite how it looks. For starters, it's a single-shot that's loaded through the muzzle. One BB is dropped into the wide funnel-like muzzle to find its way down to the true barrel. The barrel is a precision tube, and it takes a BB several seconds to roll down because of the air it displaces as it goes. It hits the bottom with an audible click because of a magnetic shot seat.
After loading, the gun is cocked. This is when you notice the incredibly light effort needed to work the plastic lever. No BB gun ever cocked so easily! There IS a safety on the right side of the receiver. But to their credit, Daisy made it a manual type, so you aren't bothered by it. Safeties on target arms are next to useless, because safety on a formal range is ensured by the vigilance of the range officer and all shooters following range safety procedures.
It has peep sights for proper target training
If you're going to train your kids to shoot targets, do it right with peep sights. They're easier than open sights and almost as easy as scopes, which is why most armies have used them on their battle rifles for the past half-century and longer. All the shooter has to do is look through the rear aperture and center the bullseye in the front ring.
You'll be surprised by the accuracy!
The 499 is made for shooting at 5 meters, which is 16.4 feet. At that range, you should be able to shoot 10 shots into a group the size of a dime from the standing position. With practice, that group will shrink to the size of a pencil eraser.
Other stuff you need besides the gun
Always wear safety glasses when shooting anything, and especially a BB gun! Real targets are a must with this gun because the slow-moving BB will only tear a piece of copier paper. You'll never know where it went through. Finally, you need a good BB trap. I like Crosman's model 850 BB trap, which stands up to a lot of shots from a gun like the 499.
Don't forget BBs
You need ammo, and I recommend Daisy BBs to go with a Daisy gun. A box of 1,500 should last a long time.
A lot of fun for under $100
Although the 499 was developed for young shooters, plenty of oldsters shoot it, too. In fact, as long as you have a good trap to catch all those BBs, this is the nicest indoor airgun made. I think you'll be very surprised by the accuracy.