Posts Tagged ‘Daisy 499’
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
M1 Carbine on top and Crosman M1 Carbine below. A realistic copy!
Today, we’ll test the Crosman M1 Carbine BB gun for accuracy. I pulled out all the stops, plus I shot a comparison group with a Daisy Avanti Champion 499 BB gun for comparison.
I fired all targets from 15 feet, which is the NRA distance for BB gun competition. Daisy uses 5 meters, which is about 16 feet, 6-and-a-fraction inches, but the NRA standardized on 15 feet many years ago and hasn’t changed. They don’t hold any significant competitions that I am aware of, while Daisy hosts the International BB Gun Championships every year. But since the gun I’m testing was never meant for competition, I felt the shorter distance would suffice.
I shot the gun from a rest using the artillery hold to take myself out of the picture. The target was well lit, and the Crosman M1 Carbine has an adjustable peep sight at the rear, so the sighting system is pretty advanced.
Daisy Premium Grade zinc-plated BBs
The first BB was the Daisy Premium Grade zinc-plated BB. You saw how these compare to the Umarex precision BBs in Part 2 of this report. Nine of the 10 BBs landed in 1.354 inches and were slightly low and to the right of center. But 1 of the 10 shots strayed up and to the right, opening this group to 5.148 inches between centers. No shot was a called flier.
I expected results that were like the 9 shots. I did not expect any wild shots like this one!
Okay, so maybe the Umarex BBs would do better in this gun. Remember, I’m shooting off a rest at 15 feet.
Umarex Precision BBs
Next, I loaded 10 Umarex Precision steel BBs and tried a second group on a fresh target. I can’t tell you how large this group is because 2 of the BBs missed the target trap and hit the backer board I put up to protect the wall. I know one of them was high because it passed through a piece of cardboard I had taped to the target trap. The 8 shots that landed on the target paper made a group measuring 3.046 inches between centers. It’s impossible to know how large the actual group was since 1 of the BBs left no record whatsoever.
Wow! This wasn’t the way I remembered the M1 Carbine! I knew you would have a lot of questions for me. So, I decided to do something about it.
Avanti Precision Ground Shot
I also tried the Avanti Precision Ground shot that Daisy sells for the Avanti Champion 499 BB gun. This shot is very uniform in size and measures 0.1739 inches with my micrometer. That’s considerably larger than either of the other 2 BBs I shot.
This time, all 10 BBs hit the paper and made a group measuring 3.681 inches between centers. That is the best group of all 3 BBs tried. But it wasn’t good enough for me. Shooting 3 inches at 15 feet is something I never want to do because I know I’m better than that. How much better? Well, I had to find out.
Avanti Champion 499 BB gun
I next shot a group in the same way but with the Avanti Champion 499 BB gun — the world’s most accurate BB gun. Naturally, I used the Avanti Precision Ground shot since it’s the only BB developed specifically for this gun.
This time, 10 shots went into 0.328 inches. They were a little high and right on the target, which means I need to adjust the rear sight just a little, but I’m pleased with the group size. It came after firing 30 aimed shots, so I was starting to get tired, if anything.
The Crosman M1 Carbine is not as accurate as I remembered. I expected to put 10 shots into 1.5 inches or better, and that didn’t happen with any BB — not even the Precision Ground shot. I think I’ve shot 5-shot groups with this BB gun in the past, and that may have given me false expectations.
Still, the Crosman M1 Carbine is a wonderful BB gun from the standpoint of realism and power. It comes from a time I fear we will never see again, and I lament the end of the era that produced such a fine BB gun.
by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Happy Thanksgiving! This is the day Americans set aside to remember the things we’re thankful for as we eat a feast of traditional turkey.
A couple days ago, blog reader Rob asked for my list of most-favorite spring guns and why they’re my favorites, so I thought today would be a good day to do that. So, here goes. I’m doing only the springers, because that’s what he asked for. What you’re about to read is by no means a complete list of airguns that I like.
Diana model 27
I bought my first Diana model 27 air rifle from a pawn shop in Radcliff, Kentucky, when I was stationed at Fort Knox in the 1970s. It was tired-looking and rusty but still shot like every 27 does — smooth and straight. This one was a Hy Score 807. I never tuned it because I didn’t know about such things in those days. I just shot it offhand as a plinker. That rifle cocked so easily that shooting it was like eating peanuts — I just couldn’t stop! I never did figure out the trigger, though. It wasn’t until I read the owner’s manual for a Diana 35 about 20 years later that I figured out how to adjust the trigger on this rifle. Today, I own 2 model 27 rifles and a model 25 rifle that I’ve been testing. And these are some of my favorite airguns.
Because of my involvement with airguns, I’ve owned quite a few target air rifles over the years. There have been some real beauties, including FWB 150 rifles, Diana 75 airguns and Anschütz 250 air rifles. Because I’m always buying and selling, there have been several of each. But the FWB 300S, which I got a couple years ago from my good friend Mac, has come to stay. That’s because it’s the most accurate air rifle I’ve ever owned. By “most accurate,” I’m being extremely critical. I’m talking about the last thousandth of an inch. I have other 10-meter air rifles that are very accurate — and over the years, I’ve had many more that were also very accurate — but for some reason, this particular rifle is the best one I’ve come across.
Okay, here’s where I’ll have a problem as a writer. I’ve just said the FWB 300S is the most accurate air rifle I’ve ever owned, yet this R8 is a phenomenal shooter, as well. You last saw it in the report titled First shot: Yes or no?, where I fired 10 first shots at 25 yards to see how accurate they would be. But I did a three-part report for you back in 2010, where I showed the rifle to you. This rifle was a special gift that came at a particularly rough time in my life, and just the thought that came with it is enough to make it a favorite. But the way this finely-tuned rifle shoots makes it a keeper on its own merits. It cocks easily and puts each pellet exactly where I want it to go. The Tyrolean stock fits me very well, and I just smile every time I pick this one up. I cannot say enough good things about it. I’ve never even seen a plain Beeman R8 before, so I have no idea if they’re worthwhile or not. All I know is that this tuned one is a keeper!
I bought the Whiscombe air rifle to use as a testbed for airgun articles, and that’s how it’s been used over the years. You’ve seen it several times — most recently in the 11-part Pellet velocity versus accuracy test. Unlike my other favorites, I don’t shoot the Whiscombe that often. The size and weight of the rifle plus the need to cock the underlever three times per shot makes it less than convenient. But I rely on it a lot and would not like to be without it.
Air Arms TX200 Mark III
One spring rifle I own and love that is still available new is a TX200 Mark III. The Air Arms TX200 is simply the finest spring rifle being made today, in my opinion. It’s heavy and can be considered hard to cock; but it has the best trigger on the market, and the rifle is deadly accurate. This is another air rifle I don’t shoot a lot anymore, but that’s because I’m always testing something else. There is no time left to enjoy the stuff I really like. This is the last spring rifle I used for field target competition; and as far as I know, it’s second to none in that capacity. The thing I like best about the TX200 is that I know I can recommend it to someone and they won’t be disappointed. Right out of the box, it shoots like a finely tuned air rifle.
Daisy has changed the name of this BB gun several times over the years, but the Avanti Champion 499 is the gun I’m talking about. It’s a BB gun that can put 10 shots through a quarter-inch hole at the regulation competition distance of five meters — offhand! Like the TX200, the 499 is still available and is one of the best buys in airgundom, in my opinion. Adults can shoot it and have as much fun as the kids for whom it was built.
Air Venturi Bronco
I would be remiss if I didn’t include the Air Venturi Bronco on my list. This is a rifle I had a hand in creating, and I did so with the Diana 27 in mind. I wanted a modern rifle that incorporated as many of the 27′s fine features as possible and still held the price low enough to enjoy. The Bronco certainly is that rifle. The two-bladed trigger is especially clever and tells the shooter exactly when the shot is going off. I know some folks don’t like the blonde stock or the Western lines, but I personally like both features. There are too many air rifles with muddy brown stocks on the market, and every one of them seems to have a Monte Carlo comb. But not the Bronco. It’s an individual air rifle that stands on its own.
The one that got away
There’s always at least one, isn’t there? This one came and delighted me while I had it. It’s the Sterling HR-81 that I got in trade at the Roanoke airgun show. It wasn’t working well when I got it, but Vince fixed it for me; and afterward, it was a wonderful shooter. This rifle had sights that were cheap and prone to break, and the ones on my gun were already gone when I got it. But a scope fit well, and the low recoil of the gun made securing it to the rifle an easy task. The trigger is light and (after Vince looked at it) crisp.
The firing behavior is good, though the rifle has a pronounced forward jump. Besides that, the rifle lies dead in the hand when it fires. And the accuracy is quite surprising — fully equal to my Beeman R8. When you cock the underlever, the spring-loaded bolt pops open giving access to the loading trough, making loading very easy and convenient.
What the future holds
I currently have the Falke 90 stock being restored, which will be a blog of its own. If the job turns out well, I can see that rifle becoming a favorite. It started as a gun that was practically forced on me at an airgun show. It was so dog-ugly that despite the extreme rarity (fewer than 200 are believed to have been produced) that even collectors who know very well what it’s worth declined to even make an offer on it when I had it for sale at this year’s Roanoke show. So I thought, what the heck, I’ll have it restored and then we’ll see what people think. Blog reader Kevin turned me on to a wonderful stock restorer who has the entire rifle now. There are a huge number of critical faults with the stock, so he’s really up against it; but if he can do even half of what I see he’s done for other damaged stocks, this project will turn out very well.
What I didn’t include
What about the Beeman R1? I wrote a book about it, for gosh sakes. Surely, it has to be one of my favorites! Sorry to disappoint, but no, it isn’t. I still like it a lot, but it isn’t the gun I pick up when I want to have fun.
What about an HW55? They’re so accurate! Why aren’t they on the list? Don’t know, for sure. They just aren’t.
OMG — I overlooked the FWB 124! No, I didn’t. I thought about it a lot, and it just didn’t make the cut.
Rob asked me for my favorite spring airguns, and I’ve listed them. Maybe I forgot one, but I don’t think so. No, there aren’t any spring-piston pistols that I consider to be favorites.
Among my firearms, I have several rifles that are tackdrivers. Then there’s my dog-ugly, but nearly-new No. 4 Enfield. It’s not super-accurate and certainly no beauty. But for some reason, I can’t bear to part with it. So, it remains in my collection, getting shot once a year or so. Something I can’t define makes it a favorite, and I guess that will just have to suffice.
I have one last thing to say. Two years ago, I was recovering from a serious illness that brought me pretty close to the brink. I still had a drain in my pancreas, and there was an undiscovered hernia festering in me that wouldn’t surface until the night I was due to fly to the 2011 SHOT Show. My eyesight was degraded from dehydration and serious anemia, plus I was suffering from undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes. In short, it was a bad time.
You readers banded together and supported Edith and me for the long months it took to get through this tunnel of horrors. You put up with a lot, and we owe all of you a debt of gratitude that cannot be repaid. For what you all did for us, we are very thankful.
by B.B. Pelletier
I’m now back home. My surgery was successful, and I’m on the mend and on the road to complete health. While I’m tired, I feel better and have more energy than when I was in the hospital. I’ll be able to address some blog questions but not all. I’d sure appreciate any help our regular blog readers could give in answering some of the questions.
A fair question to ask is why roundballs are not as accurate in smoothbores as they are in rifles. While it may seem counterintuitive to most people that a spherical object could need stability in flight, in fact it does. When you spin a spherical object, you’re promoting stability by averaging the instability in the object. Here’s what I mean by that. When you spin a sphere, you set up an arbitrary north-south pole. And, whether or not the object is fully stabilized by this spin, it’s more stable than if it had no spin at all. That’s because you’re making the heavier and lighter parts of the sphere rotate around the spin axis.
Now, to be sure, there’ll be one spin axis that every sphere likes better than any other, but the probability of you finding that axis when loading a sphere into a rifle is quite small. The Earth isn’t stable. It precesses the axis around an arc of 22.1 to 24.5 degrees every 26,000 years.
Something probably closer to home, at least for those in the U.S., would me a major league baseball pitcher who throws a leather-covered spheroid in a certain way to make it do specific things. For example, if he rotates it fast around the axis of the seams, he creates a low-pressure area on one side of the baseball. That causes the baseball to move in a certain direction that we’ve come to call a curve ball. But, this same trick can be used on other axes to cancel drag; and when that happens, the pitcher throws a fast ball.
But this isn’t a lesson on the Earth or baseballs. We’re talking about round spherical objects shot from guns. What can you expect from them? Well, one thing we’ve recently learned from the unusual world of airsoft is how to throw a fast ball. I don’t mean a baseball-type fast ball, I mean a perfectly smooth spherical shape thrown as a fast ball. We simply stop the top of the ball from moving as it goes down the barrel, which makes the bottom of the ball spin upwards. The ball then goes straight much farther and doesn’t curve to the left or right. This is what hop-up does. But, we don’t have hop-up BB guns except for a few that are now being produce with the BAXS-type hop-up. While it may be interesting to pursue that technology in relation to BB accuracy, that’s not what I want to do in today’s report. I want to talk about what people have been doing all along to get an accurate smoothbore BB gun.
Back before the Daisy 499 came out, there were two other models that were used for the International BB Gun Championships. Both were Daisys, and one was the model 99 and the other was the model 299. While I’ve never owned a 299, I have owned a 99 and can tell you that it’s about as accurate as the recent Chinese-made Daisy No. 25 I tested, i.e., it could group 10 shots inside an inch at 15 feet. But, that falls far short of what we know is possible, so what’s made the difference?
Coaches used to run through their shot tubes and test each of them in their guns and return them to Daisy for other shot tubes when they wouldn’t hold a certain level of accuracy. This got to be so prevalent that Daisy caught on and figured out what they were doing was looking for the shot tubes that were the best fit to the BB. By “best fit,” I mean two things. They were the tightest and they were the most uniform. So, Daisy undertook the design of a radical new BB gun — the one that was to become famous at the “the world’s most accurate BB gun.”
The 499 is unique in that it’s one of the few BB guns that have been made in recent years as a single-shot. It’s also a muzzleloader. When a BB is dropped down the muzzle, it can take 3-5 seconds to roll all the way down the bore to the magnetic seat at the bottom. So, we know the bore is tight. The muzzle velocity is in the 250 fps range, which tells us that high velocity is not a requirement for close-range accuracy. But, the fit of the BB to the bore of the gun certainly is.
I’m telling you this because I’ve recently discovered that the new RWS BBs that are so smooth on the outside are also slightly larger than the Avanti Precision Ground Shot made for the 499. So, I intend to conduct a side-by-side accuracy test between them and the Daisy shot. I’ll test them in a 499 and also in the new No. 25 pump gun that we now know is so accurate. This should be a very interesting and thought-provoking test.
But, that’s not really what this report is about, is it? The title says “roundball accuracy in smoothbores.” I’ve told you this before, but here’s a reminder that in the mid-19th century, there was a club in Ohio that attempted to see what type of accuracy they could get from roundball shooters in smoothbore guns. I don’t have a lot of data on their success, but I believe we’re talking about a couple of inches at 50 yards. Of course, the tightness of the patch would be a factor, the positioning and size of the sprue (the small flat spot left by the cut-off plate used to cast the ball) would matter as well as the homogeneity of the ball itself. That is, there should be no air voids or deposits of crystalized metal inside the lead ball.
For many years, I’ve given some thought to testing a round lead ball shooter. However, if a more homogeneous steel ball is available, I don’t want to waste my time chasing homemade artifacts over which I have little control except for sorting. So, it may be that we have a super-accurate BB that can now answer the question, “Can a roundball be accurate in a smoothbore barrel?” Or, perhaps, the better question is, “How accurate can a roundball be in a smoothbore?”