Posts Tagged ‘Daisy zinc-plated BBs’

Legends C96 CO2 BB pistol: Part 4

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

C96 BB pistol
Umarex Legends C96 BB pistol.

Today is a special test of the C96, requested by blog reader RidgeRunner and seconded by several others. You want to see if the pistol will be more accurate with Daisy’s Avanti Precision Ground Shot, which is made expressly for the Avanti Champion 499 BB gun. More accurate than what? More accurate than the best BB tested in Part 3, which turned out to be the Daisy Premium Grade zinc-plated BBs that shot the tightest groups with this pistol?

Velocity first
We know that the Daisy Premium Grade BB averaged 395 f.p.s. with a total velocity spread of 18 f.p.s. (from 386 f.p.s. to 404 f.p.s.). RidgeRunner suspected the Precision Ground Shot would be faster in this pistol because it’s usually slightly larger and also more uniform. So, I first shot it over the chronograph.

Avanti Precision Ground Shot averaged 381 f.p.s. on a fresh CO2 cartridge. The velocity spread was 19 f.p.s., with a low of 371 f.p.s and a high of 390 f.p.s. The spread was 1 f.p.s. larger with this shot than with the Daisy Premium Grade BBs, and the average velocity was 14 f.p.s. slower. So, that part of the theory didn’t test out.

On to the accuracy test
I offered to do a blind test, but RidgeRunner trusted me to try my hardest with each BB: and that’s good because there’s a definite difference in appearance between the Premium Grade BBs and the Precision Ground Shot. The latter are not as shiny and appear more silver than steel in color than the Premium Grade BBs. I would have known which BB I was shooting.

The distance was the same 5 meters that was used for the first test, and I used the back of a chair to steady my hands as I held the pistol, just like I did before. This resulted in a very stable hold for every shot.

Daisy Premium Grade BBs
I shot 2 groups of 10 with each BB. The first group of Daisy Premium Grade BBs measured 1.115 inches between centers. Two BBs landed outside the black bull. The second group measured 0.644 inches between centers. That’s almost half the size of the first group, so you can see how much latittude there is with BBs — even at 5 meters.

C96 CO2 BB pistol Daisy Premium BB first group
Ten Daisy Premium Grade BBs went into this 1.115-inch group at 5 meters.

C96 CO2 BB pistol Daisy Premium BB second group
These 10 Daisy Premium Grade BBs went into a tight 0.644-inch group at 5 meters. This is the second-best group in this series.

Avanti Precision Ground Shot
Now, it’s time to test the Avanti Precision Ground Shot. This shot is ground to work best in the 499 BB gun, only. But you readers wondered if it would also be more accurate in the C96 BB pistol. To test that theory, I shot another 2 groups of 10 shots each at the same 5 meters. The first group measured 0.954 inches between centers. One BB was outside the black, and 2 more were right on the edge.

The second group I shot with this ammunition measured 0.556 inches between centers. It’s the smallest group of this session and would seem to lend credence to the Precision Ground Shot being more accurate than the Daisy Premium Grade BBs. However, the difference in group sizes of the 2 different BBs is not so great as to be overwhelming. Yes, both groups with Precision Ground Shot are tighter than the corresponding 2 groups made with the Daisy Premium Grade BBs, but the differences are not large. I don’t think they justify shooting the Precision Ground Shot in the pistol since they cost roughly 2.5 times more.

C96 CO2 BB pistol Avanti Precision Ground Shot first group
These 10 Daisy Avanti Precision Ground Shot went into a 0.954-inch group at 5 meters.

C96 CO2 BB pistol Avanti Precision Ground Shot second group
These 10 Avanti Precision Ground Shot went into an ultra-tight 0.556-inch group at 5 meters. This is the best group in this series.

Conclusions
The Avanti shot went slower than the Daisy Premium Grade BBs and also varied more. However, the difference wasn’t much in either category.

The Avanti shot also appears to be slightly more accurate than the Daisy Premium Grade BBs. Again, the difference is very small, but it is there.

I’m surprised by these results. I predicted the Avanti shot would be faster because of its slightly larger size, but that it wouldn’t be any more accurate. So, I was wrong on both counts. I don’t think the difference between the two types of ammunition weighs in favor of using the Avanti shot in this gun, but it’s really a call the owner of the gun needs to make.

My thanks to RidgeRunner and others who asked for this test.

Legends C96 CO2 BB pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

C96 BB pistol
Umarex Legends C96 BB pistol.

Today, we’ll look at the accuracy of the Legends C96 CO2 BB pistol, and I can sum it up in a single word: Spectacular! Those who like accurate BB pistols will want to put this one on their list.

I shoot all BB guns at 5 meters, which is about 16 feet, 5 inches. While that sounds incredibly close, it is the distance at which the Daisy National BB Gun Championship is shot; and if it’s good enough for the champions, it’s good enough for me. Besides, testing all BB guns at the same distance gives consistent results that can be compared across many tests.

I shot this test with my forearms rested on the back of a wooden chair, and the gun held in 2 hands. That eliminated as much of me as possible, giving the pistol a fair chance to shoot its best.

I used 50-foot smallbore rifle targets whose black bulls are almost 1.5 inches across. At 5 meters, they make perfect aim points for open sights. The C96 has a tapered post front sight and a V-notch in the rear. When the target is illuminated with 500 watts of halogen light, the sight picture becomes sharp and crisp, and sighting can be precise.

Daisy Premium Grade BBs
The first target was shot with Daisy Premium Grade zinc-plated BBs. The very first shot hit at the extreme bottom of the paper target, and I discovered one of the great features of this pistol. It has a tangent rear sight like the firearm it copies, and it was easy to raise the rear notch up just a bit. By sheer luck I got the elevation almost perfect on the first try, so I left the sights alone after that.

C96 BB pistol rear sight
The rear ramp is easy to elevate, just like on the firearm. You can see the sloped surface the sight adjuster rides up as it moves forward.

The next 9 BBs went into a shockingly small group, so I loaded one more BB into the magazine to make up for the first shot that was low. When I fired it, it was the only Daisy BB to hit outside the black after the sight adjustment. The 10-shot group measures 0.852 inches between centers. I think you’ll agree this is a very nice group of 10 from any BB pistol!

C96 BB pistol Daisy BB group
Ten Daisy Premium-Grade BBs made this 0.852-inch group at 5 meters. Notice the first BB that landed very low.

Crosman Copperhead
Next up were Crosman Copperhead BBs. They hit the target in the same place as the Daisys, and the 10-shot group measures 0.937 inches, which isn’t much different than what the Daisy BBs did.

C96 BB pistol Copperhead BB group
Ten Crosman Copperhead BBs made this 0.937-inch group at 5 meters. As with the Daisys, one BB is outside the black bull.

Umarex Precision Steel BBs
Finally, I tried the Umarex Precision steel BBs. They rival the Daisys in precision and this time that was evident. Ten of them went into 0.863 inches, with nine of them in a much tighter bunch. Like the other 2 BBs, these also threw a single BB into the white.

C96 BB pistol Umarex BB group
Ten Umarex Precision Steel BBs made this 0.863-inch group at 5 meters. It’s only slightly larger than the Daisy group.

Sight adjustment
Like the Mauser firearm it copies, this BB pistol has no provision for windage adjustments. Both the Mauser firearms I owned shot about a foot to the left at 25 yards, so I’m used to this. Some older pistols have sights that can at least be drifted to the side in dovetails, but not the Mauser. With this gun, you soon learn to apply Kentucky windage to lay your shots where you want them.

But let’s face it, this isn’t a realistic test for a BB pistol. BB gun shooters plink at cans. They don’t shoot groups at paper targets — at least not often. This pistol is easily a minute-of-Coke-can handgun out to 20 yards.

Firing behavior
I found 2 things about the trigger pull when conducting this test. The first is that the trigger blade is located too close to the grip. That’s a part of the lack of ergonomics that the Broomhandle family of pistols all share, and there’s nothing to be done for it. This BB pistol is a faithful copy of the firearm, including a less-than-optimum grip.

The second thing I noticed was how hard the 2-stage trigger seemed to pull. Looking back at Part 2, I see that I did not measure the pull, so I got out the electronic gauge and measured it this time. Stage 1 requires between 2 and 3 lbs. to complete, and stage 2 breaks at an average of 7 lbs., 11 ozs. The range went from 7 lbs., 1 oz. to 8 lbs., 3 oz.; and the slower and more deliberate the pull, the greater the force required.

Even with that, though, the pistol is blisteringly accurate. And the blowback is pleasant. It’s nothing like the snapping recoil of a 7.63mm Mauser cartridge. So, there’s a benefit of shooting the BB gun over the firearm.

Overall evaluation
Umarex has a winner, here. Their Legends airguns are all remarkable guns, and the C96 takes its place among them proudly. Not only is it realistic-looking, it gets an astounding number of shots per CO2 cartridge; and, as we now see, those shots all go to the same place.

Legends C96 CO2 BB pistol: Part 2

Part 1

C96 BB pistol
Umarex Legends C96 BB pistol.

Let’s look at the velocity of the Legends C96 CO2 BB pistol. It’s advertised at 380 f.p.s., and we know that it has blowback. So, it’ll be interesting to see just how powerful this pistol really is, as well as how many shots it gets.

Crosman Copperhead
The first BB I tested was the Crosman Copperhead. They were tested when the CO2 cartridge was fresh, which boosted their average velocity a few f.p.s. They averaged 402 f.p.s, with a spread from 392 to a high of 409 f.p.s. At the average velocity, Copperheads generated 1.83 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

I found the magazine very easy to load. Pull the follower all the way down and twist the tab into a slot to lock it back, then the BBs are dropped into a trough where an opening dumps them into the single stack slot in the mag. Release the follower, and the gun is loaded. I found the rated capacity of 19 BBs to be spot-on.

Daisy Premium Grade zinc-plated BBs
Next up were Daisy Premium Grade zinc-plated BBs. I though they might be a little faster than the Copperheads, but they weren’t. They averaged 395 f.p.s., with a low of 386 and a high of 404 f.p.s. At the average velocity they produced 1.77 foot-pounds of muzzle energy.

All the time I was chronographing the gun I was also counting all the shots. I noticed that when you load a new magazine, the first shot will always be a blank. That’s because of how the gun’s feed mechanism works. I did count those shots in the total because they used up gas the same as if a BB had been shot.

Umarex Precision steel BBs
The final BBs I tested were the Umarex Precision steel BBs. They averaged 394 f.p.s. with a low of 385 and a high of 404 f.p.s. That parallels the Daisy BBs pretty close. At the average velocity, these BBs produce 1.76 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

During the chronographing session, I was waiting a minimum of 10-15 seconds between shots to allow the gun to recover from the cooling effects of the gas. But after the 3 test strings were finished, I continued shooting Umarex steel BBs to see how many good shots there are on one CO2 cartridge. I went much faster during this shooting, with less than a second between each shot. I think this is closer to the way most shooters will use the gun.

I kept expecting the pistol to run out of gas at any time, and it kept right on shooting and surprising me. Finally, at shot 103, I chronographed an Umarex BB going out at 336 f.p.s. While that is slower than the recorded average, you have to take into account the fact that I was now firing the pistol very fast and allowing it no time to warm up. So, an unexpected finding was that this pistol doesn’t suffer as much from the cooling of the gas as most CO2 guns. There normally would be at least a 100 f.p.s. velocity drop when shooting this fast.

Shot count
Finally, after shot 123, the hammer didn’t cock for the first time. I cocked it manually and kept on shooting, but it failed to cock again after a few more shots. The gun was now out of gas. Had I wanted to get more shots from it, all I needed to do was slow down my shooting to allow more time for the gun to warm up. I think the shot count could easily be stretched out to 140-150 shots that way.

So, the pistol shoots a little faster than advertised, and it gets a very respectable number of shots from a CO2 cartridge. That’s 2 big plusses for the gun.

Next on the schedule is accuracy testing. I’m looking forward to that! I have to tell you that this C96 is a very neat CO2 BB pistol. Of course, it isn’t ergonomic, but neither is the C96 firearm it copies. It’s not supposed to fit you well — it’s supposed to look like the real deal, and I think it does that very well.

Building the $100 precharged pneumatic air rifle: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

$100 PCP
The PCP built on a Crosman 2100B chassis.

Today is Media Day at the range, and I will be shooting many of the new airguns that will be coming out this year, plus a lot of firearms — I hope. Tomorrow the 2014 SHOT Show starts, and there’s a special first-day report all set for you.

Let’s look at the performance of the $100 PCP that big bore airgun maker Dennis Quackenbush created on a Crosman 2100B chassis. I read some comments about the gun in Part 1. Before we get started, I need to address one of them. Some of you say you want a PCP that operates on 100 psi, so you can run it on your shop compressor. Gentlemen — such an airgun doesn’t exist and cannot exist as you envision it. That is simply not enough pressure to push a pellet to the kind of velocities we want. You can shoot t-shirts into the grandstands with that kind of pressure or perhaps run a pneumatic tube delivery system, but not a pellet gun.

I know that the airguns of old used lower pressure than we use today. They got amazing power from 500 to 800 psi. But they weren’t shooting smallbore caliber pellets. They were shooting .40 to .70 caliber round lead balls and they got them up to 450-600 f.p.s. They did that because the area of the projectile is much larger than a .177 pellet, and also because they used very long barrels (30-36 inches).

You can shoot tennis balls with shop air, but not pellets. I did report on a .25-caliber pellet rifle that worked with 800 psi air, but that’s a lot different than 125 psi air. You can’t pressurize air to 800 psi with a shop compressor. So, we’re going to have to confine our research to what is physically possible. I’m not trying to shut you down for thinking outside the box, but this is a very real physical constraint.

On with the test
Today, we’re looking at the velocity of this rifle with air for both pellets and BBs. Pellets are our principal concern, but I’ll test BBs, as well, since they can be used in this airgun.

Dennis told me what the performance curve looked like, but I’m going to approach this as if I know nothing about this gun. Where do I begin? Well, I may not know much about this particular PCP, but I’ve used enough other PCPs that I’m not completely in the dark. I filled the reservoir to 800 psi, as indicated on the gauge of my carbon fiber tank and then started loading Crosman Premier lite pellets and firing through the chronograph.

800 psi
1…..539
2…..509
3…..474
4…..441
5…..409
5…..361
Stop

Okay, the velocity dropped with every shot, so the valve is not on the power curve, yet. It wants to see more air pressure.

1,000 psi
1…..654
2…..634
3…..582
4…..556
5…..525
7…..483
8…..453
9…..417
10…384
11…345
Stop

Look at the velocity increase from just an additional 200 psi of pressure! That’s an indication that we’re quite far from the power curve. It took 5 shots before the rifle was shooting as slow as in the first string, so that extra 200 psi really added shots.

A word about the next part of the test is appropriate. The gauge on my tank doesn’t show even divisions of pressure as closely as I would like. Instead of adding another 200 psi, I found myself guessing that I added another 300 psi. If I had a more accurate gauge, I could do this with greater control; but it’s all going to turn out in the end. You’ll see.

1,300 psi
1…..722
2…..695
3…..659
4…..did not record (DNR)
5…..593
6…..550
7…..516
8…..488
9…..DNR
10…423
11…DNR
12…DNR
13…309
Stop

This was interesting because there wasn’t such a big increase over 1,000 psi as there had been when going from 800 to 1000, despite adding 300 psi rather than 200 psi. It took just 3 shots for the velocity to become equal to the 1,000 psi string (compare shot 3 from this string to the first shot of the previous string). The extra air pressure isn’t doing as much as it did before.

1,500 psi
1…..791
2…..765
3…..751
4…..DNR
5…..706
6…..677
7…..645
8…..605
9…..570
10…542
11…500
12…466
13…428
14…DNR
15…357
Stop

1,800 psi
1…..808
2…..796
3…..786
4…..763
5…..753
6…..721
7…..699
8…..661
9…..625
10…600
11…566
12…524
13…DNR
14…442
15…405
16…366
Stop

Okay, look at the first 5 shots in this string. See how little velocity they lose compared to the first shots in previous strings? That’s significant. It means the valve is beginning to operate more efficiently at this pressure level. Dennis told me that when he reached 1,800 psi, the rifle stabilized for him, as well. What we don’t know and cannot know for sure is what pressure either Dennis or I actually used because neither of us has a calibrated pressure gauge. We’re just guessing based on the inexpensive small gauges that come with all pressure tanks. But, whatever the exact numbers are, they’re pretty much in the same ballpark.

We have a PCP that operates at 1,800 psi — or so. But when I say “operate,” it isn’t really operating the way we want a PCP to operate. We want to see a nice string of shots that are fairly consistent — some a little higher and some a little lower, but a nice string where the velocity is stable. We don’t have that yet. What we have is a rifle that wants to operate at this fill pressure but probably needs a number of tweaks to get where we want it to be.

There’s one more thing to do. Dennis and I talked about this, and he said if there’s a weakness in this rifle, it’s at the threads where the air reservoir is threaded to the brass valve. While the reservoir is way overbuilt, those threads are a place where not too much more strain can be applied. Dennis feels that it will be safe to 2,000 psi but not much higher. I agreed with him on that, so I did one last test at 2,000 psi.

2,000 psi
1…..853
2…..833
3…..823
4…..825
5…..820
6…..809
7…..799
8…..780
9…..762
10…746
11…717
12…687
13…654
14…624
15…588
16…550
17…513
18…472
19…434
20…397
21…DNR
22…298
Stop

Okay, adding 200 extra psi increased velocity significantly, plus it also gave us a greater number of consistent shots. I would call the first 7 shots fairly consistent, and the velocity doesn’t really start to plummet until after shot 9. What this tells me is that the valve return spring is way off. It’s probably too heavy. And Dennis has already criticized the valve itself. It’s a poppet shape (looks like a top hat) instead of a valve with angled sides that mate with an angled valve seat.

Add to that an enlargement of the valve port (through which the air flows) that might help lower the operating pressure, and the new valve would handle the pressure better than this stock one that got pressed into service for which it wasn’t designed.

What about BBs?
Okay, I can’t end without giving you some BB velocities. Since the rifle works so well at an indicated 2,000 psi, I decided to skip all the early stuff and go straight to the string we’re all interested in.

For this test, I used Daisy Premium Grade BBs that I know from measurement are both the largest and also the most consistent steel BBs on the American market. Since steel BBs run 0.171 to 0.173 inches in diameter, they’re considerably smaller than .177-caliber lead pellets, no matter what their packages say. BBs are NOT 4.5mm!

2000 psi
1…..910
2…..900
3…..891
4…..871
5…..DNR
6…..856
7…..DNR
8…..DNR
9…..809
10….786
11….763
12….DNR
13….698
14….DNR
15….DNR
16….599
17….577
18….533
19….484
20….441
21….408
22….340
Stop

Like the pellets with a 2,000 psi fill, the first several shots with BBs are close to each other and after, perhaps, shot 6 or 7, the spread opens up. Of course, you have to realize that steel BBs going over 800 f.p.s. are extremely dangerous. Lead pellets start to disintegrate at velocities above 600 f.p.s.; and at 800 f.p.s., they almost vaporize when they hit a hard target such as metal. But BBs not only hold together, they absorb the energy of the impact and bounce back at nearly the same velocity. Believe me — you don’t want to be hit by one!

What have we learned?
So far, we know this rifle works but is not a fully functional precharged pneumatic because it does not shoot a string of shots at a steady velocity. However, that doesn’t stop us from proceeding with accuracy testing.

What’s been proven by this test is that the idea of a $100 precharged pneumatic rifle is completely plausible. The needed changes have been pointed out; but as we proceed further, no doubt, other things will be revealed. That’s the way of product development.

Remember this is a testbed — not a production rifle. Also remember the rifle that it was built from. We should expect accuracy to be similar to the Crosman 2100B, which is fully acceptable at this price point. And I’m going to select a string of shots whose velocities are relatively close to each other, so I probably won’t be shooting 10-shot groups.

I’ll need to do some things to the gun before starting the accuracy test, but I’ll tell you about those things in the next report.

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol left
Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol

It’s accuracy day for the Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol, and some of you have been eagerly awaiting this day! I decided to shoot 3 different BBs in the gun just to give you a general idea of how well it groups.

Because this is a BB gun, the shooting distance was 5 meters, which is 16 feet, 5 inches. I sat backwards on a chair, resting my forearms over the back, so the pistol was fairly steady. I selected a 10-meter rifle target for this session because the smaller bull seemed appropriate for the shorter distance.

I forgot!
After installing the CO2 cartridge and loading the first 10 BBs, I tried to shoot the target and the gun wouldn’t fire! What was wring? I knew this was a double-action-only trigger, and it should have worked. Right?

Wrong! This trigger is not DAO. It only feels like one! It’s really a single-action trigger that requires the hammer to be cocked before it’ll work. You can squeeze the trigger all day and nothing will happen until the hammer is cocked. So, with this little problem out of the way, the test could begin.

Crosman Copperhead BBs
First up were 10 Crosman Copperhead BBs. As I shot, I noted that the pistol was very steady in my rested hands. And the target shows that…I think. Ten Copperheads went into 1.521 inches at 5 meters. But note the 2 holes that are apart from the main group. Eight of those BBs made a group measuring 0.78 inches.

The farthest of the 2 holes that are apart from the main group — the one to the extreme right — was a called flier. My hand twitched to the left as the shot fired. The other one, though, was held just like all the rest.

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol Coppergead group
Ten shots in 1.521 inches, though the one at the right was a called flier. But look at the 8 that landed on the bull. They measure 0.78 inches between centers.

Daisy Premium Grade BBs
Next I tried 10 Daisy Premium Grade BBs. Like I mentioned in Part 1, they’re top-grade BBs that always deliver the goods. This time, 10 of them went into 1.114 inches. There were no called fliers, and the group is fairly well centered on the bull.

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol Daisy group
Ten Daisy Premium Grade BBs went into 1.114 inches at 5 meters. No fliers were called.

Umarex BBs
The last BB I tried was the Umarex precision BB — another top-grade BB. Ten of them grouped in 1.28 inches, with 9 going into 0.998 inches. There were no called fliers in this group, either.

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol Umarex group
Ten Umarex BBs went into 1.114 inches at 5 meters. No fliers were called.

Overall impressions
As I told you in Part 2, the trigger-pull on this pistol feels very much like a double-action pull. That’s one where the trigger first cocks the hammer before releasing it to fire the gun. It “stacks” or increases in effort significantly toward the end of the pull, like a vintage Colt double-action revolver. Once you learn how to use that, it helps with accuracy. The pistol is actually stabilized before firing.

This little Beretta is a fun BB gun, make no mistake. I found it trouble-free and easy to use. The sights are right on, and there are no quirks in the operation. If you like BB repeaters, this would be one to consider!

Our own Christmas story

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope this day finds you in good spirits, no matter where you are or what you are doing.

I have a special report just for this special day. It involves a BB gun, Daisy’s Avanti Champion 499 — also known as the world’s most accurate BB gun.

Daisy Avanti Champion 499
Daisy’s Avanti Champion 499 is the world’s most accurate BB gun.

About a month ago, my buddy Otho was visiting my house, and I pulled out my 499 to show him. I’d told him about it while we were at the rifle range the week before and he was fascinated, though he later admitted that he didn’t believe me when I told him how accurate it is. So, I took this opportunity not just to show him the gun, but to let him shoot it.

We made a quick BB gun range in my garage using the UTG BB and pellet trap with some 5-meter BB gun targets taped to the cardboard target backer on the front of the trap. I showed Otho how to raise the bottom front of the trap so that all the BBs that entered would stay inside because they roll to the back after they stop moving. And the ballistic curtains will take most of the energy out of each BB on the first pass through the trap.

Daisy Avanti Champion 499 UTG Accushot trap
The UTG BB trap is the only BB trap available with replaceable ballistic curtains.

A muzzleloader!
Otho was captivated by the fact that the 499 is a muzzleloading single-shot. While it looks a lot like a Red Ryder, it couldn’t be more different! The gun is loaded by dropping one BB down the muzzle, which is shaped like a funnel. The BB rolls down the precision tubing that serves as the barrel, and it takes from 2 to 5 seconds to be captured by a magnet at the bottom. A faint click announces this. The magnet allows the shooter to hold the gun in any orientation without fear of the BB rolling out.

Daisy Avanti Champion 499 muzzleloading
Load just 1 BB at a time by dropping it into the funnel-shaped muzzle and listening to it slowly roll down the barrel until it clicks against the magnet.

I told Otho to listen to the BB roll down and be captured by the magnet. That’s the only way to be sure the gun’s been loaded properly. He was fascinated by this and quickly learned to do it every time. His background in machining gave him an appreciation of just how uniform that barrel and BB had to be to make the short trip last so long!

Precision ground shot
Accompanying the 499 is a special BB that’s as precise as the gun. It used to have the model number 515, but today it’s just labeled Avanti Precision Ground Shot. It’s sold in small packs of 1050 and costs considerably more than standard BBs, but it makes a difference in the 499. You can shoot regular BBs in the 499, but they’re smaller and they roll down the barrel faster. During loading, you will see the roll time down the barrel decrease to as little as a half-second for Crosman Copperhead BBs to 1.5 seconds for Daisy Premium-grade zinc-plated BBs. Accuracy results will reflect the roll time, as that’s the best indication of the size and uniformity of each steel sphere.

Daisy Avanti Champion 499 Precision Ground Shot
Daisy’s Avanti Precision Ground Shot is the only ammo to use in the 499. It’s far superior to regular BBs.

Sights
Daisy used to sell this gun with a cheaper rear peep sight that was difficult to adjust with precision. The sight that now comes standard on the gun was an option at that time. Finally they decided to just include the better sight and raise the price a little to cover it. While this sight is made largely of plastic, it’s still capable of precision adjustments. To eliminate slop in the mechanism, turn it several clicks in the direction opposite of where you wish to adjust; then, when you return, the slop will be taken out of the parts and the adjustment will be right on.

The front sight accepts inserts. Most shooters select the same one — an aperture that encircles the bull at 5 meters.

Proof of the pudding
A real shooter knows that the only thing that matters is what the gun does downrange. Fancy wood and deep bluing don’t mean a thing if the gun can’t shoot. So, naturally, Otho had to try his hand. The target was set as close to the regulation 5 meters from the firing line as it’s possible to get in my garage. We were probably at 15 feet, instead of 16 feet 5 inches, but it didn’t matter because we weren’t shooting for record. His first 5 shots produced a group smaller than any he had ever shot with a BB gun, but it did much more that just that. It awakened his rifleman’s spirit! Here was a gun that could shoot better than he could — guaranteed!

His eyelids dropped into a squint that broadcast concentration. His next 5 shots all landed in the same place and were all on the bullseye. The room now grew quiet as his concentration ratcheted up another notch.

Another 5 shots went downrange, and this time he was really trying. The smaller hole in this target reflected the attempt! The gun is apparently a perfect gauge of the effort that’s put into it! The heavens opened and a shaft of divinely-inspired sunlight bathed the shooter in glory. Otho was hooked! He now understood what I had been trying to tell him. The Daisy Avanti Champion 499 is the world’s most accurate BB gun! It is the gun that every real shooter hopes to find one day — one that can out-shoot him and will never be finicky. Do your best and the gun reflects it on target — pure and simple.

Daisy Avanti Champion 499 target
This is what the 499 can do at 5 meters. Ten shots in this group!

A Christmas story
This is where Otho had his epiphany. He went home and immediately ordered a Daisy Avanti Champion 499 for himself. On my recommendation, he also ordered several packs of Precision Ground Shot, plus I gave him a pack to get started since Pyramyd Air was temporarily backordered when he placed his order. He also bought 5-meter paper targets and a UTG target trap. In short, he purchased a complete shooting kit that had everything he needed to get started.

Three days later he called to tell me his gun had arrived, and he was already shooting the BBs I had given him. The day after that he called to tell me that he had ordered 3 additional shooting kits as Christmas gifts for his son, son-in-law and another friend. A week later he told me that he had taken his gun to his country home, where he stayed indoors and shot targets all day while his friends and family sat out in cold wet high seats, awaiting the deer that never showed.

Then, on December 23, Otho called me one more time to tell me he was purchasing one more gift set for another friend who hadn’t shown any interest until the day before. His gift will arrive late, but it will be just as appreciated, I’m sure.

Otho never told me, but I am reasonably sure that he takes his new BB gun to bed with him every night, drifting off to sleep while shooting ducks on the wing and getting off spectacular hipshots. I think this little Daisy might be the greatest Christmas gift he will ever get or give, and it is our own version of A Christmas Story. Merry Christmas!

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier
Part 1

Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol
Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol

Today, we’ll look at the velocity of the Beretta model 84 FS BB pistol. We’ll also look at the trigger and the shot count.

Of course, the first step to shoot a CO2 BB pistol like this one is to install a fresh CO2 cartridge. And when you do, never forget to put a drop of Crosman Pellgunoil on the tip before piercing. The oil will be blown through the gun, coating every seal on the inside and sealing it tight for a long time. I found the cartridge sealed immediately after it pierced, so this pistol is conventional in that respect. Remember — once the cartridge is pierced and the gas stops hissing, you don’t want to tighten the screw any more or you’ll soon tear the face seal that the cartridge butts against, creating a leak.

The BB magazine holds 17 BBs comfortably, and 18 can be forced in. I loaded them one at a time, but in this mag, they load easily.

Umarex Precision BBs
Thye first BB I tested was the Umarex Precision BB. In past tests I have found this BB to be one of the 2 top BBs on the market for precision and size uniformity. They tend to be larger in diameter, which means they give the best velocity.

These BBs averaged 368 f.p.s. for 10 shots, but I did notice the gun is very susceptible to velocity dropoff if the shots are fired fast. When I waited at least 10 seconds between shots, the velocity held steady; but if I fired 2 shots quickly, the second one was always much slower. In one test, the first shot went 372 f.p.s. and the next shot…fired a second later…went 358 f.p.s.

The fastest shot in the string went 385 f.p.s. and the slowest went 356 f.p.s., so the spread was 29 f.p.s. However, the first 3 shots on a new cartridge always go much faster than the average. If we eliminate those 3 shots from this string, the average drops to 363 f.p.s., which seems like a more reasonable average.

Daisy Premium Grade BB
Next I tried the Daisy Premium Grade BB that’s the other top BB on the market. These BBs are also very uniform and very consistently sized. Ten of them averaged 357 f.p.s., with a spread from 350 to 373 f.p.s. That’s a 23 foot-second spread.

The Daisy Premium Grade BB is as good as BBs get, unless you opt to buy the special Avanti Precision Ground Shot that are the finest BBs available today. But they only show their advantage when used in the equally superior Daisy Avanti Champion 499 BB gun. If you shoot them in anything else, you’re wasting money as sure as someone who loads target rimfire ammo into a semiauto sporter.

Crosman Copperhead BB
The final BB I tried was the Crosman Copperhead BB. This BB is not as consistent as the other 2 because the diameter varies, causing velocity variations. You probably won’t find any flat spots on these BBs, but the diameter inconsistency puts it into the second rank for both velocity and accuracy.

In the 84 FS, Copperheads averaged 348 f.p.s., but the spread is very revealing. The low was 314 f.p.s., and the high was 375 f.p.s. That makes the spread 61 f.p.s.

After shooting 64 BBs (there were many that didn’t register on the chronograph, plus I filled the magazine with each type of BB and then shot the rest of them without recording the velocity), the next few Daisy BBs went 317, 306, 301 and 294 f.p.s., respectively. So, the liquid CO2 was exhausted at this point, and the gas pressure was dropping.

Shot count for a CO2 cartridge
I continued to shoot the pistol until the blowback no longer worked. That happened at shot 78, so that’s the number of shots you can get from the gun. By that time, the gun is shooting the Daisy BBs in the mid-200s, meaning that about 100 f.p.s. have been lost since the cartridge was fresh.

Blowback
The blowback on this pistol is faster than the blowback on most air pistols, because the slide doesn’t come back as far. When the CO2 cartridge is fresh, you just feel an impulse when the gun fires, but I wouldn’t call it realistic recoil. But as the gas pressure lowers, the slide starts cycling slower and you do feel the recoil.

Trigger
Remember that I told you in Part 1 that the trigger felt strange? I said it felt like a double-action-only trigger instead of the single-action trigger that it is. Well, this time I tested it and proved that’s how it feels. Despite the slide cocking the hammer for each shot, the trigger is still very long and heavy.

The first-stage pull runs about 4 lbs., and stage 2 breaks at 9 lbs., 9 oz. every time. Pull the trigger slowly, though, and stage 1 becomes creepy, plus stage 2 increases by a full pound. This will be an interesting handgun to shoot for accuracy!

Evaluation thus far
I like how the 84 FS holds. It’s small, but not tiny. It fills the hand with its wide grip frame. But that trigger will be something to contend with. The trigger on my Micro Desert Eagle .380 firearm pistol is also DAO and also challenges me when I shoot farther than 20 feet; but it’s smoother near the end of the pull. This trigger stacks up a lot at the end of the pull. We’ll see!

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