Things I liked:It fits us both naturally and comfortably. The stock fore-end is shaped perfectly for a comfortable grip, and also for cocking. The pull works for both of us (I'm 5'8" and my wife is 5'3"). I'm thinking about adding some weight to the fore-end to make the gun a little barrel-heavy so it's easier to hold steady (I have a natural shake). It's a nice feature that there is a dedicated space in the fore-end stock to add weights.
The trigger is light and predictable. The sights are wonderfully adjustable and precise. The fit-and-finish is excellent. It's nice that the stock is wood and is finished so it's easy to grip.
Very accurate and consistent! It really helps to build confidence in new shooters, such as us. Things I would have changed:It has a hard time taking down big game and penetrating thick steel plates. Be warned! What others should know:It has been 40 years since I was last actively shooting. My wife and I decided that we'd like to get back into shooting air guns. We are so glad that our first gun is a 499! Its accuracy, ease of shooting, excellent sights and consistency really help build confidence and to have fun... shooting IS fun when you can hit what you're aiming at. And, right off the bat, we're hitting targets regularly with this gun. When we ordered it, we also bought 4 containers of the special BBs designed for this gun. They do cost more than normal BBs, but why buy such an accurate gun and use less accurate and consistent BBs?
This gun is tremendous fun... I can't see how anyone could outgrow its accuracy.
Did I mention that it is accurate?
Things I liked:The sturdiness of construction, the quality feel of the gun, the accuracy. The trigger is light and predictable - not at first but after 150-200 shots it got noticeably better. I love this guns simplicity and creative, minimalist engineering. Things I would have changed:Maybe it's just me, but I thing the front sight blade is too wide (as is the rear sight's notch) for easy and accurate aiming. My Sheridan Blue Streak, for example, has a narrow blade and notch, and it is really easy to be more precise when aiming. What others should know:If you shoot this gun immediately after shooting a Crosman 2240, you won't like the 2240 as much as you did before you shot the 53m. It's the trigger and the quietness that spoil you with this gun. It's a real pleasure to shoot, especially indoors.
Things I liked:I like my Cometa Fenix 400 .25 cal the best of all my air guns. It has a wonderful, predictable, light trigger. It's very accurate. It is mechanically very smooth and makes good noises while cocking. The quality of the materials, finishes and construction are all very high. The proportions of the gun, overall, and the stock, in particular, are svelte and elegant - it feels sophisticated, superbly balanced and well thought-out; it is a joy to hold and shoot. Things I would have changed:Not a thing! What others should know:I purchased the $10-for-10 service when I bought this gun from PA. Using the Gamo Pro-Magnum 21.91 grain pellet, the average velocity was 566.08 FPS and the average muzzle energy was 15.59 FPE. Being a springer, once the gun is broken in, both numbers will change. Don't judge this gun solely on the "numbers," for the quality of the shooting experience with this gun is extremely high. I also have a Hatsan Mod 125 in .25 which essentially doubles this gun's muzzle energy, and is also accurate, but the 125's shooting experience is not nearly as pleasant as the Fenix'. Both guns have their place, and the Cometa Fenix 400's place is in my heart. It's that good.
I like it so much that I also purchased .177 cal and .22 cal versions of this exact same gun. I can hardly wait to take delivery and start shooting them! Of course, I'll post my findings on those two here, too.
Things I liked:I purchased this gun in .25 cal. The size, the quality of materials, the trigger and the accuracy. The value, if it wasn't such a crap-shoot as to whether or not the gun would fail due to faulty manufacturing procedures. Things I would have changed:Hatsan has got to buckle down and improve their quality control. Despite the high quality materials, they are being let down by their seeming inability to clean all of the machining debris from the insides of their guns. After only about 30 shots, the gun would not cock. I did not take it apart to find out why, but it could only be debris jamming the trigger mechanism, because the barrel would not lock in the broken position. The gun was otherwise excellent... what a shame, to blow it all by not sweating the details on a consistent basis. What others should know:I really went into this purchase with an open mind, wanting it to work. I had read on various on-line forums and blogs about Hatsan's variable quality control, but I had the feeling Hatsan was being picked-on, for some reason or another. Kind of like the way many people disparage Chinese guns simply for being Chinese (even though many Chinese guns are high quality)... maybe people were disparaging Hatsans for being Turkish.
I also purchased, later, before this gun failed, a Hatsan Mod 125, also in .25 cal. It arrived the day after the 95 failed, and based on my experience with the 95, I quickly put a lot of pellets through it (70 in the first evening I had it), so I could determine if it, too, would fail quickly. The 125 is far more brutish in its mechanical behavior, being roughly twice as powerful, in terms of muzzle energy, but so far it has been very reliable and has progressed through the break-in period nicely, getting tangibly smoother and more consistent with each shot. It is at least as accurate as the 95.
To sum it up, PA was superb in their handling of this situation: they immediately emailed a Fedex shipping label for the 95's return to them. I will be applying the credit for this gun toward a Cometa Fenix 400 in .177 cal. I am optimistic about my experience with the Hatsan 125 I just got - if it proves reliable in the long term, it will be one of my favorite guns, as the 95 would likely have been, if it had not failed.