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Education / Training Daisy 179

Daisy 179

by B.B. Pelletier

Just a note. Tomorrow and the next day, I will turn this blog over to Tom Gaylord, who is helping me with a report on tuning an inexpensive Chinese airgun. I will be out of town until next Monday, but everything here should keep rolling along. If you see a question you can answer, I’d appreciate your help, because it’s more difficult to do all the answers when I’m on the road.

When I reported about the Marksman 1010 pistol last November, several readers commented on other air pistols they owned in their youth. One of these was a man who remembered his Daisy model 179 pistol less than fondly. The 179 is a copy of the Colt Single-Action Army revolver. It holds 12 steel BBs under spring tension and feeds them one at a time when the hammer is cocked.

Daisy’s 179 was one of the first Spittin’ Image guns made.

Sight problem
His biggest complaint was that the front sight is so tall that the gun shot very low, even at 10 feet! I had never really done any shooting with a 179, so that was news to me; but I’ve owned and shot a lot of Colt Single-Action Army revolvers. In the early years of their production, they had the same too-tall front sight problem, and Colt always assumed the owners would file down the front sight to regulate the pistol.

This discussion of the sights drove me to examine my own late-model 179. Lo and behold, my gun has a different problem. When the hammer is cocked, as it must be to shoot the gun, it obscures the sights altogether! The problem is that the hammer doesn’t stay all the way back after the gun is cocked. It rotates up and into the sight line before coming to rest. This is not a big problem, because I don’t plan on shooting targets with this gun, but I never would have paid any attention had the reader not directed me to the sights.

Catapult gun
Another thing our reader mentioned was the low power of the gun. It seems he always coveted a Marksman 1010 until he read my report. He thought he had owned the world’s weakest air pistol and was glad to learn that he had company. The 179 is actually a catapult gun. It uses the power of the mainspring alone to propel the BB. That means it has to be slow, which it most certainly is. The velocity on my like-new example runs from 150 to 159 f.p.s. Believe it or not, though, that is the highest velocity I have ever recorded from a catapult BB gun. But, there aren’t too many to choose from!

The 179 was first offered in 1960 as one of Daisy’s earliest Spittin’ Image airguns. It came out at a time when American boys were interested in one of two things: space and cowboys. We were leaving the frontier era of Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone and entering the world of Wyatt Earp, Paladin and Gunsmoke. The airguns we played with had to keep pace.

This most curious of all Daisy pistols continued in production to 1981, when sales must have dictated an end. But, it wouldn’t die! In 1992, production resumed, only this one has a crossbolt trigger-blocking safety. This second run was much shorter, ending in 1996, so the model with the safety should be the one that’s hardest to find. However, collectors seem to place a rather nice premium on the first model without the safety.

In 2004, Daisy found a box of parts in their warehouse that had been returned from an overseas customer who had been assembling the 179 in-country. They made up 700 of these final second-model guns and packaged them in a special vintage-looking box with a certificate of authenticity signed by Orin Ribar, curator of the Daisy Airgun Museum. They were sold by the museum, and the final few went in early 2006. In the future, these guns will probably be the most desirable 179s of all – except for the 22 handmade salesmen’s samples Daisy had made up in solid brass. Those are not valid production models, yet they captivate all Daisy collectors because there are so few. Expect to pay over $1,000 if you are ever fortunate enough to find one for sale.

Vintage box, together with signed certificate of authenticity, is the only proof of Daisy’s special edition 179, sold in 2005.

Expect to pay about $100 for a nice first-model 179 and perhaps $80 for a second model. A gun with a box will add $25. The special edition currently runs $115-125, but expect that to climb.

25 thoughts on “Daisy 179”

  1. CYCOR,

    This isn’t something thats easy to fix, unless you are a hydraulic repairman. The problem could be an O-ring or a valve seal.

    Try dry-firing the gun about 20 times and see if that fixes it. Sometimes the problem is just a piece of dirt on the valve surface.

    Otherwise, I think the rifle needs to be repaired by someone who knows what they are doing. Your dealer should be able to do it, or Pyramyd AIR, if you bought it used.


  2. What happened to Viper shotgun part 4. I know a guy who just bought one for 3 step bunnies (suburban ones that sit there thinking you can’t see them). I gave him so pellets and he ordered the shotshells. I’ll get a report from him. Is it worth the money for looks, oddity, and performance.

  3. BB,

    If I’m the guy you were talking about, it wasn’t the 1010 that I coveted as a kid – it was the Daisy 177!

    You got good velocity out of yours…. my 179 would only get into the 90’s. The 1010’s I’ve had would do about twice that… but compared to the 12-inch (at 15′) groups I’d get from the Marksman, it was practically a target pistol (if ya didn’t use the sights!)

  4. what never, ever, ceases to amaze me is that a sheer amount of every type of gun i could possibly imagine, is probably sitting in your house. i can only begin to contemplate how much you put into this sport, both in spirit and moolah.
    you mention there being only a few catapult guns, is there any chance you might do any other report on these very low powered guns? i dont know why, but i find them facinating next to the flashy boxes of the magnum guns produced today.

  5. Anonymous – can you put BB’s into a pellet? Sure you can. You can also put sand and gravel into it – and get pretty much the same result.

    Airgun barrels tend to be a relatively soft steel, it’s easy to machine and plain lead pellets are very gentle on the bore.

    Steel BB’s – even with their copper or zinc coating – are waaaayyyy too hard. In addition, they are a few thousands smaller than pellets… so if you shoot a BB, you wind up with a hard steel ball bouncing around inside a finely rifled and finished barrel. Sure, it’ll shoot – but if you do it with any frequency, you will ruin the accuracy of the gun.

  6. 392,

    You know, Pyramyd AIR has done a lot in the area of relative loudness. Many guns now have a model assistant that lists that kind of information. I looked and the 392 hasn’t been done yet, so I will answer you by saying a 392 sounds like a loud hand clap.


  7. CF-X,

    I answered this question already when you posted it to the otherr article.. The answer is NO! Steel BBs will ruin the barrel of a CF-X.

    Some guns can shoot both, but you will notice they are always cheap guns. No quality airgun shoots both BBs and pellets from the same barrel.


  8. Thank you for answering the question BB and thanks Vince, sorry for posting that twice, I couldn’t find my previous post. I live in the northwest, I’d be shooting my gun in the backyard because I have forest. Is it environmentally friendly to shoot pellets into the forest?

  9. Lead pellets might not be too “environmentally friendly” to any squirrels or rabbits they meet….

    I’m no expert, but as I understand it there is virtually no hue and cry about lead from regular hunting ammo (and rifled slugs) polluting the land – as I understand it, the issue that brought rise to steel shot for hunting always had to do with lakes, streams, etc.

    I suspect that lead shot is relatively harmless on land. Someone please correct me if any of the above is incorrect…

  10. Lead is a common naturally occurring mineral (see: Galena) – don’t eat it and don’t smoke it in a pipe, you’ll be fine.

    Frankly ‘sequestering’ the lead in the ground or in trees is preferable to trapping it w/ an impenetrable backstop. The resulting dust is more easily absorbed in the bloodstream.

  11. He, BB's was a lot quicker than mine. The one I had was only good for about 80-90fps.

    Gunbroker.com, auctionarms.com, and other gun auction sights typically have bb/airgun sections. Those might be your best bet.

  12. After seeing one sell recently on ebay, I dug mine out . Original box, with instructions pamphlet and BB pack And original receipt for $6.14 . I bought it at a discount store in Winona Mn back in 1970 . Hardly used it . Neat little pistol !!

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