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The Daisy 499B versus the Haenel 310 – a shoot-off!

by B.B. Pelletier

This test was requested by some of our readers after I made a few remarks in the recent Haenel 310 report. They wanted to see the Haenel 310 pitted against the Daisy Avanti Champion 499 with the human error taken out. So, I got to shoot at 5 meters (16.4 feet) from a rest on a bench. I tell you, it doesn’t get much lazier than that!

Problems, problems!
Would you believe that both guns acted up and refused to shoot? Or at least that’s how it seemed to me. In the end I think I figured it out, but I went through lots of shots getting there.

For starters, I have three types of lead balls for the Haenel but didn’t know which was the best. The copper-coated balls I bought for my other 310 were too tight for the bore of this rifle. I got several jams that took time to clear. That left two types of unplated lead balls, one of which was 100 f.p.s. faster than the other in this gun. In the end, the slower balls proved to be the best.

But try though I might, I couldn’t get the rifle to group off a rest. My “groups” were more like patterns and far larger than the groups I shot offhand in Parts 2 & 3 of the 310 report. That may be hard for you to believe, but that’s what happened. One thing that disconcerted me was the fact that the rifle was shooting to the right. Finally, after about seven groups, I tapped the front sight to the right to correct it (when adjusting open sights, the front sight should always be moved in the direction opposite of where you want the pellet to go), but I went too far. Even though I moved the sight just a couple hundredths of an inch, the groups were now landing to the left of the aim point. I decided that was it–I wasn’t going to chase the zero and conduct this test, or I would never finish it.

However, while doing this I did discover what was apparently causing my guns to misbehave. I had been shooting them alternately, switching from one to the other after every group. I didn’t allow myself to get familiar with either gun. I tend to do that at the firearms range as well–taking five to ten different guns and running through them as fast as my interest wanes, which is pretty quick. But you never get used to one gun that way and I know it, so as soon as I recognized what I was doing, I stopped.

Once I did that and settled on just one type of lead ball, the groups started to come together. I finally got what I think are two representative groups, though they are not any better than what I shot offhand with this same rifle. By the way, the 310 likes a good artillery hold with plenty of follow-through.

310 group was left of center, but I didn’t bother correcting it.

Another almost identical group with the Haenel 310.

Okay, so the 310 can shoot. What about the Daisy 499? At first I was switching it off with the Haenel, as I have told you, so I had to figure that out before I could get the gun to shoot. I also started the test shooting regular Daisy zinc-plated BBs, so the first group had to be thrown out. The 499 is hyper-accurate, but only with the special Avanti Precision Ground Shot made expressly for it. The use of standard BBs will increase the group size for sure.

Once I started grouping, I discovered that the sights on this gun were also off. So, I took a couple groups to sight it in. In that endeavor, I re-learned that the directions molded right on the Daisy 5899 rear aperture sight are on backwards. If you want the BB to strike higher, you dial the sight LOWER and the same with left and right. This confused me for a group or two, but once I figured it out I was back on track.

I also learned that the 499 doesn’t need an artillery hold. I had been using that hold all along, but when I grasped the forearm tightly, the groups shrank right away. Shooting from a bench is therefore not that different from shooting offhand.

By this time, I had invested several hours with this test, so I shot only a single good group, but it’s representative of what a 499 can do. The 499 group is smaller than either of the 310 groups, but not by that much. The reason I’m not giving any measurements for these groups is because they tore through the target paper in such a way that taking measurements is very difficult. You don’t know where the hole ends.

Daisy 499 group was smaller than either group from the Haenel.

Well, this test turned out like I had imagined. The day before, I went to the range and allowed a .44 Magnum to chew chunks of flesh out of my off hand, so using the artillery hold was particularly painful on this day. However, I did follow through after every shot, and I’m sure I couldn’t have shot the 310 any better than I did.

The 499 was a surprise, though. It’s been almost 10 years since I shot it off a rest, and I forgot everything I may have known about shooting it that way.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

58 thoughts on “The Daisy 499B versus the Haenel 310 – a shoot-off!”

  1. Dave,the short answer is it would change the behavior of the rifle.whether that change would be a good one cannot really be answered unless it is tried with the particular rifle in question.{and a particular pellet}.the odds are not on your side…you could lose power with one pellet,another might become less accurate.one might be less accurate but slightly faster…there are just too many other factors that balance against each other to predict the outcome. what do you want to happen??

  2. b.b. do you have any opinion yet on the Gamo Socom Tactical rifles?
    I'm quite surprised at how much I like the looks of the new tactical rifles (reading too many Tactical Life magazines I guess), and as it looks like long term reliabilty may be an issue with any of the repeaters along the lines of the Nightstalker and CX-4 (as well as the costs of the .88gm AirSource cartridges), I'm now considering the Socom.
    CowBoyStar Dad

  3. Dave,

    A heavy piston is better for heavier pellets. A light piston works best with light pellets.

    Heavy pistons resist the tendency to rebound off the high-pressure air cushion that builds between the piston crown and the pellet. But if you shoot light pellets, a heavy piston will tend to slam into the end of the compression chamber harder than a light piston, because the light pellet will take off sooner than a heavier pellet, thus reducing the air pressure that is supposed to retard the piston at the end of its stroke.

    As Frank said earlier, the balance between the piston weight and the pellet being shot is a delicate one. The best thing to do is find out the best pellet for your airgun and use only that one.


  4. BB,
    Did you check your balls?
    For roundness that is. I can't believe you're making me ask such an embarassing question again:)

    My 310 is now shooting at 300-320 fps after much oiling and a shave of the grunge from the piston seal.
    (and I put up the strip & reassembly on the blog)


  5. Nick,

    I am an older man, so it doesn't embarrass me in the slightest to tell you that I did check my balls and I had to use a jeweller's loupe to do it!

    They are all uniformly out of round. They have flat spots all over them that preclude any roundness. I am talking imperfections at the thousandth of an inch, but still significant when loaded into a rifled bore.

    In black powder I'm sure swaged balls have the same problem, only they are shot with patches that transfer the spin from the rifling. In the 310, the naked lead ball is engraved directly by the rifling.


  6. Well we both have bad balls then…can you use some of your contacts to find a source for good round balls? I see cans of them for sale on German sites, but I'm not sure whether they'll be any better. I'd really be interested to see if they make a big difference in accuracy and velocity over the lumpen-kugeln we have…

    Thanks for the kind words about the blog Tom, Derrick and I are still having fun doing it!

    The Haenel is actually one of the easier airguns once you get used to it. Very little spring preload and few parts to deal with (but I haven't taken the trigger group apart…that seems a bit more difficult).

    We'll see if I'm still confident when I get to the 311 I received at the same time as the 310…

  7. B.B.

    Thanks for the test. Sorry it took you so long, but nice to see I am not the only one that runs into issues at times.

    I spent last night testing the Baikal 61 against the Walther LG55 and it actually went smoothly.

    However the night before I tried to get the muzzle brake off the Walther and caused some embarrassing damage to the barrel with a grinder. The barrel will be hidden with the factory barrel sleeve or another muzzle brake, but it nixed my plans to turn the Walther 55 into an R-8.

    (Kevin, I figured you didn’t want the R-8 since you had one Paul is working on. Hope I was right.)

    Anyway, what size were the dots you made to shoot at? 1/4 inch?


  8. " The day before, I went to the range and allowed a .44 Magnum to chew chunks of flesh out of my off hand"

    Hi B.B.,

    Which 44 were you using? I have a S&W 629, 6" bbl. I find that the weight of the full-length underlug tends to tame even my heaviest handloads.

    And which of the two front inserts were you using on the 499? Mine comes with the circle installed…I haven't yet tried the post insert. I'm curious what your preference is.

    Yesterday was my official day off, so I wasn't here when my PA order arrived with its Avanti Precision Ground Shot for the 499. And when I picked up the box to bring it upstairs to my office it sounds like one or more containers of airsoft bbs have managed to spill out of their containers. I hope it's only one, as I don't relish separating them back out. I'll open the package shortly…it's my birthday present to myself and I'm savoring the moment. There's an A.G.E. Quiet Pellet Trap in there, too. I bought it because you were so enthusiastic about it.

    This probably belongs in the Stupid Suggestion Box, but have you considered ramrodding patched lead balls down the Haenel 310's bbl, just to see what difference it might make in your groups? It would have to be a pretty thin patch…Kleenex? (kidding).

    WV was oxylarb, which suggests Thai food run through a washing machine…. :->

  9. Joe B.,

    I was shooting a Ruger 10.5-inch silhouette Super Blackhawk and that stupid sharp corner at the rear of the triggerguard got me. I should have remembered to shoot a Super Blackhawk with a one hand hold!

    The revolver doesn't recoil that much. But it's enough for that sharp corner to come back and dig into the off hand that is stabilizing the butt.


  10. Volvo,
    Neither Derrick or I are insane enough to work on other people's guns…we're both learning still.
    Maybe in another 20 years…

    Derrick is in Ohio and I'm in Oregon.

  11. Volvo,

    You were right. One R-8 is enough. Picked the most expensive gun for Paul to work on and am going a little overboard on the work I'm requesting that he put into this gun.

    Surprised you passed up such a good find on an R-8. Hopefully I can obtain some of your willpower through osmosis.


  12. BB,
    I needed that tip about swapping guns forth and back. I do that with my Talon SS and Marauder and marvel at how bad my groups get. These two rifles are so different in so many ways. I don't know why it's so difficult to see the obvious sometimes.

  13. Nick,
    If you saw some of my handy work your confidence would increase by leaps and bounds.
    Derrick is about 20 minutes from me and I was just curious if you were in the same area, perhaps if a basket case was left on his stoop he would feel the need to take it in like any mother would do for an abandon child….

    The dots measure ¾ inch on my screen so they are actually life size, pretty cool.

    I am enjoying the 61 very much, and think it was an excellent value at $75.00 given I sold Tom’s R-1 book for $111.00 on eBay. Don’t misunderstand I spent endless hours in the library with that book. (Think Seinfeld episode with George at the bookstore) But this is an entire rifle of descent quality. I had concerns based on the sample B.B. tested but I think I got lucky.


  14. Chuck,

    It's so simple, yet I make the same mistake repeatedly. The longer you shoot a single gun, the more in tune with it you become. I know that, I really do.

    So why do I keep trying to make m,y range trips like a smorgasbord? Greed, I guess.


  15. Volvo,

    When I post targets I resize them in Photoshop so they will come out close to life-size. I have always hated to see a tight group enlarged by 500 percent, which shows nothing; or a large group printed on a postage stamp. The internet supports pictures at 72 dots per inch, so I enlarge all my photos by a certain percent to try to make them close to life-sized.

    Of course I cannot control the monitors people are using, so that works against me. But I guess you and I must be pretty close on the pixels/inch on our monitors.


  16. B.B.

    Yes, I've noticed the interference effect between different guns. I think there is a rationale for switching between firearms so that you don't heat up the barrel, but that doesn't apply to airguns. I try to make one switch between guns and not go back and forth, but the effect is there. I wonder if it is directional. The B30 shoots worse with the IZH 61 although the IZH 61 does not seem affected. I suspect this is because of the heavier trigger for the B30 and the fact that I don't shoot it as much. There is clear favoritism here.

    On the subject of barrel wear, I read from David Tubb last night that barrels wear out almost entirely from throat erosion near the chamber; the rest of it is fine. What monumental waste.

    I've heard that the Ruger Blackhawk is just about the best single action revolver you can get.

    Volvo, thanks for the review of the 61. I had the same misgivings after reading B.B.'s review, but I think I got lucky with mine too. 🙂

    On the subject of wind, I see that there is a big discrepancy between David Tubb and Nancy Tompkins. Tubb says to watch the wind near the muzzle since that will have a larger effect on bullet deflection. Tompkins says that you should look at the wind near the target since the bullet will be moving slowest and most responsive to wind. This is a significant difference, yet both are top shooters who make 1/5 MOA click adjustments for wind. How can this be? Maybe it's all mumbo jumbo and Wayne should keep using holdover.


  17. Nick:
    I'd love to see a blog on a tear-down of a Haenel 312, (recoiling 10M target sidelever.) I had one for a while, and am sorry I sold it. When I asked about tear-down, the almost universal answer was, "If it's shooting now, DON'T." Supposedly, they had some sort of complex ratchet system, as well as a voodoo attempt at recoil reduction. The one I had smoked consistently on every shot, but I was again told "That's what they do." I did find some pictures of a tear-down, but the text was all in Russian, so I opted to leave it alone, rather than miss the very important "don't do this until you do that" which wouldn't show in the pictures.

    Jim in PGH

  18. Jim, I'd love to tear a 312 down! But that means finding one…I don't have too much fear since fixing up the Diana 6 a while back.

    My overall strategy is to find beaters, that if the teardown and fix ended up destroying them, would not mean that the world had lost a working gun.

    It's hard to come by cheap/free guns though, we don't get paid for our blogging so all purchases come out of our tiny budgets.

  19. Volvo,
    I'm sure Derrick will move secretly in the night after reading your comment…where is he anyway? He's usually on here chatting it up…

    I'm sure your work is fine, it's all a learning experience…I'm already embarassed at some of the stuff I did last year (or last month, see my 622 saga)

  20. Tom, you are the man.
    I'm the one who has enquired about BLK mount for my Slavia 630. They have just responded that you are taking yours in so they can measure the mounts and figure out if they have any that will fit.
    You go above and beyond and we all benefit.
    CowBoyStar Dad

  21. It looks like the Discovery is going to have a little competition. I hear there is a QB 78 PCP being built and sold for $199.95. There may be a PCP upgrade kit in the future for those who already have a QB 78 or 79.

  22. BB,

    Fair comparison, even with those huge flyers:). I don't even take two rifles out of the cabinet at the same time. I found especially shooting a shotgun would foul up my marksmanship:). On the other hand, I did find that shooting an air rifle for several days before shooting anything bigger than a .22 is a huge benefit, both in terms of precision and flinch eradication:).

    Had a humbling experience today when I decided to shoot the .22 at 100 yards — no linear scale for me. It looks like 1.5" is acheivable (with CCI MM's) but 2" for 8/10 is about the best I could do today. I'm hedging on the flyers because they were the first two on the target, and everything else grouped pretty nice and round. At least I finally got a chance to use my fancy mildots:).

    I vote for mumbo jumbo — they're very talented people trying to explain how to do what the do, but without the years of practice:).

  23. Ryan,
    Just a novice here… but the 953 is a very fine airgun for the price. I've picked one up to give as a Christmas gift.

    Of course I had to tinker with it first. Did the power and trigger mods and mounted a peep sight. Do get the Daisy peep sight it is worth the $25.

    With the power mod it is close to being a small game hunter. The RWS R10 pellets are very accurate and they jump out of the barrel at 478fps (4.16fpe). My stock 1377 with 9-pumps will only push the same pellet at 512fps. So for real close small game this would work.


  24. Ryan,
    Do read the guide in the network54 site in my prior post. Lots of good general info in addition to the info on the mods you asked about.

    Also read what Beeman had to say about low power airguns:

    About the sight. The 5899 is a low end plastic deal. It works fine for the price and IMHO is a perfect match to the low cost 953. But if money is no object then there are several high end choices. I think
    BB discussed some in Part 4 of the 953 blog.


  25. Ryan,
    You do not have to change the front sight. it works fine with the 5899 peep. But no doubt there is some improvement to be had if you do.

    I didn't. Have to stop the spending some place.


  26. I have what is most likely my last question: if I were to shoot a stock 953 at, say, a tin can, water bottle, or some other common reactive plinking target, does it have enough power to knock it over?

  27. Ryan, I doubt that the 397 is any more accurate than the Daisy 953–although I suspect it's not far off, but it has much more power. So without taking cost into account between these two, I would go with the 397.

    BG_Farmer, I think with a .22LR at 100 yards, you are getting into what Jeff Cooper called "range probable error" having to do with vision, wind and little things that add up on you with distance. They would add up fast with such a small round. I believe 100 yards is about the limit for serious accuracy with a rimfire. Was this the Savage? Consider this a chance to practice reading the wind without an enormous shooting range. 🙂

    As far as the wind disagreement, I don't know. This isn't something subjective about how to press the trigger exactly right or hold the rifle. This seems like a very rationale point that they totally disagree about. Strange.


  28. Matt,
    Yes, it was the Savage. I haven't tried 100 in a long time with a .22, so it was just for fun, because 50 was getting tame, at least until I get some better ammo. On the other hand, some standard velocity ammo. will work better at 100, too:). You need a .22, also — just think of the opportunities to do science:).

    I think they both have defensible positions on the wind, i.e., deflection from wind at muzzle will be magnified at target, but the bullet is going slower at the target, and thus more susceptible to wind:). I think the loss of velocity at most ranges would be less damaging than the deflection at the muzzle, so I guess I agree with Tubb slightly more, without doing any math:).

  29. Ryan,

    There are several ways to mount a scope on a 397/392. No matter which way it's done it interferes with pumping.

    With a scope mounted you can rest the butt of the gun against your thigh, grap the end of the barrel with one hand and pump with the other.

    In my opinion, the 397/392 are a terrific gun with open sights and the pumping is easier too.

  30. Ryan,
    I shoot soda cans at 11 yards and the pellet goes right through the can and embeds about 1/16" to 1/8" into my putty backstop. So, if you want to knock the can over, you must hit it on the very edge of the top where it is reinforced. And, the 953 is accurate enough to hit there easily at 11 yards. you hit it there and it will come flying off the the ledge.


  31. Ryan,
    On the scope question, you haven't told us yet, have you, what distances you are wanting to shoot so I would say any scope Pyramydair sells will do, but first make sure it will focus to the distance you want to shoot. A lot of scopes will not focus down to 10 yards so be careful there when you buy one. Most of PA's scopes will focus to 10 yds and some less. The Leapers bug buster 6x magnification is a very nice scope and will focus that close. Check Pyramyair's online site and look at their cheapest scopes, look at their fixed focus ones and then look at their variable focus ones and buy any one of them you can afford. Leapers has a 3-9×32 Rifle Scope, Illuminated Mil-Dot Reticle, 1/4 MOA, 1" Tube, Weaver See-Thru Rings for $48. It comes WITH rings but they are Weaver rings and you'll need 11mm dovetail.

    The more information you give us the more we can help you. i.e. shooting distance, inside, outside, target, competition, plinking, hunting, etc. I think the 953 can satisfy about all these except maybe a bit weak for anything other than birds. I could be wrong about that but BB has another whole blog article on hunting with airguns if that's what you are really wanting to do.

    Also, I hope you not correct when you say you have asked you last question. We thrive on answering questions on this blog as you may have noticed.


  32. BG Farmer:

    At my club we shoot .22 lr at 100 yards prone, so in to prepare I have sighted in my 50 year-old Mossberg 44 from a rest and was able to put five shot groups into well under an inch, which is one MOA. I'm not a champion shot by any means, so I take this to mean the gun is really accurate, despite age and looking beat up. I know the guys I shoot with who have Anschutz .22s can do lots better. Were you shooting from a rest?

  33. Nick, Volvo,

    Sorry–just checked the Thursday blog on Friday at 12:50 AM. Long day at the shop.

    Volvo can leave all kinds of airgun goodies on the stoop. He may not get them back, but he can leave them. Besides, after I got through he wouldn't want them back. They'd all have match grips and picitinny rails.

  34. PurcHawk,
    I was shooting from bags. I think the problem is the ammo. was high velocity (CCI minimags). They do pretty well (~0.5") at 50 yards, though. I had some others which usually perform about the same at 50, and they were even worse. Also, I'm not certain I had parallax set correctly. This is the first time I've tried 100 with this setup.

    44's do have a good reputation, plus maybe you may not be too bad a shooter:); what ammo were you using? Thanks for the feedback. By the way, did you ever get your Marlin 60 up and running?

  35. BG:

    I was using subsonic Winchester Target ammo. All the serious shooters here use some form of low-velocity target ammo: Wolf Match, one of the Eley target loads, or some other slightly esoteric stuff.

    It takes some getting used to, since it sounds really anemic compared to something like the CCI hot loads, and it requires a really good follow through–something that airgunning taught me.

    High velocity ammo creates problems by going supersonic, which sets up a buffering that affects accuracy. B.B. has blogged about this problem with the high-velocity airguns. The effect on pellets is worse than .22s, but rimfire ballistics are altered also.

    I finally decided I wanted something more accurate than the Marlin 60, although I did get it apart and do some through cleaning, which mostly solved the stovepipe problem.

    I traded it in on a Ruger 10/22 that I really like. It is a standard model carbine with a factory tapered barrel (not the bull barrel target model) but it holds a really tight group at short range. It's too cold here now to shoot the outdoor range, so the best I can do until spring is 25 yards inside. So far it is living up to its reputation.

    You mentioned parallax problems, so I assume your scope doesn't have an adjustable objective. As you probably already know a lot of rimfire scopes are set for parallax at either 50 yards or 100, so that may be part of your problem if yours is a 50-yard setting. I'm no expert on this, but I've learned to pay a lot of attention to how scopes are set up before I buy one now.

    Good luck with the 100-yard shooting. I'd try some low or standard velocity ammo. It's great fun to see a good group at that range.

  36. PurcHawk,
    I've been using cheaper ammo. to get acquainted with this rifle. It was doing well enough at 50 to practice other things, but the need to find the best match (hopefully reasonable level:)) ammo (and spend the requisite cash and time) is looming. I was hoping 100 with the CCI's would be interesting enough to provide more cheap entertainment:). You're absolutely right about the transonic buffering.

    re: Parallax. It is adjustable, and was set for roughly the right range, but I didn't fine-tune it and check with the head-bob test, which can account for a significant increase in group size. Also the fact that I was using the mildot (eye somewhat off axis) may mean its even more critical.

    Sorry about the 60 — they can be a pain when they aren't right and they can get picky about ammo. when the barrels are well used. Out of the frying pan into the fire with the 10/22 — you'll be swapping barrels and adding accessories indefinitely, just because you can!:).

  37. BG:

    Yeah, I know what you mean about cheap ammo to start with. My default has been Federal Champion at $17 a brick, but it is poor stuff compared to the target rounds. I can only get Winchester target locally, and you know it costs a bundle to ship ammo from an online retailer, but I grit my teeth and buy Eley for pistol competition and it doubles OK for 100-yard prone. I have also found that–much to my surprise–Remington copper-coated bulk ammo is not terrible and better than the Federal for everyday in almost all my rimfire .22s.

    I have never used a scope with mildots, so I have no experience how that affects longer range shooting. Unless you spend a LOT of money on a scope, it can be a crap shoot on what will be a good one, or so it seems to me.

    And, yes, my mind is already racing to think of swapping out for a target bull barrel and one of those nifty Hogue stocks for the 10/22. But, I also need a better barrel on my Mark III, so… (I'm already infected, huh?)

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