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Daisy 499 Champion- Buy it or build it?

12661 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  gvaldeg1
After really enjoying shooting the Daisy Model 95 and 96 I recently resealed and resprung, it got me again thinking about the Daisy 499 Champion, aka “World’s Most Accurate BB Gun”. Vendors get ~$140.00 for a 499, but that’s a bit much for my limited airgun budget. But- I already had quite a few 499 parts on hand, including a rear sight, front sight inserts, trigger, shot tube assembly, plunger assembly and abutment. (I bought them to see if there was any use for them in any of my modified Daisys- which, other than the rear sight, there really isn’t. Details of these modified BB guns can be seen HERE.) And I had a spare curved metal lever. So being already halfway there I ordered a receiver, a Boyd-made stock and forearm (these three parts are the bulk of the cost at $17, $23 and $16 respectively), a spring anchor and a screw assortment. Total cost of the parts to assemble a 499 is a little north of $85.00, bought directly from Daisy.

I won’t get into the assembly of the 499 because there’s really nothing to it. The only real difference between building the 499 and any other lever Daisy BB gun is installing the abutment. I easily drove it into place using a long wooden dowel. I didn’t bother to stake it as it’s plenty tight as it is. After repeated dis- and re-assemblies it’ll probably loosen, but I don't see needing to remove it anytime soon. The plunger spring is so light that it takes no effort to hold it in position to assemble the plunger assembly, and no effort to compress it to install the spring anchor. There’s no air tube so no worries about aligning it through the abutment/barrel seal like on most other Daisy BB guns.

After assembly, I shot it to settle things in. Being a single shot is a downside but even so, I still put quite a few Daisy Match Grade Avanti BBs downrange pretty quickly. It's addictive! The lever pull is crazy-easy and the trigger pull is sweet for a Daisy BB gun. The stock feels very good to me. The LOP is much of the reason why, being longer than most other Daisy lever guns I own at 13.5" (same as my Model 96). The gun has good 'heft' to it as well, thanks mostly to the hardwood stock. The 499 weighs 3-1/4 lbs., a new Red Ryder weighs 2-1/2 lbs. in comparison. After breaking it in, I shot a short string through the chrono. The average MV of 6 shots was 235 fps (240 fps advertised),with a close ES of 2 fps. The most interesting thing about this to me is the velocity being that high. I contribute much of this to the tighter shot tube ID. One thing’s for sure- it’s not the spring! The spring used in the 499 is ~50% weaker than current production Daisy lever action repeater springs. Plus the 499 has no air tube (I’ve read that the “pool cue” hit from the air tube supposedly adds 50-80 fps to the MV). So the 499 is just more efficient at using what it has, or so it would seem.

I'm anxious to see what the accuracy will be like. It's been rainy, windy and even snowing here in GA for the last week so once the weather cooperates I'll shoot a target or two. Then I plan to swap springs for a new production Daisy Red Ryder spring to see what the MV is like compared to a stock Red Ryder (a stock RR chronos at ~270 fps even though Daisy advertises "up to 350 fps". A lot of velocity and accuracy testing of various Daisy BB guns are in the linked-to thread above). That might be interesting- the potentially more efficient powerplant of the 499 vs. the pool shot air tube action of the RR, both with identical springs. Hopefully the accuracy will still be good.

Current Daisy 499 Champion parts list/diagram:
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When I was young I had an old lever Daisy bb rifle. If the tension tangs were loose or otherwise let the cocking lever hang down after being cocked, pulling the trigger would cause the lever to come home with a finger crushing force. In later years I wondered if that was just mine, and if not, how did they survive the lawsuits?
The lever snapping back if left open was still the case on all the lever BB guns and even the Model 25 pump gun, all the way up until Daisy started using an anti beartrap link. I'm not sure exactly when this was, but I know it was after the Millennium Red Ryder that was sold in 2000 because it didn't have one even though it uses the plastic trigger with the safety. And I agree with you- it can give a pretty good whack!
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Thanks. This has been a lot of fun, never thought these simple BB guns would hold my interest like they have. I also got started with a Daisy BB gun as my first gun, it was the little Cub. Got it Christmas of '60. It's one of the best childhood memories I have along with getting a bike.
Sorry to revive this old thread but I wanted to add a little new information: I swapped the 499 spring out for one from a new production Red Ryder. This was the ONLY change I made to this gun. I was hoping the MV would increase from the 235 fps average it was shooting to maybe 275, like a stock unmodified Red Ryder. To my surprise and delight, it rewarded me with an astounding 421 fps average! :yikes1: And it is just as accurate as it was before the spring swap!!

To put that MV into perspective, that is more MV than I've gotten from any of my modified Red Ryders, and I know of only one Red Ryder that has eclipsed the 499, and that gun uses a 499 barrel turned down to fit the Red Ryder style abutment, along with a custom made 0.157" ID air tube (stock Red Ryder air tube is 0.078" ID) and a heavily preloaded Red Ryder spring!

BTW, the Red Ryder 1938B, Model 105 Buck, Model 10, Model 1998, etc. all use the same powerplant, including the plunger tube, spring, air tube, plunger head, pin, washer and sponge wiper. These powerplants can be ordered from Daisy, p/n 169750-000, $4.00 each plus shipping.

Info on this and MUCH more can be seen at How To hot trod the Daisy lever action BB gun. Along about page 12 or so in the linked thread, a member has built a Red Ryder repeater that shoots well over 400 fps. Really some nice work and innovative thinking has gone into the gun- including a custom owner-made buttstock. Member goes by hinz57.
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