From plinking to shooting games to teaching proper shooting technique, Daisy’s Model 499B Champion Competition Air Rifle serves many purposes.
by Jace Bauserman
We were all grown men — in our mid-thirties at the time — and we were beyond the air rifle phase. The idea was to set up a system of targets in my buddy’s backyard. We had Birchwood Casey paper targets, clay targets, and a soda can or two. Everything was set and ready.
The kids would have a riot, and we would have fun snapping pictures with our phones and keeping things safe.
Of course, we wanted to show them how to operate the Daisy air rifles even though they already knew and take them through our course. I’m embarrassed to say that this “for the kids” activity turned into an intense air rifle competition between a bunch of men, which my friend Bill won by shooting a plastic thumbtack we had pressed into the cardboard in the final round.
The competition lasted for over an hour, and there were lots of “Yes, you can shoot in a minute; I just need to make this last shot.” When it was over, the kids had moved on to other activities, and we were all in hot water with our wives. We deserved it — shame on us.
A Great Training Aid
Our only defense we cling to today is that shooting Air Rifles is fun for all ages. The ammunition is inexpensive, the rifle makes virtually no noise, and there is zero shoulder abuse. Also, shooting an air rifle makes me focus even more than I do when shooting a high-power-scoped rifle. Why? My air rifles don’t have scopes, and the circular BB projectile doesn’t have the ballistics of my favorite rounds from Federal and Hornady. If I want to be accurate, my shooting form and execution must be spot on.
This is why I like using an air rifle to train myself to be a better shot. I can shoot an air rifle almost anywhere — safety first — but nearly every backyard environment will do. I can work on my target acquisition, cheek placement on the stock, hand placement on the forearm if shooting offhand, trigger pull, etc.
One air rifle I’ve been testing for a few weeks now and am having a lot of fun with is Daisy’s Model 499B Champion Competition Air Rifle. Daisy slugs the rifle as the most accurate 5-meter competition rifle in the world, and while I have not yet hit the tournament trail, I have conducted my field tests and agree with the statement.
The air rifle measures 36.25 inches and weighs 3.1 pounds. The Monte Carlo wood stock, forearm, and smooth-bore steel barrel give the rifle a classic look. After removing the air rifle from the box, the wide, flat, wooden forearm was one of the first things to jump out at me. A quick measure told me the flat surface portion was 1-1/2 inches wide. I loved the way the flat, wide surface felt in my hand. This air rifle shoots accurately offhand, and the wide base of the forearm is a nice addition.
The wooden stalk boasts a swell that comes off a dip in the upper backend of the stock. The raised (not-adjustable) cheekpiece felt solid. The raised cheekpiece and wide forearm provided a stable, balanced shooting platform when I shouldered the rifle, and though I had yet to attach the rear sight, I expected superb eye-to-peep alignment.
The lever action isn’t overly stiff, cocking is easy, and I appreciate Daisy included a stiff lever catch that prevents lever slop. Daisy added a wide, ample, gridded, and raised safety. The safety sits on the rifle’s right side just above the trigger, and manipulation is easy. Lift the trigger finger to press the safety forward to the fire position and back to return the air rifle to the safe position.
The air rifle’s sights are where things get interesting. Not an air rifle with standard iron sights, this competition air rifle was engineered for accuracy. The sights included a hooded front sight with six interchangeable aperture inserts and a competition-style rear sight. The rear sight mounts to the receiver via the included Allen wrench and is fully adjustable up/down and left/right. More to come on this sight system, but I will also note that the rear competition sight is a peep-style aperture sight.
The rifle is a single-shot muzzle-loading rifle, another piece I love if you plan to train, teach rifle safety, or teach young shooters the value of making a single shot count.
To load the rifle:
- Ensure it is not cocked and the safety is in the labeled “safe” position.
- Stand the gun on the butt of the stock; it will almost balance on its own.
- Keep your face away from the muzzle, and use your non-brace hand to reach out and drop a single BB in the muzzle.
You are now ready to cock the lever, point the air rifle in a safe direction, remove the safety, and take a shot.
In The Field
Some may roll their eyes, and that’s fine, but I love shooting air rifles. I like to get creative with my courses and have fun.
For the first portion of my test, I wanted to get the rifle zeroed at 5 meters (5.46807 yards). Sighting in this air rifle is easy. I chose to do it offhand. I used the left/right turret dial and could watch the arrow move across the engraved-in-the-plastic grooves, which made achieving accurate windage easy. Elevation followed, and the process was the same. Daisy includes elevation marks, which makes the zeroing process simple.
My final three-shot sight-in group at 5 meters put two out of three BBs in the black ring on a National Rifle Association 5 Meter BB Gun Target.
With the rifle sighted in, I spent hours busting clay targets. Sending BBs at 240 fps, I will note that the rifle doesn’t have the power to crack clay beyond 5 meters. It will chip the clay but will not bust it.
For fun, I set paper targets at 10 yards and 20 yards. With a muzzle velocity of 240 fps, bullet drop past 5 meters is significant. Accuracy does suffer the further you move from the target, but it’s still fun to shoot some distance.
The further you move from the target, the more improper shooting form shows. Jerk the trigger, which does have some creep, and you’ll miss by a large margin. Try and peek above the peep sight at the shot, and you’ll drop the barrel with your offhand and hit low. Shooting this air rifle is a remarkable training tool for learning and perfecting proper shooting form.
I switched the front sight inserts several times to see what peep-to-hooded-housing insert worked best for me. I liked the single bar from the bottom of the insert’s circular housing, but my son preferred one of the full-circle inserts. Swapping inserts is easy. Daisy put a slot in the hooded front aperture. Depress the slot, and you can slide inserts in and out of the front sight.
You can have a lot of fun with your Daisy air rifle, and I recommend getting several — the manufacturer has an extensive lineup — for you and your family.
Daisy Model 499B Champion Competition Air Rifle (Specifications)
- Caliber: .177 BB
- Action: Lever
- PowerPlant: Spring
- Maximum Shooting Distance: 152 yards
- Length: 36.25 inches
- Weight: 3.1 pounds
- Rail: None
- FPS: 240
- Stock: Monte Carlo
- Barrel: Smooth Bore Steel
- Length of Pull: 13.25 in.
- Sights: Hooded front with aperture inserts/adjustable rear peep
- Safety: Manual
- MSRP: $185.90