I decided to celebrate Michigan’s airgun law reform by buying a new Daisy Avanti 747 pellet pistol for basement winter and rainy day practice. I’d owned two of the simpler 717s, one of which I wrote about here a few months ago, and one back in the late 1980s. The 747 adds two improvements to the 717: An adjustable trigger, and a Lothar Walther barrel. While Don Nygord won a California state air gun championship with a modified 717 having the stock Daisy barrel, and while the stock barrel no doubt shoots better than I can, it’s still nice knowing you have that little extra edge.
It even comes with its own special tool for adjusting the trigger and the piston:
Thanks to the light trigger, I can shoot this gun much more accurately than I could ever shoot my 717s. I have it at minimum let off, which brings it to around 2-1/2 lbs, close to the trigger weight of my Rugers and my High Standard Supermatic. Trigger adjustment is easy- there’s a little screw head recessed in the front of the grip frame, just below the trigger guard:
At $200 to $235, depending on where you buy it, the 747 remains the single outstanding bargain in competition air pistols. The next step up would be to an FAS ($385-500, depending on grips) and I’m not sure the novice would do any better with that gun. While there it much about the way that that Daisy is made that looks kind of crude, nothing has been compromised as far as accuracy is concerned. The bolt is a rough looking piece of plastic that is a bit rough in operation, but smooths out with use. The piston is a zinc casting that again works just fine. The rear sight is plastic (!) but it’s adjustable, and anyway I’ll probably be mainly using the mini dot sight on mine I do have some plans for eventually mounting a better sight, as Nygord did with his 717.)
First tests were very promising, with the gun grouping tightly off a rest in my basement range. After a few days of practice my groups were noticeably smaller, and that carried over to my .22 Bullseye guns. Practice does make a difference!
I do have two minor complaints. One, the gun is very nose heavy, even more so than my High Standard. The mass does contribute to steadying the gun, though. Two, the grips just don’t fit my large hands very well. No one currently makes replacement grips, and Daisy quite making the wooden-gripped 777 version a long time ago, so they don’t have any spares. Sometime this year I’m going to try and carve myself a set that’ll fit me, but it may not be until Fall or Winter, when I’m looking for indoor projects. As for the balance- BME make a mount for the 747 that allows you to place the scope farther back- I might just get one. Adding an $83 mount and a $75-150 dot sight to a $200 gun does sound a bit excessive, but this gun is worth it.
PS: You can buy it at Amazon with free shipping here. They also have the scope mount (it’s designed for the IZH 46 but works perfectly on the Daisy), and of course a great many reasonably priced dot sights, of which my favorite is the Millett SP-1. It costs less than a third of what I paid for the Ultradot 25 that’s on my High Standard, and on a non-recoiling air gun it should give many years of trouble-free service.
As for the mini dot sight shown on the Daisy: It’s unmarked, and I’m not sure of the brand; I think it was an eBay purchase. I might just mount a spare Millett SP-1 there next.
[About that barrel: A lot of people think Lothar Walther is part of the same Walther that makes guns- it’s not. Lothar Walther was the youngest son of Carl Walther, the founder of the company that bears the Walther name. The Walther company was taken over by Carl’s eldest sone, Fritz, after Carl’s death in 1915. Ten years later, Lothar left to start his own firm.]