The Red Ryder officially came out in 1940 and was the model that superseded my personal favorite short barrel Lighting Loader no.108 Model 39.
After the first run of Red Ryders were produced they had to halt production for the war effort. The Commando took its place in the marketplace temporarily.
By 1945/46 they ramped up production of the Red Ryder (minus the cast iron lever) which boomed in popularity with the advent of T.V. and cartoon magazine caricatures created by artist Fred Harman.
The cult of Hollywood celebrities such as film stars Buzz Barton and Buck Jones aided in the continued success of the Red Ryder brand regardless of its iterations.
By 1952 the Red Ryder now garnished a plastic foregrip, a wood stock and the post war aluminum lever painted “never stick” black. In my assessment of Daisy guns and upon conferring with other collectors it seems to be the 1950’s era Model 40’s are the best mechanically shootable of them all. I’d like to hear from more folks on this matter.
The CaliAir collection currently has the 1st, 5th and 6th variants of the Red Ryder. The 1952 no.111’s continue to be the best shooters. This is not including the more current day Chinese made Red Ryder’s which all equal or out perform the vintage guns. I particularly enjoy the offshoot Daisy no.10 which is an all “woodish” plastic/metal mini Red Ryder for all intensive purposes.
The new plastic “upgrades” on the the guns from the 50’s wasn’t perfected and heat made the stocks and forearms warp. It’s hard to find guns from the era that don’t have that now signature warpage. On the down side, I find that the early Red Ryders fail to chamber and shoot air perhaps up to 5 out of 10 shots. My 1947 does this too but is loud when it fires an empty chamber. This borders on not being backyard friendly.