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Daisy No.25 1919

[Correction: I mistakenly refer to this gun as a 1917. It’s actually a 1919.]

Today I have for you the gun that started my obsession with Daisy BB guns. Last year for the first time ever I bought a new Daisy no. 25. The new models are made in China – but the build, fit and finish on the gun is pretty good and regardless of the plastic trigger and lever – the new 25 is an excellent backyard plinker.

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I couldn’t believe how quiet and accurate the gun was for a dang BB gun. Previously I’ve always scoffed at BB guns and thought of them more as children’s toys. I bought the gun on a whim only to discover that the thing was an excellent shooter. Over the years I had invested in many types of firearms, break barrel gas pistons, pcp’s, spring piston, airsoft and multi-pump pneumatics. Don’t get me wrong, I have fun using all of those various shooting platforms.

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But the Daisy BB gun offered so many things that NONE of the others did. Most importantly – capacity. No other shooting platform gives you 50 to 1000 shots one after another. If you are a shooter you know that most of your time is spent loading the gun. The less time you spend loading the more time you have for a thing called trigger time!

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I couldn’t believe this gun existed since 1914 and I was only now getting hip to it. I started wondering if it was possible to find an early original version of the gun and sure enough they were available on the internet. I purchased a 1936 variant for this was what was considered the most desirable of the No. 25’s. I am also a big WWI buff and it turns out that the history of Daisy and The Great War are profoundly intertwined.

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WWI broke out in 1914 which is the very year that Daisy began manufacturing the Fred Lefevere designed No. 25. This is what led me to seeking a 1st variant no. 25. Currently I still have not been able to get my hands on a 1st variant. Between 1914 and 1979 there have been about 54 variants of the gun produced. What we have here is what some call a 3rd variant . Other sources place this as a 6th variant.

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This gun was bought at a premium from Dennis Baker over at Daisy King as a 1919. This variant has the short throw and non adjustable front sight. The variant we are looking at was produced between 1917 to 1926. By 1927 the easier to cock long throw lever was introduced. For the exception of the non adjustable front sight and the finish on the barrel – this is what a 1914 1st variant would look like. It has the barrel claw, the 5 groove pump handle, smaller rear sight, straight trigger, squared off rear trigger guard, large take down screw, a reinforcement rib and a straight stock.

What distinguishes the first variant from all the others is its “black nickel” finish. The first variant was never sold in bright nickel. Of course the flagship no. 25 was the 6th (sometimes referred to as the 7th) variant that included fancy etching on the receiver. I’ll be showing you those variants in a future episode. This particular gun came to me in weak shooting condition and could definitely benefit from a good seal job. The finish on this rifle is very good with little rust. It does shoot fine at close range and it is very quiet. The shot tube is functional but challanging to lock back the spring while loading the bb’s. This was a common issue with he earlier shot tubes.

I’m looking forward to reviving the seals on this gun to see how well it can shoot. For a gun over a 100 years old its still in great condition.

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Carbines, Cleaning Kit, Daisy, memorabilia, Pump Action, Rifles, Vintage

Daisy BB Gun Cleaning Kit

In the 1950’s Daisy offered a BB Gun Cleaning Kit. It fit nicely on a stand that was also made available at this time. Unlike firearms air rifles tend not to need the same amount of cleaning. Some even say they require no cleaning at all relatively speaking. Mostly this is due to the power source. Air is cleaner than gunpowder. But it was an excellent excuse to not have to put your gun away and tinker with it maybe aside dad while he cleaned his rifle.

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air rifles, antiques, Buck Rogers, Carbines, Collector, Cork Gun, Daisy, Double Barrel, history, King, Long Rifle, memorabilia, Model 80, No. 10, No. 25, no. 5, no.102, no.105B, Pistols, Pop Gun, Pump Action, ray guns, Red Ryder, Rifles, Targeteer, Toy Guns, Vintage, Youth Guns

Daisy History

There are a couple of sources online and in print that gloss over the history of Daisy. Details are hard to come by and there are more questions than clear answers. The company began advertising in the late 1800’s if not certainly by the early 1900’s. A good portion of the puzzle can be answered by observing the various ads over the years.

This is not meant to be a concise article on Daisy history. The images included are a look into the rich history of the Daisy bb gun and the bb gun industry as a whole. I will update this page as I get more information ie dates, places, locations.

 

 

 

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King No.5 Pump Gun

The Markham King No. 5 which became the Daisy Junior Pump Gun is one of my favorites. They shoot good albeit at their age a little low in power. I’m sure seal jobs on most of these older guns would bring them back to original factory specs.img_5629

The story of “Captain” William F. Markham and Clarence Hamilton is very interesting and hard to separate fact from fiction. It is disputed as to whom is the actual creator of the first production runs. In fact many of the early Daisy guns suspiciously look like their competitors whom Daisy often “absorbed”. Simply look at the Atlas or Quackenbush designs of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s to get an idea of what was going on at the time.

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The story goes that Markham’s first Chicago model gun was all wood design where Hamilton’s design was all steel or wire. The investors proclaimed Hamilton’s gun a “Daisy” of a gun.

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By 1916 Daisy had bought controlling interest in Markham’s designs. King rifles were essentially Daisy guns. The No.5 is a great example of a 1932-36 era gun that was repurposed. This design was also used for the No. 105 Junior Pump Gun and the No. 107 Buck Jones Special. img_5626

It’s not quite clear as to why Daisy would even bother with a Markham design gravity fed design in 1932 when in 1914 they had already adopted  the force fed Lefever design of the No.25 Pump Gun. And in 1916 two years later they buy out Markham which I find very odd. Markham apparently packed up the family and moved to California. Things must have been “hot” in the Michigan area. Maybe Markham was uncomfortably too familiar with the goings on in the early years of the company. Perhaps an over abundance of parts at the King factory? Perhaps Daisy and co. had the foresight to include a variety of models and designs in their production. If you have the dope on any of this let us know.

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air rifles, bb guns, Carbines, No. 25, Pump Action, Rifles

The Current Daisy No. 25 Test

Today I’ll be conducting a chronograph and accuracy test on the current Daisy no. 25 model pump action carbine. This is a new Chinese produced gun that holds 50 rounds of b.b.’s, wood(ish) stock and pump handle, painted black metal (sheet metal) and plastic trigger assembly. Some folks have complained about painted barrels and plastic parts but I have actually grown to appreciate them. I own many vintage “blued” barrel guns and it can be very laborious keeping them all oiled and holding the vintage rust at bay. The plastic trigger works fine and will not require much in the way of maintenance. Of course not all triggers will behave the same on the new production models. I purchased 4 for this test and 1 of them had a very tight crisp break. The other 3 were pretty much the same – probably about 4 pounds of pull but still not a bad trigger. Not at all like my Benjamin NP Trail Pistol. That trigger is horrible.

Remember your American history? Although Jamestown Virginia was the first (British) settlement – Plymouth Michigan (Plymouth Rock) is erroneously granted the title. The same holds true of Daisy. They advertise themselves as “the first in air guns” but they certainly were not the first. Names like Quackenbush and Markham come to mind and I’m sure there are others.  Daisy may have come out with the first Winchester style lever action in 1901 (maybe designed by Hamilton) and the first pump action in 1914 (designed by Lafever) but these b.b. guns were modeled after the Browning designed firearms. We must not leave out the Atlas air gun company that was acquired by Daisy very early on.

OK enough waxing historically. On with the test. -“CaliAir”


ACCURACY TEST
CHRONOGRAPH TEST
Final Report:
This new and “CaliAir” tested Daisy No. 25 model b.b. gun has been seasoned with 1000 rounds and is ready to go. Perfect working order take-down pump carbine. Rifle comes assembled in box new but tested condition as seen in photos and YT videos search “CaliAir”.  The “Blue Book” describes this carbine as such: “BB/.177 cal. elbow-slide pump action cocking, MV to 350 FPS, stained solid wood pistol grip stock and forearm grip, steel construction, smooth bore steel barrel, decorative engraving on receiver, blade and ramp metal front and flip-up peep or open adj. rear sights, 50-shot internal spring-fed magazine, crossbolt trigger block safety, 36.5 in. OAL, 3 lbs. Mfg. 2010-current. 100% condition value = $45”

CaliAir Test Analysis:
  • FPS = avg. 283.3
  • Grouping at 16 feet = 1” – (see target image)
  • Condition = like new, tested, small scratch from shipping (see photos)
  • Comments = This is a great quiet plinker. It hits a shovel head out at 50 yards with some Kentucky windage. Shoots better than any of my vintage Daisy no. 25’s. To take-down the gun you must remove the retainer screw and pull the trigger. Easy to shoot and maintain. Perfect for adults but kids like them too. The upper receiver has a scratch on it from the wire that contains it during shipping (as shown). Very slight wear from testing use. If you don’t own a Daisy no. 25 or Red Ryder you are missing out on the #1 staple in every serious air gunners arsenal. Advice: buy lots of b.b.’s and a tube of pellgun oil!
  • note: there have been various internet posts regarding the quality of Daisy’s current line of guns coming out of China. I have purchased over the past 3 months at least 8 currently produced guns and they have all performed flawlessly. However I’m sure production mistakes occur.
The reintroduction of the classic no. 25 model began in 2009. The production of the model ceased around 1986 and originally began way back in 1914. Special limited editions and commemorative no. 25’s have been produced and assembled in the US with parts manufactured “overseas”. The current standard production No. 25 model is made in China. Typically this is not a good thing however China has done a phenomenal job with the manufacturing and the only visible plastic is on the trigger which isn’t bad at all. FYI: China invented the first “springer” air gun around the 13th century and have mastered the art of reproducing quality guns with the likes of the Norinco AK and SKS models.

The designer of the No. 25 Charles F. Lefever (grandson to the founder of the famous Lefever Arms co.) started pitching the gun to Daisy whom eventually bought the gun and hired on Lefever for 41 years. Lefever’s design was reminiscent of the Browning designed Winchester Model 12 which would see action in WW1 and all wars to follow. The Daisy Buck Jones Special no. 107 designed by William F. Markham may have been a closer replica to the Model 12 but the No. 25 was a take-down model with a force feed shot tube rather than the usual gravity fed tube. Although the gun only holds 50 rounds it shoots them more reliably than the gravity fed systems. Currently it is estimated that over 8 million of these guns have been produced.

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