air rifles, antiques, bb guns, Carbines, Collector, Daisy, history, Lever Action, model 40, no.111, Red Ryder, Rifles, Vintage

No. 111 Model 40 Variant 5


This was my first vintage Red Ryder. It’s from 1947 and I was immediately impressed with how it shot and felt in the hands. I started out collecting no.25’s and even tried to stay away from the Red Ryder knowing the rabbit hole that would ensue.


Curiosity and a good deal got the best of me and I acquired this treasure. This was the Red Ryder that was produced after WWII now using the aluminum lever in place of the war depleted cast iron.


This Model 40 arrived with a missing barrel band. Luckily I was able to find an aftermarket band that works just fine. Ideally I’d like to find a period appropriate band to replace it but this will do for now. I oiled up the wood on this gun because it was very dry.


The front sight was bent a little to the left. I was going to bend it back and found that the bend actually compensated for the slight drift. My guess is it was bent on purpose so I left it alone.


I’ve talked about how the older Red Ryder’s are loud and this one is no exception. It’s still backyard friendly but it is especially loud if it’s shot without a bb in the chamber. This could easily be considered the most common of the wood stock and forearm vintage No.111’s. After this variant they started using plastics at first in the forearm and then the stock.

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air rifles, antiques, bb guns, Carbines, Collector, Daisy, Red Ryder, Rifles, Vintage

The no.111 Model 40 Red Ryder 1950’s

The Red Ryder officially came out in 1940 and was the model that superseded my personal favorite short barrel Lighting Loader no.108 Model 39.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 1952 variant of the Model 40 with it’s “signature” warped foregrip.

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.

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