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No. 111 Model 40 Variant 5

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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1950’s Iconic Red Ryder no.111

There is something appealing about the 1950’s Red Ryder. In 1952 they began to replace the wood front stock with a “fancy” plastic design. The early plastics had a tendency to warp from the heat of the sun and few models escaped this anomaly.

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I was excited to get another one of these in the collection. They still have the wood rear stock with the Fred Harman Red Ryder engraving and the saddle ring. The models from the 50’s tend to hit pretty hard. This seems to be the consensus from fellow owners.

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These guns were made in the Plymouth Michigan factory where all Daisy’s were made up until 1958. Before the Rogers Arkansas factory took over production the Plymouth factory was putting out rifles with both plastic stocks and forearms.

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The 1952 Red Ryder would be the last to see a wood stock until the reissues came out in the 70’s with the Model 1938 Red Ryder. The no.111 Model 40 has come full circle from 1940 all wood, to 1950’s partial wood, to late 50’s/60’s all plastic and back now to all wood.

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This particular rifle has some replacement nuts but is otherwise original and complete.

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The classic tiny ding on the side of the barrel. It makes you wonder how many kids shot their own bb gun and why? The barrels are still “blued” and the brownish patina is testament to this. The painted barrels had the advantage of not rusting as easily and eventually all Red Ryder’s and most Daisy’s will be painted.

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Definitely not the original nuts. I don’t mind the brass one but I’ll look for proper replacements for them. By 1947 the cast iron lever was forever replaced by a cast aluminum lever that was painted black. The paint easily came off and that issue would be solved in the 80’s with a special plastic lever.

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As with many vintage models this one is a little on the loud side. Still tenable for backyard plinking but not the quietest plinker. It’s possible a synthetic seals would make it more quiet. My 102 Cub from 1960’s is super quiet – but I’m not sure if the gun was worked on or functioned that way out of the box. I’m assuming it has synthetic seals none the less. And I will further assume the 1952 model shown here has leather seals and contributes to it’s loud report.

The Red Ryder is the greatest selling bb gun of all time. The bulk of them would have been the plastic stock models. Although production began in 1940 it was halted due to WWII. Regular production didn’t resume until 1946 and by 1952 the plastic made it’s entry into the design. The plastic stock and forearm Red Ryder’s would have a good 20+ year production run before the return of the wood reintroduced on the Model 1938 Red Ryder in 1977.

It’s hard not to pick up more Red Ryder’s. They are great guns and like this 1952 Red Ryder are loads of fun to shoot.

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The Red Ryder 1938B Model

CaliAir talks about the peculiarly named “1938” Red Ryder and compares it to the Model 40’s that preceded it. Daisy perhaps by way of space time travel reissued the non existent 1938 Model in 1972 and then again in the 80’s. The original “1938 Model” from 1972 was almost identical to the 1952 Model 40 no.111.

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Today’s featured gun is the 1988 50th Anniversary Commemorative 1938B. It seems the letter “B” is used to nomenclate a reissue. The current Buck no.105B lever action youth gun uses this identification as well. This leaves us with a slight perplexity. The original No.105 Junior Buck from 1933 was a pump action not a lever action gun. In fact the 1933 No.105 was really just the Markham designed No.5 pump gun rebranded.

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Perhaps someone over at Daisy can enlighten us on the peculiar model naming conventions that were used.

This particular carbine is a good shooter. It’s quiet and still hits hard. It has moderate wear and hasn’t seen much abuse. It survived the 80’s better than a lot of folks I know.

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I have Daisy guns from the 1940’s that have painted barrels. By the 1950’s/60’s Daisy started painting most of their barrels. The blueing, nickel and chrome plated guns have their charm but few have escaped the ravages of rust. The painted guns do have the unique advantage of resisting rust.

My best guess thus far is the”1938B” date is significant because it was the date when the Red Ryder started being designed. Licensing was acquired 1939 and sales and marketing began in 1940. That is – sold until 1942 as WWII progressed. The cast iron lever 1st variant Model 40 is easy to spot with it’s cooper sight and barrel bands. These features were gone when production resumed in 1946.

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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.

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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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