Daisy 325 2-Way Target Outfit - Part 2
A different pump BB gun!
by B.B. Pelletier
As a wrap-up to this report, I'm going to chronograph the 1936 version of the Daisy No. 25 pump BB gun. I'll also show you the Daisy target trap in the kit, and, just for grins, I'll chronograph a 1954 version of the same No. 25 pump gun that the 1936 version morphed into. This is playtime for me, and I hope it tickles your fancy, as well.
First - oil the gun!
Many of you haven't heard this story yet, so allow me to tell you a sad tale from my childhood. It's probably one of the main reasons I became such a devoted airgunner. After my mother embarrassed me with the world's weakest airgun, she relented from her "NO BB GUNS" policy by allowing me to buy a real Daisy. My older sister's boyfriend had a 1930 variation Daisy No. 25 pump (that's the same gun as the 1936, but with no engraving and a color case-hardened pump linkage) that he offered to sell me for $5. I couldn't get the money fast enough! (I had a paper route.)
I'm a dope
That gun was a beauty and I loved it--for all of 3 days. Then, on day 4, the BBs stopped coming out. Or, they simply dribbled out with no force. I was 12, so all I knew was to take it apart. I made it almost halfway before realizing I didn't know what to do after that. I couldn't get it back together again. So, to rid myself of the pain of the basket-case I'd created, I sold it to an acquaintance for a quarter. A couple days later, he comes around to show me his fully functioning BB gun and tells me, "My dad says you're a dope for not knowing you have to oil these things all the time!"
So, I'm a dope...and I became a diehard Daisy No. 25 BB gun collector on that very day. It would be 24 more years before I bought my second No. 25, but once I did the floodgates were opened. This 325 is one of the nicest in my small collection that includes every No. 25 variation from 1913 to 1954.
As I was saying, first you oil the gun by removing the screw-in shot tube and dropping 10-20 drops of plain household oil down the muzzle. Stand the gun upright for a few minutes, then load and fire. You cannot over-oil these guns, but you can make them so saturated they'll leak oil for weeks, so keep it real.
The 1936 variation fired Crosman Copperhead BBs at a velocity in the 330 f.p.s. range. There were, however, a number of shots as slow as 269 f.p.s. That tells me the leather seal either isn't saturated yet, or it's worn a bit. The former is more likely, because those seals can last more than a century with minimal care.
Testing the 1954
For comparison, I dragged out my 1954 variation to test. In 1952, Daisy stopped bluing their BB guns and started painting them with a glossy black electrostatic paint. About the same time, they began experimenting with injection-molded polystyrene (plastic) stocks. However, the No. 25 went through one additional transformation. The early ones had engraved receivers that were actually engraved (stamped) with gold paint in the lines. Later guns had painted engraving; the stamped lines were left out. Mine is painted with a plastic stock and engraved, and the general consensus seems to be that this model should be called the 1954 variant, though it was probably produced earlier than that. By 1956, I believe, the engraving had ceased, and in 1958 Daisy moved to Rogers, Arkansas, so the guns marked Plymouth, MI, stopped being built. I found this gun at a flea market and got it for a great price, considering that it's in 98 percent condition.
The 1954 variation, which may have a leather piston seal or it may be synthetic, averages 344 f.p.s. with a velocity variation of less than 20 f.p.s. So neither this gun nor the older one are quite as powerful as I've seen, but both are still pretty hot for BB guns.
Daisy target trap
Talk about your liability potential! The all-steel Daisy target trap that comes in the 325 outfit is a lawsuit waiting to happen! It was probably fine back in the days of lead air rifle shot, but when the steel BB came out in the late 1920s, the phrase, "You'll shoot your eye out!" was born.
The trap has a bell inside the small hole and the BB that strikes it provides the clapper. A red and white Daisy target was dropped into the target holder and the bell signified when the red bullseye was hit. My trap has small dimples on the face and larger dents in the back, signifying some use. This trap was also sold separately in a red and white pasteboard box, and I've seen them going for $100 in the box by themselves. A trap without the box should be worth something less, I would think, and the amount of use would dictate the price, as well.
Whatever you do--NEVER shoot a steel BB at this trap! The steel construction guarantees that BBs will come straight back at the shooter with force.
I hope you've enjoyed this stroll down memory lane with me. For some reason, I have always been a sucker for pump guns and Daisy No. 25s are my special weakness.