Daisy 25 dating information – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Most of you don’t know this, but I receive many questions and comments on the older blogs. One of them, the one about the Daisy No. 25 pump-action BB gun, is particularly active, and the questions are almost always the same. They want to know which version of the gun they have. So, today I’m going to explain a few of the visual cues that are used to refine the dates of these guns. This will give me a page to which I can refer people in the future. With the comments we’ve had recently about the 25 versus the Red Ryder, I know this will appeal to more than just the hard-core collectors.

Even though this report will not be exhaustive, it will take more than one part to complete. I discovered that as I photographed the first several features and realized what I’d bitten off. Believe me, this will be a lot more informative than counting the grooves on the pump handle, which is about all we knew to do 20 years ago.

When I began collecting 25s, not a lot was known about them, or at least not a lot was written about them. A man by the name John Steed set about documenting 25s and all their characteristics in the mid 1990s, and he published a small booklet of facts so dry they will put most non-collectors to sleep. I base most of what I say on John’s work, but I also know that anything I state with certainty today can be overturned tomorrow. I’m giving you the best data I have, but we’re still learning about Daisys.

Also, you have to bear in mind that Daisy never threw away anything. After they made changes to a design, they would continue to use the old parts until they ran out. And, if a box of old parts was found a year later, there’s a good chance they found their way into the production cycle. So, we must be careful not to invent a new type of variation on the evidence of one gun. John Steed knew that, and I want you to keep it in mind, as well.

Daisy began making the No. 25 pump gun officially in 1914, but production really began in 1913–or at least that’s what my information tells me. The first variation was finished in fragile black nickel over silver nickel. The first gun is sometimes called a 1913 variation, though I just told you that was a year before Daisy officially began production.

The first gun has a couple characteristics that went away very soon after production began. By 1915, all these features had changed into something else. The black nickel went fast, as it was not a rugged finish. They still plated their guns with silver nickel, but a hot bath blue was the preferred finish, staring in 1914.


The front sight on this 1913 version of the No. 25 is adjustable from side to side. You can see how it slides, yet the metal is so tight that the blade doesn’t move once it’s in place. It’s a sort of reverse dovetail. This feature went away by 1916.


This front sight is on a very early short-throw lever No. 25. It was certainly made by 1927. The sight is spot-welded on the tube, as it would be for the remainder of the production run through 1986.

While the adjustable front sight is a good indicator of an early No. 25, the next feature is even more discriminating. Back in 1914, Daisy was not able to fold the outer tube of any of their BB guns sufficiently airtight so the compression chamber was sealed. They soft-soldered a metal patch to the underside of the gun. The patch runs from the beginning to the end of the compression chamber, including the spring tube that’s always behind the piston.


The raised piece of metal under the pump handle guide rod is a soldered patch that denotes an early gun.


The patch looks like this where the barrel meets the receiver.

In 1915, Daisy perfected the sheetmetal fold, and they dropped the labor-intensive solder patch. Any gun that doesn’t have the patch is a late 1915 or newer gun. If it has the patch, it can’t be any newer than 1915. But the black nickel finish went away in late 1914/early 1915; so together with the patch, the two point to a very early No. 25.


When Daisy learned how to fold metal and retain an airtight seal, the barrel patch was eliminated. This happened in 1915.

Long and short throw levers
In the beginning, the No. 25 pump lever reached out to within about six inches of the muzzle. As I have mentioned in the Red Ryder report, all BB guns of this era had significantly stronger mainsprings than they do today. Some younger kids had difficulty pumping the gun because of this, so in 1927, Daisy introduced what’s called the long-throw lever. The pump handle reaches out to within four inches of the muzzle, supposedly giving more leverage for cocking. I can’t feel a difference, but I’m an adult and my guns are all well broken-in by now. However, the length of the lever throw helps to date the gun.


This is the short-throw lever, made in 1927 and before.


This is the long-throw lever, made in 1927 and after. Notice that there are still five grooves on the pump handle.

Reinforcing rib
I told you this was going to be detailed. John Steed actually discovered this feature, to the best of my knowledge. The earliest guns did not have a reinforcing rib on the pump linkage, but in 1915 it was added. This feature, coupled with the solder patch and the black nickel finish, is one more proof of a real first variation No. 25.


The earliest pumps did not have a reinforcing rib punched into the sheetmetal pump linkage.


The reinforcement is obvious on the guns that have it. Guns without it were made in 1915 and earlier.

Wow, what a load of stuff. There’s more, too, so stay tuned for Part 2.

59 thoughts on “Daisy 25 dating information – Part 1



  1. Derrick,

    Yeah, yeah! Last night I spoke to a gun collector who bought a collection of guns and swords that were used on The Avengers television show. It included the sword that hung in Steed's office.

    B.B.


  2. B.B.,

    Hooray!! A multi-part series you can point Daisy 25 owners to so they can date their own guns.

    That tootsie roll pump handle model sure brings back memories.

    You are among the handful of authorities on Daisy 25's considering your deep collection of these models and your airgun library that even contains the obscure publication by John Steed. Nonetheless, your article is filled with caveats.

    This article reminds me of the seemingly endless variations of Walther and Weirauch target airguns. The experts like Driskill, Blackwell, Frakor, etc. (you know these fanatics) are still occasionally surprised by a "Frankenstein" that has been put together by the factory and these guys probably have over 50 years of collecting between them and hundreds of guns.

    This will be an interesting series. Thanks.

    kevin


  3. BB,
    Re: eMatch
    They don't use that terminology (BR-V) on the site, but here is the target:

    http://www.airgunarena.com/images/1/14/Challenge_marksman.pdf

    You are to take 30 shots in 30 minutes.

    The challenge is still evolving. The site doesn't say it anymore but I thought this was an excellent requirement: Sometime during the match time frame, which is around two weeks or so, you decide this is the day I'm going to shoot, you shoot, and you accept and record whatever score you get that session. This adds a bit of pressure to your session to simulate what you might experience in a sanctioned match. I think it adds to the fun and the challenge.

    -Chuck


  4. Observations. Perceptions.

    There are alot of reasons I read this blog. Among them is to learn about airguns that usually work well "out of the box" and the fixes for those that sometimes don't.

    In the past week I've read about some guns with problems and owners that will never again buy a (fill in the blank) airgun.

    There seems to be a common perception that an airgun (or car, or boat or?) exists that out of the box never has problems. Some, if you're lucky, but the same model airgun shipped to a different address can have problems. Luck of the draw.

    I'm no expert but I've owned and shot alot of different airguns (springers, pumps and pcp's) and have some observations based on my limited experience.

    There isn't a perfect airgun. They all can, and have had problems from the factory. Even a new $3,400.00 tricked out Steyr and new $2,500.00 FWB P700 (that had to be shipped across the ocean 4 times over a year to get it fixed).

    If you don't like to tinker it becomes paramount to buy an airgun with an above average reputation made by a company with a great track record of standing behind their products and from a reputable dealer with a good return policy. Still no guarantee of a perfect functioning airgun but increases your odds of ending up with one.

    I view airguns as kits. Some kits come with all the parts necessary from the factory and work ok. Most kits come with all the parts necessary from the factory they just need to be fitted/refitted correctly to work really well. There are also kits that can be purchased from the factory that require aftermarket parts that can significantly affect the initial investment but the end result is an airgun that can be compared to others costing much more than the total cost now in your airgun.

    Only my perception and observations.

    kevin


  5. BB,
    I was interested in the fact that blog comments are still being added to a blog posting long after the blog is written.

    I wonder if it would be best for comments made after the first week a blog is posted were redirected to a forum type format with a reference to the log they are addressing. My reasoning is that you are probably the only one who sees those comments whereas, in a forum format, everyone would see them.

    In any case, thanks for the time you spend writing the blog and responding to comments.

    Merry Christmas to you and Edith, and to all the others that follow the blogs!

    David Enoch


  6. Jeremy,
    I can understand your frustration. I, too, expect my air rifles to be near perfect when they're delivered.

    With air rifles this becomes even more frustrating for me because of Illinois gun laws and/or carrier policy. If I have to return an air rifle I have to go through an FFL dealer who charges from $25 to $45 to handle the shipping forth and back to the company. This is a charge I don't think I'll get back from, say, PA, for example. I know they'll pay for the shipping but, I don't know, but I suspect, they won't reimburse me the FFL charge. Some day I may test that.

    Regardless, as Kevin pointed out, I know all mfgrs have quality problems and it's up to us to make sure they do the best they can by us letting them know, like you just did, how we feel.

    Don't feel like a flamer. You have a legitimate right to complain.

    -Chuck



  7. David,

    I have a small group of volunteers who watch these old comments.

    Sometimes all the person wants is a quick answer. Those generally start out, "Quick question…" though not always.

    But we have brought hundreds of new readers into the fold by inviting them to the modern blog page.

    B.B.


  8. I wonder if that reinforced rib idea was patented? I wonder if there was an engineer who's heirs are now filthy rich because of that reinforced rib idea? I wonder where Daisy got the idea? I see that technique used in so many places to day from kitchen utensils to toys. One of those so-simple-take-me-for-granted ideas that are so effective.

    I know, I'm so easily entertained.

    -Chuck



  9. Chuck,
    I feel your pain about the Illinois gun laws. I live in O'Fallon, IL just east of St.Louis and had to have my TX200 sent to my brothers house in O'Fallon, MO. When I went to pick it up I stopped at Cabelas on my way to my brothers. Someone looked at a .223 varmint 700 Remington, bought it, and walked out the door. I, living in IL, couldn't even receive an air rifle. I was thinking of buying an airsoft pistol to shoot with my seven year old son. I wonder if the gun laws apply the same to them?

    Scott



  10. A Very Merry Christmas to everyone!

    I'm off to the winter wonderland for the holidays. I hope and pray that all those that also have to travel this season arrive safely.

    kevin


  11. The state restrictions are nuts. I live in Michigan, and would love to get nice 10 meter air pistol, but everything under 30 inches in overall length (except smooth bore BB guns) are treaded the same as powderburner pistols, needing registration to purchase. I've been playing wiht the idea of getting my CPL just to more easily buy an air pistol. Talk about an unnecesary expense!

    Alan


  12. Scott,
    In Illinois, any air gun in .177 and 700fps or less can be shipped to your door. Anything else (.22 or above 700) must go through an FFL, who charges for it.

    However, if you want to ship something out yourself the rules are different -worse. UPS will not ship any gun part unless it comes from an FFL. I tried to return a rifle scope to PA and UPS wouldn't do it until I fibbed and said it was a telescope. I don't know what US Post Office rules are. I suspect tighter than UPS.

    -Chuck


  13. Edith,

    That's a very good list of states, and thier various restrictions, regarding "weapons".

    Something to keep in mind should I ever decided to move.

    Thanks,
    Victor


  14. Wow, Michigan laws are really a pain.
    Does anyone know what happens if an air gun does not pass police inspection? Do they keep it. Do they make you promise to send it back? Do you get your money back? What?

    -Chuck


  15. Chuck,

    I have heard that around me the required police check of the "firearm" (as MI law clasifies rifled air guns under 30" in length) is pretty much waived – but they still have to register it. I imagine it varies by local police department though.

    At least I can have anything over 30" shipped without the hassle and costs you have, so I guess I can't complain too much.

    Alan


  16. BB,
    I ordered the Gamo Squirrel Field Target and the extra animals. The target itself is back ordered but I got the extra animals delivered.

    The directions for the extra animals say not to use the targets closer than 25 yards because pellets could fragment and hit the shooter.

    You may be leery of answering this so don't feel compelled. Is this lawyer speak or is this a real issue. As you may remember, I have a 10m range and I was hoping to use these for variety. Do you have any first hand experience with these targets in that regard?

    I would have appreciated it very much if this would have been disclosed in PA's description.

    -Chuck


  17. B.B.,

    I'd like to request that you review the Hatsan Model 95 SAS rifle if possible. Although, pyramyd doesn't carry these rifles, Hatsan is trumpeting what looks to be a fairly elegant shock absorbing system that could be one of those "why didn't I think of that!" moments. Or it could be complete marketing gimcrackery. At any rate, I'd sure love to have an unbiased opinion on it from someone trusted by all in the airgun community.

    Folks on the Yellow forum as well as on airgunone's forum are already talking about it, but they're hindered by having very few actual rifles in hand.

    The SAS appears to isolate the forearm screws from the powerplant by having the screws pass through a polymer 'tunnel' sort of like a bushing. The pictures that I've seen so far focus on this bushing, so I'm not sure if the screws actually attach to the powerplant or just to themselves. Anyway, it appears to be something new with possibilities. If it works, I wonder whether it would solve the hold-sensitivity problem with springers (for the off-hand anyway).

    Thanks!



  18. Chuck,

    The Gamo field targets are too thin to be hit with powerful airguns. So they stretch the distance out.

    We used them on American Airgunner at the suggested distance and they worked fine.

    Real field targets are about twice as thick.

    B.B.


  19. Bobby,

    I'll keep your request in mind but if I were you I would read the internet. Pyramyd Air did sell Hatsans at one time, but the guns went overboard. Cocking effort of 75 pounds with no more velocity than a Gamo Big Cat.

    I don't have a budget to test guns that PA doesn't stock, so you can see the problem.

    B.B.



  20. I'm surprised that people look at airguns, (or any packaged product), as "kits".

    I certainly don't. When it's sold as a "finished good" I expect it to be ready-to-use right out of the box, just like my car, my TV, my firearms, and anything else I buy. If it isn't, it goes right back, even if I could easily fix it myself.

    We're doing the manufacturers any favors by accepting things that don't work. It's one thing to have lower quality, (It's OK to have more plastic, lesser finishes, less robust wearing components, less durability), it's another thing altogether to get something that doesn't work as intended.

    my two cents, (working for a manufacturer that certainly intends to sell stuff that works)…

    Jane Hansen


  21. My daisy 25 seems quite different then the ones I've seen here on the PA blog…..

    It seems that some things are missing and some things just don't add up.

    First of all the front sight is mounted on the front of the barrel, but I'm not even sure if it is metal. Perhaps someone added one after the original one broke. The pump seems to be shorter than 4" and yet I can't find no soldered seam on the underside of the barrel. It also has no reinforcement rib on it. I'm not sure what black nickel is, perhaps mine is just painted.

    After examining it more closely, I cleaned a patch of dirt off the area of the barrel. It's hard to make out. I believe it says 177 or such on it. It may have been made in NY, but that really seems odd.

    Hey, wait a minute it really kinda looks like my crosman 1377c air pistol….hey it is…….

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!

    AJ


  22. Hi, folks. Regarding David's point about comments to obscure past posts… I don't know how other folks prefer to follow the blog, but I enjoy using a feed reader – Google Reader in my case. This is one way to catch all of the comments, including the ones that don't go to the latest blog entry.

    It's easy to use a feed reader to follow B.B.'s posts themselves (at http://pyramydair.com/blog/atom.xml), but it took me a bit of digging to reverse-engineer the correct URL for following the comments with a reader, so maybe I should share. I subscribe to the comments feed using the URL:

    http://www.blogger.com/feeds/11153406/comments/default/

    I was kinda proud of figuring that out, but I bet a bunch of veterans will reply with a much more straightforward way of finding that feed, or otherwise following the comments.

    How do other folks follow the comments? Hitting the browser's 'refresh' button on the comments page gets old quickly.

    -Jan


  23. BB,
    For your field target answer can you give me an idea of what you mean by powerful? For instance, I'm using 7.5 – 8.5gr .177 pellets, my 953, Recon, and IZH-61 shoot less than 500fps – not powerful, right? My .22 Marauder shoots around 900fps – this I consider powerful. However, my Talon SS on CO2 shoots 550-650 fps, would you consider this powerful?

    -Chuck


  24. Kevin,

    Merry Christmas, and safe travels to that winter wonderland of yours. I hope you get there at a considerably safer speed than 200mph, as cool as the Pantera-gang image still is in my mind's eye…

    -Jan


  25. Okay, I've decided my next purchase is a chrony. Last night I 'tested' my 3 rifles (Avanti 853c, Slavia 630 and XS-B9), all rated as 500fps.
    My test was a heavy notebook, taped so it was tightly closed.
    Using the same pellet in all 3 rifles (RWS Superpoints), the Avanti penetrated 38 pages, the XS 59 and the CZ 67.
    Quite a spread…yet all seem to be doing the job intended. At 10m the Avanti will place every shot in the 10 (barring my inefficiencies), so it is not underpowered…but the other two are definitely hitting much harder.
    CowBoyStar Dad



  26. Jan,
    I always try to comment on every blog at least once plus click the box that sends me emails whenever someone else comments. This way I get all future comments on all the articles I've ever commented on. Unfortunately, it also gets some pretty stupid comments from me. I also don't know if blogger has a auto drop-off after a certain amount of time. So far I'm covered for the last year which is enough for me (providing there is no auto drop-off)

    -Chuck


  27. CJr,

    In my very limited experience, shooting pure lead pellets at steel targets like FT targets is Mostly Harmless, even at shorter ranges like 10yds. I should qualify that… I've shot a couple of FT matches using my stock .22 Disco with JSB 15.9's. And I pretty routinely blast steel spinners, paddles, splitters, etc. at ~10yds. I've never noticed anything coming back at me or bouncing off into the woods. It seems to me that the pellets practically liquefy, or at least fragment into tiny pieces, when they impact hard surfaces; they seem to dissipate their energy very nicely on first impact. I wonder if that would also hold true for harder alloy pellets like CP's, and/or at different velocities than what I'm used to.

    All with proper eye protection, of course…

    -Jan


  28. Sorry, still thinking about Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) in that black leather jumpsuit with all the zippers…Remember Steed's sword cane? Great stuff! Uh, you guys are talking about what again? I zoned out for a minute.


  29. BB,
    Whenever I see articles like this from you, I think you really ought to write a book "BB's Big Book of BB guns and Air Rifles". Nobody combines the facts and a passion for the subject like you do, and these articles are a pure pleasure to read. I'm sure its not the first time you've heard this, but please consider a comprehensive historical account of "air power" and "air rifle applications".

    Derrick,
    My next move is to google Emma Peel, you've got me interested:).


  30. Chuck,

    Okay, it's learnin' time!

    Take a 14.3 grain (not gram) pellet to the energy calculator and determine how much energy it develops at 600 f.p.s. You will answer your own question about the power of your Talon SS.

    B.B.


  31. BB,
    I have a 12 gram CO2 cartridge in my air pistol. I'd love to see the air gun that can shoot a 14.3 gram pellet :-)

    I appreciate the lesson, however, it leaves me with a blond headed feeling. I see the answer to the calculation as objective – 11.43 foot/pounds, and your answer to my previous question as subjective – powerful. Combining the two together produces the results: 11.43 = powerful. (Now this supports the 12 ft/lb restriction of some countries as imposed because they consider that 12 ft/lb is powerful.)

    So, as long as I stay under 11.43 ft/lb I can shoot, reasonably safely, with safety glasses of course, at my field targets at 10m.

    How'd I do Teach?

    Believe it or not the word verify was "menta". Don't know if it was telling me I'm mental or your my mentor, though.

    -Chuck


  32. I agree 100% with Jeremy's opinion of AirForce product. My experiences with one Talon SS include a safety which would trip the sear when disengaged (major safety hazard), soft metal fire control parts which quickly wore to a rounded edge that wouldn't hold the sear at all (another major safety hazard) – and no, I did not disassemble it until after it malfunctioned -, tanks that dump air depending on which way the bolt is locked (to the left vs to the right), sights that won't fit the mounting rail, etc…

    Its a fun gun when it works, but requires the owner be willing to tinker with it and be able to work on it. The typical pre/early teenager just starting out in the shooting sports hardly fits this description. I doubt any of them want to purchase a kit.


  33. BB; I was looking at Pyramyd's restricted shipping page. The laws on purchase of a handgun have changed in Michigan. You no longer have to take the gun in for a "Safety Inspection". Once you complete the paperwork, you only need to mail in the State's copies.
    The safety inspections were always a joke anyway. Unless your firearm was very common, you would have to show them how it worked. Also now, if one has a CPL, you can complete the paperwork yourself without picking up a purchase permit. That is real handy if you are buying from a private party which does not require an FFL dealer.

    Mike


  34. Regarding the Edge versus the Challenger, the smaller size of the Edge seems better suited for your younger sporter class novices (breaking into), as opposed to the Challenger, which may be better suited for those considering a transition to precision class shooting.

    Salted Slug

    Shooting Avanti
    –0_____,

    Reloading Avanti

    .O~.~.~'




  35. CJr, I don't quite understand the UPS problem. I ship via UPS – both coming and going – and I live in NJ. Never had a problem, but then again UPS never asks me (when I print shipping labels online) what's in the package.

    But I DO have a local shipper who DOES ask what's in the box if I want to send out a package from their store.

    When I asked UPS about it they informed me that 1) Federal law doesn't address interstate transportation of airguns, so they were fine with it, 2) Specific state law is my concern, not theirs, 3) Individual shippers can and sometimes do set their own policies about this sort of thing.

    Granted, this was about 5 years ago – but I've received and shipped an airgun as recently as November/December. And in any event


  36. Vince,
    I don't understand it either. However, I was at a satellite UPS store and not the central receiving/shipping office. I will make it a point to visit the main office and find out exactly what their policy is. It doesn't make sense to me, this policy, but then so don't many things.

    -Chuck


  37. Hi, BB,
    Here's another question for part 2 on the No. 25: Does the take-down feature work well, and do people use it?
    I once had a take-down Marlin, but it had sharp edges when apart, and it was very fussy to assemble, so I ended up not using that feature.
    A practical take-down airgun would be nice for carry in a small car, or for cramped spaces at home.
    –Mike U


  38. Kevin,

    Hope you have a safe trip. We've been enjoying a winter wonderland at home since Friday, and it looks like more weather is on the way. I should have some new pics for you when you get back.

    Jan,

    Great tip on using Google Reader. I just subscribed to both.

    Merry Christmas, everyone, and Thank You for all the help with stock refinishing! While I don't expect to find a new rifle under the tree this year, I'll soon have one coming out of my shop.

    Jay



  39. Jay,
    A couple of days ago you asked if anybody had a spare beech stock to practice on. I don'y have a beech stock but I do have some nice beech boards I could send you if you want to try things out. Let me know if you want some.

    Scott


  40. BB,
    Politics of sporter classes aside, the Edge looks interesting. The 100 shots will probably be OK, but I hope it has "no shoot/pressure low" feature — the tank looks tiny:). Honestly, I also have to be critical of the weight system just a bit, as it looks like there's some slop despite the keyway, but maybe I'm wrong, and either way it is a thoughtful feature.

    Merry Christmas to you and Mrs. BB, and everyone else here.




  41. Vince,
    I have not tried that. I can see how it would work for smaller parts but if I had to send a rifle back it might not pass. Also, if it is indeed unlawful and it was discovered, I would be in pretty hot water.

    -Chuck


  42. CJr and Vince,

    I've used both UPS and FedX to ship air guns from here in Maryland. Tried using a near by FedX Kinko, but they said that I couldn't ship the gun from their store.

    The counter person said that Fed X would X-ray the package once they got it, see the gun and put the whole thing in a black hole or something akin to that. Drove the 1/2 hour to the actual FedX place, talked with the gentleman behing the counter who told me that the Kinko person was mistaken and could have taken the air rifle.

    Perhaps you have the same problem at your satellite UPS store?

    Mr B.

    PS Chuck, I don't have much of a choice in .177 guns to shoot in the matches you've been talking about. I'll have to get out my first adult air gun and see if I can be competative with her, Ms Diana 35.


  43. Scott,

    Thanks for the offer! I should get a pretty good sense of how this particular stock will take stain by testing the inside of the stock. I've now used the stripper three times, and it's still pulling a bit of stain out each time. One more application today, then I'll do a light 600 grit sanding in preparation for the maple stain, which should be in Wednesday.

    I've seen a few stocks recently with a light finish accented by ebony stained checkering (Dianawerk forum). I believe I'm going to give that a try. Also, an interesting thread on the Yellow forum about using Aniline dyes to stain stocks. Most of the colors are not what I'd want on an R10 (not so bad on the Edge!), but there's a link to a guitar site that has some good staining and finishing info.

    Merry Christmas!

    Jay


  44. Jay
    According to my woodworking magazines there is wax in chemical strippers. It is used to give the stripper some body and stick to the item. They suggest after stripping to give the wood a good wipe down with laquer thinner to remove the wax so you don't have finish problems. Thought the info might help.

    Scott



  45. Bass Pro Shops is carrying the Daisy Model 25 re-issue for forty bucks.
    I bought one for the back yard. All wood stock and forearm, and
    the shot tube tip and trigger assembly is plastic.
    Made in China, unfortunately, but the gun has a nice finish and is fun to plink with.


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