Daisy wire-stock first BB gun – Parts 2 & 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Well, the first part of this report generated real interest in this gun. That includes one person who could not understand why a “piece of crap gun” was worth so much money. I tried to address his question, which I think was really rhetorical, but I promised myself I’d have a second go at it when the subject came up again. So, it here goes.

First, I’m assuming he meant the original gun and not this one when he complained about the cost. If I’m wrong about that, then this answer doesn’t work. But why should a toy BB gun from the late 1880s be worth over $10,000? And I call it a toy because, when it was made, that was the view people had. Yes, it shot something, but people in those days didn’t have the same outlook that they do today. Young children were given BB guns and steam engines to play with. They carried sharp pocket knives to school and were allowed to have and use fireworks. The times have changed vastly from then to now.

So, why, then, is an 1888 toy worth a lot of money? To answer that I have to get all political for a moment. You see, not everybody has the same taste. It’s true in food, in friends, mates, cars, etc. It’s what keeps our world turning on its axis and it’s one of the reasons that we don’t all wear silver jumpsuits and eat in the same cafeteria–yet.

Personally, I cannot see the fascination with the feces of another human being. But London’s Tate Museum apparently can, which is why in 2002 they paid $33,450 for a can of Italian artist Piero Manzoni’s doo-doo, one of 90 such exhibits he canned in 1961, if it matters. They called it art.

Okie-dokie. But that’s not for me. My taste doesn’t run that way. See how it works?

So, a small BB gun made in 1888, of which fewer than 20 are known to exist, has a value of only about one-third that of used food from a mid 20th-century Italian artist. Believe it or not, there are fewer collectors of fine BB guns than there are fine art afficionados in the world. But as few as there are, there are many more than 20, and therefore there are not enough Iron Windmill guns to go around. These collectors do not share their things worth a darn, so when there aren’t enough of something to go around, they sometimes offer a lot of money to clinch the deal on the one that is for sale, so that another wealthy collector doesn’t have a chance to get the item first.

Okay, that’s off my chest. On to the test.

Remember that I said I didn’t want to shoot this gun a lot. The piston seal is made of candle wicking. Although Daisy recommends oiling it periodically, they cannot tell me what oil to use, so I dropped four drops of a light machine oil down the muzzle and stood the gun on its butt to let the oil run down the bore.

The gun is loaded by dropping a BB down the muzzle. It rolls down to a magnet at the rear, where it’s held until it’s fired. You can hear a BB rolling down a barrel, but I could not hear this one, so I took a brass .177 cleaning rod and rammed it down the bore. The BB was stopped by some excess nickel plating built up about three inches from the muzzle and again two inches later. The rod rammed it through the obstructions and it hit the magnetic seat.

Firing
Shooting was next, and all it took was a pull on the trigger. My trigger releases with between 15 and 20 lbs. of effort. I’m not really sure, nor do I care since this is probably the last time I’ll shoot this gun. My experience with the Swivel Machine Corp. air rifle trigger taught me about heavy triggers, though this one is narrower and hurts more to pull.

Velocity
Daisy’s Randy Brown told me he’d had reports of guns shooting anywhere from 150 f.p.s. to 350. I expected 250 because that’s what the 499 does. With Daisy zinc-plated BBs, this gun averaged 253 f.p.s. It ranged from a low of 249 to a high of 256.

With Avanti Precision Ground Shot, the average climbed to 260 f.p.s. and the range was from 253 to 266. I think the rough spots in the barrel were getting smoother with each BB that was fired, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the velocity inclease with use.

What the heck; after shooting a couple groups, I tested it again with Avanti shot and got an average of 253 f.p.s., so it’s settled back. The BB was now rolling easily down the barrel at loading, so the obstructions were gone. And the trigger-pull was closer to 15 lbs. than 20.

Accuracy
Okay, you’re pulling the cocking lever straight up and you know that the rear sight is cast into the front of the lever. How accurate does that sound to you?

I started at 10 feet and wondered if I’d hit the target paper. First shot was right on horizontally and just above my aim point, so I stepped back to 15 feet and finished the group. I used a 6 o’clock hold, and I’ll be darned if the gun didn’t shoot to the center of the target, just a little high.


The first BB from 10 feet back struck just under the 3. The rest were from 15 feet back. Magnified a lot for visibility. The group is about 1-3/8″.

Final opinion
This was never about how well the gun shot. It was a chance for me to own a piece of history at an affordable price. When the hundred or so remaining guns are sold in a month or so, the price will begin to rise on this replica BB gun. It may never be as valuable as the original, but it may surprise a lot of people how quickly it rises.

I could care less about the value. I know what it’s like to hold and shoot one of these vintage guns. That’s enough for me. That and perhaps looking at it on my office wall in the years to come. After all, I may never be able to afford one of Piero Manzoni’s doo-doo cans!

61 thoughts on “Daisy wire-stock first BB gun – Parts 2 & 3

  1. Good morning BB,I think this gun was a wonderful idea.Talk about a cool feeling,opening that box and shouldering this little bit of wonder,I couldn't help mentally becoming that 19th century child for a moment…..That being said,I think yours has a "tuned" trigger!Mine feels like I'm bending rebar.I wasn't sure if I was looking for the trigger's breaking point or the gun's!!!!I'll have to shoot mine for accuracy and report back.Thank You again for the tip!


  2. Frank,

    I purposely understated the trigger pull because I think I'm turning into a wuss. I wanted to say 20-25 pounds for the trigger, but I have been struggling with heavy weights recently, so I guessed I had started wussification. It does feel like bending rebar.

    B.B.


  3. BB,

    Thanks for the report. Sounds like a great collectable. I'd love to have one myself but there are so many other choices that I just "have to have".

    I love this blog! I check it every morning and usually a couple times during the day. thanks for your work.

    dsw



  4. The Stanley Kubrick intro to todays article was excellent.

    Will the avanti peep sight fit on the daisy wirestock?

    LOL! Just thought I'd ask before someone else did.

    kevin



  5. B.B.
    My 48 has lost it's "ping".
    It faded out gradually over the course of 100 shots or so, leaving only the loud "pop".
    Chucked a FTS over the chrono last night at 828 fps. That's better than it shoots the cp's. Have to attribute this to a better fit of the pellet when loading.

    Shooting good with exacts, cp, and fts from 20-25 yds at things sticking out of the snow.

    Has had a bit of chamber oil which burned off pretty fast without detonation.

    Have found that the front sight blends in too well when lined up on starlings. Might have to use some "white out" on the back of the front sight.

    twotalon



  6. BB,
    Your opening paragraphs made me think of Wacky Wayne as I read them. Come on, now, I don't mean the used food reference! I mean how much one is willing to pay for a limited edition item, i.e.: USFT. Sheesh!
    -Chuck


  7. B.B.
    Fiber optics might be O.K. if they came right to the top of the sights, but the way they all seem to be down from the top edge turns me off.

    twotalon


  8. B.B.,

    Candle wicking, at least the stuff I've seen candlers use, looks like heavy cotton string to me.

    I know I'm missing something here but, how is it used to make the piston seal?

    Thanks,
    Mr B.



  9. Good morning BB
    I just discovered that pyramidair has a glock clone on there web page made by Umarex, the SA177. Do you have any more information about this exciting new pistol.
    Thanks CH



  10. CH,

    That's a new one for 2010. Between Umarex and Crosman bringing out dozens of new products it looks like old B.B. has job security for the foreseeable future.

    Keep after me and I will test it as soon as possible.

    B.B.


  11. BB

    Nice segue from the "piece of crap gun" comment to the poop in a can analogy. Might I also add that the Tate Museum got a crappy deal.

    I am thinking that because the gun has no safety, Daisy put the extra heavy trigger in it to keep their lawyers happy. Any idea about the pull weight on the original? Probably not.

    Wussification? That's crazy talk. When you trade in the Micro Desert Eagle and the Glock for "The idiot's Guide to Reasoning With Armed Home-Invaders" and a Phil Donahue DVD box set, then it might be time to make an appointment with a Wussocologist.



  12. To all

    I have a can of poop that I can let go for half of what the Tate Museum paid. Thats only $16,725 and I will cover the shipping in the lower 48. It's from a beagle, and I would estimate the condition to be about 98% with a beautiful patina.

    If you are interested drop me an email.


  13. B.B.

    I think that the basis of value is a deep mystery. Why is gold valuable? All the fantastic financial structures built upon it seem to be based on the subjective impression that it is nice to look at and that it is rare. My high school chemistry teacher said that aluminum had a similar status and was even chosen as material for the tip of the Washington Monument until the discovery that aluminum could by synthesized very cheaply from dirt at which point its status plummeted. Maybe Herb knows more details about this or whether this anecdote is even true. Anyway, rarity seems to be tied to a sense of value.

    I missed the Stanley Kubrick opening.

    I have the urge to collect myself, and have many guns on my list. However, I haven't gotten around to justifying the cost, so currently I enjoy them in the mind. As soon as I hear about good accuracy from the Edge, that one will go to the top of my collection.

    FrankB., I feel bound to report that we've got hair! I passed a knife I had sharpened over my forearm, and, presto, saw numbers of hairs drop onto the paper below. My big breakthrough was in realizing that it's all in where you cut. Namely, the hairs on the top edge of the forearm seem to be slightly stiffer and set at a more acute angle than the ones on outside flat of the forearm where I tested your knife. I love the problem-solving skills I've developed on this blog. :-) In fairness to myself, I did try my knife on the outside flat of the forearm and still got a few hairs but nothing like the deforestation of your knife. You're the man. If BG_Farmer shoots offhand the way you sharpen knives, I'm a dead man.

    Matt61


  14. I don't understand the reference to Stanley Kubrick in relation to this blog. I've seen several of his films, but I'm stumped. Please enlighten me.

    Thanks,
    Edith



  15. Hey, I know I saw that Kubrick reference this morning but now I don't see it. Has there been some post posting post editing going on here, hmmmmm?
    -C


  16. Re: My esoteric reference to Stanley Kubrick

    The introduction to todays article struck me as an attempt to explain why some people place such a high value on something that the masses think is beyond absurd bordering on insanity. These few "collectors" seem to feed off themselves and frequently create their own artificial worlds that they are convinced is perfectly normal.

    I saw a parallel between this and a fairly common theme, albeit subtle at times, in many Kubrick films. He always seemed to enjoy dealing with a slightly surrealistic situation and presenting it in a realistic manner.

    I'm probably the only one in the world with such a twisted view to make such a comparison but it wouldn't be the first time. Gotta go, late for my weekly session with the psychiatrist.

    kevin



  17. Kevin,

    Perhaps your psychiatrist would be interested in setting up a group practice specializing in us, the readers and participants in this blog.

    Mr B.





  18. I really hate it when people ask questions like that (the beginning of the blog) because common sense should tell you that.

    I have a question about used guns. I bought 2 used airsoft guns, and when I received them they were in very good condition (a few scratches here and there), but on both the words "Bill Card" or something similar were carved into both. I don't mind it at all, I would just like to know why.

    Thanks, Ryan


  19. Is Crosman the one who has been their riping the 2010 catologe of the internet? If so I wonder who got it from them. Mabe a hacker.
    I`m to am exited to see the hp177 report.

    Bud

    WV-nasta(mmmm…sounds like shasta:))



  20. Bud,

    The 2010 catalogue is available from Crosman free of charge. If you call them they will mail one to you. The catalogue has been scanned and placed on several sites because many of us didn't want to wait on snail mail to see the newest offerings from Crosman.

    Very exciting stuff this year.

    kevin


  21. kevin
    You`re right, pretty cool stuff. I found one of those links you posted and saw the catologe. Wow! However, I couldent get a very Hi-def image when I zoomed up. To bad, I wanted to read about those guns. Oh well, gus I`ll just have to wait.

    Bud


  22. Does anybody use cregslist to shop for airguns? You have to be looking for a deal, not a specific airgun. There arent many airguns sold their so there isn`t much competition.

    Bud.


  23. BB,

    Your efforces are well received. When I gave internal medicine lessons, I insisted to my students that, when limited by ignorance, they should stuck to their common sense. It saves more lives than their titles and ties, believe it or not.

    Kevin,

    Thanks for the ad. I hope something good will come out.
    PS. I didn't catch the Kubrick beginning. But there IS a style in here too.

    Greetings, Anthony



  24. Bud

    Yes, I picked up a pretty good deal on craigslist not that long ago. He had posted the rifle several times, but once he included a photo, the ad was removed by someone. I thought the gun had sold, but emailed him anyway. He still had it and I cut a deal.

    On the other hand, this morning I was checking, and someone had an '80s era, I think it's called a phase II, crosman 1377 for $85! That's a real bargain except I can get a new, better one from PA for $30 less, with warranty that hasn't had the barrel ruined by shooting steel BBs through it. Dream on!

    Let's keep this craigslist thing between you and me from now on. There is too much competition as it is.


  25. Hammerli 490 vs veggie can
    First day I've been out to shoot due to
    the cold (the weather and my health):(
    in over a week.3 of 5 shots went thru
    both sides of can,2 dented back side after
    passing thru front.As a comparison I also
    tried the 953 and 1377.4 of 5 out of the 953 went thru the front but only dented
    the back of can.took ten pumps for the
    1377 to punch both sides.All shots were
    from 30',after 5 warm up shots for each
    gun.An odd aside is that none would go
    thru the bottom of the can.
    Used Daisy precision max since that's
    all I had on hand.

    If yall get a group rate for psycho's
    therapy,sign me up fer a double dose:)

    JTinAL




  26. I cant figure out how to adjust the cheek piece on my npss. How do you do it? there is nothing about it in the owners manual and i doesnt look like the two pins in the side of the cheek piece are going anywhere. I dont want to break my rifle forcing them out.


  27. Kevin,

    The Kubrick reference makes sense with your explanation. But sometimes things are not so subtle in his films. I was at my favorite burrito place after watching the film Eyes Wide Shut, and I asked the cook what Kubrick was getting at with the wild, orgiastic party attended by Tom Cruise. The cook just said: "I would like to be at that party."

    Matt61




  28. Anonymous wanting to adjust the cheek piece on a NPSS,

    If you look at the curve of the cheekpiece near the bottom of the rubber piece, you'll see two pins that go through the cheekpiece and stock….simply take a drift punch and a small hammer and tap them out…once out, you can lift the cheekpiece off and you will see a set of holes about 1/2 an inch higher in the stock…simply reinstall the cheekpiece, align it with the higher holes and tap the pins back in…one end of the pins are knurled…so tap the smooth end in first of course….You're done.

    You may also consider another common modification done to the NPSS. It's highly recommended that you get some expanding foam (insulation in a can), for use in cracks and around windows (low expansion) and foam the stock…it completely changes the felt noise in the gun….there are two round plugs in the buttpad…insert a small screwdriver and pry them out…you won't hurt them…this gives you access to the buttpad screws…pull the buttpad and stick the nozzle for the foam can into the bottom of the hole and foam it from inside out….set it muzzle down for an hour or so in a warm environment and allow the foam to set..you can trim the excess with a sharp knife..then just reinstall the buttpad and plugs and you're good to go.

    Report back to us and let us know how it goes.

    kevin


  29. Two Talon,
    You could also remove the front sight from your 48. Then drill the face of the post, to accept a straight pin, with a shortened shank & colored head. Press it into the face of the post with a little glue. If you find that don't like it. Just pull it out and only a very tiny shallow hole would remain. The old Crosman 120 pumper had such an arangement. The pin was white on mine. Robert.


  30. NPSS cheekpiece,

    Let me add a few words to the foam idea. If you have had no experience with this stuff the following might help you:

    First off, I'm going to try this myself on one of my rifles.

    Second, from my limited experience, you need to be aware that this stuff expands rapidly after it leaves the can so don't fill up the stock in one quick squirt. Pace it so the expansion doesn't get out of control. This stuff also hardens almost like plastic but not quite.

    Third, the foam is very messy and sticky when wet and on your hands it sticks like crazy glue. I'd suggest wearing rubber gloves.

    -Chuck


  31. Anonymous with the NPSS,

    Great advice from Chuck.

    Let me add that I live in a very dry climate. The foam dries quickly here.

    If you don't have a dry climate let it sit longer than an hour. If you try trimming and the outside is dry but the inside is still wet or soggy you'll end up with a mess. Leave it alone and let it dry thoroughly. When it's completely dry it's easy to trim with a knife or hacksaw blade.

    kevin


  32. NPSS guy,
    Another thing I forgot to mention, as you spray the foam it will start to harden up in the spout of the can, also, so you must get your job done in one sitting and not stop and try to come back to it later. So you're balancing the task between not going too fast and not stopping til you're done. So, plan what you're going spray before you start. Whatever is left in the can will not be usable after you stop.

    -Chuck


  33. Anthony and Kevin,

    Thanks to Kevin's link, I have discovered an FWB 124 rear sight. As Kevin said, don't throw away the mounting screws.

    Anthony, you can contact me by going here:

    http://www.airgunwriter.com/

    I need your postal address to send the sight. I must do this today, because I'm leaving for Las Vegas on Monday morning and I have house guests Saturday and Sunday. So it's either today, or we have to wait a week for my return from the SHOT Show before I can send it.

    Please work fast.

    B.B.


  34. Kevin & Chuck,
    Don't forget to tell people to tape off the area before using that foam – it sticks to everything, and the only way to remove it is scraping. The low expansion type that Kevin mentioned would be best choice for this application.
    MCA


  35. BB,

    Thank you! I sent my address by mail to Kevin. I don't know if it was at right time, but don't worry if dont. Just by getting the hard-to-find sight for me is something very special.

    And, that's right, is the same depicted in the page mentioned by Kevin.

    Greetings!
    Anthony


  36. Anthony,

    It's too late for me to send the sight to you next week, because I'm going to the SHOT Show early Monday morning. But when I get back, the following week I can send it.

    However, I will need your mailing address before I send it.

    B.B.


  37. Hello BB,

    Daisy Wirestock #770 just showed up on my doorstep. What a pretty little package. I know it's only a replica but it feels like I'm holding a piece of history! Very Cool!!

    JDB in NY


  38. Hi BB, I have 4 air guns now. All the way from my old Sheridan to an RWS 34 .177. I going to get a 22. I think the marauder is probably the best choice but I'm not wild about the hand pump or the scuba tank idea. With that said trying to decide on either the TX 200 mk3, RWS 54, RWS 460 or even the RWS 350. My guess is you'll say the tx200 is the best choice? Mike


  39. Hi Mike,

    I reposted your question to the current blog so everyone will see it. Please go to http://www.pyramydair.com/blog to look for your answers. I know that the first question is going to be as follows: what are you going to use your new airgun for? So how about answering that question for us? I have an RWS 350 and it's a great hunting springer, but not my first choice for a plinker or target shooting.

    Mr B.



  40. Hello, Let me start by saying that I am a 72 year old who really enjoys reading the comments posted here and your info about the Daisy Wirestock. I am the proud owner of a Daisy Model 104, Double Barrel, which was made in 1939, the year I was born. When I read that the Wirestock was available again, I ordered one and it arrived this morning. It is a real beauty. The price may seem a little high, however I believe they will increase in value in a very short time. I trust that my grandson will appreciate these 2 Daisy treasures that will be his someday. I may just buy another Wirestock for an investment as there are only about 40 left till they are all gone. Glad that I found your website.



  41. Your articles have been very helpful to me to determine the date on my air rifle. Looks like it is 1916. I have had the gun since I was 10 and it was given to me by a 60 year old man who got it for Christmas. What I am interested in is do you have more detail about the spring that is in the trigger. Some how it has gotten lost over the years and I would like to find a used or new one.
    Tks
    Duane



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