Buzz Barton: First of the personality BB guns

by B.B. Pelletier

You can’t be an airgunner without knowing about the Red Ryder. It’s the most famous of all BB guns and the first one named for a fictional personality. Red Ryder has become synonymous with Daisy, BB guns and American youth. It wasn’t the first BB gun to be named for a personality. That distinction goes to Buzz Barton.

Celebrity BB guns
In 1932, Daisy signed circus performer Buzz Barton to put his name on a special BB gun. The first gun appears to have been either a rush job or one that was half-baked. It had a PAPER label on the left side of the stock that proclaimed it as a Buzz Barton Special No. 195. The metal was blue and the stock was walnut. Daisy had come close to excellence in many ways, but that first gun missed the mark of being a classic. The paper label was quite fragile, as you might expect, so today a good one (the label, not the gun) commands a high price.

A shining star
A year later, Daisy got it exactly right. The second Buzz Barton was quite different from all other Daisys of the time. It was the first to feature a branded stock – Buzz Barton was burned into the left side of the butt inside a star frame. They used both light maple and dark mahogany wood for this stock, and the visual impact is both dramatic and gorgeous! That’s why a perfect No. 103 Model 33 Buzz Barton Special commands almost $600 today. Even a well-worn original brings $200 to $250! Beware of refinished guns, though. They’re worth far less than the real deal!


This all-original Buzz Barton Special has about 50 percent of its finish. The sights are complete, as well.


The Buzz Barton brand was the first celebrity-branded BB gun (1933-1937).

Tubular sight
The metal was nickelplated except for the unique rear tubular sight, which was blued. Working together with the front tubular sight, it was great! The inside of the rear sight was a small aperture, while the front globe housed a conventional bead. Acquiring a target with this sight is fast and easy – exactly what a shooter wants. Daisy received such a warm reception for the sights that it appeared on a number of their special BB guns for years after.

Rites of passage
The Buzz Barton had much of the early 20th century about it. The lever was cast iron and worked in the old-style short cocking stroke that made men out of small boys. It was harder to cock, but that was part of the passage to manhood! The shot tube was filled through a small hole behind the front sight. You learned how to manage the loading operation quickly or lost more than half your BBs as they missed the opening. The cover of the shot loading hole usually rotated past the right place, so a shooter had to keep one eye on the loading hole all the time, or BBs would come pouring out of the gun!


The loading port was small and didn’t stay shut. Little boys and girls learned dexterity and responsibility by loading and operating a Buzz Barton BB gun.

They couldn’t leave it alone!
Later Buzz Bartons reverted back to the No. 195 models 33 and 36. That model was based on a Markham BB gun, because Daisy also owned the Markham company. They made cheaper guns under that name for trade accounts like Sears & Roebuck. Though the stock was still branded, these Buzz Bartons are ho-hum compared to the No. 103.

Daisy went on to market the Buck Jones, a “trombone-action” pump gun that has the ONLY compass and sundial they EVER put on a vintage BB gun. It was another fine classic. After that, they made the gorgeous Golden Eagle, a copperplated gun with a black painted stock that is strikingly beautiful. But that Buzz Barton Special from 1933 was the high-water mark of the 20th century American BB guns.

51 thoughts on “Buzz Barton: First of the personality BB guns


  1. Okay,

    To be MINT the gun can have zero blemishes. I have never seen an unrefinished Super Buzz Barton that nice. But if one exists, I imagine it would sell for at least $1,000.

    HOWEVER, one tiny blemish or handling mark on the stock will cut that almost in half! I have seen several near-mint Super Buzz Bartons selling for $550-600. They show up at the annual Daisy Get Together in Michigan, and sometimes at Roanoke.

    A REFINISHED Super Buzz might fetch $200-$250, but no collector would buy it. Refinished airguns are only for those who want that gun and don’t care about the authenticity.

    B.B.


  2. Hi,
    That was a very informative article. I do have a question. I have a Daisy N0. 195 Buzz Barton Special. It’s in good shape, all original except that someome put an aluminum nut on one of the screws running through the stock. Can I find a replacement black nut for that screw? My email is pkingsnake@aol.com.
    Thanks,
    Phil



  3. I just found a Buzz Barton # 103 Air Gun in my Parent’s Basement while doing a cleanout. Could you tell me where I could list the item for sale. The Rifle is in excellent original condition. Thanks, Thomas Smith.


  4. Thomas,

    You are a lucky man, indeed, if your rifle is really in excellent condition. It is so rare to find a Buzz Barton in excellent condition. I think it would bring up to $500 at an airgun show.

    To be excellent, all the original nickel; finish must be there and the wood must have all the finish and no marks. The bolts must all be original. The gun must be perfect in every way.

    The gun shown in this article is in good to very good condition and brought $250 when sold. That’s how dramatically any cosmetic imperfection affects the price.

    To keep from being lowballed, I would offer it on one of the two gun auction sites:

    http://www.gunbroker.com

    http://www.auctionarms.com

    You need to register to post a sale there and you need lots of clear pictures for an excellent gun.

    To just sell it and get quick money, you can always make a quick sale of an excellent gun to most advanced collectors. Any one of us would give about $300 for an excellent gun, which we would either add to our collections or resell at an airgun show.

    B.B.


  5. Thank you for your fast reply and expert advice on my Buzz Barton 103 Air Rifle. The gun itself is all original, given to me back in the mid 1970’s by an 80-year old neighbor. Thanks to your post, I would now call the gun to be in very good condition. It is exactly like the one shown in the photo. The nickel finish has a bit of tarnish to it, but not bad for being 75-years old. The barrel itself is straight as an arrow, the bottom part of the star logo has some wear, but both are in good shape. The writing is in fantastic condition. The gun like I said is 100% all original with no missing parts noted. Again many thanks, Thomas Smith.


  6. Hello,

    I wrote to you in March of this year regarding a Buzz Barton Special 103 that is identical to the one pictured above. It might be even just a tad bit better. First, thanks again for taking the time in answering my questions about the gun. Next, would you be interested in purchasing it? If so, I can mail it to you if you like, you could look at it, then give me a price.
    Thanks again,
    Thomas Smith
    tsmith224@optonline.net
    Teaneck, New Jersey




  7. i have a buzz barton special ( daisy 195 ) with the braided rope circle logo … for some reason it won’t fire the bb, but appears to cock and load effectively … if the plunger is bad, should i have it fixed, or just leave it alone … which will command a better price … this is all ORIGINAL … no refin … a few light scratches , else normal wear


  8. Your question is a toughie. I would leave it alone and try to sell it that way first.

    One thing – have you oiled the piston? Because the leather seal needs to be lubed about every week to work.

    Here is a fix-it place:

    Jim Coplen, PO Box 7297, Rochester, MN. 55903 (507)281-2314.
    5522 Clearwater Rd. Rochester, MN 55901

    B.B.



  9. Frank,

    Re: Your No. 102 Model 33 Daisy BB gun

    Per the current blue book:

    Your gun was manufactured between 1933-1935. It is a BB/.175 caliber. 500 shot capacity, nickel finish and is worth $50.00 is 60% condition and $125.00 in 95% condition.

    kevin


  10. I have a Buzz Barton model 103. It is in fairly nice condition, except for the rear sight tube. is there anywhere I can aquire one and how difficult is it to install.





  11. Ok, so my dad found a Buzz Barton BB gun in a car he was selling it was really beat up but we repaired it restained it fixed the busted stalk etc. we put some BBs in it but couldn’t get it to fire I would appreciate any suggestions. we don’t really care to sell it thats why we fixed it all up. we just want it to work!! please email. agentjdh@gmail.com


  12. gospels,

    Your buzz barton has leather seals that need to be oiled frequently to remain pliable and effectively seal. Use the search box on the right side of this blog and search “Where to oil”.

    The search feature contains a wealth of information since B.B. has now written over 1,100 articles related to airguns.

    You might start by putting ten drops of 3 in 1 oil down the barrel and standing the gun up on the buttstock and leaving it over night. Try shooting it in the morning. If this doesn’t work try it one more time then consider sending it to one of the repairman, John Groenawald or Rick Willnecker whose info is mentioned above in the reponses by B.B.

    kevin




  13. Hi,I have a 1932 Buzz Barton,the one with the paper label.The gun itself has rust spots coming through and no shot tube.But the stock and paper label are awsome,the labels is all there except for a small scratch that should be able to be fixed

    What should I ask fot it ? I don't know about bb guns.

    ghuffer@hotmail.com



  14. Hi,it was the shot tube thats missing not the sight tube but either way thanks,I was way off,I thought the guns with the paper labels were quite rare and this label is mint except for the small scratch.

    Thanks Sir.





  15. Hi,I don't mean to take advantage of your generosity so if you don't reply I understand.I know nothing about bb guns.

    I picked these ones up also.

    96 Model,break action,1896.It's all there but looks like it was "re-nickeled".

    20th Century,break action,1898,it has a small hole drilled in the stock(shoulder strap added ?)and no front site,the nickel is there but not real good,it's a wall hanger.

    I bought the online Bluebook values for them but someone like you probably knows better than they do,Greg.


  16. Greg,

    If that 20th Century has a cast iron frame, it could be worth over a thousand dollars. If it's tinplate, it's worth around $200-300. You really should talk to a BB gun specialist about that one.

    Your third model (what you call the '96) is also worth over a thousand dollars. But only an advanced collector can help you with these.

    The best thing for you to do would be to bring these guns to a top show like Roanoke in October or the Daisy Get Together in August. And beware of people trying to lowball you.

    B.B.


  17. Hi,thanks so much.The 20th century has a cast iron frame but a tin plate wraps around the barrel to the trigger and is rivited on.

    The "96" is a real nice one and complete.

    You have helped so much,thanks,Greg.



  18. Condition rules the price of these old BB guns. Your grandfather's gun could be worth nothing to $500, depending on condition.

    Also, there are several models of Buzz Barton. I would have to know which model you are talking about.

    Please describe the condition of the gun, any rust loss of finish, type of finish, loss of parts like sights, etc.

    Then give me the model number. It's found in faint stamped letters on the top of what would be the receiver on a firearm. In other words, above where the lever fits.

    B.B.


  19. I have a model# 195 buzz barton special with the branded stock and cowboys on horses. i know they are valuble and the one i have is in working condition with ALL original parts bolts and sights. how much can i ask for it and if anyone is interested in buying it email me at deerstalker111282@yahoo.com or call 267-377-6160 and ask for Justin. will send pics


  20. The #195 Buzz Barton is a different air rifle than this one. There are two of them, in fact, a model 32 that I guess you have and a model 33. If yours looks to be about the condition of this gun, though in blue, it could bring $200-250.

    Condition is everything these days, and prices have slipped since three years ago.

    If it has less finish than the gun shown, the value drops to $125-150.

    A pristine gun would bring $450-500.

    B.B.



  21. I have a Buzz Barton special;with the paper label(with only a few marks on label.It fires and mabey (im not sure)the bolt near the triger may not be original. How can i sell it for the best price.I was given to me by an old friend so I know its history.Im not even sure what its worth and I know little about BB guns Thank you Joyce


  22. Joyce, your Buzz Barton is in the neighborhood of $75 if in very rough condition to $450 if perfect (20% to 100% condition). You add 50% to these values because you have the paper label. These are book values and present day values may be higher or lower. The best way to sell this is taking clear full pictures and then posting them at either of these websites –

    http://www.network54.com/Forum/79574/

    http://www.airguns.net/classifieds/classifieds.php

    You can search first to see if any other Buzz Bartons are being offered for sale and view asking prices.

    Good Luck.

    Fred PRoNJ




  23. Hi There i live in leeds yorkshire england, a mate of mine walked up to me and said you can have this, i didn't pay it much mind, i thought it was a toy and shot patatoe peel, i've had it for about 20 years.
    i thought to google it then found out all about it….yes its the daisy 195, but the badge on the side indicates two cowboys on horse back lasooing the whole badge if you can picture it the inscription readsdaisy no195 buss barton special the whole picture is imbosed into the wood in black,
    the wood stock is clean the vanish in tact the pressed tin body is blue but the blue is pitted it has the cast or irod cocking lever, i think its never beed used much as its very hard to cock the main spring feels very strong.let me know your thoughts cheers paolo. if you want to skype kramer 240
    sorry for any mistakes lost my reading specs.


  24. Paolo,

    welcome to the PyramydAir blog produced by B.B. Pelletier (aka Tom Gaylord). Unfortunately, you've posted to a blog that's 5 years old and very few of us monitor these older blogs. I suggest you go to/blog// and re-post. You will have thousands of enthusiasts reading your comment.

    As for your gun or rifle, it's a neat collector's item and I hope you're happy with it. It's reminiscent of a TV movie that we all love to watch once a year called "A Christmas Story" which is a compilation of childhood memories by long time radio personality Jean Shepherd. The catchline of the movie of the youngster who lusts after a BB gun for Christmas is, "you'll shoot your eye out, kid".

    Cordially,

    Fred PRoNJ


  25. Paolo,

    Your BB gun is entirely correct. The hard cocking is correct for the gun. That's because back when it was made, Daisy used much stronger mainsprings than they do now.

    Your gun is a No. 195 Model 33 Daisy and isn't quite as rare as the one shown here, but it's still worth quite a lot. It is a the next-to-last last Buzz Barton made, which was in 1933-35.

    Here in the U.S. your gun would probably command more money, because Daisys are very collectible over here. I would estimate it to be worth $200 and up, based on your description.

    B.B.


  26. I have an old Buzz Barton Special BB Gun that is is bad shape but I was wondering if you would know about what year it is from.

    I also have an old double barrell shotgun that I think was my Great Grandfather's who fought in the Civil War. It has the marking ( N0 1281 ) on it, and other writing that I can not distinguish. Do you know anything about such a shotgun?


  27. The date of the Buzz Barton Special was given in this article — 1932. They were certainly not made during WW II, so that puts 1942 as a cap, but the Blue Book says 1932-1937.

    The shotgun is too vague to give any information. That's the sort of thing that needs to be personally examined by someone who knows firearms.

    B.B.


  28. Hello Group and B.B. Have another question, I am going to an auction tonight that has a Buzz Barton , Bidding is starting at $50.00 and was wondering how high to go. Condition is not as good as the one pictured in the article little more rust and the blue in the stock is very very dark, I have a few pic's . If I win the bidding I would keep it for awhile and then put it up for auction on the Gun Auction site, Grab your Guns. along with the other one we spoke of. Thanks Joe T GLAZIER001@AOL.COM



  29. My best friend who is dying, had a Buzz Barton BB gun when he was a kid. He always talked about it. I have found a rifle to give him, but I cannot find a sight tube. I wand to give it to him for Christmas.

    At almost any price, can you please help me find a sight tube ?

    Thank You. Gene Small Albany, Oregon


    • Gene,

      I can’t help you with a sight tube but I can post your request to the current blog. This one is 8 years old and very few of us monitor them. Come to/blog// where tens of thousands of airgun hobbyists will see your post and hopefully help you out.

      Fred DPRoNJ


  30. Can anyone tell me who is making the Daisy Buzz Barton no.103 model 33 repro sight tube. I saw one at a toy last month, but couldn’t find out who made it.

    Thanks. Gene from Oregon


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