Daisy No. 12, Model 29

by B.B. Pelletier

Daisy’s No. 12, model 29 is a retro-looking single-shot from the 1920s and ’30s.

I love this little BB gun – just for the way it looks. It’s so retro, and, indeed, it’s a follow-on to Daisy’s earlier model H. According to Dunathan’s The American B.B Gun book, the No. 12,pyramydai Model 29 was produced from 1918 to 1937. The Blue Book of Airguns, Fifth Edition puts the dates between 1929 and 1932. I believe Dunathan is closer to correct because this gun is obviously a follow-on to the model H, which ended in 1920 (Dunathan) or 1923 (Blue Book).

It’s a single-shot that shoots both BBs and darts. To load it, you remove the barrel using the bayonet-type front sight blade, which is actually a spring-loaded barrel catch. The BB goes in the rear of the barrel and rolls down until it hits the shot seat, which is a constriction. There, it sits until the gun is fired. In this day of semiautomatic BB guns, I wonder how many shooters would be patient enough to put up with a system like this?

To load the gun, the shot tube is removed, and a BB is loaded into the breech. The front sight is also a spring-loaded bayonet catch for the tube. Neat!

Use the right ammo
By BBs, I mean air rifle shot, which are 0.175″ lead balls. If anyone ever shot smaller more modern steel BBs in it, they would have hammered out the shot seat in the barrel so it wouldn’t work with lead BBs any more (it wouldn’t work with steel, either!). That’s what happened to my gun, so I feed it .177 Beeman Perfect Rounds. They stick in the shot seat like they’re supposed to, but the velocity is reduced because they are heavier.

My gun shoots Beeman Perfect Rounds about 285 f.p.s. when it’s all oiled up, so it probably shot air rifle shot about 350 when it was new. Accuracy is an iffy thing, because the mechanism doesn’t always seal correctly. Some shots exit at 135 instead of 285. But, you learn to live with that when you shoot old BB guns.

What catches the eye when you first see one of these is how incredibly
small it is! The overall length of 31″ is about the same as other small Daisy single-shots, but the outer dimensions of the gun are positively child-like. Yet, cocking takes adult strength. Daisy had not yet repositioned the cocking lever screw, which they would do in just a few more years to cut the cocking effort by half.

Also quite neat is the cast iron cocking lever. Besides looking retro with the small finger hole and long straight piece, it resembles something the village smithy made. The cast iron looks cobby – like it came from a rough sand mold.

The No. 12 came in both nickelplate and blued steel finishes. The nickel gun is gorgeous when most of the nickel is intact, but the blued gun is also attractive. My own gun has nearly 100 percent of the original blue; unfortunately, it’s well-peppered with rust. Daisy’s name is found on both sides of the receiver between two bullseyes.

Even the name looks retro on this little beauty.

The rear sight is a simple wide notch with no adjustability. It’s also the anchor for the mainspring assembly. A gumwood stock with a deep crescent butt has a scant 11.5″ pull, which is very small for an adult, but the trigger return spring is stiffer than the one on my 1873 Trapdoor Springfield. This little gun is a study in contradictions!

I don’t shoot it much; I just like to look at it. Every six months or so, I oil it and shoot just a few so it won’t forget it’s a BB gun.

12 thoughts on “Daisy No. 12, Model 29”

  1. I bought a Gamo 440 to shoot farm pests(sparrows or starlings). I’ve tried your holding techniques and tried different pellets(crosman 10 grains, RWS hollow points, and various daisy) but I can only get it to group to about 2 inches at 15 yards. Got any Suggestsions?

    P.S. Keep up the good work. I’ve read all your posts since spring ’05

  2. bb,
    i have NO idea how i didnt notice until now, but it seems that my rifle’s action is mounted in the stock lopsided. the trigger and cocking link rub against their slots in the stock. where they rub, the finish is coming off. also, i noticed two things about the rifle recently: firstly, the cocking effort is reduced. i shot at the same megablok i used for initial testing. when i first shot it, with a gamo wadcutter, it punched a very clean hole. now it leaves a large crack, with a circular indent. same with the hunter pelets. on an asian drink can (the kind with the very think walls which hold some 250 ml, i used to be able to punch ragged holes thru with hunter pellets. now, it leaves an indent, takes some paint and nothing more. i will post pictures of these soon. secondly, i notice the trigger has gotten better, after the cocking effort lessened. it is still an awful trigger in my opinion, but it is lighter and slightly less vague. i suspect all this has to do with the lopsided mounting of the action. could you please give me an aproximate fps rating? it was rated 495 (you know, that canadian law) when new. i wont be able to return it, as this is my replacement for the 631. and, there are no airgun smiths anywhere near my area. i am strongly considering replacing the spring, as i’ve seen some (different guns) for about $30, which is really quite affordable. if i end up replacing the spring, i will be sure to order piston seals and tar as well. i’ll do anything before opening it, since i stil havent built a mainspring compressor. my gun has no safeties, and i’m told its a direct contact trigger (or something of that nature). how difficult would it be to reassemble this? if all the parts are moderately big i can give it a try. i’m only worried there are small parts which i wont be able to find/put in their proper position. sorry if its long, i dont mean to make it a chore to read. thanks, because of you i pull less hairs out!

  3. Beeman perfecdt rounds,

    BECAUSE they are lead, they deform and are therefore easier on all barrels than steel BBs. Because they are a true .177, they are also safe in most pellet guns.

    Steel BBs are .173 caliber and don’t fit .177 bores well. Ignore the labling on modern airgun boxes that show steel BBs as 4.5mm or .177. They are actually 4.3mm and .173.


  4. Gamo 440,

    This model isn’t especially accurate, but I would expect at least 3/4-inch groups at 15 yards.

    The pellets you mention are also not especially accurate. Try Beeman Kodiaks and JSB Exacts, both weights.

    Also try cleaning your barrel with JB Bore Paste like I describe in this article on cleaning airgun barrels.

    Finally, the Gamo breakbarrels are VERY sensitive to how they are held. If you so much as touch the forearm with one fingertip, it can destroy your groups.


  5. m20,

    Okay, what you have is a Chinese-made air rifle. It’s much easier to talk about it as a Chinese gun rather than an RWS because the thought of German quality doesn’t enter the picture.

    The B20 is a gun the Chinese are trying to sell as a high-grade airguns. It have a nicer trigger than most and reasonable (almosy Gamo) accuracy.

    It sounds like you have a broken mainspring, which is common for the Chinese airguns.

    I don’t understand the no safety thing. The B20 is supposed to be a copy of the Beeman R9 which has an automatic safety. I don’t understand why yours doesn’t.

    It need attention and a better mainspring.


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