Daisy No. 25 – Part 1
by B.B. Pelletier
You know how I like to give you something to talk about on the weekends, so today’s report is about the new Daisy No. 25 pump-action BB gun. The fun comes from the fact that I have a small collection of No. 25 guns and know a few things about their long history. First point is that Daisy refers to this gun as the No. 25, not the model 25, however, the words Model 25 are on the package. But the name No. 25 is stamped into the metal body of the gun. It’s one of those trivial collector points that most people ignore, but it does mean that this current gun is significant for the nomenclature change.
The original No. 25 was brought to the Daisy Manufacturing Company by Fred LeFever, a young designer from the famous family of shotgun designers. He figured he could give Daisy six months of his time to get their production up to speed…but stayed on for the next 44 years.
The No. 25 is a pump-action gun. A firearms buff understands immediately what that means, but airgunners sometimes get confused. This gun is a spring-piston repeating BB gun that is cocked and loaded by the knee action of an articulated pump lever. The shooter pulls straight back on the pump handle but the lever is broken in the middle into two pieces that fold apart to lower the effort required to cock the piston. The word pump therefore has nothing to do with a pneumatic pump.
Over the long production life of the No. 25 (1913-1978), there were several important design changes. All collectors agree that the variation that first appeared in 1936 was the most beautiful because of the stamped engraving on both sides of the receiver. Daisy wisely chose to replicate that design in the new No. 25.
This current gun is made in China, and I must comment that they’re doing a great job with the appearance. The metal is folded correctly, the paint is applied evenly, and the real wood butt and pump handle are finished attractively. I must say, there’s more quality here than I expected.
Daisy claims a velocity of 350 f.p.s. There are no lightweight BBs, so that number was achieved with Daisy’s own zinc-plated BBs. We shall see in Part 2. If it does shoot that fast, Daisy has recreated a No. 25 equal to those of the early days — another very surprising thing. I remember as a young man wanting a wood and steel No. 25, because we all knew that the painted ones had lighter mainsprings.
I tried cocking the test gun just once and was surprised by the force it took. My gosh — suddenly I’m 12 again! This puppy is stiff when new. Fortunately, these guns have the reputation that they need to be broken in, and then they’ll slick up and start to shoot and cock smoother.
The sights are a repeat of the 1952-version sights that have a flip peep sight and open notch. The notch is a bit close to the sighting eye to work right, but the peep is ideal. We shall see what this gets us when I test for accuracy.
Two things I must criticize, though I understand the reason for one of them, are the lawyer trigger and the take-down screw. If any company has the right to let their lawyers in on the design, it’s Daisy, who gets sued a lot! The trigger is plastic and incorporates a safety I’d just as soon not see, but it’s there. A safety on a BB gun is like the spoon handle on a hand grenade. Don’t let go of it until you’re ready to use it! Putting a cocked BB gun on safe sounds like an accident just waiting to happen. However, if the range officer says the line is cold, I guess it’s always best to apply the safety.
The take-down screw has a nut on the far side of the gun. That makes it more than just a tool-free operation. I guess you have to start carrying a multi-tool all the time if you shoot this gun.
The 50-shot forced-feed magazine looks different than the mags of models from the past, but it works the same way. And, you’ll remember to oil your gun before shooting, won’t you? Failure to oil was the reason my first No. 25 failed on me in my youth, and I’m now a zealot for this necessary maintenance procedure. Common household oil should not be used. Daisy recommends 20-weight motor oil, but airgunners know that Crosman Pellgunoil is made from that.
Good job so far!
I have to say, Daisy appears to have done it up right this time. This new No. 25 is a gun you will be proud to own. Yes, it’s made in China, and yes, it’s painted and not blued, but, for gosh sakes, this is the resurrection of a BB gun design that’s 98 years old!