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Education / Training Daisy’s Red Ryder: 1

Daisy’s Red Ryder: 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Adrian Cataldo Beltrán is this week’s winner of Pyramyd Air’s Big Shot of the Week on their facebook page. He’ll receive a $50 Pyramyd AIR gift card. Congratulations!

BSOTW winner Adrian Cataldo Beltrán shoots his .22-caliber Benjamin in his backyard.

“Between the dark and the daylight,
As the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
That is known as the children’s hour.”
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sit back and enjoy your hot cocoa, kiddies, because this is it! This is the airgun that probably started it all for many of you, and darned near all of you ought to know it by name — I don’t care where you’re from. Coke, Levis and the Daisy Red Ryder are the DNA of America.

We’re older and sadder now — having matured through some of the same flaws and foibles that older societies had to endure. But the name Red Ryder still rings a happy bell in the backs of our minds. It reminds us of the poem that promises “…somewhere the sun is shining.”

What is a Red Ryder?
Asking what a Red Ryder is, is like asking which Elvis you liked best — skinny or fat. The truth is, there wasn’t just one Red Ryder — there were many. The first gun (and it’s a gun for certain, because it isn’t rifled) was Daisy’s No. 111, Model 40 — first made in 1939. It had a copper-plated “golden” band around the front of the wooden forearm and the barrel, a saddle ring on the left side with a genuine leather thong tied through it and a Red Ryder brand burned into the left side of the stock. There are numerous variations of this early model, and the very first one also had a cast-iron cocking lever.

If you’re an old guy like me, you can still remember that those early Red Ryders were very difficult to cock, because they still used the heavy wire mainsprings from the earlier guns. Over the years, the gauge of the wire was thinned to help kids cock their guns and also to slow down those steel BBs that really could put your eye out. So, if the cocking on your gun seems stiff, it’s an early one.

World War II
Daisy played a large and patriotic part in World War II, including the grandson of the founder becoming one of the first pilots to break the speed of sound during a test flight of a P38 Lightning over England (in a steep dive). So, production of the Red Ryder halted in 1942 and resumed again in 1946.

My Red Ryder is a variation from 1947. It has a blued steel finish and a plastic forearm, with a wooden buttstock that carries the Red Ryder brand. The cocking lever is cast aluminum and painted black. Within a few more years, Daisy would start electrostatically painting the entire gun, so I feel fortunate to have the model I do. I know my gun is from 1947 because it came in the Model 311 Red Ryder set, which also included a scope, a cork tube and a steel target holder — all packed in a large brown cardboard box. There’s a later gun that has all the same features as this one; but since the set stopped being produced in 1950 and the later gun didn’t begin production until 1952, I know I have what the Blue Book of Airguns calls Variant 5.

The sights are fixed. Even though the No. 25 slide-action (pump) gun had adjustable front and rear sights in 1913, the Red Ryder lasted for more than a decade before it got them. You just had to learn where to hold to hit your target.

In 1955, Daisy introduced an interim Red Ryder based on the Model 94. It was a painted gun with plastic stock and forearm and painted logos on the frame. Of course, the plastic stock couldn’t be branded with a hot die (branding iron), so the logo was cut into the mold and the resulting lines were painted gold on the stock. It had a leather buttpad called a boot that was removable, and I believe this is the only leather buttpad on any Red Ryder. This model was short-lived and died out in 1962. As far as I can tell, the No. 111 Model 40 was produced right alongside this one; so for a time, Daisy actually had two Red Ryders in their lineup.

In 1972, the Red Ryder model changed to the Model 1938. It was very similar to the earlier gun, but there were manufacturing changes made to speed up production and adaptations to new ways of building BB guns. Plastic buttstocks that had been on the guns since the 1950s were applied interchangeably with wood stocks and even walnut stocks from time to time.

The Lightning Loader ends
The Lightning Loader is the separate tube under what looks like the barrel. It’s where the BBs are loaded. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch Ralphie load his new Red Ryder on Christmas morning in the classic movie A Christmas Story. But in the movie, Ralphie has to “cheat” the loading scene, because his Red Ryder is really a model 1938B, which doesn’t have a real Lightning Loader. Instead, it has a plastic door that’s opened to dump BBs into the outer tube — what looks like the barrel to most folks. The tube under the barrel is entirely cosmetic.

The 1938B is the Red Ryder of today, and the look has changed a little. We’re back to a wood stock and forearm, and the Red Ryder brand is back on the stock. It’s easy to burn in a brand when the stock is wood, and wood is what the customers want, so Daisy’s accommodating them. Blued steel comes back from time to time, but I don’t think we’ll see it on anything more than a special commemorative gun in the future. The electrostatic paint Daisy uses is far more durable than chemical bluing anyway. If you take care of the gun, the finish will outlast the original owner.

The gun
The BB gun I’ll be testing for you is my 1947 model — not the current gun. If you’re interested in the current model, we have an excellent two-part review by our own BG_Farmer for you to read. He compared a 1938 model with today’s 1938B, so this look at a No. 111 Model 40 is actually a test of a different airgun.

Daisy’s Red Ryder is the best-known airgun of all time.

The brand was on the left side of the stock. Today, it’s on the right.

Turn the muzzle to open the Lightning Loader. Though it looks like a tube running the length of the barrel, it’s just a ramp to dump BBs into the hollow outer barrel jacket.

Yes, they had plastic in 1947. It wasn’t as good as it is today, and many of these old pieces such as this forearm have warped over time. This one is still good, but it looks incongruous with the wood butt.

In fact, the gun I’m showing here is really different from any other Red Ryder, because this one was made specially for the model 311 Red Ryder set mentioned earlier. What sets this gun apart from all others is the presence of the permanent rear mount for the long Daisy Model 300 telescopic sight. That mount attaches with two wood screws. If I remove it from the gun, I have a hole in the comb of the stock where the back of the tang was and the forward screw doesn’t run all the way down to the receiver. In other words, this gun was made this way at the factory. Like it or not, that rear scope mount has to remain in place or I have to seriously bubba the gun to eliminate its presence. Doing that would be like converting the gullwing doors on a Mercedes 300 SL to open to the side! So, this Red Ryder will always look different than the others.

The rear scope mount is built into the BB gun and can’t be removed without making the gun look incomplete. Other Red Ryders don’t have the backstrap seen here, and removing this mount leaves a deep hole in the wood. This is a rare gun since the set it came in was made for only a few years.

One final comment before I end this report. While photographing the BB gun, I noticed that the finish really does look blue — not the black oxide color seen on today’s firearms. It’s well-polished and looks very classy after seeing nothing but modern airguns for a long time. I can see why kids were so outraged when Daisy stopped bluing their BB guns and went to electrostatic paining.

Next time, I’ll check velocity, accuracy and cover a maintenance tip or two.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

104 thoughts on “Daisy’s Red Ryder: 1”

    • nowhere,

      I don’t have the scope. When I bought the gun it came as an incomplete set in a big bundled deal. I do have a model 300 scope on a 1936 model Daisy 25, though. It might be possible to mount that on this gun. I hadn’t thought of it until you said something. I will look at it and see whether it can be done.


  1. O.K.

    I got to wondering about something since there was a bore size issue that came up….

    I have to wonder how many airguns simply have too large of a bore to shoot well? Not just the ones that are so large of bore that NOTHING fits, but those that are loose enough that the only pellets that fit good enough are the wrong pellet for the rifle? Either way, there is a problem.


    • RR,

      Well, 80 percent of the older Chinese air rifles were that way. They seemed to have learned their lessons around 1995, but many of the older ones were overbore. I guess those rifling buttons just don’t wear as fast as everyone thinks.


      • BB,

        Interesting BB gun. I did not know that Daisy ever offered a scope for a Red Ryder.

        Off topic – I did not get a chance to shoot the Marksman 800 yesterday due to rain. However I did a quick test – a wadcutter pellet will drop freely into the muzzle and be caught by the skirt. No contact with the head of the pellet, though. Not good for accuracy. I do have some 5.6mm Eley Wasps and some 5.6mm H&N round balls that I will try but my expectations are not high.

        Paul in Liberty County

          • twotalon,

            The Marksman 800 is .22 cal. The MV with Hobbys is 385 FPS, 4 FtLbs muzzle energy. Tried a couple of other pellets and all made the same ME.

            The wadcutters are JSB and the sticker claims they are 5.5mm. I have examined a couple of pellets after shooting them (Hobbys, FTS) and there are no rifiling marks on the head and only faint marks on the skirt. The barrel is definitely oversized – the head pellet will drop into the muzzle with no resistance at all. Accuracy is about 1.5 to 2 inches at 15 feet.

            Paul in Liberty County

            • Paul..
              Well, what we really need here is some light but really fat pellets. I know the FTS are fat ones. If they are too loose, then getting something to fit is going to be tough. I have some 5.55 FTT in my stash, but I don’t know if they are any larger than the FTS. I will try to measure both to see which is larger.
              Still more weight than you really want, but might sort of work anyway. Will get back to you.


            • Paul…

              I checked the FTS, FTT, and H&N Sport. All are 5.55. Everything else I have is smaller. So you gonna need something bigger than these three.


  2. In the early 1960’s, I was 11 or 12 and hungering for my first BB gun. I looked at the Red Ryder but wanted something better. So I asked my parents for a Daisy Model 1894, citing the safety features of the gun; and besides, it looked cooler! Having to cock the lever action and then again having to pull back the hammer. My family was no stranger to guns so I thought I’d have half a shot at getting one.

    Ralphie in “Christmas Story” was me. I so identify with that movie, the characters, the story line, the era, every thing.

    Well, I did get my 1894 for Christmas. In fact, I still have it, languishing in a closet. One of the few things that have survived from my childhood. I’ve been so tempted to get it out, oil it up and see if it still shoots.

  3. B.B.

    I had a scope on my 25 at one time. Daisy side mount and a scope that the crosshairs moved in when adjusted. The mount didn’t fit very securely.
    You popped two bushings into the frame, then screwed the mount to them. That’s if I remember right.


    • TT,

      The model 300 scope attaches differently. It clamps to the barrel at the front and attaches to this upright in the rear. It’s a solid mounting, but the interior crosshairs do not move. Instead, the elevation mechanism is the rear mount.

      I guess I’d better show it to everyone. It’s worth a look.


  4. B.B. & Edith,

    I’m seeing a lot of buzz about Air Venturi recalling the Evanix Speed and Evanix Conquest. Since I still see these models for sale on the PA site I wondered if there’s any truth to this?


  5. BB,
    Off topic, but I am just catching up on my reading…….Wow, your write-up of the LASSO event at Terry Tate’s was fantastic. Such a wide cross section of guns and people, it’s the type of airgun event I’d love to attend. Thanks very much for that report. Even though Greg didn’t win the Air Force gun, he did get several hours of personalized coaching from you, and I bet he knows the value of that.

  6. When we were kids, we would put the stock behind our right thigh between our legs and pull up on the lever to cock those old daisy levers. It worked but wasn’t the safest thing to do. But, we didn’t worry about such things back then. “We rode bikes with no helmets but still here we are. Bucky Covington”.


  7. I got my first one for $10.00 I was a trucker then and I was at a stop when I saw the gun laying on a box.I asked if it was for sale and I offered $10.00 later on he took my offer and I was told it was his uncle’s when he was a kid” My really only bargain” It looks like it’s pre war and I found the Daisy Scope made for too.The metal was not painted and it’s about 65% intact” I never found a bargain like that again”.I notice that people who have older guns for sale think that because it’s old it’s worth a fortune”The Blue Book is a God send for collectors I also found a prewar Hanel and Shimmel co2 I am hooked and after I pay my taxes I can go back to buying. NO NJ MIKE”

    • Good for you, NNJM. I love reading about super finds like this with the foolish hope that I will be lucky enough to turn one up, too, upon occassion.

      Fred (Democratik Peoples Republik of New Jersey)

  8. My brother bought a Red Ryder back around 1970 by selling enough Christmas cards. That was his goal. That was the first air-gun any of us had ever shot. Yes, we shot the heck out of it. One of the doors of my parents house still has the B.B. indentations.

  9. I can only express how I feel about never having had a Red Ryder as a kid in one way.

    *Proceeds to fold arms and scowel for about half an hour*

  10. Now there’s a way to use your backyard in the pic of the week.

    “Some were born to sweet delight.
    Some were born to endless night.” -William Blake

    So, given that the Red Ryder represents one of the Holy Grails of capitalism which somehow takes the population by storm and sells forever, any ideas as to why it was so popular? No doubt the cowboy mystique had a lot to do with it. Anything about the gun itself?

    Edith, the pellet sizing makes sense. No doubt the minor variations came up as part of the endless striving for improvement–as well as possibly a lack of precision of equipment. There seems to be no way around it.

    Ha ha, thanks for all the creative ideas about the titanoboa. That reminds me how physically insignificant creatures like ourselves have clawed out way past many more impressive specimens to achieve our current status. Wulfraed, don’t count on me to back you up with the compound bow rig, but the grenade booby trap is marvelously efficient. And let us now spare a thought for the lamb. There was a similar instance I read about where a Special Forces soldier in Vietnam was trying to win the hearts and minds of villagers by getting rid of a rogue tiger. He staked a goat to the ground in the middle of forest, climbed a tree and waited with a grease gun and a spare magazine. At some point in the night, the goat freaked out. A shadow materialized out of nowhere with astonishing swiftness and the SF soldier cut loose. However, he managed to miss with the entire first magazine and dropped the spare in the confusion. A complete screw-up. But at least everyone lived another day.

    Duskwight, I haven’t looked into models of hand-held miniguns, but I present as evidence one of the Terminator films where Arnold is holding such a weapon on a building rooftop and a police helicopter sheers rapidly off with the pilot saying, “He’s got a mini-gun.” ALSO, there is the movie Predator which features Jesse Ventura running around with a hand-held minigun. Surely they can be modified to be carried, but I can see how the ammo supply would be a problem.

    PeteZ, flamethrower is a great idea and a sure deterrent to the slimy beast. KidAgain, I thought any conventional gun was off the table, and I wouldn’t put my confidence in a .44 magnum. But on the other hand, if a .500 SW magnum is supposed to be able to stop an elephant, it should work on this animal. My concern is with speed. The darn thing has so much muscle packed together–it is essentially one big muscle–that it could be lightning fast. And then again, maybe speed is not that critical since it works by swallowing you. So if you could endure that, you could blast your way out from inside sort of like the Alien. But no doubt there would be powerful stomach acids, so you wouldn’t want to wait long. (Yuck.) And you definitely would want a lanyard so as not to lose your weapon in the digestive process.

    CowBoyStar Dad, I bow to your experience of the the Jaws of the Subconscious. And I’m moved to recall an old saying attributed to the Germans: “It takes strong bones to bear the good times.” Perhaps this was the problem with poor Whitney Houston whose apparent response to her fabulous gift and all that came with it was to systematically destroy it!? As a related example, there was a novel about a Japanese warrior monk making a stand against an overwhelming Mongol horde. The press of circumstances which involves his comrades getting cut down, executing his best friend on request goes to work on him. Then when he tries to rescue a statue of the goddess of peace from a blazing temple and gets it shot to pieces in his arms, that sends him over the edge. He goes berserk and wipes them out with seeming invincibility. He can seem to do no wrong in his zone as the many assailants come at him in slow motion and he puts them away. But just as he realizes how great he is doing and that he might actually survive, the moment disappears, and he becomes mortal again. Then the Mongols cut loose with a volley of arrows that fills him up like a pincushion and knocks him over a cliff. (But when his body is recovered, the rescuers see the faintest mist on a mirror placed next to his mouth….) Anyway, I guess the key is to be as coldly indifferent to good fortune as to bad fortune. That is the path to stability and steady performance. But then what in the world is there to look forward to?

    Victor, glad you’re back in harness. I guess it makes sense to back off when you’re not in shape to shoot properly. My recent “slump” started because I continued shooting despite fatigue and eyestrain. I compromised the technique and kind of lost it. A martial arts master told me that it is not practice that counts but “perfect practice.” Otherwise, you’re just learning bad habits. On the other hand, there is something to be said for just putting in the time regardless. The Romans were out there practicing rain or shine as were the Prussians. And when the great Japanese fighter ace, Saburo Sakai, had trouble learning how to land in his training, the solutions was to practice landing morning to night for a month until he got it figured out. In my work, I deal a lot with academics writing long papers, and there is endless fuss over writer’s block and the composition process. But I happened to read a telling comment by a professional writer who said that the fact is that you write on one day pretty much like you write on another day, and anything else if mostly figments of the imagination. I’ve found that to be generally true, and I suspect it is true of shooting as well.

    DaveUK, haven’t watched animal planet for a while but the system you describe between the police, taxi drivers and drunks reminds me of something similar in South Korea. Apparently in the period after the Korean War, martial arts schools had the practice of snagging drunks and misbehavers off the street and using them for punching practice!? This was done with the blessing of the police who considered the martial artists as a type of deputy. However, you needn’t feel too sorry for the drunks. According to one account by a pioneering female master of martial arts, one noisy guy was hauled upstairs and held in place so that she could practice her punching technique about which she lacked confidence. She went to work on his midsection and the drunk guy started laughing at her! Finally, with the honor of the school at stake, the instructor stepped over and efficiently knocked the guy out with a shot to the jaw. Not sure what this anecdote was meant to prove….


    • Matt61
      Well it proves one thing.
      A drunken man can take some hammer 🙂

      As a kid my grandpa told me a tall tail about his exploits in WWII.
      “I was stuck on my own with just my rifle,two bullets and a bottle of whisky.These three Germans came at me,so I drank the whisky,shot two of them dead and beat the other to death with the bottle.Want to know the moral of this story son?”
      “Don’t mess with your Grandad when he’s drunk” lol

    • Matt,

      Following persuade you 🙂
      For “Predator” movie they built a special, blank-firing decreased-ROF (1/3 of actual ROF, 1250 RPM) version of M-134A2. The electric motor was connected to the power source by a cable, running through Ventura’s pants. The actor was forced to wear a protective clothing, to avoid injuries from the fast and violently ejecting brass that could ricochet from the ground. If his gun was fired using real ammo on a real ROF, the actor would be instantly kicked down due to violent recoil – 96-96 kg of force is one for “modest” XM-214, M-134 recoils at lest 3 times harder.
      Ammo “backpack”could provide just a few seconds of fire – AFAIR it holds somewhat 550 or so rounds. Less than 30 seconds of fire at slow ROF.
      Let’s count – 2 000 rounds of 7.62x51mm (30 second @ 4000RPM) will weight more than 50 kg, making such load almost impossible to carry and a huge box. 1000 rounds – 25 kilos, all right, 15 seconds, but still a big box. Scenes where Jesse moved were shot minus ammo and fake ammo box (and inverted chute to cover the abscence of ammo). Then goes accumulator to power 600-watt motor – 8 kg, then the gun itself – say 30 kg with ammo feed chute. And anyway, all that and a man harnessed to the gun will fly like a bird due to gun’s recoil.
      The same gun (a bit facelifted) was used in T2.
      I guess that makes a perfect gun for another movie – I’d say “Hulk” 🙂
      So… let movies stay movies 🙂


    • Duskwight, I haven’t looked into models of hand-held miniguns, but I present as evidence one of the Terminator films where Arnold is holding such a weapon on a building rooftop and a police helicopter sheers rapidly off with the pilot saying, “He’s got a mini-gun.” ALSO, there is the movie Predator which features Jesse Ventura running around with a hand-held minigun. Surely they can be modified to be carried, but I can see how the ammo supply would be a problem.

      Ignoring the ammo requirement — where’s the power supply… those things weren’t recoil operated, they use an electric motor (presuming your “mini-gun” is my “mini-gun”)…

      Then again, even Shiro (a kitten in “Samurai Cat”) has been known to drag one along at times… Of course, Shiro also has his hands on a copy of the Necronomicon at one point…

  11. BB,
    Thanks, you know I love these! Decades of reality, dimming eyesight, stiff fingers — they all disappear when I pick up that little BB gun, and it comes up to my shoulder and aligns its sights magically.

    This will be a good reference for us sentimental “accidental collectors” of the RR. Last time I looked, I was surprised how little information there is on the iconic American BB gun.

    The Lightning Loader is the best way to fill a gun of any type. I’ve never seen that version of the plastic forearm; compared to the brownish plastic I think I remember on some of the ones from late 60’s early 70’s, it actually looks OK.

    I would like to see it scoped, also, just to see it. Looking forward to more.

    • BG_Farmer,

      I wasn’t aware just how rare my gun is until I researched for this blog. Apparently, it’s a nitchy gun that didn’t last long.

      I will certainly explore the possibility of scope nt this gun. I also can’t wait to see how powerful it is.


  12. Matt, after the other evening I could actually comprehend why some rock bands/TV shows/whatever will quit at what they consider to be the height of their careers.
    After I finished shooting I think I actually had 34 out of 40 10’s I kinda thought…well, I should hang up the Avanti now…call it quits and just rest on my laurels. Last night I was shooting again and was hitting the 10 about 3 out of 10 shots.
    Oh well…
    On the Red Ryder issue…my boys feel they have just about outgrown theirs. The Red Ryders (which I bought for them nearly 5 years ago now) was what started them on their shooting journey, and in a direct way re-introduced me to shooting, which I had given up 20 years ago.
    But I convinced them that we should oil them down, properly store them so that they can either shoot them in the future…or, 20 years from now introduce their children to the art of shooting.

  13. Wow! This is a great subject for a weekend blog!

    I got one for my ninth birthday in 1958. It differed from BB’s description of the Model 94. I think it was the Model 95. It had no “Red Ryder” branding, nor a leather butt pad. I don’t remember if it had a “saddle ring”. It had the “Lightning Loader” feature. I think the gun was called “The Western Carbine”. The butt and the forearm were both dark brown plastic.

    I lived on a farm on the out-of-town side of the city limits road, so the neighborhood kids would come over to shoot bb guns with me. My gun was cooler than the models without the “Lightning Loader”, but not as neat as the Model 25’s.

    By the time the gun was replaced with a Remington bolt-action single-shot .22, it was completely worn out. The weakest point was where the stock attached to the receiver. There was no backstrap, and a screw holding the buttstock on at the top of the stock would gradually wear its hole into a slot, from the force of being cocked repeatedly. I wound up wrapping the top of the stock with masking tape to hold it together.

    I have no way of knowing this, but I suspect the reason for the demise of the “Lightning Loader” was the fact that the muzzle wound up being pointed at the user’s face when the gun was being loaded.
    As far as I can remember, there was no safety on the gun.

    Even in it’s 1958 version, this gun took a bit of a strain to cock for a nine-year-old. I, too, had to hold the stock between my legs to cock it. After that first week of shooting, I thought my arm was going to fall off!

    All that shooting kept me busy. I made it a point to shoot as much as possible, in any weather. I would buy the bb’s that came in little red cardboard tubes that looked like shotgun shells. When they became empty, they made great targets. After a rain, I would float one in a puddle and shoot it until it tore open and sank.

    A couple of times, I got into trouble shooting. One time, my father couldn’t figure out why the hogs were not gaining weight. Then he caught me “buffalo hunting”. I would ping the pigs in the butt, and they would “stampede” to the far end of the hog lot. After enough of this, they would just run away when they saw me coming. Another time, I got into trouble for getting broken glass into the garden. I would shoot old vacuum tubes from discarded radios. They exploded wonderfully when hit.

    With all this practice, I got to be pretty good with the gun. But my neighbor (who used a Model 25) had the ability to wing-shoot a flying sparrow and kill it in mid-air. I still think that is incredible, and I’ve seen him do it more than once. He also shot a CO2 powered automatic pistol, something I considered “way cool” and rather mysterious.

    Today I have two Red Ryders. One is well-used by my grandchildren. The other one, a 70th Anniversary model, sits in my gun case unfired. I know there was a ton of these sold, and I’ll never live long enough for it to a collector’s item, but just knowing it is always new is enough for me.


    • Les,

      You are the guy I wrote this for! Thanks for sharing all your memories.

      And thanks for reminding me of the old BB containers. Maybe in the next installment I’ll show a couple of them.

      I was really surprised at how hard this gun cocks. Then all my memories flooded back and I remembered everything!

      My first new BB gun was a Daisy Model 110 Rocket Command gun that was painted blue with white stock and forearm. It looked like a girl’s gun, so of course I got razzed about that.


    • Les,I am left wondering what model co2 pistol he had?? There were a couple really “neat” ones back then.The early 60s had the Daisy 200,which was awesome when it worked.The best one,IMHO…..and keep in mind I didn’t “arrive”until 1967…..was the now rare Crosman 677 “Plink-o-matic”! It was the Crosman 600,but fired BBs…….and cycled them beautifully! That pistol was a real liability,and only made from ’62-’64,probably due to the ricochets! I found out about that when I added one to my little collection.You can get off 7 or 8 shots before the first one came back at you!

      • Frank,

        I don’t know the make or model of the pistol. I just thought it was really neat. This would have been around 1961-62.

        Although I admired it, I knew even if I had one, I would never have been able to afford to shoot it as much as I would have wanted to. Having to buy CO2 cartridges as well as bb’s would have put it beyond my reach.


  14. My father would never let me have a BB gun, likely because he had one when he was a kid. He did buy me an Iver Johnson Model X when I was three and he and my grandfather started teaching me to use it when I was six. I still have it and one day I will end up giving it to my grandson when he is a little older.

    Every once in a while I think of getting a 499, but I seriously doubt such will happen. A Red Ryder has crossed my mind, but I am not impressed with all the plastic. Likely the same reason I have not picked up a 499. Maybe if I see the right deal on a 99, I will finally own a BB gun.

  15. My first was a Daisy BB gun styled after a 94 Winchester. I shot that until it went to junk. It still hangs in the garage. The next was a Sheridan “C” with a factory installed Williams receiver sight. Now that was like going from a biplane to a F-16.


  16. I have the recently made one with the medal in the stock, and a saddle ring with a little leather string in it. It’s a great gun! Loads of fun for the money and I got minute-of-goose-butt accuracy out to amazing distances.

    • It is SO easy to reconnect with your youth….with a Red Ryder.I love plinking with one rapidly.They are so easy to shoulder,aim,fire,and repeat.I have many airguns,but none posess the magic of the good old RR.

      • What’s funny is, I never had a Red Ryder as a youth. We thought of them as little-kid guns. The model I have now is a bit bigger than the “standard” one, too.

        I had a Crosman 760 as a kid.

  17. Somewhat off-topic…

    I’m beginning to feel I have more to fear from the anti-zombie market-droids than from any zombies.

    MTM has an ammo case with zombie related decal

    Hornady is marketing Z-Max (Z for Zombie) pistol ammo (appears to be the same as their Critical Defense load using a green insert rather than red, and brass rather than nickel case)

    Someone is doing indicator targets with zombie figures…

    And now Ka-Bar has announced a ZK (Zombie Killer) knife series.

    And now, for something completely different… our host was quoted in American Handgunner (May/June) WRT the TalonP (3rd in a list of 6 items — will we see a review of #1? Air Ordnance Tippman SMG .22 — .22 cal, 720RPM full auto, pellet rifle with 100 round belt (hidden in a drum magazine. That should be good for at least one zombie, even if only around 600fps…

  18. Wulfraed,
    Last year or the year before we did a lot of talking on this blog about zombies. I think the various vendors must have been listening in and now they’re capitalizing on our fun. If they’re still eavesdropping I expect the Corvair Monza to be re-introduced next year.

  19. Did so much talking the other day about the Talon SS I decided to shoot it today. I filled it to only 2400psi (cause my tank is getting low), had the pressure wheel set on 4, scope set on 8 power, using the cardboard box Crosman Premiers 10.5gr, at 10m, indoor, and shot the x out on 8 of 12 shots. The other four were in the 10 ring but missed the x. The 12th shot was intentionally with a pellet with the skirt flattened on one side. I noticed it when picked it up so I thought I’d hold it til last to see what it would do. It hit the x also. My experience with skirts out of shape this way has been favorable.

    • And I just tried my new Benjamin Marauder pistol, I love it! It’s exactly what I wanted but it’s TOO LOUD, even with the shroud it’s still too loud for backyard shooting. I’ll have to put a longer one and play with the adjustements on it to try and get less air coming out with each shot, I don’t need it to shoot 900fps anyways so…
      I may get a folding or wood stock for it but what a cool little carbine! But now I want the rifle too!

      Happy camper

  20. Hello,

    I was wondering if these pellets can adversely affect a gun, be it the rifling or whatever.


    I shoot in my brother’s backyard (he has a lot more space), and he’s gotten on this lead-free kick and insists that in his yard, no lead, not even if we catch it because we might “miss some.” Obviously I have to respect his wishes for his property, so we’ve been using the above linked pellets.

    It seems unlikely that these would hurt a gun, being that they’re not steel or anything like that (plus pyramydair doesn’t seem to stock junk), but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure so I figured I’d double-check with the experts.


    • Guest,

      No, these pellets won’t harm your air guns. What they might do is leave plastic deposits in the bore, but you’ll have to shoot a lot of them before that happens.

      And I have actually tested this exact pellet in some lower-powered springers and found that they were okay.

      So your brother doesn’t like lead, eh? Does his wife use lipstick? Because it’s loaded with lead and the lips absorb it into the bloodstream as fast as swallowing it.

      The FDA has “looked” into this problem and decided that the amount of lead is so small that it doesn’t present a danger, yet it exceeds the lead that shooters come on contact with, if they wash their hands after shooting.


      • Thank you, you’ve put my mind at rest.

        The funny thing about his sudden fear of lead is that I indirectly caused it. I’ve been “prepping” after a fashion for years, and he always laughed. Now suddenly he’s afraid that December 21st will be the start of some catastrophe and I suggested that 2012 or no, he needs to stop relying on the grocery system so much. He’s plotting out spots to grow crops and he thinks lead pellets will poison his veggies. He says if I hadn’t got him into gardening he wouldn’t have had to worry about where the pellets go.

        Again, seemingly unlikely especially if most was caught in a trap, but people are stubborn critters.

        • a guest,

          Magnum springer’s can cause led pellets to effectively disintegrate, causing a fine lead powder to disperse outside of the trap (or whatever you’re hitting with them). One more argument against using high velocity air-guns, I think. Also, you’ll want to clean your trap regularly, so that small particles aren’t constantly being ejected out of the trap.


          • You might want to give these some thought.


            I have been running a little test with these and FTT Greens and the Baracuda Greens are showing some promise.

            • RidgeRunner,
              I think that these might be fine for pneumatics, PCP’s, or low-power springer’s, but not magnum springer’s. They’re way too light. In my opinion, the Crosman Premier lights, at 7.9gr, are about as light as I’d go with a magnum.
              What I did fine interesting was one of the reviews for this pellet. They only judged it based on speed, and not accuracy. I wouldn’t expect this pellet to be accurate in most springer’s. It might be good enough to hit a can at 10 meters, but not group particularly well.

        • I remember back in my youth I did a lot of fishing. Used split shot (lead) crimped onto the leader for weight. Back then, my buddies and I thought nothing of using our teeth as pliers for squeezing the shot onto the line.

          Maybe that is why I can’t seem to remember anything these days…..

          You brought up a good point about the Mayan “End of Days” coming this year. Does anybody think there will be a run-up in costs of shooting supplies, survival items, or canned food in the weeks prior to December 21?

          Personally, I don’t think anything special is going to happen that day besides the Winter Solstice. But I’d hate to have to pay a premium price for everyday items because a lot of people do.

          On the other hand, if you do believe it really will be The End of the World, you could save a lot of money by skipping Christmas shopping.


          • I don’t believe in that mayan hooplah either, but I definitely think there’ll be a run-up in the cost of stuff in general, especially guns, ammo, and canned grub. After all, my brother never prepared for anything, and suddenly he’s gone survivalist. Stands to reason that a lot of other normally abivalent people will start stocking up too.

          • Desertdweller,
            I remember when Johnny Carson caused a toilet paper shortage by joking that there was going to be a shortage and a bunch of people ran out and bought up all they could find. Things like that scare me:-)

          • Desertdweller,

            Unfortunately, YES, people will be hoarding all kinds of stuff because the Mayan calender expires this coming December 21st. There’s always going to be some sizable group who expects the world to end on some date. For every “profit”, there are followers. In the case of the Mayan calendar, there are dozens of “theories”, none of which are based on anything but the fact that the Mayan calendar ends on a particular date. In this case, because this is a real, accurate, and practical calendar, it’s also become a business. It’s the same business that all “profits” base their business around, namely , FEAR.

            Buy what you need to survive a dry spell of a few months. That’s about how long it will take for people to realize that nothing significant will have happened, or is going to happen.

            Heck, Pyramyd AIR should have a Mayan calendar sale on 12/21/2012, where they give free shipping on orders over $50.00. After all, the Mayans had Pyramyds as well.


            • Ah, they’re all too late. The world ended when 1999 ticked into 2000 and every electronic device self destructed, destroying civilization as we knew it. Oh , wait, no it ended last week when that solar flare smashed into the earth, No, that’s not right it ended a couple years ago when that religious maniac said he read it in the bible. Oh, crap, when will it ever end?!

              • Y2K only made many of us too young to collect paychecks (hey, according to this I won’t be born for another 58 years!)

                Unlike that silly song, the new century began in 2001, not 2000 (there was no “year 0”, so the first hundred years cover AD 1 to AD 100 [or for those offended by “AD”, the years 1 CE to 100 CE])

                I think the solar flare was the end of January — it killed all transpolar radio propagation (for a few days)

                As for religions… At least it will be roomy http://www.scribd.com/doc/31009777/Proof-of-the-Size-of-Heaven Especially if you take the Jehovah’s Witnesses 144000 number to heart (the rest of us will be stuck with the restored Earth https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/144000_%28number%29#Jehovah.27s_Witnesses Or maybe it will be the other way around, and one might be one of the 144000 preserved to rebuild the human race https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/144000_%28number%29#New_Age_movements second bullet

                And 144000 also crops up in the Mayan doomsday proposals https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baktun

              • Chuck,
                To summarize, there is no end to the end of the world. Every other profit knows the secret answer, and there are lots of profits. Yes, the spelling is intentionally off, but not in practical terms.

              • That Y2K thing…

                I had been planning to get a backup generator for quite a while. I had one when I lived in a different place where there could be a power failure at any time.

                There were generators for sale at a whole lot of stores. I figured that there would be a lot of them for sale right after Y2K and I was going to get a new unused one cheap. Didn’t happen. Nobody sold them. So….I went out and bought a new one anyway. Saved my butt a couple times. Springtime….suddenly warms up and starts melting the snow. Raining for a week. Sump pump running all the time. Then the ice storms at the same time. Power lines down from ice and tree limbs. My basement would have turned into a swimming pool.

                That’s not the only emergency equipment that I have. Coleman stoves and lanterns, kerosene lamps, kerosene heaters. Adequate fuel on hand for a few days.

                Of course, emergency rations too.

                I lived in Upper Mich for a while. Power failures were unpredictable. Cold weather survival kits were a good idea. Blizzard kits and supplies….

                Then there was Okinawa…typhoons. Typhoon kits included enough food, beer and cigarrettes to last for at least three days. Nothing helps if Godzilla shows up.


                  • I have seen what happens when a blizzard, typhoon, or ice storm warning goes up. The stores are a madhouse. They sell out everything fast. It’s easy to get caught with nothing, and nothing will be left to prepare with. Keep a stash for the things that do happen every so often, and you won’t need to panic. You won’t need to fight the crowd of other spastic panicers….and end up empty handed.

                    Might be a good one for one of the “funniest videos” shows. Almost as funny as the next time a new Sony Play Station hits the market.


                  • You gotta get creative with space utilization.

                    I sat through Camille back in 69. Found out that Korean War surplus C rations were better than chow hall food. Not much of a surprise.


            • Victor,

              You suggested a very clever idea:

              “Pyramyd AIR should have a Mayan calendar sale on 12/21/2012, where they give free shipping on orders over $50.00. After all, the Mayans had Pyramyds as well.”

              I’ve sent the above to Pyramyd Air’s marketing team (of which I am part) to see if they like your idea as much as I do 🙂


              • Edith,
                PA could have this sale every end of the Mayan Calendar cycle! Call it the “End of the Mayan Calendar Cycle Sale”. It happens every so many thousands of years, so it’s an easy sale to promise. lol 🙂

          • Les,

            Personally, I don’t believe the Mayans were privy to anything & I don’t believe their calendar to be accurate, true or Biblically correct (I believe the Bible…cover-to-cover). However, I do believe the end is near because the world has turned into one big toilet. There are pockets of goodness, but they are insignificantly small compared to the rapidly rising tide of effluence.


      • Lead…a bit overblown in my opinion.
        Here’s another. As you may recall I had a sewer backup a couple of weeks ago.
        One thing one of the plumbers mentioned was that I may want to look into replacing my treated wood floor because of the dreaded ‘black mold’ that may ensue if things didn’t dry out quickly.
        (and of course his company also did that kind of work as well)
        So I called a local expert…someone who does a lot of disaster rebuilding.
        Turns out (and this is easily verifiable on the web) that what we call black mold was, about 25 years ago called…mildew.
        And that about 100 people die worldwide every year…and those people all pretty much have compromised immune systems.
        Now if you have allergies it can play havoc…and if you have repeated exposure…as in your wood/drywall never dries out it can be a health hazard.
        But to hear the news media…a minor leak and you need to tear everything out…is just garbage.
        It truly seems they like us to live in fear.

        • CSD,

          I like you. Always have.

          Agree with you that lead poison is blown out of proportion. Ingesting lead (babies in new york 40 years ago eating the peeling paint, which contained lead, next to their cribs in their rooms in the projects) was the incubator that fueled an EPA witchhunt that ended in Leadville, Colorado (5 miles from my second home). Since the Leadville, Colorado BS the lead based paint division of the EPA has shrunk considerably. Bunch of lying beauracrats trying to fabricate a story with no basis in reality without proper scientific basis in order to justify their existence. Fortunately we were able to get some media coverage or the lead poison issue would have probably resulted in #2 pencils being outlawed. Typical spin by government at our expense designed to preserve their jobs first.

          Sorry, you struck a nerve in my being.

          The real reason for my response is black mold. This may be mildew but the term “black mold” is a catch phrase used to describe all molds. Different molds grow based on the medium (drywall, wood floors, tile, etc.) and environment. The class action lawsuit in Texas several years ago about black mold almost bankrupted state farm and farmers since they downplayed the significant health issues regarding black mold and wouldn’t pay for abatement. Don’t fool around with this stuff. Chlorox can kill this stuff so abatement is not a huge deal. Drying out the spaces results in making the spores airborne and can lead to significant resperatory issues. Please don’t ignore this potential problem. Contact your insurance company, have an adjustor come out and do an air test. If they’re not willing to help you get to the bottom of this issue remind them of the black mold, class action lawsuit in Texas that almost bankrupted major insurance firms.


        • Remember — these are the same folk who would call out a hazmat team for a broken CFL bulb. It contain, horrors, MERCURY!

          Which makes my mid-70s high-school physics classroom a superfund site. It had a fully equipped barometer… Not an aneroid tin can connected to a dial indicator, but a full-blown 35″ glass column filled with mercury with the bottom end stuck into an open topped glass container of the stuff — along with a mercury thermometer used to adjust the pressure scale to compensate for volume changes in the main mercury reservoir from expansion.

          Methyl-mercury, and mercury vapor, are dangerous… But at room temperature, pure metallic mercury has so much cohesion it doesn’t diffuse into skin, and doesn’t really vaporize either.

      • Well… I did buy a Browning A-Bolt II Varmint — on the excuse that I could use up the 50-70 rounds of 7.62NATO ball and Federal 150gr .308Win… Rather than hassle with carrying a copy of my PRCa registration of the HK-91 when going to the range (yes… I spent over $800 on a rifle justifying that I can use up $50 of ammo with it).

        And I might, some day, inherit my father’s Sako FinnWolf .308 lever action. (do I need THREE .308Win rifles? Hope he hasn’t lost the special Sako scope mounts)

      • That’s from the actual Mossberg web site… Four models: with/with-out flash suppressor, .30-30 or .22LR [or was it .22WMR?].

        I first saw it in, I think, the latest issue of American Rifleman.

        Confirmed: page 76, April issue (well, that’s ominous, true) — but it was listed under the report of what would appear at the NRA meeting/show in St. Louis, mid-April. Be a rather complex April-fool’s if the NRA managed to not only rig an entry for AR, but also got Mossberg to put it up on their web site.

        • I seriously think this is one of the ugliest rifles I have ever seen and it’s not like I was raised with the original model as I was born in ’76 and didn’t know much about firearm except what was shown on TV.

          I guess it could be used for home defense so you “could” use the rails in the front but the rear stock… ewww.


  21. This afternoon I helped set up for the big tournament air gun shoot tomorrow. The kids in our club (The Platte Valley Sharpshooters) will be shooting against other 4H shooting clubs in this end of the state. It will be the first competitive shoot for my grandchildren Nicky and Melanie. The local shoot for fair ribbons was postponed until next Monday.

    The 8 to 11 age group will be shooting Daisy 499’s. The older kids will be shooting Daisy Avanti PCP’s.

    Monday, after the ribbon shoot, will be time for the adults to shoot. I’ll bring a couple of my springers, the Beeman RS-2 and the Crosman XT.

    Today I decided to go ahead and order a Bronco.

    I’m trying to gin up some interest in adult air gun shooting in the Sports Club. Our club president has some FWB’s and has tried out for the Olympic Team a long time ago, but I don’t think he has shot them much since.


  22. I purchased my Red Ryder last summer at a yard sale for five dollars. It is the 50th anniversary edition. The medallion that sits in the stock was missing and it shows signs of a lot of use, but it works fine. Last month I found the medallion on ebay and bought it for 10 dollars. I’ve been wanting one of my own ever since I got one for my son 12 years ago. I have a question. When did they start making them in China? As far as I can tell mine was made in the U.S. and my sons in China. Thanks! Toby

    • Toby,

      When I visited Daisy they were “making” (actually assembling) all their guns in a cave in Neosho, MO. They were getting the parts from China at that time (2005). They probably started assembly-only when they moved the assembly plant from Rogers, AR to Neosho in 1997.


      • Thanks BB, I appreciate the response. The two rifles look identical except for the medallion and the Red Ryder engraving is on the opposite side of the stock. Oh, his isn’t beat up like mine, he takes good care of his guns. Toby

  23. I just found a “Red Ryder Carbine” in my granfathers attic. It has the engravinings on the left and the rawhide strap. It still has about 20 BB’s still in it. I pumped it once and it has plenty of pressure! I’m looking for a valu of this air rifle if someone can help. I live in upstate NY and willing to unload it at the right offer.

  24. Good Morning !…

    B.B., I have never owned a rifle. I know, it is probably a birth defect, but its true. I have more pistols than I need but not a rifle in sight. (Ahem.) All of the talk lately on this blog has caused me to begin to rethink this situation. I am as sure as sure can be that I am only interested in target shooting, and target shooting on a budget at that. So, this morning, what pops up in front of my eyes, but the lovely AV Bronco. Hmmm. From the stand point of looks or appearance, I really like it. It looks like something I would like. I like the type of sights, especially the shims on the front, the type of trigger, and pretty much everything about it … except for one: the spring. I know me well enough to know I am not going to like a springer at all. It is just not my style. My first thought was simply, if this rifle has a gas spring, if it were nitrogen charged, I would buy it and have my first rifle.

    So, here I am, asking what may be the worlds most obvious question, does it make any sense to think that there would be a way to make that conversion? What would be involved? Should I go back into my burrow now?


    • NRS,
      I know I’m buttin in here, but I can’t think of a better and more inexpensive way to find out if a springer is for you as with the Bronco. Yes, it requires the artillery hold but that’s not difficult with this rifle. It also likes a lot of different pellets. I’d start with the JSB Exact RS or the RWS R-10 pellets. The 10.5gr Crosman Premiers in the cardboard box, which are so excellent in other guns I have, failed miserably with my Bronco.

      • Thanks Chuck … no butting in at all. Of course you are right … it is hard to make a full judgement until after you give it a shot. I no doubt would to that first thing if I were to buy one anyway. But, I want to pursue that idea of replacing that spring for several reasons. First, I think the compression on the Nitro would be straight line where the spring would be progressive. Second, I think that gun would be quieter. Third, my guess is that the Nitro would take less effort to pump. Fourth, I am guessing again, but I think the Nitrogen might work better in the cold. Anyway, any further input would be appreciated.


        • Your judgements are good ones. Since you’re open for more input:

          For the cocking effort…no concern. You’d be hard pressed to find an easier one to cock. I mean, 18 lbs? I wish I could do a sort on cocking effort on PA’s site to prove that – at least in their inventory.

          From what I’ve heard about nitro pistons, (you probably already know this, though. Sounds like you’ve done some nitro piston reasearch) even if the amount of advertised effort is equal, the nitros feel harder because the tension is consistent throughout the cocking whereas the spring starts easy and gets harder at the end of the stroke so overall cocking is easier with the spring, yet, they both end up at 18lbs. What that means to me is you could get a 15lb nitro that feels as hard or harder than the 18lb spring, so you’d have no percieved gain.

          As for cold temps, the Bronco is not a hunting rifle anyway, it’s a plinker/target practice/fun rifle, so any cold weather gains, if any, whould not be an issue. If you’re thinking of hunting you need to look at something with more power, and I’d suggest something in .22.

    • NRS,

      I doubt there will ever be a gas spring for a Bronco. It would increase the cocking effort a lot and it is so easy now. Also, the Bronco doesn’t vibrate much, so installing a gas spring doesn’t really offer a benefut.

      What you have asked, in essence, is whether the Smart Car can accept a diesel engine from a Freightliner tractor.


      • Thanks guys … collectively you have given me a new perspective. I have to admit that I was starting to think that the nitro piston was the end all-be all. And, with that in mind, being a pistol kind of guy, I have already stepped up to the plate for the Crosman Trail NP Break Barrel pistol. I hope to experience that before I lay down any money for a rifle.

        And, I will mention this only so that some of you guys my age can smile and shake your head a little. (You do remember that I have never owned a rifle, right?)

        At 10:00am this morning, I was supposed to meet a friend for coffee at McDonalds. He didn’t show. So, I grabbed the local newspaper and, after reading the whole thing, even started to read the classified ads. I came across an ad for a Yard Sale that featured “some bb guns”. When my hard of hearing friend showed up an hour late, I asked him to come with me while we checked out the “bb guns”.

        Let’s skip to the chase. I bought two rifles. They both came in the original box and had all the paper work. The first one is a Crosman Nightstalker that looks like it might be fun. The second is the Crosman 1077 complete with the adaptor for the larger CO2 external cartridge. I am actually embarrassed to tell you what I paid, so lets just say that it was a very, very friendly price. I have seen the 1077 selling used for more than what I paid for both of them without considering the CO2 adaptor.
        As near as I can tell, the Nightstalker has never been fired and the 1077 doesn’t show any signs of anything except wear from being in the box. I will probably sell both of them after I play with them for a bit. I will use whatever I can get for them as seed money and so I will now begin to shop a little higher up the scale for a rifle. I have made the decision to buy a rifle, and it is too late to turn around and go back now.

        Thanks for the advice Gents, every reply from any of you just moves me along that little bit faster. I really like the idea that I have entered a realm where every day I get to learn more and more. I am a disabled vet and I am 72 years old. There was a moment in my life when I thought that it might as well be over. Certainly, not now. Even though my primary care giver told me to get off my butt, stop bitching and find something to do outside, my best doctors so far have been Dr. Benjamin, Dr. Crosman, Dr. Colt, Drs. Makarov, both Senior and Junior, Dr. Dan Weston, Physicians Assistant Pelletier and his able assistant, Daisy.

        I’ll let you know what happens in Chapter 2.


        • NRS,
          Rock on you spring chicken! If shooting doesn’t get you outdoors, well, indoors/outdoors you are on the right track. I don’t know what your disability is but a only mile of walking and a glass of wine does wonders. Oh, don’t drink and shoot. If I have a drink I don’t touch my guns.

        • Outstanding, NRS. However, you may want to think twice about selling your first ever air rifle! Have fun. That’s what’s important in this life.

          Fred DPRoNJ

  25. Thanks so much for the post on the tale of two ryders. I recently purchased a 1938 model at a yard sale that needed some tlc. It looked older than current models I’ve seen, but I hadn’t seen a vintage one since I was a boy. Your post confirmed that I have a vintage 1938. I did some repairs and found all the markings from your photos. It cocks and fires. Now all I have to do is load it and enjoy.
    Thanks so much for your comparisons and descriptions.

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