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Education / Training Daisy’s Red Ryder: 2

Daisy’s Red Ryder: 2

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Chris LeGate 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 Chris LeGate holding his .22-cal. Benjamin Marauder mounted with a Leapers 3-9x40AO scope with illuminated reticle. He also got a tin of JSB TEST Sampler pellets and an Air Venturi hand pump.

Part 1

Daisy’s Red Ryder is the best-known airgun of all time. This one is from the 1940s.

I’m going to combine velocity and accuracy testing for the Daisy Red Ryder, because I want to do a third report with the Daisy model 300 scope mounted. After examining the mount on my 1936 No. 25 that has that scope, I see it has the same base as the Red Ryder. So, the switch should be easy.

My Red Ryder hasn’t been shot in a great many months — perhaps over a year, so I expected to find the leather piston seal dry. But it wasn’t. I got that telltale wisp of smoke that told me the seal is still full of oil. However, I wanted to test the gun both before and after oiling, so that’s what I did.

I used the pellet/BB trap that was given to me by Jim Contos at last year’s Malverne airgun show (don’t forget, it’s coming up next month on April 27 and 28). It’s full of duct seal; but because I would be shooting BBs at low velocity and didn’t want any to bounce back off the lead already in the trap, I put a half-pound smear of fresh duct seal over what was already in the trap. I’ve now got between 5,000 and 10,000 shots on this trap, and it’s holding up fine. For those who need to build an inexpensive yet rugged trap for both BBs and pellets, click here for instructions on how to make one.

Before oiling
I shot Daisy zinc-plated BBs for all tests you’ll read today. Before the gun was oiled, it gave an average of 302 f.p.s. The spread went from a low of 290 to a high of 306 f.p.s. At the average velocity, the 5.1-grain BBs produced 1.03 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

I removed the shot tube and dumped out all the BBs. Newer BB guns have a hole on the side of the barrel jacket for oil, but older ones like this one don’t. You must remove the shot tube and drop the oil straight down the open end of the barrel jacket, where it can soak into the leather piston seal.

I used 3-in-One oil for this job. At the low velocity the Red Ryder generates, common household oil is fine for oiling the piston seal. There’s no danger of a detonation, and you can use enough oil to really soak that seal. I used 12 drops just to see what would happen.

After oiling
After the gun was oiled, the velocity was no higher than before. The average now was just 300 f.p.s., but the total velocity spread tightened just a bit, from 16 f.p.s. before oiling to 11 f.p.s. after. The spread went from 293 to 304 f.p.s.

So oiling made little difference. As I noted, the presence of a wisp of smoke after every shot alerted me to the fact that the gun had all the oil it required.

I set up a 15-foot range, because that’s the standard distance for guns like this Red Ryder. The aim point was a Shoot-N-C black paster, peeled off a 3-inch bullseye card. It’s ever-so-slightly larger than a U.S. nickel coin, and I wanted to follow Mel Gibson’s advice from the movie The Patriot, “Aim small. Miss small.”

I shot offhand, and the first group is larger than it should be because I didn’t apply myself on every shot. I didn’t expect much accuracy from this BB gun, so I let a couple shots wander more than they should. The resulting 10-shot group measures 1.597 inches between centers. But within that group, there’s a cluster of five holes that measures 0.453 inches between centers. That encouraged me to knuckle down and give it my best effort on a second try.

The first group measures 1.597 inches across for 10 shots at 15 feet, but look at where five of those shots went. That hole measures 0.453 inches across.

The second group measures 1.483 inches between centers, so not a lot better than the first. It looks better because the shots seem to all be in a big cluster, but the measurements tell a different story.

Target two looks better than the first, but it isn’t by much. Ten shots went into this group measuring 1.483 inches between centers. Four of those shots made a much smaller 0.371-inch group.

Notice, though, that the BBs seem to go to the same place in both groups. This gun wants to shoot slightly above and to the left of the aim point with the 6 o’clock hold I’m using. Remember these sights are not adjustable, but I can use Kentucky windage to move the point of impact around a little. I think this gun is the kind that a little boy would soon learn to shoot, and before long he would be doing impossible things with it at close range.

This test turned out differently than expected. I thought the Red Ryder might get up as fast as 350 f.p.s. after a good oiling, but that didn’t happen. And I thought the accuracy would be a lot worse than what you see here.

We’re not done yet, because in the next installment I’ll mount the Daisy model 300 scope and shoot some more groups for you. I’ll also give you photos of this unique scope and mount that seems to copy the old buffalo hunter scopes of the 19th century. Til then!

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.

79 thoughts on “Daisy’s Red Ryder: 2”

    • Twotalon,

      Not sure why you are inquiring, but if you have a chance at .20 cal R9 that caliber is considered ideal by many for the power plant in the R9 – and is usually the most sought after.

      I had a nice example that had a JM kit in .20 cal – it was good for 16-18 ft lbs.

      • Volvo..

        Reason I was wondering…
        My R9s (.177 and .22) show a distinct difference in power, with the .22 being stronger. The .22 is also much easier to shoot. I don’t think the slight difference in the triggers is it.
        Stock parts or Vortek makes no difference. The .22 is strongest.
        I wonder how much difference in shootability is caused by caliber. I also look at the highest power and lowest velocity spreads I get from the right pellets.


        • TT,

          That sounds right for an R9.

          I had an R1 that has just a bit more oomph than the R9 and I switched barrels on it from the original .177 that came with it to a .22 caliber from Beeman.

          It was about 10 years old and well broke in, and the power went from 14 -16 in .177 to 18-20 ft lbs in .22 with the same old factory spring and seals.

          While an R7 or HW 35 is kind of a dog in the larger calibers, the R9 \R1 do well with it.

          • Volvo…

            I get something in the 14’s with the .177 if I remember right. A little over 16 with the .22.
            Choosing pellets with the tightest spreads give the most energy in both calibers. Both start losing power noticeably when the spreads open up. My R7s (.177) are both touchy about pellets. Power drops off quickly with the wrong ones (wider spreads) and I think that it is in a larger percentage than with the R9s.
            The 97K (.177) shoots everything in the 14’s without much difference in power no matter what the spread.


          • Volvo…

            I just checked the difference in mount heights between the R9s. The mounts on the .177 may be mediums and the ones on the .22 are highs. The positioning of the scope is more natural with the .22.
            I think I will get another set of high mounts and put them on the .177. When I shoulder it, I always have to lower my eye position. Not with the .22.
            Been looking for a reason to order something anyway. Might as well get a new scope to go with the new rings. I really hate the Leapers that’s on the .177 anyway.


            • My HW97K was a bit of a dog in the power department, made just over 12 ft lbs with CPL’s – which is right around 800 fps second. Very accurate, but after about 5 years I sent it to Paul Watts for a tune. It came back shooting at over 16 ft lbs and picked up 140 ft per second with a heavier JBS pellet. I am guessing something was way out of spec originally. I used my old R1 for payment, which I do regret. It was showing its age with dark shiny spots on the pistol grip and forend from years of use, but was otherwise was still pretty nice. Only down side to the HW97 is the weight, a bit much to carry around and plink with.

              As far as scopes, 90% of what I have now cost more than the rifles they are sitting on. I enjoy nice glass – and Leapers are usually not it. I do have a Centerpoint 33mm swat scope with side focus that is not bad – but it is huge. So it is just sitting on the bench for now.

  1. Check the “barrel” for rust, with the age there might be some. I tore down my wifes Daisey and had to clean the “barrel” with bore paste and some light oil as it was rusted in a spot, did make it a bit more accurate….

      • Now there’s something I’ve been wondering about. You see low cost .22 rimfires built specifically for the military like Wayne’s Kimber 82 and some Mossberg models. When would those get used? They wouldn’t be used by recruits, and they are too low-end for the army’s competition teams. What niche do they fill?


          • Hi Chuck. I like to read about snipers, and I certainly admire them. But as far as someone actually wanting to be one…. Well, I’m glad somebody does. I’m not sure if I see the low-budget rimfires working for them either. Sniper programs want people who are already good shots. I understand for the Marines, that you need to qualify as expert for two years before even being considered for their program. And (according to a YouTube video), they don’t teach you that much marksmanship as a Marine sniper. It’s mostly the finer points of shooting long-distance like reading the wind; otherwise it’s fieldcraft. They’re not going to train anyone from scratch.


  2. That is the contition of mine,except I have a little more blue on lever and an origina scope” Best of all
    it was my best deal ever for $10.00 I never got a deal like that again.Yes it still works and it is a wall hanger now. It sold for $2.95 in the thirties and forties according to old ads they wouild mail it to your home” Even to NEW JERSEY” then

  3. Two wrongs can make a right.

    I recently ordered a stock that was made for the ill fated Katana from PA to replace the toy like std stock that is included with the Discovery. Makes for a good looking adult sized rifle, mine even appears to be a nice plain walnut.

    The Disco was a refurb from Crosman for a meager $150 – and the stock at $115 puts me at $265, which is not bad. I already had a couple hand pumps. Next I will replace the toy sized bolt and I will have a very adequate PCP.

    ( my FX Cyclone was used to help fund my recent addiction to powder burning Cowboy guns -so the Disco is my only PCP now.)


  4. Now, BB is an excellent shot so this doesn’t pertain to him unless he’s shooting bb’s from an inaccurate gun (LIKE TODAY!). The problem I have with the mentioned PVC pellet trap is that in the event of a miss that hits the rim of the PVC cap, the pellet/bb has a good chance of ricocheting back at you. I think there needs to be some duct seal lining those edges to prevent that. I know for a fact that lead pellets will ricochet 10m and hit the shooter, bb’s would be much more likely to do so.

    • Ha ha Chuck!

      That is why I quit using golf balls for targets. The higher powered springers would tear the balls up.
      The lower-powered pellet guns would cause the pellets to come flying back at me.

      A hard hit in the crotch with a 7.9 gr. pellet convinced me to find safer targets.

      Ping-pong balls make better targets and don’t shoot back.


      • Get plastic golf balls. They’re made for golfers that want to practice a full swing but don’t want the ball to fly far. These come in two types. One has a solid outer plastic shell the other type looks like a wiffle ball. Get the ones with a solid outer plastic shell. They last a long time (longer than ping pong balls and cheaper) and fly very well when hit. Great fun when you have two shooters and only one ball.


          • Chuck,

            Yes, that would be a challenge. But, the wiffle ball style of practice golf ball doesn’t hold up long. It doesn’t take long to shoot them apart. The practice golf ball with the solid outer plastic shell but hollow on the inside last much longer.


  5. Now, there is a cool rifle-scope combo for the shot of the week!

    Fifteen feet is a little short for my B30 but not by much…. Nice shooting, and in the tantalizingly smaller subgroup we see the basis for statistics. Had a similar experience myself the other night. Was not doing badly with my 30 shot string. By the way, CowBoyStar Dad, I could certainly have counted up good shots and misses. But right in the middle of everything, I had a revelation. I hit a perfect shot, and I realized that was entirely sufficient unto itself. There is no 3 out of 10, 40 out of 40. There is only the one perfect shot. Having said that, I found a higher gear and was bringing home a strong final string of 10. But what should happen then? My heartbeat was more pronounced than it usually is, perhaps because I’ve had a layoff and some residual pain in my foot. Anyway, I pushed onward, and for the first time in my experience, darn it, if the heartbeat didn’t throw number 8 clear out to the right. This may have been an invitation to start trying to time my heartbeats. But what I did instead, was ignore the heartbeat, trust in my routine, and I did hit 9 and 10 perfectly. This little experience makes me wonder if the whole business about shooting between heartbeats is the way to go. Of course for something like prone, you would work the position to minimize the heartbeat, as you would in any other position. But otherwise, I think trying to track heartbeats is a losing game. I diagnosed the problem as lack of follow through. And when I tightened that up for the remaining shots, the Jaws of the Subconscious appeared and took care of everything. So, I would say that either the heartbeat business works at a level far beyond me, or it is not the way to go.

    Having said that, I don’t know if anyone got any details on the madman in France who shot all those people until the police finally gunned him down. I understand that at the end, he emerged from the bathroom wearing body armor and with guns blazing in both hands. He leaped out of a first floor window in a bid for freedom but was shot in the head by a police sniper. He was obviously alive when he made the leap, and the report says that he was dead by the time that he hit the ground. So, someone hit him with a flying head shot somewhere in between??? You clearly do not want to mess with the French police.

    On the subject of appropriate armament for strange quarry, I was watching a trailer for the film Battleship that will be released soon. I think this might be worth a look although the premise is a little dubious: Iowa-class battleship against aliens? Well, I’m skeptical about the M4s and ARs doing anything against the armored spacemen. But maybe the 16 inch guns and the phalanx batteries might have a chance.


    • Matt,
      They probably already had the shoot to kill order by then, so the guy only had to appear in any window for a few seconds before they nailed him. I’d say they could have got him before he even started to fall.

    • Matt,

      I’ve been told that Biathlon competitors train themselves to shoot between heartbeats. Of course, when they get to the shooting station, their heartbeat is probably over 140! As for the French, they are pretty good shots when someone isn’t shooting back at them 🙂 (Now we’ll find out if there are any French reading this blog – Edith, I’m ready for the flames).

      Fred DPRoNJ

      • Both my grand-fathers are French, they we’re both too young to serve during the war, one did his training in the US but by the time he got to the front it was over, the other was in North Africa with his mother, he lost his father in the previous war and his mother didn’t want to lose her only child so she shipped him in French Guyane when the war started. He fought tigers instead 😉 he still has a “piercing” in his hand from a fight he had with one.


        • How did your grandfather get around to fighting more than one tiger, and live to tell the tale? I love tigers. They are far bigger and stronger than the king of beasts. They can kill a crocodile and easily drag a carcass that 13 men can hardly budge. Magnificent!

          I’ll even raise you one. I was reading about Gogen “The Cat” Yamaguchi, one of the legendary grandmasters of Karate (although some say this nickname came from GIs for his flowing walk and his funky long hair). He was certainly an odd and rather unlikely looking martial arts master–a borderline midget with abnormally short legs. Anyway, in WWII, he was serving as a Japanese intelligence officer in Manchuria when he was captured by the Soviets! This was not the place to be. Nazis on the Eastern Front would commit suicide before capture. Maybe they had a point. The word is that the Soviets locked Yamaguchi in a cage with a tiger, expecting him to be devoured. But he defeated the tiger! This so impressed the guards that they made him their Karate teacher. Anyway, that’s what the guy’s autobiography says and there’s no one else around to say otherwise. He lived on to the ripe old age of 80. Seems kind of implausible to me, but if you can actually defeat tigers then all bets are off. So, what’s your grandfather’s story?


          • He killed his first (and only tiger as he regreted it right after and he never went hunting again) because the tiger had little to no fear of humans and was killing whatever animals they had there.
            The second one jump on him while he was in the jungle, he only had a machete that wasn’t of much use and his “servant”/”slave”/”guide”/”friend” (I’m sorry I’m not sure of the good term to use to describe him) had the rifle and was following him. When the tiger jumped him he fought the best he could and pushed the tige as high as he could and the other guy shot the tiger, he had laceration and one of tiger claw was stuck in his hand and he kept it for years inside his hand as the “doctors” weren’t able to take it all out.


              • It’s long gone, bits and pieces came out for many years.
                I have no idea how he was able to lift but I guess when your life is in jeopardy adrenalin can make you do things you otherwise wouldn’t be able to do, he probably didn’t really lift it as much as hold it as far from him as he could.
                He’s 85 now and my only living grand-parent left 🙁


        • JF,

          my apologies if my comment in jest has offended you. I was not serious and was not my intention to offend anyone – only to gain a laugh.

          Fred DPRoNJ

      • Heard the same about the biathletes, but try about 180 for the heartbeat. Cross-country skiing has the highest VO2 rate for all sports–this is the rate of oxygen consumption. Rowing is second, and on my college rowing team, you were supposed to get the heart rate up to 180. And neither I nor anyone else on the team was world-class material. Cannot imagine how you could time a heartbeat going at 180, and it makes me wonder if this is apocryphal.

        As for the French, you should see the old Gene Hackman film about the Foreign Legion entitled “March or Die” (ca. 1980)! “The most disciplined army in the world!…Men join the Legion to forget…”


        • Matt,

          I agree it’s impossible to time a heartbeat going 140 or even 180. I wonder how quickly the beat slowed down, however. These guys must have resting heartbeats in the 50″s but – it’s better to hear from a biathlon competitor or a coach to find the method used for the shooting portion of the sport.

          JF – hope you didn’t take to great offense at my comment. Apologies.

          Fred DPRoNJ

          • This makes sense. One thing I remember about rowing was that while it never got any less miserable, your recovery time would get amazingly short. Within seconds of being at just about death’s door, you were ready to go again…and did. Have never felt anything like this again. So the X-country skiiers must have their heart rate drop very fast.


  6. Did anyone buy something at the big airgun estate sale last week-end? There was lots of BB guns, including some mod. 99, 499 and spitting image BB rifles. If we could have had a price for shipping to Canada others than “we’ll find a way but we we’re not sure how much it will cost yet” I might have bought a few things.

    Anyone on facebook? Crosman has these little quiz almost every week and they pick a winner from all the right answers (or the first good answer I’m not sure), well I WON!!! I have a Crosmaniac pack (I have no idea of what inside) coming to me soon. Do you guys think there’s any chance there’s a C-TT inside? 😉


  7. I need some screw help.

    I ordered a set of fake Ivory grips from Ruger for the Vaquero, and the screw is a bit too long.
    The SA is stainless and few coats of Renaissance wax has her looking gorgeous and the grips are a nice complement over the factory black.

    But the screw pokes my hand it is so long, I have a table grinder but not sure that is best. Any ideas?

    ( it is not notched to break off part)

  8. Matt61
    Did I hear you call a Kimber 82 a low end rifle? Well i’m not sure about target rifles, but I do know Kimber has produced some of the finest sporting rifles that I have ever seen and I have one from the 80’s when they were made in Beaverton Oregon. It’s an model 82 22 LR and it is beautiful. I looked at the DCM rifles fo sale at Anniston, Al. they had quite a large number of Kimber target 82’s for sale. But they surely did not look low end to me. Of course every one knows Kimber is in New York now. the guns have changed but the quality is still there.

    • Loren,

      Kimber certainly is a great maker of guns, but the model 82 is lackluster. It never performed to the same standard as the rifles it replaced, such as the Winchester 52.

      It is large and looks the part, but when it came time to prove itself, Kimber had to use Eley ammunition to meet the government’s accuracy spec. That is one reason why there are so many Kimber 82s floating around that are in new condition.


      • So, that’s the story on the Kimber 82. I was reading about the Kimber 82 sport model that Loren described when it came out, and the write-ups certainly made it sound like a prize. I figured that they could not go wrong by making a target model. But some of the accuracy reports of the government’s Kimber 82 were disappointing–1MOA or greater. Incidentally, by low-end, I meant compared to guns like Anschutz and Walther and other Olympic models. Those are high-end as I should know from writing out the check. 🙁


      • B.B.
        I’m sure that’s true about the target Kimber. I just don’t like to see the Kimber sporter shot down with the target 82. Because my 82 sporter seems to be as accurate as any other high grade sporter. And it’s the pretiest 22 I’ve ever held.

  9. About what is a 1971 NRA Centenial worth? At this time I am assuming it is in very good condition. I have a chance to pick one up in a couple of weeks and trying to get an idea how much to pay.

  10. An historical hunting question. I was reading the Hemingway story, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” and Hemingway writes that the hero is hunting lions and buffalo with a 1903 Springfield with a 220 gr. bullet. That’s pretty heavy and heavier than anything listed in the Lyman Reloading manual for this caliber. Was this a way for people to boost the 30-06 for dangerous game or was Hemingway making this up?


    • Matt,

      The 220 grain bullet has always been the heaviest bullet for the 06 round. In Hemingway’s day people thought you needed a heavier bullet for best penetration. The 06 is adequate for lions, but because they are dangerous, it’s also a bit riskier. Miss a vital area by much and the lion could get you. So people used the bullet they thought could do the job best.

      Today we have better bullets and we don’t need to rely on weight, alone.


      • Ha ha. You are like an encyclopedia. This is perfect. Thanks. And I see what you mean about marginal effectiveness. The hero goes hunting cape buffalo, and after just about emptying the magazine into one, he circles back after a chase to find that the buffalo has got up and sneaked into the bush to set up the story’s denoument. And when the buff makes his final charge he deflects a few of these 220 gr. bullets off the boss of his horns (shot a little high) and keeps coming. The hero is backed up by a professional hunter shooting a .505 Gibbs. Never heard of that, but it certainly lives up to its name in the story.


  11. Hi, you mention oiling your seals with 3 and 1 oil. Daisy’s manual says to use non-detergent 20 weight oil. I ruined the seal in a Crosman BB gun many years ago using 3 and 1 oil. Should always use the manufacturers recommendations less hassle if warranty issue. Thanks for the Red Ryder review it is as I expected

    • Jager,

      You are mixing specifications. Daisy’s guns made today all have synthetic seals and 20-weight oil is appropriate. Crosman Pellgunoil is even better.

      This Red Ryder was made before 1950 and has a leather seal. At the power level it generates, common household oil is entirely appropriate.


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