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Education / Training Daisy’s Red Ryder: 3

Daisy’s Red Ryder: 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Announcement: Kyle Ioffrida 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 Kyle Ioffrida shows off his home shootin’ range…much of it built with recycled materials.

Part 1
Part 2

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

I must love you guys — I really must. Otherwise how could you explain me going to the trouble of mounting a Daisy model 300 telescope on my Red Ryder just for this test? I can’t explain it any other way.

Was it hard?
No — adjusting the valves on a V-12 Ferrari is hard. This went beyond hard.

Okay, I’m exaggerating, but it wasn’t easy switching over the scope from my 1936-model Daisy No. 25 pump gun to the Red Ryder. After I did, though, I realized that the mount on the No. 25 has always been wrong. It was really a Red Ryder mount — based on there being two screw holes in the mount base instead of just one. The No. 25 doesn’t have a screw hole at the top of the receiver like the Red Ryder.

But crying time is over.  What have we got with the 300 telescope? Well, for starters, I think we need to consider the history of the scope. When the model 300 was first brought to market, rifle scopes looked a lot different than they do today. And the 300 attempts to follow the lines of the day, being long and slender, as well as having its adjustments built into the mounts rather than the scope.

The gun looks sophisticated with the scope mounted. How can you miss with something like this?

It clamps tight to the “barrel” (the sheetmetal outer tube of the gun) in front, and has the facility of angling both up and down on a trunnion contained in the front mount. That is needed because the rear mount is a cam that adjusts the scope’s elevation. No windage adjustment is possible, though the whole scope can be shifted slightly right or left on the gun, then clamped down again.

The front mount clamps to the outer tube of the BB gun and has a trunnion built in, so the scope is free to pivot up and down without straining the tube.

It’s not a scope!
Technically, the model 300 is a tube sight rather than a scope, but I’m sure Daisy didn’t intend little boys to think of it that way. It has only one plastic “lens” in front, where the objective bell is, and nothing at the eyepiece. There’s no magnification, but inside the tube is a post for sighting. You sight in so the BB strikes the point where the top of the post rests on the target. As long as the scope is on left and right, you should do at least as well as with the open sights. Having used a thin post front sight recently with great success, I have high hopes for this one.

I have owned two others of this model scope, and on one of them I had a reproduction of the original rubber eyepiece that really makes the scope look right. Someone reproduced a couple hundred of those rubber eyepieces a few decades ago, and they’re now valuable additions to the scopes that have them. But it’s still easy to use the scope without the eyepiece.

The scope is 18 inches long and has a tube diameter of 0.984 inches, so call it one inch. The tube is made of folded sheet steel — the same as the gun, and it’s blued in the same way. It adjusts only for elevation, using a clever captive cam arrangement on the rear mount that raises and lowers the rear of the scope. As mentioned previously, the front mount has a trunnion, so moving the scope up and down doesn’t put a strain on the tube.

In this view, the scope is adjusted down as low as it goes.

The scope has been adjust up about halfway by rotating the cam. This is a very subtle and precise way to adjust a scope. I see from the photo that the rear base screw needs to be tightened some more.

And how does it work?
I shot the same course as the first time, but using the scope instead of the open sights. It looked like I was getting more precision this way, but the results on the target don’t bear that out. Out of five 10-shot targets, the best I was able to do at 15 feet was 10 into a group measuring 1.163 inches between centers. That was offhand.

The best target I shot with the Red Ryder is this one that measures 1.163 inches between centers. This is offhand at 15 feet.

The average group was closer to 1.30 inches this time. That would make the scope about equal to the open sights. The only advantage I can see is a clearer sight picture.

Sanity check
I wondered how well I was shooting this day, so I brought out my Daisy Avanti 499 Champion to use as a check against the Red Ryder. But I used the same Daisy zinc-plated BBs instead of the Avanti Precision Ground shot that’s made especially for the 499. So both BB guns were on an equal footing.

The 499’s trigger is very long and creepy, but it’s much lighter than the Red Ryder trigger, and the gun felt easier to shoot, as a result. This time, 10 BBs went into 0.429 inches, which will easily fit inside a dime.

The only target I shot with the Daisy 499 to check myself was this one that measures 0.429 inches between centers. Also shot with Daisy zinc-plated BBs at 15 feet.

Daisy’s Red Ryder is certainly an iconic BB gun. It has been in existence since 1939 and is still Daisy’s strongest seller. It’s not a target gun by any means, but a shooter can bond with it like few other airguns.

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.

92 thoughts on “Daisy’s Red Ryder: 3”

  1. Quote “The only advantage I can see is a clearer sight picture.”
    How about it looks like awesome? That’s a big advantage isn’t it?
    It looks so classic with that tube mounted, almost majestic. It’s not a BB gun anymore it looks like a vintage rifle (in the pics anyways, it’s small size must make it a bit awkward looking in person).

    And I don’t know how much you have to love us do take the time to put this togheter but I can assure you we love you very much for it.


  2. Nice to get two articles.

    I’m surprised that this “scope” didn’t create better groups.

    One of these scopes is for sale on gunbroker now for about $180.00. Scope alone.


  3. B.B.,

    We certainly can feel the love! We feel the same about you and Edith! This place is a piece of home for a lot of us.

    A better sight picture is always a big plus, especially if it extracts every ounce of precision possible. So is the gun wearing the scope, or is the scope wearing the gun? That is the question.

    Red Ryder’s will always have a place, so this report was valuable for owners, past, present and future.


    • Right on both counts Victor.
      Though they don’t get used much, the Red Ryder (we have two of them…they started my boys on their shooting ‘careers’ 5 years ago) will always be kept and hopefully start their children on the same path.
      I usually have little sentimental attachment to ‘things’…we’ve donated a number of unused air rifles to our local scout troop because we just weren’t shooting them, but the Red Ryders are…special.
      And yes…this place seems more of a second home than a blog. Unlike many forums, where egos get involved this place just seems like my grandparents home years ago. The whole extended family would get together and talk hunting, hockey and whatever…just like here.
      We’re pumped about tomorrow. Some of you may recall that last year I wangled a tour of the tank barns at our local military base (Western Canada’s HQ).
      Well tomorrow we’ve been invited by a client of mine who is the leader of the EPS (Edmonton Police Service) tactical team. We are going out to the practice range (300yd) with them to watch their snipers train. He’s promised to put the boys behind the trigger to put a few rounds downrange. To an 8 and 11 year old this is way better than searching for Easter eggs 😉

  4. Wow I can remember those daisy ‘s in my youth days (1982) sorry that I didnt keep any from back them. But when my son was born (05) I started to collect the red ryders for him, he is not strong enough yet couple more yrs he’ll be 9 . Boy i can hardly wait for that day when he and I can plink. I been reading and following this blog since 08 and read older blogs .I caught the air gun bug and collected 45 air guns since then . Some I bought from PA .I wish PA would sell more of the commerative models from Daisy. thanks BB for the Blog

  5. I have the same scope and it is hard to mount.I cheated” I got it on as best as I could,because I could have bent it” The scope mount was frozen.I got it on as good as I could.It looks good since I only display it on my wall and rarely move it.i do notice that finding scopes and other older air guns and parts are getting slim I’m surprised that there are no Air Gun shows around Florida’ The little bit of selections at Fire Arm shows is limited. igot into air guns when I lived in the peoples republic of new jersey{ small caps intentional} because they were always outlawed,and that peaked my interest and I went to other states to buy them.Once in NYC on 42nd. st a store in 1958 had in its window at least fifty air guns of the day”But they would only mail them to you,as they could not sell direct in the city.How I regret not buying the Hyscore’s and Webly’s and even the Shimmel{ The first American co2 gun} It had to be seen to be believed and I thought I might have been ripped off” So all I bought was a scope for the Daisy mod. 25 and passed up what could of been I never saw a dis {PS it was almost impossible to sight in that scope without a lot of shims.I never saw a display like that again in one store.

  6. Thanks a lot for showing this wonderful assecoire. Usable or not, it looks just right on the Red Ryder.

    Concerning the outer adjustments – I always wonder why they went out of fashion? I believe that a scope mount with precise windage & elevation adjustment would save the scope manufactuers a lot of money, as the scope body itself would only contain the ocular, objective, reticle& erector sysstems, all of which an, essentially, be put in a simple tube.

    • Some folks who used their guns hard, found that external adjustments were easy to damage in the field. They are somewhat (very) delicate and expensive. However, firms like Buehler and Kuharsky Bros of Erie Pa, made mounts that were externally adjustable, compact, ,and very rugged, unlike the micrometer target style mounts. I have a old (1960’s vintage) 2.5 -8X B&L scope that uses the Buehler mount , and it holds it’s zero as good as, if not better than any quality hunting scope with internal adjustments

  7. That scope on that airgun reminds me of the sniper rifles on display at the Gettysburg Civil War museum. Neat looking and brings a smile to one’s face.

    Fred DPRoNJ

  8. What is nice about any BB gun, like my first which was the same as today’s Daisy 105 Buck, is that a kid learns very fast about trajectory. And with this scope mounted Daisy, learns about trajectory very soon… (<:

    • That’s a nice Wesson Rifle, .50 cal ? The scope looks good on it. The coolest scope I have is a J.W.Fecker 16X . I also have a couple old Mossberg 4X power straight tube scopes kicking around that I’m going to mount on a Crosman 101 or similar airgun someday. They look good on the old guns.

  9. I never really took daisy products very seriously. Looking at the accuracy in this article it’s probably a good thing I never did. Daisy might be an iconic brand but their guns really scream TOY to me. I have a red ryder 70th anniversary edition but never use it. I just though it was something good to add to the collection.

    • ‘fraid I have to disagree with you John…just on principle 😉 (and in good humour)
      A lot of people got their first initiation to shooting on a Daisy product.
      And anything that can very effectively ‘put your eye out’ should’t be considered a toy.
      A few hundred years ago a .54 calibre muzzle-loader probably wasn’t much more accurate than a Red Ryder…but I sure wouldn’t want to be hit by one of those old balls.
      And finally…what do I say to all the big bore guys at the range I shoot at who think my $500 air rifles are ‘toys’?

      • You can put your eye out with a pencil if you use it wrong….see the joker in the dark knight. As fat as the .54 or .68 cal guns of the day, I wouldn’t want to have to get out my field knife and dig one of those out of my hide either. However we are talking about a 4.5 mm steel round ball. Not nearly as much mass going at around 350 fps if we are lucky. Not hardly as deadly as a .54 cal lead ball. I have been shot with something equivalent before. It stung a bit but hardly dangerous……I still consider it a toy gun, although I admit basic gun safety should be used.

        I’ve been laughed at in the national guard for bringing my airforce condor with me when we did weekend bring your own gun shoots. Personally, I laughed back. These guys are bringing these hugely expensive rifles with a few hundred dollars of ammo to blow off. I spent a few dollars and some fine skill, had as much fun and didn’t need to take out a signature loan to do it. After all is said and done, why bother saying anything to the big bore guys?

    • john,

      Me either, although I had an 1894 as my first bb gun as a kid back in the 60’s and I wore it out. Looking back, I think after my hormones starting kicking in, that the brand name “Daisy” just sounded too sissified to me and “Crosman” appealed to my macho side. A problem I’ve been dealing with ever since. Daisy makes/made some pretty good stuff….


    • There are very, very many Sparrow Spirits who might disagree about that word “Toy”

      I got a Red Ryder for my birthday in 1947 I shot it, and shot it, and shot it. And shot it.
      A few years later Dad followed it with a Marlin 39A. Still shoot it.

      Cleaned & oiled my 1947 Red Ryder recently, and shot it some more. This time in basement – no sparrows were harmed.

      Yes, do rather like lever action guns.

      And there is nothing like a rifle owned since childhood.

  10. My problem wasn’t so much the name although I agree with you on that. My issue is more about quality and usefulness. I do alot with my air rifles. I hunt, field target, 10 meter…. daisy just doesn’t meet my criteria as a gun brand that can or has the desire to do the job. When I hear daisy I think ablot all those 1920’s ads that show a nice middle class american family at christmas shooting at a target trap set up on the mantle of their living room fireplace smiling and having harmless fun. I’m pretty sure we all know those ads. That just isn’t my life so daisy just says “toy” to me.

    • Gosh, John,

      If Daisy bb guns are toys to you, you ought to see the good use they are put to in the 4H shooting program. We have a formal shooting and gun handling training program for kids here in Nebraska that uses Daisy products exclusively.

      The kids start with Daisy 499 model bb guns. These are single-shot, muzzel-loading smoothbores based on the Red Ryder action. The kids get a training session each week for nine weeks. They all spend an hour on classroom instruction, followed by an hour of target shooting under very controlled conditions.

      The classroom work is not about bb guns. It is basic gun knowledge. The kids learn the difference between shotguns, rifles, and handguns, and the different types of each and how the actions work.
      They also learn about cartridges and what the parts of guns are and what they do. Safety rules are strongly stressed, as are safe practices when carrying guns in the field.

      Of course, all the safety rules relating to powder-burning guns are applied to bb guns.

      The bb guns are equipped with target-grade shot tubes and adjustable peep sights. After the kids shoot bb guns for a couple of years, they can graduate to shooting Daisy Avanti PCP target rifles.

      The shooting club is part of a larger organization that sets up regional competitive shoots in the western end of the state. Local teams compete against each other. Top qualifiers move on to state contests and regional contests. They can try out for positions on the US Olympic Team this way.

      I don’t think you will find many people here who consider bb guns to be toys.


    • John…part of my issue with your statement is that their are kids who read this blog…I really dislike the fact that you are giving them the idea they are toys.
      You mention that you have been shot with something similar (I think you mean a b.b. gun) and it didn’t really hurt…it stung a bit.
      So a question…do you have kids?, and if so would you let them shoot each other with these ‘toys’ because all it is going to do is sting a bit!!

    • john,
      Looks like you opened a can of Daisy worms. 🙂 But don’t get offended by any disagreements.
      Please take our comments as friendly discussions cause were not jumping on you, just sharing opinions. I see where you’re coming from with your opinion but I have a Daisy 953 and I don’t believe anyone could call that a toy. It is an extremely accurate single pump competitive shooter that has the well known 853 target rifle as it’s sister. However, I see the Red Ryder as a kids bb gun, so maybe that is what produces the kids toy stigma for all Daisys. Not fair though.

      • Indeed I did open a can of worms. But if you look at some of the vintage daisy magazine ads they were marketed as pretty much a child’s toy. If you take a good look at daisy products a majority of them are made of cheap injection molded plastic in china with perhaps a bit of inexpensive wood work. The gun in this article is no doubt an american made bb gun and has value as an antique. But it was still geared mor for children. I don’t know much about the avanti line since I have other guns I’d rather spend money on. Perhaps daisy does some better high end guns and they do seem to have fans. This is kind of like the xbox vs. playstation thing but it’s daisy vs. crosman fans. I’d even call some crosman guns toy guns as well for the same reason I’d call daisy a “toy”. Because no matter how you turn it it looks and feels like one.

        A foot note for kids: don’t shoot your friends because I call it a toy.

        • john,
          Points well taken. I believe there is also a semantics issue with using the word toy. Some interrpret the word toy to mean harmless, and I think we all agree no bb gun is harmless. But you’re right about the comic books and Boys Life magazine ads, etc., however, I could never get my parents to look at them that way, darn it!

          • I’m just calling a black pot a black pot. I know in this day of political correctness it technically is a gun. But it is primarily marketed to kids with adult supervision. That makes me feel old. My parents gave me a crosman, an hour of basic marksmanship and basic gun safety and turned me loose in the back yard with a carton of daisy golden bullseye bb’s and some old pop cans.

          • Since “toy” has become such a loaded term… I propose we borrow from so many other product lines and nominate: Entry-Level for the sub-$100 BB (and BB/pellet) class.

          • I haven’t bought many daisy products. I have a model 25 pump gun and 70th anniversary red rider. The rest of my collection is more high end things from spain, italy and such now days. Even those I kind of quit shooting since I’m now making some very nice handmade guns. I kind of got agravated with even crosman and their plastic guns so began making my own. The one on my bench right now would look good in the hands of james bond in a tux with his bond girl.

          • Pardon the interruption, but I suspect even I’d put the common 953 into the entry-level category.

            I’m biased — I have that one-year special US Shooting Team fundraiser model — which is basically an 853 (as I recall) with the 953 receiver/barrel. That is: wood stock [no pull-length adjust strips], peep rear, simple globe front [I’ve misplaced the other inserts], shooting sling, NO Walther barrel, and with the BB reservoir fill system permanently blocked so it is pellet only. So far, at the 10m distance, it is my most precise gun (that may be a problem of scope usage on the others over the peep/ring/bull of the 953). Back when it was sold (pre-84 Olympics), I seem to recall paying about $120 for it.

            THIS version is NOT what I’d call “entry-level” to airguns, per se — but might qualify as entry-level to 10m shooting. Something that might be used by a 4H, Scouts, or similar organization.

            • Wulfraed,
              I agree, the 953 is much better than an entry level air rifle. It is an excellent entry level competition air rifle – stressing the competition part. I probably shouldn’t have brought it into this particular post since it is not a bb gun – but it is a Daisy.

              • The regular 953 is (or was) “dual fuel”, pellets and BBs… Mine had the BB fill port sealed for pellet only, and I suspect the 853 is also sealed (if not a total change to allow for a 5-pellet tray to slide through).

                That’s why I said I’d probably put the regular one near entry-level; plastic stock and BB capability.

                • I guess it must have been “was” or were not talking about the same 953. The current Daisy Powerline 953 is a single pump pneumatic pellet rifle that shoots pellets only. It does not have dual fuel capability. It is only air. Its stock is not plastic but it is the tougher plastic-like material you are seeing more and more on synthetic stocked rifles. I forget what the material is called.

                  This is the one I’m talking about:



                    • cavaman,
                      Yes, my 953 rear open sight has green fiber optic tubes, and the front has red. I had to remove the rear sight to mount a scope. The rear sight slides onto the 11mm rail and is held with two allen head screws. It is very easy to remove. If I ever take the scope off I’d replace it with a peep of some kind if there was a front globe that was compatible. The front sight is mounted on what looks like an 11mm(?) rail in the barrel with what looks like one allen screw.

                  • Apparently they’ve changed the receiver over the last 30 years… The one in the link takes a (five rd?) pellet clip. The original 953 did not accept pellet clips because the BB feed (gravity fed) was on the left side of the bolt (tilt barrel up, slide bolt back, BB would fall out of tube to catch on magnet at tip of bolt). Had a fill-port near the front left of the receiver. On that model the fill port was a sliding door.

                    My US Shooting Team edition does not have the sliding door, just a plastic block in the opening, but does have the feed opening near the bolt.

                  • I’d replace it with a peep of some kind if there was a front globe that was compatible. The front sight is mounted on what looks like an 11mm(?) rail in the barrel with what looks like one allen screw

                    (Much fancier than the one on my 30 year old, which used a spring to hold the inserts in place)

                    (This, however, looks much the same as mine)

              • Chuck,
                My bad! I just assumed the new ones had the same Doppler sights that come on the 853. After looking at the pictures closely it looks like you could swap the front barrel weight to get a front Doppler.

        • If you saw the Air Force ads on American Airgunner, it seems like their rifles are sophisticated toys targeted at self-absorbed “men” still living in their mothers’ basements. Since I didn’t fit that profile, I passed on the Condor for a Red Ryder.

  11. More power to 4h. Daisy as well as any other gun can be used to teach gun safety. If that’s what you like, then use it. I just don’t think of daisy as a particularly serious brand. I learned to shoot on crosman guns and eventually went into the army to earn a very impressive marksmanship pedigree and even into an army by invitation only school, and invitation to the united states army c.a.t. team which is the military equivalent of the olympics.
    It don’t really matter where you start. Daisy works to begin for you fine. I never said I thought of all bb guns as toys. I have a good many bb guns that are formidable target and can killers. They just aren’t daisys.

    • So your criticism is of Daisy in particular, rather than bb guns in general?
      OK, I don’t agree with that, but I do understand it.

      My view may be a little biased, as my first gun was a Daisy Western Carbine, a Red Ryder variant. It was given me by my parents for my ninth birthday. I completely wore that gun out.

      I have two Red Ryders now. One is a 70th Anniversary edition which, like yours, sits on display unshot.
      My other one gets a lot of use shooting with my grand children. I have a grandson with his own Red Ryder. He and his sister also own their own Crosman 760’s. I’ve taught them to shoot only pellets through those, as there is then never a question if the gun is loaded or not. I think pellets are significantly safer than bb’s, because they usually spend their impact energy flattening out instead of bouncing back at you.

      The Crosman 760 is a good gun as a step up from the Red Ryder. More power, dual ammunition capability, scope-able. It gives the kids experience with a pneumatic gun, and serves as an intermediate step between the Red Ryder and the Daisy 880.

      For a step up from the Daisy 880, I can recommend the Air Venturi Bronco. It cocks easily, and gives some experience learning to shoot a springer. The Red Ryder is a springer, but it is so low-powered it does not have to be held with any finesse. The Bronco teaches skills that will easily transfer to higher-powered spring guns.


  12. I agree with the crosman 760 being a fine starter gun. That was my gun I learned on. I since passed on to anothe boy to learn to shoot with. He shoots bbs since his mother is terrified of lead pellets…lead being the fear word. He does ok with it but has to show me more skill before I allow him deeper access in my collection. The bronco is a fine gun. I respect Tom Gaylord as a fine airgunner. The bronco would be a great beginner springer for someone going to be shooting springers. This boy however likes pneumatics because of their lack of recoil. So, I made him a bargain. When he can show me he can properly pump, load and fire my old 760 with some reasonable accuracy, I’ll give him the chance to trade my old gun for a custom hand built gun I am making just for him. Huge step up from the 760 but still a multi pump.

  13. I would seriously hope kids will not shoot each other. I always told my kids to learn from my mistakes and experiences. In my childhood a friend thougt it would be funny to shoot me with a low velocity bb gun. His bb gun was confiscated by his parents for his effort.

    It is a cautionary tale not to do that because it does hurt. Kids don’t often think if things might hurt someone if they do it. If it hurts a person maybe they might think about causing that same pain to a small animal and not take that shot. I can tell them what it felt like but that squirrel or bird cannot.

    • I bet people will hate hearing it but today I had a bit of a shooting match between a daisy (i think it was an 853 or such. I didn’t pay too much attention to anything but it was a daisy, and a custom pump rifle I was doing a target test with. It is based on crosman parts so I suppose we can call iy a crosman. A neighbor from around my mom brought his daisy for some fun. We shot at 10 meters light cross breeze. My “crosman” won the points by 10. Since it was a custom tuned gun you might shout foul but the barrel I used is a crosman barrel and powerplant was an aftermarket based on crosman pump valve. Call it what you will but crosman won the day

  14. BB,
    That looks great on there, and you know I don’t like scopes :)! Thanks for taking the trouble; I don’t know where else one would be able to see such a thing.

  15. Greetings from very faraway Finland, Mr. Gaylord

    I have been reading (and learning from, thank you) your blog for a very long time now. This Red Ryder article finally made me brave enough to comment. I have to express my extreme jealousy for what you “over there” have available, and what legacy you have in air gunning. I know of course about the European Girandoni’s and the ancient Japanese airgun designs, but without the enviably liberal U.S. approach to any guns during the last century, airgun technology in general likely would not have evolved to it’s current state. Hence I feel you should count yourselves lucky to even occasionally get hands-on with Daisy’s and everything else that brought us where we are today. I’ve yet to see the first Red Ryder for sale here… Haenel’s [1], Weichrauch’s, FWB’s and FX’es we have plenty of, but it’s very seldom one sees true air gunning history in these parts of the world.

    merry Easter wishes,
    /MarcusB, Finland

    [1] My first air gun back in 1983 was a Haenel 303 when I was 14, now I have 9 of various makes…

    • Marcus,

      Welcome to the blog! You are our first Finn who has made comments, I believe.

      Yes, we are very fortunate to live in a nation that accepts individual freedoms so strongly. Of course there are challenges to those freedoms all the time, but our heritage has proven too strong to overcome.

      However, as a Finn you also have a right to be proud of your firearms heritage. Sako is a wonderful brand and I have owned and used their products. Tikka is another great maker. And the Finnish version of the 91/30 Mosin Nagant is well-known to be the most accurate — with its floated heavy barrel and adjustable front sight.

      Once again, welcome to the blog. I hope we will hear more from you in the days to come!

      And, Happy Easter to you.


    • Welcome Marcus and Happy Easter. I’m a great admirer of the Mosin 91/30 and the Finnish versions too (although I can’t quite see how the Finnish versions with the adjustable sight could be more accurate than the Russian sniper rifles with their scopes). And what is this about an ancient Japanese airgun design. The most antique version I’ve heard is the European designs and the one used by Lewis and Clark.

      Also, while Robert Beeman no doubt improved springer technology, did America really drive the PCP design? I thought Europe had a pretty rich tradition there.


      • I remember my dad (1925-96) telling us stories about his M/27 “Pystykorva” he had during the continuation war in 1943. Very accurate it was. Dad later competed on a national level in various shooting disciplines, and when he got over being angry at me for buying the Haenel w/o his permission, he taught me to shoot properly. As for the Japanese designs, I was thinking about the Kunitomo air gun, which being from the 1800’s really isn’t that ancient at all. But still quite interesting.

        Thank you both B.B and Matt for the kind welcome words to the blog. Now that I’ve gotten over my stage fright, I’m sure I’ll comment in the future too.


  16. I need some advise on which 4×12 mildot scope to buy for hunter field target in the woods.
    Its going on top of a RWS 34.

    Is the Bushnell Banner any sharper, clearer or brighter than the Leapers?

    Is the Bushnell Trophy significantly sharper, clearer or brighter than the Banner?

    How does the Hawke non tactical compare to Leapers or either Bushnell?

    Are there any quality differences between the 4 scopes?

    Thanks for the help!

    • In general, “brightness” depends upon the objective diameter and the magnification level. However, unless you’ve just graduated from college, your eyes may not be able to take advantage of the full brightness (full brightness is achieved when all the light in the “exit cone” passes through the pupil to reach the retina; youngsters can reach a 7mm pupil, the elders may be lucky to reach 5mm — and that’s in /night/ conditions).

      After that, differences in optical glass quality may have some contribution on the light transmission (anti-reflective coatings, nitrogen purged/filled, etc.)

      While I don’t consider Bushnell all that high (I’ve been biased by the poor quality seen is something that hadn’t really been designed by them — they bought out one of the early SCT makers, and the Bushnell/Criterion 4″ SCT had very poor optics compared to my Meade stuff [BTW, for a while, Meade owned two or three rifle scope companies: Simmons, maybe even Weaver for a while].

      I don’t have a large sampling to compare, but… Leapers fame would seem to be low cost for high feature — and a claim to be able to withstand spring/air recoil. I own, uhm, matching to rifle… A ca. 1970 Weaver K1.5 [.22 Marlin Glenfield 60c], a Leupold [variable something on a Browning A-Bolt II], a Gamo-labeled [BSA?] 4x [Gamo/NRA 1000 Special], Bushnell [variable something, maybe a Banner, on Ruger 77/17], Leapers 4-16 [Condor], Leapers [something smaller on RWS M54], Crosman’s relabeled Leapers on a Marauder, and a BSA [originally on the M54, but reticle rotation required replacement — this one is now on an AirSoft M14 AEG]. Oh, and a Leatherwood “Camputer” BDC [the pre MIL-dot version with the metric and english ruler scales on the reticle — on an HK-91]

      The “brightest” is the Weaver K1.5… At normal viewing distance all one sees is the ring of the ocular bell — NONE of the inside of the scope is visible. The Leupold is probably next, followed by the Bushnell. The Leapers models show a lot of the inner mechanics at viewing distance — if you glance at the inner sides you notice the angle cut-outs for the LEDs and, in some cases, even the glare of the LED against the other side of the tube (the Leapers scopes are the only illuminated ones I own).

      • Thanks! I heard the Leopold vx1 was a very nicer scope in the same price range as the others I was looking at, but it doesn’t seem to come in an AO model…

        • Most Leupolds tend to be “big game” scopes, meaning 100-300 yards, at which range having the objective adjusted for 100 yards likely means 100-infinity will be close.

          And before dropping the money on one, if used on a spring/air see if they rate it for the secondary recoil.

          Actually measuring ocular brightness is probably not going to be easy — vs the subjective “look through them at identical conditions”… Let’s see: well lit white wall, scope some 10-20 feet back, wrap ocular bell with black construction paper to block side light. Rig a series of apertures (say 3, 5, 7mm diameter), Position aperture in front of a flat panel (rather than dome) incident type light meter — the aperture would need to be placed at roughly the eye’s diameter in front of the sensor). Center light-meter/aperture inside the black paper and adjust overall distance from ocular to obtain normal eye-relief; record reading (set the meter to EV if possible).

          Repeat with each scope. If variable scopes, take readings at minimum, maximum, and some common shared magnification (a scope that only goes to 12X may look brighter than one that goes to 16X, but if the 16X is set to 12X too, it may prove brighter). The three apertures represent “daylight”, “aged night”, “youth night”.

          {Do I tend to get caught up in these thought experiments?}

          Years ago, and still suggested in many books, is the old 7×50 binocular for intro to astronomy… Big objective should mean a bright image… 50/7 => 7.x exit pupil — matches night adapted 20 year old. Turns out the common 7×35 field binoculars have 35/7 => 5 exit pupil — which matches the older night adapted eye. A 1mm ring on the outside of the 7×50 exit pupil is blocked by the older eye, so the image isn’t really brighter.

          • Wulfraed,

            Must be some truth to this older eye thing. My 11×70’s look about the same brightness as my older 10×50’s now. They should appear brighter to a younger person though… I know a lot of other things come into play, but they are about the same quality.


              • Yeah, Wulfraed, gettin’ old just……..! Now to get more light in my eyes, I’m thinking of toting my 10″dob around. Luckily, my new workplace is at about 10,000′ elevation and I can go up the road from there a couple of miles to get dark skies! 🙂


                • Lucky you… I went from 200ft elevation Silcon Valley (on cloudy nights you could drive with out head lights — the reflected light was that bad — and that’s after some cities had gone “observatory friendly” single peak lighting — for Lick Observatory)… to a suburb of MIchigan’s second largest city (Grand Rapids, I’m now in “finger” of Kentwood that is served by a Grand Rapids zip-code; all three staff at the Kentwood PD had to check a map to confirm that I was at the correct jurisdiction for registering my handguns — including pellet pistols).

    • Johng10,

      There are many Leapers scopes and they are not all equally bright. The Banner is about the same as Leapers lowest-price scopes. Banner is Bushnell’s bargain brand.

      Leapers best scopes are brighter than the Banner series when all the other specifications remain the same.


  17. Despite all the airgun exotica that has appeared on this blog over the years this little Red Ryder with the scope (oh, O.K., tube) has got to be one of the coolest of them all. I’d almost be willing to trade my FWB 602 for it! If only the new Red Ryder I just ordered was available with a scope that looked like that, or a Creedmore style rear sight.

    • nowhere,

      That is an interesting comment. I will blow in the ear of a scope manufacturer and see if they have any interest in reviving the old look. Malcom scopes are certainly popular on the replica blackpowder rifles.


      • Now that is interesting. I recall that several months ago someone posted on the Canadian airgun forum a question about whether it would be possible to put a Lyman sight on his Walther Lever Action and a post from someone who had a custom PCP with a long tube style scope on it so there are a few people out there who like both old style target sights/scopes and airguns. Whether there are enough of us to support a real market for them, who knows? I would assume that, all other things being equal (which they seldom are) a small aperture, long focal length scope should be less expensive to make than a more modern design but the question is, would they be able to sell enough of them that it would be worth doing?

  18. Thank you, BB for your take(s) on the Red Ryder. It was my very first airgun and I love reading your blogs and the Comments about it.

    About Kyle’s target set-up: I wonder what he uses as a backstop for those 3 orange hanger targets below the desktop.

  19. We did not have red riders here in the Netherlands when I grew up. We had haenel 310’s from east Germany instead. ‘insert evil grin here’
    As awesome as they were they were always getting round balls stuck in the barrel.

    • Carel,

      I have a Haenel 310 and like it very much. It’s way more accurate and powerful than a Red Ryder, too.

      At one time I had both the 6-shot and 12-shot magazines, but now I only have a 6-shot.

      I did a couple reports on my 310 a few years ago:




  20. I’m actually a big fan of scopes for their cool value as much as anything. And they’ve done a very good job with the vintage look here to match the rifle design. But in terms of function, a scope on a Red Ryder is like…a submarine in a swimming pool? 🙂

    Nice set-up for the pic of the week, but I don’t quite see what kind of backstop there is for the pop-up targets.


  21. I agree that a scope on a Red Ryder is pointless from a functional standpoint. I mean, if you cannot get a good sight picture with your naked eye at Red Ryder range distances, you maybe should be thinking about getting Lasik surgery.

    But from an appearance standpoint, this long tube-type “scope” is great. The period appearance of it really fits the period appearance of the Red Ryder. It makes the little gun look much more formidable. I think Red Ryder himself would approve of it.

    It actually looks (to me anyway) to belong on a lever-action carbine, rather than on the shotgun-inspired Model 25. I think it would make a great retro re-introduced item for Daisy to sell. Imagine a special Red Ryder edition with the scope mounted, or the scope and its mounts offered as an aftermarket add-on.

    I am beginning to sense a Model 25 in my future.


  22. The gun that got me hooked to airguns after more than forty years is a Marlin from Crosman,bought it from Amazon,and that’s the way I got connected to Pyramyd. It was like lighting an fuse,once I started reading the reviews on the advancements airguns had made there was no turning back.Back in the 60s when I was a kid my father bought me a Crosman pump air rifle that was state of the art then. With 10 pump you could put a serious dent on a steel 50 gal barrel, then as time passed,I didn’t see these guns on the market again ,they were pronounced illegal by Puerto Rico laws,until recently that the USA Congress’s occupied this matter. Thanks to open minds up north were not in the same situation as people in other countries. Airguns are not toys thats a fact,but the right to purchase one or not is not the governments business if your over 18 . The sport is as safe as the practitioner. In regards to air guns practiced with care you can have tons of fun with family and friends in your own back yard, plus the ammo is still inexpensive and it does not have the inherent danger of live ammo. Maybe a kid can find a pellet on the floor and even swallow it ,but I’m sure it’s nothing compared to finding a .22 round and smacking it with a hammer.

    • Yes. I can just imagine a long-scoped Red Ryder being sold as a “Badlands Special” in an ad featuring Teddy Roosevelt.

      “Out here in the wide-open spaces of the North Dakota Badlands, a lad really needs the advantages of a scoped rifle. You will find this Daisy combination truly splendid!”


  23. I agree with a bunch of other people here and you can put my name on the list for a RedRyder with a long tube/scope like that old one. I think it looks very good and would make an awesome commemorative model, it would be much better than a small medal in the stock.
    If Daisy doesn’t jump on it, I think Crosman should do it with the Marlin Cowboy rifle, stain the wood parts darker and fit a long tube on it, I’d buy one.

    How much more money would it actually cost the company? 4$ more per rifle? Go ahead raise the price by 15$ per rifle with that scope/tube on it, crazy people like us will buy it.


  24. wulfraed,
    Thanks for those fore and aft sight links! That’s what I’m looking for. However, it looks like that front globe sight has to be used with a Daisy Avanti diopter sight (model 5996) and not the 5899 peep. I think I should call PA to make sure I get a correct match.

    • Ah, hadn’t looked down that far…

      Interesting that PA has the “Avanti” Globe, but the “Daisy” peep… with no cross compatibility?

      Maybe direct to Daisy parts department will find a match — It’s the same rear sight as the Avanti 853 Legend, so finding a globe front part for the 853 should suffice. ($530!!! Inflation has struck, last time I priced an 853 I thought it was only about $100 more than a 953). [unless the outer diameter of the barrel has changed, since the 853 has a Lothar Walther barrel rather than “common” steel barrel).

      From 853 manual: front sight is 853-11, with set screws; globe inserts are 99Z, rear sight is 5899

      If your rifle needs repair parts, please call 1-800-713-2479 for repair part charges. Have the Model
      Number of your rifle as well as the Part Number needed at hand before calling.

      Hmmm, no parts list in the current 953 manual, but there IS this

      Shooters who want greater control over the sighting of their PowerLine® 953 will want to add
      more sophisticated target-style sights. Call Daisy Outdoor Products Customer Service at
      1-800-713-2479 to find out the type of sights available and ordering information.

  25. B.B.

    Have you ever tried shooting the Red Ryder using the artillery hold? I bet that would make an interesting blog topic. And using Avanti Precision Shot as well?

  26. Metal Lever for your Red Ryder to replace the plastic lever is available from Daisy and I just ordered one. For Credit Card Orders, call 1-800-713-2479. For mail Orders to pay by Check or Money order:
    Customer Service Department
    Daisy Outdoor Products
    PO Box 220
    Roger, AR 72757.
    Part 98

    Part 98L ( this number apples to both metal and plastic lever.so be careful)

    Metal Red Ryder Lever Part Number: 169862-000 $3.00
    S/H 3.50

    TOT $6.50
    Plastic is $2.00, different part number

    Plastic i


  27. Red Ryder Metal cocking Lever. I was advised just remove the screw holding the lever, BUT DO NOT COCK YOUR LEVER. Just slip it in. Any lubrication remarks would be most welcome for the cocking lever area.

  28. Received the Daisy Red Ryder metal lever in a padded envelope today.Third day from placing telephone order. Postage was $2.63. Daisy charged $3.50 for shipping, so we can see this was a loosing deal for Daisy cost wise, but a winner in the PR department.If you consider the toll free number, paying the very sharp lady to get all the information , item part number, credit card, name , address. Plus the padded envelope.
    The lever weighs 6 ounces versus the plastic lever less than 1 ounce. It is non-magnetic but very heavy. I guess a zinc alloy die casting. Matching powder coat appearing finish. The Phillips head fastener is threaded into the receiver. Your hex retaining nut is only a lock nut. Do not try to Punch the fastener ( screw) out. Just unscrew it. As you recall, do this with the Red Ryder un-cocked. I could not find my ignition open ends ( the lock nut is up too close to the receiver for a socket ) so I used a 4″ Crescent wrench ( funny how you buy stuff when you see them, then use them years later. Indeed, life is good..) You will spend more time rounding up your tools then doing this two minute job. It works perfectly, has the solid metal feel. Yes, the plastic one works great also.

  29. With respect to the gentleman calling Red Ryder a toy, logically I should agree with him. I have a Daystate Huntsman XL which is indeed a fine rifle.

    But guys, l am a geezer in his second childhood. When I shoot that 1947 Daisy it brings back happy memories of my (somewhat murderous) childhood. The first time I bought BB’s for it was in Stewart’s Hardware, Indiana Pennsylvania. I recall the owner as a short fellow, quite unlike his son Jimmy.

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