by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

The history of airguns

Daisy Number 12, Model 29 BB gun: Part 1

Daisy model 29
Daisy Number 12 Model 20 is a vintage BB gun.

This report covers:

  • Preparation
  • Daisy BBs
  • Air Venturi BBs
  • Hornady Black Diamond BBs
  • Shooting to the left?
  • Accuracy
  • No joy
  • 4.4 mm lead balls
  • Conclusion

Today we will look at both the accuracy and power of the Daisy Model 12 Number 29 BB gun you all seemed to enjoy. Let’s get to it

Preparation

This vintage BB gun has a leather plunger (piston seal), so I made sure it was well oiled before I started the velocity test. I had soaked the plunger in oil for several weeks before this test.

Daisy BBs

First up were Daisy Premium Grade BBs. They averaged 307 f.p.s. through the chronograph. The low was 299 f.p.s and the high was 327 f.p.s., so the total spread was 28 f.p.s. That’s pretty fast for a conventional spring-powered BB gun by today’s standards. I wasn’t expecting much over 250 f.p.s..

I also checked to see if the BB stayed in the bore when it was tipped down, because this single shot is loaded through the muzzle. There is no magnet inside to hold the BB, yet not one BB fell out.

Air Venturi copper-plated steel BBs

Next up were Air Venturi copper-plated steel BBs. When the first shot came out at 341 f.p.s. I thought I was onto something. But that was also the fastest shot of the series. These BBs averaged 314 f.p.s for 10 shots. The low was 305 f.p.s and the high was that 341 f.p.s. shot. There was a second shot at 330 f,.p.s. and the rest were all 313 f.p.s and slower.

The low was 305 f.p.s, and the high was 341 f.p.s. The velocity spread for Air Venturi BBs was 36 f.p.s.

Hornady Black Diamond BBs

Hornady Black Diamond BBs were the last BBs I tested. They averaged 313 f.p.s. with a low of 291 f.p.s. and a high of 341 f.p.s. The spread was 50 f.p.s., which seems excessive.

Shooting to the left?

One thing I could not overlook during the velocity testing is the fact that the gun was often shooting to the left –as much as two inches to the left in just three feet of distance. One time the BB missed the rear skyscreen because it had gone too far to the left. I wondered what this would do for accuracy, and I was about to find out.

I have seen this tendency for a round ball to curve in flight with airsoft guns, but this is the first time I’ve seen it with a BB gun. I could not see the BB in flight, of course, but the holes some of the BBs made in the backer board that covered the trap were to the left of where they should have been. With airsoft you adjust the Hop Up to correct this situation, but of course there is no Hop Up on a BB gun. Also, since the shots weren’t consistently going left there was no way to know when to do it or not. That left me with some trepidation about the accuracy of the gun.

Accuracy

I set up for the accuracy test at 5 meters (16 feet 4 inches) with the same three BBs. I shot sitting with the BB gun rested on the UTG monopod. This is the same way I test all BB guns. The first BB tested was the Daisy. After three shots I could not see any holes in the target, so I walked up and examined it at closely. Nope. No holes. The last shot missed the target trap altogether and hit the backer board before ricocheting around the room. That’s when I decided to stop shooting.

I moved my firing position up to 10 feet from the target and shot again. This time the BB hit paper three inches to the left and 1.5-inches above the aim point. The second shot landed within an inch of the first one and shot three opened the group to 2.5 inches. That was it for that BB.

I decided not to try the other BBs, because they would probably do just as bad as the Daisy. Instead, I brought out the big guns — the Daisy Avanti Precision Ground Shot. I didn’t want to use them because they are more accurate — I just hoped they would be larger and might fit the bore better.

No joy

But they didn’t. Even from just 10 feet the first three Precision Ground Shot went into 2 inches and I stopped the test right there. This is one of those BB guns that just throws the BBs wherever it pleases. You can’t bend the sights or hold off because you never know when the gun is going to go wide, or by how much.

4.4 mm lead balls

I even tried some 4.4 mm lead balls in the gun, just to see what they would do. They grouped in about 3 inches at 10 feet and two of them were three inches to the left of the aim point. So, no dice there, either.

I think if I could find some larger BBs they might work better in the gun. But that’s just a guess. And there is a gap in BB sizes between 0.173-inches (4.4 mm) and 0.177-inches (4.5 mm) It’s going to be hard to find something in that gap. Because the spring-loaded front sight is also a locking mechanism for the shot tube, there is no bending the blade the way we used to regulate BB guns when I was a kid.

Conclusion

The Daisy Number 12 Model 29 BB gun is a curious relic of yesteryear. It’s smaller than you might imagine, yet more powerful than you expect. However, when it comes to shooting, it is a crap shoot — at least the one I am testing is. This is a gun that would be best left on display and never shot. I’m sorry the story ends this way, but you can’t win them all.