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Air Guns Daisy model 25 pump BB gun: Part One

Daisy model 25 pump BB gun: Part One

Daisy model 25
Daisy model 25.

This report covers:

  • The can
  • Front sights
  • The air patch
  • The pump handle
  • The length of the pump lever
  • Daisy parts|
  • Summary

Today we start looking at one of Daisy’s most successful BB guns — the model 25 pump. And when I say model 25, it really isn’t — or it didn’t used to be. It was the NUMBER 25. Daisy never called it a model. But it is so commonly called the model 25 today that I will stick to that. Daisy even sells their Chinese-made pump gun as the model 25 today.

Daisy model 25
The current Daisy model 25.

The model 25 is Daisy’s second most famous BB gun. Of course nothing comes close to the Red Ryder for popularity.  A popular Christmas movie, A Christmas Story, was even made about that one. But the model 25 that ran second had still sold over 20 million by 2018 and I suppose that number is still increasing today. Since the 25 has a 26-year head start on the Red Ryder (1914 versus 1940) and is still in production today, it probably still leads the Red Ryder in production quantities.

Daisy 25 number
It’s actually a number 25, not a model 25.

I have told the story of my first BB gun several times. It was a Wham-O Luger that used toy caps to propel the BB and if everything worked right it could shoot about 20 feet  — even more if you shot straight down from a high place. My mother allowed me to have that one and I think she knew it would possibly destroy my interest in BB guns forever. But a year after that my sister’s wannabe boyfriend sold me a Daisy model 25 for the princely sum of five dollars (1959). That started a lifelong interest in this model.

The can

It was the report titled, The can on Monday of this week that fomented this report series. I thought the monster was fast asleep, but when I needed a BB gun to shoot through an aluminum can, what did I choose but a model 25? I was stunned when the BB did not completely pass through both sides of the can, so I chronographed it and got 209.6 f.p.s. for a 7-grain lead BB. I expected more. Two days later, after all the oil I applied to the piston seal had soaked into the leather, I got 236 f.p.s. This time it sailed through both sides of another aluminum can and disappeared into the cardboard mulch BB/pellet box trap!

I had other reports to write this week but I was hooked — again. I had to write this report. Then I went to my gun closet and found ANOTHER model 25. This one is an earlier model — from around 1915. It looks a lot like the 25 I had been shooting, but it’s also different. Let me show you how different.

Front sights

The first model 25 has a front sight that’s adjustable for windage. That changed in 1915 or 1916.

sliding sight
Before 1916 the model 25’s front sight could be slid from side to side. The front sight on this 1915 version of the No. 25 is adjustable from side to side. You can see how it slides, yet the metal is so tight that the blade doesn’t move once it’s in place. It’s a sort of reverse dovetail.

welded sight
This front sight is on another No. 25. It was certainly made by 1927. The sight is spot-welded on the tube, as it would be for the remainder of the production run through 1986.

The air patch

While the adjustable front sight is a good indicator of an early No. 25, the next feature is even more telling. Back in 1913/14 when the model 25 was first produced, Daisy was not able to fold the outer tube of any of their BB guns sufficiently airtight to seal the compression chamber. To seal it they soft-soldered a metal patch to the underside of the gun. It went over the seam of the fold line of the tube. The patch covers the compression chamber and the spring tube that’s behind the piston.

air patch
The raised piece of metal under the pump handle guide rod is a soldered patch that denotes a very early gun.

sealed tube
When Daisy learned how to fold metal and retain an airtight seal, the barrel patch was eliminated. This happened in 1915.

The pump handle

The number of grooves on the pump handle is something a lot of people talk about but it really isn’t that telling. The earliest five-groove pump handle lasted until at least 1927, so at least 14 years after production began in 1913. After that the wooden pump handle had six grooves.

I will show that handle in a moment, but first a word on the start date for manufacture. You will read the date 1914 in many references as the start date for the model 25. I say 1913 because that is when actual low-rate initial production began. Daisy may not have actually sold the 25 that year, but they were able to make a few — at least for salesman’s samples and to send to prospective buyers. I don’t know that they sold any to actual customers that year because their big advertising  campaign for the pump gun started in 1914.

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The length of the pump lever

The length of the pump lever is another big change that really does not pin down the date of manufacture that well. The earliest 25s had what we now call a short pump lever. It’s called that because in 1927 they lengthened the lever to help kids cock the gun. Remember your high school science lesson about levers.

Daisy model 25 short lever
This is the short-throw lever, made in 1927 and before. And there is that five-groove pump handle.

Daisy model 25 long lever
This is the long-throw lever, made in 1927 and after. Notice that there are still five grooves on the pump handle.

Daisy parts

The last comment I will make today is about parts, as they relate to dating the years of manufacture. At the time Daisy made the early 25s the company just pulled parts from bins (or from other supplies) and used them as needed. There was no real attempt at model configuration management unless it affected a safety issue. Because of that, it is nearly impossible to date Daisy BB guns from this era. I say “nearly” because a few very specialized things like black nickel over silver nickel finishes date a gun to one of two specific years — 1913/14. The compression tube patch is also a definite sign that dates a gun — 1915 or earlier.

I have seen one model 25 that had a bayonet! Whether that was a factory thing or a clever modification I don’t know because the owner wouldn’t allow anyone to examine it closely. That makes me suspect it was an aftermarket mod.

My point is — you can collect Daisy model 25s, and if you do you’ll call them Number 25s. But don’t even think you can ever have a chronological display of this gun. The best you can hope for is a collection of guns displaying all of the major differences. And there are many more that I have not mentioned (rear sight, stock wood, stock shape, strengthening ridge on the pump lever arm, case colors on the pump arm etc.) and probably won’t because this report is about the performance of the BB gun — not about collecting it.

You may have noticed in this report that 1915 and 1927 seem to have been pivotal years for the 25. And it’s possible to find pre-1915/1927 parts on post-1915/1927 BB guns. That’s what I’m saying. I quit trying to collect the 25 when I realized that. I now own the variations I like best and I don’t worry about when they were made.


This has been the start of a report series on the Daisy model pump BB gun. I hope you enjoy it, because I really want to write it. I get to experience my model 25s again!

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.

33 thoughts on “Daisy model 25 pump BB gun: Part One”

        • It can indeed be difficult at times to not “pull the trigger” on some really great deals. You do have to keep in mind what your priorities are and what your budget is. Mrs, RR has been very upset with me on occasion.

          For someone such as myself, an airgun show is a superb opportunity to see some of the airguns I have only heard/read about. To be able to look at and handle an actual Girandoni is an experience well worth the effort to attend one.

          What is truly awesome is to attend one of the airgun shows that has a shooting range and some of the people will allow you to shoot some of their jewels. It is also an opportunity to meet, greet and chat with some of those here. Decksniper usually attends the NC show and shows off a very nice collection of vintage and antique airguns. I myself usually haul some of mine with me. Fawlty Manuel bought one of mine this last NC show. I have been trying to trade/buy it back since. 😉

  1. As a kid in South Louisiana I shot these at all the many fairs through the year both Parish fairs and Church fairs. There was balloon popping games in BB mode and knock over games in cork mode. I never saw one for sale in any sporting goods store, always wanted one. A few years back I bought one of the new China made ones and I am hooked again. After massaging the trigger and a little bending and re arranging of the sights my inner twelve year old never had it so good. The 25 is the absolute heavy weight champ in Smiles per dollar.One caveat , I am 6’4″ and have no trouble manipulating the “pump” while shouldering the 25, my wife is 5’5″ and struggles with it. Shooters of average height my have to come off the shoulder to “pump” but taller ones can stay on the sights and give targets “what for”.

  2. BB,

    A most interesting bit of information. I did indeed enjoy learning a little something about these bb guns.

    I have to admit I am not that enamored with bb guns. I have a 1959 model 99 here at RRHFWA and would really like to see an early Quakenbush or the first “Daisy” come through the door here, but if a very early no. 25 was to show up at RRHFWA, that “old gal” would be welcomed also.

    There are just too many of these “old gals” out there for me to give them all a home. I need your help. Please give these “fine old ladies” a new home and a new lease on life. They will likely surprise you with how well they can dance.

    • RR-

      Last year’s Flag City Toys That Shoot Show was indeed the last. Dan Lerma, the show organizer, passed prior to the 2023 show and it was a fitting memorial to his dedication and efforts to put on a great show. He is missed.

  3. There is a Daisy No. 25 here that I am guessing was made around 1950ish. It shoots steel BBs at close to 300 fps (after I oiled it well). An aluminum can poses no problem for it. The memories of my youth and best friend, who had one of these Daisy No. 25s back then, do come flooding back whenever I pick it up. Thanks for the report BB, it amazes me how well these guns hold up over so many years.

  4. BB

    May be a bit off topic but I received an e-mail from Daisy Products this morning. Looks like they upgraded the Daisy Model 12 with a wood stock and fore-grip. This was the Winchester Model 12 they offered last year. The prior problem was that the air gun was 100% plastic Does anyone have any information. Looks like it might be a lower cost option to the Diana Oktoberfest for a good 12 foot carnival / gallery BB gun. Especially at the price quoted.Daisy appears to have them available at a limited price, limited time

    Kind Regards


    • jda,
      Very cool it now has wood stocks. I have the plastic Daisy version (Grizzle or something like that). They are single pump pneumatic, not a springer like the Oktoberfest. My “Grizzle” shoots surprisingly good for such a cheap bb gun (will out shoot my Red Ryders).


  5. B.B.,

    I know you have a lot of knowledge about the Daisy No. 25/Model 25 after years of collecting/accumulating.

    How do you know if you should shoot lead shot or steel BB’s in the vintage gun that is purchased?

    ps-several topics on the Daisy No. 25/Model 25 over the past few months on the American Vintage Airguns forum.

    • Kevin,

      The answer to your question is coming in Part 2. It’s very easy to know which shot tube (not gun, as they all can use both steel and lead shot tubes) to use for steel versus lead.


  6. BB

    The Daisy Number 25 I bought new from PA a few months ago was made in China. Happily this beauty is not labeled as Model 25. A large N is followed by a lower case o with a line underneath the o

    Glad you are giving this one its due. It was my first BB gun in the late 1940’s. That one is long gone but nostalgia explains my recent purchase.



      • BB

        Okay, just to clarify, this is engraved on top of receiver of my Daisy:

        DAISY No_ 25. Roger’s, AR USA

        Again, the line after the No is actually under the o


  7. The first airgun I owned, my dad gave me and my brother a No. 25 in the summer of 1960. Not sure what happened to it. But Dennis Baker sold me a nice one from the same era a few years ago. Amazing how picking it up and holding it brings back memories of LONG ago. I hear that the new ones are actually pretty good.

  8. Old FM is almost certain this was the first “serious” bb gun he shot with; summer of ’60 his teenaged cousin showed up with a bb gun and a pellet one – memory dims a bit, but seems the pellet-firing one was a breakbarrel, not particularly hard to cock. Cousin took little cousin to hunt land crabs with those guns – FM was more impressed with the pellet-shooter; compared to a bb gun, it was like a big-bore piece. Don’t recall who made that one – possibly Crosman? Unfortunately the owner is not around to ask. Since ‘lil FM was not allowed to load bbs into his Red Ryder, it was a thrill to get parental approval to go with cousin for this crabbing adventure.

    Found this link to the Daisy Museum while looking further into today’s subject. Hope all who have not done so before and link up enjoy it.

  9. Growing up one of the neighborhood kids had one, and I did shoot it. But was too young to appreciate it.

    I have never shot one in my adult life.

    Please don’t take my airgunner card away.


    • 45Bravo,

      Ian you aren’t alone.
      I don’t think they would dare take away your airgunner card!
      If they want mine i will need to remind them of the words of the last President i actually though was any good; he did a good Moses and had some great chariot rides too.

      Also i’ll venture a .575 Lead ball will beat any stinken little bb… ;^) BOOM!


  10. I would like to say this was the first BB gun I shot, almost said bb ‘rifle’, “Oh the howa ! ” but, I think it was at some shooting gallery in Coney Island Beach in NY. In the days of Steeple Chase Park.
    My friend had his father’s 25.

    I got my own new, around 15 years ago when I started collecting for about $25. on sale. Noticed it was like a tin replica of his father’s No. 25. Much lighter it seemed. perhaps his had the patch. Also, the wood was a bit sturdier and much darker I believe. Almost like a real firearm to my mind.

    Did Daisy ever offer it with paint filled simulated engraving?

  11. On both of my new China 25’s the machine screw for windage adjustment had to be shortened so as not to interfere with the elevation adjustment. From talking to others this is common and all the windage fixing machine screws are too long. The peep aperture is too small for most and is easily drilled out, I like mine around .080″ #46 or #47 drill . A number size drill index is handy for peep sight sizing.

  12. I have a Daisy 25, a Daisy Buck, and a Red Ryder. Since I am 70 with my bad eyesight, I have mounted dot sights on the Buck and RR. Don’t know of a way to mount one on the 25. I use these to knock over marauding tin cans at 17 yards off a rest. But, BB guns are wildly inacurate, spewing bb’s all over the place. The RR shows better accuracy over the Buck. It has a BSA red dot on it, the Buck has one of the open type red/green dot sight. Oh well, its all good, clean fun.

  13. Hello all,

    I don’t own an Daisy 25.

    My hardest hitting BB is an Daisy no. 108 model 39. A pre war ll model, precursor to the Red Ryder. Able to split food cans at 10 yards and even longer all day. Forgot to mention that the BB gun has leather seals and a copper wash spring (original to the B.B.) I think. I also own three Daisys model 99s ( two gravity fed and a 50 shot forced feed one) modified with Cobalt’s 327S springs and air transfer tubes. Also own two Daisy soda pop model 299s with Cobalt’s improvements.

    These BBs act more like a pellet rifle then a B.B.

    If you ever come across these, take a good look. Don’t pass on them. These B.Bs are great fun. One can modify and improve them so easily and for cheap.

  14. B.B.,

    I have a No. 25 short lever my grandfather bought new. I shot it a few times many years ago and then something gave inside, probably the extension from the compression tube(?). I wonder, was it a mistake to shoot steel BBs in it? At the time I didn’t know better.


  15. I love my No. 25 and Adult Red Ryder! They are not vintage, bought them both new from PA but they are a lot of fun to plink with. My Daisy disappointment is with my 499B champion. It’s a lemon, has no power at all. I am going to have to look back and see if Tom has any rebuild blogs for it, but disappointing for a brand new gun that will penetrate cardboard at 7 feet.

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