As I explained some time ago, my very first airgun was not the legendary Daisy Red Ryder or a Crosman or a Sheridan. Instead, it was the Daisy Model 25, the pump-action BB that many of us older airgunners owned. It predates the Red Ryder by a good many years.
The Model 25 was first produced in 1914. Some fifty-three thousand were produced in that first year, and the Model 25 remained in continuous production until 1978, when it was discontinued. It was brought back briefly in 1986 as a Centennial Model, and then it disappeared again.
The first time that I spoke with Joe Murfin, vice president of marketing for Daisy, I waxed eloquently about how I loved my old Model 25. I remember him says, “Yeah, that’s the one rifle I really wish we had back in our lineup again, but the tooling was destroyed.” He and I commiserated for a while and then got on to other things.
Still, whenever I think of an airgun or mull over airgunning in general, almost everything gets measured against the yardstick of how much fun it was to shoot the Model 25.
So imagine my glee, my absolute joy when I found out that the Model 25 was going back into production. Even worse, I couldn’t tell anyone about it! No kidding. I found out in September, 2009, while preparing the airgun roundup for the SHOT Show Daily newspaper, but I had to keep it secret until the SHOT Show.
Now, of course, the reintroduction of the Model 25 is public. Joe Murfin from Daisy was kind enough to send one to me. It stretches 37 inches long and weighs just 3.1 pounds. Starting at the back end of the Model 25, there is a plain wooden stock that attaches to the metal receiver with several screws. On either side of the receiver is engraving depicting a hunting scene. On the left side of the receiver is a bolt (and a nut on the right side) which can be removed to break the Model 25 into two pieces. Beneath the aft end of the receiver is the metal trigger guard which houses a plastic trigger and push-button safety mechanism.
Forward of that are the various parts of the pump mechanism, which terminates in a wooden pump handle. Moving forward again, you’ll find the barrel. The muzzle has a knurled edge which is helpful in unscrewing the shot tube to remove it. On top of the barrel is the front sight. At the extreme aft end on top of the receiver is the rear sight, adjustable for elevation and windage, which can be flipped from iron sight to peep sight.
To load the Model 25, you unscrew the shot tube from the muzzle, push a slide down and lock it, and then pour BBs into the loading port until the shot tube is full. All that remains is to screw the shot tube back into the muzzle, and you’re good to go.
Pump the action once, flick off the safety, and squeeze the trigger, and the Model 25 launches BBs at around 325 fps.
I always thought that the Model 25 was better than the Red Ryder. It’s just plain easier to maintain a bead on the target while working a pump action than it is while working a lever action. Red Ryder enthusiasts point out, however, that the Red Ryder is shorter and lighter than the Model 25, and it holds more BBs. But for me, the Model 25 will always define what a BB gun should be.
I loaded mine up and strolled outside to take a few shots in the back yard. I brought the Model 25 to my shoulder and the years just fell away. Suddenly I was awash with memories of the grand times my buddy and I had roaming the fields and woods of northeastern Vermont with my trusty Model 25. It was, as Jean Shepherd put it: “The best Christmas present I ever got.”
This new Model 25 will enjoy a place of honor in my gun cabinet.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott