What military style models has Daisy manufactured?

World War I began in August of 1914. Around the same time, Daisy Manufacturing Company began production of their No. 25 Pump BB Gun. The No. 25 was not a military style gun, but they started manufacturing it in 1914, which is why I mention it here.  Also, the shot tube and the front and rear sights from the No. 25 were used in the production of Daisy's first military style gun, the No. 40. The No. 25 became the longest production run bb gun in Daisy's history. They manufactured the No. 25 continuously from 1914 until 1978 (excluding the World War II years, see below).

Two years after the successful introduction of the No. 25 and shortly before the U.S. entered World War I, Daisy began manufacturing the No. 40, their first military style bb gun. Today, collectors consider the No. 40 to be one of the most sought after Daisy bb guns. The No. 40 featured a sling, lever action, military style adjustable front and rear sights and a removable steel bayonet. Very few of the bayonets remain today. Therefore, the bayonet’s value exceeds the value of the gun itself. It’s easy to imagine how many mothers would have quickly discarded the bayonets. Daisy manufactured nearly 150,000 No. 40’s between 1916 and 1934.

Shortly after the introduction of the No. 40, Daisy began manufacturing a toy military pop gun for younger children. It was named the No. 16 Military Pop Gun and was made from 1918 to 1922. It had an internal cork popping mechanism, a sling and a removable steel bayonet. For obvious reasons, the No. 16 (with bayonet intact) is probably the rarest Daisy toy gun.

In 1942, just before Daisy shut down operations due to steel shortages caused by the World War II war effort, Daisy manufactured its 3rd military style bb gun. It was called the No. 140 Military. The No. 140 was manufactured for a very short period of time.  Only about 30,000 of these guns were made.  The No. 140 featured a bolt action that acted as the guns' safety mechanism and a canvas sling, but no bayonet. The shot tube was the same style as the Red Ryder “Lightning Loader”. There are 2 known variations of the No. 140.

In 1951 Daisy began manufacturing its 4th military style bb gun. It was called the No. 141 Military. This gun was designed to commemorate the Korean War. It had the “Forced Feed” style shot tube like the No. 25 and the No. 40. The stock and forearm were plastic, instead of wood. There was a sliding trap door in the butt of the stock to store bb’s. The steel was blued on the early models and painted on the later ones. Daisy manufactured approximately 230,000 No. 141’s from 1951 until mid 1953.

In 1953 Daisy made it’s 5th military style bb gun. This gun was called the No. 142 Military. It was basically the same as the No.141 with a painted finish. The only major difference was that the No. 142 used the "Gravity Feed" shot tube that was used in the No. 102, Model 36, instead of the "Forced Feed" style that had been used in the No. 140 and No. 141 models. This gun was manufactured in 1953 and 1954. Approximately 130,000 No. 142’s were made.

After 1954, Daisy did not manufacture another military style bb gun until 1987 when they made the Model 814, which was styled after the M14 Military Assault Rifle.

How did the World War II years affect Daisy?

In the summer of 1942, Daisy exhausted its supply of  “War essential” metals and ceased production of bb guns.  At the time, the Red Ryder Carbine and the Military Model 140 were in high demand and selling well.

Many Daisy employees were either drafted or went to work for defense contractors in the Detroit area.  My father was drafted into the Navy in 1944 despite the fact that he was 30 years old and had a wife and 3 children to support.  Prior to being drafted he worked part time in the Daisy plant making the only toy guns Daisy manufactured during the war.  The No. 83 Chattermatic Machine Gun and the No. 85 Commando Cork Gun.  Both were made almost entirely of wood. Daisy also manufactured several defense-related items during the war, including: .37 mm Shell Cannisters, washers, gaskets, electric switches and dyes for various companies.

From 1942 to 1945 Daisy sold $780,000 worth of war materials and $2,500,000 worth of toys (mostly wooden guns).

Shortly after the war ended, Daisy scrambled to find steel to make bb guns and steel wire to make bb’s.  Sometimes they used mill end scraps which they bought from Detroit steel mills.  What couldn’t be used for bb guns was used to make the U-235 Buck Rogers Atomic Pistol.  The name was changed from the pre-war “Disintegrator pistol” to “Atomic pistol” to be in tune with the new “Atomic Age”.

Daisy even attempted to produce aluminum bb’s due to the steel shortage.  The aluminum bb’s would shoot out of the guns but were very inaccurate.  By the spring of 1947 Daisy was back to full production, but it wasn’t until the fall of 1949 that all of their back orders were filled.

Post war demand for bb guns was huge, and for good reason.  Enemies and Allies alike were amazed at the excellent marksmanship of the American soldiers -- due in no small part to their having owned a Daisy bb gun as a child.

What is the history of Daisy's Targeteer and Target Special models?

First manufactured in 1936, the "Target Special" was Daisy's first bb pistol.  It fired a smaller bb than a standard bb gun (.118 caliber as opposed to .177 caliber).  It did not sell well because most dealers didn't want to carry a second size bb. In 1937 Daisy put the "Target Special" in a box that could be used as a target for indoor shooting, but stayed with the .118 caliber bb.  The new box had a wire which was placed between the sides and held 2 metal spinning disks.  The guns that were manufactured between 1937 and 1942 were blued steel and  had fixed rear sights.  They had "Targeteer" printed on the box, but the guns were stamped "Target Special".

As with all of their metal gun models, production was halted during World War II due to government regulation, but after the war they resumed production of the set.  On the postwar version, the target spinners were blued instead of painted red.  The graphics on the box appeared the same, but the style of the box was slightly different.  It had a flip top instead of removable top.

In 1948, Daisy chrome-plated some fixed-sight Target Specials and presented them to factory guests to celebrate Daisy's 60th Anniversary.  Today, these limited edition guns are very rare.  Also in 1948, they added an adjustable rear sight and completely changed the appearance of the box (graphics, box color, etc.).  The guns were blued and were still marked "Target Special".  The box still said "Targeteer".  In 1949 they began manufacturing a nickel plated "Targeteer" set with a red plastic "Targette" which had white playing card symbols as spinners.  Daisy continued making both the blued version, now also called the "Targeteer", and the nickel / chrome plated "Targeteer" versions until 1952.  In 1953 they made a painted version.  Some of the 1953 models were stamped "Target Special" and others were stamped "Targeteer".  After 1953 production was halted on all of the "Targeteer" and "Target Special" models which used the .118 caliber bb.  Instead, Daisy started manufacturing a "Target Special" which used a .177 caliber (standard size) bb.

What is the history of Daisy's Red Ryder model?

Daisy first produced the Red Ryder bb gun in 1940.  The comic book character first appeared in 1938.  Daisy still manufactures commemorative Red Ryders, but the original No. 111 Model 40 was discontinued in 1954.  That year, they began production of a modified version, which they called the Model 94 Red Ryder.  In 1962, Daisy stopped making Red Ryder bb guns, so they could concentrate on their Model 1894 "Spitten Image".  They resumed production of the Red Ryder in 1972 with the Model 1938 "replica" of the original Red Ryder.  They continued making the Red Ryder Model 1938 until 1979, when they modified the design, added a safety mechanism and changed the model designation to 1938A.  A year later, they improved the safety mechanism and changed the model designation to 1938B.

If you would like to purchase a Red Ryder Commemorative bb gun, visit the Daisy Museum website. If you would like to purchase one of the guns in my collection, click one of the links at the bottom of this page, or visit the "For Sale" section of DaisyKing.com.

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