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Daisy Outdoor Products was kind enough to send me, on pure speculation, a sample of the most recent version of their Model 25 Pump Gun. I had intended to write an article about gun-skill practice in backyards and indoors, including instinctive “wing shooting” outdoors at tossed pennies and even aspirin tablets, but that got short-circuited somehow. Nevertheless, I feel that I owe Daisy some kind of review in exchange for the air-gun, so here it is.

The Daisy Model 25 hasn’t changed much in the 62 years since I was a 10-year-old. It still takes down into two separate pieces, each about 19 inches long. Its buttstock is still a profiled, flat slab of wood, and the pump mechanism’s fore-grip is a non-slip, grooved wooden cylinder. It’s still going to be difficult for a 10-year-old to work the pump, and the gun’s 50-BB magazine is the same fumble-fingered royal pain to load that it was when I was young.

There are changes, though. The really big one is that now it’s made in China! And wait—there’s more. It has a trigger-guard-mounted, pushbutton safety. There’s a rear sight that changes with a flip from an open notch to a peep, and which allows both elevation and windage adjustment. The new BB magazine feeds through a slick, pot-metal casting that’s assembled with machine screws, rather than through a pressed-together compilation of bent sheet steel, and, for loading, it screws out of, and back into, the gun’s barrel much more easily than the original one did.

The Model 25’s specifications state that it fires BBs at 350fps, which, if I remember correctly, makes it the most powerful old-fashion BB gun in the Daisy lineup. Live with it, Red Ryder! Daisy says that BBs from the Model 25 will carry out to 195 yards, but I think that to get them that far you’d have to be shooting upwards at a 45-degree angle on a clear, windless day. Still, using this gun requires the same safety considerations you’d apply to shooting a .22 rimfire. Your mom was right: You can put an eye out with this gun, especially if you have to rest its butt on the ground in order to pump it.

Shooting prone from our library through our hallway, I found the unrifled barrel of the new Model 25 to be accurate enough for general indoor target practice at 10 yards. My best try gave me a group of five shots that was about one inch across and a half-inch high. Outdoors, it gave me consistent satisfactory dinging hits, shooting from our kitchen door to the steel squirrel guard that keeps furry thieves out of a birdseed dispenser that’s about 14 yards away. When I looked at the newly-chipped paint on the guard, I found that my hits were now dispersing vertically, in a group that was four inches high by less than an inch in width.

My target practice was complicated by the Model 25’s terrible trigger action, a fault not entirely caused by the gun’s stiff sear. Instead, it’s mostly due to the new and poorly designed cross-bolt safety. Press it to “off” as I might, it still interferes destructively with trigger movement. The newly designed rear sight shares the blame. Its peep-hole originally was much too small to be effective because it’s too far from my eye, but at the same time its open notch is much too close. Worse, although the sight’s elevation adjustment is within range, at first the gun shot much too far to the right to allow windage correction. So I drilled-out the peep’s hole, and then tried to carefully bend the front sight to the right. That’s when its left-side spot weld broke. I bent the sight the proper amount, and then super-glued the broken weld back together. It hasn’t let loose yet, and the gun now shoots to point-of-aim.

The Model 25’s take-down feature may be handy, but it does not appeal to me. Its rear sight is attached to its receiver, as it has always been, while its front sight is on its barrel casing. Thus the gun will almost certainly lose its zero every time the two parts are separated. It’s also an annoyance that, although the old Model 25’s takedown screw had a coin slot, the new version requires a large Phillips screwdriver. Of course, zero may be lost every time you reload anyway, since the process involves unscrewing the actual barrel from the casing that bears the front sight. Yes, I know that I’m being much too finicky. This is a pretty crude air gun, and at 10 yards, how tight a zero does one need?

My complaints aside, I have to admit that I am really enjoying playing with this Daisy Model 25. When the local pigeons gather to eat up the seed we put out for smaller birds, my Model 25 and I send them flying with a quick ding or two on the squirrel guard. I won’t try to shoot any animal with it, though, because I don’t believe that it’s capable of a humane, clean kill.

Don’t tell Daisy, but someday soon I’m going to remove that horrid safety, and the gun’s sights too. Then I’ll try going for tossed pennies, and maybe even for aspirin tablets. If I ever succeed, I’ll let you know.
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