September 18, 2023
While the Red Ryder lever-action BB gun is the iconic model everyone knows, the Model 25 slide-action BB gun is the one that launched the Daisy airgun company into prominence. It was designed by Charles Lefever and introduced in 1914. It was potent, reliable, and popular (more than eight million were made before it was discontinued in 1978).
Several anniversary models were made later in limited runs, including 16,725 (according to one source) of the Centennial versions in 1986. In case you’re wondering because the dates don’t line up, it was the 100-year anniversary of Daisy as a company, not of the Model 25.
Several small modifications were applied over the decades, but the U.S.-made Model 25 remained fundamentally the same throughout its lifespan.
Daisy brought the Model 25 back in 2007. Current models are made in China. Model 25s of Asian manufacture have a crossbolt safety (whereas the classic versions have none) and a sight mounted near the rear of the receiver.
The Model 25 is often referred to as an air rifle, but it has a smoothbore barrel, so airgun is a more correct term.
To load the Model 25, unscrew the barrel/magazine assembly from its shroud, using the mildly knurled ring around the muzzle. Draw the assembly out the front of the barrel shroud. Set the gun aside, use the tab to compress the spring-loaded follower, and hook it in the provided catch slot. Drop 50 BBs into the loading hole one at a time or use a loading hack I discovered by accident: put BBs into a shot glass and slowly pour them into the hole, creating a dam with your thumb and fingers to contain errant BBs and direct them into the loading hole.
Once full, unhook the follower tab so that spring tension is applied to the BBs. Replace the barrel/magazine assembly into the barrel shroud and screw it into the breech.
Work the slide rearward and then forward again to compress the inner spring that propels the BB. Aim and squeeze the trigger. Work the slide to reload and do it all over again.
I confess that prior to seeing the Model 25 reviewed here, I was unfamiliar with the model, so I’m no expert on it. However, my son William, who was with me in Neil’s Gunshop in Logan, Utah, that day, recognized it immediately. The excitement he displayed as we handled it prompted me to pay the asking price of $35 and take the airgun home.
Come to find out, we got a very good deal that day. This Model 25 is in very nice shape, with no rust or significant wear from shooting. Similar Centennial guns, unfired, in the box, bring upwards of $200. Fired but cared-for guns bring around $150.
I was living in a small apartment with my family at the time, as we built a home nearby. The place backed onto a vacant field, and my kids and I regularly shot their Red Ryders and my Model 25 at cans and targets of opportunity. To my surprise, I found that they were all delighted that I had a BB gun of my own, and it’s funny how much I enjoyed just being part of my little gang of rascals, shooting BB guns. It gave me a great opportunity to shape their gunhandling and safety skills, too.
Technically, Model 25s are rated to produce 350 fps and to have a maximum range of 195 yards. I wonder if Daisy arrived at that max range by actual testing?
For this report, to evaluate the Model 25’s accuracy, I posted paper targets at 25 feet. Setting my LabRadar chronograph on the “Archery” setting and putting the Doppler to constant-on, I fired a series of groups. To my surprise, the chronograph regularly picked up the departing BBs, and velocity averaged between 275 and 280 fps. Accuracy at 25 feet was adequate but not impressive. Groups averaged minute-of-root-beer-can. I tested Daisy’s zinc-plated steel BBs, which my kids and their cousins all tell me are the most accurate, and Crosman’s Copperhead copper-plated steel BBs. Both averaged not quite 2.5 inches over a series of three, five-shot groups.
While the Daisy Model 25 BB gun won’t drop a treetop squirrel or roll a running cottontail, I’ve seen my boys display surprising proficiency with a variety of pump-action .22 rifles and shotguns, no doubt benefitting by the time they’ve spent shooting the Model 25.
Model 25 Centennial Specifications
- Manufacturer: Daisy
- Type: Slide-action spring-powered BB gun
- Caliber: .177 BB
- Magazine Capacity: 50 rounds
- Barrel: 12 in. smoothbore, plus 6.5 in. spring air chamber
- Overall Length: 37.25 in.
- Length of Pull: 14 in.
- Weight, Empty: 3.13 lbs.
- Stock: American walnut
- Finish: Blued barrel and action, case hardened slide lever
- Sights: Post front, elevation-adjustable rear
- Trigger: 5.68-lb. pull (as tested)