Saturday, January 27, 2007

Daisy Model 40 "Defender"


This is just too cool. First, a member of leverguns posted about a BB gun Joe Salter has for sale. To sum up, here's his write-up...
This all metal lever action air gun has an overall plum brown patina with some minor pitting and original blue in protected areas. The full length wood stock is fair to good with minor marks and blemishes. The original cloth sling is still attached and in tact and the gun comes complete with the adjustable front sight blade as well as the socket bayonet. According to Neal Punchard in his work daisy air rifles and BB guns the slings are very difficult to find and the bayonets are rare and worth as much as or more than the rifle. See page 16 of the aforesaid work. This piece is working and with some TLC could be improved by the careful removal of the surface petina. The bayonets are very rare due ot the fact that they were often taken away from children and lost or thrown away. A scarce and seldom found BB rifle.
So, I'm poking around looking for articles on kids and guns or photos of kids with guns and I find this!  A boy all dressed up in what might be his dad's WWI uniform with his Daisy Model 40 Defender sans bayonet (I guess his parents didn't quite trust him either!) and standing proudly at right shoulder arms. What serendipity!

The source of the photo of the boy is this short biography of Major Bradley Van Deusen. I would like to thank the author, Mary P. Van Deusen for her marvelous site. All this came from a search and a comment about a BB gun...

WWI rallied Americans and businesses alike.  Daisy was no exception and quick to produce a military look-alike rifle designed by Charles Frederic Lefever, the Model 40 Defender, and marketed it to the "Future Defenders of America". They followed suit with their own model during WWII with the Model 140 Defender with the same type advertising campaign.  It was first produced in 1916 shortly before the United States officially became involved in the war.  The Model 40 Defender was a 50-shot lever-cocking model with a nearly full-length wooden stock.  This rifle also included a canvas sling and a rubber-tipped, metal bayonet.  Today, the slings are difficult to find.  The bayonets are also rare and worth as much - sometimes more - than the rifle itself.  Measuring 37-inches in length, the Model 40 Defender had a blued-metal finish.
The magazine has to be removed from the gun for loading. It holds 50 BBs under spring tension, so there is never a dry fire as there can sometimes be with gravity-feed. All the guns from 1913 to about 1930 had lead BB magazines for 0.175-diameter air rifle shot. When Daisy switched to steel BBs, the size was reduced to 0.171 to 0.173, and a new type of shot holder had to be installed in the magazine.

I believe the 40 used the same magazine system as the 140 so to load...
Place the gun in your left hand, grasping the barrel up by the muzzle; with your right hand, place your thumb and forefinger around the knurled rim of the shot tube and twist it counter-clockwise until it comes competely loose, extract the shot tube from the barrel shroud. Place the gun down carefully; grasp the shot tube , turning it around until you see a tab like device attached to a spring. Pull the tab down, and near the end of the shot tube you will see an opening opposite of the tab; load the tube with up to 50 BB's, reinsert into the muzzle and carefully turn the shot tube clockwise until it is firmly seated; sometimes you have to 'play' with it for awhile until it is firmly seated on the air tube cylinder that is at the bottom of the barrel. Now you are ready to cock the lever and away you go. As a safety precaution, make sure the gun is not cocked prior to attemping the removal of the shot tube; getting shot with a BB at close range is not exactly a pleasant experience.
- Daisy Air Rifles & BB Guns The First 100 Years by Neal Punchard

1 comment:

Robert said...

I have a Daisy no 40 ww1 training rifle and would like to know more about it. How does it load? It cocks and apparently fires but I don't see how to load it.
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