Hey Mike,This is kind of a crazy question,But…….

By: Mike White

Is how the conversation began when a good customer called about a month ago to inquire if I ever worked on BB guns.

I replied honestly and said”I’ve never seen the inside of one before,But I’m sure we can fix it!” So my customer said he would come by in the morning. The next morning, my customer Ken came into the shop and presented a 1961 Daisy “Spittin’Image” 1894 lever action BB rifle built in the original Daisy factory in Plymouth,Michigan. Ken is a pretty serious shotgunner and was a little surprised when I moved a Parker Bros. SxS to make room for the Daisy on the bench.

Ken explained that this BB gun was his as a boy and that he had first learned to shoot with it and his Grandkids were ready to start learning and he would like to start them out with his “Spittin’ Image” and was hoping I could help get it back into fighting trim. Once I learned the history behind the Daisy and Ken’s purpose for restoring it to it’s former glory I had a snowball’s chance  saying NO to the man. I accepted the work and told Ken I would try to get to it as quickly as possible but It might be a couple of weeks before I got to it. Meantime I did a little homework in the evening and found plenty of information, as well as parts available. The appropriate rebuild/seal kit and Daisy service manual and a spring compressor tool for re-assembly were ordered. I recommend the spring compressor tool if you’re going work on these guns. I dis-assembled the gun without it and realized that re-assembly would be difficult without it and decided not to fight it and ordered a tool for less than 20 dollars. Plans are readily available online to build this tool and it is a simple tool,However I chose to purchase as a matter of convenience.

Just after lunch on Friday afternoon I placed the disassembled Daisy on the bench and set about cleaning,lubing and re-assembly. The new spring plunger assembly and seal kit were installed followed by the airtube,feed tube and plunger, then action lever, trigger sear and spring, hammer and spring, loading gate and the stocks. A word of caution, there is a very definite order to dis-assembly/re-assembly and it is detailed in the Daisy service manual. Follow the steps per the manual and it’s pretty painless. A further word of caution,The main action spring is substantial and using the spring compression tool is the best way to re-install the spring anchor and complete assembly of the action.

Assembly, function and safety checks completed it was time to test fire the rifle so I headed for the backyard and my wife, Wanda’s pistol target, charged the rifle and proceeded to ring steel for a half hour! Range testing complete, it was back in the shop where everything was given an application of Ballistol.,Dana Delesoy’s(Balli D) favorite firearm ointment!

Repairing this BB rifle was a first for me and not something I would normally have taken in but I am glad I did! This project has been fun and I learned a few things along the way and I have  a deep satisfaction knowing that  I have had a small part in furthering a family’s tradition and two young people will be introduced to the shooting sport’s by their Grandfather in the same manner as he was, with the same Daisy rifle!!

With repairs and testing completed to my satisfaction,I called Ken to let him know the Daisy was ready and he could pick it up anytime. The response I got was startled me a bit in it’s intensity but  validated my reasoning  for accepting  the work. The man was overjoyed and surprised that the rifle had been restored to working order as he had convinced himself that the rifle was done and he would disappoint his Grandkids by having to use a different one and he was very grateful that I had repaired his 1894 and they would be able to use it.Ken and his family are visiting family out of state and will be home later this week and will come by  to pick up the Daisy next Saturday. As I said before,When he mentioned the Grandkids,I didn’t have a Snowball’s Chance…..