Daisy Register Lot and Serial Numbers Explained

Reprinted here with permission, provided by Gary Garber.

Daisy Gun Register and Lot Numbers

by

Dave Albert and Gary Garber

The numbering of Daisy BB guns began with a memo dated November 28, 1952, from Daisy’s Robert Shafer. In the memo, Shafer specified that register stamping would begin on December 1, 1952 (guns were then being produced in Plymouth, Michigan). The first number to be stamped on the small frame barrels was to be 000001. The first number to be stamped on the No. 25 jackets (receiver) was to be K000001.  In this same memo Shafer specified that, “Prior to assembling registered guns, all non-registered barrels and jackets must be used, including those to be reblued, brushed, etc.”

These first registered small frame guns included the Nos. 111, 102, and 155. The barrels and receivers of these guns were stamped and formed from a single piece of sheet metal. The large frame guns were made in two parts - a receiver and a barrel - and welded together, like the No. 142 (or in the case of the No. 25, held together with a thumb screw).

The first registered large frame guns included the Nos. 25 and 142 and these were stamped with the K prefix. History does not tell us the reason for starting the large frame gun sequence with the letter K, but we do note that the number of the pierce and stamp machine used to stamp the large frame guns contained the letter K. The machines used to stamp the small frames did not.

Daisy production records show that the No. 111, Model 40 Red Ryders made on December 2, 1952 were stamped with register numbers starting with 000001 and ending with 002405. Daisy records show that on December 8, 1952, No. 25 guns K004350 thru K005258 were produced. There is no indication in the production records of any pump guns being produced with numbers lower than K004350, but we have personally seen a lower register number, so they do exist..

The record keeping system was totally manual and hand written. There are obvious errors indicated in the log, but we do not know whether these are machine or transcription errors. For example, the No. 142 was another large frame gun in production when the register number system was first installed. Production on February 10, 1953 was noted to start with K049557 and end with K043350 which indicated a negative production for the day. There is a note for that day that simply says, “Defective Register No.”

Register numbers started with 000001 and ran to 999999 and the next letter in the alphabet would begin the next register number – A000001 (for small frame guns). There was never a 1,000,000 register number.

This register number system continued until an October 26, 1972 memo from Thomas Cisar to ‘All Supervisors’ defined a new date coded register number system:

Effective November 1, 1972, we will begin date coding the ‘Register Number’ so that the month and year of manufacture will be readily recognizable to anyone knowing the code. The code to be followed is as follows: The first position will be a letter and will indicate the month. The second position will be a number and will indicate the year. The remaining five positions will simply be a consecutive numbering system that starts over again at -00001 on the first of each month and whenever a different model is run in that particular press during any one month. For instance, A300001 would indicate the first gun produced in January, 1973, of that particular model. B300001 would be the first gun of that model produced in February of 1973. The following month code will be applicable:

A January

B February

C March

D April

E May

F June

G July

H August

I Not to be used

J September

K October

L November

M December

Hence, starting in November, 1972, all guns produced in November will be coded L2.

Whenever the same barrel is made on two runs within any one month, it will be necessary to reset the register at the next higher number where the previous run left off. That is, if 30,000 #102 barrels were made during the first week of a month, and subsequently, in the third or fourth week, we needed to run some more #102 barrels, we would reset the register at 30001 and continue.”

The gun numbering system was revised circa January 1982 after the previous system had been in use for about 10 years, but no official memo could be found indicating exactly when the change was made. The number indicating the year was put in the first position in the Register number and the Month code in the second position. The nomenclature was also changed from ‘Register Number’ to ‘Lot Number’ at some point. The register number or lot number 3KXXXXX would have been made in October 1983.

Lot numbers began on some guns as early as April 1973, but the old Register Nos. continued on the 1938 Red Ryder into at least 1979.

It important that some degree of expertise be applied when decoding register numbers of guns that were made during approximately the 1960s to 1980s timeframe. For example, if you have a No. 25 that has a Register No. A3XXXXX, is that a January 1973 gun or is it one made in the mid-1960s? You can see that some knowledge about other variations of different guns through the years might be necessary to properly date a gun.

In 1988, Daisy used a special numbering system for their 50th Anniversary Red Ryders. These are simply stamped “LOT NO. 88XXXXXX” The date “88” is followed by a six-digit production code.

Another major change occurred in the 1990’s. In a memo dated January 19,1994 from Joe Carr to ‘Distribution’ a new system was defined for ‘Date Codes on Products.

Beginning today, guns produced with sheet metal outer barrels will be date-coded with the following format:

0194___XXXXX.

The first four digits indicate that this product was produced in January 1994. The last five digits are stamped sequentially.

There are still some products, pistols for example, which are still stamped with the old format and as soon as we can work out the details, we will change them over also.

The new date code will be in the same location as the old lot number.”

(Note the mention of lot number).

Shipping Carton Codes:

On December 13, 1972, Mr. Cisar also sent out a memo regarding the date coding of air rifle cartons:

SUBJECT: DATE CODING- INDIVIDUAL AIR RIFLE CARTONS

We have received alpha-numeric rubber stamps to be used in stamping the ends of our individual air rifle cartons, including the CO2 300 and 880 Multi-Stroke guns. Effective January 2, 1973, we will use a code indicating a letter for the month, a digit for the year, and two digits for the day of the month that the gun was packaged.

The following code will apply for the months: (same as the Oct 26, 1972 memo)

Examples: M221 This would be December, 1972, 21st day of the month.

A302 This would be January, 1973, 2nd day of the month.”

Our special thanks to the following individuals, who at various times have provided information pertinent to this article:

- Joe Murfin, Vice President for Marketing, Daisy Outdoor Products and Chairman of the Board, Rogers Daisy Airgun Museum,

- Denise Johnson, Daisy Outdoor Products, Customer Service Manager, and

- Orin Ribar, Curator, Rogers Daisy Airgun Museum.

© 2006, Dave Albert and Gary Garber, all rights reserved.