Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Rest-O-Mod Daisy Model 1938B Chinese Red Ryder Upgrade

There's a lot of angst about Daisy's current production Red Ryder built with Chinese parts assembled in the USA at Daisy. The up side is this is manufactured to Daisy specs and because it's made in the land of low production costs it's still really cheap. Especially if you haunt the aisles of your local Walmart and wait for the inevitable $24.95 mark down price. Be patient, it'll happen.

Once you spy your intended target, buy two of them and head home chuckling with glee as you now have two for the price of one which means you can mod them any way you want. When you get done you'll have a functioning one-off that'll do anything a factory gun will do but that has your very own style stamped on it. The perfect heirloom pass down.

The stock Walmart Red Ryder is as basic as it gets with Daisy. The standard unit is equipped with the plastic lever, bare bones front sight, annoying bear-trap trigger and safety and the legendarily inconvenient leather thong. A quick and dirty upgrade is to simply replace the plastic lever with a new cast aluminum unit from Daisy, replace the stock front sight with one of Daisy's nifty fiber optic front sight units and get that leather thong out of the way.

If that is enough and you're done, fine. But if you want to add a couple of easy touches that really make the gun stand out then redo the stock. The current production daisy has a Chinese hardwood stock of some description, I don't know anything about wood in China but this gun had something akin to poplar on it. The wood is very light and this unit had a tightish grain pattern hidden under the coat of stain/finish applied at the factory.

I decided that I would do some applique work on this one so I removed the factory stain with a wipe down with acetone followed by a light sanding to 220 grit. Next I went to the scrap bin and pulled out some trims from other stocks and glued them up on the wrist of the butt stock and fore end to provide some pop. I then hit it with two coats of my wood dye formulation for fiddleback maple and let it air dry for a day or two. Once dry, I applied a heavy coat of Danish oil followed by a light coat applied with 320 grit wet/dry paper to knock down the fuzz and let that sit long enough to dry. Then it's polishing time. The effect is pretty nice and very smooth to handle.

Every time you do a project, you'll discover something. This time I discovered I'll just replace the forearm entirely as the applique just doesn't cut it in my opinion. I do like the butt stock modification as it retains the Red Ryder logo and improves the grip.

So, there it is. A unique take on an american classic made in china. Cool, functional and ready to chase cans all over the back yard in style.