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Daisy History

The 1920's - Daisy and the BB Business



The Plymouth Michigan Plant



In the early days of air rifles, shot tubes were sized to utilize lead drop shot that was approximately .180 inches in diameter; a size referred to as “BB”, hence the name “BB gun”.

Shortly after the turn of the century, seeing the potential in the air gun ammo business, Daisy prevailed upon the makers of lead shot to create a special size ball with an average diameter of .175 inches and call it “”Air Rifle Shot”.  However, the name “BB” stuck and is still in common use today.

In the mid 1920’s Daisy began to experience an unusually high rate of returns the source of which was ultimately traced to the American Ball Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a manufacturer of steel ball bearings.  Apparently, enterprising young lads in the area were salvaging bearings from the scrap out back of the plant to shoot in their guns.  While some scrap worked well in the guns, some was oversize and either jammed or split the shot tube.  When this was called to the attention of American Ball Company, some quick market research on their part revealed that there was a bigger market for air rifle shot than for their particular brand of bearings.  Armed with this information they began manufacturing and selling steel balls in a size approximating air rifle shot under the brand name “Bulls Eye”. 

Because steel shot was less expensive to manufacture and performed better due to its lighter weight, sales skyrocketed.  Quick to realize their return problems were only going to compound Daisy redesigned its shot tubes to accommodate the “Bulls Eye” ammo and negotiated an agreement to become the exclusive sales agent for American Ball. The arrangement continued smoothly until Daisy, acquired the assets of American Ball Company in early 1939.


1880  ║  1890  ║ 1900  ║  1910  ║  1920  ║  1930  ║  1940  ║  The War Years
 1950  ║  1960  ║  1970  ║  1980  ║  1990  ║  2000  ║  The Museum

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The Daisy Airgun Museum
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