PROVEN: Red Ryder BB Gun

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Every American boy and girl should be issued a Red Ryder BB Gun upon birth, though the weapon may be kept in parental custody until the child is mature enough to handle it — or age four, whichever comes first. The Red Ryder will perform many, many years of reliable service, warding off bad guys, Nazi zombies, lurking grizzlies, and serving as a deterrent to under-bed monsters well into college.

The gun has been in production since 1938, and, though it’s seen numerous change over the years, it remains the go-to peacekeeper for kids from east to west and north to south. The lever action is dependable, it rarely misloads, the iron sights are adjustable, and, hey, there’s a leather thong, which might be the coolest feature of all.

My Red Ryder was a trusted companion until I was given a Crossman 760 pump action with a crosshair scope, when it was placed in the corner of the closer to gather dust like a loyal but tired mount. The Crossman was an amazing weapon, capable of accurately plinking cans at over 100 feet, but it was easily overpumped and the seal too easy to rupture. It wasn’t long before the broken Crossman went into the corner of closet. Out came the Red Ryder, still working, still lethal at 20 feet, and still…proven.

Just be careful. You can put you eye out with it.

$29 LINK


Proven is stuff that stands the test of time.

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{ 13 comments…read them below or write one }

  • David Butler

    Ordinarily I really enjoy AJ and its unique writing, photography, and wit. But this piece, in light of the events of recent weeks is truly in poor taste. To use the term so often encountered on these pages: “Fail”.

  • marty grabijas

    I can’t agree with you Dave. if someone had driven a vehicle loaded with explosives made with fertilizer into a school we wouldn’t be having the conversation about vehicles or petrol based fertilizers.

    Statistics will show that death by guns has declined. Unfortunately for us all, a few tragic incidences have rule the news and tugged at people’s emotions. This is not to diminish the pain that anyone is suffering or the loss of those lives. However to draw an analogy to a Red Rider BB gun – and a time when many children in America were drawn to field sports (hunting and fishing) and taught gun safety – to the recent violent acts that have been committed – is a huge leap.

    It appears to me that those who committed recent crimes were individuals who were isolated from family, community and friends. Research on happiness shows that the happiest and longest lived populations in the world are the ones with a strong sense of family and community ties. I would argue that isolation brought about by electronic communication – instead of actually sitting down wand having a conversation and connecting with fellow human beings and taking a genuine interest in their well-being – is far more to blame than guns.

    This is not a gun issue. This is an issue about our human connections and our society as a whole.

  • Brent

    I got one of these on my 8th birthday, shot my brother with it minutes after my dad went back inside. How I convinced him to hold the target I will never know, but he has since recovered. Loved that thing, recently pulled it out to shoot at ravens, still works.

  • Mike

    Ordinarily I really enjoy AJ and its unique writing, photography, and wit. And this piece, in light of the Christmas holiday and the incredible film “A Christmas Story” is truly wonderful. To use the term so often encountered on these pages: “Epic”.

  • steve casimiro Post author

    Well, I’m sorry that some of you feel this story is insensitive. And I’m sorry our piece was offensive to some of you. But I’m even more sorry that our society has turned into a place where a whimsical seasonal story about a toy — yes, a toy gun, but a toy nonetheless — becomes some kind of emotionally charged statement that divides us. TBS didn’t stop running “A Christmas Story” this week because of the tragedy at Newtown, coming to the correct conclusion that a movie revolving around a toy BB gun has no connection to the sick world of mentally ill people with assault weapons. Nor, in my view, does this story, which was written and posted in the spirit of the silliness of a movie that has become, for many of us, a cultural icon.

  • Justin

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane Steve.

    Don’t let the politically correct nimby’s ruin what is intended to be light-hearted fun…

  • Fred

    As a regular Adventure Journal reader I enjoy scrolling through the feedback that regularly follows articles and props to all y’all on keeping the discourse civil and intelligent.
    It’s easy to scribble a few snarky or nasty words in haste when an article evokes emotion, but time and time again AJ readers keep it classy. Props to all y’all.
    I don’t know that the timing of this article is all that great, but at the same time I agree that it’s a shame something as timeless as a BB gun can be so tarnished. My experience with a BB gun as a kid was that it wasn’t introduced to me as a toy at all, but rather an early coming of age rite of passage. My pops trusted me enough to teach me how to safely shoot a BB gun. I think parents who give a BB gun to their are entrusting their child as much as they are entrusting themselves, for in a lot of ways it’s on their shoulders.
    Light hearted or sincere, thoughtless or thoughtful, the red ryder BB gun has certainly stood the test of time and is a proven piece of americana lore.

  • Brian

    Fred, great point I was thinking the same thing. Despite variance of backgrounds and stripes, people come to this site for a shared love of the outdoors. A love of the outdoors means also having respect, and it’s refreshing to see respect in postings here.

    • steve casimiro Post author

      Thanks, Brian, Fred, and David. Listen, the last thing I’ll ever claim to be is flawless — people probably won’t always agree with AJ because part of its agenda is to reconsider what outdoor media considers traditional or correct editorial, and we’ll certainly make mistakes. But one of my deepest loves for this country is our freedom of speech and the right for people to say want even when you don’t agree — even (or especially) when they’re criticizing you — and to respect their right to say it. As long as comments don’t get personal, off-topic, or trolly, the more points of view the better.

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