Vintage Ads: Ralphie’s Red Ryder BB Gun

Ah, memories. As immortalized in A Christmas Story, the Red Ryder BB Gun was a rite of passage for young boys way back when to at least the 1970s. Daisy still makes ‘em. You can, in fact, buy the gun about which Ralphie’s mom said “you’ll shoot your eye out,” for a reasonable (by today’s standards) $64.99. By today’s standards, the Red Ryder is mostly a nostalgia piece – air rifles have come a long, long way from the more innocent days of playing Cowboys and Indians. Today’s air rifles are used in competitive shooting sports, and can be a great way to set up a legal shootin’ range in your backyard or basement, without fear of noise or taking out something a couple of miles away.

But I gotta say, Ralphie’s mom was right in one respect – even a Red Ryder can put somebody’s eye out if some idiot aims it at someone’s eye. The Red Ryder is a gun – not a toy, despite the way they’ve been marketed since time began. That being said, it’s a sign of our times that getting a Daisy is no longer looked upon as the rite of passage it once was, but more as a sign of the cultural divide between states red and blue. And that’s sad for all of us.

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About Brad Kozak

Brad Kozak is an iconoclastic, curmudgeonly graphic designer/marketer/writer/musician/advertiser/conservative creative guy. In 2007, he completed a gradual transition from a conservative semi-pacifist to a proactive, armed citizen, willing to exercise his Second Amendment rights to protect his family and property. His idea of “gun control” is hitting where he aims.

4 Responses to Vintage Ads: Ralphie’s Red Ryder BB Gun

  1. avatarJohn says:

    I remember getting a Crosman air rifle for Christmas when I was 12 back in 1985. After being taught proper use and safety, I was let loose with it. It was common to carry it over to a friends house or vice versa to shoot at targets. Shooting our bows in the backyard was common too. And this was a city neighborhood, not out in the country. I wonder how this would be looked at nowadays. I can't recall ever seeing a kid walk down the street with a BB gun in recent times. I imagine that kids under a certain age have to have adult supervision now. It's understandable but sad.

  2. avatarRobert Farago says:

    Check out YouTube. Search "gun." Thousands of kids' videos on BB/Airsoft guns. The passion is stronger than ever.

  3. avatarAl Hasis says:

    Cleaned my mother's house, (RIP). Found my 1947 Red Ryder lever action BB gun. Still in working order. Does this have any value to a collector?

    • avatarBrad Kozak says:

      No idea. I'd look at GunBroker.com and see if there's something similar for sale, or perhaps find someone that can appraise it for you (as in Antiques Road Show).

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