Red Ryder Still Rides


At a recent media event, one section of the firing line was entirely devoted to the venerable Daisy Red Ryder. Even though we periodically mention the gun, I hadn’t shot a “Gen-U-Wine” Red Ryder in years — talk about getting swept back into the mists of time!

Upon picking up the adult-sized version, the memories came flooding back. First was the familiar buzzing sound of hundreds of BBs swishing around in the magazine/barrel as you handle the gun. Then there was the familiar drill of turning the Red Ryder to cock it via the action lever. Back in my neighborhood there were kids who claimed they knew someone strong enough to cock the gun like a “real” lever-action. They were lying, of course — only someone with both strength and an incredible pain tolerance could actually do so. Everyone else turned the gun over and grasped it like a pump handle. Not exactly the stuff of Saturday Westerns!

Once on the firing line, I had forgotten about the complex geometry and calculus required to shoot a real BB gun. Due to the rainbow arc of the steel spheres, glinting in the sun as they completed their slow downrange saunter, a shooter had to employ some fairly complex mental calculation to have any chance of BB and target intersecting beyond 10 yards’ distance. For a kid who had serious difficulties in math class, it required all my mental energy to make it happen. Such complexities probably saved the lives of countless songbirds but I do think it gave me a better understanding of “Kentucky windage” today.

If you’re interested, the Red Ryder is celebrating its 80th birthday this year with a special commemorative version featuring “elegant engraving on the firearm and commemorative medallion in the stock.”

Gene, Roy, Hoppy, Dale, Black Bart and the rest of the gang would be proud!

Mea Culpa And Connor Update

Even though GUNS Magazine is 65 years young, we are constantly tinkering with things to better serve the reader and keep abreast of trends and technology. In fact, this is the most difficult part of being editor — figuring out the changes which keep us up-to-date but, more importantly, making readers happy. Most of the time, using the collective knowledge of our matchless staff, we get it right. Sometimes a shot goes just off the paper into the backstop, just like on the shooting range.

In this regard, we have been paring down the articles a bit to include less redundant info, including the MSRP of firearms. The logic was, “Anybody can find it within 15 seconds on the internet” (along with “It’s essentially a relative guideline rather than a real number”) so why expend valuable and costly real estate on the printed page? However, we’ve heard from readers and they’re not fans. One letter really struck home; in essence, the reader said, “I pick up the magazine to get away from the internet!” Duly noted and acted upon. Occasionally we might forget to add the MSRP but we’ll try to include it whenever possible.

One other bit of housekeeping. We commonly get inquiries from readers regarding long-time writer John Connor. According to His Editorship, GUNS Publisher Roy Huntington, “Connor says, ‘I’ve been blowed-up too many times and it’s just time to retire and putter around these days and rest-up some.’”

Gun Control Doublespeak

You have to hand it to the anti-gunners — they’ve done a masterful job of weaponizing language to make it harder to argue against their illegal and illogical stances without sounding like a radical yourself.

I’m referring to “camo-speak,” a new phrase coined to describe the hijacking of gun control language to make it more palatable to the uninformed masses. Sadly, much of our big media and journalists commonly use such words and phrases in their reporting, sometimes even inadvertently. Even more unfortunately, some gun owners fall for it too.

Camo-speak is why “gun control” is now known as “Gun law reform.” “Gun control” groups such as Moms Demand Action are now referred to as “Gun Safety Organizations.” “Common-sense laws” gun control laws are frequently touted as one panacea — who dares argue against anything so basic as “common-sense”? Of course, “Red-flag laws” are never known as “extra-judicial gun seizures.” The list goes on and frankly, I have to grudgingly admit it’s a brilliant strategy by our opponents.

I bring this up because I think gun owners are slowly losing the battle for hearts and minds with younger people, and Camo-speak is one big reason. I suggest you check out the upcoming March issue of GUNS as our 2A Defense columnist Dave Workman explains how you can intelligently fight back against such word piracy in the media. It’s a compelling read for trying times!

The Industry Fights Back

In another case of technology moving faster than laws, Franklin Armory has filed suit against the New Jersey State Police for prohibiting the sale of their Reformation series of firearms. It seems the gun-grabbling pols in New Jersey don’t know what to do with the gun so they just banned it. Now, Franklin Armory is fighting back.

If you aren’t familiar, the Reformation guns appear to be an AR-clone but with a unique distinction: it has lands and grooves in the barrel, but they’re totally straight. This means the gun isn’t technically “rifled” (which imparts spin) but the gun also isn’t a smoothbore shotgun.

Franklin Armory tried to get the gun approved for sale in New Jersey but ultimately the state police decided it was an “assault weapon” under the state’s Assault Weapons Ban (NJSA 2C:39-1W(3)). Such designation seems a nice catch-all category for the state which does its best to prevent law-abiding citizens from owning guns. In response, the lawsuit alleging violation of 2nd and 14th Amendment rights was filed on October 24.

The case will undoubtedly take years to decide and appeal. Sadly, the state of New Jersey, with unlimited taxpayer funds to bankroll their legal team, will probably win by simple attrition. However, before such an ignominious end, we have to give a shout out to our friends at Franklin Armory for putting their money where their (figurative) mouth is to fight gun-banning politicians.

Speaking Of Doublespeak

Did you know knives kill more people than rifles? To listen to “the media,” especially after the latest criminal mass-homicide, you’d think rifles were felling more people each year than the battles of both First and Second Bull Run. However, even I didn’t realize the disparity until it was pointed out.

Using data from the “Murder Circumstances by Weapon, 2018” from the Crime in the United States report from the FBI, you’ll find knives and cutting instruments are far more deadly in the U.S. than rifles.

In 2018, rifles were considered the primary weapon in 297 cases in the U.S. out of 14,123 homicides. However, a knife was the murder weapon in just over 1,500 cases, a four-fold difference. Shotguns were slightly less used than rifles in 235 homicides. Meanwhile, blunt objects accounted for 443 murders and personal weapons (i.e. hands and feet) accounted for 668 homicides. Year-to-year, the numbers for all these categories have remained in a relatively stable ratio.

Even one murder is too much but as responsible gun owners, we need to know the real numbers when educating others about the dangers posed by certain weapons. Very clearly those dreaded “black rifles” are actually 50 percent less dangerous, statistically speaking, than hands and feet!

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