In 2010 Daisy Manufacturing proudly introduces the 70th anniversary commemorative edition of the Daisy Red Ryder BB gun.
With nationwide newspaper comic strip syndication, comic books, magazines, books, serial and feature films, the Red Ryder character is probably one of the best-known fictitious western characters who ever didn't live. Created by Stephen Slesinger and illustrated by renowned western artist Fred Harman, Red Ryder, his Native American sidekick Little Beaver and trusty steed Thunder first leapt off the pages of Dell Crackerjack Funnies #9 in March, 1939. But Red made merchandising history when he sauntered into the offices of Daisy Manufacturing, eventually inking a licensing agreement that would stand the test of time.
Since 1940, the Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun, produced under license from Red Ryder Enterprises, Inc., has been the world's all-time best-selling BB gun. With that kind of history under his belt, Red (and Daisy) can claim that they've been a part of teaching several generations of young people to shoot safely.
If you study the chronology, the Red Ryder was introduced, with the wooden stock and forearm, leather thong and forearm band, in 1940. It was called the model 111 and was continuously manufactured that way through 1950, with the exception of the WWII years, 1942 to 1945, when steel was not available for "non-essential" products. From 1950 to 1953, the stock and forearm were made of plastic with some cosmetic changes in 1954. From 1955 to 1959 the Red Ryder became known as the model 94, with plastic stock and forearm, leather-wrapped buttplate, silver silk-screening on the metal receiver, a silver forearm band, lever and hammer. While a lever-action carbine remained in the Daisy product line from 1959 to 1971, it was not marked Red Ryder. Sensing a resurgence in western culture, Daisy re-introduced the Red Ryder as the model 1938 in 1972 with the wood stock and forearm, forearm band and leather thong.
Over the years, there have been several variations on the Fred Harman artwork engraved into the stock. And the engraving moved from the left side of the gun to the right side. There have been different plated forearm bands and retro packaging. There has been a 50th anniversary, 60th anniversary and 65th anniversary model and a special engraving was designed for the Millenium edition in 2000. There was even a Red Ryder / Little Beaver two-gun set. Whether you're a Red Ryder fan, a Daisy Red Ryder collector, or the third or fourth generation in your family to hand down the shooting tradition with a Red Ryder BB gun, you'll want to add this 70th anniversary model to your collection.
The silver-tone medallion is inset neatly into the stock, just above the famous Red Ryder lariat logo. It features a vintage image of a boy and his Red Ryder with the dates 1940 - 2010. The metal tone of the forearm band matches the medallion and, yes, the famous saddle ring and leather thong are still there - just like you remember.
If we had to describe it, we'd say it's a lever-cocking, spring-air youth model BB gun, appropriate for ages 10 and older with adult supervision. It shoots standard .177 caliber BB steel shot, has a blade and ramp front sight and adjustable open rear sight.
But you and I both know it's a lot more than that. It's a piece of history. A tradition. A world of memories. A lot of shooting fun. A chance to pass down the tradition and love of the great outdoors to another generation. That's a tall order for a BB gun. But, after all, this isn't just any ordinary BB gun. It's the Daisy Red Ryder 70th Anniversary edition.