“I want an official Red Ryder carbine-action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!”

Was there a shooter with a soul so dead he didn’t think to himself: ”I want a Red Ryder carbine action, range model air rifle”?

I know after seeing the film as a 7-year-old kid in 1983 I sure did. And my Dad got me one. I didn’t have to go through as much trouble as poor Ralph to get one.  It was different from the original and the one you are about to see. It loaded a little differently than the original, and It held closer to 1000 shots. It also had a very high-quality walnut stock and was all metal. It did not have a compass or sundial, unfortunately. Years later, Dad told me he paid a very high price for it in 80s dollars.

I can’t even begin to calculate how many BBs I fired through that thing. Millions, it seemed like. Lots of dead birds and bumblebees. I loved shooting bumblebees off the flowering bushes in front of my Grandparent’s front porch. I did even almost shoot my eye out. I unwisely fired at the bottom of an 8-ounce coke bottle from too close.

The Red Ryder is just not powerful enough to break that thick glass, and it came right back and hit me on the cheekbone. Nothing was safe from my BB gun on Turkey Creek. Every tin can or bottle tossed as litter was perforated or busted. Even old toys became subject to summary execution if the mood hit. I may have even toyed with the idea of shooting one of my brat cousins.

I used that thing so much my Papaw had to repair it for me with some new bolts to hold it together. After a few years, I moved up to a Crossman 2300 that let me pump it up for more power. I kept that thing for a long time and a few years ago gave it to one of my very close friend’s sons.

I had thought about getting another one for years but every time I saw one, it was a cheap, mostly plastic model. Who the hell wants that? Last month I saw one at a pop-up beside the road gunshow as you can find here in Kentucky on fair-weather weekends, and a fellow was selling the ones Walmart puts out a few weeks before December. Since it wasn’t giving money to Walmart, I bought one after looking it over.

The package is very much meant to make you think of the movie your kid just saw and is now buggin’ you for the same rifle.

Everything in the box was freshly opened. Instructions, warranty card, needle for the sundial.

As you can see, this model is almost all metal. Older cheaper ones from recent years had a plastic cocking lever. Cheap crap. There are still some plastic parts on these but it is a tolerable amount. You can see the “blued steel beauty” has the saddle ring and leather straps.

The right side of the buttstock has the famous sundial and compass. The compass does work correctly. I’m sure the sundial probably does too.

The other side, of course, has the logo.

And something rarely seen on the newer versions is the brass barrel band.

Instructions on how to keep the proud new owner from shooting his eye out and a hole for oiling the weapon to keep it in proper working order.

So, how does it shoot?

Not as good as my old one. That is from 10 yards. I can say for certain that this new version is not as powerful as my old rifle. Back then, they made toys we could actually hurt ourselves with. This one wouldn’t even penetrate the soggy cardboard I pinned the target to. Where is my DeLorean? I want to go back in time. It also shot a bit high and required me to zero the rear sight a bit.

One neat thing I did find while looking for extra BBs was this kit.

I would have loved that rifle carrying case so much as a kid. I probably would have tossed the shooting glasses at the time, but I shouldn’t have. If I was buying this for some kid, I would spend the extra and get this kit to go with it if I was you.

The Red Ryder is just as much of a classic as the movie that still sells a boatload of them every year.

Now I have another one to cradle in my arms and dry-fire at my dog while I watch the yearly 24 hour run of A Christmas Story.

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