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Buffalo Bill Museum Air Gun Display

BB Gun Version of a Tommy Gun.

As a young child my most prized possession was my BB Gun. Mine is a Red Ryder lever action made by the Daisy Corporation. Just like the one used by Ralphie in that Christmas movie. Only mine didn’t have a compass in the stock.

Air guns from the 1870’s? Mind blown.

I can’t even begin to guess how many BB’s we shot though that old gun? But it was a lot. Perhaps in the thousands of BB’s? And while life has taken me from the trappings of childhood to the equipment of men; I have never forgotten just how fundamental BB guns were to a life-long passion for firearms.

But have I ever told you about my PRR (Pre-Red-Ryder) days?

Before I received my very own BB Gun on Easter, I had plenty of trigger time on the type. You see my two best friends at the time had some old BB guns that belonged to their grandfather. They were old and well used. And considering these guns were, “old” in the mid 1970’s, think about how old they are today?

The gun second from the top seems very similar to my PRR days.

My friends were into guns as well. But I don’t think they took it as seriously as I did even then. As I recall, they kept their granddad’s old BB guns on hooks in their garage. Which didn’t seem like a fitting place to store something so desirable. Even to my 8 year old eyes.

This particular example is from the 1940’s.

But the upside was, being in the garage, these Daisy BB guns were pretty much accessible to us 24 hours a day. And we sure did put the miles on them! Cans. Rodents. Birds. Paper targets. Glass pop bottles. Street signs. Milk jugs. You name it, we shot it. Or at least shot at it.

Looking back on it, I seem to think these guns were made in the 1930’s. The loading gate was very different than my Red Ryder which used a plastic door on the barrel. On theirs, you twisted a end-cap on the muzzle and that opened up a small, metal, circular gate. Which facilitated loading…errr…well…facilitated might be a stretch. Enabled loading of BB’s almost 1 at a time. All very slow going. But I’m getting out in the weeds here.

I told you all of that so I could tell you this. I probably spent more time looking at this airgun display than most visitors to the Buffalo Bill Museum ever have. Even the old guys would kind of glance quickly and then move on to more exotic, manly, historic arms.

300-500 RPM. Capacity 2000 rounds. I could have shot, “all the birds”.

But I was transfixed. I saw BB guns of my youth. I saw BB guns that belonged to my friends’ grandfather. I saw BB guns that I had only heard of in magazines. And I saw fully automatic BB guns that would have just been amazing to own and shoot in 1977. Hell! They would be amazing to shoot now!

So take a few minutes and spend some time looking at these pictures if you wish. And don’t forget…everything you see here is…a…BB gun. Even if it looks like a machine-gun or something off a movie set or military reservation. Some of these guns are amazing and mechanical wonders.




“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”

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