favorite gun, my favorite gun, red ryder, red ryder bb gun, luke sweet
Luke Sweet and his brother used to take turns with the Red Ryder, each taking just one shot before handing it over. Luke Sweet
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OL reader Luke Sweet from Omro, Wis.​ sent us this account of his favorite gun. To share your own, email us at myfavoritegun@outdoorlife.com. We want to know the story of your favorite gun, and what makes it special to you. And, of course, we want to see a nice picture of it. Tune in next Thursday to read about another reader’s gun.

This gun never saved me from a charging grizzly, nor was it in my family for 10 generations. But, heck, we’ve all got to start somewhere.

That’s probably what my father was thinking when he bought his boys their first “real” gun. Maybe he was just trying to give us something he didn’t have growing up. But the tradition he started will be passed down for years to come. And I’d wager that more hunters have started with this icon than any other model.

I’m talking about my Daisy Red Ryder BB gun. She sports a saddle ring and leather thong, with a compass and sundial gracing the stock. A true cowboy astride his horse whips out her name with his lariat: “Red Ryder.”

I never did shoot my eye out, and I can still hear the rattle of hundreds of BBs rolling up and down her barrel. The trigger pulls harder than a hunting dog on a leash, and it has an impossibly strong lever for a 6-year-old to cock. Yet, while I was stalking frogs and chipmunks, in my mind I was stalking the African plains for water buffalo and leopards. My brother and I sat at the picnic table until the soda cans on our porch railing were reduced to shrapnel. Then we’d shake out the obliterated cans, searching for ammo to recycle.

A lifetime of hunting passion and skills were stirred into our blood whenever we held that gun. I’ve been hunting and shooting for some 30 years, and I’ve still fired more rounds through my Red Ryder than any other gun. Now it’s time for me to hand her down to my boy, and I’m confident she’ll mean as much to him as she does to me.

Oh, and aim her to the left, and little low, son. ’Cause the old iron sight shoots a little high and to the right.

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