Daisy Red Ryder Carbine QUICK REVIEW
We are all told guns are NOT toys, but enter the Daisy Red Ryder Carbine. Shooting small 177 cal steel BB's at 350fps with a toy like appearance and marketing clearly aimed at kids or possibly the big kid inside every shooter - the Red Ryder is most definitely what we would call a toy.
There is a alot of history around Daisy air-rifles, head over to Wikipedia for the complete low-down - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daisy_Outdoor_Products
We picked up our Red Ryder Carbine for around the $199 mark. This is the price for the the shooting 'kit'. You get your rifle, selection of paper targets, tin of 750 steel BB's and a pair of shooting glasses. You even get a colourful and cheerful cardboard box, quite obviously designed to be hung from a couple of pegs on a store shelf - obviously we won't have any of that in Australia because as defined under our gun laws - the Red Ryder BB Rifle is a Firearm.
The Daisy Red Ryder is basically a lever action rifle with a tube-fed magazine. Speaking of the magazine it boasts the highest capacity of any rifle available in Australia - 650 rounds! (or BB's). You might want to NOT put that on your Permit to Acquire.
The entire rifle is made of a smooth bore steel barrel, timber stock and various other bits of plastic and metal, including a few nuts and bolts clamping the receiver together. You get your standard open sights with the rear adjustable for elevation. The rifle seems to be well made with the important parts made of steel and other parts of plastic to obviously cut down on costs.
The entire rifle and package has a 'nostalgia' feel going for it, from the colourful packaging and printing to the saddle ring on the receiver (complete with leather cord) and artwork burnt into the stock. Many years ago this rifle was aimed at youngsters growing up watching their favourite cowboys on TV. Times might have changed but the amount of fun you will have shooting this rifle has not.
Shooting the Red Ryder
The only negatives you really need to know about shooting the Red Ryder - the lever action is a bit stiff and you will need to wear some type of eye protection because those little BB's really like to bounce around, including back at you.
We did a bit of accuracy testing with the supplied BB's. See below for our paper target shot off-hand with 10 rounds at around 10 paces, more than enough for knocking down some tin cans or green plastic army men.
The trigger is on the heavy side and so is the cocking lever. Children with weak hands may struggle to cock the lever to compress the spring inside the rifle. We found it was easier to grab the bottom section of the lever loop and pull it out. Speaking of the cocking lever we were a bit disappointed to find it is made of plastic. It seems to be hard plastic but only time will tell how it stands up to being cocked thousands of times.
Recoil is nothing and so is the report of the rifle being fired. Smack your hand on the table it and it will be louder. This makes it a great afternoon time waster if you have the land to shoot on and tin cans to spare.
Loading BB's is very easy. There is a small latch towards the front of the magazine, just push it up and pour your BB's in. The rifle will catch and load them into the barrel ready to be fired when you cock the lever.
We do feel the need to advise some warnings about the Daisy Red Ryder! Firstly, as ridiculous as it seems, the Red Ryder is classed as a firearm in Australia. This means it is still subjected to the same storage and use requirements of any firearm. Don't go firing the Daisy in your suburban backyard, you might end up in a bit of trouble!
Secondly, those little BB's really do bounce everywhere. We were hit with ricocheting BB's a few times which was of course no issue but a stray BB in some ones eye could cause damage, where your glasses!
The only improvement we did to our Daisy rifle was put a dab of white paint on the front plastic sight. The rear and front sights are both black and difficult to aim. Having the small white dot at the front really helped.
The Daisy Red Ryder Carbine is an excellent little rifle for that lazy afternoon. Setup a few targets and plink away without the need to worry about noise and the cost of ammo. It would also be an excellent tool for teaching children how to shoot.
- Cheap with endless hours of fun
- Well made
- Great for kids
- Australian gun laws ruin the fun a little bit
- We weren't fans of the stiff plastic cocking lever