Nov 27, 2023 - Business

The Red Ryder BB gun from "A Christmas Story" is made in Northwest Arkansas

Peter Billingsley sits on Santa's lap in a scene from "A Christmas Story." Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Getty Images

The official "Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time" is made by Daisy Outdoor Products of Rogers.

  • Variations of protagonist Ralphie Parker's breathless description of his holy grail are repeated nearly 30 times in the holiday cult classic "A Christmas Story."

State of play: This year marks the 40th anniversary of the movie's release, so it's liable to stream almost nonstop for the next month. Most executives can't dream of that much free, nostalgic advertising during the holiday shopping season.

Joe Murfin holds the limited edition 40th anniversary Red Ryder.

What they're saying: "It's the most-known BB gun in the world," Joe Murfin, chairman of the museum, told Axios.

  • The museum is a nonprofit separate from the company where Murfin worked in public relations and marketing for 18 years.

Details: Daisy sells more than 250,000 air guns each year.

  • Spokesperson Lawrence Taylor was hesitant to make a direct correlation between sales and the movie, but said: "It's Christmas and someone's getting a BB gun and it's probably a Daisy."
Joe Murfin talks about the Red Ryder and all of Daisy's history at the museum in Rogers. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

The intrigue: The original Red Ryder air rifle didn't have a compass or sundial in its butt; that was Daisy's pump-action Buck Jones model.

Backstory: The company started in the 1880s as a maker of iron windmills in Plymouth, Michigan. Air rifles were originally a gift to farmers who bought a mill, but they outsold the main product and the company changed its focus in 1895.

  • Working out of a hobbled-together factory, Daisy relocated to Rogers in 1958 after an executive passing through town realized the location was perfect for workers and a new plant.
  • About 100 families moved to the town with a population of a little less than 6,000 at the time.
  • Private equity company BRS & Co. of New York acquired Daisy in 2016.

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This story was corrected to note the Rogers Daisy Airgun Museum is selling 1,100 limited edition rifles for $80.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios NW Arkansas.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More NW Arkansas stories

No stories could be found

NW Arkansaspostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios NW Arkansas.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more