Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Toys Like You Had

     Remember those neat-o toy guns from your childhood?  The wood-and-metal bolt-action rifle that had a painted-wooden "bullet" visible when you opened the bolt? (My baby brother had one)  How about cap guns?*

     They're still around.  I mentioned the rifles to Tam, reading someone's comments on  their relatively gun-free childhood and she remarked, "Oh, those rifles!  I still remember that they were made by some company called 'Parris.'"

     ...And they still are.  Retail site here.  Toys just like you grew up with!  (Except for those orange barrel tips).

     Some people -- some gunnies -- are not comfortable with the idea of toy guns.  There are people who believe they encourage an overly-casual attitude towards firearms and that is a decision parents must make for their own families.  I know the distinction between toys and the never-to-be-touched Real Thing was made early on in my family, and as us kids got older, my Dad started making mention of how to carry the little wooden toy rifle and where it should not be pointing, half-joking at first and a little more seriously as we got older. (I don't remember him ever much worrying about the all-metal, solid-barrel cap guns, which were hard to take seriously as "firearms.") By the time I had started shooting a real bow with target-type arrows and baby brother's first spring-powered BB gun had shown up, we were ready for serious safety instruction and we got it.  But that's just one approach.
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* There were cap guns around as far back as I can remember, growing up.  Make of it what you will; that was in the days of paper-roll caps, when I'd get fed up with the lousy feed mechanism in the cap gun and use a hammer and a concrete block to make the caps go "bang!"  Yes, I was a childhood gunpowder junkie; I've admitted it and I feel better. for having done so.

22 comments:

Ritchie said...

Paper-roll caps, trolley tracks-assemble and stand back looking innercent.

Anonymous said...

We didn't see the real cowboy sixguns until the end of WW11. The used disc caps made by Kilgore and came with leather holsters just like those in the movies. Every young cowboy dude wanted one but,as I recall, were rather expensive.

Comrade Misfit said...

I remember the feed mechanism was troublesome. Wasn't there a rifle that used a similar system for feeding percussion caps? Don't think it worked any better.

Dirk said...

I had one of those rifles you describe! Got it for Christmas when I was 11, I think. It disappeared somewhere along the line, when my dad gave me his old Daisy Red Ryder BB gun...along with a lot of safety instruction. Unfortunately, some waste of skin stole it when my apartment was burglarized during my college years.

docjim505 said...

How DID our parents / grandparents every manage to teach us not to slaughter each other in the days when children played cowboys and Indians, cops 'n' robbers, or war with (gasp!) REAL-LOOKING toy guns??? And when they routinely watched cartoons where the mouse would attack - ATTEMPTED MURDER!!! - the cat with dynamite or a sledge hammer???

The snark is by no means aimed at you, but at those people who seem to think that parents can't teach their children to be responsible, decent and otherwise well-behaved even while playing with "violent" toys, playing "violent" games such as dodgeball or cops 'n' robbers, or learning to use "deadly weapons" such as the single-shot 22 that I got as a birthday present when I was perhaps ten years old.

rickn8or said...

"...that was in the days of paper-roll caps, when I'd get fed up with the lousy feed mechanism in the cap gun and use a hammer and a concrete block to make the caps go 'bang!'"

Yeah, me too. And I think the roots of my cynicism go back to my suspicion that somewhere there was a Snotty Rich Kid whose cap pistol fed perfectly every time.

Rob K said...

I busted quite a few paper-roll caps on concrete blocks with a hammer or a rock! Usually started as popping the ones on the roll that failed to fire going through the gun. I had a couple of "six-guns" and I remember the neighbor kids having a lever-gun. I may have to get my kids some new cap guns. They've had a couple at least that took the plastic rings.

When the Gander Mountain in Lafayette was a Sportsman's Warehouse, they had a nice big island display of the toy guns and archery sets. I don't recall if they have that now.

NAVIGATOR said...

READ THE CHAPTER FROM "IN GOD WE TRUST ALL OTHERS PAY CASH" BY JEAN SHEPPARD ABOUT "DISARMING THE TOY INDUSTRY" AND THE ONE ABOUT HIS RED RIDER BB GUN LATER PORTRAYED IN THE MOVIE "A CHRISTMAS STORY" ENJOY !
































JohninMd.(HELP!) said...

Remember getting a "Detective's Set" when I was 9ish, made by Mattel. Chromed double-action snub-nose, plastic sholder holster and cartriges w/springs in them that you stuck little 'greenie' caps on, launched a plastic 'bullet' when you dropped the hammer on that bad boy. Recover bullets, re-insert in 'casing', apply fresh caps and go again. My first experience 're-loading'. Ahh, the Sixties.....Pray to the power of your choice for us back here, today is "Gun Day" in the Md. State Senate, and the Governor wants to make us N.Y. South. From my cold, dead hands.... III

PoppaJ said...

My 7 year old loves the Nerf guns. She's always trying to ambush me. If she could go 30 seconds without giggling she might have a career in spec-ops.

Eric said...

Growing up as an Army brat in Germany in the 70s, I had an Italian Panthermatic cap gun. It had a wire extensible shoulder stock, and the caps came on a strip which was inserted into a magazine.

Pretty neat!

Jess said...

Ignorance wasn't acceptable back then, like it is today. Children, who are much sharper than we're supposed to believe, learned real quick what was dangerous, or not. A toy was a toy and anything that fired a round, whether by a spring, or gunpowder, was not.

jed said...

Of course, the thing to do with paper-roll caps was to fold them over on each other, and see how many you could get to go BANG at the same time.

I had a toy rifle that fired plastic bullets -- don't recall how exactly that worked. Took it to Kindergarten for show'n'tell, and didn't get arrested or anything.

Anonymous said...

I too used to try to make the caps go boom without the bother of loading them into the gun. In fact, that's the only thing I remember about my capgun. Don't even try to get me to remember what make it was.
But the memory of making those things go boom, now that you've awoken it, is quite vivid.

Kishnevi

Tam said...

There was a kid in our neighborhood who had one of those Parris rifles, but it had a white stock, like it was intended for a Cub Scout color guard or something. Combined with the white-and-purple Minnesota Vikings varsity jacket and bright carrot-top hair, the only thing he was good for when playing "Hide-and-yell-BANG!" in the woods was at a decoy.

Some larval elementary school idea of tact prevented us from asking "Dude, really?"

LCB said...

I had one too...and capguns that used the rolls. I think I even had one modeled after a .45.

To this day, when I go to a historical site gift store...I always look at the toy flintlocks...or the toy bolt actions. I bought them for my kids...now I'm dying to buy them for my grandkids...if my kids ever figure out how to have them. :-)

Remember the plastic tommy guns that had the fly-wheel...zzzzzzzz ratatatatatatatatat...

Ahhh...happy childhood memories...

GreyLocke said...

Can the roll caps still be used in cap and ball BP guns? I know many years ago someone sold a conversion nipple for single shot BP guns. However IIRC the caps were reformulated a few years back making that an iffy proposition. It would be a lot cheaper to buy a box of 500 caps for .99 cents than the $5.00 I pay for a tin of 100 CCI #11's. And the Tap o cap used the roll caps with caps made from soda cans for BP Revolvers.

roland said...

I loved my wood stocked wooden bulleted bolt gun. My 03A3's often evoke memories of that toy rifle.

Matt G said...

We all got the hammer, at some point.

And we all eventually slammed the hammer down on a whole roll of caps, to get a pretty complete simultaneous detonation of the whole roll, rebounding the hammer face off the porch forcefully and causing our ears to ring for a long time.

:)

Tam said...

Matt G,

I don't know what you're... I SAID, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT!" :D

Anonymous said...

Remember pop-guns with the cork on the string? And the first thing every single kid did was cut the string? Kids today are really missing out.

Roberta X said...

:)

...BTW, Parris also sells those cork-on-a-string popguns....