This feature appears in the August ’17 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.
Some older readers may remember when one Hollywood movie star endorsed a specific firearm for youngsters. A recent donation to the museum collection from a Colorado family, accompanied by an extensive group of related ephemera, allows us to showcase the Marlin Model 100-S, a single-shot .22 bolt-action rifle once recommended by Tom Mix. Considered the “King of the Cowboys,” Mix’s own persona—both as an actor who did his own stunts, and as the “clean-cut good guy” who always prevailed against evil—was influential at a time when later stars like Ronald Reagan and John Wayne were growing up.
Whether on screen in one of his more than 291 films, or through decades of the “Tom Mix Ralston Straight Shooters” radio show, Mix’s legions of young fans were the audience that this rifle was promoted toward. In 1937, the Marlin 100-S Tom Mix Special rifle was offered with “special target sights” and a sling for $5.95.
The NRA National Firearms Museum at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Va.; the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo.; and the Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, N.M.; each have fine selections of historic arms on display. Admission to each is free, and donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, visit nramuseums.com, phone (703) 267-1600 or email nfmstaff@NRAhq.org.