This is the largest issue, ever, of the largest firearms magazine in the world—168 pages (including covers) circulated to more than a million persons. Except for about 15,000 copies usually sold over sporting goods store counters, all go by mail exclusively to NRA Members as one of their membership benefits.
This NRA Special Centennial Commemorative Issue includes 11 pages in full color, some of them presenting the new NRA Centennial commemorative arms for the first time. General contents range from the early jaeger and Kentucky rifles to the latest in modern U.S. firearms manufacturing techniques; progress in conservation, actual test results in firing early black-powder cartridge arms, handy-reference features including the longest known list of colonial gunsmiths and the most complete photographic data on Mauser markings, and much else.
The cover and many inside pages are printed on extra heavy paper to give added durability to this issue. The cover is what is known as 110-lb. stock instead of the usual 80lbs. Nearly a third of the inside pages are 50-lb. instead of 43. (The “pound” of paper in printing trade terms represents weight of a hypothetical 500 sheets each 25 x 38 in.)
The first full-color full size photographs of firearms ever published in The American Rifleman, showing Colt Centennial Commemorative handguns, appear on pages 44 and, appropriately, 45.
The cover price of $1 for single copy sales applies only to this special issue. The single copy price thereafter reverts to the usual 75¢.
More than 200 firms manufacturing or selling outdoors sporting equipment or related items have placed advertisements in this issue. Paid ads total over 55 pages.
The cost of this special issue amounts to almost double the normal cost of a January issue. (Usually the January issue is one of the smaller ones of the year, instead of being the largest ever.) Altogether, The American Rifleman costs about $2,500,000 a year to create, produce and mail. Over 80% of this goes for paper, printing and postage. Advertising revenue defrays about 60% of the total cost.
The American Rifleman and its predecessors under previous names have been published since 1885. While the magazine has been modernized repeatedly in keeping with the times, it has never changed from its unswerving stand in support of the right of law-abiding Americans to keep and use firearms. It has stood preeminent in this respect as well as in its authentic and often scholarly technical reports on firearms and related matters.
In future issues during the NRA Centennial year, The American Rifleman will cover special subjects including the decades-long battle to defend the right to bear arms, why the NRA has come under such brutal public attack in recent years, interesting background information on NRA’s many constructive programs involving sporting arms, more on the technological development of modern gun making in America, and more on rare aspects of collecting and using firearms. Altogether, these should make the centennial year 1971 a year for American Rifleman readers to remember.
--Ashley Halsey Jr., Editor, The American Rifleman