News: Now showing in theaters: CRY MACHO, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood!


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Messages - ben james

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General Discussion / Re: Clint's Guns
« on: October 09, 2008, 07:04:48 AM »
Thanks for the welcome Mingo.

I have to agree that rifle definitely fits the bill.  The hammer profile seems correct.  Curious if you know whether the octagonal barrels were mainly a sporting rifle trait or not.  I thought Spencers all had round barrels. 

If these Spencers were made in the 70's they are inappropriate for the time period of GBU however.  Historical accuracy is, of course, not a forte of these films.  I also like to think about what period correct arm this rifle could represent (even though I'm sure this was not thought of by Leone or crew).

Also, an amendment to my previous post (although not specifically related to Clint):  James Bond did indeed use a .32 acp according to the book Dr No.  I don't think it was mentioned in the movie which caliber he used (I don't have the movie for reference).

Benjamin James

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General Discussion / Re: The Official MEMBER INTRODUCTIONS Thread
« on: September 29, 2008, 10:09:48 AM »
Hello all!

Benjamin James from Massachusetts here.  Clint fan, amateur history buff, and first time forum member (any forum that is).
Looking forward to learning/hearing from everyone.

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General Discussion / Re: Clint's Guns
« on: September 29, 2008, 09:59:34 AM »
Good day all!  :)

I am new to the forums (this and all others).  I'm an amateur history buff, primarily focusing on Civil War, the "cowboy" era, WWII 10th Mountain Division, most anything between 1750 and 1950 American History, and guns in general.  Clint is my absolute favorite.  This forum is excellent!

D'Ambrosia, KC, and the rest of you fellas have done some really nice work.  I spent most of last evening reading all the posts on this thread and have a few questions/notes (OK, maybe more than a few).

As far as the rifle used in the end of GBU goes (which is obviously hard to positively identify) I would like to think it is a Sharps Model '59, '63, or '65 (all the same gun really).  Mostly because it is the only period correct rifle it resembles IMHO.  However I really think it more closely resembles the Remington Rolling Block or a Winchester High Wall due to the receiver profile (which you really don't get a great view of).  Both the Rolling Block and the High Walls are not period correct.  As far as the Spencer is concerned, even though based off a Sharps, these weren't known for the same accuracy needed to make the shot in the film (I know, it's just a movie).  And the Spencer was not considered a "Buffalo" gun.  It definitely could do the job though with its .56-56 cartridge (actually a .52 caliber rimfire) and very likely some were used, but most "Buffalo" guns were chosen for accuracy (even though not always needed).  It is definitely not a Spencer Carbine.  Sporting Rifles were/are quite rare.  Could be a military rifle modified to a sporting gun though.

A note (or 2 or 3) on conversions (in regards to GBU): 

The 1851 Navy Blondie uses is my absolute favorite gun of his.  I think the Navy is the most beautiful gun ever produced (the Colt '61 fans will no doubt disagree - just my opinion).  Wild Bill is my favorite historical figure who carried 'em and Clint is my favorite fictional character.

Although I am by no means an expert on this subject I have done quite a bit of research over the years and have come to the following conclusions concerning the conversions (I realize some of this has been noted already). 

The Colt Thuer conversions were the only factory conversions done that left the loading lever in place for convenient use of either cartridge or percussion cylinders.  Changing between the two was not a big deal.  No ejector rod was provided on the Thuer.  Although not period correct, as they weren't produced until '69, they are the only ones that resemble Blondie's gun, as later conversions (Richards, Richards "transition", and Richards-Mason) removed the loading lever.

Clint's gun was actually an 1851 Navy which used a modern R&D conversion cylinder.  Due to the period, the fact that factory conversions were not made yet, and the use of the R&D means his gun absolutely would have to be a individual gunsmiths creation (in the fictional yet period correct world of GBU). 

The Remington, which was Angel Eyes gun, which even though, as mentioned in a previous thread, was a "cap and ball" gun, seems to be that it was meant to appear to be a cartridge conversion due to the cartridges in his belt loops - these could have been for his unidentified rifle I guess).

Individual gunsmiths did in fact make these conversions prior to factory conversions, but what cartridges were available for these conversions?

The first ones in calibers appropriate for use in conversions (large caliber that is, appropriate for Colt Army and the Remington New Model Army - erroneously referred to as the 1858 Model by some - 1858 was merely the patent date of the revolver - it was not produced until '63) would appear to be the .44 Henry.  The Henry was a rimfire cartridge made for the Henry rifle, predecessor of the Winchester lever actions.  Even though made for a rifle, for all practical purposes it is a handgun round.  As far as I am aware this is the only .44 caliber round which was in use at the time.  It could have been used in an 1860 Army or a Remington (although I've never seen any evidence that this specific cartridge was ver chambered in these guns).  Otherwise the cartridges for Angel Eyes gun would have to have been custom made which seems quite unlikely to me (not that it couldn't be done - just saying it doesn't fit his character).

As far as the 1851 Navy, I'm not aware of any production cartridge of the era that was produced in an appropriate caliber.  The first I know of is the .36 produced for the Thuer conversions of 1851s and '61s starting in '69.  Most of the conversions for Navies were done with .38 caliber rounds (.38 Short Colt, made specifically for conversions).  The cartridge used must be at least as big as the original .36 bore unless a completely new barrel as well as the cylinder were made to be mounted on the frame.  Traditionally barrels were just rebored and cylinders modified or replaced.  Other than the .44 Henry I'm only aware of .22 caliber rounds created by S&W for their Model No. 1 Revolver in '57.  After that other .22 rimfires were produced for other guns during the period.  It seems Blondie would have to had custom made ammo as well (again, I find it unlikely).  I does seem appropriate that he still had the loading lever attached as prior to the common production of cartridge firing guns, and the ammo for them, being able to switch to "cap & ball" would be very much wanted.

Does anyone happen to know of any .38 (or .36+) or any other .44 (+) ammo of the era that was in production?

Someone mentioned that '51 Navies were smoothbore and '61s rifled.  Is that true?  Can anyone cite references?  What about the '60?  Just seems odd to me (and I really should know).

Oh yeah, someone was asking about a repro of Clint's "Man With No Name" conversion (might have been a while back).  They are available from Cimarron.  I'm not quite sure how true to the original they are, but look fantastic to me!  Here's a link to the gun on Cimarrons site: 

http://www.cimarron-firearms.com/Conversions/ManNo%20NameConv.htm

Just curious, but is the term "Golden Boy" actually a commonly used term for the Henry?  I've never heard that one.  "Yellow Boy" for the Winchester 1866, yes (however this term is a modern nickname not used in the "cowboy" era).

I believe it was D'Ambrosia who mentioned a Colt Model #3 2nd Model '86 SAA Peacemaker as used by Clint in one of his westerns.  Could someone please clarify specifically what this model is?  I've never heard of it and can find no refernce to it in any of my books.  Best as I can figure it may be a reference to the change from what is called the Blackpowder (which it is not) frame to the Pre-War frame, however this occurred in Late '91/early '92 not '86.  Really curious - educate me.

Also there was a reference to a 2nd Model '77 .44 in Hang 'em High.  I'm not familiar with this gun either.  Anyone have more specific info?

As far as the Thompson SMG goes, it was stated that Thompson developed the .45 ACP.  Did he assist John Browning in some way?  The only relation to Thompson & the .45 ACP I know of is that he chaired the Ordnance Board which approved its use for the military, and it while developing the Thompson that Auto Ordnance determined that the .45 ACP was the only appropriate round for use with the guns Blish lock mechanism (which of course is what the gun was chambered for).  Also I believe it was stated that the .45 ACP was created in 1904.  My reference material only shows its arrival in 1911 along with the Colt Auto.  It was derived from the .45 rimless cartridge developed for the Colt Model 1905 (1905-1911), however this was not actually the ACP round used in the 1911.  I'd really like to know more - if anyone can site references as well that would be great!

OK, now Dirty Harry.  Has it been verified that Clint used a custom .44 mag developed for blanks (or that it even existed)?
Unsubstantiated rumors I've heard that a Model 57 .41 Mag was used makes sense to me as Hollywood did produce blanks that would work in this gun.  Making custom blanks seems less likely a scenario.

How 'bout that "Most powerful handgun" statement?  I'm no ballistics expert but have heard that up until that time the Colt Walker "cap 'n ball" (yup -Josie Wales) still packed more of a wallop.  Anyone know if that's true?

Previously mentioned was that the Colt Baby Dragoon came out in '48.  Not to be picky, but I'm a stickler, it actually came out in '47.

"Missouri Boat Ride" - small note:  The '63 Sharps was actually a .52 caliber gun, .54 caliber guns are the reproductions.

Most of my gun knowledge concerns American arms but I am curious about the mention of the .32 ACP Walther PPK (yeah, I'm a James Bond fan too - .380 ACP).  Is it verified that it was a .32?

I apologize if anyone finds this initial entry rather lengthy.  Just like to catch up to the current date.

I look forward to more Clint gun info!

Benjamin James

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