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Author Topic: Blondie and his gun  (Read 68021 times)
johnk
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« on: January 06, 2003, 11:21:51 AM »

Firstly I hate to knock any of these films as they are great and still very watchable.
However in the sequence where Blondie re assembles his gun in his room I notice that he uses thumb pressure
to push home the barrel wedge. This wedge normally has to be tapped home with a suitable tool for a tight fit.
Also I think at this time loose powder and ball were used
and not metallic cartridges.

Just read Christopher Fraylings ' Something to do with Death' and it bears out what I have stated above (page 210). Good biography on Sergio Leone

« Last Edit: April 12, 2003, 01:22:41 PM by johnk » Logged
cigar joe
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2003, 03:48:15 PM »

As far as the cartriges, they were available, and there were conversions made to black powder cap and ball revolvers by gunsmiths for those who could afford the price, and if you think about it professionals who made a living with their guns would jump at the advantage converted revolvers would provide.

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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2003, 03:53:49 PM »

PS, An interesting real life example of this is the recent archeological findings at the Custer battlefield, the cavalry was equipped with single shot rifles, the Souix had superior Henry Repeating Rifles, and they concluded that rather than the popular notion of a "last stand" the battle was over quickly.

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johnk
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2003, 02:55:34 AM »

Appreciate your point ,but I thought these conversions
came after the civil war.The use of cartridges in the film
I think at this period is a bit of artistic licence.
Wild Bill Hickok was using cap and ball revolvers well
into the 1870's.

« Last Edit: January 07, 2003, 03:04:07 AM by johnk » Logged
johnk
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« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2003, 03:04:50 AM »

Appreciate your point ,but I thought these conversions
came after the civil war.The use of cartridges in the film
I think at this period is a bit of artistic licence.
Wild Bill Hickok was using cap and ball revolvers well
into the 1870's.

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cigar joe
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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2003, 04:25:20 PM »

I've known gunsmiths that can do just about anything, for example a side by side shotgun was coverted to rifle and by looking at it you couldn't tell.

Here is some info off the net, you are right about production colts, but I'm sure inventive gunsmiths made their own conversions.  Wink

Catridges

Paper cartridges with a re-usable metal base were made in 1812 by Samuel Pauly, a Swiss gunsmith, in a form common still today. Metal cartridges seem to have been developed during the American civil war, whereby the casing of the cartridge became the missile itself. In 1857, Smith & Wesson were granted a patent for the .22 rimfire cartridge, having already bought the 1855 patent held by Rollin White covering a revolver with 'drilled through' chambers i.e. open at both ends. Rifling was introduced to extend the accuracy of the projectile some 90%.

This is the story of those years, the story of Smith & Wesson.

In the small town of Norwich, Connecticut, Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson opened up their first factory and began producing the lever action pistol that was nicknamed "The Volcanic" by Scientific American because of its incredible firepower and its rapid-fire capability. This pistol and this factory, were the beginning of Smith & Wesson.

In 1854, the company had unfortunate financial problems. When the company started to reorganize itself, an investor, Oliver Winchester provided funding to the company in order for it to keep producing the "Volcanic." The factory moved to New Haven, Connecticut, where Winchester had some of his holdings.

The company name changed that year to "Volcanic Repeating Arms Company." Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson sold their majority interest in the company, and while Smith returned to Springfield, Massachusetts, Wesson remained at the Winchester plant, working as the plant supervisor. While there, Wesson designed a small revolver that could shoot the cartridge that he and Smith had patented earlier in that year.

In 1856, the two men met up in Springfield and renewed their partnership. The revolver that Wesson had designed, called the Model 1 and the cartridge, called "Number One Cartridge" gained immediate popularity due to the advantages the new cartridge. The revolver/cartridge combination was so popular that by 1859 the demand for the handguns was so great that original factory couldn't keep up with the demand. A new factory had to be built. The new factory was built on Stockbridge Street, in Springfield, MA, close to the United States Armory.

The year of 1861 ushered in new era of high demand for Smith & Wesson firearms with the arrival of the Civil War. This demand quickly proved to be more than the new Stockbridge Street factory could handle.

More....

In 1856 the Smith & Wesson Co. invented the world's first metalic cartridge breech loaded revolver. This was a phenomenal breakthrough in firearms. No longer was it necessary to pack powder, wads and balls, and then install caps. Everything was in one package and needed only to be inserted into a gun. Needless to say, at the outbreak of the Civil war, the Smith & Wesson .32 caliber Revolver was in great demand. Orders for this revolutionary gun were so many that Smith & Wesson found their staff of twenty five hopelessly mired in back orders and unable to keep up with demand. At one point they were forced to stop taking new orders.
So why didn't Colt follow suit and also produce a cartridge gun? It's because Smith & Wesson owned the patent. And why didn't the United States supply the Army with this more advanced gun? As mentioned, Smith & Wesson couldn't produce them fast enough. Also, the Colts were less expensive, produced en masse, and the South had nothing better, anyway. So Colt got the contract to supply the Army. Meanwhile, the South was manufacturing their own black powder revolvers produced by Griswold & Gunnison . The frames of these revolvers were made of brass, as the South was limited in its steel resources. As a matter of fact, the good people of Macon, Georgia donated the brass bells from their churches, save one, to be melted down for cannons and guns.
During the same period Remington manufactured a cap & ball revolver which was actually a more practical weapon than the Colt, and those soldiers who could afford a Remington, bought them as their personal combat weapons. What made the Remington more desirable than the Colt was that the Remington had a top strap, making the gun stronger, and the cylinder removal and replacement system was much faster and more efficient than that of the Colt. Reloading a cap & ball pistol is a delicate, time-consuming procedure, virtually impossible under fire. Typically, soldiers armed with revolvers carried several pre-loaded cylinders so that they could replace their spent cylinder with one that was ready to fire. In this respect, the Remington was the gun of choice. Clint Eastwood, in a gun fight scene from the movie Pale Rider, gives an exemplary demonstration of replacing the cylinder on a Remington.
Speaking of the movies, those early Hollywood Westerns crack me up. What is supposed to be taking place during the post-Civil War years depicts everyone running around with Colt "Peacemakers" which weren't produced until 1873. They're also sporting Hollywood gun-slinger type rigs which never existed in the Old West! One of the most accurate representations of what Westerners actually carried is depicted in Crossfire Trail starring Tom Selleck. His side arm is the most advanced and sought-after gun of its day - a Smith & Wesson break-top revolver. I personally got all misty-eyed when, in a gunfight, Selleck pulled out his back-up gun - an old Colt conversion. And do you remember the 50's TV series, Wild Bill Hickok, starring Guy Madison? The only thing historically accurate in that show were the backwards facing guns. Guy Madison packs a pair of shiny, stag-grip 1873 Colts holstered in a fancy rig with backwards left and right holsters. That show also enlightened us with a little known historical fact. Apparently, Wild Bill Hickok palled around with a comedy-relief sidekick named "Jingles" ( Andy Devine). At any rate, the real Wild Bill Hickok carried a matching pair of beautifully engraved 1851 Navy Colts with sculptured ivory handles, which he kept tucked in his belt with the butts facing forward. They were never converted for cartridges.
But I digress. In 1870 Smith & Wesson's patent ran out. Colt immediately began converting their cap & ball revolvers to cartridge guns. Two employees of the Colt Firearms Co., Charles Richards and William Mason, obtained a patent on the means by which a cap & ball revolver could be converted to fire cartridges. The rear end of the cylinder was sawed off and the holes machined to accommodate cartridges. A loading gate was added behind the cylinder, the powder-packing lever was removed, the recess plugged, and a shell ejector added to the side of the barrel. The U.S. Army submitted their weapons for conversion. In 1870, a person could mail his black powder revolver to the Colt Factory and, for five dollars, have it converted. This was the gun that moved out West. To own a Colt Conversion is to own a unique piece of American history



« Last Edit: January 07, 2003, 04:29:32 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2003, 11:40:26 AM »

Thanks for the information.I guess that means you agree with me !

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cigar joe
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2003, 05:26:01 PM »

Yes if we're talking about production colts, but is sounds as if conversions were available.

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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2003, 09:31:25 PM »

Just caught "the Outlaw Josey Wales" the other vday on TV, after his farm gets torched he starts to practice his marksmanship with a cartridge converted Colt. It gives a good close up of it.

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caius
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2003, 06:32:10 AM »

how do you know so much about guns, where you brought up with them? or has it just been your curisosity though the years?

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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2003, 04:56:13 PM »

Hi Caius,

Most of the info on cartridges I found just searching the net, I'm not any expert.

I actually got interested in the guns from Leone's films, I grew up in New York City and did not really have much access to firearms at all, however a high school friend of mine parents owned an army surplus store and they happened to be civil war memorabilia collectors and they had a collection of various US and Confederate rifles, most is mint condition. Their crown jewel piece was a 1867 gatling gun, it was neat cranking the handel, it had a cartridge magazine that top loaded rather than the usually seen belt feed.

In college in the Adirondacks I bought a Remington New Model Army cap and ball (like Angel Eyes's). When I moved out west to Montana 1970's, guns were part of the everyday culture almost like toys. Think about it, you are 50 to 60 miles from the nearest neighbors or town. For recreation you don't have a television or a cinema or a few friends that you can get together with to play football or roundball, so you learn how to shoot varmints from long distances, you save your brass and learn how to custom re-load on a loading bench (it is very very inexpensive, you buy gunpowder by the pound, the bullets by the box and the primers by the can, you can easily load a hundred rounds in a day), You hunt deer, antelope, and elk for food, etc., etc. its a part of life still. We used to target practice just for fun and entertainment with revolvers shooting cans and bottles. By the way a good fast way to learn how to shoot and aim from the hip and actally hit somethingis to tape a lazer pointer to the barrel of the pistol, after a while it becomes instinctive.  Wink

I have a good buddy who grew up on a cattle ranch and this is pretty much his life, though now they have dish tv, and herd cattle with 4 wheelers, lol. But shooting sports are still a big thing out there. A lot of this culture rubs off on you when you are immersed in it.

« Last Edit: January 27, 2003, 04:57:07 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2003, 06:47:12 PM »

PS, An interesting real life example of this is the recent archeological findings at the Custer battlefield, the cavalry was equipped with single shot rifles, the Souix had superior Henry Repeating Rifles, and they concluded that rather than the popular notion of a "last stand" the battle was over quickly.

More on this; the cavalry used Springfield single shot rifles, because the military thought the men would waste ammo using repeater rifles. Also, the cartridges had faults; the casing was made of copper and after a few shots it would solder into the barrel because of the heat.

« Last Edit: March 03, 2003, 06:48:00 PM by Mannaja » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2003, 09:15:39 AM »

Hey Joe.  The gun Josey pulls from the smokey ruins is a 1861 Navy Colt cap and ball, not a conversion... FYI




Woops, I posted a picture of the wrong gun, duh?  The one above is an Army Colt model and the one below is Josey's Navy Colt model...

« Last Edit: April 02, 2003, 05:57:31 PM by Harmonica » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2003, 05:36:22 PM »

Sorry Harnonica take a closer look, there are no cap nipples at the end of the cylinder and it has a very obvious cartridge loading gate right above Clint's trigger finger knuckle. Aya Aya Ahhhh! Cool

« Last Edit: April 02, 2003, 05:38:35 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2003, 05:56:11 PM »

I posted a correction above...

You may be right Cigar?

That may explain the why the loading level and plunger are not there...

Good eye there bud... Cheesy

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