Would anyone know?


May 25, 2009, 04:31 PM
I was just watching The Longest Day and now I am watching the dirty dozen. Great war movies by the way. Anyway, seeing all of the weapons being used (M1 Garands, M1A1 Carbine, German Mausers etc..... would anyone know if these were real weapons or replicas. If they were real I wonder how many are still in circulation today? Just a thought.....:rolleyes:

Thanks and Happy Memorials Day!

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May 25, 2009, 04:40 PM
Hollywood prop houses have huge arms vaults full of every weapon known for rent to the movie studios.

I would imagine the guns in that movie were real blank firing conversions in the close-up shots.

The ones in the background could have been anything.

If they were real I wonder how many are still in circulation today?It's anyones guess, but they probably number in the hundred of thousands if not millions world-wide.
There are folks still fighting wars with them somewhere I betcha.


Old Fuff
May 25, 2009, 05:18 PM
rcmodel is right, and all of the guns were props made from real guns. At the times that the movies were made the firearms involved were still obtainable (except machine and submachine guns), and no replicas were available. For the most part that's still true today.

If you want to start a collection most of them will be found on the used gun market.

Jim Watson
May 25, 2009, 05:24 PM
If you have ever seen a prop gun, you would not want it unless you could tie it to a specific famous actor and movie. They are all well worn with repairs and adaptations.

May 25, 2009, 05:40 PM
When Rick Jameson, who portrayed Lt. Hanley on the TV show COMBAT!, was given the M1 carbine that he carried on the show,the producers had to fill the barrel with concrete because it was a real gun.

Jim Watson
May 25, 2009, 06:25 PM
Why, was he a criminal of some sort, or was California that repressive so long ago?

Jim K
May 25, 2009, 08:10 PM
Most of the guns in the old movies were real (though semis were modified for blank firing), but the M1 rifles in Band of Brothers are fake. They even had some with holes in the top so the actor could be seen inserting a clip, also a solid plastic dummy.

Insurance rules have become so tight that most movie makers won't allow any real guns on the set, hence the use of dummy guns with the noise and flash of "firing" added "in the back room" by ILM or some similar outfit.


May 25, 2009, 08:39 PM
Thanks guys!

May 25, 2009, 10:40 PM
I also watched The Longest Day (and afterwards, Kelly's Heroes), and although I really enjoy Kelly's Heroes, it bothers me that they couldn't be bothered to find a 1903 Springfield sniper for the scene where they have a sniper up in the bell tower; instead, they gave him an 1891/30 Mosin-Nagant. Picky, picky, I know.

May 25, 2009, 10:45 PM
There were alot of rubber/ molded guns even going back to that period. They also doctored alot of guns.

May 26, 2009, 05:00 PM
but the M1 rifles in Band of Brothers are fake.

Most, if not all, of the guns in "Band of Brothers" were fake - resin cast replicas. Most all the shooting (filming) was in England, so dealing with English laws to use real guns was just not going to happen. The armorers also said they did it so:

1) Actors didn't have to carry heavy props around all the time
2) no wear/tear on the real weapons
3) they could cast up tons of weapons relatively cheaply instead of machining fakes or using rare real ones.

I saw some extra footage where Tom Hanks (producer) was goofing with other staff in a prop room and he had an MG-42 on his shoulder, carrying it through the room "Totenkopf" style (there is a famous/oft-reproduced photo from the Russian front some of you may know what I mean). He pivots it off his shoulder and lightly tosses it to a very surprised gaffer who didn't realize it was a resin-cast fake - it appeared to weigh all of two pounds.

Of course this is the modern approach and vintage films from the '70s and earlier used non-firing surplus, as already mentioned.

May 26, 2009, 06:05 PM
Thats great info Oro!

I haven't watched Band of Brothers, or Private Ryon either, for some time.
But I thought I remembered seeing some M-1's ejecting brass and pinging empty clips in the air.

CGI magic I guess.


May 30, 2009, 05:33 AM
Yep, seriously; this may have something to do with the fact that they filmed the movie in Yugoslavia (because it was easier for them to find the tanks they wanted for filming there), so maybe they just said "We need a sniper rifle", and that's what their prop guys were able to get their hands on.

jim in Anchorage
May 30, 2009, 05:47 AM
No worse then the many set in 1870s westerns I have seen with every one carrying 1892 Winchesters

May 31, 2009, 03:04 AM
"...CGI magic I guess..." Movie 'gun guy' magic. It's not a big, technological, deal to make a blank firing, prop, M1 work like a real rifle. A set screw with an appropriate hole drilled through it, as opposed to a BFA, in the muzzle will do it. Stembridges rented all kinds of blank firing firearms that looked just like working firearms, for eons. CGI was incredibly expensive for close shots when Private Ryan was made.
Kelly's Heroes, 1970 vintage availabilty vs 1962 availabilty of kit. And budgets. No CGI at all then.
As to how many rifles are still around, nobody knows.
Go rent 'Zulu'. Michael Caine's first starring movie and the best movie ever made. Based on a real battle. About 3,000 Zulu warriors vs 150 or so with sick and wounded, troopies of the 24th Regiment of Foot. .577-450 Martini Henrys in decent condition are to get too. Men of Harlech was my Regiment's march. Stirs one's blood, so it does.

Jim K
May 31, 2009, 07:53 PM
Don't you guys know the Civil War was fought with Colt SAA revolvers and Model 1873 Springfields?

Sometimes they goof in interesting ways. In the Davy Crockett TV series, Davy had a flintlock "Kentucky" rifle; his sidekick had to be content with a second rate 7mm Remington rolling block.

And in a "Custer" movie, the front rank had trapdoor carbines, but the rest of the regiment had 7mm Mexican Mausers. Unfortunately, the real troopers didn't have the Mausers.


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