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Lonesome Dove Lever Action

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by ChasMack, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. ChasMack

    ChasMack Well-Known Member

    "Guns of the Old West" magazine, Fall of 2009 has an article of the guns used in the movie "Lonesome Dove". Gus's rifle is said to be a 1866 Henry. I looked up in Taylors catalog lever actions and the 1860 had no wood forend just like the one Gus used. I read elsewhere where to wooden forend was added later since the barrel became hot to hold. So was the magazine wrong? Looks to me it was...anyway that gun that Gus uses is on my list of rifles to get. My gunstore owner has one he'd sell me of guns he owns himself, but his has the color case hardened frame, not brass....otherwise the same gun in 44-40. Thanks for any input on this!
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    There was no such thing as a 1866 Henry.

    The 1860 Henry had no forearm or loading gate in the receiver.

    The 1866 Winchester had both.

    The King's Patent loading gate was what made a forearm possible in the 1866 Winchester.

    The magazine follower on the 1860 Henry had to travel the full length of the magazine to work, and a forearm would have been in the way.

    BTW: I have no idea what Gus used in the TV show but seem to recall it was in fact a 1860 Henry.

    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  3. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Well-Known Member

    There were a lot of guns in the Lonesome Dove series that covered a huge time period. In fact if you really look you can see some of the extras using guns that are 20th century era prop guns...

    I need to read the books again the figure out the correct era....

    Gus used a 1860 Henry in the important scenes. (It would have been chambered in 44 Henry Rimfire, IF the story were true ) In the scenes where he uses a Walker Colt, you can look carefully and see it has been converted to fire cartridges.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  4. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Well-Known Member

    The 1866 was often called the "Improved Henry" because of Nelson King's loading gate.
    It used the same cartridge as the original Henry Rifle.
    Some people refer to the 1866 model as the Winchester 1866 but IIRC the 1873 was the first model to be refered to by year as model #.
  5. chad1043

    chad1043 Well-Known Member

    I love this forum... Movie guns are always hard to nail down... I tried very hard to find this exact rifle...

    This 1876 Winchester Centennial I saw in Crossfire Trail.



    I looked up some pictures of it on the internets and the foregrip is completely different than the one in the movie...
  6. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Well it might be Tom's own rare variant. He does collect them.

    The "Lonesome Dove" series were made over several decades with shifting crews and actors. Most of the time they did pretty well with the iron. Better than the books which tend to be pretty vague. The sniper rifle in "Streets of Laredo" is referred to as a "Mauser" for example. In the film they make it an early Schmidt-Rubin rather than the more pedestrian looking Commission Mauser of that same period.

    Ever notice how bad guys tend to have fancier firearms than the good guys in Westerns?
  7. chad1043

    chad1043 Well-Known Member

    Cos, don't tell me that.. Don't break my heart... :)
  8. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

  9. chad1043

    chad1043 Well-Known Member

    Well, I won't be ordering that one....
  10. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Keep an eye out! Some of these have been beaten up to the point of non-shootability and an unfortunate number have been kaboomed as well. The price drops fast for them, and you can parts out a rusted-up one to salvage the pieces you'd need (barrel bands, sights, ring etc. for a reproduction. Fresh wood and replica '76, plus some basic smithing, you're in business.

    Unfortunately any vintage winnies tend to be very expensive if they're in good condition. That one is actually cheap compared to the $20 or $30 grand ones.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  11. VA27

    VA27 Well-Known Member

    Looks like the NWMP '76 carbine that CDNN has for six bills.
  12. rzberry

    rzberry Member

    Wonderful series, Lonesome Dove.
    However, for movie-firearms questions, I'd recommend http://www.imfdb.org/
  13. Float Pilot

    Float Pilot Well-Known Member

    I believe the rifle that Tom Selleck used in Crossfire Trail was an original that was rebuilt by Doug Turnbull.


    So there is no telling if it started out as a real 1876 SRC model ,,, or was it a parts gun that started as a standard model. Back in those days Winchester would make anything you wanted...


    They did not start calling the 1866 anything other than the Winchester Rifle until they came out with the model 1873. Which as you say was the first to be called my a year model name. BUT, since they were still making 1866 models when the 1873 came out, they retro-named the older model the 1866 to note that it was different from the newer model. So there were model 1866s, but they were not called that until 1873...

    Attached Files:

  14. mic214

    mic214 Well-Known Member

    Lonesome Dove is a great movie and Gus is my favorite character in it. Because of him, I now have an 1860 Henry (Blued Iron Frame) and a 3 Model Dragoon conversion (I know it's not a Walker, but it's close enough!).....


  15. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    This is not a `76 but a `73.

    I wouldn't fool with the Chaparral guns at all. The Ubertis cost a lot more but are vastly superior and not notorious for any issues out of the box.
  16. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    The one in Crossfire Trail was a 76 though, was it not? I must be getting mixed up between that and the Mountie carbines.

  17. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    The one in the movie was an 1876 in .45/60. I believe I have a picture of it from the cowboy museum in Oklahoma City. The one in the picture above in post #15 is a `73.
  18. CraigC

    CraigC Well-Known Member

    Yep, here it is pictured with the Colt 1860 cartridge conversion from "Last Stand at Saber River".

  19. chad1043

    chad1043 Well-Known Member

    Wow, that is a great looking rifle. Thanks for sharing.

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