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MythBuster: Dirty Harry Did NOT Carry .44 Magnum!

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by StrikeEagle, Jul 8, 2005.

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  1. StrikeEagle

    StrikeEagle Member

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    Yes... yes, it's true. The legendary Harry Callahan carried a Model 29, but didn't load it with Magnum Rounds!

    In the followup movie, Magnum Force, he's at the range with some young cops. When asked what load he uses Harry said "I use a light special. With a gun this size and weight it has no more recoil than .38 out of a .357."

    A 'light special'... sigh. :p

    I guess this is another reason that John Wayne is cooler than Clint Eastwood...

    shaking my head in disgust, I remain,
    StikeEagle
     
  2. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    It's been a long time since I saw that film, but I recall him qualifying that statement with "for fast shooting....." implying it was a special purpose load.
     
  3. Gillster

    Gillster Member

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    Yeah, I thought that answer was in relation to the shooting competition they were having not for regular carry load.
     
  4. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Gillster has it. In the scene they're at the target range, and the shooting competition is coming up soon.
     
  5. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

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    Well, in the first Dirty Harry movie, Callahan's .44 Magnum Model 29 was actually a .41 Magnum Model 57.
     
  6. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Well, if we want to be technical, Dirty Harry didn't carry .44 magnum ammo. Hell, he didn't even hardly ever actually carry real ammol, but blanks for the majority of the shooting. All StrikeEagle is saying is that Dirty Harry didn't claim to be shooting .44 mag in the second movie. That statement, of course, has zilch bearing and relevance on the first movie.

    Somehow, taking the dialog from characters in a fictional movie to make a statement about what was factually being done is pretty naive.

    If we are going to split hairs, might as well split as many as we can.

    The History Channel had a segment on Dirty Harry and the .44 Magnum. The gun used in the movie was a .44 magnum as indicated by the specimen housed in some museum that is said to be the gun used in the movie.

    Sure, John Wayne is cooler, but not because he never statement he was using powered down ammo. I don't recall John Wayne ever saying that much about ammo power at all.
     
  7. Boats

    Boats member

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    In any event, a .44 Special sure ain't gonna hurt no one. :rolleyes:
     
  8. HighVelocity

    HighVelocity Member

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    The words "light special" in reference to 44cal is like saying "small sledge hammer". :neener:
     
  9. DillHarris

    DillHarris Member

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    And speaking of Sledge Hammer, see my tag line. He always had magnums, no doubt.

    From what I remember of the movies, the recoil looked like it would have been from magnums, I know that's subjective and not at all scientific (but it is a movie after all). I'll have to check the competition/range scenes to see if they thought to make it look like it recoils any less than when he's shooting 'punks'.

    I'll take Paladin over John Wayne if you want 'cool'.
     
  10. BigG

    BigG Member

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    Trust me, I know what I'm doing! :>

    I have been a movie buff for quite a while and had read somewhere that the Model 29 was not available during "Dirty Harry" so they substituted a Model 57 and called it a 44 Magnum.

    BTW, did someone mention SLEDGE HAMMER ? One of my favorite TV shows.
     
  11. HighVelocity

    HighVelocity Member

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    Sledge Hammer is one of my fav tv series of all time. check out www.sledgehammeronline.com
    My handle on that forum is TMIKWID (trust me, I know what I'm doing).

    Happiness is a warm gun - Sledge
     
  12. thatguy

    thatguy Member

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    Marko Kloos, No, it was always a 29. The 57 substitution is a MYTH that's been going around for years. All filming was with a 29. ALL OF IT. It was a 6.5" M29-2 in most scenes and for the distant shots they used an 8 & 3/8" gun so it would still look big at a distance. No 57 was ever used in any part of the movie. Myth that won't die.
     
  13. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    If anyone has the DVD handy, just stop motion on the revolver closeup and take a screenshot so we can settle this one and for all.
     
  14. Gunnutz13

    Gunnutz13 Member

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    True...

    Dirty Harry didn't actually use a Model 29 in the movie(s), but for the sake of argument, that was the gun he was suppose to be carrying...what he alludes to in the 2nd movie, Magnum Force, at the range with the rookies / vigilantes, is that he was using a .44special load, which he compares it to firing a .38special out of a .357magnum handgun...which is quite acurate.
    :evil:
     
  15. TMM

    TMM Member

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    Dirty Harry did not know about the BFR chambered in .45-70.
     
  16. StrikeEagle

    StrikeEagle Member

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    Hey there, Dill!

    hehe

    Ok, Paladin rules I admit. :)

    Go here for some music and some memories!

    http://www.hgwt.com/hgwt10old.htm

    Have fun and shoot straight! :D

    StrikeEagle
     
  17. 17RemFan

    17RemFan Member

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    Do ya feel lucky? Well.... do ya ? :neener PUNK :neener:
     
  18. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    I don't care about Dirty Harry. When I carry a .44, it's loaded with .44 magnums.
     
  19. gbelleh

    gbelleh Member

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    I used to love the show Sledge Hammer too! (even though I was only 9 years old when it was on TV). I liked anything with a huge revolver in it! :D

    I see it's coming out on DVD! :D
     
  20. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Member

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  21. thatguy

    thatguy Member

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    It was not only supposed to be a 29, it was, in fact, a 29. John Milius, who was the screenwriter for the 1st Dirty Harry film, has stated in at least two pulished stories that it was a 29 and not ever a 57. In fact, he has one of the guns used for filming, presented to him by the studio, and it is a Model 29-2. It was pictured in at least one of the magazine stories. Somehow the 57 myth got started and it simply won't go away.
     
  22. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...MythBuster..." It's not a myth. It's a movie. Nothing in movies is real. The only real part about the Dirty Harry movies is the noticable jump in S&W M29 sales the day or so after any of them are broadcast.
    "...Paladin over John Wayne..." Randolph Scott was cooler than either of them.
     
  23. jeff-10

    jeff-10 Member

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    Isn't that Internet rumor? How could a movie studio making a movie with Clint Eastwood, with the revolver playing a major part in the movie, not be able to come up with the right gun? Does't make sense to me.
     
  24. Malamute

    Malamute Member

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    I read in a magazine, (many years before the internet) they they simply couldn't find a 6 1/2" 29 when they started filming, so used the 57 in the begining. The person making the statement was involved with the filming, and was a gun person. I don't recall where I read it. I believe it was around 20 years ago that I read it.
     
  25. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

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    Will this damn misconception ever go away? :banghead:


    It was NOT a .41! You can tell by looking at the muzzle when he has the bank robber on the ground and for the first time utters the infamous "do you feel lucky?" speech.

    There was NOT a shortage of Model 29 revolvers at that time. There were shortages after the movie was released though. Each time the did a sequel there was another temporary sales increase.

    In the 1st Dirty Harry sequel, Magnum Force, Callahan did not say he used .44 Special ammo. In the scene where Harry meets the rookie officers (for the first time) in the underground police practice range he is asked,
    His answer is,
    Now all this really illustrates it that neither the script writer nor Clint Eastwood knew sPit from Shinola™ about real handgun ammunition. :rolleyes:

    Nowhere in any of the five Dirty Harry movies do we see a clear image of the ammunition he carried. And it's never discussed again. Of course the real definition of "special load" is open for speculation.

    It has been documented, several times, (just do a THR search) that is was definitely a real S&W Model 29 (there were actually three of them) used in the movies.
    One of the original guns was presented to screenwriter John Milius, who is now on the NRA board of directors. That particular Model 29 now resides in the National Rifle Association's National Firearms Museum in Fairfax.

    Perhaps one of you should call the NRA and tell them they've made a horrible mistake because you read it on the internet. :scrutiny:

    As for me. I DO know spit from Shinola. ;)
    [​IMG]




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