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papulski said:
Always wondered why they used SAA's since the show is supposed to take place in the 1860's. I remember an episode they were talking about a young Abe Lincoln.
Tranter45 said: I seem to recall them packing 1851 Navy's in early shows?


I recall seeing Little Joe reloading some kind of percussion revolver, either an 1851 or 1860 by swapping out the cylinder with another one that was already loaded. Apparently that was not an uncommon practice.
If you have a copy of R.L. Wilson's coffee table book The Peacemakers, there is a good photo of Ben, Little Joe and Hoss' guns and holsters on page 333. All negatives about Wilson's business dealings aside, the book is worth it just for the wonderful color photography and the section Arming The Fictional West has many of the guns of the silver screen and TV cowboy heroes. The book is available from some of the online book resellers for cheap.

By the way I drive though the area where the opening credits and other location shots were filmed for the early episodes on a regular basis. Most of the area is still working horse and cattle ranches.
 

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Tranter45 said: I seem to recall them packing 1851 Navy's in early shows?


I recall seeing Little Joe reloading some kind of percussion revolver, either an 1851 or 1860 by swapping out the cylinder with another one that was already loaded. Apparently that was not an uncommon practice.
If you have a copy of R.L. Wilson's coffee table book The Peacemakers, there is a good photo of Ben, Little Joe and Hoss' guns and holsters on page 333. All negatives about Wilson's business dealings aside, the book is worth it just for the wonderful color photography and the section Arming The Fictional West has many of the guns of the silver screen and TV cowboy heroes. The book is available from some of the online book resellers for cheap.

By the way I drive though the area where the opening credits and other location shots were filmed for the early episodes on a regular basis. Most of the area is still working horse and cattle ranches.
Here’s the “Mark Twain” episode that has a lot of shootin’. At the final gunfight Little Joe removes the barrel of his ‘51 Navy conversion to reload. Hoss has a Remington, probably a conversion, Adam an 1860 I believe, and real life anti gun Lorne Green an original 1875 Remington.
 

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Bonanza used cap-and-ball revolvers in the early seasons, but then quickly switched to the SAA. As far as rifles, again, early seasons had Winchester 92s with the forearms removed and painted to look like Henry rifles, but then later just began using all manner of regular Model 92 rifles and carbines. Someone pointed out that using blank loads in percussion revolvers is a rather "tricky" thing to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Don't make him
Here’s the “Mark Twain” episode that has a lot of shootin’. At the final gunfight Little Joe removes the barrel of his ‘51 Navy conversion to reload. Hoss has a Remington, probably a conversion, Adam an 1860 I believe, and real life anti gun Lorne Green an original 1875 Remington.


View attachment 754519
Here’s the “Mark Twain” episode that has a lot of shootin’. At the final gunfight Little Joe removes the barrel of his ‘51 Navy conversion to reload. Hoss has a Remington, probably a conversion, Adam an 1860 I believe, and real life anti gun Lorne Green an original 1875 Remington.
Tranter45 said: I seem to recall them packing 1851 Navy's in early shows?


I recall seeing Little Joe reloading some kind of percussion revolver, either an 1851 or 1860 by swapping out the cylinder with another one that was already loaded. Apparently that was not an uncommon practice.
If you have a copy of R.L. Wilson's coffee table book The Peacemakers, there is a good photo of Ben, Little Joe and Hoss' guns and holsters on page 333. All negatives about Wilson's business dealings aside, the book is worth it just for the wonderful color photography and the section Arming The Fictional West has many of the guns of the silver screen and TV cowboy heroes. The book is available from some of the online book resellers for cheap.

By the way I drive though the area where the opening credits and other location shots were filmed for the early episodes on a regular basis. Most of the area is still working horse and cattle ranches.
Watching the show today, opening scene. No shooting, Adam pulled what appeared to me to be a 1851 Navy on a gentleman. Later scene he seemed to be using a 1873 Winchester. Little early for that rifle. Trying to learn about the history of firearms is helped by all the knowledge on this board. As easy as it is to make fun of the ponderosa the visualization of firearms is in every scene. I grew up watching these shows. I learned growing up that guns were tools. That needed to be respected.
 

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I've seen Westerns with the shooters firing rapidly and if you look close, you will see they are using Colt New Services with an ejector rod attached to the barrel make it appear to be a SAA. Bonanza was a very popular TV show but the characters were all grown men, living with their father and wore the same clothes all the time. None of them ever married and Old Ben buried three wives. He should have been investigated.
I always wondered if he even payed Hop Sing
 

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One of the Bonanza writers must have had some knowledge of firearms. There is an episode where a travelling merchant has what he describes as a "fine Merwin & Hulbert" revolver for sale in his wagon and shows it to Ben. I was unfamiliar with that name when I saw the episode in pre-internet days and had to check my copy of Handguns Of The World or some other tome in my library to see what it was.

I was all ready to buy one when the company that was supposed to be making a reproduction M&H announced them but folded before any were ever delivered. I sure wish Uberti would tool up and make one, I'd pay $1000-$1200 or so for a well made reproduction.
 

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Never thought the show was that great. Others apparently do. I worked in a store where Landon would come in and one time I rode in an elevator with him. Seemed like a nice person. Certainly unlike some of the stars that frequented the store. A very small person, like Alan Ladd. Doubt he could win any fist fights in real life, but in the Old West you didn’t have to use your fists to settle things.
 

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One of the Bonanza writers must have had some knowledge of firearms. There is an episode where a travelling merchant has what he describes as a "fine Merwin & Hulbert" revolver for sale in his wagon and shows it to Ben. I was unfamiliar with that name when I saw the episode in pre-internet days and had to check my copy of Handguns Of The World or some other tome in my library to see what it was.

I was all ready to buy one when the company that was supposed to be making a reproduction M&H announced them but folded before any were ever delivered. I sure wish Uberti would tool up and make one, I'd pay $1000-$1200 or so for a well made reproduction.
There was an episode with Rory Calhoun and he carried a nickel/ivory Merwin & Hulbert. And in very early ones I seen Hoss and Joe using a Winchester ‘73 that had a nickel plated frame. The use of conversions early on and lack of cartridge loops on all gunbelts was a conscious effort at being authentic to around 1860.
Compare the glossy look of Bonanza with so many outdoor scenes that are obviously indoor sets with “The High Chapoaral”, for example.
 

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There was an episode with Rory Calhoun and he carried a nickel/ivory Merwin & Hulbert. And in very early ones I seen Hoss and Joe using a Winchester ‘73 that had a nickel plated frame. The use of conversions early on and lack of cartridge loops on all gunbelts was a conscious effort at being authentic to around 1860.
Compare the glossy look of Bonanza with so many outdoor scenes that are obviously indoor sets with “The High Chapoaral”, for example.
Yep you never almost see clouds moving in the sky or trees swaying in the breeze.
 

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Tranter45 said: I seem to recall them packing 1851 Navy's in early shows?


I recall seeing Little Joe reloading some kind of percussion revolver, either an 1851 or 1860 by swapping out the cylinder with another one that was already loaded. Apparently that was not an uncommon practice.
If you have a copy of R.L. Wilson's coffee table book The Peacemakers, there is a good photo of Ben, Little Joe and Hoss' guns and holsters on page 333. All negatives about Wilson's business dealings aside, the book is worth it just for the wonderful color photography and the section Arming The Fictional West has many of the guns of the silver screen and TV cowboy heroes. The book is available from some of the online book resellers for cheap.

By the way I drive though the area where the opening credits and other location shots were filmed for the early episodes on a regular basis. Most of the area is still working horse and cattle ranches.
Where is the location of the opening scene? Up around Tahoe? Recently we were visiting relatives just south of Carson City and passed the location where the opening of “The Shootist” was filmed. That’s where John Wayne gunshot a robber with a derringer. I think that was discussed here before.
 

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That’s a pretty good episode (for Bonanza) because of Vic Morrow. “Little Joe” and Hoss don’t wear their guns in this one. I have a feeling Vic Morrow’s gun might be the one Joe usually carried. I don’t recall the “no trigger” comment, but it could have still actually had the trigger. Unless you saw it removed in a close up.
I think “CSI Virginia City“ should have checkEd out Ben Cartwright. How come all his wife’s seem to die on him? looks suspicious to me.
Might be time to call in Monk! Little Joe would be hitting on Natalie though!
 

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"Three 42 year old sons with a 48 year old father. Not a believable depiction of the Old West." quote from TIN MEN. I knew and worked with David Canary who replaced Pernell Roberts on the show. Very nice fellow.
 

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Talking about SAA's without triggers, I had a mate in Melbourne in the 70's who was heavily into quick draw competitions, and got a phone call from him one Sunday morning, "come and get me", why, "just shot my-self", ok on my way, Vince had been practicing his quick draw (with a loaded 44WCF) and no trigger and was fanning the hammer as it exited the holster when his hand slipped, put one through his leg, fortunately missing the bone, I suggested in future he practice with blanks !!! Leg healed up and allowed him to go back to being a pro wrestler, he used to drive around Melbourne at that time in a red convertible Thunderbird, quite the showman.
 

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Accidents like this - preventable ones - are the reason for the 'billboard' on Rugers today.

Too many fast draw tyros were using off-the-shelf rounds and not wax loads, and they paid for it.
 

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Where is the location of the opening scene? Up around Tahoe? Recently we were visiting relatives just south of Carson City and passed the location where the opening of “The Shootist” was filmed. That’s where John Wayne gunshot a robber with a derringer. I think that was discussed here before.
Sheriff Burp, the opening scene was filmed around Lake Hemet and Garner Ranch which is about 40 miles west of Palm Desert in the Garner Valley. A lot of B westerns were filmed in that area as well.

 

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Accidents like this - preventable ones - are the reason for the 'billboard' on Rugers today.

Too many fast draw tyros were using off-the-shelf rounds and not wax loads, and they paid for it.
Yep and then they blame the gun manufacturer for their stupidity.
 
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