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Discussion Starter #1
Lee Van Cleef's buntline shoulder stock, from the movie "For a few dollars more"

Lately, I've been spending hours on searching the Lee Van Cleef's
Buntline shoulder stock from the movie "For A Few Dollars More".
I found this shoulder stock, but it's not as beautiful as the one that was used in the movie, and it's designed for the 1851 navy, and not for the SAA.

That's the one that was used in the movie:



After plenty of time of searching, I found two photos that explained me everything.


Now as you can see, the stock was originally designed for the S&W Model 3,
which means that Lee Van Cleef used a non-fit stock in the movie, and you
can also see a little gap between the stock's metal to the gun's grip.
I'm wondering why didn't he use the original stock.
 

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It looks pretty good with that S&W stock on it. If you ever put a stock together with a handgun make sure the barrel is over 16" long or it's a felony. Unless it's a black powder gun. I'd love a 12" Buntline with a detachable stock. I think there's a Uberti Model 1861 .36 with a stock on Gunbroker. There was recently.
 

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I wonder about the statement 'for a '51 Navy'. In my experience the only grip variation in SAAs, Navys and 1860 Armys is the length of the Army grip being longer, all the grip frames interchange (even would install on a Bisley frame). The SAA & Navy grips are the same but for steel vs brass. The 1872 open top was made with both the army and navy grip. If I am missing something here I am willing to learn.
 

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If I put a shoulder stock on the Uberti 1860 Army in the holster here, it would be just fine. But if I put that same stock on the Gren .44 Special cartridge conversion (bottom) I'd be in a big heap of trouble!

 

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I wonder about the statement 'for a '51 Navy'. In my experience the only grip variation in SAAs, Navys and 1860 Armys is the length of the Army grip being longer, all the grip frames interchange (even would install on a Bisley frame). The SAA & Navy grips are the same but for steel vs brass. The 1872 open top was made with both the army and navy grip. If I am missing something here I am willing to learn.

The SAA and Navy grip frames are not the same. They are very similar, but if you ever have an original Navy in one hand and a SAA in the other, you can tell the small differences. Try swapping stocks on them sometime and it becomes really evident.
 

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The SAA and Navy grip frames are not the same. They are very similar, but if you ever have an original Navy in one hand and a SAA in the other, you can tell the small differences. Try swapping stocks on them sometime and it becomes really evident.
I've always read or heard that the '51 Navy and the SAA grip frames were the same shape, yet the '51 Navy always felt smaller to me. But I've only handled Itaian '51's. I've seen an old Colt SAA (in a gun article) that had a replaced gripframe and trigger guard from a civil war area '51 Navy and it seemed to fit fine. I've never had an original '51 in my hand, that I can remember.
 

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I have a Colt second generation 1860 Army revolver with a shoulder stock. Looks pretty cool, but I don't think I would want to shoot a black powder revolver with it that close to my face!

- - Buckspen
 

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I've always read or heard that the '51 Navy and the SAA grip frames were the same shape, yet the '51 Navy always felt smaller to me. But I've only handled Itaian '51's. I've seen an old Colt SAA (in a gun article) that had a replaced gripframe and trigger guard from a civil war area '51 Navy and it seemed to fit fine. I've never had an original '51 in my hand, that I can remember.
Just because the screw holes line up doesn't mean the frame shape itself is the same. The Navy grip frame was the inspiration for the SAA grip frame, but the angles of how the triggerguard and backstrap come together are different enough that the stocks won't interchange. Also, the Italian replicas are touch and go on how close their frames are to the originals, no matter the style. To do a valid comparison, you have to go back to the originals.

Re: Lee van Cleef's stock - I imagine the S&W stock got used because that is what a prop company had available to use. Or, that is the first thing they found and didn't care about originality. Hard to say with prop guns. There was not much emphasis placed on historic accuracy in those days. Just look at all the Winchester 94s that find their way into movies set in the 1870s and 1880s. :)
 

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Just so we can all be on the same page re interchangeability of grips, grip frames, etc for the SAA and '51 Navy I did a switch of same. See '51 Navy and SAA with grips switched and below as they are. There was no problem in making the switch, altho I did notice a minor variation maybe .005" in screw placement in the front TG frame hole and the hole at the butt. It was not enough to keep the screws from going in - just in getting it started and a bit of a scrub as it was tightened. It says something about Colt's accuracy considering the guns were made maybe 60 years apart. See also pix of my great aunt with this SAA on her hip ca. 1915.


 

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Did you try switching the stocks between the two different frames? I have done so with dozens of gun/stock combinations and the two frames are definitely not identical. The angle from the top of the backstrap to the rear of the frame is a few degrees different between the two models, enough so that the fit of factory one-piece stocks makes the difference quite obvious. I had the opportunity to do this when consulting with and estate with dozens of percussion and SAA Colts and a literal pile of orphaned factory stocks.
 

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Here's the skinny on the SAA-'51 handle item. I did a re-check and find that the SAA grip fits perfectly into the angle formed by the frame and back strap - fits as well on the '51 as on its original SAA. There is a bit of 'trail' in the '51 grip frame, which is to say that with the SAA grip firmly in place against the frame-backstrap angle the rear point of the backstrap extends about 3/32" beyond the SAA grip. That amount of trail is also seen in the forward end of the flat end of the butt. Further, the lengths of the butt flat is approx the same on both. The '51 grip frame at midpoint, about where the grip screw is located, is about 1/16" less than the SAA.

The only constant in this was the SAA grip which is close to perfect. Both guns are about 60% but the ivory grips are a little narrower than the grip frame as seen in the pix, probably to shrinkage of the ivory in its 150 or so years.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I thought Lee Van Cleave was using a ball and cap revolver in that movie, or at the very least a conversion?
No. he was using a colt SAA buntline special 10" barrel.
He was using a cap ang ball revolver in the movie "The Good The Bad And The Ugly". It was a 1858 new army Remington.
 

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It looks like he had a spare Buntline, a Colt Lightning rifle, a shotgun, and what appears to be a 94 Win. but might be a 92. I feel sorry for this poor lopsided horse carrying this hardware around all day.

 

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A couple of years ago I decided to build as accurate a copy of Van Cleef's FFDM Buntline (my all-time favorite movie gun) as I could using the same components seen in the film. A Uberti 10" Buntline served as the basis, with brass trigger guard and backstrap, fitted to an original S&W #3 nickel-plated shoulder stock (rather difficult to find). I used still-frames from the movie as a reference guide in my research, and the resulting piece is pretty darn close. (It is registered as an SBR). The contour of the S&W attaching iron is nowhere close to the saa backstrap, and required re-shaping the Uberti backstrap (which is clearly seen in several still frames in the film) as well as subtle alterations to the grip profile. Mine has the same gap between stock iron and backstrap as the film piece when attached as well. It is, actually, quite comfortable to shoot with the S&W stock--more so IMO than with the B-P style brass stock, or an SAA Buntline skeleton stock. . . can you tell I like stocked Buntlines??
Anyway, my tribute to "Colonel Mortimer" is hands-down the center-piece of my Spaghetti Western collection. . . accurate out to about 150 yards and a real pleasure to shoot. . . well worth the effort.
 

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A couple of years ago I decided to build as accurate a copy of Van Cleef's FFDM Buntline (my all-time favorite movie gun) as I could using the same components seen in the film. A Uberti 10" Buntline served as the basis, with brass trigger guard and backstrap, fitted to an original S&W #3 nickel-plated shoulder stock (rather difficult to find). I used still-frames from the movie as a reference guide in my research, and the resulting piece is pretty darn close. (It is registered as an SBR). The contour of the S&W attaching iron is nowhere close to the saa backstrap, and required re-shaping the Uberti backstrap (which is clearly seen in several still frames in the film) as well as subtle alterations to the grip profile. Mine has the same gap between stock iron and backstrap as the film piece when attached as well. It is, actually, quite comfortable to shoot with the S&W stock--more so IMO than with the B-P style brass stock, or an SAA Buntline skeleton stock. . . can you tell I like stocked Buntlines??
Anyway, my tribute to "Colonel Mortimer" is hands-down the center-piece of my Spaghetti Western collection. . . accurate out to about 150 yards and a real pleasure to shoot. . . well worth the effort.
I guess that shoulder stock was pretty expensive. So expensive you couldn't buy a camera afterwards and take a picture of it for us?!?!!! We have to see that thing! I saw about five minutes of The Big Gundown the other day and Lee Van Cleef had the same Andy Anderson cross draw rig on he used as Mortimer. Except he carried a real Colt with 7 1/2" barrel with ejector removed. And another Colt in a shoulder holster.
We really have to see your Lee Van Cleef tribute gun. In the late 60's/early 70's my aunt and uncle in Hayward, Ca. had a neighbor who was freinds with both Van Cleef and Jack Elam and each would spend the night once in a while. I was old enough be a big western fan and always hoped one of them would be there when we dropped by. Especially Elam. But, alas, they never were.
 

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My apologies to Wyatt (and all) for not posting a picture of my FFDM tribute. I am on a work assignment at the moment, but will take one as soon as I get back.
 
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