Friday, January 8, 2010


When the posse was meeting to discuss chasing the killers in Unforgiven, someone said that the man that sold ammo wouldn't sell anymore .30-30 shells on credit. They'd have to pay cash. I guess that was for their Spencer repeaters they talked about

The movie was set in 1880.

The thing is, .30-30, as we all know, wasn't around until 1895...

And the Spencer took a funny .56-56 cartridge. Rimfire, too. Now they might have had .44-40 in 1880, I guess. But not .30-30.

Now, in the final scene, Eastwood, playing William Muny, Gunfighter, goes into Greeley Saloon and shoot the owner/pimp with a double barrel 12 gauge. Dead. The second barrel probably had a paper cartridge and got wet in the rain and misfired. Muny/Clint switches to the Schofield. And shoots 4 men with 4 or 5 shots. It's a .44 S&W pistol, generally. We don't know specifically, but that is the odds. NOT magnum. He then get's and loads the Spencer with those HUGE .56-56. Turns out at least TWO of the guys he shot with the pistol are hurt but not dead, and try to shoot back in their injured state. The rifle bullet does the coup de grace. Now, sure, it is Hollywood. Not known for their attendance to reality (the shotgun blows the guy down the room a bit, for instance. Even a 10 gauge?... no.) It goes to show that a pistol is a pistol, and a RIFLE is a RIFLE, no matter what Hollywood intended.

[It's a good movie, ignore my quibbles if it give the impression that the movie is less than exceptional. Why else would I re-watch it over and over?]

Another aside. I am a beer drinker. I like a cold beer. Now beer didn't do well in the wild west. Not enough local breweries and such. Beer is too perishable. Now, sure enough, Anheuser Busch did a good job shipping kegs around on ice... But if I was thrust into the life of a gun fighter, I'd be out of luck.

As the years went by I developed more of a taste for harder liquors I did not prefer in my youth. Particularly bourbon. As a wee bairn the 'sips' I got from my parents were Budweiser and Bourbon and water. Specifically Kentucky, Early Times. I appreciate Knob Creek now. Which is nice because there is a machine gun shoot there. Totally unintentional on my part.

But if I was back in time, I'd be ok, now, as long as I could find decent bourbon.


elmo iscariot said...

I'm a big fan of Knob Creek myself. I really hope the 2010 batches start arriving in NJ stores soon; the 2009 shortage has really driven up the prices in my area.

Tam said...

.44-40, along with .45-70 and .45 Colt, was part of the Class of '73; an excellent year in cartridge design!

In 1880, however, you could probably buy ".30-30 Wesson" ammunition, which was not the same as the later ".30-.30 Winchester".

.3" bores were uncommon prior to the introduction of smokeless powder, as they fouled too quickly with black powder.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Cool, Tam! I didn't think about the possibility of precursor round.

Old NFO said...

Good commentary... and EARLY TIMES??? You were/are hardcore! :-)