NRA Museum – Hollywood movie guns

Jim Supica has one of the best jobs in the world. He’s the Director of the National Firearms Museum and renowned expert on Smith & Wesson. (He wrote the book).

He graciously allowed gun bloggers the chance to fondle some of the movie guns that were on display before they were packed up to go home.

Jim with the magic key:

They take care and handling of these guns very seriously. Everyone had to wear white gloves to handle them.

The Shilo Sharps Rifle from Quigley Down Under and John Wayne’s Winchester from Stagecoach:

The Beretta from Lethal Weapon and Die Hard:

Dirty Harry’s .44 Magnum, probably the most famous firearm in popular culture:

If you are ever in the DC area, make a point to visit the National Firearms Museum. I saw it in the old building but I hear the display in the new building is MUCH better. It is probably the best, most well documented collection of firearms open to the public.

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9 Responses to NRA Museum – Hollywood movie guns

  1. Ron Odom says:

    I visited the current National Firearms Museam on 9/2009, and even by wife, a non-guns person, enjoyed and appreciated the displays.

    Yep, it is something well worth your while!

  2. Dwight Brown says:

    Was Dirty Harry’s .44 Magnum an actual .44 Magnum? I recall reading somewhere that there was a shortage of Model 29s at the time, so some of the shots in the first Dirty Harry actually used a .41 Magnum (I don’t remember if it was a Model 57 or 58) instead of the Model 29.

    I haven’t made it to the National Firearms Museum yet, but I’ve had the chance to meet Mr. Supica at the last two S&WCA meetings I’ve been to (and, good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, will see him again this year); he struck me as being one of the nicest people in the world. (And the S&WCA conventions are full of really nice people to begin with.)

  3. Kristopher says:

    He’s got his booger hook on that .44 mag’s bang switch.

  4. alan says:

    So did I. 😀

  5. OrangeNeck says:

    Who’s got the photos of me making faces with the gun and badge??

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  7. Jim Supica says:

    Heck yeah, I’ve got the best job in the world! Just don’t tell anyone, they’ll start charging me to work here.

    Great to meet you and the other bloggers at the AM, Alan. Glad you enjoyed the guns!

    Thanks for the kind words, Dwight, I will see ya at SWCA in Tucson. I’m told by the folks that should know that the .41 Mag story is a myth. The actual guns used were indeed .44 Magnum Model 29’s, i believe a total of 3 original guns, plus one rubber prop gun. There is a scene in the movie where Callahan tosses his revolver to the street. They used one of the real guns for that scene instead of the rubber prop gun, and the revolver was sposed to land off camera onto a mat. Mr. Eastwood missed the mat when he made the toss, however, and the shiny new 29 went skittering down the pavement. I’m told that one has the scars to prove it. The one we have in the Museum was one of the other two, on loan from John Milius, one of the lead writers for Dirty Harry, and writer of Magnum Force. It has a plaque on the grips, noting presentation to him from the studio and Clint Eastwood.

    And Kristopher, we do try to follow the basic rules of firearms safety, including “finger off trigger”, even when handling museum pieces that we have immediately load checked, as in this situation. A common courtesy among collectors when handling high condition pieces is to avoid as much hand to metal contact as possible… a habit that sticks with me even when i’m gloved up. One tries to handle museum/collector pieces by the wood, and when that is not possible, i will usually try to handle handguns by edges of the triggerguard, which is what my booger hook is attached to in the pic. (The mouth breathing is an added bonus, common to us native Kansans). Thanks for the reminder tho — safety first always! — Jim

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  9. Mike w says:

    Wai – that was me. Ill shoot ya an email later tonight

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