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These photos were made at the 1991 Charlotte Film Festival.  During the run of the show Dick Powell gave Don this weapon, which he originally purchased at Harrah's and had re-fitted for cartridge firing by Stembridge Gun Works.  This is the only LeMat used in the show.  A Colt .45 is sometimes seen when the gun is "fanned" or when a "stunt gun" was needed.

 

 

PHOTO CREDITS: FLOYD "CHUNK" SIMMONS, former actor and stuntman. c. M.Jacquelyn Patterson 1991

YOU MEAN IT ISN'T A SEVEN-SHOOTER?

Much confusion about this Confederate weapon resulted from the decision to ignore its real properties in favor of a myth the writers and/or producer felt had more dramatic impact.  In the show it is referred to as a "seven-shooter."  Case Thomas constructed it, and mentioned he got the idea "from Colonel LeMat."  He gave it to Johnny in the first episode as an edge against the handful of villains he had to face alone.  (Not enough just to be the fastest gun in all the West!)  The seventh round was fired from the shotgun barrel and served as a nasty surprise to bad guys counting shots.  It was said to hold six .45 calibre cartridges, and the shotgun shell used was often referred to as a .410 gauge.  Don recalls with a chuckle the writers thought that "sounded bigger."

DON LOADS THE METAL "SHELL" INTO
THE SHOTGUN CHAMBER--Time
for more than one bad guy to DIE!

Photo by Floyd Simmons,copyright M.Jacquelyn Patterson

In fact, the LeMat originally held NINE .42 calibre percussion rounds, and the shotgun barrel, used with either slugs or "grapeshot," was approximately 18 gauge!  Stembridge adapted it to fire nine .44 rimfire cartridges. A full-load .45 blank was inserted into a metal sleeve fashioned to look like a shotgun shell.  It is this Johnny Ringo is seen loading into the shotgun barrel from time to time, and it produced an impressive muzzle flame.  The small button on the right side of the hammer can be thumbed to reposition the firing pin from one barrel to the other.

ARVO OJALA designed and constructed
this original holster

Taken last December by Don Durant,
note the number 912
Mr. Ojala recently made a replica of Don's holster.  This is the only one ever used in the show!

Photos copyright 1999 Don Durant

This article comes from the February, 1961 issue of GUN WORLD. It has a number of errors, including the notion the gun used on JOHNNY RINGO was copied from the LeMat. The gun was an original 1860's weapon, modified to fire metal cartridges.  And it was not Aaron Spelling who found the gun or had the idea to use it, but rather veteran gun collector Dick Powell, then head of Four-Star.

click picture for full article--be patient, these pages load slowly!
EXCELLENT PHOTOS!


All text on this page copyrighted M. Jacquelyn Patterson--1991-2009.
Kindly do not rewrite, republish or quote from without due credit and proper notation.

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