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What kind of gun carried by Jim Bowie in Wayne's The Alamo?

Discussion in 'Civil War Weapons and Ammunition' started by Nathanb1, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator

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    It's a little early for Civil War :eek: But my husband and I were watching John Wayne's version of the Alamo and he asked what in the world Richard Widmark (Jim Bowie) was carrying -- a multi-barreled something......called a "Nock Gun"? I found what it's called but I know nothing about its history.

    I know you guys can probably answer this off the tops of your heads. Anyone know the history of that particular firearm? Was it something Wayne collected and decided to use? Thanks for your help!

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  3. 101combatvet

    101combatvet 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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  4. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator

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    Thanks! Once I read about the Sharpe series, I remembered where I'd noticed it before!
  5. kansas

    kansas Corporal

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    Cool firearm, i cant tell from the picture if the barrels rotate or if it has a set up like a sharps pepperbox. If nothing else it would have frightened anyone who looked at the muzzles at close range.
  6. blueshawk1

    blueshawk1 Cadet

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    I found this about it;

    "Every age has produced unusual weapons and weapons that looked much better on paper than they did in the cold light of reality. One of those weapons is the Nock Volley Gun. The gun was produced by gunsmith Henry Nock under contract to the Royal Navy. 500 were produced in 1780 and an additional 100 were procured in 1787. The concept was simple. Seven barrels, each firing a .52-caliber ball, were ignited simultaneously by a single flintlock mechanism. Fired from the fighting tops, this weapon would have wreaked havoc on the crowded quarterdeck of an enemy combatant.
    One must presume that each barrel would have been loaded in the fashion of the time with “three buck and a ball” and even though the ball is a third smaller than the standard Brown Bess musket’s .75-caliber, the recoil would have been substantial. At a length of 42-inches and weight of 12-lbs it would have been a load of fun to have to manage while in the rigging or fighting tops.
    The Nock Volley Gun has been popularized in the Richard Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwell and is the weapon of choice of Sharpe’s immense sidekick, Patrick Harper. Contrary Mr. Cornwell’s claims that the gun was disfavored because of the physical harm, broken shoulders, tossed from the fighting tops by the recoil, etc., faults which could have been easily fixed by modifying it as a swivel gun, the volley gun was not accepted because the shower of sparks from the seven barrels presented an unacceptable fire hazard to sails and rigging."
  7. johan_steele

    johan_steele Lt. Colonel Retired Moderator

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    It is a monster of a weapon and calling it an understatement to say it had a substantial recoil is like saying the Mongols dabbled in real estate.

    I'm dubious as to if Jim Bowie ever even saw one.
  8. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator

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    As I recall Mr. Bowie liked to fight at close quarters with more, shall we say, intimate weapons.
  9. sharps1859

    sharps1859 Cadet

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    The actual Nock Volley Gun used in The Alamo by Widmark can be seen at the NRA's National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, VA. It is part of a temporary exhibition, "Hollywood Guns," that features dozens of actual guns used on film. Admission is free.
  10. M E Wolf

    M E Wolf Brigadier General Moderator

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    Sharps1859, sir;


    Welcome to Civil War Talk sir.

    Always a pleasure to have a neighbor join the discussions, sir. :sabre:[formal salute]

    Respectfully,
    M. E. Wolf
  11. K Hale

    K Hale Colonel Civil War Photo Contest
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    Reminds me of a Deadwood clip I just saw.

    Hearst: (looking at an elk mount) Your kill, sir?
    Swearengen: Who?
    Hearst: The animal.
    Swearengen: Oh no, I'm a terrible shot. Work better closer in.

    That said, now be fair to Mr. B. :smile: The only recorded knife fight he was ever in, he used the knife only after firing (and missing with) two pistols.

    I looked up Nock guns, here's a picture: http://www.dave-cushman.net/shot/volleyguns.html
  12. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Jim Bowie was a very colorful figure who was born in Kentucky and lived most of his life in Louisiana and of course died at The Alamo. One famous story of Jim Bowie and his knife is the Sandbar Fight. What began as a duel between two men turned into a melee, in which Bowie was shot and stabbed.
    on Sept. 19, 1827 Jim Bowie and Norris Wright who was Sheriff of Rapides Parish, attended a duel on a Sandbar near Natchez. Bowie supported the duelist Samuel Wells and Wright supported Dr. Thomas Maddox. The duelists fired two shots a piece at each other and missed. Than the duelists resolved their fight with a handshake. Other members at the duel began fighting. Bowie was shot by Wright, and Bowie charged at him with his knife. Bowie was hit on the head with a pistol. Bowie shot at Wright . Wright drew his sword cane and stabbed Bowie. Bowie stabbed Wright with his knife. Wright died immediately. Another person at duel shot Bowie a second time. A doctor who was at the duel took the bullets out and than patched Bowie's other wounds. This fight cemented Bowie's reputation in the South as a superb knife-fighter and started legend of the Bowie knife.
  13. K Hale

    K Hale Colonel Civil War Photo Contest
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    Poor Bowie, he was only trying to defend his friend Sam Cuny, and wound up becoming the sole focus of four different people with pistols and sword-canes. One ended up dead, two were wounded, and the fourth guy took off. Bowie didn't start the fight, but he sure nailed that sucker shut.

    I have [cough] two books on this. I think I could testify in court on it now.
  14. bama46

    bama46 Captain

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    I learned of this fight in a bar at Natchez Under the Hill on a hot summer day, while consuming more than one cold adult beverages... The local denizens of that place all knew the details ahd happily told them to me. some of them may even be true!
  15. K Hale

    K Hale Colonel Civil War Photo Contest
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    Well you can't believe everything you read. :smile: Or hear!

    One of my books has letters and newspaper articles reflecting all the eyewitness accounts. As with any group of eyewitness accounts, they don't all match up in their details, but a general picture certainly emerges and it's amazing.

    How does one survive a punctured lung in 1827? How would that even be treated?
  16. bama46

    bama46 Captain

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    I suspect that the treatment then would be about the same as today, a tube of somesorts has to be inserted into the would to keep the lung inflated... then hope for little or no infection.

    No, some of the details do not match up with what I have read either... the sandbar was only about 4 -5 miles downstream from NUtH
    and it took literally months for the fight to come to fruitation... everything in the world, short of apologies, was tried to avoid it.
  17. K Hale

    K Hale Colonel Civil War Photo Contest
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    It seems to be that the two principals tried to avoid it, while others, on both sides, most of whom hated one another for various reasons, kept egging it on. Every time I read about all the complicated lead-in and the months of time and effort spent on setting this up, I think to myself... do these people have nothing else to occupy their time? Aside from the planters and the land speculator, some of these guys at least had what amounted to day jobs (several lawyers and doctors were involved). Where do they find the time to get so enmeshed in something this time-consuming and obscure in its origins?

    Oh, and... BOWIE THREAD!! Sorry, I get enthusiastic about my newest favorite subject.

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