Cowboy Blob's Saloon and Shootin Gallery

I'm not a real Cowboy, but I play one in the movies.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Gunsmoke: a Test

While waiting for my crock pot full of bison chili (with carrots!!) to cook down, I brought the two brands of blanks out to the desert with their respective six-shooters to see whether any of them were suitable for movie work.

I'm using as a control my experience with shooting real black powder (or Pyrodex, rather) guns. I'll include a link to some video, but I finally decided to have some standards!

The only good point for the shiny Kimar shooting the SA07 .380 "Full Load" blanks is that the cast and crew could conceivably get away with not wearing obvious hearing protection (though the packaging warns you to wear it, of course). I wore none with no discomfort. The Kimar vents only from the cylinder-barrel gap, so I got a nose full of sweet cap-gun aroma. The gunshot sounded like a cap-gun to my bare ears and rather anemic to the camera mic.

The Umarex 9-mm revolver blanks actually produced some smoke, but not to the levels of Pyrodex; of course, I'd used to .44 cal b-p guns, so that accounts for some of the lack. The gunshot sounded more robust, causing some discomfort to my unprotected ears. The things I do for arts & sciences! Even though the cylinder does vent into the restricted barrel, a dab of smoldering powder landed on my shooting arm after a shot. Now reading the side plate of the black revolvers, they read "Cal .380 9 M/M KNALL."

These "guns" and some of the blanks would be useful if I ever needed to shoot a Western on school property (I'd cover the muzzles with orange tape during transport and storage), but besides the "Fix it in Post" method, one other answer is to use REAL guns loaded with commercially available blanks. I've found some in .38 Special and .45 Colt and they're even designed to smoke! I probably could have skipped some of this experience by talking to some Hollywood pros to see what they use. If only the College had some folks on tap to provide advice. I guess I'll just have to watch YouTube and see how the other amateurs do it.

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