Saturday, October 08, 2016


Ed Harris' Gun In Westworld on HBO

Although not every watcher is in love with the new HBO series Westworld, based on a bad 70s movie and a fair book by Michael Crichton, I like it a lot. Anything about the scope of artificial intelligence is good for me. It also has guns. I like that too.

So, let's talk about Ed Harris' gun. I have to use the actor's name because his character has none; and Man in Black sounds stupid to me.

He carries a LeMat revolver, a modern remake of the 1850s design. His gun takes .44 centerfire cartridges and has 9 in the cylinder. It also has a 20 gauge shotgun round (or maybe a sweet 16) in a central smoothbore barrel around which the cylinder revolves. Originally, these all were loaded from the front with gunpowder and shot or bullets with a primer cap at each of the closed ends. That probably took some time. The modern Italian made LeMats still have the nipples on the cylinder for the percussion caps. Why not make the one Harris uses?

Harris takes his gun apart to reload it, which is a little weird. I know it has a port for loading the .44 rounds and a flip away 'hatch' to reload the shotgun round, so maybe taking it apart is the best way after all.

It was a formidable weapon at the time, with 3 more rounds than usual and the shotgun center surprise. Confederate generals Braxton Bragg, P.G.T. Beauregard (who helped his cousin develop it), J.E.B. Stuart and Richard Anderson used one. The Confederacy Museum in Richmond has the guns used by Stuart and Beauregard. LeMats have become more popular in books and movies lately.

It is a good choice for the super-predator Harris character. Of course, if no one can effectively shoot back, shooting the robots one by one is certainly no heroic stand against odds and probably not that much fun. I'm waiting for a guest to take the guy on. It would be difficult to cross draw* this big, heavy weapon quickly.

Could guests even shoot other guests? Is Harris a guest or a robot that effectively mimics guest status? I bet we find out.

* Harris is right handed but he wears his holster back to front on his left hip and thus he has to cross over his body to draw the weapon. Most the other gunfighters in the show draw straight up and out from their holster worn on their right hip. They would generally be faster than anyone using the cross-draw rig.

UPDATE: I watched the episode again and the cylinder on the LeMat Harris uses is smooth. It does not have any percussion cap nipples like the gun in the photo above. So it is up to date by 20th Century standards. Make that gun for $800 or so and a lot of people would line up to buy it, I bet.


I never heard of a LeMat conversion. Must be a Hollywood special. LeMats were notorious for have the firing pin for the shot charge broken off by users who forgot to collapse it after firing the center charge.
You see Harris flipping down the shotgun shell firing pin before he shoots the robot behind the wall (good protection from buckshot I would think) in the neck with a single hole. I thought his first shot into the bartender had been the shotgun shell. Perhaps the show is not perfect regarding the operation of a LeMat. There are LeMat versions that used pinfire and then center fire. That's not what the Italian version is however. I can't recall if I saw percussion cap nipples on the cylinder on Harris' gun but they shouldn't be there. Thanks for the comment. Still a good show and a superior choice of weapon for the most mysterious character in a faux 19th C. setting.
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