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Rifles used in The Ghost and the Darkness

Discuss about fine & antique guns.

Rifles used in The Ghost and the Darkness

PostAuthor: gungeek » Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:16 am

Rifles used in The Ghost and the Darkness

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Based on a true story. The movie takes place in 1898 in Kenya along the Tsavo River. Two lions are killing railroad workers and Col. Patterson (Val Kilmer) has to hunt them down and kill them. He is assisted by the professional hunter Remington (Michael Douglas). Though the movie plays fast and loose with the actual details of the hunt it is an exciting adventure movie with a well written script by William Goldman ( Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid , Marathon Man ) It is also notable for featuring multiple British firearms, some of which almost never appear in American productions such as the BSA Lee-Speed Sporter rifle used by Patterson (Val Kilmer), a Howdah Pistol and a Farquharson Rifle. The movie was filmed in South Africa in 1995.

Birmingham Small Arms Lee-Speed Sporter

Used by Patterson (Val Kilmer) throughout much of the movie. It appears to have a 26" barrel and is probably chambered for .303 British though the BSA Lee-Speed Sporter rifle was available in different calibers. The Lee-Speed was popular with British officers and other hunters who wanted a fine rifle but couldn't afford the expensive double barrel rifles made by Purdy and others. The Lee-Speeds were also popular because they fired the British service round and had the same action as the Lee-Enfield bolt action rifle. In the primitve conditons of Africa in the late 19th and early 20th century the Britsh Army was often a source of supply for hunters and colonists. Which would have included spare parts and ammo. Not many Cabelas sitting around on the grasslands of Tanzania.

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Two well preserved specimens of Lee-Speed Sporters

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Patterson (Val Kilmer) readies his Lee-Speed for a night of Lion hunting.

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Patterson (Val Kilmer) stalks what he believes is just one Lion in the work camp.

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Patterson discovers that there are two Lions working together.

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Patterson cleaning his Lee-Speed the night before the first hunt with Remington (Michael Douglas). Here Patterson is putting the bolt back into the reciever.

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Patterson (Val Kilmer) and Remington (Michael Douglas) working together. Acting as bait for the lions in the old field hospital.

Farquharson rifle

Used by Doctor Hawthorne (Bernard Hill) and Patterson (Val Kilmer). Another popular design in the late 19th century with British shooters. The Farquharson Rifle design is still in use. Most notably the Ruger No. 1 single shot rifle.

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A Jeffery Farquharson Rifle in .400 Nitro Express. Manufactured late 1800's.

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Patterson (Val Kilmer), Samuel (John Kani), and Remington (Michael Douglas) move out on their first hunt for the lions.

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Samuel (John Kani) gives Patterson (Val Kilmer) an anxious look as he prepares to move out with Remington. Remington wants Samuel with him and Samuel is scared of Lions. He told Patterson this the night before.Samuel (John Kani) is carrying a Lee-Enfield Artillery Carbine.

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Patterson positions himself on the high ground waiting to see if the Lions are driven towards him. He traded the doctor (Bernard Hill) his Lee Speed for the doctor's Farqueson the night before. Patterson did not test fire the weapon or even give it a cursory inspection.

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The hammer falls and the round fails to fire.Hence the need for a test fire and functions check.

Holland & Holland Double Rifle

Though it is unknown which company (or gunsmith) manufactured the double barreled rifle used by Remington (Michael Douglas) and later Patterson (Val Kilmer) it appears to be a hammerless model. Given the time it is probably supposed to be a Westley - Richards, Purdey, Rigby or Holland & Holland Double Rifle. It would likely be in 450 3.25" Nitro Express or 500/450 3.25" Nitro Express since those were the premire Nitro calibers at the end of the 19th century.

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Holland & Holland Royal Ejector

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Remington (Michael Douglas) with his double rifle and Patterson(Val Kilmer) with his Lee Speed.

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Remington shares a drink and some laughs with Samuel and Patterson the night before the first hunt. Things are going to get a whole lot more serious.

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Martini-Henry rifle

Used by different charcters in the movie. Most notabley by Angus Starling (Brian McCardie) when the two lions invade the camp in the daytime and kill Angus. Historically accurate. By 1898 the British Army was using the Lee - Enfield bolt action rifle in .303 British. The Martini-Henry Mk. III was a black powder rifle and was classified as obsolete. It was available on the surplus gun market and it would have been cheap and plentiful. It fired a powerful round (.577/.450 Martini-Henry) and was considered effective against lions and other dangerous game.

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Martini-Henry Mk. III (1881-1888) .577-.450 caliber.

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Both Lions attack the camp in daylight. Angus (Brian McCardie), Samuel (John Kani) and Patterson (Val Kilmer) grab their weapons and run towards the danger while others run away.
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Re: Rifles used in The Ghost and the Darkness

PostAuthor: gungeek » Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:20 am

Snider Enfield Mk.II* Artillery Carbine

Snider Enfield Mk.II* Enfield Artillery Carbine is used by Samuel (John Kani) during the first hunt for the lions involving Remington (Michael Douglas) in the thicket. It's a nice touch and showed that somebody was thinking. In 1898 the Snider rifles were surplus and would probably have been readily available in Colonial Africa. Samuel is a native and though trusted by the Europeans would not have been a wealthy man. A surplus Snider rifle would have met his needs and been affordable for him. The fact that the rare Artillery Carbine was used also shows a good eye for detail. Easier to carry and manuever with than the full length infantry rifle version.

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Snider Enfield Mk.II** Artillery Carbine.

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Samuel (John Kani) moves out with Remington (Michael Douglas). The look that he gives Patterson (Val Kilmer) is worth a thousand words.

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As Remington (Michael Douglas) scans the bush for sign of the Lion Samuel (John Kani) can be seen behind him pointing his carbine in the general direction of the Lion's location.
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Re: Rifles used in The Ghost and the Darkness

PostAuthor: gungeek » Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:28 am

Howdah Pistol

A very powerful double barrel handgun developed by the British hunters in India for close range, last ditch, defense against Tigers and other dangerous game. Though it appears that a Lancaster Howdah Pistol is used in the movie other makers produced Howdah style handguns.Howdah was the basket that hunters rode in on top of elephants in India. Tigers were known to climb up the Elephant to reach the hunters in the Howdah. At such close range a long barreled rifle was less than effective.The Howdah Pistol was perfect. They typically had two or four barrel designs. They were massive, powerful and delievered a hell of a wallop at both ends. However it was believed that in a life and death situation heavy recoil would not be noticed.Howdahs are now very collectible. Used by both Patterson (Val Kilmer) and Remington (Michael Douglas). In a nice bit of technical realism the Howdah Pistol is used as a last ditch defense weapon in the movie. The image below is not the same gun seen in the movie.There are rumors that the Howdah pistol carried by Remington (Michael Douglas) was actually fabricated by the armorer so that Remington would have a very distinctive pistol.

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Lancaster Over and Under Howdah Pistol

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Holland & Holland Side by Side "Howdah" pistol

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With many workers now dead their self-appointed leader Abdullah (Om Puri) leads the surviving workers in a confrontation with Patterson (Val Kilmer). Just as things are getting ready to explode Remington (Michael Douglas) shows up and enters into the negotiations.

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"I am a man of peace." Funny how a great big pistol jammed against one's head will change one's nature.

Ghost and Darkness Trio

Examples of the three main rifles used in the movie. From top to bottom. A BSA Lee-Speed Sporter, Farqueson falling block single shot rifle and a Holland & Holland double barrel rifle. Just a neat photo from the Nitroexpress.com forum.

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Top to bottom: Lee-Speed, Farqueson, Holland & Holland

http://www.imfdb.org/index.php?title=Th ... e_Darkness
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Re: Rifles used in The Ghost and the Darkness

PostAuthor: badshah0522 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:08 pm

Watched it more than 200 times,, Excellent Movie,,,,,,to recalled the memories so now i am going to watch it again.... :)
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Re: Rifles used in The Ghost and the Darkness

PostAuthor: gungeek » Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:28 pm

Here's a deluxe Lee-Speed made by BSA for A&N CSL. It was sold to Lt. R. E. M. Russell in 1906. Similar rifle which was used by patterson.

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Re: Rifles used in The Ghost and the Darkness

PostAuthor: Nirav » Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:03 pm

excellent pics and description GG :P
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Re: Rifles used in The Ghost and the Darkness

PostAuthor: fantumfan » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:19 pm

GG,

Excellent stuff.

This link gives details for the rifles Patterson used.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsavo_maneaters

I have seen the railway carriage in KR Museum Nairobi, where the guards were waiting to take shoot the Lion. They were all so terrified by the trapped Lions roaring that they could not hit the lion only a few metres away. The Lion eventually broke through the trap and escaped. Patterson had come up with a good idea for the trap which he learned in India but his guards failed to shoot one of the lions.

The two lions were male Tivo lions, Tivo males do not have manes like other African lions. The two are preserved in a museum in the US.

Here they are

http://www.bluelion.org/man_eaters_of_tsavo.htm

Oh BTW the character Remington did not exist in real life.

Lions in Africa have known to do daring things to capture humans. One maneater called the Man eater of Kima got into the guards compartment of the Nairobi Mombasa express at Kima station and dragged the guard away.

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Re: Rifles used in The Ghost and the Darkness

PostAuthor: gungeek » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:33 am

Great info manish, i thought the character remington was real.
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Re: Rifles used in The Ghost and the Darkness

PostAuthor: Shamsher » Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:58 am

Probably the best post in recent times o TGG

Actual picture of the 1st Lion
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Both of them stuffed, located in a Museum
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ss
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Re: Rifles used in The Ghost and the Darkness

PostAuthor: Nirav » Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:53 pm

wow...ss. :D nice pic.
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Re: Rifles used in The Ghost and the Darkness

PostAuthor: pavanmex » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:14 am

You can download the "Maneaters of Tsavo" book here for FREE

http://manybooks.net/titles/pattersonjh ... avo10.html

enjoy!
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Re: Rifles used in The Ghost and the Darkness

PostAuthor: R.S » Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:17 am

Brilliant post guys !! even better movie and a far better real story !! thanks for all the details about the weapons people and the E book sure was a treat !!
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Re: Rifles used in The Ghost and the Darkness

PostAuthor: arshad_ahmad48 » Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:30 pm

Very Impressive GG...
:D :D :D
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Re: Rifles used in The Ghost and the Darkness

PostAuthor: gungeek » Wed May 12, 2010 4:16 pm

Some more info about maneaters of tsavo.

Roughly 112 years ago, talking about a major railway project in the Houses of Parliament, British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury made surely one of the most extraordinary statement ever uttered by a politician not referring to his own fidelity:

"The whole of the works were put to a stop because a pair of man-eating lions appeared in the locality and conceived a most unfortunate taste for our workmen. At last the labourers entirely declined to carry on unless they were guarded by iron entrenchments.

Of course it is difficult to work a railway under these conditions and until we found an enthusiastic sportsman to get rid of these lions our enterprise was seriously hindered."

These are the lions in question; the Ghost and the Darkness, the Maneaters of Tsavo.

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The "enthusiastic sportsman" in question was one Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson. Patterson claimed the lions may have taken as many as a 135 (yes; one hundred and thirty five) victims which as individual man-eating animals go would put them in the premier league with only the Leopard of Rudraprayag and Gustave for company. The reality is likely to be that the lions killed considerably fewer people than this but there is no question they killed a huge number of people, halted construction on the bridge in question and proved very difficult to stop. The two lions' depredations lasted 9 months with Patterson eventually killing the lions in December 1898.

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Patterson's memoir of his ordeal and quest became a huge bestseller and was the inspiration for the film "The Ghost and the Darkness" starring Val Kilmer as Patterson and Michael Douglas as a fictional hunter called Charles Remmington (Remmington was based on Charles Ryall who hunted but was killed by the last of the two lions after Patterson dispatched the first, the lion entering Ryall's train carriage and killing him!).

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If you're thinking the two look unimpressive for what they are, you're absolutely right. Patterson reported the lions to be absolute monsters (among the largest ever recorded) but the measurements tell a different story. These are maneless male lions (as a number of maneaters from this region have been) and appear averaged sized (and notably smaller than the maneater of Mfuwe). It should be noted however that the skins spent twenty years as rugs before being remounted and accordingly may be smaller than they should be due to trimming and damage. Nevertheless even in their sad current state these two cats provide a stark reminder that we are not always the top of the food chain.

http://tai-haku.blogspot.com/2010/01/gh ... kness.html
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Re: Rifles used in The Ghost and the Darkness

PostAuthor: highlander » Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:07 pm

whatever this is one movie of my lifetime i saw it twice with my sons the senior is now in sydney was an execellent shooter himself never realising he could make his career out of it of which iam sure could have; had more inerest in hockey stood no.1 in india for sub junior category.still has a record as sub junior match for scoring seven goals playing as a center forward. lost his love for this world and went to oz settled as a cabbie. can now power lift only.stands 6.5 inshoes .many able players whichever game they play have a peculiar power for the sport .same is with our shooters only simple people excel .but where is the interest in spotting or encouragment only the moneyed can get a chance that too with a clout .nice guns to see and appreciate but no one to use the experience or teach ...with a heavy heart.. highlander. but it will the person behind the gun . not gun the gun behind the person... thanx and hails to our members who have a heart to appreciate.
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