Guns of Burt Reynolds
Recently, the world lost a film icon. Let’s take a look at all the guns he used on screen during his half-century career.
Burt Reynolds, star of screens big and small for more than a half century, passed away late last week at the age of 82.
A native of Michigan, the Boogie Nights and Smokey and the Bandit star succumbed to a cardiac arrest at his estate in Martin County, Florida, according to news reports.Reynolds was the personification of the macho man in an era when powerful mustaches and intense chest hair were very en vogue, and he starred in a lot of what could be called early action movies of the 1970s, including Deliverance, the Bandit series, and others, but his filmography is deeper than you might think, going all the way back to his first TV gig on a show called Flight in 1958.
He made the rounds of the popular shows of the time, including a 50-episode run on Gunsmoke. After his first real movie, Navajo Joe, Reynolds landed his own series Hawk in which he played Native American detective John Hawk of the New York City District Attorney’s office, though it only ran for 17 episodes.Apparently, in the 60s Hollywood thought Burt Reynolds looked very Native American. After that he bounced around from TV show to show peppered with small film roles until 1972 when he had three movies hit theaters. One was the forgettable vignette film Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask and the equally forgettable Boston crime thriller Fuzz, but the third film was the groundbreaking adaptation of a popular novel, Deliverance.
His role in that film as the tough outdoorsman with a compound bow launched him into stardom and Reynolds began starring in a lot of movies—they weren’t usually the most big budget affairs, but movies like Hooper (1978) and The Longest Yard (1974) personified the tough guy movies and characters of the day.
Through all those roles, he used a few guns for sure. Here’s a rundown of the movie guns of Burt Reynolds:
Navajo Joe (1966)
One of his earliest film roles was as the titular character in Navajo Joe (1966), which might be considered a bit racist today. A true spaghetti western, it was made in Italy and Spain by director Sergio Corbucci.
Reynolds played a Native American, who is actually called Navajo Joe, the sole survivor of a peaceful village that was attacked by a gang of cutthroats who scalped the villagers for the bounty of a dollar each. Joe pursues the outlaws on the way to Esperanza where a train robbery comes into play along with other Wild West shenanigans.
Most of the bad guys and good guys use Colt Single Action Army revolvers and a number also use Winchester Model 1892 rifles, including Navajo Joe.
But Joe’s primary firearm is a Winchester Model 1873 carbine that he has decorated with feathers.
In one scene during the train robbery, Joe’s rifle switches to a Winchester Model 1894 and is decorated differently from the Model 1873 he carries during the rest of the movie.
100 Rifles (1969)
At the end of the 1960s, Reynolds had a more traditional role in an ensemble cast Western called 100 Rifles, which was adapted from the novel “The Californio” by Robert MacLeod.
Set in 1912, Lyedecker (Jim Brown) is a bounty hunter out of Arizona who crosses into Mexico while searching for “Yaqui Joe” Herrera (Reynolds), a bank robber who is on the run afters stealing $6,000.
The movie also starred Raquel Welch as Sarita and Fernando Lamas as Verdugo.
When it comes to guns, this movie is in that same time period as The Wild Bunch with early 20th century firearms being used alongside older guns from the late 1800s, which always makes for an interesting visual mix.
General Verduga carries a pair of nickel-plated Colt 1902 semi-auto pistol with handsome pearl grips in quickdraw holsters and uses them quite often.
Joe (Reynolds) takes one of the Colt 1902s when he becomes the General’s successor and wears it proudly in a Old West style holster.
Lyedecker carries a Colt New Service as his primary sidearm and a number of Verdugo’s men and Yaqui Joe carry Colt Single Action Army revolvers of various barrel lengths.
Yaqui Joe Herrera (Burt Reynolds) and some of Verdugo´s men are seen with Single Action Army revolvers.
Many of the Yaquis, including Sarita, are armed with Winchester Model 1892 rifles. During the train battle, Lydecker and Yaqui Joe both used Model 1892 rifles, along with some of the soldiers.
White Lightning (1973)
Once his movie career got going at the beginning of the 1970s, he was one of the first major Hollywood actors to not shy away from doing sequels.
White Lightning is an action comedy that would spawn another chapter a few years later, a genre where Reynolds would become quite comfortable. He played Gator McClusky, an ex-moonshiner who ends up working with the federal government to expose a corrupt sheriff.
White Lightning sees Reynolds again acting with his Deliverance co-star Ned Beatty as Sheriff J.C. Connors.
Connors uses a High Standard K121 shotgun to blow holes in Donny McKlusky’s boat, sinking it, in the opening sequence of the film.
Later, Gator grabs a similar shotgun from Dude Watson (Matt Clark), shooting it into the ceiling of a garage during a struggle.
Later, we see Gator and a deputy fighting over a High Standard Flite King pump shotgun. This is the same shotgun that the warden, Mr. Sims (Lincoln Demyan), uses when he catches Gator trying to escape from prison.
Three years later, Reynolds stepped back into the shoes of McKlusky for a follow up film Gator, which he also directed. The plot is basically the same as the first movie—federal agents force Gator to help them nab a corrupt politician.
Even though he doesn’t really use any guns in this turn as Gator, there is a pretty nifty shotgun that’s worth mentioning.
Southern crime boss “Bama McCall” (Jerry Reed) carries a lupara, the Italian term for a break-action shotgun that has had its stock and barrel(s) cut down to pistol size. They have a reputation for being used by Sicilian mafia members to carry out vendettas and for hunting in dense woods.
The actual word “lupara” means “for the wolf,” indicating its traditional use for wolf hunting. The word worked its way into the common lexicon when it was used in Mario Puzo’s bestselling novel The Godfather, in which the small shotguns are used extensively by the mob in Sicily, most notably Michael Corleone’s bodyguards.
The Italian expression “lupara bianca” is often used by journalists to describe mafia-style killings in which the body is hidden.
Near the end of the movie, one of McCall’s henchmen, Bones (William Engesser) takes the lupara when he bursts into Gator’s motel room.
Sharky’s Machine (1981)
And we have another movie that Mr. Reynolds both stars in and directs. This time he plays Sgt. Tom Sharky, a narcotics detective for the Atlanta PD.
A drug bust gone bad leads to Sharky’s demotion to the vice squad where he ends up embroiled in a plot of prostitution, crime bosses, and corruption along with a group of downtrodden investigators who get the nickname of “Sharky’s Machine.”
During the botched drug buy at the beginning of the movie, Sharky uses a stainless Colt Python revolver with a six inch barrel, which he keeps and continues using during the gun fight that ends on a bus.
Sharky also has a Colt Diamondback with a 4-inch barrel in the bag with the drug buy money. Highball (Hari Rhodes) calls it out by name and takes it when the deal goes bad, not knowing it was unloaded.
The Colt Python is something of a legend. It was a .357 Magnum revolver made by Colt’s Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut that was sometimes referred to as the Combat Magnum. It was introduced in 1955, the same year as the Smith & Wesson Model 29 in .44 Magnum, so it didn’t take off perhaps the way it should have.
The Python was intended for the premium revolver market and was heralded by some, including Col. Jeff Cooper, as the finest production revolver ever made.
The double-action I-frame revolver was discontinued officially in 2005.
Beginning in the 1970s, every Python was boresighted at the factory with a laser, the first mass-produced revolver to get such treatment.
They command a solid price these days on the used market.
The Atlanta City Police detectives, including Sgt. Sharky (Reynolds) all use Colt Government Model 1911 pistols, which could possibly be Colt Mk IV Series 70 guns, but it’s difficult to tell. Even the DVD prints of this movie are grainy.
City Heat (1984)
As the early 80s turned into the mid-80s, the genre of action comedy changed and got a lot goofier and softer than it was in the 70s. By the beginning of the 90s, we had Arnold Schwarzenneger teaching kindergarten and Sylvester Stallone sharing the screen with Estelle Getty.
City Heat was of this ilk and sought to pair Clint Eastwood with Reynolds for a big hit. Despite the two big stars, the moving was a flop, earning $38 million against a $25 million budget.
The story is set in 1933 Kansas City revolving around an odd couple pairing of police Lieutenant Speer (Eastwood) and private investigator Mike Murphy (Reynolds).
In something of a gun measuring contest, during the shootout at the warehouse, Murphy pulls a long-barreled artillery model of the Luger P08 pistol.
To answer, Speer pulls out a gigantic Colt Buntline Special revolver, which is a Single Action Army with an absurd 12-inch barrel.
Normally Murphy carries a Colt Official Police revolver.
Reynolds had a thing for characters that were once criminals of some kind who are now reformed and just trying to do the right thing in a badass way: the good guy with a sketchy past.
Stick was a thriller based on an Elmore Leonard novel, again directed by and starring Burt Reynolds, who plays Ernest “Stick” Stickley, an ex car thief who witnesses the murder of a friend during a botched drug deal. He goes on the run before re-entering society working for a wealthy eccentric until he has to confront his past and the drug cartel who wants him dead.
One of the biggest stars of this movie that even made the poster was the now-classic MP5 submachine gun.
As most movies of the era did, Stick used Heckler & Koch HK94 with 16″ barrels that were chopped down and converted to full auto to stand in for genuine full auto MP5A3 sub guns.
These guns are used by several of Nestor’s hoods—and as the poster portends, Stick as well. All of the guns are fitted with the old school slimline handguards.
To get back his kidnapped daughter, Stick goes to Nestor’s home and methodically eliminates all of his henchmen.
He fights his way to Nestor himself, who agrees to leave Stick and his daughter alone in exchange for his own life.
You can tell the MP5s in this movie are actually HK94s is the lack of a magazine release lever behind the magwell. The semi-auto civilian versions were made with a magazine release button instead of the more European style lever release.
Again, Reynolds plays the titular character who is an ex-CIA assassin instead of an ex-con. Malone couldn’t stand killing anymore and walked away from a mission, causing the government to eventually send a hit squad after him.
Right on the heels of its adoption by the U.S. Military in 1985, this movie featured a Beretta 92 series pistol, specifically the 92SB.
We see Jamie (Lauren Hutton) shooting the Beretta at the range and later on, Malone uses the gun against Delayne’s men when they arrive.
Possibly borrowing from the 1983 Dirty Harry movie, Sudden Impact, and maybe a little from Death Wish 3 (1985), Malone uses an AMC .44 Auto Magnum Pistol when a town local tries to take him out.
We get a really good look at the gun, which looks to have a 6.5″ barrel, when Jo (Cynthia Gibb) finds the gun stored in a red-velvet lined case with a spare magazine under Malone’s bed.
The case looks a lot like the one where Harry Callahan keeps his AutoMag, and it could possibly be the same gun.
The pistol has a long and circuitous history. The original company to manufacture the gun, AMC (Auto Mag Company) had a choppy start and the gun was assembled and sold through a variety of companies between 1971 and 1982. AMC/AMP went bankrupt in 1972 and other companies began making the Auto Mag from spare parts or from scratch for the next 10 years with varying degrees of success.
All production of the gun stopped in 1982. The version most often seen, especially in movies, is the AMT (Arcadia Machine and Tool) .44 Automag, which is the 8th incarnation of the pistol.
Unlike Harry Callahan, who fired the gigantic semi-auto one-handed, Malone uses a two-handed teacup style grip.
There’s nothing quite like a cutdown semi-auto shotgun when you’re outnumbered in a movie. After one of Delayne’s hoods tries to kill Malone in his upstairs room, Malone comes out blasting with his sawed off Remington 1100 12 gauge shotgun—killing the man who came after him.
In the film’s opening sequence, Malone uses what appears to be a Winchester Model 70 Super Grade fitted with an adjustable target stock and a special flash suppressor. He gets his sights on his target but at the moment, decides to give up his assassin life.
Cop and a Half (1993)
In 1993, Reynolds dipped his toe in the more wholesome, family oriented end of the action comedy spectrum with Cop and a Half, which was directed by Henry Winkler. The Stache played Det. Nick McKenna, a cop who reluctantly teams up with a young boy who witnessed a murder.
It’s an odd couple story that hit a chord with families and did well at the box office and on video, making $40.6 million off a $14 million budget.
As a detective, McKenna uses a Smith & Wesson Model 15 with pear grips as his go-to sidearm, which he carries in a shoulder holster.
The Model 15 is a .39 Special revolver that hit the scene in 1949 as the K-38 Combat Masterpiece. It was renamed in 1957 when all S&W revolvers were given numerical model numbers. It came with a 4-inch barrel, though additional barrel options were offered throughout its production run. The design is a derivative of the classic 1899 K-frame Military and Police (M&P) .38 S&W Special (aka .38 Special) six-shot double-action revolver.
The Model 15 ceased production in 1999, but S&W began selling a retooled version in 2007 as part of the company’s Classic Revolvers line.
The Crew (2000)
In 2000, Reynolds starred alongside Richard Dreyfuss, Dan Hedaya, and Seymour Cassel in the mob comedy, The Crew, about a group of retired gangsters living in Miami who come up with a scheme to stay at their beachfront retirement community as the gentrification of the area threatens to force them out.
Reynolds plays Joey “Bats” Pistella, the groups straight man leader who is also pretty surly and burdened with a pacemaker.
To carry out their murder-for-hire turned kidnapping, the crew buys a Mossberg 500 Cruiser shotgun from their buddy and arms dealer, Marty (Frank Vincent). BAts originally carries it, but they all end up passing it around as they lose the nerve to do the killing they were hired for.
The stockless shotgun the group buys has a standard magazine tube and a vented heat shield attached to the barrel. It looks to be a 12 gauge with a bead sight.
There a bunch of other guns in Marty’s cache, which include a nickel-plated CZ-75B, a Beretta 92FS, a Ruger P-series pistol, the blued and stainless Mossberg 500 Cruiser, a Smith & Wesson Model 29, an Uzi, a Smith & Wesson 76, and a Heckler & Koch SP89.
Without a Paddle (2004)
Reynolds had a small part in this action comedy, with an emphasis on the comedy, starring Matthew Lillard, Dax Shepard, Seth Green, anda . bunch of other people who were semi famous throughout the 90s.
When their friend dies, three men decide to fulfill a childhood dream and go on a camping expedition looing for the lost D.B. Cooper money.
Reynolds plays Del Knox, a mountain man who is revealed to be Cooper’s old partner. When the farmers assault his house in the morning, the guys escape while Knox holds them off with a double barrel shotgun and a pair of Colt Single Action Army revolvers, which he wears in cross draw holsters.
He uses the revolvers to blow up Dennis and Elwood’s ATV, halting the assault. He fires them by fanning the hammers from both hands and fires an accurate 5 shots from each gun.
Burn Notice (TV-2010)
This entry is from the small screen when Reynolds played Paul Anderson on an episode of the show Burn Notice (“Past & Future Tense” – S4E07).
As a former spy, Anderson uses a SIG Sauer P226 as his sidearm of choice.
In 2012, Reynolds voiced an animated version of himself on the hit show Archer, the protagonist of which models many aspects of his life on characters from Burt Reynolds’ movies.
After Archer gets over the fact that Burt is having an affair with his mother, the two set off together to stop a Cuban hit squad from killing their friends.
While riding the super slow elevator in Archer’s apartment building, Burt carries a double barrel shotgun and a crossbow, because you just never know—but most of the action he winds up getting into is behind the wheel, alla Smokey and the Bandit.
Honorable Mention: Deliverance (1972)
In the landmark movie Deliverance, Burt Reynold’s memorable character, Lewis, carries and uses a Fred Bear Victor Kodiak Take Down recurve bow with a camp wrap on the limbs. He uses it to fish with and to defend his rafting group from a couple of psychotic and murderous mountain men armed with a shotgun and a Winchester Model 1892 rifle.
Ed (Jon Voight) also uses a bow in the movie that helps the group survive, but his is a Bear Kodiak Hunter.