November 30th, 2010

Iconic Bond Movie Pistol Sells for $431,840 at Christie’s

James Bond Walther LP 53When is a 60s-era air pistol worth $431,840? When it happens to be the gun held by Sean Connery in promotional stills and posters for From Russia with Love, the second film in the hugely popular James Bond 007 film series. Yes that sinister-looking pistol, which some mistook for a long-barreled, 9mm Walther P-38, is actually just a single-shot pellet gun, a Walther .177-cal Luftpistole (LP) model 53 air pistol to be precise.

The $431,840 Movie Prop
Bond’s LP-53 recently sold at auction in London for £277,250 ($431,840 US) — nearly 14 times the £15,000-£20,000 price Christie’s Auctioneers had predicted. That just proves that there are many action heroes, but there is only one James Bond. Presumably, this shockingly high auction price may drive up the price of LP-53s on the used market. Sorry, there are no Walther LP-53s for sale on Gunbroker.com today… we checked.

James Bond Walther LP 53Why was Connery given an air pistol? Here’s the story behind the choice of the LP-53. As part of the publicity campaign for From Russia with Love, Magnum photographer David Hurn was commissioned to photograph Sean Connery as Bond — holding 007’s signature Walther PPK pistol. But the production crew forgot to bring a PPK to Hurn’s studio.

Photographer Used His Own Gun
According to Christies’ auction lot history: “[W]hen Connery arrived at his studio for the shoot, it was discovered by publicist Tom Carlile that no one had brought the gun needed for the shooter, a small Walther automatic (Walther PPK). By chance David Hurn practiced air pistol target shooting as a hobby and had the air pistol he used for this purpose, also a Walther, to hand. Hurn explained: ‘It was decided that, without telling Sean or the other representatives of United Artists, we would use my pistol for the pictures and [we] presumed that should anyone have doubts, [when they saw] the name Walther on the gun, they would be reassured. This was, in fact, the case.'”

James Bond Walther LP 53

James Bond Walther LP 53Poster Designer Favors Look of Long-Barreled Pistol Over PPK
In theory, the long barrel of the LP-53 air pistol was to be airbrushed out of publicity stills and a PPK was to be substituted when the movie posters were designed. In fact, in one USA-market “James Bond is Back” poster, you’ll see Connery holding an airbrushed, short-barrel Walther. However, Renato Fratini, the lead poster artist, preferred the look of the LP-53. Working from Hurn’s non-airbrushed original photographs, Fratini designed the posters for world-wide distribution with the long-barreled LP-53 in Bond’s hand. The iconic long-barreled Luftpistole was featured in posters for several more Bond movies, including Goldfinger (Japanese poster at right), and The Man With the Golden Gun.

Credit The Firearm Blog for spotting this item in the BBC News.
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November 30th, 2010

3-Gun Nation Championship Airs This Week On Versus Channel

The 3-Gun Nation Finals television broadcast airs this week on the Versus Channel. Held in September at the Desert Sportsmans’ Range in Las Vegas, the 3-Gun Nation Championship pitted many of the nation’s top multi-gun shooters in head-to-head competition. After a two-day qualifier to narrow the field, 16 of America’s top 3-gunners met in a single-elimination, man-on-man Final Tournament. $40,000 in prizes were up for grabs, with a fat $25K check for the overall winner.

The action was fast and furious as, one-by-one, competitors were eliminated in the 3GN Championship Shoot-Off, an all-steel target course of fire, racing to the final stop-plate. In the Shoot-Off, all contestants used FNH arms: SCAR rifles, SLP 12-gauge shotguns, and FNX-9 semi-automatic pistols. We won’t spoil the drama by announcing the winner (you can check our Daily Bulletin archive for match results), but you can preview the event by watching this teaser video featuring Bruce Hiatt, Jerry Miculek, and SGT Dan Horner of the USAMU. More videos are found on the 3-Gun Nation Website.

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3-Gun Nation Repeats on Mondays and Thurdays throughout December
This 3-Gun Nation Finals broadcast airs on Thursday, December 2, at 3:00 PM Eastern Time. The entire three-part championship block of episodes will repeat on Mondays and Thursdays throughout December.

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