007’s Pistol’s Past & Dirty Harry’s Dirty Little Secrets

Show Notes

In this week’s No Lowballers podcast by GoWild presented by GunBroker.com, we’re talking all about real pop culture firearms such as the Walther PPK and the Smith & Wesson Model 29. We start the episode off diving into the history of the Walther PPK and how it made its way into the James Bond films. Logan delves into the history of the PPK and how it’s dated back to the early 1930s before being used by Germans in WWII, some of these early models had a requirement for the magazine to be serialized and match the gun’s serial number. Logan has a magazine that is serialized and is always looking to be able to pair that magazine to its original gun. We talk on how we got introduced to the Walther PPK through Bond, while iconic to the movies almost all of us have stronger memories of using it playing 007 Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64. How were you introduced to the Walther PPK?

Next up, maybe one of, if not if THE most iconic movie guns…Dirty Harry’s Smith & Wesson Model 29. Smith & Wesson were in a bad spot with the Model 29, almost completely scraping it from their lineup until the success of Dirty Harry pushed it to the forefront of the spotlight, causing national backorder for many years. Brad asked about the value of firearm memorabilia from movies comparing both real firearms and prop guns. While credible proof of them being used in a movie carries value, the real firearms generally carry a much heftier price tag. Logan tells his story of how he’s tied to Dirty Harry’s Model 29, and you guys will absolutely not believe it, make sure you listen in to hear his cool story.

We end the episode with Dan talking about the two most iconic movies from his childhood. He starts a conversation about how the impracticality of a gun in a movie makes it more memorable to people who watch. Logan retouches on a previous episode about the takedown lever action rifle from John Wick 4, Mad Pig Customs reached out and set the record straight on if it’s a real gun or a fantasy gun. Make sure to listen through the end of the podcast to see the answer on this awesome gun.

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Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Hi everyone. Welcome to the No Low Ballers Podcast. I'm Logan Mesh of High caliber History, your host. I'm joined around the table by guys from Go Wild and gum broker.com. Today we are talking about real pop culture firearms and how they have driven the interest in guns. And we've got some interesting factoids about Dirty Harry's gun that he used and it, there's something about it that might not be quite what you thought it was.

The lies. The lies, yes. So if you're feeling lucky are you punk? Gentlemen, are we feeling lucky? Always lucky. Good. Eternal optimist over here, are you? Yeah. That's good. Yeah. My wife says I'm a pessimist. I'm like, no, I'm just a realist. You and I have a lot in common.

So you know, one of the [00:01:00] guns that we wanna talk about today before we get to Dirty Harry, 'cause. Dirty Harry's badass. But there we wanna talk about another badass with movie stuff. And so we show this gun here. And if I show you this gun here, gentlemen who do we think of with this gun?

I know from my childhood of playing goldeneye. Yeah, but that's a, but there's a fun twist to that too, because some people may not realize that's the same gun, but that's my answer is I would have to say Golden eye. Yeah. Yep. Even more so than the movies. Yeah. Yeah. The video game.

Yeah. That was N 64. Yeah. Yeah. So we're talking about James Bond. Yes, exactly. And so the firearm is of course the iconic Walter p K which is, Everyone knows that as James Bond's gun. But it's got an interesting history, it predates James Bond by a lot 30 years. Exactly.

So it, it had a long and storied history before James Bond, ever came to be. So it's an interesting gun and I think that it's one of those guns [00:02:00] that, unlike others from World War ii it manages to escape its checkered World War II history in a sense, if you will. There are some other guns used by that one country over there that will forever be pigeonholed, as that was the gun used by those guys, right? They used these too. But this gun lives on as James Bond's gun. And I think it's really neat the pop culture popularity and phenomenon that this gun was able to overcome that and be a positive icon. Instead of a negative one.

So Bonds British, and I was just thinking what else could they have used? And I'm trying to think of a British manufacturer of handguns that's, still around today. Or who would be the biggest, like at that point I, bond's gonna be like carrying an Enfield revolver or a Webley.

Big old Honk and Webley. Yeah. Yeah. For small semi-automatics. Great Britain really. Didn't have much an option. So yeah, do, does anyone know what gun this replaced in? James Bond Holster? I do because [00:03:00] we were talking about it earlier. It was a Beretta. Yes. Some something cat. You really missed the chance to be smart.

That's why we give you notes. That's why I'm dumb, because I missed the chance to be smart, dumb and dumb. Dan Strong. Do you remember what caliber that Beretta was? 25. Yes. And when when q the quartermaster came in to confiscate bonds, Beretta gay handed him his p k chamber in 32 a c p, which he said hit like a brick through a plate glass window, which I think today would make most of us laugh really hard.

I don't let, I don't wanna get shot by a 32, but yeah. Breakthrough, a play grass window. Yeah I'm of the opinion that all rounds, regardless of caliber, if they're incoming, they have the right of way. I don't wanna get hit by anything, even a 22 short. But yeah I would not describe the 32 auto as anything close to a brick that would be as laughable as that one politician who said an AR was as heavy as three loaded moving boxes.

And I'm like, what the hell kind of ar are you holding? What unit of measurement is that right? [00:04:00] Yeah, exactly. That's a little backwards, like I know we measure things in freedom units here. Yeah. But that's. That's a little weird, yeah. Great writer. But Ian Fleming might not have been the ballistics expert that say a Jack Carr would be.

And I read that he took feedback that someone wrote to him about James Bond gun and says, that's too weak of a gun. And he goes, okay what should he do? And some fan of the book was like, oh, maybe this Beretta, or, this Walter. And he's like, all right, I'll write it in. So it's cool that he took the fan feedback on it.

It is neat. I didn't know that. So that's still made. Today. Yep. Walter still makes the pk, but it's not that caliber. You can get 'em in a few different calibers. Obviously three 80 is the most popular but I think you can get 'em in 32, right? 30 or used to be able to anyway. And 22 long.

So yeah, you can still get a brand new Walther, p K in. Three 80, so if you want the, if you want a brand new version of James Bond's gun, you can get it. Now this particular example dates to the first half of 1939. So this is even [00:05:00] a pre-World War II example with the modeled Bake light grips, which is, like an early plastic, if you will.

But yeah it's an iconic gun. That just keeps chugging along, and it's got that pop culture staying power, are there guns that, that are made today that are smaller and more powerful? Have a higher magazine capacity? Absolutely. But if you ask someone to, men.

Tell me, you know what's a popular pocket sized three 80? Doesn't matter what the new hotness is that just came out, or whatever it may be. People know the P K. Yeah. It's just, it's had that iconic staying power and most of it's thanks to James Bond. Frankly, the gun would've gone outta production decades ago if it wasn't for James Bond.

Yeah it's. In 32, it's not bad to shoot three 80. It gets a little awkward. It's nasty for slide bite. Just the small beaver tilts got. You can almost tell, you can always tell you've been shooting a P K during the day, 'cause you're gonna have two grooves cutting your hand right there.

It's just, a given. The ergonomics have always been, there's better options, but again, it's, you can't pick it up without doing that whole Sean [00:06:00] Connery pose thing. You just, you have to. What are you talking about? That's, I don't you start introducing yourself as ish, Logan ish. The the 64 controllers were awkward, but I never got the slide bite, so this is a pre 64. Yeah. Like it, yeah. And I guess it's a good thing that at least, when Ian Fleming was writing the bond books and stuff that d n a technology wasn't there because if James Bond had gotten bit. By by the slide he might be dropping some d n a around who knows what they might've been able to do or how they might've been able to control him with something if they had some of his d n a and knew how to test it.

But it is super interesting that this gun, we were talking a little bit about this just before we hit record here of it did have a notoriety within the SSS. Yes. And the bond movies really rebranded the gun. To your point, kept it alive probably for its popularity. But can you talk a little bit about that and some of the association with the gun and its World War II history?

Sure. Yeah. So the Gun's Design itself predates World War ii. It [00:07:00] actually dates to the early 1930s. And so it, it has, an almost decade long history even before it becomes associated. With the Nazi war machine. And it's, it is interesting. During World War ii there were a number of different contracts for different German officers and for different branches of the German military that had, they had different requirements for the same gun.

And one of the requirements for the ssss in the, I think they did two or three different contract runs, but one of the requirements was that the magazines had to bear the serial number of the gun. And so you would have two matching magazines and I think they did 'em two different ways.

On one they. Put the serial number on the spine and one, I think they did it on the floor plate. And I picked this particular gun up, as surplus. I bought it just having seen pictures on the internet because I was like, oh, it comes with, a period holster and two period mags.

And when I got it, I noticed that. One of the mags had a serial [00:08:00] number on the gun. I'm like, oh, that's unusual. And so I started doing some digging and discovered that the magazine is actually from one of the ssss contracts which is fascinating to me. A little creepy as Brad, you said before we started, it's, it is, it's a, to think about the history of what that.

Gun likely saw. If you've done any research or studied the ssss, just the ssss specifically Yes. Of, of the chaos that they could partake in. Yeah. It's wild to think about what that magazine has been through. But it didn't match the serial number of the gun.

Correct. Yeah. The magazine doesn't match the gun. So I've believe me, I keep my eye out. I know I have the serial number from the mag written down and I keep an eye out trying to find, 'cause it would be so neat to be able to, macab is all hell, don't get me wrong. But it would be really interesting from a historical standpoint and from a collector standpoint to pair the gun with its magazine after 80 some years.

Yeah. Would be really interesting. But again, thank God for Ian Fleming and James Bond that we can have a more [00:09:00] lighthearted discussion about the P K, because of James Bond. And we're not having to talk about Germans constantly. So anybody from, that like us grew up playing, I really more of a golden familiar with this gun, more from the Goldeneye games.

But if you don't know which gun we're talking about, the golden gun from Goldeneye is what they call a PP seven. And, I'm assuming they had to rebrand it 'cause they didn't have the licensing. Just same reason Michael Jordan wasn't an N B A jam. It's but I thought it was interesting.

When I saw that we were gonna talk about this, I was like, oh, I think that, and I looked it up and it was a different name. And I was like That has to be it. 'cause you can see that gun and that is the iconic golden gun of Goldeneye, right? Yeah. The one one, the one kill shot if it for anybody that didn't play the game.

Or if you have forgotten. I feel like if you played that game, you were probably like me and it was like religious. I would go to my friend's house, I. And we would wake up at 6:00 AM after, after spending the night and it's like you just start cranking on it until mom makes breakfast. So I think anybody would recognize that if you played that as a kid. Absolutely. Even if you didn't watch the movies. Yep. [00:10:00] Yeah. And if you know the gun only from the video games, I would encourage you to go down to your local. Gun store or gun range or whatever and actually put your hands on one because contrary to popular belief in real life, the lines are actually really smooth.

They're not nearly as pixelated as they are in the game. It's interesting, especially when you play a 64 now on an hd. So it's stretched out. My childhood remembers this differently, right? Yeah. Yeah, that probably an interesting point there looking, this is probably the oldest design you find most rental gun counters 'cause it's such a popular gun for.

People who come into the gun through either the movies or the video game. Yeah. Yeah. Very interesting. So that's cool that all of us sitting around the table, even though it's James Bond related, we've all got that connection more from the video games, and especially for myself, I'm not a video gamer.

I I've never been a fan of video games. I don't own a console. I never have. But I remember playing goldeneye on N 64. Yeah. At friends' houses. 'cause that was just, it's [00:11:00] what you did, I was like I wanna hang out with my friends. I guess I'm playing some goldeneye, but yeah.

So it's very neat that the P K has that pop culture connection. But of course it is far from the only firearm that has been kept alive thanks to movies and fictional characters. And if there is one gun that is more iconic from the movies than the P K. What would it be?

Gentlemen, go ahead and make my day. You feel lucky? Yeah. Do you? Yeah. Punk. Have we shot seven podcasts today or I don't know. Or wait. Five podcasts or six podcasts? Tell you the truth and all the excitement. I lost count myself. Yeah, I got to know. I'll tell you, it's the Smith and Wesson model.

29 44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world. Rolls right off the tongue. It does, yeah. Clint makes it sound so easy when he does it, yeah. But yeah, there's, there is probably no more iconic movie handgun than the Smith and Wesson model 29. Dirty Harry [00:12:00] Callahan is just. What can you say?

Dirty Harry is awesome but that gun in the movie, it's, it has kept the popularity of that gun for more than half a century. That movie saved that gun. I. At the time from Extinction. Yeah. Smith had introduced it, what, about eight or nine years before that maybe? If even that far.

Oh far before that. The 44. 'cause the movie comes out in what, in 70 or 71. Okay. And the design, I. They were making that before it became the model 29, I think in 1956 or seven is when Smith changed to the model number designation and it became the 29. But they were making the 44 Magnum before that.

The gun had already been in, in production for a handful of decades, at least, probably at least 30 years. I guess I, I'm bad at math, that's why I do this and not that, but but more than a year or two, if I remember the story right, the Model 29 wasn't selling well. It was really, they were languishing on shelves.

They were very expensive 'cause they were large guns. Yep. They had to be very heavily built for the 44 and Smith was considering [00:13:00] discontinuing it. Then this movie came out and all of a sudden they were in a multi-year back order for them. Yep. And it continued for a long time that folks were having a hard time finding those guns, and now the model 29 is part of what.

Smith calls their classic line. Which includes, the model 19, the model 10, of course the model 29 and you can buy a brand new model 29. But there's, and and they're in all different barrel lengths. You can get 'em, shorties and two and three two inch, three inch, four inch six and a half is what they used for some of the filming.

In the movie, they also used one when they wanted that really big effect, that long barrel, the eight and three eights, right? And that's the truly really iconic gun. But if you've ever had one of those in your hand, you're like, my God, there is no way in hell I'm carrying a revolver with an eight and three eights inch barrel in a shoulder holster all day long.

I appendix carry mine. What are you talking about? Oh, your poor wife.

But yeah, it, which one did they have at the NRA museum? That's an eight and three eight, [00:14:00] right? That's an eight and three eights inch. Yep. Yeah, so the, yeah, when I, in a previous life I was the firearm specialist at the N R A National Firearms Museum, and they've got a display of Hollywood guns in there in, and one of the guns that they have in the collection is a Smith and Wesson model, 29 8 and three eighths inch barrel.

That was actually used by Clint Eastwood in the film. And that's because the gun is in the collection of John MIUs. Is that one a prop gun that's been modified or is it an actual It's actual. It was a firing working firearm. Yes. And yep, it is a working firearm that was used in the film. And in fact there's an interesting story about real guns.

Real guns versus the, rubber duck guns. That, that are meant to be thrown around. There was a story I had heard that at one point. Dirty Harry is supposed to drop the gun, I think. And he was supposed to have had one of the fake prop guns in his hand, but he had the real one and he dropped it and so it got all banged up and, that's why, if they're filming movies, [00:15:00] they've got multiples of the gun.

But that was a problem early on with them was trying to find enough model 20 nines. Yeah. How does that impact the value W all this this memorabilia comes to market. Is there generally the one that was shown the most, has the most value? Or do they all hold the same weight?

If they're real guns or prop guns, like what's that impact on the value? That's a good question. Obviously, if you can prove that a gun is, had screen time and was in the hands of, the most famous actor for, whatever gun it may be, those are obviously gonna command a premium.

Even the rubber duck guns. Yet those are gonna command money. But obviously less than what the real firearm would be. But there's collector value in, in all model 20 nines. And a lot of it is driven by the age of the gun. And a lot of it is driven by the barrel length of the gun.

So still to this day you will pay a premium for a model 29 with an eight and three eights inch barrel compared to one, with the shorter barrel, [00:16:00] like with the six inch, which is was still used in the film. But is a shorter gun. And I'm sure, Alan, you've probably got data that backs that up from what you guys see coming across the auction block.

Yeah, we do. The eight and three eights obviously draws the premium blued. They did 'em in stainless as well, but blued of course is the, with the walnut stocks, that's the one you gotta have that bo that the pistol on its own can go anywhere depending on condition from 2,600 to 3,500. If you start adding on things like the original box or paperwork that goes with it and it just continues to climb from there.

Sadly, finding screen use stuff is harder and harder 'cause most studios refuse to give provenance in those things anymore. That's for political reasons. They don't wanna be associated with a gun that gets sold out. So most of the prop guns either live in prop houses forever or end up chopped into pieces so older movie guns.

That's your limited supply anymore, where, it's like you're never gonna see a movie used John Wick gun out there. 'cause the studio just isn't gonna go for that, yeah, but that's definitely your premium. Eight and three inch orange front insert barrel blued finish walnut stocks.

If [00:17:00] you got boxes and papers, it's gonna cost you the most. Yep. So are they still making the gun new? Yes, absolutely. Yep. There're, it's called the Model 29 Classic. And I think the M S R P on a brand new one is like 1499. Yeah. So what you're probably looking at about 1200 bucks street price for, for one.

But yeah, you can still go get a brand new Model 29 when in reality, Smith would've discontinued that gun half a century ago. But now you've got a 50 year old movie that is. Keeping it alive, there are guys like us at least I'm pretty sure none of us were around in 1971 when the film came out, and yet I can just tell from talking to, we're all enamored by that gun, to tell you about how screwed up my childhood was when I heard that quote, this isn't that podcast. This is, there's no couch. When I first heard that quote, I'm like, oh, that's from taxi driver. Because in Taxi Driver, Robert DeNiro recreates the scene.

Oh yeah. So I thought it was originally from Taxi Driver and I'm like, oh, they're quoting Taxi Driver. So I was [00:18:00] introduced to Taxi Driver before. That's funny. Also an iconic movie. Yeah. You brought up a name a minute ago and John Milius and we talked about Ian Fleming maybe not being the most ballistically savvy writer.

John's on the other end of the spectrum. If you look at some of the movies that we consider gun movies throughout history, you're probably seeing John's named like the original Red Dawn. Jeremiah Johnson Magnum Forest, dirty Harry. Even like Fly of the Intruder, which I'm sorry, if you get to the scene with Willem Defoe telling Sandy to drop the Napal in his position and you're not crying.

I don't know what's wrong with you, but what'd you call it? Flight of the intruder. Flight of the intruder. You've never seen that one? No. Based on the Stevens book down. Just write it down. No, never heard of it. Will Defoe's Best movie? Hands down if you disagree. Throw the comments better than platoon.

Yes. Interesting. Stops fired. Throw it in the comments if you disagree, because I would say Willam Defoe's best movie has gotta be Boondock Saints. That's up there. Let us know in the comments who's right, who's wrong, why, and tell us why we're all wrong, because that's how comments sections work.

Probably my [00:19:00] favorite part of John Milius as a writer though, is he did cross over with one of the other great gun directors and Michael Mann. He wrote an episode of Miami Vice that I just had to note because it's the show title is the Viking Bikers from Hell. I don't remember that episode, but I gotta go find it because how do you pass that tile?

A great rock? Ooh, that would be, it sounds like Norwegian heavy metal. You would definitely make the front like a good front man. Alright. That would be funny. We talked about the Great Lion in the movie though. We do wanna bring this up. We all know the iconic speech.

'cause first of all, it's one of the best scenes in the first movie. They open Magnum force with a voiceover doing it. All of the 44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world. Yep. Probably blow your head clean off. What we learn in Magnum force though, is it's actually a little bit of a lie.

'cause Harry's not shooting a 44 Magnum through that. There's a scene where he's in a police combat competition with some younger recruits, and the one asks him what he shoots through it. And he admits that he shoots a light 44 special load because in that big heavy of a handgun, it controls the recoil better than the 3 57 using wad cutters.

So my whole childhood has been a lie 'cause. But we [00:20:00] talked about this and it's not so much a lie as it is a twist because the line is, Smith and Wesson 44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world. And that's true. He is shooting a Smith and Wesson 44 Magnum. In terms of the handgun, he didn't say the most powerful cartridge in the world.

So that's like saying you're driving a Chevy Corvette, but you don't have any gas in the tank. It's ah it's, come on. I know it's interesting that you bring up the comparison or, or the 44 special versus the 44 mag. So again, in my previous life at the N R A museum, one of the things we did as a fundraiser there and we did it with a number of different guns, but we did it with Dirty Harry's gun.

We ran, I think it was 1300 rounds through the gun firing into cardboard boxes filled with shredded tires so that we could catch the bullets, and they kept all the fired bullets and the spent cartridge cases and then framed and mounted them and, used them as auction fundraiser pieces. But so I myself have [00:21:00] personally run.

A few hundred rounds of 44 special because God forbid if I had to sit there and shoot hundreds of rounds after round. I'm not saying I disagree with Harry. I've shot both calibers. I'd rather, especially the volume. Oh, absolutely. Especially the volume of Harry Callahan seems to shoot. I would shoot a 44 special myself.

Absolutely. Yeah. But so I, so you got the fire, the, so I have fired the dirty, hairy gun and bearing lead here, man. That should have been there. Or lead into the episode. Yeah. You won't believe my tie to that gun. Yeah, we can always refilm the beginning. We'll fix it in post. We'll fix it in post.

We're too lazy to do that. Yeah. So I wanted to mention my two childhood guns, like the guns that I remember being cool and tied into this. The spas 12 from Jurassic Park. And the lever action shotgun from Terminator two were my two. And that kind of ties in with the dirty, hairy gun and kind of the p k in that you get the sense and, a lot of movies are like that John Wick movies and stuff.

You get the sense that the more impractical the gun [00:22:00] is the more memorable it'll be for the character. And when you see that specific gun, That means that you'll always associate with that character, but also that the gun isn't that good of a gun. And I was just gonna say, is there, do you think something about.

The fact that this would not be a normal carry gun for a cop that builds into the character development, or do you think it's just the armor of the movie thinks it's cool, so I'm gonna put it in? I don't know. I think especially with Dirty Harry, like I think that's exactly, I. The gun Dirty Harry needs to be carrying.

Yeah. Like for example, let's use the two characters we've been talking about. It would be weird as hell if Dirty Harry carried a P K and if James Bond carried a Smith and Wesson model 29 with an eight and three eight inch barrel, right? Yeah. So I, I think it's, you've gotta find stuff that fits the caliber or character.

His point makes me think of Rick Grimes, though, from Walking Dead with the Python. Yeah. It's what a. Irrational gun to have in a zombie [00:23:00] apocalypse. When he had it through the whole thing. So specific, specifically on dirty hair, I think it's two things. One, you've got a gun nerd and John MIUs who's just looking for something crazy.

But the reason the dirty hair movies were so popular is the crime in the seventies was crazy. And they wanted to emphasize that this character was doing everything to combat crime, do whatever he had to do. And if that meant having something that would shoot through four car blocks to get to the bad guy, so be it.

Yeah. I I think we're running a little bit short on time, but I think that there's, we've covered a lot of ground in here. But there is one last thing I wanna do that I wanna mention is that in a previous episode of the show Dan, you had mentioned from the latest John Wick about the take down lever action rifle.

Oh yeah. I forget about that. And the. And that we, there was concern that it wasn't a real gun. Mad Pig customs that made that gun. Steve from Mad Pig actually called me and said, Hey, I watched the show. He's and I wanted to let you know. He says, is he gonna gimme one? And he's did he make one for me?

He says, it's actually a real gun. They're all based off of real guns, but in order to get the whole take down mechanism to work that [00:24:00] aspect of it, You know is fantasy in order to be able to do it like that. It's got interrupted threads and everything. So is it built on a real gun that he test fired and works?

Absolutely. But is it something that could really go into production and be safe? Not so much. And I knew it was a mad Pigs. I know. There's some take down AR where they have something that blocks the spring storm. Like maybe you could have the magazine's blocked by something, but yeah.

That's sad. I thought I was getting the Mad Pigs. Yeah. So no it exists. Yeah, but not quite the way we thought it was. But but I wanted to throw that out there. I told Steve that we'd mention that. We're, like I said, we're running a little on time, but if you guys have made it this far, appreciate you being here.

If you made it this far, that means you're probably a subscriber to the podcast. If you're not, you need to be when you finish here. So make sure you're subscribed, make sure you're logging your time and go wild. Make sure you're going and trying to find either a P K or a 29 on Gum broker. And then also leave us a review of the show on your preferred platform.

We would appreciate that. So again, gentlemen, appreciate you sitting around the table with me. Appreciate you all [00:25:00] for joining us, and we will see you on the next episode of the No Low Ballers podcast.