Original Wood Film Prop M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle - As Used in "The Sand Pebbles" (1966)

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The Sand Pebbles is a 1966 American epic war film directed by Robert Wise and shot in Panavision widescreen format. It tells the story of an independent, rebellious U.S. Navy machinist's mate, first class, aboard the fictional river gunboat USS San Pablo, on Yangtze Patrol in 1920s China. The film features an all-star cast of Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, Richard Crenna, Candice Bergen, Mako, Simon Oakland, Larry Gates, and Marayat Andriane. Robert Anderson adapted the screenplay from the 1962 novel of the same name by Richard McKenna.

The Sand Pebbles was a critical and commercial success at its general release. It became the fourth highest-grossing film of 1966 and was nominated for eight Academy Awards and eight Golden Globe Awards, with Attenborough winning the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.

During the movie, Steve McQueen's character Jake Holman is originally armed with an M1903 Springfield Mk. 1 bolt-action rifle, however later in the movie he acquires an M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) for his "last stand" scene. However as is often the case with movies, the actual gun used in close ups was not period correct, being in the M1918A2 configuration not adopted until 1938, at least a decade after the movie is set. The distinctive flash hider and area for the bipod is visible. However in press material and at other times in the movie, it definitely looks to be the correct version.

This is a full scale wood replica non-firing prop gun as used in the 1966 Hollywood film The Sand Pebbles and possibly other films such as Dillinger (1973). Note the early muzzle flash hider and early gas cylinder for the M1918 version and not the M1918A2. This all wood example was acquired from a collector who had previously purchased it at a Hollywood Auction, and the original auction tag is included.

This would have been a "background" used prop gun and not a close up camera versions. Films utilize dozens of background props to set the scene, and aside from being& on a master list, we have no way to identify it being used in any specific film. It is quite lightweight, but also very well made, and would have looked perfect in the background. It does show some minor damage from storage and use.

History of the BAR- The Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) was a family of United States automatic rifles and light machine guns used by the United States and numerous other countries during the 20th century. The primary variant of the BAR series was the M1918, chambered for the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge and designed by John Browning in 1917 for the U.S. Expeditionary Corps in Europe as a replacement for the French-made Chauchat and M1909 Benet-Mercie machine guns.

Final development of the M1918A2 was authorized on 30 June 1938, The FN-designed pistol grip and rate-reducer mechanism with two rates of automatic fire was shelved in favor of a rate-reducer mechanism designed by Springfield Armory, and housed in the buttstock. The Springfield Armory rate reducer also provided two selectable rates of fully automatic fire only, activated by engaging the selector toggle. Additionally, a skid-footed bipod was fitted to the muzzle end of the barrel, magazine guides were added to the front of the trigger guard, the handguard was shortened, a heat shield was added to help the cooling process, a small separate stock rest (monopod) was included for attachment to the butt, and the weapon's role was changed to that of a squad light machine gun. The BAR's rear sight scales were also modified to accommodate the newly standardized M2 Ball ammunition with its lighter, flat-base bullet. The M1918A2 walnut buttstock is approximately one inch longer than the M1918 BAR buttstock. The M1918A2 barrel was also fitted with a new flash suppressor, and fully adjustable iron sights. Late in the war, a barrel-mounted carrying handle was added.

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