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The Sand Pebbles

From Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games
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The Sand Pebbles
Movie poster
Country Flag of the United States.jpg United States
Directed by Robert Wise
Release Date 1966
Language English
Studio Robert Wise Productions
Solar Productions
Distributor Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Main Cast
Character Actor
Jake Holman Steve McQueen
Shirley Eckert Candice Bergen
Frenchy Burgoyne Richard Attenborough
LT Collins Richard Crenna
Po-han Mako
Crosley Gavin MacLeod
CPO Franks Barney Phillips
Harris Ford Rainey
Ensign Bordelles Charles Knox Robinson
Bronson Joe Turkel

The Sand Pebbles is a 1966 film covering the fictional river gunboat USS San Pablo, on Yangtze Patrol in 1926 China, which finds itself in conflict when the death of a hired local in a mechanical accident provokes problems with the native population.
The following weapons were used in the film The Sand Pebbles:


Star Model B

As with many an older work, to avoid issues with .45 ACP blanks a Star Model B is used in lieu of the more accurate Colt M1911 by carried by the US naval officers in the film. Note the external extractor, and the absence of a grip safety. The officers seen with the pistol include LT Collins (Richard Crenna) and Chief Petty Officer Franks (Barney Phillips).

Star Model B
Chief Petty Officer Franks (Barney Phillips) with a cutlass and a Star Model B during the repel boarders drill. Note that Jake Holman (Steve McQueen) is readying a hose. The hose shoots super-heated steam from the ship's boiler. An interesting and effective device at close range.
Chief Petty Officer Franks (Barney Phillips) with his Star Model B during the battle on the Yangtze River. Jake Holman (Steve McQueen) is behind him with his Browning Automatic Rifle.
LT Collins (Richard Crenna) in action during the battle on the Yangtze River with his Star Model B.
Collins opens fire with the pistol as the crew battles rebels.
LT Collins (Richard Crenna) with his Star Model B during the rescue of the American missionaries.


Springfield Model 1903 Rifle

The M1903 Springfield Mk. 1 is the rifle used aboard the USS San Pablo. The sailors seen with the rifle include Jake Holman (Steve McQueen), Frenchy Burgoyne (Richard Attenborough) and Bronson (Joe Turkel).

Springfield M1903 Mk 1 - .30-06
A publicity still shows Jake Holman (Steve McQueen) adjusting the sights on a M1903.
A sailor holds an M1903 as the San Pablo crew conducts the repel boarders drill.
Jake Holman (Steve McQueen) and Frenchy Burgoyne (Richard Attenborough) carrying M1903 Springfield Rifles. The shore party is led by Ensign Bordelles (Charles Knox Robinson).
Holman (Steve McQueen) disengaging the safety on his M1903 Springfield as he tries to act when a laborer named Po-han is seen being tortured.
Holman (Steve McQueen) takes aim with the rifle.

Mauser Model 1895

Chinese revolutionary troops are also armed with 1895 Chilean Mauser rifles.

Fusil Mauser Chileno Modelo 1895 - 7x57mm Mauser
SandP 11.jpg
SandP 58.jpg

Mauser Gewehr 1898

The Nationalist troops are seen with the Mauser Gewehr 1898

Mauser Gewehr 1898 - 7.92x57mm Mauser
SandP 50.jpg
Side shot of the rifles. Note the distinct large rear sight.

Machine Guns

Browning Automatic Rifle

The Browning Automatic Rifle is used by different characters throughout the movie, but most memorably by both Jake Holman (Steve McQueen), who uses it during the battle with the Chinese revolutionaries on the Yangtze River and LT Collins (Richard Crenna), who along with Holman are seen using the BAR during the rescue of the American missionaries. The A2-style flash hider is anachronistic.

Browning Automatic Rifle - .30-06
Jake Holman (Steve McQueen) readies his Browning Automatic Rifle at the beginning of the battle on the Yangtze River.
Holman with the BAR.
Holman (Steve McQueen) and his boarding party attack the Chinese on one of the junks blocking the river.
Harris (Ford Rainey) holds the BAR during the battle on the Yangtze River.
LT Collins (Richard Crenna) prepares to sacrifice himself so that the shore party can get away with the sole surviving American missionary Shirley Eckert (Candice Bergen).
LT Collins (Richard Crenna) in action with the BAR.

Lewis Gun

The Lewis Gun is used on the U.S. Navy gunboat USS San Pablo. The Lewis gun was used by the U.S. Navy and United States Marines during the years between the two world wars. The American version was chambered for 30-06 however and not British .303.

Lewis gun
Seaman Crosley (Gavin MacLeod) mans the Lewis Gun on the command deck while Ensign Bordelles (Charles Knox Robinson) and LT Collins (Richard Crenna) watch the revolutionaries torture Po-han (Mako).
LT Collins (Richard Crenna) takes over the Lewis Gun when Crosley (Gavin MacLeod) refuses to fire a warning burst at Chinese protesters, who are demanding that Holman (Steve McQueen) be turned over for trial by the revolutionaries.
Seaman Bronson (Joe Turkel) tells LT Collins that his Lewis gun is jammed.
The Lewis Gun in action during the battle on the Yangtze River. Note that it has been removed from its mount and is being used as a squad automatic weapon.


3"/23 caliber gun

The deck gun on the San Pablo is a 3"/23 caliber gun.


Black Powder Deck Gun

The Chinese revolutionaries also have a deck gun on one of the junks and it is used against the San Pablo during the battle on the Yangtze River. It appears to be an old blackpowder smooth bore cannon. Possibly an old 12 pounder Napoleon.


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