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Guns of the Silver Screen: V22N1

By Kyle Shea

Wonder Woman's Wonder Weapons

Wonder Woman first appeared in “All Star Comics” #8, when an American pilot named Steve Trevor crashed on an island and was rescued by Diana, daughter of the Queen of the Amazons. Upon hearing of the evil happening around the world, Diana decided to go back with Steve Trevor and help fight against the forces of Nazi Germany. She takes as her uniform a suit with American symbols on it, and the title “Wonder Woman.”

In 2017, Wonder Woman finally got her own big-screen movie. In the movie the storyline changes a bit; Diana rescues Steve from WW I German Soldiers and joins him in a quest to end “The War to End All Wars.” They are joined by a number of other soldiers, including a Scottish sniper named Charlie, a secret agent named Sameer and a smuggler named Chief Napi.

In the movie, Charlie carries an M1917 Enfield Rifle, and Chief Napi’s weapon of choice is a Winchester Model 1866 “Yellow Boy.” The 1866 rifle is actually the first model of the great Winchester line of lever action firearms. It earned its nickname “Yellow Boy” from the receiver, which was made of a combination of bronze and brass called Red Brass or Gunmetal. This actually made the gun cheaper than its successors and was in production until 1899. The gun in the movie has an interesting pattern on the buttstock, with brass tacks forming some sort of sniper crosshairs. Native Americans were known for personalizing their rifles, frequently with brass tacks in patterns. Two were used in the movie although I only saw one on screen.

The Winchester 1866 saw service in the French Army during the Franco-Prussian War and the Turkish Army during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. Despite losing the war, the Turks, using the 1866 rifle, inflicted heavy casualties on the Russians, especially at the Siege of Pleven. Here the Russians lost between 20,000 and 40,000 soldiers. This would eventually lead to the Russians adopting the Mosin-Nagant Rifle.

The M1917 Enfield, aka the P-17, is one of the best bolt-action...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V22N1 (January 2018)
and was posted online on November 17, 2017

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