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Stage Weapons

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by egorleski, Aug 31, 2006.

  1. egorleski

    egorleski Member

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    My question really refers specificaly to stage guns, but i figured why not give it a broad title. We currently have generic long barrel guns that are made of conduit for the barrel, a carved block of wood for the handle part, and some sort of cheep metal to fake a trigger. This has been okay in our auditorium since the audiance is far away and they can't really see how crummy it is. Were wanna use them in a closer proximity space... but obviously these guns will not work. I wonder if anyone here has made some guns that look more realistic? If not, anyone know a good place to buy them? while these are not going to have to be "stage functional" (they dont have to appear to fire), has anyone ever used any that do appear to fire? I have used some that were stage functional for movies, but with the increasing fear of pyro on stage.... i posted in the fake explosian thread the idea of making a gun that expels some rye flour powered by CO2 thoughts?
     
  2. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    If your school has a rifle squad, maybe they can spare a few. (A vendor of rifle squad rifles may be a good place to start, too.)

    (Considering school weapon policies these days, often coupled with zero tolerance [zero common sense] enforcement, you might want to look closely at the use of these props - stupider things have happened...)


    Joe
     
  3. tenor_singer

    tenor_singer Active Member

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    Pistols: My properties crew purchased some dollar store plastic pistols and painted them to look like real guns. They did a very good job.

    Rifles: I did the conduit thing too. I had our shop class cut the stocks out of a good hard wood and then I added details (like the curved pump for a 12-gauge) using either cut dowel or old trim that I had laying around my house. They looked very good (from a distance).

    Some costume shops sell rubber guns that look fairly realistic too.
     
  4. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    You'd be amazed at how realistic toy guns are these days.



    No, really, I'm serious. It's actually pretty scary. Look in toy stores; however, I've seen many a realistic one in costume stores as well.
     
  5. saxman0317

    saxman0317 Active Member

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    look at old garage sales and such...sometimes you can pick up real ones real cheap. Ive gotten a few rifles and such like this, spent about 20$ for 3 of them, then just removed the firing pin so it is impossible to fire and provable to anyone that its nonfunctional. Works great if you need something close that looks great. You can also go one more step and remove the trigger itself and leave the trigger guard only if you need more "fakeness".
     
  6. falcon

    falcon Active Member

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    The toy gun option will probably be the best. A couple years ago, a kid around here was taken down by the police because the cap gun he was playing with in his yard looked exactly like the real thing.
     
  7. Foxinabox10

    Foxinabox10 Active Member

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    Another option is air-soft guns. They shoot little pellets that are made for them. We have used those in the past and threw away the pellets as soon as they arrived.
     
  8. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    We recently finished a very succesful run of Sondheims "Assassins" and with 20 some odd pistols and rifles let me tell you Weapons on stage are not a simple thing. I happen to work with a Certified Fight choreographer a lot, He does over hire work in the shop for me, I build swords and axes and other implements of destruction for him. I grew up around a lot of rifles and guns < my father was a certified NRA instructor, not a certified whacko compound owner, just to clear things up,> Anyway I've always had a very healthy respect for weapons but even I was not quite ready for the level of caution the one must practice when using weapons such as guns on stage. My freind informed me of a lot of things I had simply never thought of. Removal of the firing pin does not render a weapon "non-firing" in the eyes of the ATF. Most weapons must have a 4 -5 " peice of steel rod driven into their barrels and welded there to render them "safe". Starter pistols can and have killed people. Blanks can and have killed people, but by far one of the most dangerous and deadly items is complacency. When weapons are on or near a stage, you must be vigilant at all times. When weap[ons are used it is not sufficient to simply let a P.A. or ASM be in charge of weapons too, you must have a "weapons Wrangler" someone whos whole and only job is tracking the loading , unloading, transfer, use, cleaning, maintenance etc of every single weapons used on stage. That's just my two cents worth. As for Information on available weapons Might I suggest "weapons of Choice" I beleive they are located in Klamath Falls Oregon. they have an extensive collection of swords, knives, handguns, rifles, guns, etc, etc for rental and purchase.
     
  9. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Yep, spent some time in the armor cage for military weapons and even I would not consider myself sufficient to be up on all the rules. Given this however where needed I might attempt - this given futher study into what was necessory. Weapons on stage - depends upon the show. Once had my old high school teacher shoot a Thompsan 1928A1 directly at me during a USITT forum. Her intent was more than just fun. How did my old TD or me in the military at the time know that the sub-machine gun she was firing a 50 round drum at, know and or trust that I would not be injured, much less killed?

    I have armorered on a few shows in the past - this was my ownly responsibility and given military training in doing so. A Pyro/Armorer person possibly is a unique position for shows. This not just the stage manager or other.
     
  10. danl

    danl Member

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    catalogues i've used:

    http://www.theatrehouse.com
    (click: "weapons", then "firearms")

    http://www.thecostumer.com
    (click: "accessories and props", then "guns and ammo")

    there are some really inexpensive options that read very well on and off stage (though they only shoot off caps and not blanks)

    (sound effects work well with these, as well)
     
  11. saxman0317

    saxman0317 Active Member

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    I would only do this if they were treated the same as using real weapons. remove the firing device (springs, air canister needles, etc.) so that theres no chance of it being loaded and fired. Esp wth airsoft, the stuffs way too easy to get ahold of by a jokster.
     
  12. punktech

    punktech Active Member

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    oh the hoops you have to jump though in MA if you want to fire a weapon on a stage. we had one working pistol on a show last year. we had to have the 2 non firing ones certified as such, and the one that did fire had to either be in the hands of one of the AD/ASMs (AD for rehearsal, ASM for production week), or it was locked in it's box, in a lcoked drawer of a locked room, and there couldn't be any one withing 10 feet when it was fired aside from our shooter and the AD/ASM (and me as a personal barrier between the gun and the actors that were waiting for their entrance in the wings). and we were only firing blanks...:!:
     
  13. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Just remember, Brandon Lee was killed by a gun that was supposed to, "just have blanks" in it. Then there was the other moron around the same time that killed himself by putting a gun to his head that DID have just blanks, The wad penetrated his skull and killed him just as dead as is it had been a bullet. My dad's favorite expression when dealing with firemarms < and he's a former NRA shooting instructor> " A loaded gun, Never Accidently killed anyone."
     
  14. harry1989

    harry1989 Member

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    When I saw the title of this topic, I thought it meant "Weapons to use against actors onstage" lol.

    Anyways, the dollar store fake guns are the best. if you buy the caps for them, you've even got ur sounf effects set. :grin:
     
  15. kingfisher1

    kingfisher1 Active Member

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    Remember, that when every you have a fight scene on stage, to choreograph the heck out of it. even better get a fight chorographer in, that way it is assure that everyone is in control on stage so no one gets hurt.
    With adreniline of preformance pumping, dangerous things happen.
    Humans have a primal instict that gets unleased when we unconsiously percieve that were are being attacked, even when we consiously know where not.
    as far a getting guns, i have seen some kick as firearms carved at of pink isulation foam then painted black. (we did a stage adaptatio of resevoir dogs, in a very, very intimate space, and they looked quike real. and yes, we had to jump through hopes like crazy to get the admin to let us use them)
     
  16. NABster07

    NABster07 Member

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    if you have to fire the weapon, look at starter pistols. We had a production last year, Gabriel (student written), and we needed a gun to be fired. So we purchased a starter pistol, worked like a charm. Of course nobody touched it except the TD and the actor that fired it, but the first time we used it we fired it in our auditorium and we alerted the principal and building manager that we would be firing it so they wouldn't freak out, well a teacher walking by heard the shot and ran into the auditorium.
    Sorry for going off on a tangent there, but to reiterate my point, starter pistol.

    -Nick
     
  17. punktech

    punktech Active Member

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    Van, i know how dangerous blanks can be but i'm surprised by the amount of precaution we had to take (ie the 3 locks that were between the gun and people when it was being stored). the thought of accidents were always on my mind, being the human shield that i was and all...

    recently we had another weapon for a performance, a sword this time, and we barely had to do anything, it was locked away, and the danceer it belonged to (this was for the recent dance conert that my college did) was the one to retrive it from it's storage area. mind you this is a 4 foot long sharp blade (it was a balancing sword, it is balanced on the head of a belly dancer as she dances, and it is sharpened because that is how it traditionally is) so it *CAN* kill someone, just as badly as a gun with blanks in it, but still there was so much for one and nothing for the other. unfair treatment is not a good thing at all.
     
  18. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Oh I agree ! 'course almost anytime a bladed weapon is used on stage it should be blunted or taped. I can see however, with a traditional dance number how you need the authenticity of the real blade. Let me relate a story that happened last week.
    My current boss is formerly the Manageing director of the Christmas Revels somewhere down in California. She gets my family ticketsa every year 'cause the kids love it. This year, great show, lot's of wonderfulthings, gushgushgush, BUT you knew there was a but comming right ? they get to part of the show where the duke < in the story of Gawain and the green KNight > is going out hunting, the first thing they go after is Deer, well the retainers bring forth the dukes quiver and arrows, then bring forth his bow, a really nice 48" or so recurve bow probably somewhere in the range of 45#'s plus. The "duke" grabs an arrow out of his quiver knocks it on the bow string, pull back a full draw aiming the arrow at about the first row of the balcony < from my vantage point that appeared where he was aiming he definately wasn't aiming over the heads of the balcony> scanning the bow from left to right as they sing thier song about "Kill the Wabbit" or whatever. I was squirming in my seat out of my mind trying to keep myself from climbing up on that stage and ripping the bow out of his hands. One bump on the elbow from any one of the 20 guys around him singing and gesturing in full medievial form, could have spelled disaster for someone in the first row of the balcony.
    Had to talk to a guy that works for me sometimes as a carp, who is also a certified Stage Combat instructor, told him about the incident and he just shook his head.
    P.S. I build stage / custom weapons and on the side as a hobby BTW. It's always been a huge interest of mine
     
  19. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    As long as we are sort of on the topic. Here are some old school live gun shot sound effect tricks. You can try all the recorded gunshots but I've never found one that really has the right feel and it's difficult to get it to sound like it's coming from the right location. Instead get yourself some 1X4 and do it the old fashioned way.

    For a big shotgun blast, get yourself a 4-5 foot piece of 1X4. Hold the board on end with your right hand in front of your left foot. Brace the base of the board with the front of your left foot... sort of creating a hinge point with your toes. Raise your right foot and press forward on the board building some tension before releasing. Drive your right foot down, being careful to make sure the board hit's the ground and does not move... we don't want to hear wood rattling. You will not believe the power and volume of the blast. Try it on different surfaces.

    If you are looking for a smaller pistol or rifle sound, hinge two pieces of 1X4 together. Make the base board longer than the top board so you have a handle. Smack the top board into the bottom board. Experiment with different lengths of 1X4. Place the board on different surfaces to get different reverb effects.
     
    magnumBD likes this.
  20. kingfisher1

    kingfisher1 Active Member

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    There's also the bugs bunny old schoo style sound effect, actor pulls trigger while simulatanously shouting "BANG!"
     

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