The Quigley rifle: now, for the rest of the story.

Author:Venturino, Mike

Some of the most errant nonsense pertaining to firearms I've ever read has been found on various Internet "chatrooms." There's one item, however, I can give you the straight scoop on. That is the rifle used by Tom Selleck in the 1990 movie Quigley Down Under. I've read posts on various chat rooms saying the rifle used by Selleck was an Italian-made copy, or it was actually made of aluminum, or made of rubber, or it was in .45-70 caliber.

All wrong. First, there were actually three identical rifles. Movie companies buy essential props like those rifles in threes. One to be used by the star, one to be used by the stunt double and the third in reserve in case something happens to either of the first two. The Shiloh Rifle Co. of Big Timber, Montana, built those rifles. I know that for sure. I handled all of them prior to their being shipped out to the movie company.

All American

They were built in the summer of 1989 and in July of that year Tom Selleck and the movie's producer Megan Rose visited the Shiloh facility in Big Timber. I was invited to participate in a little live firing with Selleck, and we used one of my own Shiloh rifles for that. It was in .44-77 caliber, the first in that chambering that Shiloh had built. (I wish I had hung on to it, but sold it in 1990.) The few hours spent with Selleck were memorable--especially in seeing how avid he was to do a good job in the firearms handling parts of his role. Megan Rose even supplied me with a copy of the movie's script and invited my comments. No, my name didn't make it into the movie's credits, but I do still have the check stub for the modest stipend they paid for my services. It was all great fun for me.

But back to the rifle itself. The Model 1874 Sharps Shiloh built for the movie was a custom one and incorporated features they already offered. It used their standard Number 3 buttstock with straight grip and military-style curved buttplate, but it had to be given a 15 1/4" length of pull to fit the 6'4" tall Selleck. Also, a patch box was inlaid into the stock's right side, and the initials "MQ" inlaid in gold on the receiver's right side. Barrel length was 34", configuration was full octagon, and barrel weight was Shiloh's No. 1 heavy. The rifle's forearm had a pewter tip, and a mid-range vernier tang-mounted peep sight built for Shiloh by The Riflesmith of Sheridan, Montana, was mounted to each rifle. Shiloh's No. 111 globe front sights were also fitted. The rifle's action and...

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