When I was growing up, one of my favorite movies of all time was 1999’s The Mummy.
Brendan Fraser was at the top of his career, and he played the dashing and daring Rick O’Connell opposite the lovely Rachel Weisz. The villain was played by the always awesome Arnold Vosloo.
It was like a classic adventure movie with practical effects, awesome stunts, and plenty of gunplay. Rick O’Connell wielded a very odd set of revolvers that are somewhat unusual to the American eye.
He often dual-wields said revolvers and carries them in a custom shoulder rig that just reeks of that late 90s awesomeness.
Hero guns need to stand out, and the odd look of the Chamelot-Delvigne Model 1873 makes Rick’s guns stand out.
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The French Connection
The revolvers were a pair of Chamelot-Delvigne Model 1873s. If you can’t tell by the name, these are French revolvers.
When looking at O’Connel’s history, they make a lot of sense. At the beginning of the film, our hero is in service with the French Foreign Legion.
Our boy rose to the rank of Colonel, but you won’t see that from the fact he was fighting as a regular rifleman without any authority.
I blame it on filmmakers not knowing how military ranks work or that officers in the French Foreign Legion have to be French.
The film took palace in 1926, and the revolvers fit. Sure, they were a rather old design by 1926, but the French used these guns up until World War II.
Plus, I doubt finding a better gun in Egypt would be easy, and Rick would already be accustomed to the revolvers due to his service with the Foreign Legion.
Breaking Down the Wheel Gun
The Chamelot-Delvigne Model 1873 was the first double/single-action revolver to be used by the French military. Its design blended old with new and featured a modern double-action design paired with a loading gate and fixed cylinder.
To load and eject empties, the user has to half-cock the hammer, pull the loading gate rearward, and then use an ejector rod to push the empties out.
Rick is too cool to do that. Instead, he holds the gun up and spins the cylinder allowing gravity to take the empties out.
Sure this can work, but it’s not always the most reliable method of removing empty cartridges. Any little thing can prevent the empty from sliding out.
But damn, does it look cool.
You can say a lot about French firearms, but it’s tough to say they are “weak” guns.
The Chamelot-Delvigne Model 1873 revolvers were well known for their reliability and durability. These big, robust revolvers could take the abuse of the trenches or the sands of Egypt and keep running.
We do see Rick engaging with what must be a belt-fed version of this gun because he fires way more than six rounds before reloading.
The boat scene in particular shows Rick firing what feels like dozens of rounds between reloads.
We also see that Rick must have crazy good hand strength.
He dual-wields the two guns and seemingly always uses them in double-action mode.
The double-action triggers on the Chamelot-Delvigne Model 1873 were not exactly light. They required some force to function, and Rick’s got it.
Jonathan must also have a surprising amount of hand strength since we also see him briefly using the revolvers apparently pretty comfortably (and likely losing at least one).
The Chamelot-Delvigne Model 1873 utilized a French 11x17mmR cartridge called the 11mm MLE 1873.
In 1873 the round utilized black powder, but as time and technology passed, the round was then loaded with smokeless powder. 11mm sounds like a big round, but the 17mm casing didn’t necessarily allow it to be loaded heavily.
In fact, it’s rather anemic. Maybe that’s why Imhotep was more scared of the cat.
The average velocity of the round was 550 feet per second, and the energy transmitted by the round was roughly equivalent to the .25 ACP.
Later on, when smokeless powder found its place in the 11mm MLE, the round gained a little oomph — enough to be roughly the equivalent of the .32 ACP.
I wouldn’t want to fight the forces on the undead with the 11mm MLE. I’m not sure what ballistic standards need to be met to beat the cursed undead, but I’m betting the 11mm MLE doesn’t cut it.
Rick O’Connell is a classic hero. He’s the rogue adventurer who dual-wields violence. His odd choice of revolvers does two things.
First, it’s logically consistent with Rick’s experience in the French Foreign Legion. Second, it provides an eye-catching revolver that allows for easy dual wielding.
While not the most effective or capable weapons, they are cool revolvers and have since been immortalized in the film.
What’s your take on Rick’s Guns? Let us know in the comments below. For more on your favorite movie guns, check out “Heat” & Colt Model 733.