One of the indelible images from the 1991 blockbuster hit “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” is the Terminator’s (Arnold Schwarzenegger) trusty shotgun he uses throughout the movie.
And what made it iconic was how he used it — flipping it to reload. A move that had never been seen attempted with that gun before (or since) in movies.
According toHarry Lu, who wasweapons master on the film(he also has the same role in “Terminator Genisys,” currently in theatres), the idea of the fancy way to reload the gun came from directorJames Cameron.
“James was looking at ‘The Rifleman‘ and some other old westerns,” Lu recalls. The director told Lu he wanted Schwarzenegger’s shotgun to be able to twirl like how a cowboy on the shows did with their six-shooters.
Lu decided the sawed-off 1887 Winchester 12-gauge shotgun would make the most sense, but he recalls, “After I opened my mouth, I kicked myself in the butt.”
He said the custom work on the gun for the purposes of the film meant he had to play with weight distribution, balance, and especially the internal mechanism.
“It’s one of those things the audience doesn’t think about, but the shotgun shell worked with a pull cable and every time the gate opened the shell wants to fly out,” Lu said. “So I finally found a way to correct that.”
Lu also had to create a larger loop on the gun so Schwarzenegger could flip it successfully.
Lu spent a month and a half before the film began production finishing all of the custom work on the shotgun. Then he had to train Schwarzenegger how to use it.
“I went to his house and showed him how to use it and we practiced constantly,” he recalls. “He was actually able to take it on pretty fast.”
Schwarzenegger put his skills on display in the movie when the Terminator, while on a motorcycle, shoots at the rival Terminator, the T-1000 (Robert Patrick), and flip-cocks it while riding.
As Schwarzenegger once famously said: “I have a love interest in every one of my films — a gun.”
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