In 2002, Master Armorer Robert “Rock” Galotti was hired for a new movie being put into production starring Tom Cruise. Entitled “The Last Samurai”, the movie was set in Japan during the 1870’s and featured spectacular battle sequences requiring hundreds of working Mauser rifles from the period. A veteran Armorer of dozens of films, including “The Matrix” and “Mission Impossible”, Rock set out to find the most authentic arms available. He contacted Gibbs’ President, Val Forgett, as he had heard that Val had recently acquired a large group of 19th Century Mauser rifles. These rifles had been stored for over 100 years in less-than-ideal conditions, causing significant deterioration to the wood and loss of finish on the metal.
Together, Rock and Val worked to take complete, original barreled actions and paired them with authentic replica stocks, complete with the correct cartouches, to create the guns Rock needed to successfully arm his actors.
Each “Samurai” edition Mauser M1871/84 is an original Mauser M1871/84 rifle that has been carefully cleaned, reblued, then had its receiver carefully polished as the original examples were. Minor parts such as the extractor, ejector and cutoff levers were replicated, as were the stocks and magazine tubes. The trigger guards were painted gold on-set as well to better recreate the on-screen look desired by the Director.
Rock, a former U.S. Marine who had served in Desert Storm 1, trained several hundred actors on the operation and use of these guns prior to filming the massive battle scenes in the film. After production was finished, these guns were returned from location in New Zealand to studio warehouses, where they have been stored for the last 5 years.
Each gun comes with a leather sling, used in the movie, as well as a certificate of authenticity signed by both Rock and Val. These guns are in good condition, bearing the nicks and scratches from use in the film. This is a unique opportunity to own both a rare 19th century Mauser rifle and one used in a blockbuster movie.