Tuesday, July 2, 2024

The Rusty Baldwin Shooting: Question

I'm posting this because my knowledge of firearms and the Baldwin shooting is insufficient to answer it for myself.

Since everyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the past three years (and a few that have) has heard about this story, I'm going to succinctly summarize a few points.

From CBS News Rust Shooting

Alec Baldwin was rehearsing a scene for the Western movie "Rust" on the film's set in New Mexico in October 2021 when a gun he was holding discharged. It was not supposed to be loaded with live ammo — but a bullet fired. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was injured.

What happened was that Alec Baldwin, actor and anti-freedom commie Democrat, shot two people with a Pietta .45 Colt revolver while working on a scene for the film Rust. Halyna Hutchins was killed and Joel Souza wasn't.

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was the armorer, and as such was responsible for all the firearms on the set. She loaded up the revolver that Baldwin used to kill Hutchins.

The points leading up to my brilliant theory below (bear with me here) are:

The Pietta .45 Colt revolver is a single action revolver and loads from a gate. Checking to see if it's loaded involves opening the gate and spinning the cylinder, which produces the classic clicking sound we all hear. When someone, anyone, hands me a firearm my very first action is to open the action and see if it's loaded. Baldwin didn't do this.

In a situation like this where I'd be shooting at someone, I'd unload the pistol to see just what it had been loaded up with. Baldwin didn't do that.

This pistol, along with several others, had been used by California idiots for plinking and shooting beer cans off each others' heads. I really don't know what the idiots had been doing, but none of them are firearm aficionados. When they were through screwing around, they very likely just put everything back where they'd found it.

So... what if -

What if, during shoot the guns play time, the ding-a-ling with the pistol in question torched off a squib? A faulty round that made a strange non-bang noise?  Being unfamiliar with firearms, he'd likely stop shooting and return the gun to the pile, thinking he'd broken it somehow, but let someone else take the blame. I dindoo it!

The bullet from the squib might easily be lodged in the barrel.

The next day Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer, loads up the pistol with blanks and hands it to chuckle head - and the rest is bloody history. The gun goes off, the blank drives the bullet out of the barrel and into Halyna Hutchins, and that's that.

My theory relies heavily on what gets recovered from the cylinder.  If you get blanks, that's one thing.  Live rounds, that's something else.  And on set, can anyone tell the difference between blanks and live rounds at a single glance?  Because it matters.

Another point is that I, personally, commonly check my barrel for obstructions before I go out target shooting. I got this from my old dad, a WWII vet.  You don't know where the pistol has been or who's been screwing around with it, so you check.  With an auto-loader it's easy to do. With, say, an S&W with a swing out cylinder, it's easy.  But with a gate loading Colt, you'd have to remove the cylinder which is not convenient or all that easy, and if you're in a hurry you wouldn't check.

My question is, is such a thing possible? Could a bullet be lodged in the barrel, and could it be driven out by a blank?



Anonymous said...

Short answer is yes, your theory is plausible.

Grey said...

It is possible that a squib load could leave a bullet lodged in the barrel that could be propelled with deadly force by a blank round.

It is very, very unlikely. The probability of a squib round is low, but possible. Then the bullet would have to be stopped far enough back in the barrel that it could generate sufficient pressure and energy to deliver a fatal wound. Remember, the bullet had sufficient energy to both pass entirely through Hutchins' chest, fatally wounding her, and seriously wound Souza in the shoulder. This would likely require something similar to a full power load.

More likely is that someone failed to notice and/or remove a live round after crew members had been shooting live ammunition prior. The loading gate does not allow you to simultaneously verify that all chambers are empty. Pulling the cylinder pin and removing the cylinder does, which did not happen.

Also, single action revolvers do not spontaneously discharge. The hammer must be cocked and then released by pulling the trigger.

Poor gun safety all around.

CWMartin said...

Idiot and Baldwin are basically synonyms...

Jeb Texas said...

I did not know what Hollywierd firearm procedures were supposed to be until after this event, but had they been followed NONE of this would have been possible. It surprised me to learn how thorough & well thought out the process of firearms on set is supposed to be... about as idiot proof as is possible, given the number of idiots involved. Usually everything about these booger-eating morons deserves contempt, but this isn't one of them. These guys spell out the process if you care to look:
It seems to me a lot more likely that the live ammo used for plinking on set ended up in the weapon. (Zero live ammo should have been on this set) Actually tracing who effed up is likely impossible, given how lax Baldwin was with the rules.

Glen Filthie said...

Didn’t they already establish that the prop master was a bubble gummer dolt who bought live ammo for the guns?

Mad Jack said...

Anonymous: Thanks.

Grey: I've been shooting my entire adult life, and the only squibs or misfires I've encountered were on the skeet field while using my own reloads. I ran low on powder and didn't notice... and, well, there you have it.

CW: You got that one right.

Jeb Texas: Sure, IF the procedure is followed by an armorer who refuses to be bullied into taking shortcuts to save time and money. I, too, am impressed by the standard operating procedure.

Glen: The armorer is a genius. Trust me, I know these things.

Thanks to all of you for reading and taking the time to comment.