This time they’re fighting a hybridized dinosaur named Indominus Rex; if you haven’t yet seen the film, here are some brief stats for the lab-bred, ahistorical creature featured on a slick Jurassic World promotional web page
As one might expect in our high-tech world, especially when reflected in a high-tech sci-fi world where dinosaurs roam theme parks, errant animals are fought with the latest weaponry, but what impressed and delighted me was the appearance of an old-fashioned lever action rifle in the hands of Owen Grady (Chris Pratt). Lever action rifles are a real soft spot for me; the modular plastic of an AR-15 doesn’t sing to my soul the way a classic lever gun does, and I loved seeing it play such a major role in a current film, especially when that film is not even a western.
The lever gun was developed from early attempts at creating self-contained metallic cartridges in a pistol platform done by the Volcanic Arms Company. They worked fairly well, but the rounds were anemic even by the standards of the day, and were not terribly popular. The technology was adapted by B. Tyler Henry, who developed it into a more effective repeating rifle, which bore his name. This was the Henry rifle, the famous “damnable Yankee rifle you could load on Sunday and shoot all week.” It was the first really successful repeater, and it’s the rifle carried by my protagonist in the Ballad of the Laurie Swain. It fired a pretty weak cartridge too, and was later adopted by Oliver Winchester and, after a couple of models, became the legendary 1873 rifle, the gun that won the west. A formidable arm in its own right, by the mid 1880s it had been further modified by Winchester and Marlin to accommodate powerful rifle rounds such as the venerable 45-70, and could be used to hunt almost any animal.
Which brings us to Jurassic World. Owen carries what appears to be a Marlin Guide Gun, stainless steel, with a scope attached. It looks to be an 1895SBL in 45-70 caliber (IMFD.com). It even has a large lever loop in a nod to John Wayne. It’s a serious rifle meant to do business with serious animals. And what could be more serious than the Indominus Rex? My only complaint is that Owen is not a more accomplished rifleman; I really think he could have taken down the Rex by himself with a little better shot placement. ;-)