Hi Fellow Rifleman fans, I am posting my answer to the number one question I receive regarding The Rifleman and the rifle. This question and answer has been on the discussion board for a while but many have evidently not seen it.
I spoke to Arnold Laven (one of the Rifleman Producers) a while back and he told me that Rifleman fans were asking the same question 50 years ago.
Here’s the question and my answer:
How many shots were fired in the opening of the TV series the rifleman?
The opening scene of The Rifleman staring Chuck Connors was edited as are all T.V. shows.
The 1892 Winchester in .44/.40 caliber used on the show only holds eleven bullets. The audio track was dubbed over the video track. They are not entirely in sync. You may hear 12 or 13 shots fired in the audio portion, and you may watch him pull the lever back on the rifle a different number of times.
This is what makes it a trick question. The editors could have made it look like he fired as many shots as they like by piecing the two segments of the opening scene together as they did.
The difficulty with this question is that when the editors dubbed in the rifle sound they crammed in as many shots as they could in the given time period for the opening instead of noticing how many times Chuck Connors was pulling the lever on the rifle to fire the gun and just synchronizing the sound of the shots.