Why the monkey gun? A look at the facts behind the whole ape rifle thing

By Editor, Feb 28, 2015 | |
  1. Editor
    For decades, Hi Point carbine users have had to contend with random references to their firearms that have included any number of Planet of the Apes jibes. The thing is, the comparison is far from correct.

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    The original POA props

    In the 1960s, French author Pierre Boulle, the guy who wrote Bridge over the River Kwai, came up with a sci-fi tale called La Plante des Singes that focused on advanced primates inheriting the Earth after an apocalyptic event.

    By 1968 the book had been turned into a film starring Charlton "From my cold, dead hands..." Heston as an astronaut who lands on a planet he later finds to be a post-nuclear Earth that is run by, well, apes.

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    These gorillas, chimps, and monkeys were armed with their own indigenous carbines with thumbhole stocks. They looked crude and homemade, like something that a chimp with a set of tools would cobble together after watching enough gunsmithing videos to be dangerous.

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    The props came in three different types. The first, used closest to the cameras by the main characters, were two-piece aluminum shells that held a U.S. GI type M1 Carbine (so that they could fire blanks when needed). To make them appear to be crafted from wood, they were painted a wood grain finish. The second version was a solid wooden piece with a fake barrel and action that was used in long range shots carried in the hands of extras. The third were vinyl.

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    They appeared in both the original Planet of the Apes (1968), and the sequel Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) while follow on films such as the increasingly low-budget Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1972), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1973), and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973) used regular firearms that were easier for prop masters to lay hands on. However, the "Ape Guns" made a reappearance in the short-lived 1974 TV spinoff, but in smaller quantities.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvfWIwchBRc
    One of the actual screen-used rifle mockups used in the Planet of the Apes series as looked at by Gunswebsites.

    Today these guns go as high as $6,000 for the actual M1 versions to more like $700 for the wooden and vinyl models. Then again there are also new replica airsoft versions but we are afraid to ask how much they run.

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    (The original prop guns have become very collectable, with actual aluminum-stocked M1 versions running as much as a gently used Kia)

    Fast forward to the...

    Hi Point comparison

    The Hi Point Model 995 series, when first introduced in 1995, was slightly homelier than the more refined Second Generation TS models we have today. Now don't take that personally, I have one of my own and love it but I will be the first to admit there is a certain slight resemblance to the Ape Rifle. It's been noticed here on the forum several times.

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    When you compare the specs of the M1 Carbine and the 995, they are about the same size. Using a blowback action, the Hi Point is uber-simple while the polymer stock makes it light at about the same weight (5.75-pounds) as the M1 Carbine, but is slightly shorter at about 31.5-inches long whereas the old war baby is 36.

    Both have a short barrel with the M1s being 18 inches and the 995 coming in at 16.5. That being said, the guns take a divergence from each other with the M1 having a 15-30 round detachable stick mag in a separate magwell for .30 Carbine cartridges while the 3895/995/4095/4595 have a single stack 10-round mag that fits in the pistol grip.

    Plus, you can pick up an older 995 for about $175-ish, less than half the price of a prop gun.

    And, in a twist of fate, MKS, the same company that distributes Hi Point carbines, is now distributing Inland-made M1 carbines as well.

    In the end, while "damned dirty apes" didn't design the Hi Point they could probably help keep us from being taken over by them should Caesar and the simian menace ever become real.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBMvR_RnKu4

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