Rifles, Pistols, and Shotguns
I would like to introduce to you, ten excellent firearms. They all have been around for decades, and have proven themselves worthy to own. You should consider having a couple of these in your own collection. We have bolt action, semi-automatic, pump action, and lever action types. Below every title, there is a link to a video where you can see the gun in action. What guns we sell.
The 1911 is a favorite among gun owners. Can you guess what year it was invented? It was actually adopted by the US Army in 1911, but it was invented originally in the late 1890s. The gun was also used heavily in WW1, where some soldiers depended upon it as their primary sidearm. Only soldiers with special missions (Alvin York) and officers were given a backup pistol. Over 68,000 were produced for the great war, between Colt and Springfield alone. In WW2, 1.9 million 1911 models were produced by various companies. It is, of course, a highly reliable single action firearm, that was a standard issue up until the end of the Vietnam war. It is still used in military action but is no longer the standard issue.
It is known for its good balance and crisp trigger pull. The full-size models are easy to keep on target. They have been used extensively in professional target shooting matches. To this day, variants of the 1911 are still used in tournaments,
There are tons of variations of the 1911. You can get different lengths, different calibers, different EVERYTHING really. There are double stack models, 2-barrel models (yes really,) lightweight models, concealed carry models, you just name it. A complaint some people have about the 1911 is its weight. Kimber fixed this with their lightweight concealed carry models. They are way lighter.
The 1911 is widespread. You almost can’t escape seeing one if you walk into a gun shop. They’re a staple. There are probably 100 different manufacturers of the 1911. Colt, Remington, Sig Sauer, Browning, Springfield, all the big names make their own. You can get one as cheap as $400 new, but there is no upper limit. You can easily spend thousands on a fine model. If you haven’t shot one, ask around, it’s very likely that a friend already has one you can try.
Drawing from many of the characteristics of the original ArmaLite AR-15, today’s rifle is a popular firearm for sport, at gun ranges, and for protection. Being no stranger to controversy, this divisive modern sporting rifle is often considered the American’s rifle of choice.
ArmaLite sold their patent for the ArmaLite 15 rifle (AR-15) to Colt 1959. They were the original designers of the AR-15. Colt took over and made tons for the military over the years. If you went through Vietnam, you probably carried a Colt M16, an adaptation of the AR-15.
The AR is gaining popularity with hunters. You will have to use a 5 round magazine (that’s the law in Oregon where we are) but it’s a great hunting round, with little recoil, and it gives you the ability to make faster follow up shots if necessary. Not all states allow hunting with the .223 caliber, but the AR-15 platform comes in many different calibers, including .50 Beowulf.
The AR platform is very easy to customize. You only need a few tools, and you can build one from scratch yourself in a couple hours. Once completed, the upper and lower halves connect with only two pins. This makes it really easy to switch out the upper. if you want to change from a 16″ barrel to a 20″ barrel, you can, in less than a minute.
The AR-15 is considered to be one of the most customizable weapons on the market. This fact makes it one of the most popular builds for aftermarket upgrading. Like the 1911, there is no upper limit on the price, but you can find a decent one for as little as $599 brand new. We almost always have one or 4 in stock 🙂 For more expensive models, you can easily spend thousands. Heck, the Trijicon ACOG the military uses on them is near $2000! I always say, you should buy a scope about equal to the price of your firearm. I laugh when I see a $30 scope on a $1000+ rifle, but hey, it probably works okay.
This gas operated, round dumping, shell spitter that is known as the AK-47. It was originally made in the Soviet Union. Production on it started in 1945, but it wasn’t until 1948 that the AK-47 began to be issued to Soviet military units. It was designed by a man named Mikhail Kalashnikov. He was in the hospital from a combat wound when he overheard other soldiers complaining about their weapons. Right there he decided to create a better weapon, which eventually became the AK-47 in 1947. I bet he didn’t know how widespread his design would become! There are 75-100 MILLION of these out in the world! Isn’t that a crazy number?
The AK-47 makes use of both box and drum magazines, that can carry anywhere from 30-100 rounds. Compared to other firearms, the AK-47 is relatively cheap to produce, and its well-known durability has kept it relevant. They have been used all over the world for decades.
The AK-47 is seen, by many, as the most reliable semi-automatic rifle on the market. This gun has withstood some of the harshest weather and wartime conditions. They go bang, and they keep going bang. The AR-15 has tighter tolerances, and it can jam easier when dirty, but is more accurate. The AK-47 has looser tolerances, and the bolt carrier is heavy and also is “spring loaded.” This helps the weapon to fire regardless of some debris.
The Ruger 10/22 is THE ultimate plinker. It is an American made firearm, that distinguishes itself with a patented rotary style magazine. This semi-auto rifle has a popular carbine version, with a barrel that’s shorter than the standard issue. This rifle is one of the most popular semi-auto rifles in .22 in America. I don’t have any friends that DON’T have one!
Like the AR-15 rifle, the 10/22 has unlimited potential for upgrades. There are kits to turn your 10/22 into just about any style of rifle. And I mean it. They are very reliable, as well as comfortable.
The rotary style magazine is capable of holding 10 rounds, although box magazines with greater round capacities are a common aftermarket upgrade. There are a wide variety of Ruger 10/22s available on the market. These days, the 10/22 can be built from the ground up with no Ruger parts at all, due to an ever-growing aftermarket. Although it ended in 2006, a trendy Magnum style of the 10/22 was formerly manufactured. They are now very spendy.
5. Glock 17
The Glock 17 is a 9mm, Austrian made, semi-automatic pistol, that has proven to be hardy and reliable. In fact, reliability is its claim to fame, it just keeps shooting. For concealed carrying, the Glock 17 is a firearm of choice with civilians, and at shooting ranges. The Glock 19 is the midsize version, and they are widely used as a concealed carry pistol.
The Glock 17 is a popular choice among American law enforcement agencies. They are always switching around from .40 to .45 and back around to 9mm again. You can often find Police trade in Glocks in gun stores. There are unlimited upgrades you can do with a Glock. There is a YUGE aftermarket availability for parts. In fact, you can make a “Glock” with no Glock parts at all.
The frame is made of a type of polymer. This allows the gun to be much lighter than a full steel framed pistol of the same dimensions. The Smith & Wesson 5906 is similar sized, but it weighs a whole POUND more. The frame is actually very rigid, you won’t have to worry about it falling apart on you.
There are several Glock variants, worth mentioning, such as the compact and subcompact models. These variants, however, all draw from and expand upon the original Glock 17 design. These are like the AK-47, they just keep going bang!
The Soviet SKS was originally designed in 1943. The AK-47 eventually took its place in the hands of frontline Soviet troops, but the SKS remained a staple of second-line combat. Even as its presence in military settings waned, the ceremonial presence of the high-powered SKS carbine remained.
Many SKS models were also designed to accommodate attached bayonets, which could be folded back during non-combative moments. Traditionally, the SKS has made use of 10-round clips, known as “stripper clips”. Stripper clips are known for cutting down on loading time significantly. Some SKS variants even have grenade launching capabilities. You would need extra parts for that, but some have the flip up sight for the grenade still intact.
At one point, there was a flood of surplus SKS rifles coming into the US. They were pretty cheap and easy to find. Lately, the prices have been heading up. The SKS is still used today as a hunting and sporting rifle. These operate very similar to the AK-47, but not quite the same. The mags traditionally were non-detachable. Also, the receiver is milled instead of stamped. They are also super reliable, and a lot of fun. This guy is hitting targets easily with just the iron sights! I got one as a gift, I actually enjoy loading the rounds from the top! For some reason, I feel like it kicks less than my AK-47, even though they both take the same round, 7.62×39.
7. Remington 700
The bolt action, Remington 700 was first designed in 1962, and is the inspiration behind modern, military grade sniper rifles. Remington 700s often have “blind magazines”. You load these from the top, and there is no detachable magazine. There are some models that come with a detachable box magazine. You can buy a kit to convert yours if you want to! The bolt action on these rifles is very smooth and solid. It’s a fine-tuned machine, literally.
The Remington 700 platform is extremely robust. Most custom rifle makers will take a 700 action and “accurize” it, sometimes called “trueing” or “blueprinting.” A lathe and other specialized tools are used to make the tolerances and fit between the receiver, barrel, and bolt, super fine. The barrel will also be free-floated (not touching the stock.) The trigger can also be modified or replaced for a lighter and smoother trigger pull. Some of the best custom rifles are built on a 700 action. People are consistently hitting targets over 1000 yards with these rifles. Here is the first video of a series showing how to true a rifle. I really enjoyed watching it.
The M40 and M24, which are often seen in military and law enforcement sniper arsenals, are based directly upon the Remington 700. My first hunting rifle was a 700 BDL in 30-06, and I love it!
8. Mossberg 500
The pump action shotgun that is the Mossberg 500, is a beast. It’s the ultimate home protection weapon. When you hear that “CHK-CHK” you know you better run! 12GA is an extremely powerful round, you do NOT want to be hit with that.
One of the highlights of the Mossberg 500 and its variants, is the sheer number of barrels one can use in place of the stock barrel. There are slug barrels, hunting barrels, tactical barrels, barrels with scope mounts, barrels with fiber optic sights, you name it! It’s easy to switch barrels, as well as stocks. They even make a conversion so you can use magazines!
Many of the tactical models feature 18.5-inch barrels, sometimes with a muzzle brake. You can get them with shell holders on the side of the receiver too. Most models hold 5 rounds in the tube if you take out the dowl that comes inside. They also come in a pistol grip configuration, they are a lot of fun to shoot. Just don’t hold it near your face when you pull the trigger. My friend actually did that, he was trying to aim and he ended up with a bloody lip. He laughed too, eventually.
9. Winchester 70
The Winchester 70 is a widely celebrated American sporting rifle. It was first developed in 1936, and it’s bolt-action design and other features unique to it, have rendered it as a go-to rifle for the rifleman. Taking the best features of the Winchester Model 54 and running with them, the Winchester 70 at one time represented a new generation of sporting rifles.
Although the M1 Garand and the M1903 Springfield were more heavily used in World War 2 sniper combat, the Winchester 70 was used during both battle and training. Though it’s unofficial, it has been reported that in the Korean War, some Winchester 70s featured telescopic sights, with 8X zoom capabilities. These sights were likely to have been produced by the optic manufacturer, Unertl.
Like the Remington 700, the bolt action is super smooth. It’s really just a preference thing, you have to hold both and see which one speaks to you the most. I have seen beautiful wood on both rifles over the years. Some have a cool stock that flares at the end, and I really enjoy those. There are several “types” that were made over the years. Collectors look for “tang safety” models, and they hold a premium.
10. Winchester 94
The John Browning designed Winchester 94, utilizes a lever-action technique and came onto the scene in 1894. Many historians have referred to the Winchester 94 as the best in lever-action firearms. So do I. The 1894 (the original 94) was the first rifle to fire the smokeless .30 W.C.F. round, which later became known as the 30-30. Even the government ordered some for use in WW1. That makes me think, how odd the first world war was. Biplanes and lever action rifles, times have changed. We let the Canadians use ’em in WW2 😉
You can’t talk about guns and not talk about Winchester. They’ve been around since 1866, and have created some killer designs. Over the years, the Winchester 94 became so popular that it was the first sport rifle to reach 7 million units sold. They used to call them repeating rifles, because…. they repeated! Over time, more calibers were introduced to the platform, including .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum. People loved this because they could use the same cartridge for their revolver as well as their rifle.
A lot of hunters use the Winchester 94 as a “bush gun,” or one that you use for hunting within 100 or so yards. In the forest around here (Oregon) you don’t often get a shot over 100 yards! You know what I mean if you’re from here!
By now you have a good idea of the most popular guns around. There are many firearms not on this list, that have long and celebrated histories. If you have one you want to nominate, just comment below! I know, I know, I left out the Colt Python, shame on me.
It’s been fun, I know you enjoyed it too. Guns are NEVER boring…ever! Share the love, post this on Facebook or something! 😉