This is the fourth installment of a countdown of the 50 greatest classic firearms of all time. I have eliminated guns that are not generally available to the American public, such as the select fire Soviet AK-47 and World War II German STG-44 assault rifles. To make this list, the firearm in question has to be available to the public, made a significant contribution to the shooting sports or the national defense. Here are the next five.
31. Winchester Model 1897 Shotgun. This was the first modern pump action shotgun. A refinement of the model 1893 pump shotgun, the ‘97 has achieved legendary status among civilians, police, and the military. It has served with distinction in two World Wars. The ’97 set the standards for durability and reliability for all subsequent pump shotguns.
32. The Browning Automatic Rifle. This is not the military BAR, but a civilian rifle of the same name. The civilian BAR was a very successful chambered in magnum calibers such as 300 Winchester magnum and 338 Winchester magnum. A first for a hunting style semi automatic rifle. In addition, the BAR is uncommonly accurate for a semi automatic rifle.
33. Springfield Model 1922 Rifle. This was the first modern and a great .22 LR bolt action target rifle. It still feels better than anything made since (at least to me). The rifle was superbly accurate and it’s just a joy to shoot. Unknown thousands were introduced to target shooting by this sleek rifle. Since it comes from an age of quality and craftsmanship, the Springfield M1922 is very well made masterpiece.
34. High Standard .22 Pistol. This Series which evolved into the Hi Standard Citation, Victor and Olympic models were America’s true world class .22 target pistols in the 1950s and 1960s. They are highly accurate, and excellent trigger pulls, and great Iron sights. They were mainstays during the hay day of bulls eye pistol shooting. The Hi Standard has withstood the test of time and is still competitive in bulls eye shooting today.
35. Kentucky Rifle. This distinctly American weapon actually evolved in Pennsylvania but gained fame on the frontier as the Kentucky rifle. Its large caliber, robust construction, and outstanding accuracy made it a natural for hunting and defense in North America. It’s the gun that gave us the title “A nation of riflemen”.