This is another 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.
41. Weatherby Mark V Rifle. This is a Cadillac of big game rifles. The Weatherby tell everyone that its owner is serious, well heeled, and successful. The Weatherby had its own special cartridges, the word Weatherby on the end of a cartridge designation means extra POWER. For years, the Weatherby was standard equipment for top big game hunters. It’s the Rolex of hunting rifles.
42. Ruger .22 Automatic Pistol. This item put Ruger on the map and provided the public with a rugged, reliable, and low cost .22 pistol. It has served as a basis for hunting and target .22 automatics to the present day. The Ruger has become the best in it’s class.
43. Beretta M 92/M9 Pistol. The pistol that finally unseated the Colt Model 1911A1 as a U.S. service arm. The M9 has been derided by 1911 fans since its introduction. However, it’s performance that counts, and the M9 delivers. It’s had a few problems, overblown problem with a few cracked slides in the 1980s, and some bad magazines (not the fault of Beretta!) in Iraq. The pistol is deadly accurate and highly reliable. The Beretta M9 is the quiet professional.
44. U.S. Krag Rifle. The U.S. Army’s first modern smokeless powder bolt action rifle. Although it was quickly obsolete, the Krag acquitted itself well in the Spanish American War and the Boxer Rebellion. The Krag introduced American shooters to the modern bolt action rifle. It is still revered for it quality of manufacture, great cartridge (30-40 Krag), smoothness, and accuracy.
45. Colt Detective Special Revolver. The first and most famous modern snub nose revolver. The Detective Special has it all, power, concealment, and 6 shots. The detective special set the pattern for all “snubbies” to follow. Plus, it has had a great movie career since its introduction in 1927.