For this video, Kirsten Joy Weiss has moved from performance shooting (a.k.a., trick shots) into firearms-oriented edutainment. And a fine thing it is too. But while I heart the FN BAR (FN-D light machine gun) it’s not the piece that flicks my Bic. I would dearly love to own a Civil War-era Henry Repeating Rifle, “that damned Yankee rifle that they load on Sunday and shoot all week!” The lever gun the Sioux and Cheyenne used against General Custer when he mistook last man standing for last stand. Yes, well, a particular nice/historic example runs $155k. Price no object, what blast from the past would you want to stash and, I hope, shoot? And why that particular piece?  

142 Responses to Question of the Day: What Historic Firearm Would You Most Like to Own?

  1. As a young gun person of the gun, who was raised playing games like call of duty or battlefield 1942 I am saddened that I may never be able to buy an affordable M1 Garand.

    • I can’t currently afford it either, but $595/$695 for a M1 through the CMP is not too bad. This link shows their current options and describes the quality: (edit, link didn’t work. closed in comments maybe? search for “CMP rifle sales” and you’ll find it).

      Now, if you’re looking for “like-new” build, yeah, that’s pretty expensive.

    • I have two of the Service Grade M1’s and one of the Special Grades.

      The Special Grade category is a ‘brand new’ M1 Garand and is absolutely beautiful. This one is my regular shooter, instead of my WW2 and post-war rifles.

      The turn around times are pushing a month now for ‘luck-of-the-draw’ Service Grades, Field Grades and Special Grades.

      Customer service from the CMP is excellent – They sent me TWO replacement extractor spring/plungers when one was broken in my ‘new’ Service Grade I recently received. They had it in my mailbox in a week.

    • Seriously, save. Scrimp every penny. Eat nothing but hotdogs and Mac n cheese for a few months. I did. So worth it. At CMP prices, you’ll never get such a great deal on full power battle rifle with a boatload of history attached to it. They aren’t making any more.

    • I paid $995 for a CMP “special” which is an entirely rebuilt gun with a new barrel and stock. I opted for a Springfield Armory rebuild.

      Save your pennies. It’s a worthwhile investment and they won’t be around forever. I hope mine stays in the family long after I’m gone.

    • Yes, if I could shoot anything, it might as well be a million dollar revolver. It would, however, be sooooo much sweeter to own one.

  2. A collection of all of JMB’s pistols, including the 1900, 1902, 1903, 1908, 1910, 1911, and BHP.

    I might even be missing a few models in there.

  3. I would love to have a mag 58 or a 240 Bravo either oneRambo 1 he’s using the m60 machine gun the later movies I believe he’s using the m62 version with forward pistol grip shortened barrel and shortened gas system both 7.62 NATO 30 caliber belt fed machine

    • Patton only had one ivory handled SAA. The other Ivory handled revolver he matched it with was a Smith and Wesson .357 magnum.

    • “Son, only a pimp in a Louisiana whore house carries pearl handled revolvers. These are ivory.”

      Who says Patton wasn’t a funny guy?

    • That would be my second choice. The one carried by Lewis and Clark is, I argue, the single most important gun in the history of the United States.

      The use of that air rifle, with adroit showmanship on the part of Lewis and Clark, was what enabled them to waltz right through some very ferociously defended Indian territories, especially as they got into Montana.

  4. The BAR is my “I picked the right 6 numbers” first choice. Beautiful lines and created by Saint JMB. What’s not to love?

  5. Without doubt the Spencer Repeating Carbine. I know the Henry was more effective by the Spencer is more iconic.

    There is one iconic firearm you can own and you can get a good one for $500. It may not be vintage but it is the essentially same gun as the original. It’s call the US Army Model 1911-A1 pistol. .

  6. The BAR for sure along with the Tommy Gun and the 1898 colt service (45 LC) and an original 1911
    Just to name a few. 🙂

  7. This is an easy question for me to answer.

    I’d want the one 16 gauge Parker Bros. Invincible shotgun that was made. I’d want that one gun because the Invincibles (two 12’s and one 16) were the absolute finest of American craftsmanship in gun making in our nation’s entire history. No European gun maker can sniff at an Invincible and say “Yes, but we Europeans have done better.”

    I’d reckon the value of that gun to be at least $2 million.

    You did say “price was no object.”

    • As nice as that would be, for two million shekles, just think of all the other guns you could have, and how many of them you could own.

      • In the collecting marketplace, rarity is what drives value. A one-of-a-kind gun, like Goering’s Luger or the Invincible 16ga, go up in value every year faster than most people can expect out of the stock market because money chases rarity. I’ve already got a bunch of guns, there’s only so many hours in a day to shoot, and buying $2 mil of cheap[er] guns means I need to buy $100K of safe space to store them all.

        For all those reasons, when posed with a question like the above, I go for rarity and valuation.

        For most other guns I’d like to own, remember, I’m in a situation unlike many other people. If I want a gun that merely functions and is is “neat to own,” I can buy one of the worst examples of a specific type and fix it. Even non-functional guns are candidates to me, and therefore are relatively cheap. A fixed clapped-out gun might even be worth more when I get done with it than when I bought it.

        But since working on guns is my business, I’d like to own something that has no excuses and needs no attention from me. And because I’m an American, I want it to be an American gun. Hence the Parkers.

  8. MG42. The sound it makes at full throttle is like nothing else on Earth. And even though it’s a bit expensive, most people who could afford to buy one could certainly afford to shoot it.

    • It is cool and all but all the guys I talked to who used it prefered the PKM. 20 rounds a second is not an advantage (shocker, I know), especially when you are low on ammo.

  9. a SturmGewehr 44, M-1919 or an FG42. Watching the LAV youtube channel where vickers shoots the FG42 was AWESOME. I really want to watch Forgotten Weapons now after reading this post ha

    • *Cough*MP-5, MP-40, PPSH-41, Sterling*cough*

      Sorry, have this nasty chronic cough. Then again the 1921 Thompson with drum and foregrip is the epitome of cool.

    • +1 for suggestion.

      +5 For King Tiger so I can move it around to were I need it.

      Realistically speaking either a Springfield 03, or if ammo isn’t a problem K98 (my dad had one stolen once, I want to find the SOB and beat him for that one) or any schmidt rubin.

  10. Well, being that the cool pulse rifle/grenade launcher seen in “Aliens” doesn’t exist, and those cool GE electric mini-guns that are usually mounted on helicopters are a bit bulky and tough to carry, I’d have to go with the “Chicago typewriter” — a Thompson submachine gun. The ergonomics put it in a class by itself.

  11. Without a doubt Teddy Roosevelt’s bespoke Holland&Holland .450/500 from his African safari. Although one of Hemingway’s pigeon guns would be a close second.

  12. Rotary Cannon!

    Puckle gun, gatling gun, Avenger. Not picky. 🙂

    Need to build (either find or make my own design) a modern take on the gatling that uses modern ammo. Like 9mm or .22

  13. An “Artillery Model” Luger P.08 with a couple of the 32 round drum magazines and the required shoulder stock holster. Immensely impractical, and number 2 on the Lotto List.

    • I actually had one of those in my possession for a couple of weeks–stamped 1914 I think, holster with stock marked 1916 (no drum mags tho). Bought for the aforementioned father-in-law, it was eventually auctioned off too. Shoulda kept it for myself.

  14. Gavrilo Princip’s Belgian-made 9×17mm (.380 ACP) Fabrique Nationale model 1910 semi-automatic pistol. The history, the misery, the earth shattering alterations to the world brought about by that one pistol and 2 shots. To hold and just touch something of such great significance would be amazing. Of course I’d also like my own Gutenberg bible for the same reason.

  15. I used to watch Saving Private Ryan almost every night when I was younger, could say that started my path in the ways of the gun. I would love a 1903A4 like Barry Pepper had in the movie. Heck, I’d need a side arm too so why not a M1911A1 to boot?

  16. Ehh… there’s just so many that I’d love to own that it’s honestly hard to chose. And beyond that I don’t know if I really want a ‘historic’ firearm as I’d be too tempted to shoot it. Generally you don’t want to shoot a collectors item like that too often.

    However I’m willing to give you two firearms that I’d like to own. Both with the caveat that I don’t have to worry about the laws attached to it. First… the Lahti L-39 20mm. And not just the WWWOOOOO!! factor of running something as amazing as a 20mm. But the story of the winter war has always fascinated me.

    But if I’m stuck with something that I can actually afford to feed I’m going a DP-28 machine gun. Or some varmint there of. For that one it’s the WWWOOOOO!! fact too, but combined with my own strong affinity for Russian hardware. The fact that 7.62x54r is cheap and plentiful makes this areal winner in my book.

  17. Any of the ones my grandfather owned. They all got stolen years ago. His 1935 Mossberg & Sons .410 single shot bolt action is all that remains. Okay, so my historic wish list is a little different.

  18. If I had to pick just one, it’d probably be the Thompson. Or an M1 Garand. Or a Springfield 1903. Or an M2. Or a Sten. Or a Colt Peacemaker. Okay so I can’t make up my mind.

  19. For collecting purposes it would be a 1919 (Production) Thompson (which had no provision for buttstock or sights). For a shooter I would want an early 1921 Thompson (Pre-Cutts Compensator). The workmanship was superb on those weapons.

  20. I would like to own the 1906 Luger rifle. Not a P-08 with a stock but the 8mm Mauser chambered Luger rifle. The lines of that weapon just stir something deep within me. And the toggle action is nothing short of magical. Add in a full power round to the equation and a love affair is born. For an example of what I am talking about google 1906 Luger Rifle and check out Forgotten Weapons blurb about this fine piece of machinery.

  21. I’m not picky. A Tommy Gun,Winchester73 or something similar…do Fat Man and Little Boy count as firearms?LOL

  22. Luger, could actually get one in Norway pretty easy, or at least try it. There is just something about the Luger and Mauser pistols that scream “proffesional” to me (especially with a suppressor).

    Most of the historic guns I want to shoot I can actually get to shoot since I know vets from the recent war (about 20 years ago in Bosnia) have kept theirs. Just gotta find someone with a Thompson.

  23. I don’t want to spend the money, but I would love to have the iconic Thompson Sub-Machine gun.
    But at 20-40 K, that’s tough to justify, especially since I can’t own a fun gun in Washington State.

  24. Cold War era I’d want a klobb err vz. 62. Seems like a lot of fun and a good choice (terrible choice?) for OWB. And a Stoner 63. And an SVD. And a… this could go on for a long time.

    • Just be honest; you want them all. Happens to me too, I go all “I want that gun and that one…” eventually I list all guns I know.

  25. #1 – Gau-8 Avenger… Just make sure it’s still strapped to the accessory housing… (aka an A-10).

    #2 – Browning M2.

    #3 – Original Colt Patterson.

  26. +1 on a Garand, one of these days…

    GySgt Basilone’s M1919 from Guadalcanal. Yeah, I now, it’s probably a pile of rust buried in mud and has been ever since ’42.

    M2HB with all the appropriate toys, and a place to shoot 😉

    • Get one from the CMP before they run out! Supplies have been dwindling and prices rising more and more quickly. I expect the prices to skyrocket once the CMP runs out. I got my field grade from the South Store in May and prices have already risen by $75.

  27. 1939 Luger. I had a chance to buy one, but was short about $1000 in my account. The gentleman wanted $2700, but when I couldn’t acquire the funds, he listed it on Gunbroker, it fetched $5400, I believe. Worn finish, but no scratches. Came with 2 spare mags, and original leather holster and belt. The action on that thing was like glass on glass. It’s a pity that guns aren’t made with as much love and attention to detail as they once were.

    Second choice, a Mateba auto-revolver. Yes, a semi-auto revolver. I wanted one ever since I saw it used in “Ghost in the Shell”. The lowest price I have seen on one is around $4000. A novelty, but fascinating none the less. It came in .357 and .44.

    For a rifle, I would love to get my hands on a Stoner ’63. Long stroke piston rifle designed by none other than Mr. Eugene Stoner. 1 rifle, many configurations. If you have a few minutes, look it up.

  28. A true, bespoke Griffin & Howe bolt action from the glory-days, between the wars, of the safari rifle, in a classic cartridge, maybe 300 H&H or 375 H&H, with wood and metal so lustrous you can see your soul in the reflection.

    An original Pennsylvania flintlock made sometime in mid-18th Century. Lean and lovely.

    Or a PPSH-41. Because why not (maybe too many Stalingrad movies?). Could match up cartridges with my Tokarevs.

  29. The original .32 Walther that Hitler used to commit suicide. I’d take it out everyday, laugh and put it right back.

    Also Stg44 of course, and one of those super rare full auto Lugers, just for novelty’s sake.

  30. T.Boss double rifle with a detatchable ‘scope that takes a rimmed cartridge suitable for our Texas deers – maybe a .303, that’d be cool.

  31. 1928 Thompson, because it’s cool and I’d actually be able to reload for it economically.

    FA versions of the following tied for 2nd:
    M14
    M1919
    M16

    FA versions tied for 3rd:
    M2 Carbine
    FAL
    M2 Browning

  32. STG 44 and Thompson MG.

    My question is, what gun is she holding in the intro that had the wood stock and the stainless barrel? Is that some sort of Anschutz? It looks like the barrel is longer than a typical example, but I can’t tell if that’s the result of a wide angle lens rather than actual length.

  33. M16A2

    Because I loved my M16A2. No other rifle I have shot was as easy to use or as easy to shoot long distance with iron sights. It was my favorite 20 years ago and still is.

    I wonder where she is now…

  34. Some that I can almost afford:

    Savage 99 in .250 or .300 savage
    Number 5 Enfield Jungle Carbine
    6.5mm Swedish Mauser
    Early Model 19 Smith and Wesson

    A bit rarer – these are on the win the Powerball list

    Model 95 Winchester Carbine in .30-40 Krag
    Pre 64 Winchester Model 70 in .30-06
    Original Smith and Wesson Scofield in .44 Russian

    Unobtainable unless I have the right paperwork or BATFE goes away

    M2 Browning
    Czech Skorpion
    Tommy Gun (who doesn’t want one)
    FG42
    Bren Gun

  35. If I had enough monies tier: FA M16A1
    If I had a time machine tier: FN FAL….. in .280 British.
    If I had an *American* time machine tier: T48 in 7.62 (No, it isn’t quite a FAL.)
    If I had a time machine that slots floppies: Rhodesian para FAL in that beautiful, ugly baby-poop camo.

  36. The m60 or the 203 I was issued. I carried them long enough the should have been mine. Mauser broom handle. 44 automag

    But my budget says external hammer coach gun.

  37. The Luger pistol made by DWM in .45 ACP for the 1906-1907 US Military trials, serial number 1. Historical and absurdly expensive, if it even exists anymore.

  38. Bren gun. Probably be the best light machine gun of WWII. But what I really, really want is a 24 pounder long gun, pivot mounted as a “long Tom” on the deck of a authentic Revolutionary War privateer top-sail schooner.

  39. Im sad to report that I would be happy with just a Mosin Nagant. But in my bigger dreams a stg-44 and a Tompson smg would make me a happy happy man.

    • Don’t be sad. It’s great to have achievable goals – and I personally find my Mosin a “blast” to shoot. It’s nothing special, a 43 Izhevsk with a mediocre barrel, got it for $130 from a friend. Everything else people are listing is cool and all but I’ll never be able to own 99% of it.

      My achievable goal:
      I’d like to collect WWII-era rifles all around. They are still moderately affordable and available. M1 Garand, K31 Swiss, 98 Mauser, Enfield, maybe Yugo Mauser and a Finnish Mosin… it would just be an interesting and historically-significant collection from the greatest conflict of modern times.

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