Question of the Day: What’s the Biggest Gun You’ve Ever Fired?

Short of bribing a Russian soldier somewhere in the Ukraine, Drive Tanks of Uvalde, Texas is the only place civilians can shoot a round from a working tank. Your choice of an American M4A2E8 Sherman medium tank or a Russian T-34/85 tank. That would certainly be a high-caliber feather in the average shooter’s ballistic cap. Meanwhile, what’s the biggest — in terms of caliber or size — gun you’ve ever shot? And check out the ten most powerful modern tanks below. Fearsome stuff.

comments

  1. avatar Erik Nodland says:

    .50 out of a barrett

    1. avatar Shotgun Sam says:

      Got to hit the send button on a radio transmission from NASA’s 70 meter antenna at the Deep Space Network to the Cassini Spacecraft out at the planet Saturn.

      That’s a frick’n big gun!

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        “That’s a frick’n big gun!”

        How about a ‘Big Gun’ with Arnold Shwartzeneger?

        (Please, for the children, ignore the part where Arnie is dressed like an Angus Young British schoolboy)

  2. avatar Pete says:

    I set off 126 charges consisting of 52 pounds each of ANFO. At a Limestone mine in Townsend, MT. Does that count? It was our last day working there as contractors and we went up into the surrounding hills with the blasting lead. He had spent the previous two days setting up to blast a shelf containing raw limestone. He offered for one of us to trigger off the detonator and I put my hand up faster than anyone else. It was pretty cool as the whole thing went up with one roar.

  3. avatar Claymore says:

    M110 8-inch Howitzer

    1. avatar Old 0802 says:

      Same here. The M110 with a 200lb projo is a big bang!

  4. avatar Eric Lawrence says:

    MK 19
    40mm Grenade Launcher

  5. avatar Texheim says:

    500 Smith and Wesson

  6. avatar Rick the Bear says:

    M2 and a Barrett (separate events).

  7. avatar sagebrushracer says:

    Muzzle loader, .50 cal hawken from traditions.

    Light loads, big boom, lots of smoke (used real black powder) and pleasant recoil.

    IMO large caliber bp guns are literally the best bang for buck you can get. just don’t forget to clean em proper at the end of the day.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      I don’t get out enough. I have a Traditions Kentucky rifle that I built from their kit, but it is hanging on my wall, unfired except for a percussion cap. When I get around to it, that will be the biggest gun I’ve ever fired.

  8. avatar Joseph says:

    90 mm main gun of the old M48 battle tank, armor training at Fort Knox, Kentucky,

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      Sweet! Ye Olde Patton tank was a great tank for its day.

  9. avatar Gordon in MO says:

    Biggest gun? 12 ga shotgun
    other than that, 105MM Howitzer and Ma Duce.

  10. avatar Ken says:

    155mm Howitzer.

  11. avatar M1Lou says:

    155mm out of an M198 Howitzer. I performed every loading and firing step except placing the shell behind the breech. That takes two people.

  12. avatar Ironhead says:

    50 bmg out of a Barrett

  13. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    The 155 in an 80’s vintage M109. Was only with that unit for a few weeks or so as a cadet in 1988 so I don’t remember much about it at all.

  14. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    40mm from an M203.
    I’m really jonsing to shoulder fire a 20mm.
    I’ve got the big bore blues… (Hmm, I feel a song in the making)

  15. avatar JC says:

    Gun or weapon?
    Mk48…

  16. avatar DaveL says:

    84mm Carl Gustav recoilless rifle. Unless you count calling in a fire mission, then 105mm Howitzer.

  17. avatar DrewR says:

    Rifle -375 H&H
    Shotgun – 10 gauge
    Handgun – 500S&W

  18. avatar Noishkel says:

    My Mosin Nagant… what can I say, I never had money or access to anything real fancy. Just cheap AKks and surplus guns form me. >,,>

    1. avatar Big Bill says:

      The Mosin is the biggest rifle I have, too, but the shotgun size is 12 ga.
      MilSurp is great value for the $$, and a kick to shoot.

  19. avatar Killjoy says:

    M2 50 cal
    Mk19 40mm

  20. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    I guess Im a wimp. With 35 years of hand gunning.
    Having no military experience.
    A good old 10mm full power load Commander size 1911, mine.
    338 MAG in a 700 rifle.
    Never even shot a large magnum hand gun. Ive never had the opportunity.
    I guess a small black powder cannon of unknown caliber might count?? Baseball sized ball. Lots of smoke and couldn’t literally hit a 4×8 piece of plywood 50 yards down range.

    1. avatar BLoving says:

      Don’t belittle the baseball sized cannon: that would put it roughly in the same class as the Twin Sisters. https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qvt01
      They may have been little, but they got the job done.

  21. avatar Ogre says:

    106mm recoilless rifle (with its coax mounted .50 spotting rifle) in Vietnam, 1968. I also called in off-shore naval artillery and some close air support (F-4 Phantoms with 500 lb bombs), but I don’t think they count toward this question.

  22. avatar Scooter says:

    10 gauge 3 1/2 inch magnum… ouch.

  23. avatar BDF says:

    155mm M109 howitzer. And all I got was a lousy brown T-shirt and orange earplugs. The plus side? I think my wife is yelling at me… but I can’t tell.

    1. avatar Sam in Ohio says:

      Ditto on the 155, but she may be yelling at the dog instead of me.

      Largest rifle: 375 H&H

      Largest pistol: 45-70 Contender

  24. avatar Geoff PR says:

    My .44 mag Super Redhawk…

    *sob*

  25. avatar former water walker says:

    Just a lowly 12gauge. I guess I have some catching up to do😜😜😜

  26. avatar DJ says:

    M256 120mm smoothbore cannon when I was gunner on an M1A1.

  27. avatar jt says:

    Shoulder fired? .475 NE, .458 Lott. Neither of which are really big compared to the T-Rex or the .600 Overkill. Neither of which I have shot. Yet.

    Handgun? .500 S&W does get ones attention.

    But surely the International Shooting Range outside Beijing is still open? And I want to say there was a place in Eastern Europe– also with mortars, howitzers, etc.

  28. avatar anaxis says:

    Biggest Firearms: 8 Bore smokepole, .45/70 Marlin, .50BMG single.

    Biggest Guns: M2, PTRS-41, and a Lahti.

    Biggest Cannon: French 75

    Biggest Weapons: AT4, 80mm mortar, a battleaxe, and my cynicism.

  29. avatar RCC says:

    Army
    84mm Carl Gustav recoilless rifle.
    81 mm mortar
    40 mm grenade

    Post army
    .577 Nitro Express of a friend

    Otherwise usually 30-06 or 12 gauge

  30. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    I got to fire one round out of a 5′ 38 naval gun. I wasn’t a gunner but had a friend from boot camp who was and he snuck me into the mount one night and let me send a round at the NVA. I guarantee that I hit …. something.

    As I approached my 65th birthday last spring I suggested to the wife that since I had more than enough stuff, it would be fun to do something exciting to celebrate one of those milestone ages. She’d seen some information on the Drive Tanks guys on a news site and we checked out their prices. Their “ultimate” Sherman experience runs about three grand. I know that running M4 Shermans are pretty rare these days and cost big money to maintain, but that seems to be awfully steep for a day’s entertainment. I could do a whole week at one of the top shooting schools for less and come away with some skills that even an old man like me could use. Uncle Sam used to pay guys (darn little) to shoot all of the ammunition they could carry at the bad guys and risk their lives in the process. Now people are willing to pay lots of money to pretend that they’re Brad Pitt and everybody comes home at the end of it all in one piece. I worked in a pretty good job all of my life and would describe my current situation as very comfortable, but I wonder who has the disposable income to spend three thousand bucks to play for a day. Maybe it just goes on the credit card and they worry about it later. That’s my northeastern Pennsylvania farm girl mother talking but she was a pretty smart lady.

    During our research I found that the guys in Uvalde are not the only game in town. There are at least three other sites in the US and at one in Britain where you can play tread head. For sheer nostalgia I think that the vintage warbird rides are as much fun and significantly cheaper. Unfortunately nobody was flying in our area this spring or summer. I settled for a steam train excursion trip – which was fun – and I’ll see if I can catch a plane ride next year for birthday number 66.

    1. avatar Big Bill says:

      Out of curiosity, which steam excursion?
      A few years ago, I did both Durango & Silverton and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic. During the Aspen fall colors, a fantastic ride.

      1. avatar Dave Lewis says:

        I’ve done the excursion rides in Colorado and New Mexico. By far the Durango – Silverton trip was better but that was 20 years ago and I can’t speak to what its like today. In June we did the Texas State railroad – a short haul from Palestine to Rusk Texas and back. The rolling stock was pretty nice – a 1915 vintage Baldwin locomotive that had been converted to fire oil and an air conditioned club car. This old man wasn’t going to do an open car in Texas in June. We were short on time because of my work schedule but managed to get down to Texas from OKC on Friday, do the train ride on Saturday and then drive back home that evening. Momma wanted to be back home for Sunday to take care of her 2 year olds Sunday School class (yes, she’s a saintly woman to put up with that age group).

        Anyway the Texas run is fun if you want a quick and fairly inexpensive ride. The people are nice and I think that you get your money’s worth.

  31. avatar Darkman says:

    6 pound civil war era cannon. Helluva BOOM…

  32. avatar Anon in CT says:

    84mm Carl Gustav. Aa

  33. avatar Oggy says:

    Carl Gustav 84 mm

  34. avatar YAR0892 says:

    120mm M256 main gun, Abrams Tank.

  35. avatar Sad Trombone says:

    My girl friend and I both got to shoot an MG 34 from the prone position. We each paid $10.00 for the pleasure and we had to load the 100 round belt ourselves.

    Then we watched the owner shoot down a fairly large diameter tree with a Browning model 1919A4.

    Awesome.

  36. avatar Lew says:

    105mm in M48/M60, 120mm in M1A, 155mm in M109, 8″ in M110, 4.2″ mortar, 80mm mortar, Ma deuce.

  37. avatar Matt(Tx) says:

    twin 40mm Bofors on an M42 Duster. I can still remember how to handle a hang fire/misfire event.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M42_Duster

  38. avatar auldzalt says:

    152 mm HEAT round from an m551 AR/AAV Sheridan vehicle when I was with the 4/68th armor, 82’nd Abn. Div.
    All the Way.

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      “it might not be very long, but it sure is thick…”

    2. avatar BlackJack says:

      Ah yes,… caseless ammunition. Now there was an idea that couldn’t go away fast enough.

  39. avatar Mark-in-Indy says:

    21 inch Mk 48 ADCAP torpedo…. suppressed…. by the Atlantic ocean…

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      you fired a torpedo in Indy??

  40. avatar El Duderino says:

    120mm Rheinmetall.

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      not bad. but It ain”t a HELLFIRE.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Hellfire ain’t a gun. Just saying.

  41. avatar doug says:

    Somewhere out there is the guy who pulled the trigger on the 16-inch guns on the Iowa. Wish he’d show up!

  42. avatar Ragnar says:

    105mm from an M48A5 Patton tank.
    .50 cal. x hundreds of thousands from M2 HMG

    Not guns, but:
    Dozens of TOW II missiles and 200+ AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.

  43. avatar Aaron says:

    70mm rockets, 30mm cannon, and HELLFIRE missiles.

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      oh, I forgot to add M72 LAW, M2 .50 cal browning, 105mm howitzer, and 105mm tank gun…becuase they are all weak king fu compared to an Apache with rockets, cannon, and HELLFIRE.

  44. avatar huntmaster says:

    I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill ya.

  45. avatar RTinIA says:

    An M777

  46. avatar Big Bill says:

    106mm RR was the biggest.

  47. avatar Hooahberry says:

    M40 106mm Recoilless Rifle, 6rnds of HEAT; I was the medic on the range, others got to fire a lot more.
    Joint range between SF National Guard & WA Dept. of Transportation. They had phased out their 106mm RR’s for avalanche control in favor of pneumatic guns that fired charges. They had 200rnds of 106mm HEAT that had to go away…they brought a gun, we brought a gun, and blew stuff up at Yakima Training Center.

    That was a good day.

  48. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

    .378 Weatherby

  49. avatar jwm says:

    This is at least the second time this question has been asked on ttag.

    The better question would be to ask what’s the biggest gun that’s been fired. At you.

    1. avatar Dave Lewis says:

      130 and 170 (I think) Russian artillery used as shore batteries by the NVA. I watched our captain chase shell splashes one day back in 1972 and then get out of range as fast as we could. A bit of education for non – naval types. The bad guys shoot at your ship and see where the shells hit. Then they crank in corrections based on their estimate of where they think your ship will go and fire another salvo. A smart ship captain heads for the shell splashes from the last salvo because he knows (or hopes) that the bad guys won’t aim there again. Most of the time it works. At least it did for us and that’s why this old man is still around to pontificate and annoy people.

  50. avatar troutbum5 says:

    2″ potato gun. And a .416 Rigby.

  51. avatar Tony says:

    During training; 155mm Howitzer and a Ma 2

  52. avatar Shawn Graber says:

    I have no military history, so nothing exotic on my list. Largest guns I’ve fired? .338 Lapua, .50 AE. Haven’t touched off any .50 BMG but I’ll get around to it someday.

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