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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.

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    • 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!

      • “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)

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    • 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.

  3. 155mm out of an M198 Howitzer. I performed every loading and firing step except placing the shell behind the breech. That takes two people.

  4. 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.

  5. 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)

  6. 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. >,,>

    • 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  14. 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.


  15. 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.

    • 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

    • 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.

  18. 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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