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


Size matters. There are advantages and disadvantages to guns of every size, shape and description. Ask James Bond; there are [tuxedo-intensive] times when only a .25-caliber mouse gun will do. Ask the pilot of the A10 Warthog; there are times when only a 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon will do. I’m guessing that the largest firearm/gun you’ve ever shot falls somewhere between the two. What was it? Where’d you fire it? Sexual metaphors aside, what did it feel like?


  1. avatar IdahoPete says:

    90mm, if you will accept a 90mm Recoilless Rifle as a “gun”. Second, the 40mm M-79 Grenade Launcher. Third, the Ma Deuce .50BMG

    1. avatar DJ9 says:

      Pretty close to my experiences. LAW rocket, 40mm grenade launchers (M79, M203, and MK19), and the good ol’ M2 .50 BMG.

      1. avatar davidx says:

        Yup, forgot about the LAW for a minute there; one shot, and they told us $1,500 a pop in Dad’s tax money. Also, yup, the other grenade launchers, esp. the automatic that held ten 40mm rounds in a drum magazine.

        In civvie life over the past forty years, nothing more than the usual assortment of ordinary rifles, shotguns and handguns, nothing extraordinary; Uncle gave me my last education and training in the military’s small arms arsenal.

    2. avatar jwm says:

      IdahoPete. Add the 81mm mortar and LAW rocket to that. But the most powerfull weapon we had was the radio. With that we call in all sorts of neat sh*t.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        I was some of the neat s**t, Forward Air Controller in an O-2. I’m thinking rocket launchers don’t count, but since I see the LAW I’ll submit 2.75″ rockets with 8 lbs of explosives/white phosphorus in the nose, fired a LOT of those. Otherwise, a pair of .50s in the nose of a jet during pre-FAC training. Kinda surprised I haven’t seen somebody claiming 8″ howitzer! I also was responsible for the release of bombs up to 2000 lbs and 750 lb cans of napalm, though I had somebody else actually pull the trigger.

      2. avatar IdahoPete says:

        Dang, I forgot the 81mm. And you are right – the radio called in the really big guns(can you say “B-52 strike”, boys and girls? Or “8-in SP howitzer”?)

  2. avatar ChrisM says:

    120mm Abrams main gun……..and no, I wasn’t in the military. Long story, but it was freakin’ AWESOME! I would never want to be down range of one of those beasts.

    1. avatar kevin says:

      You ain’t gotta lie to kick it.

  3. avatar TheBear says:

    MK 19. 40mm

    1. avatar Roger says:

      Same here, Desert Storm.

    2. avatar outwardhound says:

      Ditto again…unless you count Call for Fire, then 155 howitzer or maybe A6 Intruder close air

      1. avatar Anner says:

        Fellow CASA here. Rock on, man.

      2. avatar forrest says:

        Same here. Biggest thing I’ve ever pulled the trigger (Or button, ect.) on was a .40mm probably. I wouldn’t consider a javelin to be a “gun” of any sort.

        Biggest thing I’ve ever caused to be fired: Called for air support against two guys using a mortar that we were afraid might get lucky. They were too far away for anything we had on hand and the air force was busy. Navy answered the call and fired a 16 inch naval cannon. Flight time was somewhere near a minute to impact and nobody really knew what to expect.

        I will never laugh so hard at anything in my life. Absolutely nothing on earth is as funny as seeing the Navy shoot two people from 100 miles away (Guessing on range. I was in a desert, they were in the wet stuff we avoided.) and simply seeing dust where there was once a group of jerks.

        1. avatar Redleg says:

          Hey Forrest,

          Naval fire support…now that’s friggen AWESOME!

          On the old 8″ we always looked up to those big 16″ daddies!


        2. avatar Quinn says:

          I’m gonna go ahead and call bullshit on that one. The range of a 16in rifle on any Iowa class was around 20mi. And if you can’t tell the difference between 100mi and 20mi, you weren’t a service member of any branch I’ve ever heard of.

        3. avatar jwm says:

          .40mm? That the big brother of the .9mm?

        4. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Hey, Quinn; even 8″ guns have varied ranges depending on the weight of the projectile. As I recall from 40 years ago, it was something like 20 miles for 1000 lbs or 50 miles for 200 lbs. I suggest the 16″ naval guns probably have the same possibilities. And IIRC, the HMS Hood was sunk by the Bismarck at around 35 miles, 70 years ago, 20 today is ridiculous.

        5. avatar jwm says:

          Larry, Hood opened on the Bismarck at 26,000 yards (14 miles) and was closing the range from there til she was hit and blew up.

  4. avatar Derek says:

    120 mm cannon on an M1 at FT Knox. Hard to describe but is was like the concussion knocked the breath out of me. Also shot the 30 mm on an Apache and 25 mm on a Bradley.

    1. avatar Shane in Chandler says:

      Spent 4 years as a 19k, there were almost no concussive effects from firing my own 120. Tank right next to you firing on bore sight range was very loud and definitely suck air from inside my turret.

      1. avatar HamChuck says:

        I was a 19K also. After a while the blast of your own 120 wasn’t much, but I remember sticking my head out of the loaders hatch at Knox during OSUT and felt the concussion of that first shot. Damn!

  5. avatar Gunr says:

    40mm quad Bofors, on a destroyer escort.
    Either that, or was it a .9 mm /sarc

    1. avatar FsN says:

      no sarc/ here. I shot a Hasbro SuperSoaker Barrage gun once in full auto. It had the shoulder thingy and everything, was truly a defining point in my life. I was a man.

      1. avatar Frank says:

        You are definitely THE MAN!

  6. avatar Mark says:

    20mm Bushmaster chain gun on a Bradley. The old Vulcan cannon. 60mm recoilless rifle.
    Its Freaking Awesome!! How could you Not like putting 2800rds of 20mm downrange in less than a minute or two??

  7. avatar Jason says:

    105mm Howitzer and an 84mm Carl G

    1. avatar JWTaylor says:

      Mark another one down for Carl. I missed our target, by about 60 meters. Jesus that thing is loud.

    2. avatar Anon in CT says:

      Meet too on the Gustav. Good for sucking the snot out of your nose.

  8. avatar Mark Lee says:

    .50 Caliber BMG, Bullpup configuration. I was sure the scope had hit me in the nose when I fired it, but that was just the concussion of the short-barrel equipped with rear-facing vents. I missed the bowling pin target at 100 yards.

  9. avatar Spectre_USA says:

    The 40mm was technically the “biggest.” But for all around fun, I loved lighting off a .50 BMG
    round through the Armalite AR-50.

    The pair of 20mm M61A1’s hanging out the side of the AC-130H model had a certain
    crunchiness, but I wish I’d been aboard after the advent of the 105 Howitzer!

    That would have been extra special yummy good!

  10. avatar Nagurski says:

    Just a .50 cal.

  11. avatar John E> says:

    Does the main gun on the DeathStar count? Fortunately I was on leave during the Yavin Campaign.

    🙂 Really just a little ole .50

    1. avatar Sid says:

      And the Internet has been won for the day.

    2. avatar Derek says:

      It counts!

  12. avatar IdahoPete says:

    Whoever served on a BB and fired the 16″ main guns should win, although a team effort was required. My understanding is that a full broadside from the New Jersey (BB-62) would move the 58,000 ton ship sideways several feet. The New Jersey ’​s main battery consisted of nine 16″/50 caliber Mark 7 guns in three three-gun turrets, which could fire 2,700-pound (1,225 kg) armor-piercing shells some 23 miles (37 km). (Source – Wikipedia).

    1. avatar Charles5 says:

      No one was allowed topside anywhere on the ship when those were firing. Before instituting that policy the blast from the muzzle literally knocked sailors out of their shoes and could cause permanent hearing loss even if you were wear ear pro.

      1. avatar Charles5 says:

        It also ripped clothing off of bodies. However, even with a full broadside, the ship doesn’t move an inch. 57,000 tons is a lot of mass to absorb the recoil. You also have to account for the fact that the guns had a recoil slide of up to 4 ft.

    2. avatar forrest says:

      Those things are the best.

      Worst day of my life (Probably actually the best) was calling for air support and having the navy answer and offer to bring one of those around to take care of two guys on an island firing at us.

      The island no longer exists…

      Got back and found out that Alexander the Great had the island built for a bridge to cross the tigress. As a history nerd, I almost cried myself to sleep.

    3. avatar Felix says:

      Battleships DO NOT move sideways any appreciable amount.

      Read here.

      e ship’s velocity ON ICE with the guns firing at zero degrees elevation would be about 6.3 inches per second rather than the 6 inches per second calculated above. When one considers that any sideways motion of the ship through water is actually resisted by the wall created by the hull of the ship, whose wetted surface is about 860 feet long and 38 feet deep, then it can be easily understood that Dick Landgraff’s comment above, “theoretically, a fraction of a millimeter,” is closer to the truth.

  13. avatar TxGal says:

    .357 Ruger GP 100 3″ barrel using 180 HSM flat bullets. Very loud, substantial muzzle flip, able to get back on target, recoil was stout but not really “ouch” How did it feel? Like I can’t wait to do it again, it was a ton of fun.

    1. avatar crndl says:

      nice…my favorite revolver 🙂

      1. avatar Frank says:

        I just got a brand new one yesterday. I let my Ruger .357 go to a friend 20 years ago but truth be told, the new one looks cooler than the old and I like that 3″ barrel. Glad I listened to Hickok45 about that one.
        My only complaint is that the finish is a little rough.
        I’m going to take it apart this weekend and do some finish work. Maybe I’ll polish the trigger hammer & sear too.

  14. avatar Roll says:

    8mm mauser… 🙁

    1. avatar Milsurp Collector says:

      Don’t be sad my man, we’re in the same boat and 8mm Mauser is my all time favorite caliber, for small arms at least.

  15. avatar Greg says:

    In service: 40mm M79.
    As a POG: Barrett M107

  16. avatar John B says:

    155 mm if crew served counts. I did pull the lanyard. Forts Riley, Chaffee, and Stewart and Camp Shelby

    4.2 inch (107mm) mortar. I did all the steps to aim and fire the piece. Fort Beginning.

    .50 M2HB, 40 mm (M203 and Mk19), 60 mm mortar, 81 mm mortar, and 105 mm howitzer too.

    I have been shot at by an 8 inch gun, it missed.

    Shooting stuff is fun.

    1. avatar DickG says:

      Being shot at by stuff? Not so much!

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        It was interesting, though. Watching tracers fly past your window while you’re drawing a bead on the shooters (around 15-20) makes your mind forever a little clearer.

  17. avatar James R says:

    Uhhh, I guess either a 30-06 or a 12ga 🙁 Anyone want to invite me over to shoot some of these artillery pieces you all seem to have around?

    1. avatar Swarf says:


    2. avatar Sid says:

      Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a field artillery piece, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.

      1. avatar Jake Tallman says:

        Jesus Christ man, calm down. He was making a joke, simply commenting that he hasn’t had the opportunity to fire any artillery pieces. How the hell did you get an anti-military rant out of that?

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          Jake, it’s dialog form the movie “A Few Good Men,” spoken by Jack Nicholson. It’s not an anti-military rant.

          See the movie. It’s great.

        2. avatar Frank says:

          Ha ha Ha ha ha, that was awesome.

        3. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Jake, I think that was a gotcha!

        4. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

          Epic. Just epic.

  18. avatar Tex300BLK says:

    A very large caliber Civil War Era replica cap and ball black powder musket… for some reason .7 caliber sticks in my head. It was definitely bigger than .50, I was 13, about 100lbs soaking wet and it just about knocked me off the chair I was sitting in. I think that’s where I picked up my nasty trigger flinch.

    1. avatar DJ9 says:

      Maybe a reproduction .69 caliber Brown Bess musket?

      Yeah, they throw an impressive chunk of lead.

      1. avatar Felix says:

        Brown Bess were .75; the French equivalent were .69, I think. The 1842(?) Springfield smoothbore musket was .68, and the 1861 Sprinfield rifled musket was .58.

        1. avatar DJ9 says:

          I stand corrected, and thank you for same. Don’t want my increasingly defective memory leading other folks astray.

          Somewhere I have a modern large-caliber ball that I found on/near a range backstop; I wonder if it is .69, .75, or something else…

  19. avatar Old Hoplite says:

    M110A2 203mm (8-inch), of course, that is as part of a crew.
    40mm grenade launcher
    .50 MA-2

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Was that you shooting at JohnB upthread? 🙂

  20. avatar Pikes Pete says:

    I envied a co-worker who had been a missileer up in the north country. Nothing like being in charge of the go pedal on 20 megatons of BANG.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Yeah, but he didn’t get to actually shoot it, didn’t he?

      Oh, and my biggest was that Super Redhawk 7 in. barrel in .44mag I had. The pistol scope on it helped soak up the recoil.

    2. avatar achmed says:

      Sitting in a silo ready to fire nukes has precisely zero appeal to me. FA? Sure.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        I have had the rare experience of being in a real Minuteman control facility for a visit/tour, had no interest in ever pulling duty there. OTOH, if we’re going to count nukes, I once had a job where I was part of a crew which could be tasked with firing ALL the Minuteman missiles! Still didn’t shoot any, though. And I don’t think rockets were the question.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Actually, they do launch them once in a while as a verification of their viability.

          They don’t launch them from the missile fields tho, I believe they launch ’em from Vandenberg AFB…

  21. avatar Jim says:

    A replica Civil War cannon. I don’t recall the size of the bore. I was loud, smokey, and fun.

  22. avatar davidx says:

    Same as IdahoPete, SEA, long ago. Plus the 80mm mortar.

    Should we exclude crew-served weapons?

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Nah, the only problem is shooting things which impact over the horizon, shooting where you can see the impact impresses me more. Like the C-130 with the 105mm howitzer stuck out the side, shooting that would be awesome! Oh. But the pilot shoots it. I could have had that job once, in 1980, turned it down. Regretted it, too!

  23. avatar JohnO says:

    It’s not the size that matters. It’s how you use it. 😛

  24. avatar RocketScientist says:

    A 12-pounder “Napoleon”. Thats a 120mm/4.6″ smoothbore cannon from the War of Northern Aggression. My dad has always been a big Civil War buff, and we’ve gone to re-enactments since I was a kid. Getting to fire one of those was a hoot. I love the way they ring like a bell after they are fired (it’s made of cast bronze). When a whole line of them opens up at once its amazing.

  25. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Not bad really, I’d never do it with a scope.
    You Definately know you’ve pulled the trigger.
    I love big bores!

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      I shot a .577 T-Rex from a custom Ruger No. 1.

      If someone finds my shoulder, please return it via TTAG, packed in ice please. No questions asked. TYVM.

      1. avatar Redleg says:

        I’d be afraid to shoot that thing!

  26. avatar Walter Bogumil says:

    Ar 50 and Ma Duece Shorty, but those all of a sudden feel inadequate.

  27. avatar Jans says:

    Magnaported aluminum framed S&W 642 shooting Corbon .38 Special +P+ ammunition.
    Each shot felt like a bomb went off in my hand. Although it was around 20 years ago, I still wind up shaking my hand in the air when I recall the experience.

  28. avatar Tom Jefferson says:

    1864 3 inch Ordinance Rifle. Insanely accurate, (if your crew is well schooled), for a black powder cannon, and the fun factor is off the scale!

    1. avatar Heretical Politik says:

      This one wins in my book. I’ve been fascinated by Civil War artillery since I was a little kid. I was going to give it to the guy who had fired the M1857 Napoleon, but the 3″ Ordinance Rifle is just so much more awesome.

  29. avatar Anonymoose says:


  30. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    Rifle .338 win mag, 8 pt buck didn’t like that so much, revolver .44 mag, but my judge kicks harder with .410, shotgun loads, shotgun 10 guage with 3 1/2 magnums, my shoulder didn’t like that much.

    In all honesty the thing that kicked my butt the most was an m44 mosin with factory steel butt pad and a box of winchester white box ammo.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Yeah, my M44 kills from both ends. I tried a variety of butt pads but they didn’t help. Now I use a big, fluffy towel, folded over several times, between my shoulder and the butt plate. It mutes the recoil very well and increases the LOP to a more desirable distance. The towel approximates the thickness of the clothing that the Russian soldiers used when they shot the M44 and 91/30 in the dead of winter.

      1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

        Yeah, I was very lucky that I purchased that m44 for $75 in 2002 as my first firearms purchase and traded it a few months ago for a like new mossberg 500 with a bunch of shells.

  31. avatar PeterC says:

    81mm mortar, at Army Reserve training, Camp Edwards, MA, in the early 1960s. It was the first shot, and the baseplate hadn’t settled in firmly. The shot went wild and set the adjoining woods on fire, canceling training for that morning. Oh, well.

  32. avatar USMCVeteran says:

    A 105mm M60 tank, 90mm M48 tank, and a 105mm recoiless rifle mounted on an M151 jeep. The rounds we fired from the recoiless were HE, WP, and Beehive.

  33. avatar gloomhound says:

    40mm M203. If you don’t count grenade launchers then 12ga.

  34. avatar LTC F says:

    The M81E1 152mm cannon/launcher on the M551A1 AR/AAV (that would be the Sheridan Armored Reconnaissance/Airborne Assault Vehicle). Since the Sheridan only weighed 16 tons, it would lift three road wheels off the ground when you fired the main gun.

    As far as shoulder fired, .300 Win Mag. From a rechambered Mosin Nagant.

  35. avatar Accur81 says:

    Mine was AT-4 84mm with an HEDP round against an APC shell at Camp Pendleton. Also shot a Mk 19, M203, and M2 while at School of Infantry.

  36. avatar CJ Minnesota says:

    Nothing so large, as so much fun…

    M60 MG “rat patrol” style from the hood of the M151. Made joining the Army completely worth it!

    Go 11B!

    Watched a battery of Vulcan Auto-cannons night fire once. I believe that they were probably 20mm but I wasn’t able to get close enough to take a real look. Just a big long “burp” and then tracers everywhere…

    1. avatar Mark says:

      Carried the M60 for a long time!! 11B for 15yrs. The Vulcan is freaking sweet!! Actually got to fire one on a joint live fire exercise at Ft. Hood in the mid 90’s!!
      I miss my M60 Pig though!!

  37. avatar Darkstar says:

    Biggest all time- 120mm Abrahms main gun

    Handgun- S&W 500 Mag

    Rifle – a .577 Nitro Express…….once

  38. avatar Shire-man says:


    .50 BMG felt nice. Good straight pushback. I want one bad after shooting one.
    A Browning M2. Anti-climactic and kind of lame.
    Homemade cannons and howitzers. Never gets old. Don’t know how big they ever are exactly.

  39. avatar jkmoa says:

    Biggest rifle: Marlin 1895 LTD V
    Biggest handgun: S&W 460XVR

  40. avatar Wielsucker (@Wielsucker) says:

    .460 Weatherby at a manhole cover. Ouch

  41. avatar Rick says:

    5/54 on USS Trippe FF-1075 (Gunnery Officer) Best job I ever had.
    Ma Deuce, M-60 on full auto, just like Rambo when he came up out of the river. Wicked fun, except for the blood blister on the inside of my arm where the skin got caught between the butt of the stock and the shoulder thingy that goes up.
    M-19 40mm grenade launcher.
    CIWS (R2D2) I loved it but pilots pulling targets got nervous as hell. They didn’t like being anywhere near the thing.
    They all give you a thrill in different ways, and they all leave you with a grin on your face.

  42. avatar crndl says:

    Smith & Wesson 460XVR at Ukumehame Range in Maui at my honey’s NRA Pistol class, a handful 🙂

  43. avatar JoeVK says:

    It’s official, I’m pathetic. I’ve only ever fired the 20ga sawed-off I used to have, and a friend’s 22lr and 22mag rifles. I have another friend that has an old 20ga 870, a 22lr rifle, a single shot Ruger No.1 in .223, and an LC9. He doesn’t let anyone shoot his guns, though.

  44. avatar Hippi says:

    On a stupid bet with my cousin a 10 guage sxs with magnum slugs,had to do both triggers for the cash. I don’t remember the noise but I do remember what felt like a dislocated shoulder

  45. avatar Damon says:

    25mm Bushmaster cannon on a Bradley; a Ma Deuce; MK-19; M-203. All entirely too much fun, especially considering I got paid to do it in the Infantry.

  46. avatar Anner says:

    GBU-31, a 2000lb JDAM. Felt like freedom.

    1. avatar Texheim says:

      That is freedom right there. Best one IMHO

  47. avatar M. Fox says:

    M777A1 155mm howitzer. I got the chance to pull tail once as a grunt (SAW gunner), changed my view of the Artillery.

    Nothing quite like sending ~100lbs of death and destruction down range!

    ETA: love the smell of “Wolf P*ssy”.

    1. avatar Redleg says:

      M. Fox,

      Nothing like the smell of “Wolf P*ssy” in the morning!

      Good stuff!!!

  48. avatar Mack says:

    90 mm
    4.2 mortor
    Grenand launcher
    Ma duece

  49. avatar Clay says:

    Does a 5.79M X .533M Mark 48 ADCAP count?

    1. avatar Friend says:

      That’s a freakin 21″ torpedo for those who don’t speak submariner. I think this guy wins.

  50. avatar John says:

    Crew served – 5″ 54cal Mk45 gun mounts on the USS Yorktown – CG48
    Hand held – 40mm Mk79 Grenade Launcher
    Mounted – 50cal M2

  51. avatar dutchroo says:

    Technically the Mk 19 40mm grenade launcher was the biggest gun I’ve fired, but the Mk 38 25mm chain gun (the shipboard version of the Bushmaster) was way more fun!

  52. avatar achmed says:

    M109A6 Paladin 155mm howitzer. Former FDO, also pulled the lanyard a few times myself.

  53. avatar SelousX says:

    Hand-held: Either a .303 British, a 10mm, or a 12ga.
    Vehicle-mounted: 21″ torpedo tube. No warshots though, thankfully.

    1. avatar achmed says:

      Huh, you beat my howitzer with your 21″ torpedo tube. Bet mine was louder on the way out at least 🙂

      1. avatar SelousX says:

        Since the launch platform was a Trident submarine, considerably.

  54. avatar Darthzaketh says:

    Sturmgewehr 44

    Got to shoot it as a child thanks to a friend of my parents who was a WWII buff.

  55. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Four bore, once.

    You don’t want to fire one of those off the bench.

    1. avatar Darkstar says:

      Whoa! I guess that would be considered a fowling piece?

      1. avatar jwm says:

        closer to a punt gun.

    2. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Finally! Someone shooting a four bore.
      Even though I like big bores, that’s one that scares me.
      DG, was it modern, or a historical piece?

    3. avatar Accur81 says:

      That’s awesome.

  56. avatar Claymore says:

    M-110 also

  57. avatar Todd S says:

    10 pdr. Parrott Rifle

    1. avatar 2hotel9 says:

      Got to crew on a parrott, a brass 6pdr and an iron 12pdr Napoleon. I miss CW reenacting!

  58. avatar Redleg says:

    The old M110 Self-Propelled 8″ (203mm) howitzer until it was phased out for the MLRS. Thereafter I served on M109 155mm howitzers.

    If cannons don’t count then the venerable Ma-Deuce .50 Cal which was mounted on our howitzer and our FAASV.

  59. avatar Redleg says:

    Where are the Navy guys who were on the 16″ guns???

    1. avatar Clay says:

      That was a 5790mm X 533mm Mark 48 ADCAP.

  60. avatar freenate says:

    M109 Howitzer, 155mm shells. 13B Army. You did NOT want to be in front of those muzzles when firing. The concussion knocks the limbs from trees.

  61. avatar Troutbum5 says:

    .416 Rigby. Kicked like a mule but was much more like a really hard shove because of the slow burning powder. Thank God.

  62. avatar supermatic says:

    The 8″ M110 howitzer and the 175mm M107 gun. I was a range safety officer on these in the early 70’s and can attest to the hearing loss I have to this day. Most impressive thing I ever participated in was a Time ON Target exercise at Grafenwehr Germany in 1970 fired by every gun in the 210th Artillery group (5 battalions) which literally caused a large hill to vaporize.

  63. avatar rip_vw32 says:

    Ma Duce… and 45-70 Gov’t Contender….

  64. avatar bayareabill says:

    I was in the Army as a combat engineer back in the 70’s, and part of that time I was a gunner on a CEV, Combat Engineer Vehicle. It was essentially an M-60 tank, with a boom and a 165 mm gun – the whole tank rocked when I fired it.
    And the 50 cal which was on the tank also – loved that thing.


  65. avatar Chrispy says:

    Lived my entire life as a civilian so no serious ordinance really…

    12ga, .50 cal muzzle-loader, .30-06, 7.62x54r are the biggest long guns.

    In a handgun would definitely be a scoped .45-70. What a beast.

  66. avatar Cincinnatus says:

    155mm Howitzer, or a 5″50cal Naval gun…take your pick.

  67. avatar John M. says:

    One of my dad’s buddies is a machine gun guy. I got to shoot his Browning 1918 air-cooled belt-fed in 7.62 NATO. THAT was a hoot. He cut down a ~12″ diameter pine tree with it in about 10 seconds because the tree was between us and our target and it was easier to shoot it down than to move the gun and tripod. It made me reconsider the difference between cover and concealment when facing a .30 cal machine gun. I pity the poor bastards who find themselves on the wrong end of a Ma Deuce.

  68. avatar Roscoe says:


  69. avatar DJ says:

    Rheinmetal M256 120mm Cannon (I was a tanker). 🙂

  70. avatar somemook says:

    The biggest guns I have shot are a Mossberg 300 Win Mag bolt action with a lightweight stock that kicked like a mule, a .50 black powder rifle, and of course a homemade potato gun with a 2.5″ barrel diameter (also known as the self-propelled 64mm spud artillery).

  71. avatar jake from detroit says:

    sent a few .50bmg’s out with the rifle shouldered, but honestly i think a 10 gauge felt a hell of a lot bigger. maybe the shotgun was lighter, maybe barret’s rifle is made to absorb more recoil. but that damn 10 gauge was like a horse kicking me.

  72. avatar jsallison says:


  73. avatar Mack Bolan says:

    This whole thread makes me sad. So much awesome…so little time.

  74. avatar RT says:

    A H&H in 500 Nitro Express. Once……..

  75. avatar KCK says:

    Bowling ball mortar/cannon
    One 2 L pop cap full of BP, 100 ft up 80 yds out.
    Does being the one who lights the fuse count?

  76. avatar Carl says:

    Spearhead M-109A2 Nuclear Howitzer.

    End of thread.

  77. avatar BD says:

    155mm howitzer mounted on an M109A6.

  78. avatar Redleg says:

    I don’t know Carl, I was on the Special Weapons team for the 8″ (203mm) Howitzer but we never got to actually shoot the Nuke, only train with it so the question is for the win…did you actually get to shoot one at White Sands or Dugway, etc.?

    If so then I think we can proclaim a clear victor, otherwise…

    Still waiting for the guys from the battleships on the 16″ guns to chime in!

    1. avatar Carl says:

      As far as I know, the only place this warhead was ever tested was at Jackass Flats. I’d tell you more . . . but then I’d have to kill you.

      Shots underground were really big.

      Before my time working with the nukes, other guys in my group let go some whoppers in the Pacific.

      If we’re only talking about civilian guns, then I guess the .458 Win mag in a single shot handgun for unlimited silhouettes would be the big’un for me.

  79. avatar Avid Reader says:

    105mm howitzer, but I suppose that doesn’t count.

    Ma Deuce, mounted on the turret of an M60. Firing it was worth the bruises I got on my ribs from being bounced around while we were on the move.

    Shoulder fired? .50 cal black powder. Handgun? .44 Mag.

    All were lots of fun, and fortunately no one was shooting back at me in any of those situations.

  80. avatar collver says:

    My buddies mosin, that shit is heavy.

  81. avatar actionphysicalman says:

    M126 155 mm on an M109. If that doesn’t count as a gun, then an M61 (once). Army. The M61 was very fun and made a neat belching noise if I remember correctly.

  82. avatar cahser11 says:

    155mm Howitzer.

  83. avatar Eric says:

    Biggest gun I have ever shot is the main gun on an M1-A1 Abrams. Nothing like sending a 120mm depleted uranium penetrator (Sabot) down range 🙂

    Also of course the good ole M2 .50 BMG on the TC’s hatch and the M240 (coaxially mounted in the turret). Sometimes I felt like I could saw a tree in half with that M240 🙂

  84. avatar Mark Chamberlain says:

    25 mm Bushmaster chain gun mounted in M2/M3 BFV/CFV, M203 Grenade launcher, .50 cal. M2. TOW Missile but probably not considered a gun.

  85. avatar Dave says:

    460 Weatherby Magnum at a computer monitor in Virginia. Just awesome!

  86. avatar Bud says:

    In Vietnam, we experimented with all kinds of weapons to the firepower of our UH-1C gunships. We had the normal M60 doorguns, XM-134 miniguns outboard along with the 2.75 inch rockets and the XM-5 “frog” 40 mm grenade launcers on the nose of two ouf our aircraft.

    but, that was never enough. We changed the M60 doorguns to miniguns and experimented with M2 .50s at door guns but they couldn’t put out a high volume of fire and we experimented with making our own cluster bombs (grenades with the pins pulled place inside of mason jars and dropped by the case) and even a 55 gallon drum of avgas turned into napalm by mixing in Styrofoam and using a thermite grenade as a detonator. It was strapped horizontally on a skid and the strap was cut and the aircraft rolled to the allow it to drop free. Spectacular but it exploded about 50 feet above the ground and was just a little too scary to try again.

    But the ultimate thrill was mounting a 20mm belt fed Oerlikon 20mm under the aircraft and between the skids.
    After takeoff, our pilots decided to fire a couple of rounds to try and figure out an aiming point.

    The noise was horrendous! but JOYOUS! The ground out in front of us started erupting and the pilots tried to control impact by using the tail rotor pedals to walk the impacting rounds back and forth.

    I was loving it as i watched out my crew door up ahead and saw trees falling and geysers erupting from the rice paddies and canals.
    I glanced over at my gunner and saw that he was starting straight down at the floor board and as i glanced down I could see the vibration from the recoil and then relilized I was seeing rivets starting to pop out of the floor. I looked behind me and saw rivets coming out of the wall in front of the main transmission and a quick glance behind me and it looked liked the rivets holding the skin onto the rear fuselage were starting to pop too!

    I had to scream CEASE FIRE three times before i got the two Warrant Officers under control and convince them to very gently had back to our base camp.

    We traded the Oerlikon to an MP convoy escort platoon and went back to experimenting with dropping small explosives from the open doors.

  87. avatar Javier says:

    M1 Abrams 1992 Wildflecken, Germany

  88. avatar gene smith says:

    152 mm on an M-551 Sheridan vehicle. I was assigned to C company, 4/68th (Lt. Abn.) Armor in the 82nd. 1975.
    Too big for a light track, but fun.

  89. avatar Ray Ficara says:

    In my case it was my old Ruger Number One Tropical in .458 Win Mag. I called that pig of a gun “The Creep” because it had a very creepy trigger. The buttstock was much too narrow and the gun should have been 1-1.5lb heavier. The recoil was way worse than my late uncle’s old Rigby in .416 Rigby.


  90. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    Well, if you don’t count the 40mm cannon with the 8 inch barrel I Mexican carry every day, I guess 12ga., .308, .44mag. Take your pick.

  91. avatar Braenen says:

    Actually shot? 155 MiketyMike. I manned a 5in / 54cal on a can for a few hours. I shot and reloaded but I didn’t “do” anything.

  92. avatar Tile floor says:

    1-81mm mortar
    3-m203/h&k 320

  93. avatar Novitiate says:

    75 mm Mountain Howitzer (Awesome is understatement!!!!), 120mm M1A1, 105mm M1IP, 105mm howitzer. 40 mm M203, MK-19, TOW Missile, M2, M60, M249, M240

    M-2 .50 cal, I got to run a range to burn up all of a Division Support Brigades .50 cal…No one showed up for the range and we couldn’t take it back.

    LAW: Early 1990’s my Divison was just being fielded the new AT-4…..And it was too expensive to ship back or demilitarize all the existing LAW’s from Europe. I spent a glorious 14 hours shooting off an entire Armored Divisions worth of LAW rockets. Same guys from my platoon who were involved in the 50 cal range got to do the LAW range too.

    At the end of Desert Storm, we shot everything we had 🙂

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Boy, I never thought of that. Nobody likes to carry BBs home. I just got in my jet and flew home, but the guys who were out in the middle of the desert with literally tons of ammo? Of course they shot it all, must have been a hell of a party!

    2. avatar Redleg says:


      What happened for some of the How Batts, was that they shot the ammo that was pre-staged for them at various advanced locations and didn’t touch the on-board ammo supplies. I also know of quite a few pre-staged 155mm ammo supply points (caches) that were bypassed because the batteries were moving too fast to stop and shoot from there since the tanks and Bradleys had already advanced too far, too fast for our howitzers to support from the staged ASPs. I wonder if the 155 projos and powder canisters are still sitting out in the middle of the desert or if the supply/logistics guys ever went back to get all of those missed ammo supply points. Knowing Uncle, I bet there’s still caches sitting out there in the middle of the desert!

  94. avatar Kendahl says:

    Not counting shotguns or medium caliber rifles, a 6 inch, large frame .44 magnum. It wasn’t that bad except for the grip panels that slipped a bit with each shot. That was disconcerting. I could see carrying a Magnaported, 4 inch version, with grips cut down to fit my small hands, while hiking in bear country.

  95. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

    Seems like there’s a good joke in there somewhere…
    “I don’t want to brag but, this is my rifle, this is my gun…”

  96. avatar DerryM says:

    .458 Winchester Magnum out of a Ruger #1 -4 shots, then I was done. Felt like a strong man swung a sledge hammer with all his might and hit the muzzle driving it into my shoulder.

    Also. Colombian Mounted Police Mauser 98 Carbine chambered in 30-06. Slightly more fun than the .458 WM owing to length of barrel. Violent recoil, but never fails to draw attention. People think it is some sort of small caliber Cadet Rifle until you shoot it.

    1. avatar DJ9 says:

      I hear ya.

      I always wanted one of those Ruger #1 Tropical rifles in .458.

      Until I shot one.

  97. avatar beerwhisperer says:

    20mm cannon, TOW missiles, and 2.75″ FFAR from Uncle Sam’s AH-1S (Mod). Plus the usual assortment of 80’s vintage mortars, .50s, LAWs, etc. To all you tanker and arty guys: If you can’t hover, you’re queer.

  98. avatar Marcus (Aurelius) Payne says:

    Nothing fancy, just a 300 win mag. A .44 magnum gave me a twitch again after I’d gotten rid of it with my .45, though.

  99. avatar Con says:

    Biggest? 50 BMG from a Bushmaster.
    Most Painful? .416 Rigby from a Ruger No. 1.
    That hurt for a while.
    Notables, 500 S&W, 460 S&W, 338 Lapua.

  100. avatar C says:

    *Don’t say My dick. Don’t say My dick. Don’t say My dick.*

    My dick.

    …Damn it.

  101. avatar Tom says:

    M242 Bushmaster bolted to the starboard side of an OHP class frigate. Or Ma Deuce bolted to the side of a UH-1N. Muzzle blast from either will make you forget your own name. Or 2.75 FFRs. Take your pick as to which is more fun/destructive.

  102. avatar 0351 says:

    M2 Browning of course. However, I was also a SMAW gunner. 83.5mm rocket, plus a built in 9mm for sighting purposes. And an APOBS, which is a sleeve full of 40mm grenades attached to a rocket. Not nearly as cool as it sounds. Stupid, heavy pain in my butt.

  103. avatar Tominator says:

    Largest? .50 BMG….BUT…hold on the most fun>…Quad .30…at night…w/tracers! Knob Creek was soooooooo much fun! And I got paid to be there!

  104. avatar Joe says:

    106mm Recoilless Rifle w/ .50 spotter mounted on a M151A1 Pop…Pop…Boom They were replaced by the TOW missile in the ’70’s. Oh, and a 4-deuce mortar….bag of powder and a couple of slices of cheese please…

  105. avatar DV says:

    M1A1 Abrams Gunner 2005. 120mm smoothbore. Top Tank and Top Platoon.

  106. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

    A 378 Weatherby.

  107. avatar Jhicks1991 says:

    This is gonna sound weird now because of all the anti-gun bs associated with schools and guns. When i was in high school i took a criminal justice course as a vocational class. One day as part of the class we got to go to a police range and learn basic firearm safety(or refresher for those that already knew) and shoot firearms used by police. As a surprise the instructor borrowed an barrett 107 which is to this day still the biggest gun i had fired. To alot of guys its not much but a 17 year old kid its was the best day of school ever. I learnt recently that they completely took that part of the course out because of the antis and their non-sense propaganda

  108. avatar DMB says:

    8 in Howitzer!

  109. 84mm M136 (AT4) Rocket launcher. MG: 7.62mm M60 RIFLE: .30-06 M1 Garand HANDGUN: .44 Magnum S&W Model 29

  110. avatar 36IDRedleg says:

    M110A2 8-inch Howitzer, Ft. Sill, OK., Indescribable!!

  111. avatar 2hotel9 says:

    8inch Howitzer, M110. Do airstrikes count? Not necessarily a “gun” but 250lb-500lb are pretty effective!

  112. avatar LordGopu says:

    Damn, all you jerks in the military showing off with your artillery lol.

    I shot a .50 desert eagle once. Recoil was tame because the gun is a monster.

    Most kick was probably a 12 gauge with 3.5 inch magnum shell.

    Though the one I felt the most was some kind of high brass turkey load through an 870 clone. Hurt my cheekbone and shoulder pocket. It was a tube full of miscellaneous left over ammo so I wasn’t expecting it.

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