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By Austin Knudsen

A few years ago, I wrote a light piece about the five handguns I couldn’t live without. It was a fun, easy article to write, but even more fun—and unexpected – was the amount of comments and discussion it generated.

Thankfully, we don’t live in a country where we’re restricted to only a certain number of firearms, nor do we have to justify to a Commissar why we need gun X (at least not yet). But in the same spirit of fun, let’s change it up a little: if I were forced to choose only five long guns, what would they be?

1) Winchester 9422 Lever Gun

Every rifle shooter needs to own a rifle chambered in .22LR (or twelve of them). In fact, I’d venture to say that most rifle shooters’ first rifle was a .22.

The Winchester model 9422 is the rifle I learned on. As a 6-year-old, I remember thinking that my dad’s beat-up, worn finished 9422 was the coolest looking thing I’d ever seen. It had a hand lever-thingy just like the one John Wayne used, and that’s what I wanted to learn how to shoot.

I can still remember sitting shotgun in the old beater ranch pickup, shooting my first gopher with that Winchester. Today, I own a couple 9422s: a very nice XTR, and a plain-Jane version — except for the saddle ring — I picked up at a gun show and onto which someone had JB Welded a tang peep sight.

Winchester created the 9422 simply as a way to emulate its extremely successful Model 1894 (or simply “94”) into an affordable, smaller .22LR package. Generally speaking, the 9422 isn’t the most accurate .22 rifle Winchester ever made. Not that it isn’t accurate, but it’s no Model 52. But there’s so much “cool” factor in these rifles that makes up for that.

First, it’s a lever action Winchester. ‘Nuff said. Second, it’s a takedown. For the uninitiated, that means the rifle can be broken down in half for easy storage and cleaning. Third, the 9422 was made in many different configurations. From plain rifles with stocks that look like they came from the high school wood shop class, to the high-end XTR models with fancy wood, checkering, and high gloss finishes, to the ultra-cool, short-barreled trapper models, Winchester made the 9422 in a dizzying array of configurations.

So dizzying, in fact, I’ve been told that Winchester kept very poor records of how many 9422s were actually made, and in what configurations. That’s a pity, because the 9422 is becoming somewhat of a collector item. They were manufactured from 1972 to 2005, a good span during which Winchester was owned by Olin, which I surmise explains the somewhat haphazard nature of Winchester’s record keeping at the time.

I once met a collector at a gun show who had the biggest collection of 9422s I’d ever seen. He’s the one who told me Winchester couldn’t tell him when several of his 9422s were made, simply because at that point, Olin didn’t keep records.

As a kid, I can remember going to pawnshops with my dad and seeing 9422s all day long for under $200. Today? A good one can cost you near a grand. The Winchester 9422 exhibits excellent craftsmanship, and for a young ranch boy obsessed with John Wayne and westerns, it was a “must-have” as soon as I got old enough. Because honestly, to this day my old man refuses to give me his old 9422 that I used to shoot my first gopher.

2) Colt AR-15 Rifle

This one physically hurts me. For the first 15 years of my shooting life, I had no use for an AR-15. It wasn’t political; I was simply raised on a farm and ranch where my father and grandfather both used bolt action rifles for everything. So when I started hunting and shooting, I used bolt action rifles for everything, too.

The first AR-15 I ever spent any time with was an old Bushmaster XM-15 A1 (with the integral carry handle) that my brother and I convinced dad to buy just so we could try it out. Frankly, it was a lemon that left a bad taste in all of our mouths. It wasn’t until about 10 years ago, when a good friend introduced me to 3-Gun competition, that I spent time with some gun guys who actually knew a thing or two about the AR-15 platform.

I learned that a properly maintained AR-15 is stone-reliable and extremely accurate. My first AR-15 — the Colt HBAR you see here — was purchased from one of those buddies. At the time, it sported a Viking Tactics round handguard which, at the time was state-of-the-art.

I’ve since updated the entire rifle with OdinWorks furniture and a Bootleg Inc. adjustable bolt carrier group so I can fire it with my Elite Iron STFU suppressor. The receivers, barrel and large-pin trigger are still all original Colt.

This baby has accounted for several coyotes and many, many prairie dogs, but frankly, that isn’t why I have it. I have it just in case. In case I ever need to protect my family or myself. In case I ever need to defend hearth and home. In case my wife (who is recoil sensitive, and hence loves the AR-15) needs a reliable rifle.

She has her own AR-15 now, and I’ve added other AR platform rifles to my collection as well. Like it or not, the AR-15 is the modern day musket, and every red-blooded American should own one and know how to operate it.

3) Winchester Model 70 .30-’06 Springfield Rifle

This was my first “big” rifle, a Featherweight XTR version, and a gift from my dad for my 13th birthday. I remember breathlessly opening the box and seeing the beautiful checkered wood and blue steel, topped by a Redfield 3-9x scope (which still tops this rifle after nearly 30 years).

While maybe a bit too much rifle and recoil for a skinny 13-year-old boy, in hindsight I think Dad got it right. He wanted to get me one rifle that I could use for the rest of my life and the .30-’06 cartridge is arguably the most versatile rifle cartridge in the world. I’d wager that maybe only the .30-30 WCF has filled more deer tags in the U.S. than the .30-’06.

Originally created as a military round for the U.S. Army, the .30-’06 saw action in WWI, WWII, and Korea. Veterans returning home from these conflicts and immediately set to turning their trusted battle rifles into sporting arms for big game hunting. In the 50s and 60s, my grandfather subsidized his farm and ranch by sporterizing and building custom wood stocks for military surplus 1903 Springfield rifles chambered in .30-‘06.

The “aught six” was the first cartridge my grandfather taught me how to reload (bragging rights: granddad knew P.O. Ackley and did all the load development and testing for the .30-06 Ackley Improved).

When I was a broke ranch hand, I used that rifle for everything because it was all I had. I loaded 110 to 150 grain FMJs for coyotes, 150 grain soft points for whitetail deer and antelope, and 180 grain soft points for elk. Believe you me, this rifle has accounted for plenty of all three. In fact, grandad glass inlaid into the wood stock the ivory elk teeth from the first elk I ever killed with that rifle.

The Model 70 Winchester was designed by one of my personal heroes, Elmer Keith. Today, it’s a design so universal that most hunters take it for granted. But when introduced, it was revolutionary.

The original Model 70 utilized the Mauser-style full-length extractor. Unlike the K98 Mauser and the 1903 Springfield (that shamelessly copied the Mauser), the Model 70 incorporated a graceful, handy, three-position safety on the rear right hand side of the bolt. When mated with a fancy checkered walnut stock and a decent scope, the Model 70 was pure sex.

Showing up to deer camp with a Model 70 was like showing up to the first day of your high school senior year with a ’68 Camaro. While my Model 70 you see here is the cheaper Olin-manufactured push-feed version of the 1980s with no full-length extractor, Winchester (now owned by Browning/FN) saw the error of its ways.

The Model 70 in its true form is back, manufactured today right here in the U.S.A. I have a safe full of rifles nowadays, all specifically selected for different jobs. I have a couple of varmint rifles, and many years ago I set a self-imposed .338 caliber-or-larger rule for elk. But if I was forced to use one rifle for the rest of my life for all of my big game hunting needs, a Model 70 in .30-‘06 would be my choice.

4) Benelli Nova 12 Gauge Shotgun

Of course I have to include a shotgun. And not a fancy over/under or semi-auto, but a pump gun. I’ll be honest: I’ve never been much of a shotgunner.

That’s a bit sacrilegious, because I grew up in northeast Montana, which is probably some of the best upland bird hunting country in the U.S. But upland bird hunting wasn’t something we did much of when I was a kid, so I didn’t own a shotgun until I bought myself one during my first year of college.

My best friend from high school was a pheasant and grouse hunting fanatic, and couldn’t believe I didn’t own a shotgun, so he convinced me to purchase one. Then he tried to tell me that a shotgun needed to “fit” in order for me to wingshoot accurately. “Hogwash, pickle juice and platypus spit,” said I. I was a shooter and a gun was a gun. If it went bang, I could shoot it accurately.

So at age 18, I walked into a college town pawn shop and purchased a Mossberg Maverick 88 in 12 gauge. Home we went that fall to bird hunt, and I couldn’t hit damn thing. I fought that Mossy in the field for a few years before putting a 18½” barrel on it and permanently relegating it to home defense duty.

Over the years, I slowly accumulated a few more shotguns, and did more and more bird hunting (to the point that I actually had a bird dog for several years). Some gray hair and experience have indeed taught me that shotgun “fit” is absolutely a thing. And of all the shotguns I’ve owned, nothing fits me better, swings, points and shoots more naturally than the Benelli Nova.

The Nova may be Benelli’s low end (and believe me, they have high end shotguns), but this is no junk scattergun. It’s a stone-reliable pump action that fits me better than even the fancy CZ over/under I bought several years ago.

Nowadays, I often host a small group of bird hunters during upland season, and inevitably I’m lending out my several shotguns. But the one that I always grab for myself is the Nova. Whether I’m shooting low-base trap loads at clay pigeons or 3½” goose loads out of a blind (which is not much fun in a pump gun), the Nova does it all. This one will never leave the safe.

5) Marlin 1895 Guide Gun .45-70 Gov’t Lever Action Rifle

I’ve been shooting, reloading, and casting bullets for the .45-70 for almost 20 years. Back in the day, I was a fairly prolific Long Range Buffalo Rifle competitor, and my ultra-accurate 1874 Shiloh Sharps rifle almost made this list. But if I was forced to keep only one .45-70, it would be this thumper. Because that’s what I bought and customized it for: thumping.

Every season, I try to spend at least a week at our annual elk camp in southwest Montana. Twenty years ago, we didn’t worry about grizzly bear encounters. Nowadays, though, Montana has at least half a dozen (or more) hunters mauled and/or killed by grizzlies every hunting season. After one particularly hairy pack trip into thick bear country in 2003, I decided I was not going to be one of those hunters.

I purchased the handiest, hardest-hitting, brick-chunking rifle I could find: the Marlin 1895 Guide Gun in .45-70 Gov’t. If you haven’t played with the .45-70, you owe it to yourself. For a cartridge that’s been around since 1893, it’s fantastically versatile. Even at its lightest, most anemic loading, it’s still hucking a 300 grain, .458 caliber bullet at 2,350 fps. Given a strong enough rifle, you can really load up and hot rod the .45-70, turning it into a near “magnum.”

What I learned shooting iron sighted Sharps rifles at targets over 1,000 yards away is that, with the right bullet, the .45-70 is also amazingly accurate. In 2006, I shot a 3-year-old bull buffalo at 75 yards with a personally cast 475 grain solid lead bullet. The bull was standing on a hill above me, looking down and facing straight at me, and I snapped my Sharps to my shoulder and fired.

We never recovered the bullet, because it entered his chest under his chin and kept driving straight back through his vitals and exited his body. The damage was catastrophic and impressive, and the kill was quick and humane. That’s when I became a believer in the .45-7o Gov’t.

Nowadays, I carry my 1895 Guide Gun in the deep Montana back country, usually in a saddle scabbard on my horse in case I meet an ornery bruin. It’s loaded with 405 grain hard cast flat point lead bullets, propelled by a stiff dose of IMR 3031. I have absolute confidence in this load, and in the gun that fires it.

My 1895 Marlin has been modified slightly; I’ve added a Wild West Guns big loop lever, which is much handier while wearing gloves and doesn’t physically hurt your hand while firing like the small loop factory lever does. I’ve also added a Wild West Guns trigger and sear for a crisp trigger pull, a Wild West Guns metal magazine follower, which replaces the factory plastic follower, and an XS front post and rear peep sight protected by sturdy “wings.” Honestly, I’ll probably swap the XS rear sight out for a Skinner Sights winged rear peep sight because the owner of Skinner is a friend, but the principal is the same.

Finally, I installed a Beartooth Mercantile safety delete, which effectively removes the crossbolt safety from this rifle. This may be controversial, but from personal experience, I firmly believe the factory Marlin crossbolt safety could get you killed in a situation where you’ve either A) inadvertently bumped it onto “safe” or B) in an emergency, forget to deactivate the safety.

I was once in the situation where I was on a mountain trail, standing between my family and an angry cow moose, with this Guide Gun cocked and mounted up in my shoulder. Luckily, the huge moose decided to disengage and walked off. A good thing, because when the adrenaline wore off and I de-cocked my rifle, I was horrified to find that at some point I had inadvertently bumped the crossbolt safety into the “safe” position.

That means had I needed to fire, the hammer would have dropped harmlessly onto the crossbolt, and the rifle would not have fired. I would’ve assumed it was a misfire, and hurriedly levered the action and pulled the trigger again, only to have it again fall harmlessly onto the crossbolt safety. I will never be in that position again. I ordered and installed the delete kit immediately.

I now have exactly what I hope to never need: a short, handy, reliable, hell-for-stout bear buster if things ever do get western with a big, nasty mountain critter.

Honorable Mentions

I know I said only five, but I would be remiss if I didn’t at least highlight a couple more and why they ALMOST made my list.

Weatherby Vanguard standard .243 Winchester

In my opinion, the Weatherby Vanguard/Howa 1500 is the best value in bolt action rifles today. And this particular one is another do-everything rifle in an almost do-anything caliber.

If I’m on the farm and ranch in northeast Montana, odds are this is the rifle I have in the pickup. I do a lot of winter coyote hunting, and this is my go-to coyote rifle, as I prefer a heavier 6mm bullet over the various .22s for sly dogs at distance.

This rifle absolutely loves my load consisting of Hornady’s 75 grain V-Max bullet and 41 grains of IMR 4064, and I lost track many years ago of the number of coyotes this old friend has put on the pole for me. There’s nothing special about the rifle. It’s a bone-stock, Series I Vanguard. The only upgrade — I ditched the cheap plastic factory stock and dropped it into a pillar-bedded Hogue rubber stock.

It wore a cheap Simmons Whitetailer 6-18x scope for many years (still a great value scope), which has since been upgraded to a higher quality Vortex 6.5-20x. It’s just an affordable, solid, reliable, versatile rifle.

Shiloh Sharps 1874 Saddle Rifle .45-70 Gov’t

As mentioned above, as a younger man I competed in Long Range Buffalo Rifle competitions all over eastern Montana and western North Dakota. For the first season, my dad and I actually shared a rifle, a beautiful C. Sharps 1885 High Wall in .45-70.

At a summer match in Broadus, Montana, I was stunned to win the match raffle: a brand new Shiloh Sharps 1874 Saddle Rifle chambered in .45-70, graciously donated by the Bryant family, owners of the Shiloh Rifle Manufacturing Company located in Big Timber, Montana. The rifle was factory upgraded with oil finished deluxe wood, case hardened receiver, a steel shotgun buttplate, a pewter forearm tip, Hartford collar, and a 30-inch heavy octagon barrel.

I installed a Parts Unknown long range Soule rear sight and an interchangeable insert globe front sight. Firing my hand-cast, 535 grain Postell bullet and a load of 26 grains of IMR 4198 (no, I never use black powder…I’m a heathen), I used this rifle to place a personal best 25th place out of 500-plus registered shooters in 2006 at Al Lee’s “Quigley” long range buffalo rifle match in Forsyth, Montana.

Shiloh’s rifles are hand-built from 100% Montana-made parts made right on site, at their shop in Big Timber. Today there is a nearly two-year waiting period for one of these beautiful rifles, but if you have the opportunity (or get amazingly lucky like me), there is nothing like them.


Austin Knudsen is the Attorney General of Montana.

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    • Would say a lot of .22 options compete for #1 just as a 308/270 depending on region could sub in for #3 and all kinds of options that actually work well with the person apply to #4. #5 while I love the full barrel version may not be as universal outside of brown bear territory but given his area I fully support it. Good summary and reasoning and only regional nitpicking applies.

    • While I have multiple 10-22s ranging from chargers to purpose built target guns without a single part left from Ruger. If I was going with a single .22 for the CZ455 or it’s replacement. Beautiful gun and incredibly accurate, you can also swap calibers. I also think the international stock is the way to go for ascetics alone.

    • State, I have to disagree. I think it’s a well thought out firearms battery. I would tweak it to my own specs, but I think the author selected tools to address his tasks well. I’d go to war with it any day. Did you call the author a FUDD because only two of five firearms are half plastic? Or is it because he’s going to go out and hunt the protein he’s going to eat? I’ll remind you that everyone from our Founding Fathers to the Miniute Man used his firearm, primarily, as a hunting tool. If that makes me a FUDD; throw me in that briar patch.

      • different time/different era…a time when guns and hunting went together…and shooting your fellow man was something you’d rather not think about….a golden age, actually….when most guns sold weren’t black…

    • How do you figure? I wouldn’t exactly call someone who feels that a Colt AR-15 is a must have rifle a fudd. Firearms are tools and selecting the right tool for the job is always important in any scenario. He lives in a rugged and sparsely populated state, one that’s also famous for the quality of its hunting, where he’s probably more likely to be killed by a 4 legged threat than a 2 legged one. I’m not in the same boat as the author but I think his list is well thought out and contains some very compelling arguments for his particular situation

    • Mossberg 146 with the standard scope with eye-cup…you really could drive tacks with this thing…closest thing to a competition target rifle i’ve ever fired…

    • Calling the writer a ”Fudd” shows at best lack of reading comprehension at worst a disingenuous ab hominin attack. The writer considers an AR a must have rifle and not just a stock one, he has spent time and money upgrading the rifle and improving his skill set if the reference to 3-gun matches is any indication. He also has multiple versions of the rifle which he has for the stated purpose of defending “hearth and home” not something that any “Fudd” I have ever heard of supports. If you know something about his record as an AG or politically that supports your claim please elucidate.
      All things considered; you appear to be just troll.

  1. Great choices. I have a Pedersoli Sharps Target in .45-70, but I find it nigh impossible to find anything reasonably priced to feed it, much less cases or primers to roll my own. I have a Winchester (Moroku) in .45 Colt, along with a couple of revolvers in the same caliber and plenty to feed it and reload it. Not being a hunter, I don’t own a bolt gun in a suitable hunting caliber, but if I did, it would be -06 or .308. (Although I do have an AR in .308.) Always plenty of ammo. For me, .22s are perfect for bolt guns, and great way to train young folk to shoot without them trying to see how fast they can empty the mag.

    • sad (to me) how much nicer the moroku’s are compared to my olin. yours’ has a proper twist rate as well.
      the ’94 was the wrong action choice for revolver rounds.

    • thsoba, “any .22”. That should be one of your most careful choices. Rifle and handgun. You do own both, don’t you? Action type, make/model, etc. At least if you ever step off the concrete. I own a couple. Rifles are all bolt guns with one lever action. Handguns are a mix of semi-autos and DA/SA revolvers. Use them to eliminate squirrels in my pecan trees and rattle snakes at the farm. Both are excellent pan fried.

    • actually have a Marlin 12 ga.pump [not sure of the model #]….that is at least as light as the Ithaca…and much better looking…beautiful blond wood stock…

  2. 2 lever-guns
    2 bolt guns
    1 Breach loader
    1 Pump
    1 Semiautomatic (That starts out how the author had no need for one.)

    This fudd list is even worse because the it’s 7 guns, and they’re numbered 1,2,3,5,5. Making the same old gun community look smart as ever. We love classy guns, but seriously. PROOF READ!

  3. Had a Remington 788 in 6mm until it was stolen about 6 years ago. Wish that Reminton or somebody would bring back the 788, as it had the fastest lock time of any firearm. With my handloads, I consistently got 3 shot groups at 100 yards that were cloverleafs. As to the 30/06 model 70, that is a definite YES! Still also have my REMINGTON NYLON 66, so I skip the 10/22 or the 9422. Now, my MINI-14 is my choice versus a DI AR-15, but ~35 years ago, a piston AR-15 wasn’t available. I would add any HENRY pistol cartridge lever action rifle to the “must keep” 2022 list. What is your list???

  4. quote—————-That’s a pity, because the 9422 is becoming somewhat of a collector item.————–quote

    You are not telling me anything new. Several years ago I happened to be standing in our local gun shop when a man walked in with an unfired Winchester 9422 and an excellent condition Browning .22 auto rifle. Naturally the gun shop offered him half of what the guns were worth so I seized on the opportunity and bought both of his guns on the spot. I already had a nice Browning .22 auto rifle so I sold the latest acquisition for a quick $100 profit and was debating on keeping the 9422 Winchester when a friend of mine went wild when he saw it was unfired and offered me $300 more than what I paid for it. I never have been exactly in love with lever guns so I sold it to him but not without a lot of misgivings. I still wonder if I should have kept it because after all how many unfired 9422’s do you find in at a give away price.

    I have always had a secret desire to own the original Marlin Golden 39A (before Marlin trashed the gun by cheapening it). I ran across one at a local gun shop several years ago and came close to buying it but I had other deals going on at that time on other weapons. I guess it was just not meant to be.

    No, you just cannot buy them all but it would be nice if you could.

    • Pencil Neck, you are a piece of work. Of course the store owner offered his customer less than they were worth. That’s so he could make a profit. You know. Like you did. Except you didn’t have any overhead. Like those taxes you love. Rent. Utilities. Payroll. I could go on, but surely even you get it by now. I hope that business owner threw you out out your little round head. Except, we all know none of that happened anyway. Don’t we?

    • A commie, like you, is sure to rot in hell for turning a profit. And screwing over a comrade.

  5. I owned a first generation Weatherby Vanguard. It was the most accurate rifle I have ever owned. Unfortunately, I bought it in .257 Weatherby, a round I found hard to afford. $5 every time I pulled the trigger got to be a little much, eventually that rifle and I parted ways.

  6. My Redfield 3×9 sits on top of a Ruger American in .243. It’s all the scope and caliber I need for the small deer we have here.

    My upland bird gun is a Benelli m2.

    My .22’s, rifles at least, are Ruger and Winchester(which was made in Russia.)

    I’ll have to wait until my wife retires and we move out of CA for something like an AR.

    Honestly, though. At my age my handguns are more important to me. Hunting and target shooting are occasional. Self defense is everyday.

    • Lot of great options in the small pistol space………hopefully CA has them on the roster and if not sorry for being an asshole.

      • I settled the small handgun issue by going old school. A j frame hammerless. The classics work.

        When I get out of CA i’ll look into the small pocket automatics that have made such headway in Free America.

        • Springfield Hellcat and Sig 365 were neck and neck for me until the XL 365 came around and haven’t had anything to complain about. As to the others there is a fit for every budget if you can find them now. With that said if not for the hassle of updating my license every time I buy a pistol a 38 or 357 hammerless would be an excellent jacket/pocket gun.

    • jwm, a Winchester made in Russia? That’s new info to me, I’m only familiar with the 1895(?) lever guns sent over there. What era was that and would you be interested in educatin’ me with whatever history you might know regarding Russian manufactured Winchesters? Did this stem from the above mentioned sales?

      • Rider. I encountered a Winchester wildcat .22 rifle at a gun shop. About 2006 or 7. Bought it on impulse. Had a heavy target barrel with a recessed crown. Deadly accurate even with just irons. After a little research turns out it was made in Russia by a company called Toz, I believe.

        It’s the only one I’ve ever seen. A bolt action magazine fed rifle. When My grandson is o0ld enough for it it will be his.

  7. As far as the .243 caliber I have always shied away from that caliber because I have seen just too many of them with burnt out barrels. I know Winchester took a lot of heat for short barrel life in that caliber even though they are extremely accurate when in new condition.

    As far as the Model 70 Rifles few people know that the post 64 gun that was updated from the 1965 model in 1968 by adding a slot in the bolt head that made the gun even slicker to operate than the original pre-64. Also the post 64 (1968 model and later) had a barrel that was made slightly heavier to increase accuracy. I sold off a pre-64 in .270 during a temporary period of insanity and bought a 1968 M70 in .270 and it was far more accurate a rifle. So next time someone foams at the mouth in front of you when speaking of pre-64 model 70 guns the post 68 guns were damn good guns.

    I must say though that the M98 Mousers are still considered “king of the sporting rifles” because of their reliability and in many cases depending on the make very accurate rifles as well. No, the action is not as smooth as the Winchester M70 but a little grease on the bolt guide rib and a little practice pulling the bolt straight back eliminates this. The M98 gas escape system is superior and its quick take down to replace the firing pin or extractor is a great asset when you are in the middle of nowhere and need to clean or replace a firing pin or extractor. It can be done with your bare hands. I might add this is seldom necessary to a gun kept in good condition.

    And now the real shocker. One super fast bolt gun, with utter reliability and one that is handy to carry is the British Jungle Carbine. I have shot both moose and bear with the ubiquitous .303 British with the 180 grain bullets and even though its not a magnum it does kill at reasonable ranges and I mean it kills them dead. I have never had my carbine exhibit the so called “wondering zero” leading me to believe that this myth was probably due to inexperience recruits not being able to tolerate its somewhat increased recoil and muzzle blast over the standard full length .303 British Rifles. Decades ago I put a S&K no drill and tap Insta Mount on the gun and a 3-9×40 scope and did a trigger job on it and the gun is very accurate.


  8. I might add that the only reason the M70 was dropped for use by the Military as a sniper rifle is because two moron military clerks heard that Winchester was having problems with the post64 rifles which was not true. They did improve the post 64 guns in 1968 by slotting the bolt head for smother bolt operation.

    The gun that was chosen was the Remington M700 and renamed the M40 for military use and it turned out to be a disaster.

    The trigger was unreliable in combat when contaminated with debris, (later in time the trigger was proven unsafe as well),

    The cheap stamped sheet metal extractor was noted for breaking off and took a special tool to rivet in a new one (I have witnessed this more than once at our club),

    The bolt handle was only brazed on and will snap off when even only bumped hard ( again I have seen this happen more than once).

    And last but not least the Redfield scope with the range finder was complete trash. The Remington factory rep was astonished when he was told the Redfield rangefinder scale (made of plastic) melted when the sun came through the lens and heated it.

    I might add the original guns only had a two position safety making them dangerous to load and unload if the trigger was set to light.

    • You don’t have to take the safety off on a 700 to unload it. Or, did you miss that when you hastily assembled a few online “facts” to support your diatribes. What was your point anyway? Never mind, no one cares.

      • There are times I wonder if somewhere on his computer there are archived posts of fud history that he will copy and post whenever vaguely relevant to provide some illusion of experience.

        • LOL dacian liberals own firearms, less so than normal people but in all probability your knowledge of firearms is arfcom deep. Now go figure out the firing order of a typical semiautomatic and find someone who cares.

      • to Flag Waver

        quote————-You don’t have to take the safety off on a 700 to unload it.———————quote

        Wrong as usual. The original M700 had a two position safety, on and bolt would not operate, safety off, bolt would operate and gun would fire because trigger was not locked with safety in off position. Gun often fired when trying to load or unload if trigger was set to light or trigger was snagged.

        Newer Remington 700 have a different two position safety, safety on and bolt will operate but trigger is still locked.

      • Only the later made 700 Remington’s had safeties that you could leave in the on position and open the bolt not the earlier ones.

        • Been shooting new 700s since the ’70s. That’s when whatever spawned you were still trying to come down from their LSD high that began in ’68. The used ones I owned/shot were obviously older. Everyone works just like every 700 in my safe today. But, what would you know? You’ve never used a 700 in the real world.

        • to Flag Waver

          You are really a trip. You can never admit when you are wrong even when the truth is in front of millions of gun owners. Did you really think you could get away with this last post???

          Here is a run down on the changes made to the safety on the Remington 700 trigger/safety.

          And by the way you just proved you do not own both the older model M700 and the newer Model700 aka all the way back to 1982.

          And by the way I was hunting with the Win. M70 in 1962 my first high power rifle.

          In 1982 Remington made changes to the overall fire control but continued to install Walker Triggers. The modification involved redesigning the safety. On earlier models, the firearm had to be placed in “Fire” before being unloaded. The new design allowed it to remain in “Safe”. The entire trigger system was finally redesigned in 2006 and Remington offered a replacement to the owners of the older Model 700, 7, and 710.

          Note: Since your reading comprehension is low let me simplify this. Remington made 3 different design/operating procedures that I am aware of. The original Walker trigger, the modified Walker trigger and a completely newly designed trigger. I do not claim to be an expert on Remington Triggers but I am aware of some of the elementary changes, there may have been others also.

        • to Flag Waver

          And I forgot to mention the special light target trigger both with and without the manual safety used on the Remington 40x rifles in center fire and rim fire.

        • You’ve never hunted bear or moose and you were not yet born in 62, herr dacian the nazi liar.

    • @dacian
      , hous come the snipers during the Vietnam police action era would say the Winchester would shoot farther then the Remington?
      I have no idea.
      Maybe the striker hit the primer harder because I have found playing with a black powder pistol if the hammer banged the primer harder the ball would go faster.
      Dont make no sense to me but Bill swore the Winchester would shoot futher then the Remington .

      • video evidence out there, including snipers…that put the Remington in a bad light…got a bit expensive for them…

    • The Far Right cannot accept the fact that liberals own and use guns

      Knowledge encompasses bolt guns, lever guns, and 22s. Probably thinks the populace should only have guns such as these. Another blowhard Fudd, begging for gun control, and not content until the gov shoots their load in him, while he o-faces.

  9. Ref the .45-70:

    > Even at its lightest, most anemic loading, it’s still hucking a 300 grain, .458 caliber bullet at 2,350 fps.

    Not to go alll Comic Book Guy you, but could you double check this? For cast 292gr, Lyman shows around 2,011fps as the max velocity for Reloader 7, and most are around 1600-1800fps. Commercial Federal is 1,880 fps but 2,354 ft-lbs of energy.

    (And it is an awesome cartridge, having shot both the Guide Gun and a Shiloh Sharps I couldn’t agree more!)

    • You are more accurate, unless someone was pushing a very hot load (which is possible). The original black powder load pushed a cast lead bullet at a velocity of about 1350 feet per second with more than 1600 foot pounds of muzzle energy. Original trap door Springfields using modern smokeless ammo typically run a 300 grain projectile at 28,000 CUP or less, and run 1800fps. A modern Marlin will take a loading up to 45,000 CUP and 2300 fps. Not exactly an anemic loading. The highest obtainable pressures are derived from the use of the Ruger No.1 single shot rifle as well as various custom built bolt actions. Reloading guides suggest maximum pressures of 50,000CUP or 60,000PSI with velocity up around 2530 fps.

    • kind of funny to see Steve McQueen carrying .45-70 rds on his belt while toting around a sawed-off mod 92…did anyone ever see him load that gun on any of his shows?

  10. Austin,

    Thank you for being a damn fine A.G. for Montana.

    (I believe the 45-70 has been around since 1873 not 1893 as written.)


    Flathead Valley, MT

    • Thanks OGiM. And you are right about 1873: in the Springfield Trapdoor. Typo on my part.

      • Good on you Mr Knudsen and great article. If only all our ‘higher officials’ were grounded in the real world like yourself. What a difference that would make. Cheers and respect from the northern colonies. And a big thumbs up on the 45-70. My Marlin was my first rifle decades ago and I will likely eternally lust after a proper Shiloh Sharps.

  11. This is the thing that confuses me. Maybe someone has already touched on it. I didn’t read every comment. Why are we even talking about owning five long guns? My goal is to own five firearms of any type I might dream I might need. Five? These are interesting topics, but if I’m going on a road trip, I more often ask myself, “What five am I taking with me”?

    • I view it more as ‘if I only owned 5 long guns these are the ones I’d pick.’ None of us are legally restricted to how many we can own. But it’s an interesting concept. What if…can apply to guns, cars, boats, wives…..the list is endless.

    • P.S. On a road trip, unless it’s a hunting trip, I take 2 handguns. One for me and a second one for me. My wife can carry her own.

      • I imagine it’s hard to conceal rifles under your Grand Wizard robe 🖕🤡.

    • basic battery:…a .22, a shotgun, a highly-accurate large caliber rifle with scope, a semi of some type and a handgun…should cover just about any sort of situation….

  12. I thought about it. If anyone is interested, here’s my favorite five. Be forewarned. Some may be considered FUDD guns.
    1. My H&K 91. W/ ten spare magazines and support gear. 2000 rds of ammo. Minimum.
    2. Jim Brockman built “scout rifle” on Winchester model 70 stainless classic. .308.
    3. Another custom Winchester model 70 Classic. .308. HS Presion stock, Shilen barrel, etc. 500 rds. of soft point ammo for hunting for both of the above.
    4. My Marlin Texan 18″ 30-30. 200 rds. minimum.
    5. Any one of my .22 LR rifles. With a nod toward my Marlin 39A. It breaks apart. 5000 rds. of ammunition. Minimum
    Honorable Mention (I liked that.)
    My Galil ARM .223 and 25-30 magazine’s, support gear and all the .223 I have. It’s a little bit.
    Anything else I can think of.

    • my H&K 91 is as accurate as any of my other rifles..[could easily be used for hunting]…..that .308 will flatten steel targets out to 500 yds with ease…and that firepower up close is devastating….

    • .22 LR, 30-06 and .375H&H .
      I do like my .243.
      I was going to downsize at one time. Limit the emu I had to buy, but dad burn it everytime I said this is all I really need I’d come up with a scenario were one would be the better.
      The nice thing about a .30 caliber is cigarette filters work for as a cleaning swab.
      Okay my choice is 30-06

      • Possum, ’03, ’03A3 and (this for Pencil Neck) a 700 in 30-06. You can open the bolt while on safe. Also got that .375. Model 70 stainless classic. Controlled round feed. Sorry Pencil Neck.

  13. Yeah this quite FUDD list, like listing the same boring guns over and over without much for variation.
    Start with things everyone should have
    -.22 mag rifle
    -Small .410 pump
    -Medium power bolt gun (.270, .308, 6.5 crdm)
    -9mm carbine

    Great variety, budget minded, and the versatility is endless. These would be platforms anyone couldn’t do without. If it was specific guns you couldn’t live without I would also expect variety but also exclusivity. Like a Colt Anaconda, Beretta M9A3, Winchester Trench Gun, Kimber Carbon rifle..ect. Not guns you found in grandpa’s trunk.

  14. A flintlock needs to be on the list. You can make black powder, you can find a rock that throws a spark, and you can load about anything to be a projectile.

    If the SHTF you always have something available.

  15. My five is taken from what I already have. If it were just a wish list it would be different, mainly due to cost of the “wishes”. Mental giants throwing around the “fudd” moniker is pointless and I give zero s…ts about it. I also don’t necessarily make my list from a need perspective. I have them, I like them, I’d pick them for various reasons. A little variety is also not a bad thing. Ruger 10/22 Stainless/Laminate stock. Colt LE6920. Ithaca M37 DS Police 12ga. DPMS AP4 .308. Last is a toss up between an Enfield #5 Jungle Carbine .303 or Spanish FR8 Mauser .308. Honorable mentions, because I haven’t had a chance to run it yet PSA AK47 Zhukov 7.62×39. Remington 870 Wingmaster former Ohio National Guard military shotgun 12ga.

    • Go with the Spanish FR8. Logistics. Same round feeds it and the DPMS. Not big on shotguns for defense, but that Wingmaster sounds interesting. I do like a Wingmaster.

  16. CC, .22 mag? Not for me, thanks. .22 LR. Logistics. .410 bore pump? You got a rodent or a pidgeon problem in your barn. AK? They work. Highest complement in can pay any fighting rifle. Medium bore bolt action? Absolutely. 9mm carbine? Not wasting one of my five picks on one of those.

  17. I’d like to believe the author, but we all know that the Attorney General of Montana is named Dutton.

    Kidding aside, great article. Thank you.

  18. For the .22 I have an ancient Remington semi auto. Bought in in 1964. My first auto loader.
    For the AR, I would choose my mid 70’s vintage Colt AR-15 A2. With the solid carry handle. Not because it’s Colt or because it’s any better than anything else. But because I have used it for many years with few problems and am familiar with it.
    Next is a toss up between my M1 Garand 30-06 or my M1A Springfield in .308. Either can use a variety of loads and both are accurate enough for any shooting I will do.
    For the shotgun, I’ll go with my old Mossberg 500. I have a couple different barrels I can swap quickly. A 18 in. Slug barrel with rifle sights, a 24 in barrel and a 28 in barrel. Can also swap out magazine plugs as well if needs be.
    I have both a Marlin and a Henry lever rifle in 45-70. Nice saddle rifles if there is a concern about large bear or moose. Not likely down here in the southland, but it is possible I could make another trip north to hunt.
    For honorable mention I would include the old Mauser M1898 in the original 7.98mm. As well as the British SMLE 303.
    I’m sure almost anyone who has more than a passing familiarity with firearms can easily expand the authors list, or the lists, mine included, with their personal favorites or have personal opinions as to why someone else’s choices could be less than optimal for their needs. We have different likes and dislikes in firearms just as we have likes and dislikes in bed partners, vehicles, housing arrangements, or what part of the country we live in, or would rather live in. It comes down to what works for each of us and what we are comfortable and familiar with.

    • the price and availability of ammo is something to be taken into account…some guns are just to expensive to shoot…stick close to the military standard…always going to be around….

  19. Good article. I used to be interested only in high cap semi autos. Glocks, AR’s, AK’s, FAL’s, etc. And as far as I’m concerned they’ll always be good tools to have.

    I’ve noticed though I’m starting to have more appreciation and enjoyment in the older guns. Single shots, levers, bolts. Just something about them.

    I suppose part of that is because I’ve got so many good memories with my “non tactical” firearms. Out hunting, hiking, and target shooting.

    I guess my 5 rifles would be
    H&R single shot .22 hornet
    model 94 .30-30
    Lever action Henry .22 magnum
    Rem 700 .300 win mag

  20. Here’s my one of my lists:
    -Barrett M107A1 29″ .50BMG with QDL suppressor
    -Barrett MRAD MK22 Deployment Kit 20″ .308W, 26″ .300NM, 27″ 338NM NF ATACR 7-37×56
    -Barrett Rec7 DI DMR 18″ 5.56 with Trijicon ACOG 4×32 green horseshoe
    -Barrett Fieldcraft 30-06 24″ 5.5lbs bare TT525P optic
    -SKB 885 12, 20, 28, .410 four barrel field set….UNICORN RARE SPECIAL CUSTOM ORDER

  21. It is very refreshing for a real-life government official to commiserate with us lowly American gun-owners (and in most cases God-fearing patriots). Thank you, Mr. AG.

    Relating to Mr. Knudson’s list, my uncle made the mistake of letting me shoot his .45-70. Of course I instantly knew I had to have one. The virus spread and now I have one, my other uncle has one, my nephew has one, my other nephew has one and my brother has two. Be warned, if you shoot a .45-70 you too will have to have one. So this entry on the author’s list is certainly correct.

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