I know you’ve heard of the whole bucket list thing, right? In case you haven’t, a bucket list is filled with things you want to do before you die. What follows here is a combination of my gun bucket list, as well as firearms that I’d suggest for someone else’s. I have fired a lot of what’s on here, already, but I’d be lying if I said I’ve fired all of them.
So, here is a list of the guns you absolutely, positively, without a doubt need to shoot before you die.
1) Any belt-fed machine guns:
As a Marine, I’ve had my fair share of trigger time behind belt-fed machine guns. It’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had, and if I had to pick my most favorite of all time, I’d have to say that it is the Mk19, belt-fed grenade launcher. There’s just something about being able to shoot bursts of grenades down range, actually following them down to their target with nothing more than the eyeballs inside your head. Oh, and of course, you get to then witness an impact. It’s effing awesome.
I’ve also had the pleasure of firing the M2, both stationary and from a truck mount, M249 SAW, and I was issued an M240 Golf. (Admittedly, I’m not an 03 machine gunner, but had a b-billet.)
2) Anything chambered in .454 Casull or bigger:
One thing that really lets you know if you’re still alive or not, is hanging on to a large caliber revolver. There isn’t really a whole lot more I can say about this, other than if you’re not that experienced, you should start small and work your way up. If you’ve never had you hands on a .44 magnum before, start there, and then go to a BFR. And no, BFR does not stand for Big eFFing Revolver. It means, Big Frame Revolver.
3) Coonan Classic:
I’ve mentioned this before, and it’s still on my list (my buy list). There’s just something about shooting a full-load .357 Magnum cartridge out of a semi-automatic 1911. I can honestly say that you don’t get it until you shoot it. Once you do, you’ll wonder why you waited for so long.
Seriously, every time I brought the Coonan Classic .357 to the range it sparked a conversation. “What the hell are you shooting?” Of course, they don’t usually ask until they witness the nuclear-like, two foot ball of flame erupting from the muzzle as if it were a volcano.
Ah, memories. I miss that gun …
4) Browning Automatic Rifle:
Good luck trying to find an original BAR (pronounced B. A. R., and not the building you walk into to get loaded with friends late at night.). This one is actually on my own personal bucket list. I haven’t had a chance to shoot one yet, and it’s on my short list of guns to operate at some point. One way to think about the BAR, is as the Squad Automatic Weapon, or SAW, of WWII. Chambered in the heart stopping .30-06 with a box magazine, this is one of America’s war-winning guns. And, of course, genius gun designer John Moses Browning built it.
I’m not talking about one of the knock offs you can get, or even one of the modern HK SP5Ks that, in my humble opinion, cost way too much money. I’m talking about a gun with a giggle switch on it, to raise up those goose bumples. I mean, this is one of the most iconic guns of modern times, still used by some special forces units from different countries, and is in almost every action packed shooter movie ever made, when there was need for a compact, machine gun pistol.
The one pictured below, is a semi-auto version I had done a review on for a different publication. I own rights to this photo, which is why I’m using it, instead of a full-auto version.
MP5s are chambered in 9mm. If you wanna see my top 20 best 9mm handguns, give that link a push.
6) Mini Gun:
This is another one on my own personal bucket list. A mini gun is sort of like a cross between a gatling gun and a modern day machine gun. There is really no way I can explain it, because my words won’t do its beauty justice. Instead, just watch this video:
7) M1 Garand:
I’m not exactly a history buff. But, I do come from the frame of mind that history should never be forgotten. I also feel as though history’s tools, in this case an M1 Garand chambered in the venerable 30-06 should be preserved for all generations. This rifle was described as some, to be the reason why we won WWII.
8) Tommy Gun:
The Tommy Gun is one of those American icons from the gangster era. Whenever you see one, or even hear its name mentioned, where does your mind drift? For some reason, I see Dick Tracy with his in that 90s movie. The Thompson Sub Machine Gun is a representative of times gone by.
Brownells sometimes get the semi-autos in stock, but that’s not really what I’m talking about. Still, even the semi’s are cool.
9) Lever Action .45-70:
You haven’t lived until you’ve caused some internal shoulder bleeding (in the form of a bruise) from the brass butt of a Henry, Lever Action rifle chambered in .45-70. Big, slow projectiles are where it’s at if you need one rifle to take a majority of big game for dinner. Bullet weights start in the 325 grain area, and go up to 540. Of course, the major player and most popular is the 405 grain projectile, which was the original weight offered.
Brownells usually has some of these in stock if you’re in the market. I owned one and they’re an excellent shooting gun.
10) Brown Bess:
Flintlock muskets were an evolutionary step to where we’re at right now in the gun industry. The Brown Bess is a great example of something from firearms history. There are many different variations, and I don’t have specific one for this list, because there are Short Land Pattern, Mortimer Models, India Patterns, etc. If you can get one, and it’s safe to fire, go for it. This, by the way, is another one on my own personal bucket list.
11) FN P90:
Keep in mind, that I’m not talking about the semi-automatic version. On my bucket list is a P90 with a giggle switch. I’m going to see if I can weasel my way into the FN facility at some point this summer, and if they actually let me in, I plan to adamantly suggest they let me have my way with a P90.
12) Colt Python:
I suppose this list wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t have at least one of Colt’s famous snake guns on it. Iconic in every way, chambered in the very capable .357 Magnum self-defense cartridge, and made even more popular by Rick Grimes himself, in the Walking Dead comics and TV Show. I don’t think I need to say much else about it.
I also must say that if you can’t get your hands on one of the originals, the new Colt King Cobras are excellent shooters. You can check out our review on one, here. And, of course, Brownells has them in stock as of this writing.
13) Colt Single Action Army:
Here’s another one on my bucket list. I do have to admit that my time shooting old, single action only revolvers is limited. I have a buddy who owns a few Colt SAAs, but talking him into allowing me to shoot them proves harder to be than it should.
14) A Reach Out And Touch Someone, Rifle:
Sometimes, you just need to share a round with ISIS. Okay, I stole that from a t-shirt company. Still, anything chambered in .300 Win Mag or bigger should get the job done. Oh, and I’m talking about going the distance here, like Hercules had to do in that Disney movie. (Hey, I have 3 little kids, Disney is an obsession in my house). The point, is that I’m talking distances past one mile. These are distances where taking the rotation of the earth starts to become reality, just so you can hit your target.
I actually hit a target 1 mile out with one of these semi-auto rifles from Palmetto State Armory.
15) Unica 6:
Ever wonder what would happen if a revolver got together with a semi-auto pistol and had a baby? Well, the Unica 6 would be your answer. This revolver is unlike most others on the market. Instead of by conventional means, like manipulating the trigger or pulling back the hammer to spin the cylinder, on the Mateba Autorevolver, the cylinder is recoil operated (and is technically a slide). To make it even stranger, the barrel is on the bottom, dropping the bore axis and, thus, the amount of felt recoil. Caliber choices afford you the .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, and the giggle-worthy .454 Cassull.
16) SIG P210 (original):
Not to be confused with what gun maker Sig Sauer was building as their Legend. Though, that pistol in its own right could also make a longer version of this list. The original P210 was first built back in 1949 for the Swiss Army, and is known to be one of the most accurate pistols of its generation. It’s about as rare as a unicorn, so chances of either of us actually finding an original P210 to shoot are slim.
The M14 is similar to the rifle it replaced, the M1 Garand seen above, but with some key differences. Some of the bigger changes were a box magazine, it was chambered in 7.62X51, and had the ability to go full-auto. The M14 didn’t see as much service as it’s predecessor, but that doesn’t necessarily make it inferior. Here’s a video of some people I don’t know having some fun:
Also, if you’re in the market for a new AR-15, make sure you check out our top 12 best AR-15 list, first.