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.
After all, this is partially my bucket list!
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.
The MK 19 is a belt-fed grenade launcher and it is awesome. 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) Rock Island 22 TCM:
This is one of the most attainable guns on this list so pay special attention here. If you’re into loud guns that produce a fireball out of the muzzle that is almost two feet in length but without much recoil, this is the gun for you.
Each time I’ve brought one of these down to the range it was an attention-getter. You can read my review on this pistol here, or watch the video below:
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 knockoffs 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. I own the 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.
Word on the street is that Palmetto State Armory is making a semi-auto one, but I’ve heard that it’s delayed (after visiting their facility and asking).
Zenith no longer imports the above-pictured pistol, but now make their own in-house.
The above-pictured MP5s have begun being imported by Century Arms, and I had the pleasure of shooting one just a week ago as of this publishing.
It was a suppressed and braced pistol, a real blast to shoot in that configuration. Here is the video:
6) Mini Gun:
This is another one on my own personal bucket list. A minigun 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 as you watch thousands of dollars worth of ammo disappear in a matter of moments:
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. The Thompson Sub Machine Gun is representative of times gone by.
Many folks don’t realize it, but the Tommy gun rightly called the Thompson Sub Machine gun, also saw war time and was a necessary tool for our troops in WWII.
Brownells sometimes get the semi-autos in stock, but that’s not really what I’m talking about. Still, even the semis 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.
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 a 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.
You will really appreciate just how far we’ve come with our technology.
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.
Of course, with ammo being as scarce as it is and the 5.7X28 being more than 2 bucks per box, I doubt that’ll be happening.
I recently put together a short list of what I’d call the best 5.7X28mm guns.
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 Pythons and King Cobras are excellent shooters. You can check out our review on the King Cobra, here. Or, check out our video on the Python:
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 going past 1,000 yards.
These are distances where taking the rotation of the earth into account 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 that was chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. That was a highlight of mine for sure.
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 its predecessor, but that doesn’t necessarily make it inferior.