Top 100 Guns, Revisited

Not long ago, I happened to see SOTI (Somewhere On The Internet) a link to one of my earlier Other Side Of Kim posts, and when I followed the link out of idle curiosity, of course I hit the “Site No Longer Around” page.

But as I recall, it had quite a few comments attached, so in the interests of causing mayhem, I’ve decided to republish the thing, more or less unchanged except that I’ve added pics.  (Newcomers are in red, deletions/substitutions at the bottom of this post.)  What amazes me is — surprise, surprise — how little I’ve changed my mind over the dozen-odd years that have passed.

No Real Cap

October 12, 2007
2:36 AM CDT

Okay, I’ve just about had it with those crappy articles which ask stupid questions like: “If you could own only one gun, which would it be?” or “Name the gun you’d like to shoot exclusively for the rest of your life?” and so on. (And yes, I’ve probably written more of this type of nonsense than any two gun writers combined.)

All the above involve choices which require painful reflection and soul-searching.

But what about if you had no restrictions on quantity (speaking reasonably, that is—some guy might want thirty AK-47s, but that’s just silly, unless he’s the Commandant of his local Red Dawn unit [eyecross]).

So, if we can agree that “one hundred” is a nice round number, herewith are my choices for Kim’s Top 100 Gun Choices (and if you think that a hundred is “too constricting”, you may need help). For ease of reference, I’ve broken them down into sub-groups—BUT: if you think that shotguns are woefully under-represented when you draw up your own list, that’s fine. As to the composition of the list, I am of course hopelessly and unrepentantly old-fashioned, so if you are mortally offended that I didn’t put your favorite H&K Model Whatever on the list, that’s just too damn bad.

The guns are listed alphabetically, not in order of preference.

  • Centerfire / Single-Shot Revolvers:
  1. Bond Arms Derringer (.45 Colt/.410ga)
  2. Colt Diamondback (.38 Spec)
  3. Colt Python (.357 Mag)
  4. Colt SAA (.45 Colt)
  5. Ruger SP101 (.357 Mag)
  6. Ruger Redhawk (.357 Mag)
  7. Ruger Super Blackhawk (.30 Carbine)
  8. Ruger Super Blackhawk (.44 Mag)
  9. Ruger Vaquero (.45 Colt)
  10. S&W Mod 637 (.38 Spec +P)
  11. S&W Mod 65 (.357 Mag)
  12. S&W Mod 686 (.357 Mag)
  13. Uberti 1875 Frontier (.45 Colt)
  • Centerfire Semi-Auto Pistols:
  1. Browning High Power (9mm Para)
  2. Colt Gold Cup 1911 (.45 ACP)
  3. Colt 1903 (.32 ACP)
  4. Mauser C96 “Broomhandle” (7.63mm Mauser)
  5. SIG P210 Target (9mm Para)
  6. Springfield 1911 (.45 ACP)
  7. Walther PP (9mm Kurz)
    Rimfire Handguns (all .22 LR unless otherwise)
  1. Beretta Mod 75 Jaguar semi-auto
  2. Browning Buckmark Plus SS semi-auto
  3. Browning Challenger semi-auto
  4. Colt Diamondback DA revolver
  5. Colt Officers Match DA revolver
  6. Colt Trooper Mk III DA revolver
  7. NAA Mini-Revolver SA .22 LR/.22 Mag
  8. Ruger Single-Ten SA revolver .22 LR

  9. Ruger Single-Nine SA revolver .22 Mag

  10. S&W Mod 17 K-22 DA “Kit Gun” revolver
  11. S&W Mod 48 DA revolver .22 Mag
  12. S&W Mod 617 DA 10-shot revolver
  • Rimfire Rifles (all .22 LR unless otherwise)
  1. BSA-Martini single-shot
  2. CZ 453 Varmint bolt-action
  3. CZ ZKM 611A semi-auto .22 Mag
  4. Marlin 39A lever-action
  5. Marlin 882SV bolt-action .22 Mag
  6. Marlin 880SQ bolt-action
  7. Remington 552 Speedmaster semi-auto
  8. Taurus Mod 62 pump
  9. Thompson R55 Sporter semi-auto
  10. Winchester Mod 63 semi-auto
  • Centerfire Bolt-Action Rifles:
  1. Arisaka Type 99 (7.7x53mm Jap)
  2. CZ 527 Carbine (7.62x39mm)

  3. CZ 550 FS (6.5x55mm Swede)
  4. CZ 550 / Brno 602 (.375 H&H)
  5. Lee-Enfield No.4 MkI (.303 Enfield)
  6. Mauser Gew 98 (8x57mm)
  7. Mauser K98 (8x57mm)
  8. Mauser M12 (6.5x55mm)
  9. Mauser M48 (.308 Win—“Israeli”)
  10. Mauser M96 (6.5x55mm—“Swede”)
  11. Mosin-Nagant Mod 91/30 (7.62x54mmR)
  12. Mosin-Nagant Mod 44 (7.62x54mmR)
  13. Savage Mod 12 Varmint (.223 Rem)
  14. Schmidt-Rubin K11 Carbine (7.5x55mm—“Swiss”)
  15. Schmidt-Rubin K31 (7.5x55mm—“Swiss”)
  16. SMLE MkIII No.1 (.303 Enfield)
  17. Springfield ‘03-A3 (.30-06)
  18. Steyr M95 (8x56mmR)
  19. Winchester M1917 (.30-06)
  20. Winchester Mod 54 (.257 Roberts)
  21. Winchester pre-‘64 Mod 70 (.270 Win)
  22. Winchester Pattern 1914 (.303 Enfield)
  • Centerfire Lever-Action Rifles
  1. Marlin 1894 (.357 Mag)
  2. Marlin 1895 (.45-70 Govt)
  3. Marlin 336 (.30-30)
  4. Savage 99 (.250-3000 Savage)
  5. Winchester 1895 (.405 Win)
  6. Winchester Mod 94 (.32 Win Spec)
  • Centerfire Single-Shot Rifles
  1. Browning 1885 High Wall (.45-70 Govt)
  2. Merkel 140 double (.375 H&H)
  3. Dakota Arms Mod 76 (.375 H&H Mag)
  4. Krieghoff Drilling (20ga/20ga/7x57mm)
  5. Ruger #1 Tropical (.416 Rigby)
  • Centerfire Semi-Auto Rifles
  1. Browning BAR (.270 Win)
  2. FN-FAL (7.62x51mm)
  3. M1 Carbine (.30 Carbine)
  4. M1 Garand (.30-06)
  5. SAR-1/AK-47 (7.62x39mm)
  6. SAFN 49 (8x57mm)
  7. SAFN 49 (7x57mm—“Venezuelan”)
  8. SKS (7.62x39mm)
  9. Walther G43 (8x57mm)
  • Shotguns
  1. Aguirre y Aranzabal No.4 SxS (20ga) and
  2. Aguirre y Aranzabal No.4 SxS (20ga) — matched pair of boxlocks
  3. Browning A5 semi-auto (16ga—“Sweet Sixteen”)
  4. Browning A5 semi-auto (20ga—“Light Twenty”)
  5. Browning Gold Hunter semi-auto (20ga)
  6. Mossberg 500 pump (12ga—“Mariner”)
  7. Remington 1100 semi-auto (20ga)
  8. Remington 870 Express Slug (12ga)
  9. Winchester 1897 pump (12ga)
  • Class III
  1. Browning Automatic Rifle “BAR” (.30-06)
  2. Bren LMG (.303 Enfield)
  3. Haenel STG-44
  4. M3 SMG (.45 ACP—“Grease Gun”)
  5. MP38 SMG (9mm Para—“Schmeisser”)
  6. Sten SMG (9mm Para)
  7. Thompson 1927-A1 (.45 ACP—“Tommy”)

You might think that it took me a long time to compile this list of favorites, but you’d be wrong. It took me less than a couple of hours.

Most of the guns will be familiar to everyone (with the possible exception of the AyA shotguns), and if not, they’re in the GGP section. There are a couple of notable omissions, which probably need a little explanation.

  • All the Beretta, Remington, Winchester, Benelli and Browning “big name” O/U sporting shotguns:  I prefer the side-by-side action to over/under, and it seems like none of the aforementioned make their guns in 16ga anymore;
  • All the Winchester, Benelli and Browning “big name” semi-auto sporting shotguns: I’m not that big on semi-auto shotguns, with the exception of the Browning A5 line;
  • Various calibers: These are pretty much my favorite chamberings—and with these, I can shoot anything in the world that I want, given the opportunity.

So there you have it: Kim’s favorite 100 guns. Something to please, and to offend, everyone. Kinda like all my posts.

Deleted (and substitutions):

  1. High Standard Supermatic semi-auto .22 LR
  2. Ruger Single Six (replaced by the Single-Nine and -Ten)
  3. Ruger SP101 DA revolver .22 LR
  4. Beretta Mod 70 (9mm Kurz) (replaced by the Colt 1903)
  5. Uberti 1890 Police (replaced by the 1875 Frontier)
  6. Marlin Camp 45 (.45 ACP)
  7. T/C Encore (.223 Rem)
    • (.243 Win)
    • (.308 Win)
  8. Kassnar Windsor SxS (16ga—“Churchill”) (I have one, and it’s crap)
  9. Remington 700 (.308 Win) (replaced by the Mauser M12)

Any questions about the above selections / deletions / substitutions will be answered in Comments.


  1. All good stuff. The only addition I might make would be a Henry Big Boy in .357 or .44 to the lever gun list. I know the older ones don’t have a loading gate, but they’re accurate, beautifully finished, and fun to shoot. Tony Imperiale is a class act – if we could only get him to pull out of New Jersey and quit paying taxes to that pest hole state.

    1. Full-auto shotguns are, like a foursome with three supermodels, a good idea IN THEORY.
      I like wasting ammo as much (and probably a lot more) than most people, but the unwritten and unmentionable fact about these guns is that they are, like the three supermodels, pretty much uncontrollable.
      Fun to shoot, not very effective — like most full auto sidearms.

  2. Everyone should note that I don’t have any of those $100,000 shotguns on the list. That’s just foolishness, and the rental of the Brinks truck just to get them to and from the range would be ridiculous.

    1. I like the 41 — it’s fantastically accurate — but all three that I’ve ever fired were also horribly picky about the ammo. Jam-O-Matic comes to mind…

        1. I had a SIG Mosquito .22lr with a total crap trigger, I asked a gunsmith if he could help me and he told that SIG did not actually make that pistol, they farmed it out and it was total crap and would cost too much to smooth the trigger up so I got rid of it.

      1. You certainly can’t feed them bulk pack…not that you should soil your hands with that sort of junk ammo.

  3. I have a question about the Krieghoff Drilling (20ga/20ga/7x57mm) as pictured. I have no experience with shotguns, so this no doubt displays my ignorance, but wouldn’t the scope make it quite difficult to aim the shotgun barrels?

    1. Depends on the scope. Usually, if there is a scope, it’s around 1-5x magnification, set on “1” mostly, and with a large bell for a wide field of view. The Leupold VX-5HD line comes to mind.

      Also, remember that the drilling is a hunting rifle, not a skeet or bird gun.

  4. Kim’s World of Guns Top 100, I am about 90% on board and own or have owned 24 of the guns on your list. The classics, Colt Snake Guns and S&W revolvers are all great, Ruger’s mostly but the M-1 carbine revolver is kind of strange, I shoot that round in an M-1 carbine and I think it takes a fair amount of barrel to get it going, same with the .22 Magnum in pistol but they do shoot out a lot of fire.

    The Ruger 10/22 is missing from the semi-auto rimfire and it is a fun rifle to shoot and there are so many aftermarket, drop-in, modifications that can be purchased to build it out in dozens of ways and it can be incredibly accurate. Not saying it should be on your list but it has hung in as a top selling .22lr since 1964.

    Missing and 12 years ago I would have agreed with you for missing is the AR-15 which I had little interest in until I got one from my son who competes in 3-Gun and has several, the 5.56 ammo is not expensive and it can be modified with drop in triggers, lots of gadgets and uppers that can be changed out so you can shoot red dot, then change to scope and change calibers. Now I have the .556 and 6.8spc along with a great little .22lr AR and they are all fun to shoot. I have had a couple of AK’s in the past, did some modifications a then passed them on for others and settled down buying lots of AR stuff. Who knew and I am totally surprised that I keep on liking this stuff, waiting now for ‘Black Friday’ to see if I can get a good deal on one more complete upper.

    1. I don’t mind the 10/22 — I’ve owned a couple in the past — I simply prefer the others on the list. The T/C R55 leaves the 10/22 in the dust, btw, as do any of the CZ semiautos. And the Win 63 is the rifle I learned to shoot with, so it’s a legacy choice if nothing else.

      The Ruger SBH in .30 Carbine is an absolute blast — and I mean that literally — to shoot. An 18″ jet of flame out the muzzle, and a circle of flame from the cylinder gap in addition (shoot it at night to get the full effect). At the range, even among others shooting magnums, the .30 Carbine ammo stops traffic while people come over and ask, “What IS that you’re shooting?” And it’s a decent companion piece for the M1 Carbine, to boot.

      I like shooting the AR-15, just couldn’t be bothered to own one. If hunting, other rifles shoot the .223 better, and for SHTF, nothing beats an AK.

      1. Pyrotechnics are a valid reason to shoot a specific gun, especially when it is almost dusk since most gun ranges frown on tracers.

      2. I love the SBH .30 I gave a good home to a few years ago. While I’ve sent back a couple of the other aquisitions to their rightful owner since, if he ever gets that one back it will be because I’m contemplating something that will lead to confiscation, and that’s too good a gun to have that happen to.

        It may be the most accurate handgun I’ve ever shot…. more accurate than I can really do justice to, although I’m working on it.

          1. I didn’t even know such a gun existed before acquisition…. And I love shooting it; the thing has less felt recoil than my 9mm.

  5. One more thing, my three lowers all have great after-market triggers and new complete uppers can be ordered shipped direct to buyer without FFLs. Only the lower is a gun.

  6. Leaving out the not-minor fact that half of my top 100 would load from the front end… 🙂

    S&W Model 29, 6.5 inch barrel.
    S&W Model 19 Performance Center K-Comp, preferably the first production run.
    Keep the Python…maybe a Model 14 (or a Model 16).
    S&W Model 640…worked over by Gemini Customs with a ported barrel.
    Ditch most of the rest.

    Centerfire semi-auto: Seecamp LWS-32! Pretty well the ultimate concealed carry gun, that sucker disappears into your pocket. The only problem is finding a holster.
    P210 – I want the 210-6. Swiss made.
    Browning High Power – Great gun, but needs smithing. Cylinder & Slide will do nicely.
    1911 – Clark longslide.

    Rimfire revolver: Just get a K-22 and call it quits.

    Rimfire pistol: OK, this is where we’re not going to agree. I like the Walther PPK/S over the Beretta, but that’s minor (I own them both). Threaded barrel is a must. But then we come to the serious guns…in my case, a Hammerli 208S, a Hammerli 280, and probably a Pardini SP. Jury is still out on the Pardini, FWIW. I’m adding a Morini CM-84 and a Toz-35m free pistol.

    Centerfire bolt-action rifle: Not really on my radar screen. Probably a Remington 700…set up as a suppressed sniping rifle.

    Lever action rifle: I’m keeping my Romano Spencer. That’s it.

    Semi-auto rifles: I like the M-14 clones over the FAL. LaRue OBR.

    Rimfire rifle: Anschutz 1712, with a threaded barrel.

    NFA: Aside from suppressors, a Sterling. And an MP5SD.

    The list of front-stuffers would be extensive…the top of which would be a cased pair of original Manton flintlock dueling pistols. And a 12-pounder Napoleon cannon.

  7. The wisdom of an individual is measured in how much his opinions and preferences agree with and match my own.
    Kim and the above post’ers are all clearly wise and clear thinkers.

    I own or have owned 18 of the listed firearms and have many others which are at least similar.
    For example, instead of the BSA Martini, an 1885 Ely Whitney rolling block rifle in .32-20 WCF.
    Your choice of the Thompson Center R55 is brilliant. Superbly accurate and little known semi auto rifle.
    In place of the FN Fal, a DPMS LR .308 with a 24″ Criterion barrel. Very accurate and stone cold reliable.
    Your disallowing the S&W M 41, mine was not only accurate, but reliable. Got me a master classification.
    The High Standards when the magazine problems are sorted out are both superbly accurate and reliable.

  8. Have some. Agree with most. Need to shoot more.

    I have the smith 42 in 22. never noticed the feed issues even though I have only used CCI in them. Have a 422 and a 622 and they are both good shooters to me.

    Hard to fault almost any gun that was sold commercially. Older ones might have more fiddly bits but whose counting.

  9. Question for the rest of us: ever tried finding the H&K SL7? Almost impossible. Because they’re Heckler & Koch. And they hate you.

    It’s almost easier to find a G43.

  10. I should add that I own or have owned 36 of the 100… and fired almost all the rest (with the exception of the Class III, of which I’ve only ever fired the M3 subbie and the BAR.)

  11. …I should add that I own or have owned 36 of the 100… and fired almost all the rest (with the exception of the Class III, of which I’ve only ever fired the M3 subbie and the BAR.)

    And the late, great Airboss’ suppressed Uzi in 9mm. *moment of silencer, out of respect*

    As I recall, you were not kind at all to those targets when it was your turn to burn off a few magazines with that. Not kind at all.

    You’ve really got to come to the Ace of Spades Texas Moron Meetup next October, Kim. This year featured a Browning M-1919, belt-fed .30-’06, in fine operating order. Next year, I intend to bring a black-powder cannon.

    Think “Shooting Fiesta” on steroids, along with roast pig, cabrito, deep fried bacon, (and after the guns are all stowed) bourbon, bullshit and lies well into the night, on one of the prettiest horse-ranches in all of North-Central Texas. (Corsicana to be exact).

    We also put on a 500 yard shooter/spotter clinic this year. Smashing success.

    More fantastic guns that you’d dare imagine there.

    And I daresay you’d like the company there, too. (especially this year, when several of the ladies re-appeared after a 20 min absence), rid of their shooting duds, and all dolled up in Vargas style attire and accessories, much in the manner of WWII bomber nose art.

    You and your Top 100 guns would feel quite at home there, I think.

    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

    (extends to your readers here, too, of course! you can feel free to fwd their inquires to me, if needed)

  12. The Colt Woodsman belongs on the list of .22 Auto Pistols. I’d take a CZ 452, preferably the Lux over that 453 Varmint, and an Anschutz 1712 over the CZ. How did the Thompson SMG not make the list in place of the M3? (although I see you have one under centerfire semi-auto rifles.)

    1. That’s because I screwed up and put the Tommy in amongst the semi-autos instead of with the Class III guns where it belonged. Duly changed.

  13. Second the Colt Woodsman. A perfect .22. Sized just right for the round.
    Hmm. No 1896 Mausers in 7mm?

      1. Keep your eyes open at gun shows. The Orange Free State ones were marked “OVS”,
        the South African Republic (ZAR) were unmarked. Any 1896 Mauser is worth a second look- particularly if it has a Chilean Crest- some were turned back by the British blockade and got used to fill out a Chilean order. So among all the 1895 rifles that came in from Chile, there are a few Boer mausers as well. Of course the 1895 South American contract guns by Loewe are about as finely made as any military weapon ever.

        Robert Balls book “Military Mausers of the World, fourth edition has a nice picture on page 262. An OVS carbine with L. DuToit painted on the stock. That is probably the one you want….

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