Ideal Gun

It all started, as so many of these things do, with a letter from Mr. Free Market which contained this pic:

Now I’ve owned the top two (CETME 7.62x51mm NATO and H&K P7 9mmP).  I didn’t like the P7 at all — that squeeze grip chamber loading thingie made my hand shake from the effort of actuating it — and as Dean Wormer famously said:

So I sold it after only a couple of months.

The CETME was a different story altogether.  I loved shooting it — preferred it to the G36 and FN-FAL, for that matter — but it was the lightweight C model which, although it could handle the 7.62mm NATO cartridge, really preferred the  .308 Win with lighter bullets.  (From memory, I only ever used the 120gr.)  So it was spendy to shoot, and in any event I’d just picked up my first AK, so I sold the CETME too a short while afterwards.

As for the bottom two guns… well, that’s a different story.  Amazingly, considering my handgun preferences, I’ve never owned a Walther P-38 (although I’ve owned a couple of Luger P-08s), but as it shoots the 9mm Europellet anyway, it’s not a serious object of desire other than as a WWII-era gun.  (That’s not to say I’d turn one down as a gift, of course;  but I’m pretty much out of collecting WWI and WWII-era guns nowadays.)

What about the rifle?


Let’s just say I’d get a StG-44 in a very rapid heartbeat, IF I could afford both it and the ammo it shoots (7.92x33mm or 8mm MP).   And that one in Mr. FM’s picture, with the Haenel 4x scope?  Oh be still, my twitchy trigger finger.

And for that matter, that scoped CETME also makes parts of my body tingle.

Which got me to thinking (always a dangerous thing when it comes to guns), and I came up with this question:

If money were no object, the gun was available, and ammo was both cheap and plentiful, O My Readers:  what rifle would you choose to get?

I asked the question of both Doc Russia and Combat Controller, and I’ll tell you their (and my) choices tomorrow.

Here are the rules:  you get to pick one gun, and one gun only;  no “top 3” or “1a” or any of that jive, and no crew-served weapons like the Browning Quad 4.  One rifle, of any era, and yes, full-auto is permitted.

See y’all tomorrow.


  1. If the prices ever come down out of the stratosphere (or better yet, they repeal Hughes), I’d definitely pick up an M-16. It’s a versatile platform that can change caliber, add belt-fed uppers, be turned into a shorty. Lots of fun to be had with a single registered receiver.

  2. Early vintage Thompson with the forward grip and drum magazine. Yeah I know that they really aren’t very good guns but nothing says bad ass quite like a Tommy gun.

  3. I like a little more oomph. For a long gun the HCAR version of the M1918 BAR. I also believe with a long gun you need a pistol and my choice would be a Glock 20.

    1. I have a P7 m9, and the squeeze cocker takes very little effort.

      As to the One Gun, Stoner M63 with the parts to make all the configurations.

  4. Ruger 10 22 in stainless steel.

    The 22 LR might not have the raw power of other cartridges, however 22 LR advantages are:

    – carry many 22 LR for way less weight than other cartridges
    – low recoil

    10 22 specific advantages

    – easy to operate.
    – many many many many many (did I say many) name brand Ruger parts along with aftermarket parts. Customize your 10 22 to your liking. And if something breaks, parts of some type and brand are likely readily available.
    – very affordable

    I know many will laugh, however the 10 22 can do most anything needed. And for the most part they are reliable, accurate and inexpensive.

    Bonus – magazines are fairly priced, both name brands and aftermarket. And while prices on mags during the scam demic went up, 10 22 mags are still affordable,
    Even though not as cheap as they once were.

    1. I just completed a 10-22 build a couple weeks ago.
      Started with an “off the books” stock receiver.
      Added a Magpul Hunter stock in FDE, then a Whistlepig 22″ fluted bull barrel, Tandem Kross bolt, Kidd trigger and bolt buffer. And a Barska 1-6×50 scope and set of Spud hard sights. I broke in the barrel then put about 300 rds through it. A very gentle and highly accurate gun. Very pleased with it.

      On magazines. I would suggest staying away from after market mags and stick with Ruger brand. I bought 12 ProMag 25 and 32 rd mags and none of them had functioning followers and were sent back and replaced with Ruger 25 rd mags. Lesson learned. GunMag Warehouse was excellent to work with.

  5. One of Knights Armament’s Light Assault Machine Gun.

    As an easier to feed alternative to your CETME C, take a look at Malcolmar’s CETME L. It’s a professional parts kit build of the 5.56 from CETME. Uses USGI AR mags. I’ve had mine for about 6 months now, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a bit heavier than it looks, rail on top for optics, has a typical HKish trigger, and the bolt hold open is more annoying to use than the C or G3. I got it in the original Spanish puke green, but the gray is also nice.

  6. Sauer Avantgarde Grand Lux in .308.

    Absolutely stunning looks, precision engineered, tack driver accuracy.

    a bargain at around $US 9500.

  7. Hmm. Tough call. After some consideration . . .

    MG-42. The origin of the concept of a general purpose machine gun, and the base of fire for infantry operations for the Wehrmacht. The rest of the world adopted the tactics and concept, and use it to this day. And “Hitler’s Buzzsaw” has got to be a hoot to shoot, at 1200-14000 rpm.

    Is that crew served? It generally was crew supported (the Wehrmacht had extra personnel in a squad just to feed it), but one man fired it.

    If that don’t count, an MP40. Iconic sub-gun, looking like a sub-gun should, light, portable, reliable. And seen in every WWII movie involving ever.

    Yea, WWII is still my era of interest. I’ll never grow up.

    AND, just to tweak interest, the WWII weapons shoot is on this year. October 16, El Dorado, Kansas, just east of Wichita. I’m opening the gun safe again and Just about every WWII rifle you can think of is up to shoot. Plus the Sheriff’s Dept. is bringing their Thompson (a 1928 model), and amazingly, the local Marine recruit depot didn’t shoot me down regarding getting a Ma Deuce for the event; I still think it’s a long shot, but they didn’t say no . . . .

    $2 a round for rifle (you seen ammo prices these days?), $1 for pistol. A fund-raiser for our local WWII museum. Let me know if you’re interested; you’re all invited, of course.

    1. Just so I’m clear – I don’t have to give up the guns I , er, may have, or might have had before the unfortunate accident, do I?

  8. Daniel Boone’s “Old Tick-Licker”, please.

    There may be a more iconic rifle in American history, but that will do just fine for me. Makes me smile just thinking about it.

  9. It might not be quite “playing by the rules,” but as I already have everything I could conceivably “need” for hunting or social work, I have to revert to my “grail gun” rifle list.
    Assuming the above, and that money is no obstacle, either a Winchester 88 OR a Savage 99, in .358 Winchester tops my list. Lever action box fed, in a round capable of taking any North American big game, but without the mongo recoil of an African safari rifle. They’re just classy.
    A Winchester 1895 in .30-06 comes close second, for much the same reasons.

    1. Of course, the sheer uncommonness of the above rifles is part of the allure to me. If one assumed the supply of rifles was ready and available, I suppose the draw would be a bit less.

  10. Now, if this was going to be The One Rifle I Have, forsaking the contents of the safe, then I would likely pick a standard generic .30-06 or .308 of high quality, accuracy, and craftsmanship. Or a 6.5/260 of some flavor. Maybe an AR 10 style platform, maybe a bolt action. I haven’t given it the thought such a requirement deserves.

  11. It has to be a Lee–Enfield No. 4 Mk I in .303 for me. I had one, anything you shot with that would stay shat and it was far more accurate than me. (And I thought I was a deadeye-dick with a long gun). I used to have a P-38 as well, (before all our pistols were confiscated), I never, not even once, had a misfire or any other stoppage with it, which I could not say about ANY of the other autos I had. (Including the L-35 Lahti which fired about two mags worth and then jammed immovably in the closed position, I sent it back to the dealer and he refunded me as he couldn’t fix it or get it fixed).

  12. A current version of the M-16 (regardless of caliber), hands down. Much as I like /enjoy AK’s, H&K, FN-FAL’s, the AR series is (for now) the pinnacle of so called assault rifles. IMHO of course.

      1. I was thinking the same thing after I saw the reproductions on Gun Jesus’s videos.

  13. Although it is not a rifle, my ideal would be a Thompson.
    If someone wants to give me 20 thousand i will gladly buy one

  14. This is a little ambiguous. I’m not sure if it is one gun in addition to what I already have or one gun that will be the only gun replacing anything else I might have. I’ll assume the latter.

    It needs to be able to take down a deer in the area where I hunt. That area is shotguns only, but I am willing to cheat on that. It needs to be also able to take smaller game without destroying it completely. It should have some use as a home defense weapon, but I don’t need something to go to war with (too old, too decrepit). Also, I grew up on Gene Autry, Hop-a-long Cassidy, and Roy Rogers on Saturday morning TV. Winchester 1892, probably in .44 Magnum rather than the old .44WCF.

  15. Colt Monitor 75A – their civilian (but fully automatic) BAR. Gorgeous weapon, firing the majestic .30-06 cartridge, with wood furniture. Designed by St. Browning, the 75A adds the ability to quickly change barrels and includes dust covers versus the basic military BAR.
    Oh, if you can find one, it’ll start at $50k and can easily go for more than double that.

  16. M4A1.

    It’s boring as hell, but if I only get the one I know how to make this one dance. It’s handy and capable enough to get me by.

    Honorable mention for a para FAL, but shooting something with a 7.62 isn’t always the answer.

  17. Money no object? Plentiful ammo? My choice has to be the Ma Deuce. There’s nothing like slapping your chest up to the handles, pressing the trigger down, and watching trees just fall apart.

    If we’re talking guns I’m actually allowed to own? We’ll stick with 50 BMG, only a Barrett rifle. Semi-auto. I hope that’s not cheating with the rules our host put up.

  18. Since somebody already mentioned the Colt Monitor, I would either go with a 20mm Lahti or a replica of Orville Crocker’s 6mm x .348 prairie dog rifle.
    Stay safe.

    1. Sorry, it’s Curt Behnke who built the rifle, not Orville Crocker. Hadn’ t read that book in a while.
      Stay safe

  19. The very first thought that went through my skull upon reading the rules was one of the new-made FG-42s. There’s something about the look of the FG-42 and the other posts show that I’m not the only one liking it. Now that I think of it, the Swiss STG-57 has a little of the same vibe and I hereby declare that one of those would make an acceptable consolation prize if I couldn’t have first pick.


    To be brutally honest, if I had to get rid of everything and just keep one, I’m gonna try cheating. I have a Marlin Centennial Matched Pair; commemorative, brass accented, octagon barreled, lightly engraved Model 39 .22 and Model 336 .30-30 set. Fun to shoot, pleasant to look at, adequate for 87% of any non-wingshooting activity I’m likely to want to do in my remaining years. They share a serial number, so count as one, right?

  20. I was going to say MP-5, but that’s not a rifle.

    So, narrowing it down to rifles that caught my interest over the years but could never afford: a “Tanker” Garand in .308 .

    Yeah, I know about the “Tanker” M-1A, but I like the Ping of the original Garand action vs just another magazine change.

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