GUN: 100 Greatest Firearms
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GUN: 100 Greatest Firearms


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230 pages

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Guns. For centuries, these beautiful, controversial, essential, and sometimes fearful machines have been an integral part of our lives. From the hand cannons and matchlock muskets of the 1500s to the latest military technology, this book celebrates the artistry, technology, cultural significance, and power of 100 iconic guns. Firearms enthusiasts, history buffs, and shooters of every stripe will find something to marvel at in this gorgeous full-color coffee-table book.



Publié par
Date de parution 05 novembre 2013
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781681887005
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 94 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0020€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


10 0
Da vid E. P et zal & Phil Bourjaily

Introduction • 6
The Gallery • 8
Spanish Matchlock Musket • 10
German Fishtail Wheellock
Pistol • 12
Kentucky Long Rifle • 14
T. Henshaw British
Sea Service Blunderbuss • 16
Punt Gun • 18
Westley Richards & Co
Droplock • 20
Westley Richards Droplock
Double Rifle • 22
Purdey Self-Opener • 26
Samuel Hawken Plains Rifle • 28
Colt Model 1861 Navy
Revolver • 30
Springfield Model 1855 Rifle
Musket • 32
Colt 1873 Single Action Army • 34
Winchester Model 1873 • 36
Winchester Model 1886 • 38
Webley Revolver • 40
Mosin-Nag ant Mod el 1 891 • 42
Short Magazine Lee Enfield • 44
Winchester Model 94 • 46
Savage Model 99 • 48
Winchester Model 97 • 50
Smith & Wesson .38
Model 36 • 52
Mauser Model 98 • 56
Mauser Model C96 • 58
S&W Military & Police DA .38
SPL (Model 10) • 60
Luger P08 • 62
A.H. Fox • 64
Browning Auto-5 Standard • 66
Springfield Model 1903 • 68
Smith & Wesson Triple
Lock .44 • 70
Colt 1911A1 .45 ACP • 72
Winchester Model 12 • 74
Colt Woodsman Second Issue • 76
Winchester Model 52 Sporter
.22 Long Rifle • 78
Thompson Model 1920 • 80
Parker Double • 84
Ithaca NID • 86
Winchester Model 21 • 88
Browning Superposed • 92
Browning Hi-Power (P-35)
9mm • 96
Walther PPK • 97
Winchester Model 71 .348
Winchester • 98
M-1 Garand • 100
Winchester Model 70
(pre-1964) • 102
Ithaca Model 37 • 104
Walther P38 • 106
Beretta SO6 EL Over/Under
Shotgun • 110
Soviet PPSh-41 Papasha • 112
Sten Gun • 114
StG44 Sturmgewehr • 116
Marlin Model 336 • 118
Uzi • 120
AK-47 • 122
Ruger Standard Model 22
Pistol • 124
Cooper Model 57M .22 Long
Rifle • 126
Remington 870 Wingmaster • 128
Ruger Single-Six .22 Rimfire • 130
Ruger Blackhawk (.357 Magnum,
.44 Magnum) • 132
Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44
Magnum • 134
Colt Python .357 Magnum • 136
Savage Model 110 • 138
Smith & Wesson Model 41 • 140
Remington Nylon 66 .22 Long
Rifle • 142
Mossberg 500 • 144
Remington Model 700 • 146
M16 • 148
Remington XP-100 • 150
Remington Model 1100 • 152
Remington Model 600
Magnum • 154
Ruger 10/22 .22 Long Rifle • 156
Smith & Wesson .38 Model 60
Chief’s Special • 160
Heckler & Koch MP5 • 162
Thompson/Center Contender
Pistol • 164
Ruger Number One • 166
CZ 75 • 168
Browning Citori • 170
Steyr AUG • 172
Desert Eagle • 174
Glock G17 • 176
Freedom Arms Model 83
.454 Casull • 177
Franchi SPAS-12 • 178
Sig Sauer P226 • 180
Knight MK-85 • 182
Barret ‘Light-Fifty’ M82A1
.50 BMG • 184
FN P90 SMG • 186
Benelli M4 • 188
Jarrett Signature Rifle • 188
New Ultra Light Arms
Model 20 • 190
Benchrest Rifle • 192
Weatherby Mark V Deluxe • 194
Benelli Super Black Eagle • 196
Beretta 390 • 198
Browning Gold • 200
Fabbri Over/Under • 202
Krieghoff K-80 • 204
Merkel Model 2001EL • 206
Perazzi M Series • 208
Anschutz Model 1913 • 210
Smith & Wesson Model 500 • 212
Tikka T3 Hunter • 2 14
Dimension • 2 14
Firearm Specifications • 217
Photo Credits • 226
his is what’s kno wn in the publishing business as a coffee-table book—a handsome
volume that is filled with attractive photos and some text and r esides on low tables
so that it may be read and admired. It is not a book to study . It is not an encyclopedia, or
a textbook, or a manual, or anything else; it is a celebration, if you will, of 100 remarkable
And so: What is a “great” firearm? It’ s one that has, for whatever reason, attained generally
iconic status in the world of guns. All fields of interest hav e their icons. In automobiles there
is the Mercedes Gullwing; in art, DaVinci’s The Last Supper ; in wat ches, the Patek Philippe;
among football players, Jim Brown; and so on.
If you’ re writing about guns, the term “great” allows you t o fling a very wide net. This book
includes the W estley-Richards droplock double rifle, a gun so rare that very few shooters
have ever seen one; it costs many thousands of dollars and is as much a work of art as a
firearm. On the other hand, we have the Sten gun, which was made in huge numbers at a v ery
low price, is unlovely , inaccurate, and was jeered at even by the tr oops who carried it. It was,
however , highly effective, represents an appr oach to gunmaking that could not be ignored,
and helped change history . About the only things the Sten and the W estley have in common
are that they’ re British and that they’r e icons.
Some firearms are not her e that probably should be. One is the Marlin Model 39A, a
venerable lever -action .22 rimfire rifle that’ s been produced in the millions and truly
deserves a spot between these covers. It’ s not here because appar ently it is almost
impossible to find a high-quality photo of one. I wish there was a more ex otic reason,
but that will have to do , because it’s the truth.
A number of guns are unlikely choices. F oremost among these is the Russian Mosin-Nagant,
which has all the grace of a Soviet-era tr actor . However , its credentials are mind-boggling .
It’s been pr oduced in nine countries, carried in 31 wars (and counting), and is still very much
in use and very much for sale 112 years after its introduction. All in all, 37 million have been
produced. If that isn’ t great, it will do until great c omes along.
Another is the W ebley revolver . It’s an utterly glamourless gun that pales alongside romantic
sidearms such as the Luger and the Peacemak er . But when you look at its record of service,
the only other military sidearm that it can be compared to is the Colt Model 1911 .45. And that
was enough to get it admitted here.
As I said, this is not a tome. Hopefully , you’ll learn something within these pages, but mostly,
Gun: 100 Greatest Firearms is her e for you simply to appreciat e. Which I hope you do .
—David E. Petzal
shotgun can feed a family , defend a home, go to war , keep the peace, or win Olympic
gold. It can take the smallest gamebirds and the biggest game animals. The sheer variety
of shotguns means that with space for only 26 I had to choose carefully and still leave out
many great and deserving guns.
For instance, there ar e many fine shotguns in the world, made by hand with a staggering
amount of skill and artistr y . Including as many as deser ve space here would turn this book
into “the list of gorgeous, expensive guns Phil wishes he could afford but never will. ”
Instead I often chose one to stand for many . That’s why the Purdey self -opener makes the
list, but the equally great Holland and Holland Royal Eject or does not. There was only room
for one London Best sidelock gun if I hoped to convey the wide variety of the world’ s
shotguns from the lowly , versatile Mossberg 500 and the ubiquitous Remington 870 up
to the Fabbri O/ U of kings and movie stars.
I also picked guns that were not only gr eat in themselves, but that made the shotguns of
today possible. Incredibly , the W estley Richards droplock is not only still in production,
but back in 1875 it set the pattern for all hammerless, breakaction shotguns to follow .
John Browning’s Auto 5 was the the first semiautomatic shotgun, y et its design was so
good it was produced for almost a century . The soft-recoiling gas-operated Remington
1100 celebrates its 50th birthday as this book goes to print. When it first appeared in
1963 it immediately revolutionized semiauto shotguns and it is still br eaking clays
and folding birds today .
—Phil Bourjaily
Spanis h Mat chl ock Mus k et
he matchlock was the first effective ignition system
for handheld firearms. It consisted of a fuse held
in a serpentine arm that, at the pull of the trigger , was
dropped down into the priming char ge and fired the gun.
This example of a firearm using the matchlock system
was made circa 1530 in Madrid, which is appropriate,
because Spain was the first nation to adopt firearms as its
primary militar y arms. This matchlock is a huge, ungainly
gun that was designed to be supported by a forked rest
when its user aimed it. In the hands of Spanish infantry,
who were the most feared in the w orld at the time, the
matchlock terrorized the Americas.
The matchlock, although superseded by the flintlock,
enjoyed an extremely long and useful life because of
its extreme simplicity . All you needed was a fuse for the
serpentine, and, if you were prudent, you w ould ignite
both ends of the fuse so that if one end went out, you
would not be stuck with a useless gun.
German Fis htail Wh eell ock Pist ol
nvented in the early 16th century , the wheellock
ignition system overcame the slo wness of the
matchlock. The wheelock relied on a toothed steel wheel
powered by a spring . After you wound the spring and
pulled the trigger , the wheel would spin against a flint,
throwing a shower of sparks int o the priming charge.
Wheellocks were marvels of both mechanical and
metallurgical skill, and they were expensive t o make,
almost always being the guns of nobility . It is thought
that the gunsmiths who were able to turn them out must
also have had some experience as clockmakers, or at
least access to that sort of expertise. The mechanisms,
however , were complex and unr eliable compared to the
earlier matchlocks and later flintlocks. This particular
wheellock is German and is called a “fishtail” because of
its distinctive flared butt.
K en tu ck y Long Rif le
ou could call it the Pennsylvania Rifle, because it was cr eated in
that colony , but it came to fame in the hands of Kentuckians, and
thus it shall be remembered to hist ory. The K entucky Rifle appeared in
the early 1700s. It was a small-bore (most were .45, small for the time)
flintlock (later percussion) with a long ( 44 inches, typically) barrel and
a maple stock. At 8 to 9 pounds, K entuckies were quite light, and they
balanced superbly for offhand shooting.
They were also accurate, partially because the men who used them
were exceedingly skilled. During the R evolutionary War , American
marksmen took great delight in shooting British officers, often at
unheard-of ranges. This did not win the war , as is often claimed, but it
did bring great indignation and discontent to the British officer corps.
As the Kentucky evolved, it became mor e and more ornate.
Stocks were carved, often elaborately , and brass hardware such as
patchboxes became as much ornamentation as functional parts of
the rifle. In the heyday of the Kentucky Rifle, fr om about 1775 to 1830 ,
there were no fewer than 14 distinct “ schools” of the gun, each with its
own distinctive stock contour and ornamentation.
The Kentucky Rifle is one of those rar e firearms that has become
an art form in itself, as w ell as a legend, and an American icon.
T . Hens ha w Britis h Sea Service Blun der buss
he term “blunderbuss” is most likely a British corruption
of the Dutch words dunder and busche , meaning “thunder
gun. ” The blunderbuss was a shor t flintlock smoothbore with
a belled muzzle and was designed to be stuffed with a heav y
charge of powder and any kind of small pr ojectiles at hand to
cause maximum mayhem at very close range. This versatility
made it ideal for boarding parties at sea and beloved by the
British Navy when the sea ser vice was not occupied with rum,
imperialism, and other sorts of fun.
This example, dating from the Revolutionary W ar , was made
by the British firm of T . Henshaw and is marked as a naval gun
by its brass barrel (brass doesn’t rust) and lack of sling swivels
(the farthest you would have to carry it would be from your ship
to theirs). The belled muzzle made the blunderbuss somewhat
easier to reload in a hurry than a conventional firearm, but
did not, contrary to popular belief , increase the spread of its
projectiles. Most blunderbusses were compact guns, but much
larger versions wer e also used as swivel guns on naval vessels.
The historic pieces pictured here ar e from a 77-inch
smoothbore percussion gun that was used as a punt gun in
the Chesapeake Bay . Firing a pound of lead with each shot,
it was employed in the late 1800s by “market hunt ers” who
supplied restaurants in Baltimore and W ashington, D. C.
They might well have been able to harvest a hundred or more
ducks from one shot. The harsh environmental conditions
in the bay , as well as the effects of the gun’s heavy recoil,
account for this piece’ s condition.
Punt Gun
he largest hunting shotguns ever made, punt guns couldn’ t be fired from
the shoulder . Instead they were mounted in the bow of a small boat and
sculled toward flocks of ducks and geese sitting on the water . Everything about
the punt gun was massive: it might be 9 feet long, have a bor e with a diameter of
2 inches and fire a pound of shot. Despite its size, the punt gun obeys the same
ballistic rules of all shotguns, and its maximum effective range is no more than
60 yards. Sneaking close into range with a punt gun wasn’ t easy, but when the
ducks were in a ro w—yes, that’ s where we get that expr ession—the shooter
could be rewarded with as many as 50 birds with one shot.
Punt guns were popular among commer cial hunters in the United States
who shot birds for market. In the U .S., the guns wer e usually locally made and
were outlawed in 1900 . In England, oddly enough, punt gunning was—and
still is—accepted as a method of sport hunting, although only a very few punt
gunners remain. One of the most famous punt guns of all was the massive
double-barreled gun of Col. P eter Hawker , a well-known sportsman of the first
half of the 19th century . His gun had one flint and one percussion lock; when
both triggers were pulled, the slower lock time of the flintlock barr el resulted in
a second shot that raked the survivors as they took off after the first blast.
W estle y Richards & C o. Dro ploc k
s a Birmingham maker , Westley Richards never had the cachet
of a London shop . Birmingham guns in general faced a good
deal of prejudice, cast as inferior wares in the snooty w orld of
British shooting, because they could sometimes be pur chased
(gasp) off the rack, and because they were boxlocks, not more
expensive, elaborate full sidelocks. The test of time tells otherwise:
W estley Richards guns were so good that the company has
remained in business for 201 years. Mor eover , its Anson and Deeley
action, patented in 1875, introduced the idea of internal hammers
that were cock ed by the opening of the barrels; doubles as we know
them wouldn’t be possible without it, and the action is used today .
W estley Richards’ signature gun remains the droplock, the
ultimate refinement of the boxlock action featuring a hinged plate
on the bottom of the frame that gives easy access to the lockwork.
Y ou can tell a W estley Richards by its distinctive doll’s head t op
fastener as well, an extension of the rib that fits into the top of the
receiver . W estley Richards still offers the droplock today , with
prices starting just north of $50,000 .
W estle y Richards & C o. Dro ploc k Doub le Rif le
reat Britain in the 19th century was obsessed with
stealing and keeping all the countries it possibly could,
and along with this massive landgrab came a passion
for big-game hunting in places such as Africa and India.
V ery quickly , and to their occasional great sorr ow , British
nimrods discover ed that they needed very powerful rifles
to deal with the various megafauna they wished to slay
—and eventually settled on the double rifle, which was
patterned on the side-by-side shotgun, as a solution.
Of this rare type of arm, there is no higher expr ession
than the W estley Richards Droplock, so called because
the trigger mechanism is a self-contained unit which, at
the push of a button, unlocks from the rec eiver and drops
clear of the gun for cleaning or repair . (Some Westleys have
gold-plated trigger mechanisms to better withstand the
effects of tropical weather .) People who hunt the largest
and most dangerous game still use double rifles. Nothing
offers two quicker aimed shots, or so much cachet.
Here, in one photo , is encapsulated the glamour of the double rifle,
held in the hand of Ernest Hemingway , who has just shot well and
truly , and ended the career of an aged Cape buffalo in the best literary
fashion. Double rifles are not common today , as the fine ones cost a
small fortune and are used mostly by wealthy clients and not by the
professional hunters who keep their clients from getting killed. My
favorite double-rifle story , however , comes not from Hemingway, but
from Robert Ruark, who wrote the gr eatest of all safari books, Horn
of the Hunter . Ruark, while hunting buffalo with professional hunter
Harry Selby, shot a bull and his .470 Rigby doubled on him—both
barrels went off simultaneously . The results were horrific at both ends
of the gun. The buff went flat on his stomach, Ruark went flat on his
back, and the rifle went sailing off into the horizon.
A moment passed. Selby said, “Really , one of you ought to get up. ”
Purde y Self- Opener
stablished in 1819, Purdey’s of L ondon builds one grade of double—“best”—
and for years they purveyed it to kings and counts. The Purdey is built on the
Beesley self-opening action developed in 1879. “Self -opener ” means the gun’s
mainspring helps it open when you press the lever . Closing the gun recocks the
springs, so it opens easily , then closes with more difficulty. There is an apocryphal
story of a Purdey salesman questioned by an American customer about the
system. The salesman said, “Our customers do not close their own guns. ”
Closing a Purdey was the job of your loader . Y ou fired the gun, opened it, and
handed it to your loader , who gave you its freshly loaded bracemate in exchange.
Y ou’ll pay the price of a small house and wait two years for your made-to-
measure Purdey . The Purdey doesn’t earn its place in this book because of its
price or aristocratic clientele; it’ s here because it epitomizes the British game
gun, which represents the Platonic ideal of a shotgun. Start with wood and steel
and cut away everything that’s not a gun, and you’ re left with a game gun. Slim,
light, ergonomically perfect, and fitted to the owner , it comes as close as any
firearm can to becoming part of the shooter . Although designed for shooting
birds driven towar d you by beaters, the game gun works even bett er as an
American upland hunting gun.
Samue l Ha wk en Plains Rif le
his is the gun of the Mountain Men and was brought to its
peak of perfection by Samuel Hawken, who operated a
shop in St. Louis with his brother Jacob . When the Kentucky
Rifle crossed the Mississippi in the hands of the first trappers,
it proved inadequate for the R ocky Mountains. Its long barrel
did not travel well on horseback, so it was shortened. Its brass
hardware attract ed too much attention from afar , so it was
replaced with iron. Its caliber was not enough t o cope with
large, unfriendly animals, so it was increased fr om .45, on
average, to .52. The barr el was made heavier to withstand the
occasional horrendous powder char ge that a long shot would
require. And finally , the slender stock was changed from maple
to walnut, and made heavier and more robust.
There were a few flintlock Hawkens, but the gr eat majority
were percussion, and while all wer e custom made and thus
different, this a pretty fair example of a Plains Rifle. The heyday
of the Hawken lasted only from 1840 t o 1860, but in its time it
was the best you could get—a gun to stak e your life on.

Co lt Mod el 1861 N a vy R ev ol v er
oung Samuel Colt’ s 1847 revolver , the Walker
Model, gave the T exas Rangers the firepower they
needed to fight Comanches but failed financially . Colt
struggled, releasing successive models until his 1851 Navy
hit number one with a bullet (round ball, actually). The
“Navy ” part of the name was a tribute to the T exas Navy
in gratitude for its purchase of the first C olt Patersons,
and the revolver’s cylinder bor e an engraving of the T exas
Navy in action at the Battle of Campeche. Despite its
name, the Navy found its great success on dry land: At
/ 2 pounds the .36 caliber Navy was much smaller than
the massive Colt .44s that preceded it, and it rode easily
in a belt holster . More than 250 , 000 were made between
1851 and 1873. It was used by both sides of the Civil War
and throughout the world. Australian bushr anger Ned
Kelly carried a C olt Nav y when he made his famous last
stand in homemade armor .
W ell after the advent of cartridge firearms, the
muzzleloading Nav y revolver remained a fav orite among
late-adopters of the 19th century who could cast their
own bullets and find caps and gunpowder more easily
than they could find often-scarce cartridge ammunition.