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1. Benelli Black Eagle
Back in 1991, little-known gun company Benelli introduced an autoloading shotgun with their inertia-driven system; the world of autoloading shotguns hasn’t been the same since.
2. Knight MK-85
In 1985, sporting goods store owner and amateur gunsmith Tony Knight built a muzzleloader with the nipple directly behind the powder charge, at the rear of the barrel, rather than to the side as with more traditional muzzleloaders. In addition to making ignition far more reliable, Knight’s design is also credited with “sparking” (pun intended) the modern muzzleloading revolution.
3. Ruger Number One
Bill Ruger was infamous for building not what customers wanted to buy but what he wanted to build. The falling-block actioned No. 1 single-handedly resurrected American interest in the single shot rifle.
4. Ruger 10/22
first introduced in 1964, the Ruger 10/22 is chambered for the .22 Long Rifle rimfire cartridge and is the standard by which all other .22 rifles are judged.
Based on the AR-10 designed by Eugene Stoner, the M-16 and its variants started the “modern sporting rifle” craze, and it remains in use by militaries all over the world. It was officially adopted by the U.S. military in 1969 (although it was in use as early as 1963), and the AR platform remains very popular among civilian shooters today.
6. Remington 700
The Remington 700, designed from the ground up to be a mass produced weapon, is one of the most popular bolt action rifles available today. It enjoys great popularity with civilian as well as military and police shooters worldwide and is one of the most accurate out-of-the-box rifles ever.
7. Mossberg 500
The Mossberg 500, first introduced in 1961, is currently the number one selling shotgun in America and is second in total production, behind the Remington 870. Its low cost, rugged reliability and literally hundreds of variations make it popular with military/law enforcement personal, hunters, and gun enthusiasts all over the world.
8. Marlin Model 60
First introduced in 1960 as an inexpensive recreational rifle, Marlin claims that it is the most successful of its type in the world with over 11,000,000 produced. What we do know for certain is that made recreational shooting accessible to millions.
The M-14 began replacing the M1 Garand as early as 1959, and stands as America’s last true “battle rifle” (standard issue rifle firing a full-power rifle cartridge). It remains a well-loved weapon that still sees limited use today
First introduced into active service in 1948, the AK-47 is the most widely produced firearm… ever. Designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov, it remains in widespread use all over the world.
First adopted by the German Army as a replacement for the fragile and expensive MG-34 (itself the first modern general purpose machine gun), the MG-42 and the terrifying 1,200-1,500 rounds per minute were so feared that the U.S. Army created training films to help soldiers handle the psychological trauma of facing one in battle. Variants of “Hitler’s Buzzsaw” remain in service today.
12. Winchester Model 70
Often called “The Rifleman’s Rifle,” Winchester Model 70s made before 1964 remain some of the most highly sought after bolt action rifles in existence.
13. M1 Garand
The first standard issue semi-automatic service rifle in the world, General George S. Patton called the M1 “The greatest battle implement ever devised.” What else is there to say?
14. Browning M2
The Browning M2 machine gun, designed by John Browning to fire the formidable .50BMG cartridge, is simply the most prolific machine gun in history. Production began in 1933, and the “Ma Duce” remains in widespread usage today.