Bestest rifle of all time

Virtually inspired by a slight derailment in this thread I got to thinking about rifles. Not hard to do, get me thinking about long guns, and we can all agree that some rifles are better than others for specific applications - I wouldn’t hunt elk with an AR-15, nor defend my house with a Ruger No.1. But is there one that could be considered the “best”?
I submit the Winchester model 94 in .30-30
Some might say it doesn’t do anything particularly well, I say it does everything it needs to. If I was to disappear into the Rockies for a couple of years I’d want my old .30-30 at my side. I could drop big game out past 100 yards, but unlike my Remington 700 VLS, I could also hit something closer than 10 feet. The .30-30 doesn’t have the ballistics of newer cartridges, but that big flat-nosed bullet will drop anything close enough to be a threat. It’s also the the right size to bring into play quickly, short enough to use up close and light enough to carry all day, and rugged enough to use as a club or for making your way through dense forest.
Add to that the fact that I’ve had one in my hands since I was old enough to deal with the recoil and so am comfortable with it in a way that can’t be explained to anyone that hasn’t shot the same gun for 25+ years.

I do love the fact that my Remington can reach out and touch someone at almost 1000 yards, and the M1 Garand and 1903 Springfield are almost as versatile as the m94, but I still think the lever action has a slight edge.

Anyone else have an opinion? Do 20th century military rifles beat out sporting arms, or vice-versa?

No debate is necessary on the best handgun of course, that’d be the 1911

“Only accurate rifles are interesting.”
Colonel Townsend Whelen

There are many different types of rifles. And there are many things you can do with a rifle. No one rifle can do all things well.

However, if I could have only one rifle, it would be a metric FAL. :slight_smile:

We have to have some parameters here to argue. What are we shooting with it?

My personal favorite is my M1 Garand. But I also love all of my Mausers. If sheer usage makes best, then my Ruger 10/22 gets the nod. Come to think of it, if I could only have one rifle for all uses, I’d pick the 10/22. It will take down anything deer-sized or smaller, and I have no business hunting anything bigger. With a 25 round magazine, it would also serve adequately as a defensive weapon, if I couldn’t get to the shotgun or the pistols.

As a tangent, why did you choose the M1 Garand over the M1 Carbine?

Best rifle? Hmmm, the Winchester 94 is a good choice, but I’d opt out of .30-.30 and maybe go with the .450 Marlin. If I only get one, I want it to be able to handle just about anything.

Not at all surprising is that I agree with Silenus that I do love my Ruger 10-22, and of course I put more rounds through it than I do with just about anything else.

I guess my overall choice would end up being my dads Russian milled SKS (no Eastern European stampings for me). I really enjoy shooting the 7.62 round, there’s never going to be a shortage of it, and the rifle is simple to maintain. Also that cartridge is really nice as an all around utility round.

Parameters? That takes all the fun out of it :wink:

SHTF - AR-15 in M4 configuration
Standard home defense - ??? I don’t own a rifle that would fill this catagory. Winchester 1300 defender 12 guage and a 1911 do the job.
Hunting - I don’t want to go there, WAY too many variables. Mule deer vs whitetail vs elk vs moose vs bear vs rabbit. Although for pure class with game, I like a single shot like the Ruger No.1.
200 yards? About anything will work here. Lets say Springfield 1903 or M1.
500 yards? Remington 700 .308
1000 yards? Off the shelf that I can afford? Remington 700 in .300 Win Mag
Chased by the law and hiding out in the wild - silenus made a good point with the 10/22. Rabbit and grouse are more likely to be lunch than deer and elk.
As an aside, for Count Blucher, I know a retired Army guy that swears by the M1 Carbine, and has your exact question whenever anyone mentions any other rifle. Apparently his little Carbine saved his life more than once. I can’t imagine he would even bother debating this, for him it is the best thing ever made. I don’t think he hunted after SE Asia, so his criteria are rather specific.

Feinwerkbau FWB-300S…one of the “bestest” air rifles of all time anyway. :smiley:

I find the .30 cal carbine round to be little more than a glorified pistol round, with lousy stopping power. (Which is what it was designed as, really.) The Garand, however, is one of the top battle rifles ever designed. The 30-06 round has well-lauded ballistics and stopping power, and the Garand is a sheer joy to shoot. The 8-round en bloc clip gives you firepower when you need it, without having a magazine protruding from the bottom of the rifle. It reloads quickly and easily, and in the hands of an expert (which I am certainly not!) can blow the balls off a horsefly at serious distances.

I think the OP is really asking two questions. we can sing the praises of the .30-30 (or the 7.62x39mm) all day, and yet still debate about whether the Ruger, or the Marlin, or the Winchester is the best delivery tool for the cartridge.

Having said that, I will cast my vote for the Model 94 in .30-30 as well. The load is the most versatile there is; I can stock up on .30-30 knowing I’m equipped for anything from varmit to big game. In Virginia, it’s not legal for rabbits or wild turkey, but out west, you can use a .30-30 with a light load for your campfire food. And with a heavier load, even big mule deer are no problem. I might even consider going after elk.

And the lever action Model 94, iron sights, the classic “first rifle” to carry, is a venerable workhorse as well.

I can promise that the .30-30 will drop elk, quite handily. I don’t know about moose, don’t have much chance to hunt them in my neck of the woods.

The main lack in the old Winchester vs. Marlin is that it’s not really set up to accept a scope, but I don’t like the ballistics well enough to seriously want a scope…
Of course, going forward we won’t have a choice but to take a Marlin or Ruger if we want a new lever action. I should pit U.S. Repeating Arms for shutting down mdl 94 and 70 production.
No one is going to jump in with the AR vs. AK debate?

Hey, the Kalashnikov is good enough for the guys on Lost

j/k. But I’d second the call for the SKS. It just seems perfect as far as reliability, sturdiness, utility, etc are concerned.

.30-06 is pretty well regarded as a well balanced multipurpose rifle. A good comination of power, speed, and distance, easy to find ammo for, and an available option for many manufacturers rifles. Add one 12 gauge shotgun and you really wouldn’t need another long arm in your gun cabinet. But where would the fun be in only having two guns?

But which .30-06? The afore mentioned '03 Springfield? Winchester model 70? NO! Of course, the M1 (since I don’t have one, it is obviously the best rifle of all time… “HONEY! I’m going to the store.”)

Anecdote - last hunting season my brain-dead hunting partner forgot his ammo. The only store along hwy 24 that was open had but two kinds of ammo - .308 and .30-06. Good thing he was shooting a .308

And the can of worms continues to open. Again, my dad has a sublime Ruger M77 MK II with a tuned trigger and a has to be seen to be appreciated Bausch and Lomb 30x scope that could take the nuts off a tick at 300 yards (and a Ruger M22 that’s almost identical, but more economical to fire) that are a joy.

Not to further the opening of the worms, but can I hijack and ask about handguns now? Is there anything that can match a HK USP in .45?

I’m rather fond of the BAR, myself.

Tom Corbett Space Cadet Atomic Rifle:

1911 - preferably one with the edges knocked off and a Robar-type baked on finish and tritium night sights.

Sure, you can’t hang any accessories off of it, but it fits my hand just right, which is far more important to me. Tried the Mauser M2 and hated it, I really wanted to keep that thing, but I just can’t stand the molded plastic of it or the HK or Glock. Only fired a few rounds through an HK, found it accurate with a nice trigger, but bulky. My hands don’t like S&W grips, either. I like everything else about them, but they don’t fit me…

Only time I’ve had one of my 1911’s (well 1991A1) jam is when
A) I limp-gripped it or
2) I used my crappy hand-loads

Limp-wristing is a myth

I’m not sure I agree with it, I’d also put forth the 1911 as a top-notch handgun. And yes, it does fit good indeed.

Well, I can’t argue with that. Hasn’t happened in a few years, possibly since I had it worked on, I just thought my technique had improved.

Recently discovered they the front sight on my son’s cut down 10/22 is bent and the rear peep is missing. Dangit. Maybe it’s time for him to learn how to use a real sight (he’s 10). Or, more important, maybe it’s time to learn how to use a gun case properly. Maybe I’ll fix the thing, hand it down to his little brother, and start him shooting the M4.

A Ruger mini-14 is not particularly accurate out of the box, but with a few cheap modification it can outperform an AR-15, which costs hundreds of dollars more. It’s reliable as hell, and the action is based on the venerable M1 Garand carbine.

When it comes to .30-30, I’ll take a Marlin 336 over a Winchester 94 any day. Add a peep sight and you’ll have a very light and versitile lever gun that’s good for all but the largest North American game. With a good scope you can shoot pretty well out to 250 yards.