Gun Collection Essentials


February 23, 2006, 06:38 PM
Hello, all. First post here. I'm a long time lurker of The High Road and for no reason in particular I've decided to decloak and bring up a topic for discussion :) The topic in question is this:

Which guns (or types of guns) are essential to a person's gun collection?

To kick things off, I've come up with a list which I feel best answers that question. The list is comprised of particular types of firearms followed by some examples in parentheses. Now of course this is just a personal opinion, but I feel that many would agree that no gun collection is complete without having at least one each of the following kinds of firearms:


.22lr semi-auto (i.e. Ruger Mk I/II/III, Browning Buckmark, Colt Woodsman)
.38sp pocket revolver (i.e. S&W J-frame, Colt Detective special)
9mm double stack semi-auto (i.e. Hi-Power, Glock 17/19, Beretta 92fs)
.357mag full-size double action revolver (i.e. S&W 686, Colt Python, Ruger GP100)
.45acp 1911 (i.e. Springfield, Colt)

Long Guns

.22lr rifle (i.e. Ruger 10/22, CZ-452)
.223 AR-15 (i.e. Bushmaster, Colt)
7.62x39mm AK-47 (many variants)
12 gauge pump action shotgun (i.e. Remington 870, Mossberg 500, Winchester 1200/1300)

Please bear in mind that this list was generated from the perspective of collecting guns for the purpose of self-defense/SHTF-scenarios/general-gun-nuttery. If you collect for the purpose of hunting or competition or war memorabilia, you might have a completely different list of essential guns.

With that being said, if your views agree with mine and you find yourself itching for a new (or new-to-you) gun, take a look at the list, see what's missing from your collection, and fill the empty slot. And once all the slots are filled, perhaps you can start collecting on a particular theme. For example:

"The Guns of John Moses Browning"
"The Ultimate Glock Collection"
"Civilian Versions of Military Small Arms of the World"

Well there it is. What does everybody think? Is there anything missing? Anything which does not belong on the list? I look forward to your comments.

Thanks for taking the time to read my inane blatherings :)


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February 23, 2006, 06:44 PM
I will go with your list and add a SIG (everyone must have at least one)
like a P226 and /or P220 and a good western gun (Beretta stampeed or Ruger)
In long guns i would add a bigger caliber how about 30-06 and a lever action 3030

February 23, 2006, 06:51 PM
I like your list, but would make it AR-15 or Ak-47 and add a 308 or 30-06 bolt gun for huntin' game or "blue helmets" at long range.:neener:

February 23, 2006, 06:57 PM
US Rifle, M1, caliber .30.

February 23, 2006, 07:02 PM
I'd suggest either an AK or AR, and add a high quality .308 battle rifle. FAL for me, M1A works well, too. Make sure you have some combat modifications made to your 12Ga. Personally, I have an 870 for field use, and a combat modified Beretta 1201 (semi, with full length pistol gripped stock).

February 23, 2006, 07:15 PM
I have been rationalizing this same subject and came up with the following conclusion.

1 large frame pistol
1 small frame pistol
1 rifle (223 or 308)
1 50 bmg rifle
Spare parts, cleaning equipment, & plenty of ammunition would be required.

That should cover you for most any situation that could occur.

Baba Louie
February 23, 2006, 07:30 PM
No No No RichieV,
You've got it all wrong, man... Basics?

Ya need a .22 REVOLVER, not a jammomatic.
A .357 snubbie (you can still load it with those little .38's if ya want to)
Slim little 9mm single stack like a Kahr if ya must have a 9.
I'll give ya the 1911 in .45 acp, BUT, a Commander LW.

And another thing...
WHERE is yer COWBOY GUN or .44 MAGNUM N Frame?

In the long gun category... lemme think about it for a sec... still lookin' at Basics mind ya...

.22 Marlin 39A take down, so I agree there.
A poodle shooter huh? I prefer to shoot my poodles with a lever-action in some pistola calibre, like .357 or .44 mag, maybe a .45 Colt (to go with my COWBOY GUN), heck, maybe even a real calibre fer takin game (poodles is OK if cooked just right, I like lotsa garlic and redwine sauce with mine, and I prefer to trap them since it doesn't destroy so much good meat that way... side's that, they're easy to trap) so maybe one in .45-70.
Smoothbore fer me is an over/under in 20 ga., tho' I've shot 12 ga now and then. Pumps are jammomatics for me as well. I've taken to lookin' at SxS as well and may have to do something about that someday.

And another thing... I didn't see no black powder cap-n-ball on yer list and that's about as basic as ya can get...

And one last thing RichieV...

Welcome to THR :D

(I really like your list... I was just joshin' the new guy a little)

February 23, 2006, 07:35 PM
I don't think I could live without my:

Mosins-a 91/30 and an M44; they are just plain rugged.
Enfield-No.4 Mk.2; smooth, accurate and it has ten shot mags, the hi-caps of the surplus world
22-nothing special; workhorse small game getter/plinker
12Ga-nothing special;universal game getter/self defense gun

1935 Nagant revovler-goes with my Mosin, plus its a seven shot six-shooter with a fixed firing pin on the hammer
Springfield G.I-need a 1911 in .45ACP

February 23, 2006, 07:40 PM
.22 pistol or revolver (.22 is a necesity regardless)
9mm,.45 acp, or .40 S&W autopistol (make sure the pistol is same platform, commonality of ammo)

Remington 870 or Mossberg 590 series of 12 gauge shotguns, with a backup long bbl for birds


MBR in .308 (FAL, G3, etc.)
either an AK or an AR-15 (one or the other, not both unless you have the coin, and the desire for both)
Remington 700, Winchester M70, or Savage 110 hb black "precision rifle" chambered in .308, 7mm Rem Mag, or .300 Win Mag w/ Leupold scope. (hint: get into handloading)

Such is the minimum you want.

(Although a .44 mag revolver, some .38 revolvers for trade, a cz-52, and a .50 BMG bolt gun would be nice)

Black Majik
February 23, 2006, 07:43 PM
I see a few essentials

First and foremost, EVERYONE needs a 1911 of some sort. Whether it'd be a Colt, Kimber, SA, Wilson, whatever...

.22 Rifle AND pistol. For obvious reasons. Great plinkers and great to learn on

.38/.357 mag revolver. Many uses, well except for me since I'm selling my only revolver tomorrow :D

.223 rifle. AR15 mainly

.308 rifle. Either in Bolt Gun configuration or semi auto like an M14

12 ga shotgun.

9mm semiauto pistol.

your pick of a super bigbore rifle or pistol. :evil:

February 23, 2006, 07:46 PM
your list looks ok, but you forgot a lever action 30-30.

February 23, 2006, 08:52 PM
Basically whatever drops your hammer (or releases your striker, if you get my drift). It's your collection, let it take you on a learning trip.

February 23, 2006, 09:21 PM
Richie, seems to me that you have 5 different calibers of handgun, 3 different in rifle, at least 1 size shot (though different shot for different targets would be wise), and when TSHTF I think perhaps a few less calibers and more cartridges would be wise.

Perhaps a .22lr pistol and a .22lr rifle. Another pistol, perhaps you like .45, perhaps you like 9mm. Then either go with an AR or an AK. My preference would be an AK *and* an SKS. Then as some suggest, perhaps you'd like a hunting rifle. That would be a total of 4 calibers instead of 9.

So then be sure to have several thousand of each, and perhaps 10,000 of .22lr.

as far as bartering with guns and ammo, I wouldn't plan on doing least any farther than having so much extra ammo that you could swap a box or two occasionally. Perhaps cigarettes and booze would be better. After a month, both would be High Demand items.

I'm just musing here...I'm no great preparer. Yet.

February 23, 2006, 09:35 PM
as far as bartering with guns and ammo, I wouldn't plan on doing least any farther than having so much extra ammo that you could swap a box or two occasionally. Perhaps cigarettes and booze would be better. After a month, both would be High Demand items.

Great suggestion. At the urging of some hi tech computer geeks I know, I took Y2K more seriously than most. I didn't purchase toilet paper for the first year and a half of the new milennium! TP makes a fabulous barter item. (Hint: go without it for three months, then we'll continue this discussion!)

There's a humorous bumper sticker that states: "Ammo: the currency of the new millenium!" Perhaps not so humorous. Hey folks, it doesn't wear out on the shelf.

February 23, 2006, 10:09 PM
I have weird requirements for a gun collection, and it revolves around the numbers 9 and 19 (for my birthday, Sept 19).
Gun(s) manufactured in 1919.
Gun(s) manufactured in the 19th century.
Browning Hi-Power: the original uber 9x19 pistol. (check)
Smith & Wesson Model 19, a classic in a great caliber.
Glock 19, in 9x19!
PP-19 Bison (, although I think I'll have to settle for a replica.

February 23, 2006, 10:13 PM
Hmmm... interesting question, with a million different answers - all of them correct.

Here's my list:
1. A scoped bolt-action .22LR for squirrels and other varmints.
2. A good quality double-barrel 12-gauge for skeet shooting and home defense.
3. A pump-action 12-gauge for turkeys, pheasants, etc.
4. A large-caliber semi-auto for hunting whitetail and other large game in heavy cover and rough terrain.
5. A large caliber scoped bolt-action rifle for hunting whitetail and other large game at longer ranges.
6. A pistol for personal defense.

Of course, I've got a lot more guns than just 6 in my collection, but for me, those would be the essentials.

February 23, 2006, 11:02 PM
Extra Gun cases, pistol rugs and handgun cases.

These get taken to gunsmith for repair and whatnot. Come home with new guns inside.

Why do you think women have empty shoe boxes in the vehicle trunk? To get the new shoes home -

Yeah so guys learns from ladies, if'n it works - who cares? :)

4v50 Gary
February 23, 2006, 11:13 PM
Different type of collection for different type of collectors. Some guys buy one type of firearm like the Colt SAA or pre-64 Model 70s or German P-08s. You're a practical will use it type of guy. What you've listed puts you off to a good start for shooting fun.

February 24, 2006, 12:29 AM

First off, WELCOME to THR!!

Your list isn't bad at all. Redbearde beat me to it regarding the number of calibers you have on hand. I don't have a .22 (rimfire)rifle for small game yet but thats on a future list. Most everything else I have takes readily available ammo.

My list would look something like:

Beretta 92F/M9 or similar 9mm
Colt 1911 pistol (full size 5" bbl) 45 acp
AR15 20" bbl. .223/5.56 cal.
M1a scout or full size .308/ 7.62 w/ scope
Rem 03a3 rifle 30-06
M98 bolt action .308 w/scope
shotgun, pump 12 gauge

Four other additions I would try to add is:

M1 Garand 30-06
AR15-M4 flattop carbine .223/5.56
10/22 .rifle .22
S&W 29/629 44 mag/44 special ('cause I want one-lol)

And optional:

Remington M700-P LTR .223, .308, 300 Rem Ultra Mag
FN-FAL .308
AK47 7.62 x 39
SKS " "

Not including additions or optional stuff I would be using 5 calibers total (2 pistol, 3 rifle) and 1 gauge of shotshell. I like to have a bolt and semi-auto rifle in the same caliber so one can be scoped and as a back-up.

Just my .02 :)


February 24, 2006, 06:29 AM
In the context of your stated purposes I would say minimum would run something like;

1)One .22RF handgun
2)One centerfire handgun in the "service" category.
3)One .22RF rifle
4)One centerfire rifle minimum of or equivilent to .243 Win/6mm Rem.
5)One 28, 20, 16 or 12 gauge shotgun.

Most things could be done with these five. An ideal battery simply adds more variety - rifles of varying cartridges; say a .223, a 6mm and a .358 Win just as example. And adds more shotguns; say a 28 gauge and a 12 gauge.

Or doubling up etc; two (or more) centerfire rifles of the same make and model, shotgun, etc.

February 24, 2006, 07:59 AM
Hey all,

Great to see all these responses.

When I compiled my list, I had in mind the distillation of the guns I tended to find myself wanting/needing over the years of building my collection. So it's not a list of guns necessary for a particular scenario, but more along the lines of "if I'm the kind of person who is into self-defence, or is interested in ensuring he/she survives the zombie uprising, or is just a general gun-nut (firearms enthusiast), what guns will I tend to own, and what guns will I find myself wanting/needing when I've got gun-money in my pocket?"

See if this sounds familiar:

After watching Dawn of the Dead/Lethal Weapon/the nightly news you come to the realization that a handgun could be a handy thing to have around. So off to the local gunshop you go and purchase a 9mm just like one you've seen on TV.

After owning that for awhile, you find yourself wanting another gun, because after all one gun isn't enough. But you don't want another 9mm handgun because you've already got one. So off to the gunshop you go and you talk with the salesman who says that a .22 will help your marksmanship and is dirt cheap to shoot. Sold on that premise, you pick up a nice .22 autoloader.

"Wow! .22 is fun to shoot, and it's cheap!! I want another! But I already have a pistol, so I'll check out the rifles." So you go to Walmart and pick up a Ruger 10/22.

During one of your numerous trips to Walmart for purchasing ammo, the shotguns on display catches your eye. Soon, thoughts of you racking that pump in different situations run through your head...

"Mister, you best get off my property!" chk-chk
"Pull!" chk-chk
"Don't worry, ma'am. I'll take care of this." chk-chk
"Yeah I know it's not a machine gun with an attached grenade launcher, but say helloooo to my little friend!" chk-chk

...and next thing you know a pump-action 12 gauge is riding home with you.

You go on the Internet and start reading the forums and things snowball from there.

Anyway, again I look forward to your comments. Thanks for the welcome :)


Baba Louie
February 24, 2006, 12:14 PM
"Mister, ... chk-chk
errr, Rich... :uhoh:
I know how you meant that, and I'm sure that more than one of us has thought that (heck, even said it out loud, or something like that, amongst friends), but in a public forum and all = giving outsiders a window to our innermost fears and/or Walter Mitty desires... :cool:
Well, you'll figure it out.

I like old milsurp bolt action (read cheap and fun) rifles cause they're cheap to buy and fun to shoot. Sometimes even the ammo can be cheap to buy. They've got a bit of history behind them and in several cases were actually used in some conflict somewhere... and kinda like to think about where they might have been, what their riflemen might have seen, etc.

But I don't think I'll ever admit to holding a Model 29 in my hand and saying anything Dirty Harry-like. I much prefer DeNiro talking to a mirror, asking it "You Talking to Me?" :D

February 24, 2006, 12:48 PM
Richie "The Ultimate Glock Collection"
Good one. That made me laugh out loud.:D That would be like collecting modern Stanley screwdrivers.

Seriously though, good question. I would add a 40S&W pistol. Other must haves have already been mentioned. poppy

February 24, 2006, 01:06 PM
Since you are asking for must have essentials v. nice to have, the list is pretty small. Also, for "must haves" I'm not sure I'd put particular brands and models (with a few exceptions) so much as general types of guns.

For a practical use collection (home defense, carry, potential SHTF) here is my list:


-A .22lr pistol. Cheap practice and can be used for small game if you really need it with light easily packed ammo.

-A modern full-sized or intermediate sized auto. 9mm is nice for cheaper practice, is capable with quality JHP, and if you follow my next suggestion you will have the big bore as well (and thus the high-cap 9mm will give you more variety). The advantage of an intermediate sized gun is you have relatively high capacity (15 in the Taurus PT911, 15 in the Glock 19, 13 in the CZ 75 Compact for instance) and a relatively concealable gun.

-A good 1911

-A medium framed .357mag. A 3" or 4" K-frame is also good for CCW, any .357 gives a lot of versatility in ammo, in a 4" or greater barrel they are good woods guns, etc.

-A large bore revolver. .45LC, .44mag, .41mag are all good woods guns, and can be a ton of fun.

-If you live in a CCW state and the medium framed revolver isn't a size that is CCWable for you, and you don't find a 1911 or high-cap 9mm carriable, you need another carriable gun. Something like a steel framed S&W J-frame/Taurus 85/605, 3" K-frame revolver, Kahr P9 or K9, Glock 26 with mag extension, Glock 19, SIG 239, or Taurus Milennium Pro series are very concealable guns yet large enough to not be specialty (carry only) guns.

Long guns:

-A good lever gun. Can be loaded on the fly, inexpensive, PC (if in a SHTF scenario, it might make it less likely that you'll attract unwanted attention from authorities), and they are fast shooting guns. In a revolver caliber they are great HD guns too.

-A pump action 12ga or 20ga shotgun. The classic HD set up.

-A .22lr rifle.

A nice assault rifle type gun, or a nice bolt rifle, might be nice, but probably aren't "essentials".

February 24, 2006, 02:09 PM
My collection is basically just the essentials:

9mm CCW
.22 rifle
12 ga pump shotgun
.30-30 rifle

I need to get a .22 conversion kit for the 9mm, and a bolt-action rifle in a high-power caliber (.308 probably) with some decent glass. Then, replace the "cowboy assault rifle" (the .30-30) and the .22 rifle with an AR-15 with a .22 conversion kit, and I'll have the ultimate "essentials" collection.

9mm CCW with .22 kit
.223 AR15 with .22 kit
12 ga pump shotgun
.308 bolt-action rifle with scope

6 guns in the space of 4, all taking extremely common ammo. :)

February 24, 2006, 02:43 PM
"OK, I'll play", he says while rummaging through the "Artillery Locker"

.22LR auto..yeah, got that, MK II Ruger
.38 snubby..yeah, got that a cheap Rohm/RG-38
9MM....hmmm nothing in here like that.
.357 DA revolver...hmmm no DA, but do have a 50th Year Blackhawk. Gotta get a 6" GP-100.
.45ACP...yeah Springfield Champion, and a GI-45

.22LR rifle...check 40th Year 10/22, and OLD Marlin 99.
.223......hmmm no "Poodle Shooters" in here
7.62x39...Yugo 59/66 SKS, complete with all the grenade launcher stuff
US Rifle Cal .30 M1 popularly known as "The Garand"
Mosin-Nagant M-44
Mossberg ATR-100 in .30-06

Maverick 88 pump with 2 barrels..28" mod choke & 18-1/2" cylinder bore

Oh, yeah...almost forgot the most fun gun for indoor [basement range] use.....The much feared "Red Ryder model 200 Range Rifle with compass in the stock" And no, I haven't shot my eye out....:D :D :D :D

Big Larry
February 24, 2006, 03:07 PM
Well, let's see: I think this is all I've got.

H&R 22 9 shot revolver
.25 Raven (not super proud but a buddy needed some money)
.357 Ruger Blackhawk
9mm Ruger P-95

Marlin 18 shot .22LR
Marlin 45-70 Lever Action
Marlin .357 Cowboy Carbine Lever
Henry .17 Yellow Boy Lever
Remington BDL 30-06 bolt
Remington 870 Wingmaster 20 ga
2 Winchester Ranger 1100's 20 ga
1 Winchester Ranger 1100 12 ga
1 Smith & Wesson 20 ga pump
Rossi SXS 12 ga 20 in. barrel
Mosin 7.62
Ithaca SXS 12 gal
Savage single shot 12 ga.

February 24, 2006, 04:33 PM

February 24, 2006, 04:35 PM
Well, my take on this is that you asked about "essentials" and not "a good collection". I think there's a big difference. Even bigger depending on how you define "essential". Essential - guns you need for a well rounded collection, or essential - guns you need if it all goes to hell in a handbasket?

I usually put the minimum requirements for a well rounded collection into something like this.
small caliber pistol
small caliber rifle
large caliber pistol
large caliber rifle
If you want an extra go with a medium caliber rifle.

The small calibers can be anything in .17, .22lr, or .22mag depending on whether you are looking at general shooting or SHTF. For SHTF you need .22LR, otherwise any of the others is fine.

The large calibers need to be good enough for self defense and hunting. For SHTF I think that means .357, 9mm, .40, or .45 and magazine fed .223, 7.62X39, or .308. For general purpose usage you could use anything in .243, .270, 30-06, 30-30, 45-70, or even one of the milsurps like 7.62X54R.

Shotgun for SHTF would be pump 12, but otherwise any good 12 or 20 gauge in pump, O/U, or SxS would be fine.

Personally, I use a heritage .22 revolver with both the .22Lr and .22Mag cylinders. My current small caliber rifle is a lever action .22 mag but I'm thinking about getting a marlin 39A for .22LR. My SHTF pistols are a .357 revolver and my .45 1911. Large caliber rifles are levers in 30-30 and 35 remington and an M1A in .308. Shotguns are a mossberg 500 in 12 gauge and SxSs in 12, 20, and 28. Medium caliber rifles are a lever .357 and an SKS in 7.62X39.

So I can go with either the SHTF senario or just regular shooting fun. I figure if I can't take care of the problem with what I've listed here then it wouldn't matter what other gun I had access to. It ain't gettin taken care of!

Jeff Timm
February 24, 2006, 04:46 PM
Are we talking "Personal Battery" here or "Gun collection?"

Personal batteries come in two flavors, Defense and Hunting, these are further defined as Defense (Location) and Hunting (Area or Specialty)

Examples: North American hunting: all high quality bolt guns, .22 LR , .22 Centerfire (.223 or .22/250), 7mm class rifle (.270, 7mm-08) Medium magnum rifle (.350 Rem Mag, .338 Win Mag, .375 H&H Mag), Browning Superposed with .410, 20 and 12 Gauge barrels, Remington 1100 Auto shotgun with interchangeable choaks and a Deer Slug barrel for states with limitations.

Suburban Development Defense, with Concealed Carry, .22LR revolver matched to .38 or .357 2" revolver, heavy 4" .357 Magnum revolver, .22 LR pump action, 12 Gauge pump shotgun.

Note, these are minimum batteries.

Who doesn't not minimize his battery. :D

February 24, 2006, 04:54 PM
These aren't collections; they are ACCUMULATIONS. Collections must have a theme of some sort. Just a pile of guns is not a theme. A broad theme might be one of each model made by Glock, or every 357 revolver variation made by Smith. You get the drift.

February 24, 2006, 05:03 PM
I would just add a nice large caliber magnum revolver. like a .454 casull or a .44 mag hunter model. Rifle wise i would add a nice stainless lever action...probably .30-30 or .45/70 :)
My list so far includes...
.44mag Super Blackhawk hunter (stainless)
.45acp Kimber Pro Carry II (stainless)
.357mag Taurus model 65 (stainless)
.357mag Ruger GP100 (stainless)
.357mag Ruger SP101 (stainless)
.32 Beretta Tomcat (stainless)
.22LR Ruger Mark II (stainless)
.22mag NAA mini (stainless)
and I have a 9mm Taurus 92SS laid away and I am searching for a .454casull Ruger Alaskan

.45/70 Marlin 1895G lever action (stainless)
and I laid away today a .30-30 Marlin 336SS and a .30-06 Ruger M77 Mark II Sporter

February 24, 2006, 05:09 PM
None of my business, but why are the guns so quickly? You win the lottery or did you just turn 21?

February 24, 2006, 05:13 PM
None of my business, but why are the guns so quickly? You win the lottery or did you just turn 21?
I do not mind the question. I used to have a collection of revolvers years ago but had to sell them to pay my car payments while I was in Iraq. I have always wanted to get another collection together but never did. Other needs got in the way and it just faded to the back of my list. I then happened upon this board and it kind of rekindled the flame. Like re-uniting with a long lost love. I am actually in a period of my life where I have some expendable income and also got a pretty good tax return this year so I decided to put it to good use. What wasn't eaten up by property taxes that is...:)

PS- I turn 40 this year. I barely remember 21.

February 24, 2006, 05:50 PM

Well, my take on this is that you asked about "essentials" and not "a good collection". I think there's a big difference. Even bigger depending on how you define "essential". Essential - guns you need for a well rounded collection, or essential - guns you need if it all goes to hell in a handbasket?

I took "essential" to mean guns needed for a well rounded collection, and that's probably the wordage I would have used if it had occurred to me.

I think think the answer to the question of "what guns do you need once the SHTF?" is "anything you can get your hands on". However, I do believe there are certain guns which are ideal to have in given HIAH scenarios:

Urban riot: .223 AR-15, 12 gauge 18" barrel pump-action shotgun, Hi capacity 9mm handgun

Population-killing epidemic: Scoped bolt action hi powered rifle, .22 pistol, .357 magnum revolver

Machines taking over the planet: 12 gauge autoloader, .45 long slide with laser sighting, phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range, Uzi 9mm



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