What are some of the most simple and reliable firearms?


April 1, 2011, 01:01 AM
Extremely simple firearms with few parts tend to interest me very much. For example I love older single shot 22s, and when someone on this forum posted a picture of an old 22 single shot with a thumb trigger I nearly [had an involuntary reaction of the most publicly embarrassing sort].

I am not really looking for things like slap-bangs, zip guns, liberator pistols or anything like that. More production guns with few parts that are actually meant to be used regularly. I don't mean revolver simple, but more falling block simple.

I would prefer to hear about guns that use smokeless powder cartridges.

Thanks in Advance.

ETA: I almost feel like I included too many parameters, let them be a guide but not "rules" for the discussion.

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April 1, 2011, 02:18 AM
Rolling Blocks. Simple and Strong!

Shadow 7D
April 1, 2011, 04:10 AM
a spanish ruby... or Tokarev,
simplified designs based off of masterpieces of the time.

April 1, 2011, 04:44 AM
I would have to agree with the what was said above..the rolling block rifle.

Bernie Lomax
April 1, 2011, 08:34 AM

April 1, 2011, 08:36 AM

April 1, 2011, 10:26 AM
Most simple and reliable, eh?

I'd have to go with the Handgonne (http://www.musketeer.ch/blackpowder/handgonne.html). Doesn't get much more simplistic nor reliable than that. :D

Carl N. Brown
April 1, 2011, 10:38 AM
I have always wanted a Stevens Favorite, single shot, lever actuated falling block. Sheer 19th century simplicity.

I have a .22 Bronco, another very simple single shot, but a much later 1970s design based on rods and tubes.

Smokey Joe
April 1, 2011, 11:18 AM
Fourteen Miles--For a semi-auto pistol, the Ruger Mark I is about as simple and rugged as it gets. No longer made; now they're on the Mark III Californicated version.

The Mark I was target-ready out of the box. I bought one with a bull bbl in l962, and used it immediately in league competition. The trigger was even decent.

First time I took it apart to clean it, it astonished me with the small number of worky bits inside.

Since, of course, lawyers and laws have changed all that.

April 1, 2011, 11:21 AM
How about Glock.
Ugly, no "personality," a "brick" with a grip -- but still a very reliable utilitarian, easy to strip down semi auto.
Some of the earlier choices are excellent; I was trying to add a modern "flavor."

April 1, 2011, 11:41 AM
Any of the Rossi, NEF, H&R single shots are good, reliable, if not the most attractive firearms, and can be had with many different barrels to boot. On the other end of the spectrum, there's the Thompson Center Contender and Encore, both single shots but with a much higher level of fit and finish.

April 1, 2011, 11:45 AM
One vote for a contender carbine or pistol.

April 1, 2011, 12:51 PM
MAS-49/56. One of the first DI rifles, very few moving parts, and very reliable in its original configuration. They have a bad rep because many were imported and converted to .308 by the drunken monkeys at CAI.

Makes the AK look complicated.

April 1, 2011, 12:53 PM
For a gun with a magazine, a MARLIN lever gun. About the only spare part you'll ever need to keep on hand are an ejector spring and firing pin. And with that chances are you won't need them. They are extremely easy to tinker with and improve w/o buying new parts (unless you want to).

Otherwise single shots are the most simple and reliable

Any good quality single action revolver would fall into the most reliable handgun, although it may not be the most simple mechanically. However, they aren't incredibly complex either.

April 1, 2011, 12:59 PM
Rolling block and falling block.

April 1, 2011, 01:13 PM
The simplest firearm is a break action shotgun, and similar...such as thompson contender.

April 1, 2011, 03:54 PM
Glock. AK. Either will happily wreck your ammo budget without breaking a sweat.

April 1, 2011, 03:57 PM
The main gun in an Abrams tank. Very simple dropping breech block, incredible accuracy for its relative length.

April 1, 2011, 03:59 PM
Modern AR.

April 1, 2011, 04:25 PM
falling block, break open are as simple as they get. now in an auto loader a true blow back open bolt is right up there. i have a semi auto 22lr that has 2 trigger parts a barrel a bolt with no extractor or firing pin. just a cap on the end and spring. the mag is the most complicated part of the piece. also see sten m3 grease gun and mac model 10. can be made in almost any home shop with a little work. mags are the biggest problem but they can still be fired single shot

April 1, 2011, 04:32 PM
Glock handguns are some of the most reliable lightweight and simple-to-use pistols on the market today.

April 1, 2011, 05:10 PM
Simple/reliable: Ruger Security Six series, Glocks, AK variants. All are very sturdy, regarded as greatly reliable, and simple to break down and maintain. There are others, but the aforementioned are hard to beat. As far as the Ruger .22 auto, very tough gun, but often a pain to reassemble.

April 1, 2011, 05:31 PM
Ruger 10/22 and Smith & Wesson Revolver, and a 1911

April 1, 2011, 05:45 PM
10/22, S&W, 1911? no where near the simplest firearms lol.

Look at something like a cricket, .22. how many moving parts does cricket have vs the 10/22

THE simplest gun ever made is the Philippine guerrilla gun. It was based off a shotgun that the US supplied the guerrilla fighters in WWII, they were suposed to use it to kill a enemy and take his rifle.

The guns that were sold comercially like the ones below were made to be used, in there time it was the poor mans rabbit gun. My grandfather actually knew someone growing up who bought one to use because it was dirt cheap, apparently he used it for years and put alot of food on the table with it.

Two pieces of pipe, one of a size to accept an inserted 12 gauge shotgun shell, the other of a size to allow the first to be a sliding fit in it. The back of the larger pipe is closed with a pipe cap which is drilled and tapped for a screw which is pointed at the front end.

To fire: With two parts separated, Insert a shell into the back of the inside pipe. Insert inside pipe into outside pipe and pull inner pipe back so shell primer hits the pointed screw. Bang! Remove inner pipe and pry out shell or punch it out with a long stick. Repeat.

April 1, 2011, 06:42 PM
The British STEN gun and the US M3 submachine gun.

April 1, 2011, 07:18 PM
Mosin Nagant.

On some early matchlocks, the trigger system was just a long lever. Slow match at one end, pivot in the middle, the other end is the "trigger". Just pull to lower the match into the pan. No sear, just a spring holding the match up.

As far as break actions go, stick to the single barrel versions. SXS and OU shotguns get alot more bits inside to switch to the second barrel, automatically apply the safety when broken open, etc.

April 1, 2011, 08:37 PM
Marlin's modern rimfire bolt action rifles look like they were designed in 1900. There's just not much to break.

H&R Handi-rifles are stone simple. Hammer and a couple of springs are all you can replace.

Rail Driver
April 1, 2011, 08:43 PM
Any single shot rifle, pistol or shotgun, for the most part. I'm impressed with both the modularity and the simplicity of the Thompson Center guns (the Encore in particular). Bolt guns, especially single shot, but even magazine fed bolt guns are fairly simple as well. I think my Winchester 67 has about 10 separate parts, 5 of which are screws.

April 1, 2011, 08:49 PM
Benelli Inertia shotguns, Glock pistols, AK's, AR's and of course the single shot rifles and shotguns although they might take more tools to disassemble that aforementioned modern units.

April 1, 2011, 09:00 PM
Keeping to smokeless ammo: break action shotguns and Contenders; rolling block actions whether rifle or pistol; those old single shot bolt action 22s with the spring plunger that had to be pulled back. i love em all.


April 1, 2011, 09:05 PM
Ruger No 1.

April 2, 2011, 12:52 PM
The WW2 "Liberator" single shot .45. Cost $1.00 (one dollar) to make, and used the triger guard for a mainspring. :p.

April 2, 2011, 01:16 PM

Ok so I'm being a wiseguy :neener: but ya have to admit it is simplistic and functional ;)

April 2, 2011, 01:59 PM
It's hard to beat a good falling block, but in a repeating action the Mauser gets pretty darn close.


April 2, 2011, 03:27 PM
The old Remington 33 is about as simple as you can get and pretty reliable considering it is a bolt action gun;-)

April 3, 2011, 01:52 PM
AK. When I got mine, I knew 0 about them. Took it all apart, then put it back together with hardly any gun knowledge at the time. I even refinished some of the wood. Easy take-apart, easy put back together. Using it is about as simple as it gets. Mag in, pull charging handle back, release, pull trigger.

Other than that, theres tons of bolt actions, single shots, .22s that are all very easy to operate, take apart, and rely on.

T/C Contender is also pretty simple.

April 3, 2011, 04:28 PM
For modern day actually in common use guns the Glock and the AK are the simplest designs with the fewest parts, and are extremely easy to work on for anyone with even the most basic of mechanical skills and aptitude.


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