2nd Greatest Gun Designer


March 25, 2004, 07:22 PM
I saw the thread about the poll on who is the greatest gun designer of all time. As of this writing John Browning is the unanimous winner. I thought it would be interesting on who y'all thought was the 2nd best.

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March 25, 2004, 08:21 PM
Sam Colt

March 25, 2004, 08:32 PM
eugene stoner.

Jim K
March 25, 2004, 08:32 PM
Based on sheer number of guns of his design made, Kalashnikov wins hands down. Gene Stoner is up there, but nowhere near close.

Based on the number of different designs actually produced, John Pedersen, Thomas C. Johnson, and Bill Ruger come to mind.


March 25, 2004, 08:32 PM
i think it's a toss up between eugene stoner, gaston glock or kalishnikov. i hope i didn't murder their names.

March 25, 2004, 08:41 PM
the united states could have flooded the market with M-16's just like the russians did. i wouldn't say kalashnikov is great because of the number of his weapons are on this planet. he is great because he created a cheap reliable avtomat that continues to be a threat on the modern battle field.

Standing Wolf
March 25, 2004, 08:43 PM
Samuel Colt.

March 25, 2004, 08:44 PM
i agree about kalisnakov very reliable. eats anything performs flawlessly. my ar choked on its very first round and seemed to not do any better so i sold it and got an m1a

March 25, 2004, 08:46 PM
ducktapehero...you may want to consider making this into a Poll.

I vote Kalashnikov.:)

March 25, 2004, 08:55 PM
Of course at some point you have to ask yourself what exactly "greatest" means.
Obviously outside of John Browning the AK carbine has produced the most numbers and does a good job. It performs it's job as well today as it ever did. It is still in service in a modified form in many countries and is still in service in third world countries in it's original form. But Kalashnikov was a one trick dog.
I am not sure about the history of Bill Ruger and how many of that compainies firearms were designed by him. If he designed them all or even most of them he certainly deserves mention. In addition he built his company from nothing to what it is today which is more than pretty much any other gun designer did. John Browning sold very few of the guns he made himself, he sold the designs to other companies. Kalashnikov worked for the state and didn't even make much money with his design. Stoner didn't manufacture his own guns, he sold the design. Ruger not only designed guns but made them a financial success story.

Jim K
March 25, 2004, 09:15 PM
Ruger designed, all alone, one gun, the Standard Model .22 pistol. While he was the inspiration, lead designer and resident genius behind all the other Ruger guns, others participated in the team efforts.


March 25, 2004, 10:34 PM
Bainx, the reason I didn't make this a poll is because I couldn't list enough. Plus I'm sure there are some who very few people even think about. A great one not mentioned is Mr. Garand(I don't know his 1st name). He has quite a few rifles that are based on his design. The Henry designed lever action rifle is another. Hiram Maxim is another.

March 25, 2004, 11:34 PM
Hiram Maxim. Heck, I'd put him neck 'n neck with John Browning himself because between the two of them they codified the basic principles of modern weapons design.

After them I'd put Paul Mauser and Sam Colt. Stoner, Kalishnikov, Ruger and all the others are Johny come lately's in comparision.

March 25, 2004, 11:50 PM
I'll throw my hat in for John C. Garand.

Baby Huey
March 26, 2004, 12:01 AM
I can't speak too intelligently on this, but I don't think Ruger comes close to being innovative. As for Colt, did he come up with the revolver? If not, then I wouldn't put him in, either. Maybe that Henry guy, but I can't be sure. No flames intended.

March 26, 2004, 06:13 AM
Stoner or Johnny C.

March 26, 2004, 06:51 AM
Samuel Colt.

While he wasn't the most proliferic, he was one of the most important.

We don't know who invented the wheel. But we know who practicalified the wheelgun.

Even though he really wasn't a designer, Eli Whitney made mass production of firearms a reality.

Sleeping Dog
March 26, 2004, 06:58 AM
I'll go with Maxim. "Mister Automatic"

March 26, 2004, 07:46 AM
Dieudonne Saive. He designed the FN49 and FAL, and finished the design of the P35 (HiPower).

March 26, 2004, 07:57 AM
Wasn't there a big ruckus about how Stoner didn't really "design" the critical features of the M16? If he did design it all, that's a LOT of innovation. Same goes with Glock, but with handguns.

Kalashnikov's design basically took all the good parts from the SKS and StG44 and fused them with some other innovations. He really was a one-trick pony, but when that one trick is the most (in)famous, reliable assault rifle ever fielded, it's one hell of a pony!

Ruger had a hand in the designs of many guns (yes, I have forgiven him for the hi-cap ban :cool: ). He was good at taking classic actions/styles (Luger/Mauser/etc.) and modernizing them for production.

Colt is probably my second choice, with Kalashnikov/Stoner/Glock/Ruger taking third, depending on if you value a good design that's based on something else (AK-47), or a nearly completely new concept (M16).

March 26, 2004, 08:08 AM
I'll vote for Mr. Mauser. His 106 year old design is still up to date.

March 26, 2004, 08:18 AM
"As for Colt, did he come up with the revolver?"

Yes. God created all mankind equal - S. Colt backed him up.

March 26, 2004, 09:20 AM
I'd say Colt or Mauser, with Maxim close runner up.

Mr. Kalashnikov was not a "one trick wonder" (That'd be Garand), he designed a submachine gun, then the AK47, then the AKM, the PK series machine guns, the RPK squad auto rifle (A larger AK), he influenced the design of the Dragunov sniper rifle. The AK 74 and AK 100/101/103 designs, as well as the Bizon SMG all have either been directly designed by him, or by his bureau of designers under his influence.

The Dragunov, AK 74M, PKM and Bizon are all currently in service with Russia.

Colt came out with a mess of revolver designs before he died and proved the idea. Mauser made the most successful bolt action design in history. Maxim proved machine guns worked (before Browning all the WW1 heavy machine guns were Maxim designs, even the Vickers).

Ruger was a "Modifier" he's always taken other designs and modified or made them better. Aside from the Mk II none of his ideas broke new ground,he just made the idea better or cheaper. The 10/22 is the other "new" one I think.

AZ Jeff
March 26, 2004, 12:15 PM
John Pedersen, as chief designer for Remington for many years, would have to be on the list.

March 26, 2004, 12:26 PM
Samuel Colt.

March 26, 2004, 12:32 PM
I'd havve to go with Samuel Colt.

Brian Williams
March 26, 2004, 12:48 PM
Kalishnikov, not only did he do the AK but many small arms and even up into the towed artillery sizes there might have been a sheer numbers of AK's made but He designed a whole lot more then most folks know about.

Maxim and Mauser have him neck and neck IMNSHO

Sam Colt is just the same basic design inproved over time to include improvements in ammo

Garand designed a few rifles...
Peterson developed quite a few but not as many as Kalishnikov

444 saidBut Kalashnikov was a one trick dog
This is totally false...

Dollar Bill
March 26, 2004, 02:57 PM
I readily concede the fact that John M. Browning was the greatest firearm designer. The second greatest has quite a few contenders that makes it difficult to choose. Kalashnikov's designs have certainly had a great impact on the world as has Mr. Stoner's. I'm glad someone finally mentioned Dieudonne Saive as the designer of the right arm of the free world, the FN-FAL and the fact that he took over from John Browning on the P-35. Mr. Garand's design may have been a one time design but when you get it right the first time, why keep trying to best yourself. I don't think Sam Colt was as much a designer as he was a marketing genius.

My choice for the second greatest arms designer would be Peter Paul Mauser whose design is still going strong today not so much as a military arms designer anymore but rather as a designer who influenced sporting arms to this day. Few bolt action sporting rifles do not lay claim to Mauser lineage.

Eskimo Jim
March 26, 2004, 03:03 PM
Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson. One of them came up with the counter bored cylinder or something like that.

That design was used for revolvers for how many years? to this present day possibly?


March 26, 2004, 03:20 PM
ELi Whitney. If it wasn't for his development of standardization and mass production, we'd all still be shooting individually produced weapons. John C. Garand gets a darn close third, though. Oh, heck, I'll just save time and put up my list:

1. JMB
2. Eli Whitney
3. John C. Garand
4. Anton Kalishnikov
5. Sam Colt
6. Sergei Mosin (OK, maybe mauser should be ahead of him, but I collect Mosins!:D )
7.Eugene Stoner
8. Peter Paul Mauser
9. Georg Luger
10. Uziel Gal
I've limited it to ten for brevity's sake, there are many honorable mentions (and some unmentionables, too!;) )

March 26, 2004, 04:01 PM
I'd add Hugo Schmeisser - Bergmann MP18/1 (orginal design with 20 round box magazine), the MP28 and his design Team at Haenel also created the MKb.42h (MP43) - the papa of all modern assault rifles. He also designed a handgun and had his hand in other firearms.

It is interesting to speculate how much 'input' Schmeisser had in the AK-47 design. Mr. Kalishnikov had the chance to learn from a master. He was captured by the Russians in eastern germany where Haenel was located.

March 26, 2004, 04:16 PM
John C. Garand

Brian Williams
March 26, 2004, 04:23 PM
I have to bring up the fact that the Whitney rifles that were tested were tweaked by Whitney prior to the demonstration and manufacturing standards and production capabilities were not up to Whitney's idea of Mass production yet. The Industrial revolution had to happen before companies could do what Whitney wanted. Whitney's laborer did a lot of hand filing and fitting, while many of his parts were interchangeable they still had to be chosen to fit.

I will give Whitney alot of credit for putting into place the start of modern batch production.

George Hill
March 26, 2004, 05:17 PM
#2 Dieudonne Saive.
#3 Kalishnakov.

March 26, 2004, 05:29 PM
The Big S.C.


And, Mr. Stephen Savage Remington


March 26, 2004, 05:41 PM
in order:

2) Kalashnikov

3) Sam Colt

4) Hiram Maxim

5) Mauser

4v50 Gary
March 26, 2004, 06:30 PM
I can't give it to Sam Colt. He was a good at marketing and the revolver predated him by centuries. He came along just when the machinery was advanced enough to produce revolvers in large quantities. It's more of a triumph of the industrial revolution than to Sam Colt's genius.

If we use the Browning standard, then it would have to be Garand. Self trained machinist. He wasn't as prolific as Browning but then again he worked to meet gubmint design standards. Like Browning, he was handy in the tool room and when he was told that it would take 2 years to gear up and make the jigs & fixtures to assemble the Garand, John Garand scoffed and went to the tool room and did it himself for 6 months. He didn't profit from his inventions because he was a patriot (and a Canadian to boot).

I'd give Kalashnikov a lot of credit too, but his designs weren't the first. Federov came out with the first gun that really qualified as an "assault gun." The Germans followed with the Stgw44. Kalashnikov took a lot of excellent ideas and combined them into an outstanding package. He deserves a lot of credit for making one of the best military guns of his time (much like Mauser does for the bolt action 98).

Maxim ranks up there but wasn't as prolific as Browning. Methinks he had more medical training (like Gatling) did than mechanical but being open minded, took the advice of one American who suggested that he find a wind to help the Europeans cut each other's throats faster. Maxim = Vickers = Sothrun, essentially all the same machinegun that chewed up an entire generation of young men.

I'm hesitant to put Eugene Stoner up there too. He was also clever in using the gas impingment system (something the French thought up before WW I). However, the versatility of the Stoner Weapon System as manifested in the AR-15 goes to the tinkerers who made it into a SMG, to the target shooters who built space guns and not to Stoner.

Gaston Glock is kinda like Kalashnikov. He took a bunch of good ideas and put them into a working package. He then had a good marketing team make it one of the premier police pistols of this country. However, design wise, the Glock has nothing new as polymers were used before (HK VP70) Gaston came around.

I won't give it to Uzi either. He really knew how to make good things better but the telescoping bolt SMG design was developed by the Czechs first.

If I had to reach back and find another 19th century inventory, he wasn't even a gun designer. It would be Claude Minie who designed the minie ball. It made the basic infantry small arm as accurate as a rifle and loaded as rapidly as a musket. The conical bullet of Claude Minie lives with us today.

Greg Bell
March 26, 2004, 07:17 PM
Les Rogak!:D

4v50 Gary
March 26, 2004, 07:22 PM
Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha :D

Chuck Jennings
March 26, 2004, 08:36 PM
Just ask him, he'll tell you!! :neener:

Patent Works
March 26, 2004, 09:35 PM
The second greatest hasn't become famous yet. He may not yet have been born.

March 27, 2004, 05:39 PM
"Kalishnikov, not only did he do the AK but many small arms and even up into the towed artillery sizes there might have been a sheer numbers of AK's made but He designed a whole lot more then most folks know about."

Do you have any web based information on this ? I am not challenging you, but I have never heard this before. I am no historian, but I have read and watched various things about the man and never heard of it. Were these designs put into production ? Were they ever used ? Were they whole guns or modifications to existing ones ?

I was also wondering about Mauser. I wonder how many rifles have been built all over the world based on his design ? There are still rifles today based on that design. The '03 Springfield was based on that design. Back in the early to mid 20th Century, pretty much every nation in the world other than Russia was using a rifle based on the Mauser design. I wonder what the numbers were ?

March 28, 2004, 10:44 AM
Hugo Schmeiser. He designed the Stg 44. Along with other machine guns.
Mauser and James Paris Lee run a pretty close second.

April 6, 2004, 09:04 PM
guys you haven't mentioned:
George Kellgren (tec-9, grendel, all kel-tecs) with the exception of the tec-9 they're all very innovative designs.

Tullio Marengoni of Beretta

the walther guys that made the PP, the first double action automatic pistol.

April 6, 2004, 09:33 PM
Colt, Smith and Wesson should be close to heart of any American gunner.

Mssr.s Maxim, Mauser and Kalashnikov redefined the use of small arms on amassive scale. IE the Hi-Cap pistol, the Machine Gun and the tough as nails AK.

Kalashnikov designed over oversaw much of what is in front line service in Russia, and the former Warsaw Pact and former Soviet allies.

Comrade Kalashnikov IS the Russian JMB.

That's a pretty close second.

April 7, 2004, 12:22 AM
Borchardt would be one to toss into the ring, as would Ballard or Lee. Newton all though he was never realy a gun designer, but as far as being a head of his time in development of cartridges he should be noted.

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