Choosing America’s 50 State Guns
States have symbols: bird, flower, tree, and so on. Last year the Utah legislature was the first to name an...
States have symbols: bird, flower, tree, and so on. Last year the Utah legislature was the first to name an official state gun: the 1911 pistol. Arizona followed with the Colt Single Action Army revolver. This year Indiana chose the Grouseland Rifle.
I asked readers of the Gun Nut blog to suggest guns made in the U.S. that had some significance to their home states. We got many great answers, then added some ourselves to come up with guns for all 50 states.
**Alabama – Remington 742 **
Readers chose the 742 semiauto as the ubiquitous Alabama pickup-truck deer rifle.
**Alaska – Ruger Stainless Model 77 .30/06 **
Affordable and rugged, the 77 is the choice of many Alaskans.
**Arizona – Colt Single Action Army **
The state legislature got it right: The Single Action Army is linked forever to Wyatt Earp and the O.K. Corral.
**Arkansas – Daisy Red Ryder **
America’s airgun has been built in Arkansas since the company moved from Michigan in 1958.
**California – Weatherby Mark V **
No rifle evokes post-WWII America better than the radically styled, high-velocity rifles sold by Roy Weatherby in his California sporting-goods store. Hollywood studios sent their stars to be photographed with his guns.
**Colorado – Thompson/Center Hawken **
Inspired in part by the movie Jeremiah Johnson, hunters everywhere bought T/C Hawkens and purchased affordable, over-the-counter Colorado elk tags, kicking off the blackpowder boom.
**Connecticut – Colt 1911 **
We’re overruling Utah and moving this ageless semiauto to where it belongs: Colt and Connecticut, located at the center of the Northeast’s Gun Valley.
**Delaware – Remington Nylon 66 **
In 1959 Remington introduced the Nylon 66, a rimfire semiauto with a stock made of DuPont’s Zytel nylon.
**Florida – Winchester Model 12 **
The versatile Model 12 works on everything Florida has to offer, from vanishing bobwhites to Burmese pythons.
**Georgia – L.C. Smith Shotgun **
The Peach State gets a classic American-made sidelock quail gun in tribute to its bobwhite hunting tradition.
**Hawaii – Daryl Wong Hybrid **
Daryl Wong is known throughout the world for his custom Hawaiian-made spear guns.
**Idaho – Smith & Wesson 29 **
Legendary gun writer (and Idaho rancher) Elmer Keith developed the .44 magnum, inspiring the S&W 29.
**Illinois – Thompson Submachine Gun **
The Thompson, a.k.a. the “Chicago Typewriter,” was the iconic weapon of Al Capone and G-men alike.
**Indiana – Grouseland Rifle **
The Grouseland Rifle—Indiana’s state gun as of March—was one of a handful of rifles made by Vincennes, Ind., gunsmith John Small. Another of Small’s rifles went with William Clark on the Voyage of Discovery.
**Iowa – Knight MK 85 **
This revolutionary muzzleloader, made in Iowa, popularized in-line rifles.
**Kansas – 1853 Sharps (“Beecher’s Bible”) **
More than 900 of these early breechloaders were sent to Kansas in crates marked Bibles to arm free-soil settlers.
**Kentucky – Daniel Boone’s “Tick Licker” **
Boone claimed he could shoot a tick off the hide of a deer with Tick Licker, the long rifle he carried through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky in the 18th century.
**Louisiana – LeMat Revolver **
J.E.B. Stuart and other Confederate States Army officers carried the LeMat, designed by Dr. Jean Alexandre LeMat of New Orleans, cousin and business partner of Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard. It was a nine-shot revolver with a second buckshot barrel ranging in size from 28 to 16 gauge.
**Maine – Marlin 1895 .45/70 **
A big-bore lever gun is perfect for the huge and scattered deer of Maine’s big woods.
**Maryland – Punt Gun **
Market hunters used to fire cannon-size shotguns at the waterfowl of Chesapeake Bay.
**Massachusetts – ’03 Springfield **
The ’03 served in both World Wars and Korea.
**Michigan – Marlin 336 .30/30 **
Readers suggested Michigan’s own Bear Bow. We honor that pick, and add a classic rifle.
**Minnesota – Mossberg 500 Trophy Slugster **
Minnesota should get a shotgun and a rifle since the state is evenly split into shotgun and rifle zones, but a state can only have one state gun. The inexpensive, accurate rifled Model 500 wins the coin flip.
**Mississippi – H&R HandiRifle .45/70 **
Mississippi allows single-shot centerfires in its blackpowder season. This classic is the gun.
**Missouri – Hawken Bros. Rifle **
The rugged big-bore rifles built by the Hawken brothers in St. Louis
were made to go West.
**Montana – Cooper Model 52 .30/06 **
This made-in-Montana bolt action looks good and shoots accurately.
**Nebraska – Remington 870 **
Wingmaster Cornhuskers get a corn sheller, perfect for the state’s abundant waterfowl and turkeys.
**Nevada – Davy Crockett Nuclear Recoilless Gun **
Firing a 51-pound nuclear warhead, the Davy Crockett was tested in Nevada in 1962.
**New Hampshire – Ruger 10/22 Rifle **
Everybody owns a 10/22—a New Hampshire classic—some stock, some modified.
**New Jersey – Singer 1911 **
The Singer sewing machine company of Elizabeth, N.J., made a run of 500 1911s during WWII, which have become the rarest collectible 1911s of all.
**New Mexico – 1835 Musket **
Many U.S. troops who occupied New Mexico in the U.S.-Mexican War carried this gun.
**New York – Remington 1100 **
Made in Ilion, N.Y., the soft-kicking 1100 changed Americans into semiauto shooters.
**North Carolina – M1 Carbine **
While in prison for shooting a deputy during a raid on his still, North Carolina moonshiner David “Carbine” Williams taught himself gun design. Once out of jail, he was hired by Winchester and later invented the M1 carbine. Jimmy Stewart starred in Carbine Williams, based on his life story.
**North Dakota – Model 1876 Winchester **
“I would never have been president if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota,” wrote T.R., who hunted with an 1876.
**Ohio – Ithaca 37 Deerslayer **
Now manufactured in Upper Sandusky, the classic Model 37 Deerslayer pump makes a tackdriving slug gun—an ideal firearm for Ohio’s shotgun whitetail deer season.
**Oklahoma – 12-Pound Napoleon Cannon **
An army cannon shot at noon marked the beginning of seven Oklahoma land runs from 1889 to 1895.
**Oregon – Kimber .22 Rifle **
Founded in 1979 in Clackamas, Ore., Kimber built its reputation on its first gun, a beautiful, accurate .22 bolt action.
Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania Long Rifle
The long rifle tradition lives on in the state’s unique late flintlock deer season.
**Rhode Island – Johnson Automatics Model 1941 Machine Gun **
Made in R.I., this light machine gun armed WWII Paramarines.
**South Carolina – Jarrett Beanfield Rifle **
South Carolina gunsmith Kenny Jarrett perfected the beanfield rifle—made for shooting deer at long range in the flat fields of the South. Jarrett is famous for taking a hacksaw to barrels if they don’t meet his standards.
South Dakota – Dakota Model 76
This fine bolt-action rifle has been made in the Harley mecca of Sturgis since 1986.
**Tennessee – Poor Boy Long Rifle **
A working long rifle trimmed with iron, not brass, the Poor Boy remained in use into the early 20th century.
Texas – Paterson Colt
Colt’s first revolver armed the Texas Rangers and made them formidable on horseback.
****Utah – “American Browning” Browning Auto 5 ****
Utah-born John Browning declared the first semiautomatic shotgun to be his “greatest invention.” The firearm was made for more than 90 years in Belgium, Japan, and St. Louis.
****Vermont – Remington 7600 ****
This pump-action centerfire is the rifle of choice of many deer trackers, including the famous Benoit family.
****Virginia – 1853 Enfield ****
Nearly 1 million Enfields were used by both sides in the Civil War.
****Washington – Olympic Arms AR-15 ****
The AR-15 is made from coast to coast, including in Olympia.
****West Virginia – Harpers Ferry 1803 Musket ****
Harpers Ferry was home to the 1803 musket, the first rifle made by a U.S. armory.
****Wisconsin – Savage 99 .300 Savage ****
A classic whitetail deer hunting state gets a classic woods (and whitetail deer hunting) rifle.
****Wyoming – Freedom Arms Revolver ****
This massive hunting revolver—available in some of the biggest handgun calibers—is built in Wyoming.