These guns were used for survival as America expanded west and fought overseas. One saw action stopping bad guys on the big screen, and another brought down one of the largest land carnivores in the world. Here are four firearms that aren’t lacking for power.
Working out of his garage in 1981, Tennessee inventor Ronnie Barrett designed a shoulder-fire rifle readily capable of firing the largest commercially available cartridge, the .50 BMG. The 30-pound Barrett M82A1 was fielded during Operation Desert Storm and provided USMC snipers with the ultimate in hard-hitting, long-range accuracy.
This was the gun that stopped the mighty buffalo. Sharps Model 1874 .50-caliber rifles were made between 1871-1881 and the half-inch projectiles, backed by 90 grains of black powder, were capable of harvesting buffalo at up to 600 yards.
The .44 Magnum cartridge was less than a decade old when publishing magnate Robert E. Petersen, who used the cartridge for hunting, decided to try for a polar bear. The 1,500-pound white beast he bagged was the first polar bear ever taken with a .44 Magnum handgun.
With the advent of fictional homicide inspector “Dirty Harry” Callahan in 1971, a role originally scripted for Frank Sinatra, arms enthusiasts welcomed a new cinematic legend—a lawman that carried what was billed as the world’s most powerful handgun, the Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum revolver.