Grandpa's Guns

10 Classic Firearms Almost Every Grandpa Has in Their Gun Safe

These are the classic firearms everyone's grandpa owned.

If you grandfather is or was an outdoorsman, odds are he owned some of the most iconic firearms ever made depending on his generation. From old west revolvers to classic shotguns and rifles, some amazing firearms have been produced over the last 100 years or so and odds are your grandfather owned some of them.

I asked my co-workers, and we agreed that these are some of the firearms we agreed that nearly everyone's grandfather had in his gun safe at some point or another. Hopefully, they are heirlooms that will stay in the family for generations.

These guns were great back when they were first made, and they are still quality firearms to this day. Some are even still being made, showing that a classic firearms design never goes out of style.

Marlin Model 60

This was one I had to put on the list because my grandfather owned not one, but two Model 60s. The first one was in bad shape and eventually broke on me, but several years ago, my late grandmother found the extra one, still in pristine condition, hiding in a closet and I was thrilled when she passed it on to me. My grandfather didn't hunt, but he did buy a farm in his retirement and he used the Marlin to pop the woodchucks that never seemed to leave his place alone. I've since used it to deal with a few nuisance 'chucks in the backyard myself.

The Model 60 is a semi-automatic, rimfire chambered in .22 long rifle and it is still made to this day in a few different variations. The tube magazine can hold up to 14 rounds and the 19-inch barrel is rifled with a 1:16 rate of twist. These guns are just fun to shoot and many a grandpa owned a Marlin rimfire of some kind for target or small game hunting purposes.

Browning A5 Shotgun

Grandpa's guns

Wikimedia Commons:Unknown Author

The old "humpback" receiver design of this semi-automatic shotgun is instantly recognizable to most firearms fans around the world. This was one of John Browning's classic designs. That's him pictured above with it. The A5 made its way into many hunter's gun cabinets during the gun's original 96-year production run. And why not? This was an incredibly versatile gun that could be used for everything from squirrels to ducks and even deer. Many hunters did just that.

The A5 uses a long recoil design to cycle rounds and it was chambered in 12-gauge, 20-gauge and 16-gauge. Browning ceased production on the original A5 in 1998. They did bring back a modernized version recently, but most people still prefer the older models over the new ones. If you have your grandfather's A5, it is worth holding on to because the value of these guns is going up.

Savage Model 99

Talk about an iconic deer hunting rifle, the Savage Model 99 is an absolute classic lever action that almost every grandpa seemed to own. The model 99 had a nearly 100-year lifespan from 1899 to 1998 before Savage Arms discontinued it. This hammerless design feels like it is destined for a modern re-release any time now doesn't it? We have heard rumors this gun was discontinued because of the high cost of manufacture, but maybe they can change that with modern technology? In any case, the Model 99 had a unique rotary magazine instead of a tube and was produced in a plethora of cartridges that were perfect for big game hunting like .30-30 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .243 Winchester, and even .410 shot shell.

The Model 99 is actually the perfected version of the earlier Model 1892 and Model 1895 rifles. The rifle almost saw service in the U.S. Army, but was beaten out by the Krag-Jorgensen. It does not really matter because the Model 99 cemented its place with sportsman by being one of the greatest deer rifles ever. Model 99s have been used to harvest nearly every big game species you can think of and it is little wonder so many grandpas still have one sitting in their safe.

Any single action revolver

Grandpa's Guns


It seems like everyone's grandfather owned at least one classic cowboy-style single action revolver of some kind. Maybe it is an Uberti Cattleman, maybe it is the classic Ruger Vaquero. Maybe your grandfather has a classic Colt Single Action Army, one of the best-known and most loved revolvers in the gun world. Whatever it is, this is the classic gun design that came to define the wild west and later saw combat in conflicts like the Spanish-American War.

Most single action revolvers were chambered in .45 Colt, but other popular calibers include things like .38 Colt, .357 Magnum or .44 Special. Odds are your grandfather owned one of these for self-defense, but they also became popular snake or target shooting guns for many old-timers. Because of the history, an old single action revolver will never go out of style.

Mosin Nagant

Another extremely common old rifle in many an old man's gun safe. Mostly because these things were so plentiful and for a while, they were also dirt cheap. The Mosin is a Russian rifle that was first put into service all the way back in 1891. It has been used in countless conflicts around the world including World War II. It has even seen action as recently as Afghanistan and Iraq. The Soviet Union made so many of these things that they had warehouses full of them. So, the excess rifles were shipped all over the world. While some ended up being used in combat, countless others ended up in civilian hands.

Because they were so plentiful, these guns were dirt cheap for years. Some were still selling for under $200 as recently as five years ago. They were most often chambered in 7.62x54mm, which is also an extremely cheap round. Because it is so close in size and power to .308 Winchester, this gun took off as a cheap hunting rifle, and thus is why so many grandpas seem to own one.

Winchester Model 70

Grandpa's Guns


When it comes to bolt-action hunting rifles, this one is a legend. The Model 70 was first introduced in 1936 and has been a staple of the Winchester line ever since. One of the big reasons this gun is so popular is because they have offered it in just about every caliber available. These guns were chambered for everything from tiny rimfire rounds to magnum hunting rounds like .458 Winchester Magnum and even .470 Capstick!

Most guns you'll find in grandpa's safe are probably deer rifles chambered for rounds like .243, .270, .30-06 Springfield or .300 Winchester Magnum. The Model 70 has fired them all and done it with accuracy that has come to be trusted by hunters everywhere. We would be remiss to not mention this rifle's military service too. The gun saw action as a sniper rifle in both World War II and Vietnam. The Model 70 is a common grandpa gun, but it is also one that you can still buy today because this classic design is timeless.

1911 Pistol

Grandpa's Guns


If your grandfather served in either World War I or II and owned a semi-automatic pistol, we would place money on it being a 1911. This is another John Browning design that was so good it was the service pistol of choice for the Army well into the 1980s. Not many firearms get to enjoy a service record like that. Many special forces operators still use the 1911 because it is superior to almost all other designs.

One of the reasons the 1911 was so popular after the Great War was simply the fact that so many of them were built for the war effort. Some soldiers brought their service pistols home with them. For those who did not, cheap surplus 1911s were available everywhere. For many veterans looking for a handgun, either for target shooting or protection of their families, it was easy to go with something they were already familiar with and that was the 1911. Now almost every gunmaker builds 1911-style handguns. Their practical use as a reliable concealed carry pistol has made them more popular than ever.

Winchester Model 12

When it comes to pump-action shotguns, the Model 12 was one that really set the standard for modern scatterguns. These guns are easy to spot because of the signature, small, grooved forend. Winchester produced the Model 12 from 1912 until around 1964 when production costs just got too high. For a long time, this was the shotgun of choice for hunting and self-defense purposes. Winchester made the gun in 12-gauge, 20-gauge, 28-gauge and 16-gauge.

While this gun is best known for being used here in the U.S. for defense, law enforcement and hunting purposes, many people forget this gun had a storied service history. The Model 12 first saw action in World War I as a trench gun and continued seeing action all the way up until Vietnam. Soldiers loved it and many of them probably bought their own after their service was over. If you still have a Model 12 your grandfather owned, it is best to hold onto it. It will likely hold its value. Winchester kept making Model 12s, even if only via special order for decades after 1964. However, in 2006 they ceased production on all Model 12s entirely making the remaining guns instant collector's items.

Henry Lever-Actions

Grandpa's Guns


We are keeping this one broad because the Henry line is so extensive. If you live anywhere in the American west or southwest, your grandfather is likely at least a cowboy at heart, if not literally. That is why a Henry lever-action rifle is such a common sight in the gun safes of old timers. These guns are work horses, ideal for hunting deer, dealing with problem coyotes or even defending the homestead if things came to a head. Oh, and they are a ton of fun out on the range too.

Maybe your grandfather's rifle is an old-school gun chambered for .45 long Colt or .44-40 WCF. Two other popular calibers are .30-30 Winchester and .45-70 Government. Henry has built dozens of different variations over the years and even their modern lineup is huge meaning that there has always been something for everyone. We love the fact that Henry keeps introducing newer rifles chambered for more modern calibers too. Even if you lost your grandfather's Henry years ago, it is easy to pick up a replacement that is just like it these days.

Smith & Wesson Model 29

When it comes to iconic modern revolvers, few can touch the legacy and popularity of the Smith & Wesson Model 29. This revolver has been manufactured since 1955, but the gun saw its popularity take off like a rocket to the moon in 1971 when Clint Eastwood carried utilized one for mopping up street crime in the first "Dirty Harry" movie. Many of the movie's fans simply had to have one and we have heard many a firearms enthusiast who has noted their interest in guns started after seeing the movie with the Model 29.

Chambered in .44 Magnum and .44 Special, the Model 29 is not only an incredibly powerful personal defense weapon, it can also be used to hunt deer quite effectively. Even though this gun is no longer "the most powerful handgun in the world," it is still a favorite by many old timers and grandfathers everywhere.

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