Four Guns That You Will (Most Likely) Never Own

If you’re a gun enthusiast, you’ve probably seen at least one gun that you’d love to own but know you never will. I have several of those, the most recurring of which is the Mauser 98 Magnum series of hunting rifles. They are absolutely gorgeous guns built around the legendary Mauser 98 action, which I believe to be the finest bolt action system ever designed. They are true heirloom pieces. As much as I want one, though, I just can’t drop the cost of a gently used pickup truck on a gun.

But it’s still fun to look at guns like that. Hey, the lotto numbers might fall your way one day and you need to be prepared. So, in the spirit of hope, GunMag Warehouse’s version of the Four Horsemen tell us about their favorite fantasy guns from SHOT Show 2020. And, along the way, we get bonus content about point targets versus area targets, the ins and outs of machine gun tripods, a new word (reticule), and how to count to four, among other useful information and affirmations. Rest assured that none of our caustic commentators are drinking beer. They say so, therefore it must be true.

Daniel Shaw is NOT a Naval Vessel, a Military, or an Attack Helicopter…

…But if he was, he would want to own FN’s new DeFNder Hunter Wolf remote-operated ATV with a sweet 20mm cannon mounted on top. Ever supportive, David Reeder assures Daniel that he can identify however he wants. It IS 2020. Or something. Paul Carlson jumps in, coining a slogan I think we can all get behind: “20 mil in 2020.” Count me in.

FN DeFNder Hunter Wolf cannon
The FN DeFNder (see what they did there?) with the cool 20mm cannon and optics that are useful for applying your lipstick.

Anyway, the DeFNder stacks up thus:

  • Caliber: 20mm
  • Wheels: 6
  • Operation: Remote
  • Rounds per minute: 1,100
  • Capacity: 250 rounds
  • Price: Don’t ask, unless you are a naval vessel or a military
Daniel Shaw checking out the FN DeFNder Hunter Wolf cannon at SHOT Show 2020
Here’s what you need to know about this bad boy, assuming you meet the purchasing criteria.

No word on how Daniel would deploy the vehicle if he were, indeed, an attack helicopter. Maybe sling it underneath and rig it for drop before going in on the target. Hit ‘em high and low. Yeah, that sounds good. Other ideas can be thrown out in the comments. Discuss.

Paul Carlson is a Math Genius…

…Because he not only knows how much his choice costs but how much it costs to run. By the hour. We’ll get to that. Paul chose the new M240L machine gun, also from FN, not to be confused with Browning (exclusive video content that you’ll just have to watch). The M240 is, technically, ownable, though the 240L is not, having been manufactured well after the dark year of 1986. Here are some cool facts on the M240L that will amaze your friends:

  • Caliber: 7.62 NATO
  • Weight: 20 lbs.
  • Receiver: Titanium
  • Barrel length: 21.7 inches
  • Overall length: 48.5 inches
  • Price: Keep Dreaming. Seriously. Paul tells you why below.

But before we get into the “keep dreaming” thing, let’s look a little closer at the 240L. The titanium receiver and a polymer fire control group allowed FN to drop the gun’s weight from 27 to 20 lbs. Such a huge reduction allows the soldier to carry more ammo or, as Daniel points out, more robust optics for night fire or whatever. Paul notes that the 240L is about the weight of a SAW, providing 7.62 firepower at 5.56 weight. A big deal. As Daniel says, it’s an impressive, “highly wieldable” package.

FN 240 L machine gun at SHOT Show 2020
The new FN M240L is a real upgrade, but you can’t buy one.

Now for the cost, and Paul’s calculations are impressive. And depressing. Being an NFA item with a full auto receiver, Paul priced the M240 at about 18 grand. But even if you talk someone into taking a personal check, this thing will cost you 1,800 bucks per HOUR to run, and that doesn’t include batteries for your high-end optics. So, good luck with that. Hope your lotto jackpot was a big one.

The talk about the M240 led to Daniel expounding on the nature of machine gun tripods…but you can watch the video for that.

David Reeder Hates the Environment…

Sig Sauer .338 Norma Magnum
The Sig Sauer .338 Norma Magnum is a game-changer, but how does it affect the environment?

…Which he makes clear by his choice of the new Sig Sauer .338 Norma Magnum machine gun. We’ll clarify that as we go along, but first, some stuff about the gun itself. The .338 round makes this thing hum. It can reach almost as far as a .50 cal, but the gun weighs less than an M240 (and the same as the M240L). The extra range allows gunners to treat targets at 1,800 meters, and even beyond, as point targets where, before, they would be area targets. Paul asks for clarification, whereupon former machine gunner Travis Pike explains that a point target is a man, whereas an area target is a group of people, a car, or a building. He jokingly tells Paul, “You’re a point target.” Point taken. Travis also notes that the .338 round is far more effective on
the business end than the 7.62 NATO round. “You’re zapping people,” adds David.

Paul Carlson, David Reeder, Daniel Shaw, Travis Pike discussing four guns you'll never own.
(L) Point Target. (R) Area Target.

Here’s a quick rundown on the Sig Sauer .338 Norma machine gun:

  • Caliber: .338 Norma Magnum
  • Weight: 20 lbs.
  • Range: 2,000 meters
  • Barrel length: 24 inches
  • Controls: Fully ambidextrous
  • Belt fed, so mags are not available at GMW. Yet. But many others are Rifle Magazines | GunMag Warehouse.
  • Reciprocating barrel to reduce recoil
  • Price: Your right arm

Daniel brings up the potential effectiveness of the Sig in laying down grazing fire. The point of the machine gun, as Travis notes, is suppressive fire. Against an attacking enemy, grazing fire is ideally sighted along the attack’s long axis at waist level. A flat shooting round like the .338 which also has great range could be devastating in that role. David agrees, saying he thinks that the long-range flat shooting .338 might allow hits with direct fire that could previously only be hit with plunging fire. The heavier bullet should also increase cover penetration, adding weight to the notion of running but not being able to hide.

Sig MG338 at SHOT SHow 2020
The new Sig machine gun has impressive specs.

Norma also uses polymer in the ammo, making it 30 percent lighter and prompting Paul to express concern over the impact of all that plastic on the oceans. Travis asks how many oceans are in the Middle East and David blows it off, saying it’s “Gonna kill the turtles.” Such callousness. I’ll let you watch the video for the rest of that exchange, but I will say it isn’t kind to polar bears, dinosaurs, dolphins, or Travis. You’ll also catch an obscure pop culture reference from Reeder. Since I absolutely got it, I also fall into Travis’ “OK, Boomer” retort.

Is Travis Pike Really a Boomer at Heart…

…Since he turns right around and picks a double-barreled skeet and trap shotgun? It’s not an NFA item, meaning you CAN buy it, “but you won’t because it costs as much as a car.” As David notes, this ain’t John Wayne’s street sweeper. We’re talking about the Beretta DT-11 over-under 12-gauge skeet and trap shotgun. The low-end version runs 8 grand, while Travis’ choice costs a cool 18,900 bucks.

Beretta DT-11 shotgun
The Beretta DT-11 is a world-class competition shotgun. And you can own it as long you have oil baron income.

The new shotgun evolved from the Beretta DT-10 series, long the standard for world champion skeet and trap shooters. The DT-11’s receiver is three millimeters thicker than its predecessor because people who use these guns shoot them a lot. They aren’t collectors’ pieces.

They are meant to be used and the pros shoot more than any 3 gunner. The trigger mechanism can be easily dropped and replaced since that’s almost always the first thing to go thanks to heavy use. Here’s the lowdown on the Beretta DT-11:

  • Caliber: 12-gauge
  • Weight: 8 lbs.
  • Chamber 2 ¾ inches
  • Double-barreled over/under
  • Barrel selector switch
  • Barrel length – 29.5-32 inches
  • Overall length: Custom
  • Price: $8000.00 and up

A couple of those points bear further exploration. The gun has a single trigger, but features a selector switch to change barrels, even on the fly. The reason for changing on the fly is to deal with longer shots when shooting doubles in skeet. Each barrel will have a different choke to handle that.

Guns - Beretta DT-11 receiver, selector switch, and barrels
(L) The heavy receiver balances the gun (M) The selector switch (with red dot) allows changing barrels in mid operation (R) The two barrels use different chokes for shooting doubles in skeet.

The heavy receiver balances the gun in the center, making it easier to stop the swing of the gun since the barrels are lighter. That makes tracking a target far easier. If you buy a DT-11, Beretta will take your measurements and custom make the stock just for you. Daniel notes that he’s heard of the high-end shotgun makers in Italy flying buyers in to measure the gun for them precisely. Like Travis says, if you’re an oil baron, this might be your gun.

At this point, as always with this crew, the conversation degenerates into a discussion of “wood,” which I’ll let you witness yourself if you’re so inclined. Paul asks if he could mount a knife on the stock and Reeder laments the lack of a pop-up red dot, to which Travis responds that the gun has “dignity.” Daniel does allow that it’s a “nice-looking shotgun,” to which Travis replies that it’s a “beautiful shotgun.” Reeder puts the cap on the video’s declension by saying “For that kind of money it better be nice looking and throw you a handy.” Now, I promised you a new word, but the usage is so varied that you’ll just have to watch it and make up your own mind. But what else would you expect from this bunch?

William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.

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