Some of the choices on this list of expensive guns are difficult to accurately price because they are so rare. In these cases, I did my best to estimate the cost using the commonly available resources and I attempted to provide a price range for a firearm in “new” or “like new” condition when possible.
Check out our choices for the 12 most ridiculously expensive guns you’ll never afford, and let us know what other firearms are out there that we should have included.
1. Pre-1964 Winchester Model 70 in .458 Winchester Magnum, .35 Remington, or .300 Savage
It really says something about the high price of the guns on this list when a Pre-64 Winchester model 70 is least expensive gun on it.
In 1964, Winchester made a number of modifications to their iconic Model 70 rifle to made it cheaper and easier to manufacture. Though they made many changes, the primary difference was that rifles produced after 1964 no longer had a Mauser style “controlled round feed” bolt. At the time, many American shooters judged the new model 70 to be of inferior quality compared to the pre-64 Model 70.
As a result, all pre-64 Model 70s are in high demand among collectors and shooters all over the world. However, Model 70s chambered in .458 Winchester Magnum, .35 Remington, and .300 Savage, which were the least common calibers in pre-64 Model 70s, command an especially high premium.
2. Howdah Pistol
A Howdah is a large platform placed on the back of an Indian Elephant. During the time of the British rule in India, it was very stylish for well-to-do Englishmen to hunt tigers and other types of big game from a howdah. However, the British quickly realized that a tiger is very capable of leaping up on the back of an elephant and attacking the hunter at close range.
Hunters then started carrying large caliber, multi-barreled pistols with them on their hunts for close range protection from angry tigers. Though they were originally developed for use in India, Howdah Pistols were used by hunters all over the British Empire.
Most Howdah Pistols were custom made in the same caliber as the rifle that the hunter carried, though this was not always the case. Unfortunately, most Howdah Pistols were chambered for black powder cartridges (which are prone to corrosion), so finding a Howdah Pistol in pristine condition today is difficult and an original Howdah Pistol in excellent condition will command a high price.
3. Titanium Gold Desert Eagle in .440 Cor-Bon
A staple of action movies and video games, the Desert Eagle is characterized by its large frame and powerful recoil. Designed by Magnum Research and Israeli Military Industries, the Desert Eagle is a gas operated pistol currently manufactured in .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, and .50 Action Express.
However, a few hundred Desert Eagles with titanium gold finishes were manufactured chambered in the rare .440 Cor-Bon cartridge. Developed by necking down a .50 AE cartridge to .44 caliber, the .440 Cor-Bon is more powerful than both the .50 AE and .44 Magnum, while producing less recoil than the .50 AE. However, the .440 Cor-Bon never really caught on with shooters so very few Desert Eagles were produced in that caliber. As a result, those pistols are very rare and highly sought after by gun collectors all over the world.
4. Barrett M82A1 in .50 BMG
The poster child of gun control advocates all over the world, the semi-automatic Barret M82A1 was designed by Ronnie Barrett in the 1980s as a long range sniper rifle that takes advantage of the awesome power of the .50 BMG (12.7x99mm) round.
The United States military adopted the M82A1 under the designation M107 and Army and Marine snipers have used them very successfully in Iraq and Afghanistan. Using the M82A1, a highly skilled shooter can successfully engage targets at ranges in excess of 2,000m.
Surprisingly, the recoil generated when shooting the M82A1 is quite manageable due to its heavy weight (in excess of 29 pounds) and the rifle’s muzzle break. Though the M82A1 is still currently being produced, they are still quite expensive and somewhat difficult to purchase. That hasn’t stopped people from using them on the occasional hog hunt though.
5. Krieghoff Trumph Drilling
Derived from the German word “drei” for the number three, drillings are break action, three barreled firearms that usually consist of two shotgun barrels and one rifle barrel (though this may vary).
Carrying a firearm designed in such a manner allows a hunter to be properly equipped to hunt everything from birds to big game without having to purchase or carry multiple firearms. Many different gun manufacturers have produced drillings over the years and there are literally dozens of variations out there.
That being said, the most common variation has TWO shotgun barrels (typically 12 or 16 gauge) on top with the rifle barrel (most often in 6x57mm, 7x57mm, .30-06 Springfield, or 9.3x74mm) on bottom. However, this may vary and it’s not uncommon to encounter drillings with two rifle barrels (often one rimfire and one centerfire) and one shogun barrel.
In addition to their high quality craftsmanship and beautiful appearance, Krieghoff firearms are also accurate and reliable. Not surprisingly, there is a premium attached to these rifles and Krieghoff drillings are correspondingly expensive.
6. Sharps Model 1874 Creedmore
$12,000 – $15,000
The Sharps Rifle Company produced a line of extremely accurate rifles chambered in large bore cartridges during the heyday of buffalo hunting in the 1870s. The long barreled, single shot, breech-loading Sharps rifles were capable of hits at very long range in the hands of a capable marksman and gained a reputation as excellent long distance rifles.
7. Pederson Self-Loading Rifle in .276 Pederson
When the United States Army was considering a replacement for the 1903 Springfield in the late 1920s, John Pederson developed a revolutionary new semi-automatic rifle design along with an accompanying cartridge.
Though neither the rifle or the cartridge ended up being adopted for use by the United States Army, they significantly influenced the design of the M-1 Garand, which Army and Marine Corps eventually adopted. Indeed, the Garand was originally chambered in .276 Pederson, and nearly adopted by the Army until it was decided to modify the design to shoot the .30-06 Springfield cartridge, which was then the standard cartridge in use by the Army and Marine Corps.
8. 1903 Springfield in .30-03 Springfield
That’s right: a 1903 Springfield rifle chambered in .30-03, not .30-06. Have you ever wondered why the 1903 Springfield shoots the .30-06 Springfield cartridge (which was not introduced until three years after the rifle)? Well, here’s your answer.
The 1903 Springfield was originally designed to shoot the .30-03 Springfield round, which fired a 220gr round nosed bullet at 2,200 feet per second. However, US Army officials quickly realized that the .30-03 was far outclassed by other cartridges in Europe firing new high velocity, “spitzer” (pointed) bullets (like the 7mm Mauser). So they designed a new cartridge firing a high velocity, 150gr pointed bullet: the .30-06 Springfield. After the adoption of the new round, virtually all of the 1903 Springfield rifles then in existence were modified to shoot the new .30-06 Springfield cartridge and only a handful chambered in .30-03 still remain.
9. Chapuis Savana Double Rifle in .416 Rigby
Developed in the 1800s for use by European hunters on dangerous game in Asia and Africa, a double rifle was considered an essential element of any dangerous game hunter’s equipment. It gives the hunter the ability to fire a follow up shot without having to work the action, thus saving valuable time during an encounter with dangerous game.
Double rifles are difficult and expensive to produce since both barrels are aligned to hit at precisely the same spot at a given range. This, plus the elaborate engraving that they usually have, ensured that wealthy hunters were by far the most common users of double rifles.
Over the years, the development of smokeless powder has allowed ammunition manufacturers the ability to produce ammunition that is both more compact and more powerful than the old large bore “express” cartridges of the late 1800s and early 1900s. As a result, gun makers can produce magazine fed rifles that give hunters the ability to fire a third, fourth, or even fifth shot without having to reload, a clear advantage over a two shot double rifle. However, the double rifle has hung on as a stylish throwback to the golden age of African hunters in the hands of wealthy hunters.
10. Winchester 1886 in .50-110 Winchester
Like the Winchester Model 70, the Winchester 1886 is quite popular with collectors. When Winchester released the Model 1886 rifle in the late 1800s, the rifle quickly caught on with the shooting and hunting communities. In addition to being an exceptionally beautiful rifle, the 1886 also had an incredibly strong action that was capable of safely shooting many of the most powerful cartridges of the day, like the .50-110 Winchester, and was the first true American “express rifle.”
Though the .50-110 Winchester was the most powerful American cartridge in existence when it was designed, it was introduced after the peak of American Bison hunting in the 1870s and 1880s. As a result, the cartridge was not practical for most hunting and was not very popular.
Though Winchester 1886s chambered in any caliber are in high demand, rifles chambered in .50-110 Winchester are extremely rare. Unfortunately, since the rifle was originally introduced to fire black powder cartridges, many 1886s on the market today are in pretty rough shape. An 1886 in good condition, especially one in .50-110 Winchester, will demand a high premium indeed.
11. Beretta Imperiale Montecarlo Shotgun
Yes, you read that right: a shotgun that costs over $100,000. Beretta is probably best known for making extremely high quality shotguns. Beretta shotguns, double barreled and otherwise, are renowned for being the best in the world and are often used by Olympic champions in skeet and trap.
As with anything else, you’re paying for the name as much as for the quality of the actual product. The bottom line is that since so many of the top dogs of the shotgunning world often use Bretta shotguns, lots of other people do as well. The Imperiale Montecarlo is the top of the line side by side shotgun that Beretta produces, featuring amazing engraving and craftsmanship as well as outstanding performance, and is priced appropriately.
12. Holland & Holland “Royal” Deluxe Double Rifle
It’s true that money can’t buy happiness. However, money can buy you a Holland & Holland Royal Deluxe Double Rifle and I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a sad person shooting an H&H double.
Only an incredibly wealthy person could afford to purchase a rifle that costs nearly twice as much as my first house did, but apparently there are enough of them out there that Holland & Holland produces a special line of ridiculously expensive rifles just for them.
Are these rifles overrated? Maybe, but all Holland & Holland firearms are made by hand by master gun makers and they advertise that 850 man hours of work go into making one of their Royal Side by Side Shotguns to ensure that they are the finest guns that money can buy.
It’s true that H&H firearms are extremely reliable and accurate. However, just like Beretta (and many other companies), Holland & Holland firearms are among the most expensive guns in the world due to their reputation and exclusive clientele. They count the British Royal Family among their many happy clients, in addition to other famous hunters such as Theodore Roosevelt and Frederick Courtney Selous.
Bonus: TrackingPoint Precision-Guided Bolt-Action .338 TP
The TrackingPoint Precision Guided Firearm system combines several advanced technology features that allow shooters to make long range shots with ease regardless of whether you’re hunting antelope in Africa or ISIS terrorists in Syria.
The scope contains a computer that tracks the target and computes a ballistic solution from data obtained from an integrated laser rangefinder. The trigger is wired into the scope and is designed to eliminate error from improper trigger squeeze. This particular model rifle is designed to hit targets moving as fast as 20 miles per hour at ranges out to 1 mile (1,760 yards). The system also contains an integrated camera that captures still photographs and video from the scope, which can then be transferred to a tablet, smartphone, or even a proprietary set of space age shooting glasses.
Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by John McAdams on his hunting blog. Follow him on Twitter @TheBigGameHunt or check out one of his Alberta bear hunts.
NEXT: THESE ARE THE 6 BEST HANDGUNS FOR HUNTING