We all know by now that 2015 was a record year for gun sales, but just what were people buying? We at least know what gun buyers are purchasing online. This story from americanrifleman.org tabulates the best new and used guns in each category sold on the extremely popular online gun market GunBroker.com. Up first is handguns.
The most popular new semi-auto pistol was the Kel-Tec PMR-30, a fairly non-traditional pistol. It’s a full-size polymer framed gun chambered in .22 Magnum with a 30-round capacity that only weighs 13.6 ounces unloaded. And since we’re talking about .22s here, a full magazine adds just 6 ounces.
With those characteristics, plus a slim profile, it makes for a solid carry pistol for those who need a low-recoil defensive gun. And it’s an affordable plinker and small game hunter. One of the big drawbacks is the old school European magazine release located at the heel of the grip instead of behind the trigger. That didn’t stop it from being the most popular new semi-auto on the site. Its MSRP is $415.
The most popular used semi-auto couldn’t be more different from the new: the venerable Colt 1911. It’s a testament to the gun’s well documented staying power and reliability over the decades. Many would say Colt’s new gun prices are a bit on the steep side, considering there are so many options for quality 1911s these days, but many are clearly willing to pay a discount for a gun with a few rounds through it. On a Colt 1911, a couple thousands rounds are just like seasoning for a frying pan.
It should come as no surprise that the Ruger LCR was the hottest new revolver on GunBroker last year. The compact wheelgun (the acronym stands for Lightweight Compact Revolver) was introduced at SHOT Show 2009. The Double-Action Only pocket pistol was made to be carried, with a polymer grip and trigger housing, and is almost half the weight of the stainless steel SP101. Only the barrel and the fluted cylinder are made of steel. The frame is aluminum alloy and glass-filled polymer finished with a protective hard coating.
The hammer is concealed within the frame for safety and preventing snags. It’s available in several calibers, including .22 LR, .38 Spl +P, .22 WMR, .357 Mag, .327 Fed Mag and 9mm. Since the line has spawned the LCRX models, revolvers made of similar materials but wth larger frames than the LCR and exposed hammers, making them double/single actions.
The most popular used gun, again, is a much older pistol, but another Colt: the classic .357 Magnum Python. Originally billed as a target revolver, the gun debuted in 1955, and was sometimes called a “Combat Magnum.” It shared an introductory year with another classic, the Smith & Wesson Model 29 in .44 Magnum. Built on Colt’s I-frame, the Python has a reputation for accuracy, a great trigger, and tight cylinder lockup. Colt originally discontinued production of the Python in 1999. The company began limited runs of the gun in 2000, but it was formally discontinued in 2005. Since then, the model has become sought after revolvers by collectors, shooters, and hunters alike.
For more on the Colt Python, go here. http://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2014/2/21/colt-python-revolver/
You won’t find any MSRs here. Ruger dominated the semi-auto rifle category with the long-trusted 10/22 .22LR rifle as a new gun and the more tactical Ruger Mini-14 as a used gun.
Ruger has sold more than 7 million 10/22 rifles since it was introduced in 1964, and it has become the standard for semi-auto .22s on the market. They’re dependable, highly customizable, cheap to shoot, and affordable. For more on the history of the 10/22, go here.
The popularity of the Ruger Mini-14 on Gun Broker makes sense. At its core it has the feel of an M1 Garand or an M14 (for which it’s named), but is compact and chambered in .223, a round many shooters have gotten very used to firing in their MSRs. For those who have been shooting it for the 40 years it’s been in production, it was always the obvious .223 rifle. For more about the Mini-14, go here. Plus, with a ton of aftermarket accessories, add-ons, and stocks, you can do a lot with it, much like an MSR.
The bolt-action rifle category wasn’t too surprising, with the Ruger Precision Rifle taking the top new-gun sales spot, and the always-popular Remington 700 leading the used list. The Ruger is an MSR platform long-range rifle with a detachable magazine and all the modern features with a rock solid bolt-action at its core. The 700, and its many variations, has become the standard by which production bolt-actions are judged, used by everyone from snipers to competitive shooters and hunters.
It was a similar story for lever guns, with the Marlin 1895 being the most popular new gun and the Winchester 94 the most popular used.
The Marlin was introduced in 1972 and named for the Marlin Model of 1895, which was produced from that year until 1917. The currently offered 1895 is offered in the old fashioned .45-70 and uses the same Model 336 receiver design sued in the Marlin Model 444. It’s also available in .338 Marlin Express.
The Winchester 1894 holds the record for best-selling centerfire rifle in history. That makes sense, considering it was produced from 1894 until 2006. In 2010, Winchester Repeating Arms reintroduced the rifle in two Limited Edition models.
When it came to semi-auto shotguns, value and dependability seemed to drive customers.
The Mossberg 930 was the most popular new semi-auto smoothbore. It’s an extremely versatile gas-operated 12 gauge made for hunting or tactical applications. It’s pretty bare bones in appearance, even with a wood stock model, and has an ambidextrous safety on top of the receiver like other Mossbergs, and can take 3-inch or 2-3/4-inch shells.
The used semi-autos were led by the Remington 1100, a 20 gauge autoloader introduced in 1970 that used its own operating mechanism to reduce recoil. It was also lighter and more compact than previous semi-auto shotguns, making it a much better choice for the field. Since its introduction, it has been offered in several chamberings, including 12, 16, 20, and .410 gauges.
Pump Action Shotguns
That brings us to the pump shotgun category and a somewhat surprising result.
The top-selling new pump gun was none other than the Kel-Tec KSG, the high-capacity, futuristic looking bullpup 12 gauge that burst onto the scene in 2012. The KSG has two tubular magazine mounted beneath the 18-inch barrel, each capable of holding seven 2-3/4″ shells, for a total capacity of 14+1. The magazines are selected with a lever under the stock. That’s a lot of shells, considering most conventional pump guns hold anywhere from three to eight rounds without an extension. The KSG can also chamber 3-inch shells, which reduces the capacity to 12 rounds.
Since its introduction, the KSG has become popular among collectors and hobbyists, and has also found applications in law enforcement and home defense because the gun is fully ambidextrous and avoids the most obvious problem of a bullpup that’s designed for right-handed shooters. The empty shells eject down from the receiver, requiring no modifications to prevent the gun from spitting empty cases at a left-handed shooter’s cheek.
It’s somewhat surprising such an expensive (upward of $800) gun would dominate such a broad category. For more on the KSG, go here.
The used pump gun winner was pretty much expected: the Mossberg 500, the simple, bare-bones slide-action 12 gauge that’s usually priced under $400 new. It’s available in many variants and can be accessorized and modified to no end, making it a great out-of-the-box budget gun or the platform for any number of shotgun projects or modifications.
You’ll find a Mossberg 500 of some ilk anywhere people are shooting shotguns…except, maybe, at a high-end gun club where members wear tweed jackets and such. It’s still the number-one selling shotgun in the world, and only second in total production to the Remington 870, its long-time competitor.