At the most recent Big Sandy Shoot, big gun expert Robert Bigando gave us a tour of the nearly two dozen big guns on display at the event.

The Big Sandy Shoot is a biannual event that takes place near Wikieup, Arizona, in April and October of each year. The event attracts hundreds of shooters, machine guns and large caliber guns. The most recent shoot was held from October 20 to 22, 2017. It saw the largest turn out of big guns in the event’s 30 year history. This included the largest civilian owned gun — the 152mm Russian D20 howitzer.

These guns are owned by big gun enthusiasts such as Bigando. He bought his first 20mm when he was only 20 years old. In fact, he had to wait until he was 21 to be able transfer it to himself. It didn’t take long for him to go from the 20mm, to a 25mm, to a 57mm, to a 90mm and so on. Bigando is now a sought after expert in the domain. He had three guns at Big Sandy, and worked on many of the others.

According to Bigando, owning a big gun is very similar to owning a machine gun in terms of both paperwork and cost. «A good Bofors gun can probably be picked up for $25,000.» he said. «So you got to ask yourself, what would you rather have? An M-16, or a 37mm Bofors?»

Which gun would you rather have?


  1. If I won the lottery, I'd get the investor green card, move from the UK to the US, and hunt down buy and fire my very own German 88 flak/anti tank cannon. And maybe a katushi as well.

  2. To put the sheer power of the 152mm gun into perspective. It fires a 6 inch, 46-56kg high explosive projectile with or without a ballistic cap (anti-concrete rounds), with dedicated armour piercing and HEAT rounds being developed after WW2. The explosive blast yield alone was enough to knock out all of the German "big cats" (Tiger, Panther, King Tiger, etc…) with a direct hit. It was so monstrously powerful that it would crack them wide open, dislodge turrets, and create such a massive spalling effect inside the tank that it was nearly impossible to survive. It effectively earned the Russian tank destroyers that mounted it the name "beast killer". I would not want to be anywhere near the shell blast of one of those.

  3. Big guns are addictive.
    I tell people all the time… Being a corporal tank gunner on the first gen of M1's in Germany in the way back? Yeah, best job I ever had!

  4. Funny to see, how the time changes. Americans cheerings when russian gun is fired. Do they know that those guns were made to stop Nato-troops somewhere in Europe?

  5. …or a good RDIAS for about 15k. With the AR platform, you could shoot Many cartridges in select-fire. Plus, it's not limited to one firearm since the item itself is what's the NFA registered item.

  6. Funny to me how political arguments for guns center around home defense or hunting when the truth of the matter, as evident by the laughter after each round fired, is shootin and blowin stuff up is just a gol dang hoot!!! MERICA