To begin, I'll divide what categories I believe most firearms can fit into:
In my opinion, my top five favorite civilian rifles with a wide range of applications are:
1. M1 Garand
2. Winchester M1895
3. Remington 870 Combo
4. Marlin Model 60
5. S&W M1917
I picked these five because they aren't necessarily my favorites overall as much as they are
reliable and can adapt to many situations if need be, and these make them some of my most valuable.
Tell me your favorites below!
Walther PPK/S - classic, beautiful, easy to carry/conceal, mechanically well made
Rifles (hunting and target):
Remington 700 in .308 - accurate enough for most uses (and easy to make more accurate), easy round to find or reload, robust bolt/receiver. Can be adapted to long range competition or as a general hunting rifle. Very flexible and not expensive base price.
Anschutz 1903 .22LR - out of the box competitive target .22 (Izmash CM2 - budget option)
Ruger No. 1 Tropical - .375 H&H - all around great round for big game without getting ridiculous. Beautiful single shot rifle, with good build and accuracy at a not ridiculous price.
Winchester 1873 in .357 mag - just because.
For home defense:
Mossberg 500 in 12ga.
I dont think I could choose just a few favorites, but I personally own
Pre '64 Winchester M1894 30.30 Lever actcion
Savage model 99 .243
Savage model 11/111 (unsure on actual numbers, guy I got it from threw some paint all over) .308
H&R Single shot 12 ga
and next weekend I'll be picking up a savage model 11/111 .338win mag.
some of these I few as investments, things I could potentially sell if I got hard up fer money, cept the 30 30. I dont really have a need for home defense, the highway is 2 miles down a gravel road, and in the winter said 2 mile road is closed. I got a wolf tag this fall.. so the .243 and now the .308 are my 2 choices for that, or the occasional cyote. the .338 is goin for quite a bit less than msrp and only one box through it, and I been lookin for an elk/moose gun fer a while now.
I don't really think in absolutes and the list of guns that I do not like is shorter. The guns that I keep finding myself picking up and using:
For shotguns it is still a toss up between a stainless Mossberg 500 boat/plane gun and a hundredish year old Crescent rabbit eared 12ga. The Mossberg takes 3" mags and I don't care about scratching it up but the Crescent shoots really well and is a good CAS gun.
Of my long guns I keep carrying my father's .444 Marlin. This calibre has come under all sorts of pointless criticism being compared to the new .45-70s (which are also great guns) but at the end of the day I like this as a "get anything done with overkill" gun and it was my father's. I have a really nice, tuned, polished stainless and brass Rossi Puma in .45 LC but it is just not quite enough gun for my bearanoia.
I bought this little bronze reproduction 18th century grenade launcher (mini-mortar) rough cast for $65.00 from Fort Vause Outfitters. http://www.fortvauseoutfitters.com/ It took a lot of elbow grease to finish but it is just fun and LOUD. Best bang for the buck that I own.
Ya the mortar does look like fun!
This is another drool worthy cannon catalog: http://www.hernironworks.com/
Cannons and mortars are sort of like microwave ovens; before owning one you didn't know that you needed it and after owning one you can't imagine not having them.
I own a Ruger New Vaquero in .45 Colt, which I traded my Ruger Vaquero .357 for, and the .45 Colt is much more balanced. It shoots well, and although not popular in the 1870's, .45 Colt is my all-around favorite "Western Cartridge."
My favorites among those in my collection...
Winchester 1892 (Rossi made clone in .357 Mag, purchased in 1987)
Henry Golden Boy (I also own a Henry H001, standard carbine. Golden Boy is prettier...)
CZ-452 (Czech made tack driver)
Colt Single Action Army (in .357 mag)
Smith & Wesson Model 27 (.357 mag)
Yeah, commonality of round works well for me. I also have a pre-ban Polytech AK, two SKS, three Enfields, two 98K Mausers, several shotguns and semi-auto rifles and small collection of black powder rifles and revolvers as well.
My favorite firearms are my revolvers, my single six for plinking, practice, squirrels, and rimfire competition and my EEA .45 LC Colt clone for fast draw, cowboy stuff, silhouettes and when things go bump in the night around the farm.
I also have a cherished Marlin 336 in 30-30 that's a family heirloom. It gets carried (but sadly not fired very much) on the fall deer hunt every year. But my favorite long gun is my Baikal side by side 20 gauge. That gun has knocked alot of grouse and woodcock out of the air over our English setters, and I have loads of great memories hunting with my dad associated with it.
Why are you not shooting the 336? I have a 336 in .35 Remington that was passed down from my dad. Sadly we didn't hunt much and that gun has never seen a deer but it is what I plan on using to take my son hog or deer hunting very soon.
Oh, it's no insult to that old rifle, I love it. My brother has an equally cherished model 94, which we gleefullly used a short while ago to devastate some zombie targets out at 100 yards. I've also knocked the noggin of a grouse or two just for camp breakfast with it. The 30-30 doesn't bark very often because I seem to have very little luck after deer. I see nothing but does out there!
Good luck after the deer and hogs. Hog hunting is something I'd love to try someday.
I also own a Marlin 336 in .35 Remington. I think its superior to the .30-30 and is probably my favorite rifle caliber for lever guns.