Does Your Gun (or Bow) Have a Nickname?

Naming your guns and bows (or arrows) can be fun, but it can also serve a purpose. Do you have a name for your favorite?

Does Your Gun (or Bow) Have a Nickname?

Only a select few guns or bows are worthy of a nickname. The owner of Old Mule covered its ancient wood and metal with camo tape to help hide it from wary turkeys. The tape also helps hold the gun stock together.

Hunters spend a lot of time with their weapons, and it’s only natural that putting in that time comes with some emotional attachment. The stories attached to your favorite gun or bow lend it a bit of personality — it’s your partner in the field after all. Our editors weigh in on their favorite weapons, their names and stories; or lack thereof. While several of our editors either aren’t into naming their weapons or are still waiting for a gun to earn an appropriate moniker, others have a storied history for their firearms. Learn about the legendary Old Mule and a quiver of arrows with names like Rockzilla and the Polish Hammer. Some of our readers even chimed in with names ranging from Mjölnir to Margaret Thatcher. 

Dave Maas, Senior Editor for Bait & Tackle BusinessBowhunting WorldArchery Business and Whitetail Journal 

I own more guns and bows than I can count on all my fingers and toes, so I guess it would make sense to name them for ease of discussion, but I don’t. In fact, the only hunting tool I can think of that carries a nickname is owned by one of my best friends.

Bill has a single-shot Savage Stevens 12-gauge called “Old Mule” that he bought from another buddy of mine 40 years ago, and the gun was far from new at the time of the $27 transaction.

Old Mule — so named because it kicks like one — was born before fancy-pants screw-in choke systems, and if you ask any of the dozens of longbeards that walked in front of the gun’s slightly off-center aiming bead, the 30-inch barrel is full choke. It delivers a drop-’em-in-their-tracks pattern of lead unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.

One time, Bill was hunting beside another high school buddy of ours, Barney, and because Bill had already unleashed Old Mule on a Minnesota tom, it was Barney’s turn to shoot. While Barney owns a slick 12-gauge, synthetic-stocked turkey-specific pump, Bill offered him Old Mule for the morning sit. Barney had to accept because saying “no” to such a generous offer would be like declining an offer to visit President Trump on Pennsylvania Avenue for a Quarter Pounder.

True story: A pair of mature toms slowly worked their way across a half-mile-wide field, gobbling occasionally to Barney’s calling. Finally, they stopped at 45 yards, looked a bit nervous for no good reason and then began to drift away. 

“Barn, shoot!” Bill pleaded. “Unleash Old Mule!”


The targeted tom hit the ground for a moment, but then it was hobbling straight away. Barney jumped to his feet while digging in his pocket for a follow-up shell, and finding it and loading it on the run, he stopped to deliver the knockout punch.


Because the tom was closer to 60 yards than 50, it stumbled but didn’t die. Realizing it couldn’t outrun its pursuers, the tom ducked its head to hide in the foot-tall cover.

The Somewhat-Deadly Duo took off in pursuit again, but Barney soon realized the forearm of Old Mule had separated from the barrel during the second shot.

“I broke Old Mule!” Barney yelled, now holding bare shotgun steel in his right hand and the gun’s forearm in his left.

“Don’t worry!” Bill answered. “Happens all the time. She’ll still fire. Shoot again!”

Dropping Old Mule’s forearm into the field and then reloading, Barney ended his turkey season with a final shot. Later, Bill would carve another hash mark in Old Mule’s wooden stock to signify another spring success.

Derrick Nawrocki, President and Publisher for Grand View Outdoors

Not my gun or my bow, but definitely my arrows. Why? Well, I used to practice and mark each arrow with a number or certain number of dots so I knew which arrows were doing what and could select and shoot only the most consistent set of arrows and get rid of the floaters or arrows that just didn't fly right. This worked just fine, but it wasn't much fun — more of a grind — and sometimes I lost track of what number or set of dots were the best. At some point, I was hunting with some good friends at Spot Hogg Archery (Josh Johnson and Kris Christensen) and they happened to name their arrows, so I decided, what the heck. They explained that it helped keep track of your best arrows, and hey, why not, it's just more fun to send your "Chuck Norris" arrow downrange than, say, arrow number three. So, I started naming my arrows, and all of sudden shooting/practicing was more enjoyable. I learned certain arrows shoot best, and I would remember that arrow by that name. Furthermore, once in the field, it added another level of fun, picking which arrow I was going to nock up for each hunt. It's way more exciting shooting my "SRV (Stevie Ray Vaugh)" arrow or my "Napalm" arrow than that number three or arrow with two dots.

I now name all of my arrows, and my favorites are those that shoot the best, then my most favorites are the ones that help me get the job done. "Rockzilla" and the "Polish Hammer" have become my most favorite arrows.

Mike Schoblaska, Digital Editor for Grand View Outdoors, Hunting Retailer and Archery Business

I don’t have names for any of my guns or my bow. I’m not very sentimental when it comes to that sort of thing, and none of my guns are anything special. Most of them simply serve a utilitarian purpose, and I pull them out of the safe when I need them and clean them before putting them back. None have saved my life or been along on any truly epic adventures. I couldn’t even tell you which one is my favorite, because which one I grab on any given day depends entirely on what I’m hoping to shoot at.  

As my collection continues to grow (wife permitting), maybe I’ll run into something special that warrants a name, but most of my guns are bought new with little, if any, backstory. Like me, most of my friends aren’t planning on selling any guns anytime soon, and I don’t shop for guns at secondhand stores that might have a gun that’s already been named for sale. I guess I’ll have to keep buying guns and maybe one day find one worthy of a name.

I started naming my arrows, and all of sudden, shooting/practicing was more enjoyable. I learned certain arrows shot best, and I would remember that arrow by that name.”

Derrick Nawrocki

Facebook Answers 

We also posed this question to our readers on Facebook and got more than a few fun answers. Looks like some of you are a little more creative than we are! Sound off in the comments or on Facebook if we missed you and you’d like to share.  

  • I have a Colt Cobra from the ’50s, kind of purple where the blue faded on the alloy. Her name is Margaret Thatcher. She may not be beautiful, but she is to be respected.
  • Svetlana, Isabella, Daphne, Miss Colt, Elizabeth. Svetlana is an AK. Miss Colt is an AR-15. The others are muzzleloaders, whose names represent the countries they were built to represent — Spanish, Dutch, colonial Virginia.
  • Big Black is a Benelli Super Black Eagle II 12-gauge and is so named because of the 49.5-inches in length and black finish. Also, because he’s almost as tall as me.
  • Thalia is my TenPoint crossbow. My Grendel 6.5 hog-hunting rifle is named Jezebel because she does her best work at night. Rupert is my Ruger Hawkeye M77 .270, Fred is my Ruger .44 Mag Carbine, Annie is my Ruger Red Label over-and-under, and Earl is my Beretta Xtreme A400.
  • My turkey gun is named Mjölnir. (Editor’s note: Mjölnir is the Norse name for the Hammer of Thor.)
  • I call my 30-06 the cell phone, so I can reach out and touch them.
  • Buford, Mcarthur, Colonel Sam, Hemmingway, Patton, Lee, Beauregard. Patton is a 1911 and Beauregard is a Colt Peacemaker. 
  • Mathews, Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Springfield — they all have names.
  • My TC Encore Pro Hunter 20-gauge slug gun is known as the Punisher.
  • A friend of mine named my Winchester 70 “Ol' Splintermaker” after I took a shot at a deer and hit a small tree instead!
  • My .204 is Roxanne — she has a red light. My longbow is Rosy because she has a rosewood riser.
  • I call mine “Jessica,” my wife’s name, just in case I talk about her in my sleep.
  • Thumper, a 460 S&W.
  • The Enforcer, a 454 Ruger Super Redhawk.
  • Old faithful, one of my bows.
  • My old shotgun I call the dirty whore. Action is super stiff. Can barely cycle it with gloves on in the cold. But she still does her job.

To see what (and why) famous outdoorsmen like Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett named their guns, check out 4 Famed Hunters and the Names of Their Guns.


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