Burglars stole five shotguns during a break-in at a house in Feering.
The firearms, which were legally held, were stolen from inside a locked gun cabinet in the house on Feering Hill between 12.45pm and 2pm yesterday.
The cabinet was ripped from its mountings and attacked with large tools and screwdrivers, causing considerable damage.
Once open, an AYA double-barrel shotgun and four single-barrel shot guns were stolen, but the ammunition was not found.
Police are appealing for anyone who heard or saw anything suspicious in the area to call them on 101.
DC Nick Campbell said: "This has been a very distressing incident for the owner and I would urge anyone with information to phone Braintree CID.
“We are very keen to recover these firearms as a matter of priority and would ask if anyone wishes to speak to us in confidence they phone the non-emergency number on 101 and ask for extension 400125 or telephone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, where information can be given anonymously."