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It's a good book for reference, but much of the techniques shown are no longer valid in todays gunsmithing.

Like most older books many of the techniques are the old "get it to work....somehow" methods. In a modern day where new parts are usually readily available most customers are no longer willing to accept hand made parts or the use of sliver brazing of broken parts.
These days customers want guns repaired to factory level specification repairs, and if a gunsmith used some of the older techniques today he'd get sued for ruining a gun.

Back when most of these techniques were common, a man's time was not worth much and parts were very expensive and almost impossible to get.
Today a man's time is very expensive and parts are cheap and easily obtained.

It's interesting to read how the old timers managed to keep a customers gun working, but much of it is just no longer acceptable.
 

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Funny someone should bring this up. I was paging through my tattered copy a week of so ago and cringing at the horrid mistakes and incorrect information in that tome.

Example howler: the statement that the gas ring at the front of a S&W cylinder locates the cylinder.
 

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Nonte was quite a character and prolific to say the least. He had a bunch of pen names and nobody around to contradict his stuff.

He was also very fond of himself...
 

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Hey, I wasn't dissing your post and never read the book. My comment was based on lots of other stuff he wrote and one meeting.
 

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I am of two minds, which is an ancient way of saying undecided:

Is it better to have the aging generation of gun writers characterize and comment on their forefathers?

Or is it better to let the work stand on it's own and let the secrets and opinions go to the grave.

Geoff
Who wants to know what Chic Gaylord was really like, I think.
 

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I think back in the day, Nonte was my third favorite gunwriter, after Jeff Cooper and Skeeter Skelton. John Lachuck might have been #4 on my list.

Nonte also wrote under the name C. George Charles, and something like Art Wesley or David Wesley or something like that. I have a couple issues of Shooting Times that were almost completey written by Nonte under various pseudonyms.
 

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Just since I'm out of new magazines to read, I dug up my copy of Nonte's book and will be giving it a quick re-read today.

It was written in 1974, and it is what it is. You have to remember that in those days, he wasn't that interested in fine restoration work, or high-end custom gunsmithing. He's mainly talking about getting guns functional and working again, and modifying/customizing them to suit your own needs and tastes. Keep in mind that back then, perfectly lovely original 1911s and 1911A1s in "as issued" condition that would today sell for $800-$1500 or more were trading in the $50-$100 range, and no one thought anything about "accurizing" them for match work or "chopping" them down into "custom combat conversions." I remember the era well, and one local gunsmith who did a LOT of this kind of work (which we'd call "butchery" today). His "custom" guns sold for $300-400, or a little more than a brand new Python, and he did a pretty good bidness in them.
 

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I am of two minds, which is an ancient way of saying undecided:

Is it better to have the aging generation of gun writers characterize and comment on their forefathers?

Or is it better to let the work stand on it's own and let the secrets and opinions go to the grave.

Geoff
Who wants to know what Chic Gaylord was really like, I think.
Geoff, personally I really like to hear about gun folks who have passed (or not) from people who knew them. It gives me some insight and perspective that I would not otherwise have.
 

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Nonte was a decent (although perhaps also a troubled) man who not only well represented the tinkerers who had long preceded him in the periodicals but who could also write a lot more interestingly than many of the other similarly-more-technically-inclined guys who were his contemporaries during the period of time that he was best known.

He was not a stupid man and he was extremely knowledgeable regarding firearms for he routinely helped friends of mine in the Midwest with technical matters and relatively advanced and esoteric issues involving historical and sometimes rather abstract firearms. I can speak of that, firsthand.

Some of the errors in his works might well have been errors either missed by him during his generation of the huge volume of printed information in the books and magazines we can still see today or they might have been the inclusions of editors who sometimes add mistakes of their own to the works of others they oversee. Unfortunately, on that last part, I can speak of that firsthand as well.

That said, Major Nonte was very guilty of both practicing and promoting the kind of less-than-sophisticated “machining” that the bulk of his readers could not only understand but perform themselves at home. I was lucky to have worked as both a machinist and a foundryman in my teens, a tool-and-die maker in my twenties, and an engineer after that so I have always respected people who can work with their hands to create the things they “see” in their minds. But I must admit wincing more than once when reading of his numerous exploits using a drill press (not even a mill-drill, let alone something like a true Bridgeport J-Head) to convert “S” or “N” frame cylinders from .38Special or .41Magnum to .45Colt!

But as alluded to elsewhere in this thread, much of the Major’s work (and there was plenty of it for in those decades he was popular, he was literally everywhere every month) was the kind of tinkering, customization and personalization common to the era in which he wrote. Used guns were cheap and often plentiful and people didn’t worship them as collectables the way they do in many cases today. They were tools, plain and simple. And if making them more suitable for the role they played in their owners’ lives meant radically modifying their original designs, so be it.

Personally, my one time focus on concealable, service-caliber automatics stemmed from the many articles he wrote about such things and his almost visionary interest (obsession?) in cut down pistols about which he wrote regularly during a time when few people even wrote about pistols let alone custom fighting ones like this. It was eye opening to see a step-by-step chopping and channeling of Smith Model 39 when most people I knew had never even fired a “stock” one. For people like Charlie here, who know me personally, now you can finally understand why some of those things of mine came about at a factory level and why I am so impressed with where the industry is finally heading (some four or more decades since Nonte wrote about them) in terms of compact and, separately, mini 9mm’s.

I have a signed-to-me copy of his book that’s being discussed in the posts above and while I can’t agree with everything that’s in it (I didn’t even do that at the time I received it when it was first published), it is still a helpful tome and one worth having.

Now as to Mr. Gaylord, he was an interesting character as well. An old and amazingly knowledgeable friend of mine worked for him in New York and he told me stories about him all the time. And another friend, writer and police officer had the opportunity to meet with him at length before he passed away. But those reminiscences are going to have to wait for another day.

It’s just that right now I only have the time to question Charlie here about his remark regarding Major Nonte. Are we really supposed to be surprised (or even take notice) that a gun writer might be “very fond of himself”? I’m sure that at times (many times) he was but having attended more than a few Outstanding American Handgunner Award Dinners, several Outdoor Writers Association Conferences, one or two of the older Peterson Writers’ Programs (as well as having a few things of my own published every now and then), I thought that trait was sort of a prerequisite.

Just joking. Have a good day everybody.
 

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As a youth in the '60s the first Gun Mag I subscribed to was "Guns and Hunting" which later rolled into "Guns" I remember an article by Gaylord on barrel length and caliber. The most memorable part was a picture of S&Ws with barrels from 8 3/4" down to a model 36 with a barrel under 2".

As I recall the conclusion was, for a concealable revolver, a 3" Model 36, with a trigger shoe. (Note: Trigger shoes are HIGHLY disregarded now days, but in the day were effective in decreasing "felt" trigger pull by adjusting the length of pull and making the touched area of the trigger larger.)

Geoff
Who is annoyed that he can remember spot items from the ancient past, but cannot remember where he left a flashlight. Sigh.
 

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As a youth in the '60s the first Gun Mag I subscribed to was "Guns and Hunting" which later rolled into "Guns" I remember an article by Gaylord on barrel length and caliber. The most memorable part was a picture of S&Ws with barrels from 8 3/4" down to a model 36 with a barrel under 2".

As I recall the conclusion was, for a concealable revolver, a 3" Model 36, with a trigger shoe. (Note: Trigger shoes are HIGHLY disregarded now days, but in the day were effective in decreasing "felt" trigger pull by adjusting the length of pull and making the touched area of the trigger larger.)

Geoff
Who is annoyed that he can remember spot items from the ancient past, but cannot remember where he left a flashlight. Sigh.
I can relate. I HATE it when I go into a room and stand there for minute trying to remember just why the hell I went in there! :help: :D
 

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Nonte was a decent (although perhaps also a troubled) man who not only well represented the tinkerers who had long preceded him in the periodicals but who could also write a lot more interestingly than many of the other similarly-more-technically-inclined guys who were his contemporaries during the period of time that he was best known.

He was not a stupid man and he was extremely knowledgeable regarding firearms for he routinely helped friends of mine in the Midwest with technical matters and relatively advanced and esoteric issues involving historical and sometimes rather abstract firearms. I can speak of that, firsthand.

Some of the errors in his works might well have been errors either missed by him during his generation of the huge volume of printed information in the books and magazines we can still see today or they might have been the inclusions of editors who sometimes add mistakes of their own to the works of others they oversee. Unfortunately, on that last part, I can speak of that firsthand as well.

That said, Major Nonte was very guilty of both practicing and promoting the kind of less-than-sophisticated "machining" that the bulk of his readers could not only understand but perform themselves at home. I was lucky to have worked as both a machinist and a foundryman in my teens, a tool-and-die maker in my twenties, and an engineer after that so I have always respected people who can work with their hands to create the things they "see" in their minds. But I must admit wincing more than once when reading of his numerous exploits using a drill press (not even a mill-drill, let alone something like a true Bridgeport J-Head) to convert "S" or "N" frame cylinders from .38Special or .41Magnum to .45Colt!

But as alluded to elsewhere in this thread, much of the Major's work (and there was plenty of it for in those decades he was popular, he was literally everywhere every month) was the kind of tinkering, customization and personalization common to the era in which he wrote. Used guns were cheap and often plentiful and people didn't worship them as collectables the way they do in many cases today. They were tools, plain and simple. And if making them more suitable for the role they played in their owners' lives meant radically modifying their original designs, so be it.

Personally, my one time focus on concealable, service-caliber automatics stemmed from the many articles he wrote about such things and his almost visionary interest (obsession?) in cut down pistols about which he wrote regularly during a time when few people even wrote about pistols let alone custom fighting ones like this. It was eye opening to see a step-by-step chopping and channeling of Smith Model 39 when most people I knew had never even fired a "stock" one. For people like Charlie here, who know me personally, now you can finally understand why some of those things of mine came about at a factory level and why I am so impressed with where the industry is finally heading (some four or more decades since Nonte wrote about them) in terms of compact and, separately, mini 9mm's.

I have a signed-to-me copy of his book that's being discussed in the posts above and while I can't agree with everything that's in it (I didn't even do that at the time I received it when it was first published), it is still a helpful tome and one worth having.

Now as to Mr. Gaylord, he was an interesting character as well. An old and amazingly knowledgeable friend of mine worked for him in New York and he told me stories about him all the time. And another friend, writer and police officer had the opportunity to meet with him at length before he passed away. But those reminiscences are going to have to wait for another day.

It's just that right now I only have the time to question Charlie here about his remark regarding Major Nonte. Are we really supposed to be surprised (or even take notice) that a gun writer might be "very fond of himself"? I'm sure that at times (many times) he was but having attended more than a few Outstanding American Handgunner Award Dinners, several Outdoor Writers Association Conferences, one or two of the older Peterson Writers' Programs (as well as having a few things of my own published every now and then), I thought that trait was sort of a prerequisite.

Just joking. Have a good day everybody.
Mr. Marlowe, I wish people like you and Charlie and Massad would write books about what it was like being involved in the gun world in times past, your contacts and interactions with the folks that have helped to shape the industry and the sport to what it today.

I ain't talking about any kind of "expose"...more along the lines of how the whole art of shooting, design, manufacturing and marketing has evolved (with maybe a few personal anecdotes thrown in! ;)).

I've been buying, selling, shooting and carrying guns for almost 40 years. Thanks to the internet, I've been able to "talk" to a few folks whose written words have instructed and enlightened me over that time. Personal accounts of the folks who were at the center of popular gun culture would be fascinating (to me, anyway).
 

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"I thought that trait was sort of a prerequisite."

And all this time I tought modesty was a virtue...

But I also confess to ego that, in private, knows no bounds... or maybe in a dark corner (or motel room Terry) when I am plied with strong drink. Mr. Marlowe and I have solved many of the world's problems that way.

I still marvel at the fact that somebody wanted to read my stuff enough to pay me for it.

And for the skeptics out there his credentials are even better than mine
 

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"I thought that trait was sort of a prerequisite."

And all this time I tought modesty was a virtue...

But I also confess to ego that, in private, knows no bounds... or maybe in a dark corner (or motel room Terry) when I am plied with strong drink. Mr. Marlowe and I have solved many of the world's problems that way.

I still marvel at the fact that somebody wanted to read my stuff enough to pay me for it.

And for the skeptics out there his credentials are even better than mine
And why should you guys (meaning gunwriters) be any different from any of us Charlie? Hell, me and my fellow PO-lice sit around and "...solve many of the world's problems" both WITH and WITHOUT a strong drink or two. Can't figure out why anyone would fault somebody from having a strong opinion about something that was their life's work...or politics, cars, movies, etc.

Strong opinions (and egos) exist in all of us. Thank God.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I can relate. I HATE it when I go into a room and stand there for minute trying to remember just why the hell I went in there! :help: :D
I'm getting there guys. I love the old gunwriters and am happy I've saved many magazines from the 70's 80's
 
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