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Sometimes thread drift isn’t a bad thing.

The comments made me start to think about other books that offer basic education for newcomers to the gun world. Bussard’s book should answer 99% of basic ammo questions so I’ve been trying to come up with some to cover the other parts. Some time ago I mentioned Ammunition Making and was told that it brings big bucks on the used book market. It has chemistry Bussard doesn’t but otherwise

The funny thing is that I am literally surrounded by gun books but the ones I go to most often are specific reference works about makers like: Colt, Smith & Wesson and Winchester. I use The Blue Book a lot not because of the values but because it almost always has enough basic information about makers and models to answer general questions or at least point me in the right direction. The NRA Firearms Sourcebook is great for the glossary of terms, formulas, and basic stuff.

But when I try to think of something that covers all you need to know on firearms it’s not easy. I think Jim Carmichael’s Book of the Rifle is great and Shotgunning: The Art and Science by Bob Brister is excellent but I’m having a hard time coming up with anything really complete about handguns and I don’t know of anything that really covers all aspects in anything more than a cursory manner.

Almost all the major handgun makers have one book or many about their products but there really isn’t something that tells us how and why they work. One common question comes to mind which is why pistol barrels are measured from the breech face but revolvers only measure the actual barrel and don’t count the cylinder. The only answer that makes sense to me is that the pistol’s barrel and chamber comprise a single part and revolvers don’t. One might assume that the barrel cylinder gap makes a difference in velocity but every time I test that theory it doesn’t.

One of the best how to shoot a pistol books is the Army’s Pistol Marksmanship that, while geared toward bullseye shooting can help anyone.

Hopefully you get my drift and I’d like to hear about your favorite books… and why.
 

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I think it's called Outdoor Life Complete Book of Shooting from around 1966 (was reprinted in the '80s that I know of) is about the best one-stop basic guide for the newcomer I've ever seen, even after all these years. Jack O'Connor did the rifle section and Jeff Cooper did the handgun section (the last time he published "how to shoot" info AFAIK); forget who did the shotgun section.

Cooper's Complete Book of Modern Handgunning and Cooper on Handguns are still good books. His The Art of the Rifle is of course absolutely outstanding.

Mel Tappan's Survival Guns is a bit dated now as to specifics, but is still a great source of basic info of all types that's still relevant. I hear our friend M. Bane is working on an updated version.

Every so often I'll grab one of the many books Dean Grennell did for DBI off the shelf and read it again cover to cover, and enjoy it all over again and learn something new (or re-learn something I'd forgotten). There are quite a few of these and I hesitate to single out any one of them. They're all enjoyable and Grennell was one of the two best pure outright wordsmiths ever to write about guns (the other being Cooper).

I have a couple of the big fat old Numrich catalogs that are a great one-stop source for exploded drawings and parts lists of all kinds. Their website offers some of the drawings but not all.
 

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I guess that since I'm not too awfully mechanically inclined, my bookshelf tends to lean more towards the different makes and models of firearms, their history and development. I've got
"The Complete Catalog of Smith and Wesson", "Long Range Sniping in Viet Nam", Br'er Mas' "Greatest Handguns of the World", "A History of Colt Firearms", and "Guns of the Old West", to name a few. I guess the only real "How to" tome I own is Major Plaster's work on sniping.

I just bought Massad Ayoob's book yesterday. Great read, and wonderful photography. I saw Patrick Sweeney's "Book of the 1911" there (Books a Million) too. That's on my list for next payday (heck two books and two magazines set me back $70.00!! Sheesh!) But no worries, Mr. Sweeney, it will be in my hot little hands by weeks end!

The Catalog of Smith and Wesson is just jam packed with interesting information about the entire S&W line, and well worth having as a reference if you dabble in S&W's at all.

Plaster's work on sniping is very informative if you're interested in learning about that particular facet of skill at arms. Everything from scopes, ballistics, camouflage, doping wind, moving targets and the best points of aim to use when stalking man is covered, and more.

The History of sniping in Viet Nam is told from the Army's perspective, so the M-14 is the weapons sytem spotlighted in that work. Really pretty interesting.

I think I'm going to start picking up some Kunhausen Shop manuals. I've heard nothing but good about them, and they could at least help me decide if a task was within my meager capabilities.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Roy Jinks History of Smith & Wesson lives on my desk along with several of the little "dates of manufacture" booklets- especially Colt and Winchester. Supica's book is too big for the desk but it's on the shelf nearby.

Kunhausen's stuff is good although they may be too complicated for a true beginner. Let me suggest either the Gun Digest or NRA books on handgun assembly. They have good illustrated guides on how to take stuff apart- and put it back together that is a good starting point. But before you do anything invest in a good set of screwdrivers- either Brownells or Midway- because hardware store drivers never fit gun screws...
 

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Thanks, Charley. I'll do just that. SHeesh, I sure hate to think of my 56 year old self as a beginner, but really, I am. I did master detail stripping Smith revolvers and 1911's, but as for performing any kind of true work on them...ehh, like my 11th grade shop teacher told me after examing some of my work..."Kelly, you oughta be a butcher." And that sir, is the God's Honest Truth. :lol:
 

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I have an almost complete set of Jerry Kuhnhausen's Shop Manuals and Charlie's right. Way too complicated for the beginner. I've got the Third Edition Standard Catalog of the S&W. What I use alot ,believe it or not, is Hatchers' notebook. As old as it is, I'd say 90% of it is still pertinent. I also use his book on the M1 alot, although I don't agree with some of it, especially his stuff on headspace not being dangerous and M1s not capable of blowing up. I've seen photos of an M1 that was totally destroyed by some old surplus that was completely chambered. I also rely on alot of AF TOs I got when I ran QC in the Air Guard. I do have a Gun digest Book of Illustrated Breakdowns that is very good.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Tell me it isn't so... Hatcher said "headspace isn't dangerous"...

Given the M-1s construction it might be hard to get excessive headspace through normal use but I think that for any bottlenck rimless cartridge the potential for problems due to excessive headspace are very real.
 

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Charlie, he based all this on an experiment he and another did. They kept reaming the headspace in a Garand and testing it with ball until they were, I believe.265 past max(Might have been higher, I'd have to look) and according to him,all they got was some minor casehead seperation.
A couple weeks back a gentleman posted on CSP with photos of a completely destroyed Garand. He stated the round that did it was completely chambered but that it was old surplus(What isn't) and that when they later tore some of it down the powder had an odd smell, was like a fine dust and some of it was in clumps. He also stated that it was a DCM rifle so, it's pedigree was safe. I'll try to get the link to it and you can see.
Here; http://www.jouster.com/forums/showthrea ... -splinters!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The "fine" powder is the reason. Stick powders become Bullseye if they get pulverized.

There was a famous suit against Winchester where a gun blew up with serious injury. They found that the ammo had been riding around on the dashboard of a pickup for years and was just about dust.

If Hatcher's work was with an M-1 that might be true... or he just didn't go far enough... That "separation" can become a ka-boom if it goes far enough.
 

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I misspoke Charlie, the max they reamed to was 1.965( Field-Reject gauge is 1.950). still, that's twenty-five Thousandths over minimum headspace or fifteen thousandths over maximum. He did make a sensical statement though, they increased the headspace by reaming which moves the shoulder forward. He said that, had they increased the headspace by grinding back the bolt-lugs, the consequences could've been dire indeed. He believed that as long as the chamber is adequately sealed, excessive headspace would only result in changes in velocity and possibly, slight case-stretch.

Of course, now we know that headspace, in a chamber, only grows about .001 over the life of a barrel. The majority of headspace growth comes from wear in the locking lugs and the receiver recesses and peening of the breechface. Had he gone the other way, the experiment would've had much more meaning.

sorry to temporarily hijack the thread.
 

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All I know about headspace is that out of the box, my Polytech M14S would close on a No-Go gauge and close about 2/3 of the way on a NATO Field Reject. NATO spec ammo with hard, crimped primers would flatten and flow the primers and I swear at least one had a tiny pinhole in it.

I lucked out and found a TRW USGI bolt that dropped right in, seems to have good lug engagement, and doesn't close on the NATO No-Go. Fired primers now look completely normal, even commercial, uncrimped ones.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
That makes more sense Sarge.

I confess that my experience with the M-1 is not the greatest, but I've seen bolt actions that were so stretched that even thinking about shooting them was dangerous.
 

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I know Charlie and I apologize for the mistake.

Snake, if you have a Field-Reject gauge for your Polytech I can tell you how to figure the exact headspace of the gun. Just strip it down, strip the bolt, clean all the grease out of everything, insert the field gauge halfway in, slide the disassembled bolt forward until it seats the gauge in the boltface then, with light finger-pressure push it towards closed. Let it drop on it's own. Now, starting with .001,start trying to slide feeler gauges under the Roller until one moves it. Take the one before it and subtract that from your Field gauge measurement(Different manufacturer gauges use different Datum-points) and you have your exact headspace.

also, your Polytech, if it's like any of the ones I've worked on, has a 7.62NATO chamber, not 308, so 308 Win. gauges won't read right in it. A 7.62 chamber that just closes on a 7.62NATO No-Go will swallow a 308 Field gauge.
 

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Sarge, I was using NATO gauges. And I borrowed them, by mail (from a poster here named Cabinetman, IIRC), so I don't have constant access to them.

It's all good now, though. :wink:
 

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Yesterday, by accident, I ran across a Pretty Darn Good gun book.

Had to go to the library to pick up a reserve book for The Lovely Mrs. Snake, sick in bed. Thought I'd make the trip worthwhile and see if there were any good car, gun, or airplane books there I haven't already read a dozen times.

Found a new (2010) book, Greatest Guns of Gun Digest. My first thought was "More Of The Same," but a quick leaf through turned up a couple things that looked halfway interesting, and since one of us will now have to come back to the library in three weeks anyway, why not?

It turns out to be 222 pages of reprints of original Gun Digest stories going all the way back to 1952. Now I own most--maybe all--of the GDs from about 1971 to sometime in the mid-2000s, so there's quite a few things in here I've seen/read before (in some cases, dozens of times before), but I'm being amazed at how many very, very cool old articles from the '50s and '60s are in it that I've never seen before. GOOD articles, too--very interesting. Some of the stuff is written by great old names--Keith, Askins, Triggs, Amber, Mason Williams, J.B. Wood, and so on. (No Jeff Cooper or Skeeter Skelton, though, more's the pity.)

I'm not sorry I brought it home, and expect that it will be giving me several hours worth of reading enjoyment. Dunno if I'd pay $25 for it (price on the back), but if I ran across it on a bargain table for $10 sometime, I'd grab it. Or I'll prolly be checking it out of the library again.

If you don't have an extensive collection of old Gun Digests, give this book a look. I'll bet you find SOMETHING interesting in it.

Snakeworthy! :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
At the range yesterday a guy gave me copies of W.H.B. Smith's Book of Pistols and Revolvers and Rifles

I had forgotten about those but the are very handy for "what is it" questions?
 

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Charlie Petty said:
At the range yesterday a guy gave me copies of W.H.B. Smith's Book of Pistols and Revolvers and Rifles
When I was a kid, my local library had the Pistol book and I kept it checked out on a regular basis. Prolly checked it out dozens or scores of times. Much, much later in life, I discovered that there was a companion Rifles volume. Have only read that one once.
 

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I have both volumes on my book shelf. I found them at a local flea market, Great reference books. I think they were the forerunner of Smith's other great book Small Arms of the World, which my wonderful sister gave me for my 10th birthday. I read it from cover. I also like George Nonte;s Combat Handguns.
 
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