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Thread: Gunsmithing and Rifle Books

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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Default Gunsmithing and Rifle Books

    Picked up a couple of gunsmithing books while I was in Anchorage, first title is: Gunsmithing Rifles by Patrick Sweeney, second title is an older book titled: Gunsmithing by Roy F. Dunlap. Was searching for a book titled: Accurizing the Factory Rifle by M.L. McPherson, no luck at finding the book. Anyone have any recommendations on other books on the subject, or on rifles in general. Planning on adding to my growing library. thanks in advance.

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    Bolt Action Rifles by Frank de Haas is a good read/reference. Its not a gunsmithing book, but does a good job breaking down the different actions and how they function. It also covers disassembly and minor tuning like triggers. Brownells carries gunsmithing rifle/action specific books (ie. 98 Mauser, Rem 700, etc.)

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    Here are some books I have found to be good.

    The bolt Action
    by Stuart Otteson. This book covers most common bolt actions and discusses there relative benefits. Written by an engineer but very easy to read with excellent drawings. Also talks about lock time in detail. I have also seen this book titled The bolt Action: A Design Analysis, which has volumes 1 and 2. As best I can tell the second volume was written later and covers later actions but I have yet to find a copy.

    Benchrest Actions and Triggers by Stuart Otteson. Covers how to analysis the stiffness of various actions and design of triggers. Primarily aimed at benchrest type rifles but still a nice read.

    The Complete Illustrated Guide to Precision Rifle Barrel Fitting by John L Hinnant. Covers action truing and barrel fitting, as well as building of Barrel and action wrenches and fixtures for action truing. Great drawings and easy to read.

    Rifle Accuracy Facts
    by Harold Vaughn. Covers his attempts to improve accuracy of a rifles and find which factors are important in good accuracy. Also discusses bullets, stability, wind and other factors. I would consider this a must read for anyone serious about accuracy. Features results from many computer programs written by the author, as well as many experiments. A very scientific look at accuracy by an aerospace engineer who has worked on things like ICBM rentry, but very easy to read.

    I am very happy with the above books and will sell a rifle before them.

    I have heard good things about Roy Dunlap's book but have not personally read it.
    Many recommend the Gunsmith Kinks series by Bob Brownell, but I do not. I have looked through them and found them to be rather disorganized and not very detailed.
    I was not impressed with Bolt Action Rifles by Frank de Haas, but that just might be me. I found it covers old military actions fairly well but when it comes to the modern commercial actions reads more like advertising. It spends way to much time on things like fit and finish and not enough time on describing the details of the actual rifle. Often he would not even list if the rifle in question was Push or Controlled Feed, leaving the reader to try to guess from pictures.

    One other spot to find some good reading is Archive.org They have many free downloads of PDF's of old books mostly pre 1950. While some of the material is rather dated they still make for good reading. Some I have enjoyed are:

    Cartridge Manufacture by Douglas Hamilton
    Hatcher's Notebook by Julian Hatcher
    Our Rifles by Charles Sawyer
    The Modern Gunsmith by James Howe
    United States Rifles and Machine Guns by Fred Colvin and Ethan Viall

    These PDF's are not exactly easy to read as they are scanned text, but the books are long out of print.

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    TomM, I do have the book titled Bolt Action Rifles by Frank de Haas both 3rd and 4th editions already in my library. Had them for a few years now.

    bandhmo, all the titles you listed I do not have. Will start searching for them online, Thanks. Will also check the online recommendations as well.

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    Thumbs down

    I agree on the gunsmith kinks books

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    I recall seeing the book Gunsmithing Kinks in the Brownells catalog. May be time to oder up a new catalog from them. Thanks

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    Nukalpiaq, if I am reading you right I think you have miss interpeted my post as well as Amigo Will's, I think he was agreeing with me about the poor quality of the gunsmith kinks books.

    I could be wrong but personally I found very little to recommend them on. Of coarse opinions on books can be a mater of reading or taste. They do have some antidotes that may be useful in learning what to expect from customers but as far as real gunsmithing knowledge I found them very lacking.

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    Thanks for the clarification, but I was wanting to get a new Brownells catalog to check for some of the other titles mentioned. May have better luck finding them there rather than shopping book stores in Anchorage.

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    I understand. Brownells might have them also check midway. I got most of mine off of Amazon, but the prices tend to be all over the place, I think the most I payed there was $30 but often people try to sell them for way more. Also some have been reprinted so I google search may turn them up at a good price.

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    Here is a link to some of the PDF's, I hope you have a fast connection.

    http://stevespages.com/page7d.htm

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    You did well with your first couple of aquisitions. Sweeney and Dunlap are very good to go. And you have received some very good suggestions here.

    I would add the Jerry Kuhnhausen shop manual for Mausers, Jeff Cooper's Art of the Rifle, any of Jack O'Connor's rifle books, and Jim Charmichael's Modern Rifle.

    These are not exclusively gunsmithing books, but in addition to the books that have already been mentioned are pretty much essential to any serious rifle student.

    I guess you could add something from Boddington too if you wanted a more recent title.

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    Being out here in rural Alaska it has taken me many years to build up a small library of firearms and hunting books. Here are the titles I have acquired so far.

    American Hunting Rifles
    Safari Rifles
    Make It Accurate
    Where Lions Roar
    From Mt. Kenya to the Cape
    Deer Hunting Coast to Coast
    by Craig Boddington

    Optics For The Hunter
    by John Barsness book

    Stalking Big Game
    by Walt Prothero

    Complete Book of Shooting
    The Hunting Rifle
    The Rifle Book
    Complete Book of Rifles and Shotguns
    by Jack O'Connor

    The Modern Rifle
    Book of the Rifle
    by Jim Carmichel

    White Hunters the golden age of african safaris
    by Brian Herne

    America's Great Gunmakers
    by Wayne Van Zwoll

    Big Bore Rifles and Cartridges
    Wolfe Publishing Co.

    Legendary Sporting Rifles
    by Sam Fadala

    Hunting for Handgunners
    by Larry Kelly and J.D. Jones

    Cartridges of the World 11th Edition
    by Frank C. Barnes

    Bolt Action Rifles 3rd & 4th Editions
    by Frank de Haas

    Encyclopedia of American Gun Design and Performance
    by L.R. Wallack

    Modern Custom Guns
    by Tom Turpin

    The Springfield 1903 Rifles
    by Lt. Col. William S. Brophy, USAR, Ret.

    The American Krag Rifle and Carbine
    The Model 1903 Springfield Rifle and its Variants
    by Joe Poyer

    The Swedish Mauser Rifles
    by Steve Kehaya
    and Joe Poyer

    The Mosin-Nagant Rifle
    by Terence W. Lapin

    Serbian and Yugoslav Mauser Rifles
    by Branko Bogdanovic

    British Enfield Rifles Volume 4
    by Charles R. Stratton

    American Ammo
    Practical Gunsmithing
    by Edward A. Matunas

    The Game Rifle
    by Bob Hagel

    Making Shots-A Rifle Hunter's Guide
    by Bryce M. Towsley

    Colt An American Legend
    by R.L. Wilson

    In addition to some of the recommended titles on the thread I was thinking about buying a book written by Roger C. Rule called: The Rifleman's Rifle Winchester's 70 1936-1963, anyone ever heard of the author or read his book? thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nukalpiaq View Post
    In addition to some of the recommended titles on the thread I was thinking about buying a book written by Roger C. Rule called: The Rifleman's Rifle Winchester's 70 1936-1963, anyone ever heard of the author or read his book? thanks
    You have built up a nice library. The Roger Rule Model 70 book is essential if you are going to collect pre 64 Model 70s or just have an interest in them. Lots of photos of rare examples.

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    I do enjoy my books, almost as much as my firearms.

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    Just found this title on-line, seems like it too would be a good addition to the wtb book list.

    A Master Gunmaker's Guide to Building Bolt Action Rifles
    by Bill Holmes

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    Default Patrick Sweeney

    A good, knowledgable writer. My wife has sent me two of his books. I've got his Gun Digest Book of the 1911 vol. 2 and Gunsmithing Pistols and Revolvers vol. 2. I'm just getting started building my library, this thread will be a good reference for me.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

    Noone has a more intimate understanding of, or deeper appreciation for freedom, than a soldier who has fought for it in a country where it does not exist.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The NRA has put out some excellent gunsmithing books, they are sadly out of print but occasionally you'll find one for a reasonble price.

    I personally like the gunsmith kinks series, not so much how to but many excellent shop tips that make the books pretty much pay for themselves

    I'd also add Guy Lautards machinists bedside readers vol 1, 2 and 3. There is some gunsmithing info, but mostly shop techniques, projects and machining/tooling.

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    Just bought a couple more books for my library, the first is a set titled; The Bolt Action, Vols. 1&2 by Stuart Otteson 1985 Wolfe Publishing, also a book titled: Mauser Bolt Rifles by Ludwig Olson Third Edition Updated & Expanded 14th Printing. Looking forward to receiving them in the mail soon. Hear so many of the experienced riflemen on these forums make reference to them during their discussions that the books must be well written with a lot of good information on rifles and their design features. So I figured they have to be a must have for my library.

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    As already mentioned, Hatchers Notebook is VERY good. I would also add an older edition of Small Arms of the World. Older because the newer editions leave out a lot of the more common WW2 vintage arms. Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson too.
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

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    My new books made it in today, just browsing through them it was well worth the cost and the wait. The Mauser Bolt Rifles book has a lot of pictures and drawings. The Otteson volumes have a lot of technical drawing of various actions. Will be searching for the other books that were mentioned. Looking forward to doing some reading. Thanks everyone for your contributions to my book search. If you have anyone other book recommendations please do post them on the thread. Thanks

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