Please Note New Page: Gun Design Books

Please note the new page, Gun Design Books and Resources. It went live at 0600 this morning, but because it’s a permanent Page rather than an ephemeral Post, it doesn’t post to the main page. (We’re probably missing some obvious way to make it do this).

You can access it from the margin of the site, above, or by simply clicking the link in this sentence.

It is our intent to provide a comprehensive listing of books for the would-be gun designer or design engineer. We’re aware that we’re a long way from comprehensive as it stands, and we even have some sections that are unpopulated, apart from headings. But we believe that we have listed the key resources available, both online and in hard copy, with a bias towards currently in-print or available sources.

We’re also very, very interested in your suggestions for additions.

We hope you find the page enjoyable and informative.

9 thoughts on “Please Note New Page: Gun Design Books

  1. Dyspeptic Gunsmith

    If you’d wish, I can post a list of the books on my shelves which I’ve found useful in gunsmithing. I would caveat, however, that most all of my books have little to do with military arms, past or present. I think the only books I have on military arms would be volumes on Mauser, Springfield (’03) and Garand rifles.

    1. Hognose Post author

      That would be most useful. It’s not design stuff, so it probably rates a book on its own. I would guess that your books would tend more towards older tomes and especially towards machining information. Am I right?

      One thing I found very useful was a set of books from the 1930s from the Ford factory training organization. I still have one on metallurgy. These books were written by engineers to be understood by floor workers who might have had 8 years of education and thready immigrant English. Each one is a model of clarity. I wonder if they are online at or somewhere?

      1. Dyspeptic Gunsmith

        Yes. I’m not a gunsmith on modern (ie, post 1950’s) military firearms much. I sporterize Mausers, Springfield ’03’s, etc, and older bolt/lever/break/pump action sporting rifles, older shotguns, etc. I will and do work on modern guns (ie AR’s), but they’re not really my primary interest. I like older firearms, especially double shotguns, old, really nice pump guns, etc. NB I have nothing against modern guns – I own some six AR’s in different configurations (and invariably, two are in various state of assembly due to being used as guinea pigs), I just don’t see much call for, or profit possibility in modern guns, which are much more modular and need very little of my type of attention. People ask me “why don’t you work on AK’s and SKS’s? They too low brow for you?”

        Well, no, but when my shop time for a fix exceeds the original cost of the gun itself… people tend to not darken my door. So I never see com-bloc guns in my shop.

        So my books will tend towards the old school stuff, old school methods, with lots of hand tools, shop-made tools, refined technique, kitchen chemistry (eg, in the blueing, browning, and lubricant areas). Some will be out of print and expensive to find, some will be available on and other places. I also have some books on competitive shooting that might be of interest to people, but you might want those references in different places.

        I’ll collect a bunch of titles, authors, ISBN’s and such in the next week and attach it to your perma-post, if that’s OK. Where possible, I’ll include links to where old texts can be downloaded, and if there are no links any more, then I could email you .pdf files.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Lubomir Popelinsky is the principal author, I think, and Derek F Allsop the editor for Brassey’s. It’s *slightly* less costly at ABEbooks than at Amazon ($500 vs $750). But Popelinsky’s works are available reasonably in the Czech language from Czech sellers. I’m not sure which one is the core of the Brassey’s book.

      “Czechoslov- and Czech small caliber weapons and their [service] lives”

      “Fire: the birth of Czech aerial cannons.” Looks technical.

      “Rapid Fire Weapons”. Looks like a coffee table picture book.

      He also has a book called “Zbrane pod podkilckou” which is roughly “weapons under wraps,” not sure what that is as it appears to be out of print in Czech, too.

  2. Stefan van der Borght

    Permit a squeak from the least strata of the pond; I’ve been researching black powder cartridge rifles of late, and was astounded as to how much effort those guys put into getting accuracy and precision out of the neanderthal weapons they had. I wonder, what they would do with what we have? They watched temperature and humidity and optimum loads, and I’m curious to know whether anyone these days goes to such pains; perhaps for the empirical experience of learning how to confidently put a cold barrel first shot in the ten ring at phenomenal distance at short notice; and what we could learn from them. They didn’t have much, but what they had they knew intimately. A link, hopefully of some interest:

    The curious bit was the article writer’s query into the colour of the shooter’s eye. Weird, huh? Never read anything like it, and will be following up on it, but not in the sense of late correspondent WCO.

    1. Dyspeptic Gunsmith

      Living close to Forsyth, MT, one gets to see lots of BPCR activity. Here’s an interesting little factoid for you:

      The differences in muzzle velocity for a change in the charge in the cartridge are smaller than for changes in a smokeless charge.

      So once you use all the other techniques (eg, a high quality barrel, good trigger, good sights, etc), you start getting rewards pretty quickly.

      At longer ranges, the most important thing competitive BPCR guys tell me is accurate range estimation for the first few shots. With a projectile having a low Bc and trajectory that starts to look like it was hucked downrange with a trebuchet, a small difference between estimation and reality becomes a huge vertical miss.

    2. Hognose Post author

      Benchrest and longrange guys today do the same thing. Until we have directed energy weapons that deliver their medicine at the speed of light, we fire projectiles that are at the mercy of that ever-moving fluid, the air. Because the standards of accuracy are so high in these forms of competition, atmospheric data are often part of their workup.

      Back in the bad old days, the Soviets and their satellites had a crude SSM which we called the FROG (Free Rocket Over Ground). Ivan called it Luna-M, it can deliver about 1,200 lb of HE, Bio, Chem, or Nuclear damn-damn. (In fact, these were live in Cuba with nuclear warheads). These were ballistic, fin- and spin-stabilized rockets (the fins worked on immediate launch, in low-altitude, dense air. Then spin was provided by four thrusters located near the nose of the rocket). “Ballistic, spin-stabilized” — what does that sound like? Before the crew could launch a FROG, they needed to have comprehensive environmental and meteorological information. With that they could achieve some impressive shots at extreme range, and they had the confidence to fire these things over major metro areas from one training area to another.

      In 2003, the Iraqis actually put one with a HE warhead on a US headquarters they actually targeted.