Home Authors Posts by Jennifer L.S. Pearsall

Jennifer L.S. Pearsall

Gun Quote: Massad Ayoob on Col. Charles Askins, Jr.


Gun quotes from Gun Digest. Here's a controversial Massad Ayoob quote about Col. Charles Askins, Jr.

Massad Ayoob quote“There were facets to Charlie that I wouldn’t want in a cop. There was racism. There was a killer instinct, too strong, strong enough to sometimes slip its leash. Some of his shootings, had they been adjudicated, could have earned him ‘life without parole.’”

—Massad Ayoob, on Col. Charles Askins, Jr., Combat Shooting with Massad Ayoob

Editor’s Pick: 70 Years of Gun Books on 3-Discs


When you’ve been putting out an annual gun book for nearly 70 years and that volume is always the best seller, that kind of speaks volumes about the quality inside the binding. And so it is with Gun Digest, in continual yearly print since 1944.

Gun Book CollectionWhy does this gun book have a crazy number of fans? Because it has always had, and continues to have, absolutely something for everyone in it—every shooter, every hunter, every serious competitor, every firearms collector, and every gun hobbyist.

Are you a high-power competitor? Yup, we’ve covered that.

An avid wingshooter who prefers a 28-gauge over anything else? Oh, yeah, we’ve been there.

And we’ve been there with concealed carry guns and gear, blackpowder muzzleloader wonders from yesteryear and tomorrow, wildcat cartridges that are on their way to being the next big thing and hot new factory ammunition already on the cutting edge of performance, behind the scenes looks at the makers and shakers in the firearms industry, glimpses at priceless collections and custom creations, and oh, so much more!

In fact, Gun Digest is perhaps the best-known modern-day record of our treasured firearms history—and that, too, says a lot.

We hear all the time from people who say, quite seriously, that they have a gun book library with every single volume of Gun Digest proudly displayed on the shelves.

And then there are the newer readers who’ve discovered our gun books only in recent years and wish they could find the older volumes without spending a fortune on e-Bay. Well, we have the solution to that with the full collection of Gun Digest on a three-CD set.

Every volume, from every year, from 1944-2013 is there, with every page, photograph, gun test, and story accounted for—and none of it will take up space on your library shelf!

Click here to order the Gun Digest 1944 – 2013 3-Disc Set for the best price from GunDigestStore.com.

Editor’s Pick: Gun Digest Book of Shotgun Assembly/Disassembly


* Perfect for learning how to clean a shotgun completely.

* Enhance gunsmithing skills with information on shotgun parts.

* More 250 shotguns covered.



Shotgun CleaningWhether you grew up with the simply and ably designed Remington 870 in your hands, turned to the more sophisticated Winchester X3 for competitive sporting clays, shouldered one of the unique, box magazine-fed 12-gauges from Saiga Firearms for 3-gun competition, or are one of the lucky few to have a drum-fed 12-gauge Street Sweeper shotgun in your gun safe, you know that shotguns are as American as apple pie and the Star Spangled Banner.

And no matter what model you have, you know that stripping your shotgun down for cleaning and maintenance can be a hassle if you’re not an expert gunsmith. Enter Kevin Miramatsu’s newest book with us, Gun Digest Book of Shotgun Assembly/Disassembly.

Quite frankly, there are few people out there who have as complete a bank of shotgun knowledge as Miramatsu. In this volume, he’s explored more than 250 shotgun variants of all action types, from Stoeger to Savage, Beretta to Browning, Mossberg to Marlin, with plenty of newer models like the Browning Maxus, CZ Model 712, and Remington VersaMax.

And then there are the out-side-the-box picks, like a Parker double-barrel, Ruger Red Label, an H&R Topper, and the tactical shotgun from Citadel. Miramatsu has done his typically masterful job with the subject matter, including thorough breakdown and reassembly instructions, hundreds of illustrative photos, and expert advice for getting the job done.

Safe to say, in a volume this comprehensive, the DIY shotgunner will never screw the cap back on the bottle of Hoppe’s No. 9, look at your gunsmithing bench, and wonder why there’s a part still sitting there. So grab this must-have volume, get your gun cleaning kit together, and get to work. Your shotgun will thank you for it.

Click here to get the Gun Digest Book of Shotgun Assembly/Disassembly.

Editor’s Pick: Shooting Instruction Value Pack


Features These Terrific Shooting Instruction Resources

Sentry Solutions Field Grade Care Kit - Shooting InstructionsGunMate Range Bag - Shooting InstructionsThe Complete Guide to 3-Gun Competition - Shooting InstructionsGun Digest Shooter's Guide to the 1911 - Shooting Instructions
Stick-A-bull Targets - Shooting InstructionsCombat Shooting with Massad Ayoob - Shooting InstructionsGun Digest Book of the .22 - Shooting Instruction

Shooting Instruction Value PackThe leaves are just about off the trees, the stores are stocked with Halloween candy, we’ve seen the first Christmas ads on TV. You know what that means, the holiday gift buying season is pretty much here.

Well, for the shooters on your list, especially new handgunners, we have the perfect answer to your “What to get ’em?” question: Gun Digest’s Shooters’ Special Value Pack.

What do you get? Well, just about everything except the gun!

We put together a fantastic cleaning and care kit for the field, one of the best and super spacious range bags we could find, a stack of targets, and four of our best-selling books, including the Complete Guide to 3-Gun Competiton, Gun Digest Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, Combat Shooting with Massad Ayoob, and Gun Digest Book of the .22.

With this special package, all your favorite shooter has to do is gather up their guns and ammo and head to the range! This special package is available in limited quantities—when they’re gone, they’re gone, so shop early and get yours now!

Click here to order the Shooter's Special Value Pack for just $99. Hurry!

Editor’s Pick: Build the Perfect Bug-Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit


Bug-Out Bags: A Good Idea

Though the idea of survival in the case of everything from a natural disaster to something as catastrophic as complete, worldwide economic collapse and civil disintegration has gathered speed among the American public recently. Witness the success of television shows like National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers.

How to build a Bug-Out Bag

While there is certainly a core group of people who are prepared to respond in a split second for whatever impending doom their imaginations can conjure, most of us are less vigilant. Still, I don’t know anyone who owns guns who also doesn’t at least think about “What if?” To that end, my editor’s pick this week is survival expert Creek Stewart’s Build the Perfect Bug-Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit.

I picked this book primarily because the season is getting to me. As I write this, Fargo, North Dakota, is having its first significant snow of the season. At the same time, Wisconsin is having its last glorious 70-degree day. A cold front is due in tonight that will drop us to a much chillier realm, and that means snow and ice are not far behind for us Cheeseheads, as well as a lot of the rest of the nation.

“So what?” you ask. Well, it doesn’t take much to slide off an icy road in your car and get stuck, and when you live rurally, that can be a problem. Too, heavy snow and ice certainly has been known to knock out power (and for those of us on wells, so, too, water). There’s always the chance of a forest fire here, as well as a litany of other natural disasters. Whatever fate awaits me on the back roads of rural Wisconsin or you wherever you live, keeping in your home and car a short-term bug-out bag of appropriate survival gear as Stewart proposes is a very smart thing to do.

All this business about natural disaster preparedness and emergency and doomsday prepping, however short- or long-term, is pretty serious business, but the other reason I picked this book is because it’s about gear. Just like I don’t know anyone who owns a firearm who doesn’t think about the possibility of bugging out, I also don’t know a gun owner who isn’t a complete gear nut. We gun and gear nuts are also like squirrels, buying cool gear and tools and then stashing them away, “just in case.”

So assembling a bug-out bag goes naturally with that mindset, and when you combine that kind of common sense with the stuff we love to buy, building a 72-hour survival kit or bug-out bag can be loads of fun—plus it gives us a real and very sound opportunity to have all those neato-keen items we’ve bought over the years put to intelligent use. Stewart is a pro at this kind of survival gear and tool organization, with specific recommendations and a survival kit checklist, ways to pack them to optimize space, and advice on multiple-use gear pieces that save you time, money, and weight.

Complete with a thorough resource list to help you locate the right kind of bug-out bag gear, Stewart hasn’t missed a beat with this book. A must-have for anyone who asks that “What if?” question.

Outstanding Gear and Resources


Special Forces Survival Guide

Survival Straps Survival Bracelet

SAS Survival Handbook

Editor’s Pick: Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry, 2nd Edition

Concealed Carry Laws InformationDo you Ayoob?

We here at Gun Digest can’t get enough of Massad Ayoob and his expert advice on concealed carry and self-defense practices—and apparently neither can our readers. His first Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry was printed back in 2008 and sold like gangbusters, so when we asked Massad what was new, he answered, “Plenty!” and thus we bring you Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry, 2nd Edition.

Mas added plenty of new text, with crucial updates on the sate of Castle Doctrine and concealed carry laws and CCW reciprocity across the country. He’s also included new information on the use of tactical lights, and an excellent review of some of the hottest, most effective holsters on the market today, including the newer Kydex/polymer “hybrids,” Remora holsters, and breakaway pants, among others.

Of course, this wouldn’t be an Ayoob book without Massad’s personal stories of the real-life scenarios where concealed carry guns in the hands of legal gun owners have made the difference between life and death—and nobody tells these stories and makes them user-friendly like the expert he does.

Every gun owner who keeps a gun for home defense or has a CCW permit and carries daily should consider the Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry, 2nd Edition as essential reading.

Click here to order the Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry, 2nd Edition.

Editor’s Pick: The 1911 All Day Long


A great 1911 bookOne of our industry colleagues recently took a photo of the gun magazines on a newsstand display he was perusing at his local bookstore, pointing out that, out of 12 magazines available, nine featured a 1911 of some sort. If he’d waited another week, he could have counted 10, as our October 8 issue of Gun Digest magazine—out on newsstands 9/26/12—has the uber-cool Kimber Custom II on the cover.

With that kind of intensive coverage of just this one single pistol type, the ubiquitous 1911 of John Browning design, we inside the gun industry are sometimes tempted to say “Enough already!”

But the truth is there is an undeniable craving by America’s gun consumers for this wildly popular semi-automatic pistol and the seemingly unending variants its many makers can come up with.

And you know what? You’re all gonna need a book or two on the subject to go along with this most famous piece of firearms hardware. Here are my top three picks that every 1911 owner should have in their library.

•    1911: The First 100 Years by Patrick Sweeney—No one knows this gun and its history like Pat Sweeney. Part tribute, part historical evaluation, part current-day state-of-the-1911, this all encompassing look at everyone’s favorite .45 ACP is a thoroughly satisfying read.

•    Gun Digest Big Fat Book of the .45, by Patrick Sweeney—Pat wouldn’t know the gun as well as he does and not know the ammo it was designed for. In this volume, you’ll learn about this round’s origins, get tips on handloading, and see the many places in history where this round has left its mark.

•    Make Ready with Dean Caputo: 1911 Armorer’s Bench—There are more ways to customize a 1911 than you can shake a holster at, and expert law enforcement armorer Dean Caputo helps you sort through what works and doesn’t on this fabulous DVD. You’ll want to hook a TV and player up on your workbench for this one, because Dean walks you through everything from basic disassembly and trigger pulls to maintenance, getting through mechanical difficulties, parts fittings, and more. An invaluable tool for the avid 1911 shooter and home gunsmith.

Editor’s Pick: The Best .22 Rifle Book

Gun Digest editor's pick: The best .22 rifle book is the Gun Digest Book of the .22 Rifle.

If our interactions on social media are any indication, American hunters are embracing the season of filling the freezer like never before. Early dove, teal, and Canada goose seasons are open, and bowhunters are filling big-game tags in the West, as are deer hunters across the South. Yet to come—rifle big-game seasons. Which may leave you wondering why I chose Gun Digest Book of the .22 Rifle, the best .22 rifle book, for this week’s Editor’s Pick.

The best .22 rifle bookThere are a couple reasons it's the best .22 rifle book. First, hunters out there have a month, maybe more, depending on where you live, of decent weather for range practice with paper targets, and a .22 is undoubtedly one of the best (and cheapest) ways to perfect trigger control and breathing, as well as field positions like prone, kneeling, offhand, and firing off of shooting sticks. You can fire a .22 all day long to get it right, but try that kind of a long, dedicated shooting session with a .30-06 or .338 Win. Mag., and you’ll be flinching and wishing you had a spare shoulder and an extra pair of ears.

Second, it’s also time for small-game hunting seasons. Squirrels are everywhere, and rabbits are fair game once the frost hits the pumpkins, and there’s no better tool for either than the .22 LR rifle.

Third, the holidays are right around the corner, bringing parents everywhere the perfect opportunity to gift their child their first rifle for target practice and hunting. Most will start with a .22 for all the reasons we just talked about—no recoil, low noise, cheap to shoot, and more.

With all these things to focus on, the next question to come is just what .22 rifle is best? And that’s where the best .22 rifle book, Gun Digest Book of the .22 Rifle, comes in.

Well-known author C. Rodney James has you covered, from bolt-actions and single-shots, to pumps, semi-autos, and lever-action rifles, thoroughly examining the pluses and minuses of each. In addition, James discusses the myriad ammunition choices out there, and covers .22 applications for everything from small-game hunting to competitive smallbore shooting. You’ll also find advice on effective ranges, and how to perfect accuracy with these wonderful guns. It’s the best .22 rifle book for any avid shooter, no matter your sport of discipline, and one every gun owner should include in their library.

Editor’s Pick: Cartridges of the World, 13th Edition


From the outside, Cartridges of the World, 13th Edition might look like a dry and dull reference tome. Well, it is a reference tome, but it’s anything but dry and dull.

Reloading Manual - Cartridges of the WorldFor starters, we tasked ammunition expert and well-known author Richard Mann with updating this now 47-year-old book. Originally authored by the late Frank C. Barnes, Cartridges of the World quickly became the go-to book for anything anyone wanted to know about ammunition, whether it was reloading you were into, wildcatting your own next best round, collecting antique cartridges (this is a favorite reference for members of the International Ammunition Association, or IAA), or just looking for all-around information on the rounds needed to feed a particular gun. It’s been updated every few years, sometimes better than others, but this time round we really wanted someone to clean house.

To that end, Richard hit the bull’s-eye, dead on. Relying on his extensive contacts among reamer makers and barrel turners, as well as noted reloading and die manufacturers like RCBS, Redding Reloading, and others in the firearms industry to tell him which new cartridges ran the gamut from never-gonna-make-it to smokin’-hot-next-big-thing, Richard was able to separate the wheat from the chafe, the brass from the bullets, and add more than 50 relevant cartridges and their dimensional drawings to Cartridges of the World.

He was also instrumental in updating every dimensional chart, reclassifying many cartridges from one chapter to another, and helping us chose some of the weirdest, quirkiest, and most obsolete rounds to a CD included with the book (we had to make room for the new material some way or another!).

Finally, he also included three of the best writers in the industry and their commentaries on some of the latest trends in the industry, from what’s going on with SAAMI and wildcatting, to why the AR-15 and AR-10 has become the platform for new cartridge development.

But Richard didn’t just add new rounds. Many other cartridges long present in this volume have been roundly updated, because, frankly, lots of what we know about ammunition, powder, primers, bullets, and their performance today is information that just wasn’t available back in 1965, when the original book came out.

Yet Richard has a way with words that not only refreshes the text without invalidating the original author’s work, but also pays homage to it in many ways. It’s kind of like the advent of DNA analysis and CSI versus plain old fingerprinting in the police investigations of the Dragnet and Adam-12 eras. You can’t blame your forebears for technology you have and they didn’t, and, in fact, you usually couldn’t have gotten where you are without the foundations they laid.

Richard understands that, and we think Frank Barnes would be proud of the way he’s so greatly improved this valuable book. We know we are.

Click here to order Cartridges of the World, 13th Edition from GunDigestStore.com for the best price.

Editor’s Pick: Gun Information Downloads for Revolvers


Gun Information: Now in Downloadable Form

A couple weeks ago, I told you about Max Prasac’s new book, Big-Bore Revolvers. Now, revolvers tend to be simpler guns, mechanically speaking, than semi-automatics. Still, things break, parts wear down, some people want to customize, and others want to take these things apart and put them back together just for the sheer joy and challenge of it all.

Firearm Information Downloads
Click the cover to browse a variety of gun information downloads

That’s all fine and well, but having taken apart my share of revolvers, rifles, shotguns, etc., I’ve occasionally wound up with a leftover part and gone scrambling for a long-lost owner’s manual to consult. If I knew then what I know now.

What I know now is that GunDigestStore.com has hundreds of gun information downloads on assembly and disassembly for just about nearly any gun you can think of. Heck, in revolvers alone we stock assembly/disassembly and exploded gun drawings for dozens and dozens of Dan Wessons and those by H&R, plus almost too many Colts to count, including Colt Single Action Army six-shooters, the Peacemaker Buntline, 1860 Army, Walker and Dragoon models, and New Frontier single-actions, as well as double-actions such as Police Python and old model Troopers.

Then there are the Ruger Security Six and Blackhawk, the Model 82, 83, 85, and 88 from Taurus (among many others), Hi-Standards and Charter Arms wheelguns, and models from Freedom Arms guns, too. And then there’s Smith and Wesson—don’t even get me started on how many S&W revolvers we cover. We’ve even got them for some of those way-out-there guns, like Colt’s 1855 sidehammer revolver, the Llama Commanche II, the Remington New Model Army 44, and the Japanese Type 26, just to name a few.

So, if you loved Big-Bore Revolvers and have a thing for five-shots, six-shots, eight-shots, and more, then check out our gun information downloads. Sure beats trying to figure out where that leftover spring goes on your own!

Bonus Gun Information Pick: Gun Digest Book of the Revolver

Gun information for revolver handgunsWithout a doubt, I had a great time working with Max on Big-Bore Revolvers, and it brought back fond memories of the snubby two-inch barrel S&W Model 686 I owned once (and regret selling to this day). But as fascinating as the powerhouse wheelguns are that Max devised his book about, guns that big aren’t for everyone.

Love a revolver but wanting a taste of the gamut? Then check out Grant Cunningham’s Gun Digest Book of the Revolver. From .22 target revolvers to snub-nose J-frames for self-defense and others, Grant also provides great lessons in tactics for dealing with malfunctions, advice on revolvers for self-defense, mastering the double-action trigger, reloading skills, and more.

There’s a wealth of information in the Gun Digest Book of the Revolver, and it makes a great mate to Max Prasac’s Big-Bore Revolver. Buy one, buy both and have some fun with one of the hardiest handguns the world has ever seen.

Editor’s Pick: Knives 2013 – The World’s Greatest Knife Book


I’ll be upfront and say that, while I have on occasion swooned over a counter display of  pocket knives from Case (I just love the rainbow of colors), or a skinner collection from Buck Knives, I know little about blades and hilts beyond the couple skinning knives in my deer hunting pack and the couple Wusthof kitchen knives I own.

Knives 2013 book reviewTruthfully, and with the exception of an antique stag-handled German carving set my mother refuses to let me prematurely inherit, I haven’t had much interest in knives beyond their utilitarian designs. But then I filled in and did a quick edit on Knives 2013, The World’s Greatest Knife Book—and my outlook changed completely.

I was dazzled, absolutely starstruck by the beautiful knives my colleague and fellow editor Joe Kertzman assembled in these pages. Sure, I knew there were custom blade makers out there who could truly be considered artists. And I’m passingly familiar with the story of Jim Bowie and the large, belt-sheathed creations that are his namesake. But wow, oh wow.

Whether you’re a devotee of Damascus blades, jewel encrusted daggers, butterfly knives that can cut through butterflies, and edges so sharp a surgeon would trade in his scalpel, or whether you’re someone like me (you mean these things do more than cut steak and tomatoes?), then you’re in for a complete and utter treat with Knives 2013.

Click here to order Knives 2013, The World’s Greatest Knife Book. Take a wander through, you’ll like what you find there!

Editor’s Pick: Gun Digest Illustrated Guide to Modern Firearms


We’ve had a very bright and sweet intern from one of the colleges in the region working for us this summer, and yesterday, along with the other interns, she gave a, “What I did during my summer internship” presentation.

Modern gun collecting guideSeems she did enjoy our time with us, but one comment she made that really hit home was that the process of book editing and publishing wasn’t nearly as fun or glamorous as it’s painted in movies like The Devil Wears Prada (no kidding, given I’m one of the few females in this industry, and while I’m thankful to get a new camo quad parka gratis every now and then, this girl could use a little Gucci, lol!).

She’s right, it’s not usually very glamorous. And fun? Well, let’s just say you have to love the correct placement of a semi-colon to get your kicks out of much of what goes on in our offices to bring a book from raw manuscript to printed product. The one exception is our newest book, Gun Digest Illustrated Guide to Modern Firearms.

We realized that the average buyer looking at guns for sale sees only a fraction of the huge number of firearms offered by DPMS, Mossberg, Taurus, Winchester, and all the others, simply because each local gun shop (and even the big-box stores like Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops), has only so much shelf space and will stock only the guns its local market seems to demand.

But there’s sooo much more out there! So we put our heads together and mapped out a book that gives you that “so much more”—and all of us here at Gun Digest had an absolute ball putting it together.

You see, the staff here gets to deal with fabulous photography from all the manufacturers every day, plus we get our hands on the actual guns sometimes far in advance of the general public, so we get to do a lot of oohing and ahhing and neato-keening on a regular basis. The Gun Digest Illustrated Guide to Modern Firearms, then, is kind of your behind the scenes look at what we work with 365 days a year.

We think any gun lover, novice to expert, casual hobbyist to serious collector, will just love thumbing through these pages, doing their own oohing and ahhing and drooling over all the fabulous guns pictured here. With each gun genre represented—pistol, revolver, shotgun, rifle, rimfire, blackpowder, tactical, and all things AR—plus a special section on custom guns from our outside resident expert Tom Turpin, this is one of the most drool-worthy books on firearms out there.

So take a peek and then sharpen your pencil and whip out a pad of paper, because we promise, when you get done with this one, your gun shopping list is going to be very, very long.

Click here to get the Gun Digest Illustrated Guide to Modern Firearms at a great discount from GunDigestStore.com.

Editor’s Pick: Gun Digest Shooter’s Guide to the 1911


Model 1911 Book
A great book for any operator of 1911 pistols.

My first handgun, technically, was a Thompson/Center Contender in .221 Fireball. As much fun as that one was to play around with for target shooting, it was hardly a suitable gun for self-defense.

I moved from there to a stainless, two-inch barreled S&W 686 revolver, and then to a SIG Sauer P230 in stainless. I carried that diminutive SIG for a while (it was a much smoother shooter and never bit the back of my hand like similarly designed but narrower Walther PPK did), but it wasn’t a ton of fun to shoot. What was fun to shoot were any of the .45 or .38 Super Colt 1911 guns the local IPSC shooters brought to the range where I worked.

Every Thursday night, a dedicated group of 10 or so shooters came in to practice their draw drills and double taps, and they soon drew me into their fold. After my first match, using a borrowed 1911 pistol and holster rig, I knew I had to have my one, and after the ridiculous three-day wait in Fairfax County, Virginia, I was the proud owner of an all-stainless Colt .45.

I enjoyed that gun for a long time, customized it, reloaded for it, and shot a lot with it. And while I eventually transitioned to a polymer-framed double-stack Kimber .45 (which is, of course, based on the same basic 1911 design), I wish I’d had Robert Campbell’s Gun Digest® Shooter's Guide to the 1911. Campbell has all the tips for technique and general shooting that I sure could have used back then, the history behind this iconic handgun, and real-world evaluations of dozens of variations on the them, this book is an all-inclusive look at what almost no one would argue truly is the greatest pistol of our ages.

Click here to pick up a copy of Gun Digest® Shooter's Guide to the 1911 at a great price from GunDigestStore.com.

Bonus Editor’s Pick: Gun Digest Big Fat Book of the .45 ACP by Patrick Sweeney


.45 ACP cartridges
Be sure to pick up this book on .45 ACP ammunition, too.

What better to go with a book on the gun than a book on the ammo that feeds it? The Gun Digest Big Fat Book of the .45 ACP by tactical guru Patrick Sweeney is the perfect accompaniment to Campbell’s book on the 1911. You’ll get the history behind this famous round, plus information for tweaking handloads, the stories behind the components themselves, everything from primers to brass, powder and bullets, and much more.

Click here to check out the Gun Digest Big Fat Book of the .45 ACP.

A Lesson in Big-Bore Revolvers


Wheelgun information
Click the cover to check out this great revolver book.

Out of all the books I’ve edited since I started with F&W Media and Gun Digest just about a year ago, Big-Bore Revolvers by Max Prasac probably ranks as my favorite so far. What got me hooked, even at the first chapter, was Max’s unabashed and outright passion for anything and everything that’s bigger than a .44 Magnum and goes in a wheel gun.

While I’ve long kept a double-stack Kimber 1911 .45 in my nightstand, my last handgun purchased back when I was shooting IPSC, I’ve never forgotten that it replaced a Smith & Wesson 686 snubnose revolver. I loved that gun, almost craved its comfortable heft in my hand, the way it tamed recoil from stouter loads. It’s one of the few guns I’ve ever sold and a sale I’ve often sorely regretted—but no more so than after reading Big-Bore Revolvers (and even though my gentle giant 686 snubby was only a “mere” .357 Magnum and doesn’t qualify for big-bore status by Max’s definition.)

After reading Max’s words and weaving his wonderful array of photographs into this fabulous book, I have to tell you I was inches from calling up wheelgun genius Gary Reader and asking for one of his Black Widow single-actions, or Freedom Arms’ Bob Baker and asking for a .454 Casull, or … my shopping list went on and on.

It takes much intelligence, insight, sincerity, and skill for a writer to move an audience like Max moved me—heck, especially someone like me who’s been in the firearms business now more than 20 years. I’ve seen a few guns in my time, love many of them, even most of them, but I don’t get the “wow” factor much anymore. But Big-Bore Revolvers? Oh, yea, this one gets a wow. Wow.

Great Information on Vintage Guns

I’ve long had an affinity for fine shotguns and double rifles, even if my wallet hasn’t, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have at least drooled over some very fine and outrageously expensive guns firsthand and even shoot a few now and again.

Vintage gun collectingI remember, in particular, one little gun shop in Easton, Maryland, that I used to stop by every couple months on my way home after shooting sporting clays elsewhere on the Delmarva and Eastern Shore.

For the longest time, Albright’s Gun Shop (which today seems to be thriving, carrying a wide variety of top-end doubles and other shotguns from Beretta, Benelli, Caesar Guerini, and others, plus offering a full range of gunsmithing and firearms restoration services), had a LeFever double barrel perched on the rack among a bevy of other doubles new and antique.

Truly a piece of Americana, and a good gun in its own right, though certainly not on a par with Purdey or other London Best, I craved that gun for the longest time. What stopped me from splurging on that handsome dark-wooded gun was the barrels of Damascus steel. I just didn’t know enough about shooting such a gun safely with blackpowder shells, nor even if the gun itself was in shootable condition.

If I only knew then what I know now. Or at least had Diggory Hadoke’s Vintage Guns at my fingertips. This tome addresses all the worries I had then and would still have today, including safety, renovation, and maintenance, and the amply illustrated book covers boxlocks, sidelocks, and even the flintlock, plus ejectors, chokes, ribs, proofing, and more, everything the vintage shotgun owner would want to know about.

Best of all, the book isn’t aimed at gunsmiths at all, but rather the actual shooter, the person who wants to take these guns out in the field and continue their legacy of productivity and beauty. In all, a incredibly useful book that should be right at hand next to the screwdriver set on the workbench of every vintage double-barrel shotgun owner.

Bonus Recommendation

Cartridges of the World bookAs you read this, our revamped, reorganized, and solidly updated Cartridges of the World, 13th Edition, is headed to the printers. During the last several months I’ve spent working on this volume, I’ve had the opportunity to read the 12th Edition more than once cover to cover, and while there’s much to this book to satisfy the curious, the parts that drew me in are the ones probably most overlooked, the chapter on shotgun shells and another smaller section on English gauge rifles.

The information is now a combined single chapter on the subject, and the information there makes an excellent pairing to Vintage Guns. After all, if you’re going to take a piece of history into the field for hunting and sport, you better know what ammunition to put through it.

Cartridges of the World, 13th Edition has had more than 50 new cartridges added since the last edition, and this volume includes a bonus CD of more than a 100 obsolete, weird, and you’ve-never-heard-of-’em cartridges. It’s available for pre-order now with special pricing at www.gundigeststore.com.

Editor’s Pick: Gun Digest Action Shooting Pack


Not to beat a dead horse here, but after I told you last week about the new Chad Adams book, The Complete Guide to 3-Gun Competition, we came up with a package that anyone even remotely interested in getting involved in the sport is going to love.

3-Gun Gear DealsIn addition to this new book, we added the High Speed Handguns DVD, Gun Digest Book of the Tactical Rifle, a digital download of the Gun Digest Book of the AR-15, Gun Digest Book of Tactical Shotguns, the hard-core tactics DVD Make Ready with Paul Howe: Advanced Tactical Rifle/Pistol Operator, Gun Digest Presents Gun Facts: The 1911, and finally, Uncle Mike’s hugely popular 3-Gun Shell Caddy for shotgun shells.

Whew! That’s a lot of 3-Gun, from tactical rifles, shotguns, and the famed 1911 pistol to action-shooting how-to and gear that helps you win!

So draw your wallet, take the safety off it and let loose on this package deal priced to save you nearly $50! This is a limited edition packaged set, so get yours while they last!

Click here for this package of 3-gun deals.