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.
For 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.
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