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February 06, 2007

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Two Books You Gotta Have

A couple of years ago we stopped reviewing books in Field & Stream the magazine because readers did not respond, at least in the numbers we would have liked. However, since it’s obvious that our bloggers are people of taste and culture, here are my literary suggestions.

The first is a must-have, and is the 11th Edition of Cartridges of the World, edited by Stan Skinner and published by Gun Digest Books. Volume number one was written by Frank C. Barnes, came out in 1965, and set a benchmark for general usefulness. Its latest incarnation is 552 pages long and costs $30. If you don’t have a copy you live in Outer Darkness. 888-457-2873; gunlistsonline.com

Number two is optional, but a dandy nonetheless. It’s called Dangerous Game Rifles, is published by Countrysport Press, and is the work of Terry Wieland, who is a writer of the first order. It’s an elegant book of 344 pages, and contains 160 black and white and 23 color illustrations. The attraction of this book is twofold—it’s about how these highly specialized guns and cartridges work (and why some of them don’t work) and it loaded with information you just don’t see anywhere else. I can’t remember when I last read a book about guns and most of it was brand-new to me.

This is a far different book than Craig Boddington’s excellent Safari Rifles, which is the other definitive work on the subject. Craig writes about hunting and which guns are best for what. Wieland’s book is about the guns themselves. One compliments the other.

You don’t have to have a copy, but if you do it’s safe to say that you have less taste than the beasts of the field. It’s $40 from 800-685-7962; countrysportpress.com


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Chad Love

Books? You mean, like, real books? Made from the carcasses of dead trees, right? I remember them, sort of an old-fashioned monitor, but the pages never refreshed themselves and you couldn't access Myspace or play Halo on them, so they slowly disappeared...

This is just a little off-topic, book subject-wise (Although I too love Terry Wieland. If you can't turn an elegant phrase, why be a writer, right?) but when - if ever - will F&S publish a collection of Bill Tarrant's columns that haven't appeared in his other books?
I do enjoy haunting garage sales and thrift stores looking for old issues of F&S, but it would be nice to have a compilation.
Now there was a writer (among many at F&S,)... the kind of writing that sadly has gone the way of the book, replaced by the demographic-chasing focus group-derived hack and corporate shill whose copy has all the style and grace of your average teen's text message.
Present blog author excluded, of course...

Dave Petzal

to Chad Love: Yes, actual books. Ink. Paper. About a Tarrant coollection, no one's proposed it, but F&S has just been purchased by a conglomerate that publishes books, so who knows, we may be doing books and Bill may get one of his own.


I too am a lover of good books. Dave, how about a mention once in a while about the books that every outdoorsman should have in his personal library? You could cover different catagories like reference for COTW, fiction, How To's etc. One of my biggest accomplishments was finding enough first editions of Ruark's "The Old Man and the Boy" to give to each of my sons. The hunting story is after all, the oldest form of literature.

Dave Petzal

To PBHead: We've tried that in the magazine a couple of times at least and were met by waves of indifference, but this is a different audience, so why not? Thanks for the suggestions.


These books sound great.

Where can you purchase Boddington's book?

And what happened to the blog about the 69-caliber deer cannon?

Dave M

Professor Petzel:

Required reading? Real books with paper, ink, covers, and ,margins to take notes in? What's next, "Gun Nut Quizes" with questions that determine the retention of the assigned text material by the class?

I can see it now, you don't pass the test and you can't post to the blog until you do. That just might raise the level of taste, culture and literacy found here.

When can we expect the first test?

Dave Petzal

To Al: Craig's safari rifle book is published by safaripress.com.

To Dave M: You can expect the first test on the day the Decider gives a speech and is mistaken for Lord Laurence Olivier.

Joseph Hodge

They do sound like good reads, but alas...they may say my 8x57 is no good for bears and i dont know if i could take that kind of a blow. The Old Man and the Boy is a GREAT book by the way! The second is called The Old Mans Boy Grows Older and equaly as good. Robert Ruark was one hell of an auther no doubt about it. I have also enjoyed some of the classic O'Conner. He seemed to make alot of sense and honestly, i think he was just good writer.

Have you authored any books Dave? You certinly have the credintials!

Dave Petzal

To Joseph Hodge: The only book I've actually written was The .22 Rifle, which was published in 1972. Back then, I was young, poor, ambitious, and knew everything.

By the way, if you're a Ruark fan, the best book about him is written by Terry Weiland, and is called "A View from a Tall Hill."


i love to read. good for your brain. off the subject, as per the other poster, what happened to the post about the fellow that hunts with a cannon? hope you weren't served some dumb cease&desist order on that. i went to his website. while the fabrication of his "parfenalia" was interesting, his choice of application was in poor taste.


Hey Dave,
Coincidentally, I just bought a copy of "the .22 rifle" about a week ago. It truly is a good read........By the way, I would like to see a recommended reading list as well.

Ralph the Rifleman

Yes..books, me being an old school member, still reads em`..I have both the Cartridges and Safari books, but still need to look into Wieland's book. I have fond memories of power outages, spark up the lanturn and grab a book.No phone,computer, or TV to distract one's attention.

Dave Petzal

To All: A reading list it is. Stay tuned.


i dont like reading it makes my brain hurt


my favorite book is green eggs and ham

Matt Mallery

I'm an archaeologist by profession. I have used Cartridges of the World as a field guide for identifying shells from historic sites and used the information in reports. Many archaeologists I know have a copy of this book. It is an indispensible resorce and very well written.

Kevin T. Keith

After Ed Zern's legendary review of "Lady Chatterly's Lover" in your November, 1959 number, there was nothing more to say.

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