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Old September 4, 2012, 11:36 AM   #1
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Need recommendations for books or resources

I'm new to shooting, and feel embarrassed asking this, but could any of you recommend some good books or resources that contain a lot of information about the basics of firearms? I'm familiar with the firearm I'm currently shooting, but would love to learn more about different calibers, ammunition, skills, etc. I have a subscription to Guns & Ammo and I read through it not comprehending the vast majority of info.

I know everyone has to start somewhere, but it's difficult for me because the one person I knew who was very knowledgeable passed away suddenly last week so I can't talk to him anymore. I don't have any family members or friends nearby who shoot. The amount of info out there is overwhelming right now. So... if you know of any "Dummies" books or other books that are laid out in a way that a newbie could understand and learn from, I'd really appreciate it. Thank you!
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Old September 4, 2012, 12:20 PM   #2
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Your best bet is to flip through's selection and pick out a book that contains what you are looking for (check out the reviews of the book on Amazon as well by people who have purchased it and read it to get an idea of how good it is) The prices on there are for the most part better than most stores like BAM!.
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Old September 4, 2012, 01:04 PM   #3
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I learned quite a bit of new information on various calibers, history, terminology, and many of the "why's" I did not know before when I took up handloading- most of the reloading manuals do a great job of this. You can pick them up for very little:

Also, I like this one for rifles:
TheGolden Rule of Tool Use: "If you don't know what you are doing, DON'T."

Last edited by jimbob86; September 4, 2012 at 09:36 PM.
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Old September 4, 2012, 02:36 PM   #4
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I like the NRA Firearms Sourcebook for a basic reference work, but keep in mind a lot of stuff is available free on the internet. Obviously you have to be careful of your sources on the WEB, but really that can be true of printed sources also. I personally have found Wikipedia to be very helpful for gaining a basic understanding on a variety of subjects and don’t forget Google.
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Old September 4, 2012, 02:37 PM   #5
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Of the books listed on Amazon in FrosSsT's list, I would strongly recommend "Understanding Firearms Ballistics" by Rinker. IMHO this is one of those rare technical books that's written in such a way that a layman can understand most of it, but none of the important stuff is "dumbed down" or disregarded because the author feels it's too complicated to explain easily. FWIW I've found that many public libraries stock this book.

I would also recommend "Small Arms of the World"; the book was originally written by Joseph W.H.B. Smith but was subsequently updated by numerous coauthors and editors. The latest edition is the 12th edition, which was published in 1983 and is now sadly out of print. Although it's nearly 30 years out of date, and consequently doesn't contain info about the latest "tacticool" weapons, AFAIK no currently printed book covers the history and background of military firearms in as much breadth and depth as this one. Fortunately, used copies are fairly easy to find on eBay and elsewhere. (BTW check your PM later. )
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Old September 4, 2012, 10:35 PM   #6
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Fine you Guns and Ammo is a great place to start, when you hit something you do not understand write down your question/s and start looking for answers. Find books(probably your most reliable source), ask questions on sites like this(but always remember not every thing you read on the internet is true), and get to know and be known at your local gun store ask questions(also not every clerk knows the answer and may not admit not knowing). You will learn, but be aware each question will lead to more questions.
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Old September 4, 2012, 11:37 PM   #7
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Web sites are good places to learn. Read and follow threads you find interesting.
This is a good site for general information and specific information. Keep reading Guns and Ammo and read the ads as well. Would second recommendation to google terms you want to understand. Don't worry about your level of knowledge as much as the four rules:
From Wikipedia:
"Four Rules introduced by Colonel Jeff Cooper, which are:
All guns are always loaded.
Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
Be sure of your target and what is beyond it."
—Jeff Cooper
Now I would suggest you learn about Col. Cooper.
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Old September 5, 2012, 07:30 AM   #8
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I got started on a series of books released by the North American Hunting Club. the one above is a good primer on game rifles, but there are plenty of others on elk hunting, white tail deer hunting, waterfowl hunting, etc. I don't know if the NAHC makes these books anymore. I bought all of mine either on ebay, the thriftstore or antique store. guess it really depends on what sort of firearms you're looking to familiarize yourself with.
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Old September 5, 2012, 07:38 AM   #9
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Maybe a first step would be the local library or yard sales. Lots of times they have older books on guns and shooting. You can gain lots of good info from past pros who are no longer with us, and save a lot of cash. That's how I gleaned a lot of knowledge back when I started (pre internet).
I got serious about 1980 and was finding books from the 1950's for pennies.
I wish I could remember some names, but that info is long gone from my febrile brain.
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Old September 5, 2012, 03:38 PM   #10
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Thank you for all the suggestions. I'll try doing some more searches at the library, too.
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Old September 5, 2012, 08:45 PM   #11
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I found some excellent free books on Google play regarding firearms, self defense, shooting, and other outdoors activities. Nothing modern of course, but priceless history of where our pastime evolved. Some information is timeless. I read one on using a pistol for self defense and it was very prophetic in the advice offered.
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Old September 6, 2012, 06:36 AM   #12
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Another vote for the library. It's free and what they don't have on their shelves, they can get via inter-library loan.
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Old September 6, 2012, 02:23 PM   #13
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Good websites, sources...

Here are a few decent places to start;

Good authors include; Clint Smith, Massad Ayoob, Leroy Thompson, John Plaster, John Shaw, Robert Boatman, Jim Cirello.

Classic books include Bill Jordan(No Second Place Winner) & Jeff Cooper.
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Old September 6, 2012, 07:27 PM   #14
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prowl used book stores and second hand stores. Look for old copies of Gun Digest annuals.

If you can find a copy Skeeter Skeltons book on misses, I rolled on the floor in laughter when I first read it. It is also one of the best gun safety books I ever read.
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