Book Reviews: 'Mastering the Art of Long-Range Shooting' and 'Metallic Cartridge Handloading'

While pondering what the Rockwell hardness of the ice on my driveway might be, I was smitten by a blinding flash of insight--I will write two book reviews for Gun Nuts. (My best guess about the ice is Rc 70-72, and if any of you are concerned about the connection between ice hardness and book reviews, save it.)

Mastering the Art of Long-Range Shooting, by Wayne van Zwoll
You may be so sick of long range by now that you'd like to hurl on my Mac keyboard, but the fact remains that if you hunt enough you'll eventually be faced with the choice of making a long shot or going home to eat your own spleen. There are books and Internet articles in profusion on this subject, but the ones I've seen are oriented toward competitive and tactical riflemen, and not toward hunters, and the authors almost immediately get into Heavy Math, which is about as comprehensible to most people as the workings of a cyclotron.

Dr. van Zwoll has written for hunters and made the subject comprehensible to the math-challenged and his approach is anecdotal. (I find it very interesting that he calls his book the art of long-range shooting rather than the science because when all is said and done it still is an art.) Wayne's attitude is worth commenting on. In talking to me about the book he said, "I can shoot at long range but I prefer to get close. I'm a hunter."

Long Range Shooting has 237 pages, tons of color photos, and a very reasonable price of $29.99--about the price of a box of ammo. It's published by Gun Digest Press, www.gundigeststore.com

Metallic Cartridge Handloading, by Mic McPherson
If you decide to come in from the Outer Darkness and take up handloading, there are two ways you can learn--find someone who'll show you how or get a book. I started in 1965 with The Reloader's Guide by Bob Steindler, and Bob must have known what he was doing, because here I am all these years later.

The reloading manuals published by bullet makers give you the basics, but as you get into it the questions keep coming, and unless you get lucky and find someone who has the answers you'll have to learn by trial and error. Or you can invest $39.95 in Mic McPherson's book, which is 425 pages long, profusely illustrated, and thorough in the extreme. You can start it as a bare bones beginner and it will take you right up to the expert level. You got questions? Mic's got answers.

He also devotes a fair number of photos to what can happen when you don't pay attention to what you're doing, take chances, or otherwise act like a jerk, and I can tell you that what you'll see here will motivate you to concentrate, be cautious, and keep your head and your ass wired together.

I wish this book had been around 49 years ago. It's published by Safari Press, and is available at safaripress.com.