Book Review: ‘The Accurate Rifle…and Rifleman’

The late Jeff Cooper was once asked how to start out as a gun writer. He answered, “Begin with 50 … Continued

The late Jeff Cooper was once asked how to start out as a gun writer. He answered, “Begin with 50 years’ experience. Then marry money.” The money part is up to you, but here, as nearly as it can be done in book form, is 50 years’ worth of hunting and shooting experience brought to you by a guy who has more of it than anyone in the gun writing biz, before, since, or in the future. Craig Boddington has made more than 100 safaris, and that’s just the African end of a worldwide hunting career. If anyone else can cite ten examples of why something does or doesn’t work, he can probably cite 75.

The Accurate Rifle… is a book for beginners, who know nothing, to intermediates, who have become aware of how much they don’t know and would like to skip the expensive, painful, and slow process of learning by their own experience. There are 24 chapters, starting with guns, ammunition, and scopes, and going on to the shooting itself. Craig is a good, clear writer who doesn’t patronize his readers and does not go off into the wonderful world of jargon and technical gibberish. He’s not prejudiced, and when he gives advice he backs it up with his own experience.

Heaven knows there is no shortage of books on accurate rifles and accurate shooting, but this one manages to strike an uncanny balance of thoroughness, completeness, and usefulness that I have not seen before. It’s available only as a presentation volume, printed on wonderful paper, and with a slip jacket. The price is $85, but in terms of the sorrow, grief, and woe that you can save by spending that money, it may be the cheapest $85 you’ve ever parted with. Safari Press.