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Review: Gunsmithing Guns of the Old West
By Joseph D'Alessandro Editor | RealGuns.Com

Gunsmithing Guns of the Old West is not a flashy production, but it is a clean black and white production and, at 8.5"x11.5" in format, it is a relatively big production. I would thing Gunsmithing Guns of the Old West was written for people who have basic knowledgeable of firearms of this era, and have perhaps a bit more than passing experience with firearm disassembly and modification. Gunsmithing Guns of the Old West is a good book for people with an interest to develop a better understanding of the mechanical operation for assemblies basic to most firearms, without getting overwhelmed by technical mind numbing description.

The first part of the book, approximately one third of the book's content, provides interesting and useful information that applies to many firearm designs that would fall into the "Old West" classification. Beyond the suggestion of useful tools and approached to taking critical measurement, there is some really good stuff on assessment of trigger part fit, modification and theory of operation. As a person who recently struggled through a rust bluing project, I would judge this book's coverage of the subject as excellent; very complete, very detailed, including instructions for the construction of a damp box. There are methods for removing problem screws I'd never seen before, methods I put to use within 10 or 15 minutes of reading the section, and a good section on reproducing vintage grips. The point is the information follows what a vintage firearm owner might routinely encounter.

My feelings toward the remaining content are mixed, as the quality of this information runs from very good, to "Huh?". The owner of a S&W large frame top break is probably in for a treat, however, the disassembly instructions for the Super Blackhawk would probably leave most first time amateur gunsmiths with a pile of springs, pins and no longer interactive leveraging trigger surfaces. An experienced tinker, looking only for the proper sequence of pin and screw removal of a specific model, would find the book useful on a more routine basis, as there isn't a large supply of dedicated assembly manuals for some of the late 1800 - early 1900 firearms. There are many sections that deal with the idiosyncrasies of specific models, so if a Navy Arm Schofield is known to have a weak base pin, the book probably describes the problem and offers a specific solution. I is clear the people who authored these sections are very familiar with these firearms, their use and maintenance.

I like the book because it is educational, and I like to learn more about firearms I don't come in contact with on a daily basis. To that end, Gunsmithing Guns of the Old West does a good job. I have a bunch of small projects where I will draw from the information in this book. After reading through it, I would still very much make a decision to purchase the book and feel as though I received at least as much, if not more, than I paid for the book.



Book Info & Summary:
  Retail Price: $19.57   Author: David R. Chicoine 
  Publisher: Krause   Publish Date: Nov. 2001
  Format: Paperback 352 pp   Available: Amazon
  Quality of information (1-5): 4   Quality of Presentation (1-5): 4
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