Book Reviews: March 1999

By Stephen Stuart

Melton & Pawl’s Guide To Civil War Artillery Projectiles
By Jack W. Melton and Lawrence E. Pawl
Published by Kennesaw
Mountain Press, Inc.
1810 Old Highway 41,
Kennesaw, Georgia 30152
ISBN# 0-9635861-1-4
Price $ 9.95 plus
$ 4.50 shipping and handling
Reviewed by Stephen Stuart

Artillery has caused more injuries on the battlefield in the past hundred years than any other type of weapon and it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Artillery was not always as accurate or reliable as modern projectiles. In fact, during the early years the dud rate was extremely high. One of the most unique periods of artillery projectile development was the Civil War years in the United States (1861-1865).

During the Civil War many types of projectiles was used against both sides of the conflict. The research and development period was very short with projectiles tested in the heat of combat on both sides. Another aspect of the Civil War was the import of foreign artillery projectiles to be used against the other side. Especially, when the need for projectiles exceeded the supply of local munitions factories.

In Mr. Melton and Pawl’s text, Guide To Civil War Artillery Projectiles, the authors take the reader through a pictorial account of the projectiles used by the Northern and Southern forces during the war. Detailed photographs of the internal shells, fuzes, and historic period photos fully describe this historic period of artillery projectiles. Just some of the projectiles featured are Sawyer canister, James hot shot, Archer, Brooke, Dyer, Mullane, Read, Parrott, Schenkl, and British Whitworth to name a few. If you are at all interested in the mechanics of artillery projectiles or Civil War cannons, this is one book that deserves to be on your bookshelf.

Published by the Institute for Research on Small Arms in International Security
(IRSAIS), 6320 Old Towne Court, Alexandria, VA 22307-1227 USA
Quarterly publication, 56 pages
Costs Per Year:
Individual membership - U.S. $50
Government employee - U.S. $35
Corporate member - U.S. $300
Sponsoring member - U.S. $1000
Reviewed by Dan Shea

EVERY QUARTER I RECEIVE THE Small Arms World Report and kick back in the easy chair; it’s a serious 60 or so pages of reading. The IRSAIS’s stated purpose is as “a non-for-profit organization generating useful information for professionals and serious lay persons concerned about the development, tactical use, and distribution of small arms.” Each issue that I read educates me further. This is not for casual shooting enthusiasts. If you are in the industry, or just want to be well informed at every level, the Small Arms World Report will keep you on the “inside” track.

Standard format is about 56 pages, with three or four articles on new developments, a section on business news in the arms industry, “Info Bites” which are short sitreps from countries all around the world, and a section on “Publications of Interest.” Recent issues have covered “The Great Rifle Controversy” by the late Edward C. Ezell, an article on the South African Aeroteck NTW 20, 20 mm rifle, “Tactical Employment of the Shoulder-Fired Rocket,” and an analysis of the new Russian 9 mm x 21 ammunition. The “Update on International Efforts to Restrict or Prohibit Small Arms and Other Conventional Weapons” by Hays Parks in Volume 8 Number 2&3 was worth the price of admission by itself. The “Info Bites” section covers small arms news from 40-plus countries, and the eleven page “Publications of Interest” covers new books, periodicals and reports that are relevant to the industry.

Information is power. If you want to be truly informed, from one of the places that the professionals get their information (in addition to SAR, of course), consider IRSAIS membership. The membership is global and spans a who’s who of the arms industry and academia.

SAR “Usual Suspects” member Virginia Ezell is the President of the Institute. Under her capable hands, members can have a variety of small arms research done for them. Interested parties should contact the Institute for more information.

How To Get Your Federal Explosives License
(Includes the ATF text, ATF-Explosives Law and Regulations)
By Omni Distribution, Inc.
P.O. Box 171154
Memphis, TN 38187-1154
Phone 1-800-277-6664
Price $ 39.95 plus
$ 4.50 shipping and handling
Reviewed by Stephen Stuart

Many of us know all about the process of getting a Class III firearms transferred to us or, have been through the process of getting a federal firearms license— whether it be Class III or a Curio & Relic license. But, what about explosives? You might ask because, at every major shoot, like the meca of all machine gun shoots—Knob Creek, there are explosives used as part of the firepower demonstrations.

Omni Distribution, as seen in Machine Gun News Vol. 9 No.1, is one of the few companies in the United States that hosts training for the beginner in the proper usage, storage, and legal technicalities of explosives in America. Due to the great demand for people in the classes and from calls to the company, they have written a “How to” book in acquiring the Federal Explosives License. The text starts by defining the terms such as, what is an explosive, types of different licenses, storage construction and requirements, and how to apply to the ATF for a explosive license. It was because of the information that I received from Omni that I took the step and applied for a blasting license for work on the family farm.

One of the other nice things about buying the text through Omni is it that also included ATF Publication 5400.7 (ATF-Explosives Law and Regulations) better known as the orange book, by the color of the cover. This text, in detail, describes the laws of dealing with explosives on a daily basis. This text covers everything you would want to know about the proper laws and regulations concerning the use and storage of explosives in the United States.

If you have ever wondered about acquiring an explosive permit, these texts available through Omni are the place to start. They cover the entire process of getting a license from start to finish. The texts are a solid source of information that should be on every person’s bookshelf, whether you are thinking about a FEL or have a license already. I highly recommend these texts without any reservations.

An Introduction To British Grenades
By I. D. Skennerton
Published by Green Hill Books
Available Through I.D.S.A Books
P.O. Box 1457,
Piqua, Ohio 45356
Price $ 14.00 plus
$ 4.50 shipping and handling
Reviewed by Stephen Stuart

The most dangerous weapon available to an infantry soldier has to be the
Hand grenade. Even though some would argue that the rifle or machine gun has that honor, only the grenade gives the individual solider a small, compact area weapon to be used in situations in which the point shoot capabilities of a rifle are handicapped.

For those of us who are intrigued by the development or history of the grenade (or those of us who have used them and found the capabilities of the grenade very reassuring), there really are few good reference manuals on the different types available (inert models) to collectors or historians. In I. D. Skennertons book, An Introduction To British Grenades, the author shines light into this gray area of mystique and misinformation. The text starts at the beginning of modern British grenades, which was the “No. 1” in July 1908 and proceeds to chronicle the evolution of both hand and rifle grenades in the use of the British military up to the No. 95 introduced in February 1952.

Almost all the grenade types are covered—even, variations of the standard models. The author includes notes on the length, diameter, weight, type, markings, explosive filling, and the introduction date to service. The photos in the book are black and white, and show the exterior of most of the pieces featured. I cannot say enough good things about this book, it finally does justice to a small piece of military history. Now, let’s hope for more research on other period hand-grenades.

FM-50G Weapons Technical & Field Manuals CD-ROM
By Military Media, Inc.
Distributed byRedstone, Inc.
18223 102nd Ave. N.E. Suite A
Bothell, WA 98011
$24.95 + S&H
Reviewed by Jeff W. Zimba

Computer owning firearms enthusiasts will certainly love this one. Military Media, Inc. has assembled 50 Weapons Operating Manuals on 1 CD-ROM. Set up to run in the very user-friendly Adobe Acrobat format, it is very easy to use.

Manuals included are the AK-47 Operating Manual, M16 Rifle TM-9-1005-249-12, M1 Rifle .30 Cal. TM-9-1005-222-35, M1 Garand TM-9-1005-222-12, M9 Pistol 9mm TM-9-1005-317-23&P, and many others. Topics range from firearms, to ammunition, and even include land mines.

You can view the manuals on your screen, or you can print them on your pc’s printer for reference in the field. The CD is compatible with Mac, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Unix and OS2. This 1 CD-ROM will save you a lot of shelf space. I highly recommend it.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V2N6 (March 1999)
and was posted online on July 8, 2016


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