In order to participate in the GunBroker Member forums, you must be logged in with your account. Click the sign-in button at the top right of the forums page to get connected.

Book Collections

He DogHe Dog Member Posts: 49,585 ✭✭✭✭
edited April 2003 in General Discussion
Every month or so we have a "how many guns do you have,and please list them all with serial numbers" thread. A lot of us post "not enough" or some such. This one is not a BATF post so you can answer. I am wondering how many collect gun books as well as guns. They can be guns/hunting/game/knives but all basically in the guns/hunting genre. I am pretty sure some of you folks have pretty impressive reference libraries and some may have 2 or 3. If you want to include 35 years of gun digest that is fine, but not magazines. I will start. Currently about 150 titles, take up 9 feet of shelf.


  • pikeal1pikeal1 Member Posts: 2,707
    edited November -1
    currently have about 8 books...just got my shooter's bible from the NRA. I have been reading up on some sniper books I got from the Military Book Club and some from B&N. Two of them about Carlos Hatchcock. I think I've read about snipers enough now, going to start on some other aspect of the military or other gun-related subject soon.

    "The only way American citizens can adequately be protected from terror and violence is when" those in authority protect us from those who would harm us, instead of protecting us from ourselves.
  • SilverBoxSilverBox Member Posts: 2,347
    edited November -1
    I don't collect gun books. I have a few but I don't collect them. I do collect fantasy and Sci-fi books.. Got me about 1500-2000 of them. Hard to keep track.
  • jwhardingjwharding Member Posts: 2,897 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Every book ever written by Louis L'Amour in hard back. and to many to list on the old west.

  • mark christianmark christian Forums Admins, Member, Moderator Posts: 24,511 ******
    edited November -1
    I have about 500 books on firearms and the shooting sports. My old boss told me that the key to being a successful dealer and collector is to know your subject. The easiest way to do this is to buy a book about what it is that interests you and do your research. Here are word of wisdom from one of the great collectors, now gone on to his reward:

    "Mark, before you buy a gun go out and get a book about the gun, then talk to someone who specializes in collecting that type of gun...and if he wrote the book about the gun, so much the better. Then go out and buy the gun and be prepared to make a mistake".

    "But Sam, how will I know when I've learned enough about this"?

    "Mark, when people start asking you questions (and believing your answers) you are headed in the right direction".

    Some day I may have enough guns, but I KNOW for a fact that I will never have enough gun books! There is just so much to learn about the firearms subject and I still know so little. Reading posts from men like Judge Colt, Ranchero Paul, Iconoclast, and others is like reading a page from a good book on a specific firearms subject. We are lucky here on GB to have such folks who'll give us their time and insight...and saving us the cost of quite a few books in the process!

    Mark T. Christian
  • redcedarsredcedars Member Posts: 919 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I don't know how many gun and gunsmithing books I have, but it is somewhere between 500-1000 including a complete set of Gun Digest and pretty nearly complete set of Shooters Bible. Some of them are collectible, others are just useful or interesting. I have been on a bit of a history kick lately, having just read "The Kentucky Rifle" by John Dillin, "The Muzzle-Loading Cap-Lock Rifle" by Ned Roberts and currently working on "The Rifle in America" by Phil Sharpe. The latter I have used as a reference for years, but now I am reading it cover to cover. I usually have three or four books in the process of reading at any given point in time, and so I am also reading "Americans And Their Guns" by Trefethen and Serven (a history of the NRA) and I am also ploughing through "Outdoor Emergency Care 3rd" by Bowman. This last book is the first-aid reference for the National Ski Patrol.

    If you can't know it all, it sure helps if you know where to look for the answers. And if you want to be entertained and educated at the same time, that is easy too. I recommend Elmer Keith's "Hell, I was There!" or Pandoro Taylor's "African Rifles and Cartridges" just for starters.

    Gun shows and eBarf are great sources for gun books.

  • searcher5searcher5 Member Posts: 13,511
    edited November -1
    I'm guessing several hundred. My personal library runs well over 1500 books. A great many of them have to do with firearms in one way or another. Next to guns, I think I love books the most.

    Proud member of the NRA

    If it ain't broke-it ain't ours!!!
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Member Posts: 5,777
    edited November -1

    Here's about 2/3s of them. The rest are scattered around the house.
    The bookcase is 6ft tall & 6 ft wide. You can't see the bottom shelves which are partly magazines, partly oversize books. The left half is nothing but gun books. The right half is a couple shelves of old back to the land books from the 70's mixed with some agricultural textbooks that date from the late 1800's through the late 1900's. 2 shelves of military history reference books. The rest are automotive and industrial reference books. I'm in the process of putting together another bookcase the same size. About half of that will be books. The other half music cd's, tapes, records. along with a large collection of bound magazines.

    Some people look at my reference library and use the word survivalist. But, during the summer months they look at my back yard garden and use the same word. Maybe they're right..

  • bigal125bigal125 Member Posts: 1,137 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1

    I see several The Foxfire Books on those righthand shelves! I just bought one and would like to ask your opinion of them. Any other titles that you would recommend, along those same lines as the Foxfire selections?


    Big Al
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Member Posts: 5,777
    edited November -1
    You have a good eye!! Foxfire thru Foxfire 10 are on the right side of the third shelf down. I started buying them when I was 15yrs old. There have been a couple newer editions I haven't had the chance to get yet. As far as I'm concerned #5 is the one everyone here should have. Lots of history on the early southern mountain style rifles. There is even chapters on Herschel House and Jim Chambers. Both make authentic early style rifles of the highest quality. Another similar book to buy if you come accross it is "The Salt Book". It's the Maine/New England versian of Foxfire. I came accross a copy of it once and foolishly never bought it. Haven't seen another since.

    What are your interests, I'm sure I could put together a list especially on guns, primitive technology, or Country living.

    Personally I was born 100 years too late!

  • bigal125bigal125 Member Posts: 1,137 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    My interests currently deal with gardening (not as easy as it sounds in Tucson, AZ!) and blackpowder firearms, both cap and flintlock. I've not yet had a shot (sorry about the pun!) at a flintlock rifle yet, all mine are T/C percussions.

    I picked up my copy of Foxfire because it has the planting by the signs information, as well as weather signs, fruit and vegetable preserving, log cabin building, hog-slaughtering and, last but not least, moonshining! [:D]

    Any of the three subjects you listed quote:guns, primitive technology, or country living are of interest to me, as well as the living-off-the-land type of information.

    I'd appreciate your recommendations as to worthwhile titles, along with your comments on why and how they were helpful (or just plain ole interestin'!) to you.


    Big Al
  • pickenuppickenup Member Posts: 22,846 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have boxed up and packed away so many books and magazines,
    I have lost track of what I have.

    The older Mother Earth News magazines, had some interesting reading.

    The gene pool needs chlorine.
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Member Posts: 5,777
    edited November -1
    Well you picked a pretty good one to start with. It was probably the third book in my collection. The first ten books would be a pretty good foundation to build on. Just remember some of the things those old timers suggest can be dangerous. From there I would buy:
    1) "Five acres and independance", M.G. Kains copyright 1935( reprinted recently) 1st homesteading book I ever bought, probably the best. Was written to help city refugees during the great depression.
    2)"Three Acres And Liberty", Bolton Hall, copyright 1907, A homesteading book from the end of the frontier times. Mostly deals with an eastern states viewpoint, but, still lots of good vintage info.
    3)"The Complete Homesteading Book", David Robinson, 1974. Pretty good book with a better than average bibliography for cross reference.
    4) "Soils and Soil Fertility", Louis Thompson, ph.d. my copy is dated 1957. If you're going to garden or farm this is a good one on soil science.
    5)"One Acre & Security", Brad Angier, Another good homesteading book from a modern author. An author you know has really done it.

    There are other "Back to the Land" books, most of them just repeat these.

    The next 3 by the same author are favorites of mine.

    6) "Building the Hewn Log House", Charles McRaven Just a great book by a guy more eccentric than me. Before I blew out my knees and before my back started hurting alot, I always wanted to build a log house. If I were actually going to try it and could only have one refference. This would be it. The author is a history professor who took his interest in history as far as he could, He lives it!

    7)"Building With Stone", Charles McRaven. see above.

    8)"Country Blacksmithing", Charles McRaven. If you want to learn primitive metal working this book is again one of the best.

    9)"Woodcraft and Camping", Nessmuk,(George Washinton Sears) A classic that should be read by every backwoodsman.

    10) "The Muzzleloading Hunter", Rick Hacker

    11)"Black Powder Hobby Gunsmithing" Sam Fadala & Dale Storey

    12)"Buckskins and Black Powder", Ken Grissom

    13)"The Gun and it's development", W.W. Greener

    14) "Book of Rifles", W.H.B. Smith

    15)"Fast And Fancy Revolver Shooting" McGivern

    16)"Good Friends Good Guns Good Whiskey" Skeeter Skelton

    Those would be my core gun books, Skeeter for light reading when I need to relax. The others for reference. My taste does tend to ru to late 1800's technology when it comes to guns.

    From there I'd add my collection of "Gun Digest" books. I'm currently back as far as 1963 only missing 6 of them from 63-present.

    Then I would suggest books with specific gunsmithing instructions for guns that you actually own.

  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Member Posts: 5,777
    edited November -1
    And I'll agree with pickenup. I have the first twelve years of mother, I would never part with any of them. The best ones are from when John Shuttleworth was publishing it. After he sold out it became a little yuppieish.

    Look for "Countryside and Small stock journal" on your news stand. The politics of the Countryside readership would be pretty palatable to most of everyone here.

    Next "Backwoods Home". The publisher can't be any more pro gun. Massad Ayoob is on this magazines staff.

    Of course I'm sure you read Charlie Richies "BackWoodsman Magazine". hehehe, see the table of contents page and you'll know where I got my online name.

  • competentonecompetentone Member Posts: 4,698 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I don't have any collection of gun books, but have an "accumulation" of old science books--I had to stop going to library sales since I was running out of room for more. When I move to a bigger place, I'll be looking forward to expanding the accumulation.
  • ElMuertoMonkeyElMuertoMonkey Member Posts: 12,898
    edited November -1
    I don't own too many gun books. I prefer shooting them to reading about them. History books take up most of my bookshelf.
  • bigal125bigal125 Member Posts: 1,137 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thank you, woodsrunner (and you too, pickenup) for the suggestions and titles.

    I'm just glad that we have, here in town, a really good used bookstore that carries a large (make that LARGE!) selection of used books. Bookman's, here in Tucson, has 3 stores plus at least one more up in Phoenix area.

    A great place with a great ambience, chairs and settees scattered throughout the stores. If you want to sit and read, hey...make yourself at home!

    (I think I'm trying to talk myself into another trip to the bookstore...and it's working!) [:D]

    Big Al
  • He DogHe Dog Member Posts: 49,585 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Went by one of the Bookmans when I was in Tucson last month for a meeting and a visit with Mercury. Took a look at the gun book section and could not find a single thing to buy. Looked at the biology section, same result. Came home with no books![:(][:(!][B)]
  • salzosalzo Member Posts: 6,837
    edited November -1
    I have about half a regular sized booksshelf devoted to guns, mostly hunting stuff. That doesnt count my political/historical stuff dealing with 2nd amendment, right to bear arms, etc.

    "It is important, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments into one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism.."
    -George Washington
  • offerorofferor Member Posts: 9,168
    edited November -1
    I have a rare & used book dealer here that I go to regularly. I've never thought to ask for the firearms section, at least not for years. If I go in there and ask to see their gun books, what should I grab if they have it?

    As far as books are concerned, I have a ton of 'em. I do not have a lot of hardbounds on guns, because I'm not much for coffee table books, and of course the market changes quite a lot. I do have a softcover of Mas Ayoob's self defense book, and Marshall & Sanow's HG Stopping Power, but really don't have that many "gun books."

    I do have a complete set of 60s James Bond paperbacks, and a bunch of old Ace paperbacks of E.R. Burroughs. The majority of my book collection is reference on philosophy, psychology, business, and such. Everything from The Prophet to Bibles to the Koran. And a number of favorite authors, from Jane Austen to Ayn Rand to Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer!) to Ray Bradbury.

    Life NRA Member

    T. Jefferson: "[When doing Constitutional interpretation], let us [go] back to the time when [it] was adopted. [Rather than] invent a meaning [let us] conform to the probable one in which it was passed."
  • He DogHe Dog Member Posts: 49,585 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Offorer, typically you would have books on things that interest you, such as the Standard Catalog of Smith and Wesson, or Rules book on the Model 70 Winchester (pre-64). Perhaps books on shotgunning, like Bristers Art and Science, or Barsness Shotguns for Wingshooting, or Boothroyd's works on the British gunmakers. Lot's of possiblities that are not coffee table books including shop manuals, and historical works on Colt pistols etc. Relatively few are "investment books" with the exception of firsts of some of the Colt books, and one or two firsts of O'Connor.
  • familyguyfamilyguy Member Posts: 1,349 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Somewhere over 1000 books total, varying subjects, lots of sci-fi, some history, science, lots of fiction (mostly Clancy and Sandford). Probably less than 20 "gun" books. Gunsmithing, re-loading (I'm on my 3rd trip through ABC's of Reloading), Gun Bible, one of Ayoob's rags, etc. Oh, yeah, just picked up the biography on Carlos Hathcock from my aunt - she's a former marine, just don't call her that because she "ain't dead yet!"

    Hey Bigal, where's the bookmans in Phoenix?

    Got a new gun for my ex-wife.....pretty good trade, huh?
  • chappsynychappsyny Member Posts: 3,381 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    2 including my reloading manual. Wish I had a lot more but I find I don't have a whole lot of time for reading. [:(!]

    New Hampshire, USA - "Live Free or Die!!!"
  • headzilla97headzilla97 Member Posts: 6,445
    edited November -1
    Well i have many school books right now that i bought for around a hundred bucks and the school bookstore said they would give me a dollar for
  • mrmike08075mrmike08075 Member Posts: 11,826 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    tip #1: library book sales: you can often pick up older, out of print, hard to find gun related books for very little money(under $1)
    tip #2: estate sales: the good stuff is over priced, but the books are often less then $1 apiece
    tip #3: yard sales/flea markets: same as before, cheap.
    tip #4: discount book stores, sale and bargain book sections
    tip #5: gun stores/pawn shops: often boooks get turned in with the guns and related equipment. generaly you can buy them cheaply.

    i have about 225 related books. some rather obscure. ELEMENTS OF ORDANANCE by HAYES, HATCHERS NOTEBOOK, PISTOLS AND REVOLVERS by W.H.B. SMITH, etc... anything gun related is worth at least a brief examination. is a great relief to find multiple references from disparate scources when researching a gun.

    best regards, mike.

    What other dungeon is so dark as ones own heart, what jailer so inexorable as ones own mind.
  • PointerPointer Member Posts: 939 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Have most of the Gun Digest books exept for issues 1947,48,49.Hard to find ,these older ones in good shape usually go for big bucks on E-bay[B)]
  • bigal125bigal125 Member Posts: 1,137 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1

    They've even got one in Flagstaff that I didn't know about!

    The address for the Phoenix Bookman's is 1056 S. Country Club Drive, I believe. Double-check it at their website...

    Big Al
  • JustCJustC Member Posts: 16,055 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I dont' have a major quantity. Other than the NAHC books, and blue books, my collection is more of a technical nature.

    things like:
    Rifle accuracy facts
    The ultimate in Rifle Accuracy

    I like to read and absorb the quantifiable data collected and proven by metallurgists and balisticians. Being able to calculate chamber pressures, wind values, Yaw of repose at any range, felt recoil, optimum twist rate, etc is what interests me. It allows me to understand WHY something works or doesn't. I guess I'm a balistics nerd.[8)]

    why chase the game when the bullet can get em from here?....
    Got Balistics?
  • redcedarsredcedars Member Posts: 919 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Just a couple of tips:

    Collectible books are a lot like collectible guns, condition and rarity are major factors in value. I have found book collectors to be every bit as picky as gun collectors, if not more so. Spend some time looking at books and examining them for flaws until you know what good condition is.

    First editions of classic tomes like The Rifle In America will have a higher collector value usually than a later edition with updates that may have more info and be of more practical use. Value is enhanced by the author's signature, particularly if accompanied by a general dedication as opposed to a personal one, e.g., "Good Shooting, Phil Sharpe" as opposed to "Thanks for your help Fred, Phil Sharpe".

    You are unlikely to find a bargain on a collectible book at the book dealer. Go to eBarf and run some completed sales searches on titles you are interested in, or authors you like. You can try "gun book*" or similar searches too. Once you have learned the price ranges there, you will be prepared when you find a steal at the gun show, flea market, poorly constructed eBarf auction, etc. I once bought a signed first edition of a classic in VG condition at a little gun show for less than ten bucks. Guy also had the somewhat hard to find Shooter's Bible Treasury 1st in nice shape I got for a dollar. His table had more general junk than gun stuff, and nobody had bothered to dig through the pile of old books he had there.

    By the way, anybody seen the last eBarf auction on Colt .45 Service Pistols by Clawson? Got mine a while back and paid $175 for a like new copy. My pals thought I was nuts, but I was happy, never having seen one for less than $250 before. Been getting $400-$500 on eBarf.

Sign In or Register to comment.