General Hatcher can easily be called the foremost scientist in firearms & ballistics of the modern era. His long career in the Army was not spent behind a desk but instead spent doing things like shoving a cleaning rod down the barrel of a machinegun split seconds before the cartridge cooked off in the chamber and then writing down the result afterwards. These various notes were compiled into “Hatcher’s Notebook” and this is easily one of the most useful all-around reference books for general knowledge about the principles of firearms and ammunition.
In addition to a more in-depth recap from The Book of the Garand on the development of military semi-automatics, great attention is devoted to the development of machineguns as well. An entire chapter is devoted to the mysterious magic of headspace, the chapter previous entails discussion of various steel alloys used for a select sampling of American small arms and that of the Gewehr 1898 family and the Arisaka 38 family. The book is packed full of interesting pictures of experiments, catastrophic failures, prototypes, ammunition and other subjects.
Mr. Hatcher follows the scientific method as he conducts experiments such as turning down a Springfield M1903 barrel in controlled increments to determine how thin a barrel can be before it will fail to handle proof loads followed by service ammunition. The answer may surprise you and he has the pictures to back it up. He fills every chapter with first-hand accounts or accurate reporting of things related to him. There is no shortage of tables, figures, charts and official correspondence to back up the relevant text of the chapter.
Ever increasingly esoteric subjects are covered in the closing pages including calculations used to create the rear sight adjustments marked on a rifle’s sights to accurately track the range or how to calculate the recoil energy produced by a cartridge. A comprehensive list of German arms manufacturer codes is included among the mish-mash of subjects the author covers.
With Hatcher’s Notebook at your side you will be well-versed in a myriad of subjects relevant to all firearms and that makes this book one of the more invaluable additions to any gun owner’s library.
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