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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a variety of books on the M-16 and its variants plus access to great online resources but a couple folks have recommended both "The Black Rifle" books as good additions to my reference library.
I usually don't gripe about spending the $ for a good reference piece but I've heard mixed reviews. Most prices I've seen are in the $50-60 range for each.
I'm still trying to borrow one to review it before I buy. Amazingly, my local library doesn't have one (go fig'r).
What's good or not so good about the books?
Thanks,
 

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I have a variety of books on the M-16 and its variants plus access to great online resources but a couple folks have recommended both "The Black Rifle" books as good additions to my reference library.
I usually don't gripe about spending the $ for a good reference piece but I've heard mixed reviews. Most prices I've seen are in the $50-60 range for each.
I'm still trying to borrow one to review it before I buy. Amazingly, my local library doesn't have one (go fig'r).
What's good or not so good about the books?
Thanks,
I would guess that having "Black Rifle' in the title might have something to do with your public library not having it.
 

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I am puzzled that anybody would give these books mixed reviews. Really.
I have found that every Collector Grade Publication book I have bought was excellent. No less. They are well worth the money.
I have both Black Rifle books and I don't think you can possibly find any better references on the development, history, variations of the design, etc. There are chapters that also address the stupid in-fighting between the ignorant narcissist Sec. Def. McNamara and the Army, Air Force, and especially, the dunderhead Chief of Ordnance. The row over the forward assist mechanism that the Army insisted on, the Air Force thought was not needed (apparently, history has proved the Air Force was right, IMHO). The fiasco with changing from extruded powder to ball powder, the problems mfg. huge lots of powder that kept within specs., the results of the ammo trials among Winchester, Remington, and Federal Cartridge.

The first book, along with the historical overview, starting with Eugene Stoner (Semper Fi, Gene!) and his AR-10, early development, the SCHV trials, the NATO trials for a new battle rifle cartridge, etc. etc. It's truly an eye opener, co written by the publisher, R. Blake Stevens and Dr. Edw. Ezell (deceased). Dr. Ezell's name on the book alone should allay any fears this book is frivilous.

The second book, by Chris Bartocci, takes up the story with the development of the M-16A2, different 3 and 4 rd. burst systems, the M-4 and SopMod models, experimental models and features and has a very good addendum in the back showing all military model M-16 variants (including foreign licensees) and features and all the Colt civilian models and features up until the mid 1990s. If you are looking for a "picture book" with beautiful color pictures, none of the Collector's Grade Publication books are for you. There are plenty of b&w pictures, patent reproductions, production documents, copies of DOD and armed services memos, etc. These are historical books, not really coffee table books.

All the other books from this company are great, too. Check out Collector Grade Publications on the internet and read the titles. There's something there for most serious firearms enthusiasts. Most of the truly historical arms of the 20th century are covered by authors, and some by the publisher, Stevens. I think he wrote the books on the FN P-35.

Unless you are reduced to eating Ramen Noodles daily, good God, man; put down your money and buy these books! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Malysh: Okay, I'll save up my pennies and make the investment. Some of the links provided through AR15.com have been very helpful, history wise for showing details of parts and the iterations of the guns and developments. I've built up a couple AR's so far and Walt Kuleck/Clint McKee's AR book was a tremendous help there.
 

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You 'can' get a copy from the library via an 'Inter-Library Loan' - have your librarian search the titles out and order them.

You usually get to read them for about three weeks before returning them - and sometimes, you have to pay postage.
 

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Malysh: Okay, I'll save up my pennies and make the investment. Some of the links provided through AR15.com have been very helpful, history wise for showing details of parts and the iterations of the guns and developments. I've built up a couple AR's so far and Walt Kuleck/Clint McKee's AR book was a tremendous help there.
You could have save a few bucks on the books. I used the Marine Corps armorer's manual when I started to assemble my own AR-15s. Nothing wrong with the other books, but this DOD publication can be had for......pennies :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Malysh: nice write up.
So, did someone say "pennies"? Good idea.
I do have Ezell's "Small Arms of The World" , another very good reference book.
 

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These books are dirt cheap for what your getting. You want pricey check out Dolf's book " The Grand Old Lady of No Man's Land" The best vickers book out there. Starting to push a grand for it used. I love mine though.
 

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As I was sitting here reading posts concerning "Black Rifle", I received in the mail Brownells #9 AR-15/M16 catelog. I've started my Christmas wish list.
 

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They are a great reference, and endlessly entertaining book(s) to pick up and read. The information therein is both useful and comprehensive. If there is a fault, it's in accessing what is in there; it isn't always easy to find and there is no index at the end.
That said, getting the books (along with being involved here) are two ways to really understand the AR package.
Moon
 

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"I am puzzled that anybody would give these books mixed reviews. Really"

+1

If you're only interested in the operation, or how to build, an AR, maybe not. But if you have an interest in history of the subject and want a thorough scholarly review, I can highly recommend this book.

I bought mine through Amazon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Had some holiday expenses so finally pulled the trigger on the books. Found them very reasonably priced through Amazon. Picked up the original and II. They arrived in today's mail.
 

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You can get a downloadable version of these great books at scribd.com. I have them loaded on my phone, laptop and tablet. It is nice to have this reference material available if you happen across something interesting and need more info.
 
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