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Percussion Pistols And Revolvers: History, Performance and Practical Use Paperback – July 20, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Johnny Bates and Mike Cumpston live in central Texas. The lifelong shooting enthusiasts have researched and written many articles about modern and historic firearms, which have been published in mass-market magazines.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (July 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595357962
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595357963
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #967,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Charles Gadda on July 11, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I count this as one of my better acquisitions in the field of 19th Century firearms books. There is an awful lot of good, hard to find information packed within, including details on maintenance (including assembly/disassembly procedures), general use and loading instructions, specific load results with different powders, and observations on the quality of various reproductions. As the authors state early on in the book, they pull no punches when giving their honest assessment of the quality of the various reproductions out there.

One also finds valuable suggestions on improving the reliability of various reproductions, such as gunsmithing tips for the pocket percussion revolvers to prevent cap fragments from binding up the cylinder. Very useful stuff.

I also love the colour graphic on the cover - it immediately attracted my notice when I was skimming through the myriad "recommendations" on Amazon.

I do have some suggestions for improvement for a 2nd edition, in the highly unlikely event the authors ever read this droll review and actually want to go for a 2nd edition...:

1. There are a number of minor, but noticeable typographical and administrative type errors in the book, such as using "heals" instead of "heels." Basically needs a sharp-eyed editor to go through and insure proper word usage.

2. While the black and white illustrations are generally adequate, they are a bit grainy (owing to the resolution and also, I think, the paper used) and are often too small. Indeed, some are actually quite tiny. This is usually not a serious problem, but in some cases when they are used to illustrate an important detail (such as the LeMat pictures on pp 144-145 and some detailed mechanism shots on pp 92-94) it is hard to make out what is being shown.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By mtngunr on August 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Much more real information than you will ever find in slick gunzines so beholden to their advertisers...Mssrs. Bates and Cumpston pull no punches and give fair and accurate descriptions of the guns, the makers, shooting techniques, near everything the intrepid shootist might want to know before embarking on a journey to The Dark Side....and they do this at the same time they provide a rollicking and entertaining ride through history...an exceptional book destined to be read and reread....
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Dunn on August 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. :-) Great historical data whether you shoot black powder for historical re-enactments or for "plinking" trips for fun on the weekends, this book has great info, including ballistic data, on every percussion-cap black powder revolver (or modern reproduction thereof--there are lots of them for reasonable prices on the sporting goods market) you might run into or ever want to shoot. Great historical anecdotes in the back pages, plenty of illustrations. Recommended!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John M. Kimpel on December 25, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Books written by an author who actually knows things tend to be as pleasurable as they are rare. Percussion Pistols and Revolvers by Johnny Bates and Mike Cumpston is such a book. The authors write with a wonderfully dry sense of humor. "LePage performed valuable service by keeping the gentle classes entertained with full-featured target pistols. At the same time, they kept the population of the peerage from getting out of hand by making duelers of the same general pattern." Or discussing the introduction of conical bullets: "It is possible to find claims that the bullet was superior to the round ball because of increased penetration, greater target impact, and better flight characteristics. There were also frequent claims that the bullet was more accurate. The experts who made such claims were on solid scientific footing. They made perfect sense although none of them was true." This book is a hoot to read.

Percussion Pistols and Revolvers covers the history of the cap lock handguns. It gives an unvarnished examination of the quality of the modern replicas and explores the availability of parts for the same. The book provides practical advice on loading, shooting, and cleaning the guns. And the book reports on the performance of the guns individually. All of this is done with a skepticism of conventional wisdom and an insistence on actual observation. When discussing the introduction of paper cartridges, "We put together a few such cartridges using cash receipt paper treated in a solution of Hi Yield Stump Remover." It's that kind of book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Billy on August 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have even the slightest interest in shooting percussion revolvers or pistols you should not be without this book. The book is loaded with information ranging from the historic development of percussion handguns to actual load and chronograph data. Mike Cumpston has a writing flair unlike any I have read making this book a good source of entertainment as well as a valuable source of information. If you have no experience or even no interest in the subject then this book may well be all you need to get you interested.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mark E. Cassill on August 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Bates and Cumpston have created a masterwork. The book offers a detailed history of the important percussion handguns of American history, along with real and useful performance data on the various types. The authors candor about the quality (or more often lack thereof) of the Italian replicas is a refreshing departure from the norm for industry publications. Buy the book, you will love it.
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