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  #1  
Old 03-03-2007, 01:07 PM
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Modern Rifle Shooting


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This Months offering from the NRA’s Firearms Classic Library is “Modern Rifle Shooting from the American Standpoint” by Walter G. Hudson, M. D. This little book was published by the Laflin & Rand Powder Company in 1903.
This is a rare and interesting little book on early smokeless powder reloading, early gas check cast bullet shooting and has the basics of iron sight shooting that hold up very well today.
This is a difficult book for the student of the rifle to acquire. I looked for many years before finding a good copy of this book. Many of these books spent considerable time in shooting kits and are in pretty rough shape. I believe this is the first reprint of this fine little book.
At $30.00 this is not a cheap book but the information is quite useful and the book very interesting. If you are a student of the rifle don’t miss your opportunity to own this book.

E. C. Crossman dedicated his book “Military and Sporting Rifle Shooting” to Dr. Hudson. Excerpts from the Dedication and the Forward will give some idea of how well the book was thought of in its day;

Military and Sporting Rifle Shooting
A complete and practical treatise covering the use of modern military, target and sporting rifles.

Copyright, 1932
by Small-Arms Technical Publishing Co.

“To
DR. WALTER G. HUDSON
Patient Experimenter and Great Rifle Shot
whose book "Modern Rifle Shooting from the American Standpoint," printed thirty years ago, was the aid and inspiration to myself as well as to many other beginners groping for aid in the game of military and long range rifle shooting.”

“that there existed a large and aching void for a book dealing with this subject and touching incidentally on military and sporting rifles of the Springfield and Krag class. That nothing had been printed in book form on military rifle shooting since that little " shooter’s bible, Modern Rifle Shooting, by Dr. Hudson, and since the coming of Lieutenant Whelen's equally valuable book, Suggestions to Military Riflemen.”

“The American rifle shooter had practically nothing devoted to his interest or instruction from Wingate's Manual for Rifle Practice, printed in 1875, until the appearance of Dr. Hudson's little book in 1903.”

“We tyros of thirty years ago had no such bill of fare offered to us as the present list of shooting books and fine articles in the sporting periodicals, while many of the old time rifle sharks of high degree who had learned the fine art of wind doping and other branches of successful military rifle shooting were not always as anxious as they might have been to take the beginner by the hand and lead him along the paths of glory.
Wherefore we fell with whoops of delight on Dr. Hudson's little book; and read it from "kiver to kiver," and poked pieces of hack-saw blade behind our Krag triggers to take up the "slack," and mixed up ungodly messes to make our fired shells all nice and shiny again and ran down to their obscure lairs those parties having rifle shooting accessories to sell and bought from medical supply houses who regarded us with dark suspicion those medicine satchels shown by Dr. Hudson to act as shooting cases because no shooting cases were sold in this country. His little book was the settler of all rifle shooting arguments and the authority of authorities, its pronouncements were ex cathedra and to dispute them was about like arguing that the earth was flat.
Until the coming of Lieut. Whelen's book, this little blue covered book of Dr. Hudson stood alone in its glory as the bible of the American military rifle shooter. And, the experience of nearly 30 years has still failed to disprove most of the findings and conclusions and advice of the great rifle shot with his flair for patient experiment, his own great ability as a shooter and member of many of our great rifle teams, and his willingness to help the beginner in the game.
I have tried in this book of mine to cover not only the things that letters to gun editors show shooters often want to know, but the things as well that we wanted to know back in our salad days and that nobody seemed able or willing to tell us and that made Modern Rifle Shooting, from the American Standpoint, receive such a heart-felt welcome from the shooters of more than a generation ago.
EDWARD C. CROSSMAN.”


Thanks MikeG
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Last edited by William Iorg; 03-03-2007 at 01:14 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-05-2008, 05:56 PM
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The 2008 Gun Digest is out and there is a good article on Dr. Walter Hudson by Jim Foral: Krag Specialist.
Jim Foral not only likes history he seems to enjoy guns in general and cast bullets in particular. I enjoy his writing and in the last few years Forals articles have been the only shiny spot for me in the Gun Digest.
Foral has E. C. Crossmans copy of Modern Rifle shooting from the American Standpoint. It must have been quite exciting to open the book and see his bookplate. I have taken the liberty to scan his picture of the bookplate and I am attaching a picture of my copy of the little blue book. My copy appears to have ridden a few more miles in a gun box than did Crossmans.
As this thread says Ms. Adams and the NRAs Firearms classics Library reprinted Dr. Hudsons book and it is excellent leather bound copy about the same size as the original. In my estimation this is the only FCL book in which Ms. Ordewer, the designer of the covers for the FCL series let us down. The cover is red and really should be blue.
If you are interested in the history of modern rifle shooting and cast bullets the Hudson book is a must read. Few of us can afford a copy of the original printing these days but the FCL copy is a bargain. The Foral article on Dr. Hudson in the 2008 Gun Digest is a good read and certainly makes me appreciate the times we live in.
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ModernAmerican Rifle Shooting-crossman-book-plate.jpg   ModernAmerican Rifle Shooting-my-copy-blue-book-354x480.jpg  
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Old 01-14-2008, 07:17 AM
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Thanks for the kind words. Actually, the bookplate is a misprint. It says "Edward B. Crossman", when his middle initial is "C" (Cathcart). His stamp in the upper right corner verifies that it is actually Mr. Crossman of Los Angeles. Ten years ago, the price was about a hundred fifty bucks, but I still consider it one of my better investments.
I've always admired Dr. Hudson and it was a lot of fun doing the research. In the 2004 Gun Digest, you will find a feature THE HUDSON-KRAG HANDLOADS that was very time and research intensive, but very enjoyable putting together.
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Old 01-14-2008, 11:30 AM
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I wondered about that when I saw the B. I consider the price to have been fair. I thought only a fool such as me would pay a price to hold history in his hands. I spent the price of three .308 rifles on books in the past few years. I am happy but I have a few friends who believe I need counseling.
I read and enjoyed the Hudson Krag Handloads article. I also enjoyed the .30-40 Plinker loads and the Mosin sporter articles.
Crossmans dedication of his book Military and Sporting Rifle Shooting to Dr. Hudson impressed me when I read it as a young man. I immediately recognized that Hudsons was a book was worth reading. It took quite awhile to find a copy I could afford.
I enjoy your writing. I should be honest though and say; one of the most impressive pictures I have seen in the Gun Digest was the picture of your bound set of the Outers Books. That had to be an exciting find.
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Old 01-15-2008, 06:07 AM
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Yes, the discovery of the bound Outers was one of the nicest things that has happened to me. I filled a lot of gaps with the acquisition of those four volumes.
Have some interesting pictures for the "next". One of the more impressive shows Mrs. Adolph Topperwien shooting spent shotshells from her husband's fingertips circa 1910. Another is an exhibition shooter shooting a business card edgewise whilst held in assistnat's fingers about the same vintage.
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  #6  
Old 01-15-2008, 10:18 AM
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I have haunted a few used book stores over the years and have never come across anything like your Outers books, a great find.
Have you visited the Hall of Horns in San Antonio? The old Lone Star Brewery is World
Famous in Texas for its collection of unusual big game heads, game fish, fishing lures and pictures made from rattlesnake rattles. Part of the collection includes some of the Topperwiens guns and other memorabilia including pictures and a few pieces of tin plate art work shot by them. A very nice display.
After reading Ed McGiverns Fast and Fancy Revolver shooting I attempted to cut a few playing cards with a .22 rifle shooting from the bench. I was unable to do this until my father pointed out that cocking the card a few degrees left or right was almost unnoticeable to everyone except the shooter. It certainly gave me a wider target to shoot at.
I have been most impressed by the shooting over the shoulder using a mirror.
The shooting story of this type I like best was when Kaiser Wilhelm II allowed Annie Oakley to shoot the ash from his cigar while he held it. Later, when our two countries were involved in the unpleasantness she offered to repeat the performance.
I look forward to the: next installment.
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Old 01-17-2008, 05:44 PM
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Does DR Hudson ever mention heat treating lead bullets in any of his writings?

I know they used antimonial alloys back then like 10-10- 80 and 7-7-86 but I have never read that they heat treated.

I also know that DR Hudson was instrumental in getting the Krag rifle going with PB cast bullets for a lot of the military units around the country for practice during that time 1903-04 and designed a couple of bullets for the krag rifle the 308256 and 308259 and recommended the 7-7-86 alloy but I have to think he would have had a easier time of it if he would have heat treated his bullets, but then again maybe he was trying to keep it real simple for those armorers back then.

Jim Foral did a good article in one of the Handloader bullet making annuals on wire wound cast bullets that shows he is a shooting history buff and a man of much patience.

good luck
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Old 01-18-2008, 07:02 AM
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In chapter 11 on ammunition Dr. Hudson writes that for details on the molding of bullets and the specifics of loading them the best reference available is the Ideal Handbook.
Hudson starts off with the .45-70 and states the rifleman will obtain a very great improvement in his results by handloading his own ammunition. He states the best bullets are cast 1 part tin to 16 parts lead and lubricated with a reasonably soft lubricant.
Hudson went o to emphasize the importance of bullet to rifling fit when using smokeless powder.
Switching to the .30-40 U.S. cartridge Dr, Hudson states that no other powder performs as well as W.A. .30 cal. Hudson goes on to state that until the summer of 1902 they were unable to obtain good jacketed bullets for the .30 U.S. cartridge. Jim Forals two articles bring us up to speed on bullets from there. There is a good article in an older Gun Digest on U.S.C. Thomas which is helpful too.
With regard to cast bullets Hudson stated that for use under 100-yards there were numerous bullets which gave satisfactory service. He stated the bullet must fit the bottom of the grooves and that it must be lubricated carefully.
Hudson goes on to discuss the design of his Ideal No. 30815 bullet. He states for best results the bullet must be hardened using 15% antimony instead of tin. Antimony was used because tin reduces the melting temperature of the lead. Hudson makes no mention of the actual hardness of his bullets but he states the very hard bullets will stand being driven to a velocity of 1200 or 1300 fps.
This was the dawn of the smokeless powder era and the use of cast bullets in cartridges designed for smokeless powder was not well understood. The Ideal Handbook No. 5 has a chapter on the use of lead bullets in fast twist rifles such as the .25-35 WCF.
I am certainly happy to be shooting today after pioneers such as: Kephart, Hudson, Mattern, and many others discovered the basic essentials of modern cast bullet shooting. The real problem for us today is the early shooters tended to write in generalities and in their books there may be only a paragraph or two of detailed information. The dedicated student must sift through a lot of written material to find these small pearls of wisdom. This problem continues right up to this day.
One of the problems for young shooters is they form opinions based on small amounts of data viewed through a soda straw. P.O. Ackley for instance is greatly misunderstood by most of us because our knowledge of his work is restricted to the various printings of his book: Handbook for Shooters and Reloaders. Ackley obviously felt he had written enough about various subjects in periodicals and there was little need for further in-depth discussions.
A few of the early hunters were very interested in improving bullet performance (I am thinking of Sir Samuel Baker along with a few others) and experimented with different alloys and hardened their lead bullets with mercury.
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Old 01-20-2008, 10:27 AM
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When Dr. Hudson took up the Krag did he forsake his old Schuetzen rifles?

I would like to get that book, I believe at least one of Hudson's records still stands.
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Old 01-20-2008, 11:23 AM
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Yes, much to the dismay of his friends and fans.
Gerald O Kelver wrote that many of his fellow Schuetzen shooters felt he had abandoned them for the military shooting. I believe there was some critisim in contemporary writing as well.
The book is currently in print from the NRAs Firearms Classic Library series and is a bargin at about $30.00.<O</O
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Last edited by William Iorg; 01-20-2008 at 11:26 AM.
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  #11  
Old 01-20-2008, 05:28 PM
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Hudson never forsaked the Schuetzen rifle when he took up the Krag. Matter of fact, I think he became even more rabid at the offhand discipline. He won many honors and was very involved with the Schuetzen match rifle and gallery rifle at the same time he excelled with the Krag. Go to Barnes and Noble and check out this year's Gun Digest for a full treatment of this. Hudson accomplished a tremendous amount of work 1901-1907 in all areas of rifle competition and ammunition improvement, almost to the point he must have devoted full time to it. But he ran a full time medical practice and after 1905 worked for Dupont. 'Twould be a better world if we all had his ambition.
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Old 02-18-2008, 01:41 PM
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Krag 1902, I thought if our paths ever crossed I would ask you a question. The question has just come back to the surface.
I wanted to know if you or any one else has written on the history of Small Bore Rifle Shooting. As you know there was little to no organized small bore rifle shooting prior to 1907 except for the Annual competition held at the famous New York City Zettlers gallery. These were 75-foot Schuetzen matches and not small bore competition as we think of it today.
In December 1907 at the Sportsmans Show in New York City the first modern small bore rifle competition was held. At this event there was a competition for school boys. A medal was awarded for those who qualified for the competition. I have seen one of these medals at an antique store in Oklahoma City about twenty years ago. I believe this was at the old location for Spiveys (sp?) antiques, next to old location for the Aladdin Book Shop. I could not afford to buy the medal but I did examine it carefully. It was heavy, well struck and suspended on a nice ribbon attached to a cross bar. This was before I carried a camera on a regular basis. I failed to take adequate notes and have no real description of the medal.
In 1908 a series of schoolboy matches were held in Washington D.C. with around 400 shooters taking part in the competition. The then new .22 caliber Springfield rifle was used on the 50-foot range using a one inch bullseye.
By 1909 small bore rifle competition had grown considerably within the U.S. The National Rifle Association and the Miniature Rifle Clubs of Great Briton which had been active in this type of shooting for quite awhile agreed to a competition in 1909. I believe W.W. Greener wrote of the competition describing the 50-man teams shooting outdoors at 25-yards. The shooting was from the prone position. This was iron sight shooting and the British won the match.
For the 1910 matches the British agreed to a change in the rules which allowed telescopic sights and a target with a larger black area. The U.S. won this match and the Dewar Trophy. After this the competition became quite stiff with 1919 being the big year for small bore rifle competition.
Does anyone happen to know who Marcus Dinwiddie was, other than being a remarkable shot from Washington D.C.?
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Old 02-18-2008, 03:04 PM
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Edit: not my words. KK

Another historic side light to the 1924 games involved 17-year-old Marcus Dinwiddie of Washington, DC who became the youngest Olympic medal winner of a shooting event when he won silver in the prone smallbore match. His achievement would stand for 72 years. Kim Rhode, another young United States shooter, was barely a week past her 17th birthday, when she won the inaugural gold medal in the Women's Double Trap event at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
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Old 02-19-2008, 05:53 PM
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Think about the pressure on these young shooters competing at this level. I am interested in what this young mans background was. His father had to be a shooter. There is quite a bit of basic information about him on the internet but I am curious as to how he started shooting. E.C. Crossman called shooters of this time: belly crawlers but they could certainly shoot. If you look into the scores at 200-yards - outdoors with the .22lr you will be hard pressed to beat them today.
Looking at the scores shot with the .310 Cadet and the .297-250 will cause you to think a bit too. These young shooters shot very well.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o>
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Old 07-05-2009, 06:53 AM
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After down loading Dr. Hudson little blue book from Google books I started downloading the Outing books.
The: learn to fly article from the 1911 download is great fun.

Living Off the Land by Helen Dodd is a good one too.

Reading the Crossman and Kephart articles has been great fun. There are many interesting hunting and shooting articles from a different time.

I am not quite so jealous of Krag1902’s bound editions now!
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Last edited by William Iorg; 07-05-2009 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 07-12-2009, 05:59 PM
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If I am not mistaken, you have access to the much more common OUTING magazine, more of a general interest periodical than the specialized sportsman's magazine that was OUTERS BOOK. OB treated hunting and fishing with a wonderful and very useful
Arms and Ammunition column. I have almost all issue of OB 1909-1917 and wouldn't be withouth them. Outing started publication in about 1894 and finished up about 1920. The format included all sports and some things not even closely related.
Word travel, camel races, college baseball, fencing, you name it. I have spent a lot of Sunday afternoons page by paging through OUTING with no usable yield. In contrast, each issue of OUTERS BOOK is a treasure chest.
OUTING had a very wide circulation and many large city library collections house them still in bound form. We have the complete run at University of Nebraska and I think at the Lincoln City Library. I don't think anyone lives too far away from an OUTING source
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:45 AM
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Yes, it is unfortunate the Outers books are not available. But not having access to them at least we have the Outing, the Trapping periodicals and the canoe periodicals. The articles by Crossman, Horace Kephart and others in the Outing magazines are interesting. I admit getting past the football, baseball, track and field and polo stuff is a bother but there is enough gun, shooting and hunting stuff to make it worth our while to sift through it.
The questions from the readers illustrate the lack of information available to the public in the 1900’s. Many of the questions about the “new” Springfield rifle, smokeless powders and reloading are surprising and sometimes astonishing.
To a flier or anyone interested in early automobiles the Outing books provide a glimpse into a mechanical world few of us can comprehend.
I’ll agree the Outer books are a dream and the Outing books are a poor and inadequate substitute. Few libraries I have visited recently have any significant quantity of past periodicals. Certainly the libraries of West Texas have very few periodicals or books related to shooting, reloading or hunting. Travel and Adventure books such as those buy William Bebe, Roy Chapman Andrews, Richard Haliburton or Lowell Thomas are non-existent. Our local library allowed all of the interesting shooting books and bibliographies to be stolen and has excessed nearly all of the bound periodicals which had any relation to shooting. Our local University has very little to interest a shooter. Our libraries are now filled with “coffee table” books.
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Old 07-13-2009, 02:22 PM
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That's a shame, but the local libraries will often let you use the inter-library loan service ( if one doesn't overdo it) for nothing. I've got some interesting and otherwise unobtainable books this way, the last "The Gatlings of Santiago". Normally, bound periodicals are non-circulating. Where there's a will.......
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Old 07-13-2009, 05:09 PM
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I have used the interlibrary loan program quite a bit.

I down loaded the Gattling book. First time I had ever seen it. I wanted to see the pictures of the blockhouse at the top of the hill.

I guess this need was from the movie Arsenic and Old Lace Charge! Charge the Blockhouse!

The story of the Missouri mules standing fast under fire is a good one.
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:08 AM
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I downloaded The life of Dr. Wm F Carver, Champion Shot of the World a book I have never been able to get on an interlibrary loan.

Another difficult book to buy or get as an interlibrary loan is Townsend Whelens suggestions to Military Riflemen and it is now readily available.

While the electronic books do not leave me with the satisfaction of holding the book in my lap at least with the electric books I have access to a reading copy.

The mention of the Gatling book reminds me of one of the most interesting chapters from Gunwriters of Yesteryear, the story of the Montana National Guard using the 45-70 in the Philippines. Whether you realized it or not when you compiled it, Gunwriters of Yesteryear is going to be one of those books which will always be in demand.
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