One Neat Ballistics Manual
Date: May 07 2020
One of my favorite haunts are old bookstores. Not the kind that spring up in shopping centers, but I mean old! Even before I walk in, they have to have creaky floors, rustic beams, smell musty and have bookshelves that are sagging from the weight of heavy, vintage books. Such is the place that I have found the works of the old masters in shooting like Wolfe, Sharpe, Landis, Whelen and others. A few weeks back, while patrolling the back roads of western New England, we came upon such a place and found a neat book tucked close to others on the shelf relating to hunting. Because of its spiral binding, it was wedged in so close that I almost missed it.
The title is simply The .30-06 (1975) by W.L. Godfrey. While it does not seem like much, it is loaded with the details that make a handloader giddy with its discovery. It is one of those books that has been out there a while, but for some reason, it never reached notoriety, popularity, or mass circulation. Printed by the Elk Mountain Shooters Supply, Godfrey compiled a mass of work and research into one compact volume checking in at 425 pages devoted to the science of ballistics on the .30-06 Springfield. The price then was $8.95.
You have to hold this book to appreciate the effort that went into the pages. For example, there are dozens upon dozens of different powders listed and just about every .30 caliber bullet weight from 50 to 300 grains. Inside the details are forthcoming as to velocity, grains of powder and peak pressure of each, complete with pressure tracings. For example, using the popular 150-grain .30-caliber bullet, Godfrey has listed 180-plus loads using the powders we have today and even those that were discontinued in our present time.
Since Godfrey was a chemical engineer, I will be mentioning some of his original text as with my interest in writing the printed word and not chemical engineering, I want to make sure what I say goes along with what is in the book. Please keep in mind that while this is NOT a handloading book per say, but a highly-detailed reference book, the information presented will be welcomed by many in the reloading hobby as for the most part, many have not seen pressure curves of various propellants in such a graphic form.
The completed book took over five years to produce with each page containing a photo profile of the powder used, the oscilloscope output and how he used strain gauges to record the events. He notes that “since the deformation of the gauge is only on the order of a few millionths of an inch and the event occurs with a few thousandths of a second” complex instrumentation was used to record everything.
Using the 150-grain bullet with IMR-4350 powder as an example, the graph will record three shots with 55, 61 and 65 grains of powder. Velocities ran 2,674, 2,928 and 3,096 fps with peak pressure running from 48,000, 58,000 to 63,000 psi. On the other page are a pair of charts using the same data to show absolute pressure and muzzle velocity. All this continues through all of the bullets and loadings in the book. Also included is a fully detailed section on how, why and the final results with each sample and short comments on most.
Sad to say this tome is out of print, in short supply and the only place I did find it was at this bookstore and one on an internet venue for the staggering price of $100.00. If you can find one, grab it, as it may turn out to be the best buy of the new decade for handloaders. Shortened, George Nonte in Handloader No. 49, wrote quite a long comment on the book to wit, “I can only wish for this little book no happier fate than to see it superseded by a better…undertaking by the author.” Nonte got his wish when the author introduced another volume on the .243 and 6mm cartridges.