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Book Review: Ammo Encyclopedia 2nd Edition

Michael Bussard combines historical anecdotes with technical data in this reference manual.


There is so much more to ammunition than loading it into a gun, aiming, pulling the trigger and hearing it go bang. There’s muzzle velocity, terminal ballistics, exterior ballistics, propellant history and optimal rifle twist, as well as case dimensions, breech pressure and more. Former NRA Technical Editor and NRA Firearms Sourcebook co-author Michael Bussard understands these terms pertaining to ammunition and has compiled his knowledge into the Ammo Encyclopedia 2nd Edition.

In 62 chapters and 840 pages, Bussard explains the history, the jargon and a lot of technical data about rimfire, center-fire and shotshell ammunition. Bussard begins with the basics and runs the gamut through the ammunition world providing a useful resource to shooters of all skill levels. In between the technical data, Bussard slides historical footnotes about famous firearms and their designers along with tidbits about cartridges that grew in popularity while others faded to obscurity.

Released through Blue Book Publications, the Ammo Encyclopedia 2nd Edition is not a reloading manual. It’s a reference book explaining the intricacy of what drives firearms development in an interesting and fun way. “Ammo development drives gun development, not the other way around,” according to Bussard. “If you develop a cartridge with new capabilities, a gun can be built for it.” The Ammo Encyclopedia 2nd Edition is available as a soft-cover book, on CD-ROM and online for $29.95.

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