Books by Lyndon Combs
Recently I was going through my reading material and, being in a nostalgic mood, I decided to read an old favorite, “The Hunting Rifle” by Jack O’ Connor. After reading a couple of chapters, I was reminded of just how much this book has influenced and taught me; from my method of shooting, selecting bullets and what I look for in a rifle, to the advice I give other shooters and hunters. Basically my entire philosophy of these subjects has been formed with this book as the foundation. This realization flicked a switch in my head and three questions came to mind. What other books have helped me? What books, if asked, would I recommend to others? What books have helped other hunters and shooters?
The first thing I wish to say is that the books, and writers I mention here are not the only writers. They are not the first, or last writers. They are just the ones that helped me and I think might help others as well. If I leave out anybody’s favorites then please go to the forum, and help me answer the final question my head. What books would other shooters and hunters recommend? My first choice is “The Hunting Rifle” by Jack O’ Connor. As I have mentioned this is my favorite book on this subject. This author lived and hunted in a time in history when things were not as complicated. He hunted game many of us could never even hope to hunt in modern times and in quantities that we could only wish to hunt. I can imagine what some of you are thinking. This book is a little dated? I am sorry, but some things just don’t change. The advice in this book holds true today as much as it did when it was first written.
My second choice would be a book that deals just with the subject of shot placement, the most important part of hunting. “The Perfect Shot” by Craig Boddington. This is my favorite modern writer. This book helps with visualization of shots through illustrations, and very sound advice from someone who really knows how to make the perfect shot. Let’s face it if you don’t hit it, you can’t skin it.
Making my third choice proved to be a problem. I had a subject to address and two very good books, and I couldn’t decide which of the two I would make my third choice. So I decided to let it be a tie. Both address the same subject very well, but from two different points of view, and two different areas of experience. The first book “Sixguns” by Elmer Keith will help more with the handgun itself. The second book “There Are No Second Place Winners” by Bill Jordan will address the self-defense side. Both offer sound advice on gun choice, and how to use them. Every hunter should know how to use a side arm, and every handgun owner should know how to use it effectively so they can handle any situation that needs a weapon of this kind.
“Modern Reloading, 2nd Edition” by Richard Lee is the fourth book I would recommend. Reloading is an activity that all shooters and hunters should try. It not only helps with accuracy, but also helps the shooter to afford the ammunition to practice. As an elderly hunter once told me about Dove hunting, ” you got to shoot good to eat, and you have to shuck a lot of shells to be good”. Reloading will help you with having the ammunition on hand to practice. When I started to reload I read the 1st edition, and it helped me a great deal. I now have the second edition and it is the same, but the reloading data has been updated. I use Lee Precision equipment for all of my reloading, and when I start to look at a new cartridge I reach for this book first. I can’t wait for a new updated edition.
Fifth would have to be “Big Game Rifles And Cartridges” by Elmer Keith. This book is important to me because it tells the other side of an argument that has gone on for years. I call it Velocity vs. Mass. It helped me to know both sides of this argument, so I could form my own opinion concerning the matter. I like Elmer Keith, and feel he had a great deal of good advice. Not to mention being one of the most colorful writers of all times. I don’t agree with everything he said, but I think everyone needs to decide this for themselves. I personally think you need the right mixture of velocity, bullet construction, and accuracy matched to the condition, and species you are going to hunt. I also feel that a person should only use what he can shoot properly. All the bullet weight, velocity, and rifle won’t do you a hill of beans if you can’t handle it.
A subject that I think is very important is knowing what you are up against. I think that is the biggest reason I am suggesting this next book, “Man Eaters – The True Story Of Animals Stalking, Mauling, Killing And Eating Human Prey” edited by Lamar Underwood. I think you should have an idea of what you are going to be facing with some types of hunting, in a day and age when animals are “Disneyfied” into cuddly little harmless creatures, which is an injustice to the animal and the people that get hurt. You have to be shown the truth and I think this will help with that realization.
Many shooters and hunters eventually try their hand at working on a gun. “The Gun Digest Book Of Riflesmithing” by Jack Mitchell is a reference that I think will help with one aspect of this type of work. I have read others, but this is the only one I am including in this article. I am not saying it is the best, just the only one I have read well enough that I would recommend it. Much of my knowledge of gunsmithing comes from first hand trial and error, and from other hunters and shooters I have known. Some things I just come up with off the top of my head and they work.
Number eight I believe is where I am at now. This next book is written by someone many have heard of, Jeff Cooper, his book “The Art Of The Rifle”. I would look for the special color edition if you decide to take my advice, and read this one. I think it would be better than me telling you why I put it in this list. You will see after reading it the answer to that very question.
I have read many articles by Layne Simpson, and I have liked every one of them. This next book is the only book I have read that he has authored, “Rifles And Cartridges For large Game”. I do a lot of research on rifles and cartridges. I like to know what is out there and what people think of them. I am also very particular about who I take advice from because I have found that for every product out there you, will find many mouthing off about it, and a good many of them are stuffed full like a Christmas goose. I think that Layne Simpson and the other writers I have mentioned are all good “experts” to listen to, and offer good advice.
This next one is something that we all have been told before, and I think is a good starting point to understanding the weapon you decide to use. Yes it is not an actual book but still worth listing to and recommending, the owner’s manual to your gun. The reason I have mentioned this is I have heard many stories where people have been hurt, or lost opportunities to take a good trophy because they were not familiar with their rifle or the firearm malfunctioned. You must study and care for your weapon and understand it completely and reading the owner’s manual is the best way to start.
O.K. I have made my list and submitted it. Now to sit at my computer, and wait for answers my third question, what books would others recommend?