Cartridges of the World 12th Ed.

Since it was first released in 1965, Cartridges of the World by Frank Barnes, has been considered the definitive print resource on firearm cartridges. The current 12th Edition, edited by Holt Bodinson, was released late last year. The 568-page 12th Edition now describes over 1500 cartridges (from 0.1 inch to 0.95 inch caliber). This edition has interesting new articles on cartridge design and performance. The book includes dimensions, illustrations, a short history, and sample loading data for over 1500 different cartridges, including virtually every significant cartridge introduced since the early 1870s, with separate chapters on rimfires, shotgun shells, sporting rifle cartridges from the USA and Canada, Britain, and Europe, plus handgun cartridges, military cartridges, and limited production “wildcat” and “proprietary” cartridges. You won’t find all the obscure wildcats, but the book is still a useful resource, well worth owning. It’s a “must-have” item for any serious cartridge collector.


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Frank C. Barnes (1918-1992) began collecting information on handgun cartridges at the early age of 12, thanks to his father, a police officer. Frank Barnes was an innovative cartridge designer, who invented the original 308 x 1.5″ Barnes, predecessor of the 30BR case. Before Frank began a law enforcement career, he was a college professor. Frank was also a pilot, and a race-car driver.

Cartridges of the World was first published in 1965. It’s lived through 12 editions and can be found on many reloaders’ bookshelves today. Suggested retail for the book is $32.99, but MidwayUSA currently sells the 12th Edition for $19.99 plus shipping (Midway item 242319). Amazon.com offers the book for $21.77 with free shipping on combined orders over $25.00.

AMAZON LINK: Cartridges of the World (12th Ed.): Complete Reference for Over 1500 Cartridges

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