J. R. Mattern
Copyright 1926, Small-Arms Technical Publishing Co.
This is the first American book about reloading ammunition that was not a sales pamphlet written for a tool or powder company. Mr. Mattern had been handloading ammunition for 40 years by the time he wrote this book late in his life. It covers reloading from the first copper cased ammunition through the developments after WWI.
The front piece of his book is a picture of his loading bench, where he says he loaded tens of thousands of rounds. It looks pretty normal until you realize there is not a reloading press. He wrote his book prior to the invention of the home shop mechanical reloading press. Handloading was in fact hand loading with hand held tools or hand held type tools that clamped onto the bench or a shelf.
This is one of the greatest books for the beginner about how to reload ammunition and why you do things in an organized fashion. It has lots of pictures and details about every step of the process. A large section of the book deals with casting bullets and using cast bullets. Other than big game hunting, Mattern believed in using cast bullets for everything else; plinking, practice, small game hunting and military matches up to 600 yards.
Every component and every operation has its own chapter with “how to” information. Plus a chapter on how they really reloaded black powder cartridges in the 1800’s and how it changed with the coming of smokeless. Chapters on reduced loads, “foreign cartridges”, revolvers and my favorite on reloading the 40 most popular cartridges of the day are included at the end of the book.
Handloading Ammunition was an instant success, going through multiple printings prior to WWII. To my knowledge, it was never updated as Mr. Mattern died in the 1930’s. Nor was it republished until 1985 when Dave Wolfe had 1500 copies printed for his series sold through “Handloader” magazine.