Book Review: .30-06 by Chris Punnett

Book Review: .30-06 by Chris Punnett

Author: Chris Punnett
Reviewed By: Mel Carpenter

If you are not a .30-06 enthusiast when you begin this book, you will be before the end. Faced with the dilemma of how best to organize and present his material, Punnett chose to cover his subject by country first, then by manufacturer within the country, and finally by specific loading by the manufacturer. Sporting rounds are intermingled with military examples as companies are presented in alphabetical order within their country. Therefore, the first example discussed is the Argentine Armor-Piercing load and the last is the Yugoslav Sporting round, followed by a section on unknowns.

The work has a lot to offer. Aside from the logical organization of the complex material, Punnett includes a comprehensive headstamp index, a list of countries known to have produced 30-06 without headstamps, a list of countries that produced 30-06 with just a date and/or caliber, a list of countries known to have used U.S. cases in their loadings, and finally, a thorough general index. The book seems to be designed to allow a collector with a .30-06 specimen having an unknown (to the collector) headstamp to first go to the headstamp index, identify the country, then go to that country’s chapter where the specific loading can be identified. Although some degree of rarity is mentioned where appropriate, such as the Frankford Arsenal 1941 National Match loading with its photographed-but-never-seen (by a current collector) FA 41NM headstamp, or Remington’s 1917 Swanton production headstamp, prices or values are thankfully not mentioned. The text and illustrations are arranged in a two-column format on each page with plenty of white space, which makes for very pleasant reading. The country by-country layout makes it very simple to pick up the book, turn to one country, say Poland, and read the single page write-up on that country’s .30-06 production. Other countries such as Pakistan and the Philippines likewise have but one page in the book, which is all that is required. In another example, the Frankford Arsenal section alone of the U.S. chapter runs some 54 pages, which might not be enough. Remember, this covers only .30-06 variations.

Punnett’s actual-size cartridge linc drawings are spectacular, especially those showing interior case and hullet features, as are his headstamps, which are shown 150% of actual size. Those who are used to seeing Gene Scranton’s work, and Paul Smith’s, will not be disappointed. Unfortunately, the box illustrations, reduced somewhat in size to make the length of the book manageable, appear to be low-resolution scanned images with less-than-perfect reproduction off the presses. They simply do not have the very crisp detailed appearance of the line drawings, but are probably the best way to go when production costs are weighed against the actual value of perfect box illustrations. They do add to the value of the book and in some cases look quite good.

Punnett’s inclusion of 19 weapon illustrations, most of which are experimental .30-06 types from the MOD Pattern Room Collection, Nottingham, England, is puzzling. Your reviewer would have much rather seen the considerable space taken up by these pictures used to show Punnett’s sectioned cartridge masterpieces. Those familiar with Punnett’s almost unbelievable skill and artistry at sectioning cartridges, including the most complex tracer types, will be disappointed at the two pages of slightly-out-of-focus pictures of his work near the end of the book. Fortunately, 12 examples, in focus and in full color appear on the book’s dust cover.

Since .30-06 cartridges are so common in so many collections around the world, this work is essentially a required addition to any cartridge library. It contains much information not seen before, and presents it in a logical, easy-to-read format. It is sure to become a classic reference on .30-06.

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