Like most firearm enthusiasts I enjoy reading about the big guns, but have found that most are written from an adventure novel perspective on double rifles rather than a more pragmatic view of an experienced dangerous game hunter. This clearly was not the case with this book. Dangerous Game Rifles is first about hunting dangerous game, and in this context addresses double and bolt action rifles and applicable cartridges. Single shot and lever action rifles are covered to a lesser degree as they were deemed not optimal for this type of hunting.
The book is very educational in terms of the mechanics of these firearms, the history of the same and insight into this type of hunting and the surrounding circumstances. The author is rarely vague, which made me feel confident with the information I was digesting. The author opens with the statement, "The era of the modern dangerous game rifle began in 1898 when John Rigby of London introduced the 450 Nitro Express (N.E.). Everything that came before was merely a prelude to this event- although it was a prelude that lasted almost 400 years". Very clean writing style, very concise; absolutes but not in the absence of understanding.
Approximately ten British double rifles are covered in historical and overview of design context. This is followed by extensive coverage of double guns from: Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Spain, and Italy. The pieces are in historical context, company and firearm, but they are also about design and evolution of these firearms. The doubles section closes on "Buying new and used". The bolt action section began with the big Mauser and what amounts to a small club of competitors. This section is current through Ed Browns product line, A-Square, Dakota and of course Remington, Ruger, Winchester, and Weatherby. There is a section on European bolt actions for dangerous game, however, this wasn't fleshed out as well and I was disappointed a bit by not gaining more insight into some of the less known, but more distinctive and unique designs from companies like Heym, Sauer, Steyr, etc.
The cartridge section covers virtually every one that would conceivably be used for big and dangerous game; the big double rifle cartridges as well as the rimless bolt action cartridges. More than just showing pretty pictures of catalogued rounds and arts and charts of theoretical ballistics, the author covers bullet selection and performance in great detail, supported by anecdotal evidence of appropriateness of selections. The book offers much more with sections on custom rifles, handloading, developing hunting accuracy and skill...
This is not a picture book of expensive rifles. There is some color photography, mostly sharp black and white, no fuzzy reproductions of stock photos. The book uses pictures heavily where appropriate, but also can go on for a chapter assuming the reader can actually read and comprehend text. The paper is good stock and finish, easy to read for prolonged periods of time, and wrapped in a quality binding. Great book, excellent writing and organization. Finally, a book with contents to match its title.