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Thread: Phil Sharpe

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy kidmma's Avatar
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    Phil Sharpe

    I have a copy of "The Complete Guide to Handloading" by Phil Sharpe. Last edited in 1949.

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    Lots of information but a lot more history. Stories about Harry Pope and others.

    Many old and forgotten cartridges and equipment too!!

    It is offered on Cornell Publications as well.





    Scott
    Last edited by kidmma; 11-16-2018 at 02:39 PM.
    Scott

    The East-Left Coast

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy

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    I have that book. You are right, great read.
    John

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Reverend Al's Avatar
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    I have a 1937 hard copy edition of Sharpe's book plus I have a digital copy downloaded. Tons of great period information on obsolete calibres and old components, plus a section on the "how to's" of paper patching ...
    I may have passed my "Best Before" date, but I haven't reached my "Expiry" date!

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Shooting many of the cartridges developed in the 1800’s Sharpe’s Guide is the first reference I go to.
    Last edited by John Boy; 11-22-2018 at 11:04 PM.
    Regards
    John

  5. #5
    Boolit Master



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    I'm probably going to get flamed for this, but I'll go ahead anyway........

    Back in the early eighties, I had the finest mentor on firearms any man could wish for. He had a fascinating personal history, ranging from his parents.....father in the Czarist army, mother a pianist and teacher....to his escapades with the O.S.S. in WWII and later the CIA in the early fifties. I was in my early forties when I met him and thought I knew a lot about firearms and shooting. As I found out, I didn't know squat. I learned to keep my big mouth shut and listen, thus picking up more technical and historical information than I knew existed. Why was I so fascinated? Because this man was THERE. For example in his closet was a Nazi pith helmet, complete with swastika....a little souvenir of his march "up the boot" during the Italian campaign. Other items included a sheik's head piece, German stick grenade and on and on. He passed away just as the Soviet Union collapsed and, on his death bed, smiled. He hated Communists due to the murder of his entire family in 1917, including his aged grandmother. His name was Igor, and I have always been grateful to know him and refer to him as my "mentor".

    I have the same book. I mentioned it to my mentor many years ago and his reaction was NOT what I expected. He told me that he met Phil Sharpe on one occasion and that Sharpe's entire personality was wrapped around "me, me, me". He said "As I walked into Sharpe's office he leaned back in his office chair, placed his finger tips together and with chin elevated and a rather haughty attitude asked '..and just how may I help YOU?' If I knew then what I know now, I would have told that arrogant **** off right then and there."

    Okay, so we have some kind of personality dispute from long ago. What's the big deal? Well, when you have someone that knows "everything" they are bound to give out incorrect information, and dare you to challenge their massive wisdom. After all, they know it ALL.

    Look through the book at sections written by "guest" authors, i.e. authors that Sharpe invited to contribute to the book. In almost EVERY case, you will find a bracketed section in the middle by Sharpe saying something like "This author agrees completely. I have tested many rounds and come to the same conclusion!" Really Phil? So, why did you bother to ask for a contribution from someone else, only to insert your own comments? Rather arrogant don't you think old boy?

    Take a look at the section on "foreign rifles". The evaluation of the Japanese Arisakas was written by another author and, again, Phil sticks his two bits worth in though with a statement (paraphrased) like this "This author agrees. These foreign rifles are mostly junk and better hung on the wall!" The words "mostly junk" leave me cold since every bolt action military rifle I've examined are of good quality, designed to best engineering of the day and designed to defend against enemies....and as we all know, the type 38 and 99 Japanese rifles are about the toughest guns ever built.

    I'll continue to treasure my copy of Sharpe's book, along with all the others I have. But he sure wouldn't be my "go to" expert on anything.

    Now, Sharpe's book is full of interesting information on pre and post war reloading equipment, load data (all obsolete) and was obviously put together by someone who's done a lot with firearms. But his rather snotty writing style I can do without.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master Char-Gar's Avatar
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    First book about reloading I bought in 1959. Still have it and it is well read.
    Disclaimer: The above is not holy writ. It is just my opinion based on my experience and knowledge. Your mileage may vary.

  7. #7
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    I don’t mind a reasonable level of artistic temperament, as long as the subject shows actual artistry to back it up. Woe (of course) to those who put on the attitude without the backup. May they be ridiculed unto the tenth generation.

    I think Sharpe mentioned somewhere that he spent a ton of money getting the book data together, and lost a wife or two to his shooting and reloading interests. He did “pay his dues,” and left a solid body of work, “people skills” notwithstanding.

    Elmer Keith, George Leonard Herter, Ken Howell and COL Jeff Cooper all come off as pretty self-centered in their writing, too, and even Jack O’Connor gets that way sometimes. For me, it’s just part of the entertainment. It’s a real person talking to me, rather than a lost voice trying to make himself heard through a swarm of revision-happy editors and proofreaders.

    That stuff about certain milsurps being “mostly junk” was a hangover from the War, when all Japanese materiel was dismissed as cheap and crummy for propaganda purposes. The American Rifleman in the early ‘30’s found nothing wrong with Japanese rifles, and CAPT George, who was on Guadalcanal, among other places, thought a lot of Japanese military stuff was better thought-out than our own. These facts were deliberately overlooked for the War effort.

    Sharpe was a man of his era. Judging him by the sensitive standards of our own time says more about us than him.
    Last edited by Bent Ramrod; 11-23-2018 at 12:44 PM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    I’ve been reading this book and others, for years, I guess I’m not that critical in my reading. I just like old books and reading about how all this got started in the first place. Especially the bullet lubes he and others started with, something we wouldn’t want to repeat, learn as much as we can from these ancient text. Take a little here and a little from there and get what you can out of it. I just wonder if they were brought back in to the future as in today, what they would think or say about all this powder coating and alloying we do on a regular basis now.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I bought a copy at gun show prices about 1995. $90-100 I think. I find it a great read on old equipment. also a glimps into the shooting fraternaty, particularly in the Mohawk Valley of New York. This is my stomping ground and he spent time here and drops names of guys I knew of from other sources. It's a good read and hats off for him getting it together.
    That said; one of my shooting mentors meet Sharpe once. My friend was a mail clerk in the Army before shipping out to occupied Japan. One day Sharpe comes in looking for a shipment of ammo from Japan. He was informed no such package was there at the moment, next due in later that day. Phil proceeded to strut around, asking/demanding to check again, see a superior on and on for an hour or so. His package was not there. Yet the performance went on. My friend said he was like a "a swarm of bees, a strutting tom turkey and a bunch of mosquitoes crammed into a Bantee cock".
    It always struck me odd that he had data for 11mm Gras and not 11mm Mauser, or a dozen other common calibers of that era.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master



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    Thank you ascast, for helping with my point......and that point is, accurate information has no room for arrogance or attitudes. That simply misleads others down the wrong path.

    Bent Ramrod...I'm very aware of the attitude towards Japanese equipment, as I collect the type 38 and 99 rifles. Got a closet (safe) full of them. My gripe with Sharpe is that he condemns them as junk AFTER the war. Did he come to this conclusion with dedicated testing? He did not. Did he consult anyone who had actually done any testing? He did not. Any metallurgical testing done? Nope. Did he examine the design and discover improvements over the Mauser? Nada.

    And yet this man trumpets himself as an expert.........and we shall fall at his feet in supplication and worship? How much other data of his should be trusted? Please note that I DO give him absolute credit for the development of the 7 x 61 Sharpe cartridge (I believe that's correct). It's a good round and deserved more credit than it got.

    Okay, I know I'm getting carried away. The book is actually very interesting and Sharpes's comments........knowing what I know now.........just add a bit of hilarity for me. I guess what I'm trying to say is take the information in the book with a grain of salt. At lot of it is good, but there's some that isn'

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    I've got two copies of Sharpe's book, different editions. It is very interesting. The picture of Sharpe talking to Harry Pope was most interesting.

    I've also got Mattern's book, Naramore's book and Nonte's book on handloading, as well as Ken Howell's book on cartridges. I found a copy of Donnelly's book on the same subject but have read that it contains errors. I imagine the errors are such that I would never find them. I probably wouldn't have bought it except it was the only hardback copy I've ever seen. Paid too much just to satisfy my curiosity.

    All these books are mainly interesting from an historic standpoint. I rely on more modern reloading manuals for reliable information.
    John
    W.TN

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    3006guns - I meant to mention you in my post - got sidetracked. and while I'm kicking a dead dog, what does the 7x61 Sharpe do that a dozen or more others commonly available won't do? Every body else was going to a smaller case with same performance.
    I recall (frequently) some mention of a bullet being "patched" by having copper wire wrapped around the bullet. to make a 22cal a 45 cal. or some such. He seemed very impressed by this idea and commented he expected it to be come common place. Maybe he was being sarcastic.

    I still think it's a good read, with salt handy.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master



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    ascast........the 7 x 61 was a remarkably good cartridge.........FOR ITS TIME. It was a good development and I'll give credit (to Sharpe) where credit is due. I guess I don't see the Sharpe as a true "wildcat". It was thought out fairly well.

    The idea of copper (or brass) wire wrapped around the bullet goes clear back to the old National wire wrapped bullet. It was never designed to increase the diameter though, just to provide a "jacket" that didn't need fancy forming dies. If I recall, someone actually made a mold that accepted little coiled wire "springs" that were inserted before pouring. Pretty labor intensive though, so it didn't catch on.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check