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Thread: Don Dixon's new book on Austrian Rifles....

  1. #1
    CAGerringer is offline
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    Don Dixon's new book on Austrian Rifles....

    Don,
    Don't think we didn't pick up on the mention of your new book!

    "... and I have included a discussion of the issue in the draft of my book on Austrian Rifles."

    How do we sign up for one?

    Respectfully,
    Charlie Gerringer
    Old Dominion Dragoons

  2. #2
    Don Dixon is offline
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    It seems that the Austrian rifle book is a never ending project.

    It began with a dispute with the N-SSA Inspector General over my use of the proper ramrod with an Austrian Jaegerstutzen I was shooting in N-SSA competition. I thought that I could resolve the matter through research in English language secondary sources, but quickly discovered to my disappointment was that there was almost nothing in English worth reading. Some of the information was demonstrably wrong, much of it was based on "gun show wisdom," and almost none of it was footnoted so that I could determine whence the misinformation had come. When I spoke with the firearms curator and master restoration gunsmith at the Austrian Army Museum about some commonly held ideas, their response was laughter and the comment "Americans really believe that?" New authors often regurgitated the same misinformation from earlier sources. The gist of it was that the k.k. Army weapons were incredibly shoddy arms which no competent army would have armed its troops with, which was something my own shooting experience with the weapons contradicted.

    With my curiosity aroused, I began reading foreign language secondary sources, and then foreign language primary sources. The whole thing became a hobby, and then after I retired four years ago a more formal project. I learned long ago as an investigator that it was wise to start putting words on paper fairly early in a project, and I have a working draft that I run new information against. John Holland and some other folks have kindly consented to be readers when the research is largely completed. At this point, I continue to work my way through National Archives records, and will be going to Carlisle Barracks this fall. I think that will be the end of the research. One has to draw a line in the sand somewhere. The problem is that everytime I turn over a rock more interesting stuff crawls out. My wife refers to the project as my obsession, but has been very patient with me.

    The problem then becomes finding a publisher who shares my vision for the project. Right now, the project is in three volumes:

    The first deals with firearms technology at the beginning of the Civil War, The Austrian arms themselves, the vendors who sold the arms to the Federals and Confederates and the utterly corrupt processes involved, the workings of the blockade running system, and the technical and other reasons why the arms did not necessarily perform well, particularly in Federal hands. The deployment of the Austrian weapons could have served as a model for the initial failed deployment of the M16 rifle in Vietnam one hundred years later.

    Volume two deals with the Federal units armed with Austrian arms: who had them, how long did they carry them, what battles were they in while armed with them, what training did they receive with them, and what did the soldiers think of them. To this point, I can document almost 600 Federal regiments armed with Austrian arms at some point during their service, and I know that the list is incomplete due to the lack of quarterly ordnance reports from 1861 and the first two quarters of 1862. And, revolutionary concept, units that were actually trained to use the Muster 1854 rifles liked, even loved, them.

    Volume three contains similar information on Confederate forces, and a massive bibliography.

    When/if this comes to fruition, I'll post on this and other Civil War and historic shooting web sites. Then, of course, there is the problem of readers being willing to pay the cost of the books. I suspect that I'll make maybe a penny an hour for my time.

    Regards,
    Don Dixon
    2881V
    Last edited by Don Dixon; 1 Week Ago at 11:48 AM.

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    Don:
    Don't discard the possibility of e-publication. Yes, hard-copy is preferable for reference, but if you can't find a suitable publisher, Kindle can get it out there.
    Support the USIMLT! Help your fellow Skirmishers go for the gold! www.usimlt.com

  4. #4
    geezmo is offline
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    Don,

    Have you discussed this project with the folks at Mowbray Publishing in Rhode Island? They offer a number of firearms titles in paperback, some in with several volumes, which are quite affordable. I'll bet the demand might be greater than you think.

  5. #5
    John Holland is offline Moderator
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    Regardless of Don Dixon being a dear friend and someone whom I respect immensely, and lending my meager assistance to him with his landmark project....I'm in for a hard bound set! To me, THAT is what makes a book a book!

  6. #6
    geezmo is offline
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    John,

    I agree whole heartedly. I just put out the paperback as an option since Don seemed concerned about the final price. I could live with paperback, but kindle and e-publication I'm not so sure. I like to underline certain information and jot notes in the margins. Not to mention the pleasure of thumbing through actual pages.

    Don,

    I'd say you are too deep into this project not to get it published. I'm not getting any younger and hope I live to see it. I've got a great 58 caliber export rifle id'd to a soldier in the 98th N.Y.V.I. that I would love to know more about. Between Charlie, John and me you've got three sets sold already. All kidding aside I do believe there is more interest than you think.

    Best of luck,
    Barry Selzner

  7. #7
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    Five sets. I want one for myself, and one for Balzas Nemeth.
    Support the USIMLT! Help your fellow Skirmishers go for the gold! www.usimlt.com

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