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Librarian Edits Top Ammo Encyclopedia

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Charlie Priore, reference and instruction librarian for the sciences and ammunition expert, edited the recently published The Ammo Encyclopedia 5th edition, which is the most comprehensive reference book available on current and obsolete ammunition.

To honor Priore’s accomplishment, the volume was added to the Athenaeum’s shelves of faculty publications last week.

“Although ammunition and firearms do not seem related to my domains as a science librarian, the opposite is actually true,” Priore said. “This is connected to all my liaison departments—physics, chemistry, biology and math.”

Previous editions of the book are now out of print and sell for over $200 on Amazon. As a point of comparison, 10,000 copies of each edition are published, which is three times the number of an average academic book.

The Ammo Encyclopedia’s popularity can be attributed to its niche market—there is no other book about the subject that is as comprehensive and updated so frequently.

To edit this current edition, Priore used a pencil and sticky notes to make corrections. Then, he emailed the page, paragraph and explanation of the revision to the publisher, Blue Book Publications, Inc.

“This is mind numbing work,” Priore said.

Priore has edited all editions of this encyclopedia except for the first, and in the past, he said he often reads the entire volume, which spans over 1,000 pages.

Priore began editing the Ammo Encyclopedia when the publisher contacted him to When Priore received the manuscript in the mail, three other editors had already proofed it.

However, “I found pages and pages of mistakes, so the publisher hired me on to edit the later editions,” he said. “I have a fine eye for detail, I can pick up grammatical and factual errors easily, and I have a lot of knowledge on the subject.”

With each new edition, Priore said he enjoys learning more about ammunition. he said he learned about the dangers of early powder development, which involved numerous explosions.

In fact, the Dupont Powder Company exploded seven times, eventually killing the founder.

In addition, he learned that during the Civil War, the South had no way to make gunpowder, so they tried to build a factory—and succeeded—by smuggling parts out of Europe and the North.

Having worked on over twenty publications from ammunition history to Endnote, Priore is always immersed in a project. Curently, he is finishing an article on Endnote implementation and support across a networked environment.

In addition, Priore is creating the bibliography for Lock, Stock, and Smoking Barrel: A Memoir of a Passion for Arms and Adventure by R.L. Wilson ’61, the preeminent American historian on firearms. The memoire is based on a spring 2003 exhibit Wilson displayed in the Gould Library.

Looking to the future, Priore hopes to work on a series of volumes on medieval arms of the aristocracy of 1530-1750 Europe.

Priore’s interest in guns began during childhood when his uncle, a gun hobbyist, shared his knowledge and collection of firearms.

Priore said his uncle was unique in that he reloaded his ammunition himself and therefore had an intimate working knowledge of firearms.

At 16, Priore learned that his father carried a revolver as a part of his job because he was required to take large cash deposits to the bank late at night. However, his father was never particularly interested in guns and did not inspire his current passion.

He began writing and editing manuscripts on ammunition in 2004 with “Firearms and Academia: An Unlikely Alliance and a Forgotten Market,” which came out in the Blue Book of Gun Values, a publisher with which Priore continues to work.

“Carleton has been very supportive about my work,” he said.

“It is not politically correct, but no one at Carleton has ever said anything negative about my interests and scholarly publications, which speaks volumes—no pun intended—about the college.”

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