Ever wished for an "encyclopedia" for sniper rifles? Ever heard of a sniper rifle but couldn't find "the word"? Well this is the book you've been looking for! Before discussing the book, its worth mentioning the author. Ian V. Hogg is one of the world's preeminent small arms experts. If you haven't heard of the man, you may be familiar with his earlier works: The Story of the Gun and The American Arsenal. Mr. Hogg has scored again with a book that no serious collection of books on sniping should be missing.
This book is NEW - first publication is 1998 - and is about as up-to-date as anything can be. In its 144 pages you'll find a brief introduction to sniper rifles, a look into the future, and then an alphabetical listing, by country, of each country's sniper rifles. Each weapon receives a brief description, its history, photos (this book has lots of photos and drawings), and data, listing the chambering, operation (i.e., bolt, semi-auto etc.), length, weight, barrel, magazine, muzzle velocity and manufacturer. When appropriate, Hogg provides data in metric and inches/pound format. Additionally, Hogg provides information on ammunition and sighting systems.
A few minor points to make about the book. I would have liked to have seen some discussion on the Army's unofficial "M25" system, along with the material on the M14 and M21. Also, I was disappointed not to find anything in the book on the European Vaime system. Finally, I found the sections on ammunition and sights to be not as detailed as the weapons systems. In particular, Hogg's discussion on 7.62 x 51mm ammunition was totally lacking. No Western sniper uses 147-grain ball ammunition in his precision sniping weapon system, if he can help it, yet that was the only round discussed in the ammunition section for the 7.62 x 51mm chambering. Overall, though, I highly recommend this book! A must have.