The Standard Catalog of Remington Firearms found its way onto my bookshelf a little more than a year ago when I was looking for source material on an article I was writing. I already owned the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, and found that book to be an incredibly valuable resource. So, I was very excited to get the Remington book when I ordered it online. Wow, was I disappointed.
The Standard Catalog of Remington Firearms is a hardback book with nearly 300 pages of text and full color pictures. The book is well made and the pages are of high quality, semi-gloss paper. The Standard Catalog of Remington Firearms has the look and feel of quality book – something that is becoming a bit harder to find in today’s digital world.
But for all of that, the book is ultimately disappointing to me because of the lack of content.
I purchased this book expecting it to be a researched history of the Remington Arms Company and the firearms it produced. I was hoping the book would be at the same level of quality as the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson. Unfortunately, the Remington book only gives a cursory overview of the company’s history (more on that below) and then launches into a very dull listing of firearms made by the company.
The firearms listed in the book are heavily slanted toward modern guns, and the details seem to be more lifted straight from company media kits instead of from the experiences of people who have held and shot the guns. The closest thing to entertainment in this book was the unexpected addition of commentary from the author on the Model 700 EtronX rifle, where he called the gun a “flopperoo.”
I had hoped for a more detailed exploration of some of the historic guns, like the Remington Lee rifles or the Mosin-Nagant rifles made for the Russian Czar. Heck, even the 40-X series only gets a cursory mention.
The chapter entitled The History of Remington Arms Company was provided by Remington, and is not original researched material from the author. Much of that chapter is actually just a reprinting of the company’s time line listed on Remington’s website here.
Many of the photos are not original and are reprinted from The Guns of Remington, another book about the company that appears to be out of print. Many of the other photos, if not all of them, come directly from Remington.
While the photos are sharp and clear, there are no detail photos of any of the guns. Variations in models, especially older collectables, benefit from close up photos to illustrate what to look for when identifying a variant. No such photos exist in this book.
Is the book a total loss? No, it is not.
There are a lot of models listed in the book, and as I mentioned, photos of the guns are clear and crisp. It is nice to flip through the book. It just makes a better coffee table book than a reference book.
Value estimates are included with each of the listed firearms, but I cannot speak to the accuracy of such numbers. The copyright date on the book is 2008, so at best the value estimates are five years old. But, considering the rest of the book does not seem to be well researched, I would have my doubts about their accuracy anyway.
If you are a collector of Remington guns, you will have to decide if the Standard Catalog is worth the investment. I think it is a solid resource that a collector will want to have simply from the standpoint of it being the single largest list of Remington firearms models in book form. If you have a passing interest in Remington firearms, then the book may not hold the same value for you. It is thin on history, storytelling is non-existent, and it is probably not a book that you would want to just sit down and read.
If you decide you need it, click here to get your copy of the book from Amazon. There are a a couple of alternatives, like The Guns of Remington and The History of Remington Firearms. The Guns of Remington seems to be out of print. The History of Remington Firearms gets generally positive reviews with some complaints about a lack of detail.
If someone knows of a really good Remington firearms reference book, please let us know in the comments below.