Parker Otto AckleyAckleyBBL-small

Or as he preferred, P.O. (pee-oh).   Often folks mispronounce the last name too, its pronounced with a short A sound.

P.O. was born in New York State, he began working on guns in his youth.  That interest turned into a way to make a living in 1936 when he sold the family farm and bought out an old gunsmith in Roseburg, Oregon.  From that time until 1989 he made his living in the gun industry.

Today Ackley is know for his Improved Cartridges.  Most well know of all is probably the 280 Ackley Improved, because Nosler decided to take it to SAAMI and make it a “factory” cartridge.  In his life time P.O. was better know for his barrels and rebore work.  He was highly instrumental in the creation of the Gunsmithing School in Trinidad, Colorado.  It was his writing that made him “America’s Gunsmith”, he wrote for several magazines and produced five books, although most shooters only know about the last two.

On this site we will share pictures and documents that have come to light since the book, “P.O. Ackley, America’s Gunsmith” went to press.  Also we will publish some documents that simply would not fit in any book.

P.O. Ackley and Russel Hightower.
P.O. Ackley and Russel Hightower.











The Book…

From the Foreword of the Book

“It is a difficult task to write a book that is equal parts technical manual and biography, yet Fred Zeglin has done just that. Within the covers of this book you’ll find the history of P.O. Ackley, and a glimpse into the man’s life, as well as a comprehensive understanding of the cartridges that he left behind. And, as a wonderful bonus to those of us who still tinker with copper, lead and brass, there is a wealth of handloading recipes for the Ackley cartridges, using modern powders and projectiles, to allow today’s shooter to connect with the wildcatter of yesteryear.” Phillip Massaro

This hardcover, 256-page study of P.O. Ackley’s work is illustrated with never-before-seen photos from personal archives of Ackley’s friends, family, and associates. From the dusty, oil rag-covered machine shops of Ackley’s early years, to stunning modern-day firearms chambered in Ackley’s timeless wildcats.  A full-color center section brings the story to life.

Click here to buy this book.

More Wildacats

Hawk Reloading Manual

Hawk Cartridges were designed by the Author of P.O. Ackley, America’s Gunsmith.  The 240 through 3200 Hawk are all variations on the 280 Ackley Improved concept.  The 338 through 411 Hawk are true wildcats with the shoulder moved forward.  Lots of pressure tested data here, not the usual fly by the seat of your pants found with many wildcats.

Click here to buy this book.

DVD How to Design & Fabricate Custom Cartridges

Taming Wildcats (DVD)

Taming Wildcats: How To Design & Fabricate Custom Cartridges.  Is one of AGI’s courses, taught by custom gunsmith Fred Zeglin, renowned cartridge designer and builder of the well-known Hawk series of cartridges, will get the viewer on the road to a thorough understanding of Wildcats and Wildcatting.  Great material for any gunsmith or do-it yourself-er who want to make the tools themselves.

Buy this DVD here.


DVD Reloading A to Z

Reloading From A to Z (DVD)

Video course teaches reloading for beginner to intermediate level and includes a second course on reloading for long range accuracy for free.

Click here to order.

Gunsmithing Student Handbook Series badge

Handbooks for Gunsmithing Students

A series of books that will teach very specific subjects in gunsmithing so that professionals and hobbyists alike can benefit from complete and succinct information and methodology.


Click here to order.

Reloader’s Handbook of Wildcat Cartridge Design, Second Edition

The Textbook for cartridge experimenters and wildcatters.  If you are an Ackley fan, you will love this book.

Wildcat Cartridges BookClick here to order.