Skip to main content Skip to main content

P.O. Ackley - The Gunsmith

P.O. Ackley - The Gunsmith
P.O. Ackley was known for his experimentation and skill as a gunsmith, but he also had a passion for teaching others at his local community college and in his monthly columns. In June 1965, he wrote about how G&A readers could become a gunsmith.

Parker Otto (P.O.) Ackley was Guns & Ammo's tell-­it-like-­it-­is gun sage whom readers trusted with their technical firearms questions. Joining the technical staff for the October 1959 issue, G&A's first monthly edition, his first feature introduced Dick Casull's .454 Magnum - the most powerful handgun cartridge at that time — in November 1959. Ackley contributed until his last "Gunsmithing" column appeared in the October 1974 issue.

He wasn't a prolific writer, but he often worked behind the scenes on a number of projects. For example, while working with Technical Editor Robert Hutton, they attempted to break the 5,000-­feet-­per-second (fps) barrier with a wildcat based on a .378 Weatherby Magnum. In jest, it was named the .22 Eargesplitten Loudenboomer.

Long before doing cartridge development and ballistics studies for G&A, Ackley was first a gunsmith. He had run his own shop since 1936 and built a nationwide reputation for making great barrels, through which he tested and was credited with producing more than 30 different wildcats or improved cartridges, many of which are still finding their way into hunting fields.

As the father of wildcatting and cartridge improvement, Ackley had an unique approach. He required the firearm for any new cartridge be able to shoot the factory round that it was originally chambered for. He didn't want shooters to be out of options if their wildcat ammunition ran out.

Ackley's legacy lives on through several published works, including the "Handbook for Shooters & Reloaders", which are considered must-reads for aspiring gunsmiths and reloaders. Ackley-­improved cartridges are still found chambered in some custom and factory rifles. He passed away at 86 years of age, on August 23, 1989.

Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Shooting 600 Yards with .300 Blackout

Shooting 600 Yards with .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout cartridge was developed to provide greater effectiveness than a 9mm at short and medium ranges when fired from a short-barreled suppressed firearm. Just because the cartridge wasn't designed to go long doesn't mean Rifles & Optics Editor Tom Beckstrand won't take it there, using a large-format pistol, no less. Armed with SIG Sauer's 9-inch-barreled MCX Virtus Pistol loaded with Black Hills' 125-grain TMK ammunition, Beckstrand attempts to ring steel at 600 yards with help from Hornady's 4DOF ballistic calculator in this segment of “Long Range Tech.”

Savage Arms Impulse Rifle with Straight-Pull Action

Savage Arms Impulse Rifle with Straight-Pull Action

Savage introduces a must-shoot straight-pull rifle, the Impulse, with three hunting configurations.

Pocket-Pistol Carry Tips and Tricks

Pocket-Pistol Carry Tips and Tricks

Pocket carry, as a method of concealed carry for a defensive firearm, can be a practical option when done right. This is especially true during the colder months when heavy outer garments can obstruct access to a traditional waistline holster. Former U.S. Navy SEAL Jeff Gonzales, president of Trident Concepts, joins G&A contributor Kimberly Heath-Chudwin to discuss guns, training and gear, including Blackhawk's TecGrip holster that can make pocket carry more successful.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Guns & Ammo stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now