Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 3, No. 6 25 April 1995
Our session up at Whittington with the
rifle was completely satisfactory, thanks to the skillful
administration of family member Rich Wyatt and the marvelous
assistance of Riflemasters John Gannaway and Larry Larsen. The
ranges at Whittington do not include everything I am used to, but
they are quite adequate and we have a couple of additional features
planned for the next session, which is tentatively scheduled for
the third week in August of this year.
A mild problem was caused by the radical divergence in background
of the students, many of whom had been certified by me at Orange
Gunsite. By contrast, daughter Lindy had never held a rifle in her
hands before and had to play a fierce game of catch-up.
Mike Ballew and Brad Schuppan arranged the weather perfectly,
providing us with one perfect week in between two spring storm
sessions. Actually this caught me somewhat aslant because I had
planned a good bit of class work between squalls, and when there
were no squalls I felt we should spend our time on the range.
I awarded four classic Hawkeye badges to Kurt Miller (who won the
shoot-off with an M1a,) Tom Graziano, Steve Hendricks, and Scott
Larsen. These people are very superior marksmen, of a sort you
would rather not compete against.
We were astonished again at the profusion of game at the
Whittington Shooting Center. We were continually observed by the
numerous local mule deer, and spotted as many as 60 elk in a bunch.
Our tactical rifle exercise was run up a canyon preempted by a
flock of turkeys who were conspicuously unintimidated by rifle
fire. Evidently they liked that canyon and did not see why they
should move simply because of occasional sudden loud noises.
The clay bird shooting was again impressive, with over half the
class scoring on the first session. There are not many places where
you can indulge in this advanced activity, but when you have
convinced yourself that you really can powder a clay in the air,
you know a feeling of comfort that is hard to surpass.
Whittington is a long way from anywhere, but the trip is worth
Barry Miller informs us that the situation
has changed very little so far in South Africa. Crime is still an
issue. The economy is okay, and hunting is getting
The Scout project has "charged off madly
in all directions." I guess I should not be surprised. Nobody owns
the word "Scout," and anyone is free to call anything whatever he
wants except on American university campuses, of course.
Nonetheless, I should point out a couple of rather important
- The Scout really should make weight, and weight is 3kg (6.7lbs)
- The Scout caliber is 308. This is because the 308 ammunition is
universally available worldwide (so is 223, but let us not go into
that.) One cannot make a classic Scout out of a 30-06, simply
because the cartridge, and thus the action, is too long.
- A classic Scout must be short. Start with one meter (39 inches)
and work down from that.
There are other considerations, but the foregoing are vital. The
basic problem is that one must actually shoot a Scout rifle over a
period and under field conditions to understand it. There just are
not enough Scouts around for a large number of people to appreciate
"A golf course is the willful and deliberate misuse of
a perfectly good rifle range."
We have now had the opportunity to savor
the nilgai bull taken earlier this year on the King Ranch in Texas.
Very savory indeed! It is wild meat, however, and as might be
expected, somewhat tough. The Countess prepared it initially
without any attempt at tenderizing or seasoning so that we could
understand its properties without disguise. It does not need
seasoning, but henceforth we will use one of several forms of
tenderizing on the cutlets, but take on the tenderloin as
From my experience up Colorado way I would
advise all and sundry to avoid the new Denver airport. A better
choice is to fly into Colorado Springs and hire a car. The new
facility is certainly elaborate and luxurious, but as a means of
getting from your car into an airplane, or vice versa, it simply
does not work well.
This from Paul Kirchner, our resident
philosopher in New England:
- "I rate my mail according to the following scale:
- +5 unexpected checks
- +4 personal correspondence from interesting people
- +3 expected checks
- +2 magazines
- +1 interesting catalogs or junk mail
- -1 entreats for money from causes of which I disapprove
- -2 entreats for money from causes of which I approve (because I
either have to kick in or feel guilty)
- -3 anticipated bills
- -4 unanticipated bills
- -5 any correspondence from the IRS."
Here is a man who has his priorities sorted out.
Remember the Guru's Gold ring to be
awarded at the Keneyathlon at Whittington on 10 June! This
prize is to be awarded to that member of the five highest scoring
shooters who uses the lightest rifle.
Grandchild Amy Heath, a member of the
Gunsite family both literally and figuratively, has decided
that her 1911 is excessively bulky. So we set her up with a
Firestar. I regard the Firestar as a carrying weapon rather than a
shooter, but in due course I will get a report back about how she
(Incidentally, when I refer to a "family member," the implication
is an Orange family member. The question as to whether a
Grey Gunsite graduate can be a Gunsite family member remains
open for discussion.)
In view of this queasy multi-culturalism
with which we are continually affronted, it occurs to us that
Western Europeans gave the world to the human race and there is
nothing harder to forgive than a favor.
Note the new bumper sticker:
"D.A.R.E. to keep cops off donuts."
At the Whittington rifle class the
students were treated to the chance to fire several of John
Gannaway's big guns, including the 416 and the 460. The consensus
was that the 460 was the more satisfying weapon to shoot. In my
opinion the 416 is something on the order of the vanishing 41
Magnum revolver. If you want power you really should go all the way
and not be content with half measures.
In that regard, we note this new profusion of heavy caliber rifles
for bolt guns now available for sale as semi-production items. Both
Dakota and A-Square now offer bolt guns starting a 45 caliber
500-grain bullet at around 2,400 foot seconds exactly the
ballistics of the 460 G&A Special that I have been using with
great satisfaction for many years. In addition, A-Square offers the
470 Capstick, with slightly greater bore area and a tad more
weight. This may be the best of the bunch when you consider that
you can get five rounds into its magazine without an extension. The
450 Rigby is now also available if you wish, but none of these
bolt-action heavies features a proper ghost-ring sight system. That
point alone keeps Baby and her kin still out in front.
I have been approached to speak on the
subject of the phrasing of a proper law regarding the carrying of
sidearms. Family member
Bill O'Connor of Maryland suggests,
"Carry what you want, how you want, where you want, and
we won't bother you unless you screw up."
This is approximately the way the rules read in Vermont.
We note with some interest the
introduction of the "Vektor" pistol from South Africa. This is a
9mm self-loader of particularly slick exterior design. It is
smooth-looking and compact, and features a version of the Glock
trigger, which means that the safety is incorporated in the trigger
(which is something like stamping the combination on the safe
door.) Of course, as Glock points out, if you keep your finger
outside the trigger-guard where it belongs until you can see your
sights, this will not give you any trouble. The same can be said of
a 1911 with the safety off. At present the Vektor is still only a
9, but if it succeeds it may well be reissued in a major caliber.
We await a personal account from the RSA.
In reading the brochures for these luxury
cruises that seem to be all the rage now, we note with some
astonishment that they don't do your laundry. Presumably you are
supposed to wash your skivvies in the sink. One of the attractive
things about your African hunt is that both your daily laundry and
your booze (within reasonable limits) are on the house.
Sometime ago we reported that a
copchick trainee up in Colorado had shot a classmate neatly
through the head during classroom practice for malfunction
Now hear the sequel. It seems that this girl felt that her safety
training was inadequate and the proximate cause of the fatality.
She fell into the hands of some shyster and proceeded to sue the
city for huge amounts of money, claiming that she was now so upset
that she could not pursue her chosen career as a cop. The case
settled out of court for $70,000. Moral: If you kill somebody
through your own stupidity, and find someone upon whom you can
blame that stupidity, the taxpayers will buy you a nice new
Mercedes Benz, of the inexpensive variety of course.
We get the following news commentary a
bit dated from Orange family member
and Babamkulu veteran,
"Reuter News Highlights Bucharest, Reuter -
Romania's top Olympic marksmen blasted away at human targets in a
gunbattle at a Bucharest cemetery this week to defend the country's
pro-democracy revolution, according to the official news agency
Olympic rapid-fire and free-pistol champions 'annihilated'
pro-Ceausescu forces in the fire-fight at the Ghencea Military
Cemetery, Agerpres said, without saying when it took place.
The shooting by 1984 rapid-fire silver medalist Ion Corneliu and
1988 free-pistol champion Sorin Babli was among 'genuine acts of
heroism by the athletes of the military club Steaua,' it
Mike Ballew, the Whittington honcho,
tells us that while his cougar population regularly kills mule
deer, the victims are almost invariably bucks. Now according to the
textbook a cougar will always choose a cow elk over anything else
if he can, since a cow elk is relatively easy to catch and provides
a great deal of meat, but these cougars seem to be programmed to
kill buck deer, which are hard to catch, skimpy, and somewhat
dangerous. What have we here?
Anyone who says he knows all about the behavior of wildlife is
giving himself away.
As you have doubtless heard, there is a
bill now banging around in the House authorizing Butch Reno to
recruit, train, arm and equip a federal force of 2,500 ninja,
presumably to make war upon American citizens.
It is up to your representatives in Congress to find out why this
country needs a special force of civilian storm troopers in order
to make war upon its own people. Now that we have a bunch of new
boys in Washington, it is up to us to call upon them to answer this
Reports from both Desert Storm and
Somalia indicate that whatever else they may be doing, our current
crop of Marines is indeed observing Rule 3. Those of us who had a
hand in that may be highly gratified at that news. When confronting
Saint Peter before the Throne of Judgement and asked, "What did you
do in life that was worthwhile?", we can answer, "I kept the finger
off the trigger 'til the sights were on the target!"
Pass on in, brother!
It may be prejudicial to assume that O.J.
killed Nicole, even though everything points that way, but we do
not know who killed Vince Foster. The millionaire lawyers team will
not leave a stone unturned or a fly unswatted to confuse the issue
in the Simpson case, but nobody that is nobody seems to be asking
even the most obvious questions about the demise of Vince Foster.
Now is that not curious?
Herewith an interesting tactical ploy for
our times. Late night shopper comes out of supermarket to be
confronted by a hostile crowd of pickaninnies asking for money. The
shopper greets hostiles in friendly fashion and raises a question,
"Any of you brothers seen my speedloader?"
"Yah, something like this,"
and he brings out his Detective Special, fishes around in his
pockets and says,
"A speedloader is something you use to load this piece.
It's round and made of black rubber. I swear I dropped it around
here someplace. Anybody see it?"
We have often noticed that one can frequently disconcert a goblin
by asking him a question he is not prepared for. This would seem to
be a good one.
From what little we have seen of the
"militia" out here in the West, they might do well to clean up
their act. Some of them seem to think that scruffiness is an asset
to their position, but in this I think they are wrong. I do not
maintain that camouflage clothing is necessarily scruffy, but it
does tend to look that way. I do think that these milicianos would
look a good deal more authoritative, legal, and proper if they wore
pressed khaki or hunting greens and got rid of all that
For those who wring their hands over the
status of the poor, long-suffering Japanese, two questions should
be posed about World War II in the Pacific.
Whenever the Nips get uppity I reflect that those two questions
should be engraved in bronze in prominent places throughout the now
defunct Empire of the Rising Sun.
We now have $720 in the Waco Memorial
Fund. If you have contributed, remember that your money is
safe and that we are holding it until we have enough to institute
If you have noticed the big split between
IPSC pistol competition and the real world, it is easy to explain
by the proposition that pistol competitors must hit what they shoot
at, whereas the law enforcement establishment, in general, does
not. In general, the cops do not feel that they need to hit the
target, nor to hit it very hard if only they get off a lot of
rounds. The spray-and-pray doctrine has triumphed.
Hence the enormous success of the Glock pistol. It is new, it works
and it is cheap, thus it is the end product of one of the most
successful marketing ventures the world has ever seen.
"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more
perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take
the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."
Here we have the F. Lee Bailey syllogism,
as paraphrased from Bill Buckley:
A detective investigating a murder case has been known
within the past decade to call a spade a spade. Therefore: O.J.
Simpson could not have murdered his ex-wife.
This is called courtroom reasoning.
"The Waco Whitewash" by Jack DeVault, Major US
Air Force, Retired.
This is a careful examination of the court action taken in Texas
against the survivors of the Waco atrocity. You may remember that
the most interesting thing about this trial was that the victims
were convicted, while the perpetrators were not only set free but
rewarded. Bringing this about in a court of law is a good trick,
and it can only be achieved by the most outrageously illegal
conduct on the part of the court itself.
I am not qualified to pass on this work, but it convinces me. I
invite you to study it for yourself.
You may order the book from,
8048 Midcrown 11,
San Antonio, TX 78218
Price for the book is $20.00, including postage and handling (but
not Texas sales tax.)
Shortly now we are off to Guatemala ("we"
includes Bob and Allie Young and the Countess.) The purpose is
pistolcraft, and we will have a full report on return. Thereafter
we are off to Austria to confer with Steyr-Mannlicher, and to
Bavaria at the invitation of Blaser. We expect these ventures to be
both enjoyable and entertaining, but they do interfere with our
literary production. I have cleaned up a couple more chunks of
"The Art of the Rifle," about which I have received many
kind inquiries. The work does not go as easily as I had hoped,
simply because of the principle of "The more you know, the more you
know you don't know." I can say that I know a good deal about rifle
work, but the more deeply I study it, the more I discover that
there is more to study. I am getting there, though. In truth, if I
waited until I knew all I should know, I would be dead. (Note how
this does not seem to affect other "gun writers.")
"Life is a comedy for those who think. A tragedy for
those who feel."
Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal
use only. Not for publication.