Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 7, No. 14 December, 1999
The duck pond is now frozen over at
breakfast time, so I guess we are properly into winter. Winter is
not as much fun as Autumn (except, of course, for skiers), but it
has its own charm for most of us until it begins to get tiresome
along about the end of February. We have had an excessively dry
Fall season here in the Southwest, but we hope that rain is on its
way, as the weather casters say.
We ran some tests on the 45 titanium
Taurus, and found the little piece very enjoyable, though its exact
role in life is not entirely clear. If the hoplophobes succeed in
placing further restrictions on self-loading handguns, the
revolver, of course, is there ready for a comeback. As anyone who
has ever seen Jack Weaver or Elden Carl shoot can testify, a
revolver in competent hands is a very serious item. It is certainly
harder to use well than the self-loader, but that is a drawback to
be overcome with practice. The titanium snubby sports a 6-port
muzzle brake, and the blast from the full-house 45 ("long") Colt is
noticeable. We fired it inside a series of cardboard boxes to see
just how disturbing that upward flash might be in a tactical
situation. It blew away the cardboard boxes in impressive fashion.
I would suggest if you get one of these, do not fire it inside your
overcoat pocket in the style demonstrated in pre-war gangster
I am told by Rich Wyatt, who obtained the piece for me, that it is
the only one in existence, since the gold finish was discontinued
after being used on that one example. So, I guess we have a
veritable collector's item.
Rich Wyatt's people up in Denver mounted
one of those reflector sights on my G91. I am sure I could get used
to it, but as of now it seems curiously "unfriendly," besides being
difficult to use against a light background. It mounts too high,
and calls for considerable neck craning, but it does shoot pretty
well once you get used to it. One of its main advantages is that it
uses no batteries, and it is claimed to have a shelf life of about
15 years. How it stands up to intensive use remains to be
There remain certain problems with the 376
Steyr "Dragoon," but they are by no means insurmountable. We will
have further information in the next issue.
Remember that Jefferson told us that the
Second Amendment would not be needed until they tried to abolish
it. There are people who have that in mind right now. The personal
ownership and usage of firearms is not a common aspect of today's
culture worldwide. It is up to Americans - those who know what
it means to be an American - to uphold the light of liberty in
the face of those both here and elsewhere who would extinguish it.
We see the hysterics who feel that the abolition of firearms would
bring about major changes in the human psyche, and that crime would
disappear. We cannot reason with these people because they are
impervious to reason, but we can expose them to ridicule and
frustrate their political clout. That is a job not just for the
National Rifle Association, but for everyone. If you want to make a
resolution for the coming century, resolve to do something in
defense of liberty every day, and by liberty, of course, we mean
true liberty - the right to keep and bear arms. Without that
liberty all other liberties are meaningless.
We now have about twelve prospective
members of the International Fossa Foundation. We should get
together and foment a fossa frolic located in Madagascar along
Paulden, AZ, Dec. 10, 1999 - Owen Mills, the new
owner of Gunsite, has announced the Masters Series of classes for
the year 2000.
This series will consist of two pistol and three rifle classes,
personally instructed by Jeff cooper, founder and fountainhead of
modern smallarms technique. Colonel Bob Young (USMC, Ret.) will act
as lead rangemaster for all classes. The faculty for this series
will include such distinguished names as Louis Awerbuck, John
Gannaway, Gabe Suarez, Mike Waidelich, Ed Head, and Dave
Harris - as available - plus a full dozen more of the
Old Gunsite Breed.
Curriculum will be general, with both rifle and pistol, emphasizing
the developed and perfected arts of practical marksmanship, as
evolved and accumulated in the field over the past thirty years.
Novices are entirely welcome, but the general skill level will
probably be high. Private citizens and public employees are equally
acceptable, but good character and reasonably good physical
condition are requisite.
Classes will employ the five-and-a-half day format, and
certification will be stratified.
Old time get-togethers at the Sconce will be highlights of
the series. Janelle Cooper has agreed to bring back her famous
brownies for the occasion.
Cost for the course will be $1,165. Class size will be limited to
24 students for the pistol and 16 for the rifle courses, so it is
advisable to get your deposit in promptly.
Gunsite Academy in the year 2000 will feature newly revamped ranges
as well as a general spruce-up of the entire facility.
"I took over Gunsite Ranch with the hope and resources to take it
to a new level of excellence in the industry," said Buz. "The
Masters Series is one of the ways to do this."
For more information call Gunsite Office 928-636-4565 or e-mail
It is quite obvious by now that the United
Nations organization is in principle hostile to national
sovereignty, as well as individual liberty. It is not on our side.
We may treat it with courtesy, but we must under no circumstances
take orders from it, nor join in its various international
As a result of a question I inserted into
this paper some weeks ago, I am now completely informed on the
subject of iron and steel, in the chemical sense. What I lack,
however, is a proper historical perspective. It seems that people
knew about the difference between iron and steel before they knew
what the chemical reasons were. The change over from bronze to
steel took a while and had basic historical results. You could make
good arrowheads, spear points, axes, and daggers out of bronze, but
you cannot make a good sword until you have steel, and good steel
at that. I am told that the Hittites knew about iron, but could not
manufacture serviceable steel. It would seem that the Trojan War
was fought without steel. Note that Homer has Hector and Achilles
having it out with spears. (If any of the family think they
understand the manual of the spear, we welcome the
Probably the "800-Year War" in Iberia saw the evolution of the
sword, as we think of it today. The Roman Gladius was, I now
believe, the secondary arm of the legions, who seem to have fought
by choice with that "darning needle" pilum.
In any case, we thank the faithful profoundly for all the
information we have about the Bessemer process and carbon content.
We know what we know today, but what I find fascinating is how we
Since it is fashionable now to nominate
various things for "millennial" consideration, we suggest a listing
of the top butchers of the 20th century. These would be Pol Pot,
Mao Tse Dung, Hitler and Stalin. Right off hand, I cannot think of
any other candidates.
Back in the good old days, I dreamed up
the notion of a course in "Safari Prep" to be held here at Gunsite.
I would still like to undertake that, if there is a demand for it.
It is astonishing to hear of the number of novices who go to Africa
and make complete fools of themselves for lack of proper
preparation. The notion that your professional hunter will take
care of all things is not entirely correct. He may know his
business, but sometimes he does not, and the client can be saved a
lot of bother if he acquires a good idea of what to
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to
have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the
Benjamin Franklin, 1759
We hear that the Pentagon is considering
doing away with soldiers. In this modern age we have computers. We
can hire thousands of girls to operate the computers, and the
computers can program the weapons, and the weapons can do the
fighting. This is an interesting idea, but somehow I would rather
not see how it works.
We learn that Comrade Mandela has
announced in a speech that he hopes for a bright future in South
Africa for "liberty" and "equality." Anyone who has thought about
it realizes that liberty and equality are antithetical concepts.
You can have one, or you can have the other, but you certainly
cannot have both. As to that, either concept is a rather futile
goal. Equality is biologically impossible, and liberty is only
obtainable in homogeneous populations very thinly spread.
We recently had a telephone contact with
family member Hans Westermayer from Munich. He gave us a
full rundown on the nature of IPSC competition in Germany. It seems
what used to be a practical endeavor has turned into a gamesman's
paradise. The idea is to buy the most ornate equipment possible so
that the shooter does not matter, only the pistol. They have
decided that the 9mm x 21 cartridge is "major caliber" now, on some
inexplicable basis, and the idea is strictly
"spray-and-pray" - if you cannot shoot well, shoot a lot.
There is no place in Europe where doctrine may be put forth
authentically. There are few such places in the world, so what has
happened is that a whole generation of competitors has grown up
whose members do not really know what they are trying to do. It is
a lot of fun though, and the equipment is strange and wonderful,
coming as it does in a variety of designer colors - blues and
yellows, reds and greens, and so on. Our friend Hans decided to
enter the Bavarian championships using his old-fashioned Gunsite
equipment and technique. Not to my surprise, he placed fourth
overall out of about 400 shooters - to the confusion of the
new generation. I am very fond of Bavaria as a place to visit, but
it does not appear to be a world-class shooting locus at this
As the brave new world takes over in
South Africa, it is now an offense to call a Boer a Boer. Oddly
enough, if it applied to me, I would consider it a
We have been in contact with Andy
Tillman, who has been doing a lot of research in terminal bullet
performance in the major calibers. He concludes that for targets of
a thousand pounds weight or more, the Swift bullet is currently the
best available - and he has certainly tried them all. I have
been personally very happy with the Swift bullet over the years,
having used it on medium to large animals from hell to breakfast.
Just last year it put a zebra down very neatly using the 350 Short
Magnum cartridge. As you know, a zebra is a conspicuously tough
animal, very seldom stopped with one round. I look forward to being
able to fit out the 376 Steyr cartridge with the Swift bullet in
I suppose everybody noticed that our
glorious leader has stated in a speech that he "saw the light" and
resigned his life membership in the National Rifle Association. The
statement, of course, was ridiculous, but more important is how
easy it was to disprove. The record is there, and Bill Clinton is
certainly not the kind of man to become involved in the venerable
American tradition of marksmanship.
The fascinating thing about this is that he apparently believes
what he says, even though he knows what he said was untrue and
knows what he said can easily be proven to be untrue. This is
certainly a mental aberration of some sort, so I called my local,
friendly shrink (who happens to be my granddaughter) and asked her
what sort of term there is for a wet wire of this kind in the
control circuits. There should be a proper medical term for
believing one's own lie, because this happens once in a while,
witness O.J. Simpson. However, the best term we could come up with
was narcissism, which is a way of defining self-love. The
narcissist believes that whatever he says is true because he is
perfect and cannot be wrong, not just in matters of opinion, but in
matters of fact. If he says 2+3=17, that makes it true.
An interesting thing about this affliction is that the victim is
not even slightly embarrassed when caught in his prevarication. It
simply does not bother him.
I have long known about constitutional liars, but narcissism is
somewhat different. This man is, shall we say it, nuts, and
apparently the electorate does not mind. Such a way we have come in
And now the Feds are beginning to be
upset about the 50 caliber BMG cartridge, with good cause, I
suppose. Let us hope the bureaucrats never discover the
In an NBC debate of 2 October 1999, Larry
Pratt confronted Representative Lawler of Connecticut concerning,
of course, bureaucratic restrictions on firearms ownership. Larry
confronted the Congressman with the statement that he, the
Congressman, was flying in the face of English common law which
upholds that a party accused must be presumed innocent until proven
guilty. Lawler responded with a statement that we are not concerned
with a person who is guilty, but rather who is dangerous. In his
view, it does not matter what you have done or have not done, but
only that you scare him. This is the bare face of tyranny, and has
been around since the Bronze Age. This is what our enemy believes,
and this is what we must fight by all means available as long as we
I do not know if you find Dr. Laura
Schlessinger to be one of your favorite commentators, but we do. We
were very pleased the other day to hear her point out how safe she
felt in Israel, where everybody is armed. This exactly reflects my
position on the occasion of my visit to Israel during the Lebanese
War. In truth, an armed society is a polite society, and if you
have been in one, you know positively how secure you feel. I have
been in several places besides Israel where everybody was armed,
and I could not help but feel instantly that here was a place where
nobody was going to pull anything stupid. Citizens have been
troubled recently by an armed robber in Phoenix who has been
conspicuously successful in his depredations up till now, since
nobody has shot him. A lot of people now are indeed armed in
Phoenix, but obviously nobody has taken advantage of that as yet.
We look forward to the news tonight.
The Prime Minister of England at this
time is one Tony Blair. We saw him on the air the other night, to
our considerable disaffection. He twitters like a sparrow, with
perhaps the least forceful presentation I can recall, and there he
is presiding over the "Mother of Parliaments." (I gather that any
sparrow would have more interesting things to say.)
"The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is
nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and
truth. He is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a
bit alarmed, and intolerably lonely. Liberty is not a thing for the
great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and
disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor. It takes
a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty - and he
is usually an outlaw in democratic societies."
H.L. Mencken, February 12, 1923, Baltimore Evening Sun
Contributed by T.J. Johnson
While I cannot look forward to the world
scene with any eagerness or anticipation, I do think that the
situation here at Gunsite will be radically superior to what has
been the case for the last seven years. There should be one place
in the world where doctrine is examined, developed, and
promulgated. This could be that place, and we will do our very best
to restore it to the position it once held.
Expert weaponcraft is not for everyone, but there should be a
source where it is made available to those who need it. There are
too many "Schools " in proliferation throughout the world. There
should be one "University." The Gunsite Academy has the resources
and we hope to make it come to pass.
MERRY CHRISTMAS and A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal
use only. Not for publication.