Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 7, No. 5 April, 1999
I suppose I should begin this issue by
wringing my hands over the disaster at Littleton, Colorado.
Certainly that was a dreadful episode, but I can see no relevant
connection between the murderous rampage of a couple of
psychopathic adolescents and the activities of the National Rifle
Association. If anyone on campus had had the presence of mind and
the ability, he might have stopped that atrocity before it got
started: at the very least, he could have limited it to one or two
casualties. But as we know, no weapons are allowed on campus, so
the place is ostentatiously defenseless. I once saw a door-poster
which announced, "There are no guns in this house. Feel free." Thus
it is with schools. We do not announce these things, but the creeps
know that a school is easy pickens. That is probably an important
factor in the recent epidemic of school shootings.
We note with some alarm that a certain
number of lots of Lake City 1962 7.62 Match ammunition are showing
signs of primer decay. If you have a good supply of that material,
I suggest you shoot it up now on the range, but do not count on it
for serious work.
Herewith our nomination for the headline
of the year, which appeared recently in the Arizona
"CLINTON CITES MORAL IMPERATIVE."
We continue to wonder about the appearance
of the Steyr Scout in the hands of the KLA. It is said that a lot
of KLA support is coming from Muslim drug trading in Albania, but
even if this is so, I would think that it would be more
business-like to buy six or seven Kalashnikovs in place of one SS.
Of course, the SS is probably a better weapon for mountain
guerrillas than the Kalashnikov, but one wonders who was in a
position to make that decision.
The second shot is a great help, perhaps
even a necessity, in pistolcraft, but I wonder how much we need it
in a hunting arm. On dangerous game I guess it can be useful, but
rapid fire is a military exercise. If you are attempting to repel
hoards of screaming Zulus, an M1 or an M14 might be very
comforting. But we have not needed to do much of that since
flintlock time. (And flintlocks did the job beautifully at Blood
The second shot is certainly available more quickly with a
self-loader, and also with a straight-pull like the Blaser 93, but
in my experience, for what it is worth, there is always time to
work the bolt on a turn-bolt rifle in the time it takes to recover
from recoil. My partners reported that when I had occasion to take
a second shot on a buffalo I thought I had killed up in the
Tamafuta country, the two shots from Baby sounded like they came
from a self-loader.
I have seen Gerhardt Blenk (the "High Blenk of Blaser") reload his
break-top single-shot so quickly that greater action speed would
seem superfluous. The lever-gun is a tad quicker than a bolt, too,
but the question that raises itself is how much of a speed
increment is significant. In Formula I pit stops, speed is
absolutely critical, but in a hunting rifle the speed of that
second shot is almost never significant.
A correspondent recently informed us that
an ideal target for pistol plinkers is the stale cookie. There are
plenty of them, they positively reward hits, and they feed the
beasties. In all these years of plinking I somehow never thought of
On the recent anniversary of the epic
battle of Midway, the television people gave the memorial a certain
amount of attention. These people seem to be more occupied with
tragedy than with heroism, evidently not realizing that the two
usually go hand-in-hand. The legendary attack of Torpedo Squadron 8
against the Japanese carrier force sacrificed the entire squadron,
but it was not futile. When the Nip combat air patrol came down
from aloft to destroy the torpedo planes, Wade McClusky's dive
bombers acquired a free hand and hit the carrier force while the
latter was recovering and rearming aircraft. In a space of about
five minutes the Japanese lost the war in the Pacific - or the
US Navy won it, depending on your viewpoint. When we memorialize
Midway, we should honor Torpedo 8 as more gallant perhaps than the
Light Brigade at Balaclava, and certainly more effective than the
300 Spartans at Thermopylae. In the words of George Patton, "We
should not be sad that such men died. We should be glad that such
I was recently interviewed on a Wisconsin
radio talk show regarding the uproar caused by the shooting of
domestic dogs by police. This came from my Commentary about the
unwisdom of a policeman's using his firearm on a dog. No matter how
justified his act may be in a legal sense, it always gives him and
his department a very bad press. A properly qualified policeman
should be able to take on any one dog without recourse to gunfire.
If a dog is wearing a collar when he attacks, he is good as dead,
and even if he is not wearing a collar, almost any sort of blunt or
edged instrument will serve to stop him - in the hands of a
qualified police officer.
"He ricochets from one scandal to another, endlessly
self-absorbed and generally despised."
(No, no! We mean George IV, about whom this line was written quite
some time ago.)
I note with some puzzlement that the 376
Steyr cartridge is now announced for sale, even though I do not
know any place where there are samples of it. Also the "Dragoon"
rifle, which is a scout configuration in the larger cartridge, is
listed in the brochure for about two hundred dollars more -
why I cannot say. The two weapons are structurally identical, and
while there may be a few ounces more steel in the Dragoon than in
the Scout, I cannot see that makes up to two hundred dollars
difference. Marketing is an extremely esoteric activity.
"For the man who has everything" we now
suggest a titanium gold-coated Desert Eagle from IMI. Clearly there
is a lot of money out there somewhere.
On the subject of money, we note that the whimpers we hear about
the price of the Scout do not seem to discourage multiple
purchases. We now have several correspondents who proudly operate
"his-and-hers" Scouts, apparently for married couples who do not
About the only place we know of where a
large magazine capacity is useful to a hunter is in Australia,
where the pigs are a dreadful nuisance and legitimately taken in
large numbers. We recently read a magazine account of a hunt which
gathered up no less than 43 pigs in one day.
If you don't understand weapons you don't
understand fighting. If you don't understand fighting you don't
understand war. If you don't understand war you don't understand
history. And if you don't understand history you might as well live
with your head in a sack.
We recently read of a sportsman who
dismissed the 375 Holland cartridge because the first time he tried
it the telescope delivered a painful case of Kaibab eye. He did not
like the cartridge because the telescope was mounted too far aft.
Almost the first thing we used to do to a customer's rifle back in
Orange Gunsite days was to slide that telescope forward as far as
it would go. With a scoutscope, of course, this problem is avoided
entirely. I find it hard to believe the amount of technical
misinformation floating around among shooters. Even without
instruction, a little thought would help this problem. But thinking
is a difficult thing to encourage in a society occupied with
And now we learn of a customer who is
attempting to sue the fabricator of his kukri on the grounds that
he cut himself on it. Poor baby! I suggest we pay him off with a
packet of band aids and a can of chicken soup.
Colleague Ed Head, who works the border
patrol down between California and Mexico, comments on how
convenient his SS is for border patrol work, especially including
the leopard-light attachment. There is not much need for that
leopard-light in hunting, but for night searching in hazardous
areas it has great merit. We were going to demonstrate that at the
NRA meeting at Denver, but under the circumstances you will now
have to find one of your own.
We learn that the Smithsonian Institution
has now rejected the donation of a prized argali trophy by a
renowned American hunter on the grounds that some varieties of
argali are considered to be endangered, by some people. The
Smithsonian wildlife exhibition stands in dire need of improvement,
and under these circumstances we can understand why.
Do not go to Africa until you are ready!
We have a correspondent who is now heading for the Golden Joys and
who has never hunted so much as a squirrel. Even if he does
everything right, he still will not have worked himself up to the
proper frame of mind for the Great Experience. If you are
contemplating Africa, I strongly suggest you check out Texas first.
Go down there and get some experience on "exotics" so that when the
time comes you will not be overcome with the blind staggers, as so
many novices are.
The marines are reported to observe
modern small-arm technique, but according to the cover of the June
1999 issue of Soldier of Fortune, the army has not got the
word. Nobody ever taught that soldier about Rule III.
Just now back from Whittington, we can
report that the place is pretty thick with game. The residential
area was aslosh with mule deer. We were told that the hills are
full of elk, and the management has acquired no less than seven
cougars between Christmas and Easter.
It is customary for republican
governments to be bound by constitutions, and this is grand idea.
The question does arise, however, about what recourse the citizen
has when the government disregards its own constitution, as is the
case with our own Tenth Amendment. What do you do if your
government does not obey its own laws? Our Declaration declaims
that when governments do not observe the God-given rights of man,
it is not only the right but the duty of the people to alter or
abolish them. The Declaration of Independence may not be the
supreme law of the land - which is the Constitution - but
it frames our philosophy of government and serves as a guide for
those who respect our traditions. More people should.
Sheriff Gary Enders from Bighorn County, Wyoming,
comments: "Actually we consider attempted carjacking as an
attempted suicide here, since so many drivers are packing
The New American
You have read about this bird up in New
England somewhere who is terribly afraid of rattlesnakes and has
fenced off his property. Now the authorities have required him to
remove his fence on the grounds that it may cause psychological
distress to the rattlesnakes. The silliness index continues to rise
like the tide.
On October 1, 2 and 3, Dave Wheeler is
putting on his hunting rifle competition at San Jon, New Mexico. If
you are a free on that date, you might check it out. (Contact Dave
Wheeler at Blue Steel Ranch, 505-576-9629.)
As Cousin Bongo continues to wander
around the vast Pacific, he runs across more evidence of the
general aspect of the war in the Pacific. For example, recently on
the Gilbert Islands, the remains were discovered of 22
whites - probably British - who were simply shot
out-of-hand when the Nips took the place. There was no fighting,
this was just murder, but that is the way that war was. The "post
modern" generation does not seem to understand that.
From what we read, our European friends
are dismayed at Captain Ashby's acquittal, but not at Clinton's.
(Ashby, you may recall, was the A-6 pilot who cut down the cable
The following case study was given to us
by a senior rangemaster of wide experience and complete theoretical
background. It is delightful to contemplate a circumstance in which
the right man was there at the right time. We do not read of such
situations often because they are simply not newsworthy. There is
nothing to wring our hands about.
The episode perfectly exemplifies the Principles of Personal
Defense, as set forth in our professional publications.
"On Halloween eve, two years ago, I was walking my dog
on the street where I live. At the time, there were only five
families on this street. At the west end of the street was the rear
of a condo, with a driveway going through to the avenue.
"At about 8pm, while near this driveway, I heard a vehicle
accelerating west onto my treet. It was a Japanese compact,
lowered, and though a cold night, the windows were lowered. ORANGE.
As the vehicle approached me, I observed that the four occupants,
all male blacks (there is nothing pejorative here, just a statement
of fact), were all wearing ski masks. The occupant in the right
rear seat (facing me) had his mask raised above his eyes. He looked
at me and stated, "Him, him, right here." RED. At the same time he
reached down nto the vehicle for something with his right hand, and
the vehicle stopped, approximately ten feet from me. I sidestepped
to put a parked car between us, and drew my GSP. I placed the front
sight just above the nose of this bozo, and removed the slack from
the trigger. He responded by stopping the movement of his hand,
something that surely saved his life, ducking, and screaming
"gogogogo." The driver did exactly that, moving rapidly up the
driveway, and entering the avenue without stopping. He hit the
opposite curb, blowing the two front tires. The vehicle drove off,
the occupants relatively intact.
"My experience as a police officer in Anti Crime units, where we
were tasked with interrupting violent crimes in progress, and as an
Investigator in Central Robbery Division, where we did stakeouts,
led me to believe that at least one of the occupants had a gun. I
also believed that their purpose was robbery. I saw no weapon, and
therefore did not shoot.
"The media would have had a field day with this if I had fired.
After all, this was Halloween, and were not these poor children
merely in costume as trick or treaters? Was I a racist? After all,
I was white and they were black. Did I overreact by 'taking the law
into my own hands?'
"I believe I acted correctly. I was alert, decisive, aggressive,
acted with speed and surprise. Perhaps more importantly, I acted
with coolness. If they decided to continue, there is no doubt that
I would have been precise.
"This would not have been my first gunfight. I was certainly
alarmed, but not frightened. I felt in control, and confident in my
ability to defeat the threat.
"After the incident, I considered calling 911, but did not. What
could I offer? A license plate number? I saw only the front sight,
THIS BIG. A description of the occupants? Eyes, very wide. What had
they actually done? Probably more importantly, at least to me, was
what they had not done. Perhaps they did nothing else criminal that
night, or perhaps they did. I will never know. But I'm sure that
before they decide to approach another old, broken-down, potential
victim, they may remember what the muzzle of my 45 looked like as
it was pointed at their heads."
The French have now commissioned their
brand new aircraft carrier. Its flight deck is some 15 feet too
short, and its cruising speed is some 5 knots below specification,
but it has the most comfortable crew quarters in the world. (The
wine list, I understand, is outstanding.)
I do not suppose any of the faithful
missed the news, but a Texas district court has just now ruled that
the Second Amendment protects an individual right, not a collective
right. Hooray for the judge! This matter has always seemed
perfectly clear, but there are those who will keep on arguing about
it, apparently forever.
The African National Congress (ANC) has
become increasingly annoyed with parliamentary opposition and is
now moving for a one-party state. Figures! This is definitely Third
A correspondent writes to tell us that he
has been down in Antarctica recently and has discovered there is no
need for personal weapons at that place. We answered that there is
no need for personal weapons on the moon either. Other places,
"Even before the 'trial,' 34 Senate Democrats declared
that they would not find Clinton guilty. In doing so, they firmly
(and proudly) joined the moral ranks of the O.J. Simpson jury."
from Chronicles magazine, May 1999
Daughter Lindy has just acquired a Baby
Glock in caliber 40 in anticipation of the forthcoming hot season
in Phoenix. I am not impressed with it, but it may indeed serve the
purpose of being armed. As we all know, the first rule of a
gunfight is "have a gun." The Baby Glock is indeed handy, and it is
indeed a gun.
"In general, tradition is a better guide
to conduct than improvisation."
In the dismal aftermath of the Littleton
bloodshed the irrelevance factor in public outcry expands beyond
our comprehension. "Something must be done!" is the wail of the
media. Yes indeed, but like what? We have plenty of laws. The
murderous trolls at Columbine High School broke a whole catalog of
laws, starting with the one against murder. Nonetheless, the wimps
demand still more legislation - without even suggesting what
such legislation might accomplish. ("We know it won't do anything,
but it will make us feel better. We don't think. We feel.")
Juvenile depravity is the new thing. We didn't have it (in any
quantity) in our youth. Depravity comes from the undisciplined
home. It does not come from a proper home - one with two
responsible parents, family meals, moral leadership, and very
limited television. I can't say that I know how to reestablish
this, but I do know that a mass of new rules attacking instruments
rather than acts is not the answer.
Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal
use only. Not for publication.