Jeff Cooper's Commentaries

Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 1, No. 11          10 December 1993


`Tis the season to be jolly, so let us make every effort - despite the disgusting situations we have got ourselves into. People get the government they deserve, and we Americans voted in the current administration back in November of last year. We hope we are satisfied.

However, it does no good to complain. The place to do our complaining is at the polls. At home now and among friends, we should all strive to develop the maximum amount of good cheer in the places where it will do the most good.

"Hark the Herald Angels Sing!"

Pearl Harbor Day slipped by without much notice. I daresay a huge number of our population has never heard of Pearl Harbor and has no idea of what it is like to live in a nation of unified purpose.

Apparently the Nips are playing it smart by entreating us to give up our guns. That would indeed be a proper revenge for their defeat. They could not destroy us in battle so they are now doing their best to destroy us politically by abrogating our constitution. They cannot accomplish this by themselves, but they are getting a lot of help from our own wimp culture.

I was able to examine the proposed "IPSC Scout Rifle" displayed here at Gunsite by M. Daniel Dekaise of Belgium. It is a nice try, but it is not the answer. The obstacles standing in the way of Scout development at this time are two: the lack of a proper action and the lack of a proper sight. All experimenters must deal with what is available, and these basic components remain out-of-reach. Scout II ("Sweetheart") incorporates the Sako action and the Burris sight, both of which will do, but they are not ideal. The major block in the enterprise is the lack of a perceived market on the part of such manufacturers as have enough industrial capacity to do pioneering work. The only people who really demand a production Scout Rifle are the people who have shot the existing prototypes at enough length to discover the advantages of the perfected product. We just do not have enough people in that category, though those we have are forceful in their enthusiasm.

Certainly "Sweetheart" is a delight to use, but until I can enlighten about five thousand people (with money) about this, the prospects for a Production Scout remain dim.

Well, Semper Fi (I got mine).

Our recent comments about various battlegrounds in Southern Africa have been widely misunderstood, which is, of course, my fault in that I did not make the matter clear. Marksmanship had little or nothing to do with the outcome of the actions at Isandhlwana or Rorke's Drift, and the astounding victory of the Boers at Blood River was not a matter of marksmanship, but rather one of gun handling and fire discipline. The places where marksmanship was indeed the issue were the parallel battles of Laing's Nek and Majuba Hill. In those actions the farmers hit what they shot at, and the redcoats apparently did not. I delight in exploring these matters and I would be delighted to conduct a graduate seminar on the subject.

This matter of proper gun handling seems to be totally neglected by the world's shooters, both public and private. This is nothing new. The subject was never impressed upon me as a lad, either in ROTC or Basic School. Safety, yes - to a degree, but correct tactical manipulation I do not remember. It has been marvelous over the past twenty years to see how the inculcation of proper gun handling has enhanced the scene in the game fields. The people I have certified have brought relief to the outfitters, satisfaction to themselves, and joy to me.

On the subject of certification, I would like to make it clear that I have never certified a member of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. I understand that the new management has put up the badge of that peculiar institution in the classroom at Gunsite, but that was none of my doing.

The Federal agent who shot Vicki Weaver in the face, deliberately, while she was unarmed and holding her child is named Lon Horiuchi. Remember that name. He is still walking around loose. That man must eventually pay for his crime, here or hereafter. Lon Horiuchi.

In this age of illiteracy it is a pleasure to learn that several of the readers of Cooper's Corner in "Guns & Ammo" are meticulous about their Kipling. They accuse me (correctly) of a slight mis-quotation of that line about "shooting like a soldier" in The Ballad of East and West. I herewith apologize. Those lines have been so much a part of my memory for so long that I did not in truth look them up carefully in the text. Mea Culpa. (However, I really do feel that my very minor changes make the verse swing just a little better. That is terribly presumptuous, so I apologize again.)

And also we learn from Britain of the learned opinion that this girl who hacked off her husband's service equipment and threw it away can never be brought to justice "because the evidence will never stand up in court."

Family member Colonel Sverker Ulving of Sweden reports that he took three "deer" at long range this season, with his 308 Scout, all one-shot kills. He apologized for the ranges involved, as he properly should, but I think what we have here is a peculiar situation. I think those deer in Sweden were not roe deer, but rather reindeer up in Lapland. That country is generally flat and devoid of cover, and exorbitantly long ranges are sometimes unavoidable.

I would like to make it very clear at this time that I have not retired. The rumor mill at the new management continues to work overtime. These people need to explain to various inquirers why I am no longer teaching at Gunsite. The reason I am no longer teaching at Gunsite is that I have been directed not to by the new owner. I am forbidden to "compete" by the terms of the sale, but competing involves money and I am not accepting fees for personal appearances. I like to teach. I feel I know how. There are people who need to be taught, and I will continue to reach them. There are other schools around and the good ones are conducted by friends and disciples.

(One of the more curious rumors that has got back to me from the front office is the reason I am not permitted to teach is that I am rude to the students. Family members will take due note of the reliability of such output.)

On the subject of mendacity, I recently overheard a most illuminating anecdote concerning a visit of a Mafioso to a client. He is quoted as saying,
"The reason I do not like businessmen is that they lie. In my brotherhood we do not lie."
I think I prefer an honest bandit to a dishonorable entrepreneur.

From David Westerhout in Mugabestan we hear with sadness of the demise of Colonel Dudley Coventry, late of Rhodesian SAS. You will remember Dave Westerhout as one of the founders of IPSC and the operator of the World Shoot in Rhodesia in 1977. Dave was SAS and served directly under Colonel Coventry, whom he admired extravagantly.

Colonel Coventry was killed in his bed in his house in Harare. His head was beaten in with the butt of one of his own rifles by an intruder who broke into his house in the night. With all due respect to a great man, we must ask ourselves what he was doing with his guard down? All of us, from Harare to Hollywood, have a duty to the God who gave us life to look out for it. The war is never over, and peace is an illusion. Those of you who attended the old Orange Gunsite will remember the Shoshone refrain:
"Over here, over there, everywhere,
today, tomorrow, always:
Bad men there are.
Hate you they do.
Kill you they will.
Watch out you better!"

At our great Reunion and Memorial, we had a chance to consider the Keneyathlon of family member Dr. David Kahn. The idea of combining a marksmanship event with a cross-country run is an excellent one, and the site at Whittington Shooting Center allows a great deal of ingenuity in proposing challenges. This event, which has been held for several years now, may constitute a foot-in-the-door towards the establishment of a new era of rifle marksmanship. David deserves all of our kudos for putting the thing together.

There are certain complications in the operation, however. One is that it does not sufficiently reward portability of equipment, nor ease of use. It has been suggested that this might be countered in next year's event by requiring each contestant to carry a 35lb pack in addition to his rifle and ammunition. Personally, I would rather see something that gave an edge to handiness in the weapon itself. The standard test for the Scout rifle is for the shooter to hold it out shoulder high in one hand and keep it there for sixty seconds. If you cannot do this without hurting, the rifle is too heavy - not too heavy to be shot in the contest, but too heavy for continuous hard daily use. Of course, the stronger the man the easier it is for him to pack a heavy weight, but then that is what athletic contests are about.

Does anybody happen to know what the position of the American Civil Liberties Union is in regard to the federal ninja?

From Germany we hear a number of curious new developments. One is the "22-Russian" cartridge, which seems to be a sort of 22-PPC, though not interchangeable. I do not know what one does with a cartridge like this, but there it is.

The second new development is a Mauser version of the P35 Browning designed specifically for target shooting, with all the goodies including a long slide. Here again, I do not see what one wants with a heavyweight, 9mm. target pistol, but perhaps there is a class specially designed for such pieces.

And third, Heym is now featuring the hammerhead, quick-detachable, sling socket that we have been using on all the Scouts here for five or six years. To the best of my knowledge and belief, the Heym organization is the first major manufacturer to feature this obviously superior system.

We certainly have slid into some sort of slough, politically and intellectually, when Winchester is coaxed into removing an expanding bullet from its line of products. Expanding bullets have been available since this time last century at least. Apparently, the term "Black Talon" was unnerving to the wimps, but why in the name of common sense must we give the time of day to the wimp establishment!

It now appears that the Brits are going to take judicial action against some of their troops who apparently were found to be rude to the enemy in the Falklands. "Mustn't be beastly, Old Man."

"The wimp factor is also part of the racket (law enforcement) picture. Handcuff everybody because no officer is safe until every last taxpayer is dangling in irons from dungeon walls (at which time the officers will all slowly perish from malnutrition, but this corollary is pointedly omitted from the text.)"

Dave Hanley

The passage of the Brady foolishness was a foregone conclusion in Washington - despite its blatant unconstitutionality - as soon as we lost the election of `92, thus it comes as no surprise, What is really awful is the unblushing profession that while the bill itself will do nothing at all, it is still necessary to "make a statement," as if the legislators meant that they were going to do something. You and I will not be inconvenienced by any five day waiting period, since we already have our guns, as all proper members of the United States Militia must have. The idea that our lawmakers-can profit from doing something silly, and admitting that it is silly, makes one more than ever doubtful about the merit of the democratic process. Alcibiades pointed out that it would never work, and that was some four-hundred years before Christ. Perhaps he was right after all.

As we noted in a previous issue, this has been a good year for bambi's revenge. There have been a couple of new alligator incidents in Florida, and some more trouble with the moose in Alaska. Family member Brad Ackman also tells us that a polar bear recently broke into a cabin up on Alaska's north slope and chomped vigorously on the householder. Obviously, people who wish to become victims will have their wishes granted.

"Our ancestors, fearing the danger posed by future generations of Lobsterbacks, insisted upon the Second Amendment guaranteeing all of us the right to own the same kind of weapons that a would-be tyrant could use against the people, and although their uniforms are not red, the BATF and the FBI agents who attacked David Koresh and Randy Weaver have committed atrocities never dreamed of by George III's Hessian mercenaries. The Hessians did not murder women and children."

Alice Fleming, in Chronicles magazine

"Distrust and caution are the parents of security."

Benjamin Franklin, via Joel Ebert

It was amusing, in a grim sort of way, to watch the hoplophobes accelerate the business of their feared foes, the gun dealers. The message delivered by the Brady Bunch was evidently, "Citizens, arm yourselves, the Clintons are coming!"

I am sometimes asked why we have not given more thought to the concept of a self-loading Scout rifle. The fact is that up `til now no self-loading action has been produced which is light, simple, and compact enough to meet the weight requirements of the piece. A second point is that semi-automatic fire is of little concern to a man acting alone unless he is in danger of being overwhelmed by a hoard of iron-age types armed with edged weapons. I would never be opposed to the concept of a self-loading Scout, however, if I thought I could get it without drawbacks.

Given the present climate of public opinion worldwide, it may be as well not to jiggle the scales. Perhaps we had best let the crazies on the other side scream and yell about "semiautomatic" weapons and not tell them about a bolt-action Scout. What they don't know won't hurt them - in this case at least.

The ANC in Africa has now announced that if the Conservative Afrikaaners do not behave themselves, the communists will have no alternative but to "roll in the tanks." In ease these people have not discovered it, this is no way to win friends and influence people. They are well on the way to orchestrating a military alliance between the Afrikaaners and the Zulus, who, incidentally, are boycotting the present transitional parliamentary structure.

You will be pleased to learn that we have achieved tentative approval for the Second Annual Gunsite Reunion and Theodore Roosevelt Memorial at Whittington Center on 21, 22, 23 October, 1994.

We were delighted to read in a sci-fi piece by A. E. Van Vogt that in one of his futuristic societies personal firearms were available for purchase freely to all citizens except police and soldiers. Now there is an interesting approach for the new mayor of Los Angeles.

"All of us who are concerned for peace, reason and justice must be keenly aware how small influence reason and honest goodwill exert upon events in the political field."

Albert Einstein, via Rod Henry

Now is the time for all good men to stock up on ammunition and deck the halls with boughs of holly. Merry Christmas To All and To All a Good Sight!

Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal use only. Not for publication.