Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 1, No. 9 October 1993
TR Week '93
The month of October has fully lived up to
its billing, at least in the Southwest. The turning leaves have
never been more beautiful and family members have reported
back conspicuous success in the field. In that connection, some
discussion has arisen about the use of the 270 on elk. We have
kicked this around at some length with John Gannaway, brother Jay
Marks, and family member Steve Lunceford, and we conclude
that if you cannot flatten your elk with a 270, you probably cannot
flatten him with a 375 either. Bullet selection has much to do with
this. The more or less standard 130 bullet for the 270 is probably
a bit light for animals in the 500 to 1000 pound class, but the
150, if properly constructed, should give no pause. Both Steve, and
the late, great Jack O'Connor, have shot up the place in good style
in Africa, and our good friend and host, Ian McFarlane of Okavango,
maintains that he fed his family for over twenty years with this
cartridge. Personally, I consider the 270 to be the ideal deer,
sheep, and antelope cartridge. I would not select it as first
choice for Africa, but I certainly would not complain if that is
what I had.
Does anybody know why the current breed of
half-educated journalists insist upon referring to a "9 millimeter,
semi-automatic handgun" when the word they are groping for is
It is interesting to hear certain kinds of
people insist that the citizen cannot fight the government. This
would have been news to the men of Lexington and Concord, as well
as the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan. The citizen most certainly can
fight the government, and usually wins when he tries. Organized
national armies are useful primarily for fighting against other
organized national armies. When they try to fight against the
people, they find themselves at a very serious disadvantage. If you
will just look around at the state of the world today, you will see
that the guerillero has the upper hand. Irregulars usually defeat
regulars, providing they have the will. Such fighting is horrible
to contemplate, but will continue to dominate brute
I learned from a recent re-reading of
Dante's Inferno that he reserved the seventh circle of hell
for those who betrayed their benefactors. How appropriate, just at
This "family values" concept seems to be
burgeoning amongst the counterculture. Just recently in Phoenix a
professional burglar went about his business accompanied by his
wife and children. (Was he perhaps thinking of the statement, "The
family that preys together, stays together"?) In any case, when he
was shot dead by one of his victims in broad daylight, his wife,
who was driving the getaway car, and his children, who were
interested observers, were much upset. One observer opined in the
newspaper that you should not shoot people for stealing stuff. It
gives one to wonder. Obviously, the constituted minions of the law
are doing little about people who steal stuff. Perhaps it is indeed
time for "the militia" to take over. Remember that according to the
Founding Fathers the militia is constituted of all the people,
except for a few public servants.
The interview with Gordon Liddy, back in
DC, was most pleasurable. He is a man of the same stamp as Sir
Thomas More and Solzhenytsin, among others. The motto of such
people is, "Do your worst, I do not coerce!" The human race is
honored by such.
"One man with courage makes a majority"
Following is a sentence passed by Judge W.
Wyatt McKay of Trumbull County, Ohio, via Mike Royko:
"When you slithered out of your hole that day, and you
spewed your venom all over this defenseless 12-year-old girl, you
made this court's top 10 hit list. In a way, the best sentence this
court could give would be no sentence at all, because if you left
this courtroom I don't think you would be alive 10 minutes. You are
nothing but a weed, a weed among wheat... And when we have a weed,
it's my job to eradicate the weed, because if you don't you will
choke the wheat. Therefore, I'm going to take you off the streets
for just as long as I possibly can. It means you aren't even
eligible for parole until you're 92. That leaves only one more
count, aggravated robbery... You stole this little girl's bra as a
souvenir, probably to brag about it to your friends later on. Well,
I'm going to give you a souvenir of Trumbull County justice. And
that is, you will receive a maximum sentence of 10 to 25 on the
aggravated robbery for the stealing of that bra. And I hope that if
you last 25 years in prison that you remember that souvenir."
"Get this scum out of here!"
From looking at the photographs in current
periodicals, I gather that they have not heard about Rule
3 at Camp Perry.
In view of the significant importance of
the second shot to the humane hunter, I cannot but wonder why we do
not see more double rifles in use by the muzzle-loading people. The
reason probably is availability and cost, but money matters do not
seem to trouble the "rooney-gunners" in international
Those of you who still may have not
gotten the picture about what has taken place here at Gunsite since
April of this year can get a good view of things by reading the
chapter titled, "The Scouring of the Shire" in The Return of the
King, which is the last volume of the Tolkien Trilogy. In
effect, Saruman has taken over the shire, but let all note what
became of Saruman.
It is interesting to note the whimpering
tone of journalists and commentators when they speak of battle
casualties. Any man who puts on the uniform and takes the oath
certainly must be aware that his violent death in action is a
distinct possibility. The soldier asks for no sympathy, but what he
does need is a legitimate military objective handed to him by his
commander-in-chief. No fighting man has ever resented the deadly
perils of his profession as long as he was truthfully told the
merits of his cause. As the Romans put it, "Dulce et decorum pro
patrim mori est." But you really have to understand what is meant
by "pro patria."
We learn with great interest from J.P.
Denis in Belgium that the PPC people have come up with a new design
for a sight for the Scout Rifle. As you know, a big problem in
creating a modern Scout is partly the absence of a suitable action,
but more importantly the absence of a proper sighting system and a
mounting system for that sight. Family member and IPSC
founder, Roger Swaelens, of Brussels, is due over here next month
with samples. It is furiously to hope that we have something
"The Senate judiciary committee in 1982 recommended
they get rid of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Here's
the problem. There are 4,600 BATF agents. And they would go,
according to their bureaucracy, to one of two other agencies if
they were to dissolve the BATF. And that is to the Secret Service
or to US Customs. Customs and Secret Service said, no, they
wouldn't accept the (BATF) agents. They called them,
"So these (BATF) people are civil service employees and you just
can't fire them. They couldn't turn them into mailmen. And so very
frankly we came to a Catch-22 situation because since we don't have
an Al Capone running illegal liquor - the BATF was brought on
board for that purpose - there's no major problem anymore with
tobacco or with firearms, then the BATF now this year -
1993 - has a $400 million budget. And, to stay in business,
the BATF tries the best they can to get as many cases as possible
to justify continuing."
"So if Clinton wants to cut the budget, let's start with the BATF.
And let's find some way to get around this civil service problem of
what to do with these 4,600 officers."
"You know we've got for example 6,500 FBI agents who were dedicated
as counter-intelligence. They used to follow Russians around. Well,
now that Yeltsin is our friend and Gorbachev is the man of the
decade, literally these 6,500 FBI agents are out of a job."
"Now they have reassigned 1,500 FBI agents to track gangs. Well,
this means you've got Effrem Zimbalist, Jr. basically looking after
people that are spray painting the sides of schools. But that still
leaves 5,000 FBI and at least 4,600 BATF who are looking for
something to do."
To "blackball" a person has traditionally
meant to veto his admission into a private club by casting a black
ball into the box. In this curious age of "political correctness"
one wonders whether the term "to blackball" should be considered
racist, sexist, illegal, immoral, or fattening.
The Babamkulu lists are now closed, and
we have on the rolls two aspirants who have not yet qualified with
the rifle. If everybody shows up who has signed up, we will be
faced with some interesting administrative problems. However,
problems are meant to be solved, and I do not feel intimidated by
these. We have a great program set up, and a lot of good people
working on it, and I expect that a glorious time will be had by
An international conference on practical
rifle competition is tentatively scheduled for spring of next year.
This offers the promise of setting up a series of guidelines and
parameters which may prevent practical rifle from going the way of
practical ("impractical") pistol. We will see what we can do about
that and keep you informed.
Back in the Dark Ages, the United
States Federal Bureau of Investigation occupied a place of glory in
the eyes of the young. The FBI under John Edgar Hoover was an
organization to be held up as a goal for young men of sufficient
"patriotism, valor, fidelity, and abilities."
Now then, see what has happened! In addition to its various other
transgressions, such as the Randy Weaver disaster in Idaho, the FBI
has now come out for the disarmament of the American people, and
has issued an official press release totally exonerating the Bureau
for any sort of transgression in the Waco atrocity. I do not
suppose there is anyone who has not seen the Linda Thompson tape of
the action of the Federal ninja at Waco. The attempt to clear the
Feds of any sort of misdemeanor in that episode completely destroys
the credibility of the Bureau. Lo how the mighty are
The following situation report on South
Africa was just faxed to us by Barry Miller:
"The political situation here is much as anticipated.
The ANC is improving its stance on a daily basis in terms of
"The PAC are currently a political joke. They have large support
from the youth and radical element but are disorganized. At this
stage, they are not a force to be reckoned with. This may change
"There is an element of the ANC that is scary. This is the
communist/liberal faction that pop up their heads every now and
then with pathetic suggestions and policy statements. It appears
that a lot of this is used as vote catching material."
"We are still on stream for a coalition government for the next
four or five years. This means change will be very
Anyone who knows anything about
marksmanship knows that it is something one does not boast about.
You may remember that Billy Dickson always attributed his long shot
on the Indian to pure luck, and this was always called mere modesty
on his part. Other examples will occur to you. However, if you
would like a conspicuous case study of how it was done, consider
the famous "Tinian shot" delivered during the occupation of Saipan
and Tinian during the Pacific War.
When we had taken Saipan, it was planned to move across the
intervening straight and land on the north end of Tinian Island,
utilizing as much supporting artillery as we could muster, in
addition to aerial bombardment and naval gunfire. To bring this off
we moved all of the guns available on Saipan to the southern tip of
the island and set them into position to fire across the straight
on targets selected as appropriate. The smallest guns were placed
as far forward as possible. In the case of the 75 millimeter
pack-howitzers, this was right on the beach. Now the 75 millimeter
pack-howitzer in not much of a cannon. Its principal virtue is that
it is light and compact and can be moved around in difficult
terrain with minimum effort. It fires a 3-inch shell at high angle
to a fairly modest range - say, 2,500 yards. When all was
ready, the signal was given to commence registering across the
straight, starting with the little guns first. One battery of 75
pack-howitzers fired one round, which arched over the separating
water and came down almost vertically.
It so happened that I was present at this time, riding offshore
some 3,000 yards to the east of the straight. I was looking right
at the point of impact. The result was unbelievable. The first
thing I saw was a white, hemispherical flash, perhaps 500 yards in
diameter. Out of this boiled a huge black column of smoke thrusting
skyward into the traditional mushroom cloud. There was no sound,
but we could see the shock wave moving out towards us across the
water in a curved pattern. In a moment that shock wave struck the
escorting destroyers and heeled them radically over in the water.
The curve raced on towards us and we turned away and covered our
ears. What hit us then is indescribable in words, but it was a
sensation one is unlikely to forget.
What evidently happened was that first ranging shot from the
75-millimeter battery had found its way down some sort of
ventilating shaft into the main ammunition depot on the north end
of the island, and everything went up together.
I never heard what reports were circulated around amongst the
artillerymen on Saipan, but one can guess at a number of
- You want me to do that again?
- Now you guys with the big guns can have your turn.
- That was Number One gun. Now I am going to try with Number
- Why didn't I think of that last week?
- Everybody break for chow.
And so on. That was the "Tinian shot." Anytime you feel like
bragging about something, keep that one in mind.
The following update on "Miranda" is
submitted by family member
"You have the right to remain helpless. Should you
choose to waive this right, anything you do may be used against you
in a court of law. You have the right to an assailant. If you
cannot find one for yourself, the court will release one for
Hard as it may be to believe, there are
still people around who do not know about the "ghost-ring" sight.
This sighting system was described in the early decades of the
twentieth century by both Townsend Whelen and Karamojo Bell. It is
so far superior to any form of open sight, for either snap shooting
or precision work, that there is simply nothing to discuss. Yet,
the manufacturers of the world have not heard about this, and they
keep putting sighting systems on their rifles as issued over the
counter that are little better than useless. As far as I know,
there is no rifle in the world which comes from the factory to the
shooter with a ghost-ring sight installed. Back in the `20s and
`30s, before the public gave up on iron sights completely and went
to the telescope, there were some good sights on commercial rifles.
The last that I know of was the retractable aperture on the ZKK
actions from Brno in Czechoslovakia. Those have not been available
now for at least fifteen years.
It is certainly true that the telescope sight in its various forms
is a superior system for most field rifle shooting, but telescopes
break and a truly serviceable rifle should be equipped with a set
of iron sights which will do the job in the event of glass
breakage. This, of course, points to the ghost-ring, but as of now
you will have to make it up yourself.
Sad to say, no one seems to be able to build a satisfactory butt
magazine. I have been using same in both light and medium rifles
for some ten years with great satisfaction. The butt mag is one of
those things that you do not appreciate until you have had a chance
to use it, but unfortunately it calls for custom design.
Family member Brent Clifton offers one as an accessory which
he designed slant-wise to accommodate long cartridges. (Both of
mine, built here at Gunsite by John Mahan, are limited to short
cartridges.) However, the first models of the "slant-cuff" gave
problems. Brent will have a revised 30-06 version for examination
at Whittington on TR Day.
Family member Dr. Werner
Weissenhofer reports from Vienna. It seems that a felon armed with
a 357 revolver robbed a bank. As he left the bank, he was accosted
by a policeman whom he murdered with one shot. Great excitement
ensued, with the felon taking hostages and racing madly around from
one store to another. When the forces of law and order had been
mobilized and surrounded the goblin, a policeman volunteered to
trade himself to the goblin for two hostages. This offer was
accepted, at which time the felon fired at the policeman and
seriously wounded him. The forces of law and order opened up with
everything they had, which was mostly AUG and Glock fire. Shortly,
the goblin killed himself with one round. He had fired three times
and achieved three hits. The police, according to their official
report, fired 1,261 rounds without drawing blood.
At one time, we used to refer to an event of this sort as a
"Chinese Fire Drill." Later we came to call if "Father's Day in
Harlem." After the interment of the Ayatollah Khomeini, we began to
call it "An Iranian Funeral." Now, I guess we can call it "A
Viennese Bank Robbery."
As I have often stated, if someone wants to shoot at me, I sure
hope he does it on full-auto.
Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal
use only. Not for publication.