Jeff Cooper's Commentaries

Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 2, No. 11          1 September 1993

National Condition Orange, 1994

These are indeed the times that try men's souls! A majority of both houses of Congress has levied upon the citizens of the United States a ridiculous piece of legislation for the sole reason of appeasing an electorate which is deemed to be incapable of sound political judgment. The Clinton "Crime Bill" is not aimed at crime - the matter a majority of citizens hold to be of utmost importance - it does not even pretend to be aimed at crime. It is a grotesque piece of catastrophically expensive social legislation attempting to persuade the unthinking that Congress has "done something" about crime. Crime is a moral matter and cannot be fought by throwing money at it. The essential element of democracy is public virtue. If that is not present, democracy fails, as indeed it seems to have done.

Every member of Congress who voted for the Clinton "Crime Bill" has cause to be bitterly ashamed of his hypocrisy. It is up to the electorate to throw the rascals out, and we have the chance coming up in November. Let us make it an event to be known historically as The November Revolution, and take the power out of the hands of those who despise us by replacing them with candidates who are aware of the reality of public sentiment in this country. Arizona's Congressman Bob Stump was told by the "Washington Establishment" that if he dared to vote against the "Crime Bill," his constituents would reject him in November. He voted against it, and upon his return to his state, his office received just six phone calls condemning him for this and about 700 congratulating him upon it. Behold the mainstream!

"The principal function of computers is to make life impossible without them."

J. Dalrymple

George Mason, one of our distinguished Founding Fathers, put it very clearly when he said that the militia is constituted of all the people, except for a few public servants. Since the current weapon of personal choice for the armed forces of the United States is the M16, is it not the duty of all the people to own, operate and understand this piece? It would seem so. If this particular weapon is termed by various people as an "assault rifle" it is now forbidden to "all the people." This poses a critical philosophical confrontation in American public life at this time.

Our enemies are whooping like hyenas over what they claim to be the corpse of the American shooting public, as represented by the National Rifle Association. As might be expected from such people, they have whooped too soon. The NRA is embattled, as it has been since I first joined back in my adolescence. We win some and we lose some, but we never give up the fight to secure the blessings of liberty upon ourselves and our posterity - as it is put in the Preamble to the Constitution.

In Arizona the new concealed carry law is now in effect, providing for the issuance of permits to those citizens who are considered qualified. While there are various things wrong with this law, in my opinion, it is certainly a step forward except for those who feel that any sort of firearms license is an illegal infringement upon personal liberty. A curious characteristic of the law is the requirement of the exposure of the applicant to 16 hours of qualified instruction. (Why 16? Nobody seems to have asked that question. It is quite evident that mere exposure to a training program has no bearing upon subsequent competence. We know of people who have sat through many years of instruction in college English and who cannot write a coherent sentence.) The issue, of course, is that there are not enough people to conduct proper instruction, and the state has had to improvise all sorts of ways of judging an instructor as "qualified." The upshot is that the qualification program is no more than window dressing, but that is not a serious matter. The object is that every man be armed, as Jefferson put it, and this is a step in that direction. By the time all these permits are issued, violent criminals will have no way of knowing whether their prospective victims are armed or not, and this may indeed have some effect in the deterrence of violent crime.

In the Middle Ages it was customary to rule that only the good guys could be armed and the bad guys could not. This did not work, for obvious reasons, but today we have reached a stage where, in general, the good guys are unarmed, while only the criminals are armed. This situation is equally intolerable. So now the answer may be to insure that everybody is armed, since it may be assumed that there are a great deal many more good guys than bad guys, the criminals will be heavily outnumbered, and that just may be the answer we are looking for. We thus proceed toward a "polite society."

It has been reported to us that stainless steel, now so popular in the manufacture of personal arms, will not pick up a magnet. It seems to us that this depends upon how much of the stainless is ferrous and how much is not. The only stainless piece we have in our possession is the Smith & Wesson M60, and it does pick up a magnet. You might check this matter out for yourself.

According to the Consolidated Crime Report of the FBI for the year of 1992 (the most recent complete compilation) only one-fourth of the murders committed in this country were committed with firearms of any type, and less than 1 percent were committed with rifles, yet Clinton's triumph specifies the "assault rifle" as the root of all evil. Of course Bill has allies. Here is Senator Metzenbaum of Ohio in the Constitution Subcommittee of February 10, 1989,
"No, we are not looking at how to control criminals, we are talking about banning the AK47 and semi-automatic guns!"
They cannot make it much clearer than that. Crime is not the issue at all. Your personal weapon is.

It should be noted by those seeking to acquire a proper street rifle that the Marlin offerings afford a better base for the installation of a ghost-ring than the Winchesters. A good ghost-ring rear sight for this job is that found on the M1 US Carbine. For those who prefer Winchesters, I see that Marble has now re-introduced its Number Two tang sight, which is a very good step. This new Marble sight has no provision for deflection adjustment. However, adjustment may be achieved either by lateral displacement of the front sight or by shimming the base of the tang sight.

I am informed by Mark Harris of Wolfe Publications that the three-volume boxed set of the works of Deneys Reitz is being packaged and on the way. I say again that people in search of a role model, and especially parents in search of a role model for their sons, can do no better than to explore the distinguished career of this distinguished man as an example of how life should be lived.

We note that the new Winchester "Supreme" ammunition, previously known as "Black Talon" (and still so labeled on the box), is fitted with a very complex projectile intended for controlled expansion on heavy game. This manifests admirable concern for terminal ballistic performance, which has not always been characteristic of the manufacturers of commercial ammunition. How it works in the field is not yet clear, and at first glance it could seem to be rather reluctant to expand at all, since its forward aperture is very small, and the entire front end of the bullet is made of a bronze alloy. So we must give it a chance in the field, and hope to get good reports from this year's hunting season, especially from elk and moose hunters. We note that the projectile is very deeply seated in the case, and that consequently there will be a certain amount of jump into the forcing cone at takeoff. What effect this has on the ammunition's performance remains to be seen. We will keep you posted.

"Young people, in my limited view, should not spend their time acting furtive. They are not good at it, and it ruins their posture."

Wolfgang S. Hammersmith

Note that there is no gender separation in shooting. The popular tendency to have "ladies' classes" in competition is unsound. I am strongly against placing the female of the species in harm's way, but that certainly does not mean that if she picks up a firearm she is under any handicap in competition with the male of the species. It is widely held in training circles that women have a slight advantage over men in learning marksmanship, since they demonstrate a somewhat better attitude about taking instruction. Physical strength is not significant. Osa Johnson backed up her husband with a double 470, and she was a tiny little woman. There is no reason for recoil or blast to affect matters. My middle daughter, Parry, told me when she was seventeen and shooting very well indeed, that she did not flinch because whether she flinched or not she would still get bumped on the shoulder, and she would prefer to get a bump on the shoulder and a hit than to get a bump on the shoulder and a miss. (Parry, of course, was the girl who told me at one time, "Daddy, if I can see it, I can hit it," which should be the motto of every rifleman. I am simply not going to use the term "rifle person." As Churchill, master of the English language, once said, "Man" embraces "Woman," which is exactly as it should be.)

As a Director of the National Rifle Association I am honored to discover that the President of the United States considers our organization to be a wrench in the gears of progress. I can but wish that he would make that matter official by presenting the Board of Directors at the next meeting with a plaque to that effect. Personally I stand ready to receive the Medal of Freedom whenever he chooses to send it.

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship."

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: Professor Alexander Tyler,
200 years ago while we were still a British Colony,
via Cas Gadomski

Hurry and phone in your reservations for the Second Annual Gunsite Reunion and Theodore Roosevelt Memorial at Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico (telephone: 505-445-3615).We are hoping to fill two buildings, and that will take sixty applicants. There is a trap shooting event being held at the same time (22, 23 October) and those people want space too. Be sure to identify yourself as a Gunsite family member.

Continually I hear reporters speak of persons or units as being "outgunned." I have said it before and I will say it again: You are outgunned only if you miss!

The federal ninja seem to be building up their strength, and the black unmarked helicopters sneaked by Gunsite just today! Aircraft controllers tell us that these people regard themselves as above the law, and do not need clearance or authorization for any of their activities. This matter has to be explored, and I suggest that you actuate your legislators as soon as possible. We hear from a man who is in a position to know that one of the best uses for laser sights is the attack to the ground from a helicopter with a fully automatic rifle. Now who needs to know how to do this?

The oath of office reads,
"To support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic."
The Branch Davidians at Waco may have been kooks, but they cannot be defined as enemies of the US Constitution, foreign or domestic - nor can Randy Weaver and his wife and child. On the other hand, federal agencies which act illegally and without justification to employ overwhelming lethal force against US citizens must indeed come up for consideration. As we all know, no action has been taken against the assault troops at Waco, though their surviving victims have been sent to prison. Janet Reno volunteered to accept all responsibility, but note that nothing has been done about that. As noted,
"These are the times that try men's souls."

I suppose there is a reason for these 40 caliber pistols. When promoting the Bren Ten, the purpose was increased power and effective range, but I have since discovered that excess power seems difficult to control for many people, and excess range is irrelevant to the pistol situation. Besides, the hot ten cartridge is no longer with us. We have the 45, which is generally a better round, so I see no need for the 40, except as a sales item.

I am interested to learn from a correspondent now on some sort of duty in Mugabestan that current rules in that country forbid the use of any cartridge smaller than 375 on kudu. I have no idea who came up with this ruling, but it does not seem sound to me. The kudu, while large, is not a "hard" animal. The 308 or 30-06 or 7x57 or 270 will all put the largest kudu down in his tracks, if the shot is well-placed. If the shot is not well-placed the 375 will do no better. Besides which, there are some sportsmen who are intimidated by the recoil and blast of a 375, and consequently are less likely to place their shot well than if they are using a 30-caliber. I am certainly not against the use of increased power in big game hunting, but long experience convinces me that proper placement combined with proper bullet design are decisively more important than cartridge power.

You don't need higher velocity. You don't need a bigger gun. What you need is full mastery of field marksmanship.

I note when looking at the gun magazines that my forthcoming work "The Art of the Rifle" is sorely overdue. I certainly do not presume to know all about rifle shooting, but I know a good deal, and since there is almost no place today where one can learn how to use a rifle properly a textbook is sorely needed, so I am getting on it. Henceforth two-days-a-week, except when I am traveling, will be devoted to this work.

A cougar was recently sighted at Gunsite, and we have issued a cougar alert to all joggers. A number of people do not seem to realize that it is in the nature of a predatory carnivore to pursue anything that runs. The fact that it is running away suggests that it may be good to eat. Some of the joggers we have seen on city streets do not look too appetizing, but they still should be aware of the problem.

And on the subject of sightings, son-in-law Bruce Heath recently ran onto a party of nine white goats (Oreamnos americanus) up on Torrey and Gray's Peak, some 70 miles west of Denver. We learn upon inquiry that these goats are resettled, but that does not detract from their attractiveness. A great deal of the four-footed game in Africa is resettled, and all of the four-footed game in New Zealand, as well as the elk of Arizona, and the whitetails of Montana. Bruce's current project is the surmounting of all of the 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado. If he keeps this up he may meet a good many more of those people.

Sales records suggest that the SKS seems to be obtaining the status of "weapon of choice" amongst the oppressed lower classes, who are strapped for cash. I would like to suggest that the newly available Enfield Mark 4, in 303 British, is a much better choice. Both of these pieces seem to be available for less than $200, but the Enfield is a real gun, where the SKS is a sort of hybrid. Of course the Enfield is a bolt-action weapon, where the SKS is semi-automatic. Some people feel that a self-loader is just better in all respects. They are wrong, but they are entitled to their opinion.

You will note that Sara Brady now lists herself as "Chair" on publications coming from Handgun Control. Does that not suggest that she ought to be sat upon more often?

We note with some interest that a recent rape attempt in New York was foiled by a couple of youngsters who were playing "splatball." When the perpetrator knocked a girl jogger down it was noted by the participants, who proceeded to clobber him with yellow paint. This confused him sufficiently so that he abandoned his purpose. When apprehended by the police later, the perpetrator claimed that he knocked the girl down in order to find out if he knew her. The judge claimed that this was a viable reason and dismissed the prisoner with a slap on the wrist. Obviously the newly passed "Crime Bill" will take care of such matters for us.

"Anyone who claims that popular struggles are doomed to defeat by modern military technology must find it literally incredible that France and the United States suffered defeat in Vietnam; that the Shah no longer rules Iran; Somosa in Nicaragua; that Portugal was expelled from Angola and Mozambique; England from Palestine and Ireland; and France from Algeria."

Allan Goetlieb

I recently called to your attention the excellent book, "Racism, Guilt and Self-Deceit" by Gedahlia Braun. This work is so politically incorrect that the author has not yet found a publisher for it, so he has printed it up himself. When we showed it to a distinguished family member recently, he exclaimed, "Why this is what everybody already knows, but everybody is afraid to say!" It is available in binder form for $20.00 from,
Jim Moriarity, 4030 Birchwood Drive, Boca Raton, FL 33478.

"Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women. When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it."

Justice Learned Hand

Many years ago the esteemed Colonel Townsend Whelen declaimed that,
"Only accurate rifles are interesting"
and gave birth to the accuracy mystique which yet today bemuses a great many shooters, whether or not they can shoot well. I am frequently addressed by correspondents who ask me whether such-and-such a rifle, or such-and-such a pistol, is "accurate." My standard answer is,
"It is certainly more accurate than you can appreciate."
The rifle will invariably do its job, if you do yours.

Those of you who read Tolkien will recognize the current American scenario. The Nazgul are abroad - the ringwraiths - the Black Riders. It is time to prepare.

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