Jeff Cooper's Commentaries

Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 2, No. 12          27 September 1994

Summer's End, 1994

If we can put aside for a moment the disgusting state of the nation and modern social developments in general, we may dwell with pleasure upon the approach of Autumn - the finest season of the year. This summer just past shorted us on the corn season, which was both late and brief, and while our fresh garden tomatoes are delicious, they have not been with us for long, and we cannot expect them much longer. However, the turning of the temperature is a delight, and here at Gunsite it is now a wonderful time to step outside. restricted though we are by present legal circumstances.

The next few months promise to be extremely busy, and we hope for many good things - especially, of course, the November Revolution. It is up to us to throw the rascals out, and we must work on this with all the energy we can spare.

Though we have never been attracted to the 9mm Parabellum cartridge, we are much impressed at the new CP1 pistol from Littleton in South Africa. This is a true pocket pistol, 7 inches long, 5 inches high and weighing just over 24oz. It has a delayed blow-back action, carries a 12-round magazine, and is of a particularly sleek modern design. I will have to use it more before I draw any firm conclusions, but right now it appears to be a great step forward.

Family member and full-time California cop Gabriel Suarez, who is gradually working up to his Ace Rating in police actions, contributes the following:
"Gun control is a band-aid, feeling good approach to the nation's crime problem. It is easier for politicians to ban something than it is to condemn a murderer to death or a robber to life in prison. In essence, 'gun control' is the coward's way out."

"Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice."

Thomas Paine

I hope it is not necessary for me to remind the faithful once again of the forthcoming Gunsite Reunion and Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, to be held at the NRA Whittington Center in New Mexico on 21, 22, 23 October. We are now promised that Paul Kirchner will contribute a new original verse, that Finn Aagaard will give us "The Ballad of Bo Da Thone" by Kipling, and that Marti Tueller may be prevailed upon to give us once again "The Female of the Species." (I am thinking of "The Ballad of East and West," but there is so much excellent stuff around that I may not even get a chance to get the floor.) When you call for your reservation, remember to identify yourself as part of the Gunsite Group.

We tested a batch of the new Winchester "Black Talon" rifle ammunition in caliber 30-06 (our test sample was pretty small, at $1.50 a shot). Its accuracy (two different shooters using two different guns) was acceptable, but not outstanding. The black finish on the bullet leaves a startlingly clean bore at first glance, but shows a good deal of residue upon soaking. Bullet performance in target is impossible to determine without extensive field testing, but even if it is particularly good, I do not see how it can justify its price. You can build superbly accurate ammunition, with proven bullet performance, for half the tariff.

We were asked by family member Dr. Lloyd Pond if the new 3-volume set of Deneys Reitz (pronounced to rhyme with "nice rates") would be suitable inspiration for a 12-year-old. We had to respond that this is entirely a matter of which 12-year-old. Some people at that age are quite mature, but others go around in long baggy shorts with their shirt tails out and their hats on backwards. Incidentally, the books are now in stock at:
Wolfe Publishing Co. 6471 Air Park Dr., Prescott, AZ 86301, 602-445-7810.

We note that in the proposed oath for the United Nations Supernational Armed Forces, the oath-taker is required to refer to himself as a "fighting person." This term is unacceptable, along with "person hole," "post person," and "hunts person." The emasculation of man appears to be the aim of "political rectitude" and no one with any intellectual self-respect will have anything to do with it.

Did you note that the Brady Bill was declared unconstitutional in May in Montana, and in June in Texas - both by US district courts? (We may now add Arizona and Vermont.) Did you further note how the media did not notice this?

I am amused at some of the criticism of the Scout Rifle concept appearing in the gun magazines, especially since true Scout Rifles are so rare as to be very difficult to obtain for testing. You really have to use a Scout in the field to appreciate it, but we probably should not encourage this sort of thing until such time as a true production Scout may be offered for sale. As of now what I read seems to be criticism for its own sake, which is not at all necessary since nobody has to buy one.

New motto for the Billary Administration.
"I can lick any kid in the block, as long as he is under six years old."

From what I have been able to observe at IPSC matches, the rooney guns are conspicuously slow off the mark, though they pick up speed after the shooting gets under way. This, of course, is a failure of concept in which the courses of fire reward a great number of shots instead of speed to the first hit. Limiting shooters to one shot per whistle would seem unrealistic, but one well-placed hit should be enough, if it lands first. Obviously course design remains the primary challenge of the international organization, and it is unlikely to be improved by people who do not understand the purpose of the exercise. Accordingly, the President of IPSC has appointed a committee to meet at Las Vegas in connection with the Safari Club convention to see if we cannot get a satisfactory agreement on the direction practical rifle competition should take. There are serious differences of opinion about this, and as always the gamesmen have a strong say. The best example of a practical rifle contest now in effect, in my opinion, is the Keneyathlon of David Kahn, held annually at the Whittington Center in New Mexico. We plan to run a sort of capsule preview of this event again at the reunion, but I doubt if any international delegates will be present to get the message. As in all things political, we tighten our belts, keep our powder dry, and hope for the best.

A recent fracas on the freeway near Holbrook, Arizona, brings one to wonder about the whole evolutionary process. It seems that a motorhome was observed by the police driving erratically on the highway. When the cops came up along side, the female passenger was seen to produce a pistol and shoot at the driver, mostly missing him. Whereupon the vehicle veered off the road and crashed. The cops collared both parties and hauled them off for medical attention and interrogation. As you might suppose, both narcotics and alcohol were involved.

The "greens" continue on their loopy course with increased velocity. As usual they object to any sort of outdoor sport which may give anybody any pleasure, but they have zeroed in on the "catch-and-release" program on the belief that to catch a fish and then turn him loose disturbs him psychologically. (Honest to God!) These people have now gone so far as to harass and attack fishing contests in both England and on the continent of Europe. Clearly the welfare state has succeeded beyond wildest expectations, now that people simply have nothing productive to do.

"I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed."

Jonathan Swift, via Eric Ching

I recently ran into an Israeli citizen at our local post office, and in conversation he revealed that, while his sister had an intense desire to visit the United States, he strongly advised her against it. He pointed out that the street scene in America is simply too hazardous for an innocent female brought up in the civilized Near East.

Randy Garrett, the custom ammunition maker of Chehalis, Washington, has really been hard at work on the 45-70 cartridge, as well as upon the various super hot loads for the heavy pistols. He is now featuring a 415 grain hard cast lead bullet for this cartridge that shows greater penetration than almost anything you can name, including the 375. When you remember that dangerous game is shot at short range, it begins to appear that we have been overlooking the best brown-bear cartridge for over a hundred years. If you have not obtained your Marlin 45-70 yet (or your new Winchester Replica 86 from Browning) you better get on that before the BATF discovers that the 45-70 is a "destructive device."

Have you noticed that in all these miserable murders the victim is almost invariably unarmed? It would seem yet again that you cannot be victimized unless you choose to be a victim.

On the sideboard in our living room at Gunsite rests a presentation version of the mighty M1, deemed by George Patton, among others, to be the finest individual fighting tool ever created. It is fully operational, and now according to the precepts of the Clinton Crime Bill, it is outlawed because its magazine contains more than five rounds and (horror of horrors) it mounts a bayonet lug under the muzzle! Any politician who voted for that ridiculous bill voted to trash the M1. That is not only idiocy, but sacrilege, and any man who acted to support that foolishness should be removed from office and sent to a re-education camp.

Clearly Americans come in various species today, and there do not seem to be any grounds for intellectual agreement among them.
"Give me some men who are stout-hearted men who will fight for the rights they adore."

"Start me with ten who are stout-hearted men and I'll soon give you ten thousand more."
That is Victor Herbert in "Naughty Marrieta." Pretty subversive, hey?

When I used to teach American history, my standard texts, in addition to the Constitution and the Declaration, were the Federalist Papers of Madison, Hamilton and Jay, and "Democracy in America" by Alexis de Tocqueville. This Frenchman, who had close acquaintance with the horrors of the French Revolution, studied the American form of government at great length and wrote possibly the best analysis of it seen so far. As an outsider, and in no sense a politician, he could be objective, but that is not easy in such matters. He is well worth reading in entirety, but note here the following paragraph:
"It must not be forgotten that it is especially dangerous to enslave me in the minor details of life. I should be inclined to think freedom less necessary in great things than in little ones, if it were possible to secure one without possessing the other. Subjection in minor affairs breaks out everyday and is felt by the whole community indiscriminately. It does not drive men to resistance, but it crosses them at every turn until they are led to surrender the exercise of their own will and soon become incapable of exercising the great and only privilege which remains to them. The rights of private persons among democratic nations are commonly of small importance. The consequences are that they are often sacrificed without regret and almost always violated without remorse."
The subjection to which the American citizen is now exposed every day of his life is so great that the whole idea of liberty ("That which does not injure one's neighbor") is almost totally lost. The greatest of despots, Louis XIV, never told his subjects what they could or could not eat and drink, and he never told them how to conduct their private lives. He drafted no armies, and his guardsmen did not go about brandishing handcuffs.

(This handcuffery has got completely out of control. Only recently a female attorney in Florida was forcefully shackled by bailiffs because she wore shorts into a court room. Let us not argue that this is "policy." If it is, that policy must be changed.)

Better an ounce of wisdom than a pound of knowledge.

The Guru

I have located a Balvar Fixed Four telescope with no internal adjustments, together with the discontinued B&L mounting system for which it was designed. I am not going to let it get away, but if you have a sincere need of such equipment and full understanding thereof, let me know.

Note that the distinguished General Denis Earp, Regional Director for IPSC South Africa, is a one-rifle man. His one rifle is a 458, and he uses it for everything from guinea fowl to rhinoceros. Remember the old adage, "Beware of the man with one gun. He probably can use it."

I am sure you all have noticed the way the media kept on talking about how inferior the Haitian defense force must be, and insisting in every single announcement that the rifles issued to the Haitians are decrepit leftovers from World War II. It is certainly true that the Haitians do not have much of an army, but when it comes to individual armament they have better rifles than we do. Ask anyone who has used both of them.

We are informed by Mike Ballew from the Whittington Shooting Center that there is still room for people to reserve accommodations for the Second Annual Gunsite Reunion and Theodore Roosevelt Memorial on 21, 22, 23 October. Barry Miller, our man in South Africa, plans to attend and can thus bring everybody up to the situation there straight from the horse's mouth. There will be rifle, pistol and shotgun events, but remember, nothing is obligatory. We would like you to recite, but we certainly do not insist. This is for fun and we would all like to enjoy the occasion free from pressure.

We have two new bear incidents to report in the last couple weeks, one from Alaska and one from Montana. In view of this, we would like to reiterate the five Gunsite Bear Rules for anyone who may not know them.

New bumper sticker from Curt Rich in Texas:
"The reason I am smiling is because I haven't any idea of what's going on."

Up in Colorado recently we acquired a pungent suggestion from a family member who must remain nameless because he is a federal agent. It goes thus: Relatively few people have any idea of what their rights are when it comes to discussing official matters with officials. You are not required to say anything when questioned by a government official in the line of duty. This is particularly true of federal agents. The local law enforcement establishment is frequently composed of good citizens, but the feds are another matter. They are not on your side and most of the time they are acting unconstitutionally - without accountability to anyone. These feds who have been shooting up citizens and trashing up private property have no fear of being held responsible for their transgressions. Note that none of the ninja involved at Waco or Idaho have been charged, fired, or even reprimanded!

It remains the case, however, that law enforcement establishment can get nowhere without the cooperation of the citizens, and this is true whether the agents are federal or local. If the citizenry just clams up, the system breaks down. I never thought I would live to see the day when I would take a position such as this, but the increasing arrogance and impertinence of Big Brother has made life entirely different from what it was in the recent past. George Orwell wrote his terrifying prediction about the future of society and called it "1984." It had not come true in 1984, but in 1994 it is almost upon us.

I was recently shown the new shotgun sight from MMC, formerly of Deming, New Mexico, but now located in Fort Worth. This one seems to do the job. It is optically sound, reliably adjustable and very strong. (Don't leave home without it!)

Family member Dan Dennehy informs us when Clinton heard that there were one hundred thousand cattle guards in Colorado he ordered half of them fired because he has been annoyed by the attitude of the ranchers in that state toward his policies. Before the order could be implemented, however, Pat Schroeder stepped in and insisted that those to be fired be given six months retraining - at the public expense, naturally.

The Countess and I were somewhat flabbergasted to receive our new Arizona Concealed Carry Permits. Considering the procedures involved and the caseload, I had not expected any action before 1995. So now we are legal, though in fact the limitations of the license are such as to render it difficult to obey. Specifically, whether or not one has a license, he cannot wear his piece into a restaurant where wine may be had with dinner, or any other place where the proprietor puts up a negative sign (this includes the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.)

I guess the situation is better than before, but its effect upon our previous lifestyle here in Arizona will be almost nil. The speed of administration, however, remains remarkable.

In DC this coming week I hope to examine the Vince Foster situation in more depth than the media will allow. Whatever happened to this man, the official version of his death is absolutely untenable.

Why do Estonians keep irrigating their flower gardens with oil?
To keep their guns from rusting.
This from the American Rifleman.

Regarding Haiti, today's headline in the Arizona Republic reads as follows:
"Emboldened civilians raid, ransack and loot."
Egad, Sir, these civilians have always been a problem, and when they become emboldened, what hope to save the crown? Governments essentially fear people they cannot intimidate, and when "civilians" become "emboldened" the government shakes in its boots. May it always be so!

At the conclusion of a pistol session we conducted up in Denver recently, the victor in the shootoff was using a Smith and Wesson "double-cruncher" (this is an oxymoronic double-action-only pistol) - a very difficult piece to use well. This proves again the axiom that it is the man rather than the weapon which wins the day. As we often said, a first rate man with a third rate weapon is decisively better than if conditions are reversed.

I was recently asked by Rick Jameson of Shooting Times, what was my favorite shooting sport, what was my favorite cartridge, and what was my favorite load? He wanted one-shot answers, which were, of course, impossible to produce. The grandest shooting sports I can call to mind are the hunting of the great mountain sheep, and the hunting of the black African buffalo. They are not at all alike, and it is impossible to place one ahead of the other. The question may be settled for me, of course, since at my age there is no question of climbing the crags after the great rams, but I can still hunt the buffalo, since he lives essentially in flat country. That does not mean, however, that I favor the bull over the ram.

(I have never been on a deep south back country quail hunt, and I am assured by various people of discrimination that this is the finest of all shooting sports. Since I have never been there, I have no opinion.)

As to my favorite cartridge, this is like asking about a favorite wine, a favorite painting, a favorite song, or a favorite dish. Under torture I would have to say the 30-06, but that would leave all pistol cartridges out, and I would not choose the 06 for buffalo if I had any choice. Also the 308 must get in there somewhere as a more compact, slightly junior version of the "30 US" As to favorite load, this spreads matters still more thinly. I can recommend many good loads for both rifles and pistols, but I certainly cannot pick out a favorite.

I hope Rick can expand his questionnaire into a larger sphere of operations, as these one-shot answers simply do not cover the subject.

It will come as no surprise to any of you who follow the current scene that the silliness indicators, as of this date, are up a whopping 40 points, and we still have three months to go in 1994.

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