Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 3, No. 10 August 1995
Dog Days, 1995
We did not announce the ten-day delay in
the production of this commentary, which was due partly to eye
surgery on my part and partly to the summer vacation of Joyce
Anderson, who is our production wallah. We did not think people
would notice, but we are getting a sock full of complaints asking
about the whereabouts of this paper. Well, here it is.
A number of people have pointed out that
there is some distinct merit in the red dot rifle sight. It seems
to be very quick, and if it is a touch imprecise at distance, this
may not be a serious handicap. A sportsman should not attempt shots
beyond his 90 percent capacity limit, and very few riflemen can
hold into half the diameter of the vital zone from a field position
under pressure at long range. Remember you should never brag about
how long your shot was, but rather how close it was.
In any case the red dot, as well as the laser, have yet to prove
themselves in the Keneyathlon, which is the most serious
rifle competition being conducted at this time.
"Featherheads should be seen and not heard."
First off, I wish to remind all the
faithful of the forthcoming Gunsite Reunion and Theodore
scheduled for 20, 21, 22 October at the
Whittington Shooting Center. If you have not made your reservations
yet, note that it is not too early. Address,
Brad Schuppan, c/o Whittington Center,
PO Box 700, Raton, NM 87740,
and remember that accommodations at Whittington are not
I should also announce the scheduling of
my next rifle class on 9 - 14 October, also at Whittington. To
make this reservation call,
Rich Wyatt, 3430 Wright St., Wheat Ridge,
CO 80033, 303-232-0542.
The new issue Smith & Wesson 357
(#640) seems very well conceived for the current age of concealed
carry legislation and equipment. I would rather be able to cock it,
as in teaching ladies defensive pistolcraft I find that quicker
progress is made in the thumb-cocking mode. However, since the
piece is apparently designed for use across the tabletop, this may
not be a serious matter.
It may be that we will never learn how
Jimmy Hoffa died, and the way things are going, the same may be
said of Vince Foster. Foster may indeed have killed himself, though
that seems most unlikely from available information, but we can be
quite sure that if he did he did not carry himself into the park
and lay himself out for inspection.
As to that, no one knows what sort of gunfire killed the four
BATmen at Waco. The nature of the wounds would seem to me
distinctly relevant to the inquiry.
The Waco inquiry was botched. The question
about that atrocity was not how it was conducted, but why. Janet
Reno has insisted that she bears total responsibility. That being
the case, one wonders why she is not in jail.
The new Walther 200KK 22 rifle appears to
be a gamesman's triumph. It looks less like a rifle than the Eiffel
Tower, and it costs somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000, depending
upon circumstances. My own venerable 22 cost $34, and it has always
shot every bit as well as I can shoot it. Here at the
Sconce we have recently been treated to a surfeit of
ground squirrels. They are not large and they offer fleeting
targets, but that little Remington, which I obtained at age 14,
puts them away in fine style, though I do find that a 22 long-rifle
high-speed solid will rarely exit the target.
As I have pointed out several times, mechanical potential which the
operator cannot appreciate is useless. (Of course, it may be fun to
know it is there.)
Among the other ways in which our culture
seems to be deteriorating is in monument design. I thought the
Vietnamese monument was about as bad as they could come until I saw
the Korean War monument. Both are dreary - extolling
dreariness rather than achievement. They certainly do not inspire
the viewer to emulate the achievements of the deceased. Well, we
can always go and admire the Iwo Jima monument. Now, that's more
"The NRA is the reason the Republicans control the
Bill Clinton. Quoted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer for 13
This is the finest compliment that could be paid to our
association. We hear that membership is down somewhat, and this is
attributed to the rather striking dues increase leveled last year.
Money talks, of course, but to opt out of the only organized
defender of liberty in this country at this time because membership
costs more is rather like deserting from Valley Forge because of
the shortage of whiskey. The NRA may not be perfect - nothing
is - but still it constitutes our most powerful bastion
against tyranny. If it is not doing everything right, according to
your likes, get in there and work with it - do not back off
from it! In the reported words of Dr. Franklin,
"We must all hang together or assuredly we will all
The most disastrous piece of news of the
year was the decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court to the
effect that a robbery victim is not legally entitled to defend
"The underlying policy is that the protection of human
life has a higher place in the scheme of social values than that
value that adheres to standing up to aggression."
That is a cowardly, specious, dishonorable, un-American, disgusting
position! It is not acceptable, and it must be overturned. It is
impossible to render honor to the flag of the United States while
such a ruling stands.
Is it not curious how the classics repeat
themselves in current life according to the dictum that life
imitates art? Here in the States all summer we have been treated to
real life versions of both Othello and Medea. Somehow I think the
classical versions are better.
As a long-time admirer of the magazine
cutoff on bolt-action rifles, I was somewhat amused at the efforts
of a journeyman gun writer to deride the idea on the grounds that
the cutoff takes too long to operate. If it takes too long for you,
do not operate it! Simple, what?
This suggests saying that a trigger-cocking pistol is always going
to be faster than a thumb-cocker, because you have to do something
to the latter while you are lining up. Competition has proved
positively that you can either cock the hammer or disengage the
safety while you are in the process of lining up. Likewise you can
work the bolt while you are recovering your sight picture with a
Since detachable box magazines seem to be the coming thing in bolt
guns, there is a very simple solution to this magazine cutoff
question. This is what may be called the "Double Detent." This
allows the magazine to be inserted until it catches, but since the
magazine is not fully inserted the action will not feed, thus the
magazine is in effect cut off. To actuate the magazine the shooter
simply has to squeeze it further, catching on the second detent.
When you hear and feel two clicks, she is ready. When you hear only
one click, the magazine is in reserve. I do not know of any action
which features this now, but only a couple of years ago we did not
know about ABS braking systems either.
To Albert Einstein is attributed the
dictum, "Everything should be kept as simple as possible - but
no simpler." See how that applies to other activities! In driving,
always drive as fast as possible, but no faster. In shooting,
always shoot as quickly as possible, but no quicker. The true
expert is one who understands where the dividing lines
We hear from South Africa that while
organized insurrection is down, street crime is up - almost to
the level of the major cities of the US The proper response to
this, of course, is "Get out into the country as best you can."
That goes for both Africa and the US
A nasty trend we have detected in new
cars is the elimination or radical reduction of the glove
compartment, attributed to the presence of the passenger-side air
bag. In our opinion the glove box is essential, and its absence
might well be a good reason for looking up some other make of car
(or a secondhand vehicle without the air bags).
I do not think I mentioned the name of
the BATgirl who stomped the kitten to death in the course of
the Lamplugh raid. Her name is Donna Slusser. That is one to
remember along with Lon Horiuchi. We are treated to inquiries and
investigations, but it seems very difficult to ask a straight
question of a perpetrator. "Mr. Horiuchi, why did you shoot Vicki
Weaver in the face? Ms. Slusser, why did you stomp on that kitten?"
"Self defense" will not do.
Family member Cameron Hopkins
reports yet another failure of the 375 Magnum cartridge on buffalo
up in Tanganyika. The 375 is simply not a proper buffalo gun. To
use it on buffalo is the equivalent of using a 9mm on a human
being. It may work, but it may also fail.
"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes,
exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that
did not commit suicide."
We may note that Browning now advertises
that they put an excellent trigger in the venerable P35. The
implication, of course, is that previously it did not have a good
trigger, which bears out my own experience with this piece. A P35
with a good trigger action is about as commonplace as a Luger with
the same. If you find one, hang on to it!
Our colleague, Paul Kirchner, recently
enjoyed a potentially lethal confrontation in darkest New Haven
(which is in Connecticut). He was alone against three goblins, but
he was aware and he was ready and it was his attitude rather than
his marksmanship that won the day. There must be such a thing as
"psychic competence transference." Paul was ready and even anxious
for the scene to escalate, and this threw doubt into the minds (?)
of the three goblins. No physical contact, no blood, no gendarmes,
no handcuffs, no trouble (except that those three specimens are
still running around loose). In all a joyous good show!
Babamkulu veteran Jack Buchmiller notes
that in 1597 a royal edict banned the Scots from playing golf
because it was felt by authority that people should be practising
archery rather than smacking balls. Much to be learned
There are those who claim that the
as practiced in 1995, is more of an athletic
than a marksmanship contest, and that its ranges as now set up tend
to be unreasonably long. These points can be remedied, since the
rules are not engraved in stone. If you have suggestions as to how
to make this contest more truly practical, please address them to,
Dr. David Kahn, 6211 South Crest Brook Dr., Morrison,
Family member Cas Gadomski reports
a total failure to expand on the part of a 230-grain Black Talon
bullet from a 338 Magnum, impacting a bison at 240 yards. This is
certainly not enough to disparage the entire line of Black Talon
rifle ammunition, but it does point up the fact that expansion in
animal tissue is always problematical, and tends to diminish with
impact velocity. I intend to check out the Black Talon bullet on
elk this fall and in Africa next year. There is always more to
A stuffed and deep-fried jalapeno chili
is a new and tasty snack. We were much annoyed, however, at
noticing that in at least one market in Arizona it is referred to
as a "pepper popper." For shame! The Pepper Popper is a
humanoid steel target invented by John Pepper of Maryland, and now
in wide use throughout the world. I made no effort to copyright the
name, and anyone may call anything whatever he wishes, but I am
still very much annoyed.
In tribute to Steyr-Mannlicher, this kudo
is from family member
"And then there is the SSG, which never loses zero and
shoots into 2 inches from here to the horizon. I am sure it will be
banned before long."
For those of you who are troubled by
trespassers, we learn that if you can obtain a calf of the black
wildebeest, or gnu, and raise him as a pet, he will make a superb
fence-watcher. The adult bull is both territorial and pugnacious.
He is also fast and alert. See your local dealer.
We had an interesting minor confrontation
in Encanto Park in Phoenix a couple of weeks ago. It appears that
the Parks and Recreation Department had posted signs throughout the
park advising that firearms were prohibited in city parks and
attributing the prohibition to a city ordinance which did not
exist. Accordingly some fifty people brought their weapons with
them openly to the park on Saturday morning. (As you know, carrying
a firearm openly is not forbidden in Arizona.) As it turned out no
scuffling occurred, no voices were raised, and no one was
Here is a case where the city government took an illicit act -
knowingly - but did not attempt to enforce it. This is
sinister behavior on the part of the administration and points up
the fact that while the United States may still be a free country,
it is up to us to ensure that it is kept so.
Now Rigby announces the reintroduction of
the 10-bore elephant rifle, which fires a 900-grain bullet at
something over 1500f/s. The weapon itself is a handmade, very
expensive double and the ammunition supply is something of a
problem; however, it should be a very nice buffalo stopper and the
manufacturers claim that it kicks somewhat less than a modern 460
or 470 high-pressure rifle. Well bully for Rigby, but if I am to
tackle anything really big I will rest content with Baby, which
features 6500 foot pounds, excellent ghost-ring sights, a nifty
trigger, and six rounds at the ready. (Besides, when I built Baby
back in the beginning of my African period, it set me back a mere
I am sure you know about Schumer by now,
but just in case you have not, here he is portrayed by Linda
Bowles, who is one of our favorite columnists:
"Rep. Charles Schumer (D-NY) exposed himself as a
radical, left-wing extremist who is phobic about guns and sees a
camouflaged member of the National Rifle Association lurking behind
every bush. He is a conspiracy theorist, outspokenly paranoid, who
firmly believes that the Waco hearings were some kind of insidious
NRA plot to prevent him from confiscating all the guns in America,
except, of course, those in the hands of the
Schumer constitutes a blot on the democratic process.
I confess I do not understand the proper
place of the "light-heavy," in both rifle and pistol cartridges.
The 41 Magnum was introduced by Smith & Wesson some years ago,
but it never caught on - I suppose because it would not do
anything that a 44 Magnum would not do better. Today I feel
somewhat the same about these 400-grain 40 caliber rifle
cartridges. If you need something more than a medium - and you
do for buffaloi - you certainly should go to a heavy
(500-grains, 45 caliber, 2400f/s - at least). Half measures
are not, in my opinion, a good idea. A heavy costs no more than a
light-heavy. It weighs about the same. If it kicks a little more
you will never notice it in action, and it affords noticeably
increased cross-sectional impact area. However the 416s are all the
rage. This may not make a lot of sense, but skillful marketing does
not have to make a lot of sense. Examples proliferate.
We had a real hot spell here in
Arizona - now thankfully past. It never logged less than 110
high in Phoenix for 17 days, and once it reached 121. This is
hotter than Riyadh, Mecca, Timbuktu or even Poona. It was indeed
sultry, but it did not detract from the delight of tomatoes fresh
off the vine and corn right off the stalk, two native American
delicacies which invite us to count our blessings.
All out for Africa in March of '96! Make
your reservations now.
Colleague Glenn Jacobs, publisher of a
local newspaper in the White Mountains, puts forth as a worthy
candidate for the 1995 Waffenpösselhaft Award the Army's new
Objective Individual Combat Weapon, which is designed to make an
infantryman deadly whether or not he knows how to shoot. Its
projected cost to the Army is said to be about $1,500 per unit. One
wonders if that would be a suitable weapon for the Swiss, where
each man takes his own piece home with him every night. Of course
the Swiss have not given up entirely on marksmanship, so perhaps
the OICW is not the proper answer for them.
A spokesman said that not all soldiers will get the new
weapon - "only infantry troops most likely to find themselves
in firefights." I always thought that that is what infantry troops
are most likely to find themselves in!
I am sorry to report the death of Israel
Galili, designer of the Galil series of rifles. We were privileged
to meet and talk with him some years back and we truly admired his
work. He was a great little guy. May he rest in peace.
It is said that Voltaire, an announced
atheist, still had one favorite prayer, to wit:
"O Lord, make mine enemies ridiculous!"
Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal
use only. Not for publication.