Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 3, No. 14 November, 1995
This is the time to count our blessings,
and despite the degenerate nature of the world at large we still
have much to be thankful for. I suppose good health is the greatest
gift of God, and those who have it can always place it at the top
of the list. As the Spanish toast puts it, "Salud y dinero, y
tiempo para gozarlas." (Health and money, and time to enjoy
The weather has continued fine here at
Gunsite up to the time of writing. It has enabled us to enjoy the
countryside to the fullest. A Phoenix contingent recently showed up
for a small and friendly shoot on the Ravengard Range, where we set
up the Swiss qualification course which calls for 300 meters and
the Swiss government target, of which I have a small supply. To my
considerable satisfaction daughter Lindy fired a "Swiss possible"
with her Springfield pseudo-Scout, shooting from sitting with a set
of buffalo sticks that I whittled out personally way back in the
Dark Ages before the fall. The thing that tickled me was that
Lindy was shooting with the scoutscope against an SSG and a
Remington 700 bull-gun, both of which were fitted with target
scopes. Those misguided souls who insist that the Scout rifle is
simply a brush gun have clearly never met one in action. Now what
Lindy needs to work on is her "quick fix with the
Hunting season has provided us with a good
supply of prime venison, courtesy of family member Mark
Federn. Trying to decide between prime mule deer and prime elk is a
It is a considerable annoyance to discover
that the paperback edition of "Meditations on Hunting"
José Ortega y Gasset has now been discontinued by Simon &
Schuster. If you have not got your copy, or even if you have, you
must now hunt around for it in gun shows and used-book stores.
Ortega's classic has been praised by some as the greatest
philosophical work of the 20th century, and it arms all of us
solidly and pointedly against the bleatings of the bunny-huggers.
No proper home should be without its copy.
A piece of good news comes from
"Wilderness Adventures Press," Box 627, Gallatin
Gateway, MT 59730 (800-925-3339).
These good people have prepared a gold-plated luxury edition of the
available now at $60.00 a copy. I cannot think
of a better Christmas present for the man who has (almost)
The question arises as to the proper
condition of readiness for the house shotgun. I do not feel
entirely sure of my ground here, having only the skimpiest number
of examples to draw upon, but for my own purposes I rack a shotgun
in Condition 3, with the chamber empty and the hammer down. I put
one round of No. 6 low-base in the magazine, and then stuff three
rounds of high-base 00 buck forward in the buttcuff and three
rounds of rifled slug at the rear. I feel that if I have to get out
of bed and man that shotgun I will have time to rack the action
once as soon as I seize the piece. One round of No. 6 low-base
should suffice for any uninvited guest, and if the action threatens
to continue it is the work of a moment to select either 00 or
rifled slug as circumstances may warrant.
In nearly all short-range shotgun engagements one properly
delivered charge is sufficient, and a short double gun has much to
be said for it. The classic "lupara," with its 18-inch barrels and
exposed hammers, still keeps up with the best as a house
"If he wants to take my gun he can't have my
If any of the faithful happened to catch
McMurtry's "Streets of Laredo" on the tube you will have
noticed that this piece is distinguished primarily by absolutely
atrocious gunhandling. Clearly nobody involved in that presentation
has ever fired a shot or seen one fired. The proper and dexterous
handling of firearms seems to be fading from the screen -
along with the management of a square-rigged sailing
Assemblyman Pete Ernaut (R-Reno), speaking at a Carson
City luncheon: "What a great and unique state is Nevada! Where else
can you drive 75mph with a concealed weapon while breast-feeding
The Reno Gazette Journal, via Family member John
One of our ingenuous newsmen in the
Phoenix area has begun viewing coots with alarm. It turns out that
these birds are swarming over the ponds reserved for golfing
geezers in "The Valley of the Sun." I have some experience with
coots (which we used to call "mud hens" in my youth), and I
discover them to be excellent eating, providing they have been
living in an unpolluted water source. Down on the mud flats of
southern California they tend to taste of petroleum effluent from
the ocean-going vessels frequenting the ports, but when they are
feeding on grass along the shores of a freshwater lake they
approximate mallard in flavor.
Thus the proper thing to do with coots is to eat them. It has been
pointed out that there is some sort of legal injunction against
harassing coots, and I suppose eating them would be considered a
form of harassment. However, if the law is wrong it is up to us to
change it, or at least that is what Thomas Jefferson
If you are in the market for a rifle,
remember the basic weight test. Hold your piece by the small of the
stock, arm's length, shoulder high, muzzle up - for 60
seconds. If that exercise is painful for you, either you need a
lighter rifle or you need to get in shape.
If you read the gun press at this time
you may learn that one-minute accuracy is commonplace, or even
substandard. From this you may derive the idea that if you cannot
put all your shots in a fingernail, way out past Fort Mudge,
something is wrong. This, of course, is foolishness, as anyone who
has access to a range can prove, and it is further aggravated by
the advertisers who insist that one element of the combination is
all that is necessary for perfection. In the recent SCI for
example, one advertiser maintains the rifle action he produces is
good for a quarter-minute - in and of itself.
Now then, absolute accuracy is a combination of several
ingredients. The rifle action is certainly one, but only one. The
barrel is another, but still only one. When the barrel and the
action are properly mated, it is then necessary to fit the assembly
into a stock system, and that is a third item. If action, barrel,
and bedding are all perfect, there is yet another item missing,
which may be the most important of all, and that is ammunition. (I
am disregarding the sighting system, which is independent of the
entire combination.) Ammunition is the largest single element in
rifle accuracy. No rifle sitting in the rack can produce premium
accuracy. Unless it is fed premium ammunition the combination will
not work, and premium ammunition is not all that easy to come by.
What is offered over the counter for sale may or may not measure
I recall that when I first met the SSG in Austria, I fired a 5-shot
one-holer in their 100 meter test tube. When I took delivery the
company representative implored me by the bones of Saint Cuthbert
never to shoot that piece except with the very finest of premium
ammunition, either factory or hand-loaded. Subsequently in the
Philippines I ran across an SSG which the owner was willing to
discard, since in his words it would not stay on a copy of
Time at 50 paces. I found this astonishing and I asked him
what kind of ammunition he had been using, and he answered,
"Philippine Army GI." Well, now! We were able to dream up a box of
Hirtenberg match ammunition, and using that, the rifle printed into
a teacup at the greatest distance we could find on the plantation,
which was 270 paces.
As I have often pointed out, accuracy that you cannot appreciate is
useless, and if you, the shooter, cannot hold on a dinner plate at
the length of a football field the fact that your shooting
combination of action, barrel, stock and ammunition will shoot into
your thumbnail at that distance is of no concern.
I remember once faring forth into the Kaibab with three sportsmen
from Hollywood, all of whom were armed with the then-new 264
Winchester rifle, which I was told would do at 400 yards what a 270
could only do at 300 yards. With his new 264 one of the party
proceeded to miss a standing buck clean at about 75 yards, shooting
from offhand. He not only missed it, but he threw dirt all over
As somebody once said, it's the shooter, not the weapon, that gets
Gazing at my planning calendar for 1996 I
begin to think that we will have to cancel the month of April for
lack of space.
Have you noticed in recent advertisements
that the excellent Enfield No. 4 battle rifle is now available in
the larger stores for $70 a crack! This is a very superior utility
weapon, and you should snap it up while it lasts. If you have a
safe place to store your weapons you ought to buy at least two of
these pieces, together with a satisfactory supply of ammunition. As
it comes out of the box, the piece will do ("for government work"),
and if you want to play around with customizing it, you can turn it
into a pretty nice approximation of a Scout. Take heed!
As both joggers and cougars proliferate
they seem to have found each other. It is the basic instinct of the
predator to run after anything that runs away, and the cougar and
the jogger seem to have arrived at a happy symbiosis.
I have always found it queer to discover
that there are many shooters who are not hunters, and many hunters
who are not shooters. I know a considerable number of law
enforcement people (who ought to be shooters) who have no interest
in hunting, and up in the Pennsylvania woods I understand there are
tens of thousands of hunters who are not interested in shooting, in
any serious sense. And then, of course, there is the rich kid who
spends his riches conspicuously on "safaris," usually knowing
almost nothing about riflecraft and displaying no desire to learn.
I think people who are one but not the other lead diminished lives,
but that, of course, is a subjective view.
Whether we admit it or not, man is a carnivorous predator, as his
teeth will attest. This animal is programmed to hunt and kill his
prey for food, and the instinct to kill things is rooted way down
in his genetic program. One has only to watch little boys and see
them grow up to discover this. Hand a 6-year-old a slingshot and he
will immediately want to sock a bird with it. You may tell him he
should not, but that does not eliminate the instinct.
If we consider these increasingly popular "drive-by shootings"
endemic to the underclass, we see the instinct in full cry. Such
shootings accomplish nothing at all except to relieve instinct
pressure inherent in the species. For ages this pressure has been
properly directed by civilized men into hunting channels. As
hunting possibilities decrease with the urbanization of the world,
the undirected and morally irresponsible youth turns naturally to
killing people, for lack of a better plan. Without the family and
without the church this phenomenon is not going to disappear. The
State is not only a bad master, it is also inefficient.
As the English language continues to
decompose, we find an increasing tendency to use the word
"civilian" to mean "other than us." The law enforcement people have
long referred to private citizens as "civilians," apparently not
realizing that cops are civilians, whereas it is soldiers who are
not. Now we see this spreading to the corporate world in which
people outside the inner circle of the major corporations are
frequently referred to as "civilians." The next step, I suppose, is
for teachers to refer to parents as "civilians," and for holders of
Ph.D.s to refer to the rest of the world likewise. In correct usage
if you are not a soldier, sailor, marine, or airman, you are a
civilian, but then journalists at large may not be expected to know
The following from Jean-Pierre Maldonado
"A missionary working among Vietnamese immigrants in
the Souderton-Telford area states that there are four or five
Vietnamese-born miscreants in his region who prey exclusively upon
Southeast Asians. When asked why they don't attack Americans, it
turns out that they know that most American families are
That, of course, is why the American
"Wild West" was so much safer for the individual citizen in the
1890s than American cities are in the 1990s. A recent note in
"The New American" points out that armed robbery in the
American West ran about 7 percent of what it is in New York City
today, and that rape was unknown. Such homicides as took place
occurred largely between drunks in bars. Of course everybody was
armed, and as we all know, an armed society is a polite
Another anecdote we unearth from McBride
has to do with hard hats. When the first steel helmets were issued
to the Canadian troops in World War I, they were most
unpopular, and men endeavored to get by without wearing them when
they could - why I cannot say. McBride, himself a sergeant at
the time, was chewed out by his captain for wandering around with
his helmet slung over his shoulder. Properly chastised, Sergeant
McBride left the presence properly helmeted. Within minutes of his
dressing-down a large piece of steel from an air burst banged him
so hard on top of his head that he was knocked to his knees.
Presumably he got the point.
In my military days I always fancied the helmet. Not only does it
save lives, but it makes a warrior look like a warrior - as
George Patton was fond of pointing out.
From Hawaii the following fascinating
"G had been ordered to attend an 'anger management'
class for beating on his concubine. He showed up at the meeting
drunk and disorderly.
M, who was conducting the meeting while on probation for an
attempted murder conviction, thereupon pounded G into the ground. G
subsequently died after life support was disconnected because of
M, the anger counsellor, has pleaded innocent to manslaughter
charges - possibly because he was angry at the
All of this took place in Honolulu. Aloha to all!
Family Member Dan Predovich of
Colorado points out that the Color Code, as now standard, cannot be
applied to an individual who simply will not accept life as it is.
Dan says that if you are not aware of the world you simply will not
believe the Color Code, no matter how accurately it is explained to
you. I have always felt that no one would sign up for instruction
unless he was aware of the world, but in some cases -
especially in law enforcement - the student has not knowingly
accepted combat duty, and the Color Code is lost on him. This may
well be true, but it does not affect my teaching doctrine. Those
who are not prepared to learn will not learn. As someone once said,
"There is none so blind as him who will not see."
On the one hand we are continually warned
against drinking while driving. On the other hand we note that all
the new cars are issued with cupholders. Now what is to be made of
It has been suggested to me that I give
the impression that I scorn domestic manufacturers in favor of
Europeans. I would like to correct that impression insofar as I
may. The reason I favor German and Austrian rifles is that they
come over the counter with excellent triggers. In my opinion,
trigger action is the most significant single component in the
"hitability" of a rifle. Domestic manufacturers apparently feel
that if they put a good trigger in the rifle as it comes over the
counter they will be libel for lawsuits. Most of them additionally
point out that if anyone works on the trigger to make it better the
factory warranty on the weapon is invalidated.
In this Age of Litigation in which we find ourselves, a
great many people feel that excellence is irrelevant.
"The root cause of crime is that for certain people
predation is a rational occupational choice."
Daniel D. Polsby in the Atlantic Monthly
The following delightful anecdote comes
from Bill McKay in Illinois:
"At a recent local VFW meeting the Mayor of Oregon,
Illinois, opined that the cannon on the public square did not
portray the feeling he wanted to represent the town, and he asked
that it be moved. The vets promptly responded by seconding the
motion and ordered that their cannon be moved so as to point
directly at the Mayor's house. The motion was
Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal
use only. Not for publication.