Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 3, No. 3 22 February 1995
It is with profound sorrow that we must
report the death of Bruce Nelson - old friend, distinguished
marksman with both rifle and pistol, pioneer designer of leather
gear, and one of the conspicuous leaders in the introduction of the
modern technique to the American law enforcement community. Bruce's
untimely death at 47 was apparently caused by a blood clot in the
lung. Among his other attributes, Bruce was a champion of American
liberty in his crusade in support of our right to keep and bear
arms. He served the NRA on both the Action Shooting Committee and
the Law Enforcement Assistance Committee, and he was married to
Sandy Froman who is at present a member of the Board of Directors
of the Association.
Too often the good die young. God's will be done.
At the recent Safari Club conference at
Las Vegas we heard General Schwarzkopf address the multitude. The
General is a soldier of renown and is also an ardent hunter, but he
is not as strong on the subject of political liberty as we might
wish. We must keep that in mind if he decides to run for public
Those who feel the need of a heavy
rifle - a need confined almost exclusively to buffalo
hunters - may do well to consider the A-Square line available
as production items. What is wanted in a heavy rifle is a fairly
large bore (45 to 50), 500 grains of bullet, and 2400-foot-seconds
of starting velocity. The A-square actions are essentially 1917
Enfields, and those need not defer to anything else. They use
ammunition which need not be handmade, a point of some importance,
and they retail in the three-thousand-dollar range. Perhaps the
most promising caliber in the group is the fairly new 470 Capstick,
a blown-out relative of the 45 Lott. The 1917 action will
accommodate five rounds in the magazine with this cartridge, and
thus would appear to be a very happy combination. (The 460
Weatherby, for example, holds two plus one.)
(I strongly advise against putting glass sights on a heavy. A
buffalo is easy to see, and some of the time you may have to put
him away at spitting distance. Under those circumstances a
telescope sight is not only unnecessary, but possibly in the
Also at the convention, it appeared to us
that the Safari Club membership includes almost no Democrats, and
very few riflemen, while counting on perhaps 60 percent
naturalists. A high point of the gathering was the taxidermy
exhibit - the best thing of its kind that I have ever
We discover that a new version of
"Meditations on Hunting" by José Ortega y Gasset is set
for re-issue. This will be a luxury item rather than a paperback,
and should definitely be included in every sportsman's library.
Ortega's "Meditations" have been classified by people of
discernment as among the few really great books of the twentieth
century. The philosopher totally destroys the emotional position of
the anti-hunter and provides all of us with ammunition at the ready
whenever the rabbit people raise their furry heads.
Recent news suggests that the Russians get
simply furious when you fight back - just like our federal
I have discovered a new use for air guns.
Anchorage, among other places, seems to be overrun with moose.
These moose fancy city-dwelling because the streets are ordinarily
plowed and thus make movement easier. The local authorities frown
on busting moose in your front yard within the city limits and
without a license. If you sting this moose on the fanny with your
air gun, it may occur to him that he is not welcome. Best not try
this system on a cow with calf, however, for a cow moose with calf
is one of the fiercer animals, and will generally choose attack
If you think the Clinton cabinet resembles
a freak show you might examine the San Francisco City Council.
(Well, what did you expect?)
In South Africa's Magnum magazine
we recently encountered an astonishing photograph. This was an
X-ray of a man's head which included not only a 32 caliber bullet,
but also a 32 caliber case. Now, how it is possible to fire a round
into one's head, and then have the empty eject with such violence
as to penetrate it also, is beyond us. But there is the photograph,
and all we can do is stand amazed.
Family member John Schaefer, from
the Peoples' Republic of New Jersey, informs us that his Star Wars
number is 73654,2514. This is a very significant number, and all
computer freaks amongst the faithful should have it at the
A while back we reported the widely-held
view that a crocodile, after drowning his prey, seeks to stash it
away under mangrove roots and such so that it may rot and come
apart more easily, since he has no chewing mechanism. In going
further into this we discover that a crocodile frequently shakes
his prey apart, strewing fragments hither and yon. In Australia not
long ago a victim's leg was found nearly fifteen feet out of the
water. Additionally, a small croc in the 6 - 8 foot size will
frequently grab a loose limb and simply twist it off by rolling
violently in the water.
"Campaigns to bear-proof all garbage containers in wild
areas have been difficult because, as one biologist put it, `There
is a considerable overlap between the intelligence levels of the
smartest bears and the dumbest tourists.'"
"There is no moral obligation for any of us to obey
immoral or unconstitutional laws, but if you are caught be prepared
to pay the price."
Who now speaks with authority on pistol
technique? This question is almost impossible to answer. No one
thought much about it up until the conclusion of World War II, and
since that time the subject has been complicated by divergence and
objectives between the public and private sectors.
When we opened the Pandora-box of practical pistol shooting in
California back in the late 50s, we did not realize that a definite
split would develop between those who shot a pistol in search of
excellence and those who shot a pistol simply because they had to.
The feeling, which we sometimes hear from the mouths of idiots,
that "only the police and the military should have weapons,"
ignores the fact that the police and/or the military are not likely
to achieve any generalized level of excellence (though they indeed
may turn out champions of highly specialized efforts). In any
exercise in sporting competition only a limited number of champions
will develop. It is possible that the techniques they use are not
applicable to mass audiences.
We sympathize with the law enforcement people who are faced with
the need to train increasing numbers of increasingly incompetent
recruits forced upon them by politico-sociological conditions. For
example, the late Bruce Nelson was once criticized when
demonstrating the modern technique to some cop groups in California
on the grounds that he "practiced a lot." I did not realize then,
and neither did he, that people who practice a lot with their
weapons may be excoriated as "politically incorrect."
At the other end of the line we find the contests now put on for
the pistol by the Intentional Practical Shooting Confederation have
got so far afield from the street application of handgunning that
the techniques of the current IPSC champions may with some
justification be denigrated by those who feel that the pistol is a
primary means of defensive combat.
And then we get into journalistic discussion where "gun writers"
have a strong tendency to assume authority that they do not
legitimately possess. All too frequently one reads flat statements
made in magazines by unknowns who have no real experience in
combat, competition, or even in pistol hunting, which is, of
course, a specialty all to itself.
The Special Services of the military and the federal ninja also get
into the act, though they try to keep the matter pretty much to
themselves. On what basis they claim expertise is again open to
So we get back to the question, "Who really knows how to use a
pistol?" I am not prepared to accept the counter question, "To do
what?" I am going to stick with the proposition that a pistol is
primarily means of saving a life - stopping a fight that
somebody else started. The best pistol shot to my mind is the man
who can best stop a fight, and his equipment must not be restricted
by the half-baked regulations of procurement officers.
I see really good pistol shots perform now and then, but not often,
and not in ways that necessarily re-enforce the realism of the
technique employed. Truly, pistolcraft has taken tremendous strides
in the past thirty-five years, but we have not achieved the perfect
solution even yet - mainly because there are two few people
asking the right questions.
Those who are preparing to attend our
April rifle class, as well as riflemen in general, should remember
the general rifle test for weight. Hold your rifle out shoulder
high, at arm's length, by the small of the stock, muzzle up, and
hold it for 60 seconds. If this test is painful for you, you are
either badly out of shape or your rifle is too heavy for
And now we have still another account of
a rifle's firing when the safety was placed on "ready." By this
time I do not think it necessary to tell you what brand of a action
Do you know about the standard 3-shot
signal? If you do not, here it is: When you are lost in the
wilderness or disabled so that you cannot travel, you break out
your watch and fire three shots spaced exactly 60 seconds apart.
Then you wait for 15 minutes and repeat the same procedure. Then
stop. The idea is that a single shot, or three shots spaced
quickly, might be inadvertent, but that three shots spaced
precisely apart suggest that communication is being attempted. If
anybody hears and heeds, he will note your second series of three
and home in on you. If no one hears, it is best to wait a couple of
hours until your absence has been noticed and then repeat the
This is why a hunter should carry more ammunition with him in the
field than he will probably need to bring home his
There is talk now of an IPSC reunion (the
20th) to be held in South Africa in March of next year. Those of
you who can plan that far forward will want to put that date down
for serious consideration on your 1996 calendars.
"Power is nothing without control."
(And fully as applicable to weaponcraft.)
Pirelli Tyres Limited
Among the many dimwitted suggestions of
our leftist administration is the one that we hire one hundred
thousand more cops. It would seem obvious even to a Rhodes Scholar
that one cannot buy high-quality personnel. To be a good cop calls
for more, and more varied, attributes than can be expected among
the top 25 percent of the population. The figure is probably nearer
10 percent. This is one of those social programs which cannot be
improved by merely throwing money at it. However, because the
liberals do not believe that there are any such problems, they will
doubtless keep attacking them with the wrong solutions, as has been
the case for the last forty years.
Those of you who saw the television ads
in connection with the Super Bowl may remember that the Wilson
program purveying sporting goods reached some sort of new low in
idiocy (as well as blasphemy) - by attributing David's victory
over Goliath as due to his using a "Wilson rock."
This was a joke, I guess. But a bad one. Advertising must prevail,
but for those of us who have struggled amain to establish that it
is the man, rather than his equipment, which conquers, this sort of
salesmanship is repulsive.
It is a pleasure to learn that the bongo
has been reclassified from genus Boocercus to genus
Tragelaphus, thus placing him in the same platoon as the
kudu, nyala, situtunga, and bushbuck where he belongs. Ian
McFarlane, our man in Botswana, has long held that the bongo should
be referred to as the "giant bushbuck," and now it appears that the
lab technicians have finally caught up with him.
We have good reports now from Africa on
the efficacy of "Black Talon" ammunition. Of course it has not been
out for long and field experience so far is not extensive, but
results as of now are good.
The new concealed carry program in the
State of Arizona has called for a great deal of hastily improvised
education, and that, of course, has resulted in the publication of
a number of training pamphlets with the level of excellence one
might expect under these somewhat emergent conditions.
A friend was recently subjected to one of these training programs
and was shown a text which insists, "Do not load your pistol until
you are ready to shoot." And further, "Always unload your pistol
when you have finished shooting."
A little thought please, Professor! These injunctions are the
equivalent of saying, "Never wear a life-jacket unless you are sure
your boat is going to sink." Or, "Never put on your armored vest
unless you are sure you are going to be shot." Or, "Never fill your
tank with gas until you are ready to drive."
Until the handgun is recognized properly as a life-saving
instrument, we can expect more of this sort of administrative
Note that you can now get factory
Remington ammunition in 30-06 and 270 utilizing the excellent Swift
partition bullet. I have been using Swift bullets in 358 caliber
for many years now and can report complete satisfaction. In my
experience they should be confined to bulky animals offering
The country we came to know and love as
South Africa may not disappear overnight, but according to the
Western media the handwriting is on the wall. If you have any
notion of going while the going is good, do not wait until you can
afford it - go now and pay later!
"There is nothing more odious than the majority; for it
consists of a few powerful leaders, a certain number of
accommodating scoundrels and subservient weaklings, and a mass of
men who trudge after them without in the least knowing their own
The decay of the late, great country of
South Africa is beginning to become apparent. The name of the
Transvaal has been officially changed to "Gauteng." (One of our
friends has suggested that in view of this its inhabitants in the
future should be referred to as Oranggautengs.) The furtive attempt
to eliminate the Afrikaaner language continues. Recently some four
thousand Bantu children showed up at a school capable of handling
about four hundred in search of "an education." I doubt very much
if they had any idea what an education is, though they probably
considered that it consists of a Mercedes Benz. And now there is a
move afoot to wreck the Kruger National Park, one of the wonders of
the world, on the notion that a good bit of its land was "taken
from the blacks." This idea is somewhat akin to giving Yellowstone
Park back to the Blackfeet.
At the recent convening of experts at
Vegas the question was flung around, "What is Africa's most
dangerous animal?" The instant response of the senior hunter
available was, "A hippo on dry land." I have my application
We have noticed a great deal of
journalistic basura on the subject of our using the atomic bomb to
end World War II. That is what we used it for and that is what
it did. And now we see a whole raft of junior-grade handwringers
excoriating the people who fought that war (in their defense) be
claiming that the Japanese would have surrendered anyway. Now,
nothing in the past can be recouped, but let us get one thing
straight - those of us who fought that war and met the
Japanese face-to-face, from Guadalcanal to Okinawa, know full well
that the Japanese would not have surrendered anyway. I
could give you a good number of personal examples of that
proposition, but my experience was just that of one man, so I will
fall back upon the support of such notables as Douglas MacArthur,
Howlin' Mad Smith, Chester Nimitz, and Harry Truman. To cause the
Japanese to stop fighting, an inconceivable shock was necessary.
The fire bombing of Tokyo would not do it. The destruction of their
air fleet would not do it, and the landing on their home islands
would not do it. The atomic bomb would do it, and it did do it, and
the whimpers of literary rabbit people who were not even born at
the time are not worthy of serious consideration.
"No experience is so conductive to steady and accurate
shooting as the knowledge of the impossibility to escape by
Sir Samuel Baker
Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal
use only. Not for publication.