Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 3, No. 4 9 March 1995
Truly it has been said that to err is
human, but to screw things up completely it takes a computer. For
those who noted the mis-attribution on the back page of our
previous Commentary, we must hasten to say that I do not pretend to
be Goethe. The quote at the top of the page was from Goethe. The
piece at the bottom, about the war in the Pacific, was mine.
Furthermore, I cannot blame the computer for not checking itself
out before distribution. I was in a hurry, and I left for Texas
without checking. My fault.
[Editor's note: this error was corrected before Vol. 3, No. 3
was placed in the archive.]
"Saving is a very fine thing, especially when your
parents have done it for you."
The nilgai hunt, down in the King Ranch,
was a complete success, thanks in large measure to the good offices
of our distinguished colleague Finn Aagaard, who punched all the
As we all know, a year without hunting is like a dinner without
wine, and this episode with the blue bull filled in our 1995 slot
to a nicety. I used the Lion Scout, loaded by John Gannaway with
the excellent Swift partition 250. This combination is possibly a
bit much for the task, although a big nilgai may run up to 700lbs,
but I suppose it is better to be over-gunned than under-gunned.
We gathered up about 145lbs of prime venison, and in due course I
expect a handsome black and silver rug.
I am sometimes asked plaintively why I do
not include more pistol dope in my Commentaries. I must respond
that there seems to be all too little new information of interest
about handguns. I might repeat myself by insisting that one must
never trust the hammer-dropper on the self-loading pistol. It works
most of the time, but not always. Recently in Kentucky a cop killed
a suspect while "decocking" his Beretta while the piece was
pointing at the head of the suspect. There was a large uproar in
the press, which finally concluded that one must never try to lower
the hammer with the thumb, but rather always to use the decocker.
This conclusion is exactly 180 degrees out. I thought everybody
knew that, but apparently there are a lot of people who do not.
So much for pistol information.
While in Texas, seeking further
information upon the fatal incident with the nilgai last year, I
ran across a newspaper clipping which stated that the victim had
been "slashed" with the "antlers" of the "African antelope." As it
turned out, the nilgai is an Indian antelope, which stabs with its
horns. Apart from that, the reporter got it right.
Sit Rep from South Africa:
"There is a lot of internal friction in the ANC. Winnie
is close to being evicted. There are numerous corruption scandals
being investigated. Our budget comes out next week, and we are
concerned at possible consequences. A change has been made in the
tax structure with immediate effect. All tax rates for married men,
married women, and single people have been changed to a universal
rate, as the Constitution forbids discrimination on the grounds of
"Intellect without will is useless, whereas will
without intellect is dangerous."
Carl von Seekt
We recently ran across a statement
attributed to an old Western sheriff which fills us with delight.
He stated that he wished his deputies to respond to the threat of
lethal violence with "disconcerting alacrity." What a great phrase!
For years I have taught mind set and defensive tactics to thousands
of students when almost everything I sought to impart could have
been included in exhortation to disconcerting alacrity.
Disconcerting alacrity. There you have it.
Have you noticed that Swarovski is now
producing a rifle sight with a built-in laser range-finder (for
about 6,000 Marks). The instrument is almost as big as the rifle it
is to be mounted on, and it may indeed have some utility, though
for the moment I cannot think what that might be.
At a recent National Press Club dinner
Prince Phillip was asked to reconcile his dedication to
conservation with his love of hunting. The questioner asked if the
Prince really enjoyed killing animals. The Prince responded that
the beef that the group had enjoyed for dinner was presumably
slaughtered by someone who was paid to do that job. Since the
butcher was paid, one may further presume that he did not
particularly enjoy his work or he would have done it for free. The
Prince then asked if any members of the audience felt that the
butcher was immoral or inconsistent. If not, he remarked, then
presumably adultery would be moral as long as one did not enjoy
We are glad to see that the Ruby Ridge
atrocity is not going to go away. Our friend and fellow board
member Senator Larry Craig is insisting on a just outcome to that
affair. The Department of Justice has refused to show the senator
its reports. Now we will see just how much clout a United States
Senator has when it comes to disciplining the ninja.
"Only the dead have seen the end of war."
The Cossacks are abroad in Montana in
pursuit of the Montana Militia. They have been acting with their
customary ferocity in the abuse of suspects. (Being held face down,
handcuffed on a concrete floor for five hours without being charged
with anything would seem a bit extreme.) These are not "Gestapo
tactics," since the Gestapo was a secret organization, but bad guys
can turn up in all sorts of uniforms. I intend to look further into
Monty Meikle, who is an Orange Gunsite
instructor, a family member, and a member of the Gunsite
African Rifles, had a most interesting adventure to report from
up in Mugabestan. His target was buffalo, and in preparation for
the trip he discovered that the wooden stock on his buffalo gun had
split. He therefore took off for the adventure with his 375. When
he arrived on station he found that by a curious coincidence his
professional hunter had just recently split the stock on his
buffalo gun - a 505 Gibbs - so the two of them went
buffalo hunting each armed with a 375.
Contact was made on a very superior specimen at about 60 paces,
target angle 345. Monty, who is an excellent shot and widely
experienced, placed his bullet exactly on the chalk mark, whereupon
the bull spun and vanished. Monty and his PH tracked for about an
hour. The wounded buff had pulled a classic 270 to port and was
waiting for them on his back trail at some 30 paces. He came
straight in as they emptied both rifles and died heroically
spraying "blood on the shoes."
This was a very grand adventure, which Monty will not forget, and
it points up our conclusion that the 375 Magnum is simply not a
buffalo gun. It will certainly kill buffalo, as will almost any of
the 30 caliber family, assuming proper bullets, but it should never
be taken as first choice. For buff you need a big gun, which the
375 is not.
In connection with the foregoing, we were
shown a sobering photograph of a buffalo head by Danie van Graan,
our man in the Low Veldt. This buff had been hit below the right
eye by a 458, which proceeded to exit under the left ear. One would
think that would be enough, but the buff turned and ran some 60
paces before he was brought down by eight more rounds from two
The buffalo is fantastic. When you take him on you challenge a
At the SHOT show we examined Don
Mitchell's new 45 pistol at some length. At first glance it appears
to be a 1911 clone, but its ignition system has been completely
redesigned so that now it can be had in manual-cocking form,
trigger-cocking-only form, or double-action, at the choice of the
purchaser. It is also extremely versatile in regard to its
magazines, which can be made to conform to any of the strange
restrictions either now in force or proposed by the various
bureaucrats of the nation.
This is an ingenious instrument and deserves detailed
You will be pleased to learn that the
citizens of the Old Dominion state have recently achieved a
concealed carry law, somewhat similar to those now in effect in
Florida and Arizona. May the trend continue nationwide!
I guess you all heard about one Mary
Burtzman, who as a Marine officer candidate has doubts about her
acceptance of a commission. She is quoted as saying in the
"It's a shame such a great organization has such a low
Miss Burtzman certainly has a right to her opinion, but one wonders
about the officer who recruited her. A Marine of any rank is, first
and foremost, a killing machine. One who does not like that idea
should certainly be in some other line of work. When I was a junior
officer we used to declaim,
"If you want to learn a trade, join the Army. If you
want a clean bunk every night, join the Navy. If you want to fly,
join the Air Force. If you want to fight, join the
The Countess has suggested that Miss Burtzman has a great future as
a member of the Clinton cabinet.
We now have some $250 in the Waco
Memorial Fund. If you have contributed, please know that your
money is safe, but until we have about $2,000 to work with, it may
not be wise to commence design or construction.
I sit here and purr over the fact that
the three best rifles in the world are mine. Actually I have not
seen all the rifles in the world, but I feel I have grounds for my
opinion. Here in the Sconce Armory dwell "Sweetheart" and
"Lion Scout," and in Durban there is "Baby." These three pieces
have done so well so often, and they are so delightful to handle
and to use, that I must place them at the top.
Sweetheart is Scout II, possibly equaled by successive efforts, but
certainly never surpassed. The Lion Scout is the perfected
Fireplug - the best medium I have ever seen or heard
described. And Baby is, of course, the mighty 460 Special, the
buffalo gun par excellence.
This is a trio that I present as an example as how things should be
and seldom are. It is a wonderful feeling!
You may have noticed that the ninja still
insist upon going masked. A masked man is obviously ashamed of what
he is doing. I can see why these people should be ashamed of what
they are doing, but I do not see why they feel they must continue
to do it. A great many people will do anything at all for money.
There is a name for that.
We now approach April Fool's Day, 1995,
the anniversary of the date on which I was pushed off the end of
the plank by people I had previously regarded as trusted friends.
As the song has it,
"Learning to trust is such a juvenile
Despite the disaster, I still believe that it is better to think
well of people than ill. I committed the mistake of my life, and I
now watch my life's work being trashed by unprincipled
merchandisers. I cannot say I enjoy it, but I must pay the price of
my foolishness. Time will correct this, but we hope it does not
take too long.
I recently commented about an amazing
X-ray I saw of a skull in which both the bullet and the case seemed
to have been embedded. A medical friend has explained to me that
almost certainly what happened was that as the victim was placed on
the gurney the empty fell under his head and showed up on the film
as if it were inside it. That would explain it, and I cannot think
of any other explanation.
Did you all notice that Tanya Metaksa,
the chief propagandist of the National Rifle Association, made it
to the editorial page of USA Today? That is broad coverage,
and Tanya writes an effective essay. Let us devoutly hope that a
lot of those people "in the middle" got the word.
I discover that there is a certain
element in the law enforcement establishment which finds my writing
abusive. Certainly I have never attempted to please everybody, but
I do not endeavor to knock the cops, except when they conspicuously
deserve it. A recent letter from a detective in the District of
Columbia Police Department treated me to a couple of pages of
insulting language without really getting to his point. I am sorry
that he feels insulted, but I could respond to him better if he
made more sense. When I am factually wrong, I greatly appreciate
being corrected, but when it is just a matter of hurt feelings, all
I can say is that I am sorry - though often not very.
Consider, for example, what follows.
In New York recently a cop took after a
pickpocket in a busy subway station. In doing so, he shot himself
in the leg (not seriously.) All hell broke loose! Subway service
was suspended while police responded to something on the order of a
riot call. Five officers were slightly injured when a police van
crashed on the way to the scene. Seven people were taken to the
hospital with heat exhaustion, and one girl thought she was shot in
the leg, but was not.
It seems to me that there was a rule which says you keep your
finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target. It
seems to be too much to ask New York City's finest to observe such
People of good will frequently send one
off with the injunction to "Have a safe trip!" There is no such
thing as a safe trip. Safety is an illusion. It must always fail in
the end. That does not mean that we should not consider safety, but
never to cry "Safety first!" Safety, while something we should
seek, must always be placed second to getting the job done. One who
places safety first is, quite specifically, a coward. We do not go
to war to be safe, neither do we climb mountains, or race cars, or
hunt buffalo, to be safe. We hear commentators explain that we
should not resist violent crime because we may get hurt. This is
the advice of the rabbit people who live all their lives in fear
and never know the joy of danger. There are people like that, and
while we may feel sorry for them, we must never take their advice
Here in Arizona recently a motorist
stopped to help a stranded female who was flagging him down. In
return he was beaten to death by the woman's accomplices who were
lying in wait. Rule: when you do not understand the scene, go to
Condition Orange. If you are flagged down on the highway,
regardless of how innocent the flagger may appear, get your pistol
at the ready.
We note with some annoyance that the
usually sound columnist, Joseph Sobran, has come out sympathizing
for Lon Horiuchi on the grounds that Horiuchi shot Vicky Weaver "by
mistake." Horiuchi says he did, Rogers says he did, Freeh says he
did, Janet Reno says he did, and now Joe Sobran says he did. Let us
get it straight. The only way Horiuchi could have shot Vicky Weaver
by mistake would have been a circumstance in which she was standing
behind an obscuring device, such as a sheet of plywood, or for that
matter a bed sheet. Unless Horiuchi was an utter fool and totally
incompetent with his weapon, and firing at random at the house, he
could not have shot Vicky Weaver by mistake. How all those people
could give credence to such a story is absolutely beyond
It is a very unusual picture of Serbia's Commander Arkan firing a
revolver into the air through the sunroof of his limousine after
his wedding to Ceca while one of his bodyguards ducks.
are invited to caption this picture. Contest
winners to be announced.
"A man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but
most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on."
Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal
use only. Not for publication.