Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 5, No. 13 December, 1997
December 7 goes down in history as the
Day of Awakening. Upon this date in 1941 the United States of
America opened its eyes and got its act together. We set forth on a
quest that could have changed world history permanently for the
better. The fact that we did not know what to do at the end of the
fight, when we held the world in our hands, does not render our
quest meaningless. A Pax Americana was within our grasp, but
that grasp proved to be limp.
But 7 December, nonetheless, was the date to remember.
The fight for liberty goes on. We win some
and we lose some. England, Australia and Canada seem to have gone
down the tube, but our victory in the remote northwestern state of
Washington serves notice that the American people have not yet lost
their viscera. The interesting thing about that case up there in
Washington was that it was a referendum - an exercise in
direct democracy. Political representatives may not be much
concerned with freedom - they have more important things to
worry about, such as getting re-elected - but in a referendum
nobody is up for re-election, and the decisive victory for our side
should give notice to our enemies that the great majority of the
American people really do understand about the rights of
I was much amused at the fury that arose
when some hired hand in the Pentagon scornfully referred to the
Marines as "extremists." Since our friend Brute Krulak is the
father of the current commandant of the Marine Corps, who appears
to have got all frosted by this exchange, we fired off the
I must have got it wrong. It was impressed upon me in my youth that
a Marine is supposed to be an extremist. (Along with such citizens
as G. Washington, P. Henry, and T. Roosevelt.) "Extremism in the
defense of liberty is no vice!"
I have as yet no response from the general.
Several commentators have complained about
the cost of the new Steyr Scout. Our standard response has been to
the effect that Porsche could indeed build an economy car, but it
would not be a Porsche.
After considerable testing and discussion,
we have concluded that the proper answer for a pistolero whose eyes
have begun to go is not a pistol ghost-ring, but rather a pistol
express sight. The express sight, as you know, was pretty standard
on the British heavy rifles of the Great Days. It consisted of a
shallow "V" rear sight, mounted well forward on the barrels, in
combination with an ample round bead on the front. This sight was
intended for very quick use on very dangerous animals at very close
range, and it served its purpose well. It was by no means a target
sight, but it was a superior defensive sight.
Consider then that a pistol is intended for very quick use at very
close range against very dangerous targets. The similarity is
inescapable. I am not content with the pistol ghost-ring, for a
number of reasons, but the pistol express sight just may be the
only important development in pistol sightings in modern
We have just been shown, by Ashley Emerson
of Fort Worth, a sleeve system for mounting a scoutscope on
standard-type rifles without recourse to a pedestal barrel. It
looks fine, though I have not yet used it on a rifle. I suggest you
look for it at the SHOT Show forthcoming.
Now that we are well through the '97
football season, we have concluded once again that this prancing
and capering displayed by the heros after any successful effort on
the field strongly suggests the behavior of baboons in the African
bush. From what we can learn, stone age man was much given to
self-congratulation, whereas a civilized gentleman enjoys his
proven battle heroism with quiet satisfaction. Those who have
observed baboons in the wild note that they manifest most of the
bad habits of the human race, with almost none of its good
qualities. Of course, gentlemen (and ladies) have almost gone out
of fashion in the Age of the Common Man, so this sort of
thing is only to be expected.
About when we had thought that we had
heard everything, we now get a note from Africa about a gent whose
careful aim at a prized nyala was upset by a phone call on his cell
phone. Honest to God! Along with people who venture into the
wilderness without a map, and go on extended hikes without a
canteen, we now have hunters who hunt with cell phones at the
ready. No puede ser!
We have a letter from Monty Sagi, who is
superintendent of police in Israel, correcting us on the matter of
the use of the "flat stance" by the Israeli security establishment.
We all have seen this bizarre technique illustrated on the screen,
and I took it to suggest that the Israelis were actually shooting
that way - and that is with the pistol rotated 90 degrees to
the left. The truth of the matter is that Israeli security forces
are trained to carry their sidearms in Condition 3, which
demands that the action be racked as the pistol is presented. They
are taught to rack the slide with the pistol so rotated, but to
come back to vertical when firing.
I see the point here, but I recall that when I had something of the
same problem in training honor guards who stood outside the doors
of important people with their pistols in Condition 3, we
wiped the slide on the way between "Clear" and "Point." It worked
pretty well, and surprising speed could be achieved even from a
full flap military holster.
The idea, of course, is to carry the pistol in the holster in
Condition 1, but that seems to be "against regulations." So
change the regulations!
Our good friend and Orange Gunsite
student, Ulrich Zedrosser, who is mainly responsible for the new
Steyr Mannlicher SBS rifle action, is now at work on a totally new
and different action of his own. I have pointed out to him that it
is important to produce a bolt-action rifle system which is easily
convertible from right to left-hand operation. As of now, the
Blaser R93 is convertible by simply exchanging bolts, but the Steyr
Scout, unfortunately, is not. Time marches on!
The following comes from Orange Gunsite
graduate Curt Rich and pretty well puts the case regarding this
publicity activity surrounding land mines:
"Now I probably know a little more about land mines
than the President, and I do despise them. I put too many young
boys on helicopters with limbs missing. I spent a year dreading
stepping on a land mine, and I was injured by an antitank mine.
Come to think of it, the SKS rifle I brought home was booby trapped
by antitank mines, and if the string hadn't gone slack I wouldn't
be writing this. But they're a necessary evil. I would far rather
see North Korean soldiers dying from American mines than American
soldiers dying from North Korean bullets."
"Remember there are no rules in war. The side which imposes the
most rules on itself loses."
"We lost in Vietnam because of self-imposed rules."
The so called "Holoscope" is getting good
reviews, but I have yet to check it out. It would seem perfect for
the combat shotgun, if not quite so desirable for rifle or
News from Ceska Zbrojovka tells us that
the excellent reserve rear-sight, which was standard on the
Czech 600 series, now discontinued, will be revived in all
calibers on their new rifles. They also suggest that the proposed
heavy rifle they have in mind ("Jeff Cooper's Baby") should be
available in medium as well as heavy calibers. They push for 416 on
the proven renewed popularity of this round. For my part I am
against it. As I see it, the 416s are halfway measures. If you want
real power, you had best go for at least 500-grains of bullet. My
own recommendation for this rifle is that it be offered in 458
Lott, 460 G&A, 470 Capstick, and 505 Gibbs. There is a problem
in making any wood to stand up to the recoil of a heavy caliber
without splitting, but it is certainly not a problem which cannot
A friend of ours recently had a fantastic
experience right up in the hills not very far from the
Sconce. He had staked himself out overlooking a cattle
tank, which is a popular source of water for our wildlife. His
position was 55 paces from the water's edge. In due course, who
should come down to drink but a very nice 7 point bull elk!
(Naturally our friend had only a deer tag.) While the bull was
drinking his fill, over the lip of the berm came padding a prime
tom cougar. The elk saw the cougar. The cougar saw the elk. Neither
saw the hunter. The cougar finished his drink before the elk did
and quietly strolled off a little way to lie down peacefully in the
sun. Presently the bull, having drunk his fill, nodded politely to
all concerned and wandered off.
Our friend sat there, rifle in hand and deer tag in his pocket, but
he was no way dismayed. That experience alone was worth more than a
trophy on the wall.
In the German magazine Visier, we
see the new H&K SOCOM as "Zu viel des Gutes," which means "Too
much of a good thing." Are any of you old enough to recall what Mae
West had to say about that? According to the legend, she said "Too
much of good thing is ... marvelous!"
Watching the behavior of many friends and
acquaintances on shooting ranges recently, I get the impression
that if an emergency arises all we have to do is shout "Ears!" if
we want to lose the fight. It is true that I no longer hear well,
and that my ears have been abused by decades of shooting, but I do
not think that anyone is going to hear well at my age regardless of
how he wore his ear protection. Certainly it would appear that this
racket which is called "rock music" in some circles should do more
to deafen the aged than mere battle noise.
It is commonly held in nature films and
magazines that the cheetah is the world's fastest four-legged
animal. Such a claim is pretty hard to establish, but I can say
from first hand experience that an impala can outrun a cheetah in a
short sprint - because I have seen that happen. The impala
normally travels in graceful arching bounds, but when this
particular impala discovered that the race cat was on his track, he
stretched out full length horizontally and shifted into
afterburner. The pursuit lasted about 70 yards, and the cat gave
up. Perhaps he had not read the textbooks.
We set off quite an intellectual turmoil
when we asked about "the purpose of education." This is indeed a
fine subject for discussion, but before embarking upon it, all
concerned must agree upon the terms employed. Surely we cannot
discuss what the purpose of education may be until we agree upon
what education itself is. Whatever it is, it would seem that we are
not doing much with it now. We note a comment by one mother of a
ninth grade girl who did not know that 25 percent is the same as
one-fourth. We hear of another student who proposed to his class
that dihydrogen oxide should be banned worldwide. God only knows
what is going on in the classrooms! Something must be happening
there - but what?
I guess we are just going to drop the
subject of Nicole Simpson and Vince Foster, and it begins to look
as if the murder of Vicki Weaver is going to be dropped too. Is
that the way justice works? Do we just forget about crimes because
we would rather not hear about them? Apparently that is just what
we do in the Age of Sleaze.
I am by no means sure that legalizing
drugs would be a good policy, though there are some very good
thinkers in the country who hold just that view. However, in view
of the fact that the so-called drug war is used to justify the
excesses of the federal ninja, it might be proposed that if we
abolish the drug war, we could abolish the ninja too. The thing
that keeps the drug trade going is the enormous amount of money
involved. We must remember that both narcotics and stimulants were
readily available over the counter during the Victorian period. We
had very few junkies, and as far as I can tell, we had no ninja.
One cannot turn the clock back, but we might give serious thought
to some feasible means of turning it forward.
It is gratifying to know that the attempt
in the Pentagon to de-activate the US Army Marksmanship Unit has
been abandoned. I realize that the modern army has very little
concern with marksmanship, but it does seem important that it at
least be given lip service. One cannot but wonder how a president
who "loathes the military" (exact words) feels about being its
Commander-in-Chief. Well, we elected him.
We note with gratification that 1903 was
a particularly good year. (Of course, we were somewhat younger
then). That year saw the introduction of the great Springfield
rifle, the classic Mannlicher-Schoenauer 6.5mm carbine, and the 600
Nitro Express from Holland & Holland. I cannot remember
when three such noteworthy pieces of technology all appeared in the
Among the "Darwin Awards" that we get
from family member
Cas Gadomski in Alaska, we note the
In Calcutta on 2 November, two sportsmen came up with
the curious idea of placing a garland of flowers on the head of a
13-year-old male royal Bengal tiger in the zoo. This may even
out-score the man who went hunting with his cellular phone on
(Only one of these two clowns was killed. The other was just torn
up a good deal.)
(Note: The "Darwin Award" is issued, after careful thought, to
those who are doing their best to prove that evolution works
We learn from NRA/ILA that those curious
people in Handgun Control, Inc. took it upon themselves to assign a
letter grade to each state based upon what laws it feels are
essential to protect children from gun violence. (It is implicit in
their philosophy that guns are out to get children.) The states
were rated A through F, A meaning
strongly controlled or prohibited, and F indicating
relatively free from regulation. Not surprisingly, the eight states
with the lowest violent crime rate in the nation were rated either
D or F, while the state with the third
highest crime rate received a B. HCI did not grade
Washington, DC, since it is not a state (yet), but under the HCI
grading system the district would have been given an A
despite having a violent crime rate nearly four times higher than
the nation as a whole.
These Sarah Brady people insist upon trying to make sense, so far
without visible results.
The following note is from National
Bill Buckley's brainchild, and one of two or three
periodicals in the nation directed at people who think:
"It is not ignorance, but an accurate perception of
reality, that lies at the root of much of what is now called "white
racism" - which is why race relations will not be improved by
exhortations that the majority adopt more enlightened
It is indeed fortunate that people have
varying tastes, and shooters are no exception. We have run across
several enthusiasts recently who love guns to the extent that they
feel the more they have the merrier. These people would rather have
twelve commonplace, pedestrian weapons than one or two really good
ones. We may thank God that people's tastes vary so much, otherwise
all the men in the world would aspire to one particular
Sometimes it seems to me that people
simply do not pay attention. Just last month, for example, I got an
after-action report from a couple who have taken our advice and
made the African hunt. It turns out that this gent was wandering
about in the bush in company with his PH - neither of whom was
armed. Well, they did not run onto a lion, but they did run onto a
nice trophy buck who was evidently a good deal smarter than they
Sometimes it seems that a hunter will go to a lot of trouble to
acquire a proper education, and then when he gets to the field put
himself completely in the hands of his PH, who usually has all the
answers, but sometimes does not. Witness the number of PHs you see
running around in shorts. Gunhandling is the activity in which it
seems to me the professional hunter too frequently falls
The continued denigration of this term
macho (the adjective) or machismo (the noun) is
continuing evidence of the attempted emasculation of society.
"Machismo" is a definite plus, and it has a negative connotation
only when, as with almost anything, it is carried to foolish
extremes. The term does not translate very well from the Spanish,
and this is the probable reason for its misapplication in English.
The closest single equivalent we can find in English might be
"manliness," and, of course, manliness is a no-no in the wimp
society. It is useless to try to teach people to be careful about
their terms, but this is one more people should think about more
Dave Lauck up there in Gillette now
proposes we shoot at an egg at 500 yards. Of course, you cannot see
an egg at 500 yards, but Dave has constructed a target which will
show you where the egg is. Personally I prefer the venerable Boer
contest in which the contestant shot from offhand at a chicken egg
placed on the top of a termite mound at 100 paces. This, it seems
to me, would not only be more fun, but it would certainly take up a
lot less room.
Guru Say -
Let us remember that the one thing we can acquire which
will not wear out is learning.
Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal
use only. Not for publication.