Jeff Cooper's Commentaries

Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 6, No. 4           April, 1998


Charlton Heston, in his recent outstanding address to the Conservative Political Action Conference, pointed out dramatically that "Now we are engaged in a great civil war" - the line from The Gettysburg Address. Quite so. Only a little blood has been shed, yet, but this war is definitely underway "testing whether this nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated may long endure." That question is open. There are plenty of people in the United States who are strongly and positively opposed to the idea of political liberty, and - as with the shenanigans in the White House - they are not ashamed of this. We must all continue to preach if only to the choir. Our liberty is at stake, and it will remain so indefinitely. If you have not taken some sort of action this month in defense of the Bill of Rights, make sure you do not let another month get by without your help.

Now that the Brits have succeeded in disarming themselves (so that only the bad guys may have guns), they have additionally gone a step further in their continuous attack against fox hunting. The argument rages on in the public press, and appears to have nothing to do with either humanitarianism or conservation, but rather with the "class war" which continues unabated as we head into the 21st century. A reasonably large and quite noisy segment of the British populace makes a business of hating anything that reminds them of their aristocratic past. They feel that anybody who rides to hounds after the fox is either a "toff" or a descendant of one, and they seem to hate toffs as much as they esteem vulgarity. Perhaps the next piece of foolishness we may see from that side of the water is a ban on fox hounds. I am not aware of a proper Greek-derived term for the "Tyranny of the Busybody," but this seems to be a definitive characteristic of the urban socialist.

Which puts me in mind of the old aphorism to the effect that "If you're not a socialist at 20, you have no heart. If you're still a socialist at 30, you have no head." To that I would like to add the following: "If you do not reach the age of 60 without becoming a card carrying curmudgeon, you have just not been paying attention."

I must assume that all family members are assiduously programming their hunting adventures for the fall of this year. Things get booked up if you are not careful.

In the last issue of the Safari Club magazine, we ran across the exploits of what must be considered the world's greatest marksman. This gentleman brought off a one-shot kill on a running Marco Polo sheep at 550 yards. It would be discourteous to doubt his word, and he does not claim that this feat was an accident, so we must assume that here we have the all time greatest rifle shot. His estimated calculations of both lead and drop were brought off in his head, unlike those for the 120 smooth-bore in the M1A1 tank, which are computerized. This established that man's brain remains categorically superior to any machine. Far be it from us to doubt this story, we can only stand aghast! (He didn't say the shot was from offhand, but that would have made even a better story.)

I assume you have all familiarized yourselves with the characteristics of the Heckler and Koch "Special Operations" pistol, currently designated the Mark 23. This enormous instrument was created by the men of the United States Special Operations Command by very advanced reasoning processes. Briefly put, it is a 45-caliber "Plus P" and comes fitted for a suppressor which is almost as long as the pistol. It is, as you might suppose, "double-action" (trigger-cocking), and includes a two-sided safety switch. Its magazine holds 12 rounds.

This curious instrument is certainly noteworthy. Try as I may I cannot come up with a scenario in which it would be really helpful to carry such a piece. However, there it is, and we wish it a long and happy life.

This "global warming" foolishness continues apace. If the matter is of interest, you might consider the following information provided to us by family member, Dr. Art Robinson:
"The climate record shows that current temperatures are a little below the mean for the past three thousand years, and that temperatures during those three millennia have often been higher - sometimes by more than 2° centigrade. No climate catastrophe is recorded in the history of those periods."

Let us not forget that 1998 marks the centennial of the great Mauser bolt-action military rifle. The action type, which has served as a model for both sporting and military manually-operated firearms for these last hundred years, was originally furnished in caliber 7x57, but the "G98" took the "7.9 cm" military cartridge. For most of this century, a bolt-action rifle by any name was likely to be a version of the G98. Truly an epoch-making artifact!

When driving in our current urban battle zones, remember that when a car stops suddenly in front of you and two people get out simultaneously, you go to Condition Orange. This is particularly true if you have rear-ended the car in front of you slightly with your bumper. This is a pre-planned car-jacking technique. Bear it in mind!

We continue to fuss around joyfully with the Steyr Scout. It is amusing to hear the unenlightened maintain that "A barrel that short won't shoot that well." Difficult as it is to find a place to shoot a rifle recreationally, a good many sportsmen feel that improvised opinion is more valuable than practical experiment.

People still nag about the price, which is surprising when one considers that American-made custom rifles are being advertised in the eight-to twelve-thousand dollar range (without sights). If you want an Italian shotgun, the figures go right off the dial. But the problem here, as I see it, is that there are a great many shooters who feel that the true enthusiast should own a great many guns, and that it is better to have a whole warehouse full of cheap versions than one or two quality items. The whole idea of the Scout is to produce an instrument that will do almost all things equally well. Personally I like the way the SS turned out, but that is just one viewpoint.

The nasty United Nations Organization continues on its obnoxious way without let or hindrance. We learn, for example, from what is now Namibia, that the party line down there is that since the UN is strictly opposed to the idea of firearms in the hands of private citizens, the Namibians will fall obediently into line with their new constitution. There are a lot of things wrong with the social and political scene in the United States, but despite the UN, this country remains "the last best hope of Earth."

It appears that since the Nips were unable to defeat us in the field, they are going to try to do so at the conference table. We may lose this one, as long as we maintain the current sleaze camp in Washington.

It's just another reason why we must change the administration.

Speaking personally, it is my opinion that "Another Country" is my best work. You may still get your copy from Blacksmith Corporation
PO Box 1752, Chino Valley, Arizona 86323, (520) 636-4456.

It is curious to see how the defeat of the offensive state law I-676 in Washington, was received by our adversaries. In England it was immediately announced that the NRA spent "millions" campaigning against this bill, whose purpose was essentially child safety. If we were to give this matter the time of day, we could point out that, a) the NRA does not have millions to throw away, b) millions do not win elections by 60% margins, c) children are not an issue in this matter, which is basically covered by the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. The Brits do not have any system of checks and balances in their government. They apparently feels that the sober common sense of the members of parliament is sufficient to avoid legislative hysteria. Imagine that!

A number of nervous types have pounded on Charlton Heston in response to his statement that the AK47 is inappropriate for civilian use. Leaping into the breach, as it were, I now insist that Mr. Heston maintained that the Kalashnikov is a foreign arm and an American citizen is appropriately armed with the American weapon of choice, which is now the M16. Disrespectfully putting words into Mr. Heston's mouth, I insist that what is inappropriate for the American citizen is the country of origin of the combat carbine, rather than its design.

In my opinion, being killed in a motor race or by a buffalo is a more elegant demise than a ski accident.

How say you?

We discover that the Batswana have gone all silly on the subject of paperwork since we were in their country last. Now they insist upon all the information on one's passport before they even see the passport. Also they are totally bemused with serial numbers. Apparently they are simply trying to discourage both tourists and hunters.

How about these people who are producing "anti-terrorist" bullets! As I understand it, a terrorist is a man. Almost any full-caliber, center-fire cartridge fires a bullet which is quite appropriate for human targets. I guess, however, that marketing is a matter of jargon, and if you say you are doing something "against terrorism," your product will be more marketable - regardless of the mechanics involved. If I read the ads correctly, these anti-terrorist bullets are simply quickly frangible, avoiding over-penetration and ricochets. I used such bullets on deer and mountain sheep long ago in my early hunting days. The fad today is in the opposite direction - toward bullets which will not break up upon impact. Both frangible and non-frangible bullets have their uses, and "terrorism" has little to do with the case.

"There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes, and the other is the Bill of Rights."

Major General Smedley Butler, US Marine Corps 1930
I would add another reason - practice. Anyone who has ever been deeply involved in warfare knows that the only way to learn to fight is to fight. This may not be a popular view with the grass eaters, but I defy them to disprove it.

As you know, San Gabriel Possenti has recently been canonized as the patron of marksmen and youth. Family member Count Randaccio Lodi tells us that he went up to the monastery where San Gabriel is said to have been a member, and found that the current management of that institution would rather not talk about it. The story has it that the young man (he did not make it to his 25th birthday) successfully repelled boarders, not by shooting his assailants, but by demonstrating his marksmanship on a scampering lizard. This is a good story, and we hope it is true. It is, however, distressing to learn that superior moral performance may not be acceptable to the wimp contingent.

Two new market offerings that I find attractive are the Kimber Classic duty pistol, and the Taurus Compact 38 wheel gun. I am no champion of 38 wheel-guns, but there is a place for them in the field.

Did you see where some Nip punk recently attempted to attack a police officer in order to hijack the officer's service pistol? Upon his arrest he claimed that he just wanted to know what it was like to shoot a firearm. Now what on earth should we make of a social organization in which that sort of thing turns up!

Family member Pat Rogers tells us of a case in New York wherein a police officer correctly, justifiably, and expertly laid out a goblin on the street with his shotgun. The action had been building up for a few minutes, and there were several other police officers in the vicinity. Three of them were copchicks, who had to be taken off the line to recover their composure after having witnessed so ghastly an event. One of these girls obtained a medical discharge, and is now on a pension from the taxpayers because of what she saw in the line of duty for which she volunteered. ("You may not believe it, but listen you well.")

The comrades at Norinco in China are now offering for sale an authentic clone of the wonderful Colt Woodsman 22 plinking pistol - of fond memory. People of my generation grew up on the Woodsman, in both its 6" and 4" versions, but as I see it, plinking in itself was much more a respectable pastime in those dear, dead days gone by. Whenever you went out for a picnic, you took along a plinker, and the Woodsman was perhaps the best plinker of all time. "Plinking" is not target shooting, but casual recreational shooting in the field at improvised targets of opportunity, such as pine cones, worn out golf balls, or overripe fruit. It is an attractive, inexpensive, and socially excellent method of developing the father-son bond. The very idea of this sort of thing would horrify the wimp establishment, both here and abroad. All the more reason to cultivate the practice. So Good on the Comrades! - I guess.

I have always striven for the production of firearms which were ready to go "out-of-the-box." A couple of correspondents have now told me that I am on the wrong track here, in that repeated visits to the local gunsmith constitute an attractive social interplay with which to while away those happy hours.

I suppose we do not need any more comments upon the state of the United States public education, but I cannot resist pointing out a recent cartoon appearing in the Chicago Tribune and reprinted in Conservative Chronicle magazine. It depicts a senior public servant (who shall be nameless) stomping down the corridors of the White House referring to a person portrayed on the wall as "Amateur." The portrait at issue is unmistakably that of President Andrew Jackson. The portrait is labeled "Stonewall Jackson." If the whole series of journalists involved in this atrocity cannot differentiate between Andy Jackson and Stonewall Jackson, it may indeed be too late!

Did you all note that while American students placed last in international high-school-level competition, they excelled in one area, and that was "self-esteem." They all thought they did better on the tests than they actually did. Apparently we have achieved something after all!

Do you happen to know what a "OICW" is? That stands for Objective Individual Combat Weapon. It is supposed to be the ideal personal smallarm for the individual soldier of the future. And it is a pretty wild looking instrument. It combines a 20mm grenade launcher with a 223. Its sighting system lobs the 20mm projectile to an effective range of a 1000 meters, at which it is presumed to be able to obtain fragmentation hits from the bursting projectile on man-sized targets. It weighs a bit over 12lbs, and costs about twenty thousand dollars a throw. Now how have we ever managed to get along without that!

We hope to have a "leopard light" attachment ready for the SS on the African trip. We have the "Sure Fire" light, but we do not as yet have the attachment to fit the light to the rail on the underside of the fore-end. This arrangement should be sensational in Africa, where leopards are usually taken after dark over a bait.

According to the annual report of the Immigration and Naturalization Service for 1996, we discover that there were a total of 22 "authorized" incidents involving firearms. A total of 139 rounds was fired by the INS officers, by means of which a total of four (4) hits was obtained.

The solution to this problem, according to the border patrol, is to increase the level of sensitivity on the part of the patrolman. It appears that if you are less likely to shoot, you are even less likely to miss. That is an approach to service marksmanship that had not occurred to me.

"To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society."

Theodore Roosevelt

And now BATman McGaw proclaims that home schooling turns the home into a school, and therefore makes that home off-limits to personally owned firearms. I always thought that the BATmen were of a different species, and this discovery confirms my suspicion.

A recent report from Africa informs us that a Bantu hunter of our acquaintance was recently set upon after dark by an armed robber. Our friend cut him down neatly and went on about his business. Naturally, I am not going to furnish any details about the nationality or locality of our friend. In cases like this, the less the authorities know, the better. Years ago in our Balsas expedition we were forcefully informed by our permit issuing authorities in Mexico City that if we had occasion to knock off a bandit, we were by no means to report the matter. Just get the body out of sight in the bushes and get on with your business.

Question for the family: Which is the better weapon for urban law enforcement, the combat carbine or the combat shotgun?

(Let us not consider a machine pistol here, since it is simply a less efficient form of the combat carbine.) The family member submitting the best answer to this question may receive a free ticket to the next bull fight in Nogales.

"The two pillars of 'political correctness' are, a) willful ignorance, and b) a steadfast refusal to face the truth."

George MacDonald Fraser

Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal use only. Not for publication.