Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 8, No. 13 December, 2000
Well, we will not have to sit through this
sort of thing again! Socrates told us that most people have a slave
mentality. He did not say the portion was exactly 50/50, however.
It does appear that the human race, taken as a whole, is not bright
enough to be entrusted with the organization of its own affairs. As
I write this, we appear to have about a ten second lead, with five
laps to go. That is better than an outright loss, but it is
certainly not safe. The democratic process is all very well in its
way, but it certainly does raise hell with the proper holiday
We are pleased to have been proposed as a
medalist by the San Gabriel Possenti Society. San Gabriel, as you
probably know, is the patron saint of pistoleros. We regret
we cannot accept the award in person, since it is to be presented
in Rome exactly during the Masters' Rifle Class which will precede
the Safari Prep course. I have not been to Rome since childhood,
and I am sorry to miss this opportunity to have my halo fitted. We
will be present in spirit, of course, and try to hold all the right
thoughts. The occasion offers a gleam of light in these dark
Several prospective students have written
to ask just what rifle they should bring to the Safari Prep class.
The answer, of course, is to bring the rifle which the client
intends to take to Africa. By choice this should be only one. You
probably need two telescope sights, but you probably do not need
two rifles. Your trusty old 30-06 will do just fine. Your Steyr
Scout will be even better if you have it to hand. If you feel that
you need a medium-bore rifle for Africa, by all means bring it. But
as it was explained to us by Pann Mallas long ago, the 375 is too
much for 90 percent of your shooting, and not enough for the other
ten. If you plan to take on buffalo, I strongly recommend a heavy
(500-grains or more). You certainly should practice with such a
piece before you take it afield, and you will have that chance in
the Safari Prep course. But you do not need a heavy unless you are
going to take on buffalo - or elephant. We have used the
308/180 with uniform success in Botswana, Namibia, and South
Africa. The right bullet, of course, is necessary, and we will
discuss that at the class.
Bill Buckley tells us of an occasion in
Switzerland recently at which, when he asked his dinner companion
the name of the current president of Switzerland, she confessed
with some embarrassment that she did not know. The question was
passed around the table until finally someone at the party was
discovered who knew the current president. It took about seven
tries. Now that is the kind of chief executive we can
appreciate. The Swiss may not have their politics totally sorted
out, but their system looks better all the time.
I must insist again to course designers on
a rifle field walk that a pop-down target is superior to a pop-up
target. I have run more than a score of rifle reaction courses over
the years, and it is quite obvious that when a target pops into
view almost anywhere in your sector, the motion itself catches your
eye. You do not walk by a target that pops up. On the other hand,
when a target is clearly within sight for perhaps five seconds and
then disappears while you are getting ready to shoot, the
experience is very helpful. Obviously the mechanical problem is a
bit more challenging, but in these days of wireless communication
it is not insurmountable.
One set of federal statistics establishes
that a bastard is six times as likely to turn out to be a "bastard"
as a legitimate child. Fancy that!
This from daughter Lindy:
"The sun shines bright
On the old Kentucky home
And all the African-Americans are homosexual."
Shooting Master John Gannaway was
drawn ("drawed", that is, in Arizona) for elk, but could not bring
himself to enjoy his hunt in the light of the misbegotten election.
I suppose we should all be in mourning at this time, except, of
course, for the British who sit over there giggling at our
consternation. Daughter Lindy dodged the mess to some extent by
voting absentee and being off in Oregon pursuing the elk. This did
not help, of course, in this case.
We conclude that coating your bullet with
molybdenum disulfide does not accomplish a great deal. It does make
the projectile a tad more slippery, achieving a slight rise in
velocity, but not enough to be worth the trouble. It also renders
the bore a little easier to clean, but not much. It may be classed
as sort of a good idea, but hardly startling.
From Africa Larry Pratt reports that
while the murder rate is increasing, it is still 25 percent lower
in Johannesburg than it is in the District of Columbia. As I
understand it, it is still legal to fight back in Africa, which, of
course, is not true in England.
Following the recommendation of family
member Curt Rich, we propose a new code of misdemeanor on the
books to be called SWS, which is, of course, "Shooting While
We should announce that the grip safety
on the birthday pistol is not blocked out on delivery - fear
of litigation. I prefer it blocked, myself, and it is easy to do at
home by fitting a short piece of piano wire between the heel of the
grip safety and the mainspring housing.
This obsessive fear of litigation, however justified, is pervasive
enough to be given a proper definition. Litigophobia does
not come off well, since it derives from two different languages.
Daughter Christy, who is our resident Greek student, has gone into
this matter and has become somewhat bogged down. She has come up
with the word dikadzomaiophobia! I do not think this is ever
going to catch on, so we will just have to go on being terrified of
lawsuits without knowing what is wrong with us.
Guru say: "Politics is too serious a
matter to be entrusted to politicians."
Messner, who is the man who first
summited Everest unaided (without oxygen) is now campaigning
against the use of cell phones in the alps. I think his point is
well taken, but I also fear that he is swimming against the
As we hit Pearl Harbor Day, the most
important date in my lifetime, I reflect again that Admiral Nagumo,
who commanded the attack on Pearl Harbor, eviscerated himself on
Saipan a couple of years later. I was heavily involved in that
battle, and when he cut himself we could not have been more than a
couple of miles apart. Had I been close by, I would have been glad
to have helped him.
It appears to me that a good many people
who talk about the 10mm pistol cartridge are unaware of the
difference between the Full-house Ten of the Bren Ten, and the
Demi-Ten, which has become its attenuated successor. These two
cartridges are not equivalent. The Full-Ten is a very powerful
round, theoretically exceeding the stopping power of the 45 ACP,
and decisively outranging it. The Demi-Ten, now appearing in all
sorts of guises, is a step up from the Nine, but it does not make
it to full power.
It is with deep regret that I must report
the demise of Mike Harries, one of the original stalwarts of the
modern technique of the pistol. Mike was with us from the beginning
in California, and his contributions to the art have been numerous.
For many years he was "our man in LA" to whom we recommended
citizens who wanted tutorial instruction in that area. He was of
the younger generation and his death from a heart attack was
premature; however, unlike many of us, he left his mark. God's will
I imagine you have all noticed that
Comrade Mugabe, current dictator of Zimbabwe, has defied his own
courts in his expropriation of private farmland. The country has a
supreme court, which has condemned his action, but he has told the
court to go fly a kite. "It is our land and we will take it." This
is barefaced Marxist banditry and serves as a good example of what
happens when we "give the country back to the Indians."
The German language is great fun for one
such as I who cannot speak it. Take the word stoff, for
example. It is the same word as our English stuff, but has a
much broader meaning. For instance, it is easy to render the Tenth
Commandment as "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's stoff."
Now in this age of preoccupation with gadgetry, we can coin the
word stoffgierigkeit, which might mean, loosely, lust
after possessions. It is the soul of marketing, and we inflict
it upon our young at an early age. "Drink X! Get stuff!" It is a
complication in the shooting industry, since once you have got the
right guns you do not need any more - ever. That is impossible
for the salesman to accept.
Things have got so bad out here in the
west that people have taken to drinking water and eating shark
meat. I have seen it for sale in the markets.
This from Curt Rich in Texas:
"Israel used to ban private ownership of weapons, but
now encourages it and arms teachers. The result is that attacks on
school children have stopped. This isn't a trend only because one
country doesn't make a trend, but it does make a pretty good
Defensive pistolcraft does not only
involve shooting. Our new grandson-in-law has already had two
confrontations, which were satisfactorily settled by the possession
of a handgun with no need to shoot it.
When people cannot agree on the meaning
of words, communication becomes impossible. Take this matter of
"education." Just what is education? Do we mean teaching little
kids to read and write, or do we mean training for a specific job.
At this point a great many people seem to think that education
means the acquisition of a bachelor's degree, which no longer has
any but administrative significance. A "college graduate" used to
be an educated man. Now he is presumed to be basically qualified in
some specific occupation. Anyone is entitled to call anything he
wants whatever he wishes, but if we regard a bachelor's degree as
nothing more than a meal ticket we will have to come up with some
other word for education.
We now have machines to provide us with information, but I find to
my annoyance that these machines cannot give me the answers to any
questions I think important, such as, "What do we mean by
Note the difference between the
rifleman-hunter and the hunter-rifleman. Properly speaking, a man
should be both, but things do not work out that way every time.
There are plenty of citizens who never take their rifles off the
target range, and I have met a number of hunters who can barely
tell one end of the barrel from the other. To each his own, of
course, but the rifleman increases his stature if he hunts, and the
hunter doubles his gratification if he understands the art of the
This from family member
Morgansen of Denver:
"I'm Jewish and I fail to understand how other Jews can
vow 'never again' while opposing the only means by which they can
assure that it never happens again."
Very well said indeed.
Family member Ronin Colman
recently showed us a rare book by Sir Robert Baden-Powell, he of
the baggy shorts and Smokey Bear hat who invented the Boy Scouts.
It turns out that Sir Robert at one time was the preeminent pig
sticker of the Punjab, and his book Pig Sticking tells us
all about the game.
Under no circumstances does one shoot a pig, a beast which a
gentleman must take with cold steel. "Any member who shoots a pig
will be expelled from the club." Well, I have never claimed to be a
gentleman, but I am duly chastised and I will henceforth not shoot
pigs - except under very special circumstances.
"The age of information gives new responsibility to
"If I were king" I would make sure that
no citizen could vote until he had read and understood the
Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States,
the Federalist Papers, and de Tocqueville's "Democracy in
America." No chance of that, of course. Alcibiades was
The combat mind-set, which is an absolute
part of defensive pistolcraft, has a certain parallel importance in
the hunting field. Experienced hunting guides know how frequently
the client simply cannot make the decision to press the trigger on
a live target. This is not a matter of bambiism. The sportsman
would not have undertaken the adventure unless he was emotionally
prepared to kill his game. It is rather that he is mentally
unprepared to do what he came to do. This is not emotion, it is
simply a matter of being on the wrong circuit.
- There is the target -
- The guide says, "That one." Nothing happens.
- The guide says, "Shoot."
- The sportsman says, "Now?"
- The guide says, "Yes. Now shoot."
- And the client again asks, "Now?"
This is not pure fancy. Dalton Carr remarks about it in his new
book, The Bear Hunter,
and I have seen it myself in the
field. The hunt requires mental preparation, which can be acquired
from conversation, schooling, or reading, but which does not come
unannounced out of the blue. The barefoot boy with cheeks of tan
understands it well, but the city slicker who never leaves the
pavement often does not.
Herodotus tells us that the Ancient
Persians did not allow a young man of good birth to attend court or
be noticed until he had learned to ride, shoot straight, AND SPEAK
THE TRUTH. Of course the Ancient Persians knew nothing about modern
Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal
use only. Not for publication.