Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 2, No. 1 1 January 1994
Happy New Year
We were certainly happy to be able to put
1993 behind us, doubtless the worst year we can remember. From
Belfast to Bosnia, from Somaliland to Ceylon, from Korea to Kabul,
from Gotham to Gunsite, and from Waco to Washington, it was a year
we do not wish to dwell better, since it could hardly be worse. Let
us see to it.
The bright spot of `93 was our great Gunsite Reunion honoring
Theodore Roosevelt's birthday at the Whittington Center in New
Mexico. We already have plans for the next event in `94 and we hope
that this will be the beginning of a great tradition.
Nineteen ninety-four is the centennial of
the great Winchester lever-action 30-30, one of the outstanding
artifacts of modern times One correspondent has suggested that it
should be replaced in its tactical niche by the Russian SKS in
caliber 7.62x39, but somehow we tend to resist this notion. Among
other things the SKS is clumsy, and its appearance aggravates the
hoplophobes. I do not wish to sound chicken in this matter, but one
of the nice things about the Model 94 is its innocent "Old West"
appearance. If John Wayne loved it, it's got to be good.
The forthcoming SHOT show in Dallas may
show us various new things. Steve Hornady has promised us a
"quantum leap" in loaded rifle ammunition, and the IPSC booth will
display a Belgian assembly of existing parts which is intended to
serve as a prototype for practical rifle competition. Doubtless
there will be many other things of note, and we will report upon
them in the next issue of this paper.
Speaking of the Hornady operation, we
regret to report that they are no longer manufacturing the
excellent jacketed-truncated-cone (JTC) bullet for the 45 auto.
This was the best projectile for this cartridge so far seen, and it
has been our mainstay for duty operations for lo these many
It seems to be a principle of our modern industrial society to
cease producing anything good as soon as it is discovered to be
good. This may be the result of a general philosophy in sales to
cause the consumer to grab whatever it is he likes at once before
it is taken off the market. I can think of a dozen examples in the
firearms field, and scores more throughout industry in general.
"If it is good, get it now. It won't be here
This Russian patriot Zhirinovsky now
claims that Russia should reclaim Finland, Poland, the Baltic
states, and Alaska. Much as our State Department enjoys giving in
on all points suggested by European claimants, I do not think we
should let Zhirinovsky have Alaska, which is our national game
preserve. On the other hand, in the true spirit of negotiation,
maybe we should make him an offer. Chick Hastings suggests that we
offer him the District of Columbia, New York City, and San
Bambi's revenge continues. We read of a
sportsman who got scooped up by a crocodile in Northern Australia,
and of a gent who was done in by a nilgai down on a game farm in
Texas. I do not think, however, that the beasties stand to win in
the long run. There are too many of us and too few of
and long-time Orange
Gunsite staffer, Dr. Lloyd Pond of New Mexico, has sometimes
pointed out that the advantages of the Weaver Stance over the
isosceles are attributable to basic anatomical geometry. Now we get
further corroboration from Dr. Edward P. Jastram, III of Montana:
"It turns out that the reflexive facilitation
inhibition patterns of gait involve the muscles of the shoulder
girdle and upper extremities as well as those of the lower, and
that the precision with which one may use his muscles specific for
stability, trigger and recoil control is position
I am not sure I fully understand that, but I have seen the Weaver
Stance prevail and have taught it ever since its invention by Jack
Weaver and its analysis by John Plahn so many years ago. Now it
appears that the notion can be said to be "medically
Let us not fail to celebrate Dan Dennehy's
birthday on 15 January. This is a National Gunsite Holiday
and all family members are authorized to take the day
From our enemies in the media we learn
that the passage of the Brady Bill, while admittedly a totally
ineffectual measure, was nonetheless a victory because it
diminished the power of the National Rifle Association. From our
standpoint, it is hard to believe that it did. It made Congress,
not the NRA, look silly. But mostly it made these hoplophobic news
commentators look even sillier. These people remind us of the
spoiled child who threatens to hold his breath until he turns blue
if he does not get his way, whether or not his way makes any
sense - even to him.
From family member Bob Budz the following:
"Big Brother is now here - and look, he is
Of course not all pundits are our
enemies. Joe Sobran is a strong warrior on our side. Consider the
following, extracted from his column appearing on 12 December in
the Washington Times.
"Because the state can no longer protect us from crime,
it wants to take away from us the means of protecting ourselves.
This is the logic of gun control."
"In short, we - or our rulers, at any rate - now make law
lawlessly. Bill Clinton wants to license all handguns in the United
States. He affects not to know that the Second Amendment forbids
the federal government to infringe our right to keep and bear arms.
He doesn't ask, because he doesn't care, where the federal
government gets the lawful power to require the licensing of guns.
He thinks it has the actual political power to do it, and for him
that is all that counts."
"So law-abiding citizens are left at a disadvantage - caught
between a criminal class that disdains the law and a ruling class
that disdains the Constitution."
That is beautifully put and, we hope, widely read.
From South Africa we hear of a most
curious example of gun theft. In South Africa, as you know, a lost
firearm is a serious matter before the law and the bereaved owner
must be able to prove to the satisfaction of the authorities that
he had manifested no contributory negligence. It turns out that a
shooter from Durban many years ago had his P35 stolen. But just
last month he was notified by the police that it had been
recovered. When he went down to pick up his pistol he first
maintained that it was not his, since it was quite a bit different
from the piece he had lost. The police insisted that it had to be
his because the numbers matched. Upon further examination the man
noted that most things about the weapon had been improved,
including sights, speed safety, and stock. It was also cleaner and
in better shape than when he had lost it. This is one of the most
curious stories I have heard. One certainly does not think of a
thief as being a pistolero, but then who knows what the odyssey of
that pistol may have been? Somebody along the line had an
appreciation of good equipment. One wonders if he will turn up to
congratulate the original owner.
I continue to get good reports about the
Para-Ordnance 45 Auto. I have not yet used it to the extent
necessary to form an opinion, but I will talk to the people at SHOT
and see what the latest developments are.
In this degenerate period in the life of
the republic, I most strongly urge all responsible people to find a
copy of the Constitution of the United States and to read the Tenth
Amendment thereto with great care. I have not yet heard it proposed
that legislators and executives who are ignorant of the supreme law
of the land may be charged with "political malpractice," but it is
high time that someone brought this up.
Back in the Dark Ages
when I was
but a lad, the following advice about the military services was
"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 Marines."
That advice may no longer be applicable in the Billarial
administration, but those people now in the White House will not be
around forever - much as it may seem so with every passing
It now appears that I will be chatting
with Gordon Liddy again on the air on Monday, 7 February. I enjoyed
our session last fall and I look forward to exchanging ideas again
with a man of courage. He who is able to look the power of the
state squarely in the eye without flinching is all too rare in
the Age of the Common Man.
A couple of years ago we coined the
appellation, "Preoccupation with Inconsequential Increments," or
PII. This peculiarity lies in attributing importance to measurable
deviations so small as to be meaningless. You see it in the people
who shoot test groups in rifles, awarding a prize to a group which
is only thousandths of an inch smaller than those unrewarded. One
sees it in speed records awarded in one-thousandths of one
mile-per-hour. One sees it in basketball scores which, nearing the
century mark, are separated by less than three points. In all such
cases Score A is "better" than
Score B, but who cares?
An increment may be termed inconsequential when it has no
significant relationship to the purpose of the exercise. Of course
if the purpose of the exercise is in itself inconsequential some
may not think this to be foolish. A very distinguished general at
Quantico once caused the sign to be placed over the exit door of
every office asking, in brilliant scarlet and gold, "What are you
trying to do?" There was a man who knew more about human nature
"Jeff Cooper's Commentaries," a sort of
zamizdat Gunsite Gossip from behind the rice curtain here at
Gunsite, is furnished regularly to both Guns & Ammo
magazine and the current owner of the Gunsite Training Center. It
is not available by subscription, due to the terms of the sale of
the ranch, but appears to be much in demand. If you like it, show
it to a friend. If he likes it, he may show it to a friend. This
way I may still put out the word.
The next time you kill a buffalo bear in
mind this recipe that I recently ran across in an old English
cookbook: "Take the heavy thigh bones and roast them in the coals
until they crack; then carefully spoon out the marrow, season it
with salt and cayenne, and spread the mixture on toast." Funny I
never ran across that before!
Riflemaster and longtime Orange Gunsite
stalwart, Larry Larsen, has joined the Babamkulu adventure for May
of this year and he faces that delightful quandary about which
rifle to take. He will not be hunting buffalo or elephant, so he
does not need a heavy (with which Gunsite would provide him as
holding the Gunsite Expert Badge.)
His choice is therefore between the 30-06 220 and the 350 250
("Fireplug.") Either will do very well in the hands of a master
marksman, so there is really very little to discuss. However, if
Larry scores in Africa with his Fireplug he will then rate a
Fireplug pin with a blood-red center. On the other hand, if he
scores with the 30-06, he will be in a position to promote
conspicuous international amity by leaving his ammunition behind.
Fireplug ammunition is useless in Africa, since there are no
weapons there to take it, but that is certainly not true of 30-06,
which has been world-standard since before I was born.
In either case Larry will rate the brassard of the Gunsite
African Rifles, which really dresses up one's
Joe Sobran, the columnist we mentioned
previously, has come up with a nifty epithet for that zoological
accretion with which Bill and Hillary have surrounded themselves in
the White House, to wit: "The gaffe menagerie."
"That circus in DC would be funny if it didn't hurt so
The Nazis may have left us the Volkswagen
and the freeway, but they have also handed us a nasty little
terminological keepsake in the term "Assault Rifle." As you
doubtless know, the Germans decided that they had to have something
better for their tank-riders in Russia than either the G98 Mauser
or the MP40 Schmeisser, the one being too clumsy and slow to fire,
and the other, in 9mmP, under-powered. So they came up with a sort
of hybrid piece splitting the difference. This was first called the
MP (for Maschine Pistole) 44, but since it did not take a pistol
cartridge but rather a shortened 8mm rifle cartridge, they changed
its name to StG44 for "Sturmgewehr" which is literally translated
as "assault rifle." When the Soviets picked over the wreckage of
the Third Reich they really cottoned to the idea of the Sturmgewehr
and came up with the Kalashnikov family of similar characteristics
but using a different cartridge. This, of course, was the AK47.
Weapons of this sort have a definite utility in armored warfare,
though it is distinctly specialized. However, the Soviets and their
satellites produced the AK47 and subsequent clones in such vast
numbers that this piece is now world-standard from Beirut to the
Bronx. Its tactical characteristics are not as important as its
title. "Assault Rifle" is something the hoplophobes can really get
hold of and wave around, whether or not they have any idea of what
they are talking about - which usually they do not. So I guess
we can attribute part of our problem here in the period of
Clintomania to German ingenuity - not to the weapon itself,
but to its title. Thanks a lot!
An Italian correspondent, viewing the
current situation here at Gunsite, opined that the new owner had
bought the box and thrown away the contents. This puts it very
well. Italian is not only a beautiful language, but also a very
One Jun Yamasaki, a Japanese bureaucrat,
observes pungently that:
"When a rabbit raised in a zoo is suddenly kicked out
into the wild, it is likely to be eaten."
There is a man of perceptivity!
Family member Mike Cox, who is now
stationed in Saudi Arabia, recently took advantage of geography to
split down to Africa for a bit of hunting. I understand his reasons
for this, but he did make what I consider to be a couple of
mistakes. He decided to hunt buffalo on his first venture, and to
use a borrowed piece when he got there. He also had not come to
rifle school, though presumably he knew how to shoot.
His outfitter handed him a 375. Now this cartridge may be world
standard and certainly has killed innumerable buffalo, but it is
not a proper buffalo gun.
Mike's first shot was perfectly placed in the shoulder, but as is
not uncommon, the buff took no notice of it and disappeared into
thick thorn. Mike then proceeded to short-stroke his rifle and jam
it up tight. The PH immediately swapped the jammed 375 for his 458.
With the second shot the buff went down and the hunter proceeded to
short-stroke that one. The buff then got up and Mike shot him twice
more with the 375, concluding the action. The range was about 12
paces and both hunters well and truly had blood on their shoes.
Now this was very exciting, and turned out well, but it makes two
points. One, work that bolt, in front of your televisor, for at
least a month before you take off. And two, use enough gun for
To complete his adventure, Mike went up to Vic Falls where he had a
run-in with a bunch of baboons. The ape chieftain, feeling his band
threatened by a man without a gun, started throwing rocks. I have
always been under the impression that while apes can throw things,
they cannot throw them accurately since their brains are not
arranged that way. In this case, however, Mike said that a couple
of rocks about the size of softballs flew by close aboard. Mike
happened to be wearing a sheath knife, and when he drew it, it
seemed to get the attention of the ape. He threatened with his
teeth, but chose not to close to hand-to-hand distance.
I do not recount this to embarrass good old Mike, but only to point
out that there are things to be learned about the African bush even
today in the Age of the Wimp
Prayer for 1994:
"Let each man get what he deserves."
Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal
use only. Not for publication.