Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 3, No. 13 November, 1995
Indian Summer, 1995
The annual Gunsite Reunion and
Theodore Roosevelt Memorial
held at Whittington Center in
honor of the great man's birthday was even more of a success than
in the past. The shooting, conducted by Rich Wyatt, John Gannaway
and David Kahn, was great fun. The declamations were inspiring, as
always, but perhaps the greatest exhilaration of the meeting was
the sense of unity and comradeship experienced by Orange Gunsite
comrades, who in many instances are forced by circumstance to dwell
amongst the unenlightened.
While most of our people were from various parts of the United
States, we had members from England, Switzerland, and even way up
in Darkest New England.
It is a long, long way to
Whittington, but it is worth it when you get there. The weather was
absolutely gorgeous, at the very peak of the western autumn colors,
and we were troubled by neither heat nor cold nor wind until Sunday
afternoon when we were breaking up.
With all the family
hard at work shooting, it was impossible
for me to single out every distinguished performance, but a couple
that stick in my mind were Finn Aagaard's erasing of two helium
balloons with one shot as they lined up, and Marc Heim's impressive
performance on clay birds with his "Kansas City Special." (That's a
16-inch iron-sighted lever gun in caliber 44 Magnum.) Dr. Manning
Picket also showed off with his open-sighted 350 Magnum, and
daughter Lindy managed to break four in a row on sporting
We had occasion to break out the "Gunsite zeroing target" for the
first time on public display, and, not to my surprise, it worked
very well. I commend this target to all the faithful as the most
efficient thing of its kind I know.
Dan Dennehy treated us to his usual knife throwing demonstration,
as well as to his rendition of "The Lure of the Tropics."
Both Don Davis and Marc Heim showed us how to use a lever-gun from
a Condition 3 Ready, which is a technique not fully appreciated in
the Age of High Tech.
is developing to
astonishing levels, and we are approaching the point where a bound
volume of her collected works may be in order. Prior to that,
however, her prose work, "Wisdom on Cooper," must be put to bed,
published and out on the market.
As always, the wildlife display at Whittington was delightful, with
lots of deer and elk, including one big bull, plus pronghorns and
turkeys. Nobody saw a cougar, but as these cats are becoming less
and less secretive year-by-year we may expect to sight one or more
at the next event of October '96.
The Whittington Center cannot accommodate as many of you as we
might wish, so fix the date for '96 and plan to join us
On a T-shirt we saw at the reunion was
displayed the pungent phrase,
"Visualize no Liberals!"
I have had the opportunity now for a
couple of years to evaluate the Glock pistol with sufficient care
to give me justification in an opinion. I have not used one much
myself, but just enough to know that it is not for me. However, I
have some good friends in law enforcement who have pretty much set
matters straight. My conclusion is that the Glock pistol is a very
good choice for hired hands, but not for serious pistoleros. Its
proper place lies in the public sector, and the dedicated shottist
is rarely found therein. (Note: That is shottist rather than
shootist. Look it up.)
It is with profound sorrow that we must
report the death of our old friend and comrade Milt Sparks, on 8
September 1995. Milt was a man of great talent and he contributed
measurably to American pistolcraft.
He was a good artisan, a good shot, and a good man. He is sadly
We learn that the Chicoms placed an order
for 10 million copies of the AUG with Steyr-Mannlicher. How
interesting that the commies could dream up a demand for 10 million
22-caliber squirt guns! Apparently we will not discover what they
wanted with those pieces since the Austrian government queered the
deal, but if we are now hunting around for the next war, we may
have some hints here. Incidentally, while the American law
enforcement establishment refers to the piece in question as the
AUG (pronounced OG), not too many of our people know what the
letters stand for. AUG signifies Armee Universal Gewehr,
which may be an exaggeration, but no more so than "high power"
tacked onto the 9-millimeter Belgian Browning.
The columnist Tony Snow offers us a good
campaign slogan for the Billary Gang
"We can't fool all the people all the time, but twice
would be nice."
I have almost passed the point at which I
can be shocked anymore, but I was perhaps amazed at a report from
England about a lawsuit brought by a woman against an importer of
toys because when her little boy flung a boomerang it came back and
hit him on the head. Apparently she holds that the package in which
the toy was packed should have contained a statement to the effect
that the instrument actually worked as designed. I suppose the next
step is for someone to sue a gunmaker because when the gun fired it
made a loud noise which startled him.
Perhaps all is not lost. In Washington,
DC, of all places, family member
Bill O'Connor recently
overheard the following comment from the driver of a child-filled
"There are more armed men in the woods on opening day
of deer season in Pennsylvania than there are federal agents, and
that gives me a feeling of great comfort."
Note that the new issue Burris Scoutscope
is distinguished by a slightly enlarged bell at the front end.
There are other structural differences as well, and up til now, the
new glass has demonstrated increased honesty over previous
products. An "honest" telescope is one that does what you tell it,
in both planes, every time. When you dial in "left 4, up 6" that is
what you should get, but all too often you do not. The new Burris,
however, in samples inspected, has been quite satisfactory so far.
We wish it a bright future.
Sometimes I am convinced that the world
is actually getting worse, and it is not just my advanced age which
makes it seem so. Consider the case reported in the shooting
industry magazine of a customer who bought a rifle only to return
it in a matter of days. He claimed that when he fired it and opened
the bolt a piece fell out, and he displayed an empty case to prove
From a recent issue of Tailhook
magazine, we discover that Naval pilots going into the Gulf War
received no training nor familiarization whatever with sidearms.
Furthermore, they were forbidden to bring their own. As one
post-modern bureaucrat sounded off, "This is war! You can't bring
your own guns!"
Of course it maybe adduced that if a flier loses a
30-million-dollar airplane, the taxpayer really should not be
concerned about whether or not he can shoot his way to safety on
the ground. It may, of course, be of some concern to him.
Many years ago I was invited to a conference at the academy in
Colorado Springs on just this point. The colonels sat there and
shot the breeze all day without coming up with an answer to the
question of what a combat pilot needs a pistol for. One school
holds that he should be able to sneak around on the ground and put
chickens in the pot. Another says he should stay on top of his hill
and threaten the bad guys at the bottom until the chopper can come
and pick him up. As many of you know, Goering's answer in World
War II was to supply his combat pilots with beautifully made
"drillings," featuring two shotgun barrels and one rifle. I have no
authoritative accounts about how good an idea this was, but it is a
lot different from those manifest by the Navy in Desert
As to the Vince Foster murder, Hillary
does not want to hear any more about it. So there!
In re-reading McBride for perhaps the
tenth time, we discover again that a heart shot is by no means
necessarily a quick stop. A beast shot through the heart will
always die, and a man nearly always, unless he is wheeled into
thoracic surgery within a couple of minutes, but he will not
necessarily drop when hit. An armed antagonist can frequently shoot
back, and a charging lion may easily bite you dead between the time
the shot is delivered and the victim is no longer able to
From the collected writings I conclude that the larger the caliber
the more quickly a heart shot will stop the action, and this is a
matter of some interest in this day when the governments of the
world seem determined to reduce calibers as much as
At Whittington we had a long and
thoughtful session about the matter of Spc New, the soldier who
maintains that he is not required to fight for the United Nations.
The issue here is the most important one that I can recall during
my lifetime. Can the Commander-in-Chief of American armed forces
order an American fighting man to obey orders issued by a foreign
sovereignty? In all the long history of mercenary soldiering it has
been accepted that a soldier may indeed fight for a foreign power,
but only if he volunteers for that duty. If we follow the example
of the Swiss mercenaries of the Renaissance we discover that the
contract specifically exempted the soldier from the obligation to
fight against his own country. I do not believe any of this has
been taken up properly by the lawmen as of yet. A soldier
absolutely must do what he is told, but what happens if his foreign
commander orders him to fight against his own country?
It appears that our masters in Washington are doing their best to
sweep this matter under the rug, just as they have done with other
recent federal transgressions, but this is a matter of enormous
importance, and we the people must demand an answer.
On the occasion of the recent
demonstration in Washington, engineered by Louis Farrakhan and
others, one of his lieutenants (sporting the unimaginative name of
Khalid Mohammed) is quoted in Human Events as shouting,
"This is the time of blackman's rise and the whiteman's demise."
Being genetically placed on one side of that confrontation, I
apparently have no choice but to join the fray. This being the case
I am reminded of the statement attributed to John Parker at
Lexington on 19 April 1775, to wit: "If they mean to have a war,
let it begin here!"
Daughter Lindy's pseudo-Scout,
constructed by Robbie Barrkman on a Springfield base, worked very
well for her at Whittington, except that the shortened stock
permitted the cocking piece to bang her on the cheek bone. When I
was a lad we were all intimately introduced to the 03 Springfield,
which naturally featured a stock short enough for even very
close-coupled soldiers. We got banged, though I did learn to keep
my thumb over on the right side of the stock out of the way, and to
open my firing hand a tad so that my fingernails would not gouge my
chin. When the rifle is private property, however, and not
government issue, another solution maybe somewhat better. Simply
saw the cocking piece off.
It has long been claimed that the flared cocking piece on the 03,
and the Krag, and some other actions, is a safety feature in that
it deflects hot gas which may result from a punctured primer. I
know from personal experience on the 1917 action that if hot gas
travels back along the striker it ejects from the bolt an inch or
so below the line of sight - even an open sight. I sported a
neat black tattoo on my right cheek for a couple of months to
illustrate this. When asked about it I found it very macho to say
casually, "Blown primer on my 30-06."
I have never worn a really good facial scar, but those who have are
one up on the rest of us, if their narrative is sufficiently
dramatic. The actor, George McCready, was able to say when asked
about a clean white scar on his jaw bone that he got it when he
flipped his Bugatti at LeMans, which is exactly what happened. (At
this point I think the feminists in the group will drop out of the
Arizona T-shirt sign:
"I will rope for beer."
On the subject of Africa, it is not too
soon to start setting up schedules. We are committed to be on
station in Pretoria by 19 March, and to be back here in the states
by 18 April. Just what happens in the interim is yet to be worked
out, but our African adventures have been so totally successful in
the past that we do not foresee any problems.
We are informed that the street scene in Johannesburg is bad and
degenerating, but that is true of any big city you can name. We
expect to get out into the country at once and thus be well clear
of social strife, if any.
As to that, one thing that we have always liked about Africa is
that if you are attacked you may legally defend yourself, which is
not true of London or Toronto or Tokyo.
"The rifleman, being a hunter, naturally always has an
eye, and an ear, for game. The great game movement along the front
took place at night. That in the back areas, of course, could only
be deduced, from daytime observation, and at night became the
business of the artillery and machine guns. But no-man's-land, in
quiet times, was the scene of an almost purely nocturnal life. The
sniper was lucky if, during the day, he spotted a couple of
Germans; but if he really cared for hunting he might have a dozen
pass within as many feet of him at night. He can well afford to
abandon his rifle for this - if he can still find time to get
the necessary sleep. There is nothing just like it for making one
feel at home in the trench areas. To spend the night in a funky
dugout or musty cellar, whether in the front line, supports or
reserves, is like closing the tent-fly at nightfall as soon as you
have made camp on the mountainside overlooking a pleasant -
and unknown - valley. Much better to get outside and see
from A Rifleman Went to War by Captain Herbert W.
Danie van Graan, our good friend from the
Low Veldt, has just shown us an interesting photograph of a Burris
Scoutscope mounted on an Enfield Combat Rifle. The assembly looks
good. It is not a Scout, being overweight and overlong, but it is
handy, powerful and easy to feed. Since it has a full-weight barrel
the base may be fastened thereto with screws with no need for a
custom forward extrusion. We hope to play with this piece next year
in Africa, and we expect that it will prove out well.
Family member Tom Berger sends us
an extract from a piece of fiction called "Flying Finish," by Dick
Francis, which points up a peculiar aspect of post-modern sociology
that I had not thought about before. The idea is that in an
emasculated society there is no accepted outlet for the natural
combativeness of the young male, except in crime. Apparently it is
considered uncouth for a young man to say that he wants to fight,
no matter how much he does. This poses no problem for the
counterculture, whose members grow to adolescence with no ethical
or moral base, but it becomes an increasing affliction for young
men brought up by decent parents. If Louis Farrakhan gets his way,
this difficulty may straighten itself out in fairly short
"This situation has turned congressional hearings into
somewhat of a joke and has made it obvious that federal law
enforcement cannot be expected to investigate itself."
Robert K. Brown in Soldier of Fortune, December
"The government against which our ancestors took up
arms was a mild and distant irritant compared to the federal
scourge that rules us today. Constitutional restraints on tyranny
are to our masters only a hazy memory as they exercise powers
beyond the dreams of history's most famous dictators. Louis the XIV
never required an annual accounting of every centime every
Frenchman earned. He would never have dared then to demand a third
of it in yearly tribute. Ivan the Terrible never told Russian
merchants whom they could or could not hire, nor, heaven help us,
where they could have a smoke."
Jared Taylor, Louisville, Kentucky
"If the wound is large, the weapon with which the
patient has been wounded should be anointed daily: otherwise every
two or three days. The weapon should be kept in pure linen and a
warm place, but not too hot to scald lest the patient suffer
That was written in 1662, and after three hundred years some of our
legislators still insist on treating the weapon rather than the
wound. (We get this from David Kopel at a presentation at the
University of Oklahoma.)
Cross-eyed shooting - that is
shooting right-handed and left-eyed, or vice versa, is not
difficult with a pistol, and it is not much of a problem in
slow-fire rifle shooting. It does become difficult with the rifle
snapshot. The shooter can dim his weaker eye by taping over his
shooting glasses, or by wearing a bandanna or eye patch, but while
these expedients suffice for the target range they are unlikely to
be useful in the field. We can take some comfort from observing
that the snapshot with a rifle is a rare occurrence, but the
problem is still there and I do not have an answer for
All of this "whingeing" (British word)
about our termination of the war in the Pacific is interesting in
view of McBride's observation about his sniping in World
War I. "We killed them when we could and we damned them all to
Hell. They started it and by God we finished it!" This calls to
mind the advice of Gunsite's Grand Patron Theodore Roosevelt to the
effect that you should never start a fight, but once you are in it
you should finish it. This is a principle which a series of recent
American presidents seem to have missed.
Family member and military
historian Barrett Tillman tells us that Jim Coxen, who did a tour
with the 5th Marines, has now been shooting with new devices and
new techniques for sport. He maintains that he wished he had a
Scout rifle up in I CORPS. He feels that he would definitely
have bagged more bad guys. Well sure! Wouldn't you prefer a
properly set up Scout to an M16?
Despite the best efforts of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, we now have access to a photograph of Lon
Horiuchi, who shot Vickie Weaver in the face but who still has not
been brought to justice. Col. Bob Brown ran it down in a West Point
yearbook and it appears on page 38 of the December issue of
Soldier of Fortune magazine. It is not very clear, and it is
twenty years old, but it is better than nothing.
An Indian Summer here in the Arizona
highlands maybe assessed as evidence of God's goodwill to men. We
count our blessings.
Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal
use only. Not for publication.