Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 5, No. 1 January, 1997
So here we are in the new year, the
acknowledgment of which is always a matter of good cheer for the
optimists and gloom for the pessimists. Our best advice is to
ignore the scruffy and extol the exemplary. This is not easy, of
course, since that which constitutes news is uniformly bad, while
good behavior does not attract attention. We can do it, however, if
we put our minds to it. 1997 will probably not rid us of the
Billary menagerie nor of O.J. Simpson, but game management
continues to be successful, automobiles continue to improve, South
African wines continue to delight the palate and Lindy's new book
has taken off like the proverbial big bird. In regard to this last,
I must repeat that the book was not my idea. I did not write it nor
edit it. I do not own the copyright, and I have no copies for sale.
This is Lindy's operation exclusively, and all I can do is sit back
We have never been enthusiastic about the
use as a battle round of the 223, which is essentially a varmint
cartridge, and our view is shared by most of the people who have
used the M16 in close combat. However, we ran across an amusing
anecdote from Vietnam which suggests that there are two sides to
most questions. It appears that this marine sergeant became
involved in a short-range daylight firefight in which his people
were supported by two M48 tanks mounting 90 millimeter guns. As
things developed the sergeant noticed a gook a short way off armed
with a bazooka (RPG), which was aimed precisely at one of the
supporting tanks and well within rocket range. The sergeant assumed
a classic offhand firing position, right elbow high, left elbow
under the piece, and with his weapon placed properly in the
semi-automatic mode, he squeezed off his single round. At precisely
that moment, the other tank, having noticed the same gook, touched
off one round of 90 millimeter main battery ammunition, but there
was so much going on at the time that the sergeant was not aware of
the tank round. The gook was totally scrambled, and our marine
looked wonderingly down at his little poodle shooter in amazement.
"Jeez!" he said.
It may indeed be time to plan another
scout conference - to be held this year. The YO Ranch in
the Texas hill country has been suggested as a site, which can
provide both conference facilities and a bit of shooting. If this
activity indeed comes to pass, I propose the following agenda,
which is fully tentative and open to all suggested corrections and
- The history of the concept
- Actions other than bolt
- Sighting systems
- The shooting sling
- Magazine capacity
I clearly have no copyright on the term "scout rifle,"
a great many people have seized upon the term and put it to what I
consider to be erroneous use. However, I am convinced by now that
the scout concept has proved itself in the field, and that everyone
who has taken this weapon into serious action is convinced that
this, indeed, is the way a rifle should be.
Still, we do not have a perfected example, but its evolution is a
truly worthwhile project.
From family member
Don Davis we get
George Contor's Law of Conservation of Ignorance,
"A false conclusion once arrived at and widely accepted
is not easily dislodged, and the less it is understood the more
tenaciously it is held."
Put in the vernacular, we might repeat the old saw, "My mind is
made up. Don't confuse me with the facts!"
We read a notice from Canada to the effect
"The purpose of anti-gun legislation is to establish
criminal supremacy over the citizen by awarding the goblins the
status of being the sole armed caste of the
The publisher has gone on to state that the time has come to ask
ourselves what is behind all this.
Well, we know what motivates the hoplophobe. He simply envies the
man who can cope where he, the hoplophobe, cannot. A skilled, armed
man lives on a plane of security and contentment different from
that of others. This is not egalitarian! The man who cannot cut it,
envies, fears and sometimes hates the man who can. This is all very
clear, it is just a pity that so many people choose to hide their
perfidious motivation behind what they claim to be "crime
From England we hear of a lady on the way
to attend a theater performance who was accosted with the snarl,
"What innocent, helpless creature had to die so that you could wear
that fur coat?" Answer, "My mother-in-law."
I find it curious that various people find
time to write me to the effect that popularity equates to
rectitude. This has to do with my expressed annoyance of the
barbarism of using the word "decimate" to signify "devastate." It
seems to me essentially presumptuous to publish a lexicon in the
first place, and, of course, we find that lexicographers disagree
amongst themselves. The notion that if enough people do things
wrong that will make a wrong into a right is essentially immoral.
To say that a good many people use the word decimate incorrectly,
and that therefore it is all right, is to justify such other
phenomena as lying, infidelity, and public indecency. A decimal is
a decimal. See "decimal point."
I was wrong about that "decimation" in the
Texas War, as a number of correspondents have hastened to tell me,
but I am not wrong about the correct use of the word.
We note with some dismay in Bill Buckley's
National Review that the consensus of observers is that
South Africa is going to crash after Mandela dies. Nelson Mandela's
effective beatification has led many to believe that he has
succeeded in solving South Africa's serious social and racial
problems. He is not immortal, however, and the people around and
behind him do not give the impression that they are the proper crew
to achieve "peace in our time."
I hope the Buckley paper is wrong, but I still advise friends who
intend to make that African trip to go now, even if they have to
borrow the money.
Anyone who studies the matter will reach
the conclusion that good marksmanship, per se, is not the key to
successful gunfighting. The marksmanship problem posed in a
streetfight is ordinarily pretty elementary. What is necessary,
however, is the absolute assurance on the part of the shooter that
he can hit what he is shooting at - absolutely without fail.
Being a good shot tends to build up this confidence in the
individual. Additionally, the good shot knows what is necessary on
his part to obtain hits, and when the red flag flies, the
concentration which he knows is necessary pushes all extraneous
thinking out of his mind. He cannot let side issues such as fitness
reports, political rectitude, or legal liability enter his mind.
Such considerations may be heeded before the decision to make the
shot is taken, and reconsidered after the ball is over; but at the
time, the imperative front sight, surprise break must prevail.
Thus we have the paradox that while you almost never need to be a
good shot to win a gunfight, the fact that you are a good shot may
be what is necessary for you to hold the right thoughts - to
the exclusion of all others - and save your life. This may
come as a shock to a good many marksmanship instructors, but I have
studied the matter at length and in depth, and I am satisfied with
The SHOT Show is upon us now, and we hope
to learn much that is new and interesting thereat. There should be
discussion of new products, and beside that, the occasion will
afford the opportunity to renew all sorts of pleasant contacts from
both stateside and abroad. We will take notes and keep you
Note that our old friend Jim Cirillo has
just released his long awaited book entitled "Guns, Bullets and
Gunfights." Jim's vast experience as a street cop is well
expressed here, though his multicultural New York accents - of
which he commands at least six - cannot be done full justice
on the printed page. Jim Cirillo was the grandfather of the famed
April Fool joke, which I have sometimes recounted myself, though
with nothing like the expertise that ol' Jim can give it. "Guns,
Bullets and Gunfights" is a welcome addition to the reference
library of any fully qualified pistolero.
"A MiG at your six is better than no MiG at all."
Anonymous F4 pilot in Stephen Coonts' book "War in the
Well, there speaks an honest-to-God aviator!
Again we recommend to you "Unlimited
Access" by Gary Aldrich. It is unhappy reading, but it is
absolutely necessary for an understanding of the workings of the
Clinton menagerie. The American people voted those sleazemasters
in, by due process, and in so doing they committed a deadly insult
to our forefathers who made this country great. It is too easy to
shrug the matter off with the opinion that politicians are
basically unsatisfactory people. This outfit we now have in the
White House is much worse than that. According to Aldrich -
and I take his word for it - the prevailing mood in the White
House is fear - not fear of death, as with Stalin - but
simply fear of losing one's job. And these White House staff jobs
do not even pay very well. The staffing policy appears to be to
bring in battalions of incompetent camp followers and then threaten
to throw them out again.
Having digested Aldrich twice, I conclude that Lucrezia Borgia ran
a considerably more respectable court than Hillary Clinton. At
least no one ever asserted that Lucrezia was a
Not long ago an old friend from Southern
California cut us a snippet from the Los Angeles Times which
presented a list of "Good Things To Do," setting forth various
experiences which the author deemed contributory to a happy and
fulfilled life. We read it over and, not surprisingly, we did not
agree. Just what constitutes the good life is obviously a matter of
opinion and, fortunately, people have different opinions. However,
the exercise is rather fun. So I sat down to tally up a list of my
own, which turned out as follows:
GOOD THINGS TO DO
- Hike the Grand Canyon
- Hike the Pass of Roland between Gavarni and Roncevalles
- Watch the sun rise on the Parthenon from the Piraeus
- Climb the Washington Monument
- Top the Statue of Liberty
- Grow your own vegetables
- Execute a split-s in a light 'plane
- Learn French
- Learn Latin
- Study Greek
- Pole up the Okavango River in a mocorro
- Visit the Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caidos (Castile)
- Memorize Kipling's "If"
- Cut five hot laps on the Nurburgring in a fast car
- Play the Royal and Ancient at St. Andrews
- Hook, fight, land, clean and cook a prime salmon or steelhead
(or a mahseer in India or a tiger on the Zambezi)
- Land a tarpon on a fly rod
- Design and build a house
- Spend a night completely alone in the wilderness
- Shoot, dress, haul out, butcher and cook your own venison
- Spend the afternoon in the Hofbräuhaus (München)
- Watch a great matador earn both ears and the tail
- Spend a weekend at the Connaught (London)
- Plan, select, prepare and serve an elegant dinner for six
- Dine at the Horcher in Madrid (I would have suggested the
Walterspiel in Munich, but that is no longer there)
- Ski at Grindelwald opposite the Eiger
- Attend an opera at La Scala Milan
- Attend the Festpiel at Salzburg
- Attend the Wagnerfest at Bayreuth
- Take luncheon at Boschendal
- Sit out a storm at Cape Point (South Africa)
- Attend Men's Singles Finals at the Center Court at
- Write a sonnet
- Watch the Palio at Siena
What say we have a friendly little
Schützenfest on the 4th of July at Ravengard? I have a couple of
artifacts for which I can foresee no possible use, but which might
make jolly good prizes.
I suppose all sports fans are aware of
the case in which some Texas stripper claimed that she was "raped
at gunpoint" by a member of the Dallas football team. What a quaint
notion! The technical procedures involved in rape at gunpoint would
seem exotic, to say the least. How does one do that?
As it turns out the whole thing was a hoax, which is not unusual in
the circles involved, but it is curious that nobody in the press
thought to ask any questions about that.
The United Nations has always impressed
us as a frivolous extravagance, but sometimes it can be dangerous.
Note that now there is a move afoot in the UN to disarm all
"civilians," who constitute an obstacle to good government.
Naturally, none of the little two-bit principalities that make up
the majority in the UN have any interest in political liberty. Your
normal Third World bigshot regards his position mainly as a means
of enriching himself, and naturally the notion of an armed
peasantry upsets him. The thing is, those people are a majority,
and they may be able to obtain decisive assistance from hoplophobes
in major powers (such as Britain) and this could result in some
very serious infringements - such as the total prohibition of
international trade in smallarms. At this time I do not have any
real notion of how powerful this foolishness is or may become, but
it is there on the horizon. Take heed! Another such piece of
oppressive regulation appears much closer to home -
specifically in the Bureau of Land Management of the United States
federal government. Some bureaucrat therein has suggested a total
prohibition on the discharge of any firearm within 150 yards of any
habitation or structure on BLM land. (Why 150? Who knows!)
Now why do these busybodies come up with foolishness like this? Is
it that "civilians" (here's that dirty word again) have been doing
things on BLM land which are endangering the republic and giving
rise to various forms of health hazards? I cannot think of a single
action which might be covered by this proposal that needs
government restriction. We already have a plethora of laws
forbidding murder, assault, criminal negligence, and property
damage. (Interestingly enough we do not have laws against shooting
other hunters by mistake.) Apparently the people at BLM do not have
enough to occupy their time. Perhaps the bureau is ripe for
I have wondered a bit about the purpose
behind the handheld laser range finder in the hunting field. I do
not remember having the opportunity to take a range reading while I
was getting ready for a shot, but if I had I do not know what
difference it would have made. If you have a good rifle and a good
zero, you hold right on out to the point where your group size is
too large to be risked. However, we have now discovered an answer.
These lasers are a great means of measuring the distance after your
animal is down, which is frequently difficult or impossible in
certain kinds of terrain. Also it obviates "short pacing" -
not that any of us would ever be guilty of such a thing (!).
We are shipping the Bushnell offering off to Africa shortly, where
it should prove most useful.
My professional correspondence includes a
full measure of after-action reports, which I prize very highly,
since only by continuous evaluation can I maintain the quality of
my research. However, we do need an improved level of report
writing. To the standard journalists' queries of who, what, when,
where, how and why.
- What range?
- How many shots fired?
- How many hits achieved?
- With what effect?
- What cartridge?
- What bullet?
- What firing position?
- What mode of fire?
Please, amigos, keep the reports coming, and please fill in the
At least one major gun store in our big
town has now instituted a procedure which radically increases its
security. An unobtrusive but flashing blue light is turned on
whenever Gunsite graduates (Orange Gunsite, of course) are present
on the floor. The goblins may not know the significance of the
signal, but staff and customers know that all is well.
We have discovered a marvelous use for
the laser pistol sight. It is a nifty toy for pet dogs, who can
spend many happy hours chasing that orange dot all over the living
We have been informed by our friends in
the UK that it was not the Guinness Brewery in Dublin that was
compelled to list as taxable income the two complimentary pints
each worker rates per day. It was the Guinness Brewery in London
that was required to commit this atrocity, which unfortunately
tends to confirm the generally held opinion of the English by the
The awarding of military decorations is a
subject open to considerable philosophical discussion. Different
cultures in different nations have instituted various ways of
honoring heros, by military medals in modern times. What it is that
is honored differs conceptually from country to country - in
the US we put a premium on suffering, while the Germans primarily
reward damage done to the enemy. The renowned French Croix de
Guerre was issued in both world wars and one notable British-French
heroine was awarded it twice. Mary Lindley, Comtesse de
Millevilles, was a nurse in WWI and an escape agent in WWII, and
she distinguished herself. But she refused both medals, on the
grounds that the medals were rewards for bravery, and that she
could not be brave since she did not know how to be afraid.
Aristocracy has its points!
"Today's challenge is to raise a new generation of
Americans who treat their fellow citizens with dignity and respect,
a new generation that struggles for freedom - the very rock on
which this nation was built. If that's the challenge, I have just
the family for you. An American family committed to safety,
responsibility and freedom. This American family - the NRA.
When this American family wins, America wins."
Tanya K. Metaksa, Executive Director NRA-ILA
Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal
use only. Not for publication.