Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 7, No. 13 December, 1999
I suppose everybody has his Steyr Scout by
now, but if you know anyone who does not, such a piece would make
an elegant Christmas present. If the price thereof is a little high
for your Christmas list, you might consider a case of 45
hardball - for practice. Another cheerful thought is a reserve
telescope sight for your friend's hunting rifle.
We note that the city of Birmingham
(England) has now re-instated Christmas. Two years ago the members
of the city council took it upon themselves to replace Christmas
with "Winterval" on the grounds that celebrating a Christian
holiday might prove offensive to non-Christians. The observation
that an ancient festival of good cheer sanctified by custom
throughout the millennia may possibly hurt somebody's feelings is
evidence of what may happen when you take democracy to extremes.
This mystic veneration of "democracy" is pretty ridiculous. As
Churchill put it, democracy is the worst possible form of
government - except for all the others. Democracy means many
different things to many people, but at its roots it is simply mob
rule, which in itself may cause a plethora of hurt feelings. In any
case, the good people of Birmingham have decided to re-instate the
Christmas holiday. Considering the track record of these people,
this may not be much of a satisfaction to Our Lord and
Our colleague Paul Kirchner has suggested
the foundation of a fraternity for people who actually think.
PWAT makes an unseemly sound, so we thought to take refuge
in our nickel's-worth of "ski Greek." This gives us the acronym
___. There must be at least a couple of dozen people eligible for
Those of you who are considering the
purchase of a Blaser 93 (since Steyr will not undertake the
production of a left-handed Scout) should note that the stock is
probably too long for most people. It is of wood and may easily be
shortened, though this is offensive to certain aesthetes who prize
the ornamental wood that often comes on this weapon. I took an
inch-and-a-half off of mine and rounded the heel, which rendered it
as close to perfect as you are likely to find.
How about this ridiculous capering we see
on the field after the commission of a successful opus! Capering
after victory is essentially a stone-age custom and can hardly be
encouraged at an institution of "higher learning" - whatever
that may be. One of the characteristics of a gentleman is dignity
in triumph. Today, of course, gentlemen are almost as rare as
We would scarcely have believed it, but
colleague Rich Wyatt reports a case study in which a 380 (9mm
Short) achieved complete penetration on a car tire at about 90
degrees impact angle. I cannot recommend that anaemic cartridge for
serious self-defense purposes, but it did puncture that tire.
Better than nothing, I guess.
All this talk about the "millennium" gives
us to wonder what is taught in schools. The Hindus invented zero a
very long time ago and we have been making good use of it ever
since. Today, however, a great number of advertisers and
commentators seem unable to differentiate between a zero and a one.
Using this system, any number that begins a series ends with a one,
not a zero. We will have to wait another year before the beginning
of the Third Millennium, AD.
Zakia Meghji, who is Resource Minister of
Tanzania, reports that 21 people have been scarfed up by lions and
leopards in the Tanga country so far this year. Man-eating leopards
have always been rare in Africa, though reasonably common in India,
so we may assume that man-eating lions have been attracting more
attention recently. There is a place called Marloth Park located in
the valley of the Crocodile River just south of the Kruger Park.
Its residents seem to be utilizing the local lions as curfew
enforcers, which encourages prowlers to stay home at night. Certain
observers have claimed that this is "racist" behavior, though any
connection is pretty darn indirect.
This British outfit that puts out such
publications as "Jane's Fighting Vehicles" and "Jane's
Fighting Ships" has now come up with a new volume listing what
purports to be "terrorist" organizations, and includes Gun Owners
of America and the Citizen's Committee for the Right to Keep and
Bear Arms in this category. Neither Soldier of Fortune
magazine nor the American Pistol Institute is listed, but this may
be simple oversight. As is well known, both GOA and the Citizen's
Committee derive their principles from the Constitution of the
United States and the Declaration of Independence. Thus we are
putting up for listing the US Constitutional Convention in
Philadelphia. We can really see how George IV might well have
considered the establishment of the United States of America as a
terrorist act. After all, we threw all that tea into the harbor at
Defining one's terms becomes more and more complicated in The
Age of Ignorance. There is a strong tendency at this time on
the part of leftist organizations and governments to describe as
"terrorist" any group or act which they dislike. As I see it, a
terrorist is one who murders people (or attempts to) in order to
persuade political groups to change their ways. That is just one
definition, of course.
We have a new item for inclusion in a
list of examples of the tidal wave of ignorance - or
something. It seems that when this airliner was flying over
northeastern Arizona, the pilot pointed out to the cabin that
Meteor Crater could be seen to one side. A stewardess looked out
and saw this for the first time. "Wow!" she cried. "It almost hit
the highway!" So much for a college education.
What with these lions and bears and all,
to say nothing of coyotes, we made two indirect contacts with the
"assault grouse" this year, one in Colorado and the other in
Connecticut. It appears that these beasties when provoked attack
people, though not very effectively. It may be that the "barefoot
boy with slingshot" - a species now extinct - is what has
served over the years to keep wildlife properly wary of human
beings. Certainly this past year has been one for uppity
"Vice is a monster of such fearful mein,
That to be hated needs but to be seen.
Seen too often, familiar with her face
We first endure, then pity, then embrace."
Alexander Pope wrote that about two hundred years ago. As with many
powerful truths, it seems to be timeless.
So far we have logged three strikeouts on
elk. That is to say, three parties of hunters who are friends of
ours never got the safety off during the season. I was of the
impression that the western mountains were crawling with elk at
this time, but if they are, they must be cleverer than those who
A new cartridge has made its appearance
in South Africa, known as the 338 Sabi. It claims to start a
275-grain bullet at 2350 from the long barrel of a conventional
rifle. That compares somewhat to the 376 Steyr, which starts a
270-grain bullet at 2550 from a 19-inch Scout barrel. We are having
a bit of trouble promoting a proper ammunition supply for the 376,
but these things will be worked out in time. As we announced in a
previous issue of this paper, we plan to harvest a bison with that
376 just before Christmas. I expect to dress out the wound channel
(if any) and make appropriate observations.
Shooting Master John Gannaway recommends
that anyone contemplating purchase of a 376 Dragoon put at least a
thousand rounds of 308 through his Scout before acquiring the 376.
The recoil of a seven-pound 308 is brisk. That of a seven-pound 376
is more so.
Many years ago Theodore Roosevelt
expressed his annoyance with the notion of "hyphenated Americans."
Any American who wishes to qualify himself thus is not a member of
our team. All of us American citizens derived our cultural
inheritance from other lands, and not so very long ago in the
historical context. To hyphenate one's Americanism is to imply that
Americanism as such needs qualification. This is a bad attitude,
and we believe that those who hold it should think seriously about
We learn that our current glorious leader
is contemplating the construction of a library dedicated to his
accomplishments. We suggest that Hugh Hefner contribute one hundred
full sets of Playboy magazine (since its inception) to the
reading room of this establishment.
We recently read the narrative of a
Japanese naval ensign who rode the Yamato down to Okinawa and was
left in the water when that super-ship was sunk. Curiously enough,
the Yamato was not hammered to pieces by opposing titans, but was
rather pecked to death from the air, rather as if a tiger were to
be done in by a flock of crows. The aircraft that got the Yamato
were all single-engined-torpedo planes, dive bombers, and fighters
(TBM, SB2C, F6F). All these aircraft carried bombs of various
sizes, but the report from the doomed ship speaks most impressively
of the effect of airborne machine guns on topside personnel. The
TBM carried two Browning 50s, the F6F six of the same, and the SB2C
four 20s. These guns effectively chewed the topside of the great
ship into shreds.
That great 50-caliber BMG, another creation of John Browning's
genius, was still being called "the Queen of the Battlefield" in
the Gulf War.
That is a hard act to follow.
We learn of a farmer who actually
attempted to defend himself against hoodlums in Britain. As you
might suppose, he is in deep trouble. In England it is against the
law to fight back. It would be nice if Schumer would get that
message, but I doubt if it would take in his case.
There are many ways to assess the
competence of the hunter, but I think that the dimensions of his
trophy are a distinctly secondary index. High up on the list is the
distance at which the shot was taken - the shorter, the
better. The hunter who lucks out on a shot longer than he should
have taken ought never to brag about it. Probably the only valid
reason for taking a long shot on game is to prevent the escape of
an animal already wounded. I have done this once on buffalo, and
while I was highly pleased with the result, I must admit that the
range, while far greater than normal on buffalo, was still within
my marksmanship capacity, shooting from sitting position with the
sling looped on. Also, I was shooting a very powerful rifle, and
the target was large. In my opinion, these 400-yard shooters should
confine their discussions to bars.
Another consideration in hunter's skill is how far the carcass had
to be hauled. The more skillful the hunter, the less haulage
The Discovery Channel has announced that
there are now four hundred thousand snoop cameras in the hands of
the British police. According to the release, they are there "for
the protection of the people and to control terrorism." George
Orwell's "1984" has arrived.
Big Brother is really watching you.
If you are inclined to use a Glock, bear
in mind that this piece calls for a stiff wrist for reliable
function. If fired from a limp wrist, it may well not fire. We had
a case in point recently here in Arizona involving a law
enforcement officer who was able to get off one shot, but not
Colleague Paul Scarlatta, writing in
Magnum magazine, implies that the Steyr Scout is the "Rolls
Royce of Scout Rifles." The assumption here is that there is a
whole class of rifles known as scouts, which is not clear to me. I
have written up the evolution of the scout concept on several
occasions, and it seems to me that at this time we have in
existence the pioneer scouts (mainly constructed here at Gunsite),
the Steyr Scout, and the Savage Scout, which last is simply an
economy version of the general idea. Personally I would not select
the Rolls Royce as an example of "getting what you pay for." One
can get a better car than a Rolls Royce for less money -
depending upon what he means by "better" - but one cannot buy
a better rifle than a Steyr Scout for less money. If you build your
own, you spend more and get less.
Colleague and family member
Barrett Tillman opines that a majority of Americans will opt for
comfort over liberty, if it comes to that. That indeed may be the
case, but even if we good guys are in truth a minority, we are a
strong minority, and we have the better cause to fight
Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal
use only. Not for publication.