Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 8, No. 10 September, 2000
Indeed, these are the times that try men's
souls. We mistakenly attributed that to Patrick Henry in a previous
issue, but the author, as several people have pointed out, was
Thomas Paine. I cannot excuse the error, or even promise that it
will not happen again, but regardless of who said it, the message
is one to be taken seriously. The United States of America now
faces the threat of the loss of its sovereignty to the United
Nations Organization. Those people are serious about this, and
there are even traitors in our midst who support their view. Our
own Department of Justice has stated officially for the record that
the Founding Fathers did not mean what they said, and that the Bill
of Rights is effectively invalid. We have used federal military
strength against unarmed citizens who were not even charged with
any sort of felonious transgression. And now we face the threat of
re-instituting the regime in Washington that has countenanced these
atrocities. Trying times indeed!
The effect from the left is serious indeed, at least according to
the media, who report that a majority of American voters are simply
not interested in liberty. Those of us who do so believe stand
amazed and unbelieving at the result of these "polls." Who asks
those questions, and whom do they ask? Nobody we know. Any
individual's personal experience is too trivial to count, but we
have asked around at length and we find no one who asserts that he
will vote left in this next election. But there must be some people
out there who will. We must find them and talk to them. The issue
now is to make a strong attempt to locate one of these people and
turn him around to the path of righteousness. It is hard to hit a
target that you cannot identify, but the attempt must be made. The
Nation is in deadly danger and we must leave no stone unturned. God
save the Republic!
The autumn meeting of the NRA board of
directors was refreshingly "upbeat", considering the peril in which
we stand. NRA membership is now well over four million and
continues to grow. I think this reflects the mood of the times
better than these polls we read about. The head table at Arlington
was roundly applauded by the directorate, and exhorted to work
twenty-six hours a day from now to November to pull the nation back
from the edge of catastrophe. Our financial situation seems more
sound than it has been for many years past, and our various
propaganda campaigns are producing excellent results. Charlton
Heston proposed from the chair that an electoral victory for our
adversaries in November will produce a socialist nation in two
years - but that victory shall not happen. From where I sit
this country has had enough socialism to pass as "socialist" since
FDR. Socialism is a lousy idea based on the notion that the state
is better able to look after people's private affairs than they are
themselves. Sometimes it seems that, Mr. Lincoln to the contrary,
you can fool all of the people all of the time. But perhaps "all"
is not necessary. Perhaps "most" is enough. Well, let us pray that
the unthinkable will not happen and that we will survive this
crisis, as we have survived others from Valley Forge to our defeat
in Southeast Asia. Those who attended the meeting at Arlington came
away refreshed, despite the strong headwinds and heavy seas we now
face. We are now bound to put lesser matters aside and devote all
our energies to victory in November.
On the cheerful side we report that the
good people at Swift Bullet Company now have a proper bullet
suitable for the Dragoon. This is a 270-grain 375-caliber partition
bullet, just right for the 376 Steyr cartridge.
I have no word yet on a 270-grain JTC bullet for the same
cartridge, but this was under development in South Africa at last
You all remember that striking footage
released by Linda Thompson in connection with the Waco atrocity. We
are alarmed to learn that Linda Thompson seems to have vanished and
cannot be reached by any previous address or number. We got this
information from the New American magazine, but we hope that
it is not properly founded. We do not quite yet live in a country
where political opposition simply disappears. If anyone has any
information about this, it would be good to let us know.
It is curious that in the midst of all
this excitement about the Olympics, almost no publicity has been
concerned with the nature and history of the Olympics. How many
"sports fans" know what "Olympic" means? It has always been
interesting to me to note that the contest as originally conceived
was almost ostentatiously non-national. Contestants represented
themselves and not their nation or city state. These city states
were at continuous warfare with one another, but for the duration
of the games borders were opened and hostilities were suspended.
The ancient Greeks esteemed individual excellence above almost
anything else, and they made a strong effort to divorce the games
from current politics.
Times have changed, and sports today sometimes seem to be warfare
"carried out by other means". This is not good, but at least we
should be aware of how things got to be the way they are. That, of
course, is the study of history, and history, in Mason Williams'
immortal epithet, is a thing of the past.
Have you noticed how many people seem to
think that the deal is more important than the product? Such people
would rather get a good discount on a Suzuki Sidekick than to pay
list price for a Ferrari - assuming that they had the cash in
the first place. People with this viewpoint probably wind up
spending less money for a warehouse full of second-rate gadgetry.
To each his own, of course, but my father always maintained that
the quality of the product was more important than the price. If
you cannot afford it, do not buy it, but do not think that you can
deal your way to a better life.
Things proceed on an upward path here at
Gunsite. The changeover to the new concept instituted late last
year has not been without certain difficulty. Trying to run one
school on a marketing basis along side another devoted to superior
output is tricky, but we are getting there, and I think we will
have things pretty well straightened out in the months to come.
Part of this changeover in policy has resulted in the "Masters
Series" of rifle and pistol classes, conducted by me personally six
times a year. The concept here is to expose each student to the
attentions of the very best possible staff instructors, each of
whom is fully qualified to run his own school. We made a couple of
mistakes in trying to run too many people at one time, but that
will not happen again. From now on, the student in the Masters
Series will benefit from the personal attention of a small group of
preeminently qualified Master Marksmen. "Master," of course, means
"teacher," not necessarily expert, but the people we will have in
forthcoming Masters classes will be both master marksmen and master
teachers. Classes will be kept small and attention will be
"Website? Website! We don't need no stinking
To my utter amazement I am informed that
Saburo Sakai's ruined eye has been rebuilt, replaced, and renewed,
and that the great ace can now see perfectly out of both eyes.
Sakai, you will remember, was Japan's foremost fighter pilot, but
was hit in the face by one 30-caliber round from a TBF Avenger he
was pursuing. He made it back to base in fearful agony and was, of
course, taken off full flight duty. When Japan began losing the air
war, he prevailed upon his chiefs to let him fly again, and he saw
action in the Mariannas and over Iwo, where his superior flying
skill was still apparent, despite the loss of his eye.
Saburo Sakai will be in Washington in mid-October, where he will
engage in conversations with Joe Foss. To have these two legendary
air warriors discuss matters face-to-face should prove a truly
I talked to Joe Foss at some length at
the last meeting of the NRA board, and, as always, I learned
various fascinating things. For instance, I had not known that Joe
was a "point shooter" who removed the sight from his airplane after
a friend of his had his face mashed in by the sight on a forced
landing. Joe thereafter simply pointed his airplane reflexively and
thus became the all-time hero of unsighted fire - but I will
not tell anybody in the pistol class about that!
The people at Steyr are under no
obligation to do what I tell them, but I do wish that when they
choose to make major changes in a weapon of my design they would
tell me about it. As an example, they appear to have changed the
composition of the stock on the Dragoon, apparently to strengthen
the rear magazine well, which did have the disconcerting tendency
to drop the reserve magazine if the weapon was improperly mounted
into the shoulder. This has caused an increase in weight of a full
pound. My Dragoon weighs 7 pounds 1½ ounces. Eric Ching's weighs
just over 8. Extra weight does not invalidate a Scout, but it does
diminish the concept.
You have doubtless noted that the factory has almost stopped
advertising the Scout rifle, and I believe this is due to the fact
that the new boss at Steyr is a marketer rather than a shooter.
Witness the fact that we now have a curious artifact known as the
"Poodle Scout" in caliber 223. I now await the Luftscout, which is
an airgun riding in a Scout stock. Well, as I have said before,
I've got mine, and thank you very much.
At this point we are being pestered by
persnickety peccaries. A recent phone call for the Countess
elicited, "She can't come to the phone just now. She's away chasing
wild pigs out of the garden." The Game and Fish people frown on our
popping pigs for the pot, and we always obey game laws, but we are
sore tempted. To quote an old hillbilly reaction, "Who's gonna
As you know, the people usually referred
to as "Neanderthals," but preferably termed "Ancients," disappeared
completely from the record, replaced by what we have called
"Cro-Magnon," or more properly "Moderns." There was nobody around
to tell us how this happened, but I have a theory. I think that the
Moderns wiped out the Ancients by the use of the bow. The Ancients
were stronger and heavier (and smelled worse, if you can believe
the Sasquatch stories), but they fought and hunted at arm's length.
The Moderns seemed to have developed the bow, and though the two
races lived contemporaneously for a while, there is no way a rock
thrower can stand up to an archer. This is just a notion, of
course. Doubtless future digs will illuminate the matter further
one way or another.
Africa is still dangerous, and do not let
any bunny hugger tell you otherwise. Here we learn from family
member Jim Sutherland of Namibia about a group of unarmed
animal watchers who got out of their car to watch the elephants.
The "alpha cow" took offense and avenged Bambi. One tourist was
killed, one was seriously injured, and the third just made it to
cover. The danger in Africa is what makes it Africa. Danger, as we
have always preached, is the spice of life.
I guess one should not watch old movies.
It makes for esthetic sorrow. The Arabs maintain that a beautiful
woman is proof of God's existence. But even the most beautiful
woman must fade with time, if she does not die first. This seems
unkind of God. (Sorry about that.)
We have scheduled our first Safari Prep
course for 5-7 March of next year. This idea has been kicking
around for some time, but now we are going to put it together and
see what happens.
Accounts from Africa suggest that too many people are undertaking
the great adventure without any clear notion of what they are
about. No one, of course, is required to enjoy himself, but it is
certainly unfortunate for people to take the time and money to
attempt the African hunt without reading into the problem. Shooting
is only part of this problem, though certainly an important part.
In the Safari Prep course you will shoot your African rifle, under
field conditions, and you should have details like position
assumption, bullet placement, bullet selection, and sighting system
pretty well sorted out before you take off.
There are several other considerations, not the least of which is
the selection of your outfitter and the type of hunting you wish to
enjoy. Your relationship with your professional hunter is a
delicate one, and no two people will ever approach each other in
exactly the same way. He will do his best to see that you have a
good time, but just what is your idea of a good time?
I suggest that the student in the Safari Prep course be pretty well
qualified with his rifle before he comes to school. We will only be
in session for three days, and we cannot teach rifle marksmanship
in that short a time. Probably you should have a 270 ticket
Gunsite, but the approximate equivalent from Clint Smith will get
you through nicely. It will do no harm to address the problem of
hunting area and weapon selection with us by mail in advance before
you spend money on the wrong things.
There are certain considerations of mind-set in the hunting of big
game, and especially in the hunting of dangerous game. About the
only dangerous animal we are able to hunt today in Africa is the
buffalo, and I do not suggest that you go to Africa with the idea
that it is buffalo or nothing. There are many grand things about
the African hunt, and while a trophy buffalo is certainly a great
goal, such is not necessary to the success of your trip. The notion
that you are only going to do Africa once is misleading. Doing one
African hunt is like eating one salted peanut. It can be done, but
it is hardly satisfying.
So if you are contemplating enjoying the tail-end of one of our
culture's overwhelming personal experiences, come see us here at
school. We will discuss these matters at length, and I think you
will have a better time in Africa. Sign up now.
Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal
use only. Not for publication.