Jeff Cooper's Commentaries

Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 3, No. 15          December 1995

Winter Solstice

According to the politically correct (for that read "Cravenly Intimidated") it is now considered unsatisfactory to make a fuss over Christmas. Christmas, after all, is a celebration both elitist and Eurocentric. One of the cards we just received greeted us in four languages, three of which mentioned Christmas specifically, while the other in English did not, wishing us only "Season's Greetings." To find a prefabricated Christmas card today which actually says Merry Christmas on it is quite difficult. Another sign of the times, it would seem. Be that as it may, we take this means to wish you all in the Orange Gunsite Family a Very Merry Christmas and a Full Measure of Joy in the Celebration of the Birth of the Redeemer. Those others whose political or religious faiths prevent them from sharing our joy at this season elicit our sympathy, but not to the extent to have us change our traditions.

It is pleasant to learn from Don Mitchell that his new pistol, which bears my signature, seems to have been enthusiastically received at the recent trade show. Naturally, I think it was a step worth taking - otherwise I would not have signed it. There is always a risk of difficulty between conception and execution, but the pilot model seems very well made indeed, and it does embody a series of significant improvements.

I was amused recently to discover that rumor now has it that my material is "ghost written" - that is to say that I do not write it. This is fascinating. If I do not write my own material I cannot but wonder who does. Someday I would like to meet him.

Our good neighbor Bob Young informs us of a recent case in Connecticut in which an adolescent male shot himself in the genitals when he tried to show his girl friend the sawed off shotgun in his britches. The technique he employed escapes me, since the news account does not draw any diagrams, but I suppose where there is a will there is a way.

When the police showed up, they arrested the victim on suspicion of reckless endangerment and illegal discharge of a firearm, there being no offence on the books entitled "self-castration." He was held on $100,000 bail, presumably to prevent his running off before trial, which seems to us an unlikely development.

If we need further evidence of the depravity to which our culture has sunk, consider this: At a recent "high power" rifle match held at the Marine Base at 29 Palms, two "greenchicks" showed up to compete - accompanied by their respective "fancy men." I suppose we should hope that the boys are good cooks.

Now Dan Wesson offers the "445 Super Mag" revolver. What one is supposed to do with such a piece is not explained, but whatever it is it might be fun to try.

In further pursuit of the "dumbing down" of America it now appears that you can be considered to have scored a perfect score on the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) even if you commit four mistakes. Here we have a concept which goes beyond the realm of education and into that of theology. A "perfect" paper must be free from any mistakes whatever. Any error renders it, by definition, less than perfect. I do not know who comes up with exercises like this, but it would certainly indicate that at least some responsible members of our educational establishment no longer pay any real attention to what they say. We have noticed this in conversation, but we are still somewhat surprised to see it extended to the matter of scholastic aptitude.

(We get this exotic information from the excellent newsletter put out by family member Doctor Arthur B. Robinson, President of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.)

We congratulate Orange Gunsite family members Ronin Colman, Paul Kirchner, and Rebecca Wyatt on their bursting into print. The more true believers can get published, the better it will be for the Republic.

We have in hand the new Leupold Scoutscope, and we are certainly pleased to see a new entry into a field in which there was previously no competition. The glass is of 2½ diameters magnification. It is belled at both ends, and its eye relief is right on 9 inches. The first version we examined displayed a reticle which was too fine for my own taste, but an optional version features a reticle that can be seen quickly in reduced light.

Too frequently we see equipment designed essentially for the bench rest. This is understandable because, of those American shooters who work out with rifles, most use the bench as their primary testing ground. This is wrong, of course, because a proper rifle must be "field-worthy," and one does not carry a bench rest around with him in the field.

You will be able to examine the new glass at the SHOT Show next month.

As the mail keeps floating in we notice an increasing number of missives addressed to Ms Cooper. The trouble with that mode of address is that it is very difficult to pronounce. When one tries the result sounds sort of antebellum (as in "Lans' sakes, Miz Scarlet!"). The Countess finds it vaguely insulting and tends to discard all mail so addressed without opening.

When Andrew Johnson ran for the Senate in 1855 he heard that his life had been threatened at an upcoming appearance. When he took the podium he pulled out a pistol and laid it on the table in front of him. "Fellow citizens," he said, "I have been informed that part of the business to be transacted on the present occasion is the assassination of the individual who now has the honor of addressing you. I beg respectfully to propose that this be the first business in order. Therefore, if any man has come here tonight for the purpose indicated, I do not say to him, let him speak, but let him shoot." In those days we elected a higher type of man.

via Paul Kirchner

Note that murderers of Nicole Simpson, Vince Foster, and Vickie Weaver are walking free. The ancient Greeks held that nemesis would hound such people to their graves. With the general disappearance of the concept of morality from our society, we may doubt if the three transgressors aforementioned are suffering much. However, we can always hope for the best.

I have just finished ordering a "Co-pilot" from Wild West Arms in Anchorage, Alaska. This piece, which we have mentioned before, is a cutdown Marlin 45-70 featuring an 18½" barrel (with muzzle brake), a ghost-ring sight system, and which is capable of complete takedown into two components small enough to be carried neatly in a backpack. This seems to us to be the ideal backup weapon for an outfitter who guides sportsmen after bears or lions. When such a piece is called into action, the range is very short, but stopping power is of vital importance. A 45-caliber lead 500-grain bullet does not need much velocity in order to accomplish this - only enough to get all the way in. I hope to take this piece to Africa next March, and it ought to constitute a true breakthrough for the professional hunter.

"To be of practical service, the soldier must be able to take advantage of cover, able to search out individual men of the enemy, and in the midst of the turmoil of battle, to shoot at and hit those individual targets."

"It is not easy, but by all the gods of war it can be done! Having tried it, I know."


As a long and satisfied advocate of the cartridge commercially referred to as "350 Remington Magnum" I am somewhat unsatisfied with the prevailing terminology. At the behest and advice of John Gannaway, we now load it with a 250-grain semi-spitzer bullet slightly extended, permitting a 2½-grain increase in powder capacity in cartridges to be fed through actions slightly longer than the parent Remington 600 and 660. This combination shows a starting velocity of 2500 foot seconds from the 19-inch barrel of the Lion Scout, which is based upon the ZKK 601 short action. These ballistics duplicate those of the 35 Whelen, but are obtained in a much more compact weapon, which has proved itself to me as "the Lion Scout." Therefore, I intend to refer in the future to this cartridge as the "360 Short," as a slightly improved version of the original "Fireplug" cartridge. This avoids a lot of unnecessary explanation.

I have recently been called to task by Doctor Kurt Welgehausen for my use of the word "gender" in place of "sex." The professor makes it clear to me that gender and sex are not synonymous. To quote, "I think that the current reluctance to use the word sex comes from the current and frequent misuse of the word to mean sexual intercourse, as in 'they had sex,' which I find to be an abominable phrase."

I must agree, and I am glad that somebody has the interest in the matter to write it up.

At a recent shooting session out on the Ravengard Range I introduced granddaughter Amy to the HK91, which, as you know, is a semi-automatic-only version of the G3 battle rifle. Amy is solidly qualified on the Scout rifle, having used Sweetheart in Africa last year with conspicuous success. She was, however, somewhat distressed by the G91. It is splendidly accurate and fires the same 308 cartridge, and it has a surprisingly good trigger for a semi-automatic piece, but Amy found it essentially "unfriendly." This is interesting because the primary and most notable characteristic of any well-designed Scout is exactly friendliness. Perhaps the proper term for that is ergonomic, but I am not sure that this covers the whole subject. A properly designed Scout gives the shooter the distinct impression that the weapon is "on his side," while this is not, as a rule, true of any GI battle rifle. My conclusion is that a well-made Scout rifle surpasses all others in its "hitability," for want of a better term. It is thus at once more friendly and more deadly in the field than any other personal firearm.

Now, of course, we must content ourselves with custom-made Scouts, which are not the easiest things to obtain. With a bit of luck and a tail wind, Steyr-Mannlicher may be able to provide us with a proper piece of this sort some little way down the line.

Note that Walther has now introduced its "Big Bore" pistol in caliber 45. This piece is not only of major caliber, but it is also of major mass. It is portable somewhat the way the Walker Colt was portable, but probably it is a very well-made piece. The Walther reputation is a good one.

On the front page of our local Arizona Republic for 28 November we noted the headline "Clinton Defends GIs in Bosnia." What a picture that conjures up! We can see Bill standing out there on some hilltop in the snow holding back waves of disaffected Balkans with his M16, while Hillary hands him magazines and advice. A further statement maintains that the President will accept "full responsibility for casualties incurred in this operation." That is a term we have heard before from this administration, most pointedly from Janet Reno. I suppose if we exacted proper incarceration as retribution for this responsibility, it would be unconstitutionally cruel and unusual to lock up Bill and Janet in the same prison.

According to the new Texas concealed-carry law you may not display the weapon you carry concealed. That is, you may not carry your pistol openly, as in Arizona. When you are issued your ticket you are informed that no matter how good your reasons are for defending yourself, the shooting of a non-combatant will not be excused by law. Now we hope that this injunction applies to private citizens, police officers, and pointedly, federal agents.

Gutter language is a manifestation of inadequate vocabulary. Besides, it diminishes force of expression.

The Guru

On the day before Thanksgiving our sovereign neighbor to the north passed into law an edict requiring the registration of all firearms, irrespective of type. You know why the leviathan wants to register all weapons, don't you? His only reason is to enable him to seize them from the people at such time as he becomes insecure of his own position. Well, the Canadians have not confiscated them all yet, but insofar as their new law may be enforced they will shortly be in a position to do so, and thus another light of liberty has been extinguished. God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen!

In watching football, as we sometimes do, we note an increasing tendency to what may probably be referred to as "capering" as a means of self-adulation. Seeing it on the field after a touchdown re-enforces one's belief in Darwin. In the tradition of Western Civilization, to which at least some of us are the heirs, a gentleman does not pat himself on the back. But, of course, in the Age of the Common Man, the gentleman is an endangered species.

In perusing a recently released study of country life in Russia under the Czars, we ran across some interesting anecdotes. It appears that the Russian land-owning aristocracy was plagued with bureaucrats who would pay them visits now and then for purposes of enforcing various sorts of regulations. One nobleman had a standard answer for such occasions. When he learned that the coach was on the way, he would station himself in the middle of the road with a pistol in each hand and open up on the intruders enthusiastically when they got within range. Naturally, he had a staff of servants to keep his pistols reloaded and primed.

Pursuant to the forgoing, we are informed that a county recorder in Wyoming has flatly refused to turn over county records to the IRS, claiming that her office forbids her to release confidential documents, and that she would therefore be guilty of malfeasance in office if she did so. As we understand it at this time, the feds are incensed, since they have long held themselves to be above the law. It should be highly entertaining to follow this matter up.

"The Tenth Amendment is not to be left up to the federal government to interpret for itself. The essence of our Constitution is that power must not be allowed to define its own limits."

Doctor Clyde Wilson

This is the last issue of Volume 3 of these commentaries, and the thirteenth volume of the original and continuing newsletter. We look forward to 1996 with enthusiasm.

Joy to the world!

Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal use only. Not for publication.