Category Archive 'Guns'
07 Apr 2018

Cape York Shotgun


A flintlock shot gun was found inside a tree harvested on Cape York, the northernmost point in Australia, in the course of it being milled into boards. The gun is supposed to have been left in the fork of the tree and the tree grown around it over many years.

Via Wide Open Spaces.

11 Mar 2018

F*** Safety

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Henry Racette is not one of those swaddled, buckled-up-for-safety types, begging for the Government to take away his guns and drive his car for him.

There’s talk – silly, absurd talk – of banning the private ownership of cars. Molon labe, baby! You can have my Yukon, my three-ton id, when you pry it from my cold dead hands. And you can forget the self-driving nonsense, too: up here where I live, you can’t see the lines on the road four months out of the year on account of the blowing snow. Good luck dealing with that, Google.

Ayn Rand, in one of her two major works of fiction (I’m going to go with Atlas Shrugged, but someone correct me if I’m wrong – it’s been almost 40 years since I read it) has her heroine wax rhapsodic (as if there’s any other way to wax) about the act of smoking. Dagney (or possibly Dominique) marvels at the flame held in obeisance inches from her, the spark of destruction so casually lashed into service for the pleasure of mankind. Never having been a smoker, and coming of age as I did during the first great anti-smoking crusades of the ’70s, I admit that the imagery was less compelling for me than it might have been for someone of my parents’ generation. But Dagney’s ruminations have remained with me, an oddly vivid example of our peculiar attraction to dangerous things – and to mastering them.

I like guns. I didn’t always: when I was a child, I was indifferent to them. Then I became a man, a lover of liberty, and an enthusiastic critic of the insipid and emasculating idea that safety comes first. Lots of things are ultimately more important than safety. Being able to credibly say “thus far, and no farther” is one of them; merely reaffirming that we have the right, the moral right and the legal right, to say that is another.

Safety is important, don’t get me wrong. But of all the parameters that define the human experience, safety isn’t the one we should seek to maximize. John Lennon’s “Imagine,” the most comprehensively evil song ever written, is an ode to safety above all else, the pathetic celebration of the apathy-induced coma. I’m glad Lennon never became a US citizen.

Living as an adult male – as opposed to an androgynous, pajama-clad, cocoa-sipping man-child – means spending years, decades even, standing precariously close to the edge of doing something stupid. (The life of a young man is a race between the rising arc of sensibility and the statistical certainty that, if we’re only given enough time, we’ll have our “hold my beer” moment and, if we’re lucky, the ER visit that goes with it.) That sometimes leads to tragedy, but most often to maturity, and there’s no path from baby to man that doesn’t, at least occasionally, tread close to a dangerous edge.

The best things in life are dangerous: freedom, love, faith, women, sex. Children – those raw nerves we thrust out into the world. Cars. Guns. Saying what you think.


08 Feb 2018

The CMP Will Make You Jump Through Too Many Hoops to Get a 1911

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Paul Glasco explains that they have really piled on the paperwork and special requirements to get one of the 100,000 1911s being released by the Army to the Civilian Marksmanship Program. All this foofaraw will add to your costs and artificially inflate the price of these pistols.

In my parents’ generations’ day, you could simply mail order surplus firearms from the CMP if you were an NRA member. My uncle had a stockpile of Springfield and 1917 Enfield actions he had purchased for peanuts stored in the floor joists of his basement ceiling to be made into sporters, one rifle at a time, by the gunsmith Al Compton of Ringtown when each of the boys in the family made it to hunting age.

29 Jan 2018

The Gay Writer and His Father’s Gun

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Kassnar Imports Feg Pjk-9hp 9mm pistol

Gay Writer Justin Quarry struggles to understand the meaning of 9mm Browning High Power clone left to him by his proletarian hunter father. An interesting variant on the deracinated-member-of-the-urban-community-of-fashion-meets-firearm genre.

When my father died in the winter of 2000, back when I was newly 19, the single thing he left me was a nine-millimeter pistol. The day after his funeral, my grandfather simply told me my father wanted me to have it, handing it to me in its ragged original packaging — spare bullets, along with the pistol, spilling from the Styrofoam encasement as I opened the discolored box.

This inheritance both surprised and confused me. For one thing, though I’d spent my early childhood with rifles and shotguns racked against the walls of our home and the rear window of my father’s Jeep, with countless taxidermied deer heads gazing down at me apathetically, I’d never known my father to own a handgun. For another, unlike all the other men in my family, I’d never spent a second in a tree stand, didn’t even recall playing with toy guns; rather than pretending to shoot deer or Iraqi soldiers, for instance, one Christmas I requested and received a custom-made deer costume for my Cabbage Patch doll, Casey.

The pistol also puzzled me because I hadn’t necessarily expected to inherit anything at all from my father. …

The pistol haunted me, even as it burrowed in my boyhood bedroom closet where I left it after my grandfather gave it to me, with my comic books and Magic: the Gathering cards, hundreds of miles away in the Mississippi Delta. It became an almost magical object to me because of its peculiarity in the context of my life, because of its singularity in what my father had bequeathed me. I struggled to decipher this talisman, the idea of it, as I simultaneously struggled to decipher myself.

The day after my father’s funeral, my grandfather simply told me my father wanted me to have his gun, handing it to me in its ragged original packaging.

In college, apart from my family, I discovered I had little identity without them, so entangled had I been throughout my childhood in my parents’ battles and crises. Even more, I was the first person in my family to go to college and one of very few of us to leave the flatlands of Arkansas. Once I went to Vanderbilt I was an alien, or a more apparent one, whenever I came home. However, being one of very few first-generation college students on campus, I was even more an alien at Vanderbilt. It was only when I began writing that I discovered how to create meaning for myself. …

The great thing about having a dead parent, I’ve heard, is that when you come out of the closet, you have one less person to disappoint. For me coming out didn’t just entail my sexuality but, moreover, my creativity as I declared myself a writer — the pressure all the higher as a first-generation college student, if only in my mind, to take a safer, more practical route However, as I sat so close to my father that day, with my hair dyed red and a Sarah McLachlan pendant on a choker around my neck, I imagined he might have seen — even before I did, even before I had an inkling I was an artist — that I’m gay.

Still, I wonder what story he might have imagined about me that would lead him to leave me the pistol.

I wonder, what else might he have seen about me that day, that at age 19 I wasn’t able, that even now I may not be able, to see about myself?


A decade later, I returned to Nashville to teach at my alma mater, and though I’d had luck in publishing shorter work, in reinventing myself through writing, I continued to toil over a novel-length manuscript I’d been trying to wrangle for years. Then one May I retreated to rural Minnesota where I could write in solitude for entire days and, in theory, with such intense focus, make major headway in crafting my book. However, that month, as I more and more slowly plodded on the page, I looked out the windows of my studio to the cold, gray spring, and even more slowly plodded until I at last gave in to the confusion of that world I struggled to order. Until I at last crumpled under its weight.

I felt not only that I had failed at writing but also that writing had failed me. I saw how isolated I was — not just in Minnesota but also in my life. I lived alone and devoted almost every available hour to writing, often rejecting invitations for the possibility that I might write at the given time, or the risk that going out might leave me unable to write the next morning. …

Two weeks later after I returned from my writing retreat, I visited my mother, with whom I’d skipped Mother’s Day to be in Minnesota. But I hadn’t only gone to Arkansas to see her and to make up for the missed holiday. I’d also gone to retrieve my father’s pistol. My pistol.

Before, every time I pondered finally taking the pistol into my possession, simply as a novelty, yet another mass shooting would occur somewhere in America, sparking yet another debate over the Second Amendment, making merely owning a gun feel like a political act, and in turn repelling me from it. But now I’d decided to use the gun as a means of taking myself as far outside my current experience, as far from my writing, as I could. I’d decided to get professionally trained on it. I wanted to try on the identity my father had perhaps imagined for me in his giving me the gun, and maybe even in his fathering me.


Roughly 60 years ago, the humorist Corey Ford used to publish a monthly feature in Field & Stream magazine called The Lower Forty, a chronicle of the adventures of a fictional informal club of small-town New England sportsmen formally titled “The Lower Forty Hunting, Shooting and Inside Straight Club.” The club’s leader and role model was Judge Parker (a fictional version of a friend of Ford’s named Parker Merrow).

Around 1960 or 1961, Parker Merrow received by telegram the news that his son, at the time serving as an Air Force officer in Japan, had fathered a baby boy. Judge Parker sat right down and wrote a “Letter to a Grandson,” which he shared with Corey Ford, who quoted it in full in one of the most moving and memorable of the Lower Forty stories.

“Letter to a Grandson” does a pretty good job of explaining to Justin Quarry what his Maytag-repairman father was trying to leave him.


This letter will be yours on your 16th birthday. If I am alive then, I will read it to you. If I have checked out before that date, please go off by yourself, alone, and read it aloud.

Three hours ago your father cabled me that you were in this world, that you and your mother were doing well, and that you will bear my father’s name.

So for three hours I have been celebrating your birth in an orderly and thorough manner. I have given your grandmother a couple of tranquilizer pills to calm her hysterics at the good news. I have notified all your father’s friends in town as he requested, so they can celebrate also. I have stopped at the bank and arranged a modest trust fund which should see you through college. I have had several drinks, and now I am writing a letter to you to open 16 years later.

I will waste neither your time nor mine in giving you advice. If by the time you are of age you do not know the meaning and practice of truth and loyalty and courage and honesty, and the deep satisfaction of doing hard work both physical and mental, then your great-grandfather did a hell of a poor job raising me, and I did a hell of a poor job raising your father.

I am leaving you a few things.

First I leave you your great-grandfather’s weapons. He taught me how to shoot a pistol with his .38 Colt Army. I have not fired it since the day he died. I will give it a real good cleaning, and put the neat’s-foot oil to the holster, and leave it with the same loads that he put in the cylinder himself the last time he dropped the hammer. Also you will receive his .30/30 carbine and his 12-gauge Greener. No buck ever went very far that caught one of my dad’s .30/30s behind the foreshoulder. No goose kept flying very long that he centered with a load of 4s..

Next I leave you my old Browning five-shot 12-bore. I have used that gun so much it has been reblued and rebuilt twice. Also my scope-sighted Model 70 Winchester .30/06. Also my house gun, a .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson snub nose. A man who is not ready and able to defend his home does not belong in our family.

Also I leave you my 81/2-foot, 4-ounce Leonard rod, which is as good as the day it was built, and they do not build them any more. I leave you my 9-foot, 61/2-ounce Orvis light salmon rod, which has killed some good fish in Canada and Alaska and Ireland. You may fish some of the same pools with it. I leave you my favorite 8-foot, 31/2-ounce fly rod which Walt Powell made for me, and which can lay a No. 12 Spentwing Coachman on the water slicker than a schoolmarm’s leg. All these rods and guns will be cleaned and cased and tagged with your name for presentation with this letter.

More important, I am leaving you some memories. I hope that through the years they will be your memories, as they have been mine, as they are now your father’s, as they were your great-grandfather’s once.

I leave you the cold gray dawn and the marshes and the wind and the slap of wavelets and whistle of wings and the recoil of your gun against your shoulder.

The creak of packstraps in the dark and the thud of moccasins on the steep trail and the deep breathing as you and your hunting partner pack out your deer.

The easy grating of your canoe over a gravel bar and the shaking out of your line in the last long dusk and the sudden staccato scream of your reel.

The flutter and thump of a turkey gobbler coming down from his roost in that first light when you can count the eyelets of your boots.

The taste of a cold mountain spring as you lie on your belly with your mouth spitting cotton.

The smells that men like to remember-pipe smoke and boot dubbing and Hoppe’s No. 9, and fly dope on a red bandanna handkerchief, and the smell of leather that is more like a taste, and the before-breakfast smell of coffee and bacon frying, and the smell of a cottonmouth, the smell of fear, and the fall smells of sweet-fern and rotting apples and burnt powder in the frosty air.

I leave you a windy spring night and the shrill of peepers like sleigh bells and the far-off baying of geese heading north in the empty sky.

Swimming stripped in a clear lake under an August moon and then standing on the shore with a cigarette while the night wind dries your body and the loons call.

An afternoon in October and a bird-dog puppy staunch on his first point with one foreleg drawn up and his brown eyes fixed and his whole skinny body shivering with the strange new excitement of grouse.

A winter evening with the sleet against the window and a log blazing and a highball and some friends you have hunted and fished with to share your memories with you.

All these and more I leave to you, my beloved grandson. Perhaps I will live long enough to be at your side when they become your memories too. But if I do not, I raise my glass to you across the years.

05 Jan 2018

Mark Twain Firing a Colt Model 1903 Semiautomatic Pistol

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(click on photo for larger image)

The gun might actually be a Model 1908 chambered in .380, rather than the Model 1903 chambered in .32 ACP, but the latter is the original design and seems a bit more likely.

Seeing this photo, reminded me of Mark Twain’s comments on handguns in Roughing It (1872):

[Travelling West from St. Louis to Nevada:]
I was armed to the teeth with a pitiful little Smith & Wesson’s seven-shooter, which carried a ball like a homoeopathic pill, and it took the whole seven to make a dose for an adult. But I thought it was grand. It appeared to me to be a dangerous weapon. It only had one fault—you could not hit anything with it. One of our “conductors” practiced awhile on a cow with it, and as long as she stood still and behaved herself she was safe; but as soon as she went to moving about, and he got to shooting at other things, she came to grief. The Secretary had a small-sized Colt’s revolver strapped around him for protection against the Indians, and to guard against accidents he carried it uncapped. Mr. George Bemis was dismally formidable. George Bemis was our fellow-traveler.

We had never seen him before. He wore in his belt an old original “Allen” revolver, such as irreverent people called a “pepper-box.” Simply drawing the trigger back, cocked and fired the pistol. As the trigger came back, the hammer would begin to rise and the barrel to turn over, and presently down would drop the hammer, and away would speed the ball. To aim along the turning barrel and hit the thing aimed at was a feat which was probably never done with an “Allen” in the world. But George’s was a reliable weapon, nevertheless, because, as one of the stage-drivers afterward said, “If she didn’t get what she went after, she would fetch something else.” And so she did. She went after a deuce of spades nailed against a tree, once, and fetched a mule standing about thirty yards to the left of it. Bemis did not want the mule; but the owner came out with a double-barreled shotgun and persuaded him to buy it, anyhow. It was a cheerful weapon—the “Allen.” Sometimes all its six barrels would go off at once, and then there was no safe place in all the region round about, but behind it.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) lived, of course, through the percussion era when obsolete and inaccurate Allen & Thurber pepperboxes were still carried by the ill-advised, right down to the modern world of semiauto pocket pistols of John Browning’s design.

20 Nov 2017

Folding Glock!

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I’m not a fan of plastic pistols, especially the fashionable contemporary versions that come without a real safety. My own opinion is that trigger safeties are basically meaningless, and carrying an automatic pistol with no safety with a round chambered just makes me nervous.

I have consequently never bought a Glock, but now here is a version I would not mind owning.

The Firearms Blog:

Full Conceal is now shipping their Glock 19 folding pistol conversion called M3. The folding mechanism allows having a more compact carry package which in a matter of seconds unfolds and becomes a Glock 19 with a 21-round magazine. The reason why they advertise it with the 22-round capacity (21 round mag plus one in the chamber) is that the 21-round magazine most efficiently fits the slide length neither sticking out nor coming short of the overall length of the folded gun. The M3 pistol is available for purchase on Full Conceal’s website for $1,399 (the price includes one Magpul 21-round magazine).

Another important feature of the M3 pistol is the additional safety built into the folding mechanism. When folded, that mechanism blocks the trigger bar preventing any possibility of an accidental discharge when manipulating the folding mechanism. This system allows carrying the pistol with a chambered round being sure that it is safe.

The company also points out that even if the folded gun prints, it will rather look like a cell phone than a firearm. The folded M3 pistol silhouette basically matches the iPhone 7 Plus dimensions.


Get yourself a second magazine, and you’ll be all set if you run into an irate Zulu impi.

27 Oct 2017

The Other 1%

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There is a different kind of 1 percent, and it isn’t people who can afford to buy organic food. It’s Americans who carry a handgun on a daily basis.

It’s not a surprise, given American history and horrific events like a psychopath in Las Vegas wounding or killing 500 people while police waited 70 minutes to attack him. A nearby hotel guest with a gun could have ended that more quickly.

Up to 7 million have concealed carry permits while up to 9 million might carry a handgun on a monthly basis (not all states require a license for a concealed weapon). That is alarming to Northeastern epidemiologist Professor Matthew Miller and colleagues, who published their survey results, funded by two anti-gun groups, and extrapolated figures for the country, in American Journal of Public Health. “We’re talking about several million adult handgun owners carrying a loaded firearm on their person every day,” Miller said. “That’s a sizable number of Americans.”


23 Sep 2017

Kalashnikov Honored in Moscow

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The NYT reported Tuesday:

A towering monument to Lt. Gen. Mikhail T. Kalashnikov, designer of the AK-47, the Soviet rifle that has become the world’s most widespread assault weapon, was unveiled on Tuesday in the middle of one of central Moscow’s busiest thoroughfares.

The ceremony took place to the sounds of Russian military folk music, the Soviet anthem, Orthodox prayers and words about how his creation had ensured Russia’s safety and peace in the world.

The bronze statue depicts General Kalashnikov, who died in 2013 at age 94, looking into the distance and cradling one of his automatics in his arms “like a violin,” according to Russian state television. The statue is about 16 feet tall, and on a pedestal about 13 feet tall.

Naturally, the Times bed-wetters felt compelled to add this little jibe:

“The ceremony contained no mention of the untold millions of people who have been killed or maimed by the weapon since its creation in 1947.”



Mikhail Kalashnikov’s memorial did apparently have a glitch, however.

The Guardian:

Workers have removed part of a new monument to Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the Soviet Union’s AK-47 assault rifle, after eagle-eyed Russians noticed that it mistakenly depicted a German second world war weapon.

The monument to the creator of one of Russia’s best known export brands was unveiled in central Moscow three days ago to much fanfare.

A metal bas-relief behind a statue of Kalashnikov depicts the AK-47 and other weapons all supposedly designed by the engineer, who died in 2013.

But embarrassed sculptor Salavat Shcherbakov had to admit that among them was the Sturmgewehr 44 (StG 44) assault rifle used by Nazi troops.

“We will rectify this,” Shcherbakov said in comments broadcast by state-run Rossiya 24 channel. “It looks like this [mistake] sneaked in from the internet.”

By Friday evening a square hole gaped where the German rifle had been depicted in the bas-relief.



The US Government ought to put up a slightly larger statue of John Moses Browning.

04 Aug 2017

Folding Credit Card .22 LR Single-Shot Pistol

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Task & Purpose:

Touted as “the last gun you’ll leave behind,” the LifeCard is a single-shot, single-action .22 designed to resemble an innocuous credit card. Fashioned from lightweight anodized aluminum with a steel trigger and tilt-up barrel, the 7 oz. pistol folds up into a 3.375 inch by 2.215 inch card that, despite its half-inch thickness, can fit with relative ease inside your back pocket or average wallet.

With ammo storage for four rounds, Trailblazer hopes that the LifeCard — which, incapable of firing when folded, is in compliance with the National Firearms Act, according to — will pack a punch as a last-ditch firearm in sticky situations, a modern, more civilized update to, say, the garter gun of the Wild West or the turn-of-the-century Chicago palm pistol.



Guns America:

Caliber: .22LR
Action: Single-Action, Single-Shot
Length: 3.375 inches
Height: 2.125 inches
Width: 0.5 inches
Weight: > 7 oz.
Barrel: Steel, Tilt-Up
Frame: Aluminum (includes folding handle)
Features: Ambidextrous, built-in safety features, ammo storage in handle for 4 rounds
MSRP: $399

31 Jul 2017

Another Article on Paris Theodore and the ASP

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Guns America:

The story of the ASP reads like a Ludlum or Flynn novel. In 1966, a young Paris Theodore founded a custom holster company known as Seventrees Ltd. Located in New York City, on West 39th Street, Seventrees designed and produced “modern” concealment holsters for professionals. The company’s clientele ranged from NYPD detectives to “spooks” from a variety of countries. Documents show that Seventrees was awarded several contracts from a variety of U.S. agencies including an order for handcuff cases from the United States Secret Service.

The holster business, while both legitimate and profitable, was only part of the story. Located in the back room behind a vault door, Seventrees’ sister company, Armament Systems and Procedures (ASP), was a clandestine laboratory that worked with various government organizations designing and producing specialized weapons. In fact, Theodore designed an “experimental submachine gun,” complete with a shoulder holster, a belt holster, and a unique sight.

However, the most lasting project from Armament Systems and Procedures was the ASP pistol. According to Theodore, the ASP was developed on behalf of a government agency who had a need for a concealable handgun chambered in a “major caliber.” During the early development, numerous 1911s, Commanders, and the Browning P-35 Hi Power were cut down and reconfigured. In each case, the end result was found lacking.

The ASP was extremely compact, with rounded edges and an intriguing round-counter window cut into the grip panels.
Solid Foundation

Theodore finally settled on the Smith & Wesson Model 39 as the base platform for the ASP. The Model 39 was introduced in 1954 to compete in the U.S. Army service pistol trials and was offered to the commercial market in 1955. The Model 39 featured an aluminum frame, 4-inch barrel, and a double-action, fire control system. It was chambered in 9mm with an eight-round magazine capacity. The most notable feature of the Model 39 was the one-piece, deeply curved back strap. To this day, the 39 fits my hand better than any pistol I have ever owned.

The trigger guard of the ASP was recut and welded to have a forward recurve, something that came strongly into vogue later in the 1980s.

The ASP was the result of some 212 modifications on the stock Model 39. The most dramatic modification was the reduction in the size of both the slide and frame. The slide and barrel were shortened by ¾ inch while the butt of the frame was reduced by 9/16 of an inch. Both reductions required extensive internal modifications with regard to the barrel bushing, recoil spring and guide, the mainspring and back strap assembly. To lighten the slide, the muzzle end was tapered. To further reduce the size, the hammer spur was removed and the thumb safety was shaved. Each pistol came with three reduced-size magazines that featured a patented finger rest base plate.

One striking feature of the ASP was the uniquely shaped trigger guard. The standard trigger guard was cut and a hooked extension was heli-arc welded onto the pistol using a comparable alloy. The design was patented as a “forefinger pocket” and designed to aid in a finger forward, two hand grip. The forward half of the trigger guard was reduced in width by 50% to allow improved access. This reduction was tailored for either right- or left-handed shooters.

The ASP’s sighting system was revolutionary. Theodore’s patented sight, called the Guttersnipe, consisted of a machined block of steel with a tapered channel that ran longitudinally. The sides and bottom of the sight channel were painted yellow for high visibility. There was no front sight. The Guttersnipe required the shooter to subconsciously balance the yellow panels on the sides and bottom of the channel to align the ASP properly. In practice, the Guttersnipe was extremely fast to acquire and was “battle” accurate.

Theodore understood that it was rare for anyone involved in a violent encounter to keep track of the number of rounds that were expended. To that end, he cut a large witness window in both sides of the magazines and equipped the ASP with Plexiglas stocks. This allowed the user to visually observe how many rounds were in the magazine. It also added one more exotic touch to the pistol.

The entire design of the ASP was focused on the rapidly changing dynamic in a moving gunfight. To quote Theodore in a Combat Handguns article, “Our mission was to create a major-calibre weapon which was readily concealable yet could be brought into action with “the speed of an impulse.” That was pretty shocking in 1970! Every edge was radiused and it was void of any textured gripping surfaces. Instead, the shape of the grip and trigger guard caused the pistol to seat in the hand during a panic draw.


2006 Paris Theodore obituary

ASP 2000 A Tribute to Paris Theodore

23 Jul 2017

Seven Most Expensive Guns


Private Sam Wilson’s Walker Colt and flask

Breitbart lists seven of the most expensive guns in the world.

18 Jul 2017

Shooting the .451 Whitworth Civil War Sniper Rifle

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“They couldn’t hit an elephant at this range.” U.S. General John Sedgwick’s famous last words.

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