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For such a vile and disliked guy he sure is known to all of us old timers and his name is synonymous with testing the limits of pistols and pistol loads. He's more famous than you or I will ever be and rightly so. Hades of a guy!
 

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The late Col. John D. "Jeff" Cooper is nearly my patron saint. I rank him about 1/2 step below John the Baptist (right next to Tom Landry). I started reading him when in Junior High.
One could learn a great deal about guns from almost any of the authors mentioned. It was Cooper's articles which taught me to write. During the school days when "essays" were an almost daily fact of my life, if I adhered to Mr. Cooper's style, I rarely made a grade below "A". If I tried using anyone else's style (except George C. Nonte), I was lucky to get a "B" or "B+".
I attended Mr. Cooper's shooting school at 16. I finished 3rd in a class of 20 (the other students weren't accountants & homemakers, either). So the man not only taught me how to defend myself, he taught me a great deal about being articulate.
The late Elmer Keith was an innovator and refiner of firearms and firearms-related implements. It is difficult to imagine the state of the shooting industry without his influences.
Mr. Cooper probably did more to improve and generalize the best techniques of weapon-craft (defensive and otherwise) than any other single person. He had help from Ray Chapman, Elden Carl, Jack Weaver, and the other "Combat Masters" in its development, but he both synthesized and articulated the modern pistol (and, later, rifle) technique.
I learned a tremendous amount about gun smithing from George C. Nonte and what I could find of P.O. Ackley's works. Some of Nonte's thoughts on proper defensive sidearms conflicted with Cooper/Keith/Skelton, but Nonte was a machinist.
I learned to have a sense of humor about my firearms skills from Skeeter Skelton. NOBODY could poke fun at themselves in print, like HE could! Mr. Skelton also taught me to never look upon revolvers with contempt as defensive implements, underscoring Mr. Cooper's tenet that the best equipment without proper and assiduous training is all but useless.
I tended to use Massad Ayoob's articles as "negative indicators" of how I should proceed in terms of firearms. It is similar to my use of Senator Charles ("upCHUCK") Schumer as a negative political indicator. Striving for the opposite with respect to the consultations of both was/is usually the best way.
 

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The Shadow (Moderator)
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For such a vile and disliked guy he sure is known to all of us old timers and his name is synonymous with testing the limits.....
History is full of vile people, who pushed various limits....😉😆
 

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Just to be clear about some of the "OKH" and "KTH" caliber designations. Hopkins was the first 'H'. Jerry Haskins was the second. The .338-378 KTH was 'invented' at the Red Steer Restaurant in Glenwood Springs, CO. Jerry Haskins was an inventor/gun builder and 'smith in Rifle, CO that did three rifles in that caliber. Bob Thompson's rifle is still with the family. It was NOT lost in the fire that destroyed the restaurant in 1978.

Without Elmer, there would never have been a Redhawk. Without Jordan there wouldn't be M19s. Be thankful for those that wrote down what they learned.
 

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Forgotten folks…..we (as shooters) have done a pretty crappy job of keeping the history/time line straight.


(although not my heritage or belief...I still say my form of Kadish...we will not be truly dead until we’re forgotten.)

LIKE them ore HATE them....were more entertaining than today's writers.

Who was the early proponent of hunting with scope sighted center-fire handguns (with scopes)? Did quite a few long articles, even got in trouble fro a rolling block pistol conversion? (hint...the name will fool you).

One magazine got Keith to test fire/review the HK P9s….never though I’d see a picture spread of him shooting a “space gun” (from his expression, it did seem he though he had a dogturd in his hand even though it was in .45acp).


Keith firmly believed that there was some kind of “suction” that pulled paper shotgun base wads forward out of the shell...even back then, thought that was BS.


Stebbins was always a good down-home kind of writer that made sense, but today he’s maybe a footnote.


Has any one converted the old Powley slide-rule type powder estimator into a digital format….or updated it with modern powders? He may have been a bit fixated, but he got the relationships right.


If you saw an article by Keith on handguns...Sells on shotguns….Cooper or handguns….we all knew where it was going to end up, but read them anyway.
 

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The Shadow (Moderator)
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Without Elmer, there would never have been a Redhawk.

The Redhawk.... Released in 1980...🤔

That's fine, partial to the super blackhawk anyway.😄
 

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I watched Elmer bend the ears of every Ruger guy in their booth in 1978 (,77?) NRA show. He wanted a big, DA, .44 mag with Ruger scope mounts. It worked.
Elmer always drew a crowd and you had to be tall to spot his tall, round hat in that crowd. It was fun to watch him do 'we want....' to the factory reps and hear the cheers of those that agreed with him. The Redhawk want was a good one. He was handling a new DA Ruger Security Six and said "Now grow up to be something useful in .44", and the crowd went wild.
Love him or hate him, he had a lot of stroke.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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No, Elmer 🙊 had nothing to do with the Redhawk. NOTHING!! He would gladly and readily take credit for it if asked though. The 338-378 KTH? Compare it to the 338 WM. No, REALLY compare it. Also compare the 284 OKH to the 7mm Remington Magnum . . . .

The OKH proprietary cartridges were never patented because Don Hopkins passed away before they could be (he was a patent attorney by the way) so Elmer🙊 being the money grubbing promoter that he was left all the debt for Charlie to pay and ran to whomever would listen or buy with the chamber drawings and in some cases Charlie's hand cut reamers.

Ever really seen ammo fire formed in a chamber cut by one of Charlie's reamers?

Here's my 30-06IMP



Neck and shoulder junctures more rounded . . . . . not sharp like an Ackley chamber . . . . . not "radiused" like a Weatherby, hmmmm.

RJ
 
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Chamber angles are never sharp. .030-.050 radius is standard even in the Ackley calibers.
I SAW, witnessed and willing to testify to Elmer's 'show' at the Ruger booth in Denver. Maybe they already had the Redhawk in process.
The last time I saw him was at a distance at the Phoenix NRA show in 1983. He and John Amber were in conference and the crowd was held at bay.

There was a lot of Elmer's stuff 'in storage' and on display at the old Red Steer. Saddles, trophies, belt buckles and a pay stub from a sheep ranch for three months wages--$12.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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Elmer 🙊 surrounded by a gullible audience is quite impressive as the poo got deep in a hurry.

RJ
 

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i started reading field& stream , sports afield, petersen's hunting and outdoor life in 1983-84 when i was 10 - 11 years old. everybody knew of the Kieth vs O'Conner " feud, but i never had the pleasure of meeting them. from what i can tell (from their writing) O'Conner was a "yes" man. Kieth was a (lack of a better word) a "builder". he was the kind of the guy you would give a hammer, saw and some nails and he'd build a house. O'Conner would rather pay someone else to build the house.

O'Conner ( and some roy weatherby) made an impact on my young life. speed was king, unfortunately. it wasn't until my early 30's that i found out that Penetration is The King. then in my early 40's i found cast boolits, THE MASTER King of Penetration. i was just like Kieth, expect the "ceegaur" 😂!!!! i like heavy boolits and slow speeds instead of light bullets and fast speeds.

i really don't care if Kieth is money grubbing or O'Conner is a snob. what counts ain't character, but the ability to be proven right or wrong.
 

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The Shadow (Moderator)
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...what counts ain't character, but the ability to be proven right or wrong.
Character ALWAYS counts, and directly results in the actions(typically inactions) taken if proven wrong.
And let's not confuse where the burden of proof lies...😉
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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Elmer 🙊 was a "borrower" not a builder. He'd "borrow" the ideas and stories of others and retell them as his own.

Nowhere in his books does he give credit to Charlie O'Neill or Don Hopkins.

RJ
 
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I grew up with Les Bowman and Robert Ruark and Andy Russel telling hunting stories and The Dope Bag the authority on guns. I read all the gun writers and learned something from all of them but saw 'the feud' as the cowboy and the intellectual watering the same cactus from different sides and arguing over their range and effectiveness. Jordan, Askins, Skelton, Nonte and Turpin, but I learned more from Flayderman's Guide and Stoeger's catalog than the magazines. The State Library had the good stuff! Baker and Howe and Sharpe and Military TMs.

I have it on good authority, Elmer never made more than $1800 a month from G&A writing but like most of the era parlayed his popularity into hunting trips, guns, seminars and plenty of cigars and ammo. Like he said once, "It beats cuttin' calves".
 

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The Shadow (Moderator)
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I have it on good authority, Elmer never made more than $1800 a month from G&A writing
In case Hank's "good authority" assessment of wage, gives anyone the idea he wasn't making much money.

He contributed to G&A monthly, in the 50's & 60's timeframe. $1,800/month corrected to today's dollars:
1955 - $17,560/month, $210,720/year
1969 - $13,207/month, $158,404/year

That's ignoring all the free crap he got, and his four other sources of income. Yeah, "it beats cuttin' calves".
 

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As far as favorite gun writers, mine is Finn Aagaard. His stories may be as close as I get to hunting in Africa. Were they his stories or stolen? Were they real or fiction? Did he make a lot of money or a little money writing them? My answer to all of those is who cares? Yours may be different.

In my experience with business (no matter the business) the people with very high integrity very seldom make it to the very top of the mountain. I am sure some do, but most have a very sharp jagged edge somewhere. Some lie, some cheat, some steal and some do a little of all of that.

I get that people like or dislike some of these guys. I understand that some have good personal knowledge of what these people did and did not do. I do struggle with what we think we are accomplishing by kicking around dead guys. I know some don't want their bad deeds and bad information held up, and I guess that is good. But, if you can't read some of these guys stuff and realize that some, most or all of it is wrong on some level, you might be in the wrong hobby.
 

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I'll see your Ed Zern and raise a Gene Hill. I have Zern's two early books about where to send hunting and fishing. Hillarious!
Don't forget Corey Ford and the Lower Forty and Tap's Tips and of course Pat McManus.....

I've spent several hours under oath wondering how some gun writers would fare being asked about nearly every detail of their books....
I've seen shots made by popular gun writers that were too good to write about because of the 'Elmer Effect'. But, I've seen MANY more bad shots that showed up in print as good ones by other popular writers. It's fun to see a 'transition of truth' occur somewhere between the sage rat patch and canyon rim, and the news stand.
 
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