Bitten in the Butt by My Own Words

Earlier this week I received a forwarded e-mail wanting me to “keep my word” regarding further exploration of the .30 TC cartridge. Some five years ago after the cartridge was introduced I did a hunt with the cartridge in Montana, and I mentioned in a blog that I’d like to explore the cartridge more and determine its uses. That was true as far as it went. Trouble was it didn’t go too far. The shooting public took a look at the cartridge, collectively yawned and then ignored it. Well the vast majority did; a miniscule handful of folks embraced it. My correspondent was among the miniscule. To say that his enthusiasm for the .30 TC is exuberant would be something of an understatement.
His initial e-mail was about 300 words, much of it establishing his own bonafide and then touting some convoluted minutiae regarding the .30 TC. He concluded the note with an exhortation for me to keep my word regarding further testing. I replied as politely as I could that the cartridge is one of the most short-lived cartridges ever offered. Thompson/Center doesn’t even offer it just five or six years after its debut. In the interest of clarity, I explained that editors are not interested in obsolete cartridges, and even if I was so motivated to work with the cartridge I would have to have a rifle custom made in order to test it. Furthermore, although Hornady still catalogs ammo, it would likely be difficult to come by. I thanked him for holding my feet to the fire and thought my explanation of the cartridge’s obsolescence would suffice. I had underestimated the man’s exuberance and its overwhelming influence over the fact picture.
He replied to me with a 1,000-word tome delving deeper into the arcane minutiae and how I had an obligation to fulfil his desire for me to tout the cartridge based upon his infallible data and logic. To punctuate his point, he in a not-so-veiled-attempt to challenge my manhood, drawed upon the hallowed ghosts of Cooper, Keith and O’Connor claiming they regularly beat up ignorant editors reluctant to embrace their prose, and that my failure to do the same was sacrilegious. Yeah, that’ll work real good—insult me to get me to do his bidding.
I am only too aware that all this gun and hunting stuff is a passionate recreation for my readers. It is to me as well, but it is also a business for those of us who write. We have to operate it as a business. Just because one person—or even a handful of folks—like a particular cartridge, gun, game animal or whatever, doesn’t mean that everyone else is out to lunch. And if anyone thinks that brow-beating an editor will force him or her to submit to your compulsion, well that demonstrates a naiveté so profound that anyone holding that notion probably should not be outside without a keeper.
Be damn careful what you say.

Dave Campbell
Dave Campbell began his hunting career with a spear off the southern California coast in the late 1960s. It did not take long for him to graduate to the gun on land. Campbell is the founding editor in chief of the NRA’s tremendously successful Shooting Illustrated magazine. In 2006 he also edited the iconic book of terminal ballistics, Rifle Bullets for the Hunter—A Definitive Study. He returned to his beloved Wyoming in 2007 as a freelance writer, though he usually refers to himself now as a “recovering editor.”
  1. Peter Caroline Reply

    Yeah…and why have you been ignoring the ever-popular .50-95 Winchester Express? Enquiring minds want to know!

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