[pagebreak] Never Take Sides
Another common type of letter I get begins with something like, "Why don't you...?" Meaning they have a project in mind for me, such as writing about a particular gun, gauge, caliber, scope or whatever. Sometimes I'm able to do just as they request if, in fact, the subject will appeal to a large segment of our readers. But just as often the "why don't you" letter goes on to request that I take their side in a quarrel they're having with a gunmaker. Typically, they're having accuracy problems with a rifle and want me to lean on the manufacturer to have it fixed or replaced. First of all, I have to explain that any influence I might have is imaginary, and I try to point out diplomatically that a major component of "accuracy" is personal marksmanship. A rifle that shoots 1-inch groups in carefully controlled tests may do no better than 3 inches when fired by someone who flinches and jerks the trigger. But telling that to a person who paid good money for a rifle he expects to shoot tiny groups is about as risky as telling him his wife is fat and ugly.