CHAPTER 4: THE FIRST CONFERENCE
In December of 1983 Jeff Cooper organized a conference at his Gunsite Ranch and it was attended by those he called, “the enlightened.” The primary objective of the conference was the critical evaluation of the all-purpose utility rifle, as it existed in standard as well as component form, at that time, and as it might be improved upon or made better in the future. The summary of this conference can be found on the Internet with a little help from Google. Or you can just click HERE.
Cooper also crafted an article, for the September 1985 issue of the National Rifle Association’s American Rifleman magazine, based on the minutes of that and the subsequent conference. And, if you read all that Cooper wrote afterwards about the Scout Rifle, you’ll see portions of that content and the notes from the First Conference repeated.
Possibly the most important take-a-way from this symposium was that Cooper indicated it was accepted, “as a point of departure,” that the Scout Rifle be limited to a maximum weight of 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) and a maximum length of 1 meter (39.4 inches.) Here it is imperative to note the words chosen by Cooper – “as a point of departure.” These words do not mean an absolute limit. They do not mean established, forever to be unaltered fact. In fact, by definition, a point of departure means, “a place to begin, as in a discussion, argument, etc.”
This is a critical and often overlooked point to keep in mind as we proceed through the history of the Scout Rifle. Anyone who has read Cooper knows he selected words carefully. Had he not felt these physical limits were intended to be a staring point, he would have explicitly stated so.
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