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Location: Dallas, TX
Joined: 10/08/2008
Posts: 15
I can ask his wife

I have met his wife Fiona on several occasions and have her email. I will ask her directly and get back to you with an answer.

Van

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Location: Dallas, TX
Joined: 10/08/2008
Posts: 15
Letter from Fiona Capstick

I will not reprint the email here since some of it is of a personal nature, but I will say that he was indeed a licensed PH in Africa, and Fiona says she still has his licenses (she donated one of his rifles for an SCI auction that went for thousands of dollars and the licenses may someday be used for the same purpose).

She has since remarried and I'm sure these arguments over Peter's credentials continue to hound her. I would just say give the dead some rest, and let the living put his life in perspective.

He shared his love of the African experience with legions of readers throughout the English-speaking world, and revived the magic of Africa for the American public in the last two decades of the 20th century. His books propelled a new generation into the wilds, and he will be remembered as one of the greatest outdoor writers of all time.

Van

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Location: pinnsylvania
Joined: 07/13/2009
Posts: 2
Peter Capstick question.

I would like to have Fiona contact me, as I am writing a book on the life of W.D.M.Bell, and need to get her permission to use some of his articles. Even though the publisher traditionally does this, I would like her permission. Only right. I also need to find out where Peter got some of the info he used in Death in the Silent Places on Bell, as I have not found this info anywhere.
Capstick was a man of honor, What he wrote was the truth,and you can stake your life on it. He did.
my e-mail is gunsmithin@aol.com
Thanks, the sooner I get the info, the sooner all the hunters of the world will get the best book on Bell that has ever been written. Many suprises. All I will say is We are still living under his big shadow.
Bells 318 WR. by Thomas Bland and Sons

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Joined: 01/23/2009
Posts: 8
Gun Test Info

I read this thread only recently, but in the interest of "interest" I will supply this from the Gun-Test.com archive area. The first section is a letter to the editor, then the author's reply.

"In the article on single shot versus double rifle hunting guns, I note a reference you made to certain "ignorant amateurs like that Chapstick fellow." I assume you are referring to Peter Hathaway Capstick. If you were referring to the late Mr. Capstick, I wonder if you could point me to the drivel he wrote about firing both barrels of a double rifle, since I could not recall reading this in several of his interesting books. I know that some have suggested Mr. Capstick embellished some of his stories, but if half of what he wrote of his life as a professional hunter and shooter of dangerous game is accurate, it would seem that he had more experience in these matters than, shall we say, your entire magazine staff, their extended families, and all their friends combined. Am I right? OK then, now that we have that established, let me ask you if you were trying to be funny? Mr. Capstick seemed to have quite a sense of humor, as I am sure you are aware. He would probably get a good laugh at your comment, and he missed no opportunity to portray himself in such a deprecating manner. Maybe Peter was a personal friend of yours or other staffers at your publication, and this is just a great inside joke for you all. For the rest of us poor saps we count on you guys to give it to us straight, so I wish you would clarify your remarks. I am not arguing about the advisability of firing both barrels of any double-barreled anything. It doesn’t sound like a good idea to me either. I never knew this guy, of course, but he was a very entertaining writer and seemed to be well respected as a PH also. So I just thought you owed us subscribers and readers a little background on your comments, that is all.

—Bruce Williams
Alexandria, Virginia

Mr. Williams: Thank you for your kind words about the magazine. I am sorry to disillusion you, but Capstick was the worst kind of charlatan. Capstick did indeed want you to think he knew a lot about rifles and hunting. He was an excellent story teller. But he didn’t know much about either rifles or hunting, because, you see, he was never a professional African hunter. He was a bartender. He was a standing joke to those who indeed were African professional hunters.

For a bit of my background, I suggest you look at the June 1978 issue of American Rifleman, in which Ross Seyfried (a genuine African professional hunter) and I co-wrote a story about using paper-patched lead and jacketed bullets in double rifles. Both of us had been messing with double rifles for quite a few years before we wrote that piece, and have done so ever since. I have studied double rifles very seriously for going on 50 years, and am not done yet. I have written extensively about them, particularly the 470, in numerous publications. Please check the 8th Edition of Cartridges of the World. I rewrote the entire "British Sporting Rifle Cartridges" section including the three-page introduction. You will see a photo of my 470 on page 334, along with the discussion of that cartridge. You’ll see a photo of my 12-bore Erskine on page 340. My friends at Holland & Holland can set you straight about who knows his stuff and who does not. I also suggest you read John "Pondoro" Taylor’s work and that of Elmer Keith. Both were double-rifle men.

Capstick’s first blunder about firing both barrels came on page 11 of Death in the Long Grass. He mentioned it several more times throughout his work, by no means his only blunder. —Ray Ordorica

I will go back and see if I can find the original article. Does anyone have any idea who Ray Ordorica might be? He has the page number referencing the incident correct if nothing else.

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Location: pinnsylvania
Joined: 07/13/2009
Posts: 2
Peter Capstick question.

Peter was a Professional Hunter in Africa. His license is in an old picture that can be accessed on the net. I believe it was a Zim. but I may be mistaken.
He may have written some stories that were told to him by patrons of local bars, but the Research,Facts on calibers,Shot placement and behavior of the animals was all his.
A fanstastic amount of Research goes into writting a book, and I believe Peter paid his dues in aces.
His writings have influenced many people to go to the Dark Continent,and dream of the Big 5. To this I take off my hat,get a double of Chivas Regal, and say,Job well done Peter Hathaway Capstick. You belong to the group.

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Joined: 01/23/2009
Posts: 8
Original Article with reference to PHC

I have accessed the original article that sparked the storm here.
I will only quote the specific section.
From Gun- Tests.com
December 2007 Archive
Double Rifle Versus Single Shot
"The Manton carried beautifully and effortlessly. It was extremely fast to get on target, and easy to hold there. Its balance belied its weight. We could put two shots on target very quickly. By the way, one never fires both barrels of a double rifle at the same time intentionally, despite the drivel written by ignorant amateurs like that Chapstick fellow. The idea is to keep one barrel in reserve. You can shoot a double rifle repeatedly faster than a bolt action, as long as you have ammo in your ready reach."

May someone be as kind to Ray when he is gone.

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Joined: 01/23/2009
Posts: 8
PHC - I'm with you.
gunsmithing wrote:
Peter was a Professional Hunter in Africa. His license is in an old picture that can be accessed on the net. I believe it was a Zim. but I may be mistaken.
He may have written some stories that were told to him by patrons of local bars, but the Research,Facts on calibers,Shot placement and behavior of the animals was all his.
A fanstastic amount of Research goes into writting a book, and I believe Peter paid his dues in aces.
His writings have influenced many people to go to the Dark Continent,and dream of the Big 5. To this I take off my hat,get a double of Chivas Regal, and say,Job well done Peter Hathaway Capstick. You belong to the group.

I have read most of the PHC books - as they were published - and I think the content is valuable and interesting. If PHC did not live the life he wrote of it would surprise me and indicates far more talent than if he did. Certainly he had more talent for writing than someone who has to make cheap shots at the dead to self aggrandize, such as Ray what's his name. I have already forgotten him....

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Joined: 01/23/2009
Posts: 8
NOw we get the truth...

An interesting exchange with Ray Whatshisname in the March 2008 issue that indicates he has passed on as truth what is really heresay - and he didn't name a source by name...

Re "Firing Line,"

February 2008

I was certainly dismayed when I read in your publication that Peter Capstick was not a professional hunter but merely a bartender. I admit that I have enjoyed his yarns for a couple of decades, always looking forward to the next article or book. However, if what you say is true, then I may be forced to banish my Capstick books to the trash heap and scour my brain of all his disinformation.

Could you please supply your reading public with the evidence that Capstick was a fraud? If this was indeed so, your shooting public should know for certain so that all can take similar actions? We certainly did not wish to be led astray by those who are less than they actually are.

Joel C. Guenther

Please do not throw your Capstick books out. While I can only offer second-hand evidence of his past, via my bona-fide professional hunter friends and others who knew the late Mr. Capstick, plus my own personal retort in print long ago in Gun Week panning his book about John Taylor when Capstick was still alive, I can assure you Capstick was as good a writer and story teller as there is, and his books have great value on that score alone. Just take what he said with appropriate volumes of salt, and press onward.

—Ray Ordorica

I have it from some of my unnamed friends that Ray never really fired a double rifle at all, he relies on his bona fide PH friends to tell him about it....That's as good a source as he has.

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Location: NW Florida
Joined: 11/10/2006
Posts: 26
Re: Original Article with reference to PHC
vagabondh wrote:
I have accessed the original article that sparked the storm here.
I will only quote the specific section.
From Gun- Tests.com
December 2007 Archive
Double Rifle Versus Single Shot
"The Manton carried beautifully and effortlessly. It was extremely fast to get on target, and easy to hold there. Its balance belied its weight. We could put two shots on target very quickly. By the way, one never fires both barrels of a double rifle at the same time intentionally, despite the drivel written by ignorant amateurs like that Chapstick fellow. The idea is to keep one barrel in reserve. You can shoot a double rifle repeatedly faster than a bolt action, as long as you have ammo in your ready reach."

May someone be as kind to Ray when he is gone.

I found and read the passage on page 11 of Death in the Long Grass mentioned in a previous post. Capstick does indeed mention firing both barrels at the lion. It seems that what Mr. Ray is saying in this quote is that it's not a good idea to fire both barrels at once as that leaves you with an empty gun. It seems to me that whether you fire both at once or one at a time you still have an empty gun. On several occasions Capstick mentions keeping two cartridges between his fingers in order to reload as quickly as possible. I seem to remember him (but my memory could be faulty here) mentioning breaking the breech of the empty gun and having the fresh cartridges loaded and the breech closed before the empty cases hit the ground behind him, a skill that I'm sure could be accomplished with practice.

I hold little respect for those who think they have to discredit others in order to make themselves look better, especially when the person they are bashing is no longer around to defend himself. It only makes them that much smaller, in my opinion.

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Joined: 01/23/2009
Posts: 8
Re: Peter Capstick question.

+1

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