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Old September 29, 2001, 02:37 PM   #1
Blue Duck357
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Charles Askins

Occasionally see his name come up, mostly when folks are talking about Cooper, Jordon, Keith etc.. but I guess most of his stuff was a little before my time. It seems comments such as "strange" and "mean" come up a lot, then the subject is changed abruptly.

Anyone got opinions of information on the guy, I know he was GA's handgun editor for awhile and has a holster named after him but that's about it.

Thanks for any help, Blueduck
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Old September 29, 2001, 03:03 PM   #2
Mike Irwin
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Long-time gun guy, veteran of at least one war (WW II), spent time in both Korean and Vietnam during the unpleasantries there and, along with Cooper, a HUGE advocate of the 1911.

Askins, though, was more of a multi-topic writer than Cooper -- Askins wrote a lot on hunting over the years, including some interesting articles on hunting in South East Asia while the war was going on in Vietnam.

Askins spent some years as a contributing editor to American Rifleman and American Hunter magazines.

Askins was, according to quite a few people I worked with at NRA who had met him (I never met him, he was in declining health and off of our masthead when I worked there), not one of the more pleasant people they had ever dealt with -- supposedly quick to anger, didn't like anyone disagreeing with him, rather overbearing.

Can't deny, though, that he wrote some really great stuff over the years.
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Old September 29, 2001, 03:33 PM   #3
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Unrepentant Sinner : The Autobiography of Colonel Charles Askins

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...098003-5841529
I read his autobiography about three years ago and found it was hard to put down. The Colonel wrote it himself, if you don't want to buy it you may be able to get it from a local library.
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Old September 29, 2001, 03:42 PM   #4
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Thanks for the information.

The customer reviews of his book at the amazon site were also very interesting.
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Old September 29, 2001, 03:43 PM   #5
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Col. Askins was unique and, yes, he was both tough and contrary.

His autobiography was entitled, “Unrepentant Sinner.”

You can find a lot about him by searching www.Google.com

Here’s a couple right off the top.

An obituary for Col. Askins:
http://www.clede.com/Memory/obitaski.htm


How Col. Askins’ pistol won the 1937 National Matches at Camp Perry:
http://www.colt22.com/askins.html
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Old September 29, 2001, 03:46 PM   #6
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Oh wow, Dennis, that jogged my memory!

Some of Askins BEST, and I mean VERY BEST, writings are about the time he spent with the Border Patrol during Prohibition in the 1920s/30s.

His descriptions of his times there are so vivid that it's almost like you're there with him and the other officers.

I seem to recall that Askins also was responsible for selecting a new service revolver for the Border Patrol to replace the mishmash of handguns that officers were carrying.

He finally chose either a Colt or S&W .38 Spl., even though he said he wanted a .44 (.357 aparently wasn't available yet, and he knew that the muckety mucks in DC would never go for anything larger than .38) and personally tested and sighted in each revolver.

If it didn't shoot to point of aim, he would adjust the sights by filing or bending so that they would.

He neglected to put a note in each armorer's case with the guns saying that the sights had been regulated, and when they got to their final destination there were apparently a lot of initial complaints about the guns ariving with file marks on the sights and bent front sights.
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Old September 29, 2001, 04:44 PM   #7
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(chuckle) Ref bent sights:
"What we have here is failure to communicate."
-----

If I remember his picture correctly, he wore a black, apparently western style hat. He had a round face with a pencil-thin, wide handlebar moustache with ringlets at the ends.

Good Lord, Mike! How long ago WAS all this? I believe I read his articles in The American Rifleman but it might have been some other gun mag.... Did he write for other mags as well?
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Old September 29, 2001, 04:59 PM   #8
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If I remember his picture correctly, he wore a black, apparently western style hat. He had a round face with a pencil-thin, wide handlebar moustache with ringlets at the ends.

I'm outa my league with you guys, but was that him or George Nonte?
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Old September 29, 2001, 05:58 PM   #9
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Capt. Charles Askins. was Gun Editor for Outdoor Life in 30s. In 1928 he wrote "Shooting Facts For the Novice and the Expert. His first love in smallarms was the shotgun and shotgun sports. However, by 1928 he had already won at least one national championship in pistol.

He entered the U.S. Forest Service in 1927; in March of 1930 he had transfered to the Border Patrol as an officer..........(Col. Whelen.)

"Only a woman could hurt a man much with a .25, but I notice that whatever the gun she generally gets her man"......Askins

He believed that no man should carry a defensive gun of less than .44 or .45 caliber.

He also wrote "Wing Shooting" for shotgun hunters.

He was a reloader and firearms instructor.

Sam

Last edited by C.R.Sam; September 29, 2001 at 11:25 PM.
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Old September 29, 2001, 06:07 PM   #10
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Blue Duck,

Holy Cow! I haven't even HEARD the name George Nonte in a couple decades!

But you very well may be correct. Danged CRS (Can't Remember Stuff) has me wonderin'.....

Soon as I finish this week-end's project I may Google around a bit and see what I find.

(Kinda curious now. )
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Old September 29, 2001, 06:53 PM   #11
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Yeah, George Nonte was the guy with the curled mustache. Charlie Askins was pretty much a contemporary of Jordan and Nonte. If you read his book you'll see that the rules back then were less rigid. He writes of many things that would get an officer convicted of numerous felonies today. There have been claims that Askins wasn't above doing "off the record, deniable" jobs when he was still in the military. I don't know anything about that but it would seem to fit his personality as he descibes in his book. Not matter what the truth, he was quite a character.

Don in Ohio
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Old September 29, 2001, 06:59 PM   #12
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Blue Duck,

I am pretty sure you are right, that sounds like Nonte more than Askins. The new Guns and Ammo is their 500th Issue and has pics of all of these guys, Nonte is in there along with Askins.

It seems to me that someone (Massad Ayoob comes to mind but I may be wrong on this) wrote about Askins a year or two ago in one of the gun mags. According to the article Askins was quite a study in contrasting qualities. He could be very much a friendly fellow one moment, quite professional, then a cold, calculating killer the next. In his job that is. I wish I could remember where I read this.
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Old September 29, 2001, 08:20 PM   #13
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Yeah, I remember reading about some of his exploits. Like shooting smugglers, who were swimming back across the Rio Grande. He thought nothing of shooting them in the back when they were half way across. Yup!, a real hero.

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Old September 29, 2001, 09:21 PM   #14
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Well, I think Nonte was everything but thin. I seem to recall him being fairly hefty.

Askins also wore a Cowboy hat.
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Old September 29, 2001, 09:24 PM   #15
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Sam,

I'm pretty certain that you're confusing Col. Charles Askins with his father, who was also named Charles Askins.

Askins' father was a renown shotgun shooter and expert.
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Old September 29, 2001, 10:03 PM   #16
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Waterdog, nope that would not make a man a hero by any means, but we have to remember that it was an accepted practice at the time. For the life of me can't remember the Supreme Court Decision against shooting fleeing felons (Garcia?), but it would have been well after Askins LEO days.

It was an accepted practice for decades in America that if a felon fled from an officer lethal force could be used to stop them. Now you can only shoot if you percieve something to the effect of "immenient jepardy" or some such term to others by the suspect getting away and still the suspect should be warned before a shot is taken.

Different times different standards. I see your point but doubt you would care to be taken back in a time machien and given 30 lashses for working on your lawn on Sunday...
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Old September 29, 2001, 10:22 PM   #17
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Charlie Askins' dad was a helluva writer as well, but he was "Major Charles Askins," and his specialty was shotgunning.

Never met the Major, but met his son several times… and yes, he was a notorious back-shooter of "pesky Meskins," a thoroughly unpleasant sort, and very much an "Unrepentent Sinner." That book, however, is definitely a "must read" for the chronicle of the times in which he lived, especially on the border, and for life in Viet Nam in the late '50s before "our" part of the war heated up.

I believe that the curly mustachios better describe Major George Nonte… every bit as intriguing a character as the younger Askins, if not more so. Our Charlie kinda looked like a longer, leaner, left-handed version of the actor Richard Boone.
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Old September 29, 2001, 11:20 PM   #18
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Yup, different day, different targets, only today we have federal officers burning babies, and snipers shooting women in the head for do nothing at all.

How much different are these actions

Shootin unarmed swimmers in the back, is pretty damn low on the law enforcement spectrum.

We have to many real heroes in this nations history, to be patting this fellow on the back.

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Old September 29, 2001, 11:46 PM   #19
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Mike, I think you right. I edited my post above to remove the "jr". Rest of that post should be accurate as applicable to Senior. Senior was writing and editing before he was "major", some of his stuff is by Capt Charles Askins, some of it indicates no rank.

I have a picture of junior in Army uniform shooting service rifle taken about 1933 and he appears to be in his 20s at that time. That would indicate that senior was born around 1890 or so. Senior was indeed a hell of a shotguner and pistol shooter/instructer.

Sam....gettin old fun, bein old sucks.
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Old September 30, 2001, 02:26 PM   #20
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A friend (who shall remain nameless) once described Charles Askins as the only "stone cold killer" he ever met. He knew Askins and told me that one time when Charley had a bit too much to drink, he began talking about some of the men he had killed along the border. Several of the descriptions were of nothing less than summary executions and Askins didn't have the slightest remorse about them. Some of these killings were of simple wetbacks, rather than smugglers or what have you.

I hesitate to post that since this becomes one of these "somebody heard..." things, but I trust the guy who told me this and am sure that he wasn't embellishing the story.
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Old September 30, 2001, 04:05 PM   #21
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Some bits & pieces: My father is 92, now. It was but a couple of years ago in a discussion where he commented, "Well, when somebody's running from the law, I always thought it was open season." That's the attitude of a generation from rather long ago...

Down here on the Tex-Mex border, there are still folks who are peaceable only when they're in fear of somebody who's "badder" than they are. Forget all this stuff about discussion, negotiation, or reasonableness.

Back when border-area LEOs were working solo and responsible for vast areas, only fear of them kept them alive. That may sound strange in today's world, but facts is facts; reality IS, whether folks like it or not. It is fact that a reputation as a Stone Killer kept more than one LEO alive--and even an LEO likes to get home to the wife and kids...

Back about 17 years ago, I got cross-wise with a next-door neighbor dope-smuggling family. They just really didn't like me one bit after I screwed up one of their smuggling routes. I can't say for sure, but I do have a local reputation as a pistolero...And nothing bad ever happened besides a lot of scowls from a goodly number of that family.

FWIW, Art
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Old September 30, 2001, 04:05 PM   #22
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"....simple wetbacks, rather than smugglers or what have you. ..."

Felons.

Sam
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Old September 30, 2001, 09:09 PM   #23
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I also remember reading the story in his autobiography about them capturing a large German motor pool during the war. He caught a German soldier going from vehicle to vehicle disabling them with a hammer; Breaking the distributor caps or something. Askins shot him through the kidneys with a pistol so that he would lay there screaming in pain so that the rest of them wouldn't get any ideas. He also made the claim to being the first person to kill someone with a .44 Rem. Mag. in the very early years of the Vietnam conflict. Then how about the one where he pistol whipped a guy that rode his horse until it was lame; his dad came down an bailed him out then knocked him around because he told him before; if you are going to pistol whip someone, you need to use a longer barrel.
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Old September 30, 2001, 09:36 PM   #24
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Hmmm.. sounds like kind of an Alan Alda type I'm ordering his book.

Before anyone gets too upset, being interested in someone and thier times is not condoning thier actions or "patting them on the back". I've read books on Edward Teach (Black Beard) doesn't mean I support hacking up vacationers on cruise ships.

Maybe I should let it rest, but I'm getting really sick and tired of everyone who now (or now apparently ever has) carried a badge being blamed for the atrocities at Waco and Ruby Ridge.
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