by David E. Petzal
In writing about an enterprise like this, some of the most interesting stuff falls through the cracks because it doesn’t fit in anyplace in particular. So:
An American Rifle in Germany
American rifles did not seem to have any fans among the European writers whose guns I checked. I saw a great many Blasers, a Steyr Scout, several Drillings, a Sako 85, and one semi-auto that may also have been a Steyr. I may well have had the only American rifle there, a Remington Custom Shop 700 in .338. Why this is, I leave to you.
At one rifle range (which is 100 meters from a residence and 300 meters from a hospital) I got to try out perhaps a dozen Blaser R8s, most in .308 and at least one in .300 Win Mag. Whatever else you think of these rifles, I can tell you they shoot. When you see gun after gun putting three or five shots, all touching, at 300 meters, you are bound to pay attention.
The Carl Zeiss, Inc. Optics Factory Tour
Zeiss optics are made by machine and assembled by hand. The frames are CNC machined from aluminum (and then inspected and polished by hand to get rid of burrs) as are the lenses. Assembly is done in dustproof rooms, and Zeiss means dustproof. When an English camera team went in to film the process, their equipment was washed beforehand with soap and water. One of these rooms is dedicated to especially complex assemblies, such as the mechanical stabilizer in Zeiss’ 20×60 binocular. One person is assigned the job of keeping the technicians supplied with the parts so that these people will not have to interrupt themselves in mid-job. The care the company exercises in the manufacture of its instruments can only be described as fanatical.
It’s almost impossible to get a good cup of coffee in the United States. It’s almost impossible to get a bad cup of coffee in Germany.
I flew Lufthansa to Germany for the first time in 1980 and it was a terrific airline. It still is. I can’t say the same for our domestic carriers. If you would like to see what air travel is like when people give a crap, give Lufthansa a try. And, no, I did not get a free ticket.