Clinton mailing’s gun gaffe

Sen. Hillary Clinton’s mailing attacking Sen. Barack Obama’s record on guns appears to include a striking visual gaffe: The image of the gun pictured on the face of the mailing is reversed, making it a nonexistent left-handed model of the Mauser 66 rifle.

To make matters worse, a prominent gun dealer said, it’s an expensive German gun with customized features that make it clearly European.

“The gun in the photo does not exist,” said Val Forgett III, president of Navy Arms in Martinsburg, W.Va. Forgett’s company was Mauser’s agent in the United States when the gun was released, and it sold Mauser guns here again in the 1990s. “The bolt is facing to the left side of the receiver, making it a left-handed bolt action rifle, indicating whoever constructed and approved the mailer did not recognize the image has been reversed.”

Forgett said the error would be obvious to sportsmen.

“I find it laughable on its face,” he said. “It’s like a picture of Babe Ruth hitting right-handed.”

The gun’s image in Clinton’s mailing is above; a correct image of the gun is below.

Other rifle enthusiasts e-mailed Politico after an image of Clinton’s mailing was posted to this blog.

“I bet the Clinton folks did a mirror flip on the stock image to make it look more ‘aesthetic,’” wrote one, David Phillips. “What a latte-sipping, Gucci-wearing thing to do.”

The Mauser 66, released in 1966 and no longer manufactured, is a high-end hunting rifle that found military use as a sniper rifle. In Clinton’s mailing, it’s pictured with a double-set trigger, a customization that’s popular in Europe but “almost unheard of in the United States,” Forgett said.

“It’s a $2,200 German import — it’s hardly typical of what the average workingman in Indiana uses,” he said.

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