Showing posts with label Lucky Gunner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lucky Gunner. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

From Around The Web

Inspired by my Ballistic Baller on a Budget post TEOTWAWKI Blog talks about their 1k firearms battery. Alexander went with the $550 complete upper and stripped lower build plan as well as a Glock 9mm. I certainly agree on the Glock; if you find one that meets price point I would take it over an SDVE-9, Ruger P85, etc all. As to the AR I'm a touch leery about low end AR's but can certainly see the sentiment.

Incidentally Bayou Renaissance Man has been trying to get some low end AR's working right.
My thoughts on general AR problem solving
-If it is a feeding related issue swap out the magazine. Try a different one and see what happens. IF the old mag, which is usually the culprit has problems just toss it as they are so cheap they are functionally disposable.
-Anything else. First conduct a good and thorough cleaning of the weapon. Next lubricate it heavily (just short of dripping). After that try it with some good known ammo like PMC X-TAC M855 (incidentally available at the excellent price of $359/1k at Lucky Gunner).

The first two should clear up the vast majority of generic AR problems. Beyond that depending on exactly what is wrong if it's a new gun it might have been assembled wrong or (new or used) you might need to swap out specific parts related to the problem.

Communists have taken over the parliament in a state that is part of (formerly East) Germany. Needless to say people tortured and imprisoned by the communists are not thrilled.

Oleg Volk does a good job explaining the terrible law I-594 which the lefties in greater Seattle shoved through.It is so openly written that almost any gun owner is a criminal.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Random Thoughts

Today I spent some time reading about Operation Gladio the NATO stay behind plan for a USSR invasion of Europe. The plans and logistics alone deserve significant study. The actions of the stay behind forces in all manner of political shenanigans range from quite interesting to complete conspiracy fodder.

That lead to thinking about caches. Always more work that could be done there. Some I could probably do now and some for that mythical future time when resources are available. It also brought up the point of commo. You really need to set those sort of plans up in advance to have a decent chance of them working. If there are people you want to talk to it would be prudent to get those plans set up sooner instead of later.

Also it seems the younger chickens are starting to lay as our egg production is definitely up. That is good. We are getting a lot closer to producing what we use or at least a good percentage of it which makes me happy.

Gas prices dropping is an interesting development. Turns out the Saudi's and majority of OPEC must want to hurt Iran and Russia enough to take the short to mid term hit. The extra cash going back into the family budget is sure nice though. 

Between baby sitting two kids and a baby this weekend and Walker getting sick we are pretty beat.

John Mosby's second book is written. He is currently selling E Books and a physical book will follow and the E Book (for the very reasonable price of $15) will not be offered again. This book is more about the underground, logistics and living in a collapse type situation. I am psyched for the physical book to come out.

Max Velocity is offering $100 off his January Combat Team Tactics class.

The folks at Lucky Gunner did a pretty interesting review on the Glock 42. Personally if I were to get a .380 it would be of the tiny pocket variety (Ruger LCP, etc) .380 and if I went bigger it would be a Walther PPK but I can see how this gun might fit some needs. I can't wait for Glock to make a single stack 9mm and will likely sell my Kahr when they do.

If I had the jingle left in my pockets I would purchase  308 - 147 gr FMJ-BT - PMC - 500 Rounds for $335.
James Yeager did a video titled 'Ballistic Baller on a Budget'. He looked at two guns for under a grand My choice in that scenario would be a Yugo PAP M-70 and an S&W SDVE-9. Taking those two guns home for under a grand would be quite reasonable and a solid combo. Between the CZ-75/ Cannic and the M-70/ SDVE 9 choices it's 6 of one and a half dozen of the other though my choices offer better spare parts availability. Anyway that is what's floating around in my head today.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I really did not plan to make any black Friday purchases but some deals were too good to pass up. Purchased

.22/.223/5.56 Bore Snake for $6.99

Butler Creek Ruger 10/22 'Hot Lips' 25 round mags for $5.99x 10

Blackhawk Sportster Shooters bags for $7.99

Bushnell Powerview 12x25 binoculars for $8.99

Ten boxes of 2 3/4 Winchester Super X Heavy Game #4 shot to knock it off my years list

and a Leatherman because they were on sale for $20.

Additionally thanks to you all buying stuff through my Amazon (check out the search thingie on the bottom right side) I had some spare jingle in my pocket. Purchased a Morakniv stainless companion and a Italian Army Style Wool Blanket- 62" x 80" . If you purchase stuff through Amazon and want to start through my widget I'll make a bit of coin.

Also found the great deal on the Pelican rifle case.

In terms of actions (vs buying stuff) Turkey Day took up some time and watching my sisters kids for the weekend not too much happened. Hit fitness well in the first half of the week. Also I re did the shelter piece of the chicken coup. Put the cord higher and angled it better to avoid pooling and protect the hens from the rain. Added coverage on two sides also. Will see how it goes. Wifey said I was playing 'overgrown boy scout'. Hopefully that will protect them from the rain a bit better.

Speaking of which the three new girls (or some subset of them) must be laying because our egg production is up. We went from roughly .75 eggs a day to 1.75ish. Wifey (who knows these things from a childhood of FFA and animal husbandry) says at least one of the older hens is about done laying eggs. That one is headed towards the crock pot to serve her last loyal duty (probably X2) as chicken and dumplings.

I planned to add winter components to our systems but the weekend was a blur of small children so that did not happen. Next week or weekend I guess.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

New Years Resolution 2014 Review

Figured it is as good of a time as any to review my 2014 New Years Resolutions which I really use yearly more as annual goals than anything else. Completed resolutions will be lined through and notes will be in italics. Note I am piggy backing off the last review done in May and July.

Note: The stuff in light grey are long shots. By long shots I mean they are not realistically funded based on projected levels of spending. Admittedly this is pretty unscientific since I do not have an exact projected preps budget that is divided amongst different areas. It's probably more of a gut feeling based on the last few years of what I will realistically be able to do than anything else.

Shoot

Skills:
Attend a quality defensive pistol course. Work messed up a scheduled CSAT course. Undetermined on when/ where I plan to reengage this goal.
Try to attend an Appleseed if I can.
Following said defensive pistol course begin a dry fire regimen.
Shoot more often. Ideally at least monthly but certainly not more than bi monthly. Doing better.

Stuff:
Finish the 870 P project. Refinish, light, sling, ammo cards, ammo holding system to match.
 Get a .30 cal precision rifle almost surely a .308. 
 I have been semi casually looking for a single shot 12 gauge shotgun to go all Dave Canterbury. If I find one I will buy it.
Set up the big wheel gun the way I want it. Grips, holster, belt, speed loaders, etc all
Put nice grips on the 642 like Alexander Wolfe's.
 Maybe start on an AR pistol

Consumables and minor stuff:
250 rounds buckshot
250 rounds #4 shot
250 slugs
Get a quality kydex outside waistband Glock holster with mag pouches to match
4 Ruger 10/22 BXP mags
A case of 5.56 ammo
A stripped AR-15 lower receiver
Long shot a case of 9mm FMJ  purchased the 9mm ammo for a class and am keeping it set aside for such unless things get all wonky then it would of course be useful and a second case of 5.56 ammo
10 each PMAGs
 6x Glock 17 mags
I can always use another 10/22 or a Glock 19 but those are big time long shots.

Move
Fitness:
Run more, keeping better track of it. Maybe do a marathon or something. Been running and rucking more since the weather is cooling down.
Keep up a decent weight lifting regimen with hard circuit based body weight type stuff. I'm back at this with a vengeance. Setting a lot of near term (vs back in the day) maxes and some all time ones. Getting my swole on.
 Generally keep on doing good things

Stuff:
Break in all extra boots that are currently accessible.
Not sure exactly where this fits but I want to firm up our heavy (vehicle) bug out packing list then have that stuff ready to go. Also continue developing all of our systems. This has been working. I won't say it is 100% but things are definitely better organized and more together than before.
Purchase a small enclosed trailer.  This isn't going anywhere and is likely being pushed a couple years down the road.

Communicate:
Skills: Get a ham radio license. Kinda bumping this to the winter when other stuff is not happening.
Get better with HTLM and web coding stuff (any advice would be great)

Stuff:
Get a ham radio, probably one of the little Baeofeng (spelling) setups to start.
 Get a set of 2 (4 would be better) good FRS radios with head sets. I have a pair in storage that might work but I've got to test them.
Get a scanner 

Sustain:
Keep building our food supply to the interim goal of having a year's worth for 4 people. We've put back a lot of food this year.
Get chickens. The golden girls are giving us 3-4 eggs a day. Enough to totally meet our egg needs. Right now I'm alone so I am swamped in eggs.
Start growing some herbs n stuff. Maybe sprouts too. Gardening has not been successful but I tried and learned some stuff.

Survive:
Continue to improve our cache situation. Set up the Operational Cache. Did some other things. This is ongoing but we are better off now then at the beginning of the year.
Work to develop primitive skills. Nothing has really happened on this.
Pick up another full tang medium sized survival/ general purpose knife or maybe two plus stuff to round out some of the redundant parts of my various kits. Picked up a Benchmade Bushcrafter. Looking to add a slightly larger knife to the inventory this summer. Ordered a British MOD survival  knife.  
Get 3-4 more wool blankets. It is hard to recall exactly when I bought minor item like blankets. I am up one or two since them.

Alternative Energy:
Skills: Use the stuff we have more to figure out how to make it work for our needs. This includes a good plan for charging Wifey's smart phone on the go.

Stuff : Wifey mentioned wanting to get a generator before hurricane season. We are far enough North in Louisiana so as to avoid utter destruction but can definitely lose power. A buddy up here lost power for a week during Rita. This worried Wifey. So we might just get a generator. Probably an EU 2000 like Zero has.

Stashing a half dozen or so military gas cans would be nice. Enough gas to completely fill up both our vehicles twice and run a genny enough to keep the freezer cold, charge batteries and watch a bit of news for at least 2 weeks (a month would be better) would be great. Got to do some math on that one.

Discussion:
The year was weird in terms of scheduling and plans due to some work stuff. That really threw a wrench in a lot of different plans. Anyway the year is not done but with just over a month left, spanning the busy Christmas/ holiday season, a whole lot more is not likely to get done.

An AR pistol didn't happen because I prioritized other guns that had more valid uses in a  CCW handgun and a 'precision rifle'. I really want an S&W Shield. Note I purchased a Kahr CW9 which fills this niche. 

Food is a continual process for all but the most well established survivalists.

I put some money into commo with the Baofengs. This is honestly long overdue. 

Looked at getting a scanner but the Police/ etc freq's in Louisiana are on LWIN which is a digital trunking system. I do not understand thee technical side but it means normal $80-150ish models would not pick up what I want to listen to. A digital trunking scanner is required. The most affordable and simplest one (also recommended by Spark 31) is the Uniden Public Safety Receiver (HOMEPATROL) but they cost just under $400. That will roll to next years goals.

Need to work on a more cohesive overall fitness plan. I know what to do (and if I didn't John Mosby wrote a good article on it at FO) and just have to do it. Most of the right things (running, body weight, lifting, some rucking) are happening now but not necessarily in a thought out way.

Need to make a final push to get some small game shotgun ammo like #4 shot and just maybe some buckshot. Overall we have a decent amount of shotgun ammo but am way below my desired ratios. One of the things I am working on this year is to get some of the goals that have been rotating from one years list to the next.

How are you doing on your years goals?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Productive Saturday

This morning I took the rug rats out shopping and doing errands. Wifey was able to get a bunch of cleaning done while we were gone. Got back and cleaned the garage. It was a big mess and I have been putting off dealing with it. Well today was the day. Put some nails up to hang folding chairs and strollers on. Organized a bunch of stuff. Threw junk away. Reorganized my ancillary gun gear. Also split my general mag storage from one huge container to two large containers. This will make them easier to move around (a 30 gallon tote full of mags and spare parts is pretty heavy) and if/ when I work out the details to store them separately. The garage is now a well organized useful space.

Wifey did some much needed landscaping.

Fired up the chainsaw just because. Going to do the same with the generator tomorrow.

The way things have worked out right now the prep fund is flush with cash. Sadly not FLIR kind of money but I guess I could buy a rifle, if that's what I needed. However since I am preparing not just buying guns I'll probably get some #4 shot in case I need to hunt little stuff, some buckshot for two legged predators and those Baofeng radios if just to finally get them off my list. Of course I plan to order a month or two worth of food also. Also toying with a knife purchase.

Put a couple items up for sale. 

Given that we usually get nothing done on Saturday this was an excellent and productive day.

Additionally I found a source of some more wood so tomorrow I'll probably do that. Also got to rig the tarp over the chicken coop up better. Water is pooling in low points and putting stress on the structure. Given the roof is a redneck setup I made from free components stress on it is sub optimal. Definitely something I need to fix before winter really sets in.

Anyway lots of stuff got done today. Did a little shrimp boil for a late dinner now I'm sitting by the fire. Going to read for a little bit then go to bed.

Hope you all had a great day.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Open Lines Friday 7 NOV PT 2: Preparedness Challenges in the Military

Open Lines Friday is sure making for some interesting blog fodder. Think it is a feature worth trying out with an eye towards becoming a regular thing. I'll play with frequency over time to see how many questions you are all interested in hearing my opinion on. A higher the numbers of questions/ comments/ links will push for it to be be more common, maybe even weekly, while less interest will make me lean towards less often. So if you like this feature chime in with questions next time it comes up and throw links to the posts up on your blogs/ sites/ forums.

Today's question is:

"Hi Ryan...been a regular follower of your blog for the past few years now. Great work, love your opinion/perspective. I'm glad you posed this topic. I'm a military officer of about 6 years now, and the issue I face with preparedness is PCS-ing every 3-4 years. I haven't been able to find a good blog or posting about the difficulties of a mandatory military move every couple of years. I would love to see a post or series about the constraints of having to relocate vice being permanently located at your retreat. What has your experience been with this as a member of the military?"

"Pineslayer replied: Jamison Vincent, think storage lockers, off base, if stateside. A bike that can set up quickly to haul 'stuff' shouldn't gather much attention. Maybe donate food stores when relocating. Any vehicle gives you an edge. Good luck and thank you. "

Ryan here: 
 I haven't specifically hit on this topic though some posts sort of danced around it. Some time ago Commander Zero asked about Preparedness and the Military but it does not specifically apply here.  Some time back I did a post on moving with guns and ammo which does cover part of the question so is worth touching on.I also did a post on Military Families when SHTF that one might want to read.

It is worth noting that while on average I do believe military members move more often, and further, than most other folks the issue of moving is not specifically a military problem. For example in recent years Alexander Wolfe of TEOTWAWKI Blog has moved almost as often as I do.

Specific problems are going to be capitalized. After talking the problems I will touch on potential strategies for mitigation.

PHYSICALLY MOVING: Survivalism inherently leads to the accumulation of gear, tools, and guns as well as bulk/ heavy items like bulk ammo and food.  It doesn't take many cases of 62 grain M855 5.56 ammo (on sale for $359/1k at Lucky Gunner) to get heavy in a hurry. However at least ammo is fairly compact. Using the rough Pastor Joe Fox formula of a 5 gallon bucket full of food being enough for 1 person for 1 month even a 1 year supply for 2 people is a significant weight and bulk consideration. Moving all your stuff sucks and there is no way around it. However in my experience this is overall the least problematic of the issues we are going to discuss. This is because while it is a significant hassle it is over after you get to the other end and unpacked.

On the plus side you mentioned being an Officer so at least your weight allowance should be pretty decent. Get smart on what movers are required to transport so they don't bamboozle you. They have to move commercially packed food which is significant for a survivalist. On the other hand for ammo, fuel, etc you've got to haul it on your own. While you do not control how often or when you move from post to post you do control how often you move within a specific area so get there and figure out a good place to live then stay there. Movers will hold your stuff for (IIRC) up to 90 days then deliver it. That should give you time to learn the area a bit so you don't want to move ten minutes away in a few months.

INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS/ COST AMORTIZATION: Folks who stay in one place can build a nice garden with raised beds and call it good. Every few years they might need some more soil but their setup is there and ready to go. Ditto fences, chicken coops, rainwater catchment, etc all. Additionally since they do not need to redo these costs over time those areas cost per output (cents per egg, dollar a bushel of produce, etc) go down. If you move frequently a lot of efforts will need to be duplicated and there are costs associated with that.

I really don't have many answers for this. Honestly I'm struggling with the problems myself.

SYSTEM REINVENTION. It is not too hard to have four different awesome routes all planned out for each of your three potential bug out locations for a person who is settled in one area with a solid network of friends and family (we'll hit that next). However redoing all of that work every couple years (say 1ish for a PCS school and 3-4 for a duty station) would be downright difficult. Around the time you put up the last alternate cache in your last location it would be time to move. That is to say nothing of the expense involved in redoing these efforts every couple years. This could also be said about gardening, bartering, getting into the gun crowd, etc at your new location. Basically you have to hit reset on a bunch of stuff every couple years.

Putting effort into systems that can be moved easily is the best idea I have to offer. No huge answers here. In many ways our efforts are far less developed than they would be if we hadn't moved several times in the last few years. My system of caches and potential locations would be far better developed if I was able to put money and effort in knowing it would solve problems over the long term instead of just for a couple years. Honestly the best way forward I can see is setting up a fixed location near home and shifting some efforts to that location.

SOCIAL NETWORKS: Since I do not live near home I am not working on relationships or contingency/ MAG stuff there. Also contacts I develop in a location are potentially nice to have for the future but only really good for that location. It is a potential advantage that I am developing contacts, albeit shallow ones, in different places.

The best mitigation here is that I am currently part of the biggest baddest gang in the world, the US Army.

Anyway this post is a bit shy on solutions and for that I am sorry.  My intent is not just to admire the problem. Hopefully I have at least partially helped frame out the problem and offered some solutions to think about.

I'm open to other peoples thoughts, especially if they have struggled with survivalism while living the military life.

Thoughts?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

RE: Bayou Rennaissance Man: How to Prepare Under These Conditions

Bayou Reconnaissance Man wrote an interesting post How To Prepare Under These Conditions.

The basic highlights of the question:
I'm stuck with an unemployed partner and teenage kids who can't earn their own living.  We haven't been able to afford reserve supplies for an emergency, yet it's clear that even harder times are on the way.  I want to build up reserves for my family to help cope with them, so I'm selling a bunch of our stuff at garage sales and through Craigslist.  By mid-November I hope to have $2,000 to spend.  What's the best way for me to use that money?

(Peter's notes) A bit of background:  she lives with her husband and two kids, a boy of 15 and a girl of 17, in a small suburban home in a Missouri city.  The local crime situation wasn't bad until recently, but it's getting worse as economic hard times bite deeper.  The family owns one older car free and clear - they sold a second, newer vehicle when they couldn't afford the monthly payments.  The mortgage on their home runs about $650 per month, which isn't too bad if both of them are earning, but for the past year her husband hasn't been able to find work.  Her income isn't enough to cover all the bills.

Peter added his thoughts in a subsequent post. It is worth reading both of these posts before continuing.

Ryan here: 

We need to look at the issue of the family income and housing situation separately from the question of how they could potentially prepare.

Due to a limited amount of information I have to make some assumptions which will be based on general trends and may or may not be accurate for this particular person.

One particular assumption based on the tone of the whole conversation is that we are talking about a fairly small ($$$) wise gap between their current situation and making it. This assumption is largely because folks tend to buy homes slightly proportionately and we aren't talking about a $2,500 mortgage here, we are talking $650. Of course any income gap over basic expenses is an issue but this problem is more manageable than a much larger one.

The income/ budget/ housing situation can be broken into 4 main areas: income, income stimulus via selling stuff, overall budget and housing.

Income: First and foremost this family has an income problem. Dude (dad or male partner/ whatever) needs a job time now. Unless there is some information I'm not tracking, like he is paralyzed, has terminal cancer, etc, Dude needs to be a man and start providing for his family right blankety blanking now. End of story.

Since he has been unemployed for a year I assume things are not going well finding a job in his previous field in their area. Maybe Dude needs to seek lower prestige/ compensation work in his chosen field. A legitimate mechanic becoming the oil change guy at Quicky Lube or a journeyman carpenter fixing decks and building sheds won't feel great or pay as well but we aren't trying to get rich, we are trying to keep a roof over the families heads and food on the table. The advantage of this COA is that if he gets a foot in the door and proves to be a decent worker when a better job (that he is qualified for) opens up he should be a lock. A potential additional option for Dude exists if his skill sets lend themselves to odd job type work and he has the gear to do it on his own.

 Another option is to get a very low skill anyone can do it type job. Dude could be a temp worker at UPS and sort packages, mow lawns, dig ditches, sweep whatever. This is not the forever plan. The goal is to keep things going till he can get back into a better job.

Honestly Dude needs to get the first job he can find. I really don't care if it is swing shift mop boy at Show World. He needs a check time now. I'm not 100% sure he is in a funk but it would fit with the long term unemployment. Once he gets back to doing something, anything, hopefully he can get back into something better.

One could say you can put effort into job searching and be picky in relation to your options. If the family was making it on Momma's income then he has time to be picky and look for a job at his leisure. If they had a 50k safety net that would replace his income for a year I'd say he can be picky and have some lazy mornings or whatever. In this families situation I would say job searching is his job right now so he should do it from 8-4 every day. Given the inability to wait he has to take any job he can do.

Ditto for Dude potentially going to a different location from the family for awhile. Maybe dude needs to work someplace else for awhile to make the family budget work. Depending on his skill set(s) some parts of the country, specifically south Texas, the Gulf Coast and North Dakota are booming. Many of these jobs have employees work long days for a stretch then have more time off. Several weeks on and a couple off is not uncommon. This would work well for him to be able to stay busy (and not bored/ lonely) wherever employment is then spend some time at home.

Again I do not know the whole scenario and maybe there is a valid reason for this long term unemployment and not getting any sort of job but were I the spouse (of either gender) when the family is in this situation a serious conversation would have happened awhile back. This person needs a self esteem boost and a loving but firm push out of apathy in the right direction.

As to the kids. Personally as a father (of little ones) I am disinclined to tell school aged teens they have to get jobs to help the rents fill an income gap, doubly so when a parent is not working. However letting them know that we will meet their needs for shelter, clothing and good it might not be exactly as well as we (and they) would like.

(Slipping into the budget part because it makes sense to finish this small part here. I wouldn't ask them to put their part time earnings toward my mortgage problem. However they would be nicely informed, in as soon as possible, that their basic needs would still be met by us but any desire for fashionable clothes, cell phones, spare cash to go to the malt shop, etc all were regrettably going to be unfunded by the family budget. If they want these things in the near future they would need to earn the money to pay for them.)

Income stimulus via selling stuff: In his response Peter hit on this a fair amount. Admittedly part of the original question mentioned her selling some stuff to free up cash for preps so that is a big factor I imagine.

I do not find selling stuff to help with the economic situation to be a meaningful option unless they have some big ticket items like a 10k Harley in the garage, gun/ stamp/ coin collection sitting around it's not going to do much to close this gap.

As to selling stuff for preps. Selling unused items to buy preps is a fine idea.

Overall Budget: This has  probably been done already but it is worth relooking the budget. Things that used to fit might need to be cut out for awhile. The short term prioritization of food, energy, mortgage, insurance, bills is probably a good way to look at it.

Wifey brought up an excellent point. Since Dude isn't working he could look at it as his job to save as much money as possible. Cutting coupons, making bread from scratch, making lunches for people to take to work/ school instead of eating there, etc.

Housing: Peters comment about relocation are valid. If they want to stay in the area and want to try and make it work that is one thing but it doesn't seem like they really do. Additionally the potential implications of being come after for the balance of the loan are worth looking at though if the family is in effect judgement proof (no significant assets, big retirement accounts, etc) it is less of a concern than if they had 100k in an IRA and another property.

The amount of equity in the home is a big consideration here. If they have 50k in equity in the house  I'd say fight like hell to hold onto it at least long enough to sell and get that money out. On the other hand if they are underwater or have a few grand in equity that would be eaten by various home selling costs it's probably not worth the emotional struggle to prolong the matter.

The cost of other housing in the area (if they choose to stay there) is a consideration too. While home ownership has costs if the complete mortgage including taxes, etc is $650 and an apartment is $650 moving to one won't really save money.

Overall (again I do not know their income level, etc) it does not seem these folks bought an unreasonable home. It's not like they have a $1,400 a month mortgage and a $2,400 take home or something. These folks do not seem to have a house problem, they have an income problem.

Onto the prep discussion:

Really conflicted about this as I am pretty into preparedness and all that stuff. That being said I honestly do not think this family needs to be worried about making preparations for some SHTF or economic collapse scenario. It is my belief that they are currently in a pretty nasty situation that if handled wrong could potentially leave them 'outdoors' and that this gal, and by extension her spouse, need to focus their energy( emotional as well as physical), time and resources towards figuring out the situation they are currently in. All the way from the short term of next months bills, the mid term goal of them getting the income up enough to stay current on essential bills including the mortgage and the long term goal of replacing some or most of their income so they can get some breathing room, have some financial stability and get this stress out of their lives.

Also if they are intense and fix this problem in 3-6 months and are back to normal in a year think of the energy, intensity and resources they would be able to throw at preparedness,

Put it like this: Lets say there is a bear out in the woods near your home being a jerk and eating people but there is an angry wolf in the kitchen. Yes the bear is bigger and more dangerous but THE WOLF IS IN YOUR KITCHEN. The bear *might* be a threat someday but THE WOLF IS A THREAT RIGHT NOW!!! Also if the wolf kills them today it doesn't matter what great plans they have for the bear whenever it maybe shows up.

I cannot in good conscience recommend putting any meaningful amounts of money (if a few batteries, cans of food or a box of ammo for the family gun makes you feel better than by all means) into preparedness until the family is:
A) Current on basic bills. I do not care about a visa card but do care about the mortgage, water, sewer, electric, insurance and the like.
B) Making enough money to stay current with basic bills and life needs, even if at a new lower standard and.
C) They have $1,000 saved for Dave Ramsey's baby step 1

However since it is part of the discussion. 2k rough breakdown:
Food- $600 to start. Split between easy to eat stuff like canned goods, PB&J, etc and rice n beans.
Water filter- $150. Basic Berkey setup like a Go Berkey Kit. Or if handy you can do the bucket and black filter element  route. Total $750.
Alternate cooking source- $80. I would go with a basic 2 burner Coleman camping stove and several gallons of fuel. Purchased used these can often be had under $50. That leaves thirty bucks for fuel. Total $830.
Lighting- $90. A couple good candle lanterns and a bunch of candles. Say that runs $60. Spend $30 on batteries for whatever flashlights are already in the house. Total $820.
Medical- $80. We could square this a lot of says. Lets say they spend about $30 on some sort of decent basic first aid kit (or find a knowledgeable friend to help them assemble one) and the rest on OTC drugs and various disposables: band aids, Tylenol, benadryl, 3x5 gauze, etc. Total $1,000.

Defense- $600. There are a lot of ways to go here. I laid some out in my Basic Guns series. Peters recommendation for a good basic pump shotgun like a Maverick 88 or Mossberg 500 is sound. Personally I would try to get a handgun. That is a whole nother ball of wax. I like revolvers but if you don't care about common calibers a Makarov or whatever commie nation clone in 9x18 can be had for under $200 USD and ammo is dirt cheap. If you want to stick to wheel guns and are willing to shop a serviceable (I would ask to test fire) Taurus or Rossi .38 can be had in the same price range. Toss in some ammo in 9x18 or .38 special [Incidentally Lucky Gunner has a case of CCI Blaser .38 special ammo for $329/1k] and call it $250.

Used pump shotgun such as a Maverick 88 or Mossberg 500 in 12 or 20 gauge. Factor in about $200 for the gun, $70ish for a case of bird shot to get everyone familiarized, some buckshot at least 100 rounds though 250 rounds of buckshot would be even better, a  few slugs and that closes out defense.
 Total $1,600

Additional Fuel- $225. Fill up whatever gas cans they have, ditto the BBQ grill. Maybe get an extra 5 gallon gas can and fill it up or extra fuel for the Coleman stove. If there are decorative storm lanterns in the house get some fuel for those. Whatever is left after that goes to batteries for flashlights, the ambiguous AM/FM boom box, etc. Total 1,825.

Hardware This and That- $100. A roll of clear plastic to temporarily replace a broken window, a tarp, some duct tape, a but of rope, etc. Logically fill some shortages in existing tools and stuff. Total $1925.

Comfort Items- $75 (Remaining Balance). During hard times it is nice to have some comfort items. Mom likes tea or coffee so get some. Dude likes salted pretzels so get a few bags. Kid #1 likes gum so get some. Kit #2 likes chocolate so get a couple big bags of M&M's.

Total 2k. (Edited to include: Think I messed up the math on this by a C note. It's too late and I'm too tired to go back through it. If that is the case pinch a few bucks from each category to get it back to 2k.

So those are my thoughts on that. What do you think?




Saturday, October 11, 2014

Range Report: .308 Bolt Gun and Kahr CW9 Impressions and Trigger

I went out too the range today. The primary goals were to give another shot to my problem bolt gun and put some rounds downrange with the Kahr CW9 in an intentional way. An ancillary goal was to confirm zero on Project AR. I have not shot it for awhile and in that time also put a free floating rail on it.

 The problem bolt gun was brought back out of the safe. Shortly after the last time I shot it that gun got a good cleaning and I double checked that the bolts on the scope mount and rings were all tight. Also tightened the action screws and gave it a solid once over.

Why that gun did not shoot well with Remington Premier Match King 168 grain BTHP ammo I do not know. Maybe it was a bad day, I do not know. Maybe a bolt someplace was loose. Maybe it was hot or maybe it was the humidity. Who knows.

Also to whichever folks recommended trying 150 grain soft point ammunition I am quite grateful. Took a couple different loads to the range.

First up was .308 Remington Core-Lokt SP ammo of the 150 grain variety. This stuff was pretty good. It shot solidly decent groups.

I need to come back with more time and back off to 100m to confirm but this gun is shooting well.  The gun is accurate and has potential to continue an existence in my battery as a viable general purpose sporting rifle.

Next up was some Winchester 150 grain SP ammo, whatever that particular line is called. That stuff was great. Real consistent and grouped great in my rifle. Multiple groups where two where right on top of each other and it was obviously me who pulled the third. The last three groups were two horizontally even three shot strings where the rounds struck on top of each other and the third was more of a triangle. I'm not super into groups or whatever but if the bullet holes are touching that setup is probably a keeper. I plan to get some more of this ammunition. A couple hundred rounds would be an excellent start.

From a budgetary angle I would like to get a box or two of Prvi Partisan 150 grain SP ammo, Fiochi 150 grain SP ammo and some 150 grain American Eagle ball just to see how they shoot.  The goal would be a slightly more economic load that is acceptably accurate to have set away for some sort of contingency SHTF scenario. The kind of thing you stash 500 rounds of just in case.

Put a couple rounds through Project AR and it was way off. I'm talking 4" low and 4" left at 25 yards. Obviously that needed to be adjusted. A couple groups later my AR was back on. Decided to put the rest of the mag into the target to see how many would stay in the little orange circle, did 10/12 with the other two straddling the line. I like that rifle a lot. Goodness gracious I should considering what it cost but still it is  a darn nice rifle.

Onto the Kahr CW 9. I opened up with some Wolf 115gr 9mm. My pistol shot a few inches below point of aim. WTF. Wondered if it was the ammo. Wolf is not precision ammo but I've found it solid for training, plinking, etc. Maybe the sights were set up for a higher velocity ammo?

Next up was Winchester 9mm 115 FMJ AKA White Box. Pretty much your most unambiguous plinking/ training round out there. It was not quite as low but was still low. WTF. I KNOW THIS AMMO IS GOOD.

What I came to realize is that I was shooting the gun all wrong. It's DAO trigger really needs to be treated like a double action revolver. The vast majority of my semi auto centerfire handgun experience is with Glocks, 1911's and the Beretta M9. I have shot a variety of other guns but not enough to really build muscle memory. What I was doing is that I was subconsciously squeezing a bit harder at the point where Glocks 'stack' which was somehow throwing my shots low. A slower and more consistent (vs the stacking Glock and other striker fired pistol triggers) pull brought my shots back to where they should be. Acknowledging the Kahr CW9 is not a target pistol I think it is plenty accurate for reasonable defensive work. The more I shoot it the more I like it.

Put another mag of 9mm Federal Classic Personal Defense 115 grain JHP through it. They shot well. I really need to rotate most of my loaded mags in the not so distant future. Some of those rounds have been sitting in mags for awhile. I'll have to get a box or two of the stuff now or wait till maybe they have another sale and pick up a whole case. Another case of defense rounds would be really nice.

75 rounds in and no failures.

 It was a great day at the range.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Stocking Up Causes Shortages?

My post Ammo is Back: Stock Up If You Need It! received a comment today. I do not moderate comments on recent posts but do on older ones. I do this to become aware of them so I can see them and respond, also a high percentage are spam. The comment was:

"People who "stock up" on ammo because they see it in a store are the cause for the shortage. It's like the toilet paper shortage long ago, people make the problem and it's an endless circle."

 Fundamentally this comment is seriously flawed. People who stock up on an item, even to quantities some would consider excessive, during normal times do not cause shortages. These are, minus .22lr totally normal times in terms of gun and ammo availability. Let us try a little exercise.....

Say I purchased all 47 cases of of Tula 124 gr 7.62x39  JHP Lucky Gunner currently has in stock at the excellent price of $219/1k. What impact would me purchasing all that Tula 124 gr JHP ammo have? They would be out of that type of ammo for a little while. Say for the sake of this discussion they did not have cases of Tula FMJ, Wolf and Red Star in abundance all under a quarter a round. 

Impact? For a couple days or a week people looking to purchase 7.62x39 ammo by the case would have to hold off or go through one of many other online vendors. In short while the other guys do not offer live inventories (so you KNOW they have it in stock) and fast shipping there would be no real impact. This type of stocking up does not cause or contribute in a meaningful way to any shortages.

The panic purchases during a shortage can certainly on a large level in fact cause shortages. It is a self perpetuating cycle. People think an item is rare so when they see it they buy a bunch, even if they do not need any. This leads to more empty shelves and more folks feeling desperate and buying all they see of the item. It is a vicious cycle.

However a guy who bought ammo BEFORE THE SHORTAGE does not cause it and arguably makes it a tiny bit better by not being part of the herd of folks looking for a rare high demand item.

Thughts?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

EDC Dump 4 OCT

Decided to do a pocket dump to show you all what I am carrying around these days.

From top to bottom:
-Generic Uncle Mikes holster- small. Functionally identical to the Blackhawk holster line. Tam mocks them mercilessly. These are decently servicable though not exactly the worlds greatest holsters. If $10 holsters were perfect there would not be an industry of folks making $30-several hundred dollar holsters. A better holster is in the works but right now one from the spare holster drawer is working pretty decently. That is one of benefits of these 'one size fits most' holsters. They will work for most guns in a given size range and are cheap enough to have lying around here or there or as spares to give to people who suddenly in an emergency want to carry a pistol that's been pulling nightstand or glove box duty.

-Kahr CW9 loaded with 9mm 115 grain Federal Classic Personal Defense. With the flush mag the CW9 holds 7+1. It would not be my first choice in carry pistols for Peshawar, or for that matter Houston but I am quite comfortable using it for CCW in my sleepy little part of Central Louisiana.

-Al Mar Knives 5HDBT Eagle Heavy Duty Lockback Knife with Textured Black G-10 Handles.

-Edited to fix oversight. My flashlight is a Streamlight 66318 MicroStream C4 LED Pen Flashlight, I believe a Micro stream. It runs on a single AAA battery. It works reliably and is quite durable. Walker hasn't broken it yet and it's been through the washer/ drier numerous times. Might not tactically bedazzle someones OODA loop and make them defecate but it is bright enough to clearly see at 20 meters which is plenty for me.

-Wallet with the usual stuff and cash.

-Cell phone

-Spare mag for the CW9. It is the 8 round one with the extended floor plate.

-Chap stick

-Bic Lighter

-Keys not shown since you can now copy keys with a photo.

So that is what I carry most of the time these days. If I am going to Houston I bump the gun up to a Glock and if I am going to be doing outdoors stuff I might bring a fixed blade knife.

Thoughts?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Buying a .22lr These Days

Wifey asked me a question out of the blue yesterday "Would you recommend somebody around here buy a .22(lr?"

I asked where the question came from or something. It turned out that another wife asked her.

My reply, as best I can remember it, was:

"If you've got ammo to feed it."

Wifey said "What if you don't"

"Then no I wouldn't recommend it. You can't reliably get .22lr ammo at all, let alone at sane prices."

I understand very basic economics and a little bit about the gun industry but the .22lr situation is throwing me for a loop because it just keeps going on. Every time I am at a place that sells ammo, which includes Wally World where we buy groceries and thus go a lot, I look and if prices are reasonable at say 6 cents a round for basic stuff I buy. Obviously premium stuff like CCI .22 hunting ammo or match grade .22lr goes for more than that which is OK. To the best of my recollection in the past year I have purchased approximately 1,000 rounds of various standard .22lr and 1x 100 round box of CCI Mini Mags. That does not make for a lot of shooting and there were dry spells for months.

Honestly the availability issue is probably larger than price for most users. The lack of predictability would make it hard to plan a range trip for Saturday since they can't pick up bullets Friday after work, which is how most people shoot. Price matters too though maybe more for people who are used to paying lower prices.

Generally I would prefer to shoot centerfire ammo and choose rim fire largely for economics, more rounds downrange for my dollar. Still even if I payed 12-14 cents, which I consider quite expensive, it is a bit over half the price of Red Army 7.62x39 and a third the price of PMC brass cased 5.56.
 Suppose to some degree the price is a matter of principle. Also coming back to the availability issue these days I'll shoot centerfire ammo over .22lr because it can be replaced.

Unless a person has a enough of a stash to go shooting once in awhile when they can't find ammo, say at least a couple 500rd bricks though a real high round shooter would need more I will not suggest a .22. Additionally I suppose if a persons finances and stomach allow them to pay $50 for a brick of ammo that is fine too. So if either of those situations fit a .22lr is a fine option. However if they do not I would recommend finding an alternative choice.

Thoughts?

Monday, September 29, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

We got a new dog.

Picked up some extra food for said new dog

Purchased a Stihl MS250 chainsaw and cut up a bunch of firewood

Restocked some consumables

I purchased two boxes of .308 ammo

Also since the last time we had this discussion I've picked up a couple extra mags for the Kahr and got corrective eye surgery.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

From Around The Web

Often I see stuff in blogs, on youtube or whatever that I want to highlight and potentially discuss. These can almost take over the blog as there is so much good content out there. I have decided to roll this stuff up into a 'From Around The Web' series'. This will be a semi regular series 

 Formerly Bayou Rennaisance Man on: Protecting your economic future in a time of chaos. I very much enjoyed this two (at least so far) part series on Protecting your economic future in a time of chaos (see pt 2 here). I noticed this awhile back and meant to talk about it but things got away from me.

My thoughts:
- I am uncomfortable playing fortune teller about the future. However I currently see bad things happening. Inflation is eating at my income, especially in the areas of food and fuel. Our costs are soaring AND things are supposedly just fine. Heck if you watch the news we are in a great recovery.

- I certainly do not disagree with anything Peter said about building skills and food stuff. Generally speaking I think for this scenario (and a lot of others) there are some commonalities. You need some stored food to get through an initial shock period. You also need to be gathering or producing some food. One of these does not replace the other. Obviously urban folks will have a hard time with the food production and suburban folks have challenges compared to rural folks (with some acreage) but we all need to find answers that fit our own situations.

- In terms of work and income I think trying to consciously put yourself in a position where A) your job cannot readily be absorbed by a couple co workers and/ or B) a machine or C) a person in India.

-Furthermore I think building up some sort of income separate from your 'job' is pretty important. This way you will have a little money coming in that will not vanish if your job/ business falls apart. If this side effort is in the type of area that is recession proof. In a recession people may not remodel bathrooms in fancy Italian marble but they will get the broken toilet fixed. People may not pay for a fancy home theater system but will still want a home alarm, especially if crime goes up. You get the point.

-In the second part of the series Paul looks at taking advantage of employment opportunities in boom areas. If you cannot find a job to support yourself at home it is prudent to look at moving instead of sitting and whining. If it's going to be short term maybe a parent moves and the family stays put.

A relative of mine lives in a small town in western Montana. The economy there is in the tubes. The young motivated blue collar men work in the oil fields. A bus runs from North Dakota to town Friday night and goes back Sunday afternoon.

I can certainly understand people choosing to stay in the area of their choice, especially if family is there, and accepting it may limit them economically. If that is the difference between making 60k a year and 40 it is one thing. If it's the difference between long term unemployment and surviving off charity or being able to support your family then be an adult and make the hard choice to move.

NutnFancy did an excellent review on the Yugo M70 N-PAP AK-47 rifle.
This rifle is a darn good AK and an amazing value.The lack of a chrome lined barrel is not ideal but I do not think it is a deal maker either, especially since this is a proven design. They have been letting Slav's kill other Slavs for years and to my best recollection not a single rifle that fought WWI or WWII had a chrome lined barrel.

The AK vs AR discussion is a valid one and as AR prices drop and AK prices slip upwards becomes more relevant. Additionally if your particular flavor of Apocalypse allows for small amounts of ammo/ mags/ parts to trickle out of .mil and .leo hands the AR offers a considerable advantage. That being said I would absolutely take a Yugo M70 over a bottom end no name AR (Franken parts gun or factory). If the goal was an AK pattern rifle and cost was a consideration (eliminating Rifle Dynamics, Krebs and other high end custom jobs as well as the production but uuber pricey Arsenal) I would without a doubt suggest the Zastava M70 PAP.

Would I choose one over Project AR, definitely not, but price wise that is talking apples and way, way more expensive apples.

On a tangent I was drinking beers and BSing with bro in law and building an AR came up in the discussion. I took a minute to roughly tabulate the total cost of project AR and almost shite myself. It was about $2,400 though that includes a Burris MTAC, a LA Rue mount, a Surefire light and a free floating rail. Honestly I built that rifle in a situation where I did not need a rifle but wanted to build a really good one, not totally disregarding cost but going for quality with the goal of doing it right the first time so as to not want to go back in 3-4 years and do it better. While I might drop a better trigger like a Giselle in there I am fundamentally totally thrilled with the rifle.


If I were living on a boat or in a travel trailer so was thus limited on # or weapons and wanted a quality genuine go to war rifle that I wouldn't cry if it got lost the M-70 would be the ticket. A Yugo AK with a dozen mags and a case or two of 7.62x39 ammo is enough defensive rifle for anything I'll face. Honestly if I can't fight my way out of a situation with that rifle it likely will not happen with another rifle.

FerFAL did a video worth watching not so long ago.
There are things in this video I disagree with and others I agree with. Like anyone who has been involved in an event that was very powerful our friend FerFAL may be a bit focused on the specific scenario that he lived through in Argentina in 2001. No doubt his experiences were significant and powerful that being said it is easy for a person to to stovepipe on a scenario they were involved in.

 I am not exactly focused that everyone carries a full sized Glock (or M&P/ whatever) all the time. If we focused entirely on an economic collapse scenario where things were going bad that idea has some merit. The problem is our friend, who is genuinely a good person doing good things, speaks only from the view of his experiences.

I am not against packing  full sized pistola at all. However A) Baring genuinely crazy situations most folks will not carry them and B) Depending on your scenario a lot less gun could work just fine. Down here in CENLA I am comfortable with a single stack 9 or a 5 shot j frame. Granted if I was in Houston or NOLA  all the time I would carry Glock 19 or larger with 2 spare mage and probably have a folding stock AKor AR 'pistol' in my vehicle just in case.

Where I agree strongly with FerFAL is about stuff I have talked before.  Southnarc a said the same things  which mesh heavily with Street Robberies and You. Take away's actively engage people with eye contact. Should that not be sufficient get a good firing grip on your handgun. IMO this matters a lot. First because it shows the crooks you are packing which convinces them to go elsewhere, second it drops your time to draw radically, third because if you should get into a close up fight having a good firing grip on your pistola almost guarantees nobody will shoot you with it.


Anyway that is what I saw around the web recently. Hope you found it as interesting as I did.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

How Much Ammo Is Enough?

I was discussing how many guns you really need and Tpals asked for my thoughts on ammo. Also today I saw Peter of Bayou Renaissance Man's thoughts on How Much Ammo Is Enough today. Peters thinking certainly has merit. Take it for what it is worth.

I discussed that matter about 4 years back and again about a year ago.

To briefly recap my thoughts. The kind of scenario you are worried about matters a lot here.  Normal everyday defensive stuff just doesn't require a lot of ammo. If you live on a ranch out by the Mexican border and genuinely might end up in a running gun fight with a bunch of drug runners or could get caught in a Hurricane [While not part of our current topic Peters posts on Katrina and Rita as well as Gustav are definitely worth reading. Learn from others so you can avoid the pitfalls of their mistakes.] or a serious riot more ammo would make sense. If you are worried about progressively darker scenarios add ammo (and of course other supplies) as appropriate.
 
A big part of how much ammo is enough for you is WHAT MAKES YOU PERSONALLY COMFORTABLE. One could say this about preparedness as a whole. Anyway moving on.

Personally I am very comfortable with:
Defensive rifle- 3,000 rounds
Defensive pistol- 1,000 rounds
Shotgun- 1,000 rounds mixed between buckshot, slugs, small game shot like #4 and birdshot
.22lr- 5,000 rounds
Hunting rifle- 1,000 rounds/ 500 rounds*

Wish I could say these numbers were the product of painstaking analysis based on the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as riots, disasters and other events. However that is not the case. Somewhere between my various experiences and an affinity for nice even numbers I decided that the above listed numbers make sense for me. they may or may not work well for you.

* When I posted this a few years ago hunting rifle ammo was a topic of discussion. Anyway when relooking the ammo counts I came up with years ago I generally agreed with them all but the hunting ammo was worth revisiting. With 30-30 at 80 cents to a dollar a round for SP type hunting ammo, .308 FMJ (brass cased) around 90 cents; Federal 150gr SP hunting ammo at a bit over a buck and 30'06 about the same as .308 cost is definitely a consideration here.

Especially since actual harvesting of big game does not require a lot of rounds I can see the sentiment. On this subject Pastor Joe Fox mentioned that the year before writing The Survivalist Family he fired 6 shots, 3 to confirm zero and 1 each for the three deer he killed. Our longtime friend Chris's math figured pessimistically more like a box to zero and more for hunting to total 40 rounds a year.

My specific concern here is for folks who have a hunting rifle as their only centerfire rifle. Guys for whom the '06 or whatever deer rifle is their only real rifle.  The logic of 'I hunt on 20 rounds a year so 3x20 is 3 years of ammo' works sorta OK if the deer rifle is behind an AR/ AK in the safe but it doesn't work if that is the rifle you grab to get into a fight.

If folks have a defensive rifle with a decent stock of ammo and want to keep a bit less ammo for their hunting rifle I wouldn't argue against it. Also I would want to make sure they are not relying on that rifle for long range/ precision as part of a core defensive plan to hold say a long winding road going into a canyon or whatever. If those two conditions are both met less ammo seems just fine. I think 500 rounds seems pretty reasonable to me.  Anyway moving on.

The goals I laid out are not as ambitious as some but more than others. I think that for most folks given some planning they can be met within a reasonable time frame. Also they are generally high enough that if you are most of the way there the situation is pretty decent still. I generally try to set goals that are realistically attainable but aggressive enough that if you fall a bit low you're still in a good spot.

Honestly for all but the darkest scenarios half of what I like would likely be fine. If landed into the LA Riots (aside from that I wasn't shaving yet;) or Hurricane Katrina say visiting a friend or whatever with half of my goals; say an AK with a case and a half of Tuna 7.62x39 JHP, a Glock 9mm with 500 rounds of 9mm 115gr JHP, a shotgun with 500 rounds of ammo and a .22 with 2,500 I would be fine. Whatever issues I had they would not be ammo related.

I should note these counts are for core type weapons. I'm not saying you need to go this deep for every gun that you own. Like many folks maybe you happen to have an oddball (common caliber or otherwise but doesn't fit your plans) like the .38 S&W revolver Grandpa passed down, a .22-250 you shot Coyotes with for awhile or whatever. What it is smart/ necessary to do for that gun depends on how deep you are in core type weapons and ammo. If you have four AR's with a deep stash of ammo and a pair of .308 hunting rifles with a case of ammo between em you can go light on the heirloom/ oddball in the safe. On the other hand if you are a bit lighter on guns then everything matters.

Of course next is the guns overall viability. Say a little heirloom Browning knock off .25 that hasn't been fired since political candidates wore hats is worth a spare mag and a box of ammo while a more viable weapon like a .303 Enfield or .30 Carbine a relative brought back from the big one it would be smart to stash at least a couple hundred rounds.

I should note these counts have some margin for barter/ charity as well as sighting in optics, periodic test fires, etc but do not specifically include training. I keep a bit of ammo above that for training.

Think that pretty much overs my thoughts on ammo. 

Suppose I should touch on mags.

I like 20 per fighting rifle, and 10 per fighting pistol. As to pocket pistols, hunting rifles, rimfire, etc 4-6 seems sufficient. In this context I am more concerned about replacing a mag that wears out than fighting reloads.

Anyway I think that covers my thoughts on ammo and mags. Am interested in hearing the numbers for mags and ammo that make you happy and probably more interestingly the thinking behind it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tiny- A Story About Living Small

We started watching Tiny- A Story About Living Small on Netflix. Pretty interesting. Lots of people living in tiny houses between about 120 to 250ish square feet. Lots of them are built on utility trailers. Their individual reasons vary between environmental and economic with lots of intermix between the two. Honestly the whole thing is pretty hipsterish so if that bothers you it might not be the movie for you.

A pretty interesting concept for sure. However the need to seriously minimize possessions is a bit problematic, especially for us survivalists who tend to accumulate all manner of stuff.  Honestly I am guilty of this. Part of it is practical. Having redundant redundancy to your back up's as well as more than a few guns, cases of ammo and a bunch of food won't work in a house that is smaller than my kitchen.

Wifey mentioned early on a lot of these folks would be better off just buying RV's or travel trailers.

Also noteably they seem to be single or couples without kids.

The concept of having a paid off home is huge. Honestly this is something that seriously interests me and even at the best possible projection I could not have a paid off more conventional, even pretty normal, home inside of a decade. We would have to seriously adjust our expectations to shave that to cash on hand or say a 2 year plan.

This sort of thing certainly is not for everyone. I have difficulty imagining living in such a tiny house for any length of time. Honestly I could do it but would need a shed or big ole barn with a root cellar to store supplies, bolt down the gun safe, etc. That is admittedly sort of gaming the scenario and it would make more sense to just have an apartment in the loft of the barn.

I cannot imagine living in such a place with kids.

I do not think the truly tiny homes are a break through so much as I think the idea of smaller, generally more affordable, homes is. A family of 4-6 in a 200 square foot house would not work but the range of options between say 300 square feet and 1,000 sf has a lot of space to work with.

Personally I can think of two individuals I know who have done things that roughly fit 'in the middle'.

An uncle has lived for years in a roughly 600 square foot cabin. It is well designed with 2 small bedrooms, a bathroom and 'not so' great room with the kitchen and living room divided by a nice big brick fireplace. He loves it though admits if he built it (he is a contractor) it would have a loft.

A friend of mine built a small 1 bedroom house a few years ago. All in it cost him about 40k spread out over 2 years. His place is about 800 sq ft. Next he built a huge 2 story shop. When they had the second kid an always conceptually planned addition of 2 more bedrooms a family room and another bathroom got put into motion. With cash of course.

Anyway that movie was pretty interesting. Also it lead to some interesting conversations with Wifey. You might want to check it out.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

PMAG 30 AK Initial Impressions

Picked up a couple of these PMAG 30 AK mags not too long ago. Fiddled with it a little bit. Initial impressions are as follows:

- A lot lighter than a standard Euro surplus AK mag or even one of the lighter thinner metal ones. This shouldn't be a big surprise but given that it is a relatively heavy rifle anyway ounces count.

-Looks like, like a thicker curvy sibling to a normal PMAG. Like it's brick house but still hot sister.

-While normal AK mags seem to work fine without an anti tilt follower it is still a nice touch.

-Initially fit was a bit tight in my rifle. This was sort of a concern for me as these rifles have been made to so many slightly different specifications in so many places over the years it could be a problem. I honestly had to pull pretty hard to get it to seat. After the first couple times practicing the reload it seemed to shave a little bit off the sidewalls and worked just fine after.

-This does bring up a point of concern for me. PMAGs last basically forever in AR's but the attachment mechanism is a lot less strenuous on the mag. The AK mag style could be a lot rougher on the plastic of the mag, especially the front piece that has to hook onto the rifle before you 'rock' the mag in. Time will tell I guess.

- Value seems pretty good with street prices in the $14-16 range. Lucky Gunner has them for $15. Five years ago I would say $15ish AK mags would be a non starter but with surplus ones rising in price and getting worse in quality every year it isn't a bad deal.

I don't know that you NEED to run out and replace already functional mags with these but if you are short on mags it might be worth looking at them.

Oh yeah and Lucky Gunner is selling a case of Tula 7.62x39 for $229.

Have you got any PMAG 30 AK mags? If so what do you think of them?



Thursday, August 7, 2014

Libertors, Emergency Funds and Random Thoughts

I finished the new Jim Rawles book Liberators: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse . It was excellent. Started working on the review and should have it done in the next couple days.

TEOTWAWKI Blog wrote an excellent post on Emergency Funds. This utterly non sexy part of preparedness is equally important and ignored in survivalism. The honest truth is you are going to need $500 to pay for a car repair or an unexpected doctor visit or cover a short paycheck than you will need a case of Tula 7.62x39 hp ammo (on sale for $229!) for the family AK or fish antibiotics.

You, yes you, seriously need an emergency fund. I do not care what sort of preps you have put back you need cash. Buckets full of rice will not put a new transmission in the family hauler a hundred and fifty miles from home.

As Alexander Wolfe noted it is prudent for some of this money should be in physical cash and readily available. It doesn't take much for the credit card system to fall apart in a disaster as there are a lot of potential points of failure. How much physical cash should you have on hand? I think for most people a months cash expenses (typically food, fuel, incidentals) is a pretty decent starting point.

It was not an accident that I picked a months cash expenses over a $$$ amount. The reason is dollar amounts do not factor in your situation. Jamie of My Adventures in Self Reliance is single and lives disability [Due to a medical issue, not the point of this post. Only mentioned it because it speaks to her income and applies to this situation]. $500 would last her a whole lot longer than Justin C's family of 8.

As of late I have started putting a little bit of money into different kits. $40 in various small bills will help in a lot of scenarios. I keep a fair bit of cash in my wallet shooting for around $200 and using $100 as 'zero' but maybe somehow I could end up with my bag but not wallet.

The idea of an S&W Shield is popping into my head again. Maybe next month.

Anyway I've got to go read some stories. Should have the Liberators review out for you tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Survivalist Frusteration

I was fortunate to come into survivalism with a decent background that gave me a lot of useful skills. I spent my growing up years tramping around the woods and mountains doing all manner of outdoor activity then the latter part of my teens doing sucky jobs, some of which taught me stuff, while spending my evenings learning to break people in a formal setting then occasionally applying that on the weekends. My young adulthood was spent running around in the woods and desert with guns doing all sorts of things.

By the time I got into college and then survivalism I had a lot of skills folks pay big money to get. Since then my military skills as an individual combatant, leader and planner have increased exponentially. After that I went for a tour in the high mountainous desert.

Yet there are skills I do not have. Honestly aside from the mythical uuber survivalist who grew up on an off grid organic farm then left the farm to become a genuine JSOC Jedi and after the service became a medical doctor we all have holes in our skill sets.

I have been trying to work on those holes. The little stuff was easy like figuring out  world band radio. I built an AR which wasn't too much of  a reach. Now I'm going even further.

The garden has been a struggle. Last year it was OK despite losing a few tomatoes to the birds. This year has been a big giant ball of fail. Due to no fault of my own (didn't think a garden was going to work) I got a late start. Walker killed my seedlings. The potatoes rotted. Got some plants to give it another go. Now my veggies seem to be rotting before they are ripe.

It has been a very frustrating and not at all cost effective year of gardening so far.

Recently purchased a rifle that should be very accurate and fill a much needed niche in my collection. This rifle that should be a sub moa gun has shot like a 30-30 or an AK. Admittedly precision marksmanship hasn't really been my discipline of choice but something is wrong here.

This shit is turning activities that should be making me calmer and happier into very frustrating ventures to say the least.Trying to step past some annoying moments and a long work day I can look or the silver lining in the shit cloud.

The silver lining is that

 1) these failures show I am pushing my boundaries and working on new skills. It is easy to stash cans of food and cases of 62 grain 5.56 (PMX XTAC available for $369 at Lucky Gunner! Smokin deal!) and that is useful as you do need it but you also need other skills. We all have to get away from our comfort zones to round out our weak skills. Some super gardener and canner extraordinaire whose defense plan is a hand me down .38 snubby with the save 5 bullets it's had for 40 years has the opposite problem I do. Also

2) I am having these failures now while they are annoying but honestly do not matter. They are frustrating and humbling but aside from a shot to the ego there is no penalty.

What have you failed at lately?


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Fiddling With The Problem Child Bolt Action Rifle

So a particular rifle isn't shooting like it should, even slinging Remington Premier Gold Match 168 grain ammo it is grouping like doo dooo. Sunday I sprayed it down with oil then put it away due to general irritation.

Did some reading about common problems n such during the week.

Today I pulled it out of the safe. First I cleaned it because that is just a good thing to do.

Next I checked every bolt that held the rail to the rifle and the rings to the rail. Tightened a couple up. Next I checked the action bolts and tightened them up a bit. It wasn't like they were finger loose or anything but I turned all three a bit tighter. Not a smoking gun but maybe between a variety of not entirely tight bolts it could explain things.

So hopefully a combination of small things fixed the problem. Or maybe I was just holding it wrong and there was not a problem at all and things will be fine next time.  Anyway this will probably be one of those things that gets resolved without a definite answer on what the problem was. Fine by me, just want the darn thing to shoot at least halfway up to its potential.

In 2 weeks I will be back at a range and may have the opportunity to shoot it again. My plan is to bring a variety of ammo such as some 150 grain soft points and maybe some other hunting type ammo and some American Eagle ball to see what shoots best in the gun.

Also I am going to rest the gun a lot closer to the action bolt as the front of the stock flexes like the morality of a liberal. 

Hopefully next time the gun will shoot more consistently. There are things I want to this rifle eventually (nice mil dot scope, upgrade the stock, etc) but don't want to throw money at a bolt gun which shoots like a 30-30 or an AK.

So that is that.
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