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

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Reflections on My 14.5in BCM Mid Length Carbine "Project AR"

Alexander Wolfe of T Blog is thinking about upgrading his AR-15 to a BCM upper. I started a comment at his place then decided it was going to turn into a post of it's own. I built a BCM 14.5in mid length a couple years back. It's a great rifle and I love it. Some reflections on the overall experience of setting up and using this rifle might help my buddy out, plus also everyone, myself included, loves to talk about their cool toys.

What worked out well:

-The choice of a BCM upper and bolt carrier group. It's great. BCM is IMO a producer of legitimate professional grade rifles on par with Colt. That being said they hit that mark without getting into the stratospherically expensive boutique semi custom range of Daniels Defense, Knight, Noveske and Larue with 2-3k plus price tags.

-Standard weight 14.5in barrel. I toyed with the lightweight barrel idea but decided against it after a couple very experienced people (former SOF NCO's) said to go with a standard weight. Upon reflection after a couple years with the gun I am glad I did it. I can shoot all day long in 100 degree temps without barrel heat being an issue. There are lots of places to shave weight on an AR but A) the barrel is not the place to do it and B) fundamentally it's a light rifle anyway.

As to length 14.5in is as short as you can get without  treading into the (now especially nebulous) AR pistol territory. This is good for moving in and around vehicles as well as structures. Before the barrel length and velocity argument starts our guys in Iraq and Afghanistan have killed enough bad guys out past 400m with M4's that, at least as far as this guy is concerned, any debate about this not being an effective fighting rifle is moot.

-Upgrading the muzzle device. Call it a flash hider, call it a comp, call it a break, whatever. There are a lot of really good options out there at a variety of price points. The BCM comps look good and come in at a wallet friendly price. The only reason I can see not to upgrade the muzzle device for a pinned/ welded barrel, where it is a lot harder to do it later, would be for a really budget conscious build.

What I have mixed feelings about:

-Mid length gas system. It's a bit softer but not like these things are shoulder busters anyway. It makes replacing parts a bit more complicated. I like it but from both the accessorizing and scavenging parts angles a standard carbine length has advantages. My half hearted current answer to this problem is that I'm keeping the one I have but do not plan to get another mid length system on a future rifle.

-Battlecomp. Don't get me wrong I like it a lot but it is worth noting my concept of use for this rifle was 'build it so I won't go back and do it again in a couple years' so budget was not a primary driver. Also looking back I'm not sure those funds wouldn't have been better spent going towards an upgraded trigger or a rail (we'll get to that). Then again I wanted the BCM comp but they were between versions or something so it was perpetually out of stock at the time.

What I'm not so sure about:

-Not buying a rail right away. I was trying to keep the price sane and the fixed front sight of a normal A2 style gas block appealed to me. That combined with a pinned receiver made putting a rail on it down the road a problem. Combining that with my rail preference (free floating and not a quad rail) made it a downright hassle. I ended up with a nice and surprisingly affordable free floating MIDWEST INDUSTRIES S S G/2BLACK 12rail but it was a big hassle that could have been easily avoided. 

To the specifics of Alexander's situation:
- You can't go wrong with a BCM build though I do recommend a standard weight barrel.

-If you choose to run with this plan I would build a whole rifle. The upper is at least 75% of the cost, more if you factor in rails, optics, lights, etc. Would you have two trucks and swap a set of rims and tires between them.

-I am solidly in the 'keep the old rifle for a rainy day' camp. Use the older cheaper rifle as a 'truck gun' or make an operational cache.

-As an outside of the box idea if the only thing that really bothers you about the current rifle is the carbine length handguard why now just change/ cut down the gas block then put on whatever length rail you want?

Don't get me wrong, the last thing I'm trying to do is talk him out of buying a great AR. I have a very similar rifle and love it. If there are other reasons, including just wanting something shinier, to purchase the new rifle then roll with it. However if the hand guard is the only problem with the current rifle that is an easy fix. Instead of being a several hundred dollar project it would be 2 or 3 bills.

Anyway I hope it helps Alexander with his project.

What do you all think?

From our sponsors:
500 rounds of Brown Bear 7.62x39 for $109
An update on the MVT Shield from Max Velocity
Camping Survival has sandbags starting at 35 cents a piece going down to 27 in bulk
At LPC survival they have a Mountain House classic assortment on sale for $71.99

Monday, January 19, 2015

Weapons Caches and Random Thoughts Theiron

In reply to a recent post smart prepared guy and frequent commenter Meister, who I just learned has a blog, left a comment that I have been mulling over.

"An operational Cache is the only way to defeat the man when they come for your guns. If all you first tier weapons and gear is available to them, your later efforts will be hamstrung by crappy gear or inadequate weapons. Your Cache is as important, or more important than the gear you keep in your "minuteman load out""

I should note that we sort of covered this general topic in the post about my operational cache and RE:When They Come For Your Guns. That being said.

There are a lot of reasons you could want to have guns cached away. Your house might burn down or there could be a break in. The point is to avoid having all your eggs in one basket. Many things could happen in life and it is prudent to have options.

Of course we need to weigh the trade off of access vs security. To loosely quote John Mosby in the conversation where I asked to cross post his seminal post on caches "if you bury a gun you can't shoot someone in the face with it." Guns you rely on for defense or hunting should not be cached as a general matter of principle. If you have a small battery of guns that meets your basic needs there isn't much, if anything, left to cache. That is what it is. Down the road as you pick up additional weapons over time the ability to cache some will present itself.

Meister justifiably criticized stashing less than optimal weapons. His point that you should put as much, if not more, thought into the gear that gets cached as the stuff in your home defense/ minute man load out is valid. If nothing else should a problem arise with the M4agery sitting in my house I can dig up a new part from my stash or get one at a local shop; on the other hand if/ when I dig up a buried rifle I need it to be as reliable as humanly possible. I am taking this into some serious consideration for the future. That comment could also be a reply to my point that you can stash whatever sort of guns you have on hand. This discussion deserves it's own reply.

People with multiple (certainly 3+)  fighting rifles and multiple handguns can afford to put away good fighting weapons. On the other end of the spectrum these are hard times. Lots of people are sacrificing deeply and working extra hours to buy 1 AR-15/ AK and 1 good fighting pistol. Telling these folks they have to get another set  or two to be prepared is going to send them into overload; not to mention they need food storage, plenty of 5.56 or 7.62x39 and 9mm ammo and other stuff.

I have said to cache the guns you have on hand to cache and stand by that. If you have a $1,500 Daniels Defense AR and a $900 Sig to put away then do that but if all you've got is a dusty Marlin 30-30 and a .22 revolver then put them away in a cache. Buy a couple hundred rounds of ammo for the 30-30 and some ammo for the .22 and put it all away. I am not saying they are the best guns but if they are the best guns you have not to put away then run with it. I would sure rather have a 30-30 and a .22 revolver than nothing.

Coming back to my own personal situation. I cached what I had. My operational cache has a J frame .38 revolver which isn't exactly my ideal do everything handgun. I wish I could have put a full sized Glock in there but I didn't have one to spare. Maybe in the next couple years I will stash some sort of a Glock there. The ideal situation for that would be a Glock 22 with a 9mm Lone Wolf conversion barrel. Also wish I was able to stash a military sleep system or two there. We do the best we can and then try to do better later.

My intent is to spur people into action. The reason I am pushing this so hard is to get people out of the problem admiration phase and to get them to actually do something. It is great to think of a time in the future where stashing a spare of your favorite fighting rifle and pistol will be painless. Set up an operational cache with what you can put in it now. Down the road if your collection grows replace the guns you put away with fancier ones or even better keep the old cache where it is and set up another one with the new guns.  Again my intent is that if you can realistically set away a gun or two then do it, soon. Things can happen and it is prudent to get squared away sooner instead of later.

As to the guns you keep on hand one could always stash some of them if needed. Say you had a feeling some sort of confiscation was coming. In a minimal amount of time you could set up a hasty cache with some of the guns you have on hand. I do believe you would be prudent to have something left to confiscate. Maybe it is your couple papered guns or a revolver and a shotgun or Mosin. Just be sure to stash the ancillary stuff like ammo and mags for the guns you put away.

It is my personal opinion a survivalist could do well to set up as many caches as they can afford to set up, keep track of and have use for. Just beware not to go too far and short yourself in other areas such as food storage, paying off debt, setting aside tools and gear, etc.

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

Friday, January 16, 2015

From Around The Web

Mike Pannone: Making an M4 run like a Gazelle


Hoss USMC went and set himself up an Operational Cache. Good stuff. I did this awhile back and it is a comforting thing to have done.Hoss also stashed the same chest rig I did. Like that thing a lot and might end up getting another one down the road.

Hoss stashed some pretty nice gear and was able to put away a Glock, which I couldn't at the time. Hopefully when I'm in my cache area next I'll be able to stash one there. Do not get discouraged and fail to cache because you do not have a surplus of cool new gear, put away the stuff you do have. Take a couple guns that are collecting dust and put em away. Get some ammo for them and ancillary stuff. Throw in some way to carry ammo and whatever spare field gear you've got and put it someplace outside of your home/ 'retreat'. Just do it.

In sad news for the gun community:
New ATF fiat declaration ruling on the Sig Arm Brace. Apparently that the second order effect of this 'brace' being a decent stock and many people using it as such has caught the eye of the ATF. Shoulder at your own risk.

In positive news for the gun community Magpul announced some new products:
AK accessories/ furniture
60rd AR drums that should be reasonably priced ($100ish) and actually work and best of all
Magpul Glock Mags!!! MSRP is just under $16 so street price SHOULD be in the $13ish range, which is what half of factory Glock mags cost. When they come out I'll definitely buy some.


From our friends at Lucky Gunner
250 rounds of Seller and Bellot #4 Buck for $119
Tula 9mm for $205/1k
Federal 5.56 XM193 $173/500


Monday, January 12, 2015

2015 New Years Resolutions (Goals)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Obligatory New Years Post

It is New Years Eve. A good time to reflect on the last year and look forward the next year. I pretty much covered the tangibles of buying this or that in the New Years Resolutions piece so no need to rehash that. I got PRK corrective eye surgery which is pretty awesome. We recently got a new dog.

This year we ran a Fighting Load Contest. You can see the all the entries here. That was our second big winter contest. It ended up running piece mil till the summer. In some ways I was quite happy with it and for a variety of reasons I was not so pleased about some parts of it. You might note it is now winter and I have not said anything about a contest this year. Well that is because we are not doing one. Maybe next year.

Overall at the blog not a whole lot changed. Generally that is a good thing as I am pretty happy about where it is at. Stalled out on the book writing efforts but no use crying over spilled milk.

The first half of last year was weird in a lot of ways which threw some things off. That made me miss a CSAT Combat Handgun class which really bummed me out. Also that fundamental uncertainty shaped all manner of plans and goals in different ways.

It was yet another year without a super grid down collapse. Giving further credence to putting at least some of our preparedness time/ money/ efforts into more practical and less sexy areas like saving money, paying down debt, etc. (HT to Commander Zero who pointed this out.) While those risks exist we should not focus on things that MIGHT happen at the risk of ones that ACTUALLY happen.

As to next year:

Politically/ etc-


Interestingly in 2000 the CIA made some predictions for 2015. 


Since the Rep's will own both the house and senate any additional gun control measures at the national level are DOA. However with President Obama's current YOLO stance on executive orders who knows what might happen. Off the top of my head likey targets would be importation of blatantly non sporting (military pattern rifles, ammo, etc) weapons as well as interpretation of various statutes on questionable letter of the law items like bum fire stocks, AR pistol accessories, etc could happen. I generally rate these as unlikely. The biggest pressure against freedom will come from liberal big money backing local initiatives at the state (and major city/ county) level.

It will become increasingly clear that our current 'recovery' is either A) entirely a figment of our imagination or B) best case only benefiting a small number of people who are very wealthy or in specific sectors.

Person-

Work on relationships. Put effort into the ones which already exist and maybe try to start some new ones with people who bring value to my (our) life.

Be more intentional about my use of time (and to a lesser degree money) towards my priorities. Also look at my self identified priorities and how they do/ do not measure up to my actions to figure out of I need to adjust self identified priorities or stop screwing around and make stuff happen.

Get back to where I want to be physically. Things got off track and I was never really able to get back to the right course. This year one of my biggest goals is to fix that.

Cook more. We have pretty traditional gender roles, in no small part because I work and Wifey stays at home with the kids. Still I find cooking relaxing and generally enjoy doing it.

Preparations-

I will address this a lot more specifically in my upcoming New Years Resolutions post. Honestly it should be called 'Annual Goals' but at this point I'm going to stick with the name/ format. My broad goals are to build an AR pistol, buy some .308, 5.56, 12 gauge and 9mm ammo, beef up our fuel storage and round out some odds n ends. As to food I need to do a real inventory then look to fill the holes which come up.

Blog-

Better allocate my efforts in terms of posts. Do 1-2 more in depth posts with pictures, etc instead of 3 ish medium sized ones. Total post frequency won't likely change and worst case it would slip from roughly 1.3 posts a day ave to 1.1ish.

Build new relationships with different entities (blogs, companies, forums etc) for collaboration, fun, growth and profit.

Maximize passive income.

Anyway that is where I plan on going with this coming year. What are your plans?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Chistmas to All

AMERC who I stole this picture from did a holiday post that resonated with me. I'm not too worried about Ebola living in central Louisiana and all but between Russia trying to rebuild the USSR, those ISIS jerks being pretty much the worst people in the world, the whole Ferguson/ Long Island/ NYC rioting then recently police shooting mess and the general state of things it is an uncertain and dangerous time in history. I generally do not feel secure about much these days and am not particularly in the 'Christmas Spirit.' Maybe I need some more egg nog. Except after recent experimentation I am seriously considering cutting dairy out of my normal diet. Anyway.

On positive notes gas prices are down as well as silver/ gold. Also I have seen some darn good ammo prices lately. Lucky Gunner has 55gr ball for $309/1k which is an awesome price. If I had the cash in my gun/ ammo/ prep fund I would buy a case if just (because I prefer the 62rd M855) to train with but alas I do not. Anyway I want to leave you with a beautiful song.



This is being written ahead of time so hopefully as it gets to you I am more in the Christmas Spirit. Anyway I hope you all have a great day of family, food and gifts.

Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 New Years Resolutions Review

This will likely be the last review of my 2014 New Years Resolutions. 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. Going to try to get this knocked out next year
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 actually ended up with 10 Butler Creek mags from Lucky Gunner
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. 
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. Just ordered another which I think puts the tally up 3 this year.

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.
Recently got the Ruger mags, another wool blankr and the small game shotgun ammo, #4 shot

Realistically since it is mid December I am probably about as far towards this years goals as I am going to get. Overall it was a good year for preparedness.

How are you doing on your years goals?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

AR Pistol Thread

I have been toying with the idea of an AR Pistol for awhile now. Other more pressing matters have bullied their way in front of it but with those knocked out it's back in the 'next gun' slot. I do not regret that decision. Needed a better EDC solution which came in the form of the Kahr CW9 and a longer distance rifle.

Anyway I have been doing some looking at parts as well as running numbers. Also just generally mulling the whole thing in my head. To prioritization I want to square up some other things first. A case or two of 5.56, a case of 9mm and some .308 ammo are strait up higher on the order of priority.

That being said I do plan to purchase a lower to put this project on very soon. Had one awhile back but it went out in a deal. Also since the 'firearm' is a $50-100 part it makes sense to purchase it and have on hand. Won't help if the world ends but if a ban happens (under current law) the other parts for an AR don't matter at all.

Aside from planning to drop a grand or more on ammo before really starting this project I have been thinking if it's really a worthwhile endeavor. Do I just want an excuse to build another AR and snub my nose at our silly federal gun laws by (totally legally) exploiting existing loopholes to essentially make a paperless short barreled rifle?

My planned design is something like this; build a 10.5-11.5in AR pistol by putting together a lower then ordering a complete upper probably from BCM or Spikes and outfit it with one of those Sig 'arm braces' and a tac light. Eventually when finances allow I would like to put an EoTech on top but would probably rock irons for awhile. As to budget all said and done it will run about a grand. As to timeline from a legitimate start point it would take 6-9 months to fund unless I sold stuff to raise money. Don't really plan on selling anything.

My concept of use is as a wicked worst case scenario home defense gun. Maybe there is a rise in crime or a hurricane or a black out, whatever. If Project 870 sitting in the Sentry Safe Home Defender by my bed was not comforting an AR that holds over 3x the rounds which is very easy to maneuver around the house might be the ticket. Also since it is technically a pistol if I for some reason felt the need to have it loaded in a backpack/ gym bag or my vehicle that would be permissible in most places while a rifle might not be. Also it is another AR on inventory which isn't a bad thing. Lastly the oddity that lets these weapons be on their current legal standing might some day change. If previous firearms laws are any indicator already existing weapons would be grandfathered in so I feel like if I might every want one it should be purchases sooner instead of later.

Is this a worthwhile endeavor? Do you own an AR pistol? If so why did you get one and how do you like it?

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?
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